I have been repeatedly attacked and my reputation slandered by Jeff Nelson of VegSource. It is clear he has been vindictive, out to damage my reputation, and does so by maligning my character and making incorrect statements about me and my medical practice. I hoped we could stick to debating the science, but now I am forced again to explain further here, so that people see there is more background and animosity fueling the anti-Fuhrman bias presented there. I thank you all for your supportive comments, in light of this attempt at character assassination.
If you have been following my response to his critique of nuts and seeds above, and my prior discussion of this issue on this blog, it is easy to see that Jeff Nelson misinterpreted and even falsified what those studies showed.
Lately, he rebirthed an old series of attacks that Dr. Campbell had against me for a mistake that was made in a weight loss study published in 2008, that was aired by Roberta Russell. Dr. Campbell makes some very severe statements against my integrity and character, essentially stating that nobody should ever trust anything I say. Dr. Campbell bases this harsh opinion of me on the claims I made, and the faulty data from this one 2008 study that had those errors in it. Please note that there is nothing else he has brought up or can bring up, besides that one study, in this attempt to tarnish my reputation.
I made incorrect claims about the findings of that study, before I knew there was a problem with the calculations. In other words, my exaggerated claim of an average 53-pound weight loss was because that is what I believed at the time that the study showed. My sole contribution to this study was to give the researcher 100 patient charts that had weight loss listed on their problem list. She then whittled that down to 63, then 56 people, based on a criterion that they were using for the research, and I was not involved in the calculations or determinations of the results that followed. My statements about this study were overly-enthusiastic, as that is what I really thought. I was a busy family doctor then, and not writing research articles. The researcher who was in charge of the study has confirmed this publicly. Here is her public comment, that was later published in the journal, acknowledging that the error was hers.
“I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the above letter from Dr. Campbell. As explained in my erratum published earlier this year in the journal, the error was minor, involving accidental inclusion of one patient who did not meet eligibility criteria. I also explained that the original statistical method for calculation of mean weight loss for the two year group compared that group to the mean weight loss of the original full sample, and I offered a corrected mean weight loss at two years comparing only to the baseline weight of those who were in the 2-year follow-up group. This corrected weight loss still proved to be statistically significant and thus our conclusions from the study were unchanged. Regarding the study sample size of 63 versus 100, in the study published in this journal the original number of charts included in the chart review was 63 and the sample that met eligibility criteria was 56. Of those who were followed for 2 years and met eligibility criteria (n=18), one of the 18 had a weight gain of 3 pounds; the others all had sustained weight loss at 2 years. The reference to a sample size of 100 in one of Dr. Fuhrman’s public lectures refers to an entirely different unpublished data set. Certainly, I agree that Dr. Campbell should withdraw his name from the authorship of this study.
With respectful regards,
Barbara Sarter PhD, APRN, FNP-C, DiHom Associate Professor
Hahn School of Nursing and Health Sciences University of San Diego
San Diego, CA
In other words, I enthusiastically stated what I thought was correct at that time as those statements were made before the error was discovered. The mistake I did make was forgetting that Dr. Sarter only utilized 63 of the 100 charts I had submitted many years prior. Since then, I have made no further claims about that study and have made no other inaccurate statements that I am aware of.
Still, Jeff Nelson falsely represented the real findings of that chart review study. In other words, he is critical of me for exaggerating the benefits seen, but then he exaggerates the lack of benefit seen. Nelson claims there was only an 8% success rate because all did not keep 100% of the lost weight off, or some did not follow up. If a person loses 30 pounds and then gains back 2 or 3 of those pounds, is that person considered a failure? I consider that a success.
Dr. Campbell’s harsh criticism of me should be placed in the context of his anger against me way before that study was found to have an error in it. Our fight was about a different issue – Campbell was attacking me because of my research funding requests, competing with his, which threatened payments that were being made to him. I was very hurt by Dr. Campbells accusations, which had no basis in fact. Then after, when the error in this study became evident, Dr. Campbell’s attacks against me had something to fuel his anger, and intensified.
Here is an email letter written by John Mackey, the head of Whole Foods Market (to Dr. Campbell) regarding his insulting comments made against me – before the flaw in the aforementioned study was found.
What is the goal that you hope to accomplish with your e-mail? What is
your desired outcome? What would you like to see happen? What is the good
that you hope will possibly result? It is very confusing to me! Please help
me understand what your good intentions are here.
You say that you mean no personal offense while you personally attack both
Deborah and Joel! How could they possibly not be personally offended when
they are both personally criticized and put down by name and done so in a
public manner to their friends and peers?
Truth and progress advance in the world in many different ways, many of
them accidental and unexpected, and some from very unlikely sources. I don't
believe there is one best way of helping humanity advance our collective
knowledge about healthy eating. We will need the creative contributions of
the scientists, the doctors, the business people, and the well intentioned
people such as Deborah who have whole heartedly embraced healthy eating.
All are needed to affect a revolution in our diets and lifestyles. All are
We should be making common cause with each other. We should be showing
respect and mutual tolerance toward our fellow travelers even when we
sometimes disagree with them or their methods. We should be encouraging and
supporting each other, rather than attacking and criticizing. If we have
personal criticisms to offer in constructive ways, then I think those
criticisms are best offered up privately, and if possible, in person. So
many misunderstandings and bitter feelings can result from personal
criticisms via e-mail, even when they are well intentioned. Praise publicly
and criticize privately is a good strategy for nurturing relationships,
organizations, and movements. I would love it if that could be the ethic of
I hope you are well Colin. Take care.
There are many other physicians and scientists on the scientific review board that commented even more harshly against Dr. Campbell back then, but this one response by John Mackey articulately says enough.
Then Dr. Campbell used his considerable influence to inhibit my research funding and blackball me from speaking at health conferences, resulting in last-minute cancelations of speaking engagements, which tarnished my reputation and livelihood. After his petition to ACLM (American College of Lifestyle Medicine) to attempt to protest my presentation(s), they did a thorough investigation of this entire matter, including his divisive public comments before the study error was discovered; they reinstated my good standing, and permitted my participation.
I do not have the flawed 2008 study in question listed on my website, or included in my books, since the flaws came to light. I have been involved with more than a dozen other studies since then that justify and add substance to my recommendations that are listed. That full list of studies can be reviewed here https://www.drfuhrman.com/get-started/biography . This list includes a more recent weight loss survey (with a more substantial number) that also shows a significant and impressive amount of long-term weight loss. Of course, no one study is perfect, and my work is always presented in the context of a large body of evidence and significant clinical experience with patients, always with the purpose of making certain each individual is getting the best guidance for their condition and individual needs.
Thank you for your understanding. It is always an honor to be advising and affecting the lives of so many.
Dr. Fuhrman was interviewed this week on the Lillian McDermott Show. During the broadcast, Dr. Fuhrman shares his perspective on the flawed 2008 research study, the conflict with T. Colin Campbell, M.D., and why he is concerned about the long-term health of those following a low-fat vegan diet. He holds nothing back. Click here to watch.
Cheri Alberts interviewed Dr. Fuhrman to address current controversies. Cheri asked the hard questions, and got the whole story, directly from Dr. Fuhrman. Click here to watch.