Status Quo Thinking

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Status Quo Thinking Is Harming Your Health: A Physician’s Final Plea. Dr Sarah Hallberg

Book review by Claire McDonnell Liu, Nutritionist at

In ‘Status Quo Thinking is Harming Your Health: A Physician’s Final Plea‘ Dr Hallberg summons us to be braver. To think, question, and to live fully. She calls on us to refuse to accept the current devastating nutrition and health dogma.

“Not changing our thinking is literally killing us, millions of us” 
Dr Sarah Hallberg

Dr Sarah

Known to many in the Low Carb community as an intelligent and vibrant force for change. ‘Dr Sarah’, as she was often called, first came to the attention of many globally through her wildly popular TED Talk, watched over 11 million times. She continued to connect with many through her health programs, advocacy work, and numerous presentations.

A dedicated medical doctor and researcher, she became a tenacious groundbreaker for the low carbohydrate approach to treating, and even preventing, chronic metabolic health conditions.

Challenging the Status Quo

‘Patients that like their doctor are more likely to die’

Dr Sarah narrates the profound personal and professional experiences that left indelible marks on her. Events that became forks in the road that ultimately defined the course of her phenomenal career. Readers familiar with her voice from her many talks might picture her speaking or at times shouting the words. We encounter her difficult senior medical practitioners, her efforts to balance motherhood with a demanding career, and the patients whose lives, or deaths, left a lasting legacy on her. As well as her realisations of the limitations of, and even harms inflicted by, the healthcare status quo. ‘Patients that like their doctor are more likely to die’ she quotes at one point.

Her first foray into healthcare activism focused on the scourge of routine over-prescribing of medications. ‘I’m part of the problem. I’m a legal drug dealer” she told those around her at the time. Instead of accepting the status quo, Dr Sarah tackled the problem head-on. She demonstrated an early ability to achieve change through collaboration, problem-solving, and tenacity inspired by her deeply held principles. These skills were to be vital for the next step in her career.

Heading up a newly opened Obesity Centre, at Indiana University Arnett, Dr Sarah experiences an “Aha!” weekend, where she encountered the work of Dr Stephen Phinney and Dr Jeff Volek, pioneers in the field of carbohydrate restriction. That weekend turned into an “Aha!” year as she delved into the science. Her subsequent research, and her ability to challenge her own firmly held convictions around biology, nutrition science and health, paved the way for her to make remarkable career pivots. Those momentous shifts in her thinking saw her go on to support thousands of patients with carbohydrate restriction therapy. She became a trailblazer for diabetes remission – at a time when the status quo was to treat diabetes type 2 as a lifelong chronic disease, managed with ever-increasing medications.

Dr Sarah describes her next period of research, discovery and exciting patient health improvements, as she teamed up with health visionaries Dr Phinney, Dr Volek and Sami Inkinen to form the online health platform, Virta Health.

Dr Stephen Phinney paying tribute to Dr Sarah Hallberg at Low Carb Gold Coast 2022

A Life Well Lived

Dr Sarah’s passion, dedication and tenacity jump off the pages. Hers was a life well-lived. Her achievements throughout her career, as a researcher, clinician, metabolic health and diabetes expert, are extraordinary. Dr Sarah became Virta’s Medical Director and Principal Investigator for their landmark clinical trial on diabetes reversal. She served as executive director for the impactful non-profit The Nutrition Coalition, alongside founder Nina Teicholz who wrote the touching foreword for her friend and colleague. She also received many awards for her significant contributions to healthcare and research, including patients’ choice and compassionate doctor awards.

Her work left a lasting impact on her patients and countless others worldwide. Her book, and the Reversing T2: A Dr. Sarah Hallberg Legacy Project, ensure that her legacy continues.

A Time For Change

This book is about the need for urgent change. It’s Dr Sarah’s plea for us all to live differently. To challenge our thinking and actions around our accepted foods, and their relationship to our health. As she tells us, there’s another path we can take. One that leads to better health and quality of life for ourselves and our loved ones.

Once diagnosed with terminal cancer Dr Hallberg never stopped working, or travelling for work, during her chemotherapy treatment. She cared about her patients and her work too much. During this time she shot for a personal goal. That was to outlive her prognosis so that she could see her youngest daughter turn 18. Sadly this wish went unfulfilled with her death in March 2022. She had lived with stage IV lung cancer for 5 years, a remarkable feat in itself.

Dr Sarah’s remaining wish is within our reach. For us, as individuals, communities, and as a generation, to turn the tide on obesity, diabetes, and metabolic ill health. We can achieve this by following her guidance and changing the foods we eat every day.

Her final words to us, written as her terminal diagnosis advanced, deliver a sincere message of hope, “Without hope there’s nothing”.

Get the book

Status Quo Thinking Is Harming Your Health: A Physician’s Final Plea is available from:-

Low Carb Down Under: here

Amazon: here

Low Carb Down Under: here Amazon: here


“Sarah Hallberg leaves nothing on the table. This book is part heart-wrenching memoir, part indictment of our medical system, and a big part visionary road map for an enlightened healthcare system focused on the root causes of our chronic disease and diabetes epidemic. A must-read for anyone frustrated with our current medical paradigm and searching for a way of healing for us all.” Mark Hyman, MD, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, Young Forever

“In her final, groundbreaking work, Dr. Sarah Hallberg challenges the entrenched beliefs of modern medicine, urging readers to question the status quo for the sake of their health. This book is both a passionate plea and a testament to a life dedicated to healing. Published posthumously, this book serves as Hallberg’s enduring legacy, calling for a radical shift in our approach to healthcare.” Peter Attia, MD, Founder, Early Medical

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