By Ross Walker

Recently on my 2UE radio show, Healthy Living (6-8pm on a Sunday night), I sent the switchboard into meltdown during an interview with Christine Cronau about her new book, “Bring Back the Fat”.

We also had at the same time, live in the studio, Dr Aseem Malhotra, the best known cardiologist in the United Kingdom, discussing the world’s most serious health issue, diabesity, i.e. the combination of diabetes and obesity. We also discussed his concerns about the excessive prescription of statin drugs. As my regular readers of the Switzer Daily articles will know too well, these are all topics that I have raised frequently.

Recent reports in the Lancet have highlighted these important and disturbing issues. The report on obesity has suggested that in 1980 there were 105 million obese people globally. This has skyrocketed to 641 million in 2014 and the predictions are that by 2025 one in five adults globally will be obese, including 40% of adults in the United States.

It has been estimated that on average, adults gain 1.5 kilos each decade. A report in the same journal has suggested that in 2014 there were 422 million diabetic adults, globally four times that seen in 1980. It has been predicted that in the year 2025 there will be 700 million diabetics globally. 

So, the obvious answer to these disturbing statistics is why? Why are we rapidly gaining weight and developing, especially Type 2 diabetes – which accounts for 90% of diabetes?

Firstly, to carry on an important theme I often discuss, it is your genes that load the gun and your environment that pulls the trigger. The common genetic abnormality here is insulin resistance. Around 30% of Caucasians, 50% of Asians and close to 100% of black people have the gene for insulin resistance.

This gene is a survival advantage if you a hunter/gatherer but a clear survival disadvantage if you live in modern society. Being insulin resistant predisposes you to any combination of any of the following five factors.

1. Diabetes

2. High blood pressure

3. Dyslipidaemia (high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low HDL)

4. Abdominal obesity – in males waist circumference >95cm and in females >80cm

5. Cardiovascular disease

Other clear factors here are the free availability of food, our increasing sedentary lifestyle, including all the recent data around prolonged sitting, but also clearly highlighted by Christine Cronau, Dr Aseem Maholtra and many other experts in the field, one of the scandals of the 20th century – the low fat diet. This has shifted our dietary intake from good quality natural fats to a diet dominated by sugar and other carbohydrates. The backlash against this “Bring Back the Fat” message by conservative, so called experts in the field has been breathtaking, clearly highlighted by the extraordinarily pathetic reaction to the superb Catalyst Program, ‘The Heart of the Matter’ presented by Dr Maryanne Demasi in 2013, in a balanced, scientific fashion.

The conservative backlash was so strong that Dr Demasi’s segments were withdrawn by the ABC, but fortunately, the public listened to the two main messages of the program. Number one, there is no relationship between the intake of saturated fats, i.e. meat, eggs, dairy and cardiovascular disease and number two, statins are being overprescribed.

Dr Maholtra is a strong, internally recognised campaigner around all of these issues;  Christine Cronau’s book – Bring Back the Fat and Dr Maryanne Demasi should receive positive recognition for highlighting these important issues.

Until we accept the fact that we have become a sugar addicted, over-consuming, inactive bunch of slobs, we will continue to see a world dominated by obesity and diabetes.