Michael Greger

Michael Herschel Greger (born 25 October 1972)[1][2] is an American physician, author, and professional speaker on public health issues, best known for his advocacy of a whole-food, plant-based diet, and his opposition to animal-derived food products.

Michael Greger
Born (1972-10-25) October 25, 1972[1][2]
Miami, Florida, USA[3]
Medical career
ProfessionGeneral practitioner
FieldClinical nutrition


Greger in 2007

Greger went to college at Cornell University School of Agriculture, where as a junior he wrote informally about the dangers of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, on a website he published in 1994.[2][4][5] In the same year, he was hired to work on mad cow issues for Farm Sanctuary, near Cornell, and became a vegan after touring a stockyard as part of his work with Farm Sanctuary.[2] In 1998, he appeared as an expert witness testifying about bovine spongiform encephalopathy when cattle producers unsuccessfully sued Oprah Winfrey for libel over statements she had made about the safety of meat in 1996.[2][6]

He enrolled at Tufts University School of Medicine, originally for its MD/PhD program, but then withdrew from the dual-degree program to pursue only the medical degree.[7] He graduated in 1999 as a general practitioner specializing in clinical nutrition.[2] In 2001, he joined the Organic Consumers Association to work on mad cow issues, on which he spoke widely as cases of the disease appeared in the US and Canada,[2][8][9][10] calling mad cow "The Plague of the 21st Century."[11][12][13]

In 2004, he launched a website and published a book critical of the Atkins Diet and other low carb diets.[2]

In 2004, the American College Of Lifestyle Medicine was formed in Loma Linda,[14] and Greger was a founding member[2] as one of the first hundred people to join the organization.[15]

In 2005, he joined the farm animal welfare division of the Humane Society as director of public health and animal agriculture.[2] In 2008, he testified before Congress[16] after the Humane Society released its undercover video of the Westland Meat Packing Company, which showed downer animals entering the meat supply, and which led to the USDA forcing the recall of 143 million pounds of beef, some of which had been routed into the nation's school lunch program.[17]

In 2011, he founded the website NutritionFacts.org[18] with funding from the Jesse & Julie Rasch Foundation.[19]

Greger is a Research Advisory Committee member of The Vegan Society.[20]

Dietary recommendations

In his lectures, videos, and writings about nutrition, Greger tries to persuade people to change their eating habits from a Western pattern diet to a whole-food, plant-based diet, which he says can prevent and reverse many chronic diseases.[21][22]:10 He is critical of some other doctors for not encouraging their patients to adopt plant-based diets and to avoid animal-based products[22]:1–12 and has criticized the USDA, stating that "a conflict of interest right in their mission statement" protects the economic interests of food producers in lieu of clear dietary guidelines.[23]


Greger's third book, Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching, received a favorable review which said it was "interesting and informative to both scientists and lay persons",[24] but public health expert David Sencer was critical of the book, writing that it "focuses heavily on doomsday scenarios and offers little in terms of practical advice to the public" and that "a professional audience would quickly put [the book] aside for more factually correct sources of information".[25]

His fourth book, How Not to Die, made The New York Times Best Seller list at least three times.[26][27][28]

Harriet A. Hall has written that, while it is well-accepted that it is more healthy to eat a plant-based diet than a typical Western diet, Greger often overstates the known benefits of such a diet as well as the harm caused by eating animal products (for example, in a talk, he claimed that a single meal rich in animal products can "cripple" one's arteries), and he sometimes does not discuss evidence that contradicts his strong claims.[29]

Joe Schwarcz of McGill University has commented that although Greger takes his information from respected science journals and produces impressive videos, he has a vegan agenda and is known for cherry picking of data.[30]


  • Heart Failure: Diary of a Third-Year Medical Student (2000)
  • Carbophobia: The Scary Truth Behind America's Low Carb Craze (2005).
  • Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching (2007)
  • How Not To Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. Description & arrow/scrollable preview. (Hardcover) (2015) (with Gene Stone). A critique of the book is at "How Not to Die by Dr. Michael Greger: A Critical Review" by Denise Minger. ISBN 1250066115
  • The How Not to Die Cookbook: 100+ Recipes to Help Prevent and Reverse Disease (with Gene Stone & Robin Robertson) (Hardcover) (2018) ISBN 1250127769
  • How Not to Diet: The Groundbreaking Science of Healthy, Permanent Weight Loss (Hardcover) (2019) ISBN 9781250199225
  • How to Survive a Pandemic (Paperback) (2020) ISBN 9781250793232

See also

  • The Game Changers (2018), a documentary film that promotes a plant-based diet
  • Seaspiracy (2021), a documentary film about the environmental impact of fishing
  • Veganism
  • What the Health (2017), a documentary film which critiques the health impact of meat, fish, eggs and dairy products consumption


  1. Greger, Michael [@nutrition_facts] (25 October 2014). "It's my birthday today! To express your appreciation for my work, please consider making a tax-deductible donation" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018 via Twitter.
  2. Mandy Van Deven (2010). "Greger, Michael 1972-". In Margaret Puskar-Pasewicz (ed.). Cultural Encyclopedia of Vegetarianism. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood. p. 123. ISBN 9780313375569.
  3. "AWESOME! Story of Michael Greger, MD and Hall of Fame". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  4. Greger, Michael (1994). "Mad Cow Disease - Much More Serious Than AIDS". Envirolink. Archived from the original on 24 December 1996.
  5. "1996 Interview with Michael Greger". www.mad-cow.org.
  6. Usborne, David (26 February 1998). "Oprah triumphs over the Texas cattle ranchers". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022.
  7. Greger, M (1999). "About the Author". United Progressive Alumni. Archived from the original on 2 March 2000.
  8. "The odds against finding mad cow disease: North America's meat inspection rules leave a lot to be desired, a U.S. expert says". The Vancouver Sun via Lexis-Nexus. 7 June 2003.
  9. Parker-Pope, Tara (27 May 2003). "Beef Industry's Dirty Secret:U.S. Lags on Safety Standards". Wall Street Journal.
  10. "Mad cow disease; USDA misleads public on beef safety." Washington Times [Washington, DC] 2 Jan. 2004: A17. Infotrac Newsstand. Web. 1 Sept. 2016.
  11. Davidson, S. (2004, Jan 29). MIT to hold forum on mad cow disease; local physician to give keynote address. Jewish Advocate. Retrieved from Proquest. Quote: "Consumers concerned about mad cow disease and other issues about safeguarding the food supply may want to attend the Jan. 29 lecture at MIT by Michael Greger, M.D., entitled "Mad Cow Disease: Plague of the 21st Century?" ... Greger was raised in a small Arizona town, "the only Jewish family within 30 miles." His parents were New York natives; his mother taught Biblical Hebrew at the community college. Following his parents' divorce, he moved with his mother and brother to Binghamton, N.Y., where she taught Hebrew school at the orthodox Beth Israel synagogue."
  12. "Confused About Mad Cow? New Ad Exposes Scaremongers and Dispels Myths." PR Newswire 5 Jan. 2004. Academic OneFile. Web. 1 Sept. 2016.
  13. Greger, Michael (Winter 2004). "The killer among us: Could mad cow disease already be killing thousands of Americans every year?" (PDF). EarthSave News Vol 15 No. 1. p. 5.
  14. "American College Of Lifestyle Medicine". California Explore. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  15. "Joining the American Academy of Lifestyle Medicine (AALM)". American Academy of Lifestyle Medicine. Archived from the original on 19 December 2003. Retrieved 19 December 2003.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  16. Schmit, Julie (5 March 2008). "Meat plant concerns raised for years". USA Today.
  17. Kesmodel, David (25 February 2008). "Meatpacker in Cow-Abuse Scandal May Shut as Congress Turns Up Heat – The Wall Street Journal". Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  18. Greger, Michael (15 April 2011). "Welcome to NutritionFacts.org!". NutritionFacts.org.
  19. "Featured Projects". The Jesse and Julie Rasch Foundation.
  20. " Dr Michael Greger". vegansociety.com. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  21. "Vegan, Plant-Based Diet or… What Label Works?". T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. 16 October 2015.
  22. Greger, Michael (2015). How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. Flatiron Books. ISBN 9781250066114.
  23. Gustafson, C (April 2014). "Michael Greger, md: Reversing Chronic Disease Through Diet; Addressing the 2015 USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee". Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal. 13 (2): 22–4. PMC 4684122. PMID 26770088.
  24. Pekosz, Andrew (4 September 2007). "Book Review. Bird flu: A virus of our own hatching". J Clin Invest. 117 (9): 2350. doi:10.1172/JCI33078. PMC 1952640.
  25. Sencer DJ (2007). "Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching". Emerging Infectious Diseases (Book review). 13 (11): 1802–1803. doi:10.3201/eid1311.070787.
  26. The New York Times Best Seller List - Advice, How-to, and Miscellaneous for December 27, 2015
  27. "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous Books - Best Sellers - January 3, 2016 - The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  28. "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous Books - Best Sellers - January 10, 2016 - The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  29. Hall HA (12 February 2013). "Death as a Foodborne Illness Curable by Veganism". Science-based Medicine. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  30. Schwarcz, Joe. (2017). "Dr. Michael Greger--What do we make of him?". mcgill.ca. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
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