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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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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, General Health, Heart & Vascular Disease, Natural Remedies, Vegan, Videos, , , , ,

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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5:58AM PDT on May 2, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

6:21AM PDT on Jul 2, 2012


4:38AM PDT on Apr 10, 2012


12:35PM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

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

1:20AM PDT on Apr 5, 2012

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.

7:01PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Thanks for the information.

2:15PM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

Interesting. Thanks for the information!

7:21AM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

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.

9:11PM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

Interesting article,thanks!

10:29AM PDT on Apr 2, 2012

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

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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