Hunger Games: Georgia Doctor and Low-Calorie Diet Advocate Under Fire After Death of 16-Year-Old Girl Weighing Only 40 Pounds

Dr Andrew Chung, a cardiologist, is under considerable public scrutiny after the arrest of a friend, Ebony Berry, 38, and the death of her daughter, Markea Blakely-Berry. The 16-year-old weighed only 40 pounds and the police discovered that Blakely-Berry was a follower of Chung hunger diet where he advocates the value of staying “wonderfully hungry” by eating no more than two pounds of food a day. Below is a video of his advocacy of the program, which appears as medically sound as hitting your head with a hammer because it feels so good to stop.

Chung has visited the mother in jail and insists that his philosophy of “hunger is wonderful” does not advocate starvation.

The case against Blakely-Berry, pictured is one of simple neglect but there remains questions over the influence of Chung and his bizarre views. Chung’s arguments in favor of the program rarely leave the most elementary level with such explanation as “being hungry is wonderful. The opposite of hungry, which is not hungry, is the opposite of wonderful, which is terrible.” He insists that Berry is “an ordinary, single mom who’s stressed out.” Really? She had a daughter who was 16 and died at 40 pounds. She also has a history of child abuse from Michigan.

The potential liability for Chung could be challenging. He has protected speech rights in advocating this lifestyle. It could be compared to other extreme low-calorie programs offered by others. These programs are sometimes based on research showing low-calorie diets in animals like mice result in greater longevity. Unless he had knowledge of the abuse or directed Berry in some fashion, the liability exposure would remain limited. There is the question of whether an adult can survive and thrive on two pounds of food a day, a proposition contested by medical experts.

Source: Daily Mail

60 thoughts on “Hunger Games: Georgia Doctor and Low-Calorie Diet Advocate Under Fire After Death of 16-Year-Old Girl Weighing Only 40 Pounds”

  1. compare mutual.

    I don’t speak several languages. My fault. I can figure out what you’re saying by using google translate.

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  4. Oh I absolutely hate these crash diets. We as a society in general have this fascination with quick and easy fixes. People seem to not want actual work. However, the irony in this is that working out and eating a balanced diet is actually a lot easier than starving yourself. I mean, exercising 30 minutes a day and eat relatively well or starve yourself throughout the whole day, feeling hungry throughout. Seems like an easy choice to me. These diets are impossible to maintain; you will become malnourished—and sadly in this case, it resulted in the death of a child. Anyway, I wrote about my abhorrance for low calorie diets—hoping I can share it below.

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  6. ID707,

    Take multivitamin supplements. People usually don’t need as many calories as they consume. It’s estimated that most people gain at least a pound a year throughout their lives. They have a hard time losing it.

  7. Matt,

    I can do it after the second hunger pangs. A good way o lose weight. Not recommended. Leads to shrinkage of stomach, and less food capacity there. Difficult to bread if it becomes a habit. Balanded nutrition is very important if used for loss of weight.

  8. Not intentionally. I don’t give up, but I have misunderstood, as humans do. what you mean by diet.
    If you call caloric restriction a diet, OK. But I don’t. I call it sound living. Just as choosing nutritious food is not a diet in my mind. It is just choosing to use knowledge on various factors.

    I did not assert that we agree. That would be speaking for you. Did I? No, I did not. Can you get that straight? I said that what I understood you to say, was fine with me. No more nor less. That is not putting words in your mouth. Now is it?

  9. @Idealist: You can not follow a diet…

    I do not know what that means, I have followed a diet for years. So have others I know. I just think that diets that prohibit foods that somebody loves are doomed. My diet is caloric, so I deny myself nothing except over-eating.

    I am not aiming to be contrary, but I get the impression you are asserting we agree, and then stating the opposite of what I said.

  10. Hooray for it all.
    Except the chase method. Grazing animals will not leave there home territory. The actual distance run is much less than that you give. Many can do it alone if necessary or opportunity presents itself.
    But that is a small matter. Let us say they are in better shape and younger than you or I.

    The rest is fine, as I knew if would be. You can not follow a diet, but you can introduce better foods.

    Right now I got a home made Minestrone cooking. As soon as the egg poaching I’m gonna eat it.

    Happy eating.

  11. @Idealist: By “proxy” I mean it is a simplifying replacement, and a flawed and imperfect one, for what really needs to be done; counting calories and ensuring one gets a diet that supplies sufficient vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, fiber, and sugars.

    That is what I mean, and all the “single rule” fad diets I have seen seem to be the same. Barring allergies, bodies can handle refined sugar and flour, a rule that prohibits them is a bad rule.

    In a diet hard-line rules that prohibit certain foods are usually self-defeating, from a psychological point of view, because they create a sense of relentless deprivation that eventually wears down a person’s willpower; then cheating on the diet eventually ends the diet.

    The other reason it is an imperfect proxy is because the true diet limits caloric intake over some period (for me a week). Any diet that does not do that may not be a “diet” at all.

    As Einstein said, a problem should be made as simple as possible, and no simpler. That is what most fad diets do, in their quest to present something simple that involves no arithmetic, they set unnecessary self-defeating hard lines, and they lose an essential feature of dieting to lose weight: Eating fewer calories than we burn.

    I have read different studies of the caloric requirements of paleolithic persons. Running an animal down until it has a heat stroke is far more strenuous than anything I do. Three hours at a jogging pace of 5 mph is 15 miles, one way, in the heat (or the animal doesn’t stroke out).

    Pellagra is apparently a vitamin deficiency (niacin) and/or protein deficiency (for lysine). I think all persons should eat proteins and take multi-vitamins, especially those restricted (by choice or medical necessity) to a narrow range of foods.

  12. TonyC,

    “The “Paleo” diet is just another proxy that goes too far, IMO. (For others: The idea is you do not eat anything your paleolithic hunter-gatherer, stone age ancestors did not eat.)”

    I stated that there was a doctor who supported the idea, one more isolated doctor. Unclear what the diet is proxy for. ??? I agree it goes too far. Difficult to accomodate: ingredients, not amenable to family use, etc.
    “At least for me these fad diets are too unscientific and misleading. For example, our stone age ancestors were also strenuously physically active, I have read estimates (based upon reproducing their lifestyle) they burned three or four times as many calories as the modern person does sitting behind a computer.”
    I have read studies of bushmen and other anthropological
    studies that believe that only 3-4 hours were needed by the women in food search and gathering. The men generally go out once or twice (now) a week to hunt.
    No one carries home more than 20 pounds max in a bushman group. The chase technique ACTUALLY used by bushmen entails exhausting the game, not catching up sprint wise.
    Neither the women nor men seem to live a highly strenuous life. On the other hand, they eat an average of over 200 DIFFERENT food sources per year. No info on nutrition value. Do we vary our diets?
    IMHO, nutrition and exercise are keys to health.
    No dieagreement there I presume.

    If you eat hominy grits or the italian equivalent as your main source of calories, then you will get pellagra. Pellagra was responsible for 29 percent of the mental patients in the South in the early part of the 20th century. Tha same was true in Italy in the Po river plain.

    I did not say that the paleo was a scientifically proven diet. To my knowledge it did not catch on and become a fad.

    Welcome with your feedback. I am not trying to prove you wrong, only the other side of the question.

    Just to show the importance of exercise. Studies made in Georgia in the 20-30’s show that men who DID have strenuous jobs, did NOT get aterioscleriosis. No heart attacks from the major cause today.

    The toughest job before?: lumber stacker, by hand.

  13. “I am not personally on a low carb diet; I restrict my caloric consumption (by the week, not by the day; I find it easier to eat much less during the work week to permit a higher consumption during the socializing weekend.)” (Tony C)

    I’ve been following that same routine (by the week) for years and it has worked quite well. I tend to watch the carbs closer than the calories probably more along the lines of the South Beach diet but portion control is the big factor in my routine. That and actively working to lose 5 pounds before the “special occasion” rolls around … like holidays etc. By the time the holidays are over I’m back to my original weight having enjoyed myself without guilt.

  14. @Idealist: The “Paleo” diet is just another proxy that goes too far, IMO. (For others: The idea is you do not eat anything your paleolithic hunter-gatherer, stone age ancestors did not eat.)

    At least for me these fad diets are too unscientific and misleading. For example, our stone age ancestors were also strenuously physically active, I have read estimates (based upon reproducing their lifestyle) they burned three or four times as many calories as the modern person does sitting behind a computer.

    Unless you plan to run a marathon a day, and the last half with 100 pounds of meat strapped to your back, why would you adopt the diet of somebody that does that?

    A similar modern exercise might be the Marine Corp “five mile run:” Five miles to the mountain, five miles up the mountain, five miles down the mountain, five miles back to camp. In full pack.

    My life is not that strenuous.

  15. I wonder if the doctor has a license to practice? My former GP has a degree from Shanghai, where he also learned (how much?) TCM. But he has a degree from here too.

    I registered and used the USDA tracker system to input my meals yesterday, see link above. It showed me clearly how I stood on major groups. I had lots of calories, but not veggies. Veggies are high in nutritions, you know. So will compensate with a good italian soup (name?) today. Do one and you got three meals with some capability to vary: grated parmagiano, garlic olives, cook up sun-dried tomatoes on the re-heat, serve garlic butter toasted bread, etc. Anybody hungry?

  16. tony c is right but a 2 pound per day diet needs to be well thought out to maximize nutrition.

    the doctor is an idiot if he just tells people 2 pounds and doesnt put any limitations on what can be eaten.

  17. PS It is plain as the nose on your face. The carbs drive quickly up the blood sugar level. The pancreas drives it down with insulin, which turns it in the liver into the body’s chief fat: cholesterol which is converted into storable fat for meager days.

    I’m mpt sure I want to go the Eskimo way, but the paleotological might be one to consider. We have a doc here who has written a book on it.

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