Episode 141 Show Notes
Get ready to meet a true low carb legend, Dr Gary Fettke! This medical maverick wanted to prevent limb amputations of his diabetic patients, so he spoke out against sugar and processed foods - and the backlash was brutal. Powerful lobby groups tried to silence him, claiming he wasn't qualified to make such statements but Dr Fettke refused to give up and fought to inform the public about the truth around dietary guidelines. With his wife Belinda's unwavering support, their research and public speaking are leading the charge in changing how doctors approach nutrition.
Biochemistry: it’s what happens inside a cell, and it is science: What happens outside the cell is religion and politics and much of it is non science, or nonsense! We as humans have the same biochemistry as other mammals. The portal vein and the short chain fatty acids it transports from the gut to the liver, functions the same, whether you are a cow, a chimp or a human. Unlike many animals, however, we cannot ferment plants in our stomachs and convert them into these vital short chain fatty acids, and so we need to eat them. This is just one of the scientific, biological reasons we cannot survive on plants and sugars.
Powerful industries and vested interest groups have disconnected us from our food, and we are surrounded by processed food products with deliberately misleading labels on their bright, shiny packaging. Unlike animals in the wild, we've forgotten how, when, what and why to eat and have outsourced our eating to businesses and industries that do not have our best interests anywhere on their list of priorities. It's time to re-establish our connection with food and stop relying on processed junk for our sustenance.
The food pyramid: The brutal truth about the current food pyramid is that if you follow it and live by it, you will die by it and on the way there you will look like it. It needs a complete overhaul and the new version needs to prioritise the metabolic health of the people, not the marketing viability and profits of the huge industries behind our current dietary guidelines. We love Gary’s one sentence dietary guideline: “We should all be eating fresh, local, seasonal, whole food based on our culture and environment, avoiding added sugar and processed food.”
Lakanto presents The Low Carb Road Show 2023
The Low Carb Road Show - Hobart
With thanks to our major sponsor Lakanto
Dr Gary Fettke on Twitter
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, Dr Lucy here. Every now and then you hear that word Trailblazer. And look, it's used fairly willy nilly. But I'm here this morning with one of the actual trailblazers in the low carb space. The man who has carved the way for all doctors to be able to recommend low carb to their patients safely, because he's done all the hard work for us. So I am super thrilled to have, and welcome, to the podcast, Dr Gary Fettke. Gary, welcome.
Dr Gary Fettke: (0:56) Good morning, Lucy. Great to catch up once again, not quite face to face, but with a little stretch of water between us.
Dr Lucy Burns: (1:03) Yeah, no, absolutely great to be speaking in real time anyway.
Dr Gary Fettke: (1:07) I mean we miss out on those international Low Carb conferences and catching up with people, but just last week, Belinda and I caught up with Zoë and Andy Harcombe for like two hours on Zoom. And Doug Reynolds, who runs Low Carb USA, and SMHP, we had a chat for an hour in the morning. And these people have stayed with us and we've stayed with them. It is to welcome to Zoom, you know, that's keeping our sanity alive and recharging batteries.
Dr Lucy Burns: (1:38) Indeed. And for those, you know, beautiful people in Tasmania or anyone that wants to make the trek across the water to Tasmania, Gary is speaking at Low Carb Hobart and we are absolutely thrilled to have it. And if you've ever watched any of Gary's YouTube videos on Low Carb Down Under, he was talking about all this stuff before it became cool. And we were just talking about the cool kids. And these days, for a lot of us, low carb is just standard. Every now and then some people it's still, they've still never heard of it. And they've still been stuck in this sort of low fat movement. But yeah, Gary, I cannot tell you how grateful I am for, you know, the work that you've done. And in particular, Belinda in recent times, just exposing ongoing vested interest groups, you know, in a way that feels almost like surely that can't be true, surely!
Dr Gary Fettke: (2:33) We actually thought for years, it couldn't be true. Like when I first got reported to the medical board, and I've been reported three times and cleared. It only took five years and several hundred thousand dollars so if any of your listeners want to actually throw some money at me, that's fine! But look, I'm still an orthopaedic surgeon. And still most important thing is I'm still married to one person. So I mean, we're okay. But it's been a journey, because I honestly thought when I started talking about sugar, and when I went public with that, and was you know, targeted by someone working with Coca Cola within 24 hours, and it didn't take long for them to come at me. And then when the medical board came at me, I honestly thought it was a joke. I mean, I'm talking about sugar and for my patients with diabetes because I'm sick and tired of amputating their limbs. I mean that's the long and the short of it. But the rhetoric that then flowed on from that, because a surgeon talking about anti processed food, anti sugar, anti, as you know, that rolled on to low carb. But in the early days, it was just about sugar. And it was one thing for celebrities and celebrity chefs to be talking about it. But the moment a surgeon got on board who actually started saying, actually, I'm real life here, day to day seeing the complications of it. Then all of a sudden, that had more power in social media than I actually realised. And as a result of all of that ended up being targeted for holding that position. Literally, I thought, are you kidding? You really, you're not really coming after me? but it just, as each month rolled on, and it got more and more serious and more and more players and and getting reported again, each time by dietitians. And then they start bringing in this expert witness who's actually, a few years down the track we work out that he's actually working for the breakfast cereal industry at the time. He failed to declare that conflict of interest. And then I was going to be, literally, I've got the paperwork saying you are going to lose your registration if you keep talking about this. And, you know, we're gonna suspend you because you're dangerous to the population. For talking! And they said oh you're not qualified to talk about it, you and I have the same medical degree, which is based on science and biochemistry. And the stuff I talk about in the Krebs cycle particularly, you know, it's it's biochemistry in the first 30 or 40 pages. It's not, as I say in the fine imprint. This is what every single one of us should be standing up for. It's life itself is the Krebs cycle.
Dr Lucy Burns: (5:08) Yeah, it's interesting, isn't it? Because there is a sort of a story that goes on, doctors don't learn anything about nutrition, or they have one lecture on nutrition. So okay, I understand that lots of doctors don't value food as medicine in the way that perhaps you and I do. But we do learn basic biochemistry and basic physiology, which involves understanding elements of nutrition.
Dr Gary Fettke: (5:33) What happens inside a cell is biochemistry, science. What happens outside a cell is politics, religion, money, non science, or which I say is very closely, when you actually misspell non science, it says non sense. And it's fascinating because I honestly thought, I'm not stupid. But I am naive. Because at the beginning of all this, I said to Belinda, ah this biochemistry of fructose, you know, half of sugar has just been worked out. This is 2010, 2011. Oh, this is so obvious how bad it is. It'll all be over in six months, everyone will wake up and go, Okay, we've worked out the biochemistry of it. And here we are, I don't know what 13, 14 years down the track. Thirteen years down the track going it’s still the same thing. It is biochemistry. And it's clearly not in the interest of the vast food industry and the pharmaceutical industry to acknowledge it. So it's just been smoke and mirrors and throwing it up and keeping the public confused. And, you know, we were just were talking beforehand about carnivore which is,oh crikey that's so radical. Well, the fact is that it's low carb, some of my talks, I've talked about that evolution of diet. So the vast majority of people are eating what's called the SAD, whether it's the standard Australian Standard, American Standard. It's a standard diet, which is as almost recommended as its high end cards, highly processed food, the vast majority of people are getting fatter and sicker. And we know that latest data out of the US reflected here in Australia as 93.2% of the population are metabolically unwell. And we all know that. You can see that in your practice, walking down the street. So when the people decide to actually concentrate on what fuel they put in their engine, we pay more attention to what fuel we put in their cars than what we put in their bodies. When you pay attention to that, people then go, Oh, I'm going to eat by the dietary guidelines, which is what I did. And I still didn't lose weight, I put a bit of weight on and I was out running my bad diet or my food pyramid diet. And then people say, Okay, there's a group that decide okay I’m really going to go hard at this. And then they find low carb, healthy fat that we've seen reshape the food pyramid, or they go vegan.
Dr Lucy Burns: (7:53) Yes.
Dr Gary Fettke: (7:54) And both of which improve health initially, because you're getting rid of the garbage out of your diet. And then as they transition, and I actually, I like vegans, because that, you know, they've taken interest in their health and the planet and whatever. Unfortunately, they've been caught up in a whole lot of propaganda and misinformation, and they will end up being nutrient deficient. You just can't do it without significant supplementation, and it's hard work. And then they get a bit sicker. And then a lot of them then moved to LCHF, low carb. I call it healthy fat, not high fat. Gotcha. Vested interest, I do have low carb healthy fat.com. We do nothing with it. But I registered that years ago, because I said, Look, we’ve got to stop calling it low carb, high fat. It might be higher fat, but it's healthier fat. Because that gives you an impression that you're just having a diet full of fat. And those people who do have too much fat in their diet. And we can talk about that on the road shows. Don't overdo it, because you're gonna get into trouble. So it's healthy fats anyway, so they moved to LCHF. Then they've got a group then who decide actually for health reasons, they decided to go into ketosis and go keto. They go. So that's hardcore, very low carb. And then there's a group that for health reasons primarily decide to actually really drop those omnivorous vegetables. And I think you've got a couple of people coming along talking about
Dr Lucy Burns: (9:19) Yeah, carnivore. Oh, yeah, we do. Yeah, absolutely.
Dr Gary Fettke: (9:23) So when you actually start looking critically at the lectins, the pectins, the oxalates that come in the vegetables and for some people, going carnivore gives them another layer of health improvement. And it may not be for everyone all the time. But there are certain periods and you know, ask me whether or not I'm carnivore, and I'm, as I say when Belinda's not around cooking vegetables, I find it easy to batch and just have my, and it’s not as though I’m having tons of meat, I'm having my eggs and cheeses and supplementing with meat. And even though Shawn Baker's a mate of mine, I'm not going out and just having a raw steak.
Dr Lucy Burns: (10:02) Yeah. And look it's interesting because it's, you know, people like Shawn, and Anthony Chaffee, who, who are prominent carnivore enthusiasts. And aesthetically, they are very attractive humans, they're built incredibly well. I suspect they have some excellent genetics around muscle building, and they, you know, look after themselves as well. But I think that there's also a danger though, that people who don't necessarily know the reason why they're doing it go into carnivore because they want to look like them.
Dr Gary Fettke: (10:36) Oh look well I think you can do veganism, if it's well constructed with supplementation. I think you can do carnivore, if you concentrate on it. I talk about eating nose to tail, having respect for the animal. And so you do need I think, and again, this is almost a point of contention with carnivore, I think you need to have some liver based product in there, of which you can have paté. I've got a Germanic background so I have liverwurst. And you don't need heaps of it. It's not as though you're eating, but I have super meatballs where we get a bit of liver, and you put 50 to 100 grams of that in a kilo of mince. So you sneak it in. So I do think you need some of those organ meats. Here's a lion, you know, you take a lion in the wild, and it kills something, it will actually eat the brains, the kidney, the liver, the spleen and the fat. And then it will eat the meat. And so it's the meat’s left for the hyenas. So there's something in that. The highest density, nutritional food is actually the organ meat. And the fats. And so therefore, if you're just eating for protein and meat itself, then that's not ideal either. Again, I don't think carnivores for everyone. But it's interesting. Those people who are lecturing in that field, off camera are pretty well moving away from having lots of vegetables. I’m omnivorous because I like a bit of extra colour on the plate. But also, we have a vegetable garden here. I don't know how many people have vegetables, it's really, really hard to grow vegetables so you’ve got enough to feed the family. There's a lot of water, there's a lot of bugs, so you gotta try and counteract those, whatever method you got to hit, but I've actually got sheep out in the paddock here. And I'm pointing out to the side, for everyone who can't see this conversation. And, you know, I just make certain I've got water. And then they don't even drink it because most of the time because they get enough off the ground. And when you start looking at the bigger picture, which is where I've drifted into the agricultural practices and our environment, an animal based diet is positive on the environment. I know , wooah that's contentious, but in fact, that is. Because they actually eat grass on the whole, particularly on marginal land. Someone at a Green’s wedding, I went to recently, she said how the pigs and the sheep had been farming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and into our soil. So an animal based diet actually done properly, is actually positive for the environment. But a plant based diet takes nutrition from the soil, and the biggest agricultural export on the planet is topsoil. When you start really looking down this pathway, you find that the fall of the Roman Empire was related to their agricultural practice rather than their powerplays. They actually ran out of food for the people as they tracked around the Mediterranean. And they farmed the topsoil and stripped it all bare. The Middle East used to be a temperate rainforest. And so this whole concept that a plant based diet is good for us and good for the planet. I can’t use too many expletives this early in the morning, is actually just not based on science. Again, it's based on emotion. And it's based on the fact that the plant based food industry wants us to hear that rhetoric because plant based foods have longer shelf life, higher transportability and profitability.
Dr Lucy Burns: (14:18) Ah absolutely! And you know, there's a product that blows my mind that's called “Just Egg.” The company's it's called, like that's it, it's massive, it's a great big thing “Just Egg” and they, all their pictures on their, because I went and looked on their website. It's all you know, there's pictures of omelettes, there's all these things they’re banging on about just egg, and there's no egg in this! Like it's, it should be called “Just NOT Egg.” I don’t understand. Look, I get it, there are people out there with egg allergies and for them then maybe this is a good product but for the rest of the population, it's like, why are you trying to pull this, again it’s smoke and mirrors, it's like you're trying to trick us. We’re not stupid but yet that whole product!
Dr Gary Fettke: (14:58) Well, this is where Belinda's work comes into its own. Because when you find out that the vast majority of that propaganda actually comes from, as its origins, in the Seventh Day Adventist Church in the temperance movement in the 1850s to 1870s. But again, the Seventh Day Adventist Church, everyone goes, Oh, who are they, but they're the second biggest educator in the world after the Catholic Church. They started the cereal industry of the world, the Western soy industry, the alternative meat industry, the stevia industry. They're vertically integrated into the farming practices and the pharmaceutical industry. They're incredibly smart. They've done a wonderful job of actually getting this ball rolling. So that a large proportion of the world say, okay, plant based is better for us and better for the planet. I'm sorry, no, it's not. It's based on a religious ideology, and zealotry to push a product for a religious cause. So the vegans, for instance, don't realise that they are foot soldiers for a church.
Dr Lucy Burns: (16:04) No, and then you're right, absolutely right. Even Sanitarium lots of people don't realise it's owned by the Seventh Day Adventists. And when you tell people that they go really? I had no idea, because they really..
Dr Gary Fettke (16:16) and don't pay taxes!
Dr Lucy Burns: (16:17) Yes! And they really have done that Trojan horse of they're not pushing religion as their selling point. But they're getting people to do the things that their religion wants them to do ie. not eat meat, because that's sinful. And so it's like they're saving the world.
Dr Gary Fettke: (16:36) No, no, they're saving themselves, actually, they're not actually saving the world, they are telling you that you're saving the world. Everything I've said and Belinda said is actually acknowledged by them, okay? We've actually got this article in 2019, in a journal called Religion where they actually acknowledge every bit of this, but most importantly, they have Belinda's work in their references. And she still works with a lot of people in and outside, you know current and ex members. And they all agree with her. So I think the plan is actually once we all turn towards veganism, okay? once we all turn to, we don’t have to all do it, but we turn towards it, then Christ will return. And Christ will return for the saviour of 144,000. There's about 18 to 20 million of them on the planet. So I don't quite know how they're going to work that out. But when that prophecy was again, we're talking 19th century prophecies, that was all very feasible, the 144,000, and the second coming of Christ and all that sort of, and it may sound crazy, we're talking about this. But the longer I’ve talked about the science of low carb, and at a cellular level, and I got into trouble with AHPRA for making things too simple. I don't think that you knew about that. One of the things, Oh you’re making things too simple? No, it is this simple. And I'm going to use pictures in my talk so that people can understand it. Anyway, so the longer I talked about the science and the longer others talked about the science, and we saw the health benefits for not just the individual, but the wider community, the more it became about the non science. So therefore, it's really important to understand Belinda's work to say, Okay, you hold that belief. Now, if I want to have a conversation, like we're having conversation now, I know what hat you're wearing. Even if you don't know, you know what hat I'm wearing. And we're, but there are lots of people in this world, including the health profession, advisory groups, guideline committees, who have vested interests, and sometimes they don't even know that they have them. And so therefore, my job is when I go into a discussion group, we, I have to talk on the Road Show about what progress we've made. At a guideline level, you talked about me being a trailblazer. You know, what is it, I think the pioneers take the arrows and the settlers take the lands, I love that one.
Dr Lucy Burns: (19:10) Well you certainly have taken a few arrows, just saying!
Dr Gary Fettke: (19:12) My middle name’s Teflon! And it’s had a fair amount of stuff thrown at it. One of the wonderful things is that when we go into these guideline committees or into government discussions, we've done a lot of research, particularly Belinda, on what hat the people are wearing on the opposite side of the table. And there was a fair blow up at a talk that I gave in another state at James Muecke's invitation. And so are you wanting to play good cop, bad cop? James is obviously going to be the good cop. But it completely blew up because they did not like the fact that I called them out right at the beginning on their vested interests. I specifically said I'm not working with this pharmaceutical company, I'm not working with that pharmaceutical company, I'm definitely not working with Sanitarium knowing that the people I was debating against, were. And so that puts them on the backfoot, makes it a fairly antagonistic environment. But nonetheless, we're making progress down those guideline pathways, you know, and the great thing now is low carb is now part of the National Diabetes strategy. So we've moved from not only having it accepted, you know, at an AHPRA level, we've now got this as part of the National Diabetes strategy. So I will argue that at the coalface if you're a health care professional, you have to be talking about it. If you're not going to talk about, I'm going to report you to AHPRA.
Dr Lucy Burns: (20:42) Yes, yes. Because you're not giving people all the options.
Dr Gary Fettke: (20:45) All the options, nor the current advice.
Dr Lucy Burns: (20:48) Yes. Interesting, isn't it? I find it, you know, fascinating. And as you said, there is, and probably in the medical community, there is a, I don't know, maybe a higher proportion of people who are vegan, now rebranded as, you know, plant based. And I think that's because vegans have always had a, you know, that reputation of you know, how do you know if someone's a vegan, just wait, they'll tell you. So a bit of zealotry in their talks, which, which I understand. because every now and then I, in not every now and then, in fact, quite often, I feel like a zealot in the low carb space. So I do get why they, they love talking about it. But they're really, for a lot of people, very closed about the idea of the animal products can actually be part, in fact, and you and I would know not just can be, should be part of a healthy diet.
Dr Gary Fettke: (21:43) The statistics, and goodness knows who comes up with this is that, you know, theoretically, if a certain portion of the population are vegan or low carbing or carnivore blah blah blah, but the vast majority of vegans actually come back towards animal based product. And you can go onto YouTube and social media and find out the ex vegan, and whenever they the prominent person on Instagram gets up, openly admits that they've having some meat again the rhetoric against them is just amazing. But you never hear about, I mean, I didn't go on about if someone's carnivore and I have a vegetable, you know, we're not taking them down on YouTube now.
Dr Lucy Burns: (22:29) Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Dr Gary Fettke: (22:31) It's just happened to me, the moment I found out I was wrong. It's very confronting. And so for me, as a doctor to actually realise that I have been prescribing harm by the food pyramid, not only was I causing harm for myself, that is a selfish portion, I was harming society by promulgating this food pyramid. But we've actually apologised to our children. Now, look, I'm sorry about all that, you know, vegetable oil, we cook stuff in, or margarine that we cook stuff in, because we think we've caused harm. So it's a really huge step for someone to admit that they got it wrong. You will know that it's really hard for doctors to admit that they got it wrong. It's much easier just to keep prescribing and continue on your way and do the guidelines because the guidelines are safe, and you're not gonna get into trouble with the medical board. The last time the medical profession had to say sorry was thalidomide. We might get around to some other more current issues in, you know, in the last few years. But the last time we had to officially say we were sorry, was thalidomide. It's either 10 to 50,000 people worldwide were affected by thalidomide, and limb deficits as a result. But here we're talking about 93.2% of the Australian population, we're talking about hundreds, billions of people around the world who have been harmed by a food pyramid that we've been prescribing. And in telling people oh you're fat, you not only need to lose weight you need to eat properly. When in fact, the food pyramid as I say, if you want to eat by the food pyramid, which is part of our culture, you're going to die by the food pyramid and along the way, you're gonna look like the food pyramid. And it's a brutal thing. But it's true. It's literally true that the pear shaped habitus, because I'm not a nice person, ultimately, I hear. I do go to the shops and I actually don't look at the people, I look at their shopping trolley first and then determine what body shape they're going to have based on what I saw. When I go food shopping, I actually have nursing staff apparently that send their husbands along to see what I've got in my shopping trolley. Because we're in the public arena.
Dr Lucy Burns: (24:48) Well, it's interesting because the shopping trolley, there is a thing called the Shopping Trolley Instagram posts or Facebook posts. And they're prominent, usually dietitians, who will put a picture of what they've put in their shopping trolley. It's not going to look anything like your shopping trolley and my shopping trolley. The only person who I've ever seen who puts a shopping trolley up that looks a bit like one of ours is Jessica Turton. So it's not all dietitians.
Dr Gary Fettke: (25:15) She's not a dietician, she's a good person.
Dr Lucy Burns: (25:19) Oh, well, I think I think we have to be mindful. There are some dietitians, you know, who are low carb. You know, there's Jess, there's Nicole Moore, and there's, you know, there's a number of what we would probably call enlightened, and they're going against the grain of their profession.
Dr Gary Fettke: (25:35) Again, their textbooks were written by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and the processed food industry. Lenna Cooper, who started the American Dietetics Association, literally, was working for John Harvey Kellogg at the time, Seventh Day Adventist Church. We've got the 1920 textbooks of dietetics. And you can buy them online because they're cheap as, you know. I think $5 you can buy a 1920 odd the textbook. And so therefore, their textbooks have been written by the processed food, vegetarian vegan industry for over 100 years. So therefore, again, dietitians, don't like to know that. I've got lots of dietitians who are good friends who are enlightened, have moved away from their textbooks. The dietitians we had at Nutrition for Life, we said get your textbooks out, show me the word meat in there. It talked about protein, didn't talk about meat. They've been raised in that situation. And the smart ones who have worked out that they've actually had unfulfilling careers in private practice. Because a lot go into industry, a lot go into hospitals, and those who have unfulfilling careers, they quit. But those who are actually enlightened and actually go to work and actually do prescribe a more low carb, healthy fat lifestyle are seeing dramatic improvements and getting great job fulfilment.
Dr Lucy Burns: (27:05) Absolutely. But you know, again, it's that thing as you said, there's just pictures of trolleys that are full of, you know, processed food, and the inference being for people again, if you're Joe Blow, you're just a person, you're looking for an expert to give you advice on what you should be eating and you look at this shopping trolley post. It's full of processed food. It's not full of lettuce and tomatoes and meat, it's full of muesli bars and flavoured yoghurts and all those things.
Dr Gary Fettke: (27:38) I actually had a website called, a Facebook page called, My Hospital Food. I encouraged everyone to put up their hospital food photos. Apart from the fact that I thought it was funny, it was also deadly serious as to what was being served in hospitals. In the process of all that AHPRA requested that I take it down because I was being too inflammatory. I said No, this is the hospital food which has been served up, which is nutrient deficient, protein deficient, and I can't get my patients better. And this wasn't just my hospital. This was literally hospitals around the world.
Dr Lucy Burns: (28:12) It's still happening. I mean, there's some differences between various hospitals, there are some hospitals that are actually providing reasonable food. But one of our members recently, who's been on the podcast, who had spoken a lot about her sugar addiction and how her mental health was just woeful, and you know, compounded by terrible mental health, therefore eating a block of chocolate a day, worsening mental health. When she stopped the chocolate, her mental health improved, she does not want to go back to any sugar. And yet this hospital kept foisting high carb high processed food upon her and when she refused to eat it, they then, you know, they sent in the psychiatric liaison officer to see if there was something wrong with her. It's like, No, I just don't want to eat your food. And then she was just labelled the difficult person.
Dr Gary Fettke: (29:00) When we catch up off camera down in Hobart, which is the worst end of Tasmania, by the way, so it's not quite as nice as here in the north and Lonnie, but I'll tell you some other stuff about hospital food, and phone calls that I get at times about kids with acute type one diabetes. And I have an off the record discussion. And I say, Do this, get total glucose control within six hours and here are the people in those states which actually can support you.
Dr Lucy Burns: (29:35) Yeah, I know, it's, I'm looking forward to your talk. Because I think you know, the idea is that we've come a long way, but there's a long way to go. You know, when I was in America not that long ago, and going into their shops. You know, our processed food industry is a juggernaut, but over there, it's like 10 times what we've got and I can see, the packaging is much brighter, shinier, the low fat is still everywhere. And I just sort of got in there I went, Ah, God this is…
Dr Gary Fettke: (30:07) The interesting thing about the US, and I haven't been there for a couple of years because of COVID, not travelling, is that we were in LA, Los Angeles a few years ago. And for the first three or four days we didn’t see anyone who was obese, and we went, Well, hang on, hang on what's happened to this obesity epidemic in the US? And then we went down to Disneyland and we found them.
Dr Lucy Burns: (30:28) Yeah, yeah. The southern states are
Dr Gary Fettke: (30:32) Oh, no, no, that was because Disneyland everyone comes around from the whole country.
Dr Lucy Burns: (30:37) Oh, I see! Oh, yeah. Disneyland, California, yeah?
Dr Gary Fettke: (30:41) Yes. I made the observation that the US population is like a two humped camel. A whole hump of population that are healthy. And then you've got the second hump where they're super obese. And obviously that predilections, literally, you find this bipolar sort of two groups of people. But in Australia, we're a single humped camel. And we've shifted that hump, to the right. We've gotten more obese, it's the whole population has moved down that pathway in Australia, whereas in the US, they’re a two humped camel.
Dr Lucy Burns: (31:19) Yes, interesting, isn't it?
Dr Gary Fettke: (31:21) But still, they're metabolically unwell. That's my observation in more than one trip and both the West, the East as well as the Midwest. The Midwest, actually, was pretty heavy though.
Dr Lucy Burns: (31:34) Yeah. And you know, and I guess, just to circle back to your conversation about agriculture, the Americans do it way differently. I mean, in Australia, we're lucky, you know, we don't have huge feedlots, like they do, you know. A lot of our cattle is just raised on grass, and our sheep are raised on grass. And it's, it's not like there, or like, I just couldn't believe it. I spoke to a guy who, who was at, you know, who's a low carber, like, he loves low carb, but he actually runs a cattle station. It's not a cattle station, he just runs the feedlot bit. So the cows get shipped in just to his farm for the last whatever. And he basically just feeds them soy and all the leftover grainy rubbish, and fattens them up and then ships them off. And it was like ugh.
Dr Gary Fettke: (32:22) Well to be fair, we actually do that in Australia as well. So the Queensland cattle industry, and I have actually spoken to the beef industry on a couple of occasions. But they do have to give continuity, they do finish, they grain finished a lot of cows, so that actually gets the seasonality out of, because they don't have the grasses all year round. So they do bring them into well, we do have some feedlot cattle in Australia, but they do bring them in for grain finishing, to smooth out the market forces as much as anything. Here in Tasmania, we actually, we do have a feedlot. I know it's down there because you can get the feedlot manure and the pH of that is actually out of control. It’s very alkaline, killed all of our camelia hedge once. I thought I was doing the right thing, but then had to dig out 50 metres of a camelia hedge because I'd poisoned at all. So we just need to get smarter. Like the beef industry, for instance, has a proposal to actually sensibly farm our national forests, like graze the undergrowth and prevent the fire risk. And so therefore, we get sensible about our marginal land which actually can't be you know, something flat for agricultural purposes. And we use around 20% or at least on the planet of marginal grasslands, and farm them, then that was actually got a cyclical benefit for the planet. We reduce our fire risk. And everyone knows that fires cause far more environmental damage and co2 release than
Dr Lucy Burns: (34:02) ah, absolutely and horrendous damage to wildlife.
Dr Gary Fettke: (34:05) Yes, there is no life without death in a food cycle. Leah Keith wrote there, so that's what I think I've paraphrased her quote there somewhere. But nonetheless, the more you look at it, we are all completely interrelated. And we are just animals. And we have the same biochemistry as an animal. I love the portal vein, the portal that comes into the liver.
Dr Lucy Burns: (34:37) Yes. I think that that might be a quote, like nobody I have ever heard say that before. I love the portal vein.
Dr Gary Fettke: (34:44) I love the portal vein. No no I love that as an example. So the portal vein is the major tube coming from the gut up into the liver. And the fatty acids going up that are short chain fatty acids. That's how the metabolism of the gut wants short chain fatty acids to hit the liver. Now, if you are a cow, you break down all your grasses and whatever in all the four guts into short chain fatty acids. And that goes up the portal vein. If you're a gorilla, it's the hind gut, that breaks down all that fermentation, it’s a huge fermentation vat, and it breaks down to short chain fatty acids, which go up the portal vein. We as humans don't have three, four guts, and we don't have a massive hind gut, we need to eat short chain fatty acids so they can go up the portal vein. So what goes up the portal vein is the same whether you're a cow or a chimpanzee, or a gorilla or a human. So just get with it, you know? And so therefore, you can't ferment all those grasses and vegetables and plants into short chain fatty acids as a human, you need to eat them. Sorry, biochemistry, sorry, end of topic. Goodbye! You know that’s it!
Dr Lucy Burns: (36:03) Yes, I could talk to you for hours. I'm sure our listeners could listen to you for hours. You are, as I said, a font of not just knowledge, but experience in the low carb world. You've taken more hits than anybody I know. Maybe Tim Noakes, you and he, are definitely the pioneers.
Dr Gary Fettke: (36:20) Tim’s a good mate obviously. One of my great honours in life is that at the Low Carb first World Summit in Cape Town, I got to introduce Tim for his plenary speech. And when I was cleared by AHPRA, Tim and I, our cases were going on at the same time, his was more public than my mine. Mine was a kangaroo court in Australia, but nonetheless, the very first person we rang after it all was Tim. I can still remember his grin. He was having a coffee in Cape Town. And he just grinned when he heard that I'd gotten off, because that meant that his name had been cleared on this, Anika Dahlquist in Sweden had been cleared, my name cleared, literally opened the door for us all.
Dr Lucy Burns: (37:05) Yes, absolutely. And as I said, for all the low carb practitioners, you know, it's just meant that we, we can just, as you said, not only can we prescribe it, we should be prescribing it. But without you, you know, trailblazing that and really AHPRA having to fall on their sword and reverse their decision and actually, you know, say, oh, okay, then a lot of doctors would still be frightened.
Dr Gary Fettke: (37:32) Well, there's still dietitians who are frightened about it. And because not everyone's been able to come in from the cold. Jen Elliot is a dietitian in New South Wales and she's been writing extensively on this before me. She lost her position as a dietitian, and has never been really able to be re-registered again. So I catch up with Jen from time to time, she hasn't gotten off. And so therefore, despite everything and all the proof now, Dietitians Australia haven't backed down on her case. And I'll keep calling it out, because Jen is a lovely person who was completely smashed by her own Association. And she was right.
Dr Lucy Burns: (38:15) Yes. And it's interesting because for you know, our listeners may not be aware that dietitians are not regulated by AHPRA. So AHPRA is the Australian Health Practitioners Association of doctors, and anybody under the AHPRA umbrella, we're highly regulated. Which means that, you know, we've got laws and rules around what we can say what, you know, what we can say in advertising. And dietitians aren't regulated by them. And nutritionists aren’t either.
Dr Gary Fettke: (38:43) No. But neither is your mother. Because your mother told you what to eat as well. I use that argument. I mean, my mother, our parents are the very first ones who create nutritional guidelines in the household.
Dr Lucy Burns: (39:00) Yeah, and look that in itself, I think has been some of the, like, I look at my household, and my mum was a long term, still is, a long term dieter still goes to diet clubs, still, you know, Weight Watchers, whatever it is. And so for me as a 16 year old girl I grew up in, in the dieting culture. And so started dieting at 16 with various, you know, rubbish diets, and then outsourced my eating to some company that told me about points, or, you know, coloured red, you know, just all different things and I forgot how to eat. I didn't know how to do it. Whereas animals in the wild, they're not doing that. You don't see a lion who thinks oh, I've had one too many gazelle today I better you know, run a few laps. It's humans that have lost our connection to our food and to, and as such, outsourced a lot of that to, again, processed food industries who will put labels on the front of their packet telling people that you know, this forms 10% of their daily intake so you should eat it, or whatever it is. We just, we've just lost our way.
Dr Gary Fettke: (40:09) Remind me when we do the Road Show to talk about food labelling. Because we've been able to get, by presenting to a parliamentary, a Senate inquiry, to get some of our food labelling laws changed.
Dr Lucy Burns: (40:25) Oh, fantastic. Yeah. Because I just think they're wicked. And they, yeah, they can write healthy. Actually, I hate that word healthy on food. It's interesting, because I think that healthy anything can go from being helpful to our health to unhelpful. You know, if you were to eat five kilos of cheese a day, even though cheese itself is a good product, that overconsumption is probably not going to do you any good. And so it's this idea that because something has the word healthy on it, our brains go, Oh, goody, I can eat as much as I like.
Dr Gary Fettke: (41:00) I think you know, I've rewritten the dietary guidelines for the world, because I’m a surgeon and arrogant, and I’ve put it in one sentence, which has gone to the National Health and Medical Research Council here in Australia. But I said, because we have this dietary guideline review going on at the moment, and millions and millions of dollars are going to be spent on it. I said, Look, for 3 million, you can have my paragraph. Oh, sorry, my sentence, and I'll save you a lot of bother. And it's pretty simple. And I still stand by it. It is actually low carb by definition when you take it apart, but it is “We should all be eating fresh, local, seasonal, whole food based on our culture and environment, avoiding added sugar and processed food.” And when you take that apart, it means that if something's coming in a cardboard box or a plastic bag, got a label on it, it’s probably not supposed to be there. And that's healthy. Because it's important that I laugh at myself, because I've got a family that laughs at me. We had some karaoke machine thing that the kids had. Because I'm tone deaf, don't ever ask me to sing. And there was a word, I was just going by the words that were coming up on the karaoke thing, and the kids were laughing at me because I kept on saying, because it changed from one screen to the other, I was going heal thy, heal thy. Because I didn't read, because I don't pay attention to the words in it. So I didn't realise the person was saying healthy because it was sort of split. And I was concentrating on trying to get it right. So there's a video somewhere of me actually singing heal thy rather than healthy. Not realising that down the track, we'd find out that “heal thy” was completely and utterly conflicted in our Healthy Eating message by the Adventist Church. So it is about religious fervour rather than actual well being.
Dr Lucy Burns: (42:58) Indeed! Well, Gary, this has been a fascinating chat, and I am super, I cannot tell you how looking forward I am, to seeing your talk at the Low Carb Road Show in Tassie. If people wanted to follow you, and I've got Belinda's details, but does she do most of your social media stuff these days?
Dr Gary Fettke: (43:17) I'm very active on Twitter, I find Twitter you can be naughtier there.
Dr Lucy Burns: (43:24) I've got to tell you that I am a little gun shy on Twitter, I call Twitter Fight Club. And for people who are good at fighting, it's a very good forum, I think that I get, you know, I have one little fight and I just go oh my god, I can't be here, I have to run away.
Dr Gary Fettke: (43:42) When things get a bit nasty out there, I went through a phase where it was my favourite thing to do is block a vegan a day, when they were coming at me. But once you get a certain amount of following on there, people actually, and this is, we have to thank social media. It got me into trouble but I also have to be thankful that it got us out of trouble, because the population get behind you and actually support you. And like when I got the final decision was being made against me to take my registration away or threatened with it. With AHPRA Belinda wrote a post on social media which was seen over a million times. And AHPRA were completely inundated with it. Aseem Malhotra, who’s a good mate as well, Aseem talked about it on BBC World News. And so therefore we were able to create this international noise and then put the system back under its own pressure. And they actually did some really dumb things around social media, which you should never do. As you say, they got, they actually got angry. But as a result of that they overstepped the mark and then allowed for me ultimately to be exonerated. So social media, you'll find most of my talks and Belinda's talks on YouTube. That's a nice, calm platform. We're not doing nearly as much as we should probably do on social media with Facebook and such. I'm on Twitter. I think what most people don't understand or realise is how much we're actually doing behind the scenes now at a national and international guideline levels. And really working hard in that space. And a lot of it is doing more support, like having a chat to you, supporting those other people that are now coming up. And so I've still got another few hours of that to do today, of actually just working in that space. But that's the important bit.
Dr Lucy Burns: (45:31) Yeah, absolutely right. That is the important bit you know, it's not nearly as exciting and prominent, as you said, as getting on Twitter or YouTube or Facebook or whatever it is and having a rant which, which I don't mind doing that, I quite like having a rant. I just don't want anyone to come back at me. But it's that stealth work behind the scenes. And I know Dr Liz Fraser does a lot in GP land. She's constantly, she's like a prolific article writer in GP magazines trying to educate GPs around low carb. There's you, there's obviously James Muecke, all helping to change the government and the dietary guidelines so that the people who are just Joe Blow, the public, aren't hoodwinked all the time by these bloomin vested interest groups stealing, stealing their money, and their health!
Dr Gary Fettke: (46:19) We describe it to James who gets a bit frustrated, he’s actually adopted, he wants to adopt my New Year's resolution, which was that I let everyone know that I was going to be less tolerant of fools this year. And one of my mates said, Are you going to move from 1% to zero? I got a text message. I'll let James, he’ll know that I've told tales, he recently texted me, I think I'm going to adopt your New Year's resolution. But we describe it very much as whack a mole. Like they've stuck their hand up, okay. And it's hard work actually playing whack a mole, because it's constantly coming back at you going, Oh, that's dangerous. That's dangerous. No, that's propaganda, that's been misreported, that's actually a headline grabber. That's the stuff which sells magazines based on fear, or sells an article based on fear and misconceptions. And therefore, we can't do it ourselves. We do actually need other people, like yourself, anybody, to play the whack a mole, because just start speaking up about it. Tell the human story. Tell the biochemical story, this is actually helping people. And it's in different degrees for different people. Let's say 90% of people did 90% of what we said 90% of the time, then we will have solved the health crisis that's facing most Western nations at this point in time, of metabolic health. And if 50% of people did 50% it will actually bring our thresholds down, and probably save the health system. And that's the argument I've talked to the politicians about. So not everyone has to do it. Not everyone has to be hardcore. But if we move in that direction, we'll turn around what's already a tsunami of ill health, which is overwhelming society, health systems.
Dr Lucy Burns: (48:14) And it's interesting, I mean, it has led on, you know, everyone's talking about there's a crisis in, in general practices, not enough GPs. The crisis isn't necessarily in general practice, the crisis is in the way we practise medicine these days. We, nobody has the time to go to the root cause, everyone's just playing bandaid medicine, prescribing more pills, if we that's quick, easy to get out, seems to have, you know, it fixes something short term and, and now we're, you know, looking at the consequences of that healthcare model of just trying to treat long term chronic disease in a short term acute medical model.
Dr Gary Fettke: (48:53) Bandaiding sick care is the term and I say to the pollies, I say we don't need more nurses. We don't need more doctors, we don't need more money. We need to spend what we've got wisely. That figure I quote, 93% because that's the current one, only a couple of years ago, it was 88% in the last sort of look at literature. And the system, albeit was struggling, was coping. I call this like a dam war. We've now just gotten to the point where the metabolic health issues are literally flying over in the whole, everything's being swamped, flooded, blah, blah, blah. But if we can actually reduce that load down by 5%, and bring it down to 88% again, then we've in fact, the system will cope again. And the lowest hanging fruit there is diabetes. If we take the fact that at least 10% of the population have got diabetes and another 10% have got undiagnosed diabetes, and probably 60% of the population are pre diabetic, depending on how you measure that. If we can get two thirds of the population to reduce their carb intake, then we'll have reduced that metabolic load on the system, poor metabolic load, back underneath the level of the dam wall, and the whole system will cope again. So stop throwing more money and bandaiding it.
Dr Lucy Burns: (50:08) Yeah, I know.
Dr Gary Fettke: (50:11) Just actually just let's go hard at one thing. And type two diabetes is I think literally that lowest hanging fruit. And let's just get the system back into control and then look at the bigger, wider picture about all the other health issues which may come. And you’ve touched on mental health and diet and mental health is starting to become a hot topic in that circle, in that area. And I think oh, okay, let's, let's again, say percentages of people who've got mental health issues. We address diabetes and mental health with diet. Well, we might have just bought a whole degree of control back into the system.
Dr Lucy Burns: (50:45) Well, you know, I mean, it's come, you know, there's been people as you know, Georgia Ede working in that space. But Chris Palmer's book, I think, has been so helpful for people to recognise that and his, you know, theory is that, that mental illness is metabolic illness.
Dr Gary Fettke: (51:00) Oh he's written a book? Okay, I've seen Chris talk, and Georgia is gorgeous. She's a lovely lady.
Dr Lucy Burns: (51:06) Yeah, no, Chris Palmer's book. It's called Brain Energy. And it is fascinating. I listened to it in the car, driving, Melbourne to Sydney. And basically, it talks a lot about mitochondrial health. And, you know, what is the thing that's impairing our mitochondria these days, insulin resistance, and how do we fix it, blah, blah, blah, and yeah talks a lot again, again, about a ketogenic diet as a tool for mental illness. And look he caveats with you know, not every single person he has seen has responded but a huge majority have, so why wouldn't you at least offer it and give it a crack?
Dr Gary Fettke: (51:42) Well, that's our big go at guidelines at the moment. That national dietary guidelines in Australian eating, healthy eating is for the healthy population. Dietary guidelines for the healthy population. So they are not relevant.
Dr Lucy Burns: (51:53) Which is now what 7%?
Dr Gary Fettke: (51:55) Yeah, so it's 6.8. So don't overestimate! So the important thing about that is, if we in fact, accepted the dietary guidelines for a minority group of people, let's ignore them. And let's actually start targeting dietary guidelines for specific conditions like type two diabetes, well, that responds well to LCHF. Mental Health, a large number of people respond well to LCHF. Heart failure, large number of people respond well to LCHF. Renal failure, and we're working in all these areas, respond to LCHF. Cancer management, has a positive effect. I'm not saying it cures cancer, because I got accused of that, it has a positive effect in cancer management, oh LCHF! So it's funny how the same guidelines are actually relevant to all of these conditions, because they're all based on inflammation and insulin resistance, as you’ve talked about on other shows. So that's where we're heading at this point in time. It means playing whack a mole on more fronts, but they all sort of corner each other into the same situation.
Dr Lucy Burns: (52:57) Indeed, indeed. All right, my lovely friend, we've just clicked over an hour. It's a longy my lovely listeners. And, again, anyone who wants to come and meet Gary in person, listen to his inspiring talk, Low Carb Tassie, all the links will be in the show notes below, including Gary's Twitter handle so that you can go and follow him and watch him take down some vested interest groups
Dr Gary Fettke: (53:22) and Belinda
Dr Lucy Burns: (53:23) and Belinda. Yes. Yeah, no, we've got Belinda's details on her particular episodes, but I'll link them in here as well.
Dr Gary Fettke: (53:29)
No, no. Come and see Belinda, she's much nicer than me.
Dr Lucy Burns: (53:33) You’re both lovely. And we're very much looking forward to catching up with you.
Dr Gary Fettke: (53:37) Okay, Lucy, have a great day.
Dr Lucy Burns: (53:39) You too.
Dr Gary Fettke: (53:40) Thank you very much.
Dr Lucy Burns: (53:41) You're welcome.
Dr Lucy Burns: (53:47) So my lovely listeners, that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr Lucy Burns…
Dr Mary Barson: (53:54) and I'm Dr Mary Barson. We’re from Real Life Medicine. To contact us, please visit rlmedicine.com
Dr Lucy Burns: (54:05) And until next time…
Both: (54:06) Thanks for listening!
Dr Lucy Burns: (54:09) 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.