Thomas L. Cleave
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2010)|
Thomas Latimer (Peter) Cleave (1906–1983) was a surgeon captain who researched the negative health effects of consuming refined carbohydrate (notably sugar and white flour) which would not have been available during early human evolution. Known as `Peter' to his friends and colleagues, Cleave was born in Exeter in 1906, and educated at Clifton College. Between 1922-27, he attended medical schools at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, and St Mary's Hospital, London, London, achieving MRCS and LRCP.
At Bristol, one of his teachers was Rendle Short, who had proposed that appendicitis is caused by a lack of cellulose in the diet (it is worth noting, perhaps, from a biographical perspective, that Cleave's sister had died at the age of eight years from a perforated appendicitis). Charles Darwin's writings provided the intellectual framework to Cleave's lifelong engagement with the relationship between diet and health, built upon the premise that the human body is ill-adapted to the diet of modern (western) man.
In this context, he considered refined carbohydrates (white flour and sugar) to be the most transformed food, and therefore the most dangerous. After completing his medical training, Cleave entered the Royal Navy in 1927 as Surgeon Lieutenant.
Between 1938-1940, he served as Medical Specialist at RN Hospital, Hong Kong. It was during his war service, in 1941, whilst on the battleship King George V, that he acquired his naval nickname `the bran man' when he had sacks of bran brought on board to combat the common occurrence of constipation amongst sailors.
Following war service, he worked at Royal Naval Hospitals in Chatham (1945–1948), Malta (1949–1951) and Plymouth (1952–1953). He retired from the Royal Navy in 1962 as Surgeon Captain, having finished his naval career as Director of Medical Research at the RN Medical School
In 1969 Dr. Cleave brought public attention to the low amount of dietary fiber in modern diets that had become rich in processed ingredients. His work was bolstered by the supporting work of Dr. Denis Burkitt.
Awards and Honors
Dr. Cleave was a 2009 inductee into the Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame.
- Dietary Carbohydrates and Dental-Systemic Diseases - Journal of Dental Research
- Medicine: Diet with Fiber - Time Magazine (Sep 1977)
- Biographical entry - Orthomolecular Medicine Hall of Fame