Ketogenic Smoke and Mirrors with Robyn Chuter: PYP 289

There's so much buzz about keto these days, there must be something to it, right? I mean, if it didn't work to help people lose weight and feel better, they wouldn't be doing it.

I admit, despite my years of research and practice; despite having co-written three books on nutrition; despite seeing the positive effects of a plant-based diet on people's health and vitality every single day – I still have this little voice in my head that's incredibly susceptible to really good marketing.

And boy, does the keto/paleo crowd have us beat on marketing!

So when I came across a series of scholarly-yet-accessible articles on the ketogenic diet, covering its history, physiological effects, and efficacy for weight loss, diabetes prevention/reversal, and cancer treatment, I devoured them. And then asked their author, Robyn Chuter, to make a second appearance on the podcast.

Robyn is a “recovering naturopath” from Australia, and a diplomate of the International Board of Lifestyle Medicine. Her knowledge of health and nutrition is encyclopedic, and by that I mean when encyclopedias were written by experts, not anonymous Wikipedians.

I hope you enjoy her deconstruction of the ketogenic mythology as much as I did.

Oh, and we also covered an area of Robyn's primary research, on how Facebook groups can help people become healthier. We talked about best and worst practices in setting up and running these groups. If you are involved in online health promotion, this will be extremely valuable stuff!

In our conversation, we covered:

  • why your microbiome is like the Altamont Hell's Angels
  • the origins of ketogenic diets in treatment of childhood epilepsy
  • the biology of glucose, glycogen, glycerol, and ketones
  • why the body hoards protein, except in extreme emergency
  • ketosis as a backup generator
  • how ketosis compromises higher brain functions, and puts us in fight or flight mode
  • is some ketosis good? the theory of hormetic stress
  • why people who did the worst felt the best – the adaptation delusion
  • why people have spiritual experiences when fasting, according to science
  • “alcohol, cigarettes, and cocaine also make you feel better – that's why we have science”
  • why today's keto doesn't remotely approximate true ketogenesis
  • bacon isn't paleolithic
  • a few days of low carb eating impairs endothelial function
  • keto improves diabetes biomarkers while worsening the disease
  • no long term studies of ketogenic diets, or of holding your breath – wonder why?
  • the importance of Facebook group moderation
  • why posting ugly meals is so important
  • how to not be an asshole online
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box or audio recording box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.

Talk Back


Robyn's website:

The keto articles: Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4  |  Part 5  |  Part 6

Article: Intergenerational effects of high fat diets on the gut microbiome

Spread the word about Bryan Falchuk's birthday present to himself: One Vegan Day

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3 Responses to “Ketogenic Smoke and Mirrors with Robyn Chuter: PYP 289”

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  1. Ann says:

    While I’ve been vegan for 10 years and understand a whole food plant based diet to be excellent if not superior in chronic disease prevention, I can’t ignore current research being around treatment of specific disease processes using ketosis. Dr Rhona Patrick is a longevity bio-researcher who hosts a really interesting podcast–her guests are science heavyweights but the dialogue is understandable with basic scientific knowledge. Her most recent interviewee is researching treating Alzheimer’s–it’s pretty fascinating,

  2. Mary says:

    As someone who developed an autoimmune condition while on a plant based diet, who took years to understand her condition and how diet affected it, and eventually landed on Terry Wahl’s ketogenic diet with good health effects, I find myself sad to hear the heavy-handed bias against ketogenic diets in this podcast, and baffled at the lack of awareness of the different types of ketogenic diets. This podcast does not come across as an informed unbiased perspective, which would be consistent with a scientific approach.

    • Howard says:

      Thanks for your comment, Mary. I’m delighted to hear that you’ve found healing through Dr Wahl’s protocols.

      In terms of science, are there any randomized or large-scale outcome studies you can point to that would support long-term use of any form of ketogenic diet for auto-immune conditions? I’d love to take a look at them.


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