This will be my last rebuttal post to Debi’s posts in which she uses me as a “case study” to steer people away from the ketogenic diet. If you missed my first two posts, you might want to go back and catch up — Part 1 and Part 2. I’m not going to address Debi’s third post, because there’s really no substance there. So I’ll just skip to the fourth post.
This fourth post of Debi’s case study is the reason you’re reading this blog right now. This is the post that lit a fire under me to stop dragging my feet, and start sharing my story. Because this is the post in which Debi tries her hardest to discredit one of the main voices in this keto revolution, Dr. Eric Berg, while also calling me “blind” and “gullible.”
As soon as I finished reading that fourth post, I closed my laptop, turned to Matt and said, “I’m going to need you to find a domain name for me. I’m starting a keto blog.” And about five minutes later, he said, “Ummm, hello? Addicted 2 Keto, of course!” (I’ve been blogging at Addicted 2 Decorating for 12 years now, so this just made sense. 😀 )
Debi tries to discredit Dr. Eric Berg in three ways:
- By insinuating that he’s being sketchy by calling himself “Dr.” when, and I quote, “HE IS NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR.”
- By insinuating he’s unethical because he was fined $1500 by the state of Virginia 11 years ago for doing something that was evidently very common in chiropractic back then (i.e., something used by over 40% of chiropractors at the time), and
- Because he dares to sell products that Debi deems are “an assortment of ridiculously-overpriced thinga-ma-doobies.”
But let’s start with the title of Debi’s post…
Stay Away From Gurus!
Well, if we need to stay away from something, then we need to know what it is first, right? So let’s see how Merriam-Webster defines the term “guru.” And since this isn’t a discussion about Hinduism, let’s skip to the second definition:
a: a teacher and especially intellectual guide in matters of fundamental concern
b: one who is an acknowledged leader or chief proponent
c: a person with knowledge or expertise : EXPERT
So right off the bat, Debi admonishes us to stay away from teachers, leaders, and people with knowledge and expertise about keto.
Does that sound like reasonable advice?
He’s not a medical doctor!
And then there’s this nugget of nonsense:
Today I’m addressing some issues I’ve discovered with one of the leading keto gurus, Eric Berg DC. Note that I don’t call him “Dr.” Berg, even though that’s what his YouTube channel, his books, his website and his ads call him. HE IS NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR. HE’S A CHIROPRACTOR. Sorry. I try to steer clear of all-caps ranting, but sometimes it’s just necessary.
This made me laugh. I can’t help but wonder what Debi would have done had she had the opportunity to meet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., face to face. Would she have shaken his hand and said, “Dr. King, it’s an honor to meet you,” or would she have yelled at him, “I will NOT call you Dr.! YOU’RE NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR!”
(Random fact: Dr. King earned his doctorate in systematic theology from Boston University.)
I mean, really. Come on. I think most adults understand that the prefix “Dr.” before a person’s name is an academic title to indicate that the person has obtained the highest degree of education in his or her field of study.
In no way does the prefix “Dr.” mean that the person is a medical doctor. In order to know what type of doctoral degree a person holds, you have to look at the letters AFTER their name.
The Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D.) is only one of about 75 doctorates one can obtain in the United States. And yet, with only a few exceptions (like lawyers, or people with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) who work in a hospital setting, and maybe a couple of others), we address people who obtain these doctoral degrees as “Dr.” Almost all of them.
- Dentists are not medical doctors, but we still address them as “Dr.”
- Veterinarians are not medical doctors, but we still address them as “Dr.”
- Optometrists aren’t medical doctors, but we still address them as “Dr.”
You get it. Most people understand this very basic concept, right? You can see all of the doctorate degrees one can obtain in the United States right here. And yes, right there on that list, you will find Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine (D.C.).
But Debi tries to twist this as a way to discredit Dr. Berg. She says:
Note that I don’t call him “Dr.” Berg, even though that’s what his YouTube channel, his books, his website and his ads call him.
Well, let’s take a look at a few places you can find Dr. Berg online. Here’s his YouTube channel…
See those letters after his name? Here are his books…
Again, see those letters after his name? Here’s his Twitter page…
I see “dc” and the actual word “Chiropractor” on there.
So does Dr. Berg appear to be a man who is trying to fool people into believing he’s an M.D.? No. But he is a Doctor of Chiropractic, and therefore, we refer to him as “Dr.” because he’s earned that academic title, just like your veterinarian, or your dentist, or your podiatrist, or your optometrist, or the Ph.D. who spends her days teaching your children in college.
You give them the respect they deserve for being one of only about 5% of the population of this country who obtains the highest degree of education in their respective fields of study by addressing them as “Dr.” You don’t have to like it, but you do it because they earned it.
Anyway, moving on…
What about that fine?
So Dr. Berg was fined $1500 by the state of Virginia eleven years ago for using some sort of treatment that the state didn’t like.
Debi tries to make it sound so nefarious, like Dr. Berg should be placed right there alongside actual psychotic creeps like Dr. Christopher Duntsch (a.k.a., Dr. Death).
Well, hold up there, Debi. You conveniently left out the fact that this treatment that the state didn’t like was something that was being used by over 40% of chiropractors at the time. You can read about it here. And again, that was eleven years ago.
Dr. Berg, the snake oil salesman?
Debi really seems to have an issue with the fact that Dr. Berg sells products. She refers to them as “an assortment of ridiculously-overpriced thinga-ma-doobies.” And it is true that Dr. Berg sells supplements, like a wheat grass powder, and an electrolyte powder (which, by the way, got rid of my leg cramps that I was waking up with during the night, so I’m perfectly happy to pay the price), nutritional yeast capsules, and more. Here’s my take on this…
Dr. Berg has over 2000 videos on YouTube that you can watch FOR FREE. He will literally walk you through everything you need to know about doing the ketogenic diet and any problems that may arise FOR FREE. But you know what?
He’s allowed to make a living, too.
So if he wants to sell books and products so he can actually make a living, does that make him a jerk? I think a reasonable person would think it’s pretty normal to try to make an actual living.
But you know what? You don’t even have to purchase a single thing from him in order to be successful doing the ketogenic diet. He gives you everything you need to know completely free of charge!
I know…what a sketchy jerk, right? 😀
The fact of the matter is that Debi read some click bait article in Popular Science about keto (and maybe even supplemented that with some deeper research in publications like Woman’s World and Cosmopolitan), and thought herself to be knowledgeable about keto and how “dangerous” it is.
And then with that newfound knowledge, decided to attempt to discredit one of the main keto voices out there by beginning her look into Dr. Berg with very clear and undeniable confirmation bias (i.e., I know he’s a jerk, so I’m going to prove it.)
You know how you avoid the pitfall of confirmation bias? You set out to prove yourself wrong instead of setting out to prove yourself right. And if Debi would have done that, she probably could have avoided some embarrassment.
Here’s the truth that Debi missed because of her confirmation bias…
Remember all of those testimonials I shared with you on my last post about how keto has affected people’s lives in ways other than just weight loss (which you can read here)? Those all came from Dr. Berg’s Facebook group (which you can join here).
Had Debi put aside her confirmation bias, she may have seen this…
Why, yes, that is Dr. Berg’s Google listing (with the very clear “DC” after his name, indicating he’s a Doctor of Chiropractic) which shows 2,476 reviews with a 4.9 star rating. And if you read them, you’ll see that a very large percentage of them are people whose lives have been completely changed (and dare I say, saved) by the keto information that Dr. Berg has provided.
Had Debi not been set on her self-serving quest to prove herself right, she may have taken some time to read the thousands upon thousands of comments on Dr. Berg’s YouTube channel from grateful people who credit Dr. Berg (and other keto gurus) for changing (and in some cases, saving) their lives.
And had that darned confirmation bias not gotten in the way, Debi may have taken some time to peruse Dr. Berg’s YouTube channel to see that this man isn’t operating in a vacuum. He has some incredibly educational interviews with people like
- Andreas Eenfeldt, MD — a Swedish medical doctor who is helping patients transform their lives with a ketogenic diet.
- Eric Westman, MD, MHS — a board certified physician in internal and obesity medicine, whose clinical research has led to over 45 peer reviewed papers on the efficacy of a ketogenic diet, and whose clinic is helping people transform their lives by reversing type 2 diabetes with a ketogenic diet.
- Jason Fung, MD — a Canadian nephrologist who specializes in helping people reverse their type 2 diabetes using a ketogenic diet.
- Thomas Seyfried, PhD — Professor at Boston College and researcher in areas of metabolic therapy (including the ketogenic diet) as a way to manage and reverse chronic diseases, and whose research culminated in his book Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer.
- Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP — A Certified Nutrition Specialist and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who researches the effect of the ketogenic diet and exogenous ketones on brains affected by neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and who helps people reclaim their lives with ketogenic and low carb diets.
- Timothy Noakes, MD, DSc — A South African doctor and founder of The Noakes Foundation, which researches low carb/high fat diets, and seeks to educate the public on the mistakes in dietary shift that society has made over the last 50 years, and seeks to help people improve their life and health through a LC/HF diet.
Those are some of the highlights, but I’m sure there are more. Like I said, Dr. Berg has over 2000 videos. Of course, not all of them are interviews, and he also has some interviews with very interesting people who aren’t in the medical field, like a past contestant on The Biggest Loser who now follows a ketogenic diet in order to keep his weight down (after gaining back quite a bit of what he lost on the show). And there are so many other amazing interviews and educational videos.
You just barely have to scratch the surface to find this stuff. But when your goal is to discredit someone and prove yourself right, confirmation bias will get in your way and you’ll miss all of this stuff that comprises the mountain, and instead just focus on the one dead blade of grass at the base of the mountain.
And here’s why this bothered me so much…
The reason I was so perturbed with Debi’s last post of her “case study” on me is because she’s just one of many voices out there shouting about how bad the keto diet is. Debi has clearly done zero actual research (other than reading a click bait Popular Science article), and yet she uses her blog (and probably her mouth when talking to people in person) to try to discredit the keto diet. I have no idea why she does this.
With other people, the reason is glaringly obvious. When Jillian Michaels makes a video trying to discredit the keto diet, it’s obvious that she’s trying to protect her bottom line, because this diet revolution is probably having a huge effect on her “fat pills” that she sells at WalMart, and her “eat less, exercise more” books that she keeps publishing, and her “eat less, exercise more” app that she’s trying to sell, and all of the other crap she’s trying to make money off of. And I’m sure that the revelations about the contestants of The Biggest Loser (most gained the weight back, and they had lower resting metabolism rates than they did before they even started the show) didn’t help any, and now along comes the keto diet to make things even worse for her. So yeah, Jillian is trying to protect her bottom line. She couldn’t be more transparent if she tried.
But I have no idea why Debi would do this without educating herself first.
What I do know is that literally millions of Americans desperately need the keto diet. I talked a bit in my last post about type 2 diabetes, but here are some hard numbers…
- 30.3 million Americans have diabetes.
- Another 84.1 million Americans are pre-diabetic. (source)
That right there is 114.4 million Americans (over one-third of the entire population of this country) who could benefit from, and see their diabetes either greatly improved or completely reversed by, a ketogenic diet.
Can you even imagine the burden that would be lifted from our healthcare system just by that alone?!
Can you imagine the lives improved? The lives saved? The diabetes-related conditions (like blindness, neuropathy, amputation, heart disease, and the whole host of other things caused by diabetes) that could be avoided?
And that’s just diabetes! Think of what the research is showing us about the effect of the keto diet and ketones on neurodegerative diseases, and on cancer, and on SO MUCH MORE that plagues our society today.
The bottom line is this…
DO NOT LET ANYONE SCARE YOU AWAY FROM LOOKING INTO THE KETOGENIC DIET…
…and seeing if it’s something you could benefit from. And that includes your medical doctor. If your medical doctor has not researched the ketogenic diet, or doesn’t even know the difference between ketoacidosis and ketosis, or tells you that saturated fat is bad for you, or that low calorie diets are the best way to lose weight, or any of that other outdated 20th century “medical” nonsense that we now know isn’t true, then…
FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR.
And take back control of your life.
When I shared Debi’s “case study” of me with my family, my brother shared a quote that I had never heard before. I don’t know from whom the original quote comes, but I’ll paraphrase it like this:
A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument.
So that’s where I’m going to go from here with this blog. My experience.
I’m only six months into my keto experience, and I’ve only lost 40 pounds (and I have about 85 to go), but this is about so much more than just a number on a scale. And I can’t wait to share what I’ve experienced so far with you.