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Diet crazes drive Swedes to ‘bad fats'

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Diet crazes drive Swedes to ‘bad fats'
17:25 CEST+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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