My Big Fat Diet

Obesity and type 2 diabetes are rampant epidemics among the aboriginal communities of Canada. And it all started as they began eating a modern Western diet, full of refined carbohydrates.

This disaster is usually blamed on sedentary lifestyles and “eating too much”. An energy imbalance, as Coca Cola’s staff of propagandists would have you believe.

However, what would happen if an entire town of First Nation people went back to eating the way they used to? A high-fat low-carb diet based on real food? With no exercise or calorie counting program whatsoever?

This is what the Canadian doctor Jay Wortman and a documentary team decided to find out, in the delightful and enlightening movie My Big Fat Diet.

Guess what happened…

Full movie

Check out the trailer above (transcript). The full movie – one of my all-time low-carb favorites – is available on the Diet Doctor membership site (free trial one month) with many other movies, video courses, presentations, interviews, etc.

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  1. Dina
    Most remarkable though, I think, is that when Dr. Wortman presented the results to the Canadian health ministry, the response was - nothing!
    Absurd, to say the least.
  2. Dina
    It would also be interesting to hear what's happening in the town today.
    Reply: #4
  3. Jessica
    It's a very enlightening documentary, but the unfortunate thing is most of the participants didn't stick with the lifestyle. I found an old newspaper article from, maybe, a few years later (I wish I had kept the link in favorites!) and all but one man dropped it. The main reasons a few people from the group interviewed gave were that the diet was boring, Wortman didn't keep in close enough contact (he seemed to agree,) and so on.
    They had a support system almost no average person could even wish for and they still didn't feel capable of following the diet laid out for them.

    I often think it's a little naive the way people often challenge whole cultures to make massive changes, (yes, in this case albeit a smaller one,) changes that really are very personal and in the end very solitary. Maybe this community was TOO close. They had all gone so far from the native diet and in fairly short time. Hopefully a little stuck, and that's the best they could get at the time.
    Just shows how great information is at times just not enough.

  4. Bjarte Bakke Team Diet Doctor

    My understanding is that most of them have returned to eating their unhealthy foods.

    Reply: #6
  5. 1 comment removed
  6. Dina
    I frequently see it with customers of mine. They do good for a long time and then they go back to old habits, even though they know it's not good for them.
    I wonder what could be done to help, part from support groups?
    Replies: #7, #19
  7. Bjarte Bakke Team Diet Doctor
    Sad, yes I agree. Do you have any ideas of what would work?
  8. Pete
    I have not viewed "My Bid Fat Diet" yet but look forward to it.

    As for returning to old habits I would point to the entertainment/addiction complex. No doubt it is a perversion of some speciel virtues which are intended to keep us eating healthy foods as found in the wild. The food preferences that outpace more natural options "catch on" regardless of their good or bad health effects.

    Add to this their ubiquity both commercially and socially and it becomes difficult to break the entertainment/addiction cycle and even more difficult to keep it broken. One of my family members refuses to avoid modern techno-food out of sheer loyalty to our econo-culture!

    Support groups help to avoid effects of the entertainment/addiction cycle but for now that cycle still seems overwhelming in most of North America.

    We can't make our biological behaviors go away, we can at best reconfigure them in order to produce desired results.

  9. Jennifer
    I think the biggest part of not returning to the old habits are to REALLY embrace fat and have no regard for people who see it as unhealthy. Often these people can talk us back into our old ways of thinking, which in turn leads us back to the old habit. Another important factor is finding recipes that you enjoy, which of course are LCHF. If you are eating until you are satisfied, have ABSOLUTLY no fear of fat, and enjoy what you are eating I see very little problem with sticking to the lifestyle. Also, for lots of people LCHF may not be enough to diminish cravings. These people are often sugar/carb addicts and the carbs will need to be restricted to a ketogenic diet. Ex. you can't give a coke addict just a little bit of cocaine and expect them not to fall overboard. The same applies with a carb addict. Just my thoughts and experiences over the years.
  10. nisga
    I would like to know "what happened" to the women posting here after low-carbing intensively: did you gain, how much, what was your caloric intake when low-carbing and what was it at (any) weight gain?

    And for the Diet Doctor: did you read the Biggest Loser May 2016 stories in the NY Times? What is your response?

    Reply: #11
  11. Susan
    Gain? No the opposite, 30lbs of fat lost, no idea how many calories I was/still am eating (8 years of lchf now) because it doesn't really matter, just eat until you are satisfied and if you are not hungry don't eat. Easy. Replacing carbs with with good fats does the trick, it works and I feel great. Of course if you go back to how to ate before the weight will be regained.
  12. gbl
    I want to counter the uninformed and racist remarks here about native people in MBFD: implying "they had all the help..." and went back to their destructive ways. These people live in a former paradise where their food source has been destroyed, their land stolen, and the people left hopeless. The next time you see news stories about native people picketing and marching to defend their land from government and industry oil pipelines, remember the people of Alert Bay. Their old way of life is being stolen from them, they didn't just let it go carelessly. Join their marches and write and get active on their behalf, so their land and waters will not be given to oil, and will once again flourish with teaming salmon and other food and income source fish.
  13. Tim
    ;...Join their marches and write and get active on their behalf, so their land and waters will not be given to oil, and will once again flourish with teaming salmon and other food and income source fish.

    So they can gather their fish and other food with modern accouterments which all come from the benefits of cheap energy in the form of oil? Maybe go back to living in an igloo? You do know where the energy comes from to make modern housing, right?

    Btw, how much longer do they live now on average, even with a SAD diet? All that, no doubt, caused by racism, right? lol

  14. gbl
    Your comment is racist and ignorant (unknowing and uncaring to learn). I'm First Nations by the way. I think I know how we live. Beyond this I have no comment to someone who is proud of his ignorance and slanderous perspective.
    Reply: #22
  15. Nicola Read
    I know Dr Wortman well and he has visited my Grade 6 students for several years, to explain the dangers of sugar in terms of it blocking white blood cells. Also to recognize hidden sugar in foods. The video MBFD addresses some of what he has done, but there is so much more. Yes, he has spoken to the Canadian gov., but there needs to be so much more. Our governments are in bed with food manufacturers- there's no doubt about that. It is my personal opinion that we all need to take action to have sugar restricted and to increase education about the dangers of sugar and corn syrup for all citizens, no matter what race, religion or colour. The government recommended food guides need to be overhauled, but there's such huge economical ties to food producers that it's not going to happen overnight.
  16. Beloved
    TLIG living Keto!
  17. Chris Farrell
    GBL, I do not know where you live and what tribes you are a member of or are familiar with. I am from AZ and familiar with the habits and living conditions of Navajo, Apache and Pima. I no of no people as filthy as Apache. They demonstrate no respect for the land. Check out the community of McNary, AZ. Once a neat little charming community of about 40 homes on land land leased by Southwest Forest Industries to build those homes for housing their foresters. After many years the Apache decided to not renew the lease in favor of turning the homes over to tribal members. It is no longer a nice neat little community. It is now what may be described as an unsanitary dump, an oasis of garbage. An utter bio hazard inhabited by sloth alcoholics. While you are at it, travel on to Gallup, NM. The town that Mother Teresa (yes she actually went there and tried - and failed) to sober and clean up. I could go on but what for, you bleeding hearts will never do anything to clean it up but blame the whites for "stealing" the land. Forget that the whites also brought civility and medicine and education and jobs and .... oh hell you who are bent on a mission of blame and accusations of racism will never give up your crutch.
  18. 1 comment removed
  19. Rebecca
    I think a new (ish) book called The Hungry Brain puts this into context and should answer your questions.
  20. Sam
    was there any information given out on the long-term results of this study, for example did people return to their "bad diets" or did they regain weight?
    Reply: #21
  21. bill
    Dr. Wortman has since said that most of
    the participants have returned to their
    previous diets with concomitant health
    issues. It's quite sad.
  22. Deirdre
    On the subject of people in general and also First Nations Peoples dificulties longterm ....and my own experience....there is a factor or common theme that needs more analysis or acknowledgement ...loss trauma addiction and financial resources and it's cross generational effect on physiology and stress response and the ability to stay in ketosis and not elevate glucose even without carb intake...Would love to have more info on this ...some vets with PTSD find keto helful in healing would love any considered informed response not some judgemental ill informed dismissive observations...
  23. Kiwi NZ
    could we keep to the keto please...enjoying the feedback

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