Press Release published on My News Desk: “Public opinion pull: Nearly one in four Swedes eat LCHF”
(March 29, 2011)

A new public opinion pull shows that no less than 23%, nearly one in four Swedes, eat according to the so-called LCHF method. LCHF is a diet that has attracted much attention in recent years with its focus on a low amount of carbohydrates and high amount of fat. The diet has often been contrasted with the authorities advice to follow the Plate Model. Demoskop has been commissioned by Optimal Förlag to investigate the Swede’s attitude towards LCHF.

The survey results, that nearly one in four Swedes eat LCHF, can probably best be described as astounding, says Catherine Schück, nutrition advicer and authour of the book “LCHF för tjejer” [“LCHF for girls”].

– Although I’ve been traveling around in Sweden and met many people who eat according to LCHF, I had never imagined that it had made such an impact with the Swedes, says Catherine Schück.
– The fact that so many Swedes now choose to eat LCHF will have implications for the food stores and restaurants.

Lars-Erik Litsfeldt, one of the Swedish pioneers in LCHF and co-author of “LCHF för tjejer, is also surprised that the method has become so popular, especially because the diet haven’t received any direct encouragement from the authorities.
– This means that more Swedes chose to listen to each other’s dietary experience, than to the authorities somewhat aged advice to follow the Plate Model, says Lars-Erik Litsfeldt.
– It is quite surprising given the confidence we have in the authorities in Sweden.

Most popular with women
The survey also shows that the method is more popular among women than men. 19% of men and 27% of women eat according to LCHF.
– Women have historically spent a lot of time on issues of health and weight loss and for many it’s been a hopeless battle, says Catherine Schück.
– Now that many women have found something they feel works, it opens a huge opportunity for everything from food suppliers to fast food vendors.
– Many of the classic LCHF recipies have also been directed mostly at men, and more books based on girls preferences are needed.

LCHF is popular even among older Swedes. Nearly one third between 55 and 89 years of age eat according to LCHF. People on low income are also more likely to eat LCHF than high-income earners, even if the gap can be seen as small.
– Obesity has become a class issue, and in that perspective it is not surprising that those on low incomes, who’s had the biggest problems with their weight and health, choose to try LCHF, says Cathrine Schück.

Link to the survey results in full: http://pagina.se/filer/demoskop_mars_2011.pdf

About the survey
This survey was conducted by Demoskop on behalf of Optimal Förlag with the aim of measuring the proportion of Swedes who eat according to the diet method LCHF. The target group was the public aged 18-89 years. 1000 interviews were conducted during the period February 23 to March 3, 2011.

The question asked in the survey was:
Do you try and adjust your diet according to the method of eating fat but minimize the intake of carbohydrates, so-called low-carb, high fat, ie LCHF?

Link to the article in Swedish.

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The newspaper Göteborgs Posten writes: “Overweight lives in the brain”
(June 3, 2011)

Why can’t we keep away from buying candy – although we know that sugar is empty calories?
Martin Ingvar has his answer. He is a neuroscientist and professor at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet. Together with the journalist Gunilla Eldh he’s written the book “Hjärnkoll på vikten” [the title roughly translates to “Control the weight with your brain”].

– We fall for it because we like it, because it’s a habit and because we have a reward system that says that sugar probably is more valuable than it is, he says.
– A problem is that modern food is so refined, he says, that we through it get an overdose of quickly digested calories, which makes the blood sugar – and thus the insulin – rise.
– And that’s when the blood sugar level begin to sink, we feel bad and go hunting for chocolate, says Martin Ingvar.

The brain needs sugar just as much as the car needs gasoline to work. But the brain can’t store fuel as the rest of the body can, and therefore the storage needs to continually be replenished.

The dopamine levels soars
The brain can extract energy from healthier foods as beans or vegetables, but that takes longer time and the brain gets a little bit impatient. But if it gets a soda and a big cupcake the demands get a kickstart. This is because dopamine is skyrocketing, the same hormone that’s released when in love or during sex, and that’s in drugs like cocaine and amphetamine.

Modern research has shown that some people have a more sensitive reward system than others. If so a re-programming might be needed, or a “brain by-pass” as Martin Ingvar calls it. He does not favour the Plate Model or Keyhole Symbol-labeled foods. They contain too much carbohydrates which raises insuline levels.
– If you listen to those recommendations you judge people to become obese. At the same time people are getting blamed for not being thin. I think that’s a bad governmental attitude. 

A person who’s decided to change his lifestyle should learn how to level out his blood sugar curve. If you also understand how the reward system works you’ll get a good protection agains bad decisions.
– Knowledge is a great vaccine. Then you need to train new habits so that the brain do not require that you fall back in old patterns. And you need to be a bit stubborn too.

According to Martin Ingvar  you should definitely not go on diets or count calories.
– Going down and up in weight like a jo-jo with calorie restriction leads to making you fatter. It makes the body go into an energy saving mode, which gives you cravings and then makes you fat.
It may take many attempts and a lot of willpower to break old behaviors. The comfort is that the brain, just like any muscle, can be trained to new habits.

Reprogramming your lifestyle can, according to the book “Hjärnkoll på vikten”, start with avoiding all “white” foods for a period. That means eating minimal of easily digested carbohydrates like those found in candy, cookies, soda drinks, wheat, potatoes, white rice and pasta.

Link to the article in Swedish, written by Lena Ekstrand.
Read more about the Plate Model and the Keyhole Symbol here.