John McDougall, MD
When he was only 18 years old, John McDougall suffered a massive stroke. He attributed it to his diet, which he says was high in animal products. McDougall has a medical degree Michigan State University and did his internship in Hawaii where he noticed his Filipino and Japanese patients who ate a diet of rice and vegetables maintained a healthy weight and didn’t suffer from chronic disease as much as his American animal product-eating patients did. In 1983, he wrote a diet book called The McDougall Plan, but it was considered to be a fad diet and no scientific research backed up his claims. McDougall went on to write several more health and diet-related books, and sold over a million copies. He also founded Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods which makes dried soups, and began the McDougall Program which is a 10-day live-in treatment in which participants eat a low-fat, starchy diet. McDougall promotes diet over conventional treatments for many illnesses, including cancer.
John McDougall, MD’s Diet
McDougall came up with his diet plan after noticing that patients who ate primarily plants and grains were healthier than those who ate a typical Western diet that contained meat and dairy. He believes animal products contain unhealthy fats that elevate blood cholesterol, damaging the arteries, and leading to heart disease and stroke. A diet of low fat, whole, unprocessed plant foods is rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other healthful compounds. McDougall says we crave carbs and sweet-tasting foods because fruit and vegetables provide us with nutrition and energy. He says if you don’t eat enough carbs, you’ll feel hungry and will likely overeat. That said, this is not a diet of pretzels and chips. Your carbs must come from whole, natural sources, like whole-grain bread, vegetables, fruit and legumes. With McDougall’s diet, there is no calorie-counting and eating to satisfaction is allowed. The diet is high in fiber, which encourages weight loss without feeling hungry, or having to think too hard about what to eat.
- Low Fat 10% 10%
- Low Protein 20% 20%
- High Carb 70% 70%
Fill Up With Fiber
McDougall’s meals are centered around grains, soups, and salads, with salads being his go-to if you feel hungry between meals. He says high fiber, low-fat foods make insulin work more efficiently.
McDougall says meat, dairy and other animal products are not meant to be eaten by humans, and that the human diet has consisted of mostly starches throughout recorded history.
Just Say No to Fat
This includes not only hydrogenated fats that pretty much everyone agrees on as being bad for you, but also olive oil, avocados and nuts.
What to Eat
Whole Wheat Bread
Whole Wheat Pasta
Low-fat Soy Milk
What to Avoid
McDougall on Protein
Vegetables provide 2-4 times the protein anyone would need during any activity. Scientific studies tell us we need 2.5% of our calories in the form of protein.
McDougall on The Cause of Disease
Environmental diseases, such as colon cancer…[and] adult-onset diabetes run families, not necessarily because of genes, but because family members share the same dietary patterns.
McDougall on The Environmental Impact of Eating Animal Products
Consider that about 2 calories of fossil fuel energy are required to cultivate 1 calorie of starchy vegetable food energy; with beef, the ratio can be as high as 80 to 1.
McDougall On What Your Dinner Is Having For Dinner
Factory farms feed their sick and dying cows, called “downer cows,” to chickens and pigs.
McDougall On The Food Industry & Government
A major factor influencing the nation’s dietary policies is the revolving door that shuttles industry leaders into roles as legislators and regulators, then back into the industry.
John McDougall, MD’s Fitness Routine
While diet is the main focus of the McDougall plan, exercise is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle. A daily walk can help regularize blood sugar and lipid levels, boosting mood, energy and weight loss.
McDougall recommends keeping track of your exercise regimen as well as your diet and your physical and mental status so you can see how you’re progressing.
Know Your Numbers
McDougall also believes it’s important to keep tabs on your weight and blood pressure, as well your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, uric acid, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) levels, along with any other recommendations made by your doctor.
A Dr. McDougall Routine
Dr. McDougall isn’t picky. All he wants you to do is find an exercise you enjoy and practice it every day. If you’re not sure what that is, start by going for a walk each day. You can also consider joining a gym for inspiration from like-minded people.
McDougall On Not Going It Alone
Encourage your present friends to be active so that you can continue to enjoy recreation with them.
McDougall On The Feedback Loop
As you start to feel better thanks to your diet and exercise program, the positive cycle encourages its own continuation.
McDougall On Exercise & Insulin
Physical activity uses up blood sugar and reduces the need for more insulin.
John McDougall, MD’s Supplements
McDougall’s stance on supplements is that nature provides everything that we need to be healthy. Nonetheless, he does recommend a B12 supplement because this vitamin can be difficult to obtain from plant-only sources.
John McDougall, MD’s Lifestyle
Sleep = A Pillar of Good Health
McDougall says getting enough sleep helps to put you in a good mood, which will help you stick to your diet and exercise plan. Sleep is a highly effective, nontoxic, free way to feel good.
McDougall says many of his elderly patients in Hawaii who ate a low-fat, high-starch diet were extremely vital, even into their 70s and 80s.
All In The Family
McDougall’s wife Mary created many of the recipes for his books and program at the live-in treatment center.
Going Toe to Toe With The Man
McDougall fought to remove talc (used to prevent spoilage) from the rice sold in Hawaii, California and Puerto Rico, and replaced with glucose. McDougall also fought for the right for informed consent about breast cancer surgery. He says he lost his malpractice insurance in retaliation.
McDougall On The Trifecta Of Health
Diet, sleep management and exercise all have a powerful effect on mood. Moreover, each enhances the effectiveness of the other.
McDougall On Psyching Yourself Out
You don’t realize that some part of your brain is spinning out little scenarios of how much worse your future will be if you change. This keeps you from growing into a better and happier existence.
McDougall On Moderation
So now, even if I wanted to, I could not become a moderate person. Still, I love life and do not want my high-spirited personality to kill me as it almost did in my youth.
Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods
The McDougall Program
The Starch Solution
The Healthiest Diet in the World
McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss
Dr. McDougall’s Common Sense Nutrition DVD