About food science and professor Mozaffarian
For her latest book Pure Pascale - Healthy food for healthy living - Pascale Naessens travelled to Boston to interview three of the most renowned authorities on nutrition in the world. Last but not least: leading nutritionist and cardiologist Dariush Mozaffarian.
It was the Dutch professor Hanno Pijl who introduced me to another professor with an even more fascinating name: an American named Dariush Mozaffarian. “He is the foremost authority on nutrition today”, Professor Pijl said. That was all that was needed to pique my interest. I immediately started to read up on Dr. Mozaffarian’s research and scientific work. I love his tone of voice, nuanced yet convinced of the modern ideas on nutrition. I became even more intrigued when I read in one of his research papers that the worst food combinations are ‘proteins and (fast) carbohydrates’: I was flabbergasted. This was something I’d been previously aware of because I had experienced it first hand, but for the first time an extensive scientific paper had published the same findings. I was really surprised that such an illustrious professor agreed to an interview. And so, we flew to Boston.
How does a specialist like you become interested in nutrition?
Dariush Mozaffarian: “During my medical training and my training in cardiology, I quickly realised that the greatest problem facing patients was their ‘diet’. My interest lay in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease where diet is crucial. But I found that the necessary, fundamental nutritional advice wasn’t derived from any type of scientific perspective. I thought that was shocking. I studied medicine, did all the training and still learned nothing about the most important reason for the health problems in my patients, namely their diet. So, I sought to broaden my knowledge on the subject, simply to help my patients. I quickly realised that what we knew at that time (in the 1990s) and what science also proved wasn’t compatible with the standard dietary recommendations or the conventional school of thought. At that time, we were in the midst of a ‘low fat- and low cholesterol craze’. Nevertheless, there was still a lot of evidence that suggested ‘eating less fat’ wasn’t conducive to preventing disease. So, there were two things that bothered me greatly: firstly, that health recommendations did not come directly from the health care system and secondly, that official dietary guidelines didn’t follow the established science. I realised that there was still a lot of work to do in this field.”
I interviewed professor Mozaffarian in June 2016 for Feeling magazine; the full article can be found on the PDF file (in Dutch) below.