Israel wakes up to keto and low-carb


By Marika Sboros

Dr Mariela Glandt is the brains behind Israel’s first keto, low-carb, high-healthy-fat (LCHF) conference. The event draws leading LCHF and nutrition experts from around the world.

It takes place at the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv on November 7 and 8, 2019. There’s still time to book a place.

Glandt hopes it will bring LCHF and keto into the medical mainstream. She is founder and director of the Glandt Center for Diabetes Care in Tel Aviv. The clinic specializes in cutting-edge diabetes care through very low-carb (ketogenic) diets.

Glandt trained as an internist at Harvard and an endocrinologist at Columbia University. She has more than two decades of experience in treating diabetes. She also has clinical experience in the many related conditions that significantly increase the risk of life-threatening diseases. These include cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke), kidney disease, fatty liver disease, blindness, limb amputation and more.

The Israel conference is billed as the first-ever scientific conference on optimizing metabolic health and reverse metabolic disease. It, therefore, will focus on the science behind the safety and efficacy of ketogenic diets in particular.

Never was that more needed as Israel’s rates of type 2 diabetes and related diseases are rising rapidly.

Israelis walk around undiagnosed

Doctors have diagnosed around 500,000 people with diabetes in Israel, says Glandt. As well, another 500,000 are “probably walking around without knowing they have it”.

She became interested in low-carb therapies years ago, thanks to her best friend, Jessica Apple, who runs the A Sweet Life website. The site is packed with useful information for those on the low-carb journey. It also proves that Jewish festivals, such as Rosh Hashonah and Pesach, can easily be low-carb, keto and delicious.

Glandt says that she “really only woke up” to optimum nutrition four years ago. That was after she watched US physician Dr Sarah Hallberg’s groundbreaking TED talk. It is presciently titled How to reverse diabetes by ignoring the guidelines.

Click here to read: Ketosis for kids: is mother’s milk REALLY a danger?

Hallberg is medical director of Virta Health in the US. The company offers the first clinically-proven treatment to reverse type 2 diabetes safely and sustainably without drugs or surgery.

Not too surprisingly, Glandt’s medical colleagues in Israel have greeted LCHF with open scepticism. That’s one reason for the conference. She therefore aims to expose the medical practitioners at large to the evidence for LCHF and ketogenic diets.

Making low-carb the norm

“I hope this will legitimize the lifestyle and that low-carb will become the norm, not the exception”, she says.

Glandt joins experts globally who say that LCHF is not a diet. It is a lifestyle. In other words, it is based on eating “real” food. And by that, they mean eating nutrient-dense food, as close to its natural state as possible. At heart, therefore, LCHF is simply about eating food that actively supports health and fights disease.

The conference organiser is Metabolix, an NGO that Glandt co-founded. The conference mission statement focuses on metabolic disease as behind most of the chronic diseases of our time. And that the metabolic state and health are “in our hands”.

Thus, by gaining a clearer understanding of the science, the hope is that people will change the way they eat. And along the way, they will regain health, improve quality of life and extend their lives.

In that way, Metabolix volunteers have put the low-carb conference together out of “a sense of duty to make this knowledge more widespread”.

Challenging dietary dogma

To that end, the Tel Aviv conference, comprises unique lectures, debates and testimonials to “challenge our current world view of metabolic disease and recovery”. It also has relevance as much for medical professionals, academics, nutrition experts, health and fitness coaches or simply those who want to learn the scientific evidence on metabolic health, Glandt says.

Speaker list

On the list of international speakers are:

  • Dr Stephen Phinney, chief medical officer and co-founder of Virta Health in the US;
  • Dr Jeffry Gerber, a board-certified family physician. He is also owner of South Suburban Family Medicine in Littleton, Colorado, where he is known as “Denver’s Diet Doctor”;
  • Dr Eric Westman, associate professor of medicine at Duke University and board-certified in obesity medicine and internal medicine. He founded the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic in 2006;
  • Gary Taubes, US investigative science and health journalist and author of Good Calories, Bad Calories and more recently, The Case Against Sugar;
  • Dr David Unwin, an award-winning UK GP, now a Royal College of General Practitioners expert clinical advisor on diabetes;
  • Dr Zoë Harcombe, a Cambridge University graduate with a BA and MA in economics/maths and a PhD in public health nutrition. Harcombe’s newest book is The Diet Fix – How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off – one last time.

Israeli speakers

Among local speakers are:

  • Prof Eran Segal, head of a laboratory with a multi-disciplinary team of computational biologists and experimental scientists in the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Segal’s research is on the microbiome, nutrition and genetics, and their effect on health and disease;
  • Prof Ram Weiss, head of paediatrics at the Technion School of Medicine and Ruth Children’s Hospital, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa. Weiss did his paediatric residency at the Rambam Medical Center and paediatric endocrinology training and PhD at Yale University in the US. His research has focused on paediatric diabetes and obesity with special emphasis on lipid partitioning and insulin resistance;
  • Dr Miki Ben Dor, a founder of the Paleo community in Israel. Ben Dor is an economics graduate and has an MBA from Insad in France. He also holds a PhD in archaeology from Tel Aviv University. There he researches and publishes on the relationship between nutrition during the Stone Age and human evolution;
  • Dael Shalev, a high-tech entrepreneur runs his own software company and is a blogger, keynote speaker and author. Shalev’s first book, Hasod Hakadmoni, (The Ancient Secret) quickly became a best seller and a landmark in the Israeli Paleo community.
  • For more information and to book to attend: visit Metabolix 2019
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    • Successful, groundbreaking beyond all expectations! Had to extend space to accommodate more people who pitched up on the day. Most encouraging was the large number of health professionals, including many MDs, dietitians, who attended. Organiser Dr Mariela Glandt is a keto-fuelled dynamo, that rare but growing breed of endocrinologists worldwide: a physician who refuses to dish up dogma to her diabetic patients and who puts patients before profits. Hope it becomes an annual event! Israelis need it.

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