Wilhelm Ebstein
Wilhelm Ebstein.jpg
Born27 November 1836[1]
Jauer, Prussia (modern Jawor, Poland)
Died22 October 1912[1][2]
Göttingen, Germany
Occupation(s)Physician, writer

Wilhelm Ebstein (27 November 1836, Jauer, Prussian Silesia – 22 October 1912) was a German physician.[1] He proposed a low-carbohydrate high-fat diet to treat obesity. Ebstein's anomaly is named for him.


Ebstein was born to a Jewish family in Jauer, Prussian Silesia (modern Jawor, Poland).[3] He studied medicine at the University of Breslau under Friedrich Theodor von Frerichs and at the University of Berlin under Rudolf Virchow and Moritz Heinrich Romberg,[4] graduating from the latter institution in 1859. During the same year he was named physician at the Allerheiligen Hospital in Breslau. In 1868 he became chief physician at the "Findelhaus" (municipal poorhouse); and from 1874 was a professor at the University of Göttingen, where he subsequently served as director of the university hospital and dispensary (from 1877).[5] Ebstein was an early advocate of a low-carbohydrate diet.[6] He authored Die Fettleibigkeit (Corpulenz), which recommended a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet for treating obesity.[3] It restricted carbohydrates by forbidding potatoes, sugar and sweets. All sorts of meat were recommended including fat meats.[7] His daily menu permitted "two or three glasses of light wine" but shunned beer.[8]

Ebstein authored medical studies on diabetes, gout and obesity.[9] He died at age 75 in Göttingen.[1]


Ebstein's specialties were studies of malassimilation and improper nutrition, of which he introduced a number of new procedures for treatment. This included the virtual elimination of carbohydrates from the diet, while allowing fat to be administered with adequate protein; Ebstein believed that fat contained a nutritive value equivalent to two and a half times that of carbohydrates. The following works are related to dietary and metabolism issues:

Other noteworthy works by Ebstein include:

Ebstein also published works in regards to medical illness of prominent Germans in history, such as Martin Luther and Arthur Schopenhauer.[4]

His name was attached to the eponymous Ebstein's anomaly (a rare congenital heart defect) [10] and Pel–Ebstein fever (a remittent fever associated with Hodgkin's disease).[11]



  1. ^ a b c d Mazurak M, Kusa J (2017). "The Two Anomalies of Wilhelm Ebstein". Tex. Heart Inst. J. 44 (3): 198–201. doi:10.14503/THIJ-16-6063. PMC 5505398. PMID 28761400.
  2. ^ van Son JA, Konstantinov IE, Zimmermann V. (2001). Wilhelm Ebstein and Ebstein's malformation. European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery 20 (5): 1082-1085.
  3. ^ a b Hurst, J. Willis. (1995). Portrait of a Contributor: Wilhelm Ebstein (1836-1912). Clinical Cardiology 18: 115-116.
  4. ^ a b Wilhelm Ebstein @ Who Named It
  5. ^ a b c JewishEncyclopedia.com - EBSTEIN, WILHELM: at www.jewishencyclopedia.com by Isidore Singer, Frederick T. Haneman.
  6. ^ Albala, Ken. (2015). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Food Issues. SAGE Publications. p. 915. ISBN 978-1-4522-4301-6
  7. ^ Bray, George A; Bouchard, Claude. (2005). Handbook of Obesity: Etiology and Pathophysiology. Taylor & Francis. pp. 19-20. ISBN 0-8247-0969-1
  8. ^ Segrave, Kerry. (2008). Obesity in America, 1850-1939: A History of Social Attitudes and Treatment. McFarland. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-7864-4120-4
  9. ^ Anonymous. (1936). Wilhelm Ebstein. Nature 138: 914.
  10. ^ Circulation Congenital Heart Disease for the Adult Cardiologist
  11. ^ Medical Dictionary Pel-Ebstein fever