Neal Barnard, president of the deceptively named “Physicians Committee” for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), is hitting the road this month on a book tour to promote his 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart program. The casual observer might think this is yet another hardcover to fill up the self-help section. But if you know a thing or two about PCRM (or weight loss, for that matter), you’ll quickly realize that – much like Barnard’s group – this book is not what it seems.
To begin by judging the book by its orange cover, the program purports to “boost metabolism, lower cholesterol, and dramatically improve your health.” It does not mention that to achieve such lofty health goals, Barnard’s program mandates giving up milk, eggs, salmon, shrimp, chicken breast, pork, and dozens of other low-calorie lean protein sources that are part of the typical weight-loss canon. There’s also no credible evidence that a diet that contains meat and dairy poses any undue health risk, though it could lead to serious vitamin deficiencies.
Sound like strange advice from a weight-loss doctor? That might be because he is not a registered nutritionist or bariatric surgeon but a psychiatrist by training.
So why doesn’t Barnard come out and admit on the cover that this book is just another vegan manifesto wearing a veneer of health? It’s the same reason PCRM doesn’t openly advertise its past links to PETA and to FBI-designated domestic animal-rights terrorist groups: because that would expose the group’s true animal-rights agenda. (Barnard himself has been PETA’s medical advisor and president of the PETA Foundation. We bet that didn’t make it onto the book jacket, either.)
And finally, we believe the majority of people picking up this book as a quick fix will be sorely disappointed in the results. Long-term weight management requires a total lifestyle approach – not a scientifically flimsy diet you only have to stick to for 21 days. And that is ultimately what makes this just another weight-loss gimmick that will line the bargain bin in a few months.