Doctor’s Tip: How to find accurate nutrition information
There is a lot of misinformation about many subjects — especially nutrition — in books and on the internet. Unfortunately, some of that misinformation comes from unscrupulous physicians (for example Dr. Adkins of the harmful Adkins Diet fame).
When looking for reliable information on nutrition, beware of the following: (1) physicians or other health care providers who are selling products such as supplements (how can they be unbiased?); (2) providers who claim they have found the one thing that causes all or most health problems (e.g. Dr. Gundry, who makes unfounded claims about lectins being the culprit — see last week’s column); (3) providers who claim they have found the one ingredient that will make you healthy and/or feel better — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true; (4) providers who have ties to the food or pharmaceutical industries (often difficult to tell).
Following are the giants in the nutrition field, who are true men of science and medicine and pursuers of the truth:
• Michael Greger, M.D., is my favorite source of nutrition information. He has devoted his life to analyzing the tens of thousands of scientific papers (his nonprofit employs a large staff) that come out on nutrition every year, and providing the important information to the public. He wrote the book “How Not to Die” and has the website nutritionfacts.org. The last 132 pages of his 400 page book are references, so it’s very evidence-based. If you subscribe to his website (free, although he’d appreciate a donation to his nonprofit) you will get a short daily blog or video about what’s new in nutrition, and he explains the studies on which this information is based. You can also search various nutrition topics. He has no ties to the food or pharmaceutical industries.
• Dean Ornish, M.D., is affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco. From the 1970s to the 1990s he conducted research proving that heart disease can be reversed with a plant-based diet plus exercise and stress reduction. His program is now covered by private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare. He has written numerous books, including “Reversing Heart Disease,” “The Spectrum” and “Eat More, Weigh Less.”
• Caldwell Esselstyn, M.D., is in his 80s. He was a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, and years ago became interested in the preventative and healing power of food. He proved in two studies that heart disease can be reversed with a plant-based, whole food diet with no salt, sugar or added oil. He wrote “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease,” and is featured in the documentary “Forks Over Knives.”
• T. Colin Campbell, PhD, is also in his 80s. He is a nutrition scientist at Cornell University and has been on the cutting edge of nutrition research for decades. He was the lead scientist in “The China Study,” the largest epidemiologic study ever done (a study that looks at large groups of people, determines what they eat, what diseases they get, and what they die from). He wrote a book by the same name plus others, including “Whole” and “The Low-Carb Fraud.” He is featured in the “Forks Over Knives” documentary.
• Neal Barnard, M.D., is affiliated with the George Washington University School of Medicine. In 1985 he founded PCRM — Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine — because he wanted to promote preventative medicine and also because of a concern about ethical treatment of animals. He has published many books, including “Power Foods for the Brain,” “Eat Right, Live Longer” and “The Power of Your Plate.”
Dr. Feinsinger, who retired from Glenwood Medical Associates after 42 years as a family physician, has a nonprofit Center For Prevention and Treatment of Disease Through Nutrition. He is available for free consultations about heart attack prevention and other medical issues. Call 970-379-5718 for an appointment. For questions about his columns, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.