New Zealand Listener 03.7.2020

(Barré) #1

on crops and the practicalities of growing

enough plant-based food to nourish the

planet’s burgeoning population. Water

use, fertiliser and chemical issues cannot

be lightly dismissed in the global discussion

about the potential to move towards much

greater plant-food production.

Greger acknowledges the issues are com-

plex. “There’s a lot to think about and we’re

not going to solve the issues overnight and

get everyone liking quinoa. But it is very

positive that people are getting the message

that moving to foods such as beans and leg-

umes is an important part of the solution,

to our health and the planet’s.”

Some of Greger’s objections to meat, poul-

try, fish and dairy stem from documented

concerns about pollutants, chemical con-

taminants, drugs fed to livestock and similar

issues that, as New Zealand food produc-

ers argue, do not necessarily apply to this

country’s produce. But, he says, the science

is very clear that cured meats such as bacon

are linked to cancer risk. And despite the

popularity of the paleo diet, he says long-

standing concerns about animal fat hold

up well in reliable studies.
Greger also accepts that his professional
cohort has so far failed, albeit for complex
reasons, to counter the mighty power of
food and farm lobbies. Despite decades
of being told by qualified authorities that

we were eating far too much of the wrong
tucker, people in the developed world are
fatter than ever.

He also allows that eating has an emotional
and psychological component that is com-
plex to change. Has he never considered
that it might be better economics to make

free with interventions such as gastric
bands, which he acknowledges can make a
rapid improvement in health and mortality?
“Let’s be clear: surgical interventions do
work. Jaw-wiring will work, too. But these
have obvious downsides. Some surgery has
to be repeated. People can have terrible
complications. There are digestion issues for
many patients afterwards. Whereas eating
a whole-plant-based diet will get you there
without those downsides.”
Unlike most nouveau diet mavens, Greger
channels the proceeds of his books into obe-
sity research. But like most, he does have a
catchy infomercial-esque line of patter.
“When people consult me in my clinical
practice, I tell them, ‘Give me three weeks.
Do exactly what I tell you and I can practi-
cally guarantee you will feel so much better,
you will have better digestion, better sleep,
more energy; if you get migraines, you’ll
probably stop having them. And you will
lose weight without being hungry.’”
Key to his approach is expansiveness,

A few daily pinches of

cheap commercially
available ground spices

  • including cayenne,

cumin and turmeric –
can speed weight loss.

To page 23

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