Butter Battlefield Scandinavia

The Swedish LCHF revolution is spreading to our neighbors Norway and Finland. Like Sweden they are now experiencing shortages of real butter.

Here is a local paper from Norway yesterday. The big text reads: “The stores in Troms COMPLETELY OUT of butter and cream”. Also in the green section: “The Low Carb trend continues in full force”!

The black sheep of Scandinavia is Denmark. They fear fat so much they even started taxing saturated fat (like butter) last month. Soon we may see diverging obesity rates: Sweden, Norway, Finland going down and Denmark going up. That could be a good lesson to the world.

32 Comments

  1. This has the potential to be a fantastic epidemiological study! - Denmark following the wrong advice and the rest of Scandinavia following the right advice!

    Of course; you do realize that Sweden et al will just be described as another 'paradox' like the French and the Swiss..... ;)

  2. Stacie
    I hope the trend continues. I suspect, unfortunately, that it will take the US a long time to give up its fat phobia. We who espouse LCHF can spread the message, though. I had something new for dinner last night: bacon with Amish made butter on it, Yummm!
  3. It is always good to have a control group...
  4. "I suspect, unfortunately, that it will take the US a long time to give up its fat phobia."

    That's fine. The best thing for the world would be if the USA and it's military die off.

    Is there an organized movement in Norway? I'm moving there in 6 days and would like to hook up with like minded people.

  5. @GaryGreen- "I suspect, unfortunately, that it will take the US a long time to give up its fat phobia."

    That's fine. The best thing for the world would be if the USA and it's military die off.

    And how long before something far worse stepped into the breach? I'm all in favor of getting our military and goofball conservativism in check, but we all need to die off to make you happy. Not a very civilized comment.

  6. Justin B
    @GaryGreen- "That's fine. The best thing for the world would be if the USA and it's military die off."

    Wow. We're not all bad. Some of us were just born here, and stay for the entertainment options. Anyway, Christian Finnegan (a stand-up comedian) was on Conan a few days ago, and said something like "Why can't the US just lay low and be a middle of the road country like Belgium for a little while? When's the last time you heard of anything, good or bad, happening in Belgium? We just assume they spend their days watching Jean Claude Van Damme movies and eating waffles."

  7. finn
    Good news. Last 40 years there have been margarin industry and milk idustry slowly shinked down. Hopefully we'll see good things happen and rise of dairy business again.

    #4 Gary L Green: there is like minded people in Finland as well. http://anttiheikkila.com/en09.php

  8. When you get your military, fascism, secret prisons and conservatism in check, THEN you can talk about being civilized.

    No, you're not all bad but you do vote very poorly.

    But hey, how about them Packers?

  9. JohannaV
    To Gary L Green,

    This blog is about diets and nutrition if you didn't know.

    I think it is extremely impolite of you to use the Doctor's blog for your own political views. Why not start a blog of your own?

  10. Funderaren
    Gary, the irony is that without the US military, Norway wouldnt be so nice to move to.
  11. Hey guys, lets just take the political discussions in some other, more suitable place ok?
  12. The whole contrast with Denmark will make this very interesting to watch over the coming years.
  13. Jean (UK)
    I think I am going to take a trip to Scandinavia with a suitcase full of butter!!
  14. Desert Tomte
    The bbc has a story today promoting the Victorian economy meal of a toast sandwich (a piece of toast between two slices of bread with some butter) Carb-o-licious.
    But to make it worse the following advise is given:
    "The toast sandwich provides about 330 calories, and consumers could opt for the healthier alternative of margarine instead of butter - an ingredient not available to Mrs Beeton because she was writing her book before it was invented."

    I think the UK and US are still in for a lot of trouble.

    Here's the full article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15752918

  15. Janknitz
    At least as long as the fat phobia continues in the U.S. I don't have to worry about butter, cream, and egg shortages. If everyone knew our secret, these would be hard to get! Shhhhhh, don't tell!
  16. Rachel
    A toast sandwich? A TOAST sandwich? *headdesk*

    I fear I may have become a furious letter-writer. You know, Angry of Tunbridge Wells, complaining about reporting on the BBC.

    I already emailed a member of the House of Lords about his unhelpful comments on obesity ("people need to eat less". Yes, that is what he said), and I can feel a lot more on the way. The UK's National Obesity Forum is in my sights. Unhelpful fat-bashers.

    I can't wait for the health statistics coming out of Sweden in 5/10 years time. What are the fat-bashing calories-in-obsessives going to do then!?

  17. chuck
    is it possible the people in denmark are going into the other scandanavian countries to buy up all the butter and cream they can? or has a black market been started within denmark?
  18. moreporkplease
    Chuck,

    The Danes love their Lurpak butter - they are a pork- and dairy-producing nation. Almost nothing would make them give up their butter.

    The new tax isn't very high - certainly not enough to change consumption habits. The tax adds only about US$1.30 per half-kilo (pound). Compare this to the caffeine tax, which comes to about US$1 a pound.

    As we've learned from watching taxes on things like cigarettes, the tax has to go to $4 or $5 an item before people will seriously stop. For example, New York City didn't see a huge decline in smoking until the per-pack tax went to US$5.85!

    Danes are also used to high "sin" taxes. To compare, the cigarette tax in Denmark is 13.61% per pack, plus an extra tax on each cigarette in the pack itself. Basically the cost of a pack of cigarettes is doubled by the all the taxes.

    As these taxes are said to be devoted to the Danish universal health care system, they are widely supported since Danes love their free medical care. :)

  19. When I lived in Sweden I always had to get to the store early to get the Gammaldags ("old fashioned") milk. i can't find milk that high in fat in the US, it was amazing stuff.

    I don't think the Danes will notice the tax. Everything there is expensive and all the taxes in Scandinavia against alcohol never worked anyway. I've never lived in a place with more restrictions and taxes on alcohol, but the bars were full every night.

  20. Jaime
    An LCHF diet is definitely an efficient for preventing diabetes, reducing weight, and quite possibly also the risk of developing some glucose-hungry cancers, just to mention some of the benefits. On the other hand, the potential higher acidity due to ketones might be a bad idea for people with propensity to gout, and there could be other downsides. There are for example some concerns about possible lower glycoprotein levels (proteins with simple sugars in their structure), which used for collagen, hormones, very important in the immune system,... The truth is, no one knows exactly what will happen in the long term -if anything-, because reality keeps reminding us that we still make lots of mistakes and have much to learn, but this new trend is going to provide a lot of data... which thousands of doctors and researchers will simply ignore if it goes against their expectations, of course (or they will classify as another paradox). In any case, the data will be invaluable for those intelligent people who prefer to make informed decisions about their lives based on facts rather than dogma.
  21. Peggy Holloway
    In my local paper today, there was a recipe for pumpkin pie that was heralded as having virtually no fat (less than 1 gram per slice). The recipe included "whipped cream:"
    fat free milk, gelatin powder, coconut nectar, and stevia. That is NOT whipped cream.
    At least it isn't full of ridiculous fat free substances and real sweetener, except for the lactose in the skimmed milk. The pie itself calls for agave syrup - touted as being a healthy sweetener. As Tom Naughton says, "this is what we are up against."
  22. Galina L.
    Due to the fat phobia in USA , the butcher in our health-food store gives me for free a grass-fed fat that he trims away from the meat, because customers prefer even grass-fed meat to be as lean as possible. Convenient for me.The store also sell a grass-fed fat-free buttermilk. Not a problem ,because almost any lean milk product may be improved by adding some heavy cream.
  23. @ Rachel " "The UK's National Obesity Forum is in my sights. Unhelpful fat-bashers."
    Unfortunately I think if we are going to change the climate of opinion simply writing to organizations that have a vested financial interest in maintaining the status quo is likely to be unproductive.
    Look at who funds the National Obesity Forum. The National Obesity Forum Partners
    I think whenever and wherever we get a chance to comment on rubbish articles in the press we should try to show the evidence showing what actually happens in practice. I know it's a sole destroying pastime as most online/press moderation censor evidence based replies but some sneek through sufficient to see a gradual rising in awareness.
  24. Jay Wortman MD
    Jaime - the increased risk of gout happens only in the early stage of a LCHF diet because rising ketones inhibit the excretion of uric acid through the kidney. The elimination of dietary fructose will lower uric acid levels in the blood and when the kidneys stop excreting ketones the elimination problem goes away, too.
  25. Rachel
    Ted I was actually thinking about this last night (sleepless, burning off the ketones!). Is there/should there be such a thing as low-carb activism? I mean, surely it can't be hard to start up a blog gathering up the most egregious examples of poor diet/nutrition reporting and asking people to, en-masse, enlighten the writer? Just keep plugging away at the idiocy, one article at a time.

    In a semi-sleep state last night it felt like the best idea in the world. Now it sounds like work. :/

  26. Re Jay Wortman MD
    Other readers wanting to learn more may enjoy Gary Taubes Missing Chapter on Gout that was written for Good Calories/Bad Calories or The Diet Delusion as sold in UK.
  27. @ Rachel Is there/should there be such a thing as low-carb activism?
    No I don't think that will work. People eating low carb diets tend to be reasonable intelligent and thoroughly nice people. I think eventually UK Low Carb spokespeople like Zoe Harcombe, Barry Groves and Dr Briffa will win out but they do need our support.
  28. And it's a shame cause Denmark has some extremely delicious and salty butter, maybe Sweden can get some :-) There's always plenty of it around, it's not too expensive really even with the new tax and in most places where there is free lunch @ work and such, most people load up on those half/half spreads, you know the arla ones, that are half butter half... plastic? haha tastes that way ;) Anyway I have to spend lots of time in Denmark for work and get to take a lot of the butter & cheeses & meats at the breakfast/lunch buffets cause most people are loading up on the multigrain rolls, half/half spreads and light sauces... they're still a fairly fit looking nation for the time being (thanks to all the bicycles i'm sure). Few more kilos down, who am I to argue, bring on the butter, Denmark has plenty to spare!! :D
  29. Jaime
    @Jay: I have been normally avoid fructose like a plague for nearly three months now, except in occasional full pieces of fruit with all the fibre, but I had my first gout flare several weeks into my LCHF diet. I am still limiting carbs to a minimum, hoping that the uric acid excretions and the blood acidity will be eventually normalised, but losing weight can apparently result in gout when some lipoproteins are 'shedded', exposing monosodium urate crystals that could have been formed even years before. It is quite likely that the alcohol abuse that I used to indulge in was partly responsible for that m. urate accumulation.

    By the way, why do the kidneys stop excreting ketones, and how does that help?

  30. Meghan
    In celebration of good dairy, with a group who will appreciate this, I just found a local source for raw, grass fed dairy! I'm about to start enjoying min. 40% cream, 4.8% milk, plus yogurt, cheese, butter and kefir! My excitement is palpable--just ask my family :)

    I've only been doing the LCHF way of life for the past 2 weeks, and when I'm talking to people and they ask me when I'm going back to carbs/starches, and I say, "never", they get this slightly crazed and frightened look in their eyes. It's kind of fun...

    Two kinds of people in the world, right? Those who get it, and those who don't.

  31. Depirts
    If a country is going to tax high carb food like chips and pretzels, why not tax cookies and crackers? I really don't see the difference between pretzels and crackers. Nabisco & Keebler(a.k.a. Kellogg's) would lobby like mad against it but, with the same premise as taxing foods with high fat because they're wrongfully accused as being unhealthy. The real health danger is too many carbs and bad fats. Denmark should consider revoking their high fat tax and invoke a high carb tax.
  32. John
    Would you people please stop.
    You are going to make cream and fatty meat and fish so overpriced that I will end up eating BREAD. Yuk!
    Is BREAD a bad word on this forum? "Bread, Bread, Bread"
    Really, if all the world suddenly got the message what would happen. Cereals are the staple and modern varieties have been bred to increase yield as a way to feed this ten times overpopulated world. Is it better to eat cereals or better to starve?
    "Let them eat cake." can't be so bad.
    It's alright for you pompous wealthy folk to let the cat out of the bag but please give a thought to the underfinanced fat eaters like me.
    "Down with LCHF publicity," is what I say. Please stop this evangalistic nonsense.

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