Answer to a Reader’s Question:
I don’t argue for a 10% fat diet as the main starting point. Rather, I begin with the view that a plant-based diet is optimal and it just so happens that this diet, when done right (good quality WHOLE vegetables, legumes, fruits and cereals), is low in fat as well as in protein. It is a diet that, for most people, is 10-15% fat, and 8-12% protein. For those who demonstrate vulnerability to health disorders, the fat intake should favor the lower side. Dr. Esselstyn (in his heart disease reversal study) and Dr. John McDougall (thousands of patients) have demonstrated this very clearly. The difficulty that we, as individuals, all face is really how vulnerable are we.
On the protein evidence, I have spent my entire career working in this field and am appalled that so few people know the evidence, some of which is very old and most of which is heavily influenced by our personal reverence for this nutrient. But much more to the point, in my own work, our results propelled me to ask broader questions, even though the singular effects of animal based protein were alarming and convincing. I chose for the time being not to go down that path and agree with Dr. Katz that we need to ask broader questions–precisely as I did in the China Study.
My arguments, however, for a plant based diet are far more comprehensive, including the empirical findings that have been published by other researchers (some of which is relatively old), the work that we did in our own laboratory (some of which by traditional standards is very profound in its implications) and most importantly the concept of what nutrition really [...]