Catherine Scott: Why calorie counting is the latest food advice to be consigned to the bin

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Just what are we supposed to believe? For the last few years we have been told that five, if not seven or even ten portions of fruit and veg a day is what we should be eating, while ditching fatty food.

Now however, it appears that message was somewhat floored.

Sugar we know is bad news, and that now seems to apply to fruit sugars. So some experts are saying the Government needs to rethink its healthy eating advice with which we have been bombarded in recent years.

More emphasis should be put on vegetables rather than fruit. So just as parents manage to get a couple of apples and a banana down their kids and feel they have achieved something, they now have to try to get them to eat another portion of broccoli or, even better, the veg of the moment kale.

I have to admit that on a recent trip to France I was pleased when my daughter started tucking into the pouches of fruit puree which seem a lunchbox stable of French school children. After two of these apple packs my ten year old became quite giddy. When I read the back of the pack I discovered each one contained 30 per cent of her daily intake of sugar. So what I thought of as a healthy snack probably contained more sugar than a Mars Bar.

For parents who have constantly been bombarded with messages that fruit is good for kids, it is hard to compute the problem with fruit.

Calorie counting is also the latest thing to be consigned to the food waste bin.

Researchers in Spain have found that a calorie-rich diet packed with ‘good’ fats such as those in olive oil saw people lose slightly more weight than those who strictly controlled their calories.

This latest evidence suggests that not all fats are may be bad for us after all. This latest research tracked nearly 7,500 men and women in Spain who all had type 2 diabetes or were at risk of heart disease. They were put on one of three diets - an unrestricted Mediterranean diet especially rich in olive oil, a similar unrestricted diet packed with nuts or a conventional ‘slimmers’ diet that avoided all kinds of fat.

After five years all groups shed a small amount of weight, but people on the olive-oil rich diet lost the most. And apparently curbing fat consumption is the least effective way to trim ‘spare tyres’. Now we are being told to ditch the calorie counting and instead concentrate on eating ‘healthy and nutritious high fat foods’ Confused? You will be.

It does feel like there is a different study out every week giving us conflicting advise about what is the wrong or right thing to eat. So just which study do we believe?