John A. McDougall M.D. counts as one of the heavy-weights of the plant-based nutrition movement. A great speaker, he puts his heart into his mission. Few doubt his sincerity despite the booming business side to his agenda. His convictions push him to getting fairly personal to those who he disagrees with (e.g. Atkins!). As a doctor on Hawaii he noted the ever-fattening generations of Asian workers on the island:
- First generation – thin and healthy fuelled by rice and vegetables
- Second generation – getting fatter
- Third generation – 100% American diet, obese and with all the associated statistics… heart attacks, strokes etc.
With these observations in mind, he joined the dots and concluded good health is the result of a simple starch-based, plant-based, vegan diet. There are omnivores and herbivores – but almost jokingly, for Dr. McDougall a new type of -vore has been invented: the starchivore.
Dr. McDougall often references the Blue Zones and the China Study. For him it is a battle against the diet of the Kings and Queens (his term to denote excess calorific intake in the modern world). He makes use of a range of often anecdotal observations to bring his starchivore message to the general population:
- The Vegan Gladiators who ate a diet of barley, “The Barley Men”.
- the starch-driven success of varous civilizations
- corn and potatoes in South America
- wheat in the Middle East
- the population explosion in Ireland after the introduction of the potato
Dr. McDougall holds that a whole food vegan diet can result in sustainable weight loss and reverse many diseases for example Diabetes Type 2 and hypertension.
He is also against many forms of cancer screening like colonoscopy arguing these types of detection techniques can cause more harm than good. Similary he often argues against conventional cancer treatments.
A lot more information can be obtained from Dr. McDougall’s website. Many comment on the style and design of his logo (complete with trademarked catch-phrase) which looks suspiciously like that of the world’s leading fast food chain. Whether the resemblance is coincidence or design is not known, but it would certainly be in keeping with Dr. McDougall’s humour and his belligerent attitude towards the food (and medical) industry.