David Ludwig (physician)

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David Samuel Ludwig
Alma mater Stanford University
Known for Obesity-related research, particularly with regard to soft drinks and milk
Scientific career
Fields Endocrinology
Institutions Boston Children's Hospital
Thesis Chemical, immunochemical and crystallographic studies of cholera toxin and its receptor binding domain (1986)
Website drdavidludwig.com

David Ludwig (born 24 December 1957) is an American physician in Boston, Massachusetts.


Ludwig received a PhD and an MD from Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Boston Children's Hospital.[citation needed]


Ludwig is a professor of pediatrics at the Harvard Medical School[1] and a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.[2] Ludwig is also the Director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children's Hospital.[3] He has published several studies about the causes of obesity in children and adults, and attracted attention for his recommendation that severely obese children be removed from the custody of their parents.[4]

Ludwig is the author of several consumer books about nutrition, diet, and health including Always Hungry?, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently.[5]

His findings include:

  • The kind of calories consumed affects how efficiently the body can utilize those calories. A low glycemic and low carbohydrate diet resulted in more calories being burned than a low fat diet. While the low glycemic diet burned fewer calories than the low carbohydrate diet it did not increase the level of disease causing stress markers in the body.[6]
  • Improvements in dietary quality and body weight in adolescents following a one-year intervention to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. One year after intervention ended similar results in BMI were found in both the experimental and the control groups.[7]
  • People who ate at least two or more fast food meals a week, were 10 pounds heavier than those who consumed fast food less than once a week.[8]
  • The chances of becoming obese increased by approximately 60% for each daily soft drink a child consumed.[9]
  • School children who consume at least 8 ounces of soft drinks daily consume about 835 calories more than children who avoid soft drinks.[10]
  • A co-authored study showing a link between maternal weight gain and the child's later risk of obesity.[11]
  • He has warned that the high levels in obesity in the very young could lead to a decrease in overall life expectancy.[12]
  • More recently, he has argued that recommendations for adults to drink low-fat milk may be counterproductive due to the considerable amount of sugar found therein. This paper, published in editorial form in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, was coauthored with Walter Willett.[13]

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