No clever titles. No fancy graphics. No amusing anecdotes. No fancy SEO tricks. Just my heart and some raw emotion this one.
I used to believe that what would kill the ketogenic movement would be the quick fix mentality and the “give me a pill” culture of western society. I’ve recently come to the jarring realization that what is going to kill the ketogenic movement has nothing to do with pills and powders, but rather runaway pride.
My concern is that the ketogenic diet, a dietary intervention which has aided so many people in getting a grasp on their unhealthy eating and outcomes is being overwhelmed by a cult of personality. Better explained, that we have become folks who would rather hear the right people say the wrong things than to be confronted with an inconvenient or unpleasant reality that we are listening to a collection of pied pipers who threaten to hijack the movement with their misunderstanding and misapplication of science coupled to an over-abundance of hubris.
My heart earnestly hurts. As someone who has always tried to keep the science at the forefront of what I say and do, and to openly and freely admit to my own flights of fancy, leaps of faith, and wild speculation around untested hypotheses, what I see invading our community at large is a rash of rejectionist mantra which says that since some science should not be trusted, that all science cannot be trusted.
This is how a movement dies out. When it rejects all disagreement. When it demands an echo chamber before speaking. When the movement begins to get fat and happy from the cash rolling and it eschews honesty in favor of profitability, the soul of the movement dies from the inside out a bit more each day, and all that will be left is a set of empty talking heads in empty forums speaking only to hear themselves talk. All the while talking only to each other, and accomplishing nothing.
Every day I see more evidence that the community is at risk of slipping off the shackles of sanity…when community leaders would rather double down on dogma when evidence doesn’t support the claim, when argument for consensus is sacrificed on the altar of “my guru says…”, when we use nebulous terms like “adequate” and “sufficient” without definition, and when we permit the same vapid “thought leaders” to redefine the terms such as “health” to fit an agenda while physical fitness is shamed as elitist or silly. When this happens, we teeter on the brink of collapse. Sadder still, we are so arrogant in our zealotry and so convinced in our own minds, we don’t even see it for what it is.
When that happens, and it is, we are at a point where we must choose. As a gaggle of malcontents, misfits, and rejectionists at heart, we must be willing to accept that we must grow, we must go where the science leads, we must admit that our zealotry has transcended the message, lest we wind up back where we were. We cannot be so ready to bang the keto drum that we forego rationality, evidence, and critical thinking. We cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. We cannot reject uncomfortable data because a talking head told us to…that’s how cults are created, not communities.
Ask questions, demand evidence, accept correction, dig deep, learn daily, or watch the ketogenic community erode into obscurity as a good idea poorly executed.