As more and more real scientific studies are done regarding the current USDA nutritional guidelines it is becoming increasingly evident that they have been the cause of a catastrophic epidemic of chronic disease including Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension and Morbid Obesity.
The introduction of the so called ‘Prudent Diet’ has led to the misconception that eating fat, especially saturated fat, is bad for you and that it is a primary cause of high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. This is simply not true and the guidelines were based on what can only be described as a manipulated study by Ancel Keys in 1953. The truth is that a High Carb Diet, high in Refined Sugar and Processed Carbohydrates is really at the root of Obesity and Diabetes as well as other chronic illnesses. Vegetable (seed) oils and other vegetable based products such as margarine are also a contributing factor to cardiovascular disease, although manufacturers don’t tell us that.
As a result, the Low Carbohydrate (or Ketogenic) lifestyle is becoming more and more popular around the world. In South Africa it has become known as ‘Banting’ and has taken on a life of its own. It is named after a British undertaker in the 1800’s called William Banting who was very obese and desperately wanted to lose weight. A man named William Harvey was his doctor and he proposed a radical eating plan that was High in Fat and Low in Carbohydrates. His Weight Loss was spectacular and he wrote an open letter to the public, the “Letter on Corpulence”, which became widely distributed. As more people started following this eating plan to lose weight, the term “Banting” or to “Bant” came about.
Multiple studies recently have shown that Carbohydrate is the one macronutrient that is not essential for human life and that eating saturated fat does not, in fact, lead to higher levels of the small dense LDL cholesterol particles in the bold stream which are the ones now thought to be markers of elevated cardiovascular risk. Rather it is the inflammation caused by carbs that appears to be the main cause of heart disease. Many people report relief from a large range of chronic ailments, once thought to be incurable, in a relatively short time after adopting a Low Carb Lifestyle.
Movements are popping up all over the world to bring the message to the public and try to educate them on the right way to eat and help reverse the horrendous effects of the last 40 years of government policy. In Sweden, the government is the first in the world to reject the High Carb guidelines and to introduce Low Carb High Fat or LCHF nutritional guidelines instead. In South Africa, the Banting Lifestyle is a phenomenon. and there are Banting restaurants and Banting food stores popping up everywhere.
However, we have noticed that no such momentum has been picking up here in the US. There is a certain amount of noise within the bubble of a relatively closed circle of academics here, but the word is not getting out to the public effectively, at least not in my opinion.
Pam and I were sitting in a sports bar in Carlsbad. CA on January 26, 2016 (my birthday) and we were discussing the fact that there seemed to be more inertia here in the US than in most other western countries. Out of nowhere I suddenly said, ‘We should put on the biggest convention ever, right here in San Diego and change all that.’ Gary Taubes was quick to point out to me that there are numerous socio-economic reasons for the extra inertia here as compared to other countries, which may be true, but I still feel like we need someone to take up the charge.
In South Africa it is led by Professor Tim Noakes who is a legend. I don’t know who it is in Sweden, but it has to be someone. Someone has to do it here too, so here we are! (Oh, and I’m no legend, by the way). I reached out to a couple of researchers and people in the space (who didn’t know me from Adam) and told them I was planning to put this on and would they be prepared to speak. The response was overwhelming. The response also from people wanting to attend has been equally impressive. So, within a matter of a few days, I was creating an entity, searching for venues, creating social media accounts, creating a website, writing blogs, looking for funding and booking speakers. Talk about a whirlwind.
Just the other day, someone sent me an email where he quoted this observation by Winston Churchill. Somehow it resonated with me. The quote goes: “there comes a special moment in everyone’s life, a moment for which that person was born. That special opportunity, when he seizes it, will fulfill his mission – A mission for which he is uniquely qualified. In that moment, he finds greatness. It is his finest hour.”