Registered Dietitians Dispense Only Conventional “Wisdom”

Here’s a look in general terms at just what we’re up against, folks — particularly for our friends & loved ones who tend to take stock in the advice offered by "experts" and "authorities." For many of you it’s and upside-down world. You logically come to reasonable hypotheses based on evolutionary principles, do your research, self-experiment, achieve amazing results and learn that most others who roughly follow a similar path do too; and all the while, the rest of the world gets fatter and sicker — while listening to the "experts" — and yet you are the one to be taken unseriously, perhaps even scorned & ridiculed. What gives?

Well, how about that YOU could not possibly know or understand more than the "experts?" After all, they’re the ones with the degrees, the affiliations, the published papers & books, the recognition & accolades. Ah, but is it possible that you see and are willing to acknowledge things they close their eyes to and refuse to acknowledge precisely because of the foregoing laundry list? Perhaps maintaining such prestige comes at the price of towing some party or "tribal" line and to go against it is to literally risk compromising one’s very livelihood or future plans of wealth & fame? While it would surely be foolhardy to suggest that just because someone gains prestige, they’re automatically not to be trusted, why should the converse situation hold — that simply because you lack such a formal background, what you see and reason is automatically to be dismissed when contrary to what has been handed down from on high?

See, I don’t think the truth depends upon personalities, abilities, recognition. The truth is the truth. While education, achievement and recognition are in theory a great place to start — to shortcut a process of having to necessarily verify everything yourself — it’s no guarantee. And, I submit, there’s a great danger that such appearance of authority is actually being exploited by increasingly many, to the extent of great harm on virtually all of society.

Via Keith Norris at Theory to Practice, I got wind of this article by registered dietician Tatyana Kour in The Jordan Times: Why weight loss fails. But this post isn’t about Ms. Kour, so much as it’s about the general nature of the problem and how it’s so entrenched. Keep that in mind.

Before we delve into Ms. Kour’s advice as a registered dietitian, let’s note that her website lists her top professional affiliation as The American Dietetic Association. So let’s then look at just a few of their sponsors (thanks Dr. A).

ADA sponsors

Got that? Does this begin to give you a clue that "experts" and "authorities" might — just maybe — not have your personal best interests at heart as much as their own? Normally, that should be fine — so long as your respective interests aren’t in conflict. That is, you’re both self-interested and are dealing with each other as traders towards a win-win goal. And so here we have The American Dietetic Association that supposedly exists to guide the public, by means of its registered dietitians, towards a better and more proper nutrition — presumably leading to lean, attractive, and healthy bodies: in the pay of the world’s leading companies promoting and profiting from obesity and ill-health via cheap sugar and highly efficient processing of "food." Do you think these companies are paying the ADA to dis sugar-water drinks and other sources of carbohydrate overload? Or for SOYJOY, how about early puberty for girls and undersized genitals for boys?

And if not, how kindly is the ADA going to take to having its affiliated dietitians and nutritionists contradicting ADA guidelines and policy? How could ADA guidelines and policy possibly be contradictory to the interests of the ones paying the bills? So does it not follow that if those same companies paying the bills have interests in conflict with your interests of lean attractive health, that it’s an antagonism between you and the ADA and their dietitians; and who do you think’s going to win out on that one? This is why the whole world of conventional "wisdom" nutrition and dietetics is like the McDonald’s chain, because the advice is exactly the same worldwide, even coming out of Amman, Jordan.

I’m really sorry to have to pick on Ms. Kour personally, and by all means, she’s only one of how many thousands? I have no idea. The point and the reason I picked her is because the article just came upon my radar and I noted that it’s the same advice, even from the Middle East, that we get here in America, Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. Let’s take a look.

Yet, at this time, it may be worth considering personal assessment of certain dieting behaviours that make one’s weight loss experience a failing one, including eating one meal a day and following a low carbohydrate meal plan.

Right off the bat, we see the failure to even examine nature and extrapolate a likely diet in light of humans as animals who evolved over millions of years. It’s as though we just suddenly showed up, profoundly different from every other animal, ill adapted to even the slightest amount of hunger ("it’ll slow your metabolism"). You don’t have to believe in evolution, of course, so if you find that a natural dietary lifestyle based on evolutionary principles works better than "breaking bread and drinking of milk & honey," it’s for you to sort out that potential contradiction. You’re welcome here either way.

In short, periods of hunger and small eating windows — to include one large meal per day — are all very well documented in the literature examining the practices of hunter-gatherers for hundreds of years.

I’ll blog this more extensively later because there are critically important observations to call attention to, but just take a look at this recent amazing National Geographic article examining the life & times of the Hadza in Africa.

They grow no food, raise no livestock, and live without rules or calendars. They are living a hunter-gatherer existence that is little changed from 10,000 years ago. What do they know that we’ve forgotten?

One hell of a lot. Now, I wouldn’t trade their existence for mine any day of the week and this is not meant to romanticize the primitive. At the same time, there is what I call a modern ignorance vs. primitive wisdom dynamic at work that just most absolutely needs — in the strongest possible terms and outrage — to be dealt with. Later. Onward; continuing with Ms. Kour.

The truth is that skipping meals can cause severe calorie restriction which can cause one’s metabolism – rate at which the body burns energy from food – to slow down. This, in turn, makes one’s body require fewer calories to perform the same body processes in an attempt to survive.

Uh, OK??? God forbid you ever need "fewer calories to perform the same body processes." Tell that to the numerous mammalian species who have to kill to eat — there never being a smorgasbord, Pizza Hut or Safeway at arms length — or any length. Tell it to the wild humans who must hunt or gather to survive and have been documented over a couple of hundred years to sport general health that serves to embarrass a modern civilization as ours.

Some people swear by the low carbohydrate diet and its success in achieving rapid weight loss. Yet, restricting carbohydrates, as research has shown, is not what counts for weight loss, but ultimately, it is the total calories eaten throughout the day.

Getting out of one’s self-imposed echo chamber might reveal that millions "swear by it" for long-term, slow, sustainable weight loss. I have no trouble finding these people. Why is it so hard for Ms. Kour? Maybe she’s not looking?

While I don’t believe that low-carb is essential for long-term, sustainable weight loss and health for all, it certainly is for some — and it’s absolutely, unequivocally essential for diabetics. For me personally, I don’t really know. I’ve lost around 60 pounds slowly in the last 2 1/2 years on low to moderate carbs, but almost no sugar, processed foods, or modern vegetable oils. Unless one really digs into natural starches from tubers and roots — or pigs out on fruit — it’s hard to eat high carb on a natural, real foods diet.

And now, unfortunately, we must laugh uproariously.

Carbohydrates (as in bread, pasta, rice and cereals) in the diet help one’s body to hold onto fluid. Therefore, if there is not enough carbohydrates in the body, the body will release water from the cells, referred to in scientific terms as “osmotic dieresis”, which causes initial weight loss. But, when we lose water, we also get to lose important minerals like sodium and potassium. The body can only survive on carbohydrates, and especially our brains need carbohydrates to function.

Yep; bread, rice, pasta, cereal grains and other neolithic foods make you retain water, unnaturally raising blood pressure for many (it’s a volume thing), which is why so many who adopt a low-carb approach see a tremendous drop in BP within days (diuretics, anyone?). I myself was running at 150-160 / 95-105 consistently and saw mine come down very quickly — and now totally normal for two years. Of course, those of us who do our own research understand that stored carbohydrate — glycogen — requires upwards of 1.5 – 2 grams of water per gram of stored sugar, and as you deplete readily available sugar stores (OK: glycogen), courtesy of a modern smorgasbord diet, you have no need of the water.

Do the math.

"Osmotic Dieresis," or "diuresis?" I have to think that Ms. Kour must have learned this to pass a test but doesn’t understand it (and given the foregoing, that’s a very reasonable assumption, in my book). That, or she’s being to clever by half, knowing that the "ketoacidosis" nonsense can be easily dismissed on low-carb diets. Ketoacidosis is primarily a problem for type I diabetics. It’s never a problem for normal, low-carb dieters. Never. And I mean: never. In short, and I’m not going to give references as it’s easy enough to look up — and I’ll admonish Ms. Kour to do so — osmotic diuresis is a condition that, so far as I can tell, applies almost exclusively to a person in ketoacidosis.

Well the claim that "the body can only survive on carbohydrates" would be laughed at even by authorities who don’t like low-carb diets. "It’s more wrong that a very wrong thing." In fact, the body has no firm requirements for any carbohydrate. It certainly gets none during starvation, and carbs — glycogen — are depleted within a day at most — hours under physical exertion. Yet, the human body can exist for upwards of months. Not an optimal state to be sure, but it’s stored fat and protein that’s used. The quintessential "zero carb diet."

Were it not so, we’d have gone extinct long ago.

The brian operates very well on ketones but still needs around 120g of glucose per day, and our red blood cells require a bit of glucose. But the liver produces glucose from protein (gluconeogenesis). It can convert fully 58% of a gram of protein you eat into glucose.

However, the longer you go without carbs, the more efficient your brain gets at using ketones (made from fat metabolism) and can eventually get its glucose requirement down to about 40g per day. Now you get to speculate about just HOW and WHY we’d have such an evolutionary adaptation.

If you want to read about the details, pages 279-282:

Understanding the brain and its development: a chemical approach By Harun K. M. Yusuf.

(Thanks to Jenny for that one — though it’s most disheartening to see her silly, broad stroke crusade against paleo of late. Some people just can’t give up the grains, I guess. But, she’s a tremendous value — particularly to diabetics — nonetheless.)

I suppose it’s time to end this.

…The point being, if you were to take the time to do your research in the interest of you and yours, you could easily know more than the "experts" in a reasonably short amount of time.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. Nige on December 9, 2009 at 05:06

    I went on a Nutrition course last year. After being taught that high protein diets were bad for the bones & kidneys and that low-carb/keto diets were dangerous (using cherry-picked studies), I dropped-out.

    People love to publish the one case-study on PubMed showing the “dangers” of low-carb/keto diets in order to poo-poo them. Funny how they always manage to forget about Diabetic ketoacidosis and rhabdomyolysis following excessive intake of a weight reducing diet. It’s the case that Dr Eades Blogged about in I’ll see your ketoacidosis and raise you a renal failure.

    “blood sugar level was a whopping 1854 mg/dL(103mmol/L).”
    That’s not blood, that’s Golden Syrup!

    • Richard Nikoley on December 9, 2009 at 07:39

      Yea, I read that one last night as I was brushing up in writing this post, and also the cerry picked case study I just posted the link to in reply to Cynthia.

      Good work, all. These sorts of comments are what really makes things pop.

      Readers should always take time to check out the commenter’s blogs, too. Both Nige and Dr. Cynthia above have excellent blogs.

      • Nige on December 9, 2009 at 10:33

        Hey! Thanks for the thumbs-up Richard. I never thought that dumping the contents of my brain into a blog would turn out to be of as much interest to people as it has.

      • Susan in Spokane on December 9, 2009 at 13:09


        I think that you would be surprised at just how much some of the insight passed along in the comment sections are appreciated and mulled over. Appreciated, especially, by folks like myself who are just trying to make sure that they are not doing any harm to willing family participants who just won’t investigate the information for themselves. They are willing to go along with the program as long as there is no additional effort on their part. They rely on the “family cook” to feed them the “right” food! Brave souls – aren’t they? As for me, I like to know what my food is doing to my body, and other opinions give me something to chew on.

  2. Sandy Sommer RKC on December 9, 2009 at 05:30

    I’m part of a tribe called the RKC or Russian kettlebell challenge.Too often we’re guilty of dogmatic practices in helping our clients with their general physical preparedness. The kettlebell is one of the best tools to help people reach their compositional goals. Diet is too often neglected when we work with our clients and as I like to say, you can’t outwork a bad diet. I was introduced the Primal Blueprint a few months ago by my primary care physician. And I can’t tell you how much impact it’s had on my life as well as what I’ve been teaching my clients. Since August 24 of 2009. I’ve gone from 208 pounds 180 pounds eating quite like our ancestors did. I’ve lost no strength, and completely leaned out. In fact in fact, I’ve gotten stronger. Much stronger. At first I must admit that I was shocked by how little I knew about how to fuel my body. Since then I’ve read Good calories Bad Calories by Eades and continue my quest for more information.

    Train with purpose,

    Sandy Sommer, RKC

  3. […] Original post by Free The Animal […]

  4. Lisa on December 8, 2009 at 21:57

    Interesting post. I’m a physician who follows a primal/paleo diet in my own home. I’ll admit I would be hesitant to present my own food plan to my patients or colleagues. It’s much like any other job, and having “radical” views on nutrition could have some negative consequences. I’m not a family physician and nutritional counseling is not part of my specialty, but I can see why it is difficult for medical professionals to openly support less mainstream health and diet ideas. Change happens slowly in the medical world. It’s a lot easier to change your own diet than it is to fight uphill battles at work.

    • Hiit Mama - Meredith on December 9, 2009 at 09:55

      Thanks for your honesty. It is too bad that the professionals tho whom we are supposed to look for advice have to be closeted about their real views and beliefs about health and wellness.

  5. jerry on December 8, 2009 at 23:47

    I work in the UK NHS as a nurse practitioner, after seeing on display in Waterstones and reading Gary Taubes book in March, I accepted the alternative hypothesis, stopped eating carbohydrates. I lost the 9 kilo excess, I had acquired since my teens and stopped my gym membership spending the money on higher quality food although I soon found I was spending less on food. The science suggested that I would lose the weight at about 200 grams daily which I did and would stop when I reached the body weight I should be, which it did. I have since read Body by Science so have gone back to the gym albeit for 15minutes a week .
    So I bought 8 copies of the book and offered it to all my nursing colleagues at work … no-one would read it … were not interested. I am fiftyfour so can still remember what food was like before Ancel Keys and colleagues manipulated the evidence which led to the removal of fat from the food chain. My work colleagues are thirtysomethings and so had a full blast of the low fat /refined carb message of the 1980’s as I guess did most dieticians. I like Lisa would implies, would probably get sacked if I suggest to patients that the fat/cholesterol hypothesis, is just a hypothesis! The 8 books I bought I now lend out to people in my age group who have little medial background and not suprisingly, most have benefitted and made lifestlye changes.
    Do you think I should become a dietician, its not a hard job if you go with the science …..
    PS … I can’t find Gary Taubes in Waterstones any more , bit of a worry
    PPS … its a bit wierd have to go underground in an organisation I,ve worked in for 36 years

  6. Cynthia on December 9, 2009 at 03:31

    You explained well why we’re not interested in what the dieticians preach. I do notice that even mainstream medical advice is sneaking in carb restriction messages sometimes, but they never actually call it that.

    I did see a case report of a young man with ketoacidosis from doing the South Beach diet- he was hospitalized but recovered right away. There wasn’t much detail in the report about what else he was doing that might have contributed (hard workout that liberated a huge load of glucose from the liver? or some binge eating he neglected to mention?).

    Don’t forget the contribution of glycerol to gluconeogenesis in the liver (it’s not only from amino acids). Glycerol, a byproduct of fat metabolism, is turning out to be another key player in this story, but it needs special channels to get into liver cells (aquaporins). These channels are also highly regulated, and guess what suppresses them- insulin of course.

    Cynthia Kenyon (mentioned in GCBC – she discovered that glucose makes C. elegans die sooner and as a result decided to go low carb herself) has a new paper out suggesting that the life extension properties of low carb nutrition in her model system occurs via glycerol metabolism: “changes in glycerol metabolism are likely to underlie the life span-shortening effect of glucose and that aqp-1 [aquaporin-1] may act cell nonautonomously as a feedback regulator in the insulin/IGF-1-signaling pathway. Insulin downregulates similar glycerol channels in mammals, suggesting that this glucose-responsive pathway might be conserved evolutionarily.” She goes so far as to suggest a low sugar diet for life extension in higher organisms too.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 9, 2009 at 07:36


      Perhaps you’re referring to this paper Dr. Eades blogged on?

      Although that was described as Atkins.

      Yea, I’ve been seeing stuff from Kenyon and her worms (?) here and there for years. Thanks for the info, and I’ll try and wrap my mind around it.

      I agree about the low-carb seeping into the mainstream. Usually, they say things like “avoid sugar.” If taken to heart, that’s actually good advice even with the grains and frankenoils intact.

      • Cynthia on December 9, 2009 at 18:20

        Actually it was this report: The authors didn’t particularly bash the diet but stated that this complication was probably rare and precipitated by unknown triggers. In this case, the guy was eating less than 15 g carbs a day and had 4 alcoholic drinks the previous evening (not part of the diet of course), and he’d lost 16 lbs in the previous 3 weeks. They also said he had high levels of glucagon which gave him high blood glucose (267 mg/dl). So it was bona fide ketoacidosis, but it resolved quickly with no aftereffects. Maybe it was the alcohol that screwed up his liver function temporarily.

        By the way, the link to the Kenyon article is: (Sorry no full text yet.)

        Thanks for the kudos on our blog. (I had a bunch more to say in response to Don, but never quite got it out.) We’re really backed up with posts right now (blog constipation?). Will try to catch up over the holidays…

  7. David on December 9, 2009 at 07:17

    I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 24 years ago. I had a visit with an ADA trained counselor at the time and again about 5 years ago. Both recommended the standard ADA diet of a set number of servings of carbohydrates per day based on my weight. I had been eating so many carbs that, initially, the 50% of diet = carbs was actually a reduction so my sugars improved for a while. I got worse over the years. Last January I went very low-carb and I have been able to drop the three diabetes meds I was on (including three injections a day). The dieticians have closed ears. As for keytones, I quote from Guyton & Hall’s Textbook of Medical Physiology:

    “On changing slowly from a carbohydrate diet to an almost completely fat diet, a person’s body adapts to the use of far more acetoacetic acid than usual, and in this instance, ketosis does not occur. For instance, the Eskimos, who sometimes live almost entirely on a fat diet, do not develop ketosis. Undoubtedly several factors enhance the rate of acetoacetic acid metabolism by the cells. Even the brain cells, which normally derive almost all their energy from glucose, after a few weeks can derive 50 to 75 per cent of their energy from fats.”

    Of course, the other 50 to 25% can come via gluconeogenesis.

  8. ken on December 9, 2009 at 10:24

    Spot on! As a massage therapist and, soon to be, nursing student, I come under constant assault from those espousing the Keynes ideology. The fact that the first thing many say is “Wow, you look great/are getting really strong/ have great skin”, seems to have no effect on comment #2, “Oh, that low carb stuff is really bad!”
    the worst is piling up tons of studies and having them ignored out of contempt prior to investigation by people who constantly bitch about their health.. I used to weigh 353# and am now 200ish#, but that seems not to be good enough evidence to give a new way a try.
    Keep it up, potty mouth :), your efforts are much appreciated.

    • rob on December 10, 2009 at 10:02

      I think it was a mistake that you said “Keynes Ideology”. However it was hilarious to me since he is another man that has caused great economic harm with his fallacious ideas. While Keys causes physical harm with his dietary nonsense.

  9. Aaron Blaisdell on December 9, 2009 at 11:17

    Those poor Hadza and their chronic osmotic dieresis. I wish somebody would do something. Where’s Sally Struthers to dump 100 tons of HFCS and frankenfat-laden canned foods on them when they need it most?

    Now that I’m mostly in ketosis, I really enjoy my semi-monthly 24-hour fasts. Did one yesterday accidentally (with extra-powerful workout, too) and felt very refreshed.

  10. Chris on December 9, 2009 at 11:35

    It’s a good thing I passed on conventional wisdom and went primal. New update, Richard – I passed the century mark – total weight loss is now 101 lbs. Next goal is another 50 by 6/30/10. Hee haw!

  11. man_is_obsolete on December 9, 2009 at 13:21

    “[low-carb] is… absolutely, unequivocally essential for diabetics.”

    There are a number of doctors that claim outstanding results in curing type 2 diabetes (and greatly reducing type 1 diabetics’ need for insulin) with a whole foods, mostly vegan diet. The most well-known is probably Joel Fuhrman. His (private) forums are very active (10k members, 22k threads) with people who have had dramatic improvements in their health, including the reversal of type 2 diabetes and all the other common health problems.

    To reverse disease, he uses a diet very low in grains, extremely high in non-starchy vegetables, high in low-sugar fruit, high in legumes, high in raw nuts and seeds, very low in oils, very low in animal products.

    • ken on December 9, 2009 at 13:31

      How are high quality animal products, that humans have been eating for hundreds of thousands of years, a contributor to disease?

      • man_is_obsolete on December 9, 2009 at 13:54

        Beats me. Ask somebody that promotes a vegan diet.

      • Nige on December 9, 2009 at 14:05

        I think that Fuhrman minimising the consumption of animal products is purely down to a vegan agenda rather than a suggestion that animal products contribute to disease. Given adequate Vitamin B12 and long-chain omega-3 fats and calcium and iron and iodine and zinc and…., a vegan diet can be healthy.

      • ken on December 9, 2009 at 19:10

        fair enough. Coming from Portland, Or there are plenty veg/vegans for reasons of ideology.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 10, 2009 at 10:16

      OK, granted. I even blogged about a 30-day raw vegan cure for diabetes.

      I’d question whether it’s a truly sustainable approach for optimal health for very many. The cool thing about paleo is you can design a diet that works perfect for you, without having to feel denied.

  12. Monica Hughes on December 9, 2009 at 14:52

    SOYJOY…. omg.

    Fantastic, Richard.

  13. Steve Cooksey on December 9, 2009 at 15:35

    I as an OBESE DIABETIC who was taking 4 insulin shots a day and pills for high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes… my list of ailments is much longer but I will stop here.

    TODAY I am 75+ lbs lighter, I take NO MEDS and NO SHOTS! I believe this is due to my Very Low Carb & Gluten Free diet.

    My blood boils at the pompous condescending attitude of many “registered dietitians”…. I will step off my soapbox for now.

    I applaud your post, your blog and your efforts to educate and entertain.


    • ken on December 9, 2009 at 19:11

      keep up the good work. I lost 150# in my teens and it has been rewarding to be free of that shell

    • Richard Nikoley on December 10, 2009 at 09:45

      Steve has kindly emailed me his whole captivating story that will be part of a follow-on post to this focussing on diabetes.

  14. O Primitivo on December 11, 2009 at 02:06

    Dear Richard, excelent post. All these health experts and institutions have strong links to industry groups, who obviously want some return from their sponsoring money. Most of the time, it’s all about the money and self promotion, not about helping other people who really need it. You have to take your own health into your hands, do your own research, never expected other to do this for you. “Lift the Veil report: Professional associations, charities, and industry front groups.” –

  15. hj on December 10, 2009 at 22:26

    I got to this blog via a relative on Facebook.

    While I don’t have too much in weight related problems, I do have close relatives that do. I’ve read Atkins and a lot of other alternative dieting solutions, but when I try to talk to our local doctors about them they are not interested.

    Like most politicians. Most doctors, dentist’s and dietician’s, would appear to have a vested interest in keeping you coming back “MONEY” for minimum effort. Only a small percentage are really interested in your health. But the whole blame cannot be put on their shoulders as to many people are reluctant to make an effort to solve their problems themselves and expect a pill or an “Expert” to do it for them.

    Cause if politicians, doctors, dietician’s and dentist’s got their act together and helped/promoted people to have a healthier lifestyle, the need for doctor’s, dentist’s and dieticians could probably be reduced, Ah that means less job’s for them, or more competition !!! which might weed out those that don’t make their very best effort to help patients.

    I can dream, can’t I.

  16. Go Theory To Practice, and read this link, and then go here… « The Paleo Garden on December 11, 2009 at 02:12

    […] post was in turn inspired by probably Richard’s greatest piece of writing yet on Free The Animal (as Uncle Lew notes he didn’t even have to say “fuck” once, kinda like Eddie […]

  17. Two ADAs: Same Awful Advice | Free The Animal on December 11, 2009 at 09:42

    […] This is a sort of follow-on to my recent post on registered dietitians. […]

  18. Rick Lucas on December 13, 2009 at 08:11

    The link above to “their sponsors” no longer has the corporate logos but says “Page has been moved”. They conveniently omitted a link to the new corp sponsor page. I dug it up:

    Interesting coincidence, eh?

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