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Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet Guru Barry Groves, 77, Passes Away


1936-2013

When Oxfordshire Cotswolds native Dr. Barry Groves and his wife Monica decided to start on a low-carb, high-fat diet beginning in 1962, all of his friends and family thought he was crazy. But when this nutritional scientist Ph.D. lost weight and greatly improved his health by eating supposedly-forbidden foods like butter, full fat meats and cheeses and lard while eschewing blood sugar-spiking carbage foods like bread, pasta and rice, Dr. Groves was the one who had the last laugh. It allowed him to live a long and healthy robust life with over a half century of enjoyable low-carb, high-fat living as one of the UK’s strongest advocates for this healthy lifestyle change. Dr. Groves passed away last night, April 29, 2013 at the age of 77.

Interestingly, while I’ve been away writing my book Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers? I have been running some classic episodes of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” on Wednesdays. It turns out one of the former interviews I featured just a few weeks back was with none other than Dr. Barry Groves in Episode 669. If you want to hear from one of the most passionate low-carb, high-fat advocates who ever lived, then take a listen to that LLVLC Classic interview where he shares his story about how he found this way of eating and how it motivated him to do research into why it works while living it for himself.

I actually received a personal e-mail back from Dr. Groves on February 8, 2013 after I requested an interview with him for my cholesterol book. Here was his response in typical Groves fashion:

You gotta love the sensibility on issues like cholesterol that man possessed! I only hate I never got to do that interview with him which would have been awesome for my book. But his information-packed “Second Opinions” web site contains a wealth of knowledge and wisdom on a wide variety of health topics. Hopefully they keep the archives up to serve as a resource to the future generations who desperately need to heed this information in the years to come. Dr. Groves wrote three incredible books on the low-carb, high-fat way of eating in the past decade you should check out:

  • Natural Health & Weight Loss
  • Trick And Treat: How ‘Healthy Eating’ Is Making Us Ill
  • Eat Fat Get Thin: Eat as Much as You Like And Still Lose Weight

    If you never got to see Dr. Groves speak, he had quite the way with words. Watch these videos to catch a glimpse of what I mean:

    WISE TRADITIONS LONDON 2010 LECTURE

    http://vimeo.com/10533993

    WHY YOU CAN’T COUNT CALORIES

    http://youtu.be/ahq9gSfDJFc

    Rest in peace Dr. Barry Groves. You were a true champion for the low-carb, high-fat way of eating that has so radically altered the weight and health of many of us who have struggled on all the conventional wisdom advice we had been taught our entire lives. You are an international hero and a dietary legend and will never be forgotten for your contributions to this world. May God’s comfort be with Monica and the rest of the family during this time our mourning. Leave your tribute comments about Dr. Groves at his Facebook page or sending a private message for Monica to read at barrygroves@tiscali.co.uk.

    5-1-13 UPDATE: I cannot tell you how disappointing it has been to hear so much negativity from people in the low-carb/Paleo community about this tragic loss of a great leader in the low-carb, high-fat world. I expect this from the vegans, but this kind of thing from our people is reprehensible! Dr. Groves deserves better than this from people in this community. Many have asked what the cause of death was and as of right now that has not yet been determined. But before jumping to any conclusions about whether his diet played any role at all in why he died, why don’t we let the family grieve first and instead celebrate the life of this great man who contributed so much to this cause? A reader who is a family doctor in the United States sent me an email that summarizes exactly how I feel about all of this right now:

    Jimmy,

    Nice post on Barry Groves. My father died at 92 despite eating a somewhat typical American diet. My mother is 95 (she has dementia) and is still going fairly strong. She ate fairly well but it certainly wasn’t Paleo. Groves died at 77 and you didn’t mention the cause of death. To be honest, I don’t really care. He lived a long and principled life and that’s what counts.

    I think we need to be clear about one thing–eating a low-carb, high-fat diet does not guarantee a long life. There are too many other variables in play–for example genes or the unforeseen lightening strike. One thing I have seen in my patients is that patients who follow this type of healthy diet tend to live life to the fullest until their last breath. They don’t spend decades in disability because of their chronic medical problems. We don’t choose length of life–that’s up to the man upstairs. We do control the quality of our lives and you are a master at this game.

    Let’s celebrate the extremely high quality of Dr. Groves’ life. After all, we are all headed in the same direction. It’s not the end that counts–it’s the beauty of the pathway that we take to get there.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself! RIP Dr. Barry Groves.

    • Danny Albers

      Very sad….

    • http://twitter.com/lotharmat Mat Cooke

      RIP Barry – You were a legend who has left a lasting legacy and will have lengthened the lives of many who followed in your footsteps!

      Condolences to Monica. A very sad day.

    • George Henderson

      Love Barry Groves, his books often touch on areas other’s don’t; his discussion of Atwater ratios in Trick and Treat, for example, was eye-opening. He will be missed, hopefully more people will read his books.

    • Michael Sherman

      Bummer. What was the cause of death?

      • LLVLCBlog

        Not yet determined.

        • Rick Stewart

          Any word yet Jimmy?

    • lowcarbdiabetic

      More on Barry

      CHAMPION archer Barry Groves has retired from national competition after 21 years at the top of his game.
      Groves, now aged 71, won his last title at the National Flight Archery Championships in North Yorkshire last weekend, and he has now decided to call it a day. Flight archery differs from the better-known target archery with competitors trying to fire their arrows the furthest possible distance. Groves won his last event by firing an arrow 857 yards – almost half a mile! He took up the sport at the age of 46 after leaving the RAF in 1982.
      In 25 years of competition, he has been a world champion six times and broken five world records. He’s also been a British champion every year since 1987 with 22 British records. Groves says the decision to retire was a difficult one, but was mainly down to the travelling involved.

      http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/1643347.print/

      RIP Barry you helped countless people.

      Eddie

    • Bill Jones

      Barry has been one of my “Gurus” for more than 7 years. Jimmy, how did you find out about his death? There’s no news I can find on this.

      Do you know the cause of death? I’m sure that Barry being the outspoken pragmatist he was, would want it to be known.

      He will be so missed. A totally genuine bloke. Monica will be devastated. I hope she can carry on doing his good work in his memory in some way. That would be the best tribute.

      As he states on his facebook page, he was a fellow devout atheist. He was on my list of people I would like to meet and discuss many topics over a glass or three of wine. I hope they have a really good celebration of his life and don’t mourn too much. He made a difference to peoples lives.
      I raise my glass to an exceptional man! Cheers Barry!

      • LLVLCBlog

        I have a source close to him who let me know. COD has not yet been determined.

    • Zephir1

      I was completely saddened to hear of this news, Jimmy. Dr. Groves had actually written to me with regard to a question (last year) I had about substituting whey shakes (with coconut oil in them) for meal replacements. I was really not losing weight & becoming desperate and thought (hesitantly ) to resort to this. But specifically because I trusted Dr. Grove’s lifetime expertise on this subject, I did not do the whey-replacement- for- two- meals-per day-thing.

      Rather, I read his words carefully, giggled over some points in his very caring email and humbly accepted “the truth”. I knew this truth for years and I guess I was trying to find a way out of metabolic resistance….but instead, I got Dr. Grove’s wise words.

      It turns out, as you know, I’ve been losing weight (20 lbs. since that letter) & a good deal of “outer-inches”. :)

      I am pasting his letter below, so that if any other ladies or gentlemen (especially ladies who are facing weight-loss resistance) are considering using meal replacements as a main meal, here is Dr. Groves advice. I think he would be pleased that I get this out. :) May God continue to Bless you! :)

      Sincerely,

      Mary/Zephir

      From: barrygroves@tiscali.co.uk
      To: mary_lee_fultz@hotmail.com
      Subject: Re: A message from your contact form
      Date: Tue, 27 Sep 2011 14:14:49 +0100

      Dear Mary

      Thank you for your kind comments.

      I believe that isolated proteins such as whey protein, is not a suitable food for health. I would recommend three ‘normal’ meals a day, based on meat, fish, eggs, cheese, etc, with their fat or, if lean, with added fat from animal sources – butter, lard, beef tallow, cream, etc.

      Try to keep your food as natural and as unprocessed as possible.

      As you are a fan of eggs, perhaps you could live the same way as a fellow countryman of yours, Lord Strathcona.

      Lord Strathcona – the Donald Smith of Mount Sir Donald, Smith’s Landing, and countless towns and natural features throughout Canada – was not only one of the richest men in the British Empire, he was Canada’s High Commissioner in London in the late 19th and early 20th century. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, in his autobiography, Discovery, gives a detailed account of Lord Strathcona’s dietary habits which illustrate well how a re-stricted diet can be eminently healthy. After Stefansson had told Lord Strathcona what he had learned from the Eskimos, His Lordship told Stefansson that years ago in Canada he had begun a regimen all his own. He told how he had begun to wonder why, since he liked some things better than others, he should bother to eat something different on one day when he had liked what he had eaten the previous day better. ‘This led,’ re-counts Stefansson, ‘to his questioning what he really did like and, when he got the answer, eating nothing else – eggs, milk, and butter.’ Stefansson was frequently a guest at Lord Strathcona’s home in Grosvenor Square, and so had plenty of opportunity to observe him. He wrote: ‘Strathcona, a broad shouldered man taller than six feet, would be seated at one end of the long table, Lady Strathcona at the other. As course after course was served to the rest of us, he would converse, drinking a sip or two of each wine as it was poured. Sometime during the middle of the dinner, his tray was brought: several medium soft boiled eggs broken into a large bowl, with plenty of butter and with extra butter in a side dish, and, I believe, a quart of whole milk, or perhaps half and half.’
      Lord Strathcona must have been doing something right because he lived entirely healthily to the ripe old age of 93.

      I hope that helps

      best wishes

      Barry Groves, PhD
      Author: Trick and Treat: how ‘healthy eating’ is making us ill
      Natural Health and Weight Loss
      Co-producer: Be Slim Without Dieting (Video / DVD)
      http://www.second-opinions.co.uk
      http://www.diabetes-diet.org.uk
      http://www.cholesterol-and-health.org.uk

    • Amanda Turner

      That’s really sad news. Barry invited my husband and myself to his house in Oxfordshire a few years back and we had a lovely meal and several hours very interesting conversation. I have read all his books and Trick and Treat is a masterpiece. I read it all the way through in one sitting (which took a while!) and then bought extra copies to give away to friends. Condolences to Monica and his family.

    • http://archaeonova.blogspot.com.au/ Lifextension

      A brilliant man. His passing is such a shock.

    • http://twitter.com/LowCarbRD Franziska Spritzler

      Thank you, Jimmy. Just saw him on “Statin Nation.” Very sad news :(

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fredrick-Hahn/633467863 Fredrick Hahn

      So sad to hear. We had a brief email excahnge between 2008 and 2009 and he was very gracious and generous with his time. He tried to help me understand certain issues and never once said “Fred, I no longer have time for this exchange” and lord knows how irritating I can be.

      He said:

      “My philosophy is: Give the body the right tools and it will look after itself. That way, doctors would only be needed for emergencies and accidents and we could all save a heck of a lot of money and resources that are largely wasted today, and which allow us to be preyed on by the large and avaricious ‘health industry’.

      Regards,
      Barry”

      Smart man – and generous and kind to boot. I’m sorry I never had the chance to meet him.

      RIP Barry.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rebecca-Skvorc-Latham/1605636635 Rebecca Skvorc Latham

      HI, Jimmy! It has been almost 16 years since I lost my daughter. Even now, when someone I meet finds this out, the first question they ask is, “How did she die?” I am not disappointed by this. I think it is just part of human nature to wonder. I don’t think that his friends or admirers are trying to find fault of any kind. I think only well of Barry Groves, who once sent me a very nice email in response to a question I asked him. I also am curious about the cause of his death and I hope that you and others will not think badly of me for that.

      As for the people who, shall we say, did not “wish him well,” they, no doubt, have other reasons for wanting to find out the cause of his death. I’m sure that they would love to lump him together with Dr. Atkins and claim that he died of his own diet, rather than because of an accident, as was the case with Dr. Atkins. It’s probably not too far off the mark to think that they have an ulterior motive behind their question, but I doubt that there is the same motive within the group of people who admired and respected him and his nutrition choices and counsel. At least, I lean toward giving them the benefit of the doubt on that point.

      Fondly,

      Rebecca

    • http://www.facebook.com/Nikola.Anne.Howard Nikola Howard

      Oh, this is very sad. But, no one lives forever… At least not physically. Dr Groves’ work will certainly live on!

      I had the privilege to meet Barry and Monica in the early 2000′s, at a couple of LCUK barbecues; one at Joanne’s house and the next at his home in Oxfordshire. He was amazing, knowledgeable and so helpful when I was researching to create LCUK (http://www.low-carb.org.uk)

      My heart goes out to Monica.

      Nikki

    • Jason Groves

      Barry Groves was my Uncle and the sudden death of my father Richard Groves age 75 , 6 days earlier probably didn’t help , i’m led to believe both deaths were possibly hereditary as their father died young but both brothers passed suddenly and in our case unexpectedly but peacefully enjoying life until the very end .

      Both my father and my Uncle Barry were physically and mentally strong and I believe that was down to their diets of the high fats , proteins and low carbs . I believe in the philosophy as its the only way I can lose weight and feel good in myself and anybody who is sceptical and hasn’t tried that way of life need to respect the tragic loss of two great gentlemen who will be sadly missed by all that had the pleasure to meet them .

      Somethings in life no matter what we do are simply out of our hands .

      • LLVLCBlog

        Thank you Jason and I’m sorry for your losses.

        • Jason Groves

          Thank you .

    • Andrew Walton

      RIP Barry Groves. Great man who made time to respond to all of his emails and who was brave enough to speak about his principles in an extremely indoctrinated, misdirected society. My whole way of thinking was turned on its head after reading his Trick or Treat book and I’ve never felt better. Let’s hope followers of his work pick up the baton and continue to challenge mainstream views health, diet and wellbeing.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Haven’t heard anything directly about it. But trolls will circle like vultures regardless of what you say. Ignore them.

      • deb

        They are saying it was cancer, but no idea if they just picked up the fact he had cancer previously… If it was cancer and it wasn’t totally beat in his earlier life then I think it’s amazing he survived so long anyway! Certainly has not put me off high fat but I wish the true facts would come out to stop these veggies blowing it all out of proportion with speculation. After all, it doesn’t matter what the true facts are after lies has been circulated for so long…. It will be an uphill battle to get the truth out after so long. We still get veggies saying Atkins was overweight when he died and that he died of a heart attack, even though the facts came out. The vitriol these veggies come out with, especially against Jimmy himself also), I just can’t believe it.

    • LeViis Haney

      RIP to Dr. Barry Groves. Through your research, I learned to stop feeling sorry for myself because of my diagnosis of diabetes, but to embrace a better lifestyle for myself. Through his websites and books, I changed my life, lost 50 lbs, totally reshaped my body, and keep my A1C levels at 5.2, the level of normal folks. Best of all, I don’t feel like I have a “condition.” I eat fat, I’m happy, and I’ve shared my knowledge with others and have affected their lives too. Thanks so much for your work; words can’t express what impact that your work had on me. I’m so grateful that you shared it with us. I hope to live a full life as you did.