Interview with King of Carnivore Dr. Ken Berry – Adapt Your Life® Academy



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Interview with King of Carnivore Dr. Ken Berry


Dr. Eric Westman: It’s my great pleasure to have the one and only Dr. Ken Berry on, and thanks for taking the time.

Dr. Ken Berry: Thank you for having me on. I don’t think some of your listeners probably realize what an honor it is for me to be on your channel because you’re one of the founders of the real, scientifically based low-carb movement. I appreciate all the work that you’ve done and that you are continuing to do, and I don’t think you get enough credit for that.

Dr. Eric Westman: Thank you so much for the kind words. I guess we just stick to the old pre-biohacking, pre-internet-keto. I studied basically what Dr. Atkins was known for in his clinic. Our research team, 25 years ago, started studying it, about the same time you started using low-carb and keto in your practice. It’s been great to watch you evolve over time. It was my great pleasure to be in Dixon, Tennessee, just not so long ago, and to meet your people there. What a great conference and meeting. I have some questions for you that we were going to ask you, but what’s on your mind these days?

Dr. Ken Berry: Just trying to improve the health of the whole world, no big deal! Trying to explore and explode and destroy the multiple myths out there, the misconceptions, the flat-out lies that are told by the established medical community, often well-meaning but lies nonetheless. The mainstream medical narrative has been severely bludgeoned and I would opine that it is definitely wounded, if not mortally so, in many people’s eyes. I’m starting to focus more on the huge pervasive misconceptions and misreadings that are bandied about by internet influencers. In many cases, their social media reach is far wider and far deeper than the American Diabetes Association. What I’m trying to do is help people understand that there’s a very simple remedy to the vast majority, not all, but the vast majority of chronic medical conditions. There is a simple way to, at the very least, lessen the severity of the symptoms, decrease the frequency of the flare-ups, and decrease the seemingly chronic progressive onslaught of all of the complications that come from these chronic medical conditions.

If you follow a very simple way of eating and a very simple way of living, you can erase so many risk factors. We all roll the dice every day when we put our feet on the floor, that should be common knowledge. None of us are going to live forever. We’re all going to die at some point, but nobody wants to die in their 40s or 50s or 60s. Definitely, and perhaps more importantly, nobody wants to be an invalid. Nobody wants to be in assisted living or a nursing home for 5, 10, 20, or 30 years because of some complication of a chronic medical condition that could have been completely avoided had they known these very simple things that you and I both talk about every day. I’m trying to spread the message in medicine but also in pseudo-medicine or para-medicine, you might say, that like you don’t need all those supplements, you don’t need that high pH water, you don’t need that ozone machine, you don’t need any of that crap. You just need to eat real food and live well.

How can doctors know so little about nutrition?

Dr. Eric Westman: Amen. I have to say, the response really is that simple, but people say it can’t be that simple even though it is. I mean, how can it be that doctors know so little about food and nutrition? How is this possible?

Dr. Ken Berry: It’s stunning if you look at it in its totality. First of all, doctors don’t get much education in nutrition. I got half of a semester in my second year of med school dedicated to nutrition. That was like Tuesday and Thursday for half a semester. The other half was Behavioral Science. You can see how important my medical school thought nutrition was.

Dr. Eric Westman: The attitude is, “Let’s talk about human health. What you put in your body can’t affect that, can’t it?”

Dr. Ken Berry: Exactly. When it comes to the care and feeding of somebody who’s got a third-degree burn over 50% of their body or who’s been in a rollover MVA and it’s just mangled their face and we have to feed them through an IV, we got great training. We got wonderful training as far as that goes. When it comes to the care and feeding of the average human walking the street, the training that we got was atrocious. There’s that excuse and I think it’s partly a reason for doctors being awful nutrition advisers.

The word “doctor”, if I’m not misinformed, means “teacher” in Greek. Anybody who’s going to be a good teacher, which every doctor should aspire to be by definition, you have to be a good student. If you are indeed a student of human health, which I think every doctor should be or strive to be, then you should be curious about whether what you eat has an effect on your health. It would seem ridiculous to not think that. It’s like doctors have lost all of their curiosity. A lot of regular folks don’t realize how much medicine has changed over the last few decades for sure, but even since 2020. If you knew the rate of suicide in doctors, the rate of burnout, “I’m done with medicine, “I’m going to go back to school to be an accountant because that’s less boring, “I’m going to retire early.” I hear this every day on Twitter.

I think it’s almost as if doctors not only have lost that curiosity muscle but also at every turn, no one is encouraging doctors to be curious. The insurance companies, if they work for a company, have no desire for that doctor to be curious. They just want that doctor to get just as many continuing medical education credits as required to keep their license and to keep their affiliation. They couldn’t care less if that doctor’s curious. I think that’s a huge part.

Dr. Eric Westman: There were a couple of books influential to me. One was Dr. Atkins, of course. I went and borrowed the sheet of paper that he used in his practice to do our studies down here at Duke. He also wrote a book called Dr. Atkins’ Health Revolution in the 1980s, which showed all of these medical conditions that got better. It was sort of the roadmap after obesity and diabetes got better. I looked at this book, and heartburn was next. Check. IBS, we did studies. Fatty liver, we did studies on all these things.

Then you wrote this book, Lies My Doctor Told Me. I’ve known you for some time, and there are times when I just can’t say exactly what you’re saying. I might be thinking it, but because I’m still in that academic world, I learned lots of things from your book and your point of view. Doctors have also been snookered by medications, by the Pharma world, and the choice of pill over lifestyle. You got into this because of your personal experience, I believe. Tell me about your practice. I highly value doctors who have the street credibility of being in a practice, doing this. Tell me a little bit about your background in the clinical world.

Dr. Berry’s medical career

Dr. Ken Berry: I’ve been in uninterrupted medical practice for over 22 years now. When I first went to medical school, I wanted to be a surgeon. I realized two facts: 1. In general surgery, pretty much all you’re doing is, where they would say in surgery, “guts and butts.” 2. You had to get started at 4:30 in the morning. I was like, “Yeah, I can’t do that.” Then, I considered OBGYN until I found out that all women go into labor at 4:30 in the morning again. Come on! So I discovered family medicine, and I could do as many procedures as I wanted, including scopes, large tissue biopsies, dermatology, lots of procedures, colonoscopy, and the gynecology sphere. And so that’s what I decided to do because I could start at 8:30 in the morning.

I had full intentions for a while to be an emergency physician. I didn’t want to have a clinic. But everybody kept saying, “I really like you, doc. You ought to have a clinic.” I thought I would start a part-time clinic while I worked in the ER. It wound up being full-time for the next 20 years until the clinic fire. Now, I have a small part-time practice where I take care of about 200 old patients and patients I’ve had for decades. I’m so busy trying to educate the world, including doctors and dietitians. I learned early on when I became severely obese and pre-diabetic, perhaps my medical education about nutrition was not adequate. That’s when I started reading outside of what many doctors would consider my scope of practice. One of the books that was instrumental for me was a little paperback edition of Atkins’ Diet Revolution that I bought for 50 cents at a rummage sale. I thought, “I’ll read this. I don’t know who the heck this guy is.” I still have that book. I’ll put that in my archives one of these days. It’s one of the foundational books. That led me to primal and paleo and all these.

I kept hearing about keto. When I looked into keto and started trying it, man, my pre-diabetes was gone, I was losing weight like crazy. My heartburn used to be so severe I took two Nexiums every day. None of my patients got the Nexium samples, I got all of them. It was 80% better on keto. Now and then, I would take a tablespoon or a shot of apple cider vinegar, and that controlled what previously was barely controlled by taking two Nexium a day and having two red bricks under each head post to my bed so I was sleeping inclined to try to keep the acid down. All these other things kept getting better, so I started recommending it to my most severely obese patients – people who are literally on the schedule to have bariatric surgery. They kept coming back to me with, “Oh yeah, I’ve lost 20, 30, 40, 50 pounds and my knee arthritis is so much better, my heartburn is so much better, my psoriasis, my eczema,” just on and on and on and on.

Initially, as a practicing physician, you think, “Patients are silly sometimes,” so the first time I would hear that, I’d be like, “Nah.” But then, Dr. Westman, the 10th time, the 20th time, I’m like, “What could possibly be explaining that knee osteoarthritis is getting better before they’ve lost enough weight to change the biomechanics of this?” That’s when I started thinking about the inflammation and I started looking at the inflammatory markers. Lo and behold, there’s research out there that shows that a low-carb diet does that. Then, I started recommending it to everybody who was on the schedule to have a knee replacement, a hip replacement, or a thumb joint replacement. I’m like, “You should try this for 90 days before you have that surgery because there are potential complications of surgery. Why risk it if you could fix this with diet?” Not everybody was interested, but some got so much improvement they called and canceled their surgery for joint replacement.

I kept hearing about carnivore, which a lot of people think, “Oh, that’s some weird other thing.” It’s just a subset of keto. Keto is very low carb; carnivore is just the lowest possible carbohydrate version of keto. If you eat a high-fat enough version of a carnivore diet, you’re going to be in ketosis for the majority of the day. That’s been shown in hundreds, if not thousands, of anecdotal cases. I don’t know if there’s any research on that yet, but I bet there’s some coming because the fields of keto and carnivore are very popular right now among researchers.

Keto vs carnivore

Dr. Eric Westman: I think that’s an important point – to notice that these are very close in terms of teaching and food. I’ve done low-carb keto research and carnivore is very close. It’s not all that different. I had someone argue that carnivore wasn’t necessarily keto. Well, there’s an internet version of keto where you’re adding in oils and medium-chain triglycerides, and you have to have special coffee and apple cider vinegar and all that. That’s not what we’re talking about. I think what you and I agree on as a foundation is that you eat real foods. You don’t add in all these other keto junk products and junk foods. That’s why I’m intrigued. Being clinical myself, I’ve had some people who I couldn’t fix. With just cutting out one cup of vegetables they’re fixed. This could be the skin condition. It could be the gut condition. So how could that be? It’s just a small change.

Dr. Ken Berry: When I first started being very interested in the ketogenic way of eating, I thought that it was all about carbohydrates. I think the vast majority of people who are overweight, obese, or who have pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, hypertension, or metabolic syndrome, I think that is a huge part of this. You’ve got to get the carbohydrates down very, very low. But the more I read about it, especially the more I looked into the inflammatory markers – and a good friend of mine, Dr. Chaffee – says, “Plants are trying to kill you.” That is hyperbole. No doubt about that. But some of his points are valid. He claimed that any plant, even a plant that has been domesticated and crossbred by humans for thousands of years, still contains what some people would call, anti-nutrients and phytochemicals.

There is a normal distribution curve for every facet of human physiology, every lab test, and every biomarker that we can measure. When it comes to phytochemicals or plant toxins, that normal distribution curve still applies. I think some people can eat 20 pounds of cruciferous vegetables a day, and as long as they allow for the carbohydrates, they have no problems, no inflammation, and no issues whatsoever. For the vast majority of people, they can have a serving or two of brassicas of some kind, and no problem, nothing. But there is a subset of people for whom the anti-nutrients or the biochemistry in some of these plants have a noticeable chemical reaction.

I’ll give you an anecdotal example. Neisha and I were just in Alabama, visiting my side of the family. My dad and my grandmother are avid gardeners. They have a huge garden every year. We were down there and they had corn on the cob that they had raised. They had turnip greens that they had raised, and they also had brisket and Boston butt, because they knew I was coming. Neisha is keto-vore, technically under 10 grams of carbs a day, but she’s got to be very watchful of what carbohydrates and plants she eats because she has an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. If she eats the wrong vegetable, she’ll flare up. Her TPO antibody and her TG antibody will start to elevate, and she’ll start to have symptoms. For me, it seems that it’s just all about the carbs. As long as I keep my carbs as close to zero as I can get them, my A1C is great, my fasting insulin is great, and my waistline is at a point where I’m okay with it. We both decided to have a serving of those turnip greens. They were delicious. They were non-GMO and organic. The only thing that had been added was dirt, water, sunshine, and chicken poop. That’s what had grown these turnip greens by our family. We knew there were no chemicals, none of that; it was just grown in the backyard. Within two hours of eating just a normal-sized serving of these turnip greens, Neisha was having muscle spasms and joint pains and just felt miserable. I had zero effects whatsoever. She knew this, but she thought, “Well, I mean, I’ll give it a try because it also hurts Granny Berry’s feelings if you don’t eat her turnip greens.” There’s that family thing as well.

Neisha wound up suffering for two days after eating these turnip greens, which, by carb count, were perfectly keto-vore. But for her – although she can eat 30, 40 grams of carbs a day and she’s fine – she’s got to watch specific vegetables or they will cause inflammation. You’ve met Neisha a couple of times, you know she’s a no-nonsense person. She’s not going to be talking foolishness on purpose. She didn’t even want to believe it herself. Finally, she said, “It was those damn turnip greens. I know it. That’s what it was.” Sure enough, that’s what it was.

Dr. Eric Westman: I think it’s an important separation. Low-carb allows your body to burn fat. You can get low-carb, keto, and carnivore to burn fat. Ketones themselves can have anti-inflammatory properties.

Dr. Ken Berry: I think for many people, the ketosis that comes from eating low-carb enough, matches the inflammation that they’re having from whatever vegetables they’re eating. I thought, “I’ve got to know more about archaeology. I’ve got to know about diets of the past. I’ve got to know more about anthropology, paleoanthropology.” What I found very tellingly in the anthropological and archaeological record is that fermentation of both plants and meat has been around for a long time. I’m talking about 7,000 – 8,000 years. Sure, people in Asia eat soy all the time but until just a few decades ago, they virtually never ate soy unless it had been fermented. Many of the cultures that developed lactase persistence still ferment their dairy foods because you can’t forget about the casein in the whey. For many adults, that’s very inflammatory, even if you have lactase persistence. I think what I currently believe is that all of us probably have some reaction to the phytochemicals in plants, and most of us, as an adult, have some level of reaction to the casein in the whey in dairy.

If you’re in a deep state of ketosis, those ketones are so therapeutic, that they probably mask that to some degree. I really think that a 90-day carnivore elimination diet – eliminates everything but meat, eggs, and seafood, so nothing breaded, no vegetables or seed oils just in case, then you can do these N=1 experiments of adding back in the turnip greens. I mean, turnip greens – how could that be a problem for some people? I think it is, even if they’re well-cooked because Granny Berry likes to cook hers to death. Neisha was definitely not eating these raw. And still, whether it was the oxalates or whatever, had a body-wide reaction.

YouTube censorship

Dr. Eric Westman: The use of this, especially if under medical supervision, is a reasonable thing to do. You want to learn from someone who’s been using it. You’re doing more YouTube and influencing lots of people. I get lots of great feedback from my patients who watch your YouTube. Thank you for that. I want to get up to speed with what is happening with YouTube. I watched Dr. Eric Berg talk about how he is being put down on the list. Have you experienced that? Wasn’t YouTube supposed to be censor-free?

Dr. Ken Berry: I haven’t noticed any throttling or shadow-banning or YouTube censorship whatsoever on YouTube yet. I’m not saying that couldn’t happen, but I haven’t noticed any of that at all. I have seen some videos of influencers claiming that to be the case. Keep in mind that one of the main drivers for making YouTube videos is to get as many clicks as you can. You can imagine if I made a video with a big banner that says, “censored” over it, a lot of people would click on that just to see what I was talking about. It may be true in Dr. Berg’s case. I don’t know his backend numbers, so I can’t speak to that. All I can speak to is I have not noticed any shadow-banning or throttling at all and Neisha hasn’t noticed it and other people I’ve talked to in the keto space and the carnivore space haven’t noticed any of that either.

I’m always an optimist, but I’m also a rationalist, so I’ve got all of my videos backed up on Rumble and on Odyssey, which is another video platform. Every time I post a video to YouTube, it also posts to Rumble and Odyssey, just in case. Although I haven’t noticed any throttling or shadow-banning, I’m not saying it’s never going to happen. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened to other people, but I currently think that YouTube has bigger fish to fry than the way of eating that people are talking about.

If you’re selling a whole lot of supplements and you’re making false claims about the supplements, then there’s an argument. They’re probably going to crack down on that. I don’t have a line of supplements. I don’t sell supplements. I don’t recommend supplements for the vast majority of people. I try to keep my message very clear, very simple, and very true to the message that if you eat the right foods that are ancestrally appropriate, nutrient-dense, low in carbohydrates, and avoid all highly processed grains and sugars and vegetable seed oils, then your health is going to improve, at least to some degree.

Some of us may need to tighten that up even more. On the Venn diagram, there are low-carb, keto, keto-vore, and carnivore. These circles are concentric. They’re all in the same group – ancestrally appropriate, nutrient-dense, and low in carbohydrates. I think those are the three big drivers. I have noticed from the thousands of people who have given me feedback that the more red meat they include in their low-carb, keto, ketovore, or carnivore diet, the better they seem to do on average. I think ruminant meat plays an especially large part in this. I don’t know currently all the details about that, but I suspect that it’s just as you eliminate things, you’re focusing on nutrient density, a beautiful fatty acid profile, a beautiful amino acid profile, lots of vitamins and minerals, and you’re not getting anything else that may be causing inflammation or causing slowing down your progress. I think that’s probably what’s going on, but we may discover some magical nutrient that’s in ruminant meat that we didn’t know about in the future. That’s possible.

Food and the immune system

Dr. Eric Westman: I’ve met some interesting doctors through the years. Dr. Atkins was one, but there was another line of thinking that eating is a stress. You’re actually taking something through your intestinal membranes, and it’s like there’s a battle going on with bacteria coming in, and you’re fighting it.

Dr. Ken Berry: Every time you put a bite of food in your mouth, it initiates an immune response. A lot of people – and you can just tell some of the gurus out there on the internet – don’t understand that concept at all. I’m talking about even a bite of the most ancestrally appropriate non-GMO, panda massage, grass-finished ribeye. You still have an immune response to that. Your immune system, from the time it passes your lips, is constantly monitoring that the entire way because we’re really just tubes. If you think about the way our bodies are designed, we are hollow tubes.

Inside of us is also technically the outside. We have an immune system on the outside. We have no stratum corium on the inside. We have all the epithelial cells. The immune system has to be hypervigilant when something goes inside of us but a lot of people don’t realize that. Every food you eat is going to be inflammatory to some degree. Without exception.

Our internal anatomy

Dr. Eric Westman: You want some inflammation. There was a doctor who came in and swooped and pooped, we say because he gave a talk and then left the rest of us to pick up the pieces. He said eating causes inflammation, so I don’t eat. Wait a minute. If you take it to an absurd degree, you’ll die. If you eat closer to the ancestral way of eating – and eating other animals makes sense to me, biologically – it’s going to be less stressful to digest.

I watched a video recently with a young man who had a colostomy because of colitis. He didn’t know about the carnivore or keto diet before he had the colostomy. He says when he eats meat, he never sees meat come out of his colostomy. When he’s eating any kind of vegetable matter, especially corn and that corn on the cob, maybe even those turnip greens, they’re going to come out undigested. When you really look at our anatomy internally, I like that idea of a tube – there is the external world even inside us. We have the internal anatomy – the GI tract – of carnivores, not herbivores.

Dr. Ken Berry: That confuses a lot of our plant-based brothers and sisters because we did evolve from herbivores and frugivores. No land animal is more closely related to a hippo than a whale, but they do not have the same digestive system. The point is, even though our least distant cousins are the chimp and the bonobo, no doubt about that, we have evolved for millions of years since that split took place. We’ve changed since then, especially in the gastrointestinal system.

Dr. Eric Westman: I remember being at a meeting with Jeff Volek and Steve Phinney and I get this question from the audience offline, someone’s just chatting with me, and he says, “We should eat like gorillas.” I didn’t know much about this, it was 15 years ago. I go back to Steve Phinney, who’s one of the main pioneers in this way of eating. He looks at me and says, “Well, a lot can happen in a few million years.” We don’t have the internal anatomy. But again, we don’t get much (nutrition) training in medicine. We get drug training.

Dr. Ken Berry: When a medical school is accepting people with a bachelor’s degree in music, that does a disservice to medicine. I think there should really be a hefty load of premedical classes that you should have to do well in before you can even be considered for medical school. In many cases, also a nurse practitioner school. There’s a school here, a very prestigious school in Nashville, where you can have a bachelor’s degree in anything. It matters not what it was. You can be a nurse practitioner after one year of training. It’s like, what? Wait, what?

Blindly following guidelines

Dr. Eric Westman: In my experience, these health providers are being groomed to just follow guidelines.

Dr. Ken Berry: They’re being groomed to follow guidelines and to prescribe medications. In that scenario, they don’t care if they know anything about anthropology or mammalian biology. It’s irrelevant. All they need to know is what’s the algorithm for when you prescribe this versus that. That’s all they need to know to be successful in that model. Obviously, that model is failing us daily. More and more regular people are seeing that. I think a lot of doctors and other healthcare providers do not see that it’s the model, it’s the paradigm that’s failing. The reason you’re burned out is not because you hate your patients. It’s not because you’re a bad doctor. It’s because of the model that you’re practicing in.

Sometimes it’s very hard for people to see the paradigm that they’re basing their lives on. There’s an old joke where one fish says to another fish, “How’s the water today?” The other fish says, “What’s water?” Most doctors don’t realize that they’re practicing under a paradigm of medicine that was solidified decades ago. There’s a lot of history about this. They called it the germ theory of disease. It works great when you apply it to bacteria. That’s the reason that people don’t just die when they cut their finger anymore or when they get appendicitis or when they have a perforated whatever. You don’t die of that anymore because the germ theory is very applicable and very useful. But what we tried to do was apply the germ theory to all practices of medicine.

The way the germ theory is currently applied to diabetes is, “Oh, you’ve got diabetes. Here’s a pill for that,” instead of saying, “Maybe it’s the diet and what the diet is doing to the body.” For so many doctors, that doesn’t fit in their paradigm. It sounds crazy. Depending on the doctor, it could range from sounding treehugger and crunchy to being weird and conservative. It depends on the doctor as to how they interpret when they hear that the food you eat could matter. More and more, doctors are saying, “Obesity and type 2 diabetes are purely genetic conditions. There’s nothing you can do about it. There’s no bad food. You can eat any food you want. You just have to take these pharmaceuticals.” And that’s just what it is because it’s genetic. It’s not your fault. It’s not the food’s fault. It’s just genetic. That’s the culmination of the germ theory.

Dr. Eric Westman: It’s a lack of awareness that changing the food could do such good. It’s so unbelievable that nobody believes it. I can go to a gas station and can’t get junk gas. I can’t get bad gas. But I go inside and get junk food for the human. We treat our cars better than the people! Are you following some of the other big internet influencers and how there are some people pulling away or getting beyond keto and carnivore? What are your thoughts about these folks?

Diet influencers

Dr. Ken Berry: Back to the way YouTube works, you’ve got to have a thumbnail and a title that is compelling that makes viewers go, “Wait, what?!” and so they will click on that. When the viewer clicks on that, they will watch at least enough of that video to figure out what’s going on in that video. If you watch that video for 30 seconds, that’s considered a view. So, there are so many influencers out there who are just in it for the clicks and the views. There is a fad component to the keto diet – if you look at Google searches for keto or keto diet, the searches got ginormous, and they peaked about 2018. They’ve been slowly going down; it’s not as popular as it was.

For a lot of people converting from keto to carnivore, it was the next step in their shift of paradigm or their healing journey. It’s about “Carnivore is hot now and keto’s not as hot anymore, so, therefore, I quit keto” – that’s a video. “I’ve started carnivore” – that’s a video. There will be something beyond that. We’ve seen early carnivore influencers, now they’ve included fruit and honey because of what the Hadza do or something in Africa. This hunter-gatherer society has been taken off of its ancestral hunting grounds and has been put on the scrubby, most worthless ground because that’s what happens in every agricultural society: the hunter-gatherer remnants that are left over. Just like the Native Americans in America when we moved them out to the reservations. Did we give them prime agricultural real estate? No, that’s not what they got.

If you said, the Native Americans died today, you can see that has nothing to do with what Native Americans would have eaten a thousand years ago or 10,000 years ago. A lot of influencers stay with some tribes in Africa. They stay in the nice little hut for Westerners for a couple of days. Then they come home, and they’ve made this groundbreaking discovery that the Hadza eat fruit and honey, and therefore we should eat fruit and honey. It’s just this ongoing thing. That’s why I’m trying to tell people, look, you get useless noise from your doctor when it comes to nutrition advice. Very, very often, it’s just worthless noise. But also, there are many influencers who are also putting out just as much useless noise.

If your goal is to improve your health and to improve the health of your family, there’s a set of principles that make up a proper human diet for you. The degree to which you adhere to and apply those principles, your health is going to improve. The degree to which you ignore them and don’t apply them, your health is not going to improve or maybe even suffer. I think you and me and everybody else in this space are hammering out these principles of what a proper human diet is. I don’t think we’re discovering a proper human diet. I think we’re rediscovering lost knowledge that 10,000 years ago, there would not even be a bit of discussion of what you should eat, what you should avoid, how much you should eat, how much water you should drink, should you eat red berries or green berries. All that stuff has been sorted through the trial and error of millions of years of this scientific experiment called evolution.

When the human species developed culture through language and being able to share our story, that’s what makes us the apex species on this planet. Being able to share our story. When I say at the end of my YouTube video, “Share your story,” I am following in the footsteps of not just you and not just Atkins, I’m following in the tradition of every human since the first human stood up on their hind legs and said, “Because that’s what we do. We learn something through personal experience and then we share that with everybody else in the tribe.” Through the lines of trial and error, humans knew what to eat, just like the deer in the wild. They know what to eat. They don’t need a book written by a doctor to know what to eat, what to avoid. They just know. My sheep in the pasture, they know what to eat and what not to eat. Don’t eat too much of this; you can have some but not too much. The principles of a proper human diet, they just know. I think it’s possible for the human species, the human animal to know: you should eat mainly this, maybe a little of this, not too much. It depends on your family. It depends on your gut microbiome. But within reason, here are the principles of a proper human diet.

I think all of us together are rehashing those out. This time, hopefully, they won’t be forgotten when the next big fad, which is the pharmaceutical era, was a tidal wave fad of, “You can fix everything with a pill.” People want to call keto and carnivore “fads.” That was the ultimate fad that makes the keto and carnivore fad look like kindergarten students versus a triple Ph.D. board-certified fad. That’s what the pharmaceutical fad was in the vast majority of instances.

Speaking to the next generation

Dr. Eric Westman: How are we going to get to the new generation, the children, family? We’re in a clinic pulling people out, saving lives. But really, we want to stop people from going down this path. How are we going to do that?

Dr. Ken Berry: We’re going to have conversations around the campfire, just like we’ve done for millennia. That entails everything from talking to your next-door neighbor and saying if you cut out the Lucky Charms and the powdered donuts and the Pepsi and start eating eggs and bacon for breakfast, I think your diabetes would improve. That’s a conversation around the campfire. In modern society, what we’re doing right now, everybody who’s listening to this, it’s just like we’re sitting around the campfire 100,000 years ago and relaying, “Hey, don’t eat this root, but eat that root. Don’t eat this; watch out for this animal. Never stand behind the horse.”

Once one person learns it, they share it with the tribe. Share it with your tribe. Social media is the new way of communicating with your tribe. Every time I go to a conference, I’ll always say everybody’s always trying to poo-poo social media. “You should just delete this and delete that; you should throw your phone away.” I ask simply, “How many of you guys had your health improved because of a video or a post that you saw on social media?” Every single hand in the room goes up. That’s the new campfire. That’s how we converse. It’s a global campfire now.

I would encourage people to listen to all sides and do as much research as they’re trained enough to do. Figure out who you really trust. Keep in mind that what we’re recommending is not some newly FDA-approved pharmaceutical pill infusion or injection that has no long-term data on safety. That’s not what we’re recommending here. If it were, then it would make sense for you to say, “I’m not sure about that; I don’t think there’s been any RCTs proving that keto is safe or carnivore is safe.” We’re just recommending food that humans have eaten for millions and millions of years. It’s just food.

I don’t think saying, “Humans have eaten this for three million years,” to say, “That’ll cause cancer,” or “That’ll cause heart disease,” or “That’ll cause diabetes. Red meat will cause diabetes.” What? That’s an extraordinary claim. And yet they come at us with observational data, which is the weakest kind of evidence that you could possibly have. People, it’s sad that the average person has to understand a little bit about statistics and the way research is done. But if you’re going to sit around this modern campfire, you’re going to have to understand the difference between this kind of research and that kind of research. You’re going to have to understand that if you’re saying you should drink water, you probably don’t need a randomized control trial to prove that that’s safe for long-term consumption in humans. It’s water, damn it. We’ve been drinking water since before we were Homo sapiens sapiens. I don’t think water’s bad for us. I don’t think breathing air is bad for us. Well, guess what? We’ve been eating fatty red meat and eggs every time we could find them for as long as we’ve been drinking water and breathing air as a species for exactly that many years, that many decades, that many millennia.

Dr. Eric Westman: But all my life, I’ve had Captain Crunch, Fruit Loops, and Lucky Charms.

Dr. Ken Berry: You’re right, so that makes us sad when we see that. But it should give everyone who’s rediscovered a proper human diet and where they fall on it as an aunt or an uncle or a grandparent or a parent or an older sibling, you should really think. Frosted Flakes, everybody thinks that’s an acceptable breakfast. But how many generations did it take to bamboozle human beings into thinking that Lucky Charms or Frosted Flakes was a healthy nutritious breakfast? It only took three or four generations. So what I want people to understand is that it’s actually easy if you look at the long game. If you’re an older relative of younger relatives, realize that your culture, your heritage, and your family traditions are probably only two generations long. Once you realize that, it’s Family Tradition. That’s a very powerful paradigm shift. You’re like, “So, if it only took two generations, my family used to be wealthy, then somebody screwed up and now we’re really poor and we eat beans and rice.” That’s just what we do. We buy the 5-pound bags of cornflakes because we can’t afford the name brand. That’s our family tradition.

There’s a reason why that’s your family tradition. That’s the bad news. The good news is, you can start today as an older relative to change that. It only takes a generation or two until you’ve created a new family tradition, a family tradition of eating a proper human diet that does not include food-processed cereal that literally is frowned on in your family. If somebody brings Lucky Charms to the table, they’ll be ostracized. Like, “What the hell’s wrong with you? Why would you even bring that to this table? Our family eats meat and eggs, a few berries, and a few nuts. That’s our family tradition. You can’t have that junk at our table.”

Once people realize, “I can change the narrative. I can change the paradigm, at least for my family and my friends,” what more could you ask for as somebody? If, regardless of whether you think you’ll ever change the world in any other way, you can change the world with regards to your family traditions, the way your family eats, and the way your friends eat. You can break the narrative and install a new family tradition around your table. That’s pretty powerful.

Dr. Eric Westman: Thank you, I always like to hear your optimism. What’s your approach to teaching others one-on-one and the family sort of thing?

Dr. Ken Berry: You’ve seen the transformation in people’s health thousands of times, just like I have. When you first discover keto, keto-vore, carnivore, a proper human diet spectrum, it’s a big deal, Eric. You’re like, “I’ve got to tell everybody in the world about this.” Just like when any of us discover anything. You’ve got to think, they don’t know what I know. They haven’t discovered what I have. Everybody’s at a different part of their journey. We’re all on multiple journeys every day. Food may not be part of their journey right now.

The way to get people’s attention is to fix your own health first. If you’re obese, fix it with a proper human diet. If you’re a type 2 diabetic and you have to inject fast-acting insulin before every meal, when you sit down in front of the family, fix your type 2 diabetes. Fix your fatty liver, fix your visceral adiposity, fix your hypertension, fix your eczema and your psoriasis. Yes, they improve if you get on the right part of the proper human diet spectrum. Fix that stuff. People not only are going to see the improved outward physical health – obviously, you’re not as fat as you used to be, obviously, you’re not injecting fast-acting insulin right before you eat anything at the table – but they’re going to notice an improvement in your mood as well. You’re aware of Dr. Chris Palmer, the psychiatrist who wrote a book called Brain Energy. Every mental health condition improves when you give them a ketogenic diet. I don’t think they found one yet that doesn’t get better, even including end-stage severe schizophrenia in the person who was previously institutionalized for decades. They put them on a keto diet, 6 months later, they’re out of the facility, they’ve got a part-time job, that kind of stuff.

When people say, “Not only physically – you’re obviously healthier, you’re more active, you’re more engaged – but also mentally, you’re much more clear, you’re much more aware, you’re much more alert, you’re much nicer, your smile comes to your lips very readily, a laugh comes at the appropriate time. You’re just a happy, healthy person.” It’s hard not to see that, especially if that person was previously miserable and suffering. To me, that’s the best calling card, that’s the best advertisement.

Watch the full video here.

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