Rethink Food is an interesting book in that it's a hodgepodge collection of short essays by doctors, mostly MD's, of various specialties with a focus on nutrition and health. It's common for me to hear of objections from health professionals about the impact of diet on health or the benefits of a plant based diet. The rather unique thing about this book is they've managed to find a vast number of doctors that emphasize how nutrition can play a role in health. Whether it be diabetes, obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's or even skin care they've found a specialist to write about it.
The book itself is well cited with studies which you can look up online and read more in depth about. Some of the articles do fall into opinion and I even found one that used some out of date logic around calcium loss with dairy consumption (it appears dairy doesn't really leach calcium from bones, it simply causes an accelerated loss of the circulating calcium). But books fall into this trap and are often out of date shortly after publication. However, once you wade through this rather large book you'll be encouraged by the overwhelming evidence toward the benefits of a plant based diet. You'll be more convinced that high protein, high fat and omnivore diets are not sustainable or healthy. Mostly you'll feel comfort that a growing number of doctors really get it. They have come on board to nutrition and it's role in health (in conjunction with exercise, stress management etc).
I'm not going to wade into a heath care debate. Obviously doctors play a massive role in our well being. Our life expectancies have increased dramatically over the past few decades in large part to medical science. If I ever do get sick, I want a doctor not a banana/kale smoothie. What we need though is cooperation between health care and preventive care. The sense you get from the doctors in this book is an overwhelming frustration that they aren't improving health with traditional practice but prolonging the length of time that people live sick. The best care is one that prevents and treats. We can't expect our doctors to do it all.
Rethink Food isn't a page turner. It's a massive, at times super nerdy, collection of evidence and case studies by medical professionals intending on changing what you put in your mouth. You won't find it gripping or full of sexy nutrition myth in the likes of Wheat Belly or your latest diet book. But if you've grown tired of the battle between medicine and nutrition fret no more, the tides are changing.
Before I go I thought I'd mention the ongoing battle between the Dairy Farmers of Canada and Health Canada that is trying to put out a new Food Guide which downplays animal foods and eliminates dairy as a food group. It's a tug of war between corporate interest and health. So far it looks promising that we'll see some positive change but the fight isn't over. The dairy/meat industry is leaning heavily on the rather flimsy PURE study and I sense we'll be seeing a lot more media push back purporting the benefits of saturated fat before the guide's release in 2018. I applaud Health Canada's determination to keep industry lobbying out of our food guide, hopefully they can withstand the storm.