The McDougall diet provides the structure of a low-fat, starch-based diet to promote a broad range of such health benefits as weight loss and the reversal of such serious health conditions as heart disease , without the use of drugs.
The McDougall diet began as a challenge to Dr. John McDougall by one of his patients. The patient simply asked him if he believed that diet is connected to the health problems he saw in his patients. At that time, McDougall believed the answer to this question was a definite no.
The patient challenged him to ask his patients what they were eating, in order to see if there might be any relationship between their eating habits and their diseases.
McDougall agreed, and the McDougall diet was born. McDougall was a plantation physician based in the village of Honokaa, Hawaii. In his practice, he handled a variety of medical problems from delivering babies to performing brain surgery on accident victims.
Although he felt a lot of satisfaction in saving people’s lives, McDougall was bothered by his inability to help patients with such disease conditions as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes.
He decided to further his education and took up another residency in internal medicine.
During his internal medicine residency, McDougall did countless hours of research on the effects of diet and lifestyle on chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, the literature he read seemed to conflict with the approaches he was being taught in his residency.
McDougall began to change his own diet as he studied the literature. Over a period of a year, he began to cut out meat and dairy products and began to focus on eating more green and yellow vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
He noticed many improvements in his own health, such as lower weight, lower blood cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure. The St. Helena Hospital and Health Center in Deer Park, California offered him an opportunity to present his diet program at their facilities in 1986.
Many patients who have undertaken the McDougall diet have found an improvement in such conditions as:
• high blood pressure
• mild arthritis
• body odor
• oily skin
Another possible benefit of the McDougall program is that patients may find themselves spending less for food. In addition, McDougall points to the possibility of saving considerable amounts of money by avoiding serious and costly health problems.
The McDougall diet focuses on adopting a dietary regimen and lifestyle that encourages human beings’ natural tendencies to be healthy. The program is based on proper foods, moderate exercise, adequate sunshine, clean air and water, and surroundings that promote psychological well-being.