Religious Ideology, with an anti-meat agenda, and the Corporate Food Industry have formed an alliance over the last 100 years to heavily influence the evolution, and adoption, of the low-fat/high-carbohydrate 'plant-based' dietary and health guidelines.
When religious ideology and vested interests align they become very powerful allies
Coca-Cola continues to fund ‘industry-friendly’ research and initiatives, to the tune of Exercise is Medicine™, promoting physical activity as the solution to obesity and non-communicable disease.
The Lifestyle Medicine Education Collaborative (LMEd) was founded on this premise, but also leverages off the 'plant-based’ Garden of Eden diet, to the tune of Lifestyle Medicine. The goal is to develop a global medical curriculum to ensure every health professional writes Energy Balance prescriptions advising people to “move more, eat less… meat.”
Despite the two entities having seemingly contradictory public-health agendas, they have somehow woven religious ideology and corporate vested interests together into a singular purpose that’s become so intrinsically entangled, it’s hard to imagine them separate anymore.
These powerful allies are gaining momentum with major implications in the future for our healthcare…
The risk is; the ‘Energy Balance’ argument puts the onus of responsibility back onto the individual for poor health outcomes while deflecting concerns away from the harms of sugary drinks and processed food.
The official demonisation of saturated fat by the 1977 US McGovern Report, and subsequent 'Dietary Goals for the United States', were heavily influenced by the Sugar Research Foundation and Seventh-day Adventist ideology.
Senator George McGovern was a close friend of Nathan Pritikin's, an adjunct professor at Loma Linda University who acknowledged reading Ellen G White's writings in the 1940's and became a vocal advocate of Low Fat 'plant-based' diets. Adventist Hans Diehl, founder of CHIP, was the Director of Education and Research at the Pritikin Longevity Centre from 1976.
Nick Mottern, Senator McGovern's aide, is said to have been an Adventist and a vegetarian, when he wrote the Dietary Goals for the United States in 1977, discussed in more detail here.
The 'fear of fat' worked its way into medical curriculum's in the 80's teaching generations of medical professionals to 'fear cholesterol', something so utterly vital to life that our bodies make it.
If you had no cholesterol in your body you would have no cells, no bone structure, no muscles, no sex hormones, no reproductive system, no digestion, no brain function, no memory, no nerve endings, no movement... no human life.
Not only does the LMEd medical curriculum perpetuate the demonisation of saturated animal fats, but it is intent on demonising animal proteins too, especially red meat.
Medical students have been targeted as 'effective champions of lifestyle medicine, whose engagement with the curriculum will lead to increased adoption within medical schools and enhanced collaboration nationally' by LMEd.
The Australasian Society of Lifestyle Medicine (ASLM) is currently pushing for Australian medical schools to adopt the US LMEd curriculum, which is concerning...
Imagine IF the ‘plant-based’ vegan Garden of Eden diet, with a side of Coke, becomes the next generation’s medical education? When will the harms of the demonisation of animal proteins and fats be understood. How will we ever turn around the impending health disaster that will surely follow?
Coca-Cola's aim is to control conversation around public policy, and influence consumer choice, by using initiatives such as Exercise is Medicine™ (EIM), Physical Activity Networks (PAN), China's Take10 for kids, and most ambitious of all, the now defunct Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), from world-wide platforms such as the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI).
Robert Sallis MD was President of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) when he founded Exercise is Medicine™ (EIM) in 2007, with the Coca-Cola Company as the first founding corporate partner of a "global partnership dedicated to encouraging doctors and health professionals to prescribe exercise as medical treatment."
As stated on the Coca-Cola website; “The Coca-Cola Company provides grant funding, foundational support and promotional help to the (EIM) initiative, which now serves 43 countries" including Australia.
Edward Phillips MD founded the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine (ILM) in 2007 at Harvard University, based on Exercise is Medicine™ with funding support from the Ardmore Institute, a philanthropic Foundation supporting the Adventist Health Reform message. www.fullplateliving.org
Edward Phillips not only serves on the executive council that developed and leads the Exercise is Medicine™ global initiative, but he is co-author of ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine™ The Clinician’s Guide to the Exercise Prescription (Lippincott, 2009) and Chair of the Exercise is Medicine™ Education Committee.
The LMEd Collaborative was co-founded in 2013 by EIM Advisory Board members, Edward Phillips and Jennifer Trilk MD. The LMEd team have been actively promoting and introducing Exercise is Medicine™, under the umbrella of 'Lifestyle Medicine', into medical school curriculum's in the US.
'Lifestyle Medicine' is based on the Ideology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the belief that the 'plant-based' vegan Garden of Eden diet, consisting of fruits, nuts and seeds, is the God-Appointed diet for man.
The Adventist Health Reform principles, given in Vision to church founder Ellen G White in 1863, promote asceticism (self-denial) for moral, physical and spiritual health. She claimed God told her flesh meat was a toxic stimulant, as harmful if not more so, than alcohol or tobacco, stirring baser passions and animal tendencies which would lead men, women and children to the heinous act of ‘self-vice’ (masturbation).
The Christian Association of Lifestyle Medicine (CALM) was officially formed in 2003 on the Loma Linda University campus, a Seventh-day Adventist owned institution, previously known as the College of Medical Evangelists (1906 - 1961)
In early 2004 the Christian Association of Lifestyle Medicine (CALM) officially became the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM).
All 9 office bearers, and directors, were Seventh-day Adventists and the organisations they aligned with, were too.
The 2004 ACLM website lists resources including slide presentations on cardiovascular disease and diabetes management referencing Ellen G White, the Bible, the Adventist Health Reform message and Lifestyle Medicine in the Garden of Eden.
The presentation ‘Lifestyle Medicine: evidence-based medicine for the 21st century #1 (CHD) #2 (DM2)’ outlines a brief history of Lifestyle Medicine in Genesis; claiming Lifestyle Medicine was first practiced in the Garden of Eden.
"It was Lifestyle Medicine when Adam and Eve were given a vegan diet with regular physical activity, pure water and air, plenty of sunshine, temperance, daily and weekly rest and trust in divine power."
From the outset Seventh-day Adventists held, and continue to hold, key positions in the American College of Lifestyle Medicine and indeed most other Lifestyle Medicine 'sister - organisations' around the world, including the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance (LMGA) Advisory Board and credentialing.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church partners with, and sponsors the Lifestyle Medicine movement via Loma Linda University in the US and Avondale College in Australia, and through the various business entities they own including processed food company Sanitarium, Lifestyle Medicine Institute and The Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP).
Most key people within the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance were, and still are, Seventh-day Adventists and/or tied to Coca-Cola’s Exercise is Medicine™, or closely aligned with the Adventist 'Plant-based' message. This includes Directors, Advisory Board Members, exam writers, past Presidents and the current President, Dexter Shurney MD.
The Lifestyle Medicine Board Review manual is written by Adventists.
Seventh-day Adventist Mark B Johnson MD was President of the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) when he co-authored the 15 Physicians Core Competencies in Lifestyle Medicine for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine in 2010.
The Core Competencies have since been endorsed by the American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) and the American Medical Association (AMA) according to an article published in the AMA Journal of Ethics authored by Adventist Wayne Dysinger MD while he was President of ACLM, on the Board of Regents for the ACPM, and involved in the AMA around the same time.
Therefore, no matter how loudly any of the 'sister organisations' declare their independence from religious ideology... every single person who attends a Lifestyle Medicine conference, signs up to become a Lifestyle Medicine member, who sits a Lifestyle Medicine exam, or applies for Lifestyle Medicine Board Certification becomes part of the church's evangelistic outreach.
I am not anti-religion nor am I anti-vegan, I am pro-choice, especially when it comes to health.
I am not opposed to those who choose to be vegetarian or vegan for cultural reasons, health concerns, ethical beliefs nor for religious ideology. I honestly believe there are people within the Lifestyle Medicine movement, and people who founded the movement, who are truly invested in improving health outcomes. If only 'Lifestyle Medicine' wasn’t based on an anti-meat religious ideology making people dependent on processed fortified foods from this way of eating.
My concern is... 'choice' is being taken away from you and I by those creating, and protecting, the dietary and health Rule-Books.
Taken away from people who choose to follow Low Carbohydrate Healthy Fat (LCHF) and Keto principles. Taken away from those that include animal proteins and fats in their diet for their health.
When pro-cereal/grains and anti-meat guidelines become strict rule-books, fiercely protected by Associations that partner with industry, they create opportunities for health professionals advocating the benefits of LCHF to be targeted, reported, investigated, and even 'silenced' through licensure laws, and the threat of regulation.
Interestingly, discrediting non-allopathic medicine and calling out 'quackery' and 'food faddism' began around 1910 after Abraham Flexner was commissioned by Carnegie and Rockefeller to 'medicalise' medical education.
The practice became popular again in the 70's and 80's with the founding of the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) by William Jarvis on the Adventist Church-owned Loma Linda University campus and the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) founded by Frederick Stare at the Harvard School of Public Health, well known for its 'industry-friendly' research.
The labeling of quackery, fad diets and 'snake-oil salesmen' continues even today, but now reaches out to health professionals and allied health practitioners who advocate LCHF and question the harms of sugar and processed foods in our diet, even going so far as to label some as 'cholesterol deniers'. I touch on the more recent history of Loma Linda University's staff involvement here.
Surprisingly, Seventh-day Adventists are just as vocal as the sugar/food and pharmaceutical industries in protecting their 'Prophet/Profit'.
I am not the first to challenge the powerful influences of vested interests shaping our dietary and health guidelines; broadly speaking - the Food, Soda, and Pharmaceutical Industry’s, and even the Tobacco Industry, all of which have been shown to manipulate data, fund research, and obstruct health policy from the turn of the 20th Century.
I am not the first questioning the role of ideology, either. Rhys Southan, a recovering vegan, introduced me very early on to Seventh-day Adventist ideology on his website. His work is extensively researched and referenced detailing the involvement, and influence, of Adventist dietitians on the American dietary guidelines for over 60 years.
The Adventist involvement and influence on public dietary advice started with Lenna Francis Cooper, a protégé of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, who founded the American Dietetics Association (ADA) in 1917.
Lenna Cooper was a leading proponent of health care through diet and a highly influential Adventist dietitian with more than 500 dietitians graduating from Battle Creek Sanitarium under her tutelage.
She was the first U.S. Army dietitian and served on the staff of the U.S. Surgeon General, creating the department of dietetics at the National Institutes of Health. As the senior author of Nutrition in Health and Disease, a textbook used for 30 years in both dietetic and nursing programs world-wide.
Discovering religious ideology and the corporate church’s influence on our dietary and health guidelines was completely unexpected when I began researching the 'plant-based' dietary guidelines in 2014.
In August 2018 - a review paper titled 'The Global Influence of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Diet’ was published by a group of authors including Joan Sabate, an advisory member for the 2020 US Dietary Guidelines Committee. All authors acknowledged they were Seventh-day Adventists, working at Loma Linda University which is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Their paper was an historical perspective on the ideology of the Adventist Church and their subsequent influence on nutrition 'science' and dietary guidelines, world-wide. Not only does it summarise years of my own research, but the authors acknowledge my work.
Every 'sister organisation' of the Lifestyle Medicine Global Alliance (LMGA) states, front and centre, that they are ‘Evidence-based’.
My concern is their interpretation of 'evidence’...
Coca-Cola's evidence 'proves' that sugar is not a substance of harm… in fact, physical activity is the cure for all evils and Exercise is Medicine™ is the prescription for health!
Whereas, the founders and key influencers in Lifestyle Medicine believe that God is the Author of science. Their claim of 'Evidence-based' therefore, is that which is found in the Bible and through the Inspired interpretations of the Scriptures by the Spirit of Prophecy. Ellen G White is considered the 'authoritative and continuing source of Bible Truth'.
Gerhard Pfandl, Biblical Research Institute explains... "Nature and the Bible have the same author; therefore, "Rightly understood, science and the written word agree, and each sheds light on the other" (CT 426).
"In contrast to "true science," Ellen White often referred to "science, falsely so called." This kind of science, based on the conceptions and theories of men to the exclusion of the wisdom of God, was for her "stamped with idolatry" (CE 84).
"Why? Because "science, falsely so-called, has been exalted above God" thereby placing that which has been created above its creator."
God gave the light on health reform and those that reject it, reject God.
The Foundations of Lifestyle Medicine are based on the ideology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The pillars of the movement are God's Natural Laws which Ellen G White explains as the Adventist Health Reform principles given to her in 1863; Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunlight, Temperance, Air, Rest and Trust in God, which all sounds well and good, until you consider the over-arching message is profoundly anti-meat.
The LMEd Collaboration was founded on Exercise is Medicine™ and sits quietly under the umbrella of 'Lifestyle Medicine'. The LMEd goal is to develop a global medical curriculum to ensure every single health professional writes Energy Balance prescriptions advising people to “move more, eat less… meat.”
We know the history of demonising saturated fat… processed low fat foods, generously coated in sugar, and drizzled with man-made seed oils.
Dietary and health guidelines advocating Low Fat and High Carbohydrate diets have become embedded into medical curriculum’s world-wide for 50 years, and instead of improving health outcomes we are faced with a tsunami of non-communicable disease.
As I alluded to at the beginning of this article; "imagine if the ‘plant-based’ vegan Garden of Eden diet, with a side of Coke, becomes the next generation’s medical education. How long will it be before the consequences of demonising animal proteins and fats are understood beyond these walls, and how will this impending health disaster ever be turned around?"