I just attended the first Dr. Berg’s Keto Summit in Washington DC. It was quite an eye opener.
The summit was hosted by Dr Eric Berg who has become one of the most loved and followed people in the keto community, as he shares his wisdom simply and without cost, via YouTube and Facebook.The fact that he is fun and entertaining didn’t hurt either.
I’ll begin this article with my main takeaways and then follow with more details.
The Takeaways from the Keto Summit
- There is tremendous validation of the keto diet within the scientific community (it is no longer a fringe faddish diet)
- Keto is actually quite a movement and is fueled by the fact that it works.
- That the most important tests to take to look at one’s current health and predict future health is for insulin in the blood (rather than blood sugar) and surprisingly, the CAC test, which is the best indicator for heart attacks, strokes and other problems with blockages within the circulatory system (more details below).
- If one stalls on weight loss while on the keto diet, here are some of the common reasons:
- too many carbs (and how to discover the right amount for your body),
- too much fat (which means the body won’t dig into its fat reserves when needed)
- Something medically wrong with the body (which would be reasons to start digging in to find out why)
- There might be nothing wrong and the body is just healing, so give it a bit more time
- That the most important thing one can do for one’s overall health is keeping one’s carbs low (regardless of whether or not one can afford organic foods) plus eating a lot of low starch vegetables, good fats and moderate protein.
- Keto is really very simple, just start and refine what you are doing as time goes on, if necessary
- The benefits of intermittent fasting are enormous but not essential to the ketogenic diet.
Eric C. Westman, MD
Apart from Dr. Berg, probably the most interesting speakers was Dr. C. Westman MD, who first became aware of the value of a low carbohydrate diet after two of his patients lost about 50 lbs each and urged him to look into it. This lead him to meet Dr. Atkins and officially study and validate this type of diet. He made a big distinction between the Dr Atkins diet and what is known as “healthy keto” which has a lot less protein and more vegetables.
Dr Westman is a specialist at getting people safely off medications. He has all the right credentials to validate the ketogenic diet within the scientific community, being an associate professor at Duke University and a faculty member of the Duke Clinical Research Training Team. Like Dr Berg, he keeps the ketogenic diet simple.
He now runs a medically supervised keto diet at https://healclinics.com
For anyone with a serious medical problem, like insulin-dependent diabetes or who is pregnant, this would be the way to go, as the keto diet is so effective with conditions like Type 2 diabetes, that one can go into insulin shock easily if not careful but can safely come off insulin within 7 weeks and regain one’s health. Dr. Westman is a great man and terrific speaker.
Really getting into ketosis
While at the conference, I met Tim Sales, another guru in the world of nutrition. He goes way beyond keto to help his followers achieve ultimate health and has a stricter more complicated but probably more beneficial diet to offer. He gave me a tip that was so good, I had to share: If one isn’t successfully going into ketosis, that one can use a ketone monitoring system and he suggested Keto Mojo and also monitor the foods one eats via an app and he suggested Cronometer which he personally found to be the best. This way one can see how few carbs one personally needs to consume to have this diet work, as every body is different.
CAC Test (coronary artery calcium test)
One of the most interesting things I learned was from speaker Ivor Cummins, a marvelously nerdy Irish engineer and researcher, who had a lot to say about the science behind keto. While he spoke in very high level chemical terms that neither myself nor the two friends I was sitting with could fully follow, it was comforting to know that by following the keto diet, one was proofing oneself up against future heart and other serious problems. While I’ve referred to him as nerdy, it is not in a derogatory way, as while quite technical, he was passionate about educating and helping others and got his points across very well, which makes him an excellent speaker, as well as engineer and researcher.
He gave me one of the best take aways from the whole conference: That out of all the complicated tests and blood work one could do to monitor one’s current health and predict future heart attacks and other grave problems, the CAC test; and a test for insulin in the blood were the two most important.
Simply put, the CAC test measures the amount of calcium that has built up along the inner walls of the coronary arteries of one’s heart and is a big predictor of future or imminent heart attacks (which is the number one killer in the western world but is quite difficult to predict). Here’s a fuller explanation.
This test can be done without a prescription for about $100 and is very well worth doing.
The other test is for insulin in the blood (rather than testing for high blood sugar). It is too much insulin running around in the blood that really shows that one has a blood sugar problem long before anything like Type 2 diabetes show up. Here’s another good explanation of why this is such an important test.
Other topics covered at Dr Berg’s Keto Summit
There were many other fascinating speakers who are each prominent in their fields. We had a very well delivered and funny presentation by top nutrtionist, Amy Berger, on Alzheimer’s which is also known as Diabetes Type 3. She spoke eloquently on how our modern high carb diet has been leading to the widespread occurrence of this modern disease with lot’s of science backing up this idea.
These are just the highlights of the Keto Summit but Dr. Berg brought together a fascinating assortment of highly qualified and respected speakers to talk about the world of ket. They are each obviously people of good will with very little to sell and much to give. They were obviously at the conference to help their fellow man.
The Keto Summit
While Dr. Berg is a huge figure in the world of keto, he generously gave the platform to his guest speakers the majority of the time. True to Dr. Berg style, he hardly promoted his own products and services and simply ensured that we, the attendees had a great time.
My person favorite part of the Summit
For me, the best part of the summit was the end Question and Answer period, where every speaker was on the stage and audience had a chance to ask questions.
It was fascinating to me that the person who was most deferred to by the other speakers (including Dr. Berg and Dr Westman) to answer questions, was Jacqueline Eberstein, RN. A true pioneer in the field of the ketogenic diet, she had been the head nurse at the Atlkin Center for Complimentary Medicine and had medically treated over 60,000 patients for obesity and diabetes, while working directly under Dr. Atkins. She is currently the Director of HEALcare Clinical Protocol.
A funny moment that many people might have missed, was when a woman in the audience was asking about menopausal issues and Dr. Berg offered the mike to Ivor Cummins (our marvelously nerdy Iris engineer – a man) and then quickly offered it to Jacquelin.