TV4 Nyheterna Värmland: “Lost 40 kg by eating fat”
May 3, 2010

My comments
This is a clip from the local news in Värmland featuring Monique Forslund who runs the blog Life Zone. Monique is one of Sweden’s foremost LCHF advisors, and she also writes in English on her blog.

And now over to the show!
Three years ago she weighed about 105 kg and kept in the back of the room on the workouts. Today she weighs forty kilos less, leads training sessions and has one of Sweden’s most widely read health blogs. We have met Monique Forslund from Karlstad who live by the LCHF method.

MONIQUE: I think I was about 12 years old when I first joined the Weight Watchers. Since then I’ve tried basically everything, and I’ve always been hungry, and it has always only ended with me eating everything I could get my hands on after a week.

NARRATOR: But then Monique Forslund discovered the LCHF method, which means that you exclude all sugar and instead eat a whole lot of fat. So on cozy evenings, chips and ice cream are now replaced with strawberries with wipped cream and nuts. And for breakfast she eats homemade bread made of eggs and cream cheese. Monique also works out a lot and is an aerobics instructor. In three years she haven’t eaten candy, pasta, potatoes or rice. So the obvious question is if it isn’t hard to refrain from all of that?

MONIQUE: No, not at all. Not at all! [Laughter] It’s crazy really. And if someone had told me three years ago that I would never again eat a cookie, then I would have said “that’s never gonna happen”, and I don’t think I’d would gone through with it. But the sugar addiction disappears, and today I feel that don’t miss any of it.

[Monique shows the reporter what’s in her fridge.]
MONIQUE: A lot of cream, butter, cream cheese, creme fraiche, meat…

REPORTER: There’s been a lot of writings claiming that this diet can cause cardiovascular disease. How do you react to that?

MONIQUE: No, I don’t get alarmed at all. I’ve seen so incredibly many who has become healthy with this lifestyle, so I don’t feel any worries at all.

NARRATOR: Monique writes about her lifestyle on her blog, and she now has one of the most widely read health blogs in Sweden.

MONIQUE: Well I hadn’t even read a blog before I started, so I was like “how do I do this now?”. [Laughter]

MONIQUE: I know how hard it can be to loose weight, and I’ve felt so bad for so very many years. So I feel that if I can help someone else who feels unwell, or feels that it’s hard, then that gives me a lot in return.

Link to the broadcast of the show at TV4 Play.

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Dagens Medicin: “Yoghurt is good for the heart”photo from Photos.com
June 15, 2011

Eating a lot of yogurt and sour milk may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. That’s the conclusion drawn by Swedish researchers in a new study.

It is Emily Sonestedt, researcher in nutrition epidemiology at the University of Lund, and employees, who now has looked at how individual dairy products affect the risk of cardiovascular disease. In the study the scientists distinguished fermented milk – such as yogurt and sour milk – and non-fermented milk.

The results show that a high intake of dairy products in general was linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

When the researchers looked at the products separately, they saw a significant reduction in risk with a high intake of fermented dairy products. The third of the participants who ate the most yogurt and sour milk and such, had a 15 percent lower risk than those who do not at all eat such products. Eating a lot of cheese also meant lower risk – but only for women.

The researchers write that previous research has indicated that the composition of the gut flora is of great importance for the development of metabolic diseases. And that changes in the gut flora, due to for example the probiotic bacteria in yogurt, may be one reason for the protective effect.

In the study, the researchers used data for 26 445 persons between 44 and 77 years who participated in “the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study”. The participants had, among other things, answered questions about their dietary habits. They were followed for 12 years on average and had no diabetes or cardiovascular disease when the study began. 2520 of them had suffered from cardiovascular disease during follow-up period.

From the findings the researchers conclude that it is important to look at various dairy products separately when their potential health effects are evaluated.

The study was published in the journal “European Journal of Epidemiology”.

Link to the article in Swedish, written by Katrin Trysell

My comment:Photo from www.kostdoktorn.se/dags-for-fetare-fil
Sour milk, or “Filmjölk” as it’s called, is a very popular breakfast choice in Sweden.  It usually contains 3% fat, but there’s also low-fat versions and an “old-fashioned” version with 3,8-4,5% fat.
Both yoghurt and sour milk can be a healthy part of your LCHF diet. Simply choose the full-fat products without added sugar, and eat it with some berries instead of sugary jams or cereals.

Picture 1 from www.photos.com, picture 2 from www.kostdoktorn.se


Dagens Nyheter Debate: “High cholesterol is not dangerous for women and healthy men”
April 26, 2011

Doctors and researchers: The truth begins to emerge. Over half a million Swedes are taking drugs for elevated cholesterol, in vain. The cholesterol-lowering medicines – used by over half a million Swedes – reduces the risk of dying from heart attack. But the reduced risk only applies to men who previously had a myocardial infarction. The effect is also modest. What most people don’t know is that no experiments with this group of drugs (so-called statins) have managed to prolong the lives of healthy people. But now the truth begins to come out. An extensive analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration shows that statin therapy only has a trivial effect. On the contrary, there is reason to warn about the side effects that an uncritical use of statins may provide, write the authors.

Cholesterol is one of the body’s main building materials. To create new cells or nerve fibers is impossible with cholesterol. It’s also the preliminary stage of many of our hormones, and with sunlight on the skin cholesterol is converted to vitamin D.
Each cell produces its own cholesterol, and if that isn’t enough the liver produces it. We produce 3-5 times more cholesterol than we eat. If we eat too little the body’s production increases, if we eat a lot of the cells takes a break. This explains why it’s difficult to influence cholesterol levels through dietary changes.

The idea that cholesterol is dangerous came from Framingham, a small town outside of Boston. Here, researchers began in 1948 to screen people. When they repeated the examinations a few years later, they discovered that the cholesterol in those who meanwhile had a heart attack had been a little higher than normal. The researchers then claimed that high cholesterol was a risk factor for myocardial infarction.

The idea was immediately spread in the scientific community. But no one reacted when the Framingham residents were examined 30 years later. It then turned out that high cholesterol only was a risk factor for men up to age 47, and not for older men or women at all.
As if that wasn’t enough – more men had died of heart attack among those whose cholesterol had decreased. The authors wrote: “For every milligram percent cholesterol had decreased, cardiovascular mortality and total mortality increased by fourteen and eleven percent.” 
Since then there have been numerous similar reports published, and most of them have confirmed the Framingham researchers’ results. For a few high cholesterol was a risk factor even in 70-year-old men, but most have found that high cholesterol is not a risk factor for older people. More than twenty studies have even shown that older people with high cholesterol live the longest.
The main thing that has kept the the cholesterol hypothesis alive is studies of people with hereditary high cholesterol, known as familial hypercholesterolemia. For many years it was thought that most die young of heart attacks. When British researchers began to study large populations, they discovered that people with this abnormality in average live as long as others. A few more die from heart attack, but fewer are dying of cancer.
It is not cholesterol that is dangerous. The risk is the same whether it is a bit higher than normal or if it is 2-3 times higher. This have been concluded by several research groups, however, without drawing the natural conclusion of their discovery.
There are other signs that the villain isn’t cholesterol. ENHANCE was an experiment with cholesterol-lowering statins, which only included people with hereditary high cholesterol. Half received Simvastatin, the other half also received a new cholesterol-lowering drug. Although cholesterol decreased most in the intensively treated group, atherosclerotic increased most in this group.
The cholesterol-lowering statins reduce the risk of dying from heart attack, but only for men who had a previous infarction and the effect is modest. The probability that a sixty-year-old male infarction patient is alive in five years is about 90 percent, and if he takes a statin tablet daily the probability increases to 92 percent.What most people don’t know is that no statin experiments have been successful in prolonging the lives of women or healthy men. The truth, however, begins to seep out.
The Cochrane Collaboration (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 1) recently reported an analysis of all published statin experiments on healthy people, a total of more than 34 000 individuals.
According to the report, statin therapy only has a trivial effect on people with healthy hearts. Several of the published experiments were according to the researchers also flawed in one way or another – a number of heart patients had been included in some, and in others the reports of side effects were incomplete.
The Cochrane-report has been lively commented on in international media. “Millions are taking statin needlessly” was the headline in The Telegraph. The editor of Time was more cautious: “Statins May Not Prevent Heart Disease in Healthy People”.
In an BBC interview said Fiona Taylor, a member of the UK Cochrane Group: “This analysis stresses that our knowledge of the effect of statin treatment in people who have never had a cardiovascular disease is highly incomplete.” (“This review highlights important shortcomings in our knowledge about the effects of statins in people who have no previous history of cardiovascular disease.”)
We find that the warnings against an uncritical use of statins are well founded. It is not safe to lower cholesterol. The most common side effect is sore and weak muscles. The official figures say that the frequency is less than 1 percent, but independent researchers can tell you that 25 percent is closer to the truth.
Others have found that about 20 percent of male heart patients become impotent after a few months of treatment. The study was funded by Pfizer, but the website for their cholesterol-lowering agent Lipitor is silent on this. Pfizer obviously has a solution to this problem – it’s named Viagra.
The many reports of memory loss, aggression, insomnia, nightmares, depression and suicidal thoughts is not surprising either, given that the brain is the organ richest in cholesterol and that normal brain function requires a continuous local production of cholesterol.
Serious birth defects have been reported, and also damage to peripheral nerves resulting in burning pain and weakness of muscles in the legs. But how many people read the small print on the package insert?
Perhaps the most serious side effect is cancer. In three studies of statins the cancer frequensy increased with statistical certainty. This is explained away with the argument that a merging of all statins experiments haven’t found an increased occurrence, even after ten years. Ten years of smoking is as we know not enough to get lung cancer.
Also, skin cancer was not reported, the cancer that is detected only if exposed to carcinogens. This since the number of cases of skin cancer increased in the first two experiments with Simvastatin.
It’s also worrying that a Japanese monitoring of statin-treated patients found that cancer was three times more common in those whose cholesterol dropped the most.
Today, the number of statin-treated people in Sweden long ago passed half a million, and a large proportion of these are healthy people whose only “illness” is high cholesterol. Time to take science into account?
Written by:
Uffe Ravnskov, PhD, Associate Professor, Independent Researcher, Lund
Karl E Arfors, Professor, previous exploratory research director Pharmacia AB
Christer Enkvist, Former county chief, a former member of the SBU
Tore Scherstén, Professor, former chief secretary of the National Medical Research Council
Ralf Sundberg, Associate Professor
Jørgen Vesti Nielsen, chief physician

The newspaper Svenska Dagbladet writes: “Debate on blood lipids reignited”
May 9, 2011

Läkemedelsverket (the Swedish Medical Products Agency) review advice on cholesterol-loweing medications. The are now going to re-exam the current recommendations for treatment of healty people with high cholesterol. Meanwhile, an acclaimed campaign for statins is being critizised for being excessive and confusing.

It’s no doubt one of medicine’s most protracted and aggressice conflicts: the contradictions between those who believe that blood lipids, cholesterol, affect the risk of heart disease and those who deny it. And those who are for or against treatment using statins.

Today there’s massive support for the lipid theory and for statin treatment among doctors, researchers, government agencies as Läkemedelsverket and Livsmedelsverket, and especially the pharmaceutical companies that have earned billions of these best-selling drugs.

But now Läkemedelsverket is going to develop new recommendations for statin treatments, probably during next year.
– It’s good that Läkemedelsverket takes up this issue again, but that doesn’t have to mean any major changes, said professor Tore Scherstén, member of the critics group.

For over thirty years there has been a loud and extremely stubborn band of critics. From the beginning they called themselves “the cholesterol skeptics”, and were a constant feature of many of the large international cardiovascular medical congresses in the past.

A group in Sweden with various backgrounds, lead by doctor Uffe Ravnskog, have been active. They now pursuit the fight mainly through debate articles. The theme is nowadays less criticism of the cholesterol theory. Instead two parallell tracks dominate: the condemnation of statin treatment, directed primarily against Läkemedelsverket, and criticism against the lipid theories regarding diet, with Livsmedelsverkets diet recommendations as main target. It is this group that successfully pushed the so-called LCHF diet (low carbohydrate and high fat).

Obvious opponents are also scientists and physicians within the medical establishment which has a different view. The polemical tone is usually turned up loud.

Now, the controversy have flared up again. The starting point is a report about statin treatment published in January, from the renowned Cochrane Institute – a network of researchers with very high reputation that analyze research reports.

According to the cholesterol critics’ debate article, the report shows that half a million people are treated unnecessarily, that statings have little effect and a long list of scary side effects like impotence and depression.

The response from many professors say the opposite, that the report shows beneficial effects with statin therapy, among other things on mortality and heart attacks. That no increase in severe side effects were detected in the study.
– It’s really totally confusing, says Inger Rose from the Swedish Heart and Lung Association. What are the patients supposted to think?

Lennart Forslund at Läkemedelsverket agrees that the different messages have caused concern:
– Both prescription-dispensing doctors and patients have contacted us and are perplexed, he says.

Läkemedelsverkets recommendations for lipid treatment from 2005/2006 remains the same. The reason that they now will investigate the statins has nothing to do with the infected debate.
– The reason is that so many years have passed with the current guidelines. Much have happened since then, and we need to evaluate the new research, among them the current Cochrane report.

Preventive treatment with statins was also discussed at the Swedish heart doctors’ annual spring meeting in Örebro in the last week.
– Cochrane urges for caution in giving statins to healthy people at low cardiovascular risk, said Professor Peter M. Nilsson from Malmö. There is every reason to think about it and discuss it with patients. That was our most important advice to the Swedish doctors.

Fact box in the article: What is the debate about?
Statins are drugs that reduce blood lipid levels and are likely to have other effects such as inhibiting inflammations. Several studies have shown that they can reduce cholesterol and protect against heart attacks and strokes among patients who have heart disease and/or have survived a heart attack. It is generally accepted to use statin treatment of established cardiovascular disease. The controversy is about healthy people who have high levels of blood lipids. Should they also take statins for the rest of their lives to reduce the risk of heart problems?

The recommendations in Sweden is to not only look at the blood lipids but also weigh in the cardiovascular risks such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, before medication is initiated. The goal is to find high-risk individuals and focus on treating them.

The present Cochrane report is a compilation of 14 studies with a total of 34 000 patients. It was concluded to advise caution in giving statins to healthy patients with low risk.

Side effects. Statins are considered to be safe drugs with relatively few side effects. The greatest risk is muscle problems like pain and weakness. Hepatic and renal effects occur but are rare. Other symptoms may be nausea, constipation, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, usually mild and transient. Other frightening side effects that critics raise is extremely rare or not designated as possible. Increased risk of cancer has been debated for over twenty years but the risk is now considered to be dismissed.

Blood lipids. High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) is considered to exist when the total cholesterol in the blood greater than 5 millimoles per liter of blood. Occurs in about 70 percent of all between 30 and 50 years and in 90-95 percent of those between 50 and 70 years.
• The limit for the bad LDL cholesterol is 3.0 millimoles per liter.
• The so-called triglycerides should be below 1.7 millimoles per liter.
• The good HDL cholesterol should be more than 1.0 millimoles per liter for men and 1.3 millimoles per liter for women.

Link to the article in Swedish, written by Inger Atterstam.


The Diet Doctor (in English) and LCHF.se (in Swedish) comments on USDA’s launch of USA’s very own version of the Swedish Plate Model. It’s called “My Plate” and apparently it costed $2 million to develop. The American plate is divided into four parts, but the message is roughly the same fat-phobic as usual, and not far from the Swedish guidelines.

Huge contrast, huh? The only major difference is that one was launched almost 20 years ago. And it’s a real shame that the USDA haven’t noticed that obesity have sky-rocketed in Sweden since then…

Well, at least this should be good news for McDonald’s in the USA, as they now can adopt My Plate and sell more Happy Meals. Here in Sweden they got Claude Marcus (professor in pediatrics and specialized in obesity, also a famous low-carb critic) to vouch for the concept “New Happy Meal according to the Plate Model”. So what’s next?

If you want to laugh at this disaster instead of cry, visit Fat Head.


The association “Svensk Dagligvaruhandel” (“Swedish Grocery Traders”) has put together their health report for 2010, that according to them “describes the trade’s efforts to stimulate consumption of healthy and nutritious food”. It contains some really interesting figures that reflects well that a diet revolution indeed is underway in Sweden.

Take a look at these diagrams with figures from Livsmedelsverkets annual report 2010:

As you can see, butter and butter-blends are becoming more popular as spreads. The most popular butter blend in Sweden is “Bregott” which is butter mixed with canola oil. Light margarine is clearly dropping in sales.

Butter is becoming more popular also for cooking, and margarine is clearly no longer the first choice in Swedish home cooking anymore.

The report comments these figures:

The increased demand for more “natural ” food, combined with the media debate surrounding different types of fats have been shown by that the consumption of fat has changed. That the intake of saturated fat increases, and also that sugar consumption is increasing, is controversial and contrary to the Swedish nutritional recommendations. (…)

Svensk Dagligvaruhandel notes that there’s a declining trend of range and sale of the Keyhole Symbole-labeled products overall.

But further down in the report it seems like the association’s members haven’t caught on to this trend yet, as they write:

Svensk Dagligvaruhandel want to convey a passion for healthy foods and make it easier for consumers to make informed choices. Several of the Swedish grocery retail chains are working with recipes following the Keyhole Symbole. Recipes, cooking tips and shopping lists can be found in stores, on websites and in leaflets.

In this report they also comment on the Swedes candy cravings, which unfortunately seems bigger than ever:

Candy consumption has almost doubled since 1980, from 9.8 kg to more than 17 kg in 2010. With those numbers, Sweden has the highest per capita consumption across Europe.

I want to thank LCHF.se for the tip.


SVT1 Fråga doktorn
May 16, 2011

My comments
This is a transcript of the 7 minutes long interview with dr Andreas Eenfeldt (aka the Diet Doctor) in the Swedish TV program “Fråga doktorn” (“Ask the doctor”). It was staged in a supermarket where Andreas went food shopping with a journalist. He got a good opportunity to both talk about LCHF food and show which groceries are good alternatives.

After this clip the show’s doctor Gunilla Hasselgren gave her thoughts on LCHF, and unfortunately she was catious and warned that she thinks that too much fat can be unhealthy. Nevertheless, Andreas made a very good and confident impression and I beleive many Swedes took in his message.

And now over to the show!

ANDREAS: LCHF stands for low carb high fat, which means eating a lower amount of carbohydrates and a higher amount of fat. It’s a way to eat less sugar and starch in order to for example lose weight, get better glucose levels if you have diabetes, or a calmer stomach. You could see it as a stricter version of the Glycemic Index diet, and it has become popular in Sweden as a means of losing weight without going hungry.

NARRATOR: This diet menas to avoid sugar and starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, but continue to eat meat, fish, vegetables, eggs and butter instead of light products.

ANDREAS: You can eat most of the vegetables that grow above the ground in any amount. Vegetables that grow under ground contains more starch, for example root-vegetables and potatoes, so you need to be more careful with how much you eat of those if you are sensitive to carbohydrates. But everything that grows above ground is good. Asparagus is an example of excellent food.

ANDREAS: One vegetable is more popular amongst low carbers, and that’s cauliflower. You can boil it and mash it with cream to make cauliflower-mash, or you can grate it and boil quickly it to get low carb-rice low on carbohydrates.

JOURNALIST: But why should I who’s young and pretty thin eat and exercise regulary eat LCHF?

ANDREAS: Then perhaps you don’t need to eat a very strict LCHF diet, but some people try it anyway and feel better with a calmer stomach, less flatulence, better satiety and won’t need to eat as often. They just feel better on the diet. But most people who are young, healthy and thin aren’t that fussy and eat potatoes and such as well.

JOURNALIST: But is it a weight loss diet or a lifestyle?

ANDREAS: It is a cure for health, and weight loss comes as a part of it.

NARRATOR: But the critics say that there’s a risk of getting too little of fibres, fruit and greens, and that the LCHF diet can lead to heart diseases and certain types of cancer. The governmental agency SBU [“Statens beredning för medicinsk utvärdering”, ie “The Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment”] haven’t been able to assess the long-term effect on diabetics who eat LCHF, and today the debate is raging and has as many opinions as experts.

ANDREAS: It is messy right now, and that’s what happens when a change is under way. We have been convinced for a couple of decades that fat is dangerous, and now that scientific theory is dying because it doesn’t hold up in modern studies. It gets messy for a couple of years when people say different things, and unfortunately we’ll have to endure it until the matter is clarified.

JOURNALIST: Fruits is something that I learned when I was growing up to think of as healthy food, but what do you say?

ANDREAS: I think that fruit has become a bit too sacred in Sweden today. You must consider that it’s energy comes almost entirely from sugar, and that can be a problem if you want to lose weight or control your blood sugar. I suggest we consider fruits as natural candy.

JOURNALIST: Cheese! Something that I love.

ANDREAS: Many who like cheese avoid it because they think that it’s somehow bad for your health, but if you eat a low carb diet you can eat cheese with a clear conscience and eat the cheeses you like, especially the fattier varieties.

ANDREAS: The reason we’ve been afraid of fat for a couple of decades is because of the theory that increased cholesterol can cause heart disease. Now it’s been proven in studies that that’s wrong.

JOURNALIST: But can you eat too much of fatty foods?

ANDREAS: It’s hard to overeat on fatty foods, because it makes you very full. If you do you normally go a couple of more hours without food than you would have, so it evens out. It’s very very hard to overeat on pure fat, try and eat a package butter if you can!

JOURNALIST: But is there any physical danger to eat that much fat?

ANDREAS: Not what is known, and Socialstyrelsen [“The National Board of Health and Welfare”] looked into the LCHF diet a couple of years ago and found no scientific evidence that it’s dangerous.

NARRATOR: The LCHF diet and Andreas says that when it comes to other dairy products, it is important to choose the full fat options. Real butter, fat youghurts and full fat cream. And to totally avoid the sugary and flavoured light products.

ANDREAS: I think they should have warning signs on them when they contain as much sugar as they often do. People are tricked into beleive they’ll loose weight with these light products full of sugar, and then gain weight instead.

ANDREAS: We’ll take some bacon, bacause that’s good.

JOURNALIST: If you look at meat, which varieties should I choose?

ANDREAS: Beef, pork, game… It’s a matter of taste and money. Here for example we have a sausage made from elk with a lot of meat in it, so that’s excellent, we’ll take it. But then there’s cheaper hot dogs full of water and potato flour and other stuff we don’t want, so we won’t choose those.

JOURNALIST: But, how strict are you?

ANDREAS: I’m pretty strict, but sometimes I’ll have some potatoes or bread because I don’t have the need to avoid it completely. It’s if you have problems with your weight or blood sugar that it pays off to be strict. You can choose yourself what makes you feel good and what’s comfortable.

JOURNALIST: Fish and shellfish…

ANDREAS: Fish and shellfish are perfect LCHF foods. Fresh shrimps, salmon, just choose what you like.

ANDREAS: We now approach the egg shelves, and eggs are a very typical low carb food. For breakfast, boiled or omelette… You could for example choose organic eggs, great food!

JOURNALIST: Andreas, your new book is called “Matrevolutionen” [“The Diet Revolution”], when did it begin and what does it say?

ANDREAS: I think the revolution is underway as more and more Swedes realize that you don’t have to be afraid of natural fats, that you can eat real food until satisfied and lose weight, get better health… More and more doctors and nurses also begin to open their eyes to this. So I think we’ll see more of this in Sweden, that more Swedes will eat better food and will get healthier.

Link to the broadcast of the show at SVT online. (Unfortunately it’s only available during 30 days after first sent.)
Link to Andreas Eenfeldts blog “the Diet Doctor”.


The newspaper Expressen writes: “Changed her diet – the migraine disappeared”
May 10, 2011

Catharina Pousette, 37, suffered from migraines, aches and fatigue. But she didn’t connect that to the fruits and sandwiches she ate! With a Atkins-like diet she now feels much better.

As a child Catharina Pousette enjoyed sweets, but she can’t say she ate more than other kids. When she grew up she thought her diet was healthy.
– I ate as people do, following the Plate Model. Maybe a few more cookies and candies than others, but I knew that it’s unhealthy so it wasn’t something I ate every day, says Catharina.

In her twenties she started having problems with her health. Catharina often had migraine, bad skin, was tired and worried, went up and down in weight and started to feel that the whole body ached. She tried different ways to stabilize her weight, took strong medication for her skin problems and sought medical attention for her different problems. She often had cravings for pasta and bread and ate a lot of sandwiches and pears – as they where sweet and good.
– I had learnt that fruit is healthy so I thought I did the right thing. But I didn’t feel well.

Sugar addiction
But about five years ago Catharina read an newspaper article about sugar addiciton and immediatley recognized her own problems. She bought the book “Sockerbomben” [“The sugar bomb”] written by the behavioral specialist Bitten Jonsson and read it cover to cover. After that she went on a five days long course with Bitten.
– It was then I realized why for example the Weight Watchers methods never worked for me. I always thought that it just was a matter of pulling myself together, but now I realize that I had an addiction.

She learnt about the brain’s reward system and that she as an sugar addict is extra sensitive to carbohydrates. Catharina learned how to find the hidden sugar – she had for example no idea that ketchup contains sugar – and removed pasta, bread, fruit, rice and potatoes from her diet.
– At the same time I could start eating things I hadn’t for a long time, like cream and full fat crème fraîche.

“Feels so much better”
Her skin problems got better after only a few days, her headache disappeared and rarely bothers her now. The fatigue and body aches disappeared gradually. And Catharinas weight have now been stabilized, as well as her mood. She still needs to eat regulary and get good sleep to avoid the cravings that still can surface. At the same time as Catharina changed her diet she stopped drinking alcohol. Partly because alcohol too raises the blood sugar, but also because many sugar addicts are sensitive to other stimulants that trigger the brains reward centre.
– It might sound pretentious and boring but this is the only way for me. I feel so much better now and it’s not hard at all, says Catharina.

Link to the article in Swedish, written by Elin Gunnarsson.


The newspaper Metro writes: “Eat the right diet – get rid of the insulin”
(May 18, 2011)

It is possible to eat so that your Diabetes type 2-symptoms disappear. But you’ll need the willpower to change your lifestyle. Andreas Eenfeldt, known as the Diet Doctor, recommends his diabetic patients to eat according to the LCHF diet.

The doctor and author of the book “Matrevolutionen” [“The Food rEvolution”], dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, says that the stricter low-carb diet LCHF has a more positive influence on the bodys insulin than for example the for diabetics recommended Glycemic Index (GI) diet.
– GI really has a limited effect on diabetics as that diet contains carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, regardless if they are slowly absorbed or not, breaks down in the body and is transformed into sugar, which causes a higher blood sugar level. If you limit the intake of carbohydrates as you do with LCHF and instead increase the intake of fat, you’ll keep the blood sugar on an even level, says Andreas Eenfeldt.

He recommends all his diabetic patients to eat the stricter LCHF diet. Those who have followed his advice have also shown fantastic results and in the best cases they have stopped needing medication, he says.
– The LCHF diet is also good for type 1 diabetics, even though they cannot completely stop taking medications.
Already during the first day or even after the first meal with LCHF diabetics will notice a difference in their blood sugar, says Andreas.
– There are also even more health benefits with LCHF for type 2 diabetics, for example weight loss and better blood pressure. The cholesterol distribution also becomes better because you eat more of the good cholesterol HDL, and the risk for heart disease decreases, says Andreas.

LCHF

  • LCHF stands for Low Carb High Fat – that means low intake of carbohydrates and higher intake of fat.
  • The diet mainly consists of meats, fish, eggs, vegetables that grow above the ground, and natural fats. Sugar and starchy foods as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes are avoided. Low calorie-products are not allowed.
  • Diabetics who starts to eat less carbohydrates also need less insulin. Therefore it’s important to measure the blood sugar often when you start on the diet.
  • Read more about LCHF and diabetes at www.kostdoktorn.se

Link to the article in Swedish, written by Mary Örnborg.


TV4 Nyhetsmorgon
May 31, 2011

My comments
This is a transcript of a almost 9 minutes long debate from the Swedish TV program “Nyhetsmorgon” (“news morning”). I’ve done my best to get everything right, but if any of my fellow countrymen find any misstakes, please tell me so.

This was broadcasted in the morning between the news reports, and the atmosphere in these morning shows is always more relaxed than in evening debate programs. Most Swedes listen to these news and in-between-interviews or debates whilst getting ready to go to work, and most Swedes don’t want to start their day with a big frown, but loves to have something to chat about at lunch and “fikapauser” (ie coffee-and-cookie-breaks).

They had invited Ingemar Gröön from the Bread Institute and Ola Lauritzson. The Bread Institute is nothing more than an association of different Swedish bread manufacturers, and since their sales have been dropping for some time now they’ve obviously chosen to get agressive. They have launched a campaign to tackle the “myths” about bread, in hope to make the Swedes more relaxed with munching on loafs again.

Ola Lauritzson is a nutrition advicer, author and expert on Glycemic Index. He’s not very fond of mass produced wheat products.

And now over to the show!
[On the table there’s a big platter of different kinds of breads.]

Female presenter: What about bread? Is it healthy or is it unhealthy? About 35 years ago it was recommended that we eat about 6-8 slices of bread each day.

Male presenter: You could say that that recommendation stuck with us…

F: Yes it did!

M: …when we grew up in the seventies.

F: Today we’ll talk about myths regarding bread instead.

M: Yes, and it’s the Bread Institute that wishes to enlighten us. We’ll try and sort myths from truths now. Ingemar Gröön from the Bread Institute, welcome.

INGEMAR: Thank you.

M: Ola Lauritzson, you are an acknowledged expert on GI [Glycemic Index], welcome to you too.

OLA: Good morning, thanks.

M: Shall we exclude… Shall we… The recommendation of 6-8 slices of bread each day, shall we bury that?

INGEMAR: No I don’t think we should. I wouldn’t say that 6-8 slices of bread is a recommendation for everyone, but if you burn a lot of energy, then of course you can eat… Bread itself is healthy food. Some breads are healthier than others. It’s about the balance between how much you eat and how much you get rid of. If you work out a lot, if you’re a skier, if you work out much, then of course you have to make sure you get all the nutrition you need.

M: In that case you’d have a good estimate of your dietary needs. But if we look at this picture, this old campaign… But here and now you want to talk abouth myths about bread instead?


The Bread Institutes campaign from the seventies: “The Socialstyrelsen wants us to eat 6-8 slices of bread each day”

INGEMAR: Well, that campaign must be viewed in the light of those times. It was intended to create the opportunity to give bread attention, and it succeeded very well. Today we wouldn’t make it in the same manners, perhaps, it needs to be adapted.

M: Well, the worst myth then?

INGEMAR: The worst myth is… Well, Swedish consumers know very well that bread is healthy food, but at the same time it’s beleived that bread makes you fat. And that’s not the case. It isn’t an individual food that makes you fat, it’s the total amount of energy intake that makes you fat. We eat too much.

F: But is that really all we think about? That we get fat by eating bread? What do you say about that Ola?

OLA: I’d say that the problem isn’t that we eat too little of bread here in Sweden, it’s that we eat too much and the wrong kind of bread. And the problem with bread is that it contains many nutrients that are quickly absorbed in the body, and stresses the body in different ways. It raises the blood sugar and is harmful in many different ways.

F: So it’s not only a matter of losing weight?

OLA: Well, weight is one aspect, but there’s other issues too. But I agree with Ingemar, if you’re younger, exercise a lot, well then you’ll need to eat more and get more of quickly absorbed energy. But for most of us, including myself who’s sedentary at work, and is over 30, 40 or 50 years, everyday life isn’t like that. We eat too much bread, too many easily digested carbohydrates, and thats my point. I enjoy and welcome this debate because we can clearly see that 6 to 8 slices of bread that was the recommendation, on top of pasta and cereal and rice and potatoes, which Socialstyrelsen said that we should eat to every meal, we can see with todays knowledge how wrong that was.

M: Isn’t there a risk that we simplify too much? There’s so many different kinds of bread. If we look at… The kids love this one… [Holds up a plain white slice of bread.]

INGEMAR: And that might be right for them if they exercise a lot. They have a lot of gym class and move around a lot.

F: But how much? Isn’t it also a matter of amount?

INGEMAR: Yes of course, as with all things… Just because you say something is healthy you’re suddenly supposed to be able to eat any amount of it, and it’s not that simple. It’s always about finding the right levels and the right combinations for you. Just because you need to lose weight you don’t have to eat this all of the time. [Picks up a slice of white bread.] If you think this is OK you can eat it sometimes, but as an adult you’ll have to take the consequenses of what you eat…

M: Ola, what’s so dangerous about one of these? [Waves the white slice around.]

OLA: Well, if you look at many of these breads they break down fast in your body. Wheat becomes sugar in your body very fast, it affects the blood sugar and the insulin production. And I would say that we get fooled by the bread industry to think that some bread varieties are healthier than they are. And if i look at this one here [see picture below], we have a kind here that looks healthy because it’s dark and so on. But I would say that it’s not at all very healthy. It’s dark because there’s sugar and syrup in it, and that isn’t a very good thing.


F: But isn’t it also about that you get hungry sooner if you only eat white bread with only wheat than if you eat whole grain? That you’re content longer?

INGEMAR: Yes if you eat bread with whole grains, if you eat bread with whole seeds in it, if you eat bread with sourdough, then it’s an excellent way to keep the hunger at bay, and help to loose weight, partly because it’s little energy in it and parly because you’re content longer, and that… If you compare those two [points at a slice of white and a darker slice] then you’re filled longer…

F: But now you’re talking about weight again. But if you think about the intestines? How does the intestines feel if you only eat this white bread compared to this whole grain bread?

INGEMAR: Well that’s not something to be concerned about… The intestines are good at taking care of things.

F: Do you agree with that?

OLA: No, I’m sure that you’ll feel better on that bread [points to the whole grain] than the one of wheat, which breaks down so fast and causes an inflammatory effect in the body. That’s one of the problems. We’ve talked about hunger and weight, and we must stop eating so much refined carbohydrates. And what I want to say, and I agree with Ingemar, that there’s decently good alternatives. We see some of them here with whole seeds, with sourdough, with whole grains, and unsweetened bread, so I won’t say that all breads are bad.

M: No, because it easily gets to a point of pro and con bread. But if you should get a sandwich now, then what would you choose? Would you take this one? [Picks up a brown-ish slice.]

OLA: No, that’s a sweetened loaf. I have two favorites here… Here’s a sourdogh bread made of rye, I think. [Picks up an grey-ish slice.]


M: Favourite!? That’s like eating asphalt!

F: That’s really good toasted…

OLA: No this is good. If you toast it and have some strong tasting cheese on it… And this is also an unsweetended whole grain bread with whole seeds. And that’s good. [Picks up the darkest slice on the platter.]

INGEMAR: That’s good for Christmas, Easter or Midsummer and such… On Smorgasboards, that’s amazing, but then… Well I mean, in stead of… But then you shouldn’t look to much on the nutrition facts. For most of the consumers this [points to the darkest slice] is too much. Swedes like sweet bread, and Swedes have liked sweet bread for almost one hundred years, and it’s the last thirty years that we’ve seen an greatly increased intake of energy among the Swedish people, that we now see an explotion in amount of obese. So, a few percent added sugar in a bread is the compromise we have to make so that the Swedes will actually eat healthy, eat whole grains, with the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that’s in it. So that’s a compromise we can make.

[Everybody starts to chatter at the same time.]

M: It isn’t the breads fault that we have become fat, is it?

OLA: But, but, this is really interesting. Here they add extra sugar and syrup so that we’ll eat more…

M: Isn’t that so we’ll get the whole seeds and…?

OLA: [Laughs.] No, no, I really don’t think so. Here they add extra sugar and syrup, we think it’s healthier, we experience it as sweeter, the youngsters think it tastes better and wants more. And that’s the big lie in all of this that I oppose to. To fill it with sugar so that we’ll eat more, that’s…

INGEMAR: But that’s no lie. It’s about about everything… When we’re at home and cook we’ll make the food as tasty as possibly, that’s what it’s about. If the industry or the producers had set their minds to make it as healthy as possible, or make products only for the sake of the nutrition facts, then it wouldn’t be fun anymore. Where’s that aspect in all of this?

F: That’s non-existent!

INGEMAR: It must be good aswell!

M: Well, how should we approach the pleasurable aspect?

OLA: No, but we shouldn’t outlaw bread or candy or cake or beer or anything else either, I think, but you should be aware of what you eat, and that’s my whole point. We think that some sorts are much healthier than they are. I mean that as long as you make concious choises, then it’s up to you.

F: But what you also can feel sometimes is that you have a craving for sweets, like we talked about and that’s not very good at all, and if it’s sweet then you can question why we should eat more of it. Isn’t it somewhere about eating with common sense, to not overeat, because it’s easy to say “I walked home from work today, so I can eat three more sandwiches” and you think that the walk home makes it OK to add these slices.

INGEMAR: It’s not that simple, but…

F: But we do that and makes excuses for ourselves to get to eat what’s so darn good.

INGEMAR: What you can do about that is to inform the consumers how things are linked… How energy intake and loss are linked, how are foods rich in nutrients linked… And how you’re supposed to eat to live in a constructive way, or a healthy way for you. And then the products are out there to choose from. Sweden have one of the worlds widest ranges of bread sorts, so you can just choose. You can choose!

M: Perhaps you can read the information yourself?

INGEMAR: As long as they have the information, and we try to make sure that they do, then they can choose among our products.

F: If you take two sandwiches, could you take one of this and one of that? [Points at the whitest and darkest slices.]

M: I’ll take one of each!

F: Good for you!

Ingemar: Well, then you’re not exactly very consistent as consumers…

M: Thank you for coming.

Link to the broadcast of the show at TV4 Nyhetsmorgon online.
Link to the Bread Institute’s Swedish homepage.
Link to Ola Lauritzson’s Swedish blog.