Diet Fads – What Works and What’s BS?

Ever hear about the Tapeworm Diet? The Chewing Diet? The Drinking Man’s Diet? Do these diets from the past have any more merit than modern fads like Keto and Gluten Free? Dr Bill Ferro and Erin O’Hearn are joined by former bariatric surgery nurse Barbara Austin to discuss.


Dr Bill Ferro: Welcome to the Quacks and Hypochondriacs podcast.

I’m your host, Dr. Bill Ferro. I started my career as a chiropractor in health clubs, turned into a gut health expert. So, believe it or not, I’ve been called a quack a time or two in my life. We’re going to give you the inside scoop on the so-called quacks of the world.

The quackery claims, who you should and shouldn’t listen to, and why sometimes hypochondriacs have every right to be paranoid about their health. Today with me, with her beautiful hat. My co-host, Erin O’Hearn. She is an ABC news anchor, although you wouldn’t tell by the hat, you would think she’s a ski enthusiast.

She’s a mom of three, formerly a tequila drinker before this January. Also, a fitness fanatic. Erin, how is it going up in Philadelphia this week?

Erin O’Hearn: It’s fine. But, I just want to take a moment to recognize my versatility. Last week I was on with fake eyelashes, and probably a good three centimeters of foundation.

And today it’s an Aspen hat, unwashed hair, a dirty sweatshirt and no make up, and I still feel like I’m funny.

Dr Bill Ferro: As you can see, I’m, I’m looking my best as usual.

Erin O’Hearn: Your hair is looking luxurious.

Dr Bill Ferro: People, people have actually asked me for the Dr. Ferro filter on Instagram. Like, can we please get whatever you’re using?

Erin O’Hearn: Because –

Dr Bill Ferro: Because they don’t want to look too perfect. Right? They like this kind of shabby look.

Erin O’Hearn: Yeah, it’s relatable.

Dr Bill Ferro: Today, given that it January, and everyone’s trying to get rid of 2020 in the rear view, and it’s 2021. Of course, what always comes to mind, typically, this time of year is diets and weight loss and, you know, getting healthier for the new year.

Many of us people put on what we call the COVID 19, which I think has now turned into the COVID 38, and it’s, you know, it’s plaguing everybody.

And so, maybe the, maybe before the resolution’s always like, “Okay, lose weight, get healthy.” Now it’s like, Stay alive.”

Erin O’Hearn: Well, because don’t forget there’s the COVID liver.

Dr Bill Ferro: Yep.

Erin O’Hearn: What else is there? COVID brain, I guess, which is a result of an increase in alcohol take and any other social lubricants that are helping us get through this. But I, yeah, I think, I think people are trying to commit in 2021 to a healthier lifestyle, but the way ’21 is going. It’s tough. And I think that’s why this is so important that we talk about this.

Dr Bill Ferro: Is there such thing as COVID wife? Because there’s some symptomatology going on in our house, haven’t been able to diagnose a hundred percent.

Erin O’Hearn: Well, there will be once she listens to this.

Dr Bill Ferro: Well, last night at 9:35 PM, after she’d done the morning show, ’cause she was doing the morning show this week.

Erin O’Hearn: Why? That’s

Dr Bill Ferro: what shift?

Yes, she didn’t do the split, but she just decided at 9:35 PM last night that the cleaning ladies were coming.

So of course, what does that mean? I got to clean the house.

Erin O’Hearn: Jesus. I used to give my mom a hard time about this.

Dr Bill Ferro: I mean, it’s insane. I mean, literally I saw them like, “Oh, well should I make them breakfast, too? Like, what else should I have available so that they have a beautiful time in our home tomorrow?

I mean, it’s insane.

So let’s get, let’s get into today’s topic. Joining us today.

Erin O’Hearn: Because I can see it, that’s why. I can see it and hear it.

Dr Bill Ferro: Oh, the kids were going nuts and then Mitchu at the dinner table goes, “Hey dad, if you didn’t know the cleaning ladies and coming tomorrow, if you weren’t fully aware by the chaos, that’s going on.

Erin O’Hearn: The only household in which it looks dirtier or after they leave.

Dr Bill Ferro: She opened the bottom. And we, I had joined this wine club and I never cashed in the chips. So like at the end of the year, I had cashed in all my wine chips and like, we got all his boxes. She was like, “I’m giving away this wine. And as she’s bringing it out, I’m like, “No, you’re not.”

Erin O’Hearn: No, she’s not.

And first of all, she has a friend in Philadelphia that’d be happy to take it off her hands.

Absolutely, absolutely.

Dr Bill Ferro: So with us today, as we talk about the skinny on diets, see what I did there, Erin?

Erin O’Hearn: Billy, I did. And it was so it was so unfunny.

Dr Bill Ferro: See, it’s funny when it tends to be funny, or unfunny, right? Not being funny is funny.

All right. With us today is Barbara Baez. She is a master’s in science, registered dietician RDN. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition became a dietician in 2009.

Worked through various nursing homes, and most recently at a medical weight loss clinic in the bariatric department for the County of Ventura out there in sunny, California. Welcome to the podcast, Barbara.

Barbara Baez: Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to share some of my experience with your listeners today to provide a little bit of insight on some of those fun things that are out there when it comes to nutrition.

Dr Bill Ferro: Well, you’re, you know, in full disclosure, everybody, I’ve met Barbara recently because she actually went through the Betr Health method, and we just had these great conversations, and she’s somebody that has put it, put herself through so many of these diets so that she could speak firsthand to their, to her clients, which I thought was a very interesting model.

So before we get into that, we are going to get into kind of our quacks and hypochondriacs part of this podcast, so things that they have done for centuries and hundreds of years that are, you know, have been some time mainstream or gimmicky. And so we’re going to go over some of those fads before we kind of get into the mainstream stuff that’s out there today and have intelligent conversation about, you know, let’s say keto versus paleo, or the plant paradox, going vegan, not going vegan, some of the pros and cons to some of those specific diets.

But the fun part about this is to talk about some of the crazy stuff that I have done in the past. And, and Erin always likes to say, what crazy stuff are we doing now that will become, not that – we don’t think is crazy now will become the craziness in the future. Like, should we really be giving up gluten?

So Erin, do you want to start with the, the first one on the list? Sure.

Erin O’Hearn: So can I ask a question? I was, I did some research. I know our researcher did some research for me, and there are certain diets that are highlighted, although I have my personal favorite. So I’d like to use my own discretion and-

Dr Bill Ferro: Absolutely

Erin O’Hearn:  Okay, great.

Dr Bill Ferro: That researcher is quite annoying, that researcher, he always puts his, what he wants to do in the show and not what you want to do.

Erin O’Hearn: I don’t appreciate the researcher interjecting his opinions, just a mental note.

Dr Bill Ferro: The highlighting is so in your face.

Erin O’Hearn: Well, and it’s bold, too. It’s just really obnoxious.

Yeah. And it’s like the, I don’t know some sort of cartoonish font. So, the first one, which I will credit the researcher for highlighting, because I actually heard some of my friends say something similar to this, which is the tapeworm diet. Now, I have had friends. Say specifically in college when you were eating at like two in the morning after a night of drinking, “Gosh, I just wish I would get a parasite just for a few days,” just so they could lose that 10 pounds.

Well, apparently, at the turn of the 20th century, someone bottled that idea and put it in a pill form. Yeah, so baby tapeworms were, I don’t know, somehow ground up or, or encapsulated in some way, and then you work to ingest them, like you would a vitamin, and that was eat whatever you want and you’ll still lose weight. What they found was that the tapeworms started to grow to about 25 feet long. And, you know, there were some minor side effects like seizures and meningitis, dementia, which was actually beneficial because no one really wants to remember all the side effects after they swallow the tapeworm pill.

So. Anyway, obviously the U.S. government outlawed the sale of tapeworm pills, but that was one of the diet fads. It was like the present day, what is it? Hydro cut ox. What is the diet called?

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah, hydroxycut.

Erin O’Hearn: Hydroxycut, yeah. But, anyway, moving on. So the next one is a diet that I actually am a huge fan of, and I don’t know why this is a quack diet. It’s called the drinking man’s diet. The only thing that’s been updated is actually now it’s the drinking man, woman, or they diet.

So, this is basically you are required to have alcohol with every meal. There are no restrictions on gin and vodka, this sounds like my kind of diet. The pamphlet was sold in the 1960s priced at $1, which was probably what the equivalent of $15, $20 now? All it said was just drink, so I’m not quite sure what the pamphlet was composed of. He saw – he sold more than 2 million copies.

Dr Bill Ferro: No. When I, when I, when I try to tell people that, you know what, there’s, there’s two lessons here. Number one, it is true that drinking alcohol with every meal will help you lose weight, maybe not actually lose weight, but when you look in the mirror and you’re all hammered, you just say, “Oh, I look good. Don’t I look good? Damn. I look good today.”

Erin O’Hearn: Yeah.

Dr Bill Ferro: But with that, when – the fact that he sold 2 million copies of this, I always try to explain to people.

That’s why you know, that the world is so abundant. Right? The fact that there’s 2 million people that thought, ‘Hmm, I need to pick this up. I need this. This is literature I need to know more about,’ and there was 2 million of them?

Erin O’Hearn: Because what could he possibly have added to the fact that it’s, I mean, the, the diet doesn’t seem complicated, right?

Because one, it doesn’t work. And two, you’re just saying you drink. So, I’m not sure what he said in the pamphlet. But, I guess it takes you longer to read a sentence when you’re hammered.

Dr Bill Ferro: Barbara might’ve I tried this, by the way.

Barbara Baez: No, you know what? That’s not one on my list. However, I think it does go to show that there are 2 million people looking for solutions, right?

And they really want to find it in a glass of wine or whatever!

Erin O’Hearn: You know, and

Barbara Baez: back

Erin O’Hearn: then, no one was fat. So can you imagine what the pamphlets, how many pamphlets would be sold today?

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah, that’s true.

Erin O’Hearn: I mean, don’t you think? I mean, people weren’t as overweight.

Dr Bill Ferro: They definitely weren’t. All right. I want to, I want you to go with the highlight on this one and we need to talk about the Graham diet.

Erin O’Hearn: Oh yeah. I saw that, actually.

Dr Bill Ferro: 1830, Sylvester Graham was a Presbyterian minister and an early vegetarian.

Okay, so he believed that people were fat because they had too much sex. F-you gram. We don’t want to hear from you you’re off the show.

Erin O’Hearn: I love this, actually, this is great.

Dr Bill Ferro: Although his diet of abstinence and veggies didn’t last long, he’s known today as the father of, oh get this Graham crackers. He made Graham crackers.

This is insane. So you’re telling me the guy that invented Graham crackers thought people were fat because they had too much sex? That’s what this Graham diet says.

Erin O’Hearn: Don’t you burn calories?

Dr Bill Ferro: Well, it’s interesting because the next one on our list was the chewing diet, which I looked, right, at the very quickly.

And then it said the guy Horis Fletcher became known as the great masticator, but when I looked at the no sex diet and masticator quickly, I thought though the word said something different.

Erin O’Hearn: Sure, I get it. You can say it.

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah. So, I was like the great masturbator. I’m like, what is this? So after his stunning 40 pound weight loss, his motivation is like, just keep, you know, basically chew 32 times.

It’s, coincidentally enough, my grandmother on my father’s side’s 32 choose was her big, big thing. Like you could, you could go knock over a liquor store, but if you came home and didn’t do 32 chews or her meatloaf, you were like dead to her.

Erin O’Hearn: So what did the meals look like after 32 choose? Cause that’s not, that’s disgusting.

Dr Bill Ferro: Well that – you don’t know rule number two is keep your mouth shut.

Those were her two, those are two biggies.

Erin O’Hearn: Wait, barbara though. I haven’t really quick just to digress for a moment. Isn’t chewing your food thoroughly actually a better idea, though? I mean, all joking aside, like when you eat?

Barbara Baez: Absolutely. You know, I never recommend that you scarf your food, right? I, I – some people are preloaders with their forks, or they’ve got their fork preloaded ready to go for that next bite because they’re shoveling it.

However, there are digestive enzymes that start in your mouth there, you know, there’s, there’s enzymes in your saliva that help break down that food. So, the more that you can chew your food, the more mindful you’re going to be as you’re eating, which gives your body that time to register that it has been fed, um, and you know, the whole hormone release and all that other fun stuff.

So, absolutely.

Dr Bill Ferro: Have you seen those gardens where like, they rake the sand gardens. Like, they just like rake it all over and do all these designs. I noticed a lot of people eat like that. Like they, they, they push, push something over here. They’re doing this there’s people that actually, it looks like they’re painting while they eat.

I wonder if that’s, I would love to see if those people are some somehow get a better metabolic push because they’re slowing down and they’re looking at their food and their aerating it, whatever they’re doing. But are you someone that just like stabs it or do you move you move stuff around your plate?

Barbara Baez: You know what? I eat out of bowls. I am a mom I’m like, seriously, just put it all on top, put it in a bowl. I got to go.

Dr Bill Ferro: Well, you know, Erin, to your question also is that the digestion of your food starts very quickly. As soon as you see the food, right? Smell it. And the, the, the issue we have with all of our artificial sweeteners are food that like is, you know, supposed to taste like cherry and look like cherry, and then your body gets, it realizes that it’s not the chemical compounds it was actually getting ready for, which is a big issue. So a lot of people end up flushing things out of their system before they actually bring it in with any type of artificial sweetener or chemical in it, or it’s too overloaded with natural flavors, then your body actually doesn’t get the full breakdown, so I digress .

Erin O’Hearn: I don’t want to hear that. I use a lot of artificial stuff. Well, no, I don’t use a lot of artificial sweeteners. I use Stevia in my coffee and I know I shouldn’t, but I do.

Dr Bill Ferro: All right. Well, are you using liquid?

Erin O’Hearn: Yes.

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah. So liquids the whole plant, just like, Sudhir had said a couple of, couple podcasts back with the food.

Yeah. Cool. All right. What’s your, what’s your last one? And then we’ll move on to the actual –

Erin O’Hearn:  I wasn’t really, I wasn’t really prepared for the last one cause you stole one from me, but let’s go with the slimming soap diet.

Dr Bill Ferro: Ooh, that’s interesting. You can melt your fat away. You can wash it away with soap?.

Erin O’Hearn: It’s actually, it’s really not. It’s just kind of stupid.

Dr Bill Ferro: Of course. It’s amazing. It’s called “Fat, oh no!” This isn’t like getting a tick where you’re like, “Oh my God, I have a tick.”

You don’t just go “Fat, oh no!” It doesn’t come out of nowhere.

Oh yeah. I could just see those commercials. “Hey, how’s everything going? Everything’s pretty good. Oh my God. Fat! Oh no! Send a lifeline.

Erin O’Hearn: Okay, well maybe it is funny. We just needed your commentary. Well, OK. Fine, fat off. You could just, I wish you could just wash away your fat. I wish you could wash away a lot of things. Your temper, your past.

Dr Bill Ferro: With Calgon, you can.

Erin O’Hearn: I don’t even think they produce Calgon anymore.

Dr Bill Ferro: They should becuase they had the best commercials.

Erin O’Hearn: That and Pantene.

Yeah. Wait, wait, actually, can I, this is really good because this can relates it to today. So the cotton ball diet. They have zero calories, which I’m assuming glass also has zero calories,so I sure why. But, I guess cotton balls are easier on the intestines. The reason I bring the cotton ball diet up is because with the popularity of keto, and I guess the re-emergence of Adkins and some of these like, no carb diets, there are a lot of zero calorie pastas and, you know, food substitutes that give you I guess the mental relaxation of eating or consuming something, but don’t have any nutritional value, like a cotton ball. It’s just meant to try to fill you up and trick your brain into believing it’s being, your stomach’s being fulfilled or filled rather and fulfilled.

Dr Bill Ferro: Well, that’s, that’s kind of been going on for a long time, you know, that’s with your, your popular shake diets, you know, it’s things that just help you feel full, but obviously devoid of any nutritional value. And then, of course, they put in this artificial flavors to feel like your, your brain is getting something sweet and delicious.

And, yeah. So Barbara, in your experience, have you ever tried a keto diet?

Barbara Baez: I have tried to keto on – and I will say I have failed a keto. I have tried exogenous keto. And I have failed exogenous keto. Yes, absolutely. There were, there were, I think more psychological damage that happened during that time then, you know, physiological, but it, it really made me feel very shaky. It made me feel very weak.

And that’s, that’s one of the things that people talk about is like, “Oh, but if you go in keto, once your body’s in ketosis and you’ll know, because you’re going to pee on a strip.”

Erin O’Hearn: Right, or your piece smells like popcorn. That’s the other one I’ve heard.

If your piece smells like popcorn, you’re in ketosis.

Barbara Baez: Right. And so, you know, they talk about once you’re in ketosis, you’re going to feel great. Your energy is going to go up. And I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna say that for some people that doesn’t happen because I don’t, I don’t know them, but I could tell you from my experience that did not happen.

I felt really crummy. And my anxiety went through the roof. And then what kind of life is that when you’re sitting there anxious over your next meal, you know? So it did not, did not work for me.

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah. So what, what people need to know is, you know, ketos kind of been the re-imagined Atkins diet.

Erin O’Hearn: Right. That’s exactly what it is, yeah.

Dr Bill Ferro: And the only thing, the only differences is that over time on Atkins, they allow you to add a little bit more percentage of carbohydrates where keto tries to just limit that indefinitely. To me, it’s pretty much the same, and they just took a little bit different spin on it. And believe it or not there’s  a competing organization to, to my organization that works with health plans, that actually they put all their diabetes two people on this ketogenic program.

And of course you see weight loss and drop in A1C, but, as you know, a lot of that stuff can be very temporary, but I want to give an overarching idea here that. As you said earlier, everyone’s searching for something. So you may be on this, you may be on keto right now, listening to this “Going, are you crazy? Keto changed my life,” right? And then if we say Atkins and we’re comparing “You say Atkins changed my life. Paleo changed my life. Going vegan changed my life.” All, everybody that has done this, “Intermittent fasting changed my life.” I want to just let everybody let’s level set that what works for one doesn’t always work for all.

And we, we want to make sure that you’re not, we’re not poking fun at something that’s given you some hope and it’s working for you. And what you see in this industry is someone gets so excited. Like let’s, let’s say, you know, Dr. Atkins who came up with Atkins, he saw it working, so we got excited about it. “Wow, we’re going to put people on this,” and it worked for a lot of people, but probably for another 70% of the people that did it, it didn’t work for. And unfortunately, when it, when your prescribed diet doesn’t work, we, we, people always just get blamed. Right? Then we blame that, “Oh, your motivation. I don’t know what’s your problem.”

And it’s almost like fighting about politics in a way, right? It’s like, you know, it’s, it’s ridiculous because there is no black and white solution here. So the goal of today is to go through some of these, give you the, the good, the bad, and then let you make a decision on what works best for you. So when we make fun of a few things or, or whatnot, it’s just in fun.

I want you to be able to explore these things for yourself, but going, going in with the mindset that just because someone can line up a bunch of researchers to say that gluten is bad, another people can line up another bunch of science to say that you need it. And so let’s just, you know, to kind of take that approach.

So, Barbara, the question I have for you is, did you work the nursing homes, you and your last job you worked at the, bariatric weight loss. Describe that kind of work for us.

Barbara Baez: Yeah. So in bariatric medical weight loss, my sole role was to see patients before they would go on to be approved for surgery.

So, they needed to lose at least 5% of their body weight at that time to show that they’re able to make those changes, and that they’re serious about it, and that they’re gonna make those lifestyle changes to have a successful outcome with the surgery. You know, our surgeon did not want to operate on anybody that wasn’t serious about making some changes.

So, that was my, that was my role. And so I would see people that were anywhere from barely meeting the cutoff with a BMI of, you know, 38 to 40, all the way to, you know, 400, 500 pounds. They really need to get their act together if they’re going to live another month, you know?

Dr Bill Ferro: Right. Yeah, to where it becomes critical care at that point.

Yeah. Yep. That makes sense. Okay. You said you tried keto, what other things have you tried in the past?

Barbara Baez: I have tried a lot of fun things. You know, there is, there’s bright line eating, which I think is, has some wonderful components – and I do want to kind of preface this with the fact that you can lose weight in so many different ways. Like, you could just eat tacos and if you just eat one taco for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you would probably lose weight. Right? But it’s not really about just the weight loss, it’s about that whole balance that you’re creating within your, within your own microbiome, within your body and you know, the whole brain-gut connection and feeling good.

And so, some of the things they’ve tried, bright line eating is it is a great program for those that are really highly addicted to food. So they cut out sugar, they cut out flour, and there’s a lot of really good science behind that, but then that’s kind of it. And so then there’s, there’s, you’re weighing and measuring and weighing and measuring, and then you’re not eating sugar and you’re not eating flour.

And so, I tried that for a while and what I ended up with is, again, more anxiety. It didn’t, it didn’t really help with that area of my life. And then what do you do when you don’t have your food scale with you? Do I pack my food scale? You know, it almost becomes this perfectionism where it’s all or nothing.

And then that’s, that’s where the issue comes down to is that it’s not sustainable in the long-term because you can’t be perfect with this all the time. And then your self-esteem starts coming down because it’s like, why can’t I do this? You know? And it’s not that you can’t do this it’s that, that, that, that doesn’t necessarily work for your lifestyle, you know?

Erin O’Hearn: I agree with that because I’ve, I’ve seen, I’ve tried a lot of different diets, just because, and not, you know, your weight changes throughout your life, right? Like, I mean, you’re going to have ups and downs and – but you’re always going to have like, especially after the holidays, which we got, we just got through with, you’re always gonna have that five to 10 or maybe not always, but a lot of people have that five to 10 vanity pounds they want to lose. They overindulge in the holidays. And I think that there really is – I mean, and tell me if I’m wrong, but I really don’t think there’s any other way to understand what works for your body and how you respond to certain diets or lifestyle changes, unless you’ve experimented with them.

Barbara Baez: Oh, no, absolutely. And that’s why I, I have taken pride in trying and giving, you know, going gung ho on various different diet plans. So that way, when people ask me, what are my thoughts, I’m not just bs-ing some kind of information that I have read, I’m talking about from my personal experience with that diet.

This is how I personally felt. This is where I felt I struggled, and this is where it was strong. So for certain people that might, that might work, that might be what they need. But overall, you know, what is, what is something that you can stick to in the long-term because you’re not – it’s not just about a certain month, it’s not about 21 days. It’s not the seven day diet or the 14 diet or the 17 day diet. It’s not a particular number of days. It’s what you do in the long-term, those habits that you create, with your nutrition, with your wellness that are going to make that long-term change.

That, that’s what everybody’s seeking.

Dr Bill Ferro: Right. Agreed and, and full disclosure, you know, for everybody out there. So, when I, my opinion just to get out there on diets is that there is no one size fits all. Everyone has to figure it out for themselves, and that’s why I came up with the Betr health method is so that people could help themselves figure out what works best for them.

Because I watched so many people try so many different things. And oftentimes, I was the catalyst to that. I’d say, well, “Why don’t you try this? Or why don’t you try that?” And, and then I came up with this, this methodology. A lot of times we talk about this methodology being a gut health first approach, and really, that’s not really part of the methodology. That’s just realizing that if your gut health is out of balance, your whole body’s out of balance. So I’ll never be able to put the other methods in place. It’s kind of like saying you showed up to play basketball, but you don’t have sneakers on to me getting the microbiome, your sneakers on.

And Erin had done the program, the methodology, to find out work best for her from suffering from Crohn’s for so many years. And Barbara, you recently had done it because I guess your health plan had, had told you about it. But before we get into that approach to let people understand how to experiment and come up with their own methodology, let’s kind of go through the ones that are out there right now.

Just kind of give our reaction to what is out there currently. I don’t know if you know this, but there is somebody out there promoting the carnivore diet . No carbs, no dairy, just meat.

Erin O’Hearn: That’s disgusting.

Dr Bill Ferro: Well, he’s on Joe, Joe rogan’s podcast.

Erin O’Hearn: Well guess who else would think that was disgusting? Dr. Graham Cracker.

Dr Bill Ferro: Graham Cracker would not be into this at all

Erin O’Hearn: For a lot of different reasons, some of them subtle.

Dr Bill Ferro: Yes. Yes, you’re right.

Erin O’Hearn: I have to tell you something about – and Barbara to your point about keto because I’ve tried keto before. And this probably is what I would, I know, that I’d feel similar. Dr. Ferro, the all meat diet, is you –  I felt like my stomach was ripped up. Like, I did, like gut wise.

I did not. And again, like we’re not bashing keto. I’m just saying that there are, there has to be a balance. Right? There has to be some sort of balance. And, I just, for me, I just didn’t feel like that was balanced. I felt like it was forcing something. I enjoy eating fruit. I really do. I enjoy eating a lot of vegetables.

And that’s not for everybody. That’s fine. Some people like steak and sour cream, but I just, I found that I just felt – even though I, I lost weight. I just didn’t feel myself. And I think that that’s the that’s actually the bigger issue is that, did I lose two pounds in four days? I sure did, but I felt like such crap that I was like, guess what?

The two pounds or whatever I’m going to lose after being on this for a week and a half is not worth it.

Barbara Baez: Right. And you know what I’m, I’m sorry if this is the wrong place to be saying this, but I think that’s why the Betr Health program works so well is that you get that month to create that baseline of what feeling good actually feels like, because we so often don’t even know what that feels like. We have aches and pains that we don’t even recognize because we’ve lived with them for so long that we don’t even bring acknowledgement to it. And so, you know, so many dieticians will promote intuitive eating, and I think that that’s absolutely fabulous if you know what good feels like. But if you don’t know what good feels like as your baseline, how are you possibly going to intuitively eat to feel good? You know? And I think that’s, that’s one of the things that really gets to me is that diets almost seemed like a punishment. Like, you’re not supposed to feel good.

You just have to power through this because you need to lose weight, and that’s the most important thing. And then, you know. But it just kind of can wear on your wellbeing. So when you feel good, suddenly you’re intrinsically motivated to continue forward, wanting to make those changes versus when you feel like your stomach is being ripped up, right?

You can hang on for maybe two, three days and you don’t want to go forward with it, you know?

Dr Bill Ferro: Well, what’s interesting about what you’re saying is, um, the, the population out there. Uh, it, it, it, this what’s really important about the population that’s listening to this right now. You’re listening to a registered dietician.

Okay? This is someone who’s supposed to have all the education in the world on nutrition. The go-to, I’ll tell you exactly what to do. You can follow this. You’ll be fine. Right? That’s how we’ve, we’ve built this up. And yet, you found yourself trying to figure out what works best for you, right?

Going through this, and so, most of the programs out there designed to say, “Hey, you know, cheeseburgers are bad for you,” or give you some piece of advice. You already know all of that. And then when, when that’s that working, like you said, then they just give you punishment. They say, well, you know what, just do this.

Just do keto, just do this because nobody wants to help you figure out really what works with you. And really comes down to data and information. And so, you know, just actually have you, you’ve made a great point. Like if I didn’t even know how I’m supposed to be feeling, how am I gonna, how am I gonna know the changes are working?

So taking your weight, your sleep, your mood, your energy level, tracking your pictures of your food. And then as you start to feel better, when you bring back stuff that’s causes issue, then you know, “Hey, that’s my body’s telling me it doesn’t agree with it.” And I, I think you’re liberating a lot of people by being on here to say, “I’m an, I studied in this and I still have struggled and tried to figure it out.”

So, I think we all agree that the carnivore diet seems pretty extreme. And yet, the guy that, that came up with it said it was the only thing that helped him. He, you know, if he had all these neurological issues, he has all this other stuff going on and said it was the only thing to help them. So I don’t want to go against him saying that.

Do I think it’s the best long-term? No, because I know that microbiome needs the, the fiber from the fruits and vegetables. Yet, he can show me studies that say I’m wrong. So let’s, let’s get to the point where that’s definitely not for me. I know that’s not for me, but it doesn’t mean it’s for everybody and that’s not condone or correct.

Let’s just give the information because there’s some part of all of these things that we’re discussing today that are, have some good to it.

Erin O’Hearn: I was going to, I was going to say, so could we, because I feel like we’ve been focused, you know, very much on the high protein or high fat diets, which are a little bit easier to say criticize because of the lack of variety.

And because growing up, we’ve always learned that, you know, there needs to be a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet and red meat is, is not necessarily the best thing for your heart health or for , you know, your weight. And now, sort of that is that those concepts are being turned upside down because, and correct me if I’m wrong, both of you, but it’s “Well, they’re okay as long as they’re not in combination with other things,” and that’s where I feel like it gets a little bit dangerous, but it can also apply to other diets that aren’t so meat or protein or fat focused, and that are either low calorie or vegan, but I’d like to try to explore those because I know myself and personally, I have a lot of trouble sticking to those, just because I never feel full and I never really feel – like, I exercise a lot.

So, I would just like to hear your thoughts on some of the other diets that are more plant-based or lower calorie.

Barbara Baez: Right. I just want to say, Erin, that having trouble sticking with it is the issue for everybody, not just you. If somebody could stick with it, they would, I guarantee it. It’s not just you.

Erin O’Hearn: I could stick to the drinking man’s diet,

Barbara Baez: It’s a, you know, it’s not just your issue. It’s my issue as well, sticking to it. I am a registered dietician. I have my bachelor’s, my master’s degree in nutrition. Sticking to it doesn’t, you know, it’s not a lack of knowledge. You know, it’s not, it’s not that you, you’re missing some information somehow.

And if you, if you were somehow more educated, you would stick to it, it’s that it’s not working for you physiologically. You know, that physiologic balance is not there. And so, if you don’t have that balance, it’s going to be really hard mentally to stick to something because it feels yucky, You know, when you feel good and you have that balance within, you know, when your anxiety is down, when your, your depression is lifted, when your inflammation in your joints, is, you know, suddenly you don’t even recognize that you had pain in your knees or you had pain in your back that is now gone. You know, now that is intrinsically motivating for you to want to continue sticking with it. But now, to answer your question about more lower calorie plant-based diets, I did spend a year being completely vegan, completely plant-based. And, I will say that that is a very nutrient dense path to take.

And that was – the reason why I took that path for a year was because it, looking at the science behind it and the new nutrient density of the foods that I was consuming, it was literally just the top of the top. However, one thing I learned through the Betr Health program is that my body is sensitive to cruciferous vegetables.

So, it’s just, it, even though it’s healthy food, even though it’s nutrient dense, that doesn’t mean that it’s going to fuel your body and react in your body the way it shows in the, in, in the literature. And so one of the things is that it’s a little bit tricky because there’s not a lot of science behind the individual, you know, Nutrogenomix within each person, and so you’re not going to see that individuality. However, when you, you know, with the Betr Health program, it gives you the opportunity to feel that individuality and to create that yourself without spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on these at-home kits that may or may not show that you have some kind of a food sensitivity.

Dr Bill Ferro: So in full disclosure for those listening you recently, because I want to talk about the vegan, the vegetarian, the plant paradox and things of that nature. Recently, again, you had signed up, you’d gone through the Betr Health method and, I’d love for you to describe that because I think it will, it will put in context why we’re talking about all the various ways to lose weight and how they can, you know, piecemeal, but maybe just describe your experience, kind of your outcomes and some of your epiphanies and then, they’ll know why we’re trying to pick the best from all these different diets.

Barbara Baez: Okay. So, I had, you know, let me just kind of back up for one second.

Just say that as a dietician, I still struggle with my weight. I have a long family history of diabetes and hypertension, and lots of preventable chronic diseases that are lifestyle caused. So whether it’s genetics or whatnot, I don’t know. But I can say that if their lifestyle wasn’t the way that it was, they wouldn’t have suffered those things.

And so I come from a, from a background of that. So I, I struggled with my own weight and keeping it managed and, and staying within a healthy weight range, which is why my insurance was willing to cover the Betr Health program. So, with that, I do want to say that, I have tried so many different diets, whether it was for the purpose of my own personal weight loss, or for the purpose of reviewing it and wanting to know more about it.

I will say that I approached the Betr Health program with a lot of cynicism, and I was very skeptical, and I was reading through it and I was like, “Yeah, right. Yeah, right!” However I said, “Regardless, I’m going to give it a try and I’m going to go all in. I’m going to just follow it. And I’m going to see how it goes. I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna see how it goes.”

And so, I started the Betr Health program the day after Thanksgiving, and everybody thought I was absolutely crazy saying, “Why are you going to start the day after Thanksgiving? Why don’t you start after the new year?” And I said, “I could either start after the new year and gain -”

I mean, essentially it’s like, “Okay, so do I want to gain until the new year? Or do I want to start at least trying to feel better?” So, I gave it a shot and, I will say like at first I was completely skeptical about it thinking there’s no way, but how am I going to know unless I try it? And sure enough, literally within a month, I’m down 20 pounds.

Erin O’Hearn: What?

Barbara Baez:  And it’s crazy. I’m like, “Well, I was already eating healthy. I already know what to eat, and I eat a lot of vegetables and I eat a lot of fruit,” and, you know, so I’m like clearly there was some inflammation happening in my body that I was not aware of. Clearly there were some foods that I was eating that were reacting. They on every other diet plan would, would be like, “Okay, eat a lot of this, you know, eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables.” Well for my body, my body enflames when I eat some of those.

So it’s just, it’s very unique and individual. And so, and that’s one of the things that I’m learning. So, I am learning about my particular body. I know, you know, a lot of information about physiology and how the body works and, but what they don’t teach you is that each of those bodies works a little bit differently. Some of the foods responds a little bit differently. So it was just very motivating for myself.

Dr Bill Ferro: That is amazing. And now if you could go back to all those folks that have come through those clinics and all the people that, you know, you counseled before.

And you can say, “Oh boy,” cause I have the same regret when I had, when I was doing, you know, I didn’t always have this method. I was working with people, doing everything. I mean, at one point I was giving people a shake, a five and one shake program, just because I wanted to get weight loss for them.

And now I wish –

Erin O’Hearn: I remember that.

Dr Bill Ferro: Oh boy, I, it bothers me.

Erin O’Hearn: Well, you’re in, you’re in you’re enlightened.

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah, I’m enlightened. So, let me just say Erin. Barbara said anxiety, anxiety is a situation where people are constantly – just kidding, Erin. We know you know all about anxiety.

Erin O’Hearn: Barbara, I have very high anxiety and Dr. Ferro is like my big brother, and he is on the receiving end of me expressing my anxiety in a plethora of ways, including hypochondria, temper, fear, sleeplessness, et cetera, et cetera. So I hear you, and I actually feel, and to be honest, like, so, doctor doesn’t even know this, but I sort of readopted the Betr plan a couple of weeks ago when I decided to – well I always eat, I mean, I have to say always like, pretty much foul the basics of it.

But as far as going back to level one and just sort of ridding my body of everything, I did that a couple of weeks ago. And the other interesting thing that I can notice is, so I didn’t, you know, I definitely overindulged in the holiday. I didn’t have a ton of weight to lose, but like I definitely felt the weight I had wasn’t, it just wasn’t good.

Like, it was coming from empty calories. Right? So like, even though the scale hasn’t moved dramatically in the last few weeks, the way you look and your clothes fit completely changes when you start the program. Because it’s like all of a sudden, I feel like I don’t have, like, it’s just. Not to be like, totally, but it’s just, everything’s like feels tighter and better than when you’ve been on a bender for two months and like, eating fries.

Dr Bill Ferro: But same rules apply. You got to do what works best for you, and you have to see how you react.

Barbara Baez: And you know, and it’s not, it’s not cut and dry like that. It is just not. And you know, what can we, can we take a minute to also talk about – because we’ve, we’ve talked about the ketogenic diets and like removing whole food groups, and then we’ve talked about only eating certain food groups, but can we talk about where like some people try to just kind of meet in the middle and are like, it’s just eat less, move more, you know, counting points, just where there’s not that structure in there kind of like, this is just like more balanced. Can we talk about those diets for a minute? Because there are a whole lot of diets that are like that, and I will say that I have tried a good handful of those.

Dr Bill Ferro: So I, I, I like, I liked the initial concept of Weight Watchers-type approach where, because, and just the initial approach, it says mindful. I’m just going to start thinking about what’s going into my body, right? That part of it is phenomenal. Then the idea that certain points may correlate with things that are more nutrient dense and or not as high in calories is not a bad concept. Cause you’re educating people, specific foods.

Barbara Baez: What’s a smarter choice, basically.

Dr Bill Ferro: Yes. What I, what I despise about it is lifetime membership to watch my weight for the rest of my dang life is a dependency process. When you, when you go through an elimination process, like Betr method, it’s about empowerment and your blueprint going forward, not being dependent upon, you know, a membership. Again, though, I have a lot of family members that have done Weight Watchers and help them out tremendously.

So it’s not to say that’s not a great starting point, but when you want to come up with what that’s like next level, when you want the next level, it, because the majority of people that have that talk to me or ask me questions, they’ve tried everything, right? WeightWatchers 14 different times. They can count points like rain, man.

I mean, they, they just have done it, but they always hit a plateau. And when you hit that plateau, I call it “the great fat-teau.” You hit that great fat-teau, you get discouraged because you’re like, ‘I’m doing all of this for what?’ And that plateau comes from not knowing specifically what foods are causing inflammation in your body, maybe an imbalanced microbiome.

So yeah, that, that part of it is really great to start not great to get you to the next level and get you not codependent upon this meetings and memberships and point.

Barbara Baez: Also, I will say one of the reasons why it didn’t quite work for me was there lacked a structure. And I think that we as humans, in our crazy busy lives, we need to have some form of a structure with our day and with our mealtimes, and I think that timing matters also. And so, you know, it’s not, it’s not just as simple as eat less, move more. There’s just so much more to the picture than that. And, you know, your program does just a fabulous job at bringing to light what is going to work for you?

Not just me. Not just Erin, you know, what’s going to work for you as an individual and empowering you as an individual to, like you said, know that blueprint of a diet plan for you. What is your meal plan? What is your, you know, to fit your specific particular lifestyle? Which to me is just like what all of us dieticians should be doing to begin with.

So it was kind of like mind blown.

Dr Bill Ferro: I just feel bad for dieticians around the country and around the world, because right now someone comes in and sits in your office, 45 minutes an hour. You know, a lot of motivational counseling to begin with, right. Find their why factor, why do they want to do this? Why do they want to make real change?

And it’s all mental. And then it’s like, okay, let’s start with this. Let’s start with baby changes, I’ll see you next week – if you’re lucky, if the insurance covers it, right. If not see it two weeks from now, see you two weeks from now, get in the chair. And now we talk about all the wins and some of the losses and that’s okay.

And after a few sessions, months, you see some minor changes in some people, some people you might see some really great stuff. Right? They, they went after it, but by and large, it’s a failure relationship.

So to wrap this up, to get wrap up the inspirational part of this, if you’re out there feeling stuck, if you’re like, “Yeah, but that works for her because of this, and she has this, or they have that,” it’s just not how the human body works.

Everything you need to be successful is already written in your own DNA. It’s already there. Just have to give it the right foundation. You’re whole, you’re complete. It’s not about motivation and willpower. You just have to give yourself a good few days to just say, “All right, I’m going to give this a shot to, to change some things around and listen to my body, pulled some data points. And once you start feeling better, I think Barbara said it best, you’re going to start feeling that intrinsic value. So you don’t want to have to worry about that extrinsic focus because you could be so motivated by what’s actually happening.

Erin O’Hearn: And I agree. And as far as the, the, the willpower, like I, and I’m just going to put it out there.

I really encourage everyone, especially women, not to continuously glorify these people, whether they’re actresses or they’re just social media, who may really do a fantastic job of making other people feel like crap. Because it’s not, it’s not the real world, and there’s so many things that go into what they do and how they brand themselves, and I do think that’s a major issue for women. The the people who are on there that are, that are 45 and 55, don’t look that way, and that’s for a reason. And it’s not because they, they don’t eat candy, you know? So I really, I, I, I think that really encouraging people to focus on how they feel and not how they look. And I’m not saying that’s easy because I focus on that, too. And you can do everything – I don’t judge people on what they do to look better, but I, it has to start inside a hundred percent.

Dr Bill Ferro: Yeah. Like those really attractive news anchors that have three kids on ABC and Philadelphia, like don’t just idolize them just because of that.

Erin O’Hearn: Listen to me, I’m not getting any idolization at this point because every post I put up for some somehow it’s interpreted as a political post right now. So I’m not –

Dr Bill Ferro: Oh, you’re you’re not doing it. Okay. Good. We really appreciate you guys being here for the podcast, Barbara, thank you so much for your time.

Yes. And happy 2021. You’re  starting it of right.

Erin O’Hearn: And you look amazing, and your skin looks like, you’re glowing like a 22 year olds.

Barbara Baez: Oh, thank you.

Dr Bill Ferro: I know. It’s amazing. So thank you everyone for listening to the Quacks and Hypochondriacs podcast. If you liked the show, be sure to rate, review, subscribe do all the things that help us and help you find the show when the next episode comes out. And don’t forget to visit our sponsor.,I don’t think we mentioned them today, B E T R This episode was edited and produced by the lovely folks at Earfluence, with Erin O’Hearn. I’m Dr.  Bill Farro, and we’ll see you next time on the Quacks and Hypochondriacs podcast.

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Quacks and Hypochondriacs is hosted by Dr Bill Ferro and Erin O’Hearn, and is produced by Earfluence.

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