If you have read any of our reviews of the Low Carb Down Under Sydney conference, you will know we have recently fallen in love with attending low carb conferences. We have booked Ketofest for July 2018 and Low Carb Down Under Gold Coast 2018.
As much as we would love to spend our time travelling the world over, attending all the low carb conferences, that is just not possible … YET! Maybe that should be our goal.
We were lucky to have our friends, Daisy and Louise, attending the Public Health Collaboration UK 2018 conference this year and they were kind enough to provide us with their thoughts on the weekend.
About Daisy and Louise
We became friends with Daisy and Louise through social media. The 4 of us have been members of the Kickarse Keto Bitches facebook group since the beginning and have formed a great friendship since.
Daisy is a Brit who has lived in France for the past 15 years. She is the voice and brains behind the Keto Woman podcast which has been on the air since November 2017. The Keto Woman podcast has 32 episodes, including one covering the PHC conference and an episode featuring us.
Make sure you give her podcast a listen as it’s great to hear how other women have incorporated a ketogenic lifestyle into their everyday lives. She also runs the facebook group, Kickarse Keto Bitches. If you are looking for a community full of amazing women with no judgement, this is definitely the place for you.
Louise is an Aussie that has recently moved to the UK to work as a senior lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University. She is an admin on the Ketogenic Forums and the Kickarse Keto Bitches facebook group. She has been featured on the Keto Woman podcast and the 2 Keto Dudes podcast. You can read more about Louise’s weight loss success story here.
She loves to attend low carb conferences as much as we do and has been to Low Carb Breckenridge, several Low Carb Down Under events, Ketofest and can now add the PHC conference to her ever growing list. I get the feeling she might be running her own event one day.
The Public Health Collaboration
The Public Health Collaboration (PHC) is a charity dedicated to informing and implementing healthy decisions for better public health. In the UK, 25% of adults are obese – the highest prevalence in Europe – and Type 2 Diabetes has risen 65% in the past 10 years with no sign of slowing down. Both cost the NHS 16 billion pounds a year. The PHC publish evidence-based reports on the most pressing public health issues alongside coordinated campaigns and implementing initiatives for improving public health. The director – Sam Feltham – ran a fitness boot camp for 5 years which he closed in March 2016 to focus fully on running the PHC. The founding members are a combination of medical professionals all dedicated to pushing for real change.
The 2018 conference was held in the Royal College of General Practitioners in London over the weekend of 19-20 May.
The PHC website has a number of resources, including videos of previous conferences and infographics such as the brilliant sugar equivalent series by Dr David Unwin.
Opening Remarks Day 1- Dr Peter Brukner
“It’s getting to the point where it’s almost negligent of a doctor not to put their T2D patient on a low carb diet.” Dr Peter Brukner
Dr Peter Brukner opened the Public Health Collaboration (PHC) conference with a stark warning of where we are heading if we don’t dramatically cut sugar and ultra-processed foods from our diet.
Dr Peter Brukner is an Australian sport medicine specialist who has worked with various high profile teams such as Olympic, Commonwealth, cricket and soccer (UK football) teams. He now spearheads the ‘Sugar By Half’ campaign and has recently released his book ‘A Fat Lot of Good’. He presented a number of scientific studies supporting low carbohydrate diets and the effects of high sugar and ultra processed foods on health and wellbeing. As we know, diet has been attributed to poor health outcomes with conditions such as Alzheimers, cancer and infertility.
What is always surprising to hear is just how much sugar is consumed by teenagers (25 teaspoons) and adults (14 teaspoons) with a reminder that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a maximum of 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day.
Will 2/3 of the health budget be spent accordingly? The audience responded with a resounding “no”!
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: 20% of the developed world. Is diet the culprit? – Dr David Unwin
Dr Unwin is a UK GP and uses a patient-centred solution-focussed approach to help patients realise their health goals. This approach has seen many patients improve their health and he needs to prescribe less medication. Dr Unwin has been recognised as being an NHS Innovator by saving money through less need for prescribing medication.
He explained how diet can attribute to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This condition is one of the markers for metabolic syndrome which, when insulin levels are high, leads to fat storage. Depositing fat into the liver has previously been seen in alcoholics only, but is now seen in people with poor food quality diets.
Kettles, Calories & Energy Balance: What went wrong? – Dr Zoe Harcombe PhD
“Unless you are a cow, stop grazing!” Dr Zoe Harcombe
Dr Zoë Harcombe PhD gave a most informative and entertaining presentation, in which she myth busted the Calories In – Calories Out (CICO) belief that creating a calorie deficit is required for weight loss. In summary, she said that the CICO model is flawed, as energy balance relies on two thermodynamic laws not one. CICO is meant to relate to energy balance which does not relate to how you lose or gain weight, as that is a multi-system process; the linking of weight to energy balance is a major conceptual flaw in the argument.
Zoë Harcombe is a researcher, author, blogger and public speaker in the field of diet and health. Her particular areas of interest/expertise are public health dietary guidelines (especially dietary fat), nutrition and obesity.
One of the key messages from the presentation was how to stop storing fat by switching off insulin – stop grazing and change your fuel by reducing carbohydrates – and liberating fat by enabling glucagon – limit alcohol intake and get more active.
Physical Activity, are we practicing or preaching? by Dr Zoe Williams
“23% of 5-8 year old girls are active enough for good health. By the time they get to 13-15 years old, that drops to 9%.” Dr Zoe Williams
UK TV presenter and GP Dr Zoe Williams explained the relationship between the UK physical activity guidelines and the implications of the lack of activity and health effects. The current UK physical activity guidelines recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, both combined with 2 or more days of strength exercises per week.
The health implications of lack of physical activity is concerning. For high income countries, the top five disease risk factors for mortality are tobacco, high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, lack of physical activity and high blood sugar (WHO 2009).
Dr Williams discussed how chronic low-grade systemic inflammation causes a lot of health issues. She illustrated how increasing physical activity can lead to a decrease in systemic inflammation via two pathways – by increasing muscle and anti-inflammatory myokines, and decreasing visceral fat.
Zoe Williams is no stranger to intense physical activity and starred as Amazon in Sky 1’s Gladiators television series.
The Type 1 Diabetes Elephant In The Room – Dr Ian Lake
Although most of the discussion at the conference focused on the treatment of type 2 diabetes, Dr Ian Lake focused on type 1 and how a change in diet can significantly impact the management of the disease. As a type 1 diabetic himself and a lover of endurance exercise, Dr Lake has found management of his type 1 considerably easier since adopting the low carb lifestyle.
He highlighted the importance of peer support and referred to the work of Dr Richard Bernstein and his book ‘Dr Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution’ and the Type 1 Grit Facebook group. diabetes.co.uk is now rolling out a support programme for type 1 diabetics.
He mentioned also the prevalence of depression amongst type 1 diabetics and the manipulation of sugar addiction with over-dosing of insulin. He referred to the emotional link that often coexists between diabetics and sugar because of the understandable fear of hypos. This tied in neatly with the presentation by Dr Jen Unwin and Charlotte Summers about sugar addiction.
Bitter-sweet: food addiction and type 2 diabetes – Dr Jen Unwin & Charlotte Summers
Dr Jen Unwin is a psychologist who uses a patient-centred solution-focussed approach to assist her clients in realising their health goals. Charlotte Summers is the Chief Operating Officer for diabetes.co.uk, an expert in online digital health and behavioural change psychology and a published clinical author.
The members of diabetes.co.uk have recently been surveyed to identify whether they are addicted to sugar. Dr Summers and Dr Unwin involved the audience in such a survey by asking them to stand up for each statement they felt applied to them. We were told afterwards that the questions came from the DSM 5 Criteria for Substance Abuse. Considering them in this light was pretty sobering. How many times would you have stood up?
- Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than you’re meant to.
- Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to.
- Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance.
- Cravings and urges to use the substance.
- Not managing to do what you should at work, home, or school because of substance use.
- Contining to use, even when it cause problems in a relationship
- Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of substance use.
- Using substances again and again, even when it puts you in danger.
- Continuing to use, even when you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance.
- Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance).
- Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance
Opening Remarks Day 2 – Dr Aseem Malhotra
Dr Aseem Malhotra’s presentation was a mix of frustration at the continued prevalence of a culture that tends to blame the patient whilst the very organisations that are charged with our care seem to be sponsored in part by organisations bothered less by the nation’s heath and more by their bottom line.
His frustration comes from being a cardiologist who is advising patients, often who have had serious heart issues, to change their diets when he sees them being served poor quality food while in hospital after their operations.
There was also optimism though with the push by a few MPs for changes to the stance on sugar with the analogy even being made between usage and tobacco. Labour MP Keith Vaz championed The Pioppi Diet and charged 100 MPs to adopt the diet over the summer last year.
Dr Malhotra continues to lead the drive to change the dietary guidelines in the UK, despite attempts to discredit him.
Challenging conventional dietary guidelines: The story behind Lore of Nutrition – Prof Tim Noakes
“You don’t die of diabetes, you die of the treatment – the mismanagement of the disease.” Prof Tim Noakes
Prof Tim Noakes presented a retrospective on his sports medicine career, epiphany and trial proceedings. He gave an honest account of the cognitive dissonance of his research as he was entrenched in carbohydrate as the primary fuel for athletes.
When he received an email promoting colleague Drs Westman, Phinney and Volek’s revised Atkins book he was unconvinced of the merits of the diet and went out and bought the book. The rest, as they say, is history.
With the launch of Real Meal Revolution and other publications, his profile became the target of South African dieticians and eventual reporting to the South African Health Professional Council. He showed evidence (email correspondence) from trial documents of the collusion between the prominent dieticians and the regulatory body.
Despite already receiving several standing ovations earlier in the conference, the auditorium got to its feet once again as Prof Noakes played out his presentation with the Liverpool football team’s anthem ‘You’ll never walk alone’ and continued through the song with not a dry eye in the house. It was a powerful experience to be a part of.
Food First: A patient perspective – Claire McDonnell-Liu
Claire McDonnell-Liu gave a very moving presentation about her and her family’s journey. Their experience led them to set up leafie.org – a non-profit organisation that delivers talks and projects with individuals, schools and organisations to provide information and resources on real food changes for real families.
Through the use of a modified ketogenic diet they have managed their daughter’s epilepsy and son’s skin condition.
It was quite shocking to see the list of side effects on the side of the recommended medication as opposed to the ketogenic diet side with far less, and more easily manageable, side effects which they were advised against adopting.
The conference was well catered with good quality, low carb food and drinks.
Daisy’s Final Thoughts
As a Brit, I particularly enjoyed meeting fellow low carb Brits and seeing all the great work that they are doing in the UK. The range of presentations was fantastic with such diverse subject matter. For me, the lectures that resonated the most were those of Dr Zoë Harcombe and Dr Jen Unwin & Charlotte Summers.
CICO dogma is something that never fails to get under my skin and to listen to Dr Harcombe dismantle it so eloquently was a joy. Her lecture was engaging and entertaining and flew past in what seemed like just a few short minutes.
Sugar addiction is definitely a problem for me and I stood up about 7 times during Dr Unwin and Charlotte Summers’ presentation. Seeing others do the same in the lecture hall certainly made me feel less alone with something that can often be quite isolating.
This was actually an overriding feeling for me just being at the conference – the feeling that I was a part of a movement that is making real change and simply being with people who think the same way as I do and so not having to constantly explain and defend the way I live and eat.
As always, the stories that touched me most were those from ‘ordinary’ people. As you know, that has been the driving force behind my podcast from the start and it is true every time that ordinary people have the most extraordinary stories to share.
Louise’s Final Thoughts
As an Australian, it is inspiring to have seen the UK are working to ‘be the change’, transforming lives at a local community based primary health care model. The PHC UK, through their ambassador program, are working in the community to nurture a support network to help those wanting to change their lifestyle.
Attending these conferences is always so embracing, being around like-minded people. However, when you leave and return home, you are often reminded that those like-minded people you’ve spent the last few days with are not near you, especially when confronted by daily challenges. Building community is vital for the continuation of the movement to change – which is the motto for PHC UK – to be the change – and that change begins with the individual.
Sam Feltham and the PHC UK really are to be commended for the great strides forward they are making in the UK. What a pleasure it was to be a part of this 2018 London conference. I will definitely be signing up for next year’s event.
We would like to thank Daisy and Louise for putting the time and effort into reviewing the conference for us. At Have Butter will Travel we would love to attend all of the low carb events ourselves, but that is not possible. Having our friends cover these events for us when possible is great and allows us to provide more reviews for you on these excellent conferences.
If you are planning to attend a Low Carb event and would be interested in reviewing it for us, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out some of our other low carb event reviews here
- Low Carb Down Under Gold Coast 2018 – Our Top 10 Takeaways
- Ketofest 2018 – New London, Connecticut
- Low Carb Down Under Sydney 2018 – Video Wrap up
- Public Health Collaboration Conference Review – London 2018
- Experts answer low carb diet Q&A – LCDU Sydney 2018
- Low Carb Down Under Sydney – Our Thoughts Part 2
- Low Carb Down Under Sydney – Our Thoughts Part 1