Episode 44

Diet Disappointment 2024 Version

Published on: 16th January, 2024

Sorry It Didn't Work

This is the time of year when everyone is excited about some change in their life. My neighbors are doing a "dry January" because they want to cut down on their alcohol. Other neighbors committed to more physical activity before a hip replacement. And there is the inevitable "what diet will I do this time?"

Now, before I go to that, long-time readers of my newsletter will realize that I am drinking my cup of Peet's coffee. Peet's is a story of disappointment, which I will use to illustrate a point:

Diet Disappointment

Diets are like that person who disappoints you again and again. The person you invite to events, but they never reciprocate. The diet starts out great. You lose a bit of weight, decide you can eat this way forever, and this is your new lifestyle.  Then something happens. If you are smart, you realize you cannot live that way. Most, though, internalize and think, "It is my fault." Well, it isn't your fault.


Low Carb Disappointment

Low-carb diets can be disappointing for various reasons. Some people may find it difficult to stick to a low-carb eating plan because they miss certain high-carb foods that they enjoy. This can lead to feelings of deprivation and dissatisfaction with the diet. Additionally, some people may not experience the weight loss or health benefits they were hoping for with a low-carb diet. It's important to remember that everyone's body is different, and what works for one person may not work for another.  Furthermore, it is important to focus on overall health and well-being rather than just weight loss or specific dietary restrictions.


Every year, someone starts a new version of low carb. I've done a few myself. This year's version is carnivore. Some are doing a carnivore January.  The results will be the same as the previous low-carb diets - and let me go back to Peet's coffee.

Coffee and Diets

I have been a member of Peet's Coffee Club since 1995. I get it faithfully every couple of weeks. Whole beans. It costs about $36 for two bags. Then I discovered I could get it at Costco for $25, with no shipping charge, the same date of roasting. I wrote Peet's, of course. They told me my coffee is always fresh, unlike the bulk sold to Costco. Except the roasting date is on the package.


Diets are like that. You get some results, then disappointment. You don't get the return for the money. But someone in the low-carb community will tell you that you didn't do it correctly:

  • You were not earnest enough,
  • You didn't get the right kind of grass-fed beef
  • The beef wasn't organic
  • You ate a banana and ruined ketosis
  • If you stop eating carrots, you will maintain ketosis.
  • Oh, does that pasta look delicious
  • Stop eating vegetables and grains, and just eat beef, salt, and water

Now What?

So, some consider weight loss surgery or new drugs. Both of these are reasonable (yes, I have done a lot of weight loss surgery in my time).

But what I've advocated is that people have to take responsibility for what they eat even after weight loss surgery. Well, you don't have to - but your body is a perfect calorie counter.

Does that mean a "diet?" No, the goal of weight loss drugs or surgery isn't to put someone on a diet for weight loss. The goal is to give them good food so they can nourish themselves.

It also means I have to get rid of silly ideas they learned from things like the low-carb diet. The low-carb diet, that friend you always invite into your home, always disappoints.

My Journey to Culinary Medicine

About ten years ago, I received certification in Culinary Medicine. Part of that training was long hours reviewing the literature more about food than I could imagine. For my patients, they will remember the day I began to advocate for the Mediterranean Diet.

I made the journey from some version of a low-carbohydrate diet to a diet that had substantial proof of long-term health.

Today, the Mediterranean diet is what I recommend to everyone. It is the most well-studied diet on the planet.

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a way to eat based on the traditional foods and cooking styles of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It has been associated with numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. The components of the Mediterranean diet include:

  1. Abundance of plant-based foods: The diet emphasizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
  2. Olive oil as the primary fat source: Olive oil is the main source of fat in the Mediterranean diet. It is high in healthy monounsaturated fats and has been linked to lower rates of heart disease.
  3. Moderate consumption of fish and poultry: The Mediterranean diet encourages consuming fish and poultry in moderate amounts. Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have numerous health benefits.
  4. Limited red meat intake: Red meat is limited in the Mediterranean diet, with a focus on leaner options like poultry and fish. This helps reduce saturated fat intake and lower the risk of heart disease.
  5. Moderate consumption of dairy products: The diet includes moderate amounts of dairy products, such as yogurt and cheese.
  6. Red wine in moderation: Moderate consumption of red wine is a common component of the Mediterranean diet. This is believed to be due to the presence of antioxidants in red wine, such as resveratrol, which may have health benefits when consumed in moderation.
  7. Herbs and spices for flavor: The Mediterranean diet relies on herbs and spices, such as garlic, basil, oregano, and rosemary, to flavor foods instead of using excessive amounts of salt or unhealthy condiments.
  8. Regular physical activity: In addition to the dietary components, the Mediterranean lifestyle also emphasizes regular physical activity. This can include activities like walking, cycling, or participating in sports.

It is important to note that the Mediterranean diet is not a strict set of foods but rather a flexible and adaptable way of eating.  You can eat in this manner by eating food from India, the Phillippines, or Norway. The emphasis is on whole, unprocessed foods and a balanced approach to nutrition.

More To Come

Want to learn more? I have a course coming up - watch this space. For my followers on TikTok you can find the course there.

Oh, and I will be buying from Costco, although many other coffee companies have come to me and said, "Hey, try our coffee." So I am. Sorry, Peet's - I may still drink you, but I have boundaries.

Do that with your diet that will disappoint you. Consider instead a diet that will nourish your body and keep you in good shape.

Good Luck & have fun!

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About the Podcast

Fork U with Dr. Terry Simpson
Learn more about what you put in your mouth.
Fork U(niversity)
Not everything you put in your mouth is good for you.

There’s a lot of medical information thrown around out there. How are you to know what information you can trust, and what’s just plain old quackery? You can’t rely on your own “google fu”. You can’t count on quality medical advice from Facebook. You need a doctor in your corner.

On each episode of Your Doctor’s Orders, Dr. Terry Simpson will cut through the clutter and noise that always seems to follow the latest medical news. He has the unique perspective of a surgeon who has spent years doing molecular virology research and as a skeptic with academic credentials. He’ll help you develop the critical thinking skills so you can recognize evidence-based medicine, busting myths along the way.

The most common medical myths are often disguised as seemingly harmless “food as medicine”. By offering their own brand of medicine via foods, These hucksters are trying to practice medicine without a license. And though they’ll claim “nutrition is not taught in medical schools”, it turns out that’s a myth too. In fact, there’s an entire medical subspecialty called Culinary Medicine, and Dr. Simpson is certified as a Culinary Medicine Specialist.

Where today's nutritional advice is the realm of hucksters, Dr. Simpson is taking it back to the realm of science.

About your host

Profile picture for Terry Simpson

Terry Simpson

Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate, graduate, and medical degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. Until he found he liked people more than petri dishes. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2018 and 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.”