While I am not a believer in Dr. Dean Ornish’s “Fat is Bad” approach to nutrition, I thought he gave a thoroughly entertaining lecture on the globalization of America’s obesity epidemic at the TED conference in April of 2007.

The Lecture

During his talk, Dr. Ornish hits the following points:

  • He considers the worldwide spread of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension to a pandemic of global proportion
  • He believes that these conditions to be completely preventable for at least 95% of people, just by changing diet and lifestyle

africa-western-diet-mcdonalds-cokeTo illustrate the growth of this pandemic, Dr. Ornish relates the following data:

  • In one generation, Asia has gone from having one of the lowest rates of chronic disease to having one of the highest
  • Cardiovascular deaths equal HIV/AIDS deaths in most African countries

And why is this happening?

Along with Western (primarily America) culture, the spread of the Western Diet is making it the de facto World Diet. Or as Dr. Ornish says:

  • People are starting to eat like us, live like us, and die like us

So, where do we go from here?

According to Dr. Ornish, that’s up to us. Just like we have helped to globalize the Western Diet, we can also help to globalize a healthier way to eat and live.

Dr. Ornish credits some of America’s large food producers for trying to “make it sexy, hip, cool, sexy, and fun to eat and live more healthfully”

Disclaimer: Dr. Ornish chairs the advisory boards to McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Conagra, Safeway, and Del Monte.

To back up his claims that the big guys are trying to “healthify” their menus, he notes that:

  • Last year, McDonald’s sold 800 million salads
  • 67% of revenue growth at PepsCo last year was from healthier foods”)


Dr. Ornish believes that “if we use diet and lifestyle changes to prevent and treat chronic diseases, we can reverse the spread of chronic “lifestyle” diseases as well as free up precious resources for treating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB and preventing avian flu”

And what happens if we don’t listen to Doc Ornish? What happens if we continue to graze on junk food while watching endless hours of t.v. and internet porn?

de-evolution of man

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