Learn More About Dr. Leung's Research Philosophy

Dr. Leung says "My thinking has changed and I no longer trust research findings on botanicals unless... "
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dr. Leung Responds: "Unhappy Meals", Michael Pollan, New York Times

Dr. Leung’s response to Michael Pollan's New York Times article “Unhappy Meals” is below.

After reading Michael Pollan’s article “Unhappy Meals” (New York Times Magazine, Sunday, January 28, 2007), I think it is the best article on health I have read for years. I totally agree with the author’s premise that we have been consuming too many nutrients (scientifically determined and named) and not enough whole foods that contain not only these nutrients but many others which we may need more than the known macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats or micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids, which we need for optimal health.

For the past 20 plus years I have been writing about the same issue, except with more emphasis on traditional herbal medicines vs. modern drugs, where “active” ingredients do not equate to whole traditional medicines or herbal supplements. And where, as in conventional nutrients research, the scientists either don’t get it or opt for expediency, taking the easy way out by pursuing a reductionistic approach. It’s this kind of scientific approach to studying nutrition and traditional medicines/supplements that has indirectly caused many of our current health problems in North America, because its misguided results have led to our over-reliance on chemical nutrients and drugs. They have thus prevented us from taking advantage of the thousands of years of ongoing traditional experience and wisdom in whole foods and whole herbs that are often used interchangeably for our health benefit.

I have also done extensive research on traditional herbs and botanicals over the past 25 plus years and have learned much about them. A pill or a can (no matter how big) containing all the known nutrients (carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc.) is no substitute for a good balanced meal. The same holds true in traditional herbal medicines and supplements. A product (juice, drink, pill, or capsule) prepared by mixing various phytochemicals or extracts standardized only to these chemicals is not equivalent to a product that contains the whole spectrum of phytochemicals derived from whole extracts of the traditional herbs that make up the formula. The latter is the only one that would contain all the ingredients for delivering the traditional benefits known for those herbs.

Links to more information below
General herbal information
Technical herbal information

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