Nutritional Research Specialist and Educator,

Dr. James J. (Jay) Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN

Dr. Jay Kenney
Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa
  • PhD, Nutrition, Rutgers University
  • Board Certified, Human Nutrition Sciences, American Board of Nutrition
  • Fellow, American College of Nutrition
  • Physiology Department, Assistant Professor, UCLA
  • Biology Department, Assistant Professor, Lehigh University
  • Board Member, National Council Against Health Fraud

For more than three decades, Dr. Kenney has traveled throughout the U.S., speaking at conferences for doctors, dietitians, and other health professionals on the relationship between diet and disease, and exposing the unscientific claims of many fad diets. He has published articles for scientific journals, including the Journal of Nutrition and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, as well as popular magazines, such as Self and Shape. He has been interviewed on many TV and radio media, most recently Frontline and CNN News, and provides continuing professional education courses for dietitians, nutritionists and other health professionals.

His passion for helping people cut through the confusion and understand the real truth about diets make his lectures at Pritikin both inspiring and eye opening. He also walks his talk. “Today, I enjoy eating Pritikin foods as much as I did my steak-and-ice-cream diet of 35 years ago. Best of all, I’m in better health today, in my 60s, than I was in my 30s. Before starting Pritikin, my blood pressure was 150/100; my cholesterol was over 300. Today, my blood pressure is generally below 110/70, my cholesterol is 180, and my HDL ‘good’ cholesterol is 80. Plus, I eat a lot of great-tasting, satisfying food and never go hungry. I weigh 157 pounds at 6’3″. That’s 40 pounds less than my weight in college. America would not have an epidemic of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease if we could get everyone on the Pritikin Program.”



Calcium Supplements Can Cause Heart Attacks


By    |   Posted on May 29, 2012



570x299 Calcium Supplements Can Cause Heart AttacksCalcium supplements are thought to be good for the bones, but a new study warns they might be bad for the heart.

report released Friday in the journal Heart found an alarming result: taking a calcium supplement to prevent bone loss puts people at a significantly greater risk for heart attacks. The 24,000 participants in the study, all between the ages of 35 and 64 and taking calcium supplements regularly, were found to be a whopping 86 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who did not take supplements.

According to the study, “Calcium supplements have been widely embraced by doctors and the public on the grounds that they are a natural and therefore safe way of preventing osteoporatic fractures. We should return to seeing calcium as an important component of a balanced diet.”

Dr. Matt Lederman, featured in Forks Over Knives, advises, “There are often unintended consequences when taking nutrients in isolation. The research to date shows that the amount of calcium found in a whole-food plant-based diet is adequate – and that more isn’t necessarily better.”

The authors of the study noted that excessive calcium, a common side effect of taking calcium supplements, is where the harm may begin.

Says Lederman, “For good bone health, the most important factors are eating a healthy plant-based diet, getting an adequate amount of sunshine, and doing strength-oriented exercise.”

What to and what not to eat!

Eat This Food:

Eat Whole Plant Based food such as vegetables, fruit and grains. Some examples: potato dishes, sweet potato, carrots, turnip, cabbage, parsnip, beets,  corn, green and yellow beans, onion, lettuce, spinach,kale, daikon, tomato, garlic, apples, pears, oranges, bananas, berries of all type , black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, oats, navy beans, barley, quinoa, couscous, chia and flax seed, whole wheat pastas, whole wheat bread, pancakes, waffles, porridge and more.

Once you realize how restrictive eating a meat and dairy centric diet is compared to the extensive dishes that can be made from whole foods, you will never look back. Dairy is just liquid meat. The problem is getting away from a salt, fat and sugar, meat and dairy based diet. Considering that the former will promote poor health and chronic disease, it should be easy. However it is not that simple, your tastes will have to change and that takes time.

Try it for 90 days, you will become healthier and happier. You will feel and look great. You will also lose weight.

Do Not Eat This Food:

Meats, poultry, fish, eggs (both whites and yolks), and all dairy products (regular and non-fat), including milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, cream, sour cream, and butter.

Also avoid margarine, salad dressings, cooking oils and foods, such as potato chips, french fries, onion rings and donuts.

Avoid orange juice and all concentrated juices, they are little better than sugar water.

Avoid all foods that are GM, (genetically modified) as the effects could be very detrimental to your health.

Avoid all trans fats, check the label. Trans fats are fats that are normally liquid at room temperature but become solid by combining them with hydrogen. (hydrogenated)

Avoid energy bars which contain excessive amounts of sugar and chemicals.

Avoid soft drinks and sodas which again have excessive amounts of sugar and artificial sweeteners (aspertain etc). One can of soda has 220 calories of sugar alone which is 8 tsp per soda.

Avoid canned soup as it is usually loaded with MSG and sodium, which is very unhealthy. Check the label; the sodium should be = to or less than the calories per serving. Some soups have 10 times the sodium level.

Avoid all refined and processed food as the nutrition has been removed, and salt, fat and sugar have been added. Even worse the sugar is usually fructose sugar. White bread, cookies, crackers and cakes are examples of processed food.

Supplements are not food. Do not eat them as they are expensive and may do more harm than good. The only supplement that you might need if you are 100% vegan is B12.


BREAKFAST—Often breakfast can be similar to the one you are accustomed to with a few simple modifications.

Hot cereals: oatmeal, cream of wheat, creamy rice cereal, porridge with fruit and soy or almond milk. Almond beverage is a good milk substitute.

High-fiber cold cereals: wheat or oat bran cereals with non-fat soy or rice milk and berries, peaches, or bananas

Melons, such as cantaloupe and honeydew, or any other fruit

Whole grain toast topped with cinnamon or jam (no butter or margarine)

Bagels (no cream cheese) topped with apple butter or hummus

Oven-roasted “home fries” plain or smothered with roasted mushrooms, peppers, and onions

LUNCH—whether you dine in or out at lunchtime, there are lots of healthy and delicious options to choose from. Here are some ideas to get you started.


Garden salad with lemon juice, fat-free dressing, or soy or teriyaki sauce

Legume-based salads: three-bean, chickpea, lentil, or black bean and corn salads

Grain-based salads: noodle, couscous, bulgur, or rice salads


Vegetable-based soups: potato-leek, carrot-ginger, mixed vegetable, or mushroom-barley and quinoa.

Legume-based soups: black bean, vegetarian chili, spinach lentil, minestrone, or split pea with quinoa.

Instant or prepared soups (as long as they are low-fat and free of animal products) are good.


CLT: cucumber, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with Dijon mustard or hummus

Hummus sandwich tucked into whole wheat pita with grated carrots, sprouts, and cucumbers

Sandwich made with fat-free meat alternatives such as barbeque seitan or veggie pepperoni slices with your favorite sandwich veggies

Black bean dip, peppers, tomatoes, and lettuce wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla

Italian eggplant sub: baked eggplant slices, pizza sauce, and mushrooms on a multi-grain sub roll

Black bean and sweet potato burrito with corn and tomatoes

DINNER—Emphasize vegetables and grains in all your meals. The evening meal is a good place to try new items. You might start with a bean, rice or other grain, or potato dish and add a couple of vegetables.


Grains: Use generous amounts of grains.


brown rice

boxed rice dishes (e.g., pilaf, curried rice, etc.)


Potatoes: Enjoy them baked or mashed and topped with steamed vegetables, salsa, ketchup, Dijon mustard, black pepper, or black beans.

Breads: Whole-grain is preferred. Avoid sweet breads that contain oil, eggs, or milk.


Try any vegetables you like.

Greens (broccoli, spinach, kale, Swiss chard) topped with lemon


Corn (note: corn is technically a grain, but works as a vegetable)


Pinto beans, vegetarian refried beans, baked beans, black beans, garbanzos, kidney beans

Main Dishes:

Pasta marinara: Choose commercial brands that are free of cheese and are low in fat.

Beans and rice: Try black beans with salsa, vegetarian baked beans, or fat-free refried beans.

Soft tacos: Prepare this dish with whole-wheat flour tortilla, beans, lettuce, tomato, and salsa.

Chili: Vegetarian boxed versions are fine.

Veggie lasagna: Made with low-fat tofu to replace the ricotta, layered with grilled veggies.

Rice pilaf, Spanish rice, or packaged rice dinners: Try packaged rice dishes and omit butter.

Steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables: This meal can be seasoned with soy sauce. Be sure to use a non-stick pan.

Fat-free vegetarian burgers: Make your own lentil burgers or try soy-based commercial brands.

Fajitas: Lightly sauté sliced bell peppers, onions, and eggplant in a non-stick pan, with fajita seasonings.


Fresh fruit

Fat-free chocolate or fruit sorbet


Baked apples


Bagels (plain or flavored; no cheese, butter, or margarine)

Fruit, carrots, or celery sticks

Vegetarian soup cups (split pea, lentil, etc.)

Toast with jam (no butter or margarine)

Baked tortilla chips with salsa or bean dip



Explore new recipes, new books, new products.

Fat-free meat substitutes can ease the transition.

Be strict with yourself. This is easier than teasing yourself with small amounts of the foods you are trying to leave behind.

Focus on the short term. Three weeks is a short time.

Frozen vegetables are fine.

Canned beans and vegetables are okay for convenience.

Use a non-stick pan.

“Sauté” vegetables in water or vegetable broth.

Steam vegetables.

When you can’t avoid oil, use a cooking spray instead of poured oils.

Use non-fat, non-dairy coffee creamers.

Read package labels to check grams of fat per serving. It is best to choose products that have less than 2 grams of fat per serving.



Atkins “Nightmare” Diet

When Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution was first published, the President of the American College of Nutrition said, “Of all the bizarre diets that have been proposed in the last 50 years, this is the most dangerous to the public if followed for any length of time.”[1]

When the chief health officer for the State of Maryland,[2] was asked “What’s wrong with the Atkins Diet?” He replied “What’s wrong with… taking an overdose of sleeping pills? You are placing your body in jeopardy.” He continued “Although you can lose weight on these nutritionally unsound diets, you do so at the risk of your health and even your life.”[3]

The Chair of Harvard’s nutrition department went on record before a 1973 U.S. Senate Select Committee investigating fad diets: “The Atkins Diet is nonsense… Any book that recommends unlimited amounts of meat, butter, and eggs, as this one does, in my opinion is dangerous. The author who makes the suggestion is guilty of malpractice.”[4]

The Chair of the American Medical Association’s Council on Food and Nutrition testified before the Senate Subcommittee as to why the AMA felt they had to formally publish an official condemnation of the Atkins Diet: “A careful scientific appraisal was carried out by several council and staff members, aided by outside consultants. It became apparent that the [Atkins] diet as recommended poses a serious threat to health.”[5]

The warnings from medical authorities continue to this day. “People need to wake up to the reality,” former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop writes, that the Atkins Diet is “unhealthy and can be dangerous.”[6]

The world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals,[7] calls the Atkins Diet “a nightmare of a diet.”[8] The official spokesperson of the American Dietetic Association elaborated: “The Atkins Diet and its ilk–any eating regimen that encourages gorging on bacon, cream and butter while shunning apples, all in the name of weight loss–are a dietitian’s nightmare.”[9] The ADA has been warning Americans about the potential hazards of the Atkins Diet for almost 30 years now.[10] Atkins dismissed such criticism as “dietician talk”.[11] “My English sheepdog,” Atkins once said, “will figure out nutrition before the dieticians do.”[12]

The problem for Atkins (and his sheepdog), though, is that the National Academy of Sciences, the most prestigious scientific body in the United States, agrees with the AMA and the ADA in opposing the Atkins Diet.[13] So does the American Cancer Society;[14] and the American Heart Association;[15] and the Cleveland Clinic;[16] and Johns Hopkins;[17] and the American Kidney Fund;[18] and the American College of Sports Medicine;[19] and the National Institutes of Health.[20]

In fact there does not seem to be a single major governmental or nonprofit medical, nutrition, or science-based organization in the world that supports the Atkins Diet.[21] As a 2004 medical journal review concluded, the Atkins Diet “runs counter to all the current evidence-based dietary recommendations.”[22]

A 2003 review of Atkins “theories” in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded: “When properly evaluated, the theories and arguments of popular low carbohydrate diet books… rely on poorly controlled, non-peer-reviewed studies, anecdotes and non-science rhetoric. This review illustrates the complexity of nutrition misinformation perpetrated by some popular press diet books. A closer look at the science behind the claims made for [these books] reveals nothing more than a modern twist on an antique food fad.”[23]

Dr. Greger:

Some Sea Lice With That Farmed Salmon?

Sea lice devour a a farmed salmon in New Brunswick, Canada. 7Barrym0re/Wikimedia Commons

I’ve written a lot about “superbugs”from factory-farmed meat, as well as“superweeds” and “superinsencts”from genetically modified crops. Turns out, industrial agriculture is wreaking similar havoc in the sea. What do I mean? Consider the salmon, that noble family of fish, which has evolved over the millennia alongside an ignoble parasite: the sea louse.

Often less than a centimeter long, the sea louse operates like the land louse that bedevil humans: by attaching itself to the skin of the host and then chomping down and sipping its blood. Happily, wild salmon and sea lice populations achieved a rough balance over their time on the planet—wild salmon developed resistance to the point that sea lice can do their thing without causing significant harm.

That was the state of things, anyway, until the emergence of industrial-scale salmon farming in Norway in the 1970s. In industrial salmon production, the fish are stuffed together by the hundreds of thousands in pens open to the coastal sea. These conditions provide a veritable banquet for sea lice—rather than having to scour the sea for their hosts, the parasites find their targets wriggling around en masse in one place. Left to their own devices, the industry discovered, the age-old parasite-host balance is upset, and farm salmon populations succumb to sea lice.

Undaunted, producers resorted to a prized tool of land-based industrial agriculture: pesticides. The idea is simple: If farmed salmon can’t fight off sea lice with their own defenses, dump toxic chemicals into the feed (or directly into the pens) to do the job for them.

The practice worked well enough as the farmed salmon industry exploded in size and—still dominated by a few large Norwegian firms—set up shop in Chile, the United States’ Pacific Northwest, and Canada. The explosion in production turned salmon from a luxury food to an everyday staple. Today,90 percent of salmon consumed in the US comes from vast farm operations.

Lepeophtheirus salmonis (sea louse): Watershed_Watch/FlickrLepeophtheirus salmonis (sea louse)Watershed_Watch/FlickrBut—surprise!—sea lice are constantly adapting to the poisons used to control them, forcing the industry to ramp up pesticide doses and search for novel poisons. In Canada, source of 40 percent of the farmed salmon consumed in the United States, the sea lice appear to be winning.

The Toronto-based Globe and Mail used Canada’s version of the Freedom of Information Act to uncover government documents revealing alarm over the fact a pesticide called Slice—the only one Canada has registered for use in salmon pens—is losing effectiveness in the nation’s teeming factory salmon farms.* Reported the Globe and Mail:

“Over the last two years, [New Brunswick] salmon farmers have noted growing levels of sea lice tolerance to the in-feed lice control drug Slice,” Claire Dansereau, deputy minister in Fisheries and Oceans, wrote in a memorandum for the minister in September, 2010. “It appears Slice is no longer effective unless applied in triple doses. Farmers have been seeking access to other treatment products including hydrogen peroxide, Salmosan, AlphaMax and Calicide.” [Emphasis mine.]

Triple doses. What do such massive amounts of pesticides mean for farmed salmon eaters? No one really knows. Taras Grescoe, author of the excellent book Bottomfeeder, put it like this in a 2008 New York Times op-ed:

To rid salmon of the lice, fish farmers spike their feed with a strong pesticide called emamectin benzoate [the chemical name for Slice], which when administered to rats and dogs causes tremors, spinal deterioration and muscle atrophy. The United States Food and Drug Administration, already hard-pressed to inspect imported Asian seafood for antibiotic and fungicide residues, does not test imported salmon for emamectin benzoate. In other words, the farmed salmon in nearly every American supermarket may contain this pesticide, which on land is used to rid diseased trees of pine beetles. It is not a substance I want in my body.

While sea lice and their pesticides duke it out in Canada’s salmon cages, one sure loser is emerging from the battle: wild salmon, which once flourished along the area’s coasts and streams. The rough balance between wild salmon and their parasites evaporates in areas of intensive salmon farming, where sea lice populations boom.

A 2007 Science study gauged the effects of salmon farming on wild populations. The conclusion is devastating:

We show that recurrent louse infestations of wild juvenile pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), all associated with salmon farms, have depressed wild pink salmon populations and placed them on a trajectory toward rapid local extinction. The louse-induced mortality of pink salmon is commonly over 80% and exceeds previous fishing mortality. If outbreaks continue, then local extinction is certain, and a 99% collapse in pink salmon population abundance is expected in four salmon generations. These results suggest that salmon farms can cause parasite outbreaks that erode the capacity of a coastal ecosystem to support wild salmon populations.

Collapsing wild salmon stocks, of course, are treated as an “externality” by the salmon industry: a cost of production borne by society as a whole, not by producers. And if those megafarmers get their way, the Globe and Mailreports, Canada’s salmon farms will soon be using a lice-targeting pesticide called AlphaMax that Environment Canada, the country’s version of the EPA,has identified as a threat to wild lobster stocks. Farmed salmon may be cheap at the grocery store, but its true costs are proving high, indeed.

*Correction: This story originally reported that the lice problem had gotten out of control in salmon farms on Canada’s west coast. Actually, the problems are on the east coast. The text has been corrected. I regret the error.