Caldwell Esselstyn

Caldwell Esselstyn
Esselstyn in 2009
Born (1933-12-12) December 12, 1933
New York City
Nationality American
Alma mater Yale University (AB, 1956)
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (MD, 1961)[1]
Known for Forks Over Knives
Spouse(s) Ann
Children Rip, Jane, Zeb, and Ted[2][3]
Awards Gold Medal, 1956 Olympic Games – Men's eight
Scientific career
Fields Cardiology
Plant-based diet
Institutions Cleveland Clinic
Caldwell Esselstyn
Medal record
Men's rowing
Representing the  United States
Olympic Games
1956 MelbourneMen's eight

Caldwell Blakeman Esselstyn Jr. (born December 12, 1933)[1] is an American physician, author and former Olympic rowing champion.

Esselstyn is the author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (2007), in which he argued for a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet that avoids all animal products and oils, as well as reducing or avoiding soybeans, nuts and avocados. The diet has been advocated by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.


Esselstyn was born in New York City in 1933.[1] He graduated from Yale University in 1956[4] where he was a member of Skull and Bones.[5] He also competed in the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, winning a gold medal in the "eights" as a member of the American team.[6]

Esselstyn received his M.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1961. During this time he met and married Ann Crile, the granddaughter of George Washington Crile, founder of the Cleveland Clinic.[7] Esselstyn was an intern (1961–62) and resident (1962–66) at that clinic.[1] In 1968 he completed a tour as an Army surgeon in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star.[1] Upon his return he rejoined the clinic and has served as the President of the Staff and as a member of its Board of Governors. He served as the President of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons in 1991. In 2000 he gave up his post at the Cleveland Clinic.[8]

Esselstyn has served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Nutrition Action magazine, published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.[9] Esselstyn is also on the advisory board of Naked Food Magazine, for which he is also a regular contributor of articles espousing a plant-based diet.

Diet work

Esselstyn promotes his diet with claims it can prevent coronary disease and cardiovascular disease. The diet excludes all animal products and oils and recommends foods such as fruits, vegetables, pasta, and especially cruciferous vegetables.[10]

His work received media attention when former U.S. President Bill Clinton cited it, along with work by Dean Ornish and The China Study as the basis for his change of diet in 2010[11] and yet more in late 2011 when Clinton discussed his diet with CNN and other media outlets.[12]

Esselstyn was also one of the doctors featured in the 2011 documentary, Forks Over Knives.[13]

Mainstream authorities in nutrition agree that a plant-based diet that avoids processed food is a healthy diet.[14][15][16][17][18]

With regard to Esselstyn's claims, Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association, said: "Diet alone is not going to be the reason that heart attacks are eliminated."[19]

Harriet A. Hall has written that the claims made by Esselstyn are misleading and that the evidence on which it is based is "pretty skimpy".[10] Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic said that his claims are unproven because there isn't data from rigorous clinical trials to support them.[8]


In 2005 Esselstyn received the Benjamin Spock Award for Compassion in Medicine (he was the award's first recipient), and in 2009 the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Cleveland Clinic Alumni Association. In 2010 he received the Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame Award.[7]


  • Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure. Penguin, 2007 ISBN 978-1-101-21583-8


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Curriculum Vitae
  2. "Meet the Esselstyn Family" by Gretchen Schisla
  3. Esselstyn, A. The Daily Beet: An Answers Some Questions. 04 November 2016
  4. Official Website: Biography
  5. "C. B. Esselstyn Jr. Fiance of Ann Crile". The New York Times. 1 May 1961. p. 33.
  6. "1956 Summer Olympics – Melbourne, Australia – Rowing" Archived December 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved on May 15, 2008)
  7. 1 2 "About Dr. Esselstyn". Archived from the original on May 11, 2012.
  8. 1 2 Harlan Spector for the Cleveland Plain DealerJune 09, 2008 Ex-surgeon Caldwell Esselstyn Jr. espouses a noninvasive cure for heart disease
  9. "Scientific Advisory Board" (PDF). Nutrition Action. Center for Science in the Public Interest. January 2010. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  10. 1 2 Hall HA (November 23, 2010). "Bill Clinton's Diet". Science-Based Medicine.
  11. Philip Sherwell for The Telegraph. October 3, 2010 Bill Clinton's new diet: nothing but beans, vegetables and fruit to combat heart disease
  12. David S. Martin, CNN August 18, 2011 From omnivore to vegan: The dietary education of Bill Clinton
  13. Angela Hickman (2011-05-16). "The food revolution of Forks Over Knives will not be processed". National Post. Retrieved 2014-09-04.
  14. Tuso, P. J.; Ismail, M. H.; Ha, B. P.; Bartolotto, C (2013). "Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets". The Permanente Journal. 17 (2): 61–66. doi:10.7812/TPP/12-085. PMC 3662288. PMID 23704846.
  15. "WHO | Diet". WHO.
  16. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. "Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee." Washington (DC): USDA and US Department of Health and Human Services (2015).
  17. "App. E-3.7: Developing Vegetarian and Mediterranean-style Food Patterns – 2015 Advisory Report –". Retrieved 2015-09-30.
  18. Katz DL, Meller S (2014). "Can we say what diet is best for health?". Annu Rev Public Health. 35: 83–103. doi:10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182351. PMID 24641555.
  19. David S. Martin, "The 'heart attack proof' diet?", CNN, November 25, 2011.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.