Imagine one day waking up to the following scenario in the United States of America…
After months of controversy over her use of a high-fat, low-carb diet with her obese and diabetic patients as a result of two dietitians who are members of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) complaining because she was causing irreparable harm with her treatment, Dr. Mary C. Vernon is vindicated by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) when they declare that low-carb diets are “in accordance with science and well-tried experience for reducing obesity and Type 2 diabetes.” This lights a fire in other practicing physicians who had previously been too afraid to show their open support for carbohydrate-restriction to help their patients improve their weight and health. Now they prominently advertise their use of low-carb diets with patients to draw them in.
Nationwide interest in the healthy low-carb lifestyle begins to spread like wildfire and the online presence of low-carb web sites, including blogs, recipe sites, scientists, doctors, and more sees a nearly ten-fold increase in traffic virtually overnight. The #1 selling health books on Amazon.com tout high-fat, low-carb diets like Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, and Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb (hey, it’s my dream–it could happen!). Newspaper stories, radio talk shows, and television commentary all start questioning the low-fat diet advice that has dominated for over three decades while simultaneously talking up the positive benefits of livin’ la vida low-carb–all the while, the truth about low-carb living starts to sink into the hearts and minds of the average American watching all of this unfold right before their very eyes.
Furthermore, some of the biggest manufacturer supporters of the American Heart Association’s “heart-healthy” low-fat diet come under major scrutiny as sales of fake fats like margarine take a nosedive and the AHA succumbs to public pressure to end their lucrative sponsorship contract with the low-fat product companies using their heart healthy symbol on their packaging because of the limited scientific support that low-fat diets are healthy. Trying to save face, these companies band together what’s left of their marketing resources and try to organize a seminar for the media to educate them on why dietary fat is unhealthy and the outcry of disgust forced them to cancel the event just one day before it was scheduled to happen.
As if that wasn’t enough, a major advertising ethics committee pressures the margarine company to pull their ads immediately for being “exaggerated and untruthful.” Meanwhile, one of the top world champion athletes Michael Phelps comes out in support of eating a high-fat, low-carb diet to keep his body in tip-top condition for competition.
Wouldn’t this be great to see happening in our country which is being starved to death by the lack of truth about low-carb living? And yet doesn’t all of this sound just a bit too far-fetched for your imagination to believe could actually happen in the United States of America? Well, what if I told you every bit of that above scenario is already happening–in the country of Sweden? Would that get you excited about the future prospects of livin’ la vida low-carb?
It’s time to get excited low-carb lovers because that’s EXACTLY what is happening in Sweden and I’m thrilled to share with you these amazing details today. You’ll recall my exclusive podcast interview with Dr. Annika Dahlqvist in January 2008 who was the physician sued by two dietitians before that country’s government agency called The National Board of Health and Welfare (equivalent to our FDA, USDA, or Surgeon General’s office) publicly declared on January 16, 2008 that a low-carb diet is “in accordance with science and well-tried experience for reducing obesity and Type 2 diabetes.” Ever since Dr. Dahlqvist has been vindicated for promoting what they call LCHF (low-carb, high-fat diets), the public interest in livin’ la vida low-carb has absolutely exploded.
We’ve seen the leading advocates of carbohydrate-restriction like Dr. Dahlqvist debating the major concepts of this way of eating with the conventional health leaders there and standing their ground quite well. But the good news continues to happen to this day. According to my friend and a fellow low-carb blogger down in Sweden named Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, the positive news coverage of the low-carb lifestyle has been frenetic unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. He told me this time in 2008 his blog reached about 1,000 visitors per day. By 2009, that number reach 8,000, or nearly a quarter million readers a month! These days in 2011, it’s 19,000 daily. WOW!!!
Other key low-carb blogs and web sites in Sweden include:
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but rather a representation of the kind of online support sites advocating the LCHF lifestyle in Sweden. If you’re interested in seeing even more pro-low-carb web sites and blogs that are active in that country, then browse through this HUGE blog links list on Dr. Annika Dahlqvist’s web site.
As low-carb books and resources climb to the top of the bestsellers charts there, the gig is up on companies who have relied on the low-fat diet being “heart healthy.” One such company is the UK-based Unilever, the largest manufacturer of margarine in Sweden and around the world. Since the debate over fat became a national issue for discussion last year, sales of margarine have tanked. And just like in America, Unilever has been placing the “heart healthy” symbol on their products for years in a cozy multi-million dollar deal with the Heart-Lung Foundation, Sweden’s equivalent of the American Heart Association (AHA).
But not anymore.
The Heart-Lung Foundation has now terminated their relationship with Unilever because of their concerns over the limited scientific support that margarine is healthier than the saturated-fat-filled butter. As Dr. Eenfeldt notes, this is a “big blow for Unilever” who has relied on the public perception that their products are healthy for consumers to market them. Now what are they gonna say to people who are no longer fearful of fat?
In an attempt to save face, Unilever tried to hold a seminar for health journalists in Sweden to “educate” them about why fat is bad for your health. But once the television networks caught wind of this and exposed the ruse that was happening, Unilever abruptly canceled their event just one day before it was supposed to happen! And then just this week, an advertising ethics committee told Unilever that their television commercials promoting margarine as “heart healthy” are now deemed to be “exaggerated and untruthful.” You know, all of this could make you start feeling sorry for a company like Unilever–NOT!
Finally (as if all of that wasn’t enough to lift your low-carb spirits!), a top Swedish triathlete named Jonas Colting was featured in a major fitness magazine this month called Runners World and discussed his promotion of a low-carb workout regimen while eschewing the traditional “carbing up” that many of his peers engage in to fuel their workouts. It’s quite a refreshing perspective from such a world-class athlete.
Why do I share this story about Sweden with you today when things seems so far from happening like that in the U.S.? Because it just goes to show you how quickly the public can be convinced to change their habits with even an inkling of education about what is truly healthy. While many throw their hands up in the air in disgust at the inconsistencies they have been hearing about nutrition and health in recent years, the fact is they are very open to finding out the truth to solve their own weight and/or health concern.
I’m almost BEGGING some cocky, hot shot dietitians or activists with PCRM to sue somebody like Dr. Vernon, Dr. Richard Bernstein, Dr. Eric Westman, or any of the fine low-carb doctors out there who are helping their patients get better with carbohydrate-restriction so we could get the ball rolling on what is happening in Sweden to happen here. Bring it on if you think you can handle having the low-fat diet come under fire and survive the low-carb tsunami just waiting to be released. That’s why you never hear any of these opponents of low-carb diets talking about lawsuits–because they KNOW they’d lose!
I for one am very proud of our fellow champions of low-carb living in Sweden for their brave efforts to keep the momentum going and getting the public on their side. If all of this could happen within the short span of just a few short years in Sweden, then think about how quickly this same thing would take place in the United States of America. Knowledge is power and it’s all a matter of empowering the average Joe and Jane with the education they need to begin making better choices for themselves and their family. It may take many more years before this happens, but Sweden’s example gives me hope that it will happen much sooner than we ever expected!