Is diet guru Dr. Katz holier-than-thou? Perhaps not


The prolific diet guru Dr. David Katz loves to constantly attack his opponents for having diet books to sell. Which could be a decent argument, except for the fact that not many people try to sell their books more vigorously than… Dr. Katz.

Apparently Dr. Katz has been writing reviews on the Huffington Post and Amazon about one of his own books – without mentioning that he himself wrote it. Among other things Dr. Katz called his own writing “lyrically beautiful” and compared it to the work of writers like Plato, John Milton and Charles Dickens:

Yale News: Katz faces criticism for book review


Diet Guru Dr. Katz Goes Ballistic (Again)


  1. Christoph
    " On Sept. 29, Jason Fung, a Toronto-based doctor who said he is skeptical of the guidelines, tweeted a link to the Huffington Post review: “Here’s @DrDavidKatz writing a glowing book review about a book he himself wrote under a pseudonym. What an ass.” "

    Yes!! :D

  2. Michael
    "Among other things Dr. Katz called his own writing 'lyrically beautiful' and compared it to the work of writers like Plato, John Milton and Charles Dickens …"


    Dickens was a wonderful writer but a poor stylist in many ways. (It was a fault of the age: Scott, another good writer, is far worse.) As for Milton, he's best known for his poetry, which uses a very "high" formal style that would be very unlike any language used in a diet book:

    "But O how fall'n! how chang'd
    From him, who in the happy Realms of Light
    Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didst out-shine
    Myriads though bright ..."

    And I beg leave to doubt Katz has ever read any of Milton's prose. But if you're reading this, David, here you are - have a look:

    Katz also says "Plato". I wonder does he know Plato lived in Athens in the 4th century BC? Does Katz even read Ancient Attic Greek? And if not, how can he give us a judgment on Plato's style?

    I tend to think Katz knows nothing of these writers beyond their names - and that they have prestige among people who do care about literature.

    I'd no more take his opinion on literature than I would on diet. It seems equally worthless. As for his ethics ...

    Reply: #8
  3. Robin
    Low carb critics are such crazed nutjobs. We have David Katz who writes his own reviews on Amazon and then we the CarbSane nutter.

    She says on her blog she's a scientist - again and again. So I started researching her. It turns out she's actually teaching math at a community college and has never published anything on nutrition in peer reviewed journals. I actually fond nothing published at all via google scholar. How is she a scientist?

    She's not a scientist in my book.

    One of her students it seems actually wrote a review of her on a professor review site saying she doesn't change her pants often enough.

    They are all crazed nutters.

    -Robin Kate

    Replies: #4, #5
  4. Paul TR
    and they all suffer from Delusions of Grandeur. They all are either 'scientists' themselves (with long history of research in the field of human nutritioin) or their husbands and/or very close friends are famous professors at at least Ivy-League school of Nutrition.
    Nice dissection of David Katz' personality and professionalism, Michaeel.
  5. BobM
    Personally, I wouldn't attack anyone for not being a scientist. Neither Gary Taubes nor Nina Teicholz is a scientist, yet they both have produced great books questioning the current dogma in nutrition.
    Reply: #7
  6. Vikram
    For his book on Amazon it appears that Katz also hired someone to publish the other reviews. And he had that same person write negative reviews about someone else's book.
  7. Murray
    @BobM, I agree to a point. The definition of scientist is a bit fuzzy. Would you include Dr. John Snow, who identified cholera as a waterborne disease through empirical inquiry? Would you include Charles Darwin who was not an experimental scientist but merely observed patterns and theorized?

    I would put Taubes and Teicholz in the class of first-rate science journalists. Teicholz studied at Stanford, Yale and Oxford and her studies included biology. She spent the better part of a decade researching her book, with extensive first-hand interviews. Taubes has a degree in physics from Harvard, a masters of aeronautic engineering from Stanford and a journalism degree from Columbia. He has specialized in scientific method and was the one who critically exposed the cold fusion claim as bogus. He is also collaborating in the design of NUSI-funded research projects. Their first-rate journalism and broad scope of synthesizing inquiry bring something scientists generally don't. Even a review paper by a scientist is woefully short of what Taubes and Teicholz have produced as professional journalists with science education.

    CarbSane isn't close to the same pedigree or quality of analysis.

  8. Murray
    Michael, I think the reference to Plato, Milton and Dickens was to Katz praising the prophetic style of his self-styled prophet "Samhu L. Iyyam" (Samuel I am) and not the Green-Eggs-and-Ham prose of his food books.
  9. Apicius
    According to the "expert" dr Katz, eating high fibre, low calorie, low fat, bulky foods will fill you up and help you lose weight. I think he is exactly right. In fact, my guess is that his book (high fibre, low cal, low fat, bulky) fits the bill. So, perhaps if they cut it up into little small pieces with scissors, add to skim milk, and perhaps sprinkle some fake sugar on top, it would make a great snack for all the people he is trying to help lose weight.

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