John A. McDougall
Portrait photograph of McDougall in 2013
In 2013
Born (1947-05-17) May 17, 1947 (age 75)
NationalityAmerican
EducationMichigan State University College of Human Medicine (M.D.)
Occupation
  • Physician
  • author
Known forAdvocacy of the "McDougall Plan", a low-fat fad diet based on starchy foods and vegetables
Notable work
  • The McDougall Plan (1983)
  • The Starch Solution (2011)
Websitewww.drmcdougall.com

John A. McDougall (born May 17, 1947) is an American physician and author. He has written a number of diet books advocating the consumption of a low-fat vegan diet based on starchy foods and vegetables.

His eponymous diet, called The McDougall Plan was a New York Times bestseller.[1] It has been categorized as a low-fat fad diet. The diet rejects all animal products as well as cooking oils, processed food, alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks. As with any restrictive high-fiber diet, it may lead to flatulence, possibly poor mineral absorption from excess fiber, and limited food choices that may lead to a feeling of deprivation.[2]

Life

McDougall is a graduate of Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine.[3] He performed his internship at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1972 and his medical residency at the University of Hawaii.[3] McDougall contributed to the Vegetarian Times magazine and has appeared on television talk shows.[4]

McDougall is also a member of the advisory board of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).[5][6] In 2016, he was one of four named plaintiffs in a lawsuit by the PCRM alleging improper influence by the egg industry on establishing cholesterol recommendations in the US.[7][8] The lawsuit was dismissed in 2016.[9]

Medical practice

Diet programs and products

In 2002, McDougall began the McDougall Program at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, California. The McDougall Program, based in Santa Rosa, is a 10-day residential treatment program which features a low-fat, starch-based, vegan diet.[3][10] The McDougall diet is a low-fat starch-based diet that is high in fiber and contains no cholesterol.[11][12] The diet is based on a variety of starches such as rice, potatoes, corn, breads, pasta, and fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.[11] For example, a meal might be made of a baked potato with steamed broccoli, or steamed brown rice with steamed vegetables, perhaps with a piece of fruit for dessert.[13]

McDougall is the co-founder, chairman, and sole board member of San Francisco-based Dr. McDougall's Right Foods Inc., which produces dried and packaged soups, manufactured for it by the SF Spice Co.[3][14][15]

McDougall has promoted his diet as an alternative treatment for a number of chronic disorders, including arthritis, atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and osteoporosis.[11]

Other medical views

McDougall's suggestions that dairy products cause leukemia and multiple sclerosis is not supported by scientific evidence.[medical citation needed]

Reception

McDougall has been criticized for making unsubstantiated health claims.[16] Some of McDougall's dietary recommendations are in line with mainstream nutritional advice, such as an emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, but others are considered extreme and are not supported by evidence.[4][12] McDougall's diet plan has been has been called a low-fat fad diet that may lead to flatulence, possibly poor mineral absorption from excess fiber and limited food choices that sometimes may lead to nutrient deprivation.[2] The diet places patients at risk of being deprived of zinc, vitamin D, calcium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12 when followed strictly.[17]

In 1992, nutritionist Kurt Butler described McDougall's ideas as "vegetarian extremism" and McDougall as "Americas most influential vegan zealot" who has taken the low-fat vegetarian diet to extremes.[4]

Reviewing McDougall's book The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss, nutritionist Fredrick J. Stare and epidemiologist Elizabeth Whelan criticized its restrictive regime and "poor advice", concluding that the diet's concepts were "extreme and out of keeping with nutritional reality". The authors state that failure to consume dairy products creates a risk for osteoporosis, and that if animal products cannot be replaced with peanut butter and soybean foods, vegans may not obtain enough protein.[18] Reviewing The McDougall Program: 12 Days to Dynamic Health, doctor Harriet Hall wrote that the book is filled with anecdotes and questionable statements, and that it makes many claims which are not supported by science.[12] Hall concluded that "Some of McDougall’s recommendations are in line with mainstream advice, but there is reason to fear that strict adherence to his whole Program might result in nutritional deficits that could do more harm than good."[12]

A 2014 observational study found that patients who undertook the McDougall diet saw improved predictors of cardiovascular and metabolic health after one week on the diet plan.[17][19] McDougall's dieting advice has been studied for its efficacy in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis; a 2016 randomized controlled trial did not find significant evidence that the diet affects the severity or progression a patient's multiple sclerosis, but it did find that people on the diet showed lowered cholesterol, improved their insulin levels, experienced weight loss, and–due to the weight loss–experienced reductions in fatigue.[17][20]

Bibliography

McDougall has written several books, with his wife Mary contributing recipes, that sold more than 1.5 million copies as of 2008.[10][21]

References

  1. ^ "PAPERBACK BEST SELLERS". The New York Times. May 26, 1985. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Byrd-Bredbenner, Carol; Moe, Gaile; Beshgetoor, Donna; Berning, Jacqueline. (2012). Wardlaw's Perspectives in Nutrition, Ninth Edition. McGraw-Hill. pp. 338-339. ISBN 978-0-07-352272-2
  3. ^ a b c d Stone, Gene, ed. (June 28, 2011). Forks over knives: the plant-based way to health. Workman Publishing. pp. 52–3. ISBN 9781615191468.
  4. ^ a b c Butler, Kurt. (1992). A Consumer's Guide to "Alternative Medicine": A Close Look at Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Faith-healing, and Other Unconventional Treatments. Prometheus Books. pp. 24-27. ISBN 0-87975-733-7
  5. ^ "Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine". Activist Facts. Center for Organizational Research and Education.
  6. ^ Aslam, Sunny (November 28, 2001). "Vegetarian diet on solid ground, experts say". USA Today.
  7. ^ Tayna, Lewis. "A lawsuit claims government guidelines on cholesterol were tainted by the egg industry". Business Insider. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  8. ^ "The Physicians Committee sues USDA and DHHS, exposing industry corruption in dietary guidelines decision on cholesterol" (Press release). Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. January 6, 2016.
  9. ^ "Federal Court Dismisses Physicians Committee Lawsuit Over Industry Influence on Food Policy" (Press release). Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. October 14, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Asbell, Robin. "Practicing What He Preaches". Better Homes and Gardens. Archived from the original on June 17, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c Lubkin, Ilene Morof. (1998). Chronic Illness: Impact and Interventions. Jones and Bartlett. p. 415
  12. ^ a b c d Hall, Harriet. (2020). "The McDougall Diet". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  13. ^ "Mary's Mini-McDougall Diet®". Dr. McDougall. Retrieved February 19, 2022. Simple Eating-out Suggestions: A baked potato or sweet potato with steamed vegetables like broccoli (steakhouse)...Steamed rice and vegetables (Chinese)
  14. ^ "Executive profile John A. McDougall". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on November 29, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  15. ^ Anderson, Mark (December 10, 2014). "Bay Area food company to move operations to Woodland". Sacramento Business Journal. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  16. ^ Ernst, Edzard; Singh, Simon (August 17, 2008). Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts about Alternative Medicine. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-06986-0.
  17. ^ a b c Langley, Monica R; Triplet, Erin M; Scarisbrick, Isobel A. (July 1, 2020). "Dietary influence on central nervous system myelin production, injury, and regeneration". Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease. 1866 (7). doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2020.165779 – via Elsevier ScienceDirect.
  18. ^ Stare, Fredrick J.; Whelan, Elizabeth (1998). "Book review:The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss by John A. McDougall M.D.". Fad-Free Nutrition. Hunter House. pp. 202–203. ISBN 9780897932363.
  19. ^ McDougall, John; et al. (October 14, 2014). "Effects of 7 days on an ad libitum low-fat vegan diet: the McDougall Program cohort". Nutrition Journal. 13 (99). doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-99.
  20. ^ Sand, Ilana Katz (August 16, 2018). "The Role of Diet in Multiple Sclerosis: Mechanistic Connections and Current Evidence". Current Nutrition Reports. 7: 150–160. doi:10.1007/s13668-018-0236-z – via SpringerLink.
  21. ^ Peterson, Diane (May 31, 2012). "John McDougall a true believer". The Press Democrat.

Further reading