Joint action is first step in halting sale of the products
Lowcarbfriends, a popular lowcarb bulletin board, established a support forum for the HCG diet about a year ago. This coincided with Netrition, the company that owns Lowcarbfriends, starting to sell the homeopathic hhCG drops and pellets.
Netrition’s response to the FDA/FTC action was to declare:
Netrition has not been contacted by the FDA but will comply with all FDA rules and regulations. Therefore, we are removing all marketing text from all of the HCG products that we sell.
As of this moment, we will continue to sell HCG products but be advised that HCG products could be taken off the market at any time. If this is a concern to you, you may want to stock up as soon as possible.
Now, I’m sure that FDA and FTC know that the actual drops and pellets are harmless as they don’t actually contain any HCG. However,
The labeling for the “homeopathic” HCG products states that each product should be taken in conjunction with a very low calorie diet. There is no substantial evidence HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from the recommended caloric restriction. Consumers on a very low calorie diet are at increased risk for side effects including gallstone formation, electrolyte imbalance, and heart arrhythmias.
The prescribed “very low calorie diet” for hhCG consists of 500 calories of low fat and relatively low carb foods. Considering the controversy that surrounded the Kimkins diet, another starvation diet that was initially also sponsored by Lowcarbfriends, you would think that they would know that such a diet is not healthy. In case you don’t recall, you can read about it on Kimkins Survivors.
Following the HCG forum on Lowcarbfriends over some time, there has been many reports of similar adverse effects as previously reported for Kimkins. The non-existent HCG in the homeopathic hhCG will not protect against damage from an extreme low calorie diet, no matter how much you believe in homeopathy. FDA is asking anybody that has suffered adverse affects due to hhCG use to report it on MedWatch.
While I do not believe that the hhCG drops and pellets do any harm, I find it sad to see how people now rush to “stock up” before they are taken off the market, and the suppliers, like Netrition, take advantage of this panic in order to increase sales.
The Zero Carb people at Zeroinginonhealth (ZIOH) have always praised pemmican as the “perfect” food. Pemmican is made from dried, raw meat that is ground up and then mixed with fat. They also believe that you can live on it “indefinitely” as some explorer (Stefansson) claimed so in a book, making this statement despite there being no evidence that anybody has survived on pemmican-only for any extended period of time. Any supplements are not required as muscle meat will provide all nutrition you need, they claim.
It seems that they are wrong. One of the ZIOH members ended up in the hospital where he was diagnosed with scurvy, Vitamin C deficiency. You can read about his physical issues here: Pemmi-pucks Inc, where he documents his 13 weeks eating nothing else than homemade pemmican.
The symptoms he exhibited were:
- Pain in legs and stiff joints
- Internal bleeding
All of these are indicative of scurvy. Wikipedia says:
Early symptoms are malaise and lethargy. After 1-3 months, patients develop shortness of breath and bone pain. Myalgias may occur because of reduced carnitine production. Other symptoms include skin changes with roughness, easy bruising and petechiae, gum disease, loosening of teeth, poor wound healing, and emotional changes.
This is a picture he posted showing the leg bruising:
He is now being treated with liquid vitamins C and K and Folic acid and the good news is that Vitamin C deficiency / scurvy is easily cured and results in no lasting damage.
Other zero carbers may want to re-think use of supplements, and implement a more varied diet including fresh meat, dairy, eggs and organ meat. Pemmican was originally a travel / emergency food and it might be a good idea to use it that way – complementing other foods and not totally replacing them. Even their Leader Charles realized this after having been eating pemmican-only for a couple of months. Fatigue (see first scurvy symptom above) caused him to give it up and go back to fresh meat.
- There is no actual hCG in the homeopathic hhCG. None. It’s just expensive water and alcohol.
- The amount of hCG in the injections is insignificant and will not cause any effect on the body whatsoever. This was confirmed by an alleged doctor that prescribes hCG.
- The injectable hCG is RX, which means that a prescription is required. Many “internet doctors” provide the prescription and the hCG to anybody willing to pay for it. Nobody knows where the injectable substance is manufactured or what it actually contains. While there might be a “store front” with a US address, the substance is most likely originating from overseas. And people trust these “doctors” with something they inject into their body?
- hCG pellets may contain hCG but hCG can not be absorbed orally.
- Any effect from the hCG/hhCG is a pure placebo effect.
- Weight loss is a result of following a 500 calorie starvation diet.
- Lack of hunger is due to heavy ketosis from a starvation diet.
- The ridiculous rules about avoiding all contact with fat (including lotions) in Simeon’s protocol are groundless. Fat can not be absorbed into the blood stream via the skin.
- The ridiculous rules about how to handle the homeopathic drops are just that; ridiculous. Avoid proximity to electricity? Why? The bar codes on bottles and packages have been scanned many times in the delivery process. What difference is a little more electricity going to make?
- The alleged “reset of your metabolism” does not occur any more with hCG as compared to any other diet. Just read any hCG forum for a while to see how difficult is is to maintain any weight loss.
- Weight regain when increasing calories is more than likely. Only by being very vigilant and staying strict lowcarb can a dieter hope to keep the weight loss achieved during the starvation cycle of the diet. For while, at least.
- Binges among hCG dieters are common. The body doesn’t respond well to extended starvation and sooner or later “willpower” alone will not be enough.
- If following protocol with extended “maintenance” periods between the starvation cycles, the weight loss is no greater than to just follow a standard Atkins’ lowcarb diet.
I just wish people would stop looking for a magic pill and pay scammers in the process. As a rule, a quick weight loss is always followed by an even quicker weight regain. Find a diet that is sustainable in the long run. Starvation is not a good thing and may cause irreversible damage.
There are many crazy diets out there but hCG must be one of the most bizarre.
The basic concept is simple. Eat 500 calories of non-fat foods. Who wouldn’t lose weight on such a diet? Starvation will result in weight loss. Always.
There is more to the diet than the simple starvation rule though. Basically:
- Start out with 2 days of “loading” aka binge eating. High fat is recommended but most people do high carbs as well. Example of what one dieter ate in during her two days:
you have to really load up on fat and goodies…Really I ate like a mad woman and only gained 6lbs (I thought it would be closer to 20).
Breakfast the first day for me was
8 strips of bacon
4 eggs friend in the bacon
cheesy grits with tons of real butter and american cheese
cheese cake (about 1/2 of one)
pork ribs (about 14) boy were they goood
all sorts of sweets/brownies, cheesecake brownies/a cream cheese danish – the huge round one yummmmmy
I’m very sure there was more food here, but I just can’t recall
Full fat hamburger (I made it so it would be filled with fat and thick)
more cheesy grits
oreo cookies (the vanilla kind)
chinese pork fried rice
The 2nd day was a blur, but I had an entire cheesecake (cherry) for breakfast I know I had a foot long meatball sub with mozz cheese in there somewhere
- Enter the VLCD days and eat less than 500 calories for a period of 21 – 40 days.
- Next, do a lowcarb maintenance period of 3 weeks. Check the scale every day and more than 2 pounds weight gain warrants a “steak day” where only one steak and a tomato is allowed for dinner. No breakfast and no lunch.
- Finally, another 3 week period where carbs (except sugar and starches) are slowly reintroduced, again with carefully checking the scale for any gain and immediately correcting it.
- Repeat these four steps until desired weight is reached.
Most people don’t maintain well, and many skip the period when carbs are reintroduced and instead go back to loading and a new round of starvation.
Doesn’t this look like a prescription for an Eating Disorder?
While these basic phases seem simple, there are more very specific rules for the diet. There is a list of allowed non-fat foods for the 500 calorie plan and no deviation at all is allowed, no matter that the list was written 50 years ago by a British doctor in Italy, Dr. Simeons.
- Breakfast: Tea or coffee without sugar. 1 tbs milk. Saccharin or other sweeteners may be used.
- Lunch: 3.5 oz of veal, beef, chicken breast, white fish, lobster, crab, or shrimp; raw weight. All visible fat must be removed. One type of vegetable: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage. (DO NOT MIX VEGGIES! Stalls are often blamed on dieters having TWO vegetables at the same meal.) One breadstick or one Melba toast. An apple, orange, handful of strawberries or half a grape-fruit.
- Dinner: Same choices as lunch.
It doesn’t stop there. No lotions or cosmetics with oil are permitted. People are even told to avoid handling fatty meat. They believe that enough fat is absorbed through the skin to cause weight gain, or a stall!
The homeopathic version, hhCG, has even more rules. These concern the handling of the drops or spray. The drops or sprays do not contain any hCG at all, just the “spirit” or “memory” of it, following homeopathic conventions. These “spirits” seem to be very sensitive. Gently tap the bottle, do not shake. Keep away from electronics and electrical fields. Don’t store it close to your PC, cell phone, TV, or anything else that may upset the spirits. Then they will not work. Oh, the spirit doesn’t like mint either. Avoid toothpaste or gum with mint!
The belief in hCG injections or hhCG is absolute. hCG is credited with:
- loss of appetite
- rapid weight loss
- muscle weakness
plus a host of other symptoms that all would show up following a 500 calorie starvation diet without hCG. Just ask the people that tried Kimkins. Or people that water fast.
I wonder if “the good Dr. Simeon” actually believed himself that the minuscule hCG dose administered had any effect. My guess is no. He just wanted his patients to believe it. How could he otherwise charge for the shots? Just telling them to eat 500 calories on their own would not help fill his pockets.
In some ways, the hCG diet is smarter than Kimkins. Kimkins was continuous starvation until goal, and/or illness, whichever occurred first. The hCG protocol tells you to stop the 500 calorie period after 21 – 40 days. Dr. Simeons claimed that the reason is that the body becomes immune to hCG at that point and extreme hunger develops.He said:
Though this phenomenon is well known, we cannot as yet define the underlying mechanism.
What a coincidence then that exactly the same thing happened on Kimkins without hCG. People did not have much problems with the restrictive VLDC until week 4 or 5.
It’s not immunity to the minuscule hCG dose (or the non-existent hCG in the homeopathic version) that occur. It’s the body screaming for nutrition! A completely natural response to starvation. That is the “underlying mechanism” that Dr. Simeons failed to understand.
Even Dr. Simeons himself admits that the diet is nutritionally bankrupt:
During treatment the patient has been only just above the verge of protein deficiency……..Unless an adequate amount of protein is eaten as soon as the treatment is over protein deficiency is bound to develop, and this inevitably causes the marked retention of water known as hunger-edema.
Another misconception is that the hCG somehow “resets the hypothalamus” so not only will weight loss be permanent but they are supposed to be able to eat like “normal” people as well. Dr. Simeons doesn’t say anything about the hypothalamus (I don’t know where that came from but it’s often repeated on hCG boards) and in fact, Dr. Simeons indicates that people do this diet over and over again.
Patients who have once taken the treatment never seem to hesitate to come back for another short course as soon as they notice that their weight is once again getting out of hand. They come quite cheerfully and hopefully, assured that they can be helped again.
I think this diet is dangerous. Even when limiting to 3 or 4 weeks, the 7 oz (raw weight) protein is not enough to prevent muscle loss. I also think it promotes disordered eating. Two days of binging, followed by starvation and then a LC period where regain is common.
And when you look at the average weight loss over the entire 9 weeks diet, it is not very impressive compared to other diets. Dr. Simeons suggests 0.5 pounds per day for the average woman. So, 21 days x 0.5 lbs = 10.5 lbs (minus any gain from the “loading”). Then six more weeks of maintaining (which few do). This is only a little over a pound per week!
Why not settle for a reasonable, healthy diet that can be followed long term? Yo-yo dieting always seems to end up with a resulting weight gain and a never ending cycle of starvation and binges.
I wrote about the HCG diet a while ago. My conclusion at that time was that the hCG itself has no effect on weight loss. Eating only 500 calories per day for 23 – 40 days is what produces weight loss.
Who wouldn’t lose weight on 500 calories per day?
But the hCG proponents insist that the hCG helps suppressing appetite so that it’s easy to eat such a small amount of food. Again, a 500 calorie diet will do that in itself. Just ask the people that starved themselves doing Kimkins. It is also a well known fact that even with water fasting (zero calories) you are no longer hungry after the initial 2 – 4 days. 500 calories is not that much different, especially as they are low carb.
The true HCG injections need to be prescribed by a doctor. Or someone that claims to be a doctor. Internet “consultations” are becoming more common and you don’t really know who is at the other end. Not all people want to give themselves injections and they are also costly. Consequently a new alternative has emerged, which reportedly is equally efficient: Homeopathic hCG.
Homeopathic hCG (hhCG) is sold as a liquid or spray. 10 – 15 drops, or sprays, under the tongue, 3 – 4 times per day are supposed to provide the same results as hCG injections. Provided that the 500 calorie diet is followed.
I knew nothing about Homeopathy so I started searching. The hhCG drops are labeled 6X, 12X, 30X, 60X. One 2 oz bottle, sufficient for 23 days of 500 calorie starvation, sells for as high as $140 or as low as $15. It isn’t obvious if the more expensive brands are more efficient. They are all called the same – homeopathic hCG.
I also did not know what the 6X, 12X, etc. numbers meant. One hHCG proponent explained it as:
The numbers refer to the number of times the original substance was micro-diluted and succussed. Each level of dilution according to homeopathic principals has a slightly different energy signature. The higher the number, the more times the item has been diluted and put through the process. According to the laws of homeopathy, higher numbers of dilution are actually stronger. (Which isn’t always better, some people respond better to one potency than another.) So by making a combination remedy that includes potencies of 6x, 12x, 30x, 60x, the remedy will have a slightly broader spectrum effect than one with just 12x, 30x, 60x. If it was me, I’d get the one with the broader spectrum, all other things being equal, because it also includes that lower number base.
Wikipedia has a longer explanation that basically says the same.
From this, I understand that the 6X means that the original liquid (hCG?) is diluted 1 part to 1,000,000. The 60X would be 1 to 10^60. Sufficient to say, there is not a single molecule of the original substance in the resulting hhCG.
But apparently that is the idea with homeopathy:
Some homeopathic remedies are so diluted, no molecules of the healing substance remain. Even with sophisticated technology now available, analytical chemists may find it difficult or impossible to identify any active ingredient. But the homeopathic belief is that the substance has left its imprint or a spirit-like essence that stimulates the body to heal itself.
The reason most commonly offered today by homeopathic proponents is the remedy’s solution has a “memory” of the original substance. What is this memory? Homeopaths say it is electromagnetic waves of the active ingredient it once contained. They say that vigorous shaking between each dilution make this memory possible.
Memory? Imprint or spirit-like essence? Really?
The special shaking action or potentizing used in homeopathy separates the etheric fields from their material substance. The latter is then discarded and the former concentrated. These concentrated etheric fields are much more potent in this way than when they were combined with matter.
So this homeopathic hCG does not contain any hCG at all. Isn’t it misleading to call it hCG? Apparently not according to homeopathic rules.
I wonder if snake oil has anything from a snake in it?
Is there such a thing? According to the Leader of the zero carb forum, ZIOH, there is. While this board has been very strict in their food allowances, the rules change once again when the Leader decides that he wants ice cream.
This is the same Leader that unregistered a member when she posted about having 2.5 grams 99% cacao on a daily basis! Cacao was not allowed as it is a plant matter. But now, the Leader himself has even been considering using sugar to make ice cream. As far as I know, sugar is also plant matter and has many, many more carbs than a few grams of cocoa. Not to mention carbs in cream, eggs and milk he also plans to use for his ice cream.
It is also surprising that the Leader even considers eating ice cream. After all, this is the man that insists that food should not be eaten for entertainment. This is the man that insists that ground beef and water provides all nutrition a body needs. This is the man that holds himself up as proof that a long term diet of meat and water is perfectly healthy. This is the man that constantly berates Jimmy Moore for his “sweet addiction.”
So what prompted the change? My guess is that the Leader’s recent restrictive diet combined with a very intense workout regimen have resulted in cravings. The previous edicts of eating until full and allowing plenty of rest between exercise sessions are no longer valid. At least not for the Leader.
When challenged by a long time member that asked “Why” the answer was just:
Why not? I just want to see what my parameters are. I should have began my ZC journey with all the foods that are ZC but I didn’t. Now, I am in a neat position to see how they effect me. I weight 140.8. If I eat some ZC ice cream and go to 143, then ice cream is out — not that I would eat it very often.
Is he now admitting that he has done ZC wrong all this time? It certainly looks that way to me.
The Leader is also commenting on these new ZC rules with respect to newbies:
We often send the wrong message to newbies and lurkers evidently because the majority of folks who come here think that all we eat is meat and drink water. That’s not the right message to send either. Newbies should try the entire pallet of ZC foods (as I’ve often said) which includes eggs, cheese, cream, and all those sorts of things. If they run into problems, then they have to decrease consumption or eliminate them. That’s ALWAYS been the message from day 1.
Talk about rewriting history. Not that he needs to worry much about newbies. There might be one or two people per month that join the forum, if that. There are more people that leave than that join at this point in time. ZC ice cream is not likely to change that trend.
The Leader ended up using sugar after all. In one of the two batches he reportedly made. Just 1/8 of a cup so to him it was perfectly justifiable. Claiming that the sugar is just used to lower the freezing point and that the end product didn’t taste sweet. Plus that ice cream is low glycemic due to the the high fat content.
That sugar is a plant matter and not following the Leaders ZC definition (animal kingdom) apparently means nothing. One member asked for a clarification:
Help me understand properly the ice cream recipe, because I am confused. Do some people here eat sugar, even though it’s not an animal product?
The Leader responded:
No, we don’t eat sugar and No, we don’t put AS in heavy cream. Heavy cream and whole milk are ZC despite their lactose. You would have to experiment for yourself to see how your body responds to these products without adding any form of sweetener. On ZC, they should be sweet enough on their own.
With the ice cream it’s a little different because in my recipe, there is no hint of sweetness. It literally tastes like heavy cream flavored ice cream. Even in the batch with the two tablespoons of sugar, the sugar is used to lower the freezing point of the mixture so it doesn’t turn to ice and will allow the ice cream maker to churn it. However, it doesn’t affect the taste because it’s so small in relation to the entire batch.
Does this makes sense to anybody? ZC is foods from the animal kingdom until the Leader decides that plant matter is allowed as well. I’m still trying to understand why 2.5 grams of 99% cocoa was such an issue for the Leader. Enough of an issue to ban (unregister) a member.
No, it’s not a joke. Newspapers (like Businessweek) have articles today where they refer to a review of existing research that suggests that chocolate may lower your risk of stroke.
Of the three studies reviewed, one found no significant association between chocolate consumption and risk of stroke. But another found that
the stroke rate was 22 percent lower in people who ate chocolate once a week
and a third reported that
death from stroke was 46 percent lower in those who ate 50 grams of chocolate once a week.
They speculate that the health benefits may come from antioxidants called flavonoids that are present in chocolate. Antioxidants are thought to prevent cell damage.
Of course, the article then goes on to give the standard warnings.
“Caution should be taken not to promote chocolate as a health food even though it is fine in moderation.”
“Chocolate is a major source of saturated fat, which raises bad cholesterol and boosts heart disease risk”
Oh well, what can you expect?
They also point out that only dark chocolate would be beneficial even though it’s not clear if this statement comes from the studies or not.
Unrelated to the reviewed studies, there are apparently other studies that indicate that
even a little chocolate can help reduce blood pressure and increase blood flow through the arteries
That sounds like good news to me. I hope we get to hear more from these “other” not referenced studies.
So, how to incorporate chocolate into a lowcarb diet? A couple of squares of dark chocolate like Lindt’s 70% bar that have 6 g carbs do not derail my diet despite containing a small amount of sugar.
An even better idea is to use cocoa nibs; crushed cacao beans. A friend of mine (2big4mysize – don’t let the name fool you; she has been at goal weight for many years now) gave me the tip to brew “tea” from them.
She puts them in cold water in a percolator. Runs it twice as the first time will just give a tea-colored liquid but the second time will result in a nice, chocolate colored drink. She can then keep on adding more water to the pot to stretch the nibs even further.
I don’t have a percolator but I intend to try this with just heating the water with the nibs; possibly more than once. I just need to buy the nibs first.
The nutrition facts for 1 ounce of cacao nibs are: 130 calories (110 from fat), 12 g fat, 10 g carbohydrate (9 fiber), 4 g protein.
This chocolate tea must be very similar to what the Aztecs drank. At least the descriptions I have read suggest that it would have been prepared in a similar way. I also don’t recall any mention of them sweetening the drink.
(Photo from BuyWellness which is one place that sells raw Cocoa Nibs.)
The Leader at ZIOH calls his version of Zero Carb, a “Pure Zero Carb” diet. It’s not really clear what this is anymore as the diet advice on ZIOH is constantly changing. Previously, the recommendations followed what the Leader presently was eating but the last couple of days, mere members have gotten more of a voice.
This may be a result of the recent meet-up they had, or more likely, a result of the huge exodus of long time members from that forum. Perhaps The Leader decided that he didn’t want to be as strict and exclusive as earlier in order not to end up without any members at all.
The “ground beef only” diet being the key for “successful” zero carbers is no longer pushed. Neither is the “ideal food” pemmican. Other types of meat and even eggs are discussed. They don’t even openly frown on people taking supplements or exercising any more. Big changes, indeed!
But the core of “pure zero carb” is still there. The Leader has not changed his opinion that muscle meat from beef will provide all nutrition you need, indefinitely.
Here is a quote by The Leader:
Most people don’t know about pemmican and that’s primarily the reason why people don’t understand ZC. It is entirely based on pemmican and the way beef, fat and water sustained thousands of people for thousands of years without vegetable matter. To be ZC, one would be very wise to understand all aspects of pemmican. NBBA is a must-read to understand why we feel we get all the nutrients necessary for excellent health from muscle meat alone.
“NBBA” stands for Not By Bread Alone by The Leader’s idol Stefansson. How you can draw the conclusion that “muscle meat alone” is sufficient from that book is a mystery to me.
The Leader insists that there is one group of Inuits that eat nothing else than caribou; the Mackenzie Inuits. But that’s not what Stefansson says. From the book (page 22):
I might tell you, correctly, that the chief food of a certain group of Eskimos with whom I lived was caribou meat, with perhaps 30 per cent fish, 10 per cent seal meat, and 5 or 10 per cent made up of polar bear, rabbits, birds, and eggs.
It is true that, according to Stefansson, these Inuits ate exclusively caribou for months at a time. I think this was common for other peoples as well; the food source depending on season and supply with very little variety for long periods of time. Perhaps that is why the human body has the ability to store essential vitamins. However, the storage will not last indefinitely and would need to be replenished at some point in time.
But even during the period they ate only caribou, they didn’t limit themselves to “muscle” meat. The head was a favored part, especially the fat behind the eyes and the tongue. Kidneys were also eaten.
Further according to Stefansson, this particular group on Inuits even ate vegetable and berries. About berries, he said:
Some vegetable foods were eaten because the Mackenzie River people liked them. These were chiefly berries; and among berries chiefly the salmon berry or cloudberry
The other source The Leader uses for his argument is Stefansson’s Bellevue experiment where he claims that the two subjects ate “2 pounds sirloin per day.”
This is just plain false. They ate:
The experiment started smoothly with Andersen, who was permitted to eat in such quantity as he liked such things as he liked, provided only that they came under our definition of meat—steaks, chops, brains fried in bacon fat, boiled short-ribs, chicken, fish, liver and bacon.
Which is equivalent to 2 pounds of sirloin with regards to the proportion of fat versus lean.
We averaged about a pound and a third of lean per day and half a pound of fat (this is about like eating a two pound broiled sirloin with the fat such a steak usually has on it).
I fail to understand how this can be compared to eating “muscle meat” only. In addition, the experiment lasted for one year. Even though they were found to be in perfect health at the end on the one year, there is nothing to say that any deficiencies would not have showed up later if they had continued the same diet.
Finally, the Leader holds himself up as proof that “muscle meat only” is perfectly healthy as he has allegedly eaten muscle meat only for two years. If you want to base YOUR heath and YOUR life on this unverified “proof,” go ahead. Personally, I think some skepticism, questioning and looking at other opinions is a good thing.
A good resource is the website Satya put up: Dirty Carnivore. Satya is one of the many very knowledgeable former members of ZIOH that didn’t fully agree with the Leader. If you are considering a Zero Carb or Very Low Carb diet, check it out!
I have made a few blog posts concerning the practices on a Zero Carb forum, but I have largely refrained from voicing my opinion about the diet as such. However, some recent posts in a thread on Active Lowcarber (ALC) make it obvious that ZC does not work for everyone, despite what the ZC guru claims.
There were people that reported that they gave ZC a fair try. One person for a full 9 months, far exceeding the 6 months suggested by Charles as a period where the body is still adjusting and that progress might not start to show up until after this time.
So what results did this person have? Weight gain and feeling sick all the time. She reportedly followed a pure ZC diet as prescribed by ZIOH. Meat and water. No supplements.
I give her credit for trying it for so long. But, it is easy to do if you get caught up in the dogma on ZIOH and become convinced that their pure version of ZC is the perfect way to eat. When forum leaders and other members tell you to just be patient. To just give it time.
This is where I think a cult-like forum like ZIOH becomes dangerous. When you ignore your body’s reaction and trust what a self-proclaimed internet guru tells you.
How do you know that ZC is a safe diet? Long term?
To me, uneducated as I am in nutrition, I just can not wrap my mind around that eating supermarket ground beef only would have any similarity to a traditional diet of Inuits or Masai. Inuits may have eaten largely meat but a caribou is not the same as a modern cow. Also, the Inuits did eat fish, organ meat and berries. Perhaps not all the time, but when available, they did include it into their diet.
If it wasn’t necessary, why would an Inuit go through the trouble of finding and collecting cranberries when it seems so much easier (and more filling) to just grab a slab of seal meat?
These types of arguments are always met with quotes from Stefansson. He points towards one group of Inuits that he claims ate only caribou for a long period of time. However, Stefansson was not a nutritionist. There was also nobody that could question his statements as nobody was with him at the time. Why would I trust my health and life to what this one person said? Which has not been verified and which is contradictory to other sources dealing with the Inuit diet at that time?
Then we have the Bellevue experiment. Two men eating “meat” for a full year. However, note that “meat” for Stefansson included fish. And organ meat. Eggs. Not the same as a diet of ground beef only.
Then of course, we have that ZIOH guru. Charles holds himself up as proof.
He claims that he lost all his weight following a ZC diet, and that after two years of ZC he is perfectly healthy. At least the first claim is incorrect. Charles lost the majority of his weight on Atkins. Only the last pounds were taken off by ZC.
The second claim is not verified. From what I have read, Charles has had no blood work done for years. At least, I haven’t seen him mentioning it.
I also have another problem with Charles offering himself up as proof. Yes, unlike Kimmer of Kimkins he shows himself in person and can correctly claim that he is slim. However, there is nobody that can know what he eats on a daily basis. Why would I believe him when he says he eats just meat and water? I only have his word for it and, to me, what you say on the internet doesn’t carry a lot of weight. He could be eating Twinkies on a daily basis. How would I know?
He has proved to be a liar about his weight loss, so what else is he lying about?
The other forum leader, Suzanne, now claims to have been ZC for 6-7 years. That contradicts her posts on LCF where she as late as June 2008 posted about eating vegetables every day plus nuts and berries several times per week. Both can not be true. She might have been very low carb but plant matter is not an accepted food on ZC.
She can also not claim to be perfectly healthy as she is going through a number of health problems recently. Hair loss being one of them.
For you that want to try a ZC diet without being drawn into a cult-like forum like ZIOH, there is a very active challenge on ALC. Many of the posters are former ZIOH members. Some of them are still members and post on both sites.
The ALC thread has, in my opinion, a much more healthful approach to ZC. While the majority of posters largely eat meat/fish, there is no requirement to never include any vegetable matter. Or eggs. Or cheese. Individual modifications are not only allowed but encouraged. As is exercise.
Not to mention that an open discussion and questioning is allowed on ALC.
I do hope that all the members at ZIOH find a better place to hang out. That place is not healthy, in my opinion, and that doesn’t only apply to the diet.
Already from the start of the Zero Carb forum, there was a large number of members that were trying to recover from Eating Disorders. The proportion of ED’ers as compared to other dieters seems to have kept on increasing so now the entire board gives the impression of an “ED recovery zone.”
I can understand why Zero Carb would be attractive to people with eating disorders. It has many traits that are similar; very limited food choices, very strict rules about what is allowed and what is not, recommendations such as “eat ground beef only” for 6 months, and members who report how they easily can go 24 or even 36 hours without eating and not feeling hunger. Not to mention the natural appetite suppression that comes from a protein-only diet.
This “ED recovery zone” is headed by a newly self-appointed ED specialist. A guy that never suffered from an ED, who never was very overweight in the first place, who used to work out a lot, and who lost the vast majority of his weight on lowcarb, not zero carb.
The “ED treatment” on the board took a bizarre twist the other day. A very new member who has suffered from anorexia for years and is working on her own recovery decided that is was time to intervene with another, long time, member. What compelled her to do this, I have no idea. I know that anorexia is not the same as alcoholism, but wouldn’t the same sponsor rules apply? In AA you are not allowed to give advice to anyone before you have a substantial time of your own recovery under your belt. Makes sense to me.
So, did the moderators intervene? No. On the contrary, they were applauding this new member and supporting her. Threatening to contact the long time member’s parents, the gym she goes to, and demanding daily posts with pictures of herself and the food she eats.
Medusa has all the details.
This Zero Carb forum has always frowned upon people that have not openly disclosed their real name. The admins apparently have no problem using this information, plus full name and address given when donating to the forum, to brow beat a member into doing what they want. Scary.
I do hope any new member take precautions to keep their identity private. Who knows when you would do something that displeases the admins and they decide to come after you?