This past year was full of exciting health-related news. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights:
Failure of the Year
Yet another heavy blow to the low-fat diet, which has been on life support since 2006. A major study of the highest quality showed that advice on avoiding fat increased the risk for heart disease.
Now it’s game over, and it’s time to abandon outdated and downright harmful low-fat advice.
Update of the Year
Not many things impress me more than a scientist who dares to change his opinion. An excellent example is the influential Danish scientist Arne Astrup, who at a meeting in April admitted to Gary Taubes: “I was wrong, you were right”. A diabetes expert also updated his knowledge during the year and called bread “a bag of glucose”.
When influential people manage to update their opinions there’s plenty of hope for the future. Let’s hope more and more experts will follow in their footsteps.
PR Disaster of the Year
Just in time for the annual interest in dieting after the holidays, Weight Watchers in Sweden suffered a true PR disaster, when it turned out that their spokesperson didn’t lose her weight with Weight Watchers, but at a private clinic, using a starvation diet and hormonal treatment.
The problem with Weight Watchers is not only its lack of honesty in advertising. The problem is dishonesty in the dietary advice as well, trying to make money by promising something it can’t keep: that you can lose weight while munching on goodies.
Sell-Out of the Year
The largest professional association of dietitians in the US has sold out to, among others Coca Cola, allowing them to buy enormous influence over the continuing education of dietitians. So when your dietitian says that it’s all about eating a balanced diet (including soda and candy) and exercising more, those could be arguments taught to him or her by Coca Cola. The most obese nation on Earth also consumes more Coca Cola than any other nation.
Celebrity Weight Loss of the Year
Culture Club singer-songwriter Boy George is one example of celebrities giving up sugar and bread (among other things), and another one on a low-carb diet is Sir Bob Geldof.
There are countless more health and weight transformation stories here, and here’s one of many impressive stories demonstrating that LCHF will work long-term – as long as you don’t go back to the eating habits that got you in trouble in the first place.
Sickest Dieting Advice of the Year
Observational Study of the Year
Can sugar cause diabetes? The not-so-surprising results of another study showed that the more sugar available, the more diabetes people get. Less sugar, less diabetes. It’s not that hard. Let’s just get rid of our sugar addiction and stop this disaster.
Climate Talk of the Year
Could millions of cows help save the environment? Yes, says Allan Savory, a grassland ecosystem pioneer, in this fantastic 20 minute TED-talk.
Blame Game of the Year
Did you think drinking sugar all day was bad for your weight? Silly you.
In reality, the obesity epidemic is caused by chairs. Yes, really. At least that’s what Coca Cola wants you to believe.
Champion of the Year
Which diet works best long-term for weight loss and improved health markers? In May a new analysis was published, that summarized the result. The winner? The same as always: Low carb.
TED Talk of the Year
Here’s the great and surprisingly emotional talk by Dr Peter Attia at TEDMED in June 2013. It’s about completely reconsidering how we view obesity and related problems. Perhaps all health care professionals should watch it?
Self-Experimenter of the Year
A calorie is not a calorie. It’s already been proven, but Feltham provided us with a nice real world illustration. In an experiment this summer he consumed enormous amounts of LCHF-food, and should according to over-simplified calorie counting have gained over 16 lbs (7.5 kg), but in reality he only gained a few.
Feltham repeated his experiment with exactly the same amount of calories, but from carbohydrate-rich junk food. On the same amount of calories he gained more than five times as much weight: almost 16 lbs (7.1 kg), and added 3 1/2 inch (9.25 cm) to his waistline!
A calorie is not a calorie.
Falsely-Accused of the Year
Honest Ad of the Year
This summer a massive Coca Cola campaign wanted you to share a coke.
Failed Diabetes-Support of the Year
Do you want not to get diabetes? Not eating at Subway could be a good start.
Is a donut eating contest really a good way to foster awareness of diabetes?
Cake of the Year
Can you have a birthday party with no added sugar for kids? Without the soda and candy?
My daughter turned two in September, and we threw a birthday party. You can see the cake above, but what was inside it?
Addiction of the Year
A study found that Oreos are as addictive as cocaine.
We also saw mainstream media news coverage on how soft drinks should carry tobacco-style warnings that sugar is addictive and bad for health, according to the head of Amsterdam’s health service. He calls sugar “the most dangerous drug of the times”.
It may sound like an exaggeration today, but in the future this message will likely be totally accepted.
Bombshell of the Year
Which diet is best for losing weight? In September, a Swedish government agency published an expert inquiry, concluding that a low-carb diet provides more weight loss and better health markers.
The report is likely to provide the basis for future dietary guidelines within the Swedish health care system. The usual LCHF alerts were replaced by articles on the effectiveness of LCHF as a weapon against obesity.
I wrote an opinion piece on how it will now become a giant task for the health care system to educate health care professionals in more efficient dietary counseling.
Science journalist Ann Fernholm wrote that LCHF needs to be evaluated as a treatment for diabetes, and that it’s a disgrace for health care systems that diabetics are given advice in favor of a high carb diet.
Revolution in progress. LCHF went from fad diet to best in test, and was let in from the cold.
Blog-Traffic Record of the Year
The interest in the food revolution just keeps increasing.
It was a historic day when the Swedish government agency SBU released their expert inquiry in September, and the report will certainly have an impact on the future treatment of obesity in Sweden. As a bonus the news produced a major visitor record for my Swedish blog: over 73,000 visitors in one day. Not bad in a small country!
Misguided Sponsorship of the Year
October is breast cancer awareness month, and I questioned the effectiveness of preventing cancer with millions of cinnamon buns, and the ill-conceived and dishonest sponsorship by the Pink Ribbon and the Swedish Cancer Society drew criticism in Swedish local paper Corren. Putting a seal of approval on buying “goodies for a good cause” isn’t helpful.
The Swedish Cancer Society responded by trying to shift the blame.
Sad Record of the Year
A very sad world record – the world’s youngest weight-loss surgery patient: a Saudi Arabian two-year-old. Sadly, the obesity epidemic can start even earlier in life – even before birth.
Health care systems globally are failing obese children. They seriously advise parents to limit their child’s food intake, dismissing the kids from the table still hungry, and then sending the kids to run outside. Trying to prevent childhood obesity with a lot of carbohydrates will fail. Time after time.
Today’s treatment for childhood obesity isn’t just child abuse. It’s also family abuse.
Cholesterol Numbers of the Year
Is a strict LCHF diet with unlimited amounts of saturated fat bad for cholesterol levels? No, these are typical numbers for a person on an LCHF diet.
Mislabeling of the Year
Do you see the red tick? That’s the sign of the Australian Heart Foundation, that supposedly helps people to “easily choose healthier products at a glance” by using “tough and stringent” nutritions standards.
Why is the Heart Foundation still spreading old-fashioned fat phobia – and instead, in the middle of an obesity epidemic, fooling parents into giving their kids candy for breakfast?
Paradigm Shift of the Year
This fall we saw several noticeable reports on sugar being toxic and the cause of the obesity epidemic, and that saturated fat isn’t the culprit:
- A much acclaimed article in BMJ on how it’s time to end the war against saturated fat.
- When even Dr. Oz, who for a long time has had a very conventional approach to dietary advice, starts to accept that butter is good for you and denounces low-fat dietary advice, the paradigm shift is very near.
- The episode Toxic Sugar, from the great Australian science show Catalyst, suggests that sugar is toxic and the cause of the obesity epidemic.
- Another episode of the same show suggests that saturated fat is not the cause of heart disease.
- A Swiss bank issues a report with a great video on the dangers of sugar and the economical consequences of the high sugar consumption worldwide, asking whether it was really a good idea to vilify saturated fat and eat more sugar instead.
Paradigm shift in progress!
Statistics of the Year
The outdated fear-mongering claim that a dramatically increased butter consumption in Sweden has also increased the incidence of heart disease was once again crushed by reality, as the incidence of heart attacks in Sweden keeps plummeting.
So, what’s the correlation between butter consumption and heart disease? None. There is no correlation. Fear of butter is as scientifically well-founded as fear of monsters under the bed.
Breakfasts of the Year
Judging from the breakfast served, the solution to the diabetes epidemic didn’t seem to be found at the EASD, Europe’s biggest diabetes conference, neither was it to be found at the large European nutrition conference in Leipzig.
According to studies an egg breakfast is better.
New Page of the Year
Are you diabetic, or are at risk for diabetes? Do you worry about your blood sugar? Then my new page on how to normalize your blood sugar is the right place to visit. And here you can find diabetes success stories and this great video on how to cure type 2 diabetes.
Expansion of the Year
The goal is set high: Inspiring millions of people to revolutionize their health.
Honesty of the Year
Just in time for the holidays, fast-food restaurant McDonald’s got caught being surprisingly honest. On a website for its own employees McDonald’s warns against eating fast food because it can lead to overweight.
Perhaps McDonald’s should be equally honest with their customers?
Towards a Healthier Future
Things are moving faster now. This was the year when LCHF went from fad diet to best in test.
During 2013 we saw numerous reports in the media on the dangers of sugar and that the fear of fat has been a mistake. The fear of fat is fading away more and more, although our government bodies and some experts haven’t updated their knowledge.
Thank you to all of you who are part of inspiring others. Hopefully, together we can make the journey towards a healthier future go even faster in 2014.