Dr. John McDougall’s Diet and Lifestyle Benefits, from his lecture to MDs. Notes by Dr. Flora van Orden III, PhD.
Well, we reduce major risk factors, those risk factors for hormone related cancers like breast, prostate or obesity, IGF-1, cholesterols, estrogen, and prolactin.
A study published in JAMA (Journal of the American medical Association) in 2005, showcasing physical activity: walking 3-5 hours a week (casual walking) reduced the absolute death for women with breast cancer by 6% over 10 years. That’s as good as any chemo!
We had a big failure a couple of months ago; we had the Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial. It made national headlines. Everyone liked that trial because it gave them good news about their bad habits! Low – fat diets don’t work. I think that’s what happened – that‘s why it got so much publicity. You no longer had to follow a low-fat diet because the Trial showed that a low-fat diet doesn’t work. Of course, the average weight loss was only one pound greater than those on the low-fat diet, compared to those on the control group, after eight years. They didn’t GO on a low-fat diet.
Roman Shablowski, who is here in Los Angeles and Ernst Winter, who is head of the American Health Foundation, were associates of mine many years ago. I had them on my radio and TV shows on a couple of occasions. Every time, I would say, “Why are you doing this? Why are you feeding these people a high-fat diet?”
Well, they said they didn’t believe that anybody would really truly follow a low-fat diet. Of course, I said, “You’re wrong. When the day comes that you publish your studies, it will be a failure.” And, of course the day came, just a couple of months ago, and they published their studies and it was a failure. As a result, they did terrible harm to the movement to a healthy diet and preventive and lifestyle medicines. They didn’t actually feed them a low-fat diet and the women didn’t follow a low-fat diet. What they did, it’s kind of interesting, on average, 9.8% of women on the so-called ‘low-fat’ diet had recurrences at five years, compared to those on the standard diet, which was 12.4%. Again, results comparable to chemo. So, even with the little that they did change, as far as preventing breast cancer: one more serving of fruits and vegetables daily, which is what they accomplished, resulted in 9% reduction in breast cancer observed in the ‘low-fat’ group. So, the little change they did make showed some results. But, it’s a shame because people who are contrary to a healthy diet use this as ammunition to show it doesn’t work.
So, to summarize what we’ve talked about: to better currently recommended treatments, drug therapies, surgeries for heart disease, surgeries and various treatments for cancer, you don’t have to do much. Lifestyle medicine has to do almost nothing. Especially since what we recommend causes no harm and costs nothing. You see, I think that’s the point of view that we have to take. If we’re going to make a difference in people’s lives, we can’t say “We’ve got something as good as…”, We’ve got something better than…” They have spent billions of dollars proving that what they do does not work, the research is there and you need to know it.
The TRUTH – Deal with the Cause - I want to talk to you about a general concept here. I told you, acute illness. We do really well and we should be proud as doctors to take care of acute care problems. I know I generally sound condescending about the medical business, and about some of my colleagues. I mean to. But, it’s not fair to generalize because there are some exceptions for sure. There is a reason we do well with acute care problems and that’s because of it’s nature: Acute: single injuries to the body. Like, a bacteria that attacks the body and we intervene with an antibiotic and we disrupt the process and tip the balance in favor of the patients. Everybody is thrilled. The patient loves the doctor, the doctor loves his or herself because a good job was done, and they helped the patient.
A bone’s broken, another acute care problem. We go in, straighten out that bone, everybody is thrilled.
A laceration. We sew up the wound, the patient is thrilled because you are such a great doctor.
What do all of these problems have in common? They are due to single injuries to the body. That’s the difference.
Chronic disease is due to repeated injury to the body. Say I had a nervous habit where I scratched myself every day for 10 minutes. I developed a sore on my hand. I could put the most expensive antibiotic cream that a company makes on that sore and I would continue to have a sore until I did what? Stop the repeated injury, right?
I used to have a terrible disease 35 years ago. I used to cough and wheeze and I couldn’t walk up hills and I was very sick. And the reason I was sick was because I repeatedly injured myself 40 times a day with Marlboro cigarettes. Within a week of quitting, I no longer coughed and wheezed, and I can run up hills today that I couldn’t walk up when I was 25 years old. See, I identified the source of repeated injury and I stopped that behavior. That’s what lifestyle medicine is about. It’s about identifying the source of repeated injury, that’s easy. Then, we stop that behavior, that’s the hard part. That’s really what our skill, or art as doctors, is about. Helping people make these changes and stop this behavior.
So, what is the source of repeated injury for people in our society? What is causing all of this disease? What’s causing it is this: four and more feasts a day. For every American, they start out with Easter for Breakfast, they go on to Christmas and Thanksgiving for lunch and dinner, and every night after dinner they have a birthday party. That’s it. Period. What we need to do is get our patients to feast on occasion, not four times a day, seven days a week. That’s why they’re sick.
The Surgeon General of the United States has come to a similar conclusion. He has told us that our diseases are because of our diet and lifestyle. He’s told us that the five leading causes of disease, cancer, stroke, heart attacks and other forms of atherosclerosis, are due to our diet. Then, he went on and said that three or four of the other thing are due to alcohol. This is lifestyle medicine. We can correct these. It’s the only thing that will work.
Causes of Death in the U.S.: 36% heart disease, 22% cancer, 7% strokes, Diabetes, Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), liver, suicide, pneumonia, lung, accidents.
All right. Let’s talk about some basic principles of medicine. You’re a doctor; a patient walks into your office with a chronic cough, with wheezing, very sick. What is your response? Do you put them on smokers’ vitamins? Is your initial response cough syrups? Antibiotics? No, your primary efforts for any good doctor would be this: get the patient to quit. Obvious.
The drunk walks into your office. What do you do? What is your effort? Diuretics? Extra vitamins? Your goal is simple; it’s to stop that behavior isn’t it?
OK, now this obese man walks into your office. What is the treatment, and I’m talking about the treatment that is administered by 99% of the doctors in this country? To fill their medicine cabinet full of drugs. That’s bad medicine. Thank you very much.”
Dr. Flora: Lifestyle MEDICINE?
You can imagine the shock of the doctors hearing that, and how silent the auditorium was as they filed out, embarrassed and yet hopeful. They’ve heard a better way. Can they make a living from it, though?
Medicine? You know what medicine is. It comes in little bottles, boxes, iv’s, jars. What a misnomer. What does medicine have to do with health? Nothing. It just buries symptoms and does nothing to cure the problem. There is nothing in a bottle, a box, a jar or a can that is going to cure someone.
Dear Dr. McDougall has to change the NAME of that style. Medical doctors are not allowed, by congressional law, to even talk about food as a cure. Only nutritionists, medical doctors who have gone on to become nutritionists, or naturopathic physicians are legally allowed to prescribe food as a cure. And now, the word CURE is scientifically correct, thanks to brave doctors like T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, and Neal Barnard. Dr. Barnard has given MDs a way out: he has a site called NutritionMD, where he can give the doctors lessons on nutrition in their offices, read a lecture or study, take a test, get a certificate, all on-line. He is giving prescription pads to MDs who deal with diabetics which have books to read and websites to go to, not medicines to take.
Cure. As long as we no longer repeat the behavior that caused the disease, that’s a cure, right? Don’t repeat the behavior. Don’t eat more than 10% fat and 10% protein, eat plant-based foods only. Especially no moldy grains or peanuts or dairy. No cholesterol foods. Nothing with a face. No hydrogenated oils or other vegetable oils, not even virgin, virgin olive oil.
Don’t repeat those killing behaviors that dissolve our arteries, our stomach lining, our tooth enamel and clog up our inner pipes and tubes with casein sludge and mucus foods like flour, albumen from eggs. No more acid foods that cause us to bleed internally or dissolve our bones, teeth and enamels, like citrus (including tomatoes), vinegars, and all of the above. No more nightshade foods that cause inflammation, like potatoes, eggplants and peppers, including tobacco.
Whole foods like watermelons cannot be patented. There are a lot of expensive diuretics with horrible side effects that are not as helpful as watermelon. The raw food lifestyle is just that. We don’t have to call it medicine.
Peace and Love Be With You,