The world is changing fast and to keep up you need local knowledge with global context.
In this interview with Dr Tro Kalayjian – an obesity medicine physician who is the medical director and founder of Dr Tro’s Medical Weight Loss and Direct Primary Care in New York – he explains the benefits of the LCHF (low-carbohydrate, high-fat) diet so simply that our country’s failure to provide its citizens with a basic nutritional education is quite blatantly deplorable. In case anyone requires additional encouragement to listen to what Dr Tro has to say, he used to weigh 350 pounds! Naturally, he sought guidance from his expert medical peers – none of whom found a sustainable way for him to shed his excess weight. LCHF, however, managed to do the trick. – Nadya Swart
Dr Tro Kalayjian on his medical background
I knew I wanted to be a doctor since the age of 13. I saw my parents really sick. Myself. I was sick. My whole family was sick. Diabetes. Obesity is rampant in my family. And I knew I wanted to be a doctor. I went to college, I studied health science, and I went to med school. And then afterwards, I went into an internal medicine residency and the Yale affiliated internal medicine programme. I was the chief resident and then I got extra certification in obesity medicine. So, I became board certified in obesity medicine thereafter. I’ve been practising for roughly 10 years. I’ve published five papers on obesity, binge eating, cholesterol, diabetes, and I’ve given lectures.
On his personal experience with LCHF
The most interesting thing about me is not my medical background. It’s the fact that I used to be 350 pounds and I was a board certified doctor, a resident. I weighed 350 pounds and was in the most prestigious academic institutions with access to the world’s smartest doctors who really couldn’t help me. So I had to learn how to reverse obesity. And I think that, you know, I have street cred for that.
You know, you study all of medicine. Right? You’re eager to learn the literature. I read Harrison’s internal medicine textbook twice. You know all the original studies and when you go into obesity, everything that they told us, that we, quote unquote, commonly know was actually completely wrong. In fact, when you reduce grains, whether it’s whole grain or processed grains, your diabetes improves. When you reduce carbohydrates, you lose more weight than if you lower calories or lower fat. So what I found was that what we were told was not exactly true.
On deviation from LCHF, Banting, Atkins
It’s a tricky subject. I think for most people, look, if you want to enjoy certain food, you know, go ahead and enjoy it. Like, if you’re in Paris and you want to have a baguette, have a baguette, like we’re meant to enjoy food. I think the more compromised your metabolism is, the less your body can tolerate. Right? And it does take time for your body to adjust to this diet so it can take, you know, two or three weeks to ramp up your body’s ability to burn fat for fuel. It’s a challenge, and if you do reintroduce carbohydrates, that process does take you a step back. But as long as in your mind, you know, ‘hey, look, when I have that baguette in France or when it’s that birthday and I include this, I may get more hungry and I may have to take some time to regroup’. I think not all is lost. We’re meant to enjoy food. We have to find a way to reconcile how to live a healthy life and how to be a human, right?
On whether following the LCHF diet can send diabetes into remission
100%. Yes. We do it in our clinic every day. Without a doubt. So, we have five year studies now, showing that many people can sustain that remission for years. It’s multifactorial. You can make the blood sugars look better immediately. Long term, we have to figure out a way to sustain that. And we have to work on decreasing weight and increasing muscle, improving sleep. All these things affect blood, blood sugar as well. Right? So it is a multifactorial process, but 80% plus is driven by carbohydrates and can be reversed by carbohydrates.
Where protein fits in
There are some people who restrict protein. Very few people need to restrict protein. There’s some situations where you may have to. For most people, I don’t think they have to really think about restricting protein or restricting fat when you’re doing low carb. Most people can just lower the carbohydrate and not really worry about much else.
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