Low Carb Explained

Do you want to know more about low carb as a treatment for obesity and disease? Perhaps nobody can explain it better or more enthusiastically than dr. Mary Vernon.

Mary Vernon, MD, is one of the world’s foremost experts on treating obesity and diabetes with low carbohydrate nutrition. She’s a practicing family physician, educates doctors on low carb and is active in and former president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (doctors specializing in treating obese patients).

This is an interview I did with her at the recent ASBP conference in Las Vegas.

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79 Comments

  1. Peggy Holloway
    Unfortunately, my sister went to Dr. Vernon's clinic in Kansas to seek help for high blood sugar that had not responded to 12 years on a very low carbohydrate diet. The experience was very frustrating and unhelpful. Because health insurance in the US is not valid over state lines, my sister had to pay out of pocket in addition to the travel costs. Dr. Vernon only saw her for 15 minutes, then turned her over to the nurse practitioner who couldn't seem to understand that my sister had been strict low-carbing for many years and still was having fasting blood sugars over 200 on occasion. Dr. Vernon ordered extensive and expensive blood profiles, then gave no follow-up on what my sister should do. Phone calls and emails were not returned.
    I am sorry that Dr. Vernon is not able to provide better care through her clinic.
    Fortunately, Jimmy Moore put us in touch with Jackie Ebelstein at the Atkins Institute and she examined the food journals and blood tests and suggested candida overgrowth and made some tweaks to Jane's diet and medications that have helped. Still, in spite of a very strict Atkins-style diet that has even eliminated nuts and cheese, her fasting blood sugar is regularly around 140. So, it is possible that some people have a degree insulin-resistance that does not allow their high blood sugar to abate even with low-carb diets. There is something hormonal going in that causes the liver to produce glucose, I suppose. I wish Dr. Vernon could have helped us, but maybe no one really understands insulin-resistance completely.
  2. ubbe
    Hej Andreas,
    Jag heter ubbe o jobbar i usa med fetma och halsa generellt. Jag har anammat lag carb och hog fett/protein fett i ca 8 ar. Jag kallar det normal carb diet och pastar att folk ater "hog carb diet" om dom ater som dom flesta americaner. En sak som jag tycker ar lite overlooked i denna interview, och det ar nagot som jag jobbar med, det ar food addiction. Folk som ater mycket high carb ner regulerar sin formaga att producer och ta upp dopamin. Da soker kroppen sin drog (carb mat) for att stimulera utsondring av dopamin igen, men sa smaningom produseras inte mycket dopamin alls. Da gor dom till sin Dr som sajer
    "du maste ga ner i vikt och har far du depression medicin" Det funger inte sa bra da dom gar in i den onda cirkeln manga Americaner ar i. Det vore toppen om du kunde addressera detta problemet med sa folk forstar. Oftast borjar kroppen kunna fa i gang sin dopamin utsondring och mar da mycket battre. Det vore aven toppen bra om du addresserar toxic overload som kroppen lagrar i fett cellerna och stanger dom, eller sa blir patienten illamaende, eller sjuk.
    Jag hoppas att du ursakta min Svengelska

    Jag tycker det ar toppen att du gor vad du gor.
    Ubbe

    P.S Du kanner nog min kompis i Sverige Mats Forsenberg

  3. Trish
    Spencer,

    I read through all of your comments, and it strikes me that all you got from this great video was that Dr. Vernon does not look like someone who takes care of herself? Like Dr. Eenfeldt stated, but neither of you personally know, is that after menopause all kinds of things happen to a woman's body that she just has no control over. Even with extreme low carbing and exercise, I still am pudgy. I also had a radical hysterectomy that cut through all of my stomach muscles and now I have a pouchy stomach, it will NEVER be flat. But do I explain all of this to people so they don't judge me and think I don't care about how I look? No I don't, because there are always things going on with people that you will never know. And the truth is...... women age differently than men and that will always be true.

    Just had to share my opinion. And I am grateful to Dr. Vernon for all she has accomplished.

  4. There are also those that have lost the weight but the skin doesn't retract so you are left with bagginess. Not all of us want to go have surgery after weight loss.
  5. Ubbe: That was my problem. Couldn't stop thinking about sugar. Low carbing drove me crazy. After having a Sleeve Gastrectomy the problem got manageable. It was radical but the only thing that worked.
  6. Great interview! Mary is amazing.

    Hi Janknitz...

    I'm a dietitian that certainly does not subscribe to that train of thought.

    A registered dietitian interviewed me, http://elisazied.com/2011/06/a-fix-for-stubborn-fat/, and it got me nowhere in the nutrition community. It is unfortunate that leaders in the nutrition field have this opinion based on what I'm not sure.

  7. Michael Cohen
    to Valerie #56.
    If "downtown"dietitians and doctors give any credence to low carb or Atkins type diets, they would have to also admit that the whole "medieval demonology" of fat causing diseases is false. They would have to admit that the "low fat" advice that they have been giving for the last fifty years is worthless nonsense. I think it would be easier to change a persons religion.
    "Never argue with a person whose job depends on him being right" H.L. Mencken
  8. Kathy
    A great interview. I decided to try low carb eating again (having had success with Atkins 8 years ago but did not adopt low carb as a lifestyle). I weighed 262lb had type 2 diabetes uncontrolled by the meds I was on, IBS and Hypertension in Feb this year. Since July I have required no medication for any of the conditions stated and have dropped 97lb taking my BMI from 42 -27. I feel amazing and people comment on how well I look. I would not consider reverting to a way of eating that was killing me, my lifestyle choice is to eat less than 100g carbs a day which works for me. I am never hungry. When are the medical profession going to stop keeping the drug companies in business?
  9. Jaime
    People around me keep warning me that I am going to get sick with a low carbohydrate diet and keep insisting that it is fat that makes you fat. Even when I've lost a lot of weight and my health profile keeps getting better in every sense, they insist that I might be losing weight, but all that extra fat I am eating is directly accumulating in my veins, getting ready for the final blow. Unfortunately, even these videos are not going to persuade people who are already convinced that they know the truth; their truth goes beyond any evidence, even if this hits them in the face.

    And doctors are often even more reluctant to accept evidence that contradict what they've taken for granted after years of university and practice, especially when they are being bribed by Big Pharma.

  10. Suzie
    Jaime,
    Since this blog originates in Sweeden, we do not want to give the impression to the world that we Americans have anything to do with bribery. Please refer to it as "Corporate Sponsors" as in this case, or my favorite "Campaign Contributions" for big political stuff as happens daily in our democratically elected government. Remember the golden rule - "He who has the gold rules." (and pizza is a vegetable).
  11. Thank you to those who commented on my comment. I do exercise, but could probably walk a bit more. I tried IF but GAINED weight. In fact I gain weight when I calorie count and do exercise like cycling to work. I think leptin is probably an issue. Possibly also I have to accept a bit of middle aged spread! I feel fab though which is the main thing.
  12. Janknitz
    Valerie,

    I can totally sympathize. Dietetics is an entire profession of people who were given the wrong information and build their careers on perpetuating this misinformation. If they fail to toe the party line, then they are working outside the "standard of care" and are open to attack. You are very brave to think outside the box!

    The sad part is that most RD's (doctors, and diabetes educators, too!) fail to look at what's happening in front of them. The long-term "success rates" for individuals whom they prescribe low fat, low calorie diets has to be abysmal, but they don't take the next step that people like Doctors Vernon, Schwarzbein, Eenfeldt, and Wortman did to try to find out why this doesn't work and what DOES work. And when their suggestions don't work, they decide that a patient is cheating or "non-compliant" rather than finding out WHY their approach fails again and again.

  13. Paula Williams
    I adore Dr. Mary. She convinced me to increase my fats for a "stall" and it worked! She's a brilliant woman with decades of experience in bariatrics and just as bubbly and "smart" in person. Thanks for spreading the word!
  14. Peggy Holloway
    Paula:
    Are you a patient of Mary Vernon? Does she communicate and follow-up with you? Any idea why my sister had such a dismal experience with her?
  15. As another registered dietitian who favors a low-carb approach, i thoroughly enjoyed this interview with Dr. Vernon. Progressive-thinking MDs and RDs are a small fraction of the health profession, but fortunately our ranks appear to be growing, albeit slowly.
  16. Good on ya Miss Franziska. When the truth is out there and you see it, you've got to follow it if you're any kind of decent person. I suspect you are.
  17. Paula Williams
    @Peggy no I'm not a patient. I met her at a conference and we were just talking and that was one of her suggestions. For me - It worked. Since I can only speak from my short exposure to her and from watching her speak I cannot attest to her skill as a physician. Her science is sound and I enjoy her ability to communicate it. I've been a low-carber for over a decade.
  18. Jo,

    could it be that when you cycle to work you are creating muscle which is heavier than fat? just a thought, I've found looking in the mirror a better barometer than checking out the scales although I confess I do so from time to time just as a sense check. Six weeks ago I embarked upon a programme of eating plenty of raw vegetables oily fish, porridge in the morning and a light tea in the evening fresh salsd and meat, supported by swimming every other day and a nightime supplement of ProArgi Plus for my vascular health. The current result is circa 16 pounds of fat loss. I initially tried a fast but my tongue erupted in ulcers, I then opted for a more PH friendly diet and have stuck with it. I'm 11 stone 10 now. I haven't calorie counted or bothered with a low carb anything though I suspect that's perhaps the kind of 'diet' that I'm on, I enjoy one or two chocolate sweets every other day to try and avoid binge cravings. I also cut down on alcohol. Good luck all especially at this time of year where temptation is every second advert.

  19. Thanks for your comment Craig. I'm not too worried about weight, but my clothes don't fit properly. I was able to get down to the size I was when I was 16 (lost 30lbs) but now I'm back up a dress size, soley because of the excess round the middle. I'm happy with the rest of me! Sounds like you cracked it in terms of your own health. I wonder whether the ulcers were a sign of the body detoxing - no idea if this is scientifically valid. Best wishes. Jo
  20. Paula Williams
    Hi Jo, there's a biological reason why your shape changed and you are correct that it's related to aging. Low carb gets it off my hips/butt, but my tummy ... "not so much".

    As we age, the first thing to slow down is Progesterone which helps control many of the Estrogen issues ... like fat, blood pressure, diabetes ... all sorts of stuff. The body begins to lay down a layer of fat at first because the Progesterone has slowed or stopped and is no longer there to control it. This layer of fat will also produce Estrogen which will lead to an increase in the Estrogen issues; especially since the Progesterone is not comng back on it's own. The new layer of fat will ensure that your body has the Estrogen it needs to continue to function, but it will also cause you a few problems until your glands finally shut down.

    I read that overweight/obese women may actually have more Estrogen than young menstruating women. Scary!

    This cycle also happens to men! It's why they get the belly. Their Progesterone also decreases and allows Estrogen to take over and their Testosterone begins to decline leading to the belly.

    Progesterone is an amazing hormone ... it's really a "regulatory" hormone and NOT a "sex" hormone. It helps with glucose metabolism, is used to regenerate myelin, protects agains estrogen, is an anti-inflammatory ... amazing stuff. You should look it up - I think you'd find it an interesting subject. But you want to keep "some" of the new "fluff" since you'll need it in the future; kind of a good news bad news thing. :-)

  21. Thanks Paula, that' really interesting. I will look up the issue of progesterone. Are you saying that it will improve once I finish the menopause? In which case I probably on have a couple of years to go!
  22. Paula Williams
    Dr. Mary Vernon said "... biologically we're pretty much on our own after 50 (grin) We weren't supposed to live this long." We were discussing BHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement) and how it could possibly aid in weight loss...and other things. This was during a presentation at the 2011 Low Carb Cruise by Dr. Atkin's nurse, Jackie Eberstein.
  23. A Viewer
    Here's an interviewing tip: When your guest is speaking, stop interrupting them.

    This appeared to annoy Mary a few times. As a viewer, it annoyed me, too.

    Holding your commentary to the end would be helpful and appreciated.

  24. moreporkplease
    "biologically we're pretty much on our own after 50 (grin) We weren't supposed to live this long"

    And this is what's so frustrating. Even the enlightened doctors just give up on women after 50. Well, you're supposed to be dead, you old woman. "You're on your own" is hardly what anyone wants to hear from their doctor.

    But in fact we are living to 80+, and we have plenty of money. I seriously suggest you all start treating us. There is such a thing as science - doctors could do the research and develop treatments, if they could just get over their biases about older women.

    Notice no one talks about men's health in this fatalistic way.

  25. Toni Wray
    This is a great interview, summarising the very real health benefits of a low carb diet for everyone. I started eating this way 7 years ago because of increasing problems with my weight. Since then, I've lost 50lbs, my high blood pressure went down to normal without drugs, my triglycerides are lower, my LDL cholesterol is lower and I have more energy than I ever did before. My husband, who has never had a weight problem, adopted my diet because he could see the difference in me. He now finds exercise easier, keeps his muscle tone easier and is all round healthier. I just hope that this real health message will one day overcome the vested interest that are keeping people fat and unhappy!
  26. naomi
    I want to know if a low carb diet will work for me that struggles with a underactive thyroid please?
  27. Zepp
    Yes it does, but it dont gonna get your thyroids normal.

    Try some Coconut oil, its healty and in some cases do uppregulate the metabolic rate.

    Try to minimize Goitrogen food!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goitrogen

  28. Jennifer
    Thank you for filming and posting this video. I thought it was time well spent to watch it, and found it to be a very impressive confirmation to the very low carb way of life.
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