Doctors are doing exactly what they are SUPPOSED to be doing. When they tell you to eat at least 120 g/d of grains, they are following the Canadian Dietary Guidelines. Somehow, at some point, someone came up with this amount as a requirement. The justification is that if you don't eat enough carbs your body and brain won't work, and you may even develop ketoacidosis, a very serious condition that can happen to diabetics (this here is an oxymoron, but I won't get into it). When, in fact, carbs are the only macronutrient that we can survive without. Our body has the capacity to produce energy (glucose) from stored fat: this is called de novo gluconeogenesis (there's no reference here, we all learn this in school). We cannot, however, survive long without the other 2 macronutrients: Protein and Fat. A diet deficient in these two will inevitably lead to malnutrition. We can't live without protein and fat, but we certainly can live, and well, without carbs!
I won't go over all the millions of patients that have been treated with a low carb diet, for centuries in fact. I have talked about this a little bit in other posts. What I would like to tell you is that many LCHF Practitioners are actual patients as well! I quote Michael Eades when he said that according to clinical psychologists, "data do not change people's minds, stories do". And so, I would like to tell you a bit about my story (and that of a few other Doctors) and why I got on the LCHF diet.
At the age of 30, I was 110 lbs soaking wet. I always wanted to have a fuller figure, and even though I helped people lose weight for a living, I could not, for the life of me, gain a little bit of it. At times, it was very hard to relate to my patients. By the time I was 32, however, while trying desperately to have a baby, my weight skyrocketed. In less than 3 months I gained 20 lbs. My sugar cravings were completely out of control, I was losing hair, my blood pressure went up, my period stopped...and I couldn't get pregnant. I was diagnosed with PCOS. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonally-influenced metabolic disease that affects at least 10% of women. It is caused insulin resistance and it may lead to obesity, male pattern hair loss (and growth), infertility, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (among other things, as if that's not enough). I was petrified. I knew what it was, of course, but how could I get PCOS? My doctor told me that in a few short months I would, for sure, weight over the recommended BMI. My focus, at the time, was getting pregnant and nothing else. I did lose about 7 lbs over the course of the next month (on a "keto" diet) and I got pregnant! The second time around (I didn't stay on the Keto diet in the meantime btw) I was overweight, and couldn't get pregnant again. I got on fertility drugs. I still didn't get pregnant. Luckily, my Mozambican Gynecologist told me to get on Metformin, a diabetes drug. She said I wasn't "falling pregnant" (as they say in South Africa) because I was insulin-resistant. Metformin is not used as a fertility drug here, although it probably will be soon, but we know that high blood sugars and insulin levels ("somehow") affect fertility. I went back on a keto diet and got pregnant within the next 1-2 months. My blood pressure persisted after pregnancy and the weight remained an issue. In between my pregnancies, I tried following a very 'Naturopathic" vegan-like lifestyle but I couldn't lose weight. If anything, I was constantly gaining weight. I blamed it on the hormones (and I wasn't wrong). I didn't think that I needed to be on a Keto diet, (except to get pregnant).
My husband, who suffers from Hypertension and Hypercholesterolemia, from a young age, also struggled with weight his whole life. That's actually how we got together (don't tell anyone, this is not a big deal in Mozambique). As I was on my vegan journey, he really struggled, and basically BEGGED me to organize a separate diet for him. Somehow the finance guy innately knew that eating "vegan" just did not work for him. Because of him, I went the total opposite way of what I had been taught to do and how I had wanted to eat. I started to read more about LCHF diets, long term. Initially we started on a "liberal" LCHF diet, where we still consumed a good amount of carbs from fruit, root vegetables and nut and seed "flours". This worked well for me, but it did not work for my husband. Again, because of him, I started to learn more about following a Ketogenic diet, permanently, and finally, my husband started to lose weight and his health started to improve. It became PERSONAL. As of that moment, I could no longer recommend any other diet to my patients. It would have been unethical. The principles of Naturopathic Medicine state: "First, do no harm!"; and also, follow the "Healing Power of Nature". This includes the healing power of REAL foods. Butter, olive oil, eggs, and yes, even cream! These are REAL foods. These are the foods we removed from our diet to make way for processed wholegrain cereals and processed polyunsaturated vegetable oils.
As I read articles and blogs, listen to lectures and go to conventions, I hear a lot of practitioners retell very similar stories. Dr. Gary Fettke, an Orthopaedic surgeon from Northern Tasmania, first became curious about the LCHF diet when he developed a brain tumor 16 years ago. He actually talks about the effect of sugar, refined carbs and polyunsaturated fats on inflammation and CANCER. A big topic. His story is remarkable, and here he is today, still on a LCHF diet. Dr. Jay Wortman, who I have also talked about before, is a Canadian Doctor working in public health and first became interested in the LCHF diet when he developed Diabetes and needed something to "buy him time" until he could figure out what the best treatment plan was. Wasn't he surprised when he realized that the LCHF diet was the best plan. Still on it today, 13 years later. This journey led him to convince the Canadian Government to fund a 2-year study in 2007 on the reintroduction of a LCHF diet to Aboriginals, which is very well documented in the CBC's "My Big Fat Diet".
Dr. Michael Eades, a medical doctor from a small town in the USA, got into the LCHF lifestyle back in 1985. He put thousands of patients on it, and he put himself on it. He wanted to lose the extra 30 lbs that he gained very quickly. He lectures about the LCHF diet and is still on it today, 31 years later. And... he is still standing. His brain and body have not given up yet! Christine Cronau, is a published nutritionist, who herself got on the LCHF diet because in her 20's she was severely overweight and sick. Now, in her 40's, she not only looks fantastic, but she does it by eating butter, bacon, eggs, and cream, and she teaches the rest of us how to do it too! Lastly, I will speak of Dr. Richard Bernstein (NOT the Bernstein Clinic Diet guy) became a physician, at the age of 45, in order to treat people like he had treated himself. Today, at 82 years old, he still has an active role in the LCHF community and has far outlived the life expectancy of a Type I Diabetic who was not only able to control his blood sugars, lipid levels and medication on a Low Carb Diet, but he has been doing it for over 40 years!