School refuses to serve food that keeps student healthy

Before and after

Before and after

Emil Elmqvist, 17 years old, didn’t just lose 66 lbs (30 kg) when he began eating an LCHF diet. He also lost his troublesome migraines, which is a common positive side effect of LCHF.

But when Emil – with a doctor’s note – asked for such school lunches in order to avoid migraines and maintain his weight, the answer was: no. The school physician apparently suggested that he take drugs for his migraines instead.

Dagbladet: School refuses Emil special diet (Google translated from Swedish)

The school nurse said she didn’t dare to take responsibility for what could happen if Emil were allowed to eat himself lean and healthy, without needing any medications. Because that sounds… dangerous.

What do you think?

Have you tried LCHF for migraines? What happened?

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45 comments

Top comments

  1. st
    It seems that, as a society, we've lost our collective sanity.
    Read more →
  2. Zepp
    School lunch is free of charge in sweden and is paid for by high taxes!

    And they do make other foods for allergics and vegetarians and for religius.. but not for diabetics or obese.. they supose to take medecine, or eat less and run more!

    Its more about if one can get real food for your taxes for those that have problems with diabetes and obesety.. at least if they got a certificate from a doctor that you need such food!

    Read more →

All comments

  1. Steve
    Nothing new in today's litigious society. Many doctors are not allowed to discuss LCHF as an alternative to todays low fat "common wisdom" for weight loss, diabetes and the like unless the patient brings it up first. Lawyers and politicians, politicians and lawyers, if something works they'll find a way to put a stop to it, if it doesn't work, they're likely the ones who implemented it.
    Reply: #11
  2. murray
    I could be worse, he could live in Manitoba, Canada, where it is reported that the laws require each daycare to serve grains in lunches. Here is a newspaper story about a woman fined for her children not having a grain product in their lunch and they were given Ritz crackers. Oh misery!

    "After sending her children to daycare with a lunch of roast beef, carrots and potatoes, Kristen Bartkiw was saddled with a $10 fine. The reason: an unbalanced meal. Despite the presence of a meat, vegetable, fruits and juice, the meal was missing a grain. The solution was to give the Rossburn school teacher a $10 fine and give her children Ritz Crackers as a supplement."

    http://www.winnipegsun.com/2013/11/18/mom-fined-for-lack-of-grains-in...|+Home+|+Winnipeg+Sun#.Uoti63ibenM.facebook

    My wife's headaches became worse year to year. She was up to five per week with migraines several times a month. She saw one of the leading migraine specialists in the country. She had no physical abnormality in her brain and she was prescribed migraine medicine, which worked if she took the medicine early enough in the onset of a migraine.

    I convinced her to give up grains, which she did on New Year's day. No headache for over forty days, until one day the kids made cookies and she thought she should have a couple. She got a bad headache the next day. This has been the pattern all year (indulgences punished by headache) and she is convinced now that grain causes headaches for her.

    She had been decreasing her carbohydrate load over time (with my influence and me cooking half the meals), but the disappearance of headaches was abrupt. So I expect many people who stop getting migraines after LCHF might benefit from food elimination on LCHF as opposed to carbohydrate reduction.

  3. Luis Rodas
    I am glad the migraine topic is being discussed. I am a 29 year old male who suffers from migraines with aura. Before starting an LCHF lifestyle I would suffer 2 or more episodes per week. Since September 23rd of the present year, I've lost over 20 lbs. and have seen the migraine episodes decrease to about 2 per month; possibly caused by my social drinking and overindulgence in carbs at parties. I recently visited the migraine clinic and told my physician of the my development but I think she didn't make nothing of it and probably will not suggest it to other patients.
  4. st
    It seems that, as a society, we've lost our collective sanity.
  5. Cameron hidalgo
    I agree with the school. A doctors note is a prescription. Schools are not qualified to handle such things. A hospital would have a registeres dietician in the kitchen. The child should be bringing lunch from home.
    Reply: #41
  6. Diane
    LCHF has reduced the frequency of migraines for me from one every month that lasts for several days to once or twice a year.

    However, I always take my own food with me as I find that cafes and canteens never have anything suitable for me.

  7. Dana
    I am actually using LCHF as a way to stop/stay the effects of Lyme Disease (which includes migraines)... however, I think it would be easier to just bring a lunch from home vs requiring a school to make a special meal - unless they do it as well for other considerations, such as vegetarians etc.
  8. François
    The disappearance of migraines with la low carb diet is, in my experience, rather common, just like it is very common to see massive improvement in resistant epilepsy with a low carb (usually ketogenic) diet, especially in kids. This is so well known that it is nearly considered mainstream (after a trial of extremely strong medications, of course). Which makes parents usually very angry when they see the massive improvement on a diet without side effects while the medication did not even control epilepsy in the first place. But neurologists will be opened to the idea.

    As far as personal experience, my wife got rid of her migraines and her severe generalized muscle pains when we stopped grains. I am thinking in terms of some form of gluten allergy / intolerance. I wonder if there could be cross reactions when the body is constantly bombarded by antigenic substances it does not tolerate. A friend of mine has Sjogren syndrome (he is drying up as his glands do not produce tears or saliva). I suggested he stops grains, and especially wheat.

    Whether it is the fact that the brain functions better on ketone bodies, maybe there is a form of gluten intolerance / allergy. I'm not sure. But I know for sure it works.

  9. Antoinette
    I agree with Cameron hidalgo: bring your own lunch!
  10. Galina L.
    Preventing migraines is the main reason for me to stay in a low-carbohydrate diet (some more health issues disappeared together with 30 lbs). Luis, be glad that you are male - it is most difficult to control migraines which are caused with a monthly hormonal shift around the time of a menstrual period. Still, I don't have to spent 3 days of each month in a bed vomiting, migraines do not occur every month, stress does not cause migraines any longer, so it is a significant improvement.
    I asked my doctor to write in my medical history requirement for LC diet, and he did. However , in the eyes of many people eating no grains, high saturated fat diet sounds as extreme as to smoke in order to loose weight.
  11. Dana
    It's doctors who are claiming that fear of lawsuits makes them practice medicine too conservatively.

    But it's also doctors who are claiming that eating low-fat, high-carb will prevent heart disease and cure obesity.

    You'll believe them about lawsuits when you're not believing them about diet?

    Oookay then.

    When malpractice is usually not considered a criminal offense, but can cause permanent damage in a patient, patients need SOME sort of avenue for legal redress. I am tired of hearing all the complaining about litigation. Doctors should be more afraid of being sued for recommending diets that demonstrably make people less healthy. Which means they shouldn't be scared to recommend low-carb at all.

  12. Dana
    I found that it was not carbs per se causing my migraines so much as it was wheat and probably other glutenous grains.

    Discovered this by accident when I decided to do an elimination diet last year. Let's just say I no longer have anything to do with Dreamfield's, and its effect on my blood sugar is irrelevant to me.

    My consumption of animal fats probably also helps, but it wasn't THE final nail in the coffin.

    I still get what seems like migraine symptoms once in a very great while, usually when we have a giant weather front headed our way, but with very little pain. Migraine is not just a headache, but a full-body neurological condition frequently affecting other organ systems. But the pain is the worst part, so getting mostly over the pain was major progress for me.

    And look, Ma! No Imitrex! Thank goodness. That stuff is scary.

  13. Zepp
    School lunch is free of charge in sweden and is paid for by high taxes!

    And they do make other foods for allergics and vegetarians and for religius.. but not for diabetics or obese.. they supose to take medecine, or eat less and run more!

    Its more about if one can get real food for your taxes for those that have problems with diabetes and obesety.. at least if they got a certificate from a doctor that you need such food!

  14. Vic
    Going LCHF brought my blood sugar into normal ranges. I no longer have migraines--didn't make the connection until today! I also have normal blood pressure and my cholesterol "profile" is great. I have lost 45-50 pounds but I am on a couple of meds that cause weight gain, so I have stalled, -need some more tweeking I guess. What really irritates me is that my Dr now thinks I may have been misdiagnosed as a diabetic since I still need to lose weight, because you know, it's not the diet-it's the fat. ERRRRRR!
  15. Cameron hidalgo
    Zepp,

    I did not bother looking at the country involved. You are correct, if all school lunches are provided for free, and they do provide specialized lunches for those with other medical needs such as allergens, then they should indeed provide the LCHF meals required. If the nurse does not feel competent enough to follow the dietary guidelines provided by the doctor, then the school should be required to hire a dietician. Although personally I believe the would not truly need one on staff as LCHF is so easy to prepare healthfully. Perhaps they could rent one for a few hours to offer instructional advice to the kitchen workers. I would offer my services for free, but I am in the US of A.

  16. Mary in FL
    Would it help if the doctor could be convinced to diagnose the patient as wheat- or grain-intolerant?
  17. Sandy
    I suffered with migraines since I was a teen, gradually getting to the point where they were lasting 4 or 5 days, usually about 20 days/month. I just turned 60, so that's been over 40 years. Headaches ruled (and ruined) my adult life until last March 5, 2012 when I started following the primal diet (very low carb, high fat, good pastured beef and eggs, local organic vegs). Migraines disappeared almost the first day. After about a month, I asked my husband if he noticed that I wasn't having headaches, and he said emphatically "Yes!" I have had 5 headaches in the last 18 months, each one happened the day after I gave in to the temptation to eat a hot buttered roll at a restaurant. I decided that no roll is worth days of pain. I plan to keep on eating this way forever. Other changes: shaking and jitters (and migraines) from hypoglycemia is not a problem now either. And spring and fall allergies are totally gone. Oh, and I lost 20 pounds.
  18. PrimeNumbers
    Didn't help with migraines for me I'm afraid. Fortunately they're not common enough to be a major worry, just annoying, but that also makes it hard to see if any intervention works to stop them due to the timescales involved.

    I'm really happy Emil found a solution to his migraines. But now it seems he's been given an even bigger headache from his school.

  19. FrankG
    Just to add my congratulations to you Emil. The visible transformation between the two pictures is amazing. Good for you! :-)
  20. Jan
    Well done to Emil.

    I have been following a low carb high fat lifestyle for just over five years now.

    My daily carb consumption is no more than 50 grams of carbs per day - and very often nearer 30.

    I do find that on the extremely rare occasions I eat over this limit I suffer with headaches. I think it is my bodies reaction to the 'poison', as it now sees it, I have may have eaten.

    Just my thoughts and personal experience

    All the best Jan

  21. Johnny D.
    I guess I was lucky when I was in school years ago. They served real food back then. Not much bread and a lot of canned vegetables. But as society changed by diet changed. I have been on the Low Cab High Fat diet for several months now. I am down about 25 pounds. I still have my headaches and diabetes, but hoping for improvement. I think Emil has the right answer. If it works Emil don't change it not for anyone. Find a way to make it work. There are many so called organizations out there I personally feel giving the wrong information. But I like this web site very much and think it has value for the people trying to live a healthy life.
  22. Johnny D.
    I guess I was lucky when I was in school years ago. They served real food back then. Not much bread and a lot of canned vegetables. But as society changed my diet changed. I have been on the Low Cab High Fat diet for several months now. I am down about 25 pounds. I still have my headaches and diabetes, but hoping for improvement. I think Emil has the right answer. If it works Emil don't change it not for anyone. Find a way to make it work. There are many so called organizations out there I personally feel giving the wrong information. But I like this web site very much and think it has value for the people trying to live a healthy life.
  23. Stacy in NJ
    Why would anyone other than the mentally incompetent depend wholly on a collective to provide basic nutritional, or any other, needs? Are people so dependent they cannot take individual action without permission? To the extent you are capable, see to your own needs. Geez.

    Pack a lunch.

    Replies: #24, #35
  24. FrankG
    Perhaps you should first read all the comments, before making judgmental statements about others' "mental competence" Stacy :-P

    Do your taxes help pay for school buses perhaps? There was no such system where I grew up (I either walked or took public transport) but if there had been, I daresay my parents would have liked some say in how the system, which they were paying for, was provided? Or is taking an interest in your own society too "socialist" for ya?

  25. Stacy in NJ
    Frank - Could you please point where I commented on anyone's mental competency?

    My point is paying taxes doesn't rid us of the responsibility to act as sentient homo sapiens most especially when the collective chooses to marginalize, discount or ignore needs that stand outside the "norm". My taxes pay for many things I choose not to make use of. Separating yourself from the group can provide a strong example that can later lead to the needed change. An example of this kind of separation is provided by Malcolm X to wonderful affect.

    Possibly, separating from a kind of "society" is a stronger or more effective strategy to effect change then asking for permission within a closed structure?

    Replies: #26, #27
  26. bill
    Stacy in NJ:

    You seem to misunderstand your own writing.

    Weird.

  27. FrankG
    Stacy, can you point our exactly where Emil, or anyone in these comments is suggesting that Emil is not, or should not, take the "responsibility to act as sentient homo sapiens"?

    His school system provides lunches, they make allowances for those with specific health needs. They seem unwilling, or incapable of providing him with the food which keeps him healthy. I daresay that in the meantime he HAS been packing his own lunch but does that mean we should just ignore what the school is doing, or is not doing?

    GEEZ!

  28. FrankG
    Why do you not see that him making this stand, being reported in the news and on blogs like this is NOT him attempting to "separate himself from the group" and trying to "provide a strong example that can later lead to the needed change" ?!?

    All fine words, I'm sure, when they apply to Malcolm X but in the case of Emil and based on your earlier comments you are basically saying "stop making such a fuss and bring your own lunch!"

    Again GEEZ!

  29. Zepp
    To sort some things out here as a swede.. in the system!

    I think/belive that Emil and his parents don everything they can.. becuse if one is dependant of parents for suport one cant do this he haw been done whithout an income!

    And sweden is a wealty country.. moste have aford to eat what they chose.. with few exceptions!

    And I realy think he is eating in school.. one can eat a good breakfast and pick the best of the meal in school.. meat/fish/chicken and som veggies.. and eat a good dinner att home!

    And then.. its a strugle in many schools if they should serve low fat margarine, dairys and such substitutets or real butter and full fat milk and the same!

    And to the defence of Stacy.. its always a problem when taxes is high and one supose to think that those can/should provide what you need.. but thats anthother topic.

    And in sweden both parents are full time employed.. so that is one cause that school provide free lunch.. and its aim is to provide 1/3 of the childrens need of food on scholl days.. to make there parents att full time employment.

    This have benefits and flaws ofcourse.. but it put the focus on special dishes for those in need for that.. but its almoste about if one should serve low carb high fat diet in school.. for those in need for that!

    I can tell that they dont have special meals for diabetics.. and he could been eating that.. if there was any!

    It shouldnt be that big problem to give him a proper lunch.. just the ordanary meat as the others and some veggies with olive oil and som butter to the meat.. but they still think that diabetics should eat most carbs and avoid fat!

  30. Geri
    If that were my son, I would just pack his lunch. He obviously has benefited from the LCHF regimen.
    Reply: #32
  31. Alan
    I am "fasting" (butter/coconutoil&coffee breakfast; butter/coconutoil&cocoa snack at 4pm) now as an attempt to clear a nagging 3-day low-level headache (migraines are part of my chronic "side effects" since taking fluouroquinolone antibiotics nearly four years ago. I eat LCHF to control FQ-induced blood sugar dysfunction.). It seems to be working.
  32. Maggan A

    If that were my son, I would just pack his lunch. He obviously has benefited from the LCHF regimen.

    so would I- but I would be really pissed of to have to pay it double - onse with the tax - and agian from my owne pocket :-(

  33. Marcella
    Same thing happened with me. I gave up grains, sugar, no processed, prepackaged type foods and poof, the chronic migraines that have plagued me since childhood disappeared; it has been five months since I made this change. I am never going back. This change to the LCHF diet made a positive and immediate impact that no prescribed drug I have tried ever accomplished. I am happily watching the last six sumatriptan injection cartridges just sit in my medicine cabinet unused. They can rot there. I haven't even needed so much as an aspirin. I jealously guard against ingesting any of these unwanted food sources. My health and well being are far too important and it's become obvious the assorted medical and food industries do not share my priorities.
  34. Murray
    Packing your child's lunch is the easiest out, the path of least resistance. We did this for years. My daughter, for example, would take elk jerky, an avocado (with a shaker of sea salt), artisan sheep's milk cheese and a piece of dark chocolate with coconut oil centre (made by a friend who is a chocolatier), and sometimes with some cut up fruit. This kept well with a cold pack in the lunch tote. The offerings at the school were too lame, especially after the dietician (sounds a lot like "mortician") came in and "improved" the offerings. Mac and cheese became low fat Mac and cheese and bagels became whole wheat bagels no longer served with cream cheese, etc., etc., etc. The net effect was that many kids stopped eating the fat-meagre fare and would steal out to get pizza across the street.

    I confess, though, that our solution was an ethical cop out. We were able to hack the problem with extra effort, but others are not so well situated. Moreover, I have read physicians complaining that they would prescribe low carb high fat meals for patients in hospitals and the hospital dietician/morticians would refuse to serve. So fighting the small skirmishes here and there are the sand grains that accumulate and ultimately trigger a tipping point. On the other hand, a relationship with a school is multi-faceted and one needs to select the battles one chooses to fight judiciously. There is always a balance to accommodate both individual priorities and social responsibilities. Society requires robust individuals, who are self-reliant as to seeing to their needs, who can then become socially responsible people, who have surplus to subordinate individual priorities to social responsibility. Finding an optimal solution in each situation depends on the state of the individual and the landscape of the social situation.

  35. Galina L.
    Stacy,
    You mistake the ability to take a public stand and fight, for the incompetence to provide own child with an appropriate food. Their position could benefit others in a similar situation, therefor , a very responsible one. In a way, people who just shut up and accept "no" as a final answer, are less competent citizens. I am sure the young lad doesn't eat the food which gives him migraines just because it is served at his school, but in the arrangement when school lunches are payed by parents through taxes under the promise by the government to provide the suitable food for their children, they are entailed to object the exclusion of their child's need from the consideration. In the situation when all possible needs (medical, religious, even vegans are accommodated) are taken into the consideration, unless the required diet is the low-carbohydrate one, is bizarre. It makes me wonder what diabetics students are fed?
  36. Dee
    Read Wheat Belly and how the grains of today have been modified so much (50 times more gluten than 40 years ago) not to mention the opiate like effect on eating it. It causes inflammation all over the body (including the brain.. hence migrains).

    The author is a cardiologist and is into nutrition as well. He advocates a LC/HF diet as well. His facebook page is Wheat Belly. Many auto immune diseases can be attributed to wheat/gluten consumption. People on his facebook page post photos of massive weight loss following his wheat belly diet.

    Another must read book is Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter, a Neurologist who also discusses brain inflammation caused by wheat. MS, parkinsons, and many many other brain illnesses are the result of wheat in the diet.

  37. Robert Mahoney
    All my headaches went away.
  38. Nan
    What a handsome young man!

    I had to go gluten free along with lchf to be free of my 40 years of horrible migraines. Take pills indeed, what a message, yet I fear this is the new norm in medicine and everywhere else. What a life time of misery this boy will be freed from for discovering lchf at this point in his life.

    http://www.sugaraholics.com

  39. Randal L. Schwartz
    «The school nurse said she didn’t dare to take responsibility for what could happen if Emil were allowed to eat himself lean and healthy, without needing any medications. Because that sounds… dangerous.»

    Yes, dangerous to the profits of the hearthealthywholegrain and drug industries.

    Reply: #40
  40. Paul the rat
    LCHF story mirrors that of early LSD research - both are simply too good to humanity and would eliminate big chunk of drug industry profits, would make people healthy and inquisitive. Such people would be very difficult to subdue and govern.

    http://www.amazon.com/LSD-problem-solving-psychedelic-Peter-Stafford/...

  41. T Ross
    For one, we don't know if kids are allowed to bring their own food in school in suppernanny states like Sweden. Second, too many sensitivities... What happens if one brings some pork within 100 meters of a muslim?
  42. Jay Wortman MD
    Our kids go to school with a LCHF lunch from home. Our problem was that parents were bringing in treats to share to celebrate their child's birthday. Cupcakes the size of cabbages for 4 year olds were the last straw. I met with the head of school and sent him some lay articles by Taubes and others. Now the school is instituting a reduced sugar policy. No more giant cupcakes and the cafeteria fare is being reviewed. And I will be giving a public lecture on LCHF at the school in the new year. Small steps.
  43. Takeda
    I get migraines chronically but I haven't noticed much of a change on LCHF unfortunately ... but my triggers are barometric pressure fluctuations and certain lighting conditions ... fluorescent lights are my kryptonite!

    However my pre-diabetic issues and damage to my pancreas caused by AVELOX (moxifloxacin) that had me on insulin and metformin have been completely eliminated by LCHF/Paleo ... as well as losing over 50lbs ... feel so much healthier than I have in 20-years! ... So it not 'curing' my migraines I'm okay with.

  44. emeraldsea
    I am eating more good saturated fats, still have to reduce a bit carbs and fruits. I have less migraines, less constipation and my blood pressure is more stabilized (used to be low, and sometimes abruptly). Health improving slowly.

    In my country we have big problems with food due to complicated political/economic system reasons. I cannot find, since 2 years ago, enough good butter, sometimes chicken and important sources of nutrients - vegetables, and these are usually full of pesticides. Our inflation is the 2nd highest in the World.

    LCHF has Scientific basis and I feel is helping me, and what I have donde mostly has been eat about 15% more good fats (I am reffering to aprox. 15% more calories from recommended saturated fats including cholesterol)

  45. Hazel
    That unhelpful school nurse is an employee. Perhaps it's the employer that is the problem? Whatever may be the problem, the school should be brought up to date on health/dietary issues.
    But anyway, can the school boy bring his own lunch?

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