Following the recent report from the influential Swedish SBU health committee recommending a low carb diet for weight loss a fascinating article has been written in the Swedish media featuring comments from Professor Fredrik Nyström about his delight that finally low carb, high fat diets are being taken seriously and people’s fear of eating fat is being challenged. This is an extract from a translation by the DietDoctor…
Butter, olive oil, heavy cream and bacon are not harmful foods. Quite the opposite. Fat is the best thing for those who want to lose weight. And there are no connections between a high fat intake and cardiovascular disease.
On Monday SBU, the Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment, dropped a bombshell. After a two-year long inquiry, reviewing 16,000 studies, the report “Dietary Treatment for Obesity” upends the conventional dietary guidelines for obese or diabetic people.
For a long time, the health care system has given the public advice to avoid fat, saturated fat in particular, and calories. A low-carb diet (LCHF – Low Carb High Fat, is actually a Swedish “invention”) has been dismissed as harmful, a humbug and as being a fad diet lacking any scientific basis.
Instead, the health care system has urged diabetics to eat a lot of fruit (=sugar) and low-fat products with considerable amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners, the latter a dangerous trigger for the sugar-addicted person.
This report turns the current concepts upside down and advocates a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, as the most effective weapon against obesity.
The expert committee consisted of ten physicians, and several of them were skeptics to low-carbohydrate diets at the beginning of the investigation.
One of them, however, who’s been an avid proponent of saturated fat (butter, full fat cream, bacon) since 2006, is Prof. Fredrik Nyström, Linköping, Sweden, and who has at times been scorned and sneered at to the same extent as LCHF’s “mother”, Dr. Annika Dahlqvist.
For Fredrik Nyström the report represents a victory.
- Absolutely. I’ve been working with this for so long. It feels great to have this scientific report, and that the skepticism towards low-carb diets among my colleagues has disappeared during the course of the work. When all recent scientific studies are lined up the result is indisputable: our deep-seated fear of fat is completely unfounded. You don’t get fat from fatty foods, just as you don’t get atherosclerosis from calcium or turn green from green vegetables.
Nyström has long advocated a greatly reduced intake of carbohydrate-rich foods high in sugar and starch, in order to achieve healthy levels of insulin, blood lipids and the good cholesterol. This means doing away with sugar, potatoes, pasta, rice, wheat flour, bread, and embracing olive oil, nuts, butter, full fat cream, oily fish and fattier meat cuts.
- If you eat potatoes you might as well eat candy. Potatoes contain glucose units in a chain, which is converted to sugar in the GI tract. Such a diet causes blood sugar, and then the hormone insulin, to skyrocket.
Moreover, this summer another study on the Mediterranean diet, rich in unsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados, nuts), was published, and was part of the basis for the SBU report.
- It showed that it does more harm to eat a low-fat diet than a high-fat diet. The study also advised drinking wine with the Mediterranean diet. I have long emphasized that a moderate intake of alcohol is beneficial to health and have myself done a study that confirmed a better blood lipid profile from red wine consumption. Thus, alcohol in moderation is not just OK, it’s beneficial.
There are many mantras we have been taught to accept as truths:
“Calories are calories, no matter where they come from.”
“It’s all about the balance between calories in and calories out.”
“People are fat because the don’t move enough.”
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
- Of course these are not true. This kind of nonsense has people with weight problems feeling bad about themselves. As if it were all about their inferior character. For many people a greater intake of fat means that you’ll feel satiated, stay so longer, and have less of a need to eat every five minutes. On the other hand, you won’t feel satiated after drinking a Coke, or after eating almost fat free, low-fat fruit yogurt loaded with sugar. Sure, exercise is great in many ways, but what really affects weight is diet.
The report states: “physical activity for obese people has a, if anything, marginal effect on weight loss.”…
Read the full translated article at: “Fat Trims Your Waistline”