The second annual Low Carb Conference was held before a sellout crowd of 410 on May 18 at Pequot Lakes Baptist Church. Sponsored by Essentia Health, it is the first low carb conference in Minnesota and second in the Midwest.

Highlights of the day included:

• A testimonial by a local resident who has lost 80 pounds and put diabetes and hypertension into remission with a low carb lifestyle.

• A presentation by Dr. Eric Westman, Duke University Lifestyle Medicine Clinic, on his 20 years of low carb research and clinical experience treating obese and diabetic patients with a low carb diet.

• A lunch of grass-fed meatloaf, cheese stuffed chicken, zucchini and cauliflower mashed potato catered by Prairie Bay. Seven local vendors and growers of whole foods were there, including Patchwork Farms in Nisswa who had to go get more bacon.

• A summary by Jenni Calihan, from Eatthebutter.org, on this year's low carb headlines. She helped attendees understand the importance of digging below the surface when it comes to the media's coverage of diet and nutrition.

• A presentation by Dr. Hite on the history and politics of Dietary Guidelines.

• A presentation by Amy Berger on the metabolic origins of memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.

Attendees said they now have hope that they can improve their health and wellness by eating real foods. They shared that they enjoyed seeing local physicians and healthcare leaders present at the event.

Conference co-founder, Dr. Jeremiah Eisenschenk, said in a news release: "There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about. It was clear by the turnout, enthusiasm and support for this event that our community cares about improving its health. I think this conference will catalyze the meaningful conversations in our community about nutrition, food, chronic disease and human vitality."

To learn more, check out the Lakes Area Low Carb Facebook page and YouTube. Conference videos will be uploaded in the coming weeks.