Apology for Diet Doctor Podcast episode #4

Bret-still-2

At The Diet Doctor Podcast with Dr. Bret Scher, we just released our fourth episode. It has been a fantastic voyage thus far. We received tremendous feedback regarding our episodes with Gary Taubes and Dr. Peter Attia. Plus, Dr. Jeffry Gerber and Ivor Cummins are always crowd favorites. I personally enjoyed those interviews and enjoyed reading the positive feedback.

All that positivity came to a halt, however, with episode #4 with Dr. Joseph Antoun.

At first that surprised me, but now in retrospect, it makes perfect sense.

My intention with Dr. Antoun was to interview a physician and businessman who has tremendous knowledge on the science of fasting and longevity. As CEO of a company producing a fasting mimicking diet (FMD) product, he also has a job to do promoting his product. My challenge was to strike the balance so that our interview was mostly about the science and less about his specific product. After all, the science is remarkable and that is what I wanted to relate to the listeners.

Judging by the initial response, it is clear I did not do an acceptable job. For that I am sorry.

After I listened to the podcast, I realized one of my glaring mistakes. In my mind, I equated the science of fasting with the science of the fasting-mimicking diet, but I never explicitly said that. As a result, the entire episode was about the FMD, and not about true fasting. That was not my intention, but that was the end result.

My first and only obligation is to you, our listeners, and I let you down. I know that you would never want to listen to a podcast that felt more like an infomercial. I certainly wouldn’t! In the future, my promise to you is that I will strike that balance better. I will be an advocate for the science and for information that helps you, not that promotes someone else’s agenda.

I also understand many people have an issue with the Prolon FMD product itself. That is something I regrettably did not explore with Dr. Antoun. I did try to point out that a water fast should always be the first choice, and an FMD reserved for those who have trouble with water fasts. But what I didn’t explore was how the Prolon FMD product is a processed food. You can read my blog here where I comment how my kids were amazed to see me eat something that came from a box and a bag, something they have never seen me do before!

I would never promote that someone eat processed, industrialized food on a regular basis, so why was I ok with it for the five-day FMD? Now I realize that I should have pushed harder about how people can create their own real-food FMD, a much healthier choice than the processed product.

In the end, this was a wonderful learning experience for me as a podcast host, as a representative for Diet Doctor, and as an advocate for you, my listeners. My promise to you is that in the future I will be more cognizant of the intentions of my guests and of striking a better balance between science and product promotion. Most importantly, I will make sure every single podcast episode is one that you will enjoy, you will learn from, and you can use to improve your health and your life today.

At Diet Doctor, our goal is making low carb simple. But it is also doing that with integrity and honesty. I want to live up to that and make sure each episode is one that every team member at DietDoctor.com will be proud of.

Thank you for listening and thank you for your comments. Please keep them coming. Your comments help me improve the podcast so that you get the information you need in a way that helps you most.

Thanks for reading,
Bret Scher, MD FACC

Earlier

Podcast - Gary Taubes
Podcast - Dr. Peter Attia
Podcast - Dr. Jeffry Gerber and Ivor Cummins
Podcast - Joseph Antoun

33 comments

Top comments

  1. Laura
    Brett, I thought your guest was a wealth of information. I also appreciate learning more about fasting in general, which is why I have a membership with Diet Dr. I was not at all upset or offended. It didn't bother me that he talked about his product. I either think I want more information on it and can check the web--or I don't. No bid deal. After all, we're all looking for certain food products that we hear people talk about on this site. I had never heard about grass-fed butter before I listened here. I looked into it--and now I buy it because I wanted to. Thanks for what you do!
    Read more →
  2. David
    It is not often that one reads such a heart felt apology for something like this. It would have been easy to ignore the feedback and move onto another interview. In making this apology and in explaining his intent and actions, Dr Scher shows a great deal of integrity.
    Replies: #7, #8
    Read more →

All comments

  1. Jim
    Thanks Bret, It was a teachable event for all of us.
  2. Robert
    Thanks Bret, Thanks for clarification. I had stopped listening as it was (to me) too product oriented, but thought it was me. We all are humans. You are doing a great job. I look forward to the other podcasts. Keep up the great work!
  3. Laura
    Brett, I thought your guest was a wealth of information. I also appreciate learning more about fasting in general, which is why I have a membership with Diet Dr. I was not at all upset or offended. It didn't bother me that he talked about his product. I either think I want more information on it and can check the web--or I don't. No bid deal. After all, we're all looking for certain food products that we hear people talk about on this site. I had never heard about grass-fed butter before I listened here. I looked into it--and now I buy it because I wanted to. Thanks for what you do!
  4. Joe
    Don’t be hard on yourself Dr Scher. I’ve really enjoyed listening to your podcasts. You seem like a very sincere and genuine person....I wish I had a doctor like you!
  5. Thank you for all your comments! I truly appreciate it and am grateful for the support. Keep listening and keep helping me by providing your feedback:)
  6. David
    It is not often that one reads such a heart felt apology for something like this. It would have been easy to ignore the feedback and move onto another interview. In making this apology and in explaining his intent and actions, Dr Scher shows a great deal of integrity.
    Replies: #7, #8
  7. bill
    I agree. Thank you Dr. Scher.
  8. Aleesha
    Good on you, and thank you, for taking the time to reflect on the interview, and how it could have been improved. I found the science super interesting (and have been inspired to embark on a 5 day water fast), but it did sit just a little uncomfortably in terms of product pushing, especially a product that doesn't seem to align with Diet Doctor real food values.
  9. Susan
    If this was on Facebook your remarks would be a strong like by me. I did find the podcast somewhat off track, but still interesting. It is at times a difficult balance between using solely real foods and adding some supplementary items to fill in the gaps for some of us on an LCHF diet. I wouldn't personally want to spend money on assistance with fasting, and in any case would not really want to go beyond minimal boundaries on a water fast, skipping breakfast is about it.
  10. Teresa
    Dr Scher, thanks for acknowledging the concerns raised.
  11. Keith
    Not a fan of loosely veiled product advertising masquerading as an educational resource. That's why I choose Diet Doctor over these manufacturer sites that conveniently provide science articles to promote the idea that "Your search is over and you can buy right here." You're a great resource. No need to turn product promoter for the quick cash industry. Thanks for staying true to your supporters.
  12. Catherine
    I have a lot of respect for a person who can apologize and help us all learn...that’s the whole point of being on the planet. Thanks for sharing!
  13. Rob5111
    I appreciate your acknowledgement of this podcast as being a contradiction in the spirit of the purpose of DD. I listened and found some value nevertheless. In the future, it would be beneficial to interview an expert who recently has researched fasting and can confirm the amount of time required to optimize the effect of autophagy. This would enable those of us who do IF to establish a better and safe protocol to achieve autophagy and additional benefits.
  14. Gloria
    Thanks for the apology. It was good of you to take a second look at the interview. Personally, I was not offended by Dr. Antoun's references to his product. I was very interested in his comments about fasting.
    Not too long ago, I thought opinions and suggestions from most presenters at DD were far out. Now I know better.
    Please continue to bring us new science and ideas.
  15. Dr. Andrea
    I used to do a live radio show and had many guests who wound up selling products as well as information. I always said that I would listen and warned my listeners that this was an educational program, but to be cautious when someone was making a profit from his or her information. Since you were not the one being being compensated, do not feel guilty. BYW, I am starting Prolon tomorrow. I respect Longo and am curious about it. Maybe next time I will try the real foods version:-)
  16. Darla
    I haven't yet listened to the podcast, but I'm glad I read this first! You're a class act, Dr. Scher.

    I think that old saying, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good" applies here in a couple different ways. Your podcast and the entire DD space is doing very good work and nobody can be perfect all of the time. And as Dr. Westman has said, if his patients are able to lose the weight they need to lose and their health markers are improving, does it really matter whether they do LCHF/keto absolutely perfectly? No, it doesn't. I think we all need to recognize that some people would be less successful with "real food" due to a lack of access, knowledge or motivation, and if those people can achieve results using Dr. Antoun's packaged product, more power to them. I think there's a place for such products, even if I might not choose them for myself. I will keep that in mind when I listen to the podcast. I really enjoyed the first three episodes - Thank you!

  17. Donna
    Don’t be to hard on yourself. I learned info from the discussion.
  18. Aleesha
    So for a 5 day fast, would having a morning cup of coffee, and some broth, chia seeds - as recommended by Dr Fung whilst fasting - still have the same efficacy as water only or the Fast Mimicking diet? I'm starting a 5 day fast tomorrow for the benefits mentioned in the video but am concerned my morning coffee (usually 2 cups) would ruin the intended effects.
  19. Robyn
    Thanks for acknowledging the product pitch during the conversation. I found the fasting info informative but did kind of wince at the
    product promotion. I have really enjoyed these podcasts and will continue listening for sure.
  20. Eric
    How would you test the prolonged fmd vs eating just once a day Omar or Omar carnivore?
    Testing testing 123
    Eric
  21. Cristina
    Parabéns!
  22. Frode
    Nothing wrong with fasting mimiking, au contraire. There are many ways to reach a goal, the goals are different for us who fast, and we who fast are also different. No reason for any apology. There are few right or wrongs, but many opinions.
  23. JC
    I listened to the podcast today and felt it quite valuable. I personally had no problem with the guest mentioning his product ( it’s capitalism folks). The biggest take away for me was the revelation that a 5 day Fast might be the best since in days 4/5 stem cells are produced but then the stem cells need nutrition. Thus it makes sense to terminate the fast at 5 days after the stem cells are produced to feed them and allow to flourish.
  24. years-of-LCHF
    Thank you, Bret for taking the time to reconsider and apologise.

    I was upset enough at the infomercial to consider cancelling my subscription. "Capitalism" means I pay for what I value. It does not mean I pay for infomercials.
    The interviewee said he studied in a drug company - unnamed here on purpose - and true to his training, was busy promoting his product to the "consumer". He was all about marketing expensive fake food for fake fasting, and did far more than "mention" his product.
    Given the latest headlines about doctors and scientists receiving pay from drug companies (Sloan Kettering) or faking result ( see: Harvard Calls for Retraction of Dozens of Studies by Noted Cardiologist) it may be difficult to find reliable scientific interviewees (or studies....) - but I doubt the CEO of a product selling company is ever a good choice. We can hear those people in other podcasts.

  25. LordM28
    Hi Dr. Sher!
    Thanks for the apology and please don't get discouraged! I discovered your podcast: lowcarbcardiologist a long time ago and listened to multiple episodes. My impression is that you are a top interviewer, with good diplomatic sense, always trying to keep it balanced and focused on the common considerations (I especially enjoyed your podcast with some vegan dr/guru/researcher). I would say you are born for this! So please keep doing what you do best, keep those podcasts coming for a long time!
  26. Francoise
    Thank you Dr. Brett for ackowledging our concerns and providing us with an explanation. In the interview, Dr. Antoun mentioned that they were applying for FDA approval to use the Prolon kit to support diabetes patients. Having learned that processed carbs are one of the sources for the onset of diabetes, I have a hard time understanding why a doctor with supposedly an understanding of diabetes, can pursue this kit for diabetes treatment. Other than smelling a money making gold mine. When they get FDA approval, they’ll make a lot if money, the medical establishment also, and the patients will not heal their dabetes while spending a lot of money. It just reminds me too much of the current situation of managing illness without healing. And that is what bothers me the most. Not to mention, that patients actually do not learn anything about putting together healthy meals.
    Other than that, I will continue to look forward to future interviews!
  27. Susan Acres
    Thank you so much for this. I was one of the ones who reacted via comment initially, suggesting this interview could possibly put a dent in the high respect many of us have for Diet Doctor. My faith has been restored, and more.
  28. Gwyn Connor
    Dr Bret I've listened to all your podcasts not just Diet Doctor and have found them to be a valuable resource. But mostly your knowledge and enthusiasm and sincerity always come across. We as listeners are capable of filtering out information that doesn't sit well with what we've already learnt. Your acknowledgment and apology was appreciated but not really necessary. Keep up the great work. I look forward to the next podcast. Gwyn
  29. 1 comment removed
  30. Mark
    Doctor, Completely accept the apology, but, please keep in mind in the future that I (for one) signed up as a paying customer to Diet Doctor because they specifically stated they do not sell or promote products for anyone. As I am sick of people that do push products; if things were to change on this site I would have to cancel. Thanks for all your hard work and I look forward to more.
  31. Rosemarie
    Im confused, he said in the podcast that when you fast, you body draws from your muscles. Im sure Dr Fung disagrees with this. In his book I think he says this is like having a pile of wood for your fire, but chopping up the furniture to put on the fire.
    Reply: #33
  32. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor
    Rosemarie, that specific answer is ultimately going to depend on personal physiology/metabolism as well as the length of the fast.

    --Kristin

  33. Steve Crowson
    I turned it off midway through. Doc Salesman was shading info, raising doubts and questions that played into his product pitch.
    Typical advertising manipulation techniques. You were conned! That said, if you had stated that this was about fasting mimicking diet aid, we would have known we were listening to a sales pitch straight up.
    Thanks for acknowledging your mistake. Keep up your good work. I loved your interview #3.
    Steve

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