Lessons learned from the 2012 Low-carb Cruise

I just returned from Jimmy Moore's Low-carb Cruise, a 7-day excursion to Jamaica, Grand Cayman Island, and Cozumel aboard the Carnival Magic. During our 7 wonderful days, a number of authors and experts spoke, each offering their unique perspective on the low-carb world. The focus was the science, experience, and practical application of low-carbohydrate diets.

The event kicked off with a roast by Tom Naughton of Fat Head fame, who entertained with his insightful low-carb humor and predictions of my demise at the hands of Monsanto!

Among the most important lessons provided:

Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt of the Diet Doctor blog discussed how Sweden is leading the world as the nation with the most vigorous low-carbohydrate following, witnessing incredible weight loss and reversal of carbohydrate-related diseases way ahead of the U.S. experience. I spent several hours with Dr. Eenfeldt who, besides being an engaging speaker, is a new father and an all-around gentleman. At 6 ft, 7 inches, he also towered high above all of us.

Dr. Eric Westman of Duke University and author of The New Atkins for a New You, debunked low-carbohydrate myths, such as "low-carb diets are high-protein diets that make your kidneys explode."

Dr. John Briffa, creator of the popular blog, Dr. John Briffa: A Good Look at Good Health, and author of the wonderfully straightforward primer to low-carbohydrate eating, Escape the Diet Trap, stressed the importance of never allowing hunger to rule behavior. Dr. Briffa's serious writing tone conceals an incredible charm and wit that took me by surprise, having spent several thoroughly engaging hours over breakfast, lunch, and dinner with him over the week.

Fred Hahn, exercise expert, founder of Serious Strength and author of Slow Burn Fitness Revolution and Strong Kids, Healthy Kids, debunked a number of trendy exercise methods, boiling many of the purported benefits of exercise down to that of increased strength.

Dr. Chris Masterjohn of The Daily Lipid and supporter of the Weston A. Price Foundation program, provided a comprehensive overview of the data that fails to link saturated fat with heart disease. He also helped me understand the analytical techniques used in studies of advanced glycation end-products.

Denise Minger, brilliant young usurper of China Study dogma and blogger at Raw Foods SOS, proved an engaging speaker and a truly real person (since some critics of her analyses have actually questioned whether there was even such a person!). She also proved every bit as likable as she seems in her captivating blog discussions.

Dr. Jeff Volek, prolific researcher from University of Connecticut, author of over 200 studies validating low-carbohydrate diet effects, and author of the recently released book with Dr. Stephen Phinney, The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, debunked myths behind carbohydrate dependence and "loading" by athletes. He also talked about how assessing blood ketones may be the gold standard method to ensure low-grade ketosis on a long-term low-carb effort.

Over a bottle of wine, Jimmy Moore and I reminisced over how his modest start with no experience in blogging or media has now ballooned to an audience of over 100,000 readers/viewers.

All in all, Jimmy's Low-carb Cruise experience was worth every minute, with many wonderful lessons and memories!

Comments (13) -

  • Gene K

    5/15/2012 2:51:56 PM |

    It is unfortunate that Dr Jack Kruse had to miss the cruise due to a twitter incident, but he published his intended keynote in his blog (http://jackkruse.com/ct-12-getting-back-on-board-with-my-message/). It would be extremely interesting to see Dr Kruse's program adopted by the broad low-carb community and especially in the TYP program.
    Dr Davis, would you recommend Dr Kruse's Leptin Rx and cold adaptation program to your patients? Was it in any way discussed on the cruise in the absence of Dr Kruse?

  • Kelly

    5/16/2012 8:48:05 PM |

    Did you give Jimmy Moore any tips on his inability to stop gaining weight no matter how low carb he goes? It is just frightening to think that this can happen to even the most staunch and informed low carber.

  • Will

    5/17/2012 8:37:03 PM |

    Hi Doc,

    Just heard the tail end of a story on the BBC this morning where a researcher from Oxford Univ. was recommending that everyone in the U.K. over the age of 50 be put on a statin as a prophylactic measure - arguing that based on all relevant research, the rewards dramatically outweighed the risks.  Any thoughts?

  • HDL

    5/18/2012 1:59:07 AM |

    "Good" HDL cholesterol may not protect heart after all, study suggests:

    Doubt Cast on the ‘Good’ in ‘Good Cholesterol’:

  • Pam Parins Fisher

    5/21/2012 6:45:43 PM |

    This recipe is a filling and nutricious breakfast and you would never know you are eating low carb.

    Pam's Veggie Skillet Breakfast for Two

    1 Bunch of Asperagarus cut into 1-2 inch pieces
    1 Large red, green or yellow pepper or 3-4 small peppers diced into 1 inch pieces
    1 bunch green onions thinly sliced
    2 cloves garlic
    3 small partially cooked and diced red potatoes (or leave out if you have a very restricted carb intake or add more if you can tolerate more carbs)
    1 TBL apple cider vinegar
    3-6 eggs
    1 TBL Grape Seed Oil
    1TBL Olive Oil
    Sea Salt and Pepper

    Saute all the vegetales in a 12 inch skillet for three to five minutes with the Grape Seed Oil.  Add sea salt and pepper.  Do not over cook the veggies as they will continue to steam witth the eggs.  Add 3 to 6 eggs to the top of the vegetable bed being carefull not to break the yolk.  The trick is to gently lay the egg on top of the vegetables.  Cover the pan and let the veggies and eggs steam together until the eggs are done to your liking.  This is usually about three to five minutes for a softer egg that mixes well into the vegetable bed.  

    Serve on plates and add more salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with the apple cider vinegar and olive oil.

  • Jillian Mckee

    5/24/2012 6:30:28 PM |


    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?


  • jpatti

    5/31/2012 3:41:37 PM |

    Sounds yummy, though I'd replace the grapeseed oil with coconut oil.  

    A cup of grapeseed oil has 218 mg Omega-3 fatty acids and 151708 mg Omega-6, so is a pretty bad oil to use if you value your heart health.  Most of your veggie oils are this way, WAY too much omega 6 for heart health.

    I'd insist on pastured eggs (for nutrition) and freshly ground black pepper (for taste).  

    Also, this sort of thing, you don't need a recipe, this much of that veggie, this much of the other.  Basically, just whatever you have leftover in your fridge is good.  I'd need an allium of some sort (onion, shallot, scallion), but otherwise... chop and throw into a skillet whatever you've got hanging about or leftover.

    The big trick with fresh produce is using it up before it goes bad, and this is a great recipe to use stuff up with.

  • jpatti

    5/31/2012 3:51:32 PM |

    I don't know enough modern biochemistry to follow the logic of the letpin reset and haven't researched the cold stuff enough to have formed an opinion yet.

    But about HIM - Google for his TED talk, where he claims to have gained 20 lbs on purpose, gone for plastic surgery to remove it, and injected himself with MRSA prior to the surgery, but it was all OK cause he soaked in a tub of ice water for hours afterwards.  

    There may be something to his ideas, but... his behavior at that talk did not elicit respect for his ideas.

  • Dr. Davis

    6/1/2012 1:00:44 AM |

    Thanks for posting, Pam!

  • Chris Buck

    6/4/2012 3:01:08 PM |

    On the other hand:

    Low levels of HDL cholesterol lead to an increased death rate
    This study was published in the Journal of Lipid Research 2012 Feb;53(2):266-72

    Study title and author:
    Fifty-three year follow-up of coronary heart disease versus HDL2 and other lipoproteins in Gofman's Livermore Cohort.
    Williams PT.
    Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. ptwilliams@lbl.gov

    This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22128321

    This study assessed the relationship of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels with total death rates and heart disease death rates. The study lasted for 53 years and included 1,905 men.

    HDL cholesterol is made of HDL 2 and HDL 3. HDL 2 is larger than HDL 3.

    After analysing 53 years of data the study found:
    (a) Those with the lowest HDL 2 cholesterol had a 22% increase in total death rates.
    (b) Those with the lowest HDL 2 cholesterol had a 63% increase in total heart disease death rates.
    (c) Those with the lowest HDL 2 cholesterol had a 117% increase in premature heart disease death rates.
    (d) Those with the lowest HDL 3 cholesterol had a 28% increase in total heart disease death rates.
    (e) Those with the lowest HDL 3 cholesterol had a 71% increase in premature heart disease death rates.

    The results of the study show that low levels of HDL cholesterol, especially HDL 2 cholesterol, are associated with higher total death rates and higher death rates from heart disease.

    The best dietary way to raise HDL cholesterol levels is to eat a diet high in saturated fat. See here.

  • v

    6/6/2012 1:13:49 AM |

    since i don't see ferritin, iron stores, or transferrin in your index, i'm going to assume you don't buy into the hypothesis that high iron stores in men can lead to CVD.  please correct me if i'm wrong.

  • Gene K

    6/10/2012 8:21:55 PM |

    My focus is strictly on his ideas and how they change lives of other people when they follow his example and advice. While some people may see his behavior negatively, I respect him for taking time to reply to every single comment to his blog posts, of which he receives many hundred per post.
    I don't have a background to reason about Dr Kruse's conclusions and recommendations, but given that they are mostly consistent with the recommendations of other unorthodox doctors such as Dr Davis and Dr Eades who I trust, and go further extending those recommendations, and given that I have been following these recommendations with good consistent results, I don't need to worry about Dr Kruses's behavior when he has to deal with detractors.

  • jpatti

    6/15/2012 1:59:06 AM |

    I don't care about his detractors particularly either; I'm not a member of the Paleo community and haven't been a member of the low-carb community for some time, so have no horse in this race.

    However, his behavior in that video is pretty irrational; I don't need a detractor to tell me this; my own judgment is that messing with MRSA is just flatout STUPID.

    Dr. Davis and both of the Dr. Eades differ from Dr. Kruse in that they haven't behaved like stark raving lunatics.  I don't agree with everything they say, but respect them and have learned a lot from them, and from other sources as well.

    I've read Dr. Kruse's ideas, and as I said, I've not researched them.  They may well be valid as I haven't spent the time on PubMed to figure it out.  Similarly, I haven't researched the ideas of the folks who hang out at the Philly Amtrak station talking to invisible people.

    I can't spend my life researching, as I have to eat, sleep, exercise, talk to my husband, pet my cats, work in my garden, go to the Farmer's Market, etc.  So there must be some method of determining what to look into in depth and what to ignore; watching Dr. Kruse deliver his TED talk limited my interest in further researching his ideas.

    If his ideas ARE valid, his behavior is not earning them a hearing from me.