January 9, 2021
Best selling author Gary Taubes shares his findings from new book The Case For Keto, of why many of us need to eat fewer carbohydrates and more healthy fat to lose weight and stay healthy.
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DARLENE: Well, welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Darlene Kvist and I'm the founder of Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And we have been sharing the benefits of eating real food on Dishing Up Nutrition for the past 17 years. You know, eating real food is, is very simple, such a, but it has a powerful message with it.
SHELBY: We try to make it simple, Dar.
DARLENE: We do. So, you know, we have a great show plan for you today. Our co-host, you just heard her voice: nutritionist, Shelby Olson. And joining us this morning is Gary Taubes. He's the author of the newly released book, in fact, it was just released two or three days ago.
DARLENE: The Case for Keto. You know, one of the things that Gary's going to do today is share some, just share some knowledge, share some light on why your friends can eat bagels and brownies and not gain any weight. Well, for some of us, and for some reason, if I personally just look at a bagel or brownie, the number on the scale just slides up.
SHELBY: I hear that with clients too. I can't even look at that slice of chocolate cake without gaining weight.
DARLENE: So many of you know Shelby's, she's been on Dishing Up Nutrition. She's a nutritionist. And so, you know, one of the things that we want to do, Gary, first of all, welcome to the show. We love having you on. It's going to be a fun show. And Gary, one of the things that we would like to know is how come some people can eat whatever they want and people like myself, not so much?
GARY TAUBES (SPECIAL GUEST): Okay. Well, hi and thanks for having me on the show.
DARLENE: Well, you know what, Gary? We, we have just a group of long-term listeners that probably struggle with this issue that you're talking about. And so, it's, we're just going to do a fun show today with you. So welcome again.
GARY: Well, I look forward to it. And yeah, to, to start with answering your question, you know, for 50 years or 60 years now, let's say since the second World War, the notion has been that the reason some of us get fat and others don't is those of us who get fat just eat too much. And, a lot of, virtually all of the modern research in nutrition, obesity is, is, goes into trying to figure out why we might eat too much, but not blame us for eating too much and not fat shame us. So it's a kind of a, a weird enterprise. And, when you actually look at the physiology of fat accumulation, it turns out that there could be very good reasons, not why some of us eat too much, but why some of us accumulate fat easily. And in my new book, I use this phrase it's like right out of 1950s diet books. But you talked about it when they said, you know, you look at a bagel and it makes you gain weight. And some people don't. We all know people who are effortlessly lean while the rest of us struggle with our weight our whole lives. And the question is, I mean, we intuitively know it's not just because we eat too much because we work like heck to eat in moderation.
GARY: And yet we get fat anyway.
DARLENE: And we exercise.
GARY: And we exercise and you know, I'm in the top position as, as, as well, investigative science and health journalist. I'm stuck asking obesity researchers and public health epidemiologists like, do you really think everyone out who is overweight is sucking down Coca Cola's and living on McDonald's?
SHELBY: And what are their responses? I mean, that's, that's the thing is when we think about the last 50 years, you write in the first few pages of your book, that obesity is increased 250%; diabetes: 700% in the last 50 years. And so I think you have such a compelling amount of evidence just showing that it's not the victim mentality. It's not these people who really are, like you say, sucking down soda or driving through fast food all the time. There's got to be a bigger picture.
GARY: There does, but it's, it's a complex situation. I mean, we're having this conversation this past week, U.S. News and World Report came out with their annual diet. And once again, there, you know, the best diets as far as they're concerned and the best weight loss diets are the diets we've all been told to eat for the past 50 years. The Mediterranean diet is always number one. And so the assumption is that if we're overweight or obese, if we're pre-diabetic or diabetic, we clearly must not have been eating or doing what they've been telling us to do. And to say they're out of touch is a kind way to put it. Even when you look at the, the USDA, the data on what foods we eat and what the industry makes available to us, we clearly changed our dietary preferences to eat like the, the government wants us to eat.
DARLENE: Right, exactly.
GARY: So we got ever fatter and fatter. And if you know, there's this, and again, as I came into this with no preconceptions and, just wanted to understand what was happening. And I did it beginning 20 years ago, and for the first time, thanks to the internet, you could, virtually every research article and book could be found somewhere someplace and I, you know, downloaded and read. Now you can download them all. And it just became clear that that some significant mistakes had been made about how we think about this, beginning with this idea that we get fat because we eat too much, as opposed to obesity being a sort of a hormonal dysregulation. And that people who fatten easily are going to fatten easily eating the same foods on which other people can stay effortlessly thin, which is, you know, how you introduce this.
DARLENE: So, you know, one of the things though, Gary, is to be honest, you know, if you see someone that is oh, 40, 50, 60, a hundred pounds overweight, I think we have been so conditioned that we start to think, “They must eat too much.” I mean, you know, it's just, it's just the way we think now, you know?
GARY: It is, but it wasn't when we were growing up. Somebody, yeah, when I was in high school in the early 1970s, a long time ago, there was two, two obese children in our high school. Classmates: we didn’t think of them as people ate too much or people didn't get enough exercise. We thought of them as different. In fact, you know, this is going to sound pretentious. I've been rereading Tolstoy: War and Peace. It helps me sleep at night and…
DARLENE: I read nutrition books to put me to sleep.
GARY: No, that gets me angry. There's a character. And they, they, they, they go to uncle's house and warranties have their hunt. The housekeeper is plump. And she's described as plump and is just no conception of reading this did anyone thinks she's sneaking back into the kitchen to stuff pastries down her face. She’s just built differently than everyone else. Some people… there's a great new book out by a young woman who struggles with obesity. And it's called, well we don't talk about when we talk about fat and about the, all the various ways in which the people who struggle with obesity are poorly treated in this world. And, I'm trying to phrase that properly, but it's early in the morning here in California.
DARLENE: Yes, I know it is.
GARY: She just talks about some people are just built fat. And so the question is: Why? What would make some people's bodies want to accumulate…? Just like some people are built tall, some people are built thin. Some people are built, you know, broad and some not. Some people are, their bodies want to accumulate fat to access and other people's bodies don't. And this is not at all how our obesity research community thinks about this problem. They think, and they, all the research is dedicated to, “How can we get these people who are fat to eat less? And how can we understand why they eat too much?” Rather than saying, “How can we understand why they accumulate too much fat?”
SHELBY: That's actually one of the things that I think you have written quite extensively about is trying to get to that, that root question of “why”.
GARY: Well, and that's the thing, the question you asked, this is, like, if I ever write a book about science, do it some way; this is lesson number one. The question you ask determines the answer you get. And if you're asked the question, “Why do people who struggle with obesity eat too much?” You're going to get an entirely different answer than the one who, “Why do people who struggle with obesity struggle with obesity? Why do they accumulate too much fat?” The only thing you really know about them is that they have these, you know, they're burdened with excess fat. You know nothing about how much they eat or exercise or how much energy they take in, or their body expands. You just know that they accumulate too much fat. So that's your first question.
SHELBY: Exactly. And that's actually what we want to get into more on the next side of break. Gary, hold on just for a second. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We are pleased to interview author Gary Taubes about his recently released book, The Case for Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science and Practice of Low-Carb/High-Fat Eating. We'll be right back.
DARLENE: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, if you are concerned about your A1C or your fasting glucose numbers, or have been told that you're pre-diabetic or diabetic, we always say, “Look to your food.” You know, it's kind of interesting because people, our clients are often surprised to learn that their favorite oatmeal breakfast that they've been eating since childhood and had been told that it's healthy is one of the causes of higher blood sugar numbers. So if you're concerned about these numbers, and I think people should be concerned about their fasting blood sugar and the A1Cs, you know, just give us a call at (651) 699-3438, or you can go online at weightandwellness.com and set up an appointment. So kind of let's get these numbers back down into that normal range I think it's one of the more critical aspects of your health.
SHELBY: Absolutely. Now we are delighted to have author, Gary Taubes, joining us from California. With the time difference, we know Gary is up early to share some interesting insights with us about diet and weight control, which, you know, this is not new to Gary. You know, his, his first book that I read was actually Good Calories, Bad Calories. His latest book is called The Case for Keto. He has also written Why We Get Fat and The Case Against Sugar. Now, in his most recent book, The Case for Keto, Gary explores why many of us need to eat fewer carbohydrates; just like you had mentioned the oatmeal, Dar, and eat more healthy fat to lose weight and stay healthy. So Gary, when you say fewer carbohydrates, tell our listeners what you mean.
GARY: Well, the phrase I use in the book, which I borrow from the most famous book ever written about food, which is called The Physiology of Taste. It was written in 1825.
DARLENE: And probably not too many people have read that.
GARY: Probably not, but it's been in print since 1825. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said, “More or less rigid abstinence to carbohydrate-rich foods…” “More or less rigid abstinence”, again, depends on the extent of your, you know, how difficult it really is for you to control your weight and your blood sugar.
DARLENE: So Gary…
GARY: But the idea…
DARLENE: Gary, when, when you think about that for a client, you know, just put that in common words. What does that mean, really? You know, when you say that, it means to me, you throw out the toast. I mean, you know?
DARLENE: And I think that's kind of like, what else do you kind of need to throw out if you're not, if you're going to cut down on those carbohydrates?
GARY: Okay. So easiest way to think about it is don't eat sugars. Don't eat sweets, starches, and grains. The, you know, it gets problematic, right? Cause people are saying, “But that's everything I ate.” Actually, that's what Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said in 1825 too. He said, “I tell people to do this.” And they say, “But Dr. what’s left?” And he wasn't a doctor. So let's just talk about the reason why the physiology here. So, you know, the medical community has always thought of the hormone, insulin, as a hormone that controls blood sugar, which it does. It secretes a response primarily to the carbohydrates you consume. But one of the ways insulin does control blood sugars, it does it by telling your fat tissue to hold on to all the fat you've eaten and not to release the fat you've stored. So when insulin is secreted, you are storing fat. Again, 50 years ago, diet book doctors would have said, “You're in fat storage mode.” But your body is indeed in fat storage mode when you’re secreting insulin. And the physiology of this has worked out pretty well between the 1960s and the 1980s. And it turns out that your fat tissue is what metabolism researchers would have called “exquisitely sensitive to insulin”. So if there's even the slightest bit of insulin in circulation, your fat tissue is in storage mode. It's holding onto the fat that you've stored and it's storing any fat that you're eating; and leads your carbohydrates to burn for fuel. And the insulin is actually telling the rest of your body just burn carbs. And that's one reason why when you have a carb-rich breakfast: cereal, skim milk, orange juice, banana, piece of toast, you're hungry two hours later because as your blood sugar comes down, your insulin stays elevated and you can't access the fat that you've stored to use for fuel, which is what you should be doing. So if you want to get fat out of your fat tissue and burn it for fuel, which is what any of us want to do, whether we're overweight or not.
GARY: You've got to minimize insulin. So that for some of us, that means not eating sugars, starches and grains, and then replacing those calories with healthy fats. And when you're doing that, you're basically you're eating a ketogenic diet. You're doing keto. So that's the sort of basic physiology behind everything I say in the book. And as I point out over and over again, it's textbook medicine. It's just the medical community refused to consider it relevant to obesity because they were too busy blaming obese people for eating too much.
DARLENE: Exactly. So Gary, in your book, you talked about, you shared 600 calories, two different eating plans, and they were both 600 calories. One you said would help people gain weight easily and one would help people not gain weight. Can you share a little bit about the difference between those two kinds of meals or those two 600 calorie…?
SHELBY: Same calorie.
SHELBY: Different, different makeup with those meals. Walk us through that.
GARY: Well, okay. And I wanted to do this exercise because I, it was one way to sort of refute this idea that, that, that dieting is about necessarily eating less. And it's all about the calories. So we could start at dinner. And a typical American dinner: let's just say it's a skinless chicken breast with broccoli and baked potatoes. You know, it's about 40 to 50% of the calories from carbs because of the skinless chicken breasts is about 30% protein probably.
GARY: I had a picture in the book. I weighed all the foods. It’s 600 calories of food. And this is what you've been eating all along. This is what we've been told to eat. And if you're somebody who struggles with their weight, this, this meal was fattening because of primarily the calories and the potatoes. So the flipside…
DARLENE: So Gary, Gary, hold on. I think most people who eat this, you know, dried up chicken breast would think this is a perfect way to eat to lose weight, I would think.
GARY: And this is how we've been told to eat for 50 years. Yeah. And it's also the ideal heart-healthy diet in theory. You know, we have this idea that you should never to, you know, you're, you have an eating disorder if you restrict an entire food group. So God forbid you shouldn't eat the potatoes. Yeah, this is, this is the ideal healthy diet. But it's, for those of us who are eating it, the potatoes are going to keep us fat; make us fatter.
DARLENE: Like, you know, let me give you a personal, if I eat that potato, my blood sugar is going to go up and then I'm going to get that insulin response. And then I'm going to gain weight. I mean, it's simple. But it's hard for people to understand.
GARY: Okay. So now let's look at this same, you know, a similar dinner with 600 calories that is part of keto, is keto; part of the Atkins’ diet. And that would be: keep the broccoli, but now put a pat of butter or olive oil on it. Get rid of the, excuse me, get rid of the baked potato, twice as much broccoli. Put butter and olive oil on it. Instead of the skinless chicken breast, you have chicken thighs with the skin. So the chicken thighs are fattier than the breasts.
SHELBY: So Gary, sorry to interrupt you. We ask you this question and we've got to take a short break here.
DARLENE: Sorry about that, Gary.
SHELBY: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. 2020 may have found you calming your stress and worries with candy and cookies and all of the sugar. And then you stepped on the scale and thought, “How did this happen?” Maybe it's time to get some support and guidance to get back in control of your food choices and have the scale making you feel good, right? Our Nutrition for Weight Loss program starts the week of January 18th. Our 12-week program is offered via Zoom or…
DARLENE: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, as both Shelby and I've said earlier, we're so pleased to have Gary on the show today. You know, he's the author of The Case for Keto. And, you know, I, we both believe that the work of Gary Taubes has been instrumental in helping people realize they don't have to suffer with low-fat starvation food to lose weight or to maintain their weight. There's a different way. There's a better way now. And Gary has been talking and writing books about this now for the last 20 years, for sure.
SHELBY: And Gary, before we went to break, you know, we were kind of comparing in chapter 15 of your book, the 600 calorie dinner that has the potatoes and the skinless chicken breast. And then you were, you were just talking a little bit more about that comparison. So if, if you bring us back into that comparison of a 600 calorie dinner, keto versus, you know, what people have been told to eat for too many years.
GARY: Right. So the, yeah, the traditional healthy dinner: skinless chicken breast, mashed potato, and broccoli. That's it. And you cook it on the wok so you don't use any fat and it's 600 calories. And then the Atkins’ diet or keto or any low-carb/high-fat diet, the equivalent is: hold the potatoes, double order of broccoli, put some butter or olive oil on them, and chicken thighs with the skin attached. So both dinners are 600 calories. One would be fattening and the other would be part of a, what, you know, the medical establishment is traditionally considered a fad weight loss diet. And yet the main difference is you don't eat the potatoes. You put butter or olive oil on the broccoli. We have even more green vegetables than you usually have, and you're eating chicken thighs instead of, with skin instead of skinless chicken breast. Identical calories…
And you can do the same for every meal on the book. I have a photo of a sort of classic fast food lunch, and again, around 600 to 700 calories. And it's a, you know, a burger, hamburger from McDonald's with French fries and a small Coke. And the flip side is you have the burger without the bun on a salad and, and, you know, with the avocado slices and water. And oh, excuse me, a double burger with cheese. But if you don't want to have the double burger with cheese, you can have a piece of salmon. You know, you can make these... Now you're eating the South beach diet. It's another low-carb/high-fat way to eat.
SHELBY: Well, and people typically look at those sorts of meals also. And they say, they notice the fat component too. I hear all the time, “Shelby you're, you're telling me that I can eat butter. I can eat, you know, avocados and nuts and seeds?” So, you know, oftentimes that fat component also trips people up. So tell us a little bit more about, you know, how we've been confused about low fat and its connection to heart health. You know, here in Minnesota, we're actually not far from where Ancel Keys did his research at the University of Minnesota. So tell us about Ancel Keys’ research and why it’s set people up to believe the wrong nutritional information.
GARY: Okay. Well, and that's one thing I wanted to say quickly is one thing I did for this book, The Case for Keto is I interviewed 120 plus physicians who had sort of converted to the way we think and prescribed… eat this way themselves and prescribe these diets to their patients and think it's the healthiest thing they could do for their patients. And they all said the same thing basically, which is of the biggest challenges they had is accepting, getting patients to accept the fact that they can eat fat and it's not going to kill them. That was the biggest challenge for me when I first tried eating this way as an experiment. I was convinced bacon and eggs in the morning were going to kill me. And I’d have a heart attack before lunch. The, Ancel Keys, and University of Minnesota nutritionist in the 1950s, he's the kind of guy who people describe as “not suffering fools gladly”, which means he's pretty bright, but anyone who disagrees with him, he can't tolerate. He decides in the 1950s, he comes up with this hypothesis that we get heart disease because the fat in our diet raises cholesterol. And people say, “It’s not...” Anyway, he then gets honed over the years to saturated fat raises LDL cholesterol. And it's the only hypothesis really out there at the time, the only one in the United States anyway. And then the 1960s, the research community starts doing clinical trials to test this hypothesis. And for the most part, it fails every test. And what they can’t show is that if you get people to eat less fat, or if you switch the saturated fats to polyunsaturated fats, people actually live longer, which is what you want to do, ideally. For every study that suggests this might happen, there's a study that suggests that the people who eat polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats might die prematurely. In fact, the biggest study ever done in the U.S. was the Minnesota Heart Study on which, coronary study on which Ancel Keys was a coauthor. And when they realized that people seem to be dying prematurely on their, their polyunsaturated fat-rich diets, they didn't publish the results. It was essentially published 18 years later after the principal investigator, the year after he retired from the University of Minnesota, he published the results.
SHELBY: Right, so Gary, with those polyunsaturated fats, just to kind of bring our listeners into that, that would be the things like corn, soybean, canola; more of the seed-based oils.
GARY: Yeah. The seed oils and vegetable oils, other than olive oil.
SHELBY: Right, right.
GARY: And, and yeah, it didn't stop him. You know, this is one of the problems with all bad science. Researchers become, they fall in love with their hypothesis. That's the phrase that they use. And no matter how many experiments they do, if you, if the experiment doesn't get the right result, you say the experiment was done... If it doesn't get the result you believe it should, you say, “Obviously I didn't do the experiment correctly or the clinical trial correctly.” And it's funny, sometimes that's true. And sometimes that's not, and that's what makes science so difficult to do. Pardon the language. But in this case, they were putting in… the researchers knew it. In the late 1970s, when the federal government got involved and said, “The whole country should reduce their fat consumption and replace these fats with carbohydrates…” They thought healthy carbs: whole grains, vegetables; not Wonder Bread. They, it was hearings in Congress in which the head of the National Academy of Sciences says, you're putting those, during an experiment and your subjects, so the entire American public. And over the next 20 years, we saw the results of the experiment. And they, for the most part, we ate the way we were told to eat. We ate less animal fats and more vegetable oils. We reduced our red meat consumption and replaced it with chicken and skinless chicken breasts. And we got ever fatter and more diabetic.
SHELBY: Right; right. Yeah, so you ask the question… Oh, go ahead.
GARY: I was going to say, you know, 40 years later, then nutritionists like you guys are stuck to having to tell your patients, “Look, don't worry about the fat. It's the carbs that are the problem.” Mistakes have been made and you can also say, “Trust me, we can put you on this diet as an experiment. You'll see how well you do.”
GARY: And you'll feel better. You'll lose weight without being hungry, which is absolutely critical. And you'll be able to maintain a healthy weight without being hungry, which all the time, which is absolutely critical.
DARLENE: Oh, so… Ok, so Gary, you know, I think that the, you explained that so well. I guess, one of the other things just to kind of get people thinking is, again, let's go back over a little bit of calories in calories out. And one of the, it was interesting when I read Michael Pollan's book the first time with his comment in there, and I thought, “That doesn't work for a lot of people.” Can you dig into that a little bit and explain to, to what he really said and what it meant?
GARY: Well, Michael Pollan, the journalist turned into nutrition authority, just like me, but a little more famous.
DARLENE: Oh, I don’t think so.
GARY: I hope not. But anyway, his famous, he boiled all healthy nutrition advice down to six words, seven words, and his book, In Defense of Food, his first seven words in the book, “Eat food; not too much; mostly plants.”
GARY: Okay. And I agree with him completely on “eat foods”. And by that he meant whole foods rather than food-like substances rather than all the processed foods in the, in the center aisles of the supermarket. But mostly, “not too much” implies once again, that people who can control their weight can't control their weight because they eat too much. It's just a clever way to say the same thing. And you know, those of us who struggle with this problem know that it's not, we can't control our weight even when, you know, we have two, two choices in effect: be hungry all the time or get fat. And we know from other research by Ancel Keys at the University of Minnesota, that nobody can tolerate hunger.
DARLNE: That’s right.
GARY: …for a long period of time. This was his famous studies on semi-starvation diets in the 1940s during the war. You know, it causes, he was feeding these conscientious objectors his diet: low-fat, healthy diets at 1600 calories a day. 1600 calories, which is more than what, you know, women are told, for instance, the, if they want weight loss.
DARLENE: You know, many women are told to eat 500 calories to lose weight.
SHELBY: Right. Well, so Gary, we definitely want to talk, you know, on the backside of break here. I'm going to take us to our last break and then we'll come back and get right back into it. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and our interview with Gary Taubes this morning. He is an author of a number of books, including his latest, The Case for Keto, Good Calories, Bad Calories, and of course, one of our favorites, the Case Against Sugar. We'll be right back.
DARLENE: Well, welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, many of us are motivated to keep our weight in check because we want our clothes to fit better and we want to look better. But with the ongoing pandemic, there is a greater reason to keep your weight under control. Researchers continually point out that people who are overweight or obese are more at risk for getting the COVID-19 and having a rather poor outcome. So, you know, for this reason alone, you know, don't put off saying, “I'm going to get healthy tomorrow.” Do it today. So keep listening to Dishing Up Nutrition because I think we help. You know, check out Gary Taube’s books; great books. You know, go to our website, weightandwellness.com, and make an appointment with one of our nutritionists. And I think we have a solution for you. You know, the reality is most of us need support to do better for ourselves. It's just what it is.
DARLENE: So let's go back to our discussion.
SHELBY: Yes, Gary, you were, you were in the middle of a thought, so we'll let you have the mic back.
DARLENE: Do you remember where we were?
GARY: You’ll have to remind me what thought I was in the middle of.
SHELBY: So we were actually talking, you know, more specifically about kind of 1600 calorie diets and really this idea that a lot of us feel like we have to be hungry in order to lose weight.
GARY: Yeah. Okay. So this one's, I was talking about this study done by Ancel Keys at the University of Minnesota in the late, early 1940s. And, so it was, it's a very famous study. Two volumes report was published called The Biology of Human Starvation, but what they were starving their subjects on were 1600 calories a day; low-fat, healthy diets of green vegetables, starchy vegetables, potatoes, and a little bit of meat. And they talked about semi-starvation neurosis and actually two of the 34 subjects tried to mutilate themselves to get out of the trial. One of them cut off several of his fingers because he couldn't tolerate living on 1600 calories anymore. And so we know that lean people or relatively lean people can’t tolerate these diets. Why would we expect people who struggle with overweight to do it? And then on top of that, when they were done with this trial, they got people to lose about, you know, over the course of six months, they lost about, I think it was maybe 25 pounds, which they didn't have a lot to lose, but that's not particularly great. It's a weight loss diet. And then they, when they started allowing them to eat as much as they wanted to, they suddenly realized how to control because these young men would eat themselves sick. And they would eat as much as 10,000 calories a day. Their bodies were trying to replenish the fat muscle that they've lost. And all of them ended up fatter than they started. So they called it post-starvation obesity, which we’ve all gone through.
GARY: And that's what's so bizarre. Being a journalist in this field; coming at it with somewhat no bias at all. You have these one of the most famous studies in all of nutrition, obesity research. And it tells you that just making people eat less, it's not an answer to anything. So you understand the physiology and you fix what's wrong. And the physiology tells you for many of us, carbohydrates are fattening. And if we don't want to be fat, we can't eat them. It’s so regrettable and unfair that our friends can eat them and we can't. We can’t.
DARLENE: That’s true. That’s very true.
SHELBY: And what you've described with that research, I think really resonates for a lot of the people that I work with that would describe themselves as compulsive eaters. You know, they, they try to quote unquote, “be good” for a week or two weeks or even a month. And then as soon as they have that carbohydrate, they have that sugar again, you know, they kind of go into this binge cycle as well. And so it sounds like you're helping people see that there is a different path.
GARY: Well, right. And the physicians I interviewed, and the way you talked about it says pretty much the same thing. They tend to think of what they do as weaning people off their carbohydrate addiction the same way you would if you were in an alcohol treatment center. You would wean people off of alcohol, or, I tend to think of it a lot as smoking because I just, you know, I smoked cigarettes when I was younger and it was the hardest thing I ever did to quit smoking. But it was also the best thing I ever did, other than, you know, marriage and children and things like that. The, I failed over and over again, and eventually I succeeded. And I still think of myself, I know if I would smoke a single cigarette, I'd be back to being a smoker. So I don't do it.
DARLENE: And that's, that's exactly what a lot of our clients, as soon as they, they decide, “Oh, I can have that little sweet treat or that little piece of brownie or that little, little something,” I say they're off and running again. You know, and they're running on sugar. I'm sorry, go ahead.
GARY: And it's funny. Some of us, one of the things that physicians told me who prescribed this to their patient, it's like, one wonderful doctor in Virginia, said, “You have, first of all, you have to practice this.” Like anything, if you want to get good at it, it takes practice. And all this advice is in the book because I wanted people to understand this. You have to work at it constantly. Just like when we, you know, I'm trying to get my 12 year-old to be not embarrassing on the piano. I'm always pushing him to practice and practice more and keep at it and learn how to do it right. And read up on it. The physicians always often use this phrase “going down the rabbit hole”. They started reading books such as mine, but then Nina Teicholz’s The Big Fat Surprise and Jason Fung’s The Obesity Code. Dr. David Ludwig at Harvard professors: a wonderful book called Always Hungry.
GARY: There's dozens and dozens of books out there where you could understand those, how your body works, which is not what you've been told you eat too much. That's the message. And it's about why your body stores excess fat and what you have to do if you want to stop and reverse that process. And, and yeah, unfortunately it means you may never have a donut again.
GARY: Just like quitting smoking meant I would never have a cigarette again. And believe me, that was, I crave cigarettes more than donuts. I don’t really like a donut.
SHELBY: Gary, one of the things that I want to kind of go back to here is you had mentioned in the last chapter of your book, you know, a mom with a young child saying that she has to be very careful about the language that she uses, because if she is talking to other moms or teachers about, “Well, we eat a low-carb diet.” That's almost like a horrific response that she gets instead of changing that language to. “Well, you know, we eat meat and vegetables and healthy fat,” and all of a sudden there's praise about this is how you feed your kids. So I'm kind of curious with the last couple of minutes here, how does your work impact the choices that your family makes? And I know you mentioned you have two children, so what do your kids think of your work?
GARY: I like to think they respect me, but you have to ask them. And I want to talk about the words we use. I actually, yeah, the book's called The Case for Keto. And I understand why the publishers wanted to call it, get the word “keto” in the title because it's catchy and people will search “keto” and the book will come up. But it's exactly it. It's, it's, this isn't a fad diet. It's not about doing a diet. It's about how you eat and it's about eating healthy. And it's a way that you can eat healthy, where you actually see the results of that eating healthy pretty quickly. You don't have to just hope you're going to lower your risk of heart disease. You could see your health improve when you eat this way. And you know, my kids, I don't, I don't have a family history of obesity. And so I keep their sugar consumption low. There are no fruit juices or sodas in the house; plenty of potato chips. My wife is a potato chip fan. They get cereal for breakfast. You know, one of my, my youngest son is an athlete and he is a carb… craves; that worries me a little bit. But he could eat a burrito the size of his head and my oldest son is built more like I was when I was younger. And he, other than breakfast, kind of, self-selects not to eat the starch at lunch and dinner. You know, it's, I trust that if their weight gets out of control, when they get older, as it does for many of us, we're fine in our youth, that they hopefully, because of my work and the work now is tens of thousands of physicians out there thinking this way, that they'll see that this is a viable option they'll be able to control. My wife is mostly vegetarian. She grew up that way. And, if you can do, you can, you know, whether you're vegetarian or vegan, you can still abstain from eating starchy vegetables and grains. It's harder to avoid getting carbs in your diet because your protein sources, beans and legumes primarily, or soy, comes with carbs. Well, the beans and legumes come with carbs attached. So, but you can do these diets. There are Facebook groups for vegan, ketogenic diets. And again, ketogenic means you're abstaining from carb-rich foods and replacing them with fat, ultimately.
DARLENE: I think Gary, one of the things, when we, when we're working with people, we just say, you know, lower your carbs and increase your fat a little. I think one of the wisest things that you said today was people just have to practice, practice and practice and practice, and then you have pretty good results. You know, one of the other things that I guess before we go off is that, you know, there are more reasons to eat this way. And one of them is to reduce inflammation in your body, which is so key.
SHELBY: Well, gosh, Gary, we have to thank you again for getting up early and joining us on Dishing Up Nutrition this morning. Check out his book, The Case for Keto. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life-changing. Thank you for joining us today and have a great one.
DARLENE: Thank you, Gary. We really appreciate your work.