The feeling of enthusiasm in the air at the LowCarbUSA® Boca 2020 Metabolic Health Conference was palpable. You could feel it in the lecture hall as each speaker in the all-star lineup took the stage. That feeling continued after each presentation, as attendees—including many top doctors, nurses, dieticians and other health professionals—lined up behind the microphone in the center aisle to ask some of the most thought-provoking, and conversation-generating questions imaginable. In many cases the Q&A line included presenters, who just couldn’t seem to get enough.
“The quality of the lectures and the speakers was most valuable for me,” said Dr. John Wohlwend, a radiologist from Henderson, NV, who attended the conference with his wife, Dr. Candice Tung, an internist. “This conference featured brilliant, well-educated minds sharing their experiences and pertinent research, said Wohlwend. “We are both more convinced than we were before the conference, that low carb eating is right for most people.”
The enthusiasm was evident in the exhibit space between presentations, as attendees engaged in extended conversations with presenters and each other. Most of the conversations revolved around something low-carb related, but ran the gamut from personal stories to future aspirations and visions.
Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE, presented on the topic of carbohydrate restriction for type 1 diabetes. She said one of the most valuable aspects of the conference to her was “meeting physicians, dietitians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who recommend therapeutic carbohydrate restriction for appropriate patients, as well as meeting people who have improved their own health by adopting a low-carb lifestyle.”
Spritzler said she was encouraged by the large number of healthcare professionals in attendance. She added, “This conference has reinforced my commitment to ensure that all patients with diabetes or metabolic syndrome learn about the benefits of carb restriction from their healthcare provider and, if interested, are provided with education and guidance in implementing a low-carb way of eating.”
Another presenter, Dr. Brian Lenzkes, MD, said the conference is partly responsible for changing the entire direction of his career. Lenzkes’ presentation was entitled “Deprescribing: Ending the Prescription Cascade.” After working for years at a San Diego medical practice within a system where the sickest patients yield the greatest revenue, he had started to feel like he wasn’t making a difference or even being heard.
Working 14-hour days within a broken system was taking its toll on Lenzkes, who co-hosts the popular Low Carb MD podcast. “I started to realize I was killing myself in a job where my message wasn’t being heard,” he said. “At the conference, a whole bunch of pieces started coming together. Walking around between presentations, talking to enthusiastic attendees and fellow presenters, I realized there are plenty of people interested in my message—I just needed to find a better way to reach them.”
At the conference, Lenzkes met Dr. Kristin Baier, MD, a family medicine doctor advocating for therapeutic carbohydrate restriction, who he learned was interested in moving to San Diego.
Just a little more than two weeks later, Lenzkes announced in a twitter post that he planned to start a direct primary care (DPC) practice with Baier, beginning July 1, 2020 in San Diego. “We can keep people healthy with a clear conscience now. All we need are patients, a building, website, logo, etc…and tons of antacid.”
The powerhouse lineup of speakers also included Robert Cywes, MD; Adele Hite, PhD; Ben Bocchicchio, PhD; Christopher Palmer, MD; Antonio Martinez II; Bret Scher, MD, FACC; Joan Ifland, PhD; Ignacio Cuaranta, MD; Tro Kalayjian, MD; Christian Assad, MD; Steven Tucker, MD, FACP, FAMS; Ben Azadi. The speaker schedule, with presentation topics can be found here.
Presentations focused on the therapeutic benefits of carbohydrate restriction for metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes and many other chronic diseases. Topics covered included exercise, diabetes, heart health, mental health, food addiction, and more.
The conference was the 12th successful conference orchestrated by Doug Reynolds and Pam Devine, the co-founders of LowCarbUSA®.
“Our primary focus has been to create a community culture that people can feel like they are a part of,” said Doug Reynolds after the event. “The Boca Conference really seemed to resonate with so many people and the positive feedback we’ve been getting has exceeded our wildest expectations. We have been asking ourselves what it was about this event that made it so successful. I think it all comes back to the connections people made, the camaraderie that was experienced, and the shared vision that has developed in this community.”
The conference was held January 17-19 at the beautiful Boca Raton Marriott Hotel, and provided an excellent opportunity for medical and allied healthcare professionals to learn from leading researchers and clinicians while obtaining Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits. The conference also attracted keto nutrition enthusiasts, keto coaches, personal trainers, sports enthusiasts, citizen scientists, as well as individuals with an interest in restoring and/or maintaining their health.
Adding to both the excitement and the enjoyment of the Boca Conference were the lively evening wine receptions held on both Friday and Saturday evenings with Dry Farm Wines. Attendees, presenters, and vendors had additional time to relax, sample the low-carb wines, and continue their conversations right up until it was time to head a few feet down the hall to the dining room for dinner.
The event also featured two legendary chef-prepared low-carb gourmet dinners, buffet style. Attendees were able to try it all and sit late into the evening rubbing elbows with their favorite speakers, exchanging stories, asking questions, and making new friends.
It is apparent from the feedback the event generated, in the form of emails, social media posts, and comments to the LowCarbUSA® team, that the Boca Conference will be remembered as a pivotal weekend for many.
“It means a lot to us, seeing the new collaborations that are already happening as a result of this event, said Pam Devine. “We are looking forward to seeing these connections strengthen, and are already looking forward to our future conferences, in San Diego in August, and back in Boca next January.”
Amy Love, RN, an ER nurse from Spokane, WA, traveled to Boca with the hope of gaining more knowledge and perspective to assist her as she works to find ways to incorporate low carb education into her life. She was not disappointed. “After attending this conference, I am more hopeful we can spread the low carb word, and I am pleased there are practitioners who understand and promote the multiple benefits and healing power low carb can offer our patients,” said Love. “The physicians I work with don’t seem open to it and continue band-aid care, but I work in an ER. I think we might have a greater impact if we partnered together—nurses, practitioners, nutritionists, and coaches.”
Attendees of the Boca Conference may be interested in learning more about receiving training to become an Addiction Recovery Specialist, a program developed by Dr. Joan Ifland, PhD, who delivered a riveting presentation entitled Processed Food Addiction: Hidden Impact on Mental Health at the Boca Conference.
For information about the 2020 conference in San Diego, click here. Early bird discount available through February 29.
For more information about attending the 2021 conference in Boca click here.