Highly suspicious

Intelligent and unbiased persons are asking: “Why is the Labour Party, which kicked out Konrad Mizzi, now so hell-bent on building such a massive defensive wall around him?” Very suspicious, isn’t it?

Carmel Sciberras – Naxxar

Taxing fats

Foods high in carbohydrate. PHoto: Shutterstock.comFoods high in carbohydrate. PHoto: Shutterstock.com

The leader on “taxing junk food to fight obesity” (October 15) commendably outlined the difficulties encounterable with a “fat tax” to tackle obesity and its many serious health complications. Even defining “junk food” would be controversial.

The US CDC recently reminded the profession that crucial to tackling obesity is not simply counting calories and repeating the fallacy that fats generate three times more calories than carbohydrates.

The principal stimulators of insulin production and excess blood sugar storage as body fat are the “simple” carbohydrates not fats.

In practical terms, dietary “simple” carbohydrates are all foods made with sugar, flour and rice (particularly refined white) and potato. These are regarded as “bad carbs”.

“Complex” carbohydrates, or “good carbs”, are vegetables and fruits.

Fats can also be “good” (like extra virgin olive oil) or “bad”, such as margarine or reused vegetable oil for deep frying, and “no cholesterol vegetable creams”, which are vegetable oils chemically converted into a completely artificial creamy substance of doubtful health consequences.

Fat-reduced, or zero-fat, yoghurt and other foods involve adding a sugar or emulsifying chemical to replace the mouth-feel of the natural fat with, again, doubtful health consequences. Furthermore, the relationship of saturated fat (in meats and dairy produce) with blood cholesterol and heart disease is now more controversial than clear and made even worse by scientific arguments about cholesterol-test interpretation and whether blood insulin and sugar levels might be more important than blood cholesterol levels.

The UK has just published health statistics showing that life expectancy in leafy London suburbia is a staggering 27 years longer than in some impoverished parts of Blackpool, a stark reminder of the health (including mental) and longevity consequences of dietary and lifestyle quality.

Italy also registers higher longevity in the north than in the south of the country (healthy Mediterranean diet a myth?) and Spain currently has the highest European longevity (no pasta in diet?). Quality of the health service is also a factor.

A British study of the high level of centenarians on Sardinia claims that the secret might be that these people exercise most of the day, live in hilltop villages, walk rather than use a car and hardly ever need pharmaceutical medicines or hospitalisation.

Albert Cilia-Vincenti – Attard

Letters to the editor should be sent to editor@timesofmalta.com. Please include your full name, address and ID card number. The editor may disclose personal information to any person or entity seeking legal action on the basis of a published letter. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us