Find out who the biggest “movers” and “shakers” in low-carb were this year
It’s that time of the year yet again when I name my annual “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” Top 10 Low-Carb Movers & Shakers. These are the most influential, news-making, momentum changers from within the low-carb community who are spreading our message louder and further into the mainstream of the nutritional and health communities as we attempt to penetrate the culture with the truths we have discovered for ourselves about healthy high-fat, low-carb living. We’ve seen great strides happening on the research front, from medical doctors, and fresh voices of reason from around the world articulating why this way of eating is so preferred and I’m happy to announce to you the top 10 low-carb movers and shakers of 2009 (see who got named in 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005):
1. GARY TAUBES
How can you NOT put Gary Taubes on a list of the year’s biggest “movers & shakers” on behalf of the low-carb lifestyle? Ever since his monumental New York Times Magazine op-ed piece “What if It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?” was published in July 2002 igniting a whirlwind of interest in healthy low-carb living among an ever-growing number of overweight and diseased Americans, the man has been a true champion of this cause sharing so eloquently and brilliantly within the mainstream of the medical community the science behind why carbohydrate restriction works and is so incredibly effective in bringing about improvements in the weight and health of those who do it. When he released his blockbuster 600-page masterpiece Good Calories, Bad Calories in 2007 continuing the conversation he had started in his original column, I have probably heard from more people who say that single book changed their thinking on nutrition more than any other publication out there! From my many podcast interview guests to well-known health experts to even average, everyday people just living their lives, Gary Taubes (listen to my January 2009 interview with him) has been a source of invaluable information and education like no one else in the low-carb community (check out this video/slide presentation of his June 2009 Dartmouth-Hitchcock lecture called “Adiposity 101 and the Alternative Hypothesis of Obesity). He is a true ambassador for livin’ la vida low-carb that I am privileged to name here among this list of prestigious supporters of the high-fat, low-carb nutritional approach. The ripple effects that Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories will have on the entire health establishment can’t help but be felt for many more decades to come.
2. DRS. MIKE & MARY DAN EADES
The most dynamic husband/wife duo promoting a high-fat, low-carb diet in 2009 was once again two of my favorite people within the low-carb community — Protein Power authors Drs. Mike and Mary Dan Eades! From Dr. Mike’s always engaging and entertaining “Health and Nutrition” blog to Dr. Mary Dan’s deliciously satisfying low-carb recipes blog, they are a perfect one-two punch for people interested in healthy low-carb living. And if you haven’t caught their fabulous PBS television show Low Carb Cookworx yet, then you don’t know what you’re missing! In 2009, their brand new low-carb book The 6-Week Cure For The Middle-Aged Middle: The Simple Plan to Flatten Your Belly Fast! was slated for a March release, but their publisher pushed it back until September because of the downturn in the economy. Better late than never, though, as the Crown Publishing release has sold steadily well so far heading into the Christmas holidays and into New Year’s resolution time in a couple of months. Listen to my September 2009 podcast interview with the Eades to hear just a taste of why they yet again made this list of the most influential low-carbers of the year! We can always expect consistency and a healthy defense of the low-carb way of life from Drs. Mike and Mary Dan Eades.
3. NORA GEDGAUDAS
A brand new voice added to this year’s list of the best low-carb representatives of 2009 is none other than Nora Gedgaudas, author of a February 2009 book on paleolithic low-carb nutrition entitled Primal Body-Primal Mind: Empower Your Total Health The Way Evolution Intended (…And Didn’t). Nora infuses a very distinctive professionalism and knowledge about the benefits of high-fat, low-carb eating into the public discourse through her outstanding Voice of America radio show called “Primal Body-Primal Mind” (listen to Nora’s interview with me in September 2009). And I got a firsthand taste of this myself when I interviewed her on my podcast show in October 2009. I’m always amazed by the fresh, new faces who seem to just pop up on the low-carb scene out of nowhere each year and Nora Gedgaudas was certainly one of the biggest (and most pleasant!) surprises of 2009!
4. DR. RICHARD BERNSTEIN
There are very few legends of the healthy low-carb lifestyle still with us today, but none is bigger and still making such a monumental impact on the lives of real people like the great Dr. Richard Bernstein. Well known for his work on behalf of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes patients using a low-carb nutritional approach to bring about normal blood sugar control, Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution: The Complete Guide to Achieving Normal Blood Sugars is THE go-to guide for people dealing with an adverse reaction to carbohydrates on their health. You could hear during my June 2009 podcast interview with the 75-year-old stalwart Dr. Bernstein that he feels like the work he has done for nearly six decades has only had a minimal effect on changing the hearts and minds of those who suffer from the debilitating results of living with diabetes. But, as I shared during my interview with Dr. Bernstein, he’s playing a much more profound role than he even realizes, including people like Dr. Stan De Loach down in Mexico City who is using the Bernstein low-carb principles to manage diabetes among the clients he sees, especially the younger generation who are already dealing with obesity and insulin issues. Whether he will ever get to see it or not, Dr. Richard Bernstein has, is, and will forever be known and revered for his major contributions to the healthy low-carb lifestyle. We all owe this man a great deal of gratitude for his incredible work on behalf of low-carb and he belongs among names like William Banting and Dr. Robert C. Atkins as the most influential for livin’ la vida low-carb of all time!
5. DEON VAN DER MERWE
Nothing speaks louder volumes about the life-changing impact of healthy low-carb living than an unbelievable weight loss success story. While weight loss is certainly not the primary objective of livin’ la vida low-carb, it certainly is a very nice side effect that captures the attention of people to get them interested in trying this awesome way of eating for themselves. Just as my own 180-pound weight loss success on the Atkins diet in 2004 attracted a lot of people to begin frequenting my blog and getting interested in trying a low-carb diet for themselves in the United States, South African Deon van der Merwe has done the same thing after losing a total of 170 pounds following the basic principles of low-carb nutrition. Deon’s physical condition was in complete disarray in December 2007 when he weighed in at 375 pounds, experienced a host of health complications, and had the disappointing feeling that he’d have to live that way in the few short years he had left to live. But after trying every diet under the moon, Deon started on the Atkins diet with just a few tweaks of his own here and there and he went on to lose a total of 170 pounds in just seven months. After his weight loss success, he created a web site about his low-carb experience including an outline of sample low-carb menus. In fact, Deon even created an at-home low-carb meals delivery business in South Africa called Diet In A Box to help those with busy lives be able to stick to their low-carb lifestyle with ease. Life is going well for Deon van der Merwe in 2009 as you can hear in my May 2009 interview with him. I can envision many more people like Deon who experience such a dramatic turnaround in their weight and health in the coming years as a direct result of his influence on their lives. That is why he is one of my top “mover & shakers” of 2009.
6. DR. RICHARD FEINMAN
He may not be a household name (yet!), but SUNY Downstate biochemistry professor Dr. Richard Feinman is certainly leaving his indelible mark on behalf of low-carb through his work at The Metabolism Society, a nonprofit health organization providing research, information and education in the application of fundamental science to nutrition which believes that the therapeutic potential of low-carbohydrate diets for the treatment of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease is under-investigated and under-utilized. Whenever I have a question about low-carb that stumps me, I turn to Dr. Feinman to help craft a response, including this question I received from a reader about gluconeogenesis. Plus, there’s nobody better at dissecting those ignorant, poorly-designed studies that come out from time to time than Dr. Feinman as he exemplified with the infamous Sacks calories study in March 2009. Dr. Feinman attracts the best researchers on carbohydrate-restriction in the world to his accompanying scientific journal Nutrition & Metabolism where you can find some of the most cutting-edge science on high-fat, low-carb diets anywhere! Anyone who has met Dr. Feinman will tell you the man is on a mission to share the clear evidence supporting low-carb diets out to as many people as possible, beginning with those skeptical, yet quite impressionable medical school students he teaches in Brooklyn, New York. Read my June 2006 blog interview and listen to both Part 1 and Part 2 of my May 2008 podcast interview with Dr. Richard Feinman to see for yourself why he is such a deserving member of this list of the best low-carb crusaders.
7. DR. DOUG MCGUFF
Another first-timer to the annual “movers & shakers” list of low-carbers making a difference is none other than Dr. Doug McGuff. He released a book called Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week in December 2008 that trumpeted the “super slow” approach to muscle growth in conjunction with a low-carbohdyrate nutritional approach that helps bring about the kind of results people are looking for. And he’s been touring around the country sharing with anyone who will listen why the message he communicates in his book about restricting carbohydrates and exercise is what is needed to bring about the desired changes in physique and weight. Listen to my March 2009 interview with Dr. Doug McGuff and bookmark his “Body By Science” blog to see what this rising low-carb star is up to!
8. DR. JEFF VOLEK
Behind-the-scenes, there’s a LOT going on in the research world supporting low-carb diets. Whether you hear about it in the mainstream press or not, there is solid science happening on behalf of a high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diet by some of the most intelligent people conducting studies on the metabolic impact of this way of eating. And one of the best in the business is Dr. Jeff Volek from The University of Connecticut. This co-author of Men’s Health TNT Diet has worked with another one of our “movers & shakers” Dr. Richard Feinman to connect the dots between low-carb and metabolic syndrome and has presented evidence that more saturated fat in the diet doesn’t lead to higher amounts of saturated fat in the blood. Dr. Volek is going to be around for a very long time trumpeting the low-carb evidence for all the world to hear if they will look at it from an unbiased, open mind. Check out my September 2006 blog interview, this lecture for Atkins Nutritionals that Dr. Volek did with another fantastic low-carb researcher named Dr. Stephen Phinney in 2008 as well as my March 2009 podcast interview with him to see why he is worthy of being among the best of the best low-carbers of 2009.
9. TOM NAUGHTON
Another newbie on the list this year burst on the scene in 2009 as a first-time filmmaker with what what I have dubbed “THE Low-Carb Event of 2009” with the release of his fantastic documentary film entitled FAT HEAD. His name is Tom Naughton and he’s quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the blogging world with his FAT HEAD blog. When Tom’s film finally released in February 2009 well over a year after I first interviewed him at my blog, there was great anticipation that this hilarious little project refuting the claims made in Morgan Spurlock’s critically-acclaimed Supersize Me documentary would provide an excellent introduction to livin’ la vida low-carb for people who would not otherwise read a complex book like Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories. The result has been a phenomenal run maintaining the #1 position among comedy documentaries for the entire year on Amazon.com. WOO HOO! And I could tell when I interviewed him on my podcast show in February 2009 and had the privilege of meeting him in person in October 2009 that this was a man who wanted to use his comedic genius to communicate a very serious message that is so sorely needed in our high-carb, low-fat culture. I’m thrilled to have Tom coming with us on The 3rd Annual Low-Carb Cruise to the Bahamas in March 2010 where he will be showing FAT HEAD along with providing some commentary about how and why he decided to create it. If you are one of the few in the low-carb community who still HASN’T seen this movie, do yourself a favor and get a copy ASAP for yourself and get several extra for friends and family who are skeptical about livin’ la vida low-carb as gifts!
10. DR. ANNIKA DAHLQVIST
Last, but most certainly not least, we don’t often stop and think about the impact that low-carb is making in countries around the world. But high-fat, low-carb diets are making great strides in places like Sweden while the United States and the UK stay stuck on stupid with conventional low-fat diets ruling the roost. We have people like Dr. Annika Dahlqvist to thank for bringing the LCHF (low-carb, high-fat) way of eating into the mainstream overseas. Although the so-called health “experts” tried to run her out of the medical profession, Dr. Dahlqvist is stronger than ever beautifully defending the LCHF lifestyle, instigating an explosion of interest in low-carb in her country, while directly challenging those who want to stick with the status quo regarding nutritional advice. She has inspired people in her country like world-class triathlete Jonas Colting to be bold in his support for livin’ la vida low-carb and is leading a low-carb revolution that I can only dream will happen all around the globe, including in the United States of America, someday. Although you may not be able to read and understand her fabulous Swedish low-carb blog, there is an English version of it that just came online so you can keep up with one of the biggest international low-carb heroes!
Honorable mentions: DR. JOHN BRIFFA, DR. JONNY BOWDEN, JACKIE EBERSTEIN, DR. DEBORAH SNYDER, JULIA ROSS, SEAN CROXTON, JONAS COLTING, DR. STEPHEN PHINNEY, SALLY FALLON, JOSEF BRANDENBURG, DR. JAMES E. CARLSON, J.P. FANTON, DR. ERIC WESTMAN, DR. STEVE PARKER, FRED HAHN, DR. WILLIAM DAVIS, LIERRE KEITH, DR. DWIGHT LUNDELL, NINA PLANCK, DR. JOE LEONARDI, DR. CHRISTOPHER GARDNER, DR. MARY C. VERNON, DR. KEITH AND VALERIE BERKOWITZ, DANA CARPENDER, DR. ROBERT SU, KENT ALTENA, RICHARD NIKOLEY, AND LAURA DOLSON
Well, now that you’ve seen who I think are the best low-carb “movers and shakers” from 2009, it’s YOUR turn to tell me who I missed giving proper credence to on this list. Was there someone OBVIOUS that I just tee-totally missed or do you agree with my picks? Tell me what you think about this mix of old school low-carb advocates along with a few new kids on the block. Feel free to share your opinions in the comments section below.