Guest: Dr. Michael Greger
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Michael Greger, MD, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. His latest book How Not to Die became an instant New York Times Best Seller.
Segment overview: Michael Greger, MD, FACLM, and author of the New York Times best seller “How Not To Die”, talks about Nutritionfacts.org, a non profit organization that he founded.
Health Professional Radio – NutritionFacts.org
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio today is Dr. Michael Greger, Founding Member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Doctor Greger is a New York Times Best Selling Author, internationally recognized Speaker on nutrition, food safety and public issues. He’s also lectured at the conference on World Affairs, testified before congress and additionally was invited as an expert witness in the defense of Oprah Winfrey in that infamous meat defamation trial. He’s currently serving as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States and he’s here today to discuss with us not only his latest book, ‘How Not to Die’ but also about nutritionfacts.org, a non-profit organization that he has founded. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Dr. Greger.
Dr. Michael Greger: So excited to be here.
N: nutritionfacts.org, you’ve founded that as well as the Founding Member of The American College of Lifestyle Medicine?
G: Yes, so 5 years ago nutritionfacts.org is a free non-profit, science-based public service providing daily updates and the latest in nutrition research. We have kind of bite-size videos, more than a thousand videos in nearly every aspect of healthy eating with new videos and articles uploaded every day, nutritionfacts.org.
N: Now there are not just videos and audio uploaded, there’re other things as well. You’ve got DVDs I believe that you can order and there are also some selected writings as well, is that correct?
G: Yes, so we do new videos on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, new blogs on Tuesday, Thursday and the DVDs are just all the videos for the next 9 weeks that are gonna come up on the site, There’s nothing that’s available on those DVDs that will eventually be free on nutritionfacts.org. So everything in the website is free, there’s no ads, no corporate sponsorships, strictly non-commercial advertising just put up as a public service, as a labor of love.
N: Now you said about 5 years ago you founded nutritionfacts.org. What type of reception do you receive from other health care professionals when they peruse your site and get back with you talking about issues as they relate to nutrition?
G: Well there is actually there’s remarkable consistency going back decades that we should boost our intake of healthy plant-foods like fruits and vegetables, limit our intake of animal foods, processed foods – the public needs and deserves to know about that. The overwhelming global consensus regarding the core elements of healthy living, I mean people love hearing good news about their bad habits, so putting baking or butter on a cover of a magazine sells a lot of magazines but really sells the public short. It’s a classic tobacco industry tactics, so many confusion, mudding the waters, helps people just kind of throw up their hands on whatever’s put in front of them which is good for business but certainly not good for people’s health. In terms of reaction from the site, I think many physicians feel that they were not given all the tools in their medical toolbox during medical training, most of us did not get sufficient nutrition training. There this kind of severe nutrition deficiency among doctors in education, we’re just never taught about the real health and nutrition can have in the course of illness so we graduate without this powerful tool in our medical toolbox. Now look there’s institutional barriers, time constraints, lack of reimbursements but in general doctors simply aren’t paid for counseling people on how to take better care of themselves. Drug companies play a role influencing medical education and practice, you ask your doctor when was the last time they were taken out to dinner by big broccolis, probably been a while. But so they really appreciate it being able to have a site where they can come to and they know what’s evidence-based and if you look at any of my videos I don’t just talk about the science, I show you the science. I don’t just quote something with a link “There it is in front of you.” And I do have link to full texts, pdfs and all the original primary sources, people can check it out, make sure I’m placing things in proper context. I just try to give you kind of the best available balance of evidence on anyone of over a thousand different nutrition topics, again without any kind of commercialism, I’m not trying to sell you anything or anything like that. And every day a new video goes up, I email all the primary investigators from all the research that I cite and gets just wonderful really heart-warming responses back. I think a lot of people they’ve worked through their whole lives in basement labs somewhere for 40 years, put up this great science and just gets loss, there’s no corporate budget driving their promotion, there’s no press release that comes out and so no one ever hears about their research and then here all of a sudden I’d be able to put a video and really shines some spotlight and they’re tremendously gratified that all their hard work has finally coming to light. A new study comes up about broccoli and no one’s gonna hear about it, it’s for the same reason you never see ads for sweet potatoes at Super Bowls because no profit margin, no money to be made but what if people themselves would profit, that’s why I do the work I do.
N: Your book is entitled ‘How Not to Die,’ every person on the planet is gonna pick up that book, I mean it’s obvious that it’s a New York Times Best Selling. Why did you pick the title, How Not to Die when of course we all eventually die, it’s such an intriguing title? How did you choose that title?
G: Oh yes. So it’s not how to not die, it’s how not to die as in prematurely in vain after a long chronic disabling illness, right? But the good news is we have this power over our longevity, over our health destiny. The vast majority of premature death and disability is preventable with this plant-based diet, now their healthy lifestyle, behavior. So the power is really in our hands that’s why I wanted to really convey to people. So I just go to the list of top 15 causes of death in the United States as per the CDC, just talk about the role that diet may play in preventing, arresting or reversing our top 15 killers.
N: And where can our listeners get a copy of your book, How Not to Die?
G: I mean they could, there’s a pyramid at their local Costco, they can go to any book stall, they get it online, there’s an audio version, there’s a, again an eBook version, there’s based and all the proceeds from the sale all goes to charity and something that’s been foundational aspect of all my work. I’ve never gotten a penny from any of my nutrition work, it’s all funneled back 501c3 non-profit charity, nutritionfacts.org for which I don’t receive any compensation. All my speaking engagements, all my DVDs sales, all the book sales, all goes to charity. I think it’s very important for people to understand that there’s a place that they can go and there isn’t any kind of commercial agenda to push a particular book or a particular whatever. My theory, there shouldn’t be any theories, there shouldn’t be any believes, opinions in science, so there should just be the facts.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. And we’ve been in studio talking with Dr. Michael Greger, graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States. And we’ve been discussing his latest book, ‘How Not to Die’ and also how he founded nutritionfacts.org to promote nutritional and lifestyle changes in order to live longer and better. It’s been great having you here with us today.
G: So excited to be here.
N: Thank you. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.