Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Nutrition Debate #35: The Diet Doctor and the LCHF Diet

Norway and Finland are running out of butter and Sweden’s gets 19,000 hits a day. The “real food” revolution has come to Scandinavia, according to a presentation that Andreas Eenfeldt, M. D. made at the Ancestral Health Symposium 11th annual meeting in Los Angeles in August 2011. I plan to attend the society’s 12th annual symposium at Harvard Law School, with the Harvard Food Law Society, from August 9-12, 2012, in Cambridge, MA.

Dr. Eenfeldt came to my attention from a video link on Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ la Vida Low Carb website Eenfeldt told how physician Annika Dahlqvist, who pioneered Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diets in Sweden after failing to lose weight herself, was reported to the authorities for not adhering to the government’s healthy eating program in her practice. She was turned in for malpractice! Naturally, the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, Sweden’s highest medical authority, decided to investigate. Fortunately, after a thorough investigation, they declared the LCHF diet was “compatible with scientific evidence and best practice.” Dr. Dahlqvist became an instant sensation and national hero. Today, twenty-three percent of Swedes are trying to eat low carb.

Personally, I think the National Board of Health and Welfare deserves a lot of credit too. They made what amounts to a paradigm shift in national nutrition policy, albeit two generations overdue. In this country, we have not made nearly as much progress, despite the fact that most respected scientific journals now openly trumpet the news that there is “… no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD” and “…there were no clear effects of dietary fat changes on total mortality and cardiovascular mortality.” The 2010 USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans published last January govern school breakfasts and lunches, the WIC program, food stamps, and prison and other institutional dietary programs and they call for very strict limits on saturated fat (see #3, 4, 8 & especially #14 at And our media and most clinical practitioners still preach the low fat gospel.

In Sweden, Dr. Eenfeldt reports that Göran Berglund, Professor of Internal Medicine at Lund, said, “Two generations of Swedes have been given bad dietary advice and have avoided fat for no reason. It’s time to rewrite the dietary guidelines and base them on modern science.” Fredrik Nyström, Professor of Internal Medicine at Linköping, said, “People have been recommending low fat diets for 30 years, and then it turns out to be completely wrong! There is no proven correlation between saturated fats and cardiovascular disease.”

Peter Nilsson, Professor of Cardiovascular Research at Lund, said, “It’s time to face the facts. There is no connection between saturated fats and cardiovascular disease.” Dr Eenfeldt, who provided these quotes in his video presentation to the AHS meeting, then states: "Fear of saturated fats and cholesterol is the foundation for what has become known at the diet-heart or lipid hypothesis." Eenfeldt then states, “When the foundation falls, the entire low fat advice falls.” In other words, the Low Fat diet that we have been misled into following, NOT the currently surging LCHF diet, is the fad diet.

What we are seeing, Dr. Eenfeldt says, is a paradigm shift. Saturated fat which was bad…is now good. Carbohydrates that were once thought to be good…now make us fat and sick when we eat too many. Diabetics are getting sicker every year, based on the bad dietary and medical advice they are getting. And it is getting worse. Under the current circumstances, Dr. Eenfeldt asks on the video, who thinks that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under whose auspices the Dietary Guidelines are prepared, is going to stop recommending that we eat grains anytime soon? His website lists fourteen randomized controlled trials that show significantly more weight loss with low carb diets than low fat diets. All have links to the respected peer-reviewed journals that published them.

Dr. Eenfeldt’s presentation was well received by a sympathetic audience of scientists, doctors and interested lay people. He concluded with a quote from Victor Hugo: “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” “The paradigm shift is coming,” he said. “We can change the world.” It’s a hopeful way to start the year, anyway.

© Dan Brown 1/8/12

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