John A. McDougall

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John A. McDougall
John McDougall in 2013-09-24 11-25.jpg
Born May 17, 1947 (1947-05-17) (age 72)[1]
Nationality American
Ethnicity Irish
Alma mater Michigan State University
Occupation physician, author
Known for Treating degenerative diseases with a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based/vegan diet
Notable work The McDougall Plan (1983)

John A. McDougall is an American physician and best-selling[citation needed] author who claims that degenerative disease can be prevented and treated with a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based/vegan diet—especially one based on starches such as potatoes, rice, and corn—which excludes animal foods and added vegetable oils.[2] Dr. McDougall is of Irish descent.

McDougall's diet – The McDougall Plan – has been categorized as a fad diet that carries some disadvantages, such as a boring food choice and a risk of flatulence.[3]

Early years education and career

McDougall is a graduate of Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine. He performed his internship at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1972 and his medical residency at the University of Hawaii. He is certified as an internist by the Board of Internal Medicine and the National Board of Medical Examiners.

In 1965, at age 18, McDougall suffered a massive stroke, which he attributed to his high animal product diet.[4] Since the mid-1970s, he has followed mostly a vegan diet after observing that elderly patients from the Far East, who lived mainly on rice and vegetables, were trim and healthy compared to their offspring tempted by an American diet.[5]

Between 1973 and 1976, McDougall worked as a physician at the Hamakua Sugar Plantation on Hawaii Island. It was during this time that he first became aware of the link between his patients' dietary choice and their health. Between 1986 and 2002, he launched a vegetarian dietary program at St. Helena Hospital in the Napa Valley, California. Between 1999 and 2001, he also ran his dietary program for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[4]

McDougall is currently on the advisory board of Naked Food Magazine, for which he is also a regular contributor of articles espousing a plant-based diet.

Diet programs and products

In 2002, McDougall began the McDougall Program at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, California. The McDougall Program is a 10-day live-in program where patients work to regain their health by eating a vegetarian diet (without limits) and where they hear lectures by McDougall and other health professionals.[6]

McDougall is the co-founder and chairman of Dr. McDougall's Right Foods Inc., which produces food products for grocery stores, and a member of the advisory board of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.[7] In 2000, The Press Democrat described McDougall and his wife as operating "a small industry, with several cookbooks, a newsletter, a Web site, vegetarian meal cups sold across the country, and a nationally syndicated TV show."

McDougall is the author of several books, including The McDougall Plan (1983).[8] The McDougall plan has been categorized as a fad diet with possible disadvantages including a boring food choice, flatulence and the risk of feeling too hungry.[3] Reviewing McDougall's book, The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss, nutritionist Frederick J. Stare and epidemiologist Elizabeth Whelan criticized its restrictive regime and "poor advice", concluding that the diet's concepts were "extreme and out of keeping with nutritional reality".[9]


Research papers

  • “Effects of 7 days on an ad libitum low-fat vegan diet: the McDougall Program cohort.” Nutrition Journal 13:99, 2014.
  • "Effects of a very low fat vegan diet in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis." Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 8:71-75, 2002.
  • "Rapid Reduction of Serum Cholesterol and Blood Pressure by a Twelve Day, Very Low Fat, Strictly Vegetarian Diet" Journal of the American College of Nutrition 14:491-496, 1995.
  • "Reduction of Risk Factors in an Intensive 12-Day Residential Cardiac Rehabilitation and Lifestyle Modification Program in High Risk and Cardiovascularly Diseased Patients." Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehab 9:397, 1989.


  • The Starch Solution (2012)
  • Dr. McDougall's Digestive Tune-Up (2006)
  • McDougalls' All-You-Can-Eat Vegetarian Cookbook (2005)
  • The McDougall Program for Women (1999)
  • The McDougall Quick & Easy Cookbook (1999)
  • The McDougall Program for a Healthy Heart (1996)
  • The McDougall Plan for Maximum Weight Loss (1995)
  • The New McDougall Cookbook (1995)
  • The McDougall Program 12 Days to Dynamic Health (1991)
  • The McDougall Health-Supporting Cookbook: Volume 2 (1986)
  • McDougall's Medicine—A Challenging Second Opinion (1985)
  • The McDougall Health-Supporting Cookbook: Volume 1 (1985)
  • The McDougall Plan (1983)


  • Dr. McDougall's Money-Saving Medical Advice
  • Dr. McDougall's Common Sense Nutrition
  • McDougall Made Irresistible
  • Dr. McDougall Disputes Major Medical Treatments
  • McDougall Made Easy
  • Dr. McDougall's Total Health Solution
  • McDougall's Medicine

See also


  1. "Dr. McDougall's Health & Medical Center » About Us". Retrieved 2016-01-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. McDougall, John A. "Dr. McDougall's Color Picture Book". Retrieved 18 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Alters S, Schiff W (22 February 2012). Chapter 10: Body Weight and Its Management. Essential Concepts for Healthy Living (Sixth ed.). Jones & Bartlett Publishers. p. 327. ISBN 978-1-4496-3062-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Dr. McDougall, Why Do You Act That Way?" (Vol.8, No.4). The McDougall Newsletter. April 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Interview with Dr. John McDougall". Retrieved 2016-01-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Robin Asbell, “Practicing What He Preaches”, Better Homes and Gardens Heart Healthy Online.
  7. Sunny Aslam, “Vegetarian diet on solid ground, experts say”, USA Today, 28 November 2001.
  8. "When it comes to diet, how low (in fat) can you go?", Rocky Mountain News, 11 August 1993.
  9. Stare FJ, Whelan EM (1998). The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss by John A. McDougall M.D. Fad-Free Nutrition (Book review). Hunter House. pp. 202–203.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links