Dr Andreas Eenfeldt: A Global Food Revolution
Dr Andreas Eenfeldt is a Swedish medical doctor specialised in family medicine. He is the founder and owner of the rapidly growing Diet Doctor website, which advocates low carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diets for health and wellbeing. In 2015, Dr Eenfeldt quit his job as a family physician to focus on his website full-time. This talk was given at the Public Health Collaboration conference 2017 in Manchester.
Over 30 years ago, the American government sought to improve the health of the American people and released new dietary guidelines that taught the population to fear saturated fat and cholesterol. Alongside this, the food industry began producing ‘healthy’ low fat versions of foods which, in order to prevent them from tasting bland, had extra carbohydrate and sugar added in. If the purpose of this intervention was to prevent poor health and obesity, then it can be described as nothing short of an epic failure, as obesity rates have exploded since. Other countries followed America’s example, producing their own low fat dietary guidelines and their own obesity epidemics. The UK now stands as one of the fattest counties in Europe, with approximately 25% of the population being obese. Alongside obesity, the prevalence of diabetes has also spiralled out of control, with the number of diabetics in the world increasing from 30 million in 1985 to 422 million in 2016.
It is evident that something must be done to improve worldwide health, but progress is very slow, which may or may not involve the interests of the processed food and pharmaceutical industries. So far, a number of solutions have been proposed. The consensus opinion is that people should eat less calories and exercise more, but this oversimplified advice has already been given over the past 30 years and has done nothing to slow the diabesity epidemic. Bariatric surgery, particularly the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, has been found to have profound effects on obesity and diabetes control, however, this is an irreversible process that cuts out and wastes perfectly healthy tissue without addressing the root cause of the problem. It has even come to light, through meta-analyses, that there is no significant evidence of an association between dietary saturated fat and risk of cardiovascular disease.
Dr Eenfeldt’s answer to the diabesity epidemic was a simple one. He envisaged a trustworthy, palatable, online diet resource usable by everyone, and their doctors, for free. This idea evolved into the DietDoctor website, now the largest low carb website in the world, employing 14 people full-time and receiving 200,000 visits per day. The website contains educational videos, guides, interviews, recipes and testimonials which all provide help and support for people looking to start or maintain a low carb lifestyle. DietDoctor is funded entirely by an optional subscription, with most of the resources being available for free. Dr Eenfeldt is optimistic about the growth of the resource, and believes that it will catalyse the paradigm shift needed to reverse the diabesity epidemic.