The Food Revolution – AHS 2011 – By Andreas Eenfeldt (Transcript)

Okay. Thank you. So Andreas Eenfeldt is my name. I am a medical doctor from Sweden. So that explains the accent if you (inaudible). And I am going to talk about the Food Revolution happening in Sweden right now, people eating real food and improving their health and how perhaps the same thing might be happening in America soon.

But let’s start with David here, the famous statue by Michelangelo. It’s a masterpiece from the Renaissance, 16th century, Italy. But this is when David was living in Italy. Then he moved to the United States and he started watching the Dr. Oz show on TV. And this is what happened. It’s not pretty and of course, David is not alone because obesity has quite recently become a huge problem in the entire Western world, including so many of my patients. And the question is why and what can we do about it? I am trying to do what I can. So I started a blog in Swedish three years ago, it’s called Diet Doctor in English and it’s going to be interesting journey because when this blog was just getting started there were like 500 visits every day. So obviously there is a big interest in the subject of food and health.

Now a year later there were about 5000 visits every day and this year it’s up to 19,000 per day which is quite a lot for a small country. So something big is happening in Sweden. And to understand what, we have to go back in time few million years. So this is a basic view of human evolution and there is only one point I want to make. This took millions of years. So it takes a long time to change our genes. But other than obesity epidemic, they didn’t take millions of years, as you know, may have started slowly long time ago but the main part of it, most of it has taken place in the last 27 years.

And how is this basically even possible? Something must have changed in the environment. And what happened 27 years ago in 1984? Well, for example, a big campaign was launched to teach the American people to fear fats and cholesterol. And the idea was that food like eggs and bacon raised the cholesterol in your blood and thus it could give you a disease. Now this was largely an unproven theory back in the ‘80s. So this campaign I might say was an experiment. And there were scientists back then who issued warning saying that there may be unforeseen consequences for this. Things we haven’t thought of. And perhaps one such consequence we should have anticipated and that is, if you eat just one kind of food, you’re going to have to eat more of something else and thus you want to be hungry all the time. And if you eat less carbohydrate, if you eat just fat, you are going to have to eat more carbohydrates such as bread and pasta and sugar.

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Now all carbohydrates are digested into simple sugars in the gut and when they are absorbed in the blood raising the blood sugar, the body produces the hormone insulin as you know, which is also the body’s main fast growing hormone. So ironically this could happen, eating less fats could give us more problems with obesity. Of course, some people are thinking, hold on, it’s not quite this simple because what about [Ricky Gervais], that professor in Dubai was speaking about, eat a lot of fruits, vegetables which is carbohydrates and they weren’t fat. In fact, they were fit and healthy. And what about all the Asian people eating all the rice? There were no obesity epidemic traditionally in those countries.

So obviously if you get away with this you can eat a large proportion of carbohydrates and not get fat. But when these populations were eating unrefined starch, not white flour and they weren’t eating any purified sugar or fructose mostly either. In the Western world, we didn’t replace the fat only with fruit, vegetables or brown rice. We replaced it with sugar frosted donuts, French fries, ice cream, white bread, soda and juice for example. So this is rapidly digested carbs that quickly raise the blood sugar, insulin goes up and if you are sensitive, you can make it gain weight. Now this is of course still only theoretical. But now we know what happened when we tested this low fat advice. In an uncontrolled experiment, perhaps unethical experiment, this is official statistics over the obesity rates in the US like in 1985. How many have seen these statistics? Perhaps, half the group. It’s pretty spectacular, right?

And this is the year after the campaign to fear fat was launched and if you take a look at the states, the blue states have around 10% obesity and in the white states, there is not even good data because obesity wasn’t a massive problem like that. But let’s take a look by moving ahead two years at a time. In 1987, ’89, ’91, ’93, and ’95 you see something is happening rapidly in the dark blue states that weren’t on the map at all, just 10 years before. Now it covers half the country and what was that? That’s 15% obesity, that’s a massive increase already. ’97, ’99, 2001, ’03, ’05, ’07, and last year, so this is crazy, right? The data states that’s over 20% obesity, that’s doubled just a few short time ago. And the orange states, that’s over 25% obesity and the rest states over 30%. So the obesity epidemic is spreading like a cancer across the country and obese Americans have become common in just a few decades, just the one generation and kids are affected too as well.

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So obviously this isn’t the genetic problem. This is something in the environment and it started when we began to eat refined carbohydrates and sugars instead of fat. And [they get in a voice] because obesity is not just a cosmetic problem, this is strongly associated with all kinds of Western diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer and the traditional view is that obesity leads to these other conditions but that’s not necessarily true. It could just as well be true that the same thing that makes us fat makes us sick.

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