Episode 136 Show Notes


The importance of looking behind news headlines - Belinda chats with Dr Lucy about the importance of doing your own investigation behind the proliferation of news headlines portraying keto and red meat as dangerous as many of these articles are authored or backed by organisations with vested interests and religious ideologies. The false and alarmist messaging around animal proteins and fats has been around since at least the 1960s and has led to the demonisation of saturated fats. This has led to many people fearing whole trans fats from animals while not understanding the true dangers of partially hydrogenated artificial trans fats, found in products like margarine. 


Fred Kummerow - Belinda talks about Fred Kummerow, an American biochemist whose nearly 50 years of advocacy led to a federal ban in the USA on the use of trans-fatty acids in processed foods. He was the first person to highlight the dangers of partially hydrogenated artificial trans fats in 1957 and eventually filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration in 2013 - at the age of 99! He lived to hear the ruling that declared artificial trans fats in processed foods to be unsafe. 23 countries have followed with a ban on their use, but astoundingly Australia isn’t one of them.


Dr Gary Fettke - Belinda’s husband, Gary Fettke, was similarly met with defensive vested interests when, in his role as an orthopaedic surgeon, he noticed an overwhelming number of patients with type 2 diabetes complications requiring extreme interventions such as amputation. He realised that sugar was acting as a vasoconstrictor and not only causing the initial disease, but also impairing the body’s ability to heal after surgical interventions. He shared his findings with his hospital’s dietitian department but instead of considering his research and using it to improve health outcomes, the hospital reported him to AHPRA, the organisation in Australia responsible for the registration and accreditation of health professionals. 


AND - Belinda also sheds light on the founding of the American Dietetic Association over 100 years ago - and its co-founder Lenna Frances Cooper who was an industry dietitian and a protege of John Harvey Kellogg. The recipes in Lenna’s first major cookbook could only be made with Kellogg’s inventions, and there were 8 food industry representatives present at the Dietetic Association’s first meeting. The Association, now called AND, is sponsored by food, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and owns shares in food industries. Understanding the association’s origins and current allegiances is important since its guidelines and rules are followed by Dietitians Australia and most of the Western world. In Australia, dietitians are not regulated under AHPRA despite every other health professional falling under this legislation. The explanation has been that dietitians were deemed too low risk to public health to warrant the expense of including them in the framework. However Belinda shares that it is more likely that they were well funded by the food industry who did not want them to be regulated.


The Low Carb Road Show -  Belinda will be presenting at the Low Carb Road Show in Hobart on 28 May and we can’t wait for this opportunity to hear Belinda share her research into nutrition science, the “plant-biased” industry and the vested interests and ideology behind our medical professionals and health guidelines. Tasmania is often overlooked with national touring events so it is such a joy that the Low Carb Road Show and its fabulous speakers, like Belinda, will be available to Taswegians (and any mainland visitors!) wanting to hear more about this important topic. 

Visit https://www.rlmedicine.com/the-low-carb-road-show-hobart to reserve your seat today!

Book your ticket to the low carb road show! Thanks to our platinum sponsor, LAKANTO

Belinda Fettke Bio:

Belinda Fettke describes herself as a change-agent challenging the health benefit claims of low fat high carb dietary and health guidelines promoted as the 'Gospel Truth.' She has spent the last 9 years delving into the history of vegetarianism and ‘nutrition science’ only to discover the unexpected influence of religious ideology, and its intersection with commercial vested interests, intent on demonising animal protein and fats. Their symbiotic relationship has shaped our ‘plant-biased’ dietary and health guidelines for over 100 years.

Belinda’s concerns have included a lack of transparency in research and nutrition policy that may negatively impact health outcomes for people with Type 2 diabetes in particular, and the attempts to ‘silence’ healthcare professionals from discussing the health benefits of ancestral diets and evolutionary science.

She is not anti-vegan, nor anti-religion. She is pro-choice, especially when it comes to health!

To connect with Belinda:








Episode 136 - Courageous campaigner for the truth 


Dr Mary Barson: (0:11) Hello, my lovely listeners. I'm Dr Mary Barson.


Dr Lucy Burns: (0:15) And I'm Dr Lucy Burns. Welcome to this episode of


Both (0:20): Real Health and Weight Loss!


Dr Lucy Burns (0:23): Good morning gorgeous ones. I have an exciting guest for you. And many of you will have listened to our three part series where I interviewed the fabulous Belinda Fettke at the end of last year. If you haven't, I would encourage you to go back and listen to that. But we have the most exciting news. She and her wonderful husband, Gary Fettke, are going to be speaking at the Low Carb Road Show in Tasmania. And it's the first time that Belinda has spoken in front of her home state. So super, super excited about that. And I can't wait to have a chat with you today. Welcome, Belinda.


Belinda Fettke: (1:01) Thank you so much, Lucy, I can't wait either.


Dr Lucy Burns: (1:04) I know! How exciting!


Belinda Fettke: (1:06) I’ve spoken in so many places now. Certainly a lot online. But I've physically spoken in Spain and in America, a couple of times up at the Gold Coast. But this will be the very first time in Tasmania on this topic. I've spoken about other areas that I've been involved with in the past, with photography and women's health and things, but this will be the first time I've actually talked about my research. So I'm really excited to share it with people here. And hopefully, we get lots of conversation happening from it.


Dr Lucy Burns: (1:36) Oh absolutely. Because the thing that I love about you, Belinda, is that you're looking, like you're not just glossing, like, there's a lot of people that gloss and they'll read a headline, or they'll read an article and they sort of gloss, speed read it.  And look, I'm guilty of that. I’m very good at speed reading, you know, but you go right into the detail. And that's where, actually, the gold is, isn't it?


Belinda Fettke: (1:59) Yes, it is. Delving deeper and wondering why somebody's written a certain thing or why they haven't, as we had a little chat in our lead up to this conversation. You know, headlines, people see a headline and it screams “Keto’s dangerous”, “Keto is bad”, “It’s a fad diet”, “it's going to kill you.” There's been lots of things, the same with red meat. And I think, invariably, when you look at who's authored it or who has contributed to the research, there has been vested interests and religious ideology behind this anti meat messaging. And it's the same over and over and over. And in my recent posts on LinkedIn, it's like whack a mole, you just keep whacking down the next headline and whacking down the next one. But for a lot of people, they just see that headline. And they accept that. And then they go to their doctors and no they don’t want to talk about that. Or somebody might bring it up in the community, they might hear about, you know, the Low Carb Road Show that's about to come and hopefully, that they're interested and have an open mind in coming to discuss the concepts. Because in some of my research, all the way back to Jean Mayer, he was a professor at Harvard University, and he helped organise the very first White House Conference on nutrition. I think it was called “Hunger, Nutrition and Health.” And that was in the 1960s. And he wrote all the way back in 1965, something like “low carb and keto diets are dangerous and will kill you.” So it's all the way back from then. And of course, what did the White House Conference on Hunger, Health and Nutrition do? Demonise saturated fats. And this ideology that we've got now that we've had to fight, you know we've had medical professionals indoctrinated to fear saturated fat from animal proteins, and yet, they've been told to embrace trans fats.


Dr Lucy Burns: (3:55) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Margarine.


Belinda Fettke: (3:57) Yeah. Margarine, heart healthy margarine! And there's this amazing guy, his name was Fred Kummerow. And he was in America. And in 1957, he first started talking about the dangers of partially hydrogenated artificial trans fats. And it's important to let people know trans fats are in, saturated in, animal proteins and fats too, but they are whole trans fats, not the partially hydrogenated artificial trans fats. So again, it's very different when you start to mix up these slight terms that sound very similar. It's like ketosis for someone can be dangerous, but not nutritional ketosis. So it's where you find that little difference. So Fred Kummerow was looking at partially hydrogenated artificial trans fats. And he was the first person to say these are really dangerous. Well, of course, he got shut down didn’t he? Because that wasn't the consensus. And the American Heart Foundation I think, was paid millions and millions of dollars by Crisco - the makers of Crisco, Procter and Gamble. So of course they're going to protect that messaging back in the 1950s and 60s. But he kept going. And luckily his university didn't kick him out. They just relegated him to a backroom and allowed him to just keep doing his studies. And he presented to the American Medical Association, he tried to get his message out, but he didn’t have social media back then. He didn't have an opportunity to tell the public about his findings. And finally, I think he was 99 when he threatened to sue the American government. He said artificial trans fats, trans fatty acids are dangerous. And if you don't do something about it, I've spent my entire life trying to highlight it. I'm prepared to give up everything, I've got nothing to lose, I'm going to be dying soon. So I'm going to throw everything at you. And now it’s going to become a public case. And of course, America. Finally, the government went, okay we need to look into this. And he was 105 when he died, and he knew that artificial trans fats were going to be banned in America finally. And I think the World Health Organisation said there's something like 23 countries that have banned artificial trans fats now, but not Australia.


Dr Lucy Burns: (6:08) No, no, amazing, isn't it? I know and even labelling, you know, wasn't even, you have no idea, you know, labelling didn't even, have have, like, how would people know?


Belinda Fettke: (6:19) How would they know? Exactly. So yeah, when you hear these headlines, I think it's always worthwhile. If you haven't got the time and energy to go looking or you don't have the experience to know, go to a few people like me, and it's not always my work. I share other people's work as well. I just go “this doesn't make sense so who would have looked into this?” It's just worthwhile checking beyond those headlines.


Dr Lucy Burns: (6:41) Oh, absolutely. And it's really interesting. You know, we've got the Low Carb Road Show. We're out there. People who are coming to the Low Carb Road Show know that we are going to be talking about low carb nutrition. But there are other people and companies, organisations that just call themselves “nutrition.” For example, there's the Doctors.


Belinda Fettke: (7:00) Doctors for Nutrition. 


Dr Lucy Burns: (7:01) Yeah, Doctors for Nutrition, which, that sounds good. Like if you didn't, sounds like a great idea! Perfect. Doctors for nutrition, except they're only interested in vegan health. They're not interested in and in fact, they demonise everything that we're trying to promote. And it's like, I would be much happier if they wrote Doctors for Vegan Nutrition, or Doctors for Plant Based Nutrition. At least be clear in what you're actually advertising.


Belinda Fettke: (7:26) That, again, it's that transparency that I keep trying to call out as well. If people aren't being transparent about their beliefs, or their ideology, or their vested interests, being funded or owning shares, or whatever else, then how can you trust? I think it's a perceived conflict of interest, even if it isn't a declared conflict of interest.


Dr Lucy Burns: (7:46) Yeah, yeah. I know, I know but you know, it's so interesting, even you look at lots of, lots of politicians have conflicts of interest that they don't declare, and then even when they're caught out, they sort of, it's like, “Oh I had no idea that that would be a problem.”  And it's like, wow!


Belinda Fettke: (8:05) And yet, my husband, who had no conflict of interest, in fact, would have made more money from operating on people decided that he wanted to improve health outcomes. He wanted to get joy back into medicine, and see people get better. So he started talking about low carb nutrition. In fact, before that, he was talking about just simply reducing sugar. 2011, 2012, he got the idea that sugar was causing harm, firstly to himself, and improved his own health, and then to his patients. And Gary, here in Northern Tasmania, he was seeing people with the end stage of type two diabetes, in particular, some people with type one diabetes, but more type two diabetes complications that required some sort of debridement or even amputation of their lower leg. Every single week. And we're only a catchment area of 120,000. We’re very, very small. And he just suddenly went, “Oh my gosh, it's like a tsunami is coming at us.” And so when he worked out that sugar acts a little bit like cigarettes, you know, in a broad sense, in that it's a vasoconstrictor. So for him operating on an extremity, and then it not getting enough blood flow, and the nutrients that it needed to heal. He just started talking about it. And in fact, he was so excited. He went to the dietitians department at his hospital, and said, “You won't believe all this research I've been uncovering,” and he provided them with quite a big folder and said, “Look, look at this amazing information. We need to consider how much sugar is being fed to patients in hospital.” And at the time, and I think even still now, people with type two diabetes get offered three desserts per day.


Dr Lucy Burns: (9:47) Yeah. 


Belinda Fettke: (9:48) When I was nursing, and we're talking back in the day of the nurses caps in the Dark Ages. When people used to smoke in hospital beds, we actually, even though they were allowed to smoke, we had bed cards that went above their bed saying “this patient has diabetes and needs to be on a low sugar diet.” 


Dr Lucy Burns: (10:06) Yeah.


Belinda Fettke: (10:07) What happened? That was in the 1980s. And now suddenly, they're allowed three desserts per day. So Gary spoke to dietitians. And instead of celebrating, get excited, or even having an academic discussion with him, he got reported to the medical board for stepping outside his scope of practice.


Dr Lucy Burns: (10:25) Yes, and look, you know, for people like me and Dr Mary we’re so incredibly grateful for the work Gary did in fighting that, because it's allowed us to be able to talk about low carb without, you know, being some subversive underground movement.


Belinda Fettke: (10:41) Exactly. But still, a lot of people that we speak to still have a bit of fear, which you don't need to because the AHPRA medical board actually wrote that you are not going to be silenced from talking about nutrition. So if anyone else does it, we've got all the documentation to say this is not an issue anymore. But it is interesting how many people still fear it a little bit. And whether that's including animal proteins and fats in the diet, because there's a very strong demonisation movement happening. And like you said, Doctors for Nutrition, you you've got a group that are actually advocating plants for people and planetary health. But when you dissect all that information, it doesn't align with the messaging that they're promoting. So, but some people are nervous to speak out about it. And I love you guys. That's why we're so excited to be part of this Low Carb Road Show because you are prepared to stand up. And you're speaking out not just for yourselves, but for the health of people. And for our community here in Tasmania, we have a lot of very unwell people. And when you can empower them to take back control of their own , when they see the health benefits of reducing sugar, and including animal proteins and fats. But you don't have to if you are, I mean, always said that if you're vegetarian, we support a quite a few people who did really well, on a vegetarian diet. I think as a vegan diet, it's much trickier and you've got to supplement and it's expensive, and it's hard, and you've got to buy processed food in the end often, so. But certainly eating whole foods, you know, seeing people get better. It honestly brings joy back to medicine. And I could see that in Gary. But I also just want to do a little plug here. When we come down to the Low Carb Road Show in Hobart. When I was a photographer before I started doing my research, I had Gary accompany me on one of my conferences, because I was always accompanying him on his and so it was actually quite a turnaround for him to come with me. And I got to photograph brides in Santorini, how amazing is that? But Gary had all day on his own. Every day for about a week. And so he decided he'd write a book. And he wrote a book on inversion. And it's one man's answer to global health, world peace, all of those things. It's really fascinating. He started inverting, as in lying over the edge of a rock and looking up at the sky and seeing things differently. And he said, It's really incredible when you see leaves from a different perspective, when you see the sky from a different perspective. Things have a different colour and a different light. And so he believes, all throughout his medicine, he always looked at the other side of an issue, you know, I'm not just going to trust what I'm told, I'm going to look at it from a different way. And with my photography, bizarrely, when we had to enter photos into competitions and things, we're often told to turn our image upside down. Because when you turn something upside down, you're not seeing it as you would normally see it, that's when you notice elements that might not fit in. So”Inversion”, it just came out of Gary's head, he was just so excited to write it. And he thinks that was sort of his awakening to then understanding more and looking at nutrition in a different way as well. But it's not written about nutrition. It's just written about his thoughts. And yeah, he's quite a philosophical guy. And he's just, yeah.


Dr Lucy Burns: (14:09) I love that. It reminds me of that, you've probably seen, there's a meme or a picture, and it's, it's a six, except there's two people looking at it at each side. So one person sees a six and the other person sees a nine. And when you can see that, you know, there are often multiple ways to look at something, it doesn't mean everyone's right or wrong. It just means that we've got to look at all angles, and I guess, try and sort out the evidence, or the fact from the fiction.


Belinda Fettke: (14:39) Absolutely. It's the facts from the fiction and, and I think understanding that dietetics. So, only recently, in the last few weeks, did I come across a thesis written by a dietitian in the US. And she's written about the founding of the American Dietetic Association, but from a very different perspective than I've researched the founding of the American Dietetic Association. So, a woman who was instrumental in it all and a co-founder of the American Dietetic Association from which we, the Australian, Dietitians Australia and most of the western world have followed the guidelines and the rules and rule books from America. So it's fairly important that we understand where this is all evolved from if you think that how much it's affecting us still. So 1917 Lenna Frances Cooper was the co founder. And as I've done more and more research over time, I've actually realised she was the very first industry dietitian. She was a protege of John Harvey Kellogg. And if you look at her, so four years earlier, she wrote her first major cookbook, and this cookbook, you could only make the recipes if you bought John Harvey Kellogg's inventions. Nuttose, Protose, all of the things that he made, you couldn't make the recipes without buying these ingredients. So isn't that fascinating that it was an industry dietitian that founded the American Dietetic Association, which is now called the AND - American Nutrition and Dietetic, dietitians. I don't know, sorry, the acronyms gone for me. It's AND, and anyway, so you're looking at this group. From this thesis, I found that there were eight food industries there at the very first meeting. So they decided two months earlier, that they would break away from home economics and nursing. So they went we want to create a professional dietetics group. And we want to be recognised and registered as dietitians. They had eight industry people there at the very beginning, and it was founded by an industry dietitian. Is it any wonder, the American Dietetics Association, now called AND, that they not only are sponsored by food, and pharmaceutical and biotech, and whoever else, whomever else is in there, but they own shares in food industries.


Dr Lucy Burns: (17:14) I know. It blows my mind. It really does blow my mind that 


Belinda Fettke: (17:19) It blows my mind


Dr Lucy Burns: (17:21) You know, and it was, it was only maybe two weeks ago, I had a person who was a dietitian commenting on one of my posts that that sugar doesn't cause diabetes. And it’s like…


Belinda Fettke: (17:32) But, but the thing is Lucy that these people have been educated. So in Australia, Dietitians Australia not only accredit and regulate dietitians, but they educate them. And they are not under the umbrella of AHPRA, as most medical professionals are, which is incredible. You know, even osteopaths and chiropractors and everyone comes under AHPRA. 


Dr Lucy Burns: (17:56) I don't know why they're not.


Belinda Fettke: (17:57) But dietitians were deemed too low a risk to public health in 2010, to warrant the expense to put them under the framework of AHPRA. But I can't believe that, I think it was because they were so well funded by the food industry, that they didn't want that regulation under AHPRA. And they were able to stay separate. So a lot of dietitians wouldn't actually realise how heavily influenced their parent body is. And certainly when I was looking at this group, Cereal for Brekkie, years ago, and found that they were paying the Dietitians Association $23,000 a year. And the wording was “to use your members to influence, protect and actively defend not only cereal, grains, but sugars” messaging. So this is a group of people who may not actually realise, and then they're told by their parent body to hashtag cerealforbrekkie and and say that sugar is okay, and all of these things, this is why the dietitians at the hospital. I mean, they were so confronted by Gary talking about this information. And so they reported him.


Dr Lucy Burns: (19:01) Yeah. Ah, yeah, it does totally blow my mind. That heavy promotion of. the processed foods by dietitians. And if you challenge them, it's like, well, you know, we're just trying to give people the best options and it's not it's like, actually, I don't think you are.


Belinda Fettke: (19:19) No, Peter Williams, who was the head of the Australian Dietitians Association for a long time the DAA, he actually did an article and said, “sugar is important because that makes a low fat diet palatable.”


Dr Lucy Burns: (19:35) Well, that's, look how that's all worked out for us.


Belinda Fettke: (19:37) Oh, look how that worked out. Exactly. So let's delve into this at the Low Carb Road Show. Hopefully, people will come along. And yeah, I'm really looking forward to being part of the Hobart show. And wish I could come on more of them but really excited to see what's happening around the place as you delve into all the different interviews and hear different people speaking.


Dr Lucy Burns: (19:58) Oh, absolutely. And you know what? like Tassie, I look at Tassie and go, Oh, my God, Tassie, we've got like so, you know, there's you, there's obviously Gary, that's Peter Brukner,  like, it's people that have been talking about this for a long time. And I know for lots of, you know, lots of things, Tassie’s often left off the map, you know, constantly needing to be reminded “Hello, I’m part of Australia!”


Belinda Fettke: (20:20) Is it even there? I know we did pull up the drawbridge when COVID was happening and isolate ourselves down here.


Dr Lucy Burns: (20:29) You and WA. Melbourne was the mecca for COVID. But um, but yeah, so we obviously, we would love, love, love people, you know, local Taswegians to come. But anybody who would like to fly in because, the thing about the Low Carb Road Show is that we want to make it, you know, our tagline is “bringing conferences to the people.” We know that the Gold Coast Conference is wonderful. It's fantastic, but it's out of reach for some people. And so this has to, you know, we have to try and, you know, bring it to the people. And so yeah, we would love, love, love people to support it.


Belinda Fettke: (21:03) It sounds perfect. And I can't wait to see everybody and get to talk to them. Because that's the great thing about it as well. I love the idea that it's not just presenting and answering some questions, but getting to actually mingle and talk to people as well and have that opportunity. So fantastic work. Thank you, Lucy and Mary!


Dr Lucy Burns: (21:21) You're welcome. You're welcome. So gorgeous peeps. If you would love to see Belinda at the Low Carb Road Show Tasmania you can go to the link www.lowcarbroadshow/hobart and the link will be in the show notes. And if you can't remember that just go “Low Carb Road Show” and you'll find it. All right, lovelies. I will see you all next time. Thanks very much gorgeous Belinda. So happy to have you.


Dr Lucy Burns: (21:52) So my lovely listeners, that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr Lucy Burns…


Dr Mary Barson: (22:00) and I'm Dr Mary Barson. We’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit rlmedicine.com


Dr Lucy Burns: (22:10) And until next time…


Both: (22:12) Thanks for listening!

Dr Lucy Burns: (22:14) The information shared on the Real Health and Weight Loss podcast, including show notes and links, provides general information only. It is not a substitute, nor is it intended, to provide individualised medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor can it be construed as such. Please consult your doctor for any medical concerns.

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