We Know What a Healthy Diet Is.  Now Can We Stop Arguing About It?

We Know What a Healthy Diet Is. Now Can We Stop Arguing About It?

I routinely point out that we could eliminate
80 percent of all chronic disease by using what we know. And we don’t do that. We really
bog down in bickering about do we know what we know and is this part of what we know more
important than that part of what we know. And in no place is that a bigger problem than
diet. There’s obviously a lot of money to be made from confusion. Some years ago I worked
on air for Good Morning America and I saw firsthand that there really is a vested interest
in TV and the media propagating constant change. If you say the same thing about diet on air
enough times in a row people lose interest in your dietary segments. If you say something
different every time it’s always interesting. Tune in tomorrow for a new answer. So the
media are in on it. The fad diet authors are in on it. Basically a lot of people who just
think that their view of the truth through a particular tunnel is the only truth or in
on it. But the result is we squander the opportunity to use what we know because we bog down in
debate about what we don’t know quite so well. So having completely lost my patience
for the status quo I decided to do something about this. And it’s really challenging
now because there was a time not all that long ago when a single voice could rise above
the din. Think for example about Dr. Koop when he was Surgeon General. Or Benjamin Spock
and the influence that he had on parents raising young children. But that era is gone because
we live in the age of the blogosphere and cyberspace and everybody’s got a microphone.
And there’s just this incredible amount of static. And at the end of it all the answer to the
question can we say what diet is best for health and by health we mean longevity, vitality,
weight control. All the good stuff that we all want. The answer is absolutely no if what
we mean is a very specific prescriptive my diet can beat your diet. So, you know, can
we say whether the best Mediterranean diet is better than the best vegan diet or that’s
better than the best paleo diet for human health? The answer is no. If what we mean
though by can we say what diet is best for health is a basic theme of optimal living.
Then the answer is a categorical yes. It’s incredibly clear from incredibly voluminous,
incredibly consistent literature all around the world, diverse populations, diverse methods,
observational epidemiology where you just watch and see what happens. Intervention trials
where you assign people to diets. Randomized control trials and real world experience with
large populations like The Blue Zones. And frankly Michael Pollan nailed this one. Eat
food, not too much, mostly plants. That really captures the essence of all of the world’s
diets that are associated with good health outcomes. And when I wrote about this with
my colleague Frank Hu from Harvard we said wholesome foods in sensible combinations.
And then to put a little meat on the bones as it were wholesome foods means vegetables,
fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds with or without everything else. You
want to eat fish? Eat fish. You want to eat seafood? Eat seafood. You want to eat some
lean meat? Do. You want to eat eggs? Do. You want to eat dairy? Do. But the bulk of your
diet should be vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. This is true
all around the world where people do the best. It’s true in the Mediterranean where the
diets are high fat but the fat is coming from nuts, seeds, olives, avocados, olive oil. It’s true in the Far East where the diets
are low fat because there’s lots of vegetables, grains and less of the nuts and the avocado.
And frankly it’s true of diets as diverse as vegan and paleo. People who really know
what they’re doing with the paleo diet are eating a wide variety of plants, preferably
wild plants but not necessarily, and lean meat, preferably game. So it’s real food,
not too much and it is mostly plants. And a vegan diet is a slightly wider variety of
plant foods without the meat. But they’re actually more alike than different. So there
really is incredible clarity about the fundamentals of healthy eating. And I think really the
big issue for all of us is focusing our efforts on making the fundamentals of that dietary
pattern more accessible in our culture and allowing for people to choose the variant
on that theme that works best for them. So you need to eat well even in a world that
keeps running on Dunkin. You need to eat well and feed your children well in a world that
markets multicolored marshmallows as part of the complete breakfast. You need to be
physically active in a world that gives you no time for exercise and gives you more and
more technology to do everything that muscles used to do. So the theme of health eating
unbelievably clear. The specific claims about my diet can be your diet. All false. All somebody
trying to sell you something. Step away from your credit card and nobody can get hurt.

100 thoughts on “We Know What a Healthy Diet Is. Now Can We Stop Arguing About It?”

  1. Long story, short: Everyone's preferable, "healthy" diet is different. Everyone has different goals with their body. Eat what you want to get there. Exercise as you want to get there. And there are some base things you need to get down for a diet to do you any good.

  2. Good luck being vegan while working physical job 60 hours a week and earning roughly 1200PLN a month. Good fucking luck with that.

  3. David Katz. Open to alternative medicine bullshit like homeopathy. Small think. And this plea to stop arguing is profoundly anti science. Asserting to "Know" everything there is to know about something … that is religion, not science. Or medicine, since IMHO it should be based on science.

  4. Still afraid of aniimal fats. Well, it's difficult to stick your neck out, and always more easier to go with the consensus and pretend that game meat is lean.

  5. So he is saying that the Inuits, Masai warriors, Samburu warriors, Chukotka, Sioux Indians, and many other meat eating tribes were/are all "unhealthy?" BULLSHIT! If you want to be healthy, avoid sugar, processed foods and grains; and prioritize meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.


  7. “Step away from your credit card and no-one will get hurt.”

    “They all want to sell you something..”

    Isn’t this guy trying to sell us his book???????

  8. No. This man is perpetrating the misconception that saturated fat is bad for you. Using the term 'lean meats' to identify healthy animal protein is dangerous. Show me the research that isn't observational epidemiology that links saturated fat intake with heart disease, strokes, and cancer. And go….

  9. It's hard to decider what "bulk of your diet" means. If you're at all physically active you can't have the bulk of your calories come from vegetables, fruits, and legumes or you'd be eating all day. Even with a huge salad if you serve it with a small portion of meat most of the calories come from the meat.

  10. I stumbled onto this diet (eat, not too much, mostly veggies) just because I realized how much cheaper it is. I make about minimum wage (8.05/hr) and have completely turned my health around from when I was in highschool. Still not cheaper than ramen and frozen meals but way tastier and still affordable.

  11. When he says "mostly plants" keep in mind he's talking about as measured by caloric intake. I think this is a critical point which is why so many people don't get it: those fries you just ate weren't "mostly plants" they were mostly oil from a caloric perspective.

  12. Ancient people didn't have that problem 😀 Every berry bush was a blessing (no puns between the lines please).
    Thanks to gods for people like Jamie Oliver kicking out fast foods out of schools…

  13. Katz thinks high-protein meat-focused Paleo diets "when done right" are as good a diet such as a John McDougall-style plant diet. He is full of crap. Harvard educated BS.

  14. A healthy diet means something else for everyone, and don't be fooled tho he says hes sick of ppl selling you diets that dont work wile he is doing the exact same thing.

  15. I have a question, like 2000 years this is what people were eating, does that mean they were healthier, or lived longer or were smarter? because its a fact they weren't.

  16. A ketogenic diet can be a good thing to do for brain health.

    Ketogenesis can also be achieved by fasting, not only by a high fat diet (which does work too).

  17. Really interesting. I wish everyone would watch this instead of following the midia that today says that certain food is good for everything, then tomorrow says that it's bad for your health.

  18. While I agree there's a lot of pointless polarization in the health-o-sphere especially in the "low carb/omni" vs "high carb/ vegan camps", in my opinion the debate usually helps to bring to the surface really interesting new ideas.

    While there is probably a good model that works for most, our genetics are sufficiently different that a SLIGHT tweek to the standard can make a HUGE difference for some of us. For myself, I've done high meat paleo, raw vegan (for a year), and gluten free, and I can say that I always tank on a starch based diet. For me a tons of raw greens, and steamed greens, with nuts, fruits and a little meat works best. If I go high starch, I always get digestive issues, candida, mineral deficiencies, difficulty controlling my appetite, so NO I think the constant debate and experimentation can help many people, myself included.

  19. I've heard people say your meals should be 1/3 carbs, 1/3 veggies, 1/3 lean meat. Is 1/3 meat too much for an optimal diet?

  20. 'We could eliminate 80% of chronic disease by doing what we know.'

    I wonder what extent of chronic disease could be eliminated by not adjusting the general food sources that people eat, but having people reduce their portion sizes of the foods they already eat to the point of coming down to a healthy weight if they aren't already. Certainly not 80%, but certainly a decent chunk of this.

  21. Until we learn to ween ourselves off of dirty immoral capitalism, Im afraid this will never become an issue for us. Sad, but true.

  22. Clean water is a great way to keep a population healthy. That some people are allergic to water does not negate this fact. For all of you claiming "but I'm allergic to vegetables," – he's still right. You may be an exception to the rule, but for the population the rule still applies.

  23. paleo is not about lean meats, it hasn't been since the very beginning. It took very little time to change that to higher fat meats and offal.

  24. I'm not sure Dr. Benjamin Spock was a good reference.  He's right that Dr. Spock to gain the attention of a generation of parents, but that generation of parents largely raised a younger generations with little appreciation for boundaries, responsibility, or discipline…leading them to create a further generation with even less awareness of these powerful personal tools.

    That said, his overall point is spot-on.  Fad diet plans come and go, but fundamentally it's about two things sugar and protein.  Each body will process these things with varying levels of efficiency, BUT certain food also DELIVER those things more efficiently than others.  America's obesity problem is largely WHAT we eat, but it's also certain about HOW MUCH!  For most modern Americans, a 2000 calorie per day diet is too much.  We have become a tech-based society with a service-based economy, the bulk of which promotes a sedentary lifestyle both at home and at work.  Therefore, eat wholesome foods, AND eat smaller portions than the, "Bigger is better," MORE, MORE, MORE society generally dictates.

    As a doctor once told me, "If everybody ate like a diet-controlled diabetic, then Type 2 Diabetes wouldn't exist."

  25. I agree, we know what a healthy diet is, but you, Dr. Katz (why you still have a medical license is beyond me), are peddling your same holistic, eastern medicine, integrative snake oil bullshit that you always do.

    Enough with this natural vs artificial crap. Stick to nutrition.

  26. vegan wholesome diet has been proven time and time again to be the healthiest. even his healthy Mediterranean diet has been shown to be bad because of oils. reverse diabetes heart disease fatigue obesity etc….. and help the planet and animals in it

  27. I eat a pretty meat-heavy diet and vegetables other than beans and rice tend to give me digestive problems. I also work out a lot and feel pretty healthy most of the time. It's anxiety that's the real wear-and-tear on my bod and we are still terrible at handling that.

  28. Good sense. But we always get the same problems. The subject is as bad as religion. I don't eat animals because of ethical reasons. I don't need to eat animals for health reasons.

  29. honestly, love junk food. Im trying to get my diet on track by eating primarily a vegan diet and limiting the junk to 1 cheat day.

  30. A healthy diet differs for different people based on their regional genetic backgrounds. There are no real universal rules for diet apart from over-eating in general and avoiding obviously poisonous processed ingredients..

  31. Title of video ends: "Can We Stop Arguing About it?"

    Below the video are comments of people arguing about diet.

    Welcome to teh Internet.

  32. Trying to be politically correct, make no enemies. If egg industry gives money for research or story, then guess what the story or results will be. Is it really a mystery when the meat, dairy, egg, processed food industries spend millions of dollars on research that goes to universities, that some professors will just go along? Not really. Instead of making it clear, you get a confusing message. The Blue Zone people ate some bad stuff and were not all the same, so sure, the out is always there that a little bit of bad is ok. So cling to that everything in moderation trick that sends one to the grave. The human body has some resilience, but it is also fragile. If one wants to roll the dice and take their chances with the foods that kill, it's up to them. Meat, eggs, dairy, processed foods, alcohol, drugs, oils, sugar, salt, smoking – kills everyone else, but won't kill you.

  33. I was very impressed with this video. He shares very helpful information about which types of food plans are advantageous for healthy eating and weight loss, which is basically most of them that focus on eating whole foods.

  34. People that eat animal protein and criticises veganism should keep eating what they eat. The sooner they go, the better for the rest of us and the planet!

  35. This is so simple, but people are too stupid, lazy, poor, and/or attached to their current way of eating. It's such a shame how many people suffer needlessly with numerous health problems, and how much money is therefore wasted on medical expenses in this US. I can't believe the way people eat. Tasty Kakes and cereal shouldn't even be considered food, and shouldn't be covered by food stamps.

  36. I like a vegan diet because it gives me discipline, structure, and purpose. That's not something I get from something like a paleo or ketogenic diet.

  37. Takes big balls to follow this program and not be slave to addictive food habits. Not many people have the cojones. Too bad for them.

  38. I've met someone who was a vegan but had a diet the equivalent to the hamburger, bacon eating meat eater. She would eat potato chips, french fries, and foods like that as a major part of her diet. Needless to say she was over weight and it was not very healthy.

    In general someone that picks a particular diet by choice and not just because that was how they were raised tend to be more diet conscious and more careful in balancing their diets. So they tend to be more healthy. The people with the least healthy diets tend to be those who were raised or pushed into a particular type of diet. I said pushed to mean like when someone who changes their diet because of circumstances like social pressure, marriage, economic, availability of foods, etc…

  39. I actually couldn`t wait around to test the fat loss plan “Yamzοkο Weebly” (Google it). I was certainly thrilled. I propose you to Google this program also. My good friend has reduced 10 lbs already due to this fat loss plan. .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,