The story of Diet Doctor
But let’s start at the beginning. Sometimes important things have small beginnings and the Diet Doctor organization began in a very small way. It began in 2007 with the blog of a family doctor, Andreas Eenfeldt. And it started with the observation that patients were not getting healthier.
Doctors are supposed to help people become healthy. But most of Dr. Eenfeldt’s job turned out to be something else. Giving people more pills. Pills that are supposed to be taken for life. This was considered normal, but how are people healthier if they need more drugs every year?
Dr. Eenfeldt went searching online for a better way to treat common and apparently life-long problems like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. What he found shocked him.
There was another way, a way that did not just focus on drugs to cover up the symptoms of disease. People had known about this for decades, perhaps even centuries. New science proved that it worked – it was for real.
But this other way did not match old preconceptions about healthy lifestyles. The food and pharmaceutical industries would lose tons of money if it was adopted. And many health experts would look stupid and lose prestige. Thus this promising alternative was ignored, ridiculed or actively resisted.
Fortunately there was a new and effective way to spread knowledge widely to anyone who was interested: starting a blog. So in 2007 Dr. Eenfeldt started the blog “Kostdoktorn” – a Swedish word that means “Diet Doctor”. The goal was to make it simple for anyone to learn about low carb, high fat nutrition and discuss their results.
As Dr. Eenfeldt had no prior experience blogging or writing, the response was quite shocking. It rapidly became the most popular health blog in Sweden, and one of the most popular blogs in all categories.
The enormous popularity of LCHF in SwedenSimultaneously other events conspired that together were to start an unprecedented low-carb movement in Sweden, under the term “LCHF” – Low Carb, High Fat.
Another family physician, Dr. Annika Dahlqvist, had been very vocal in promoting low-carb, high-fat diets to her patients and in the media. Two dietitians decided to notify the National Board of Health & Welfare (NBHW). They felt that recommending people with diabetes to eat fat was unacceptable and would result in the patients getting sick.
The NBHW deliberated for two years, reviewing the science. They had in their power to censor Dr. Dahlqvist or even revoke her medical license.
In January 2008 they released their verdict: Dr. Dahlqvist had done nothing wrong. In fact, they stated, low-carb diets can today be seen as compatible with scientific evidence and best practice!
This was a revolutionary moment and the verdict resulted in huge headlines. Low carb instantly went from being considered a “dangerous fad diet” to something that was proven to work, and to some extent even officially endorsed by the government. Learn more about this story in the “Food Revolution” talk.
During the next few years LCHF quickly gained popularity and became by far the most popular diet in Sweden for losing weight and gaining health. It even resulted in a severe butter shortage that spilled over into neighboring Norway. For some time there was simply no butter in the grocery stores! People were actually arrested for smuggling butter into our countries.
Dr. Eenfeldt spent these years growing his blog into the largest health blog in Scandinavia, taking care of patients and traveling the country giving talks about LCHF. In every city people shared their experiences with LCHF: effortless weight loss and new health, often making it possible to stop taking drugs for diabetes, high blood pressure and many other disorders. He also wrote a book – “The Food Revolution” – that turned into a national bestseller and was translated into eight languages.
The popularity of LCHF was further increased when in 2013 an expert report from the Swedish government declared that low-carb diets have been proven to be more effective than other diets for weight loss. Later international expert reviews have come to the same conclusion.
In 2016, LCHF is still by far the most popular diet in Sweden, as it has been for six years running (according to the number of Google searches).
For many years, old-fashioned experts have issued warnings believing that this will increase the risk of heart disease (due to all that butter). But in reality the opposite has happened. Sweden has very good official statistics on heart disease and the risk has been rapidly going down every year – Swedes are getting healthier, faster than ever, while eating more and more butter.
And what about obesity in Sweden? After decades of skyrocketing obesity numbers all around the world something seems to have happened in Sweden.
In the US, the percent of the adult population with obesity is at 38 percent and going up fast.
In Sweden the obesity percentage suddenly, just when LCHF became widely popular, stabilized at 14 percent. Will it be the first country in the world to reverse the epidemic?
Diet Doctor begins
While Sweden is an interesting place, people everywhere matter equally. And there are low-carb experts all over the world. Dr. Eenfeldt had been learning from them for a long time, and going to conferences and meeting many of them since 2010 – people like Gary Taubes, Dr. Eric Westman, Professor Steve Phinney, Jimmy Moore, Dr. Jay Wortman and others.
However, while there were lots of books and conferences, there was no really good, simple to understand, complete guide to low carb online. Nor a premier site for low-carb news or community. This needed to change for the sake of millions of people in need of it… and it was about to change.
Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt in 2011 with the Swedish version of his bestselling book “The Food Revolution”
In the spring of 2011 the English version of the Diet Doctor site was launched. It was not immediately a huge hit. For several years it mostly contained translated articles from the Swedish site. But things started to gather momentum.
Income from book sales and frequent lecturing allowed Dr. Eenfeldt to gather a small team of co-workers. First his brother, Johan Eenfeldt, who happened to be an expert in computer science and at spicing up a blog with all kinds of functionality. Then his significant other, Kristin Berglund, for taking care of all kinds of important things behind the scenes.
Then a couple of freelancers joined, Inger Swanberg for translating and editorial tasks and Simon Victor for video productions. Bjarte Bakke also got involved behind the scenes, discussing future strategy and the plans for the future.
In November of 2013 we made a momentous decision. To be able to find and promote trustworthy advice, Diet Doctor would forever be 100% independent from any industry funding, ads or product sales. We would never accept investments from other interests. Instead we wanted to be fully funded by the people, and still provide a free site to everyone.
Our solution was to launch a membership in 2014, for new premium video material, expert Q&A, and other bonuses. Everything that used to be free stayed free forever, and even the membership site is free to try out for a month. If members stay longer than that, their fee of $9 per month supports the main, free site for everyone.
This turned into a huge success with thousands of people signing up on the first day in Sweden. By the summer of 2015 we had reached over 10,000 supporting members.
Every cent of the income from the membership is used, to the very best of our abilities, to reach our goal: empowering people everywhere to revolutionize their health.
The new revenue meant that suddenly Inger, Simon, Johan, and eventually Bjarte could start working full-time for Diet Doctor. The company was speeding up and we could do much more than before.
Dr. Eenfeldt, the founder, had a decision to make. He had spent twelve years working as a doctor and eight of those years as a family physician, treating patients with an LCHF diet. During that time he witnessed tremendous success for people with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Something he enjoyed immensely to be a part of. But despite that, helping one person at a time could never change the status quo. So in 2015 he quit.
He decided to instead spend all of his available time working on Diet Doctor. To work towards a massive change.
Towards the end of 2015 Jessica Karlsson also joined the company, as an assistant. And the chef Anne Aobadia began working with the professional photographer Emma Shevtzoff and Kristin Berglund with a plan of revolutionizing low-carb recipes online.
The number of supporting members keept going up and hit 17,500 members in August 2016. In July 2016, dietdoctor.com became the biggest low-carb site in the world, and in September 2017 we reached a new milestone – 40,000 paying members supporting our cause.
We’re now 17 full-time coworkers and around 25 freelancers – growing faster than ever. We have growing offices in Stockholm and Karlstad, Sweden, and we travel the world for low-carb gatherings everywhere.
Towards a brighter future
Our mission is to make low carb simple. We aim to vastly improve our guides to effortless weight loss, vibrant health and mind-blowing diabetes reversal on low carb. And become the world’s most trustworthy, simple and inspirational place for it.
But even that important task is just a beginning. We have bigger ideas for the future, beyond the present goals.
The health problems that the world faces are huge, the suffering is massive and in many ways it is getting worse. Many of those health problems are not necessary. They can be prevented or even cured. Someone must make that happen.
We need to forever work on getting closer to the truth. We need to willingly discard failed old ideas, remove the plague of biased misinformation caused by industry funding, and focus on the simple things that work. Then this knowledge must be made easily available to the world, in a way that inspires people to improve their lives and reach for their potential.
We will do whatever we can to achieve that. We’ll keep working towards our purpose. Empowering people everywhere to revolutionize their health.