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.