David Katz, MD, is a crusader on the front lines of health sanity in an insane culture. Somehow, he's managed to command attention and respect from the mainstream media, as well as medical and governmental establishments, despite talking sense and not being on the take from industry.
Rather than rewrite, I'm just going to punt and give you some tiny excepts from the “short” bio on his website:
DAVID L. KATZ MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, earned his BA degree from Dartmouth College (1984; in 3 years); his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (1988); and his MPH from the Yale University School of Public Health (1993)… He is a two-time diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, and a board-certified specialist in Preventive Medicine/Public Health…
Dr. Katz is the founding director (1998) of Yale University's Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center; President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine; Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Childhood Obesity; Chief Science Officer for NuVal LLC; and founding director (2000) of the Integrative Medicine Center at Griffin Hospital. He is on numerous editorial and scientific advisory boards, chairing several. A clinician, researcher, author, novelist, inventor, poet, journalist, and media personality, Dr. Katz is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions. He has been a widely supported nominee for the position of U.S. Surgeon General, and has been recognized by Greatist.com as one of the 100 most influential people in health and fitness in the world for the past 3 years (2013-)…
Dr. Katz holds 5 U.S. patents. He has authored over 200 scientific papers and chapters, 15 books, and well over 1,000 columns and blogs.
I first became aware of Dr. Katz's work when his brilliant analyses of crazy nutritional policy started making their way onto my Facebook feed. His main argument is this: “Fully 80% of all chronic disease and associated premature death around the world is preventable with uncontroversial knowledge we already have.”
Trouble is, this uncontroversial knowledge – maintain a healthy weight, don't smoke, eat a whole food plant-based diet, and exercise regularly – is not exactly the stuff of 24-hour news cycles and blog headline clickbait.
And there's a lot of money pouring into the marketing of exciting and tantalization contradiction of this uncontroversial knowledge: the pushers, as Dr. Katz puts it, of “glow in the dark marshmellows for breakfast.”
When we got on the phone, I was fully expecting to chat about his recent book, Disease Proof. And we do cover some of the material in that book, subtitled “Slash Your Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes, and More – by 80 Percent.”
But our mutual backgrounds in public health won out, and we conversed about the Big Picture – the cultural assumptions and systems that must change for us to thrive as a species (and as part of a planetary community), and how each of us can individually and collectively help bring that change to life.
- his early introductions to the “heroic” aspects of medicine, and the evolution of his attraction to prevention
- the crux of our situation: polars bears in the Sahara
- the tension between medical and public health work
- the meaning of his recent bout of anaplasmosis for how we should allocate our healthcare dollars
- the overwhelming financial burden of preventable chronic disease
- the false bargain of the all-you-can-eat buffet
- why he thinks we can – and must – fix the entire culture completely
- the necessity – and unsufficiency – of the “individual responsibility” model of health improvement
- the allure and problems with complex models of public health
- the importance of both evidence-based and non-controversial findings
- what Atkins taught us about how to change the food supply – and how quickly this can be accomplished
- why vegans, plant-based promoters, Mediterranean advocates, and paleo cheerleaders should focus on agreement rather than debate in public
- The GLiMMER Initiative to change everything, and why T. Colin Campbell, Neal Barnard, and Caldwell Esselstyn belong to the same group as paleo author Loren Cordain
- and much more…
Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.
Disease Proof – book
The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.