Medical Establishment Resistance: The Tomato Effect

In today’s video pick, I feature Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s landmark Preventive Cardiology editorial, “Resolving the Coronary Artery Disease Epidemic Through Plant-Based Nutrition.” Dr. Esselstyn, whose book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease inspired President Clinton’s dietary shift, details the “several mutually reinforcing institutional and commercial interests [that] oppose this lifestyle intervention,” from the billions raked in by the drug companies and stent manufacturers, to agribusiness influence resulting in USDA dietary recommendations “laden with foods that predispose millions of Americans to perish from cardiovascular disease.” (See my 2-minute video Dietary Guidelines: Science vs. Corporate Interests)

Financial interests and influence help explain institutional biases in government and among, say, cardiothoracic surgeons and interventional cardiologists, but why does the medical profession in general appear so resistant to embracing plant-based diets, the proven cure? The “tomato effect” describes a slavish devotion to orthodoxy within the medical establishment that has led to a long history of rejecting highly efficacious therapies because they happen to go against the prevailing conventional wisdom (see video above).

The truth wins out, eventually. But until then, how many more people have to die?

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Image credit: gcpics /

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Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Abbe A.
Azaima A.3 years ago


Minjoo C.
Minjoo C.3 years ago


J.L. A.
JL A.3 years ago

additional insights of why change is resisted by this institution--thanks

Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Pendragon3 years ago

When I saw the headline I thought this was about tomatoes. Instead I find it's about ignoramuses. Who should be eating tomatoes. Symbolic of accepting ideas that are "outside the box." Eat a tomato.

Joe Shults
Joe Shults3 years ago

Thanks for the information.

Nicole Gorman
Nicole Gorman3 years ago

Interesting. Thanks for the information!

Lynn C.
Lynn C.3 years ago

I'm a cynic - I don't think these ideas are rejected because they go against 'prevailing conventional wisdom'. I think they are rejected because Dr.s have been brainwashed by the pharmaceutical industry - and that from medical school, to the office or hospital where he works.
I say this because my friends daughter was a top sales person for one of them, and visited many Dr.'s offices to successfully sell them on the idea of using whatever was the drug of the moment.
Kickbacks, in some form, from laboratories? I don't have proof of that, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised.

Leena K.
Leena K.3 years ago

Interesting article,thanks!

Lynn C.
Lynn C.3 years ago

Most of us know this! It's what to do about it that is the dilemma.