If you feel lost in a sea of confusing and contradictory information about nutrition, you’re not alone. With so many conflicting points of view, and so much readily available information to support any stance, it’s difficult to know who and what are truly credible nutrition sources. After hours of research, you may be left feeling frustrated and confused, wondering, “Who can you trust?”
Eggs are bad. No, eggs are good. Butter is bad. No, butter is good. Red meat is bad. No, red meat is good. Carbs are bad. No, carbs are good. It’s exasperating!
Not knowing what to believe or who to trust, most people decide to believe good news about their bad habits and continue their current behavior, or adopt even worse behaviors. And that’s exactly what Big Food and the purveyors of Fad Diets want them to do because that protects their profits.
Big Food treats nutrition science like whack-a-mole. If a study comes out that criticizes their product, they quickly fund another study to emphasize the positives. If a study praises their competition, they fund a study to criticize it or project the good qualities onto their own product (e.g. eggs have antioxidants – see below).
They also fund supposedly credible nutrition sources like the Mayo Clinic, The Cleveland Clinic, Harvard and countless others who continue to promote their unhealthy products and their biased scientific studies.
After all, those revered institutions also have a bottom line to protect, and they make millions of dollars each year from preventable medical conditions, as well as from industry funding. The Mayo Clinic alone gets nearly $100 million/year from corporations and corporate funded industry associations. That’s a big incentive to continue their support of unhealthy behaviors.
“Credible” Sources With Not So Credible Nutrition Advice
Doing some research for this blog post, I stumbled across an article on the Cleveland Clinic website that says eggs are healthy, even if you have high cholesterol. My first thought was, “It would be expensive to replace my laptop if I throw it through the window.” My next thought was, “How in the hell can a supposedly reputable source of health and diet information make such a ridiculous claim?!”
The article referenced three studies, most likely funded by the egg industry. I can’t tell for sure who funded them because only the abstracts are available without a membership, and each study is on a different website requiring a different membership. The funding sources are often omitted or hidden behind non-profit front organizations that are impossible to trace, so it may not make any difference if I had access to the whole study.
Knowing that researchers funded by Big Food typically spin the results in the abstract/summary/conclusion, I was highly skeptical about the claims. But one study in particular really stood out. The study claimed that eggs have recently been discovered to have “high levels of antioxidants,” those magic little molecules mostly found in herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables and whole grains that our body uses to repair itself. Blueberries come to mind; not eggs.
While I couldn’t see the actual findings without access to the whole study, I was able to find this study that looked at the antioxidant levels of 3,100 different foods. It found that eggs have an average antioxidant level of 12 mmol/100 grams. Compare that to spices and herbs with 425, vegetables with 303, fruits with 278 and grains with 227 mmol/100 grams. Even dairy has 7 times the amount of antioxidants as eggs with 86 mmol/100 grams! How can the Cleveland Clinic say that eggs are a good source of antioxidants?!
Furthermore, the abstract from the study cited by the Cleveland Clinic article claiming that eggs are a good source of antioxidants states, “All cooking methods significantly reduced the antioxidant values.” So that means any antioxidants found in the eggs will likely be destroyed by cooking the eggs. Who’s going to eat raw eggs for their already insignificant amount of antioxidants?!
Of course, nobody with high cholesterol who loves eggs will dig any deeper to see that it’s all bulls–t. They’ll take this “reputable” source for its word and continue their unhealthy behavior until they end up under the scalpel or paralyzed from a stroke or dead of a heart attack.
By publishing this ridiculous, easily disprovable article, the Cleveland Clinic, one of America’s top hospitals, has lost all credibility with me. If I see them come up in a search result, I won’t even click the link unless I’m looking for more absurd health claims from supposedly reputable organizations. This is especially disappointing because this is the hospital where Dr. Esselstyn worked as a surgeon and conducted his Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease study.
Since most people, including members of the media, don’t understand the Scientific Method or read the studies in their entirety, they don’t realize that industry funded study methodologies are often structured to prove a desired outcome, and the findings are often spun in the summary/conclusion/abstract to mislead us about what they really discovered. So all we see is the 30 second sound bite that was crafted to confuse us so we keep buying their products.
You can read more about Big Food’s assault on the truth about nutrition in my blog post, “Doubt Is Our Product 2.0: What Big Food Learned from Big Tobacco.”
With all of this confusing and contradictory information from people and institutions we thought we could trust, how are we supposed to determine which doctors, scientists and websites are actually credible nutrition sources?
Questions To Ask Yourself About Credible Nutrition Sources
I’ve been interested in nutrition since I first discovered that I had high cholesterol back in 2006, when I was only 35 years old. My doctor at the time told me, “There’s nothing you can do about it. I have a patient who is a marathon runner with high cholesterol. The only treatment is to take a statin.”
That’s when I started getting serious about my health. I started eating a healthier diet (at least, I thought it was healthier) and exercising more regularly. My cholesterol came down a little, but not enough. Much to my chagrin, my doctor put me on a statin.
You can read more about my frustrating experience with high cholesterol in my blog post, “Can Vegans Get Heart Disease?”
When I first started studying nutrition seriously after my back surgery in 2015, I quickly realized that WHAT I was reading and watching wasn’t nearly as important as WHO was sharing the information.
That’s when I developed this list of criteria for choosing who to believe.
1. Is the nutrition source qualified to give nutrition advice?
Medical doctors spend 8 years earning their medical degree and another 3 to 8 years in residency. While most doctors don’t learn much about nutrition in medical school, some actually specialize in Clinical Nutrition as part of their medical program. They are trained experts in nutrition science and practice. Some doctors can be considered credible nutrition sources.
Nutrition scientists with Ph.D.’s typically spend 6 to 8 years in higher education studying nutrition. Some scientists spend their entire careers doing nutrition research, conducting studies and publishing their findings. Some have been doing this for decades…50 years or more. Some start out believing one thing, but change their minds after the science leads them in a different direction. That’s the beauty of science. It’s ok to change your mind when presented with new, credible information. Flip-floppers welcome.
These medical and scientific experts who spend their whole life studying nutrition are a lot different than, for example, an author or investigative reporter who writes a blog post or a book about nutrition. Especially when those people were funded by the industries that benefit from their favorable stories, and when they love their unhealthy food and will do anything to justify its continued consumption.
However, just because a doctor or scientist has spent years studying nutrition, that doesn’t automatically make him or her a credible nutrition source. They could still be biased.
2. Is the nutrition source potentially or unreasonably biased?
Bias is often a tough thing to uncover because most people like to hide their biases, which is understandable. If you want to be taken seriously on a topic that you feel very passionately about, the last thing you want to happen is for all of your hard work to be dismissed simply because of your association with a certain group, or funding from a certain source.
However, it’s very difficult NOT to let those affiliations affect your objectivity. We are human, after all, and we can be easily influenced, even subconsciously. Even doctors and scientists.
Whether personal, professional, social or financial, everyone has biases. While the Scientific Method is designed to minimize the impact of bias on the outcomes of studies, it still happens. A lot.
Again, for more on how prevalent bias is when it comes to nutrition research, read “Doubt Is Our Product 2.0: What Big Food Learned from Big Tobacco.”
With that said, there’s a difference between someone with a personal bias toward a certain cause (e.g. veganism) and someone with a financial bias to guarantee a certain outcome from a study (e.g. here’s $1,100 to show diet soda is better for weight loss than water).
Affiliation with a cause doesn’t necessarily discredit the source. For example, some (not all) of the doctors and scientists listed below are vegan, but none were born vegan or grew up eating a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet. To quote Dr. Garth Davis, “We are physicians that, after years of research, reached the conclusion that Western medicine’s lack of emphasis on the importance of nutritional science has left the public at the mercy of industry and snake oil salesmen.”
In other words, they don’t promote the healthy WFPB diet because they’re vegan. They went vegan because the WFPB diet is healthier, and that opened their eyes to the bigger picture of social injustice, environmental destruction and animal cruelty associated with a non-vegan lifestyle. That applies to Amelia and me, too. We only went vegan after we realized the WFPB diet was a healthier diet for humans.
There’s not an exact formula for evaluating the level of bias someone has and how it might affect the credibility of their nutrition advice. You just have to look at the body of evidence from other trusted sources about them and their claims, and then make a gut call.
And just because they’re saying bad things about your favorite habits, doesn’t automatically discredit them.
3. Is the nutrition source selling products directly connected to their health claims?
The other day, I was surfing Instagram looking at all the beautiful plant-based foods when a meme arose touting the numerous health benefits of coconut oil. Even though most nutritionally aware people know that processed foods are unhealthy, a lot of them still believe cooking oil, a highly processed food, IS healthy.
All oil contains saturated fat, and coconut oil is the worst offender of them all. In fact, coconut oil has over twice the saturated fat as butter!
Suffice it to say, despite commonly held beliefs cultivated and nourished by the coconut oil industry, coconut oil is NOT healthy for human consumption. Put it on your hair and skin, but not in your mouth.
Anyway, I decided to investigate further to see who was making such an unfounded and uninformed claim. The Instagram profile linked to a website (intentionally omitted) run by an apparently popular doctor living in Malibu, California (Wouldn’t THAT be nice?!). Most of the nutrition information on her website was associated with the supplements and other products she was selling, which included coconut oil.
I’d like to think that she legitimately believes coconut oil is healthy and isn’t just spouting the false benefits to sell products on her website. But having an MD (Medical Doctor) title attached to her name means she should know better. The non-coconut oil industry funded research is readily available for anyone to see and the controversy has been all over the news recently so she should know that she needs to look into it further.
The content accompanying the other supplements and miscellaneous products on her website read like a smorgasbord of pseudoscientific, biased, misleading and uninformed mumbo jumbo. Needless-to-say, she should NOT be considered among the credible nutrition sources.
And that’s really a shame because she appears to have a large audience of people who believe whatever she says, much like the convincing and persuasive snake oil salesmen of yesteryear. They haven’t disappeared. They simply jumped off their stump and built a website.
Selling products and/or services on their website doesn’t necessarily mean the nutrition source shouldn’t be trusted, though. It really depends on what they’re selling and how it measures up against the current science.
It takes money to run a website, to pay people, to buy advertising, to pay taxes, etc. so it’s perfectly acceptable to sell things. The problem arises when the things you’re selling don’t have legitimate, unbiased science to back them up and when they cause real harm to people’s health.
As I wrote before, oil isn’t healthy. But Amelia and I didn’t know that when we launched LottaVeg and started adding recipes to the website back in 2016. That’s why some of our older recipes use oil.
However, we’re changing those. It’s a slow process because we have to remake the recipes without oil, sometimes more than once to get them right, and then update the recipe, nutrition details and sometimes take new pictures. Some of our recipes, like Amelia’s delicious Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies will continue to use oil, but with a disclaimer that says they’re not healthy. Duh. They’re cookies.
While Dr. Greger likes to say “Everything in moderation; even heart disease.” We know it’s not feasible to expect everyone to eat healthy 100% of the time. We also want to be able to show non-vegans that vegan food can be just as delicious as conventional foods, and many non-vegans don’t care anything about health and nutrition. There are also a few lucky people like Amelia who are genetic mutants and don’t seem to have any issues with high cholesterol. Grrr.
Regardless, we’re trying to do the right thing by removing unhealthy ingredients from our recipes when it doesn’t ruin the recipe, but I doubt a website completely dedicated to a diet that causes most preventable diseases will do the same thing.
For example: A website that sells meal plans for the Paleo diet, which is based almost entirely on pseudoscientific nonsense and a very subjective, unprovable interpretation of anthropological discoveries. Unlike the Paleo dietary claims that even fooled me several years ago, it’s not the natural human diet.
I signed up for the newsletter for a Paleo meal planning website to see what they have to say about nutrition and to see how they market their meal plans. Every time their emails hit my inbox, I cringe, wondering what pseudoscientific “secret” they’re going to share today. From what I can tell, it’s a pretty large and thriving business riding on the coattails of CrossFit popularity.
It could very well be a 7 figure business (that’s over a million a year in revenue). If that’s the case and they are that successful, how open are they going to be to admitting that the products they’re selling may actually be killing their loyal followers? Would they ever be able to admit that? Even to themselves? Not likely. Especially for legal reasons.
In a world where money means everything to most people, very few would be willing to give that much of it up to do the right thing (which means very little to most people these days).
If the nutrition source you’re looking at sells a variety of supplements and cure-alls, I would be very skeptical and question the credibility of their nutrition advice.
4. Does the source visibly look health, are they internally healthy and are they still alive?
This may be superficial, but does the source of nutrition advice look healthy? There’s an old saying that you should never trust a skinny chef. Well, I don’t trust an overweight or obese nutritionist.
Is the nutrition advice source healthy and still alive? It amazes me that people still believe in the Atkins diet when its founder died at 72 with advanced heart disease and at least 60 pounds overweight. How can this not be a red flag for people?
Instead, they choose to believe the bogus story put out by the Atkins Nutritionals company spin doctors that he fell and hit his head as a height-weight appropriate nutrition expert. Could it be that they desperately wanted to protect their $66 million/year revenue stream? (It was reportedly much more than $66 million before he died.)
A Facebook friend suggested I watch “The Magic Pill” in response to my post, “Can Vegans Get Heart Disease?” It’s a documentary filmed in the “What The Health” conspiracy theory style, but with a radically different conclusion.
They claim the high-fat, high-cholesterol Keto diet is the answer to all of humanities health woes, despite the overwhelming evidence that consuming cholesterol and saturated fat leads to heart disease, the number one killer of people eating a western diet (which is, not coincidentally, high in cholesterol and saturated fat).
I’ve already done a lot of research on low-carb diets like Keto, Atkins and Paleo. I even ate both the Atkins and Paleo diets in the past before I knew who to trust (my cholesterol shot up to 270 on Paleo and my doctor ordered me to stop). Anyway, I didn’t watch the film, but I did watch the review by Mic the Vegan.
As I suspected, they used cherry picked industry studies and misrepresented findings to make their points. But what surprised me the most was how unhealthy all of the so-called experts looked! Nearly every one of them was overweight, some were obese! How can people look at them and say, “Wow! This diet really works for weight loss!”
I’m not “fat shaming” here. If you’re going to tout yourself as an expert in nutrition, you should be healthy. And that means within your healthy weight range. Would you trust a swim instructor who doesn’t know how to swim? Would you trust a pilot who doesn’t know how to fly? Would you trust a doctor who tells you to quit smoking, after you spotted her smoking on your way into the office? I wouldn’t.
If the source of nutrition advice looks like you want to look and/or has lived a long, healthy life, it might be worth listening to what they have to say. At least as long as they have the credentials to be considered an expert, minimal biases and they aren’t selling a “magic pill.” (See what I did there? Hehehe!)
Credible Nutrition Sources That We Trust
I’m a research geek so I spend a lot of time reading books, studies and articles, and watching documentaries and YouTube videos from my trusted sources. But most people don’t have the time, patience or interest to do that.
And even though I enjoy reading studies, I don’t have access to all of them because they’re behind paywalls and we can’t afford memberships to all of those websites. Plus, some of them are simply too hard to understand. I often wonder if researchers get paid by the average number of syllables in their words! Or maybe they do that on purpose to sound extra smart, or to intentionally confuse the rest of us about what they actually discovered….
If you don’t have the time, patience, expertise or access, that’s when you need to rely on credible nutrition sources to interpret and summarize the findings for you. After considerable research, below are the experts Amelia and I have come to trust.
Every single one of them started their journey with the standard belief about nutrition, namely that meat, dairy, eggs and oil are healthy for human consumption, even necessary for peak health. But after being presented with (or conducting themselves) valid, unbiased, non-industry funded nutrition research, they changed their views.
That’s not easy to do. Our cognitive dissonance is uncomfortable and we try to reduce it by justifying our previously held beliefs rather than changing them. It takes a strong, open-minded person to be able to accept radically different ideas than those held by the majority. And it takes strong character to stand up to personal, professional and industry pressure while those powerful entities are doing everything in their power to humiliate and discredit you.
I admire these people for more than their credentials. I admire them for their character.
Dr. Michael Greger – NutritionFacts.org
This is where I go first for nutrition advice, mainly because it’s easy to search and the website has articles and videos on nearly every nutrition and health topic. Plus, he’s funny and quirky, and simplifies the complex topic of nutrition into something that’s easy for almost anyone to digest (pardon the pun).
Dr. Greger received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University, and his medical degree with an emphasis in Clinical Nutrition from Tufts University where he graduated in 1999.
In 1998, he appeared as an expert witness testifying on behalf of Oprah Winfrey when cattle producers unsuccessfully sued her for libel over statements she made about the safety of meat on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
He authored Carbophobia: The Scary Truth About America’s Low-carb Craze and the New York Time’s Best Selling How Not To Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease, among other books.
He founded NutritionFacts.org with seed money from The Jesse & Julie Rasch Foundation. “Among the objectives of the Foundation is the funding of research into the role of health and nutrition in the prevention and treatment of disease and to ensure that the research results are appropriately disseminated to the medical profession. The Foundation is also striving to educate the public on the enormous role that health and nutrition play in disease prevention.”
Now, NutritionFacts.org operates on a Wiki model using donations from website visitors and revenue generated from Dr. Greger’s book sales and speaking engagements to fund operations. No donations are accepted from industry related organizations, and no products or services are sold on the website to minimize conflicts of interest.
Dr. Greger went vegan in 1994 when he was 22 years old after touring a stockyard as part of his undergraduate degree in agriculture.
Dr. Neal Barnard – PCRM.org
Dr. Barnard was born to a cattle ranching family in North Dakota. He earned his medical degree and performed his residency at the George Washington University School of Medicine.
In 1985, he founded Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (later, PCRM.org) because he “wanted to promote preventative medicine.”
According to PCRM.org, “Dr. Barnard is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the 2016 recipient of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine’s Trailblazer Award, and has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Barnard has authored more than 70 scientific publications as well as 18 books, including the New York Times best-sellers Power Foods for the Brain, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart, and the USA Today best-seller Dr. Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes.”
Dr. Barnard became a vegetarian during his residency at George Washington University in the 1980’s, and later became a vegan after doing extensive research into the subject of nutrition.
Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn – DrEsselstyn.com
Dr. Esselstyn was born in 1933 in New York City (he’s now 85 and still working). He graduated from Yale University in 1956 and won an olympic gold medal that same year with his rowing team. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1961.
According to his website, “He was trained as a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and at St. George’s Hospital in London. In 1968, as an Army surgeon in Vietnam, he was awarded the Bronze Star.” He continued as a practicing surgeon for several decades, chairing numerous medical boards and conferences. He has been awarded 8 different awards from universities and medical institutions for his medical achievements.
He also has over 150 scientific publications, and authored the popular book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure.
Dr. Esselstyn and his wife Ann switched to a WFPB diet in 1984 after growing frustrated with the lack of focus on nutrition in the medical industry. He wanted to test the theory that cutting out dietary sources of cholesterol and saturated fat did indeed help treat and reverse heart disease. Following the successful at-home experiment, he conducted a study that is now widely quoted in support of the WFPB diet.
Dr. Esselstyn is not vegan. Some of the recipes in his book use honey, which isn’t vegan.
Dr. T. Collin Campbell – NutritionStudies.org
Dr. Campbell was born in 1934 (he’s 84 and still working) and grew up on his family’s dairy farm in rural Pennsylvania. He graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1956 with a degree in veterinary medicine. In 1958, he earned a Masters degree in nutrition and biochemistry from Cornell University. In 1961, he earned a Ph.D. in nutrition, biochemistry and microbiology, also from Cornell.
After graduate school, Dr. Campbell worked as a research associate for 10 years at MIT and 3 years at Virginia Tech before returning to his alma mater, Cornell, where he continues to specialize in the effect of nutrition on long-term health as the Chair of Nutritional Biochemistry in the Division of Nutritional Sciences.
According to NutritionStudies.org, “Dr. Campbell is the coauthor of the bestselling book The China Study: Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health, and author of the New York Times bestseller Whole, and The Low-Carb Fraud. He is featured in several documentaries including: the blockbuster Forks Over Knives, Eating You Alive, Food Matters, PlantPure Nation and others.”
“Dr. Campbell has conducted original research both in laboratory experiments and in large-scale human studies; received over 70 grant-years of peer-reviewed research funding (mostly with NIH), served on grant review panels of multiple funding agencies, actively participated in the development of national and international nutrition policy, authored over 300 research papers and given hundreds of lectures around the world.”
He also coined the term “Whole Food Plant-Based Diet.”
Dr. Campbell does not consider himself a vegan, stating that he doesn’t identify with vegan stances on all issues and “Vegans tend to consume too much processed food and total fat.” He also still supports testing on animals for nutrition research.
Dr. John McDougall – DrMcDougall.com
Dr. McDougall earned his medical degree from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and performed his residency at The University of Hawaii.
After his residency, he moved to the Big Island of Hawaii and worked as one of four doctors responsible for 5,000 patients on a sugar plantation. That’s where he noticed a dramatic health difference between the older and younger generations of his patients.
According to Dr. McDougall’s website, “My elderly patients had immigrated to Hawaii from China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, where rice was food. They brought their culture with them. Their children, tempted by Western foods, slowly changed. The third generation, had essentially given up rice and vegetables for meat, dairy, and junk. For all three generations, their health reflected their diet. The first generation immigrants were trim, active, and medication-free into their 90s. They had no diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, or cancers of the breast, prostate, or colon. Their children became a little fatter and sicker, and most of their grandchildren had lost all of their immunity to obesity and common diseases — in every way of appearance and health, they were full-fledged Americans.”
After several years in Hawaii, he returned to the mainland and joined St. Helena Hospital in Napa Valley, CA where he worked until 2002. He now runs the McDougall Program in California where he helps people who actually want to be helped and are willing to buck the high-fat trend.
Dr. McDougall does not recommend a vegan diet or a WFPB diet. He recommends a low-fat, starch-based diet consisting of potatoes, rice, corn, grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.
Dr. Pamela Popper – DrPamPopper.com
Dr. Popper is a public policy expert who has helped change laws that interfere with patients’ right to choose their health provider and method of care. She has also testified in front of legislative committees, and has testified twice in front of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
She has a Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in Nutrition and a degree in Naturopathy, which is the practice of Natural Medicine. She also served as part of Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s teaching team at eCornell, teaching part of a certification course on plant-based nutrition. She authored the bestselling books Food Over Medicine: The Conversation That Can Save Your Life and Solving America’s Healthcare Crisis.
She regularly posts videos to her YouTube Channel reviewing current studies and answering commonly asked questions about nutrition and medical care.
Dr. Popper has been vegan since 2008. In an interview with VeganBiteBite.com, she stated, “My intention at the beginning of the process was not to become vegetarian or vegan. My intention really was just to improve my diet and improve my health.”
Dr. Kim Allan Williams
Dr. Kim Allan Williams, MD, MACC, FAHA, MASNC, FESC is the first vegan president of the American College of Cardiology. He was born in Chicago, and attended the College of The University of Chicago (1971 to 1975), followed by the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine (1975 to 1979), internal medicine residency at Emory University (1979 to 1982), and overlapping fellowships in Cardiology at the University of Chicago (1982 to 1985), Clinical Pharmacology (1984 to 1985), and Nuclear Medicine (1984 to 1986). He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases, Nuclear Medicine, Nuclear Cardiology and Cardiovascular Computed Tomography.
Dr. Williams joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 1986, specializing in clinical cardiology, nuclear medicine, and nuclear cardiology. He served as Professor of Medicine and Radiology and Director of Nuclear Cardiology at The University of Chicago School of Medicine until 2010.
In 2010, he became the Dorothy Susan Timmis Endowed Professor of Medicine and Radiology and Chairman of the Division of Cardiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, MI. At Wayne State, he has started the Urban Cardiology Initiative – a program of education of physicians on disparities in healthcare, primary school education on cardiovascular health and community health screening in inner-city Detroit. In November 2013 he returned to Chicago as the James B. Herrick Endowed Professor of Medicine and Cardiology at Rush University Medical Center.
Dr. Williams has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, monographs, book chapters, editorials, and review articles in the field of nuclear cardiology and minority health issues, with emphasis on education and innovations in perfusion imaging and quantitation of ventricular function. His research interests include selective adenosine receptor agonists, fluorinated perfusion PET imaging, cardiac computed tomography for plaque characterization, health care disparities and payment policy, and appropriate use of cardiac imaging.
Dr. Williams has served on numerous committees and boards at the national level, including the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC), the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the Certifying Board of Nuclear Cardiology, the Certifying Board of Cardiac Computed Tomography, the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography and the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC). He served as President of ASNC from 2004 to 2005. He served as Chairman of the Board of ABC from 2008 to 2010. He also served on the Cardiovascular Disease Examination Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM-CV) until 2012. He served as the president of the ACC from 2015 to 2016.
Dr. Williams has been vegan since 2003. He wrote a guest post on Medpage Today discussing his motivations for switching to a plant based diet and going vegan.
Dr. Dean Ornish – DeanOrnish.com
Dr. Ornish is a pioneer in the field of heart disease prevention and reversal through diet, exercise and stress management. “He holds a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in Humanities from the University of Texas at Austin, where he gave the baccalaureate address. He earned his MD from the Baylor College of Medicine, was a Clinical Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and completed a medical internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital.” [source]
From the 1970’s through the 90’s, he conducted research into the root causes of heart disease and discovered that eating a mostly whole-food plant-based diet, along with at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day, stress management and stopping smoking seemed to be the most effective way to prevent and reverse heart disease.
Dr. Ornish is not a vegan. His diet is considered vegetarian, allowing egg whites and non-fat dairy.
Dr. Garth Davis – Proteinaholic.com
Dr. Davis is a bariatric surgeon, helping obese people to lose weight through surgery and to keep it off by eating a whole-food plant-based diet.
He is the medical director of the Davis Clinic at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin where he was the Student Government President. He completed his surgical residency at the University of Michigan.
His book, Proteinaholic, reviews the science behind many of the high-fat diet claims, as well as the science supporting a whole-food plant-based diet. His book teaches us how to read studies to spot biases and flaws in study designs. He also dispels a lot of the myths surrounding high-protein diets. This book is a must-read and should be required reading for all doctors.
Dr. Davis was not a vegan until he did the research and determined the WFPB diet is the healthiest diet for human consumption. After he accepted that, he became open to the environmental and animal cruelty issues. He now considers himself a vegan.
Mic the Vegan – MicTheVegan.com
While not a doctor of nutrition, Mic the Vegan is a vegan science writer and a good source of accessible nutrition information. He speaks in terms that are easy to understand and he reviews the real, unbiased science behind lots of nutrition claims.
According to his website, “About 7 years ago I went vegan after reading the research on vegan populations and witnessing people that made me realize I wouldn’t drop dead from a protein deficiency. In particular, vegans were shown to have lower rates of the two diseases I was most afraid of getting, heart disease and cancer.”
He has a very active YouTube Channel and regularly posts informational videos about nutrition, with a splash of humor.
Credible Nutrition Sources Conclusion
Amelia and I didn’t enter into this diet lightly. I did months of research, most of it not believing what I was seeing. How could the decades of nutrition advice from “trusted” sources, advice that I based my entire diet on, be so inaccurate and just plain wrong?
I was also concerned that this was another fad diet like Atkins and Paleo. I fell for the hype before. Why was this any different?
The main difference this time, was that I spent a lot of energy figuring out who I could trust for legitimate, mostly unbiased, scientifically backed, nutritional advice. I didn’t rely on a friend or coworker or family member to tell me “X diet worked for me!” I didn’t listen to an infomercial. I didn’t read a book written by a journalist who loves cheese or a blog post written by a grad student who loves bacon.
Instead, I found extremely educated, highly knowledgeable doctors with decades of experience in nutrition. They have hundreds of published scientific, non-industry funded studies between them and thousands of successfully treated patients who are living longer, healthier lives because of their advice.
If, after doing the research, I had discovered that humans are biologically designed to eat meat, dairy and eggs, and that we needed it to survive and thrive (as I was taught in my small Kansas farm town), I would still be eating animal products (sorry fellow vegans). But that’s simply not the case. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Those high fat, high protein foods are literally killing us by the millions. We did not evolve to eat those foods and we’re far healthier without them.
Thanks to these reputable, trustworthy experts, I now eat a much healthier diet, I’ve lost weight and I feel better. Plus, my environmental footprint is much smaller. And I’ve stopped contributing to the needless and unspeakably cruel treatment and slaughter of billions of sentient, innocent animals every year.
If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it with your friends and family. Help spread the word about the doctors and scientists who truly are credible nutrition sources.