Thursday, 20 March 2014

The Picture That Changed Everything

Before and after Before and after

Annelie Löfgren told her story on our Swedish Facebook page:

When I saw the picture to the left I decided that this had gone too far. This was in July 2012.

I’m so happy that I found LCHF. I’m so happy that I gave myself the chance to feel good!

Now I’m 88 lbs (40 kg) lighter since the summer of 2012. I’ve managed to squeeze in a pregnancy and son number three in between too! (A beloved little Theodor, whom in all likelihood wouldn’t exist, had I not found LCHF.)

Now I have the chance to live with them for a longer time! I also have the chance to stay longer in my profession as a hair dresser. Not finished yet, but soon! :)

Congratulations, Annelie!

LCHF for Beginners

How to Lose Weight

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Do you have a success story you want to share on this blog? Send it (photos appreciated) to Please let me know if it’s OK to publish your photo and name or if you’d rather remain anonymous.

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IPPNW calls for a negotiated solution to the Ukraine crisis

IPPNW views with deep concern the recent developments in Ukraine. IPPNW underscores the absolute imperative to avoid the possibility of use of nuclear weapons. This danger exists with any armed conflict involving nuclear armed states or alliances, which could escalate in uncontrollable, unintended and unforeseeable ways.

“Ukraine is commendable in being one of the few states to have given up its nuclear weapons peacefully, and the people of Ukraine should not have to fear nuclear weapons ravaging their country.” said IPPNW co-president Dr. Ira Helfand from Boston, USA. Any war involves a terrible and lasting human toll, risks spreading and harming people’s health in the region and beyond.

IPPNW calls on all parties involved to work for a negotiated solution that respects the rights of all people in Ukraine to be safe from armed conflict and their right to participate in decisions affecting their future.

View the original article here

Praise be to Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kravchuk: There are no nuclear weapons in Ukraine!

When the Soviet Union fell apart, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan became de facto nuclear states. Ukraine had the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world with about 5,000 nuclear charges, more than the UK, France, and China put together. The situation was dangerous. Russia, the USA, and Europe all had a strong interest in stopping the proliferation.

It was not a given that the plan to remove nuclear weapons from these three member states of the former Soviet Union would work.

Kazakhstan was the easiest case: Hundreds of thousands of people in that country had been subject to the radiation from the USSR nuclear tests. Get rid of the Russian bombs!

In Belarus the opinion for removal of the nukes was weaker, but finally prevailed.

In Ukraine there was a “nuclear allergy” caused by the Chernobyl disaster. Remove the nukes! However, Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma argued strongly that Ukraine should keep at least a part of the nuclear arsenal.  He was overruled by the parliament and the president.

The USA, Russia, and several other countries cooperated in transporting the nukes to Russia. The US paid a substantial amount for the removal of the nukes.

The three presidents Bill Clinton, Leonid Kravchuk and Boris Yeltsin deserve our sincere gratitude for rapid and decisive action.

If Ukraine had been a nuclear weapon state today, how would the military and political balance be different? Not much. If Russia took control over Crimea, Ukraine might have threatened to use their atomic bombs, but in reality the threat would have been empty. No responsible politician, not even Mr. Yanukovich, would go to nuclear war for a province. And today, when the country does not have any nuclear weapons Russia will not take over Ukraine. The cost would be far too high. The trade with Europe, which receives 50% of the Russian export, would suffer badly. And Russia would have the threat of rebellion and terrorism.

But the stakes would be much higher, the threat to use nukes would probably be made, loudly and agressively, and great wars can be started by mistakes. The possession of nuclear weapon in itself would give Ukraine a feeling of power, which would increase tension. It is possible that irresponsible hotheads in a chaotic situation would take control over and use nuclear weapons, and we can not predict how that would end.

So thank you, Clinton, Yeltsin and Kravchuk!

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Mazda “Make Things Better” Award to small arms project by IPPNW affiliates

By Antti Junkkari, Dr. Kati Juva, Finland, and Dr. Ehase Agyeno, Nigeria

An exciting new South/North project of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), Finland in cooperation with the Society of Nigerian Doctors for the Welfare of Mankind (SNDWM), Zambian Healthworkers for Social Responsibility (ZHSR), and IPPNW just got a financial boost from the “Mazda Make Things Better Award.” The Mazda award was launched at the summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in October, 2013 in Warsaw, and the joint IPPNW project “Raising awareness on small arms through interactive radio programmes” has now won the first of these awards! Raypower project Nigeria - Lets start (2)

The award jury chose the IPPNW project, submitted by medical student Antti Junkkari from Finland, from submissions of more than 120 participating students. “We were very impressed by the way Antti’s project mirrors the spirit of Mazda’s ‘challenging convention to make things better’ principle,” said Mazda Motor Europe President & CEO Jeff Guyton, who was head of the award jury. “And we believe his initiative will effectively improve the lives of local people, which is exactly what this award is all about.”

Over a half a million people die violently every year. More than three quarters of them in non-conflict settings. Furthermore violence tends to occur in already disadvantaged settings, riddled with poverty and disease, as is the case in many countries of the global South.

A pilot radio project was developed a few years ago by Nigerian medical students within SNDWM in Jos, Nigeria because of repeated eruptions of violence in the restless areas, leading to injuries, death and widespread human suffering. The radio project, which was the brainchild of Ogebe Onazi, a former International Student Rep, and Homsuk Swomen, both now medical doctors active with SNDWM, was inspired by the fact that radio was a cheap and easily accessible means of information with widespread use among the population. It therefore stood to reason that through it people can be conveniently reached with broadcasts on issues concerning peace, violence, conflict resolution, etc. This idea turned out to be a success, and enjoyed considerable popularity among listeners.chinenyeochanyahomsukonazi studio controller (3)

This success is the reason this project will now be expanded in several areas in Nigeria, and also in Zambia. There will be more broadcasts on some of the original themes – small arms and health, election violence, Arms Trade Treaty – and on new themes which will be developed in consultation with experts and community leaders who will be reached out to in the planning phase of the programme. In addition, some of the broadcasts will be live so listeners can call with questions and contributions to the experts. There will also be a survey on the attitudes towards small arms before and after the programmes.

PSR Finland is applying for funding for this project from the ministry of foreign affairs in Finland, but some self-funding is also needed. We see the Mazda prize not only as an affirmation of the tremendous work our African affiliates have done against small arms violence, but also as a testimony to the huge potential of North-South collaboration towards disarmament issues. We hope this also encourages more Northern IPPNW affiliates and other peace organizations to seek funding for actions against small arms violence in the global south.

The Mazda award will be presented at a ceremony March 5 in Geneva.

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Which of These Two Men Lives Dangerously?

Before and after Before and after

Is eating a low-carb diet dangerous? Sometimes you can only smile at the unscientific fear-mongering that can still be seen occasionally in the media.

Take a look at the pictures and read Kent’s story. Then ask yourself, which of the two men above seems to live dangerously?


Up until May 4th, 2013, I weighed almost 230 lbs (104 kg). I had to take antihypertensive medications and medications for constant heartburn. I had previously undergone surgery for umbilical hernia. I had constant pain in knees and shoulders. I also didn’t manage to go for longer walks than necessary without becoming exhausted.

Then I finally made a resolution to try LCHF. The hard part was freeing myself from sugar, but after that it went really well. There is so much good stuff to eat if I really want to change my diet. This has also improved my sleep, and I haven’t been sick a single day since the start. Now, nine months later, I weigh 183 lbs (83 kg).

Today I enjoy what I see in the mirror and I feel better than ever. So, if my symptoms sound familiar – give LCHF  a try.

Take care and be well.

Sincerely, Kent

God job, Kent, congratulations!

LCHF for Beginners

How to Lose Weight

Previously on digestive issues

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Do you have a success story you want to share on this blog? Send it (photos appreciated) to Let me know if it’s OK to publish your photo and name or if you’d rather remain anonymous.

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WHO Recommends Cutting Sugar Intake in Half!

Upper limit for a week? Upper limit of sugar consumption for a week?

Big news today, the war on sugar is heating up. The World Health Organization is planning new dietary guidelines, where the proposed recommendation is to cut sugar intake in half!

The old upper limit of 10 percent sugar intake of total energy intake per day will remain, but WHO says that a further lowering of the limit to 5 percent will provide more health benefits (for example in controlling weight gain and dental caries).

The new goal of 5 percent corresponds to an upper limit of about 25 gram (or six teaspoons) added sugar daily. This is less than the amount of sugar in a can of Coke (33 centiliter).

An average sugar consumption of 10 percent of total energy intake – like in Sweden where I live – means that about half the population consumes more than the previously recommended upper limit and more than twice as much as the new upper limit.

Most people on an LCHF diet will no doubt keep well below the new target by a large margin.

It remains to be seen whether the WHO new draft guidelines will survive a massive campaign from well-funded sugar-lobbyists. Let’s hope so!

Let’s also hope that governments issuing dietary guidelines will embrace new science and lower their recommendations.

“Fat Is In, Sugar Is Out”

Is There a Safe Amount of Sugar?

New Study: Does Sugar Cause Heart Disease?

Doctors Warn: “Sugar Is the New Tobacco”

View the original article here

The Fukushima nuclear disaster three years on

by Tilman Ruff

Fukushima-Daiichi Unit 3 reactor in July 2013 Fukushima-Daiichi Unit 3 reactor in July 2013

The world’s most complex nuclear power plant disaster continues three years on, and will continue for many years hence. Uncontrolled flows of around 1,000 tons of groundwater per day into the site continue; 400 tons of water daily flows into the damaged reactor and turbine buildings where it becomes radioactively contaminated. Some is collected—more than 430,000 tons of radioactively contaminated water is now stored in about 1,000 makeshift tanks, many of which are bolted rather than welded, lack even gauges to show how full they are, and have leaked repeatedly. In one incident last month, two valves left open by mistake and one which malfunctioned led to a leak of 100 tons of water containing 230 million Bq/L of beta emitters, mostly strontium-90, 3.8 million times the maximum allowed in drinking water. Radioactivity is leaking through multiple pathways into the soil and inevitably into the ocean. During Typhoon Wipha on 16 October 2013, the 26th typhoon to hit Japan last year, levees and 12 storage tanks were reported to have overflowed. A 7.3 magnitude earthquake on 25 October 2013 was centred less than 300 km from Fukushima.

Radioactivity around the site is increasing. More than 32,000 workers have now been involved in the clean-up. Relatively lightly exposed skilled workers are in increasingly short supply, and most workers on the site are poorly trained and supported day labourers employed through multiple layers of subcontracting. There is still no national radiation register for nuclear industry workers in Japan.

By mid-February 2014, 242 spent and 22 new fuel assemblies had been transferred from the damaged Unit 4 spent fuel pool above the damaged reactor 4 to a common storage pool  on the ground nearby; another 1,533 fuel assemblies are due to be transferred from Unit 4 pool by the end of this year. Decommissioning of the reactors themselves has yet to begin.

Displaced Fukushima resident. Photo by Kristian Laemmle-Ruff Displaced Fukushima resident. Photo by Kristian Laemmle-Ruff

About 150,000 people remain displaced, many of them still not knowing if or when they may be able to return to their former homes. Mental health and substance abuse problems, family break-up, and suicides are reportedly increased, but few firm data are available. While the average weight of Japanese schoolchildren has declined slightly since 2006, reduced play and outside exercise have resulted in rising rates of obesity in children in Fukushima. In the five years before the nuclear disaster, the proportion of obese children in Fukushima was the highest of all prefectures in no more than one grade. By 2013, Fukushima had the highest rates for six out of 13 school grades, and was between 2nd and 4th for the remaining seven grades.

In November and December 2013, government agencies promulgated statements aimed to accelerate return of displaced people to their contaminated home towns. This involves a payment—for those disadvantaged, effectively a bribe—of 90,000 yen (about US$10,000) to those returning. The government is also propsosing that levels of radiation exposure be determined by individual dosimetry. While superficially this sounds a sensible way to take account of individual and locality-related variations in exposure, the effect can be expected to be adverse as it seems intended to facilitate and encourage return to areas of relatively high environmental radioactivity, and shift the responsibility for minimising radiation exposures onto individuals and away from the government and TEPCO ensuring people are supported to live in an environment without facing excessive radiation risks.

The context for this policy is continued official denial and misinformation downplaying radiation risks. Government documents still consistently misinform the public by asserting that ionising radiation exposures of less than 100mSv have not been shown to be harmful to health. Three years on, with the acute phase of the disaster declared to be over, Japanese national policy is still based on exposures of up to 20 mSv over background levels being acceptable for the whole population, including the most vulnerable to radiation health harm—children and fetuses. This is despite the fact that 5 mSv/year is used to determine eligibility for the worker’s compensation insurance program for those who develop leukemia.

A comprehensive population register of those in significantly contaminated areas and all workers at the Fukushima Daiichi site, with early evaluation of exposures and long-term (life-time) health monitoring, recommended by IPPNW three years ago, has still not been implemented, and there seems no prospect that it will be.  We also recommended that health protective and monitoring measures be applied on the basis of level of exposure to residents, irrespective of where they live. This is important because radioactive contamination extended to the neighbouring prefectures of Chiba, Gunma, Ibaraki, Miyagi and Tochigi—some areas of these provinces were contaminated to a greater degree than parts of Fukushima Prefecture. Yet disaster-related health monitoring and support is still only available for those resident in Fukushima at the time of the disaster.

The only comprehensive health monitoring being implemented is biennial ultrasound examination for Fukushima children less than 18 years old at the time of the disaster. No systematic or free comprehensive health follow-up is being undertaken, unlike the free medical examinations instituted in Tokai-mura, Ibaraki Prefecture, for residents who may have received doses higher than 1 mSv/year following a 1999 accident in a nuclear fuel fabrication plant.

The response to the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster and the future of nuclear power in Japan constitute a critical historic juncture for the people and environment of Japan, with global ramifications. Japan shut down all its 54 operating nuclear power reactors, producing around a third of the country’s electricity, essentially overnight in the wake of the disaster. Despite an extraordinary lack of energy conservation and efficiency programs, given Japan’s technical sophistication, different voltages used in different parts of the country, and the lack even of a national electricity grid in such a densely populated and geographically compact country, the country has managed fine in the past three years after going “cold  turkey” on nuclear electricity. Industrial production has essentially been maintained, and there have been no electricity shortages through multiple hot summers. The increase in gas usage for electricity generation could be readily replaced and more by investments in energy efficiency and renewables. It has been proven abundantly that Japan does not need nuclear power. And the overwhelming majority of the population want nuclear phase-out.

Yet the intensely collusive and corrupt “nuclear village” involving industry, government and regulators responsible for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and its mismanagement, which placed company and bureaucratic interests and minimsation of relocation and compensation costs ahead of public safety, has battened down the hatches and is attempting to carry on business largely as usual. The new Nuclear Regulatory Agency is largely made of up of old hands, and has been spending the great majority of its time on reactor re-starts rather than the urgent priority of stabilising the Fukushima Daiichi plant, and dealing with the human and environmental toll of the disaster. The “nuclear village” is aided and abetted by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which has ditched the previous government’s commitment to nuclear phase-out, and is intent on re-starting nuclear power reactors, promoting reactor exports to all comers, and accumulating further weapons-usable separated plutonium without plausible justification.

In September 2013, PM Abe lied unashamedly in assuring the International Olympic Committee that the “situation [at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant] is under control”, and that the contaminated water is “completely contained” within a 0.3 square kilometer area. IPPNW physicians and students should ensure that we use the upcoming Tokyo Olympics to continue to focus world attention on what happens, needs to happen and is not happening in Fukushima.

Whether nuclear power will be phased out globally in the forseeable future, or continue to aggravate nuclear proliferation and the unsolved problems of radioactive waste and add to the global stockpile of ready-made potential massive radiological weapons and global radioactive disasters in-waiting depends, to a considerable extent, on what happens in Japan. The Fukushima nuclear disaster is a global health concern both because of the indiscriminate and uncontrollable spread of radioactive fallout, and the significance of what happens in Japan for the unsustainable global health danger of the massive amounts of radioactivity and fissile materials produced by nuclear power reactors.

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