Your Stories

Over the years I have encountered many individuals who have learned about low-carb diet from me or other sources and who have been able to lose weight and improve their health with this way of eating. I am opening this post as a place where anyone who has had such an experience can post about their success. It can also serve as a forum for those who have had issues or who have specific questions for other dieters. I encourage you to share  your stories in the spirit of helping others who may benefit from your experience. I look forward to hearing from you.

24 thoughts on “Your Stories

  1. I ate some Broasted Chicken from the local deli store while working/driving truck yesterday and got to thinking.

    If flour is as bad or even worse than sugar, and flour dates back thousands of years or more in Europe and Asia and Egypt, — Then this is no doubt the core of all, and the reason for all, of the ensuing insanity on this earth and throughout these centuries.

    If it’s a stimulant drug like I say it is and it’s effects on our emotions and senses and feelings and mind and beings, including our Psyche, is as profound as I say it is, then here is the white mans greed and the white mans crazy and white mans insanity.

    Accidentally and coincidentally and without him knowing it, but that don’t do you no good if you are on the receiving end of this madness with all it’s greed and lust for more and better and better and best and most of all and killing and killing to get it all.

    Common adrenaline traits in a normal context but then exaggerated to over a thousand times more by this stimulant drug, flour.

    Wheat flour.

    I believe this to be 100% factual and not exaggerated one bit.

    The earths time line tells it all.

  2. Hi Dr. Wortman,
    Thank you for your wonderful site/blog. I was so touched by “The Story so Far” that I was moved, almost to tears.

    I first undertook a ketogenic diet because I have lung disease. I read a study where a group of healthy university students achieved improvements in lung function by eating low carb (1). I decided to give it a try. After two weeks I got more than twice as much improvement in my breathing from this diet. I have not stayed with it consistently since, but I am again on this diet. I have also encouraged friends and family to try and they have experienced amazing results. From weight loss to reversing type 2 diabetes to normalizing high blood pressure, it has given many benefits to many of us.

    I have fair skin and blue eyes. While my grandmother’s mother was half French and half Cree, I do not look native. Because many of the people who have benefited from this diet, I do not believe that the benefits I have experienced are because of my small portion of native heritage.

    I have had very angry responses from dietitians and physicians when I have spoken to them about this diet. One has even accused me of practicing medicine without a license because i encourage people to try this diet..

    I’m sure that many people will not benefit from this diet. However, anyone I have known who has tried eating a low carb diet tells me that they feel healthier.

    Please keep up your excellent and important work.

    Best Wishes,
    Ron Hoggan, Ed. D.

    1. Rudolf M. F. Kwan, Susan Thomas and M. Afzal Mir. Effects of a Low Carbohydrate Isoenergetic Diet on Sleep Behavior and Pulmonary Functions in Healthy Female Adult Humans. The Journal of Nutrition. 1986; 116:2393-2402

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Thank your for sharing your story. I hear anecdotal evidence that low-carb improves asthma. We also know that people with MetS or type 2 diabetes are at greater risk for asthma although I have yet to see a study on this specific issue. I can tell you that my young son, who is not asthmatic, after eating a bunch of chocolate Easter eggs (he got off the leash, what can I say?) wheezed all night.

    A word of advice on how to encourage people to try this diet without being accused of practicing medicine without a licence – do as I do and simply recommend the new Atkins book which is authored by Westman, Phinney and Volek.

  3. “Adrenaline like” “stimulants” effect our entire existence and lives. — What we think and what we don’t think and how we think. How we perceive things, what we like and what we don’t like. Do we want to educate or not educate, do we want to live in the village or far from the village. Do we want to marry or not marry. Do we want one child or no children or many children. They effect our relationships. They effect how we see others and they see us and how we respond to others and other elements in our environment. They effect our sleep and rest and our stature. Our perception of enemies and friends. Are we at peace or do we want more or do we want less, it goes on forever, Everything about us is effected and exaggerated just like adrenaline’s effects on us, by stimulants, 24/7, 365 year in and year out we are stimulated buy sugar and hybrid carbohydrates throughout of systems. — “All the kings horses and all the kings men.” Slaughtering armies in their greatness and lust for power and more.

  4. “I believe this to be 100% factual and not exaggerated one bit..”

    I agree… Grains have dominated the planet for thousands of years and still cause a lot of hardship for humanity.

    Lets hope people like Jay and Gary continue their crusade so that future generations benefit… and “Stop the Insanity”

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Thanks for your comment. Humans have short collective memories. A diet comprised of grains and grain products is a relatively recent development in the history of human nutrition. The same can be said for sugar and other forms of fructose-rich foods. Yet, people condemn low-carb as a “fad diet”. The true fad diet is the diet most people eat today comprised of refined carbohydrates, sugars, high omega-6 vegetable oils and edible petroleum by-products!

  5. Two things: Dr. Wortman has on this site (“Story so far” page) alluded to activities by vested interests in keeping the misinformation and confusion flowing . I have come to realize that we don’t need a large conspiracy for this to be true. If we look at tobacco, climate, organic food or other issues, I think it has become a known and effective strategy in the age of mass media (for those with access) to introduce doubt and make the science seem ambiguous and tenuous.
    Second, our son was discovered by us to have celiac disease, and we encountered similar/identical problems from conventional nutritional and standard medical experts to what is described here and elsewhere. The celiac community also deals with the same head-in-sand thinking from the diet/medical community such that many people needlessly suffer due to a lack of recognition of certain truths about diet. Thankfully we did not persist with their methods, but went with what was actually working.
    In the case of celiac, a whole range of auto-immune diseases are strongly associated with it, due to the body’s injured digestive system. I have to wonder if the same is not true for diabetes.
    Have formal results of the Alert Bay study been published?

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    As far as I knew, I didn’t have any celiac problems. Then, after eating very low carb for awhile, I discovered that I had very low tolerance to wheat products. Even a little flour in a meat stew would set me off. I have come to believe that there may be a lot of people out there with sub-clinical celiac who think their mildly distressed bowels are actually normal. I think this was what happened in my case.

    We haven’t published a final paper yet. Bottom line – those who stuck with the diet benefited greatly.

  6. Given the success of this trial, I have to wonder if aboriginal communities have picked up on it, and whether more extensive trials are under discussion. This has such huge potential for the health of whole communities, but also for independence, food security, and retention of traditional culture. Is there any momentum in this, or is it an evolution, not revolution?

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    I think the dissemination of the video has raised awareness in Aboriginal communities across the country. I get invited to speak at a lot of events and there appears to be lots of interest. There are no similar research projects underway in Aboriginal communities at the moment, at least that I am aware of. However, I have started helping groups who want to start the diet using video-conferencing and teleconferencing to support them from afar. I think there is enough scientific literature available now that we can offer this approach as a standard treatment option without having to do it within the constraints of a research protocol like we did in Alert Bay. The issue is getting the information out to the providers so they can offer appropriate guidance to the people who want to try this in their communities. I am working on that.

  7. Wow! Expert said the unspeakable:
    “There’s a million benefits of exercise. It does everything including improving depression, preventing cancer; it’ll do a million things for you. The one thing it does not do is help you lose weight.” But notice he is a researcher, not a nutritionist.
    This guy better duck for cover, or be ready to come out swingin’

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Dr Sharma is a researcher and a clinician. He has a lot of direct experience with getting people to lose weight. He is correct in his comments on the role of exercise. The research literature is quite clear on this. The success of any weight loss program is vastly dependent on dietary change. Exercise adds very little in terms of pounds lost. In some cases, exercise may actually hamper weight loss as it stimulates appetite. In my experience, exercise is counterproductive for people who have insulin resistance until they have corrected that problem with a low-carb diet. Insulin resistance makes it harder to mobilize energy. This is why I tell people not to worry about exercise, to just concentrate on getting the carbs out of their diet until they feel like exercising. Then, fill your boots (with exercise, I mean).

  8. Thanks for your helpful replies to our posts. I wonder if you can share a couple of vital statistics with us from Alert Bay? I was wondering how many people stayed with the diet for the full year (%) from those who began, and of those who stayed in, some measure of weight loss, although I appreciate that the other health measures like HDL and triglycerides are equally important.
    I want to refute someone who claimed that “most” people in MBFD gained it all back (which I doubt).

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    The initial recruitment was about 100 people. Of that, about 60 made a serious effort to stick to the diet. We ran into significant issues with staff turnover towards the end of the study, however, and this resulted in a loss of follow-up for some of the subjects. Our impression was that a lot of those folks stuck to the diet but didn’t come in for their last follow-up visits. This is making it difficult to write a manuscript to accurately reflect the actual results people achieved. We did an interim analysis at about 7.5 months of about 40 people and the average weight loss at that point was about 10%.

    In terms of what happened after the study period ended, I think a lot of people did regain some weight although not all of them would have completely relapsed. I spoke to someone today who had regained about half of what she lost during the study. I believe some have been able to maintain most of their weight loss but I suspect they are in the minority.

    With this diet people do not have to reach ideal body weight to normalize their cardiometabolic markers. So, even for those who regain some of their lost weight, it is possible to keep their markers within normal range if they continue to restrict carbohydrates to some degree. I don’t have a fix on how many people would be doing this, however. I will be working with a group there over the coming months so I may be in a better position to determine what has happened since the study ended.

  9. I am a 46 year old Asian male. I was very active when I was younger and much less so now (sedentary office work) but still run about 15 to 20 miles a week. Having said that, I am still overweight at 190lbs on a 5 ft 9 inch frame. However if you were see me in person, I doubt that you would think I am overweight.

    I need to get down to my high school weight of 175 but that was 30 years ago. After university my weight has fluctuated between 185 and 200 and sometimes in my most active (sports and exercise) years were when I weighed the most. This has been the troubling to me.

    There is history of heart disease in my family so I have been careful to do what I can mitigate the risk factors but recently my blood pressure was going up into prehypertension levels 140/90 or so.

    I went into a low sodium diet, stress control and exercise but no weight or significant reduction reduction in the BP.

    Last week in an effort to reduce my weight (to take the extra stress off my ticker) I am trying to lower my carbs with every meal.

    Incredible change in my BP to 115-125/80-85 and a five pound loss of weight in less than a week.

    I am still controlling my sodium intake and exercising but controlling my carb intake has dramatically changed my BP levels.

    Dr. Jay, I wonder if you have seen literature or any thoughts on impact of low carbs on BP levels.

    Thanks in advance.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Carbohydrate restriction will lower blood pressure. There may be more than one mechanism at work here. We know that both insulin and fructose can cause the kidney to resorb sodium. This causes fluid retention and raises BP. When you restrict carbs you will lower your circulating insulin level and you will also eliminate fructose from your diet, both of which will cause you to release sodium in your urine. The has a diuretic effect. The resulting fluid loss causes a reduction in BP. There is another mechanism involving the regulation of blood vessel tone. Nitrous oxide is involved in relaxing blood vessels which, when interfered with, can increase blood pressure by increasing the tone of the walls of the blood vessels. It turns out that the metabolism of fructose produces uric acid which has that effect on NO. So, there are at least three ways that a low-carb diet can result in a reduction in BP.

    In your case, the rapid drop in BP coupled with a few pounds of weight loss over a very short period is consistent with this effect of a low-carb diet. The weight loss is mostly due to fluid at this point, although if you continue to restrict carbs you will burn off body fat fairly rapidly, too.

    One thing you will need to watch is the need to replace the sodium you are now excreting in your urine. Failure to maintain an adequate sodium intake on a carb-restricted diet will lead to common adverse effects including, weakness, fatigue, constipation and headache. You may also experience muscle cramps. All of these are indicators that you are not getting enough salt. Be careful in terms of continuing to restrict your salt intake while on low-carb, it is most likely no longer necessary and may actually cause problems.

    You may also find that your exercise tolerance will drop initially. Don’t worry, if you stick with the diet it will return to baseline or better. This can take two or three weeks as your mitochondria adjust to burning fat and ketones rather than glucose. Personally, I find my stamina is greatly improved on low-carb vs high-carb.

    Good luck with this diet. If you want some good guidance, get a copy of the most recent Atkins book authored by my friends Westman, Phinney and Volek. Don’t be afraid to stay on the induction part of the diet for as long as you like. I am at 8 years and counting!

    A word of caution to anyone contemplating doing this who is taking medication for blood pressure. You will need to significantly reduce or discontinue the meds very quickly as the compound effect of carb-restriction and anti-hypertensive meds can push your blood pressure too low and you may end up flat on your back. No kidding! Same thing for meds to lower blood sugar. The diet will drop your blood sugar and it can go too low if you continue to use insulin or take oral hypoglycemics.

  10. Thanks Dr. Jay for your comments.

    I have noticed that my energy level is up during the day but my strength and endurance in the gym is down.

    I’m not an athelete by any stretch of imagination but I notice subtle changes in my body. I have energy in the office and at home but in the gym my endurance is much lower and my strength is at least 25% lower than it was last month. My lungs feel as good as before but my legs are giving out and I have to run slower; it feels as though I’m continually running uphill.

    Thanks again.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    That somewhat paradoxical effect can be explained. I suspect you have developed some level of insulin resistance which, through various mechanisms, impairs your ability to mobilize energy. Correcting that through carb-restriction will give you a subjective boost in energy. On the other hand, the mitochondria in your muscle cells are in the process of switching from glucose-burning mode to fat- and ketone-burning mode. This takes some time during which your stamina and exercise capacity will be down. It will bounce back if you persevere.

  11. I think Sharma is wrong. Exercise does help you lose weight, by engaging your endorphins and suppressing appetite. The appetite suppression takes a bit longer to kick in, and metabolism is reset more permanently with the aid of exercise,as the overeater finds something else to do.

    I don’t see how people living in Inuvik or Pukatawagan could ever be on this Big Fat Diet eating plan. It’s just not realistic outside of the “lab”.

    Moreover, all but a very few aboriginal people’s ate a very high carbohydrate diet, and were agricultural people long before the advent of Europeans here.

    I don’t see how any food is the culprit. Notice, I said “food”. In my experience, people who are massively overweight and diabetic have become gluttons on bad food. They system is rebelling. Like an ad I saw once, which of course was to the manufacturer’s benefit but TRUE, it’s not corn syrup in foods that made you fat, it’s the third helpings.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Dr Sharma is an expert on obesity and weight loss. His opinion accurately reflects the scientific literature on this topic.

    There were a variety of traditional diets including some where people had started to grow corn, beans and squash – the three sisters. However, a large proportion of the pre-contact Canadian Aboriginal population lived primarily on fish, sea-food and game animals. Seasonal plants were gathered and eaten but, for the most part, they were relatively low in starch and sugar content. Inuit lived on a diet of mostly fat from sea mammals and caribou as did the plains Indians who lived on buffalo and whose staple food was pemmican which was about 80% fat. West Coast First Nations got at least half of their calories from oolichan grease, a unique purified marine oil.

    Regardless of whether a particular traditional diet had a significant carbohydrate component or not, when people today develop insulin resistance, the ideal therapeutic diet is one that is very low in carbohydrates. This applies to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.

  12. Exercise isn’t a neat bordered event. It’s all the movement you do in a day, fishing, cleaning the fish, packing it up, walking to and from home to the work site, working around home, cleaning, painting, building, yard work. All the movement that isn’t happening in these people’s lives anymore. I don’t think it was the diet so much as the agressively physical lifestyle, that was common to WHITES and aboriginal people’s 100 years ago.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    The idea that it is because of reduced activity and therefore excess calories is incorrect. Although it is tempting to think that because it seems so commonsensical, it turns out to be wrong. Consider that common sense would suggest to us that the world is flat. I recommend you read Gary Taubes’ new book, “Why We Get Fat” to better understand what is really the cause of obesity and related conditions.

  13. I’ve been eating low carb and gluten-free for about 6 years now. I did both at around the same time, so it’s hard for me to know which aspect of my diet change gave which benefit… but I’m just happy to have benefited regardless!

    To avoid writing a huge wall of text, here’s what happened to me after going low carb and gluten-free:

    – shed 25lbs of body fat, and have kept it off since with no problems
    – debilitating hayfever and seasonal allergies vanished completely
    – recurrent skin rashes gone (hives, bumps, itchy blisters)
    – digestive upsets… gone
    – a cavity in one of my teeth stopped progressing
    – I no longer get bronchitis, nor do I come down with colds or flu very often
    – carpal tunnel syndrome in right wrist gone! And I still spend all day on the computer working… it simply stopped hurting one day and hasn’t since
    – low-level depression… gone. That’s perhaps the best part of it for me. I don’t get into what I used to call my ‘Irish moods’ anymore.

    The depression may have been gluten-related, as my sister (who went gluten-free soon after I did, but not low carb) experienced the same thing. It was pretty dramatic… for me, I was making tea and suddenly felt this rush of… brain chemicals? It was this total rush of what I can only describe as feelings of joy… like my brain suddenly stabilized. Sounds strange, but there you go. For my sister, she was watching TV and suddenly felt like ‘a heavy blanket got lifted off my brain… everything looked different’.

    Yeeks, this may make us sound like dietary born-agains, but we’ll take it. People don’t believe how much changing my diet actually changed my life… but it did.

    @leda… just to address your points about exercise and gluttony… I gained weight eating a whole foods, organic diet that was grain-based, with lots of whole wheat and other grains and legumes. Not junk food at all. I was also working out 3-5 days a week, 30-90 minutes at a time (weights and cardio). My appetite increased, if anything… for me, a protein and fat-based diet is an appetite suppressant (or has regulated my appetite, to be more accurate). I lost my weight without exercising.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Great story! Thanks for sharing it.

  14. Tracy I think your high carb diet was as wrong as what you’re doing now.

    I never saw one fat person in the whole of my childhood. No one owned vehicles, no one ate between meals, had second helpings, sweets were once or twice a week, only after your dinner, and if you didn’t eat all your dinner you didn’t get it. Portions were much smaller, plates were smaller, and there was less choice and no impulse eating. Everything was cooked from scratch. Everyone ate at the table and had to ask to be excused before they could leave. Food was sustenance not fetish.

    I also never saw anyone exercising the way people do today. It was seamlessly integrated into your workday, and even leisure activities and hobbies had purpose and had to be done. Everyone was a working person, in that you had to do something or you wouldn’t have clothing, a table, be warm.

    That is the “exercise” I’m talking about.

    This book has many truths.

    The end of overeating
    David A. Kessler, M.D.
    Former FDA commissioner

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    The evidence is fairly clear at this point that exercise is not an effective weight loss strategy. It is good for a myriad of other reasons, however, so it is to be encouraged. I also suspect that it is a good way to help maintain a stable weight. I know I feel much better when I am doing my daily routine of 30 minutes of cardio, some weights and core strengthening. Having said that, for many people, once they have started down the slippery slope of insulin resistance, they will need to restrict carbs. In the olden days that you describe, the rate of insulin resistance was much lower. Maybe being more active had something to do with that but I think the much lower consumption of sugar was most likely the biggest factor.

  15. I can get into “exercise” endorphin immediately. I know what endorphins are, and other opiates too. I happen to think they are all a good idea. Obviously as humans, that’s part of us. Biology, right Jay? Isn’t that what your trying to say about carbs?

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    I am sure endorphins are important in normal human physiology. Like virtually everything else, though, they can be manipulated in ways that can be counterproductive. Taking opiate drugs is one way of manipulating your endorphin system in a harmful way. Repeatedly exercising to the extreme that your body needs to secrete its natural pain-killer may not be all that good for you, either. In either case, since we are talking primarily about the benefits of low-carb diets here, there is no need to have a prolonged debate on the merits of exercise or the role of endorphins.

  16. You keep using this kind of description:

    “Repeatedly exercising to the extreme that your body needs to secrete its natural pain-killer may not be all that good for you, either.”

    You are perverting my point of view of daily, all day, movement to “exercising to the extreme” and I wonder why you continue to do that.

    Are we to just sit on the couch and wait for the weight to drop off, and our lives to fall apart? I must walk to the grocery store, walk to the post office, walk the dob, walk to work, walk to school, move around my home to sustain my and my family’s life, walk in the sunset to sustain my “religion”. I submit that we must move. Why do keep twisting what I’ve said, or deliberately not understanding what I mean by exercise?

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    I was referring to you comment about endorphins. I am pretty sure you don’t get your endorphins up by walking to the post office.

  17. Yes I do, in a manner of speaking.I walk (almost) daily, quietly, in a wooded area. Have done since I was about six. If you do this, even on a treadmill you will train the endorphin response. I’m not breaking a sweat. I’m not even doing more than putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, when I don’t hurt in one joint or another, I puff lightly. I’ve said it repeatedly here.

    Presently, I’m doing it with a cane and about 2 km.

    And I am doing some kind of low-carb, but really it’s just no junk, and that means no fake food, or sugar substitutes, but also, no more than six servings of meat a day.

    I read here and pay attention to what you’re doing for several reasons. To take the good (and leave the rest), but also to document a voice that counters what I think is foolishness.

    You can ban me if you like.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    You are entitled to your opinions, even if they are contrary to mine. I think your motivation to exercise is laudable and I am sure it is of great benefit, too. Nobody gets banned here unless they are abusive or are selling something.

  18. “In the olden days that you describe, the rate of insulin resistance was much lower”.

    Not to put too find a point on it, no kiddin’ doc. And do you think it could have had anything to do with the consistent low to moderate movement exercise people did from dawn to dusk, and the fact that they ate almost no industry foods. (See David Kessler’s The end of overeating for the word on that.)

    To your “olden” days description: I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest we eat more like they did then, in kind and practice. Please remember it was you who invited us to do this retro trip with the invitation in your first essay to join you in the Wayback Machine.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    The most important difference is the amount of sugar people are eating today. Carbohydrate consumption has gone up over the decades and most of that increase is sugar in one or the other of its forms. Some of what Kessler says is right. I suggest you read Gary Taubes’ new book, “Why We Get Fat”, to get a different and, I believe, more accurate perspective on what’s happening with obesity, etc.

  19. Here’s my latest letter to the editor of my local newspaper:

    “Sitting on a whale, fishing for minnows” is a old saying that applies perfectly to both George Chandler’s concerns over decaf coffee and cheese and to Grahame Woods’ ongoing crusade against consuming too much salt.(Feb.10 comment section).

    The whale they are unaware of is Metabolic Syndrome, a term coined by Dr. Gerald Reaven a medical researcher at Stanford University in the 1950s. He grouped obesity, insulin resistance, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease together because he found they all shared the same underlying cause and each one was really an intermediate stage for the other. Reaven knew that because dietary fat has little or no effect on insulin secretion, the underlying cause could not be dietary fat, or a sedentary lifestyle, and certainly not salt. Reaven found the metabolic abnormalities were obviously related to carbohydrate because that, and only that, is what spikes blood sugar and therefore insulin. The more refined the carbohydrate the stronger the disruption. Sugar and flour were the prime suspects, not prime rib.

    It wasn’t until the 1980s that authorities began to pay attention to metabolic syndrome. But, there was a problem. By that time, mainstream medicine and the public (including Grahame and George) were deeply entrenched in the idea that dietary fat and salt were the main culprits in obesity, Type II diabetes, and heart disease. No one, neither the giant corporations who were making billions nor the smug and irreproachable medical elites would ever fess-up and admit that their low-fat, low sodium, mindless aerobic exercise paradigm was quite likely fundamentally wrong. That was a pill far too big swallow and the problem was ignored, discredited, and swept under both the boardroom and the parliamentary carpet. This is why today 46 cents of every provincial tax dollar in Ontario is spent on health care and most of it on the ravages of metabolic syndrome. (And fat-cat health care administration executives)

    Here’s the real deal: Carbohydrates elevate blood sugar which elevates insulin, the hormone which regulates energy storage and release. Chronically elevated insulin drives many nasty things such as, continuous hunger for starch and sweets and it also drives the release of inflammatory molecules called cytokines. It also triggers a systemic stress response which inhibits the immune system, tissue repair, digestion, and leaves you tired and irritable. It also causes the body to retain sodium which elevates blood pressure, Grahame. Muscles and the liver become more and more resistant to the continuous secretion of insulin that is trying desperately to balance blood sugar levels. Trying to “eat right” by following the conventional advice to eat a low-fat diet just makes things worse because to eat a low-fat diet means to eat a high carb diet.

    The end result is a quarter of Canadians now have metabolic syndrome and are hurtling down the road to heart disease, joint replacements, diabetes and whole lot of other unpleasant but extremely profitable conditions for very large corporations “in partnership” with government for the supposed good of us all. And when one over-medicated cardiac is gone there’s another coming through the system. The reality is that our society is being cannibalized by greed. Happy Heart and Stroke Month!

    My personal wish for Heart and Stroke Month is that the dear readership goes out and buys a copy of “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes and also “Death of the Liberal Class” by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges, preferably from your local bookseller. Then you’ll be well acquainted with both the dismal medical history of diet and health theory and with the greedy corporate oligarchy and its propaganda machine that is driving the proverbial bus in our society. Does the name “Shiv Chopra” ring a bell Grahame? George?

  20. Hi Dr. Jay: I’ve been on a low carb diet (trying to stay under 30 grams of carbs per day) for about six months, ever since two things happened to me: I hit my all time heaviest weight (199.8 pounds at 5 foot 4, BMI of 34) and got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. I was pretty devastated – I’m a nurse and I know what those diagnoses mean in terms of a shortened life span and poorer quality of life. It was a real wake-up call, but I think maybe it’s going to be a good thing, because it’s given me the motivation to learn more, and to make the changes necessary to try to regain my health.

    In the 8 years prior to learning I was diabetic, my health had been deteriorating. Starting with rosacea, then lichen sclerosus, alopecia, gall bladder disease, arthritis, psoriasis, gout, irritable bowel, plantar fasciitis, peridontal disease… I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, why I was coming down with so many inflammatory conditions one right after another. My GP treated each symptom in isolation, and sometimes referred me to specialists who each managed one area. But nobody looked at the overall picture or talked to me about the importance of diet and connection with obesity.

    After my diabetes diagnosis I decided to do my own literature search and review. I had previously been able to lose weight using the Eades’ book ‘Protein Power”, so I had an idea where to start. I’ve since read many authors, including Gary Taubes’ book “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, which really opened my eyes, as did Dr. Lustig’s YouTube video on sugar: One of my favorite nutrition writers is Dr. Kurt Harris: , and it is his “paleolithic” style program that I’m trying to follow (which sounds quite similar to your Big Fat Diet).

    In 6 months on a low carb/high fat/high protein diet I have been able to:
    – lose 30 pounds (now at 169 lbs, BMI 29)
    – reduce my BP from 155/95 to 120/70
    – reduce my blood sugars to essentially normal levels (I still take Metformin to combat the gluconeogenesis associated with the “dawn phenomenon”)
    – almost entirely get rid of the rosacea, psoriasis, and periodontal disease
    Plus I’ve had no further episodes of gout, and the irritable bowel and arthritis have improved.

    I have had very little support from my GP to do this, and I really didn’t expect any. He offered to refer me to the hospital nutritionist who works with diabetic patients, but I declined – they are still recommending 150 grams of carbs a day, and are still satisfied with a Hbg A1C under 7. But I’m hoping that maybe once he sees my results he may be interested in how they were achieved. I also work with a nutritionist, and hoping to be able to influence her, too.

    I would love to see something like your diet plan, or that being used in Valemount, brought to our community. I’m a Public Health Nurse, and obesity is an epidemic that surely qualifies as a public health crisis! But as you well know, the status quo has a great deal of inertia and is hard to dislodge. I look forward to reading your study (and book?) once they are published.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Given your status as a public health nurse, you may be in a position to influence people who set policy in this area. I recently noted that the ADA guidelines now suggest a low-carb diet is a valid option for weight loss for 24 months. That’s an increase over their earlier recommendation of 12 months. I view that as progress although it is painfully slow. It is disappointing that the CDA has chosen not to consider low-carb diets but I nudge the powers that be whenever I get the chance. I hope you can do the same.

  21. Now been 1 year since been on very healthy low carb diet.
    My husband is about 10 months on the same. I’m 51 my husband 64. I have been an IBS sufferer. Pain in stomach is very rare now. Other IBS symtoms are gone. My peri menopausal symptoms have gone. Periods are regular, 28 days, easy and short. They were getting more and more troublesome and shorter intervals, down to 23 days. My calves used to itch mercilessly every night for a few years, this symptom has completely vanished. My thighs used to ache lying on them at night so I would have to turn many, many times a night. This has ceased.
    In that time we both have had blood tests twice for cholesterol and triglicerides. The HDL and LDL ratios are getting better and better for both of us. The triglicerides are getting to lower levels. We don’t replace sugar with any chemical sugars and we have lost our sweet tooth. Yes I have the occasional nibble on something sweet but it doesn’t taste like I thought it used to! I had very loose stools for 9 of those months but now have a very healthy bowel. It took 11 months to finally rid myself naturally from Thrush. No antifungals. There has been times in this healing where my energy has been very low but I just discovered taking large amounts of ascorbic acid with bioflavnoids often helps these low periods amazingly. Also Vit C helps when I get cravings for something to pep me up. So I hope this is a helpful hint. We take many other non synthetic supplements also: Omega 3’s, coconut oil, Vit A & D, magnesium & calcium citrate, Vit B’s, extra Niacin, Vit E,

    I believe these low periods of energy are my body’s in it’s healing mode as when these periods are over I am healthier than ever.
    My husband was suffering what I now believe to be the beginning signs of Alzheimer’s or Dementia. He is recalling information much more easily. I am also now starting him on, besides the coconut oil, MCT oil as Dr Mary Newport gives her husband. It was really scary there for awhile!
    My middle aged fat around my midriff and upper back has completely gone. My husbands PSA has come down since his last test. It had been on the rise. His jock itch has completely gone.
    We still have a way to go, still healing. But I believe that it will all get better and better. I wish I had started this diet years ago but then would have I? I am finally convincing my 30 year old son that he needs to cut out sugar. Only because he started to get a recurring and worsening rash on his face, is he starting to take notice of me. I got him onto a prescription of Nystatin (antifungal), because I needed to convince him it is a Candida symptom….. and Candida loves sugar and carbohydrates! His other symptoms were bad dandruff and when young Tinea. A doctor recommended Nizerol (antifungal) shampoo for the dandruff and it worked temporarily but of course it comes back and he has to use it again. Another doctor told him to stop as it causes kidney damage so he stopped.
    His rash is starting to go….. I understand he will probably start eating more sugar again once it’s gone…but he will eventually get the connection, I hope.
    There is so much more to this Low carb eating than just losing weight – it’s really, really big. I just wish that this message could really get heard. But we as a people in addiction to carbs are deaf until it really starts to hurt and all the prescription pills are no longer masking the symptoms.
    One more thing, don’t drink Reverse Osmosis water. Both myself and my husband kidneys were getting weaker. It finally twigged when my husbands doctor test showed he was having problems with osmolarity. We were both having to get up several times a night. Even my son when he came back to live with us starting having to get up. It’s all stopped since we stopped drinking reverse osmosis water.
    Thanks Dr Jay for all you really good work. I look forward to reading your blogs very much.

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is inspiring to hear what someone like you can accomplish by simply reducing carbs. To the uninitiated, your story will sound far-fetched – how can so many things become so much better from such a simple dietary change? For those of us who have had direct experience, it is not surprising at all. Good luck with the diet and do keep us posted.

  22. Dr Wortman, I found your “Story so far” to be a big boost at a particularly low point for myself.
    I can identify with the animosity and even hostility by my peers for daring to shake the foundations of their belief system.
    My problem is that my patients have little to no choice in what food they eat. I am a veterinarian and since having my eyes opened and going to a low carb lifestyle I have been appauled at what the pet food industry is doing to pets and my own peers.
    Just like medical doctors, nutrition is not a heavily covered subject in veterinary school. It is approached more on a case by case method of treating a particular disease than as a whole body discipline. Even worse is that due to lack of funding, many of the nutrition courses are sponsered by pet food manufactures and lectures and materials proviced by their representatives. That’s like having Big Pharm lecture med students on the management of cholesterol….
    We’ve been brainwashed into Calories in/Calories out and if we see an obese pet then it must be getting too many treats and sleeping on the couch all day.
    I know that canine and feline physiology is different than that of humans but at the base we are mammals and there are too many similaries to discount obesity as being a hormonal disease in pets as well as people. Diabetes as wells as arthritis, atopy, IBD, and even some behavior issues may well have more of their roots in the foods the pets are consuming than conventional thinking is currently considering.
    If in your circle of contacts you know of anyone directing research in the low carb area for companion animals I would be interested in thier work and even participating in trials.
    Keep up the good work. The more you educate the humans on the benefits of a low carb lifestyle the less work I have to do in getting them to see how it will help their pets.
    SIncerely Minerva (DVM)

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    Thanks for your post and for a perspective that many of us probably overlook.

    I’ll share a story. I was invited to speak at a conference in Seattle a couple of years ago. During my lecture I mentioned a study where inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBD) responded well to a low-carb diet. A couple of months later I received an email from the woman who had organized the conference. She said that she had an elderly cat who was dying of IBD. After hearing my presentation she put the cat on a diet devoid of carbs. The cat recovered.

    We have an ageing cat and she was starting to go downhill. We put her on a carb-free diet and she has regained her health and energy. It occurs to me that it is crazy to be feeding our carnivorous pets a high-carb diet. And I agree with you wholeheartedly about the problem with the pet food industry. It is interesting to hear how much they have penetrated the institutions for veterinary education. It is not too dissimilar to how the agri-food sector has penetrated the business of nutritional science.

    By the way, Big Pharm doesn’t have to lecture about cholesterol management. They have their proxies do it for them and there are plenty of willing candidates!

  23. Wow, I cannot believe I just found your blog. I have seen your show and read your Readers’ Digest article. I guess have been a big part of my life without even knowing it.

    I now live in Alberta (Vermilion though, not FORT Vermilion LOL) but I grew up only a little over an hour from Taylor BC where that ‘other show’ was filmed. I have some native blood (Mi’kmaq) and have been all over the ‘low carb’ map since 2004. Low carb, very low carb & Barry Groves ‘eat fat get thin’ low carb.

    I have lost 85lbs (the first 50 twice) and have now been literally zero carbs for over 2 years. I eat only meat and use heavy cream in my coffee. I have been at my ‘goal weight’ for over 18 months now, and it is the least I have weighed since I turned 20, 26 years ago. My whole family eats like me…. 3 kids under 12 included.

    But none of that is why I am here. I am here to tell you about this gentleman I met in our small town Co-op last month. His name is Walter, and you saved his life.

    One day I was killing time in the store with the 2 youngest of my 3 children. I had one running around with my list gathering stuff, while the 3yo sat in the cart seat, reminding me of other things I needed (I really did not need a list with her around). And of course, as a low carb family, we rarely ever ventured down any aisles, other than to get paper goods, cleaning supplies or coffee. We spent most of our time (and money) in the dairy and meat section.

    My 3yo reminded me that I had mentioned I needed cream, but there were 2 men standing in front of the cream display, blocking my way. So I hushed her and told her we would just wait until they were done. From the back I could see that one was tall and slim while the other was tall, but a little heavier. I would have guessed that they were in their late 60’s. One was wearing a cowboy hat and the slimmer one, a ball type cap. They were both dressed in western type wear, so I assumed (correctly) that they were locals, born and raised.

    I stood there for a few minutes, and then began to wonder what on earth was taking them so long. I was about 6 feet away so I just assumed they were talking about what all farmers talked about: The Weather. I figured this could take forever so I just decided to try to squeeze my way in front of them and grab my cream and run, maybe they wouldn’t notice me. I really do hate to be rude and like I said, I was not in a hurry.

    So crept up closer and reached my arm in front of them and looked up apologetically was just about to say excuse me when I heard one of them say ‘this one has less carbs, and carbs are exactly like sugar’…. well, I almost fell over. I looked to see that it was the heavier man, holding a carton of heavy whipping cream while pointing to the nutritional label on the side. I could not help myself.. I said: ‘wait, are you on a low carb diet?’

    He stated proudly ‘I sure am, I have lost almost 40lbs since Christmas’. His friend (I did not get his name) said ’40lbs Walter?? That is AMAZING!!! and you seriously eat stuff like this?’ pointing at the cream.

    Well, we talked, and talked, and talked and blocked the aisle and them moved down and talked some more. I told them about my own low carb history and when I asked Walter what got him convinced to try it, he told me about an article his girlfriend read in the Reader’s Digest. She told him to call the Dr. who wrote the article and he scoffed at her. He said, ‘that Doc is famous, he doesn’t have time for someone like me?’ but he caved and he called the Doctor’s office anyway (to shut her up?) and was not surprised to hear from the Doctor’s Reception that he was away at a conference. But he left his number anyway… with very little hope that anything would ever come of it.

    A few weeks later he got a call: “Hey Walter, this is Dr Wortman”….

    So, you ARE changing lives, and not only Walter’s life, but all the people he knows who can be bothered to listen to how much healthier he is compared to 5 months ago. The guy who stood with us in the store learned a few things too, and I left wondering if his wife possibly struggled with her weight and he saw his old buddy Walter as a beacon of hope for her. We talked about bacon and eggs for breakfast, about NOT eating oatmeal every day trying to lower cholesterol, we talked about butter and pork chops and whipping cream in our coffee. Walter told the other guy to ‘not let his weight fool him into thinking he was healthy’ and I cheered inside.

    Before we parted ways, I asked Walter if he ever runs into my Father in Law, to PLEASE find a way to tell him about his improved health and that he did it eating ‘low carb’. Maybe then my Father in Law will no longer worry that our kidneys are going to explode and that there is also a lot more to life than ‘just waking up alive’ every morning.

    As for that other guy? I truly hope that was the very last carton of 10% cream he ever bought 🙂

    Dr Jay’s Reply:

    What a wonderful story! Thanks so much for taking the time to share it. I often feel like Johnny Appleseed, scattering these ideas around the country but never knowing whether they bear fruit or not so it is always nice to hear the success stories.

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