Dr. Ken Berry is a family physician, speaker, and author of the book “Lies My Doctor Told Me.” In this episode of The Keto Paleo Life Interview Series Dr. Ken reflects on his discovery of the ketogenic diet and shares why many popular opinions on nutrition don’t actually achieve results.
In this interview we will discuss these following topics:
- What inspired him to write “Lies My Doctor Told Me.”
- The importance of leading by example as a health practitioner.
- Why it’s important to question popular opinion and follow the results.
- Why many things are upside down in medicine right now.
- A pill is rarely the answer. Often the solution lies in diet.
- Hear how diet and lifestyle affect all ages from infants to 103 year-olds.
Hope you enjoy and learn a lot. I know I did!
Feel free to follow along using the transcript below and don’t forget to submit your questions to Vivica@…… or join The Nourished Caveman Facebook Group for ongoing interactive discussions.
Ken D Berry, MD is a Family Physician, Speaker and Author based near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Ken was born in Linden, Tennessee, and grew up in the very small Southern town of Hohenwald, Tennessee.
He received a Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, in Animal Biology and Psychology, from Middle Tennessee State University, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 1996.
He received his MD from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2000.
Ken has been practicing Family Medicine in rural Tennessee for over a decade. He is board certified in Family Medicine, and has been awarded the degree of Fellow, by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Having seen over 20,000 patients during his career of all ages, he is uniquely qualified to write on both acute and chronic diseases. More and more, Dr. Berry has focused on the chronic diseases caused by the Standard American Diet and Lifestyle, and has made it his mission to turn the tide on the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes, chronic inflammation and dementia.
Ken has four children, 3 dogs, 2 cats and 7 peacocks. He, and his beautiful wife Neisha, live on their farm in Holladay, TN.
Lies My Doctor Told Me: Amazon
- Full video transcript below
Struggling with poor health, losing weight and maintaining that weight loss? Check out The Healing Foods Method.
Vivica: Hello everybody and welcome back to the Keto Paleo Life. Today, I’m very happy to bring you a special guest who’s actually my first MD on this new interview series, Dr. Ken Berry; a real MD and actually, it’s like if you know MDs like there was like– there kind of like the [unintelligible] [00:36] and some of them they’re more on dark [unintelligible] sides. He is definitely going to be on the light side. Like one of the good [unintelligible] MD for us.
Let me tell you a little bit about Dr. Berry. So he’s a family physician and he is a speaker and an author. In fact, we’re going to speak a lot about his book, Lies Your Doctor Told You and he’s based near Nashville Tennessee which we’ll soon you’ll figure out about his lovely accent. [Laughing] one with an accent here today.
Dr. Ken: That’s right.
Vivica: And yeah, Dr. Berry grew up in Tennessee and he started his practice there and maybe he’ll tell us a little bit about his experience and how he went from being a conventional kind of like law abiding, rule abiding doctor to being a man who thinks for himself and just kind of broke this like strict rules of action into like a big wide perspective of how to work with patients in his practice and much more. Welcome Dr. Ken, I’m sorry for this kind of convoluted introduction. Welcome to Paleo Life.
Dr. Ken: Thank you so much for having me. Vivica, it’s good to see you again.
Vivica: Likewise, likewise. Thank you and thank you for being here and taking some time to just let me pick your mind a little bit. I know that the information you bring is going to be extremely valuable for the people who are watching and my followers and of course your followers always.
Dr. Ken: I promise to try.
Vivica: [Laughs] So Dr. Ken why should I– Like I know people always ask you, how should I call you; Dr. Ken, Ken, Dr. Berry?
Dr. Ken: Whatever, you can call me whatever you want Vivica.
Vivica: I like Dr. Ken.
Dr. Ken: Okay, let’s do it. Can I call you Dr. Vivica? Is that okay?
Vivica: No, I already told one of my patients. Actually if you want to know a little secret that’s what I was going to say on the presentation on the cruise when we were on the low carb cruise together but I was going to introduce myself as a MWD and then somebody in the audience was going to be like “what’s an MWD?” and it’s a Modern Witch Doctor.
Dr. Ken: Oh witch doctor.
Vivica: That’s my title.
Dr. Ken: Very powerful. The magic is strong with this one. I can tell.
Vivica: So Dr. Ken tell us a little bit about yourself and your book so I really– what I really want to talk to you about today is from a doctor standpoint. Like of course in the book you talk a lot about the lies that doctors are led to believe in and they then practice in their practice and pass on to their patients and we can talk maybe just a little bit about that.
But I would really like to focus on how do we empower people who want to change their lifestyle especially to a Keto Paleo lifestyle and how do we empower them in their relationships with their doctors? What kind of aside from of course getting your book which I am already recommending to everybody. I think everybody should have it when they go to their doctor. But what else can we tell them? Like let’s just start this conversation please.
Dr. Ken: Yes absolutely. So I am a classically trained allopathic position, a medical doctor. I was trained with four years of medical school and then three years of residency training after that on board certified in family medicine. I have worked in obstetrics in my training, I’ve worked in the emergency room for thousands of hours and I’ve been in my clinic for over 13 years now.
And so I’ve easily seen over 25,000 unique patients during that time and they kind of– family doctors are kind of uniquely qualified to see the world from a more of a bigger perspective, a more circumspect way of looking at the world because I’ve seen everybody from baby still in the womb to my currently my oldest patient is 103 years old and I go and see her at her home once a month because she can’t get to the office anymore. She’s been my patient since I started my practice and she was in her– I guess 89/90 when I started and now she’s 103 and I don’t know if that speaks to my ability to the doctor. I think it just speaks to her genetics, but I haven’t killed her. That’s for sure because she’s still with us.
But so I’ve seen a lot of things. I’ve seen a lot of people and I’ve seen all the different lifespans and how diet lifestyle affects all of those people from newborns all the way up to 103 year old. And so like I said, I was classically trained. So I had one half of one semester of nutrition journey in medical school. And so what happened to me to kind of brought me down this path was during my 30s, I was very busy building the practice. I was working a lot of night shifts at the emergency room, getting very little sleep very often and so my cortisol was high and I was also eating junk constantly because of all my life, I’ve been very slender, very athletic and I could eat–
Well I was the garbage disposal. That’s what I was called at my house because when everybody else was done and I had eaten mine, I would eat all of yours too and then I would go get dessert after that and so that– You know I had that super-fast metabolism back then but of course during my 30s, it started to slow down but then I was also sleep deprived, I was high stressed just in the pressure cooker trying to grow this practice and also work a lot of hours in the emergency department and make some extra money to fund the practice and so I started getting fat. Vivica, I don’t know if you can imagine that but at one point, I was about 65 pounds heavier than I am now.
Dr. Ken: And my– and when C [06:45] started going up and my triglycerides were really high, my inflammatory markers were all starting to elevate. And I kept thinking well that’s not too bad and each time I would check my labs, I’d be checking every six months for years now and I’m probably going to make those public before long just so people can actually see how the labs will change as you fix your diet. But at some point, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I would see was like 5.9 or 6 and so I was pre-diabetic you know, definitely [unintelligible] [07:16] resistant, gaining weight and one day, I got short of breath trying to tie my shoes.
And I’m like God, this is terrible because I’m the– I’m based– I was the fat doctor that would come into your room and say “now Miss Mina gosh you need to lose some weight”, right. And that’s just not my style. I like to lead by example, I like to walk the walk and I was definitely not doing either of those at that time in my life and in my practice. And so I thought well this is got to change. I can’t be that fat doctor. It’s like a doctor smoking and telling you not to smoke.
I just can’t be that guy and so I got up in the attic and I got down all the notes from my medical school nutrition class and you might envision this huge stack of notes I was coming down the stairs with, but it was really a paper bag book about this thick and about this many paper notes literally. Of all my medical school and residency training that was the entirety of my nutrition training and so I got it all out and I checked. I went through it and kind of updated myself. I was like okay, eat super low fat, eat lots of whole grains and jog. That was the entirety of my medical school nutrition education
Dr. Ben: Exactly and so I– I was still naïve. I was stupid at that time. And so I thought okay, honestly I haven’t been doing that. I’ve been eating a lot of process bleach flour and a lot of junk and I’ve been probably eating a little fat. I don’t know and I haven’t been jogging so I started to do all that stuff by the book. And so I did that for a couple of months and then I jumped on the scales and I’d gained 10 more pounds. And at that point, I was like okay so the message here is I basically don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, right.
Everything I’ve been taught not only does it work, but it actually works in the wrong direction maybe that’s the reason we have an obesity and a type two diabetes epidemic in America and so then I started looking outside the box so to speak. I started reading about from other kind of works of life and from other realms of science and I started looking at alternative theories of nutrition and I found an old tattered copy of Robert Atkins’ Diet Revolution at rummage sale.
I bought it for 50 cents and I read that and I was like hah, that’s exactly backwards from everything I’ve ever been taught but it seems like he knows what he’s talking about and it seems like most importantly, he’s been getting results which I wasn’t getting because all my patients were following in my footsteps which was getting fatter and more unhealthy. And I thought well at least he’s not fat and it looks like if patients are losing weight and their numbers are getting better so maybe I should look into this more.
So I kept kind of looking into the active style of dieting and I found a book eventually by Mark Sisson; The Primal Blueprint and I found a book by Loren Cordain called The Paleo of Diet and basically, my initial theories on nutrition for humans was a conglomeration of those three books put together because they all seemed to make sense, they all seemed to sort of agree and none of those guys are fat. And so I’m like well they’re smarter than me because I’m a fat ass and so maybe I should listen to them and try it.
And so I didn’t recommend this to any of my patients at all. I started doing it for myself first and I always– anything that’s not FDA approved or the legislative council of some medical body hasn’t recommended, I always try it on myself first. And so after just a couple of months, I’ve lost 20 pounds, my numbers are going back to normal and I was eating like a king. I was having bacon and bacon cheeseburgers and then bacon on top of that with a side of bacon and so I was very happy with my diet and I didn’t understand it all at that time. Like literally I was a child nutritionally snotty.
I was like I don’t know why the hell this is working but it is working and you can’t say it’s making me more unhealthy because my numbers are all going in the right direction. So not only is my waistline shrinking but so is my triglycerides so is my one C and so is mostly peptide and so is my homocystaine and so is my C.R.P. I mean everything was going to the right direction so it was really hard for me to understand with my simple that’ll kill you, we’ll it’s not killing me and according to my lab values, I’ve been checking a lot of full panel myself like I said for over a decade. I was getting healthier as well as thinner and so I couldn’t really understand what everybody was talking about and it really intrigued me.
So I really started diving deep into the research, into the low carb and I found out that doctors had used high fat diet, ketogenic diet back in your ‘20s to treat kids with epilepsy and so this wasn’t some new unheard of concept. And I’ve always been very fond of anthropology and I’ve always read very deeply in the ancient architecture ancient civilizations and the more I looked at DNA from fossils and– I forget the doctor’s name but he has a great YouTube video about we can actually go back and look at the nitrogen in carbon studies on Neanderthal and we can tell what they ate pretty done precisely and they were carnivores.
They ate high fat meat that’s what they ate if they had their choice but yet they were huge robust muscular healthy people. And so I’m like aha, so the more I got to looking the more I thought well maybe the– at that time paleo was kind of what I thought was the right diet. Maybe that’s the diet we’ve been eating forever on this planet, maybe the fat is not akin to paleo, maybe the fat is low fat high carb whole grain, maybe that’s the fat. And so then when I shifted my paradigm there, then it kind of opened my eyes to everything.
It’s like wow, everything’s upside down and backwards in medicine, right and we’re used to things that we could easily fix with your diet instead, I’m going to prescribe you 100 dollar a month pill to take that has a 2-page list of possible side effects and at that point, I was like what that’s stupid. What I’m doing? And so then I started I had a– I picked a select few of my patients who were morbidly obese and who had terrible numbers, right. Their [unintelligible] [13:36] was of 10, 11, 12. One of them was 14 just very, very sick people who basically had no– I mean they were going to die. They were metabolically terminal so to speak and I started talking to them about this and that diet because they were asking me.
All my patients are like “hey what are you doing?” because I’d lost about 45 pounds at that time and so they wanted to know what I was doing because every diet they’ve ever tried in their entire life which were all some form of calorie restriction didn’t work or they would lose 10 pounds and gain back 15 or lose 20 and gain 25. And I kept this weight off for over a year and was steadily still losing and so they were very interested in what I had to say because I was walking the walk, right. Vivica and that’s very important for somebody. You can’t be unhealthy and then be a health expert. I don’t think that works very well.
Dr. Ken: Even though many, many doctors try to do that every day. But and so then I told them about this diet in a course immediately they were like what, I eat lots of bacon what. I’m like yeah, I know it sounds crazy but yeah just try it and so they all started trying this diet because nothing they’d ever tried before worked. What do they have to lose? They got to eat lots to bacon and so they all started losing weight and their numbers all started getting better without exception.
And I was like so either I’m like the Columbus of medicine and I’ve discovered something here because I’m in a very small town in rural Tennessee so I don’t interact, it was not a lot of other authorities. Like there is no research hospital near me. There is no research university near me so and this– I was practicing at the time where there was an internet but it was very slow. Initially it was dial up and so you had to wait 45 minutes for a paper download which is better than it was back in the ‘70s and ‘80s when you had to wait three months for it to be mailed to you.
But still it was just a pain in the butt to do much research in the very beginning and so I was kind of winging it as I went and but I kept finding books and I’d read another book and I found a website and I’d read that. And I found Mark Sisson and he had a website called “marksdailyapple” which I still feel is an excellent, excellent resource for somebody who’s coming from the standard American diet and basically he’s looking at me right now going I don’t understand anything he’s talking about. What you eat bacon, what? And so if you’re listening and you’re that person, check out Mark’s Daily Apple. I don’t make a penny off that but I just think it’s a great resource because he explains it so well.
And so Mark at that time was primal paleo but I think since then he’s kind of done– he’s moved with me to the ketogenic way of thinking about this and he’s very robust, very healthy. He’s older than me but he looks amazing for his age and so that’s kind of where I came from Vivica. Is I started out being a fat, stupid, uneducated doctor when it came to nutrition and I was kind of an autodidact. I just kind of educated myself as I went along and then I started recommending it when it was obviously safe, obviously worked that I started recommending to my patients and they started reaping the benefits as well.
Vivica: Nice. I wouldn’t say you’re stupid, I just think [crosstalk] [16:43].
Dr. Ken: I was.
Vivica: You just didn’t have access to the information.
Dr. Ken: And I wasn’t taught but I also initially had that arrogance of a doctor. Like oh whatever that’s dumb. I was taught everything there is to know in medical school, right. But obviously, no I was not and so that kind of opened my eyes that maybe if so– if I was lied to about that in medical school, what else was I lied to about? And the reason I use ‘lie’ in the title of the book Lies my doctor told me was because if your hairdresser says “oh Vivica, you should eat more whole grain”.
Right you’re like “okay thanks for the advice” but you’re– you know you think in your head she’s a hairdresser. She doesn’t know anything about human nutrition that’s not her field of expertise. She’s not licensed in nutrition diet you know diet, health, the care and feeding of human beings; that’s not her job. She just makes my hair look great. So if you took her advice then that’s your fault. She didn’t lie to you, she’s just doesn’t know better. Also, she doesn’t have a produce share a relationship with you to know better. She doesn’t have to know better about that, right. Just like if she gave you advice on how to fix your car.
You’d be dumb if you took her because she’s not a mechanic; that’s dumb. So but a doctor, a nutritionist, a dietitian, it’s our job to know but of course we have to learn what we’ve been taught. But that doesn’t give you a get out of jail free card for you to say oh I didn’t know, mm-mm. Your job is to know, your job is to think about your field of expertise, your job is to study about your field of expertise. And so if you do that diligently, you’re going to come upon paleo low carb high fat ancestral keto. You’re going to come across that and then if you’re thinking at all and trying to think and learn, it’s going to make sense to you. There’s no way it can’t make sense to you because like I said earlier the paleo ancestral ketogenetic diet is the way humans have eaten for the entirety of our existence on this planet.
Dr. Ken: That is the normal human diet. What we’ve been eating it for the last 50 years. We call it the standard American or the standard diet but it’s not the normal human diet at all and if you’re any kind of a student of human beings at all which you should be if you’re a doctor. You should study not just what the Big pharma tells you, you should study anthropology, you should study human nutrition, you should study the human past history.
All that’s important for being the best doctor you can be and if you’re not doing that, then you’re doing your patients a disservice and I think it’s malpractice in my honest opinion. And so that’s kind of how I came to all this and that’s why I think that it’s a lie, it’s a professional legal lie that doctors and nutritionists I think eventually will start being held accountable for legally and ethically because it’s your job to know.
And if you don’t know– and so if you come to me Vivica and I’m your doctor and I’m like “oh you should eat more whole grains and cut out that saturated fat,” I should know better than to say that. And if I don’t know better, that’s not your fault that’s my fault and that’s why I chose the word ‘lies’ instead of mere untruths or misconception because those imply that the doctor should really need to know better. But it’s my contention that yeah, the doctor should know better, it’s his job to know better.
Vivica: I think it’s very to the point and I completely agree with you on that. It’s about responsibility because like I think– I’m not a doctor; different kind of doctor but you know you guys–
Dr Ken: witch doctor
Vivica: — you take [laughs]. Yeah, it comes with more– a different field of expertise.
Dr. Ken: Yes.
Vivica: A doctor takes an oath and the oath is of service and it’s a service to commit to the well-being and preserving life in his patients.
Dr. Ken: Yes, above all else.
Dr. Ken: And do no harm and [crosstalk] [20:38]. You’re going to make damn sure you’re doing no harm and just because Big Pharma stand a good looking drug rep to you and they said “oh this is what you should do”. If you just blindly do that, are you really doing your due diligence to do no harm? Because I don’t think you are. I don’t think that drug rep obviously has a vested interest in you prescribing that pill. They do not have a vested interest in your patient’s health that’s your job as a doctor. If you’re not doing that, that’s malpractice, isn’t it?
Vivica: Well I think this could be a whole other interview and a long conversation I’m going to sign back. Yes, I think we definitely agree on this point and so I would really like to talk to you now and to hear your thoughts on– So why do we do about this? How then– there is a quote, I love your quote from the book and just like this is like a totally started all right [laughs]. You can bring a doctor to the knowledge, but you can’t make him think” [laughs].
Dr. Ken: That’s right. Yeah that’s actually a paraphrase of an old —
Vivica: I know.
Dr. Ken: — country term. You know the term? You can lead a horse to water–
Vivica: Oh yes.
Dr. Ken: — but you can’t make it drink. Yeah [crosstalk] [21:53]
Vivica: [Crosstalk] that all of the time but it does apply to the doctor. It’s just so perfect.
Dr. Ken: Exactly right. Yeah exactly and so many doctors choose not to think when they get home at night they want to– The last thing they want to do is think. They just want to watch Fox or CNN and just unwind and just relax and not think about being a doctor. Because for most doctors, it’s not really fun being a doctor because all you get to do is watch your patients get sicker and more unhealthy and have strokes and lose legs and die prematurely because– and you’re telling them “hey you need to eat more whole wheat, you need to stop eating that saturated fat, you need to take this pill and that pill and this pill and that pill” and they just keep getting sicker and fatter and having complications and so I’ll tell you a secret.
All doctors thinking the old way, they secretly think that their patients are being non-compliant. They secretly think that patients are sneaking around eating lots of bacon and cheese and not eating any whole wheat and not being more active and that they’re drinking lots of whole fat milk. But here’s the problem with that and this is again why doctors need to think. It’s because if you go and actually– there’s research on this, we’re not in the dark on this.
There’s research that back in 1977, when the federal government issued their guidelines for a healthy American diet, Americans listened. They started eating more whole wheat, they started eating less saturated fat, they started eating more lean protein, they started drinking skim milk even though they hated it. The Americans listened.
Now not every single American but a majority of Americans started trying to do what their doctor and the federal government said they should do which was eat a very low saturated fat, very rich in breads and whole and they thought it was you know, whole grains everything they tried to do, everything they were told to do but it didn’t work. There’s a literal obesity epidemic in the U.S. and in Canada that you could track right along with the 1977 guidelines and several other things they introduced. It’s like yeah, it’s obvious they weren’t listening. They have been doing what you have told them to do doctor, it just ain’t working.
Vivica: Yeah absolutely.
Dr. Ken: yeah
Vivica: So yeah and you can definitely see the statistics. Like unfortunately, the propaganda was good too. So they did listen because they did a good job brainwashing people.
Dr. Ken: When you have the federal government and billion dollar food industries and billion dollar pharmaceutical industries and they own all the lobbyist, then it’s going to be really hard to get any other message into the mainstream media. It’s not going to get there and so really Americans had no other option but to say either I’m just going to smoke cigarettes and drink whiskey and eat bacon or I’m going to do what they say.
And most people who try to be healthy get what the federal government said and they kept having heart attacks and they kept getting diabetes and they kept getting sicker. And so any doctor who’s watching these trends in these patients at some point should say wait a minute, I think these people are listening to me and I think that it isn’t working. Maybe I should start looking for other advice to give my patients”.
Vivica: So why do you think– what is the best way for somebody who’s a like– so nowadays, we have the Internet and information is getting out there fast. In fact like since I started doing a ketogenic diet which was almost five years ago and it was pretty obscure just five years ago and now it’s like [making poof sound] sky rocketed. And so you can find a lot of information almost everywhere, but again like a lot of people get information from the internet or from a certain book that they read. There are a lot of keto books out there right now and then they go to their doctors and I’m telling you this because I’m on the other side.
Dr. Ken: Yeah.
Vivica: I’m the one who gets the people who come from those doctors and they’re kind of pulling their hair out and I’m putting my hair out seeing what the doctors told them.
Dr. Ken: Yeah absolutely.
Vivica: So sometimes, I really feel like deflated. I’m like I want to be able to partner with those doctors to help my patients. I don’t want to fight the doctors. I’m sure they’re good people. Doctors are not evil conspiracy. Like I want to kill you. Like no, they’re people like you. They’re good honest people just trying to do their best. They don’t know better.
Dr. Ken: Absolutely.
Vivica: So how do we talk to them? What’s some good advice to give to like the person out there [26:32]?
Dr. Ken: I love this question. I love this question so much. This is the question that every human on the planet should ask themselves, “How can I train my doctor basically?” Hopefully, you’re lucky enough to have a doctor who will listen to you and who considers himself your learned health partner and not your health dictator. Because if you have a doctor like that, then you’re probably going to wind up having to find a new doctor and I’ll tell you a couple of red flags.
First of all, I want everybody out there to just say either out loud or in your mind “I’m capable of understanding my own health. I’m capable of learning about my health. I’m capable of knowing what’s the best diet for me to eat” and once you say that out loud or in your head, I want you to believe that because it’s true. Here’s the thing. There’s a website called Pub Med.gov where every single research study that I have access to as a doctor, you also have access to it.
You type it in and then if you want to know about ketogenic diet, you type into the search window, boom. There is every study I have access to, you also have access to. If there’s a word there you don’t understand, there’s this website called Google that you can look it up and once you understand what all the big words mean, it’s easy.
Vivica, it’s almost like currently doctors are like that the Catholic Church back before the Reformation, the Bible is in Latin and I’m not going to translate it for you because you couldn’t understand it anyway and so I’m going to keep it in Latin you know like the priest used– everything was a Latin and so that you just have to believe the priest. You have no idea. You didn’t question the priest, you didn’t say well let me have a look at that Mathew. Let me see what that says because it was in Latin and you didn’t read Latin. And so but now basically, the Bible has been translated.
You’ve got access to every study that every doctor is supposed to be basing his medical research and opinions on. You have access to that and you can look it up yourself. And so if you have type two diabetes, if you have hyperlipidemia, if you have any of these things, you can read the latest research just like I can. And so then you’re going to read that stuff and you’re going to make the best sense of it you can, then you’re going to print it out and then you’re going to make an appointment with your doctor and you’re going to go with that information in hand to your doctor.
Now here’s a red flag Vivica. If that flusters and upsets your doctor that you’ve been reading about your own health on the Internet and printing out real research studies that real researchers have done, if that makes him upset and angry, that’s a huge red flag that he wants the medical bible to stay in Latin and he wants you to be his subject and he’s going to be the dictator and you do what he says and you don’t question him. That’s what that means and that’s a really bad sign.
Even when I had no idea about paleo, keto; any of that. If you brought something to my office, I would still look at it or if I was busy, I’ll say I’ll read it later, come back in two weeks and we’ll talk about it. I was never that oh I don’t need any of that, I know everything. I was never that guy and so I was at least open to alternative theories. And so if somebody wanted to say “hey, I’ve got low back pain, can I go to the chiropractor?” I’m like yeah you can give it a try see if it works and let me know.
If they wanted to try acupuncture, I’m like yeah I mean, I’ve never seen in the research that shows that it’s valid but the Asians have been doing it for 5,000 years so probably, there’s something to it. Give it a try, let me know if it helps and so I was always kind of that doctor. But when it came to cholesterol and when it came to diabetes, I was by the book. The oh no you eat the American Dietetic Association diet, you take this the core and you take this [unintelligible] [30:20], you can go ahead and start insulin.
I used to be that ignorant doctor who didn’t know better than that. But I think that being open to those other alternative treatments, it helped me to be more open to this that like obviously the Chinese are not stupid people. They’re very intelligent people and they’ve been practicing acupuncture for what? Vivica five six seven thousand years. You can’t tell me there’s not something to that or it would have fell by the wayside like all these other medical things. Like drilling holes in people’s heads and for phonology and all these other silly things that doctors–
Vivica: [Crosstalk] [30:55]
Dr. Ken: Yeah, exactly, right and so that’s kind of how I got to that. So that’s one test for your doctor is to print out some stuff off the Internet that’s relevant to your health and take it to your doctor. And so if your doctor refuses to even hear it at all, you may need to find a new doctor. But if your doctor is like “well yeah, I’m busy. We can look it over and we can talk about it next time” that’s a very good sign that you might be able to train your doctor, right. Because not all doctors want to be dictators and definitely no doctor wants to be incorrect, no doctor wants to give you the wrong advice.
They just don’t know better and I’ll tell you you’re right about not being a conspiracy. Doctors are very earnest fervent people. We want our patients– we want to have the healthiest patients in the world but we just think it’s not possible because of the terrible environment whatever it’s the people sit watching TV, it’s– We like to blame it on stuff but really what it comes down to is the diet. It’s all about the diet and so that’s a great test for your doctors. If he gets upset at that, that’s a bad sign.
And so another great test is to say “hey I want you to check all these labs for me. I read that I really need to have my C-peptide checked and then also when you check my thyroid, don’t just check a TSH. I want you to check this full panel of labs because that will–
Vivica: [Crosstalk] [32:10] about this. I’m excited now.
Dr. Ken: Right, right, right, right and so if any doctor is the least bit like that’s stupid, I’m not going to do that, that’s a waste of money. And then if you say, “Well doctor I’ll pay for it out of my own pocket, I don’t mind. I just want to know the results.” And I’ve had many patients come to me Vivica and say, “my doctor flat out– I had my checkbook out, was going to write a check. How much is going to cost?” Really huge because I will not order that test and if you go somewhere else and get it done, I’ll discharge you from my practice and I’ll no longer be your doctor; truth.
And at that point, you’re done. You can get up and shake hands and be polite if you’d like to be polite. You can be rude if you like to be rude. But you need to walk out of that office and find a good doctor because that’s not a good doctor. Why would you not– how is more information ever a bad thing; ever, right? Yeah, so that’s two great little tests for your doctor and if your doctor fails both those tests, yeah you may need to find a new doctor.
Vivica: Yeah, thank you for bringing up the second point. That’s a big one for me because like it’s a daily kind of battle. Like especially because I deal with thyroid a lot and so I’m always trying to get some proper labs from my patients and I am not a prescribing doctor so they need to go back to their doc and a lot of them have done the route MD and an endocrinologist and not even the endocrinologist will prescribe all the markers.
Dr. Ken: Oh!
Vivica: And I’m like, “How come I can read like blood work better than an endocrinologist? Something is wrong with this picture.
Dr. Ken: Yeah and my nearest metropolitan city were all the endocrinologists are is Nashville Tennessee and so we have some very good hospitals in Nashville and some very intelligent endocrinologists. But when I first started doing this and I started putting my patients on desiccated [unintelligible] [34:06] like armor and nature and earth and WP.
They would go and then for some other reason, they would go to the endocrinologist and they would literally come undone and say stop taking that immediately, that’ll kill you and put them back on Synthroid for the hypothyroidism that I diagnosed him with. And so then that same patient would come back to me six months later and they would be very sheepish about telling me.
Like well he changed me over this other medicine and I’m like “well how are you feeling?” I was very non-judgmental about it or like could you just put me back on the Armor because I feel terrible and I’m like sure I left your will and so that happened Vivica so many times that now, one of the endocrinologists in Nashville has his own board and he finally I think he must’ve got tired of hearing about Dr. Berry and armor and nature fluid and he googled it and he started reading about it and he went huh, that makes pretty good sense now that I think about it and now he’s perfectly fine to leave my patients on their [unintelligible] [35:08] and he will actually check a whole panel of labs.
And so my patients not me, but my patients have educated an endocrinologist in Nashville Tennessee to understand how the human thyroid actually works and how you should actually test the human thyroid to get a good full of thyroid health. And so that’s what I want everybody listening to understand is you can wake your doctor up. Maybe not you alone because like I said on the Cruise Vivica, the first person after doctor is a cook.
The fifth person is an annoyance, but the fiftieth person who asked him he’s going to go home and Google it because he’s going to be like “hell what’s wrong with these people?” I think kind of mass delusion but then when he googles it, then you’ve opened the door and you’ve opened his mind. And then if he’s any kind of a student and any kind of an intellectual [unintelligible] [35:56] at all, it’s game over because now he knows and he can know that and then he will know more that’s it. You just trained your doctor and it’s entirely possible and it shouldn’t be necessary. I can hear you thinking, “yeah, shouldn’t have to do that.”
You’re right, you shouldn’t. But you do and currently in the US and in Canada; especially Canada man, they wouldn’t order anything in Canada that’s not approved by the powers that lead. And so but what I promise you guys in Canada; my cousin to the north. When enough hundreds of you guys have asked your doctor, he’ll google it and then he’ll be like what the heck, how am I going to deal with this? Now I know this knowledge but my medical regulatory board wouldn’t even let me practice all what I know to be right and then when the doctors know, it will all change.
Vivica: And I have faith in this happening anything. This is a beautiful point that you made that– you know, yeah we shouldn’t have to do that, but I also– you know, this is what is. This is what’s happening right now so it’s useless to sit there and complain and whine.
Dr. Ken: That’s right, that’s right.
Vivica: We can do something about it. I mean —
Dr. Ken: Yeah it’s just like a spouse that complains because she has to pick her spouse’s dirty socks up out of the floor. Yeah, you shouldn’t have to do that but if you want the socks out of the floor, you’re going to have to pick them up yourself because he’s not going to do it. So yeah not fair, but also life is not fair but usually when life’s not fair that gives you the opportunity to change your life.
Vivica: Right, I think that’s a spiritual practice especially picking up socks. I do people’s socks. Leave them on your own.
Dr. Ken: Yes, that’s right.
Vivica: I think that’s also part of like one thing that I think we have this view really in common is like I teach empowerment to my patients and the first thing that I tell them when I screen them before taking them as a patient, I tell them like what I do is not for everybody because I teach you how to take responsibility for your health.
Dr. Ken: Yes.
Vivica: You have the power to understand what’s going on in your body and that comes exactly as the same conversation as educating your doctor because an empowered patient can find and create an empowered doctor I think.
Dr. Ken: Yeah, absolutely.
Vivica: [Crosstalk] [38:15] patients can empower the doctor to be a better doctor and have more success and in the end, be a happier person. Because like you say, you don’t want to go home night after night seeing people like limbs getting chopped off and everybody just getting fatter and sicker even if the drug route gives you this nice little bonuses. I mean not everybody lives just for the Ferrari parked outside the house. There is more.
Dr. Ken: And I can tell you I remember vividly thinking “man, being a doctor kind of sucks because I don’t really feel like I’m doing anything to help anybody because nobody’s listening to me, nobody is taking my advice, they just all keep getting sicker and fatter and it’s obviously not my fault because I’m a doctor. They just are not listening to me.
And so it was very frustrating and almost I could see how a doctor could become very depressed because it’s just like you’re not making any difference in the world whatsoever and I’ll– almost every doctor who went to med school and went through their trials and tribulations that is medical school, they didn’t do that to have a Ferrari. I mean maybe they did but they also did that so they could make a difference in the world, so they could make a big difference in patients’ lives, so that they can help people live healthier lives.
Sorry, I had to plug in there. There we go. So no doctor just went to medical school to be a millionaire and to hell with the patients, nobody did that. We did that because it’s too hard. You would have stuck with it, you would have dropped out. We went to make a difference in the world, to make the world a better place, to save lives, to save the limbs. That’s why we went. And so any doctor if faced with your basically not having any effect on your patients at all. You’re prescribing a lot of medicine that you may be making their blood sugar go down a little or their cholesterol go down a little, but you’re not really affecting their health at all.
That’s very depressing for someone who really wants to make a difference in the world. And so now, I can tell you I had a new patient today who drove from Michigan to see me and they were like, “I love you so much because I can tell how much you enjoy doing this”. And I’m like “yeah this is freaking fun because I know that if you listen to me, you’re going to get healthier and you’re going to be happier, your depression is going to get better, your anxiety is going to get better, you’re going to sleep better, your belly is going to get flatter, your grandkids are not going to miss you because you wouldn’t be dead from a stroke. You’ll be out in the yard kicking the soccer ball with them, right?
Dr. Ken: That makes it very fun to practice medicine and to do what I do because I get to have 103 year old patients and I get to have– well, let me tell you a story. I had a 89 year old patient. He’s a male and he came to my office for a follow up. He had been in the ER a couple weeks before. He had wrecked his ATV and broke four ribs.
Dr. Ken: Okay. Now you’re like oh my God that’s terrible. This poor old man no, no, no, no, no, no. This man I see what the hell were you doing?” He said, “Well I was jumping, I was jumping the– I was jumping and I was showing out for my girlfriend.” That’s the kind of patients I have.
Vivica: Jumping with the ATV.
Dr. Ken: Yeah, he was going to jump over something. He was showing up for his girlfriend and he wrecked and broke four ribs. Yeah, that’s the kind of patients I have. So you can see how that’s fun, that’s awesome. What a story but yeah, if you’re 89 and you think all you can do is ride the recliner or ride the couch–,
Dr. Ken: — no, no, no. You need to take charge of your health just like Vivica teaches you. All this stuff is there. It’s waiting on you. All this fun, all these adventures are waiting on you but not if you’re taking a handful of pills or just sitting there waiting for them to take effect; that’s not how you do it.
Vivica: No, so Dr. Ken, as I know, we agree on a lot of stuff but I can think this conversation can get a little spicier and we need the– if we maybe have one thing that we might disagree upon but I really
Dr. Ken: Okay, okay.
Vivica: I really love your take on this and because you’re an MD. So I heard you on the cruise talk about these and that’s why I was intrigued because during your talk that you gave, you mention [unintelligible] [42:37] —
Dr. Ken: Yeah.
Vivica: — as possibly beneficial. So I am being a witch doctor a bit radical. I try to get my patients out off of all drugs but because they trust you and I know that you’re a good person, you’re very intelligent and you can think I was like–
Dr. Ken: Thank you.
Vivica: — hmm, so if Dr. Ken recommends metformin for me, I want to know why it starts exactly. Like why would it be a good thing to recommend and in what cases and most anything? Are you the kind of doctor that tries to guide his patients off of drugs and how would you do that in like in your book? Because I have my ways but I am really interested in hearing your take on this.
Dr. Ken: So two part questions; metformin and then getting patients off medicine. So let me do the getting patients– Yes, so I’m a big [crosstalk]
Vivica: This is [crosstalk] juicy. That’s a good start here.
Dr. Ken: Yeah.
Ivica: [Crosstalk] you guys.
Dr. Ken: I am a huge proponent of getting patients off medicines and let me tell do– Okay, so what– you remember on the cruise we talked about [unintelligible] named John Le Mans about how doctors charge and how we get paid. And so we get paid for the complexity of our medical decision making. That’s how we determine what level of visit we charge and so if it’s just a routine follow up, oh you’ve got poison ivy and I’ve seen you before, that’s a three level visit, okay.
If you’ve got poison ivy but you also have type two diabetes and hypertension and I deal with all that, that’s a level four. If you have all that stuff and you’re also having chest pain and shortness of breath, that’s a level five and so we get paid more for each level. And so Dr. [unintelligible] [44:13] who I have much respect for, he’s on Twitter and all over the place but you guys should check him out but —
Dr. Ken: He said doctors get paid more for prescribing medicine and that’s true. We get a higher level of visit because if you don’t prescribe anything for a patient, that’s a two level. If you prescribe a pill that’s a three automatically, you get paid more.
Dr. Ken: And he’s right about– he’s almost completely right about that. But if you go back and actually read the verbiage of how we get paid, it’s that you make a decision about a prescription medication. So a lot of doctors don’t know this and I want you to try to spread this as far and wide as you can. If a doctor makes a medical decision to stop a medicine, that’s also a level [unintelligible] [44:56]. If a doctor– and you got a document that you know basically I think why I did that, that’s a level three. If a doctor makes a medical decision to not prescribe a medicine, that’s also a level three and a lot of doctors don’t know that.
Dr. Ken: They think I didn’t get out my prescription pack, so it’s a two; not true. That you document your medical decision making. I consider the options and decided not to prescribe medication, that’s a level three. And so doctors now with that are empowered like oh I don’t have to write a prescription every single time to get paid the amount of money I need to keep the electric bill paid because I mean being in medical practice is very, very expensive. I tell people take your bills each month and add a zero and that’s my bills each month. Okay that’s they– or more actually but yeah that’s kind of a rough rule of thumb.
And so if doctors knew hey I can make use as much money but not prescribe nearly as much medicine, I would probably do that because you’ve heard the old quote that a man’s ability to understand something if it’s based on his– if he’s getting paid not to understand it, he’s not going to understand it right. That’s a sure [crosstalk] [46:11] nature. That’s not dishonesty, that’s your nature at play. And so Ted had never heard that before so I know he’s going to research it and if he can prove me wrong, he will because we kind of that’s how we roll. But I know that’s right because I’ve been doing that for years and I actually have a template that pops up in my note; decision by not to prescribe a medication, decision made to stop medication and I get paid level three’s and level four’s all the time–
Dr. Ken: — because my documentation is sound and so that’s the first thing that doctors don’t have to prescribe a pill every single time and so I’m happy. Like today, I probably stop out of the 30 patients I see, I probably stopped 20 medicine. Okay, one guy stopped four medicine he was on. I’m like you don’t need that, you don’t need that.
Dr. Ken: [Crosstalk] [46:57] you can take this medicine as needed because so many patients if a doctor writes a medicine, they’re going to take that every single day or not and I’m like “no don’t take that every day just take it occasionally when you need it”. That’s all the permission they will need, they will never take it every day again. But doctors forget to say that because we’re busy and so I’m very happy to not prescribe medicines and to stop medicines all the time.
So the second part of the question, metformin. And so even before I was reading about paleo and ketogenics and all that stuff, I was studying about life extinction because I want to live a long long time. God I don’t want to live a long long time in a nursing home as an invalid, I want to live just like this. I want to be like my 89 year old patient that you [unintelligible] [47:46]. I want to be that guy right, exactly showing off for my woman. And so in order to do that, I think there are things that humans can do to extend their life.
I think there are many many things humans can do to shorten their life and so it’s been my study for years. What can I do, what can I eat, what can I take? And so even in the Life Extension Community, metformin or Glucophage is a big thing because all the research done on it, it looks like it probably extends the lifespan. Now what maybe it may be a confounder Vivica. Maybe that it just doesn’t shorten the life span like all the other diabetic medications. That can be true, right.
And then the other thing it looks like it does is it looks like it helps to prevent cancer a little bit and so that’s the other big thing about it and now that could be confounded also because I think all the other diabetic medications actually elevates your insulin and elevates your risk of cancer, right. So it’s hard to know what the truth is but if any diabetic is going to take a medication, it’s going to be metformin as far as I’m concerned because it is the least bad for sure and maybe it might actually be helpful in other arenas besides just insulin and glucose metabolism.
So that’s why I’m not anti every medication. No, I also think there are many, many times when there’s nothing else that will help you but a prescription medication, right and that’s not every time but that sometimes. You need a prescription, you need an injection, you need to be in the intensive care unit sometimes those are needed things but not for every single patient like some doctors practice. And so that’s kind of my take on metformin. And so metformin has such a beneficial effect on blood sugar levels and on insulin levels both if they should both of them in the right direction and it seems to help them with weight loss and it seems to keep their inflammatory [unintelligible] [49:42] down as well. And so based on all of that, that’s why I’m not anti-metformin or anti Glucophage; that’s why.
Vivica: Thank you. That’s a great answer and I love it because like it also helps me. Was kind of the selfish– [laughs] little bit selfish but I get a lot of cases that come to me and they’re like insulin and metformin diabetic for 20 years and where do we start and been my goal to be medication free and kind of restore the pancreas activity and all that good stuff that doctors some believe in, but sometimes, I’m like not being trained as a doctor and I don’t have that deep knowledge of medications so I’m like “where should they start, which one do it we eliminate first? So do we go by insulin first or metformin first?” And this is great because it tells me that taking out the insulin first is probably the better choice and [crosstalk] [50:43] —
Dr. Ken: Much better choice, yeah.
Vivica: — metformin in so that then, that’s the easier one to wean off as the pancreas starts kicking back in and cell receptors get sensitive again and all that and stuff.
Dr. Ken: Exactly right, exactly.
Vivica: Yeah, I think that this is great information and there are a lot of people out there on these medications and I think that Dr. Ken and I are fighting the same battle. I know that you– it’s one of your main thing to reverse the diabetes epidemic and–
Dr. Ken: Yes that is my mission in life is to bend the curve and make the epidemic go away. That my goal before I retire at 97 years of age is when I plan to retire which is never– yeah.
Vivica: I think that you’re pretty much a force of nature and I have faith in you and I have a– I think that is probably will happen.
Dr. Ken: I hope so. I hope so. I won’t stop until it does.
Vivica: I know. I’m right there behind you and I that’s– you know I’ve only been in practice by myself for four years but I started out my practice with focus on diabetes and reversing diabetes too and then it just so happened you slid into endocrine like so mysteriously by you know, diabetes is kind of my first love because I was right there too. My rude awakening was pre-diabetes and —
Dr. Ken: Yeah.
Vivica: I was like what. I was already a nutritionist. Like how did that happen?
Dr. Ken: Yeah, well basically all of human health is diet plus hormones that’s the problem– I mean that’s literally 99 percent of it. The rest of it is trauma and bad luck right. And so if your diet is right and your hormones are optimized, you almost cannot get sick. But if your diet is terrible and your hormones are off, you almost cannot get well and so I think it– though if you and so it’s I think it’s a natural progression to start out studying nutrition and then all of a sudden, you look up and you’re studying hormones because they go hand in hand with human health and they’re almost inseparable because when you’re changing someone’s nutrition that’s working on the hormones that’s what you’re doing. You’re doing that but you just didn’t know you were doing that yet because you ain’t got that far down the road.
But when you get further down the road, you’re like oh it’s all about hormones actually. Okay so that’s what I was doing by changing their nutrition I was optimizing your hormones because the ketogenic diet unlike any other diet I’ve ever seen will move peoples hormones towards the optimal level. I’ve never seen a diet that could do that before except for the ketogenic diet and I’m not saying it fixes them or corrects them completely. I’m saying it moves them in the right direction whereas the standard American diet uniformly moves them in the wrong direction. We’re actually showing our house so there are some people are not going to be in camera but they’re going to [unintelligible] [53:36] say hi to them. That’s just life, right. It’s okay [crosstalk] it.
Vivica: Actually, I’m about to let you go Dr. Ken, thank you.
Dr. Ken: Okay, okay.
Vivica: You know [crosstalk] [53:44]. I don’t want to abuse your kind time and generosity with your tine, but thank you so much for this amazing conversation and it was really a pleasure. I hope we’ll pick it up at some point and dig deeper into it. But please just tell as where can people find you and of course, I’m going to be promoting your book a lot. Well, where can people find Dr. Ken?
Dr. Ken: So I have a YouTube channel that if you just search Dr. Ken Berry, it’s pretty easy to find. I do a lot of work on Facebook, Dr. Ken Berry search there will also find me. I’m on Instagram, I’m on Twitter too, but I do most of my work on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. I actually also do private wellness coaching on an app called e-visit that you can download on your iPhone or your Android phone and I do that one on one is like a Skype model and so that’s– And then I also have the book on Amazon for Lies My Doctor Told Me and it’s in paperback in Kindle and it’s going to soon be an audible version. Vivica, did I tell you that?
Vivica: No, I love audible, yeah.
Dr. Ken: Listen, the voice of Lies My Doctor Told Me is going to be Carl Franklin from the 2 Keto Dudes. He’s got a beautiful melodious voice and he will be the voice of Lies My Doctor Told Me. It’ll probably be available in sometime in July.
Dr. Ken: And so I’m really excited about that and I love the work that you’re doing Vivica. I want you to keep it up and I want you to work even harder because what you’re doing is so vital to so many people. You’re helping to shift the health paradigm in Western society. That’s what you and I are really doing is changing how we think about health and nutrition and I don’t want you to ever stop because you’re really good at this and I hope more and more people discover your work because I’m really amazed by you and I thank you so much for adding me [crosstalk] [55:38].
Vivica: Thank you and all the links will be posted on here so you guys can just easily click on something, send your right to his book and we’ll hear and watch his videos. He’s awesome [laughs].
Dr. Ken: Thank you so much.
Vivica: Thank you Dr. Ken.
Dr. Ken: Thank you for having me. I hope to be back here again someday with you Vivica.
Vivica: Yes, we’ll pick it back up.
Dr. Ken: Yes.
Vivica: Thank you Dr. Ken.