Weight Loss Surgeon Turned PlantPower Crusader

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Today on the show I have the great pleasure of conversing with Dr. Garth Davis — a veteran weight loss surgeon who took it upon himself to determine exactly why so many people are plagued by obesity; a quest that led him down a deep research hole to identify the ultimate human diet to maximize health — both for himself and his patients.

About 6 years ago, the good doctor became his own patient.  At the time, he was suffering from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a fatty liver.  In short, he was pretty sick.  Not surprising given the demanding hours of the surgeon lifestyle, lack of exercise, a preference for salty, fatty foods, and the convenience of fast food options in the hospital cafeteria.  In fact, there was a Wendy’s in the University of Michigan hospital where Garth did his internship and residency, resulting in a daily dose of  double cheeseburgers – a habit he maintained for years.

Let’s just say that I can relate.

Conventional dogma in his field is that overweight patients should eat nothing but protein — hop on board the low carb ketosis bandwagon. Without inquiring further, Garth simply bought into this idea as truth.  He even wrote a book in 2007 advocating this approach to food, called The Experts Guide To Weight Loss Surgery.

The only problem?  This approach to diet failed him and many other friends, colleagues and patients.  He knew there had to be a better solution.  And his patients needed help beyond knee-jerk surgery.  Finally ready for a personal change, he took it upon himself to research — truly research — nutrition for the first time, quite ironically given his profession as a weight loss surgeon.  Astoundingly, nutrition just wasn’t on the medical school curriculum, and almost never came up as all that relevant in the countless weight loss surgery symposiums he regularly attended.

His inquiry went deep.  And the more he delved into the peer reviewed research, the more convinced he became that there is absolutely no science to back the long-term health claims surrounding the strongly held belief that if we want to be thin and healthy we should eat a high protein low carbohydrate diet.

What did he find?  First and foremost, that Western Medicine has been failing us when it comes to the most crucial aspect of maintaining health — nutrition.  And that if we want to achieve ideal weight management, optimal health and long-term wellness, we need to turn conventional wisdom on it’s head and embrace the idea that humans are herbivores.  

That’s right.  Herbivores.  

Sound far-fetched?  Before you balk, understand that adopting this way of eating absolutely revolutionized Garth’s health beyond what he could have imagined.  Not only did he drop the weight that plagued him for years, all of his blood markers suddenly and quite magically normalized.  His allergies vanished.  His sleep improved, his energy levels skyrocketed and he got off his statin medications.  In short, he finally began to walk his talk.  As his life began to turn around, he wanted to be an example to his patients.  For the first time in his life, he began exercising.

Then he did the extraordinary.  Despite never having been an athlete, in 2011 he nonetheless completed Ironman Texas in 12 hours and 6 minutes.

His personal results nothing short of extraordinary, Garth has now become somewhat of a crusader to teach people real nutrition.  How to read scientific literature, and how the internet pseudo-experts are manipulating the science to push high protein diet.  And now he’s in the midst of writing a book on the subject.  The Protein Obsession (Harper Collins / Harper One) should be out next year.

Dr. Davis’ opinions on the paleo diet and the low carb diet craze are outspoken and unequivocal.  And don’t get him started on the trendy idea that saturated fat isn’t the enemy and we should all be eating bacon for breakfast.  For his words on these subjects alone, this interview is a must-listen if you want the straight up truth about eating right.

We are all capable of doing so much more than we think we can.  Let Dr. Davis inform and inspire your own journey.

Enjoy the show!

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