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:
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.
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.
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.