This is a fun, fact-filled interview where Dr. Westman offers his views on keto as they have been evolving since he started ‘discovering’ its power in 1998. It includes basic facts about nutrition, the importance for individuals to discover their personal relationship with food, and how medical professionals can help their patients with keto instead of rushing to prescribe medication or injected insulin. The bottom line? Simply focus on carb intake and try and avoid gimmicks, special foods and biohacking.
Dr. Westman’s thoughts are based on both his pioneering research on the medical safety and efficacy of keto diets, and 20 years practicing keto medicine with over 4000 patients.
Some sound bites:
“I don’t think everyone has to understand the details of ketosis and all that. The big picture view doesn’t have to be so difficult. I used to understand how a car worked. Now, I just get in and drive an automatic transmission, so I don’t even have to worry about shifting gears. That’s why I hope we can make a keto lifestyle as simple and comfortable and tasty as just kind of popping in an automatic-transmission car.”
“Eating this way is so radical because you actually listen to your own body. And that’s hard for a lot of people to learn because we’ve been searching for someone else to tell [us] what to do. [I]n the big picture it’s called the ‘health locus of control’. People have been accultured to let the doctor take care of it for them or the dietician, rather than be able to take care of it themselves. So, that’s something that we try to give back hopefully where the patient doesn’t even know what’s happening.”
“I’m sort of like the fireman who comes to the tree and I put my ladder up and I get the kitty down safely. That’s really gratifying and all, but we’ve got to stop people – the kitty – from going up the tree. One effective way of stopping these diseases from progressing is to just pay attention to the food.”
“[We’ve been] teaching all the doctors how to run this car – the body – by feeding it carbs….[W]hen you don’t eat carbs the body runs differently. The ketone levels go up a little bit, and for some people the cholesterol levels go up a lot. That’s okay. It’s a different kind of metabolism and that’s hard for a lot of doctors to understand.”
“Focus on the carbs first is the simplified message that [I] use, and it helps fix most of the problems that I see people have. So patients come to me after trying all sorts of different things, and I help them understand the simple message of keeping carbs low. Twenty carbs per day for some people is very important; and going from 30 to 20 grams can fix metabolic problems for some people. We’re accustomed to thinking that that’s not a big difference – ‘20, 30, what’s the difference? It’s all very low’. But, no, when looking at ketone metabolism and diabetes and metabolic syndrome, I’ve seen that a small change can make a big difference.”
“We’re learning that for some people fat burning can go away when they eat one meal or half a meal of carbs once a week or once every two weeks. I have to be very strict with some people, telling them they must do this every day. I had a patient come back and tell me, ‘I’m doing your program and it’s not working. I do it 23 hours, 59 minutes and 30 seconds per day.’ I replied, ‘But that’s not really doing it because you have to do it all the time. What do you do during those other 30 seconds?’ Every midnight he was having a roll of Oreo cookies dipped in milk.”
More at Ketogenic Girl.