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Controversial Interview Raises Ire, Rises To Top Of iTunes Health Podcast Charts

When I decided to return to podcasting this week after spending most of 2013 writing the manuscript to my forthcoming August 27, 2013 book release Cholesterol Clarity: What The HDL Is Wrong With My Numbers?, I was so excited to get back in the groove again with the thing that I love doing the most–interviewing people about nutrition, fitness and health. But it was my decision to speak with a very controversial nutritional health figure like Dr. John McDougall in Episode 686 of “The Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show” podcast that brought people out of the woodwork to listen, comment and react. It result in that interview rising to the top of the iTunes health podcast charts at #4–the highest such ranking any of my podcasts has ever achieved (beating out the most successful ones I had before this featuring Gary Taubes and Dr. William Davis)! If my aim was to give people something to talk about (and it was), then I believe I hit the bulls-eye with this one!

If you haven’t heard the popular interview I’ve ever done yet, then I highly encourage you to go check it out right now on iTunes and see my bulletpoint recap and show notes from this instant classic episode. I had every intention in the world going into that interview to treat Dr. McDougall with all the respect and civility with an aim to find common ground as I do with any of my guests who I don’t see eye to eye on regarding nutrition and healthy living. Just ask Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Neal Barnard and even the caustic Durianrider! Shockingly, though, what I got from him was the very antithesis of all of those things and that’s just too bad. Anyone who knows me and my interview style recognizes that I am willing to share my platform to any and all viewpoints–even ones I personally disagree with–for the benefit of my listeners. So many of you took notice of the very bizarre behavior Dr. McDougall exhibited on my show and had to share your feedback with me about it:

I used to be a big follower of Dr. McDougall. I was religious about following his plan because I was determined my husband and I would stay healthy. McDougall said, over and over again, that if we followed his diet of mainly carbs and very little fat, there would be no chance of a heart attack. How I wish that we’re true. After 3 years on the diet, my husband had a massive heart attack and spent a month in the hospital having multiple bypass surgery and trying to survive. After another month in a rehab facility, I was told I was taking him home to die! But while he was in the hospital, I had been studying Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and learning another way to understand nutrition and it made so much sense to me. I haven’t been happy with McDougall’s program for a good long time, but after hearing snippets from his interview with you and the extreme rudeness he showed you, I think the man needs a good dose of healthy cholesterol in his diet! What a pompous buffoon!

I consider myself relatively non-doctrinaire on nutrition. Like you, I think if a vegan diet works for you, then okay. But after listening to McDougall’s “what’s your authority” line, I’m beginning to think people should never go on a vegan diet now–anything recommended by such an obnoxious jerk like that must have something wrong with it.

Man oh man! Dr. McDougall needs to eat some fat to get over his bipolar or whatever mental disorder he has! What an ignorant being! So sad!

Dr. McDougall is the reason the medical industry is so screwed up with nutrition. At least he admits he did not know how to help his patients when he got out of medical school. His ego is bigger then our country’s health problems and what a humanitarian he was going to Hawaii to study. This guy is the one who is dangerous. Your blood work results are your proof! Please add me as another of the many who see sugar as a weight and health enemy.

I just wanted to tell you “Bravo!” on your interview with Dr. McDougall. I’m very impressed with the way you handled him by remaining calm and respectful even though the same could not be said of him. I found him to be completely unprofessional and his attitude towards you was obviously contemptuous and confrontational. I also thought it was interesting that he wanted to attack you and your low-carb lifestyle until you told him about your excellent health eating this way. That’s when he decided that your individual results didn’t matter. I love your show and I’m glad you are open minded enough to invite people on that have differing opinions.

I just listened to your interview with McDougall. I must say that you handled yourself very well and with much more composure than I would have been been able to. I also must say that he came across as a supercilious prick.

I was so disturbed by the interview with the arrogant Dr. Starch. I decided to look up his book on Amazon and I noticed all the accolades he got from like-minded doctors and authors. Then I went to the reviews and noticed plenty of 5 stars and some rated lower. The 5-star people just rave about what a genius he is, but if you notice the ones who gave him 2 or 1 star, it’s a bit more revealing. Thank you for being out there on the front lines.

I hated the podcast because I thought Dr. McDougall attacked you throughout. He was simply arrogant and rude and failed to acknowledge that there is more than one way to eat. I personally have no heart disease risk markers and I believe that people should find their own formula for eating that works for them. I wanted to reach through my iPod and slap him upside his head! Keep up the great work Jimmy.

It was nauseating how he kept repeating how he was an MD and so he obviously knew it all. I wish you had asked him how many actual courses in nutrition, research methodology, and statistics his medical school and residency included. I think you would find that it was little or none. What a load of crap!

Wow, that was hard to listen to. I was flinching when I heard some of McDougall’s comments. He certainly beats hands down your
interview with Durianrider in terms of vitriol. Props to you for
trying to keep it at a level of civilized discussion.

I listened to your interview with Dr. McDougall today and WOW! I am amazed at how condescending this man is! He’s arrogant,
nasty and mean-spirited. It’s certainly to your credit that you were able to show so much grace under pressure to this smug, abusive pontificating fool. I’m sure his diet CAN work, but who would want to stay on it without going mad? Geez, the guy doesn’t even allow OLIVE OIL! What a maniac! The emphasis on weight that McDougall showed in the interview strikes me as having the mindset of an eating disordered personality. I don’t think he’s a well man and his frail ego was totally on the line in that interview. I would NEVER want to be treated by such an egomaniac. He can’t accept that ANY diet but HIS is valid because he is a pompous, ego-driven jerk.

There were many more comments posted about my McDougall interview in the comments section of this blog post and the podcast web site, on both my personal Facebook fan page as well as the LLVLC Facebook fan page, my Twitter page, my Google+ profile, at my “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” discussion forum–EVERYWHERE! In fact, if you want a few giggles from the McDougallites, just check out what they are saying at his forum. All in all, it was the perfect way to return to podcasting and I’ve got so many great interviews lined up for you in the next few months. But no more vegans for a while, I promise.

  • Aaron Olson

    Thanks for sharing Jimmy, I too found him to be extremely rude especially with the ad hominem attacks. You’ve always kept and open mind, but having this guys on your podcast showed what a arrogant jerk he is.

    • LLVLCBlog

      And perhaps that’s the best thing that came out of all of this.

  • Merry

    I tried McDougall a dozen years ago. Seems like weight loss successes were few and far between and there was at least one person with osteopenia, based on my time on his forum which was hosted by VegSource. I was afraid of low carb back then but I did poke around some forums/websites and it sure did seem like there was a lot more weight loss going on!

  • Scott McAra

    The man is a complete MORON! Jimmy you have the patience of a superhuman. It was very hard to hear someone this pathetic treat you so poorly, I wanted to jump in and tell him to chill out. What a bully.

  • Sharon Pederson

    Wow, that was just plain hard to listen to and remain calm. I am so sick of being force fed this line of bull-crap. I can guarantee you if I ate the way he advocates, I’d be huge, unhappy, tired, blemished and likely in a hospital bed. He absolutely refuses to listen to you about the refined carbs vs. other carbs. “Sugar is not the problem” – what an ass-hat.

  • Srdjan Andrei Ostric

    I’ll tell you what I have found the essential feature of what I call the vegan cabal, as it stands… They just don’t disagree with you, they really hate other people. They would much rather have themselves in charge, living in their own utopia of greens and grasses, and see every one else gone.

    Most people who are vegans, who start delving into political aspects of it (ie the environment), are basically saying they are narcissistic know it alls who really hate others who disagree with them.

    You did a great job keeping calm, Jimmy. I would have attacked McDougall over and over again.

  • Zephir1

    Jimmy, you know the line, “Listen if you have ears” (yes, Someone famous once said this…)….Well, quite simply, this man was not willing to listen. -He was willing to talk so that he could hear himself speak. The fact that he thought he could ignore that HF/LC/mod. protein has worked health wonders for MANY, also disregards ANY audience of people who this way of living has worked for and therefore exposes his obvious subjectivity as a doctor…which makes practicing medicine in this manner, a flawed endeavor. The notion that your own success was a “study of one” was a desperate grab for a physician to make, given the massive amount of research to show health improvement and weight loss success among the many..if I were vegan, I would seriously consider why this doctor is so angry/defensive and desperate. p.s. I’ve only listened to those mini-clips, and his negative energy in just those spurts was all I will expose myself to. In lieu of how you were mistreated, I just think your strength and grace came from the validity and truth of your way of life- and his anger, rudeness, arrogance and disrespect came from his way of life. Hugs to Christine! :)

  • http://bebrainfit.com/ Deane Alban

    I often listen to podcasts to help me relax at night. Well, listening to this one had me up til 3 a.m.! Jimmy, you are an absolute saint. I admired you first for having the guts for trying to have a discussion (which turned out to be a vitriolic diatribe instead) and for maintaining a professional and calm attitude. Why is this guy so mean? He was rude and insulting to his host which is just WRONG. Please, someone… make this man a steak!

    I had a very similar experience to one of the other commentors here. My first husband and I were vegetarians for 20 years. Imagine our shock when he was told he needed major heart surgery. He was skinny as a rail, exercised (often running 5 miles per day), and ate a very low fat diet. Surgery revealed it was much worse than doctors thought – he needed 3 bypasses and a valve replacement. He never recovered from the surgery and died after a year of physical and mental decline. We added meat back into the diet that last year but it was too little too late. I believe my husband was severely malnourished from years of a Ornish/McDougall/Pritikin type diet. I fared better because I younger, not as strict with the diet, ate more fat, and was known to “cheat”.

    For the record, I think ANY diet that gets you off the SAD diet and has you eating “real food” – be it vegan, raw, or paleo – will make you feel better initially as your body cleans out from all the junk. But staying nourished for life is a totally different matter. I’d love to see people with differing points of view have genuine conversations instead of attacking each other. There are many points that we all agree on – after all, we all want the same thing – to be healthy and eat real food. I’d love to see these different factions spend their energy UNITED and against Coca Cola, Monsanto, Big Pharma, and a special-interest government instead of attacking each other.

    How’s this for a great interview idea! Have some ancestral health science guys like Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet duke it out with McDougall. Now THAT could get interesting…

  • Kim Miller

    I found it amazing that he refused to acknowledge the impact of refined, overly processed foods and food types in the Western diet as a possible reason for all of our health issues. Good job Jimmy, on keeping the conversation as civilized as possible. It’s “Doctors” like him that are out there killing people with their fanaticism and single minded way of thinking. We are all different, one size does not fit all. And seriously, quoting research? Uhm, how researchers have told us “eggs are good…no, no, eggs are bad…no, no eggs are good…” blech.

  • Justin

    Jimmy I applaud you like no other. I haven’t been a big follower of LLVLC just because I found MDA first, among others…damn him lol, but regardless, I think you’re better than a ton of other low-carbers out there because you have the experience. Not many people have the story of being morbidly obese and succeeding like you have (I was too, but as a child so the metabolic damage isn’t as severe as you spoke of in this podcast). It really shows how success is all relative and McDougall just needs pity and love because he can’t see past his own ego. You did give him that. Congratulations on being able to hold your cool and let him make an ass out of himself. Had that been me, I think a few F#%$, A$$^@#^, and several others may have escaped my mouth.

    PS I did the whole Eat to Live, vegan thing and, like you, lost a ton of weight but, guess what? Got irritable, obsessed, stressed, annoyed, and TONS of anxiety on the vegan diet. Not to mention I couldn’t build an ounce of muscle. Had I only had a steak….So I switched back to Paleo, and gained weight back but feel healthy as ever so hopefully I can get my BF % back down to <10% but not too sure if I will need ketosis to do so. I'm hoping not and I can use IF etc because frankly, I enjoy a few drinks with my friends in college on the weekends lol, but I'm rambling now so I'll stop. Thanks Jimmy! Keep up with challenging the narrow-minded vegan paradigms!