top of page
Living Low Carb.jpg

Living Low Carb  by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.



Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.  -  "Attributed to Hippocrates repeated by Dan Stingl"

     This book belongs in every home.  Buy it as a gift for everyone you love.  

     There is no way to be on the Path to Health without understanding the importance of diet.  Dr Bowden (Dr. Jonny in California Etiquette) has a outstanding writing style combined with extensive factual knowledge which makes this book indispensable.

First a word from Dr. Stingl...


What we do here at the Stingl Eye Clinic is operate an eye clinic. But WHY our organization exists is to lower the cost of health care for Americans while simultaneously increasing the health of Americans. This goal is impossible to achieve without carbohydrate restriction. Anyone interested in raising the health of Americans (or their own health) needs to read this book. The popular notion that increasing access to health insurance will reverse the decline in American's health is misguided; it is exacerbating the problem as we purchase more prescriptions and procedures and our health continues to decline. That is, unless, you want to measure success as the number of bariatric surgeries performed. It is impossible to be on our Path to Health without understanding why carbohydrate control increases health. Jonny Bowden has eloquently distilled a mountain of truth into a succinct guide. Although the subtitle is for Long-Term Weight Loss the value is in raising health. His brilliance comes from his practical experience recognizing the uniqueness of individual's preferences, biases, genetics, discipline, motivation, and metabolism. In reviewing 23 diets he understands that lifetime success requires a lifestyle of not only diet, but also sleep, exercise and stress reduction.


“If you lower the carbohydrate content of the diet, you get better weight loss and better health”

-Barry Sears

In 2007, when researchers at Stanford University set out to compare four diets- Atkins, Ornish, the ZONE, and the LEARN plan on overweight women, they faced poor compliance. Christopher Gardner, PhD., the lead researcher, noting the Atkins diet superiority despite partial compliance commented, “it's not that you can have all the steak and brie you want, the main message is you can't have any refined sugar. None. No soda, no white bread, no high fructose corn syrup.”

Humans have no physiological requirement for carbohydrate. No one in the book is advocating zero carbs. Getting carbs from vegetables, fruit and beans makes sense, but not from rice, bread, baked goods, cereal, and sugar laden desserts.




In 1864, when the wealthy undertaker William Banting reversed his carbohydrate induced obesity with a carb restricted diet from his ENT Dr. William Harvey (yes, the circulation guy) he self financed the first low carb diet book “Letter on Corpulence” (eliminating sugar and flour) to great success. In the 1890's Wilbur O. Atwater burned food in a calorimeter giving birth to the notion that in terms of a human's weight a calorie is the same whether fat, protein or carbohydrate which we are still trying to dispell. In 1914 Vance Thompson published “Eat and Grow Thin” advocating a low carb diet without regard to calories; he included the admonishment, “never eat potatoes, rice, white bread, macaroni or sweets”. Shortly after World War I the DuPont Company hired Alfred Pennington, MD to solve the growing executive obesity problem which was unresponsive to the then popular low calorie diets; placing them on a high-fat high-protein diet unrestricted calorie diet worked. Early in the 20th Century Vilhjalmur Stefansson spent 9 years living in the Arctic with the Inuits who were free from obesity, strokes or hypertension by eating only meat, fish and fat. In 1944 cardiologist Blake Donaldson treated obese patients with a calorie unrestricted meat only diet with at least an 8 ounce porterhouse steak (25% fat) three times and day and claimed a 70% success rate for 15,000 patients. By 1958 Richard MacKarness, who ran Britian's first obesity and food allergy cllinic published “Eat Fat and Grow Slim”, being the first to speculate that some people couldn't lose weight due to a defect in carbohydrate processing, also noting that some people overeat due to loneliness, fear or emotional dissatisfaction. In 1961, Dr. Herman Taller, in a chronic struggle with obesity, gained nine pounds on an experimental vacation with his physician friend who lost one pound eating exactly the same, noted in “Calories Don't Count” that high-carb diets stimulate insulin and some people produce, store and use fat differently.

Ancel Keys did us a great disservice (after he proposed his diet-heart hypothesis to The World Health Organization in 1954 and was humiliated) by producing his intentionally flawed study designed to support his hypothesis that cholesterol caused heart disease, cherry picking seven countries out of 22 available. John Yudkin examined ALL of the same data and found sugar had a far greater association with heart disease publishing “Sweet and Dangerous” in 1972 (the same year Robert Adkins published “The New Diet Revolution”). Uffe Ravnskov came to the same conclusion after examining ALL of the data from the 22 countries ( ).

But, unfortunately, the truth lost out and “the greatest health scam of the century” (George Mann) was perpetrated as the carb heavy USDA Food Pyramid, low fat foods, and billions of dollars of testosterone lowering, dementia promoting statins were foisted on a gullible public. (Nathan Pritkin and Dean Ornish erroneously jumped on the bandwagon.)

On July 7, 2002 Gary Taubes published “What If It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?” in the New York Times documenting massive evidence the the low-fat diet had been the dumbest experiment in diet history.


Why Low Carbohydrate Diets Work


Low-carb diets work because they reverse insulin resistance and normalize hormonal balance.


High carbohydrate diets (especially high sugar diets):

  • push consumed calories into fat cells and keep it there

  • raise unhealthy cholesterol and triglycerides

  • glycate healthy normal functioning proteins in our bodies mutating them into Advanced Glycation End products (appropriately abbreviated AGEs) causing a myriad of diseases and chronic conditions

  • deplete magnesium

  • cause salt retention raising blood pressure

  • worsen Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)


Experience has taught us that low-fat diets don't work; chronic high glycemic load diets cause blood sugar spikes leading to insulin resistance.


Hormonal Dance

  • Insulin: secreted by the pancreas in response to high blood sugar

  • Glucagon: secreted by the pancreas to raise blood sugar and fatty acids (blocks insulin)

  • Leptin: secreted by fat cells and the small intestine tells the brain to stop eating; obese people may be leptin resistant

  • Cortisol: stress hormone secreted by the adrenal glands increased with chronic stress, intense physical activity and sleep deprivation; stores fat around the middle, even in lean people; breaks down muscle, raises blood sugar and increases insulin resistance

  • Resistin: secreted by fat cells, it resists insulin helping to cause insulin resistance

  • Adiponectin: secreted by fat cells, it reduces insulin resistance

  • Ghrelin: secreted by an empty stomach, it is the hunger hormone (increases with sleep deprivation)

  • Neuropeptide Y (NPY): secreted by neurons it causes carbohydrate craving increased with chronic stress and low protein high carbohydrate diets

  • Peptide YY (PYY): secreted by the intestines it is the “stop eating” hormone stimulated by dietary protein (not by carbs); decreases leptin resistance

  • Glucagon-like Peptide-1 (GLP-1): this “stop eating” hormone is secreted by the small intestine (and brain stem) after low-carb, high-fat and high-protein meals

  • Cholecystokinin (CCK): this “stop eating” hormone is secreted by the first segment of the small intestine (duodenum) after a high fat meal


High Carbing: Wheat and Fructose


The American Epidemic is Metabolic Syndrome consisting of high blood pressure, abdominal fat, and increased blood sugar. Fat cells also secret inflammatory cytokines such as interlukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha associated with every degenerative disease. High-glycemic foods such as cereals, breads, pasta, potatoes, rice, and an assortmnent of highly sweetened processed food not only make you fat, they raise the risk of cancer and heart disease.

In 2010, William Davis, MD published “Wheat Belly” doing us all a great favor. The einkhorn wheat of our ancestors has been replaced with modern dwarf wheat containing amylopectin A which raises blood sugar faster than table sugar. This makes it extremely unlikely to be on The Path to Health if modern wheat comprises a significant portion of your diet. The dominant polypeptide from the breakdown of gluten in wheat is gluteo-morphine, also known as gliadorphin, which not only has proven morphine euphoric effect, but also may hide the toxic effect of gluten. So, modern wheat is an addictive appetite stimulant that causes giant blood sugar spikes which disrupts normal hormone function and mutates healthy normal proteins.

Nutritionally, there is little difference between High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and sucrose (table sugar). John Yudkin (“Sweet and Dangerous” - 1972) sounded the alarm and Robert Lustig, MD has taken up the mantle; his YouTube video, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” includes a biochemical explanation of how fructose (50% of sucrose, 55+% of HFCS) damages the liver with fat deposition leading to insulin resistance. Fructose in whole fresh fruit has less fructose with fiber and is digested more slowly than a can of soda. Fruit juice, although it contains nutrients, is is more like soda.




Cholesterol does not cause heart disease (See “The Great Cholesterol Myth” by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra, MD). In fact, a cholesterol BELOW 150 puts you at risk for dementia (See The End of Alzheimer's” by Dale Bredesen, MD). Saturated fat is only dangerous when combined with a high carbohydrate diet (See “Smart Fat” by Jonny Bowden and Stephen Masley, MD). In fact, medium chain triglycerides (MCT or coconut oil) are essential for growing new brain cells (See “ Grain Brain” by David Perlmutter,MD).

Trans-fats are really bad.

The Lyon Diet Heart Study showed a 72% in coronary events from the Mediterranean Diet with no change in serum chlolesterol.

Merck and Schering-Plough completed the ENHANCE trial in 2006 which was designed to show the cholesterol lowering drug (statin) Vytorin lowered the risk of a heart attack. Unfortunately, the study showed MORE atherosclerotic plaque formation from the billion dollar drug despite lower cholesterol levels. What did they do? They did what was in the best interest of the shareholders and kept it a secret until 2008.

HDL is not necessarily good and LDL is not necessarily bad....

HDL-2 Good

HDL-3 Bad

LDL-A Good


Lp(a)- Very Bad


Low Carb Diet Myths


  1. You need carbohydrates – no, you don't.

  2. You will be missing important nutrients – low carb is not no carb; not true

  3. Ketosis is dangerous – Unless you are an uncontrolled Type I Diabetic, breastfeeding or pregnant or have existing kidney disease, ketosis is not dangerous. In fact, our brains work at their best with at least mild ketosis.

  4. High Protein Diets damage the kidneys – only if the proteins are glycated by a high carbohydrate diet.

  5. The Only Reason You Lose Weight on a Low-Carb Diet is Because It's Low in Calories – actually this is true of the Pritkin/Ornish low-fat diet. You are much healthier on a low-carb diet. Calories count, but so do hormones.

  6. Low-Carb Diets Increase the Risk for Heart Disease – Not true; actually, high-carb diets do.


China Study


Ansel Keys wasn't the alone in cherry picking evidence to support his incorrect hypothesis. T. Collin Campbell's book “The China Study” draws the conclusion that eating animals is unhealthy. Along with Joel Furhman, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, John McDougall and Neil Barnand espousing the same, Jonny Bowden elucidates why this hypothesis is “bunk”. Correlations and associations are not causation. Ignoring evidence that refutes your hypothesis euphemistically is confirmation bias but actually it is downright disingenuous. In this case, it is a disservice to our fellow human's health.

The truth seekers exposing this scam are Anthony Colpo, Chris Masterjohn, Mike Eades, MD and Denise Minger. Minger is especially worthy of appreciation not only because of her painstaking graphical representation of ALL of the data available to Campbell but also because her critique is cogent, well argued and heavily referenced with an absence of malice. See Incredibly modest, she describes herself as just “some girl with a blog”.


The Town That Lost 1200 Pounds


On Cormorant Island, just north of Vancouver Island, B.C., the indigenous Namgis First Nations people lost their traditional salmon fishery as sea lice emanating from the salmon farms killed the wild fish. Their traditional diet of fat and protein had been replaced with the Canadian version of the high carbohydrate “Standard American Diet” (SAD): packaged convenience foods, sugar, etc. They had a obesity and diabetes rate of 3 to 5 times that of the rest of Canada. One hundred people agreed to return to their traditional diet of eulachon (smelt) grease, fish, deer, elk, salmon and some market foods like bacon, butter, cream, cheese and all the vegetables you could buy. The main thing was no sugar or starch. No cereal, rice, popcorn, flour, pasta or potatoes. Not only did the participants reverse their obesity and diabetes, they also felt better with more energy and experienced better mental health.


23 Modern Low-Carb Diets

Although we believe a strict low-carb diet is essential to be on The Path to Health, we empathize with those struggling with obesity and understand that a compromise that reverses obesity is walking in the right direction.


  1. The Atkins Diet: 1972 was a milestone year for dietary truth. Robert Adkins, MD published his diet and John Yudkin, MD, PhD published “Sweet and Dangerous” warning us of the toxicity of sugar. Unfortunately, these visionary heroes immediately became the object of scorn and disdain by the conventional medical establishment which limited the implementation of their wisdom; epidemic Metabolic Syndrome is the result. The Atkins Diet starts with a strict Induction Phase limiting carbs to 20 grams a day without restriction on fat or protein. Phase 2 increases carbs by 5 grams a week; phase 3 by 10 grams a week. The final phase fine turns carbs to stay on target weight. Simple. Atkins also discusses yeast and sensitivity to mold as altering metabolism.

  2. The All New Atkins Advantage: Atkins with motivation and fitness.

  3. The Biggest Loser: From the TV show; not strictly low-carb; for the seriously overweight

  4. The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet: The Heller's diet is light on exercise and may be inaccurate about insulin's suppression of serotonin, but the program works for a lot of people

  5. The Diabetes Diet and the Diabetes Solution: Richard Bernstein, a diabetic from age 12 was a successful engineer and business person who was frustrated at his declining health on his “doctor's orders” diet of 60% carbs (sugar), 20% fat and 20% protein. So at age 45 he went to medical school. He notes that the American Diabetic Association (ADA) recently recognized that bread is as fast-acting a carbohydrate as table sugar. But instead of recommending reduced bread consumption, the ADA allowed table sugar to be “exchanged” for other carbohydrates. To Dr. Bernstein, this makes no sense. To us, we wonder who is 'buttering their bread'. This is a strict low-carb diet, excellent for controlling diabetes. Dr. Bernstein views diets that allow a 'treat day' in the context of addiction; he questions whether a nicotine cessation program would work if “you allowed a cigarette on Saturday?”.

  6. The Dunkan Diet: Developed in Paris, it allows the reintroduction of bread (we suspect they couldn't find a single Parisian who, faced with never stepping into a boulangererie for the rest of their life, would accept such a diet). Phase 1 is pure protein. Phase 2 allows non-starchy vegetables. Phase 3 allows 'celebration' meals with very strict limitations and timing. After the target weight is achieved, the final phase adds back new foods judiciously; non-negotiable one day a week of pure protein and daily 3 tablespoons of oat bran for life. Not for vegans or the carbohydrate addicts, the program has a huge successful following.

  7. The Fat Flush Plan: Gittleman was the chief nutrionalist at Pritkin but saw the light and switched from low-fat to low-carb. Limited starch, some fruit, unlimited vegetables, lean protein and high-quality fats – overall a great program; popular with women.

  8. The Fat Resistance Diet: Dr. Galland, a leader in integrative medicine, offers a program designed to normalize hormonal balance, fighting inflammation and leptin resistance. Excellent emphasis on nutrient density, omega-3s and the best anti-inflammatory spices and herbs including cloves, ginger, parsley, tumeric, cinnamon and basil. Outstanding.

  9. The Hamptons Diet: Dr. Pescatore, a former associate medical director at the Atkin Center, saw the light and offers a program similar to the Mediterranean Diet with the substitution of macadamia-nut oil (which he sells) for olive oil noting the former has higher smoke point, a higher concentration of healthy monounsaturates (omega-9 fats) and a 'perfect' ratio of 1:1 of omega-6s to omega-3s. Pricey recipes; appeals to the wealthier with fewer than 20 pounds to lose.

  10. The Low GI Diet Revolution: a general eating program based on a low glycemic index. We now know that the glycemic load is more important in avoiding blood sugar spikes.

  11. The Paleo Diet: Dr. Cordain, a nutrition anthropologist, offer a program based on our Paleo ancestors: whatever you could hunt, fish, gather, grow or pluck. A no-grain diet that eliminates sugar, dairy, and trans-fats and recommends a ton of vegetables. Unfortunately, he buys into the incorrect cholesterol-heart disease hypothesis, eliminating eggs (cavemen didn't eat eggs?!) and other healthy fats recommending canola oil (yikes!).

  12. The Paleo Solution: Robb Wolf owns a gym, so the exercise portion of his book is excellent. The ancestoral diet is simple: meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and fat with no dairy, no grains and no legumes. He offers a shopping list with 15 meats, 15 veggies, 5 fats and 20 herbs and spices then “Put some oil in a pan, start browning the meat, add herb or spice, and then add a vegetable. Cook for 5 or 10 minutes. Eat.”. Excellent discussion of high-carb effect on palmitic acid, VLDLs, leptin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Great book.

  13. The Primal Blueprint: Mark Sisson's Ten Primal Blueprint Laws deserve attention- a)Eat Plants and animals, b)Avoid poisonous things, c)Move frequently at a slow pace, d)Lift heavy things, e)Sprint once in a while, f)Get adequate sleep, g)Play, h)Get adequate sunlight, i)Avoid stupid mistakes, j)Use your brain. User friendly, flexible high fat, moderate protein, low-carb with emphasis on lifestyle. Jonny Bowden says he is on-the-money with regard to exercise. Hmm... Worth reading.

  14. Protein Power: The Eadeses' plan has a daily minimum of protein and a maximum of carbohydrates. Like the Zone with an induction phase.

  15. The Rosedale Diet: Dr. Rosedale's plan is a hunter-gatherer diet of protein, vegetables and fat focused on reversing leptin resistance. Rosedale questions the common perception that the omega-9s in olive oil are responsible for the health benefits as in the Mediterranean Diet. He views omega-9s as a neutral oil, suggesting the health benefits may be from the amazing phenols and antioxidants instead. Excellent.

  16. The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle: the Eadeses additional offering is focused on reversing visceral fat, the dangerous fat around internal abdominal organs. This program uniquely focuses on optimizing liver function which is how visceral fat and insulin are metabolized. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which slows liver metabolism, has become endemic in America, a consequence of low-fat (high fructose), low saturated fat (high vegetable fat) diets foisted on the public. Saturated fat reverses experimental fat accumulation induced with alcohol and fructose and/or vegetable fat (in animals, at least). The plan starts with protein shakes and more protein, then moves to a basically all-meat diet, ending in a more typical low-carb diet. Yum for the carnivorously inclined.

  17. The Schwarzbein Principle: A program designed by an endocrinologist for metabolic healing. The principle: a) All systems of the human body are connected, b) One imbalance creates another imbalance, c) Eating too may man-made carbohydrates is the number one reason for hormonal imbalances, d) Poor eating and lifestyle habits – not genetics – cause diseases of aging. Dr. Schwarbein individualizes the eating plan based on matrix of insulin (sensitive or resistant) and adrenal function (healthy or burned out). The 5 elements of the program are: a) nutrition, b) stress management, c) cross-training, d) eliminating stimulants and drugs, e) hormone replacement therapy (if needed). Excellent program requiring patience and commitment.

  18. The South Beach Diet: This friendly, realistic diet is popular. “Atkins for the first two weeks, then the Zone” Phobia of saturated fat.

  19. South Beach Recharged: Better than the original, still negative on saturated fat.

  20. Unleash Your Thin: Jonny Bowden's offering for those who want 2 hours of DVDs, 6 CDs, a full 166-page manual, a 300-plus-page workbook, and a 6 week menu plan.

  21. The UltraSimple Diet: Dr. Mark Hyman, a giant in functional and integrative medicine, is leading the way to The Path to Health. Focused on getting healthy, it targets toxicity and inflammation. Six steps: a) Get rid of bad foods (which create toxicity and inflammation), b) Add good foods (detox and anti-inflammatory), c) Detoxify - “UltraBroth” (chopped radishes, greens, cilantro, carrots, celery, fresh ginger and seaweed), d) Reduce inflammation - “UltraShakes”, e) Relax - “UltraBath”, f) Reflect – Journal. Dr. Hyman teachs toxins stored in fat cells can: a) impair the thyroid and liver, b) damage mitochondria, c) harm brain neurotranmitter and hormone signaling that affects appetite, d) increase inflammation and oxidative stress which promotes weight gain. Central to the program are identifying food sensitivities (as opposed to allergies), especially in gluten, dairy, yeast, eggs, corn and peanuts. High-fructose corn syrup, trans-fats and artificial sweeteners are banned. Buy, read and reference. (Same for “FOOD What the Heck Should I Eat?”)

  22. Women'sHealth Perfect Body: Strong on dietary information and exercise. Utilizes the expanding fiber glucomannan.

  23. The Zone: Dr. Barry Sears offering is not low-carb. The 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat diet in popular. Designed to foster the creation of good eicosanoids, the recommended fats are olive oil almonds, avocados and fish oil.


Jonny Bowden's Healthy Low-Carb Life Pyramid on page 338


We LOVE this... (Upside down)


Base: Water, Exercise, Stress Reduction & Deep Restful Sleep, Joy


Mezzanine: Protein (including animal sources), Vegetables, Fat


3rd Floor: Fruit (especially berries), Nuts


4th Floor: Nutritional Supplements


The top of the pyramid is optional:


Small Penthouse: Selected starches and whole grains (oatmeal, sweet potatoes)


Tiny Attic : Red Wine


Tippy Top of Pyramid: Recreational foods (infrequent / special occassions)

bottom of page