Is a Zero Carb Diet Sustainable?

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.

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It seems quieter at zioh because there is now a daily chat section of zioh where everyone is posting their daily comings and goings. Journals are now for zc related updates, rather than daily blather.

The daily chat section can only be seen by members who have so many posts and have been there so long.

It may look like there is not much going on, but the forum is very active. They are not doing damage control as someone suggested above however. Its just the day to day usual chatter about meat cuts and lives.

because enquiring minds want to know

I respect all opinions differing from mine. But I stand by my observation. Kelly never ate a lot of a fat. Quite the opposite. At one stage (look at her pictures in her journal) she even looked anorexic and was told by people who really cared to gain weight because she was losing too much weight on ZIOH-ZC (perhaps she wasn’t really doing the ZIOH-ZC at that point, i.e. enough fat, which is why I now question her new/old change in her WOE). Kelly is skinny.

Again, to lose 3 pounds in one week for a skinny person by eating the same VOLUME of food she was eating when she was gaining 0.5 pounds per DAY, tells me she eats lean now, because she was never high on fat intake anyway. Also, she said it herself. She ate fat “for a while”.

“How many people with eating disorders are in his group? These people are notorious for self-destructing their health through dangerous behaviors. That’s the problem.”

Agreed, Satya.

Kelly said:

“Just a word of caution: Prior to ZC, I used to eat lots of VERY lean meat (mostly chicken breasts). Even though I was not eating anything other than meat, I was SICK. I feel that I was sufferring from protien poisoning or “Rabbit Starvation” due to lack of fat.

All of that lean protien was making me have HORRIBLE brain fog, leg cramps, bad skin, restless nights, AND I smelled of straight-up ammonia (Yes, I smelled like cat pee). It was completely gross. I lost a LOT of weight, but looked and felt AWEFUL.

I truly feel that my face looked “gaunt” in some of those old pictures, not necessarily because I didn’t weight enough, but because I was essentially starving myself with super lean meats.”

I have recently switched to less fat than I had been eating for my last 3 ZC months, but I’m still eating PLENTY of fat. I’m just not ADDING fat and I’m trying to pick out slightly leaner cuts of meat. Still some fat on them, though, because I NEVER want to feel like I did when I was eating TOO lean.”

Agreed that we don’t need drama. As such, readers might be interested in reading this study, which puts the upper limit of protein consumption at 40%. Thus for people eating carnivorous, that means 60% fat. Anyone concerned can track their food and adjust accordingly.

Inuit are also known for osteoporosis after age 40 (studies can be found). Furthermore, not only are many zcers not supplementing, many are eating only muscle tissue. Very experimental indeed.

Kelly said she is 162 pounds. I would not call that skinny.

You may have very valid concerns about her, but I just think it would be best to leave her alone here. I don’t think Mariasols has set out to out people with EDs, but to challenge the way the ZIOH site is run. Charles and ZIOH and the site’s operation are the issue.

“You may have very valid concerns about her, but I just think it would be best to leave her alone here. I don’t think Mariasols has set out to out people with EDs, but to challenge the way the ZIOH site is run. Charles and ZIOH and the site’s operation are the issue.”

Agreed. Just to set the record straight, I was in no way attacking Kelly. I am CONCERNED about Kelly and I said so in my comments. I don’t think ZIOH is a healthy place for her to be at. Also keep in mind Mariasols blog post with the headline reading “Zero Carb Attracts Anorexics”. I believe that to be true.

It’s pathetic that CW is even pointing to Kelly’s recent weight loss as some endorsement of lowering fat. She recently gained a half a pound a day because she was on a course of HORMONES, trying to get her period back. Those hormones are now leaving her system, not to mention the fact that she just took a course of Clomid to try to force ovulation. Of course her weight is all over the place, it has nothing to do with the miracle of ZC. Which, for the record, did nothing to restore her period as everyone claimed would happen if she just gained enough weight.

Also, Kelly’s cycle stopped quite a while ago, after she stopped birth control pills. It is very common for people who go off the pill to not ovulate for many months, even a couple of years. Yet all the experts at ZIOH told her it was because she was too thin. Then after gaining weight didn’t work for her, they cheered her on in getting artificial hormone treatments. When that didn’t work, they switched to “Oh no, you need to get BIOIDENTICAL hormones.” All these experts on hormones and none of them have linked her roller coaster weight to hormones.

Another thing that stands out is when they have some sort of symptom, like hair loss, they’ll say, “Oh, it’s not ZC, it’s hormones. I’ll go to the doctor and get that fixed the right way.” (meaning supplementation!) Does it not occur to them that the whole basis for ZC is the manipulation of the hormone insulin? And that insulin is considered a master hormone, that influences the production of all other hormones?

It’s like watching babies trying to figure out how to drive a car, could be funny if it weren’t so dangerous.

Satya, I was a bit surprised by your comment. I’m here for similar reasons as OYB: to keep the discussion honest.

As far as viewing Charles as my guru…no. He’s done a great job of getting one stop shopping for a bunch of useful resources for carnivores of all types, and is better than credited at building a community. But, I think organ meat is important, exercise with weights, make bone stock, and take supplements. Not exactly ZIOH-standard views.

Honestly, if I had a health guru it would be you. I enjoyed reading your posts on ZIOH and found them informative; so I was bummed to see you as unregistered. I was happy to run into you on the ZC threads ALC as well. Your posts have heavily influenced me.

I just think you’re wrong about eating solely jerky for two days :-)


Let me just add: I’m reading ZIOH with an insider-info-glass. Not meaning that to be read as I was a member and therefore I know better. Absolutely not. I’m referring to BEHIND-THE-SCENES-insider-info. So I’m interpreting what I read on there while wearing this glass. FOR ME, my glasses’ lenses are clear IN CONTEXT. For others it may appear that my lenses aren’t clear, and hence this post by me.

I’ve also stated in a previous comment ON HERE that perhaps ALL members,even including Suzanne(!) were/are victims of CW’s cult. I’m on no mission to add to the psychological/physical harm that was done to me and so many others and is still being done. Quite the opposite. I’m on a mission TO STOP THAT. So, please, read EVERYTHING I have to say and not only the bits you’d like to disagree with or would like to call-out me out as being a “drama whore”. If anyone chooses to read my comments selectively, maybe it’s better to skip my comments altogether 😉

More on Kelly, it’s clear that no-one has read her entire journal. Some only know her CURRENT weight. That hardly gives a clear picture. I think it is terribly sad that Kelly is clearly scared to post her true menu, IMO. If only she didn’t have this fear (caused by TPTB of course) someone could reach out and help her, which is what I wish and pray for! Just like Mallory had posted pointing at that Suzanne reached out and helped her! Alas, I’m no longer a member so I can only sit on the sidelines and observe, while wearing my special glasses, what CW is doing to his followers. And I’m truly looking for positives too, but fail to see much. He only sinks his members deeper and deeper with some super powerful force. Sad and disturbing. :(

If Mariosol thinks my comments add no value to what it is she is trying to achieve here, I will leave, no problem with that. Just say the word and I’ll be gone 😉

“Mmmmkay. I went and had a look at the before and after pictures on ZIOH. All of the 1.1 pages – 22 entries to be exact. Of which most are either still “in progress” or not showing much or any improvement at all.”

This is so true. You really can count on 1 hand the number of people there who look like they’ve gotten to a ‘healthy’ weight. I feel so sorry for Carolina. She is at her wits end and while you can see she has gotten smaller in some areas she hasn’t seen the reduction one would expect to see in a YEARS time. Yet they just keep telling her to hang on and keep doing the same thing. How many years is she supposed to keep doing the same thing with no results?

“If Mariosol thinks my comments add no value to what it is she is trying to achieve here, I will leave, no problem with that. Just say the word and I’ll be gone”

Please don’t ask this person to leave. Anyone with an inside view is valuable for this discussion. :)

I have no intention of asking anybody to leave. Pro or con ZIOH, all opinions are welcome as far as I am concerned.

Marisol – Where is the post over at ZIOH where the members are complaining abohut you and this site?

Lynn, there are a various comments in journals but as I can not search the site, they are not easy to find.
They don’t exactly “complain” about this site, just call me unintelligent, an idiot, a moron, …
Actually, Charles has commented several times that he welcomes the publicity as they get more member registration requests from it.

Yes, they are up to 236 members now.

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