Kimmer, the founder of the Kimkins Diet, has always insisted that starvation mode does not exist as long as there is body fat to burn for energy. Her diet suggested a daily calorie limit of 500 or less, later adjusted upwards to 710. The rest of the body’s needs would be taken from body fat.
“I don’t believe in starvation mode. I cannot and will not say anything about minimum calories. A grilled chicken breast and a 1 cup USDA serving of mixed greens is 200 calories. It just is. Adding fats or starches isn’t “healthier” to up the calories.”
“Don’t panic about low calories. . . . Bottom line, as long as you have sufficient body fat you don’t need to eat calories — you’re carrying them with you.”
“I don’t think we can fight the “1200 calorie a day mentality”. Some people cannot understand that your body takes the calories it needs from body fat if the calories you eat are too low to sustain current weight. If you need 2500 calories (250 lb person) and eat 500 (number picked for easy math), the other 2000 are taken from body fat.”
Why is it then that so many of the Kimkins Dieters experience starvation symptoms, such as:
- Feeling cold and having a lower-than-normal body temperature.
- Hair loss, brittle nails, and dry skin.
- Muscle weakness and muscle wasting.
- Constipation, slow emptying of the stomach, and belly pain.
- Sleep problems, hyperactivity, or extreme fatigue.
- Difficulty concentrating and solving problems or poor judgment.
- Dizziness, fainting spells, low blood pressure, slow heartbeat, heart palpitations.
- Frequent colds and other infections.
You can find the individual accounts on Kimkins Survivors.
All these people were told to take a daily multivitamin, as if that would solve the problem. Obviously, it didn’t. Neither did the excess body fat they had. All of them were still overweight.
There are other obvious problems with a starvation diet. While ketosis initially may curb appetite, eventually hunger will reappear. Kimmer always claimed that hunger is not present as long as carbs are low enough. How she knew this, I have no idea. Certainly not from her own experience, considering that she is still obese.
I know for a fact that you can be in deep ketosis and still be hungry, and I am not alone to have experienced this. I read many accounts on Kimkins where people complained about hunger and cravings appearing around week 4 – 5 of the diet. Some of them followed K/E at the time; just eggs and meat.
Of course, the advice was to curb hunger by ignoring it, drinking water, soda or fat free broth. I am sure many people fell off the diet at this point (luckily for them) and never returned.
A diet you can not stick to is not a good diet. Your body is trying to tell you something. Listen to it.
Another issue is how to maintain the weight loss. If the above problems do not make the dieter stop the diet, eventually calories need to be increased. Nobody can live on 500 calories for life. The previous successful dieter now finds that she can not add anything without gaining weight. Even an extra cup of salad will cause the scale to go up.
The typical result is the start of a yo-yo diet. Eat more a few days and then back to starvation for a week or two. The lucky ones put in a lot of hard work to slowly increase their calories, ignoring the scale for a while, to raise their metabolism and have thus managed, with difficulty, to transition to a healthy weight loss regimen.
Why would anyone even consider starting a diet where there is a blog dedicated to SURVIVORS of the diet? With some 100 accounts of severe problems from it.
I do hope that anyone that happens to find the now year old article in the Woman’s World magazine takes a minute to google Kimkins before they go to the Kimkins.con website where Kimmer a.k.a. Heidi Diaz promises “Join today for only $79.95. That’s it. Not another penny.” That one time membership fee doesn’t include ER costs, medical bills or any compensation for long term health problems.
Edited to add: After I wrote this article, I came across this comment by a survivor that was made just two days ago:
KK has left me bald, wounded, sick and recovering from surgery and fear of food……no please don’t try Heidi’s Diet of Death!
Please take her advice. She knows what she is talking about. Unfortunately.