My Eulogy For Keto Sanity

No clever titles. No fancy graphics.  No amusing anecdotes.  No fancy SEO tricks.  Just my heart and some raw emotion this one.

I used to believe that what would kill the ketogenic movement would be the quick fix mentality and the “give me a pill” culture of western society. I’ve recently come to the jarring realization that what is going to kill the ketogenic movement has nothing to do with pills and powders, but rather runaway pride.

My concern is that the ketogenic diet, a dietary intervention which has aided so many people in getting a grasp on their unhealthy eating and outcomes is being overwhelmed by a cult of personality.  Better explained, that we have become folks who would rather hear the right people say the wrong things than to be confronted with an inconvenient or unpleasant reality that we are listening to a collection of pied pipers who threaten to hijack the movement with their misunderstanding and misapplication of science coupled to an over-abundance of hubris.

My heart earnestly hurts. As someone who has always tried to keep the science at the forefront of what I say and do, and to openly and freely admit to my own flights of fancy, leaps of faith, and wild speculation around untested hypotheses, what I see invading our community at large is a rash of rejectionist mantra which says that since some science should not be trusted, that all science cannot be trusted.

This is how a movement dies out. When it rejects all disagreement. When it demands an echo chamber before speaking. When the movement begins to get fat and happy from the cash rolling and it eschews honesty in favor of profitability, the soul of the movement dies from the inside out a bit more each day, and all that will be left is a set of empty talking heads in empty forums speaking only to hear themselves talk. All the while talking only to each other, and accomplishing nothing.

Every day I see more evidence that the community is at risk of slipping off the shackles of sanity…when community leaders would rather double down on dogma when evidence doesn’t support the claim, when argument for consensus is sacrificed on the altar of “my guru says…”, when we use nebulous terms like “adequate” and “sufficient” without definition, and when we permit the same vapid “thought leaders” to redefine the terms such as “health” to fit an agenda while physical fitness is shamed as elitist or silly. When this happens, we teeter on the brink of collapse. Sadder still, we are so arrogant in our zealotry and so convinced in our own minds, we don’t even see it for what it is.

When that happens, and it is, we are at a point where we must choose. As a gaggle of malcontents, misfits, and rejectionists at heart, we must be willing to accept that we must grow, we must go where the science leads, we must admit that our zealotry has transcended the message, lest we wind up back where we were. We cannot be so ready to bang the keto drum that we forego rationality, evidence, and critical thinking. We cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. We cannot reject uncomfortable data because a talking head told us to…that’s how cults are created, not communities.

Ask questions, demand evidence, accept correction, dig deep, learn daily, or watch the ketogenic community erode into obscurity as a good idea poorly executed.

About Author

Tyler Cartwright
Former fat guy (well, I'm still fat...but less so and getting thinner and stronger). I've lost 295 lbs - while on a ketogenic diet. I love to lift, to learn, and to live...anything else...just ask.

9 Comments

  1. Sally Oh

    “…we have become folks who would rather hear the right people say the wrong things than to be confronted with an inconvenient or unpleasant reality…” Added to my short list of Favorite Sentences Ever.

    Reply
  2. Coyo

    It is sad to see a community already dead by the time I find it. Biochemistry is fascinating, and I have fond memories of learning about the Creb/Citric Acid Cycle in high school. I got extra credit for arguing with four other students that yes, males had Lactic Acid and Prolactin, too, not just females.

    One of the students saying lactic acid and prolactin did not exist in males was even an honors student, and failing Nutrition class ruined her GPA for life.

    Sounds like you have a lot of people in what remains of the community that failed Nutrition class forever and are now trying to fail everyone else after flunking Biology and Chemistry in high school.

    Reply
  3. Leif

    I recently stumbled on a couple youtube vegan channels that did videos on keto (Vegan Gains, Vegetable Police) and was completely fascinated/mortified by how they were claiming what the diet was. Vegan Gains showed a food pyramid and had vegetables crossed off, the only food groups he claimed ketoheads ate were dairy, meat, nuts. I see this misconception all the time with the anti-keto online crowd: “you can’t eat a salad on keto because there are too many carbs in vegetables”. Of course the vegans above cited cholesterol studies about fatty foods and the WHO meat cancer study. The annoying and loud butter/bacon/bulletproof coffee “THATS ALL I EAT”-keto bros don’t help the situation. Weird times.

    Reply
  4. Kathryn

    Wow Tyler. Such passion.
    I love your spirit and your point.

    I didn’t realize I was part of a “community” and “a movement.”

    I’m taking my IF/keto habits much more seriously now!

    Reply
  5. Yvonne

    Tyler, congrats on your weight loss! ☺ I am on a low carb diet and I am trying to cut out sugar it is a struggle, but I know the importance of eating healthy so I will continue to do better. I am 51 years old and I have lost 45 pounds in 3 years.

    Reply
  6. Margrit

    Thanks for the “eye opening” is always good to hear our leader pushing us followers to read, search, ask…

    Reply
  7. Claire Moniz

    I love the work you have done….keto on.

    Reply
  8. Martin Taylor

    I’ve been studying and practising Keto for about a year and have had good results. I don’t think things are as gloomy as you say but I do think humans are pretty dumb on the whole. I agree that we need to constantly question everything. And accept correction. I read a lot of authors in the field and I create a homogenized opinion from everything that I absorb. I don’t think the Keto ‘community will completely die away but I think we are experiencing a wave of popularity which by definition will die down as a wave always does. I personally tread my own path, I’m not overly worried about how the others understand keto. No one source of information is ever 100% correct. So it’s always going to be an adaptive on going process. But the people tend to demand proof. And proof is sometimes very hard to find. So i use my awareness and i actively hunt for clues. And I don’t worry about the others. It’s a big world and maybe you are holding it too close which may be why you are feeling like this. Nobody has all the answers so you just have to make your own way through and get your own results. It seems to be working well for you, it sounds as though it’s the people that are the problem. The people are always the problem.

    Reply
  9. luis

    I demand evidence of this path you foresee happening! XD

    Reply

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