Facebook Bans Millions of Keto Followers [INTERVIEW – Rita Venter of “Banting 7-Day Meal Plans”]

October 10, 2019 0 By William Morgan

(epic music) – [Narrator] Welcome to the HVMN podcast, your resource for evidence-based
nutritional strategies, cognitive performance and fitness science. Thank you for joining us. On May 17th, 2019, the low-carb
community was taken aback with some surprising news. Banting 7 Day Meal Plans, a popular low carb Facebook group with over 1.5 million members, was banned by the
platform without warning. 1.5 million people, a population
akin to an entire city, found themselves without a support system, no new meal recipes to add to their week and really, no home. Many were in uproar and disbelief. Heated discussions around
censorship, targeted attacks, and even anti low-carb
conspiracies ran amok. Notable figures like professor
Tim Noakes, Dr. Sean Baker, CrossFit founder Greg Glassman, chimed in with their two cents. Clashing opinions, ranging
from blaming the silent but powerful anti-fat industry heads to supporting Facebook’s decision because they believe the
diet is unscientific, caused quite the schism. After all was said and done, Facebook re-instated the
group two days later. What could have caused
the banning of millions in the first place? The creator of the group, Rita
Venter, joins this episode to walk us through the entire debacle. Geoff, take it away. – Rita, really great to
have you on the program. I know you’re dialing in from South Africa so appreciate the big time difference from San Francisco to South Africa here. – Thank you for inviting me. I’m very honored to be on
your show, to be honest. It’s a huge privilege. – No, our honor. And this is a very timely conversation. We just had professor
Tim Noakes on our program and this was before the
recent controversy hoopla around the Facebook
group that you started, with over 1.6 million people on it, about the Banting diet which is sort of the South
African a colloquial term for a low-carb ketogenic lifestyle. And just to give a quick
summary for the folks who haven’t been
following the controversy, which was big on low-carb
Twitter and nutrition Twitter. Essentially, one of the
largest diet lifestyle groups on Facebook, over 1.6 million people was banned without warning and then the last couple
days was reinstated. And it seems to be kind of smoothed out. – Yes, it has. – We’ll dive into that. But before that, I’m just curious to hear your personal story. – Okay. – You know, what brought you
into the Banting lifestyle, the low-carb lifestyle? And what caused you to start this group? Obviously years ago,
which was quite seminal in terms of what you’ve seen the movement grow to till today. – Yes, it was five years ago, in August, it will be five years. My brother and his wife came
to see a function that we had and they’d lost all this weight. And I was like, “Oh my word! “What happened? “How did you manage to
lose all this weight?” And I’ll never forget that I said, if they’d carried, that’s nuts and they said they’d bring
along their own cauliflower rice And I was like, “I don’t
know, what’s cauliflower rice. “What are you talking about? “Rice is rice.” And when they arrived,
they looked so fantastic, I was so jealous. I was like, what happened guys? How did you lose all this weight? And they basically said, “Oh, we started following
the Tim Noakes diet.” Because everybody knew
there’s a Tim Noakes diet, it’s true. Nobody had knew the word Banting. So obviously I couldn’t
wait to get home to Google ’cause you couldn’t Google there because it would’ve just been rude. So I couldn’t wait to
get home and Google this. And you know the more I read, the more I realized that this
was the lifestyle for us. My husband is a type 1 diabetic and he could never control his sugar. And I know that it’s
normally type 2 diabetes that you do the keto, paleo, Banting diet but we saw… And then he went to China for business and I just, well this perfect
time to clean up the house and start reading labels
and start cleaning out and when I did clean out, I was just left with one
tin of tomatoes in cupboard. Every single thing that
I had in my cupboard that was healthy, like muesli and cereals and all those things, they
were all full of sugar and very, very high carb, although they said fat free and, and I thought, wow, you know,
like I have to literally, I didn’t throw it away, I actually gave the food
to a local soup kitchen ’cause obviously the
food wasn’t ideal for me, but it is fine for people that are hungry. So I gave that all away
and we started there. And I lost… At first, I actually
gained weight to be honest because I was just completely overeating I didn’t know how to do this. So then I decided, seeing that I’ve got a black-belt in Facebook, I’m just gonna join every single group that I can possibly join,
about this lifestyle. And I belonged to a group, and this group was selling meal plans and there was an elderly lady on there, she said that she was a pensioner and she couldn’t afford this meal plan. And could someone please
give her some help ’cause she wanted to know if
she was overdoing proteins and the group owner basically said to her, “Look, if you can afford to
stuff your face with protein, “you can afford to buy
one of our meal plans.” So that sort of got me a tad in, well, it didn’t make me a tad annoyed, I got seriously hacked off. And I just decided I’m gonna start a group and I’m going to design meal plans and I’m going to do them based on what we can eat and not eat and I’m just gonna give
them away for free. Everybody is welcome, come
and get them all for free. So that’s how the group
started, basically. I wasn’t trying to be noble or anything I was just really, really
annoyed that somebody would disrespect somebody
that was older than them in that fashion, and that somebody would
disrespect somebody that just couldn’t afford something. You know I’m fortunate
enough not to have to worry about where my next meal is coming from, but there are a lot of people
that aren’t in that position. – [Geoff] Right. – So when I started the group, it was a very, very elitist lifestyle, I mean, people were eating wagyu beef, and every little thing had to be organic and the most expensive and organic coconut oil
and organic everything. Like I said to somebody the other day, that price of beef, you know, watered with the tears of unicorns. If you didn’t have that, then you weren’t going to
be successfully Banting. We’ve got a huge problem in South Africa with people that eat
very, very high carbs. They eat what I think, what you Americans would probably call grit
maize meal, so it’s grits. So it’s a staple diet as maize meal is a staple
diet in South Africa. – Would you say that the carbohydrate load is over 50% typically? – Oh yeah. People are either eat it in the same meal, like eating what we call pap, which are you call grits or polenta or you know if you wanna be really fancy. And potatoes and rice and,
or everything is just carbs ’cause those things are all really cheap. So carbs are cheap. I mean, they’re GMOs, they
are not the best food. Well look, I’m not gonna demonize carbs. Carbs are not bad for everybody, carbs are bad for people
that are insulin resistant and carbs are bad for, you know, let’s not completely demonized carbs because I don’t think that’s… – Yeah, I appreciate that nuance. Absolutely. Because I think it’s like, the carbs really stop the
notion of famine, right? Because there are so cheap and available and now I think it’s like, okay, we solved people starving to death, now people are over-consuming it. How do we refix that new problem? And I think that’s, I
think the more sanguine, more future, more positive mindset around why we’re talking about this lifestyle. One of the questions I had was, it sounded like as you were experimenting going on the Banting diet,
the low-carb, ketogenic diet, how long was that adaptation
period for you personally before you went and wanted
to start your own meal plans? Curious to hear your initial transition. – Probably about two months. It was about two months when I realized that I need to take this seriously because I started feeling so much better. – [Geoff] Got it. – I wasn’t sluggish, I didn’t
have brain-fog anymore, I could play with my granddaughter. I just felt so much better. So it was quite a quick
transition actually. And then I was one of
those reborn Christians– (laughing) – Learn about this, and talk about this and figure this out, right? – I can spread the message to everybody and I beat everybody to death with it. It was awful. I think I was awful during
that time, to be honest I really, really was awful. – I wanna talk about the
explosion in the interest and the growth of this community. And I think we have very
interesting personal parallels here where my entry into the
low-carb ketogenic lifestyle actually really started from fasting, which in a lot of ways is a
very parallel metabolic strategy as a low-carb diet, in the sense that both strategies reduce
the carbohydrate intake and shift towards more of a fat oxidation, fat metabolism state and
induce ketogenesis and ketosis. And now today, I think a lot of people in both communities or strategies, both do fasting or intermittent fasting and a low-carb, ketogenic diet. But I remember three, four years ago when I first started fasting,
people thought I was nuts, people thought it was crazy, no one knew what the hell was going on. And I imagine four or five
years ago when you started, the Banting group and you are
exploring for the first time people must have thought you are crazy. Like how do you not eat carbs? This is the staple that the government and all the regulatory
bodies had been telling us to consume, consume as
a base of the pyramid. I wanna hear your journey, in terms of seeing this movement grow and the evidence grow
and the science grow. And it must have been
very, very quick to go from one person yourself starting this group to over 1.6 million people in five years. Can you describe that journey and what were the inflection points across the last five years? – The group grew because
we attracted people that were of all walks of life, not just wealthy people,
all walks of life. And they started seeing
this in their communities and people started posting pictures of their before and after. So how has the times
changed in South Africa? Five years ago, if you
said that you were Banting, it was literally like you were, it was like a cuss word. The most exciting part
about the Banting journey is how everybody’s health
markers are improving because obesity is just a
symptom of eating incorrectly. The more incorrectly you eat, furthermore obese you’re gonna become and the more you’re gonna
develop all kinds of symptoms like type 2 diabetes
and high blood pressure and all that. And that has been the most exciting part, is that people actually post
their cholesterol level, they post their blood pressure
pictures on the group, they post… Frankly ’cause we’re a closed group, so they don’t really care their friends ain’t seeing those results. They posting all kinds of ways in how they’re curing or putting it through
remission the illnesses and that is the most exciting part. Although we do focus, we used to focus a lot on losing weight, we don’t focus on that anymore. We keep on telling people
that improve your health and the weight loss will follow. So– – Yeah, it must have been
incredible for you to see that just I’m sure in the group
of 1.6 million people, thousands of people talking
about getting off of insulin. I think that was something I
saw three or four years ago as I got into fasting And the
low-carb ketogenic lifestyle. People that you talk to are like, “I’m reducing my insulin units, “from 100 units to 50 units to 25.” You’re like, “Wow this is…” That’s incredible, congratulations. – It’s so rewarding. It’s so… And then the other thing that we saw, is so many women with PCOS, with polycystic ovarian syndrome
said, are having babies. Loads and loads and loads of
babies are born on our group, to our group members and loads of them were literally told that they’d never have children. All of a sudden, their
body is completely healing they’re getting their menstrual cycles and they’re actually having children. You know they’ve done absolutely nothing other than cut down on the sugar, well, eliminate the sugar really and cut down on the carbs
and cut down on the things that were making them ill because yes, we can fix the symptoms, we can give insulin and
we can give you more. But unless we fix the cause unless we fix the cause, that is never going to
get you to the point where you’re gonna be
completely off the medications, Where your blood pressure
is that of a teenager now, where you’re not going home
with a party pack of tablets every time you go the clinic. We’ve got clinics here, where people go to to see the doctors and stuff. And a lot of them have
to take a day off work so they don’t get paid for that day, so they were losing money that way too. Besides the medication, they were losing because they were not getting paid. So, it’s been a very exciting journey and the health benefits on this group has been nothing short of miraculous. And I’d like to challenge anyone that says that this lifestyle doesn’t work. – Yeah, absolutely. And I’m curious from, I know a lot of our listeners are in the Silicon Valley tech community, growing a group to 1.6
million people plus, in five years incredibly fast. Was this a purely organic interest as people were just? – You know, Geoff, do you know
what makes our group popular and why people join? It’s because we’re kind
and we don’t judge anyone for obesity, for what… We’re not the type of group
that if you go and post the can of coke because you don’t know whether you’re allowed to
drink on this lifestyle or not, where people will judge you for it. We’ll just say, “You know what? “No, you can’t have
that, rather have water.” Instead of saying, “No, why are you here? “Don’t you know about this? “Haven’t you done research?” So we basically see our group
as an entry level research. So we post links on the group from all the famous people
that you’ve had on the before, so when we post those links, we have an admin complement
of, I think about 27 people and they’re all over the world. and we’ve always got somebody
doing admin at anytime. we preapprove every single
post that comes onto the group because there’s a lot of
people trying to post porn and all types of stuff. So we preapprove. So what it is, we will preapprove a balance
of about 50 posts at a time and then we’ll go onto
them all immediately and then the wisdom of the crowds come in. We never give medical advice. If somebody is not well, we’ll tell them, “Go to see your doctor
and then come back to us “and give us some feedback.” But the reason why the group has grown is because we are kind to people. That’s my opinion. Because that’s what people said, when the group was reinstated, there’d be no judgment, there’s nobody telling them
that they shouldn’t do this. We don’t tell people what
they should and shouldn’t do. We’ll tell people what, should I say back. We don’t dictate to
people what they must do. We tell them what they
should do to get healthy. And we’re very strict on the group. Very strict. No hate speech, no racism, no politics, no any of that. Anything that’s going to
cause strife in the group, we don’t allow that. We respect every single
person for who they are. We don’t care whether you large or small, we don’t care if you
got different skin color or you have a different religious belief or sexual orientation. You know what? Take that stuff and
take it somewhere else. This is not the place for it. And I think that’s why the group grows because we try to be kind
to absolutely everybody. – So it sounds like it’s a
very sensible discussion group, almost the epitome of what a
Facebook group should be like. Obviously as you as one of
the admins and leaders here, sounds very open-minded
folks in discussion, not giving medical practice online. This is more of a discussion support group and a lifestyle discussion group. You got banned last week. – [Rita] Yeah. – Out of nowhere. Talk me through that. Obviously you’ve built this community for the last five years
and then boom deleted. What was the exact statement? What was… how would you respond? – They said, well, let me just tell you. The night before the group is banned. I had a sick dog, Martha
was ill the whole night, I was awake the whole night. I fell asleep at about
seven in the morning. About 45 minutes later,
one of my admin, Natalie she phoned me and said,
“Rita is group is gone! “The group is gone!” I said, “Please don’t talk rubbish, “it must be some joke.” So I logged on. And I saw the group had
been permanently deleted for transgression of
our community standards and I was like, “What? “What did we tell Grace? “What violation?” Violation not transgression. Violation of our community. So I’m like, we’ve got a
little bit of admin check and I went in there, go, “What? “What happened? “Who said what in the group? “What did you guys do?” And they were like, “Not guilty, sorry, not us” And I promise you, my inbox was flooded, you get that message requesting
and you get your inbox. I must have had probably
about 2,000 messages. – Oh, wow! – Why, why have you deleted us? And not only me, every
other admin as well. And we were like, “We
don’t know what’s happened. “We don’t know what’s happened.” “Did I do something wrong? “Why did you block me from the group?” And I was like, “No,
you didn’t get blocked. “We all got blocked.” So then there’s, I think on Facebook on every group where you can
go and look at group health. So we’ve been doing that
regularly to make sure that we not in contravention of
any of the community standards because we know that that is possible, especially
now with anti-vaccine and all of that, they’re
trying to take that down. So then I decided I’m gonna phone America and the lady on the phone,
the recorded message says, you know what? Sorry for you, we don’t speak to anyone. If you want to complain, go onto Facebook and complain there. – So you tried to call
Facebook corporate line and it was, nothing was there. – No, no, no. They say choose one for Facebook,
choose two for Instagram. So you choose one. Customer service, choose
one or two, whatever. It says, “We’re very sorry, “but we do not offer customer
service on the phone. “Go see.” And they guide you to their Facebook page. The most hilarious thing of it all is I start filling the
forms and everything so we start phoning everybody
and who do you know, Facebook’s blah blah
so I fill in this form. The best is, they send me this thing back and they say to me, We are entitled to take down
any group or any person. We can take them off Facebook at any time, you know, our discretion and please fill in the
survey at the bottom, say whether you’re satisfied or not. (laughing) I ignored that part. And then they sent me back
within probably 12 hours and then everybody’s freaking out. And in the meantime I
just started a new group so that we could help those people that we’d be helping in the meantime. And we basically got 26,000 members in like 12 hours or something. Everybody just started joining. Obviously people were still waking up and doing all kinds of stuff. Then I appealed again
and then they just said “Oh, yeah, well, we got to your request “and yeah, we’ll analyze it
and we’ll get back to you.” In the meantime Twitter
exploded, Facebook exploded. Everybody in the world
that was anywhere involved with low-carb, just came together as one and spoke as one voice and said, Why you taking this group down? What is it? what have they done? What community standards? Because it’s like beating
your head against a wall. They so big that they
basically don’t care. So that’s what I sort of found out. There’s no recourse. You’d think, okay, maybe
if it was the community of 160 people or 1,600 people, but 1.65 million people for God sake, that is like, I don’t know of any
other group on Facebook that is that big, to be honest. I’ve looked, I could be wrong, but a nutrition group I haven’t seen it. And we just don’t understand it. And then they came back with all kinds, then it was because we were hacked. Then it was because we were
giving out medical advice. Then it was because somebody on our admin had done something on another platform– – And all this information were coming from official Facebook representatives? They were just telling different reasons? – Yes. Everybody was giving
us a different reason. Everybody. The one lady on our group, on our admin, she has a friend that works
for Facebook in Ireland and she contacted her and
that girl came back and said, “Listen, this isn’t good news. “You guys are not doctors. “We’ve received thousands
and thousands of reports “in the last few days, “that you’re giving out medical advice.” So yes, they said that
the group was hacked, but if the group was hacked, it was hacked through Facebook. Facebook was actually
hacked, not just the group. What happened, if we got a hack, what’s happened to the
information of all those people that are on this group? We’ve got 1.1 million South Africans, the rest are all international people. So it’s American, British, Australians, even people from Malaysia
and all over the world, we’ve got people that are on this group. So what happened to,
did Facebook get hacked? I don’t know. So I don’t want to go down and start with conspiracy theories. I’m not my youngest son who believes everything’s
a conspiracy theory. But something’s happened. Somebody somewhere targeted this group because of us promoting
this low-carb lifestyle and people getting healthy without having to spend
millions on medication. Yeah, maybe I am a conspiracy theorist, but that’s what I believe. I really do believe that, because there’s no else. why come up with like
20 different scenarios. – Yeah. I mean it reminds me of something that actually happened
to our podcast here. We had a conversation with Dave Feldman who some of our listeners and you might know as a citizen scientist who’s been doing a lot of N=1 biohacker experiments
on his own blood work and proposing a theory around how LDLs, not necessarily a causal
factor for heart disease, which LDL sometimes raises
when you have a ketogenic diet. And when we were running our
distribution on that podcast, Facebook actually banned the
promotion of that podcast. And then we had a similar
action where we’re like, “Okay, can we do a manual
review, what’s going on?” We’re not giving medical advice, we’re not telling people
conspiracy theories. We’re just having a conversation like you and I are having now, about how we see the world
and our perspectives. And I think there was some notion around, is this conspiracy against low-carb keto? Is it an automatic ban
on certain keywords? I think this points to the larger debate around the utility or the
platforms of something like a Facebook or a Twitter and then the push on
various political sides around how you do prevent fake news but not have censorship? And I think that’s one of the most, and if you go one step further
beyond just the diet world, just the whole world of discourse. How do you balance them? What do you think about
censorship, fake news? Like the anti-vax, do
you ban that explicitly? Or alt-right or Nazism, do you ban that? Do you allow people to
have a conversation? I mean, probably a much more complicated and nuanced discussion
for this conversation. But my sense is that I think nutrition is a part of that broader
social norm discussion. – I think that people are feeling the effects of the wisdoms of the crowd. The wisdom of the crowds, the way everybody helps each other. And let me tell you something, I don’t believe in a lot of
these groups that you mentioned. In fact, I also don’t believe
that it’s right to censor them because it’s a slippery slope
to, well, like in many states. I don’t like what you saying, but I don’t think that
it’s my right to stop you from saying what you have to say because I should respect your views. I might not like them, I
probably don’t like them. You know politically, I lean
very what you would call left. I’m quite liberal. But, I don’t think I’m liberal. You know what? I think everybody should
just had an equal chance and everybody should be treated fairly, everybody should be treated the same. We all have the same aspirations. We all have the same goals for
our families and all of that. We all just want to be left
alone to do what we do. Although I don’t agree
with a lot of things, I don’t believe that
they should be banned. I don’t think censorship is a good thing unless obviously, it like
endangers somebody’s life. – [Geoff] Inciting violence, yeah. – Yeah, inciting violence. – Right. I think that’s, and I very much agree with everything you just said there. I think it’s strange for the alternative, which is do you really want the government or Facebook with some. We all know friends that work at Facebook, some product manager at
Facebook arbitrarily deciding this is allowed speech, this is not allowed speech. Do we really want that alternative? Where do you have arbitrary
bureaucrats or corporate folks deciding what is a acceptable speech? I think that is a weird
alternative to suggest this is more optimal
with the right caveats. Like Nazism is terrible, but it’s like, okay, they can have their discussion there and everyone can laugh
at them and demean them. – Yeah, that is– – And it is very much an America or Western civilization concept where you allow the KKK
to have their marches and everyone has the right
to critique and criticize that terrible, terrible behavior. And that’s kind of the
democracy or freedom that we have as a society, where we allow people to do stupid stuff and people have the
right to criticize them for doing stupid stuff. – No, It’s all fun and
games until people get hurt then I think that’s
when you start banning. When there’s real violence implied and when there’s proper hatred implied. Like for goodness sake,
if I hate eating potatoes, that’s hardly going to
affect anybody else. it’s not the same as hating somebody based on the color of the
skin or their religion or any of that. You know, like get a grip. – Absolutely agree. I think that’s a good distinction
that you mentioned, right? it’s like the current free speech laws I think actually make a lot of sense. You can say whatever you kind of want, but you can’t yell fire
in a movie theater. That’s a classic example. You’re causing panic and causing
potential harm to people. You cannot say, let’s go
kill X type of people. That’s inciting and
promoting actual violence. And I think there’s
that distinction there, therefore, it’s like,
okay, let’s live and think about this lifestyle,
which is a self choice. I can eat whatever I kind of want to eat. We can let you eat a bunch
of soda, a bunch of sugar, that’s fine. But I can’t talk about,
I don’t want to eat that. You can’t talk about that. That is very strange. – And then the other thing that, a couple of years ago, Karen Thompson, I don’t know if you know her. We did like a bit of a podcast
as well about low-carbing. and we weren’t allowed to
promote it on Facebook either because they say that we were fat shaming. And I was like, how are we fat shaming? We’re diet shaming, we’re not fat shaming. We’re talking about like
following a different lifestyle. So, I don’t know if the
algorithms are a bit out of whack, you know, like maybe
it just picks up things that got words in there. You’re not allowed to say somebody is fat. Well, I was fat. I’m not gonna sugar coat that. I think it was like
former who stood there, people probably eat there too. And I agree with him 100%. But the thing is that we’ve
become so politically correct if you don’t actually know how to get out of the world of craziness
where you can’t even say, “Look, I’m fat and I wanna lose weight. “I’m unhealthy and I wanna get healthy.” What kind of political
correctness is that? Because what? Because nobody in the world
is allowed to excel anymore? Everybody has to get a prize? Nobody’s allowed to, everybody gets offended with everything. I’m more than willing to say
I was fat, I lost 50 kilos. I was fat. So what now? You know it’s a world went crazy with the political correctness. So it could quite easily be that, that they saw the word fat too
in many times on our group. (laughing) I don’t know. – No, I very much
appreciate that sentiment. Actually I think we talk
a lot of folks that have either served in the
military or elite performers. There’s just some weird,
averaging of expectations. You just can’t say that. I was bad and I want to
improve and this is my path. And it’s like you can’t really say that ’cause it’s gonna hurt someone’s feeling that it is in a bad shape right now. It’s like, well, we gotta
have some progress here. We gotta have a conversation. We wanna just help people. I think your intent is not to say, “You are fat, you are bad.” You’re saying that, “I was fat and I didn’t want to be fat “because I think it’s unhealthy “and this is my journey
to like not get fat” And then people can use that
as a role model or a template. – And then on our group,
I always tell people that you are not fat or overweight, because you are greedy and lazy, because you ate too much
and you exercise too little. You’re actually ill. Learn to accept the fact
that you’ve got an illness called insulin resistance that will eventually
become type 2 diabetes. That is what if you’ve got
a stomach that’s really big, that’s what… Why make fun of somebody
that’s overweight? Would you make fun of
somebody that’s got cancer? I mean, why somebody that
has insulin resistance has got an illness. They’ve got a condition
that is a real illness. Why make fun of those people? Why tell them that they
must go and exercise? They can’t even get up for God sake. They can’t get off their couch, but they must go and run a marathon. What is that? We stress all the time, you
can go and join a group. Oh, no, you can’t see the
post if you’re not a member, but you can go and join the group. I tell people all the time, accept that you are not this way. It doesn’t matter how
much you starve yourself as long as you keep on eating
potatoes and rice and pap, you are going to stay fat. The thing is you know,
there is all these diets, because the calorie in calorie
out, you’re starving people. We won’t make you starve. Maybe yes, maybe in caveman
days people did starve because there was nothing around. But nowadays you can go on every shop, on street corner there is a McDonald’s or there’s a whatever Kentucky
Fried Chicken or whatever. The interesting thing is that
once people start realizing that this isn’t a their fault necessarily. That’s when they make that
transition where they realize, you know what? I can do this. I’ve got an illness and I’ve
got to eat for my illness. You know, if I was diabetic,
I wouldn’t take sugar. So therefore, I’m insulin resistant, so I’ve got to eat to put
my illness in remission. I mean we’ve got people in
our group that have lost like 87 kilos. Don’t ask me pounds, I
don’t talk in pounds. – It’s like 150, 160 pounds. That’s massive, yeah. – Correct, correct. They’ve lost that and
not through exercise. Okay they started exercising later when they can actually get up and walk not to exercise, they’ve done it simply by cutting carbs and cutting sugar. – I mean, I think you’re
restoring agency back to the individual or I think
you’re empowering them, you’re out of shape or fat, not
because you’re a bad person, it’s because you’re suffering
from a form of disease and you can take agency
and create a lifestyle to actually fix and resolve
and mitigate those issues which I think is very empowering message. – Yeah and, and you
know, quite often we get the message on the group,
“Oh, I hate my body.” And I always say to them, “Don’t dance because you hate your body, “dance because you love it.” Make, love it enough to get better. You know? And I find that that gets people going. when you start empowering people and you start giving them knowledge, but not very fancy knowledge. Okay, like we not very sciencey. We don’t go like, I mean if
you to tell somebody to go and check that they’re actually A1C, and they don’t know what it is, we just tell them go, I have a blood test. You know, like I find quite often that it’s so sciencey that it just goes over normal people’s heads. I mean I’m on a check group on Twitter. I think it is. I never say a word because
those people are so clever that I never say a word. – They’re just citing
research papers and yeah, hemoglobin A1C, LDL, HDL,
lipidology yeah, yeah. – Yeah. So it’s quite often you
say, there are people who say, look at this, followed
by, what is the breakdown? And they’re like, what do
you mean there’s a breakdown? (laughing) ‘Cause they don’t have that information. They’re not empowered. We will say to them
there’s good to live for, there’s bad to live for. There’s time to live right. So you know, if your
doctor is saying to you that your cholesterol is high, maybe your good cholesterol is high. Have you asked them for that breakdown? So there’s all of that. I actually hear this story, ’cause this actually happened yesterday. It’s actually shocking
the level of knowledge that doctors give to their patients. A lady sent me a message said,
her husband started dancing and he’s type 1 diabetic,
and he’s getting sugar lows. So I said, has he been to his doctor? Had a blood test and checked to see? I also was gonna tell her to go to HbA1c because that’s like going to. So I was like, have you gone to the doctor to check his glucose levels and to see if they’re coming down, and
is he increasing his insulin. So she said, no, giving
him a decrease his insulin. I said, well, you know, if
you have got high glucose then you’ve gotta take more insulin. If you’ve got low glucose, then you’ve gotta take less insulin. Said, “I never knew that. “What are you talking about? “I never knew that.” “I just bought the man
something to eat for dinner.” His blood sugars have come down but he’s still taking the
same amount of insulin that he was taking before. She said, you know what,
they’re a young couple of about 25 or something. They don’t know about
this stuff, you know. I’m like, okay, just ask the
doctor to explain that to you. So it’s not stupidity or ignorance, it’s that they haven’t been told. And I’m not giving medical
advice, I’m just saying to her, look, it makes sense. You know, like when your husband’s
blood sugar is a bit high then he gives himself extra
insulin, she said yes. So I said, now that it’s low
you better reduce the insulin. Never knew that. (laughing)
I said, that, what, what, huh? No, and so of course, he’s been very low, and I mean he’s going high glycine which is–
– Yep, makes sense. – It is so dangerous. So he’s back to the doctor tomorrow, he’s going to get a blood test done, and he’s going so that the
doctor can adjust his insulin. And then she said to me,
“Well, thank you so much “because I’ve taken so
much away from this.” And I was like, okay, well
that just makes sense to me, but it doesn’t make sense to everybody. Not everybody thinks that way. You know, the doctor
told him he’s gotta take 110 units of insulin per
day, then he will carry on taking 110 units of insulin per day. And that’s one thing,
they don’t sit people down and say to them, this is what happens when you take glucose, I
mean when you take insulin. This is why you take insulin. What is the function of insulin? They don’t tell people. – I 100% agree with that sentiment here which is that, I think
this is what’s happening with the growth of groups like yours, and the growth of more of
what we call citizen science or biohacking, people
just wanna understand what the mechanisms are before just following a blind script. And I think more and more
doctors are realizing that you don’t necessarily
treat your patients as a dumb little box that
you just shove medicine at. If we can actually
empower and teach people, what are the mechanisms, why this drug, why this intervention does something, that gives the patient
ultimately more understanding and awareness and hopefully
improves compliance of using this medicine. And I think, I can imagine folks on the other side would say, No, these people are not trained. They have no education
about, for medicine. They should just, like,
listen to the doctor and don’t question. I just don’t think
that’s realistic anymore. I don’t think people in
this modern age with access to information are just
gonna follow a script. If you treat the patient
as a rational human that wants to improve their lifestyle, if you just empower them a
little bit by just explaining to them why you’re doing this, why you should lower your insulin as you go on a lower carbohydrate diet so you don’t go hypoglycemic, as you were kind of describing, I think the patient would be like, oh, wow, I understand a little bit better and I will comply with your script better. – And you know, she probably
didn’t quite understand, so I said to her, you know what, previously maybe he ate a slice of cake. So he would take the insulin
for the slice of cake. She said, yeah. So I said, now he’s not
having that slice of cake but he’s still taking the
insulin for that slice of cake. It was like, ah, okay, now I understand. You know, so it’s… On our group was when
you’ve 1.6 million people, any problem that you have,
somebody has had it before. Please believe me, whether
it be that you’ve got a keto rash, or whether
you’ve got, whatever. There’s somebody that will
come along and say, look, obviously we always say
go and see your doctor, but they’ll say, oh I had
that, and this is what I did, and this is what fixed it. And then somebody else will come along and say, oh yeah, I was
saying that, and yes, with the keto rash, I just
need to increase my carbs a little bit, and it went away. So that is the wisdom of the crowd. That is what is empowering people. And I think that people
are far more comfortable just speaking to somebody
that is on their level than somebody that, you
know, looks down at them. I’m the doctor, you’re the patient. I know your body better than you do. It’s just more control of
your life any more, you know. I’m not saying that Google is a substitute for a medical degree, but there’s a hell of lot of
information out there, huh? It’s horrible because, you
know, we’re all gonna die within the next five minutes
if follow all Google– (laughing)
Giving us advice. – No, yeah. I think
that’s an important cog and an important nuance that I do want to underline, you know. Both of us are not medical doctors. Google is not a replacement
for formal medical training, and I think our role here,
with the discussion, is, we’re not telling people
what to do, but we, I think it’s worth the
information and help people understand and start digesting how to think about themselves,
and ask the right questions to their actual doctor. I think, arming the patient
with the right questions and the right baseline
sense of information, so they can actually have
a productive conversation with their primary care practitioner, as opposed to coming in completely naive, completely dumb with no
idea what to do, and just, “Please doctor, you know, just fix me.” I think that’s like, our, and
I think you agree with this, is giving people, empowering
people with some agency and some background knowledge
for the right questions to take a little bit of
agency of their own health. – Absolutely, you know,
and you know how empowering it is to go to a doctor and say, look, I’ve got this rash, this keto rash. We don’t know why that happens. Nobody knows why it happens. Some people get it, some people don’t. Basically they’re starving their body completely of carbohydrates. I know that there’s a kind
of warm movement out there but not everybody can do it. Like, not everybody can,
I’ve got a friend in Canada, she can’t eat any vegetables. She got Crohn’s, and she’s, yes, she can’t eat any vegetable. So the thing is, to be
able to go to the doctor and say, you know, I’ve
got this and I follow, a lot of people have got this too, can you tell me what it is? You know, it’s empowering. You’ve got the power
back in people’s hands empowering them about their own body. You know, we had people on our group, one said all these
purists, you know, oh gosh, they were just the most
annoying people on Earth. Oh no you can’t do that because
of this that and the other. And we did think, you
know what, quite honestly, people will eat what they want to eat, and I find that that’s another group that keeps people almost trapped because they intimidate people so much. We are not sick. We are not sick. We are not here to tell you that you need to go and research
before you come and ask us. You know what, if you’re
gonna go and research, then you don’t need to
ask for help, you know. So we see this very
much as a research thing so that you can get, it’s like a forum where you can get help from other people that have gone through the same thing. Long story short, you
know, that’s what it is. – So the good news is
that the last couple days the group was finally reinstated. – Yes.
– Can you talk us about how that came to resolution? And then, do you have a
sense of how to prevent this from happening in the future? I mean, obviously, if it, you know, did you learn something from this? Or was it, you didn’t learn anything and you’re just like, I don’t know. – I don’t know. I didn’t learn a damn thing. But they took us down on the 14th of May, and then they, about eight
o’clock in the morning South African time, and
then they reinstated us on the 17th of May at about probably about eight o’clock at night they reinstated us. It was devastating for
most of our members. They were lost. They literally, I remembered one saying on a good day had a hashtag
on there saying I’m a groupie because everybody just go
there because they needed this. So what have I learned from this? I learnt that the group
is a lot more important than I actually believed. I didn’t know. You know, you just do what you do and yeah, you know what,
somebody means something to you every now and
then and stuff, oh okay. I’m not a celebrity person at all. I’m not like that. So, I didn’t realize how important it was but I can tell you something that really heavyweights got involved in getting the group reinstated. One of them was Greg
Glassman from CrossFit, and he just, he took it
very personally actually. And he was calling all
kinds of people, senators, and attorneys, and I was
like, oh my goodness. I mean, I’m like this
little woman in Cape Town. And all of these people are,
and then I started realizing that this group is really
important to so many people that people were prepared to come together and help us get this thing
up and running again. What I found from that members was like, I mean, I don’t know how many
times I’ve followed the group in the last few days, thanks to Jesus, I mean there was just so
many of them. (laughs) And people were angry as well,
but I think they’re over it. You know what it’s like. It’s like the story on
Facebook, you get angry, by tomorrow morning you’re fine because something else has happened. And we go back to the
business of helping people and getting them to just
live a healthier life, and that’s it. Why they took us down, if they’re gonna take
us down again, I dunno. I don’t think they’ll try because there’s some very serious people got involved in this.
– Yeah. I mean, this is a really community. I mean, this is, almost,
this is like a city of people talking together, and I can completely understand
how thousands of people would miss their city. They miss their community,
if it’s gone and blown out, for no reason. But hopefully there’s a silver lining here where people realize,
or Facebook or the folks at powers that may be,
that you can’t, don’t mess with these people
because this is important for many, many people. Thank you so much for creating this group and this service, and I
think, just, our conversation for this last hour or so. I mean, I think that
leadership, that warmth, really comes from how you
set the pace and tone. So how do our listeners get
involved or stay in touch and help support this growth, here? Obviously there’s the
Banting 7 Day Meal Plan group that you run. – Well, I’ve got views, I’ve got a book coming out in October. So, myself and Natalie and
Kim, with two of the admins and myself, we’re writing
a book that will be, just talking and telling
people how to follow this lifestyle in plain English, not scientific English,
just plain English. It’s basically most of the questions that have been asked on the group, that we’ve, it’s just an
expanded, it’s a queue, basically, and then lots of recipes. The recipes that were the
most popular on the group, but affordable recipes
where you can involve your entire family. So that’s one exciting
thing that’s happening. And how to get involved. You know what? You don’t have to get
involved on the group, but you know what? Just reach out to somebody
close to you that’s Banting with us and just say to
them, there is another way. And just give them hope. Go onto the group and
join the group and go and get the offers and
get testimonials there and show people that, you know what? You don’t have to live a life
where you are basically doomed to live in like a prison called the body for the rest of your life, and have kindness and
patience with people. – Well said. Well, I can’t say anything
much better than that, so we’ll wrap it here. Rita, really a wonderful conversation and I’m looking forward to the book and the continued growth of the group and all of
the work you’re doing. – Thank you! – [Narrator] Thanks for
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