Dr. Colin Campbell ( The Father of the WFPB Diet)
image source: Nutrition Studies
Dr. Campbell is considered a veteran amongst doctors advocating for a plant-based diet. He grew up on a dairy farm but was stunned when his own research demonstrated a strong correlation between animal protein consumption and cancer development. He was a lead scientist of the China Study. Some describe his book based on this study as the vegan bible as it was one of the first studies that laid the groundwork for backing a vegan diet with scientific evidence. It was also one of the largest studies on human nutrition ever! The study took place over a span of 20 years and examined 6,000 people from 65 rural regions in China.
The book provides readers with three key takeaways:
- Health is mostly a matter of nutrition and not medicine.
- We don’t need as much protein as we’re made to believe.
- Animal protein is far more likely to trigger cancer development than vegan protein.
Dr. Colin Campbell also coined the nowadays well-known term: “Whole Food Plant-Based”-Diet[G1]. Here’s a video of Dr. Campbell explaining the findings of the legendary China Study.
Dr. John McDougall (The Archenemy of Low-Carb Fads)
Image source: Wikipedia
Dr. McDougall loves bashing low-carb myths. He advocates for a high-carb diet mainly based on complex carbohydrates, such as rice, corn, potatoes, and beans complemented by vegetables and fruits. Like a handful of other vegan doctors, he also suggests being wary of consuming too much fat from nuts and avocados. Working as a doctor in Hawaii during the 1970s, he witnessed the younger people become more obese and more vulnerable to chronic disease, as they shifted from their traditional diet to a meat-heavy Western diet.
He likes stirring up conventional beliefs about diet with sayings, such as: “The fat you eat is the fat you wear”, as well as “Throughout human history, all large, successful societies have obtained most of their calories from starch”.
He is vocal about not wanting to be called a vegan doctor, as his main goal is to educate people about the significance of eating starches. He has also been featured on several vegan documentaries and even provides a 10-day live-in program in California for anyone interested in switching to a starch-based, plant-based diet.
Dr. Dean Ornish (Holding the (not so secret) Key to Reversing Heart Disease)
Image source: Nutrition Facts
Dr. Ornish is well-known for recommending diet and lifestyle changes in order to treat, prevent and reverse heart disease as well as some types of cancer. He has a “Program for Reversing Heart Disease”, which was based on numerous peer-reviewed nutritional studies and is even covered by health insurance companies. Even though his approach isn’t always 100% vegan, his work has encouraged many other vegan doctors to treat patients by recommending a whole-food, plant-based diet.
Neal Barnard, MD (Beating Alzheimer’s and Diabetes with Science)
Image source: https://www.pcrm.org/
Like many vegan doctors, Dr. Barnard is a charismatic doctor who grew up on a cattle ranch in the U.S., as the son of a physician. He began exploring the health benefits of a vegan diet during his medical training and is now an expert on diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Similar to Dr. Ornish and Dr. Esselstyn, Barnard derived at the conclusion, that cholesterol and saturated fat don’t just clog the arteries around our heart, but also the ones to our brain. Witnessing his father's deterioration and death due to Alzheimer’s caused him to be deeply invested in Alzheimer’s research, and he made it his mission to make sure no other family had to go through the same experience. In coordination with the previously mentioned, Dr. McDougall, he supported the 2016 lawsuits against the ridiculously unhealthy dietary guidelines, published by the USDA. (US Department of Agriculture). Dr. Barnard advocates for a low-fat vegan diet (not exclusively WFPB).
Dr. Michael Greger (Dissecting Studies for You and Me)
Image source: www.vegansociety.com
You may know Dr. Greger from his bestselling book “How Not To Die” or his Website: Nutritionfacts.org. Which examines the newest scientific findings in nutrition and reiterates them in an understandable fashion to ordinary readers, like you and me! If there is one link on this site you should click, it is definitely this one! Dr. Greger is also famous for appearing as an expert witness, where he testified against cattle farmers who tried to sue Oprah Winfrey for saying that meat is not safe. Like many other doctors on this list, Dr. Greger’s passion for educating the public is driven by health issues within his own family. However, his story is an uplifting one for a change:
His grandmother was diagnosed with end-stage heart disease and was expected to die at the age of 65. Then came Nathan Pritkin - an early lifestyle medicine pioneer - who gave the recommendations that enabled her to get out of her wheelchair after three weeks and walk for 10 miles a day. Ultimately, Dr. Greger's grandmother lived for another 31 healthy years.
Dr. Susianto Tseng (Doktor Tempeh)
Image source: World Vegan Day
While Tempeh is still considered an ordinary, lower-middle-class food, Dr. Susianto is out to change that. According to him, Indonesians still underestimate Tempeh and find it as food for people with low social status, when in fact, it is one of the most prized staples of Indonesian cuisine. As a Biochemist, graduating from UGM in Jogja, Dr. Susianto continued his doctorate in Nutrition at the University of Indonesia, where he conducted a study related to vitamin B12 founded in Tempeh. In addition to that, he also the authors of several books, including Healthy Vegetarian Diet, The Miracle of Vegan, Vegan Nutrition for Pregnancy, Vegan Nutrition for Children, The Miracle of Tempe, Vegan is Easy and Tempted By Tempeh.