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RED HOT Contributors


Episode 51 – The 6-Cylinder Engine of Lifestyle Medicine


We all know the statistics on chronic disease and obesity. Not only a national epidemic, but one which is siphoning out the bank accounts of many Americans and American companies, per care, coverage, and drugs.

Dr. David Katz is on a mission to make the fundamental truths of sustainable healthy lifestyle and eating a part of mainstream knowledge. He is the founding director (1998) of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, Immediate Past-President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and Founder/President of the True Health Initiative, a non-profit organization established to promote messages about healthy, sustainable diet and lifestyle in the service of adding years to lives and life to years around the globe.

In this podcast, Dr. Steve Ambrose and Dr. David Katz dive deep into healthy lifestyles and nutrition, taking on controversial subjects including:

  • The 6-cylinder engine of lifestyle medicine
  • Health is not really ‘the prize’
  • The cultural enterprise and its importance on health literacy
  • Why sugar is the most important weapon of the food industry
  • Getting healthy ‘quick’ – A losing proposition
  • How the publishing industry is complicit in misinforming the public
  • The ‘Triad of Terror’

Here’s a small snippet of transcription from the show interview:

DR. STEVE: “We all see so many new books, videos, and infomercials with the newest fad diet. Many times there are doctors involved; and while they certainly want to help people, they keep a strong focus on branding and money.

It’s THEIR diet, THEIR book…and suddenly perhaps the quality and the open mindedness gets lost in these business endeavors.

DR. KATZ: “I don’t think money always has to be a problem. After all, if you’re a nutritionist your living is made from your time – and certainly you have to get paid, or you can’t feed yourself [Laughter].

But you do raise a really good point. Money should not be the top priority. You don’t really belong in medicine or public health, if it’s about money. Go into business – where everyone knows it’s about money. Here it has to be mission-first”

DR. STEVE: “Agreed”

DR. KATZ: “And then you really have to follow the facts. If you find yourself in a place where you can’t change your mind (even with the facts), because it would otherwise negatively affect your reputation and what you’ve staked your claim on, then you’re in real trouble.

You can either go on and believe what you want to believe, because it’s lucrative to do so – and be a hypocrite…or you can get out.

I think the best way to approach this (writing books) is to start out saying that I’m going to follow the evidence wherever it leads, and any money I make disseminating information will be the reward for doing the best job I possibly can to share the truth as I understand it.

And if the truth changes, I will change my mind. I will not change my mind just because someone says I should. But I will not fail to change my mind when the weight of evidence requires it. These things matter deeply and personally to me.

However, the temptations are great. The simple fact is that if you want to write a best-selling diet book, your publisher will tell you there’s a formula. You’ve got to have a scapegoat or a silver bullet. You’ve got to promise the moon and the stars. It’s got to be quick, effortless, and painless.

And I will say that I’m working on my next book ‘THE TRUTH ABOUT FOOD’, which is relevant to this very discussion. In it, I discuss the problems that the publishing industry creates, in the way it takes on and releases these types of fad-diet books.

Many of them make the best-seller list, even though many of them contradict each other completely. It’s absolute silliness.

But I think that the problem would go away if the public was more savvy about diet in the same way they’ve savvy about education – and they would know that there’s no quick fix formula.

But the problem would also go away if all responsible healthcare professionals declined to write them. Its unprofessional to offer ‘quick fix magic’.”

DR. STEVE: “I want to just shift gears and get into another subject. On a very high level, how does the food industry use sugar to manipulate the eating habits of unsuspecting Americans?”

DR. KATZ: “So the hypothalamus….



 I have had the privilege and pleasure of working with Steve Ambrose on a podcast that covered a range of topics in healthcare information technology. The podcast logistics – communications, interview questions, scheduling and production – were every well managed.
A great experience that I would do again in an instance.

Dr. John Glaser
SVP, Population Health at CERNER

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