John A. McDougall

John A. McDougall
In 2013
Born (1947-05-27) May 27, 1947
Nationality American
Education Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (M.D.)
  • Physician
  • author
Known for Advocacy of a low-fat, whole-food vegan diet as preventing degenerative diseases
Notable work
  • The McDougall Plan (1983)
  • The Starch Solution (2011)

John A. McDougall (born May 17, 1947) is an American physician and author who is the co-founder, chairman, and sole board member of San Francisco–based Dr. McDougall's Right Foods Inc. He has written a number of diet books advocating the consumption of low-fat, starchy food. His diet—The McDougall Plan—is a fad diet that carries some possible disadvantages, such as a boring food choice and the risk of feeling hungry.[1]

Early years education and career

He was born on May 17, 1947.[2]

McDougall is a graduate of Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine.[3] He performed his internship at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1972 and his medical residency at the University of Hawaii.[3] He is certified as an internist by the Board of Internal Medicine and the National Board of Medical Examiners.

In 1965, at age 18, McDougall suffered a massive stroke, which he attributed to his high animal product diet.[4]

Between 1973 and 1976, McDougall worked as a physician at the Hamakua Sugar Plantation on Hawaii Island. Between 1986 and 2002, he launched a vegetarian dietary program at St. Helena Hospital in the Napa Valley, California. Between 1999 and 2001, he ran a dietary program for the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[4]

McDougall is on the advisory board of Naked Food Magazine, for which he is also a regular contributor of articles espousing a plant-based diet.[5]

Diet programs and products

In 2002, McDougall began the McDougall Program at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa, California. The McDougall Program is a 10-day residential treatment program based in Santa Rosa, California, which features a low-fat, starch-based diet.[3][6]

McDougall is the co-founder, chairman, and sole board member of San Francisco based Dr. McDougall's Right Foods Inc., which produces dried and packaged soups, manufactured for it by the SF Spice Co.[3][7][8] He is also a member of the advisory board of the animal-activist group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)[9][10] In 2016, McDougall was one of four named plaintiffs in a lawsuit by the PCRM alleging improper industry influence on establishing cholesterol recommendations.[11][12]

McDougall Plan reception

His eponymous 1983 diet book, The McDougall Plan, is a fad diet with possible disadvantages including a boring food choice, flatulence and the risk of feeling hungry.[1] Reviewing McDougall's book, The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss, nutritionist Fredrick J. Stare and epidemiologist Elizabeth Whelan criticized its restrictive regime and "poor advice", concluding that the diet's concepts were "extreme and out of keeping with nutritional reality".[13]


McDougall has written several books, with his wife Mary contributing recipes, that sold more than 1.5 million copies as of 2008.[6][14]

  • McDougall, John; McDougall, Mary (4 June 2013). The starch solution. Book Pub Co. ISBN 9781570671845. OL 16361276W. 
  • McDougall, John (2006). Dr. McDougall's digestive tune-up. New Century Publishers. ISBN 9780832904073. OL 1939852W. 
  • McDougall, John (1 August 1991). The McDougall program: 12 days to dynamic health. Penguin. ISBN 9781101645116. OL 1939857W. 
  • McDougall, John; McDougall, Mary (1 April 1995). The McDougall program for maximum weight loss. Penguin. ISBN 9781101645123. 
  • McDougall, John; McDougall, Mary (1 January 1997). The new McDougall cookbook. Plume. ISBN 9780452274655. OL 1939856W. 
  • McDougall, John; McDougall, Mary. The McDougall quick & easy cookbook. Penguin. ISBN 9781101119174. OL 1939855W. 


  1. 1 2 Alters S, Schiff W (22 February 2012). Chapter 10: body weight and its management. Essential concepts for healthy living (Sixth ed.). Jones & Bartlett Publishers. p. 327. ISBN 978-1-4496-3062-1.
  2. "About Us". Dr. McDougall's Health & Medical Center. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Gene Stone, ed. (28 June 2011). Forks over knives: the plant-based way to health. Workman Publishing. pp. 52–3. ISBN 9781615191468.
  4. 1 2 "Dr. McDougall, why do you act that way?". 8 (4). The McDougall Newsletter. April 2009.
  5. "Our Advisory Board". Naked Food Magazine. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  6. 1 2 Robin Asbell. "Practicing What He Preaches". Better Homes and Gardens. Archived from the original on June 17, 2008.
  7. "Executive profile John A. McDougall". Bloomberg. Retrieved 27 July 2017.
  8. Anderson, Mark (10 December 2014). "Bay Area food company to move operations to Woodland". Sacramento Business Journal. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  9. "Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine". Actifist Facts. Center for Organizational Research and Education.
  10. Sunny Aslam (28 November 2001). "Vegetarian diet on solid ground, experts say". USA Today.
  11. Tayna, Lewis. "A lawsuit claims government guidelines on cholesterol were tainted by the egg industry". Business Insider. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  12. "The Physicians Committee sues USDA and DHHS, exposing industry corruption in dietary guidelines decision on cholesterol". Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. 6 January 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  13. Stare FJ, Whelan EM (1998). "Book review:The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss by John A. McDougall M.D.". Fad-Free Nutrition. Hunter House. pp. 202–203. ISBN 9780897932363.
  14. Peterson, Diane (31 May 2012). "John McDougall a true believer". The Press Democrat.

Further reading

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