Joel Fuhrman

Joel Fuhrman (born December 2, 1953) is an American celebrity doctor who advocates what he calls a "micronutrient-rich diet".[1] His practice is based on his nutrition-based approach to obesity and chronic disease, also referred to as a nutritarian or restrictive diet,[2] as well as promoting his products and books.[3] He has written several books promoting his dietary approaches including the bestsellers Eat to Live,[4] Super Immunity,[5] The Eat to Live Cookbook,[6] The End of Dieting (2016).[7] and The End of Heart Disease (2016).[8][9] He sells a related line of nutrition related products.

Joel Fuhrman
Joel Fuhrman, May 2011
Born (1953-12-02) December 2, 1953
Other namesJoel H. Fuhrman
EducationM.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania), 1988
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Occupation(s)Family physician, author
Known forNutritarian diet, ANDI, micronutrient-rich diet
Notable workEat to Live; The End of Diabetes; Eat for Health: Lose Weight; Keep It Off and Look Younger; Live Longer.

Life and career

Fuhrman was born in New York City, on December 2, 1953. He is Jewish.[10] He was a competitor in the amateur figure skating circuit.[3] He was a member of the US World Figure Skating Team and placed second in the US National Pairs Championship in 1973. In 1973, he suffered a heel injury which prevented him from competing.[3] Fuhrman claims that an alternative medicine therapy recommended by a naturopath helped speed his recovery, and led him to become interested in alternative medicine.[3] He came in 3rd place at the 1976 World Professional Pairs Skating Championship in Jaca, Spain, skating with his sister, Gale Fuhrman,[11] but due to short-term massive muscle loss from fasting was unable to make the Olympic team.[3] In 1988, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.[3] Fuhrman is a board-certified family physician and serves as Director of Research for the Nutritional Research Foundation.[12]

Diet and health

Fuhrman has advocated eating at least one pound of raw vegetables and another pound of cooked vegetables each day with an emphasis on green vegetables along with beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, nuts and seeds. He also recommends eating at least one cup of beans a day to benefit from the resistant starch and increased satiety.[13] The Nutritarian diet does not allow dairy products, animal products, snacks between meals, fruit juice, oils or processed foods.[13][3]

Fuhrman popularized the notion of nutrient density in what he calls the Health Equation: Health = Nutrients/Calories (abbreviated as H = N/C).[3] Peter Lipson, a physician and writer on alternative medicine, has been heavily critical of Fuhrman's health equation, writing that since its terms cannot be quantified, it is "nothing more than a parlor trick".[14] Fuhrman created what he calls the "Aggregate Nutrient Density Index" or ANDI, a ranking of foods based on his claims of micronutrient concentration and kale is at the top of this list.[3] Whole Foods began using the scores as a marketing project and reported that the sales of high scoring foods "skyrocketed".[3]

David Gorski has commented that Fuhrman has promoted a vitalistic view of food and the pseudoscientific idea of detoxification.[15]

Fuhrman has heavily marketed his products and his infomercials have "become a staple during the self-improvement bloc of PBS pledge drives."[3] In the October 2012 edition of Men's Journal, Mark Adams stated that Fuhrman "preaches something closer to fruitarianism or Christian Science than to conventional medical wisdom".[3] Adams also reported that Fuhrman believes that the flu vaccine "isn't effective at all".[3]

Dietician Carolyn Williams has described Fuhrman's nutritarian diet as a fad diet. According to Williams "This can be helpful for people who feel stuck in their weight loss journey and want to totally reset or detox their diet following a holiday or vacation. Although this diet is marketed as an eating pattern, it is essentially a fad diet. Those who do try this diet should go into it knowing that it is not sustainable for everyone long-term, and is only a temporary quick fix to lose weight."[16]

Harriet Hall who reviewed Fuhrman's nutritarian diet commented that he tends to incorrectly assume association studies show causation and that his diet has not been tested in controlled trials. Hall stated that "Fuhrman makes extraordinary claims for the Nutritarian diet, but extraordinary claims must be supported by extraordinary evidence, and the evidence he presents is far from compelling."[17]

See also


  1. Bijlefeld, M; Zoumbaris, SK (2014). Celebrity Doctors. Encyclopedia of Diet Fads: Understanding Science and Society (2nd ed.). ABC-CLIO. pp. 127–8. ISBN 978-1-61069-760-6.
  2. Brown, Douglas (5 June 2010). "Nutrition ambitions: "Nutritarian" diet is easy; just try to eat a rainbow". The Denver Post. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  3. Adams, Mark (Oct 2012). "Joel Fuhrman: The doctor is out there". Men's Journal. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  4. "Paperback Advice & Misc. Books - Best Sellers - Feb. 10, 2013 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  5. "Hardcover Advice & Misc. Books - Best Sellers - Oct. 7, 2012 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  6. "Food and Diet Books - Best Sellers - Nov. 3, 2013 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  7. "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous Books - Best Sellers - April 13, 2014 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  8. "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous Books - Best Sellers - April 24, 2016 - The New York Times". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  9. Fuhrman, Joel (2016). The End of Heart Disease. Description & arrow-searchable preview. HarperOne. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  10. Gluck, Robert (2014). "Jewish author of 'Eat to Live' dishes on health care, nutrition, disease prevention". Jewish News Syndicate. Archived from the original on 2022-02-23.
  11. "World Professional Figure Skating Championships (Jaca, Spain)". Retrieved 19 Dec 2012.
  12. "Probiotics and the immune system: An interview with Joel Fuhrman, M.D." Nutrition Health Review. 108 (Winter): 2. 2011.
  13. Schweitzer, Lisa. "Eat to Live Diet: Review". WebMD. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  14. Lipson, Peter (9 September 2010). "Your disease, your fault". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved 19 August 2014.
  15. Gorski, David (2015). ""America's Quack" strikes back". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  16. Williams, Carolyn (2018). "Does the Nutritarian Diet Really Live Up to Its Hype?". Cooking Light. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  17. Hall, Harriet. (2022). "Eat for Life: Joel Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Diet". Science-Based Medicine. Retrieved February 24 2022.
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