Neal D. Barnard

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Neal D. Barnard

Neal D. Barnard (born 1953) is an American doctor, author, clinical researcher, and founding president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).


  • So then Mom decided my father ought to do a vegan diet, too. Well, my father grew up on a cattle ranch, but the nice thing is, my dad’s been sitting at the same dinner table for fifty-one years, and he can’t find his way around the kitchen! He’s been relying my Mom for fifty-one years to put the plate in front of him. So Mom went to the local health food store and bought hot dogs that are called “Not Dogs” and veggie burgers – which used to taste like cardboard, but now they’re really good. She can get Canadian bacon made of a wheat derivative. It’s all vegetarian. Instead of cow’s milk, it’s soy milk, rice milk, fake eggs – all that stuff! Dad just keeps cleaning his plate. Now I’ve got two vegetarian parents, and only one of them know it!
    • Wramc Us Too, Inc Newsletter (2003).
  • By setting aside animal-derived products—meat, dairy products, and eggs—you can reach a level of health and well-being that you may never have expected you could enjoy. … Although our work has focused on helping people trim down, conquer diabetes, cut cholesterol, and tackle other medical problems, it should be said that not everyone who decides to forgo animal products makes that choice for health reasons. Many people are concerned with how animals are treated by the food industries, and rightly so. And the environmental consequences of meat and dairy production should be of concern to all of us.
  • As I began to move away from a meatheavy diet to a plantbased menu, it felt as if the doors to truly delicious foods were finally opening up.
  • Diabetes is not and never was caused by eating a high carbohydrate diet, and it is not caused by eating sugar. The cause of diabetes is a diet that builds up the amount of fat into the blood. I'm talking about a typical meat-based, animal-based diet. You can look into the muscle cells of the human body, and you find they're building up tiny particles of fat which is causing insulin resistance. What that means is the sugar that is naturally from the foods that you're eating can't get into the cells where it belongs. It builds up in the blood and that is diabetes.
  • When people are eating meat, I think of it as a bit like smoking. It’s sort of Russian roulette. You may not get diabetes, but your chances of getting diabetes, about 1 in 3. You may not get cancer, but, your chances, if you’re a man, about 1 in 2. A woman, 1 in 3. Your chances of gaining weight, 2 out of 3. It’s not all diet, but, most of it is. The best thing that you can do to make sure that you empty all those bullets out of the chamber and not taking a risk with your health is to get the animal products out of your diet and eat healthy foods.
  • I think of genes in two ways. There are dictator genes. Those genes give orders—blue eyes or brown hair—and you don't have any choice. The genes for diabetes, heart disease, or certain forms of cancer, they're more like committees giving suggestions. But you've got a lot of control over whether those genes ever express themselves. The vista on diet-related disease is spreading out in a bigger way than we ever imagined. We thought maybe diet affected heart disease and a few cancers. Then there was diabetes. Now it's also brain disease—not only stroke but also Alzheimer's. We thought that was entirely due to genes and age. Now we know it's due, to a very substantial degree, to diet. We've got control. Not perfect control, but certainly control we never had before.
    • Interview in the book What the Health by Eunice Wong (Xlibris, 2017), ch. 1.

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