A vegan weight-loss surgeon says a plant-based diet is the healthiest eating plan to enhance longevity and stave off obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Garth Davis, who has performed gastric-bypass and lap-band surgeries on morbidly obese people for 12 years, says trendy high-protein diets such as the Paleo and Atkins diets are warped and misguided.
"In 12 years of doing weight-loss surgery, I have never operated on a vegetarian," Davis said Sept. 19 on a podcast with vegan ultra-marathoner/triathlete Rich Roll. "No one's getting fat on broccoli. No one comes in and says, 'I'm eating too many grapes.' "
Davis, 43, says the current craze touting a high-protein, high-fat diet is sending the wrong message. He says the public doesn't realize that research studies promoting high-protein diets are often funded by dairy and cattle lobbyists who have a financial incentive to encourage meat-eating and milk-drinking.
The previously sedentary Davis himself shed 20 pounds and became an Ironman triathlete shortly after switching to a vegetarian diet, and has never felt better.
In his practice, Davis observed that his obese patients always ate the same meat-heavy, high-fat diet, and it is this eating plan that has fueled their downward spiral into diabetes, heart disease and obesity. "It's like a slaughterhouse of animals that they're eating on a daily basis," he said.
While high-protein eating plans such as the Atkins and Paleo diets are popular these days, Davis points out that the populations that live the longest and experience the lowest rates of heart disease, dementia, cancer and obesity follow a largely plant-based diet.
Davis says when he tells people he's a vegetarian, the first question they ask is if he's getting enough protein. "The obvious misconception [on a plant-based diet] is that you cannot get enough protein and therefore will become a frail weakling," he told Vegan Bodybuilding.
"We eat more protein in this country than any other country and yet we are the sickest and fattest civilized country in the world. Meanwhile, societies that thrive on a high-carb diet of plants and fruits are thin and live much longer than the typical American."