Best of 2013

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This past year was full of exciting health-related news. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights:

Failure of the Year

Healthful high-fat food

Healthful high-fat food

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Now it’s game over, and it’s time to abandon outdated and downright harmful low-fat advice.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

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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

Unknown

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.

In reality, a calorie-counted cookie, pastry and candy diet, like the one Weight Watchers’ is promising Sweden, is a recipe for hunger, yo-yo dieting and, in the worst case, an eating disorder.

Sell-Out of the Year

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Do you trust what dietitians say in the media? Perhaps you shouldn’t. At least in the US the dietitian could have been educated by The Coca Cola Company a report revealed in January.

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.

Other interesting sponsorships were Coca Cola at a Brazilian obesity conference and at Ontario’s conference on kids and health.

Celebrity Weight Loss of the Year

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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

Insane dieting

This may be the sickest dieting device ever. Eat all you want and then make the calories disappear using a bulimia tube.

And here’s the runner up in the category bizarre ways to lose weight: electricity. There is a better and painless way that works, and we need to discard common dangerous myths about obesity.

Observational Study of the Year

sugar

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

Allan

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

Coca cola

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

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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

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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

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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

LCHF

This summer the LCHF diet was accused of being a threat to public health. LCHF was unjustly accused of a crime that never happened!

Honest Ad of the Year

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This summer a massive Coca Cola campaign wanted you to share a coke.

Failed Diabetes-Support of the Year

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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

cake

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?

More interesting was that not a single child (as far as I know) complained. They all seemed perfectly happy, and in addition, there wasn’t any fighting or hyperactivity.

Addiction of the Year

oreos

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.

So, should we be adding sugar to everything kids eat?

Bombshell of the Year

2Obesity

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

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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

Cancer for dessert

Cancer for dessert

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

twoyearold

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.

There is a much better and more natural solution than surgical removal of the stomach in the entire population, including young children, as supported by weight-loss studies.

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

Butter-Cereal

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

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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:

  1. A much acclaimed article in BMJ on how it’s time to end the war against saturated fat.
  2. 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.
  3. The episode Toxic Sugar, from the great Australian science show Catalystsuggests that sugar is toxic and the cause of the obesity epidemic.
  4. Another episode of the same show suggests that saturated fat is not the cause of heart disease.
  5. 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

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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

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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

bloodsugar

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

Planning days

In November, we had our first two planning days for those working on DietDoctor.com and its Swedish counterpart.

There are more and more visitors to the blog and more and more subscribers to the Diet Doctor Newsletter.

The goal is set high: Inspiring millions of people to revolutionize their health.

Honesty of the Year

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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.

10 Comments

  1. Roz Beste
    Great page. Have you thought of adding books of the year - Grain Brain and Death by Food Pyramid would be good to see.

    thanks

    Roz
    http://www.thefatladyslims.com

  2. Jan
    Although 2013 still had the ups and downs - what year doesn't? What was brilliant is the way the great news about eating 'real food for our health' and spreading the LCHF thinking and lifestyle has grown.

    My favourite pictures were of you and your daughter at her birthday party - special memories for you and great to share with us all .... thank you.

    Onwards and upwards to more good news during 2014

    Happy New Year to you, the team and all your readers and followers

    All the best Jan

  3. Boundless
    2013 November 7
    The U.S. FDA finally rules that trans-fats are no longer GRAS.
    http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm372915.htm

    This, alas, only serves to warn us just how long it will take before they wake up to the hazards of gluten-bearing grains, high carb diets, simple sugars (fructose in particular), high Omega 6 PUFAs, and a long list of lesser threats whose effects are likely masked today by the destructive effects of full-time moderate to high glycemic diets.

  4. RachelC
    Thanks for putting that page together. It's great to see the information snowball in motion :)
  5. Howard
    It takes the "medical" community as a whole between 20-25 years to get any particular message. One of the reasons for that is the typical MD develops a listening disorder after a few years of practice, and adopts the attitude that s/he has absolutely nothing to learn from anyone who is not a doctor. They also tend to be unable to discern where their expertise ends. Which, BTW, are the reasons that MD's are grossly over-represented in Civil Aviation accident statistics...

    As Tom Naughton put it, "science progresses one funeral at a time."

    As late as 1997, I had a doctor tell me that ulcers were caused by stress. He did not recognize the name "Heliobacter Pylori." That's the same one who told me that to lose weight, all I had to do was limit dietary fat.

    The thing that finally led me to fire that doctor was when I told him that weight training was helping a lot with the mysterious pain in my hands, he responded with "Oh, no, lifting weights will make it worse!" I also noticed that he had gained a significant amount of weight over the last few visits. I'm not inclined to take dietary advice from a fat doctor, nor am I inclined to take *any* advice from a doctor who refuses to listen to me.

    Unfortunately, with the steady march towards socialized medicine in the US, it is getting harder to chose a competent doctor. You are stuck with whatever "doctor" a group of politicians (who know less than nothing about medicine) approves.

  6. Michelle
    http://www.idealworld.tv/_296159.aspx?matchtype=_POD_Wed&gclid=C...

    I think until this type of gross misrepresentation of food and how to eat is eradicated, real progress has not been achieved. I saw this and was amazed that people would want to open a meal that you don't even have to refrigerate; Rosemary Conley was very proud of this fact.

    Real food :)

  7. Penny
    Nutrition is a bit like religon. With religon - even though there is absolutely no scientific proof -people still believe. With Nutrition - even though there is ample scientific proof which is increasing every day - people still cling to and believe in old information.
    Many thanks, I really enjoy your website - keep up the good work!
  8. Dan
    A friend told me about this LCHF and I'm trying this, I have tried everything. My question is I'm on blood thinners and a diabtic will this help me.
    Reply: #9
  9. Zepp
    Its the best for diabetics!

    Diabetes – How to Normalize Your Blood Sugar

    http://www.dietdoctor.com/diabetes

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdxPfxIbKqo

  10. Bjarte Bakke
    I loved this post. Great summary man! My favorite was the coca-cola add ;)

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