The LCHF war is here

This week have been interesting. It started with debate article in one of the largest newspaper. Well actually I think it is the largest. But that is besides the point, so I should not mention that. But for anyone to who like to read some swedish here it is:
”De populära fettdieterna är ett hot mot folkhälsan”

Then one of the tabloid papers. Papers not worth to be named newspaper, had big headlines like “LCHF-war divides Sweden”.

The debate article was signed by 5 Swedish professors/doctors and the gist was that high diet fads are killing swedes. This makes me think of the excellent blog of Deinse Minger. She do not seem to write anything any more on that blog, but she should come out with a book later this year. ”Death by the food pyramid” But her latest blog post written a year ago is well worth to take a look on:  Are Low-Carb Diets Killing Sweden?

But back to the debate article. We swedes live longer nowadays because Coronary heart disease (CHD) has fallen. Different reason for this is put forward. They are changes in diet and lowering of cholesterol values (40 %), less smoking and lowering blood pressure (55 %) and finally improvements in medicine and treatment (35 %). Mmm.. this is 130 %.

But of course a person who quit smoking and get medicine. What made him not part of the negative statistic? This is the first problem. As no trial have been taken place where they randomized people in different groups. Telling some to quit smoking, some to change diet and others to get different improved treatment and so on. So any claims on why CHD have been going down in in Sweden is purely built on observation. Anyone who like to learn the difference between observational and clinical studies should listen to Tom Naughton’s  Science For Smart People
He is very funny also.
In short, you can with different parameter and values, hypothesis about any reasons you like. But only with testing can you prove them. Something not have been done.

By the way, they point out that CHD have gone down while at the same time we been getting fatter and rounder. During the same time we been cutting down on the fat. Does anyone see a connection there?

Now it been a shift in the country. Couple of Swedish doctors, and others without medical background are telling people to eat butter, fat and so on. Hey they mention me, I am one of the people without medical background. Wow I am in the newspaper.

One thing I can do is to actually read, I also do trust people with the right education who refer to proper scientific work and not just claiming things without presenting where the proof comes from.

One thing I wonder, why do they not mention all professors and doctors and other specialist around the world that is promoting a LCHF diet?

They claim in the article that because of our good work, we who promote LCHF,  we now see an increase in CHD among young people, men and women. Mostly among uneducated. Their source is a report of the health of the population for 2013 Folkhälsan i Sverige. Page 27 shows following graph:

CHD statistic for young people

Some explanation. Left do you have young women aged 35-44 and to the right the men, same age group. They are first timers for getting CHD, As long they did not get CHD within last 7 years. What you also can see is that lower education gives a higher probability for CHD. A more solid line and less dashed, indicate lower education.

So they claim is that CHD increase among the young people. I would call that a direct lie. You can say that among uneducated young women do we see an increase. And maybe a very, but very slight increase among high educated men.

So this is their proof that they have. We have an increase among uneducated young woman and maybe among highly educated men. A strange difference, is it young uneducated women that listen to people like me, and the very very few men listening to doctors/professors? Or is vice versa? I am not sure what I prefer.

So how long have the LCHF been going on? It could be around December 2005. With the case of Annika Dahlqvist. For anyone to learn about her in english listen to: Livin la vida low carb show podcast 107.

But it took till January 2008 when she so to say got acquitted, when I suppose it rely took of. People learned that if they could not prove that what she suggested was dangerous. Then it was no problem to eat it.

I suggest that below graph of butter consumption in Sweden from one of the dietdoctor.com talks tells part of the story.

butter sales

So compare the graph earlier about uneducated women and the butter. You find a correlation? Well maybe, 2006 did butter sale go start to go up, while CHD for uneducated women also started increasing. But why do we not see same with uneducated men or anyone else? I have myself gotten the idea that LCHF is not that popular among women. But of course I could be wrong.

Most of all do I like to say that I do not believe that changes in diet show changes that quickly for such a large group of people. It takes years for anything to take effect. So the reason for the increase happened years before the bad effect would bee seen. More about this below.

What other proof do they write about? They mention about the Norsjö and Västerbotten project, Sollentuna program and Habo model.

So what are they?
I have added a page about
The Norsjö and Västerbotten Intervention Programme (VIP)
Where I describe it and try to say what is wrong with it.
In short it does not prove that fat is dangerous.

The Habo model is more or less same I think. Also an intervention where they make people to do large lifestyle changes like start moving around, lose weight, quit smoking and try to relax more. So of course according to the debate article. It’s all about eating less fat.

I found no information about anything called Sollentuna program.

Alternative explanation for the increase of CHD among young women
It is something that did change in Sweden in the 80′s. Girls started to smoke much more. And when I say girls I mean those in the age of 15.
It is a well known fact that the majority of smokers in Sweden since several years are women. Long time earlier was young girls in majority among same age groups.

It has gone so far that I have for many year joked whenever I talk to guy who smokes, that it is girlish thing to do.

So what have this do to with anything? It is also considered that smoking causes CHD. And here does it take long time. Not as long time as carbohydrates take to do bad things with our bodies. Here we are talking about a 20 years lag.

15 years when starting to smoke. The effect is seen when they get 34-44. Is anyone rely surprised?

Lets take a look on some graphs from the excellent  talk by David Diamond Bad Science Created the Obesity Epidemic You find his talk at the bottom of the page in the link.

Saturated fat vs CHDFirst an image showing that saturated fat have nothing to do with the increase of heart diseases,

20yearsLagBetween smoking

 

 

Then a graph that shows we got about  20 years lag between cancer and CHD rates

Of course this as usal does not prove any causation. But to me they are more striking.

 

Another newspaper headline about what we should eat. But this one is different.

The story (Kosten kan påverka prostatacancer), is about prostate cancer. As usual is it not hard to find any English articles a: Men With Prostate Cancer Should Eat Healthy Vegetable Fats 

Unfortunately does the paper not exist as full text version and only as an abstract. But it gives some information.

So what is it about and why do I mention it? Because it mostly support what I have now understood for a year. Removing carbohydrates from your diet and increase the fat intake could decrease the risk for cancer. Mind you, I using the word could.

Reading it did I feel a little split. I felt that I was cherry picking parts of it. Increase fat, and decrease carbs. I am all for it. But then does the observational study find that saturated fat is bad. Guess what, I do not agree. But the big problem, it is only a observational study no more. As one commentary was:

Using data from food frequency questionnaires completed every four years during follow-up, they found that men who consumed more vegetable fat had a lower risk of prostate cancer death.”
”Thus, in the absence of randomized trial data, it is impossible to use these data as ‘proof’ that vegetable intake lowers prostate cancer risk, and the authors have carefully avoided such statements,” Freedland continues.
”When counseling patients, I remind them that obesity is the only known modifiable risk factor linked with prostate cancer mortality to date. Thus, avoiding obesity is essential. Exactly how this should be done remains unclear, although the data by Richman et al suggest that substituting healthy foods (i.e. vegetable fats) for unhealthy foods (i.e. carbohydrates) may have a benefit. Determining whether this benefit is due to reduced consumption of carbohydrates or greater intake of vegetables will require future prospective randomized trials,”
But even though I can be accused for cherry picking, do I take this as another small piece of the puzzle on what is healthy food. Less carbohydrates, and more fat, and yes even saturated.

The reason besides the feeling of bias in the articles I found, animal fat is unhealthy and vegetable oil are good, are the questioners.  It took me some time to find them. But they are here. They ask people every 4th year about what they eat. Since 1986, so they are persistent.

Have in earlier post, pointed out how strange it is to believe you will get the truth out of these. People lies, most of all to themselves. Especially if they believe certain foods are bad for you health and they are health conscious. People over or underestimate all the time. Most you can hope for is that over time they will do it consistently. As long they do not change opinion about what one should, or not should eat. But the hope that people as a group will lie consistently is futile. Because each one tries to hide different things depending on how they try to eat and live otherwise.

So what does the questioners say that makes me think that their assessment (because that is all what it is) of what the subjects rely is eating and in this specific case, in regards to how much animal fat they get. Or rather in combination with what. Screws up the data.
Take a look on one part of it.
Questionair for harvad study

So if you eat sausages that contains all kind of preservatives, hamburgers with sweet bread, sandwiches or pasta together with meat of different kinds then you eating animal fat. I.e. saturated fat. And if you then get an health problem, it is blamed on saturated fat.

This problem that we always mix our diet with combination with different food items, will screw up things. Especially in questioners like these that enhance the problem.

And this kind of data is precisely what each and every news paper headline that warn or advice us what to eat, is built of.

I remember studying economic for a semester. They taught us how to make predictions, or outcome of different scenarios. And the teacher then said. You will go out in the world and use these methods. They will be presented to the executives, who will say “now we finally have numbers, and can make decision on what to do”. All the while, you know how these numbers was created.

In short shit in, shit out.

Does starvation prolong life?

Is caloric restriction the way to live longer? Many seem to think so. At least now in Sweden since a while ago the documentary Eat, fast and live longer with Dr Michael Mosley was aired on the swedish television.
(The link should work if your in Sweden, until 12 of June. After that try YouTube or other)

As it been put to me as a truth that is certain, and that everybody knows that. Did it made me hitching to take closer look on why this is so. Or rather, is it right that by restricting your caloric intake, could you live longer?

List of my sources are as follows:
Swedish science magazine: Forskning och Framsteg #3- 2013 article on why they have so many 100 years olds on Okinawa.
Can extreme calorie counting make you live longer?
Proof mounts on restricted diet
Severe Diet Doesn’t Prolong Life, at Least in Monkeys
Calorie restriction doesn’t slow aging, monkey study suggests
Glasgow has lowest life expectancy in UK
Old CRONies: the diet they say will get you into your second century
How to live to 101 – BBC Horizon or Top documentary film

So what did I learn from listening and reading?
Well from the swedish science magazine that is not one of those common ”Illustrated” ones, instead I think it has a good reputation, could I read that longelivity on Okninawa depends on 4 things.

  1. They get high amounts of Flavonoids from their homegrown vegetables, less meat and more fatty fish. Eat slowly without being full. (article claim low saturated fat)
  2. Daily physical work, taking care of your garden. Those vegetables does not grow by themselves.
  3. Taking care of the their total health, physical, mental, social and spiritual.
  4. And social network
  5. And genes

Actually 5, as they also consider genetics important so I add that to the list.

From Eat fast and live longer with Dr Michael Mosley did I learn a new word, IGF-1, some kind of protein. So after all these different cholesterol types and whatever else. Should I now also keep on eye on this? As it seem to be linked with cancer. It should be low according to the scientist in the program. And one way to lower it is to eat less protein. But just less, you still need it on daily basis. Also important is lower blood sugar.
The documentary advocates either fasting (no food) for 4 days each month or the popular 5:2 eating plan. That is, eat anythiing for 5 days. And then eat only 500-600 cal a day for 2 days. Actually Michael Mosley his now selling a book on it.

From How to live to 101 – BBC Horizon can we learn that on Okinawa do they eat vegetables and eat less.

While in Ovodda on Sardinia also have long living population. Here is it because of the genes. Because they eat and drink as if it was no tomorrow. The longevity seem to be clustered to certain families.

Loma Linda in California is also is marked on world map as a blue zone. This time the reason for so many old people, seem to be spiritual and social life together with daily exercising.

I do not know what color the opposite of blue zone is. But Glasgow according to the documentary is the opposite. As also pointed out in the bbc article Glasgow has lowest life expectancy in UK. The reason is according the documentory due to overcrowding during the industrial revolution. And here population developed something called high inflammatory response. That protected you when you young from viruses and deceases so you could reach adult age and breed children before you die.
But then as you get older could an over acting immune system cause diabetes, heart decease. Which should be common in Glasgow.

Just to show that nature maybe not out to kill you after you stopped breeding. But just do not care for you anymore.

Discussion
When I did meet people in the 80s who had visit Sweden, or maybe only Stockholm. Comments where that they never seen so many beautiful old people, and asked my why. I could only agree that mediterraneans usually looked older. I attributed mainly to the sun, that it dried out the skin.
Does tourists think the same today? Do I? No I do not think so. So what have changed for them that was born after 1900-1930? Do our charter trips make the sun dry our skin?

I do not think most things depends on only one thing. Or at least, usually something depends on more things then one. Some more important, and some less. But here, I will try to point my finger on something I think is an important factor.

Thought for many years that one secret to slow down aging, was to have a “no worry” attitude. As one person somewhere in one of documentaries said. You have to have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. And I think that most of us can imagine that has some truth to it and heard expressions like, “she died of broken heart” when for example losing a child.

And it have shown that stress and worries do cause inflammation in the arteries. And that is the begining that leads to heart problem. So don’t worry be happy, is a good slogan.
But what are the other causes for some people to look young and healthy, and maybe also is? Genes besides.

The idea, that lowering the calories is the answer, is to me a kind of case of simplifying the case. If you are one of those, and lets face it, most people does, who thinks a calorie is a calorie. Then of course, any improvements on your health is only because of lowering the caloric intake.

But I’m not. So I will look for what I want to find. And yes, I am well aware that it is biased.

Improvements on life expectancy with low caloric intake has been shown on for example rats, monkeys and yeast. But it has not been tested on human. As we cannot lock up a couple of hundreds, feed them different things and see how long they live. Still to me, when something seem to work for many difference species, then why not, it is plausible. If it was only one, no way.

In the Eat, fast and live longer documentary does a Cronie only eat the skin of an apple. As that is where 95% of the nutrients is. The rest is sugar, and throws it. Because he do not want the sugar. But for him, is the calories he want to avoid. So even though he fills him up on berries is it still low calorie. So it seems to me that maybe it is not much sugar in his food. Or at least protected with fibers.

In the Can extreme calorie counting make you live longer? Do they interview Dr Valter Longo. Same guy who advocate the 4 days of fasting in Eat, fast and live longer. He show experiments on yeast. And says they live longer if the are deprived of calories, that is amino acids and sugar.

By the way, the Cronie presented there does not look healthy at all to me.

In the Eat, fast and live longer. Does the Dr Valter Longo want us to lower the IGF-1 and blood sugar.
Guess what, I know a way to lower the blood sugar. Ditch the carbohydrates.
The reason for lowering the IGF-1 seem to because it will stop the body to make new cells. Instead will it encourage it to repair old ones.

It is clear that lack of IGF-1 seem to prohibit growth. As the genetically modified rats without it, are tiny. But hey, they live longer. And people with a decease which makes them lack the IGF-1 are stunt in their growth.

What is interesting with these people? The fact is that they seem to not get diabetes or cancer. Yes that is great. But nowhere does he or anyone claim that the lowering of IGF-1 will prolong the life. And I found the reason.
“Unlike dwarf mice, however, people with Laron syndrome do not seem to experience increased longevity. The effect on life span may have been obscured in this study by the unusually high number of accidents and alcohol-related deaths seen in the Laron subjects.“

And it is longevity we where looking for. Not if it says cancer or other thing on your death certificate.

Later in the documentary do they look on rats that develop Alzheimer’s. Those of them that go on intermittent fasting will increase life expectancy and develop the Alzheimer’s later.

So what does the fasting entail? I do not know for sure. But it seems to me that they are giving the mice that is not fasting “Fast food” or something similar to taking them to McDonalds. More specific they give them fat and water with fructose in it. Actually it is a little unclear.

The scientist, Mark Mattson, make equality between fat and sugar. But mainly points to the sugar put in their food and saying:
“high fat diet exactly we put fructose in their drinking water and that has a dramatic effect.. earlier onset of memory and learning problem”

If I am right, this guy who supposedly is a well known scientist is doing the cardinal sin. Not changing one parameter.
Then they show that the rats on no sugary water but fasting is creating new brain cells. But wait a minute. Was it not important to lower the IGF-1, and you did that by fasting. To stop the body to create new cells?

It is something very strange here.

So now we go to the studies on monkeys.
First thing that strikes me is that we have 2 different studies. And they give different result. At least when it comes to life expectancy. No cause for any subjectivity. Your where born at a certain date and died another.
You can always be someone who say “oh that is easy, it is a difference because the experiments that presents findings that oppose my opinion are bad done”. Or you can look for what they did differently.
They write on some places that even though it was same type of monkeys was their origin different. Good point. As we know gene could matter. But we talk about 2 different groups and the effect of fasting inside them. Not sure I make my point there.

But what I sure about is how on one article I read about the studies, just happen to mention that it also was a difference in what kind of food they ate. And again sugar pops up its sweet and deadly head again.
for example, 28.5% of the diet of the Wisconsin monkeys was made from sucrose, whereas the sugar only made up 3.9% of the NIA diet.

Wisconsin’s control monkeys were allowed to eat as much as they wanted and were fatter than those in the aging institute’s study, which were fed in amounts that were considered enough to maintain a healthy weight but were not unlimited.

I do like this:
That suggests the longevity diet didn’t really extend lifespan in the Wisconsin monkeys: It only seemed to because the control monkeys ate themselves into an early grave.

We all know what happens when we add sugar to the diet. At least if you beleive Dr Lustig We get hungrier and eat more. Just like those poor monkeys.

Conclusion

Yes I pointing my finger here to one thing. But I do accept that it is more to it than just sugar.

To live a life without stress is to me also important.
My life is in the hands of any rascal who chooses to annoy or tease me .
Supposedly said by Joseph Hunter. Whom likewise supposedly died 2 weeks afterward when someone did make him lose temper.

And if you think intermittent fasting is right. Then the good thing with LCHF, and most people doing it, agree on it. You start intermittent fasting automatically. Not because you decide to starve yourself and think feeling hunger is healthy, instead you do it because your are just not hungry.

Hey! what about the Okinawa cases?
It seem to have been done many studies on how bad health the second generation of Japanese immigrant to the US have, compared to those in the old home country. Indicating gene has nothing to do with it.

I know I should not, but I find just a little funny how the camera in the How to live to 101 – BBC Horizon zoom in on a japanese/american family celebrating a 101 year birthday. While the speaker says that his children, will not live as long as he has. And all the time are they eating a sugary cake.

Sugar that supposedly the Japanese did not get much in old time. And I do think the old people of Okinawa is not eating much of it either.

Todays big scare: LCHF cancer

Several newspapers in Sweden had headlines about cancer linked to LCHF. They are mostly in the line of that it exists something called LCHF cancer. Just like colon cancer or something similar. By reading the articles, is it possible to  learn that what they rely mean, breast cancer.

I found it very interesting that one of them (Metro) seemed to connect fast food and alcohol to LCHF.

Couple of Swedish sites are responding to what is written in the papers. One of the better one is: http://ettsotareblod.se/faktakollen-kan-mycket-fett-i-dieten-ge-brostcancer/

She writes extensively, but unfortunately on Swedish. But one point is clear. Since 1970 have the breast cancer increased in Sweden.

Bröstcancertrend-300x242

It is just that during same time,, have what is considered bad  fats like butter lost market. While  consumption of so called healthy stuff, like low calorie margarine gone up.

Smörkonsumtion-i-Sverige-1024x622

 

 

 

 

 

Yes correlation does not prove causation. But the curves in these 2 graphs just make me think that it just could be something. That is breast cancer have nothing to do with it.

Although  I think that one of the most important reason for increased breast cancer is: Smoking

And I find it funny that none of the papers points out, that during most of the time the numbers of girls smoking have increased.

*this post have been edited to clarify my view