Is the LCHF Diet a Threat to Public Health?

Aftonbladet

Headline: “The LCHF War Divides Sweden”

A low-carb and high-fat diet (LCHF) has become extremely popular in Sweden in recent years. Lots of Swedes are using it to lose weight and gain health. But there’s still plenty of resistance. The old-fashioned fear of fat is not dead yet. And this week saw some of the biggest headlines and media frenzy in years!

It all started with an opinion piece by a few senior fat-fearing professors, in Sweden’s biggest newspaper, called “The popular fat diets are a threat to public health” (link to Google translation).

This exploded into massive headlines in every paper and became the main piece of news on TV (I was on a morning show briefly to discuss it).

The most bizarre thing is that the opinion piece suggests that there’s been an increase in risk of heart disease & stroke in Sweden – and they blame the popularity of LCHF. However, the risk of heart disease and stroke in Sweden is on the contrary going down, faster and faster, according to the latest statistics:

hjärtsjd-stroke-liten

Risk of heart disease to the left, stroke to the right. Top line for men, bottom line for women. Bigger picture.

Another silly health scare

It’s absolutely bizarre how little evidence is needed to trash low-carb diets. What the professors were referring to was a subgroup of people: young women with a very short education. The risk of heart disease for this group has indeed increased – since 1995!

In other words, the increase in butter sales in the 2010s are being blamed for an increase in heart disease risk in the 1990s! I know there are some misconceptions about the dangers of butter, but really, do they now believe that butter can travel through time?

Bad publicity?

People say that there’s no bad publicity. And that may be true again. These silly Swedish health scares about LCHF always results in more daily visitors for my Swedish blog:

This week saw a new record: 58 000 visits in a single day. Pretty good in a small country.

Here’s what’s even better: More and more Swedes are seeing through the fat-phobic propaganda. More and more Swedes realize that there’s no sound scientific reason to fear good old-fashioned butter. The Swedish LCHF revolution keeps growing.

PS

Here’s comments on the recent LCHF health scares mentioned in the graph above (Google translated)

Earlier on the Swedish LCHF revolution

LCHF for beginners

22 comments

Top comments

  1. J. B. Rainsberger
    I suppose it's good that there's a war going on in Sweden, because it means that LCHF has sufficiently threatened the nutrition establishment there. I'm going back to Malmö in November, and hope to find an LCHF-friendly atmosphere there.

    In North America, we say it this way: "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

    Reply: #14
    Read more →
  2. Sensi
    The only threat to public health is any countries government and their ties to Monsanto!
    Read more →

All comments

  1. Zepp
    And heres the report for anyone to read.. in plain English!

    "The incidence of cardiovascular diseases has declined dramatically among women and men. This is the most important factor in the ongoing rise in average life expectancy. In the past 20 years, myocardial infarction mortality has fallen by more than half and stroke mortality has declined by over a third. There are two reasons for this: fewer people are becoming ill and more people survive heart attacks or strokes."

    http://sjp.sagepub.com/content/40/9_suppl/135.full

    Reply: #18
  2. Kris
    The state of media coverage about diet and health in general is appalling. They will publish anything as long as it is controversial enough.

    Congrats on the 58k visits... that is insane!

  3. FrankG
    I remember growing up in the UK in the early days of BBC TV, when "the news" was pretty much an impartial reporting of the days events... now they all seem to thrive on sensationalism, à la "reality TV".

    But once again it falls apart under even the most superficial scrutiny.

    Glad to hear it helped to promote LCHF tho' and congrats on the TV appearance.

    I don't know about for time-traveling butter... how about bits of bacon on a strip of bacon instead? :-) ...the concept is mentioned at about 6:50 in this video but well worth watching the whole thing -- Jim Gaffigan - Camping, waking up, and bacon... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UahqgK60vuk

  4. Sensi
    The only threat to public health is any countries government and their ties to Monsanto!
  5. Zepp
    "Individuals, including non-diabetics, are 69% more likely to develop ischemic cardiovascular disease if glucose levels in their blood are slightly elevated, say researchers."

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/246612.php

    Reply: #6
  6. FrankG
    I think that is too often overlooked Zepp: the long-term complications of raised Blood Glucose are well known, well established and well documented. In fact some authorities -- those who still promote the "normal" diet for diabetics -- would probably expect these to be the inevitable consequences of diabetes... I was heading that way quickly myself until I read GCBC.

    On the other hand we have all this wishy-washy, maybe, perhaps, "associated with" pseudoscience relating to saturated fat, cholesterol and CVD etc... all still open to question, far from established, and not even well documented. I don't care about "consensus" I am looking for who is right.

    How should we eat... seems (as they say) a "no brainer" to me.. except I prefer to think that, maybe for the first time in my life, I arrived at the choice to eat LCHF by USING my brain instead of listening to the "experts" :-)

    Replies: #8, #10
  7. J. B. Rainsberger
    I suppose it's good that there's a war going on in Sweden, because it means that LCHF has sufficiently threatened the nutrition establishment there. I'm going back to Malmö in November, and hope to find an LCHF-friendly atmosphere there.

    In North America, we say it this way: "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

    Reply: #14
  8. Paul
    "USING my brain instead of listening to the "experts" - because even some "experts" with PhD from Harvard can not reason. (regardless of the field of science)
    Please watch this video to the end

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjxZ6MrBl9E

    Replies: #9, #17
  9. FrankG
    "...a mind like that it seems to me is, well.. a disgrace to the human species" Richard Dawkins -- one of my heroes.

    Such a shame we have another Richard (a vegan ideologue) displaying much the same kind of perverted thinking in another thread here.

  10. Zepp
    Ouch.. must be some epedemic thing here in Sweden, now they come up with a new paper!

    "In type 2 diabetes, randomisation to advice to follow a low-carbohydrate diet transiently improves glycaemic control compared with advice to follow a low-fat diet producing a similar weight loss."

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00125-012-2567-4

  11. robert
    If anything could travel back in time, it should be butter!

    We could send it back in time and have it crowd out all the margarine in the shelves.

  12. dan
  13. Sarah
    If I were conspiracy minded I would suggest that a sick, fat and uneducated populace is much easier to control. Fortunately, I believe the war on good nutrition is driven more by ignorance, ideology and money which makes it slightly less nefarious.
  14. In North America, we say it this way: "There's no such thing as bad publicity."

    Thanks! I knew that. ;)

    Reply: #16
  15. Larry
    Just read an article on Doc´s Opinion about this subject which I found very interesting:
    Accused of a crime that never happened - LCHF on trial in Sweden
    http://www.docsopinion.com/2013/08/04/accused-of-a-crime-that-never-h...
  16. J. B. Rainsberger
    Varsågod.
  17. JAUS
    Dawkins is great. I'm really looking forward towards his new movie "The Unbelievers" that he made together with Lawrence Krauss: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxDLkoK8vQQ

    I wish Hitchens was still alive he was the one who made me see how wicked religion really is, a brilliant man.

    The discussion that the "Four horsemen" (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Bennet) had with each other is one of the best videos I have ever watched: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7IHU28aR2E

  18. sten
    Zepp, could the reason for the improved figures possibly be more saturated fat being eaten, or will it take more time to show up?
    The APOQUOTIENT (APO-Q) is the number of LDL particles divided by the number of HDL particles in a blood sample.
    Saturated fat increases both HDL weight (good) and LDL weight (believed bad) so the quotient by weight becomes ambigous. The adding by weight - still standard by doctors drummed up by statin sales agents - is as clever as adding debit and credit with same sign amd regard the total as expense, or why not income? If it was medival standards we could laugh but it happens every day in doctors offices.
    The INTERHEART study (GOOGLE it!) from 2004 shows that a doubling of the APO-Q doubles the risk of heart attack! 30,000 people worldwide were checked, half after a heart attack, the other half age matched healthy people.
    That mean reduction of the APO-Q to half reduces the heart attack risk to half. The APO-Q increaes with a lot of carbs as small particles are produced with high triglycerides. APO-Q reduces when we eat LCHF with saturated fat as HDL number goes up and LDL number goes down, or even if it is the same. Hence saturated fat reduces the risk of heart attack, at least when eaten as part of a low carb diet. V.S.V

    Real life example:
    I suffered from ischemic heart disease, angina, from age 59 and at 66 I started LCHF and 6 weeks later my angina problems were history. I had high LDL before and after. I didn't measure the APO-Q before. The range is 0.7-0.9 normal, over 0.9 increased risk and below 0.7 reduced risk; I was very pleased to see my results at 0.63 3 months ago, totally in line with my new wellbeing!
    Check docs take on interheart study, cannot find it in English...: http://www.kostdoktorn.se/kolesterol#apokvot

    Reply: #19
  19. Zepp
    I think its moste about less smoking realy!

    One can probably get an heart failure even with better values, but then you are probably very old when it happens!

    And if one have bad lipids in midel ages or earlyer.. its probably some metabolic or genetic disturbance.. often metabolic syndrome!

    One problem is that obesety still rising, perticaly in our young peopel!

    Reply: #20
  20. sten
    I stopped smoking within 6 months of my heart disease diagnose. I walked and exercised then daily for 7 years and in the end I was worse than when I stopped smoking, The angina started to come back, also in the nights. That's something you hardly wish your enemies as each attack could be up to 20 minutes before blood vessels relax (?)and the the part of the heart that pumps the blood out to the body starts working properly again. In between one is just getting colder and colder and have to stand up as the pain is much worse sitting or laying down.
    When that worsened is when I grabbed LCHF as my last straw, prepared to go back to the heart doctors for the medicines and the stents if it failed. I was just stunned when the night episodes just disappeared instantly and 6 weeks later I could walk again as if I never had had angina ever. My cardiologist at the time had told my clearly that If one have angina as I had it, I will have it for the rest of my life. I am so pleased he was 100% wrong!

    Smoking is bad for you but high carbs is apparently worse. That is my simple take of it. Yet I will never smoke again. Smoking is also a blood sugar kick, an instant one: apparently that is part of what the nicotine does. My sugar addiction is gone so I don't need sugar or fags anymore! And maybe that's the reason why smoking is bad and damages blood vessels. Google NFAT to find out how blood sugar spikes damages the inside of blood vessels.
    Add Ann Fernholm if you can read Swedish!

  21. sten
    Zepp, if I get you right, you are right about why the lower values and smoking still represent risks: Below a certain threshold of carbs it takes longer time to develop the arteriosclerosis necessary to get an infarct, making the low levels still clear risk in a race against time and carbs at higher age. Add smoking to that and you build plaque more than one way. What is interesting from my case is that there seem to be a level of strict LCHF at which plaque build changes to plaque regression, and it must of course be stricter if one smokes, if possible at all. But no smoking makes little difference with too high carb diet, as I just showed for instance.

    Cardiologist Dr William Davies (Wheat Belly author) has managed to reverse plaque in 100's (more??) of patients with diet and supplements and using Calcium Score scan to assess success and optimize his approach. I have noted that he has gradually cut out more and more carbs in the treatments he is using, starting with sugar and then wheat etc..

  22. Stevem14
    This might be a bit old, but I just ran across it in an unrelated internet search:
    http://www.nutritionj.com/content/11/1/40/abstract

    Give it a look and comment please!!

    I like hearing these studies get shot down...

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