Mad Cowboy Interview 08: Dr. Neal Barnard

"There are genes for many conditions, but I think of some genes as what I call "dictators," the genes that say "you're going to have blue eyes." Those genes give orders that you can't refuse. But the genes for Alzheimer's disease, or the genes for Type II Diabetes, they're not dictators at all. I think of them like "committees." They make suggestions, and you can argue with them. I don't want to get Alzheimer's, I'm going to eat in a different way. And the genes for Diabetes, you can fight with them as well. And so often what runs in a family is not DNA, but recipes, that get handed from one generation to the next..."

"Moderation does not apply to heroin, or things dangerous for you... cigarettes... what's a moderate amount of cigarettes to have? Moderation is a good thing for healthy things, but when it comes to something that's hurting you, you don't moderate it at all, you get rid of it..."

Neal Barnard, M.D., is a clinical researcher, author, and health advocate. He has been the principal investigator or coinvestigator on several clinical trials investigating the effects of diet on health. He was a coinvestigator on a study, conducted in conjunction with Georgetown University, of the effect of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, and was the principal investigator of a study on dietary interventions in diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted under the auspices of the George Washington University School of Medicine, in association with the University of Toronto.


He is the author of dozens of publications in scientific and medical journals as well as numerous nutrition books for lay readers and is frequently called on by news programs to discuss issues related to nutrition, research issues, and other controversial areas in modern medicine. He is the founder and president of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine. "Power Foods for the Brain: An Effective 3-step Plan to Protect Your Mind and Strengthen Your Memory" is his most recent book.

"This interview took place at PCRM Headquarters in August 2013. It has been transcribed and edited by...

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