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Diet crazes drive Swedes to ‘bad fats’

Diet crazes drive Swedes to ‘bad fats’

Published: 05 Jun 2012 17:25 GMT+02:00
Updated: 05 Jun 2012 17:25 GMT+02:00

Swedes are eating larger amounts of more dangerous fat than ever before, according to the Swedish Food Retailers' Federation (Svensk Dagligvaruhandel), something experts are attributing the growing support in Sweden of pro-fat diets.

“The LCHF (Low carb high fat) train is moving forward and more and more people are changing over to that diet. Many have realized that the natural fat isn’t dangerous but good for us,” said physician and LCHF advocate Annika Dahlqvist to newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

In the last three years, the sale of butter has risen by 40 percent, according to the paper. At the same time, there are more people who follow the pro-fat diets; LCHF, Atkins and the Montignac diet than ever before.

Swedes last year also bought nine percent more of the butter alternative Bregott, which has a higher fat percentage, while the sales of other lower-fat margarines fell by eight percent, according to the federation’s figures.

According to the federation CEO Thomas Svaton, the situation is developing in the wrong direction, and the gropup has called for a new national nutrition plan to combat the increasing problem.

On Tuesday the findings from a joint venture between the Nordic countries to come up with new recommendations for a healthy diet were presented in Iceland, advising Nordic residents to eat less saturated fats and quick carbohydrates.

“The new recommendations show more clearly that it is the quality of the fat which is important for your health. It is made visible that there is a difference between fats just like there is a difference between carbohydrates,” said heart specialist Maj-Lis Hellenius to DN.

The Swedish diet recommendations have been questioned in recent years, especially by those who advocate a diet higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates.

But the new Nordic recommendations are not that different when it comes to fat. Instead it concentrates on the importance of eating the right kind of fat.

“How much fat or carbohydrates you eat is of less importance. The important thing is that the fat should come from vegetables. It shouldn’t be full-fat dairy products or animal fat. And the carbohydrates should be from wholemeal, fruit and vegetables, not refined flour and sugar,” said Irene Mattisson from the National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) to news agency TT.

In line with the new recommendations, the people in the Nordic nations are advised to ingest less fat in their milk, less butter, less red meat and less refined sugar, reports the paper.

Hellenius, who is part of the team of specialists who have been working on the new guidelines, is surprised that the pro-fat diets have so many advocates in Sweden.

“In the other Nordic countries we don’t see this backlash at all,” she told the paper.

TT/Rebecca Martin

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Your comments about this article

18:26 June 5, 2012 by fakeempire
I would say whole grains/flour are actually worse for your health than refined white flour. Refined flour you can digest much more easily than whole grains. Also, even though people say grains have fiber, you shouldn't depend on whole grains as your daily source of fiber, you should be getting those in green veggies. After much debate and research I feel that bread only offers carbs/energy and not that much benefit in health. You can be getting "better" carbs eating something else like root veggies or a banana.

But limiting sugar is one step in the right direction, and we need good fats.
20:02 June 5, 2012 by johan rebel
All these obese people must be prety dumb as well.

Want to lose weight? Eat less, excercise more. It really is that simple.

Reducing your food intake by 50% will do the trick, no matter what you eat. If you also make sure to get moving and ditch all the junk food, the kilos will melt like butter in the sun.
20:03 June 5, 2012 by LCHFinCanada
I've been following a diet like what Sweden's Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, (and possibly how Dr. Annika Dahlqvist) recommends for years now. No grains, lots of fats from meats and things like butter. Non starchy vegetables.

Before Low carb, I attempted a "low fat" diet to control the weight I had started to gain on my formerly slender body (and kept on gaining, despite following the diet perfectly). This "low fat diet" resulted in extreme exhaustion, anxiety, a number of vitamin deficiencies, anemia, low T3, awful hair, awful skin.

The next time I got blood drawn after eating animal fats and limiting carbs, the doctor was amazed. No more low B12, D, no more low iron, no more low thyroid, no more anxiety, no more exhaustion. My lipids improved to the point he said I was one of his healthiest patients. Oh, and not only did I stop gaining weight, I lost over 20lbs. I also put on muscle.

We have been eating animals for most of our evolution, we are designed to eat what can be hunted and foraged. It's absurd that anyone would believe we should shun animal fats, and get fat from highly refined vegetable product instead. Hopefully in 30 years everyone would be laughing at the silly low fat advice we're getting now, like we laugh that we once believed the earth was the center of the universe. Good for you Sweden. Eat butter, Get healthier, and become proof it works.
23:17 June 5, 2012 by bethrichardson
@LCHFinCanada - what you are missing here is that there are good fats bad fats, just like there are good carbs and bad carbs. If you don't eat enough of the good fats you will get exactly what you described - less energy, health problems, weight gain, and on and on. While some experts will say to avoid things like the fat from meat and dairy I've have the best results when eating natural foods, or as close to natural as I can get them, and in moderation. I still won't pig out on greasy, fatty food, but I do eat moderate amounts of meat, dairy, whole grains and fruit and veggies.

You are correct when you say that we were designed to eat these foods. But we were not designed to eat them in the amounts we are now able to. We used to have to hunt and forage for our food, which resulted in more exercise and less actual food. And please, whatever you do, avoid the overprocessed crap so many Americans have fallen victim to.
00:00 June 6, 2012 by LCHFinCanada
Beth, thank you for responding. Yes, natural fats being good was the point I attempted to make. As soon as I switched my diet and started to feel better it was apparent that this is true. Our country is very fat-phobic. Before I originally gained any weight, I was eating foods that dietitians here would think is excellent. Whole grains, fish, chicken breast, vegetables, not much red meat if ever. I never felt "great", would occasionally have to supplement for iron, etc. It wasn't until I started putting on weight that I switched to lower-fat, and started to restrict calories. This is when I started to feel terrible on top of it.

I simply didn't know any better then. I tried what our experts say will work. If you need to lose weight they say, cut fat, cut calories, exercise more. So I did that. We're told to eat LOTS of whole grains, and restricted animal fats, use margarine over butter, choose skim dairy. If you listen to dietitians here you're eating little to no natural fat, because they think it's terrible for you.

Real food is a must, I agree. I don't eat packaged items. This is why I was excited to see people in Sweden eating a much similar diet to my own. As far as overeating fats, LCHF is great for people who have difficulty controlling appetite. It naturally gets suppressed once you've become accustomed to the diet. So you're not gorging on fats, even though you don't limit them. In the absence of excessive carbohydrates, you get satiated much more quickly, on smaller amounts of food. Also, a meal will keep you going for hours on end without hunger. So you do end up running on less calories, but not because you're going hungry.
06:21 June 6, 2012 by Da Goat
The headline should read "Diet crazes drive Swedes to 'Good fats' "

the bad fats are the ones that the traditional dieticians are paid to promote by big business! natural fats are the good ones the manufactured fats are killers (well we eat far too much of this rubbish anyhow) Butter wins every time.

if you ever get the chance to see/smell Raw margarine you will never eat it again!
08:01 June 6, 2012 by eppie
@john rebel

I 100% agree.

Just have the self control to not every time you feel slightly hungry stuff your face full of food.
11:02 June 6, 2012 by Youdee
Years before Dr. Dahlqvist first appeared in the Swedish media, a diabetes specialist in Californa published a book that espoused the same thing with more clarity and common sense. What annoys me about this issue is that no Swedish journalists have mentioned her book, few have distinguished between good and bad fat when Dahlqvist first came on the scene, and even fewer have pointed out that "one diet does not suit all". In 1999, Jay Cooper wrote "The Body Code Diet & Fitness Programme", which contains a lot of common sense. Wolcott and Fahey's "The Metabolic Typing Diet" has a similar concept. In Sweden, journalists Karin Bojs and Anna Bratt are among the few who demonstrate common sense, objectivity, and thorough research.
13:57 June 6, 2012 by mahblues
There's a problem with the Nordic recommendations. Natural fats, good fats are healthy animal fats. Vegetable fats are demonstrably harmful to our health. Humans have been thriving on animal fats for nearly all of human history. Margerine was non-existent 2 hundred years ago and so was widespread cancer, heart disease, and obesity. Eat your butter, and your lard, and your liver, and your cholesterol. Get the truth: www.westonaprice.org
16:13 June 6, 2012 by johnnythenic
This is exactly what my book The Meat Fix - How A Lifetime of Healthy Eating Nearly Killed Me! is all about.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Meat-Fix-Lifetime-Healthy/dp/1849541396/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338991836&sr=8-1
21:03 June 6, 2012 by rohermoker
Eat less, Excerise more----ARE YOU MAD___
20:11 June 8, 2012 by LoveFitnessEducation
Great to see the Swedes standing up to powers that be and choosing real foods that improve health. It is precisely people like Johan Rebel and their close minded views as shown in comment number 2 that we need to rise above. Eating less and doing more does not work. You can eat as much as you want of the right things, including natural saturated fats and exercise is not the answer to weight loss and in many cases if done incorrectly can make things worse. I have been working with people for several years optimise their health and nutrition and eating real food is the only way forward for those looking to lead a healthy life. We live in a toxic world and real meat, vegetables, grass fed butter, fish and water is key to our health. Yet on average in Britain 3/4 of daily food intake is from toxic refined flours and grains - You can read more on my outlook in this article on the truth about saturated fat and cholesterol -

http://lovefitnesseducation.com/2011/08/22/the-truth-about-saturated-fat-and-cholesterol/
15:23 June 9, 2012 by ABG82
I have to wonder if all these people saying "eat less, exercise more" have ever had to lose more than a few vanity pounds in their whole lives.

I did eat less. A lot less, in fact, to the tune of around 700 calories a day every day. I never lost any weight. I only continued to gain weight. How do you propose I cut those kinds of portions in half?

The problem with simply cutting portions is 1) the assumption that being overweight or obese only happens or mostly happens because of over-eating, which is simply not true, 2) cutting portions and exercising more only makes a person even hungrier, and that can lead to binge eating in anyone (not just those lacking in self-discipline), and 3) portion cutting doesn't take into account how much food the person is currently eating, what the person needs for basic energy, and what specific macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrate) are being consumed the most. The macronutrient breakdown affects how some people lose weight. A lot of us are really bad at metabolizing carbohydrates, so when we make 60-70% of our diets carbohydrates, even so-called "good" carbohydrates like fruits and whole grains, we get fat.

When I switched to LCHF, I lost a lot of weight without limiting my portions at all. Deprivation diets of portion cutting and exercising are practically begging to fail. Those of you so eager to judge fat people, I suggest you eat practically nothing and work out at the gym for a few hours a day and try to keep this up for more than a week or two. I guarantee you won't. Any diet that has you starving yourself is a diet that's bound to fail you. You might as well try moving over to the healthy fats and away from the unhealthy carbohydrates (not all carbs, just most) for satiety and see if it helps you lose weight, too.
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