Is Keto a cult or groupthink?

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #64

We’ve come a long way since then. Humans separated from our closest primate relatives, the chimpanzees, 7 million years ago.

We’ve been specialized in meat/fat eating for a very long time. More than 2 million and probably at least 3 million years.

I don’t deny that we can eat plants and carbs. I don’t deny that we use glucose for fuel, nor do I deny that some cells must use glucose. We also have a metabolic process to synthesize any and all required glucose. I’m saying our ancestors did not get much if any nutrition from plant sources because until the advent of the agricultural revolution the available plants were mostly indigestible cellulose. So they were not a particularly worthwhile ‘food source’.

Yes, our paleolithic ancestors would have eaten every food source available to them. Plants were a very small insignificant part until the agricultural revolution.

(Ken) #65

There is no doubt that the modern fruit cultivar varietys found in our stores did not exist during paleolithic times. However, the existence of Soft Mast plants certainly did, and still do in many habitats. Plants developed fruits that contain sugars to aid in seed distribution by the birds and animals that consumed them. Even though they were much smaller than current forms, they were still palatable to hunter gatherers. During the seasons they were ripe they were harvested and consumed. Even limited amounts consumed while eating primarily meat and fat would be able to shift the digestive pattern to insulin production, because of the carb and fat combination. This enabled seasonal fat gain.

A particular example I like of seed distribution is the Avocado. It was consumed whole with the seed being able to pass through the digestive tract. Obviously only fairly large animals were able to accomplish that, even though the fruits were smaller than the types we have in the store now.

(Bacon enough and time) #66

On the other hand, see Denise Minger’s article, posted in another thread:

(Robert C) #67

So, to address the current title of this thread “Is Keto a cult or groupthink?” - I think it is possible (only following supporting studies, only listening to supporting opinions etc.) - just as it is possible with vegans.

And, that may not be a problem for many people. If you need to lose weight and improve blood markers and don’t burn out (physically or mentally) on bacon, Ribeye, etc. - even in the sometimes much warmer months of summer - great!

But, where the issues arise is when things stop improving and you continue anyway due to the huge amount of beliefs you hold based on one-sided research - that is where the “cult or groupthink” can be damaging.

A counter example is Mark Sisson - an incredibly fit and great looking 66 year old (several published books, very rich, etc.) who strongly believes in going into ketosis but cycling (not staying there). The “cult or groupthink” people will discount his point of view - it is not black and white enough. The one-sided research can’t accept anything but continual ketosis - even if, like eating vegan, historically it was very rare.

I personally do not think it is good for people to fall into that “cult or groupthink” situation as it can bring about all sorts of negative feelings when you fall out of ketosis on a vacation or when you decide to cycle out of ketosis due to burnout (to see if it helps - hard to really see if it help with lots of negative thoughts). Instead, it might be better to hold the opinion of something like “40 weeks per year of solid ketosis with a very well formulated whole food diet - punctuated by multi-week periods of including some seasonal fruit and slightly higher than usual starchy vegetables” is not necessarily a bad idea.

(Bacon enough and time) #68

It’s like an alcoholic abstaining from alcohol, instead of cycling in and out of drinking. Total abstinence is so one-sided and absolutist—it has to be unhealthy to be so black-and-white about not drinking.

There is even evidence that alcoholics can learn to drink moderately. Of course, the scientist who published the data—last I heard, she was in gaol for vehicular homicide while driving drunk. Pity . . .

(Robert C) #69

While I do think that for some amount of the population - even the glucose in fruit could be a slippery slope - just as any amount of alcohol for an alcoholic. Fruit’s potentially slippery slope is something individuals have to decide for themselves.

But I am not sure it would be good to generalize and equate alcohol consumption by an alcoholic to all people’s seasonal / infrequent fruit consumption leading to becoming a fruitaholic and completely falling off the Keto wagon.

For people that do not have the glucose slippery slope problem it might come down to feelings on the long term outcome:

  • If a “cult or groupthink” approach to Keto is making you a socially withdrawn individual with a severe case of orthorexia - but you think you’ll live to 100 - well, that is one approach.
  • If a non “cult or groupthink” approach to Keto makes for a wholesome social life, a sometimes more robust athletic capability with the rare guilt-free non-Keto periods - but you think you’ll only live to 75 - that is another approach.

Nobody is going to get out of this alive - some focus on health-span (including mental health) might be a good idea.

(April Harkness) #70

Am I in a cult? As a person who was raised independent baptist fundamentalist as a child(thankfully I escaped) and later became involved in the cult of kettlebells (hardstyle vs. sport style) lol… I see some similar things happening with keto…albeit the more extreme versions. i.e. as an independent baptist fundamentalist their ways of thinking were rigid as opposed to my more liberal Christian friends. The ketlebell “wars” a few years back pitting follower of Pavel against followers of Fedorenko was quite amusing to read a few years ago and discussions got heated. It was a very cult-like militaristic mentality in the hardstyle camps from my viewpoint . Recently with advent of social media like youtube and IG, this has actually been helpful in introducing both camps to kettlebell styles they were previously not exposed to. Especially the hardstylists from RKC and SFG who had no idea sport style existed and were 100% certain their way was the only “correct” way. Both camps were cultish in my opinion and I enjoyed being in my “kettlebell sport” tribe. I felt I belonged. This was my “gang”. My people. After the army I was looking for where I belonged. I found it amongst kettlebell lifters. Although people who did kettlebells that were neither expert or very proficient (they would pick up a kettlebell to do a swing here and there or a squat) and who I admit many of us in the kb world (both camps) looked down upon for not taking our “holy tool” seriously .were at least able to escape the “cult” of kettlebells. Perhaps like less extreme keto-ers.

My church might have complained about the watered- down epsicopalians and the lutherans,my kettlebell people may have complained about the people in the gym throwing our sacred tool around with some crappy workout they found in Self Magazine, and my fellow keto-ers might shake our heads at the “dirty keto’ers” but at least they are able to escape the groupthink that pervades the above.

I see backlash when I eat a damn avocado as a 99% carnivore . Or heck, when I decide to take 10 grams of dextrose tablets before I throw up my bodyweight in a barbell snatch because I am going to cause undue harm to my body…

That being said-I see the cult like aspects in the extremes of keto just like I saw it in religion and in kettlebells. But I admit, I enjoyed the kettlebell tribe and I enjoy being a rebel by being a part of the keto tribe by sticking a middle finger up to the powers that be that forced the food pyramid down our throats. But I am guilty of groupthink as well. IT’s important to recognize we are all susceptible to this (especially those of us who become more passionate about the subject. One of the reasons I think I escaped my religious cult and my sisters are still with the church is because I did not become enamored with it’s views and saw flaws in the church. I did not have a “born-again” moment the same way I did with kettlebells and keto. With kettlebells and keto I became COMMITTED! This is good and bad. Good as it keeps us consistent adherents and succesful, but bad as now we can become closeminded) and just be open to new research and viewpoints and allow us to be challenged.

(Art ) #71

Or apples that weren’t bred to be ‘delicious’. Most apples were only good for cider.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #72

I sure didn’t see that!

@amwassil excellent link! Vegan lies we’ve been brainwashed with!

Oranges didn’t exist then, they were hybridized from yuzu to pomelo and mandarins after the Paleo era. Then to sour bitter oranges. They were mostly used for medical purposes before hybridization into sweet modern oranges.


(hottie turned hag) #73

I strongly resemble that remark

(Robert C) #74

Rose colored glasses might be the cause? :grinning:

Okay - bad example.

Their child is hungry and crying - they would be given any available fruit or nuts and not expected to wait for the next kill (timing of which would have been unknown and potentially far off depending on location and travel plans).


I think it’s this same mentality that tries to insist that “keto is forever.” I definitely think there’s a difference between a weight-loss or healing phase and maintaining those goals once you’ve met them. Some people might want to stay very low carb permanently, but I think for a lot of people it isn’t necessary, if they don’t want to. Not that I’m suggesting SAD either. But eating whole foods in a seasonal or Paleo way is perfectly healthy and an excellent “forever” option. But one whisper of that and the groupthink raises it’s ugly head screaming that keto is a “way of life not a diet.”

Exactly this.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #76

FIFY :cowboy_hat_face:

(Bacon enough and time) #77

Comment withdrawn. Missed the memo about avoiding religion.


Due to the fact that I work an office job and my hunting skills boil down to pointing to a piece of meat at my butcher’s, I don’t think I should eat fruit like our ancestors did.

(Bob M) #79

The more I read about plants, the more I think plants are bad for us. There, I said it. I’ll say it again: they’re bad for us. And I still eat some plants, just not nearly as many as I did before. And I still like their taste, too.

But start doing research about lectins, oxalates, anti-nutrients, etc., and I have to wonder if I should be eating any of them.

Does this make me cultish? As long as I’m not out there in the Twittersphere trying to convince Vegans what they are doing is deadly to them, then I’m probably not cultish.

But at some point, I tend to separate my sphere of knowledge from vegen and vegetarian knowledge. For instance, most of the people I follow on Twitter are against food that raises insulin, for meat, and against all-plant diets. As someone who ate nearly that diet and felt it caused more problems (which were solved by eating mainly meat), I’m OK with that.

If I was starving and out in the wilderness and had to eat plants, would I do so? Absolutely. The difference is that there are very few poisonous animals that I’d want to eat; but choose the wrong plant to eat, and you’re dead.

(Full Metal KETO AF) #80

I agree Bob.

Hats off to the early humans who figured out which plants didn’t kill them. :cowboy_hat_face:

(Bob M) #81

That’s true. If I lived back then, it would be, “No, YOU try it first.”

We have the pokeweed that has grown in our yard:

Looked good to me, to the point where I took a picture of it and figured out what it was. Then cut it down and threw it away so our kids would not be tempted.

(Ken) #82

This is a False Analogy, yet you cling to your Dogma and tirelessly reiterate it. Either that or you claim potential addiction as a reason follow sub 20 g carb guidelines. Alcohol is technically poison, hardly the same as eating some occasional carbs. Addiction is a real issue for some people, but not a concern for the vast majority.

I suggest you use IMO when you give out you opinions.

I do tend to agree with the vast majority of your posts, especially in regard to Noobs, but it’s the metabolic issues and Maintenance where we differ.

(Charlotte) #83

We’re a CULT!!

All Hail Fung!
All Hail Fung!