Many of us are aware we could be at a healthier weight. Perhaps we’ve even tried to drop some pounds but found that we were always feeling hungry and grumpy on a diet. Perhaps counting calories could help us lose weight for a while, but we gained it back again.

Why Is a Low-Fat Diet the Wrong One for Many People?

We spoke with endocrinologist (and “obesity warrior”) Dr. David Ludwig. Find out why the diet recommendations of the past several decades have been exactly wrong to help most of us control our weight, and why a low-fat diet may actually make you hungry.

What Can You Do?

What are the solutions to this problem? Dr. Ludwig outlines how we can conquer our cravings and retrain our fat cells so we can lose weight permanently. He explains how to put biology to work for you, by changing the types of food you eat, instead of letting it work against you and make you fat.

This Week’s Guest:

David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, is a practicing endocrinologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. He is Founding Director of the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) program at Boston Children’s Hospital, one of the oldest and largest family based weight management programs. He also directs the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center.

Dr. Ludwig’s new book is Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, & Lose Weight PermanentlyHis website is The photo of Dr. Ludwig is courtesy of Boston Children’s Hospital.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Buy the CD

Read the book and listen to the CD: Take advantage of Dr. Ludwig’s carefully crafted menus and delicious recipes to get your weight-loss plan off the ground. The combination of the book and the CD is offered at a 15% discount from buying each one individually.

Download the mp3 (Choose mp3 where it says “Select Option”)

Air Date:April 15, 2017

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  1. Irina

    Dr. Ludwig has given an excellent information, the one I had known before. I am from another country and have known some of what he had said as being true information. Sugar is a villain in an American diet and is hurting our next generation. Low cost production of some of the foods and drinks in this country has caused those corporations to become rich and consumers sick. I truly hope listeners heed to what he says and begin a movement to protect themselves by demanding healthier produce. I know it sounds impossible, but the more we voice our belief the higher chance companies change their recipes.

  2. c

    I think a high fat diet is right on. You go into the store and it is almost impossible to find whole fat foods. Most are low fat. Healthy?

    Please…..even with so much diet sodas being consumed, there has never been so many grossly fat people with so many health problems as there are today.

    Eat healthy fats such as avocados, nuts and olive oil in moderation. Go back to whole healthy foods.

  3. Jane

    I am not a medical specialist of any sort, but I can’t believe that the word “alcohol” was never mentioned on this otherwise very interesting and pertinent program. I know women, in particular, who are carrying lots of excess weight, and I can tell by their lifestyle that it’s all in the beer they drink. Is it so taboo to call people on that very simple reduction they could make in their alcohol intake? I’ve actually heard people say that, calorie for calorie, they’d rather give up a meal than their six-pack on weekends.

  4. DaveM
    Okeechobee FL

    I enjoyed rebroadcast show no. 1020 with Dr. David Ludwig on high good fats low carbs. How do I download it past the 4 weeks to iTunes or my Amazon Fire? This subject needs to be repeated!!!!!!

  5. Trina

    I just heard People’s Pharmacy Show # 1020 today, in April, on the radio, and went on line to email the link to my kids and hubby but can’t find how to email or re-listen without paying. People’s Pharmacy is the ONLY podcast / NPR / WPR program I’ve ever heard of that requires a payment to download and/or email a past show. I MUST be doing something wrong cuz I don’t think of them as being “cheezy” that’s for sure?? Please send me the link to David Ludwig, M.D., PhD. or anybody else ??? :-) (We have contributed to NPR and WPR!)
    Thanks from a podcast nerd. LOVE your program.

    • Terry Graedon

      Trina, click on the “download the mp3” link on this page. Then, where it says “select option,” choose the mp3. should be free (and easy)

  6. Luke

    Losing weight is a lifelong endeavor and “dieting” of any kind never works. I will never agree on this “flavor of the month” research encouraging people to eat greasy food and meat since the meat industry has their grip on everything including funding. Meat has cholesterol–a lot of it–and so do eggs–so doctors profit people eating mostly meat by prescribing statins.

    Vegan diet is very healthy, and it helps keep my BMI 22. My diet is naturally cholesterol-free but your liver makes all the serum cholesterol (which is a hormone stored in animal fat–your fat) it needs so that keeps it in check. However, I do avoid bread since it is too easy to overeat it. I avoid jellies and jams. I do eat about a tablespoon of honey a day (many vegans do not eat honey but I do–I’m not eating the bee). I will eat rice almost daily but I use those baggies so I won’t overeat and only have like a half bag a day. I basically eat most foods just in moderation. I snack on carrots, broccoli, even those 100 calorie popcorn bags. Exercise is a big help too. I bike ride almost daily–not crazy riding just a few miles a day. and I use a one-speed bike to maximize the work out. Moderate exercise is best as long as you do it daily.

  7. P

    Help! I have conflicting information. I love what Dr. Ludwig says, I completely agree, and I want to persuade others. Starting with the limit on fats being lifted, I searched for the source of the info. The evidence I found appears to contradict it.

    While it does recommend oils in the diet, it also says to include “Fat-free or low-fat dairy”. Here is a link to the “key recommendations” section of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines:
    What am I missing? Is it that the prior diet was much stricter about overall fat?

  8. Kate
    Altadena CA

    This is yet another theory. One very short with a small population study does not in any way prove his theory. Give me a break. Why not have Dr Ornish who has many studies under his belt or Dr Greger who has been reading everyone’s studies on to get us closer to real studies? You did ask a couple of questions but not many nor enough.

    • Luke

      You trust their “flavor of the month” research telling people to eat greasy foo. So doctors can keep on prescribing statins.

  9. Veta

    Why do you invite this individual whom never learn how simple nutritional experiment setup and how to distinguish bad study? Unfortunately you can not change mammals physiology. We do not have mechanism for physiological control amount of fat in our body.

  10. Cathy
    Buffalo, NY

    I was interested in the recipe from a caller mixing persimmon and a few other ingredients to help alievate acid reflux . This recipe was given during your show broadcasted on 1/16/16. I listened to the podcast but it wasn’t included. The caller said to take 1 ounce in the morning and 1 ounce in the evening. This drink helped her husband and sister-in-law. Where can I get this recipe?

    • J. David Auner
      Springfield, MO, USA

      Mammals do have some physiological controls of fat metabolism although no control over fat absorption which is through pinocytosis. Leptin and the other controls of lipo-protein lipase enzymes are not well defined and have not reached prime-time in textbooks.
      One of the next billionaires will be a chemist/geneticist who makes metabolism of polyunsaturated fatty acids, contaminated by trans-bonds, possible.

  11. Carol
    North Carolina

    Glad to have another voice advocating a high fat diet for weight loss AND health! After a May 2015 diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, I researched and found that a low carb/high fat diet actually curbed my cravings which is key to losing weight. (the American Diabetes Assn still supports a diet including carbs. It makes no sense to me to include even slowly processed carbs in a so-called diabetic diet other than those that occur in vegetables. Dr. Ludwig himself says we don’t need carbs so why include them?)

    Although I’m 70 now and find it more difficult to lose, I have lost 25 lbs in the past few months without hunger due to the fat in my diet which keeps me satiated. An Atkins style diet advocates for “moderate” protein not high protein and that helps to satisfy as well.

    My A1C came back down into pre-diabetes range in 3 months! I expect to continue to lose weight and bring my numbers down in 2016.

    I had tried the Atkins diet several times before but had ignored the “high fat” component so did not get the satiety I needed to stay on the program. I now eat butter frequently as well as other saturated fats and, although my total cholesterol has increased a little, triglycerides and HDL are better. I expect the total cholesterol to come down as I lose more weight (would like to lose 80 lbs more) and continue on this lifestyle. I’ve heard that the new Heal Clinics in Durham NC focuses on this type diet to reverse both obesity and type 2 diabetes without medications.
    Another website i’ve found very helpful for this kind of lifestyle is
    Thank you for adding to the growing enthusiasm against low fat, high carb diets!

    • SSS
      Reno, NV
      Reply … exactly! (The Swedes more than anybody have made low carb eating (what they call low carb, high fat (LCHF)) a part of mainstream medicine.)

      As to Ludwig…he states so much that sound like things I know I’ve read in books by Gary Taubes and yet the index of Ludwig’s book makes no reference to Taubes or for that matter to Drs. Westman, Phinney, and Volek whose books are superior and whose approach is truly low carb. 20% or more of digestible carbohydrate (starch and sugar(s)) is not low carb and will not work for reversing overweight and diabetes in most. And 40% carbohydrate is laughable.

  12. Rich
    Houghton MI

    My take on the China Study was that animal products are not good for us.
    I try to keep my animal product intake down which makes eating a high fat diet quite expensive. Avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and olive oil are quite expensive.
    I have been thinking the same thing as Dr Ludwig for over a decade, but the message is sure slow to get around as you can tell from a stroll through your average supermarket.

  13. Linda
    Columbia SC

    Doesn’t it air again another time today or tomorrow? Should we check our local public radio station guide? Thanks I enjoy your show! Linda

  14. L.L. Wright
    British Columbia

    This is a very good idea but I would like a person who needs to read this to see it and she does not have a computer or a dvd player. Can it be printed for those people to read it?

    • The People's Pharmacy

      Unfortunately we do not offer transcripts of our radio programs at this time. We do make it available to listen to for free as a digital download through our store for four weeks after radio broadcast. It is also available for free as a podcast from iTunes.

      Dr. Ludwig does have a book out, and your friend might be interested in reading the book if they are unable to listen to our show on their local radio station or smart device.

      • Diana

        Hi, Terry and Joe. I’ve enjoyed your show for many years. Thank you for helping me stay healthy.

        If you want written transcripts of your shows, I know court reporters sometimes do pro bono work, as with Holocaust survivors, for example, to make a record. Since your broadcasts are so valuable to help people be healthy, maybe some of them would help you. To do a one-hour show would be very easy for a court reporter with up-to-date equipment. Piece of cake. Oops! Piece of peach.


  15. Margie

    I think I would like to know how to access the podcast described in the first article. If it is on Dr. Ludwig’s website, it could be good to say so. I will, of course, check this out.

    • The People's Pharmacy

      Please go to the iTunes store on Jan. 18th and you can download it to your computer or smart device for free, or you can come back to this page on Monday and listen using our built in web player.

  16. Sandy

    What time January 16 is the podcast?

    • The People's Pharmacy

      The podcast will be available the Monday following the radio broadcast, so please look for it on Jan. 18th.

  17. Beth

    I would like a free copy of this podcast.

    • The People's Pharmacy

      Please check the iTunes store or your podcast player of choice this coming Monday. It will be available for free for four weeks.

      • Diane

        I din’t read all comments so sorry if I repeat what someone has said. Low fat dairy products have ADDED sugar…not a great part of this diet.

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