Temporary Rice Diet (Dr. Walter Kempner)

Gluten-free Temporary Rice Diet (Dr. Walter Kempner)

Important Preamble/Warning: DO NOT ever trust any website that purports to be signing you up for the official Kempner Rice Diet. They are Scams! One such website I found, sells ephedra (not for long, I reported them). There were doctors who administered this diet in a clinical setting, either in specially designed nursing homes or in the early days, in hospitals. But they've all aged out into retirement or even died of old age. This diet is no longer done medically, to my knowledge, anywhere.

Dr. Walter Kempner died in 1996, he was a Jew who fled Germany before WW2, and set up a medical practice at Duke University, Durham, NC. He became famous when Burl Ives took his "rice diet" cure and lost a large amount of weight and kept it off. But the diet was not meant for weight loss, it was meant to reverse kidney damage. In the process it also had a strong reset effect on the metabolism.

This is part book review, and partly my take on what I read in the book:

Since the human body is a holistic system, reversing kidney damage and making an environment that allows the kidney to function optimally, will affect other aspects of the body such as blood flow, cardiac function, and even retina health. I mention it here because it often had the effect of providing a "reset" to the metabolism of some people with diabetes mellitus, effectively curing them. Yes I said cure. I'm not claiming it, it's documented that this happened to some of his patients.

As such, it's valuable to know about this because ME/CFS may be somehow entangled with metabolic problems. Some people may find that the features of a diet like Esselstyn (which is close to the Rice Diet and has much better instructions), Ornish or McDougall help them a lot. And this may provide a theoretical basis for why.

The main features of the rice diet are, extremely low fat 5-10% of calories per day, low protein 10-15% of calories per day, and all else, carbs. In addition there was zero salt added unless a situation developed where someone would develop fainting. The maximum of salt was 800mg/day. It was Low salt, fat and protein. Multivitamins were given.

The 5-10-85 diet is meant to be temporary, lasting at most two years. But usually it ended after 3-6 months. Then a maintenance phase was started, based on blood tests showing how the kidney reacted to a bit more protein first, then a bit more fat. It was important to keep fat out, especially in the diabetic because it would cause sugar to stay in the blood longer and "thicken" the blood. It was kept low fat for the kidney patient for the same reason, the kidney didn't need to contend with the thicker blood due to cholymicrons floating around.

Biography of Dr. Kempner by one of his Associate Doctors: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/12156435-walter-kempner-and-the-rice-diet

Book includes descriptions of how the diet was modified to suit individual needs. It should not be assumed that the diet was "just rice, fruit and sugar" because it was adjusted to the needs of each patient. When meat was used in a long term maintenance diet, it was provided at around 3 oz per week. It should also not be assumed that this was a vegan diet.

Dr. McDougall (retired) has a PDF summarizing some of Kempner's achievements: https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2013nl/dec/kempner.pdf

Denise Minger Blog Post, In Defense of Low Fat

She's the one who "called out" the China Study and was like a young fury standing in front of the established wisdom supporting vegan whole foods plant based eating. Funny thing is, she took aim at the radicals in the system. They just looked like the establishment from a certain perspective. Kudos that she corrected her viewpoint. I respect her for it, and her explanation gives us all some more insight. Rather than slink away into darkness and leaving us all unenlightened, she stood up and said, "yeah I did that and here's where I was wrong." Now it's up to us to learn from her.

If you prefer to see it in a video, there is a video by the same name on youtube. She gave a talk about this in Iceland, in 2017. It may save you some reading.

Controversy: In my opinion, Dr. Kempner indulged a little too much in egoism and it led to being sued for "whipping" his patients. Nevermind that some of his patients then claimed they asked to be whipped so they could stay on the difficult diet. I don't really know the whole story there. Maybe we never will. But it has nothing to do with the actual documented results of the diet. Or the lives saved.

Life is messy. Take what helps you from this. Leave the rest.

Read the book for curiosity. Try the diet for simplicity, for up to a month, longer would be risky without medical support. Call it a cleanse maybe. Then switch to a more normal Esselstyn style diet, that would be my advice, if you want to turn this resource into action.
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