Sweden has become the first Western nation to develop national dietary guidelines that reject the popular low-fat diet dogma in favour of low-carb high-fat nutrition advice.
The switch in dietary advice followed the publication of a two-year study by the independent Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment. The committee reviewed 16,000 studies published through May 31, 2013.
Swedish doctor, Andreas Eenfeldt, who runs the most popular health blog in Scandinavia (DietDoctor.com) published some of the highlights of this study in English:
Health markers will improve on a low-carbohydrate diet:
…a greater increase in HDL cholesterol (“the good cholesterol”) without having any adverse effects on LDL cholesterol (“the bad cholesterol”). This applies to both the moderate low-carbohydrate intake of less than 40 percent of the total energy intake, as well as to the stricter low-carbohydrate diet, where carbohydrate intake is less than 20 percent of the total energy intake. In addition, the stricter low-carbohydrate diet will lead to improved glucose levels for individuals with obesity and diabetes, and to marginally decreased levels of triglycerides.”
Dr Eenfeldt also translated an article from a local Swedish newspaper covering the committee’s findings:
Fat is the best thing for those who want to lose weight. And there are no connections between a high fat intake and cardiovascular disease.
On Monday, SBU, the Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment, dropped a bombshell. After a two-year long inquiry, reviewing 16,000 studies, the report “Dietary Treatment for Obesity” upends the conventional dietary guidelines for obese or diabetic people.
For a long time, the health care system has given the public advice to avoid fat, saturated fat in particular, and calories. A low-carb diet (LCHF – Low Carb High Fat, is actually a Swedish “invention”) has been dismissed as harmful, a humbug and as being a fad diet lacking any scientific basis.
Instead, the health care system has urged diabetics to eat a lot of fruit (=sugar) and low-fat products with considerable amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners, the latter a dangerous trigger for the sugar-addicted person.
This report turns the current concepts upside down and advocates a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, as the most effective weapon against obesity.
The expert committee consisted of ten physicians, and several of them were sceptics to low-carbohydrate diets at the beginning of the investigation.
One of the committee members was Prof Fredrik Nystrom, from Linköping, Sweden – a long-time critic of the low-fat diet and a proponent of the benefits of saturated fat, from sources such as butter, full fat cream, and bacon. Some quotes from Prof Nystrom translated into English from Dr Eenfeldt:
“I’ve been working with this for so long. It feels great to have this scientific report, and that the scepticism towards low-carb diets among my colleagues has disappeared during the course of the work. When all recent scientific studies are lined up the result is indisputable: our deep-seated fear of fat is completely unfounded. You don’t get fat from fatty foods, just as you don’t get atherosclerosis from calcium or turn green from green vegetables.”
Nystrom has long advocated a greatly reduced intake of carbohydrate-rich foods high in sugar and starch, in order to achieve healthy levels of insulin, blood lipids and the good cholesterol. This means doing away with sugar, potatoes, pasta, rice, wheat flour, bread, and embracing olive oil, nuts, butter, full fat cream, oily fish and fattier meat cuts. “If you eat potatoes you might as well eat candy. Potatoes contain glucose units in a chain, which is converted to sugar in the GI tract. Such a diet causes blood sugar, and then the hormone insulin, to skyrocket.”
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