Swedes consuming low-fat dairy products gain more weight!

What people who gain weight choose

The choice of people who later get fat

A newly published Swedish study has examined what Swedes eat and what happens to their weight. In the 90’s a few thousand middle aged men in rural Sweden participated in a baseline survey on their eating habits, and were followed up 12 years later in a study on how their weight had changed.

The results? People with a fear of fat (avoiding butter and drinking low-fat milk etc.) had a clearly increased risk of being obese twelve years later.

On the other hand, those who consumed a lot of saturated dairy fat (butter, whole milk and heavy whipping cream) were significantly more likely to remain thin twelve years later.

As always, correlation does not prove causation, so this study should be taken with a grain of salt. However, Swedes following the failed low-fat guidelines, consuming low-fat products like low-fat milk and low-fat margarine, were more likely to become overweight. Possibly because they were left hungrier and ate more of other, worse things.

Is anyone surprised?


The result of this study is of course predicted by Eenfeldt’s law.

The study

Holmberg S, et al. High dairy fat intake related to less central obesity: A male cohort study with 12 year’s follow-up. Scand J Prim Health Care. 2013 Jan 15. [Epub ahead of print]


  1. Morganier
    Nope, not surprised... But I am surprised by (in my opinion intelligent "normal") friends and relatives who even after reading about LCHF (and studies) still believe in (brown)bread, orange juice, light products etc. There is a long way to go, and I am astonished about the power of information.indoctrination from the media/governement etc. Well, every 1000 miles starts with a first step. Lets keep up the good work and stimulate people to make up their own minds (not only concerning food) Greetings from a frozen Holland
  2. Michelle
    People are loath to believe that anything labeled 'low-fat' or 'Good for you' is in fact not good for you.

    I know someone who ate 6 low-fat yogurts a day, but when I convinced her to switch to full fat yogurt she enjoyed it much more and only wanted to eat it once a day and included her own flavouring, such as berries etc.

    The food industry needs some kind of regulation, but what, how and when? I don't have the answer. This 'low-fat' way of eating in so ingrained into our way of life it may be impossible for those who really need to change may not be able to.

    I'm doing my bit, ie; spreading the word of LCHF, it's just a shame that no-one really believes me.

    Thanks for your hard work Andreas, I know it's working for me and my partner and that's all I can do.

  3. Well,ancient Greeks had a profound proverb that means a lot,I will write it as it is and translated
    into English.
    Pan Metron Ariston.These 3 words have so much meaning which includes everything in life
    from politics to diet matters.The exact meaning is u can eat from everything but in little propotions.
  4. commonchild2
    This reminds me of a study friends were posting about a study that showed diet sodas cause weight gain. But it was just a survey about what people eat similar to this one.

    In both cases, most likely what is going on is that people with weight issues tend to diet, and when they have dieted, they eat more low fat products and drink more diet soda. So the implied cause-effect are both effects by whatever is causing the weight issues.

    I am fully behind the insulin/Metablic Syndrome being the real issue - I just want to be consistent in my interpretation of all these studies - the good and the bad.

    Reply: #5
  5. FrankG
    Just like this study and the one you mention about diet soda: YES.. there are limits to what (if any) conclusions can be taken from the findings of any observational study. Often we are left we more questions that answers (in my view the key to good science)

    BUT just as we question any firm conclusions the study authors come to, we should also question any conclusions we ourselves come to... including your own assumptions about what is "really" going on.

    I disagree with your "most likely" scenario... it may be a possibility but on what basis is it "most likely"..?

    Until proven otherwise the scenario which Dr Andreas offers is equally valid... and based on my own experience I would expect someone eating low fat to eat higher carbs... this adds credence (in my view) to his scenario but of course I am willing to be swayed by any evidence forthcoming.

  6. Lisa Vogel
    I am truly confused. Is it even safe to eat dairy here in the US? I try to always buy rBst free dairy products. I've stopped eating beef or pork. I don't eat most American made cheeses because they are not advertised as from rBst-free sources. Dairy is one of my favorite protein sources. Should I drink whole milk or none at all.
    I recently had a colonoscopy and the GI doctor removed a 35mm pre-cancerous villous adenoma, and I just can't help but wonder if this polyp's development was dietary-related.
  7. Zepp
    I didnt read the study.. so let my gues what the stumble on!

    I think they found that peopel thats alredy have som extra weight take low fat milk to lose some of it??

    There are other swedish studies that found that those how eat/drink more dairy fat are leaner!

    Soo.. the obvius conclusions was that peopel should eat more low fat dairys or rather use more polyunsaturated fat as low fat margarine!

    Its truth!!

  8. nostents4me!
    Study was clear: 50% higher obesity rate among those who avoided dairy fats. The reasoning is crystal clear as already pointed out above: Lack of dietary fat breeds hunger and when not filled with fats the hunger can easy divert into increased carbohydrate consumption.

    That approx 200 out of 1600 got fat with a 50% higher rate for the low fat eaters means a 60/40 ratio of low fat eaters, or 120 low fat and 80 traditional style eaters got fat over the 12 years.
    If all had eaten traditional one can according to the study conclude that 120-80 = 40 would not have become fat, i.e. a total of 160 instead of 200. 40 out of 1600 is 2.5% The study was over 12 years. 2.5% of the national fat increase - in this age segment at least - became fat due to that they followed government dietary guidlines ! Quite staggering. How many in total got fat over same period ? Is part of or the whole fat epedemic a direct result of people following the low fat eating propaganda ?

  9. Not surprised at all. Unfortunately I experience this with my own friends and family who still insist on consuming low-fat products, using margarine instead of butter & generally following the mainstream 'dietary advise', even though this has resulted in them gaining more and more weight over the years. Whereas myself, following LCHF I'm at a stable healthy weight for my height. Yet, they still believe their way of eating is healthier than mine.
  10. Harry singh
    Hi i want to increase weight my height is 180 cm but my weight is 70 kg i m not satisfied plz tell me right diet
  11. Harry singh
    Weight increase perfekt diet
    Reply: #12
  12. Zepp
    More calories.. preferely protein.. and a lot of excersise!

    Preferely hevy weight lifting.

Leave a reply

Reply to comment #0 by

Older posts