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Dramatically Improved Heart Health in Sweden!

Heartattacks

Swedes are becoming heart-healthier, faster!

The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare recently released the latest statistics for the risk of myocardial infarctions in Sweden, up to the year 2013. This is encouraging reading for almost everyone… except for those who are desperately looking for signs that increased butter-consumption has something to do with heart disease.

The years when LCHF has been popular and butter sales in Sweden have more than doubled – from 2008 – are highlighted in green in the image. The risk of heart disease is not on its way up, as some have warned, but rather the risk is going down faster than ever!

Swedes are consuming a lot more butter and at the same time getting more heart healthy than ever before.

How will the outdated fat-fearing people at our agency for dietary guidelines explain away this? They’ll probably continue their usual tactics: acting as though nothing has happened. Or what do you think?

Previously

The Real Association Between Butter and Heart Disease in Sweden

TIME: Eat Butter. Scientists Labeled Fat the Enemy. Why They Were Wrong.

Saturated Fat Completely Safe According to New Big Review of All Science!

Heart Doctor: Time to Bust the Myth About Saturated Fat and Heart Disease

Low Carb Made Easy How to Lose Weight Low-Carb Recipes Low-Carb Success Stories

28 Comments

Top Comments

  1. Aila
    Yes, other things have occurred at the same time butter consumption has gone up. That is not the point here. The point is, that the health message, with what we have beed scared, is that if you increase the intake of saturated fats this will have negative impact on the heart health. No matter what. One genius, here in Finland, predicted that it will only take 3-5 years, from the start of the LCHF craze, that we will see the dramatic increase in CVD deaths. And as we see in the above picture, this has not happened, at least in Sweden.
    Reply: #10
    Read more →
  2. Vicente
    If you eat grains, nothing is going to protect you from CVD.
    Read more →

All Comments

  1. Mark
    Well, Australia has not followed your lead.

    Our figures are as flat as a tack

    Kg/per person/per year includes 'blends'.

    2009/10 (r) 3.9
    2010/11 (r) 3.9
    2011/12 (r) 3.9
    2012/13 (p) 3.7

    Figures back to 1990 show a small increase:

    http://www.thedairysite.com/articles/3516/australian-dairy-farming-ov...

  2. Rick Merrill
    I have a feeling these results are not just a result of incresased use of butter. It's probably just as much a result of what they're not eating - refined carbs (Unlike Austrailia) than just increased butter consumption.
  3. John teran
    Pretending that it's raining? Is that a Swedish saying? I'm not familiar with it.
    Replies: #5, #6
  4. Zepp
    Less smoking and better screening for CVD.. moste of it!

    http://www.swedishmatch.com/SwMImages/Tables%20and%20graphs/Forsaljni...

    But the thing is still.. that those alarmes about increasing CVD becuse of LCHF is only in some peoples mind!

  5. Zepp
    Yes it is! :)
  6. Thanks for catching it, this was indeed a Swedish idiom that slipped past me.
  7. Garry Lee
    It may be (what I believe) that the change to butter is having little or no effect. The sugar/carbs are the enemy. Fat's main benefit is that it is not sugar/carbs.
  8. Valerie
    What about cigarettes?
    What about trans fats?
  9. Aila
    Yes, other things have occurred at the same time butter consumption has gone up. That is not the point here. The point is, that the health message, with what we have beed scared, is that if you increase the intake of saturated fats this will have negative impact on the heart health. No matter what. One genius, here in Finland, predicted that it will only take 3-5 years, from the start of the LCHF craze, that we will see the dramatic increase in CVD deaths. And as we see in the above picture, this has not happened, at least in Sweden.
    Reply: #10
  10. Valerie
    Aila,
    I don't know if you were replying to me, but if so, I was answering the questions in the last paragraph of the post. I'm not saying that butter is evil, and that the numbers improved despite the increased consumption of butter. I don't think butter has much to do with heart disease, either way, so I wonder how the other conventional suspects (smoking, trans fats) behaved during the same time frame.
    Reply: #12
  11. Murray
    Aila makes the important point. The predictions from the 20th century model of nutrition and health were that heart disease would go up in Sweden with the increased butter, implicitly predicting the saturated fat effect would be so great that it would overwhelm all other trending factors in heart disease. That theory has been falsified by data.

    In genuine science, models are used to predict outcomes and are rejected if the predictions fail. As Richard Feynman observed, "If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong."

    Here he explains the principle to a class at my alma mater: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYPapE-3FRw

  12. FrankG
    " I don't think butter has much to do with heart disease, either way..."

    Why not?

    It may be that by displacing refined carbs with anything else we might see this positive effect but surely that does not rule out the possibility that saturated animals fats -- such as butter from cows grazing on new Spring grass -- also has benefits.

    Do you have any trials to back up your position that butter has no effect per se?

    Reply: #22
  13. George Henderson
    Probably the best evidence that butter does not a have a significant cardioprotective effect in the normal diet is the historical ecological narrative from Finland, New Zealand, Canada and Australia.
    When CHD was at its peak in those countries, butter consumption was also at its peak. Whatever caused CHD, then, which seems unlikely to have been butter (margarine was illegal in New Zealand), butter couldn't have provided much protection or the historical narrative would be quite different.
    Replies: #14, #15, #16
  14. Vicente
    If you eat grains, nothing is going to protect you from CVD.
  15. FrankG
    "Probably the best evidence..."

    Your "best evidence" puts me in mind of compilation albums like "The Best of the Bay City Rollers"... if all their songs were terrible to begin with, then a compilation of their "best" still does not amount to anything worth listening to :-P

  16. FrankG
    On a less flippant note...

    The opinion stated was that butter made no difference per se, one way or the other

    I questioned the basis for this position and offered that we cannot yet "rule out the possibility that saturated animals fats -- such as butter from cows grazing on new Spring grass -- also has benefits"

    I said nothing about "butter [having] a significant cardioprotective effect in the normal diet"

    To even begin to answer this, you would need to first define a "normal diet" and then clearly establish parameters for "a significant cardioprotective effect".

  17. George Henderson
    By all means, lets design RCTs for every possible question, then crowdsource funding on twitter.
    Obviously (I hope) the fact that butter supplies K2, D3, retinol, CLA, carotenoids, butyrate etc gives it some nutritional value, and cardioprotection has a lot to do with nutritional status (this is why the Finns supplemented with selenium, for example).
    Butter is not sugar or flour, it's a fat that can replace energy from carbohydrate, that's useful too.
    However, all this can be done with other foods.
    Has it even been established that heart disease has anything to do with type of dietary fats? RCTs of replacing butter with other fats have been pretty inconclusive; this result works both ways.
    Butter is just fat and some vitamins. LCHF, that's a different proposition, even if you do it with olive oil it'll still work.
    Replies: #18, #19, #20
  18. FrankG
    "Has it even been established that heart disease has anything to do with type of dietary fats?"

    This is a question you should be posing to those responsible for dietary guidelines over the past many decades.. including the most recent, which calls for cutting saturated fats even more.

    On what basis do they make these reccomendations?

  19. Murray
    I recall the reanalysis of Sydney Heart study data showed substitution of saturated fats with polyunsaturated fat significantly worsened cardio outcomes. Nothing specific to butter though.
  20. Paul the rat
    "…..even if you do it with olive oil it'll still work…."

    No, it won't. Please do not make sweeping statements, which are not supported by knowledge/experience, unless it is your experience - is it ?.

  21. Bret
    Awesome news, this trend!

    While I agree with some of the more cautionary commenters that epidemiological changes are enormously complex and cannot scientifically be pinned to one specific stimulus, still one belief this development strongly discredits is that butter causes heart disease.

    If it did, then increased consumption would certainly be correlating with increased incidence.

    But that is the only valid conclusion we can derive here (and even it is not foolproof). To extrapolate other beliefs from it is scientifically nonsensical.

  22. Bret
    @FrankG

    Do you have any trials to back up your position that butter has no effect per se?

    This is not a valid argument. You cannot shift the burden of proof, as if it's somehow a given that butter has an effect.

    If in the context of epidemiological evidence, you want to assert that a single stimulus (in this case, butter) has an effect, then you bear the burden of corroborating that claim.

  23. mezzo
    Good news. But correlation is not causation.
  24. G
    DietDoc, are you retarded?
  25. David Boothman
    The prescription to reduce saturated fat further is simply the application of the long standing protocol first developed to cure headaches. Bang your head on the wall three times a day, continue until cured. If the headache persists then use the more aggressive prescription, bang the head longer and harder and more frequently.
  26. david
    We run a major cardiac unit In Stockholm. If you look at that graph the regression trend is constant since 2001. Look at the dy/dx.
    You cant claim butter is the variable when the trend precededs it by nearly twice its implementation time. This is really poor science on the part of the editor of this page.
    I think you need to retract
  27. david
    If you look at that graph the regression trend is constant since 2001. Look at the dy/dx.
    You cant claim butter is the variable when the trend precededs it by nearly twice its implementation time. This is really poor science on the part of the editor of this page.
    I think you need to retract
  28. George Henderson
    David, you are ignoring the trend for women, which had stalled before 2004, around the time the LCHF "trend" begins for women if you look at the charts in
    Associations among 25-year trends in diet,
    cholesterol and BMI from 140,000 observations in men and women in Northern Sweden, Johansson et al. Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:40.

    The editor is not saying that butter has prevented heart disease; the point is that increased butter consumption and higher cholesterol is not causing more heart disease in the context of a low-carb revolution (among a significant minority). At the same time there is more statin prescribing and growing average BMI. You could attribute decline to statins - but they don't reduce mortality much in RCTs, mainly events, and mortality is declining sharply; and if statins are working in a population with rising cholesterol, you have to ask why that would be, aren't they supposed to prevent heart attacks by lowering cholesterol? You couldn't attribute the decline to the rising BMI.
    You could attribute it to chance - diseases and epidemics come and go naturally, which is why there needs to be a placebo, untreated arm in a trial.
    Or you could say, well butter and LCHF don't seem to be doing Sweden any harm.
    If you look at the official statistics on cardiac (AMI) mortality on this calculator they are even more impressive, I think, than the graph in the blog.
    http://www.socialstyrelsen.se/statistics/statisticaldatabase/ami

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