Name: Alan Levinovitz, PhD
Location: James Madison University: Harrisburg, VA
Specialty: Professor of Religion and Philosophy
“Although scientific training can inoculate against the power of nutritional myths, by no means does it guarantee immunity.”
-Alan Levinovitz, “The Gluten Lie”
All right, welcome back. Do a quick search on Amazon for books about gluten and over three thousand results show up. Everything from cooks books, diet guides and even childrens’ books show up. If you’re a listener to this podcast, and you don’t have celiac disease, these are not the books likely found in your home library.
Happily there’s one book, on the first page of results, that you should own though. Called “The Gluten Lie”, it’s well researched, backed up with peer-reviewed data and it’s about much more than just Gluten. Who wrote this book you ask? An MD out there who was fed up with latest irrational diet craze. No, this book was written by our guest today, Alan Levinovitz, a professor of Religion and Philosophy at James Madison University. As we’ll soon explore with Alan, many of these diet crazes, pseudo science myths and other crazy beliefs are nothing new. They’ve popped up again and again throughout history, and if we don’t learn from history, well, you can guess what happens.
This was a unique conversation and probably one of the funnest yet. Alan is fighting the good fight, writing for The Atlantic, Time, Fortune and NPR just to name a few. He’s also a great guy to talk with and the kind of professor you wish you had had in college. With that said, let’s get started….
Links and More:
Professor Alan Levinovitz:
Chris Rock on Food:
“The Gluten Lie”
One thought on “The Fascinating History of Bad Medicine and Dangerous Belief Systems: Alan Levinovitz, PhD”
Very insightful podcast. Experienced many fad diets in my lifetime. The gluten free diet, being just one of them. Worked with a physician who actually has celiac disease, and benefits from a gluten free diet, but understand this does not pertain to the vast majority who do not, but still follow this diet. One of the things I learned from Alan, was how to respect and lovingly support individuals who abstain from gluten, but also encourage evidence based literature for educational purposes, if this opportunity presents itself. Think it would be interesting to read his next book, and how he has evolved from ‘The Gluten Lie’ to what he feels is important to focus on now. Also like how he referred to Pediatric Palliative Care MDs. As an NP in Adult Palliative Services for the past 8 1/2 years, I tried my best to present patients and families w/ the truth whether good news or bad. Have not ever told someone or their family the patient would not live long, because often times the individual would live longer than expected. Agree that Pediatric Palliative specialists are like ‘angels’ because it’s a special gift to work w/ this population, something I do not have.