Louis J. Aronne is an American physician and author who is an obesity medicine specialist. He is quoted in the news media as an expert in the field of weight research. He is perhaps best known for diagnosing David Letterman's heart condition in 2000. His book, released in 2009, The Skinny on Losing Weight Without Being Hungry is a NY Times best-seller. His book, The Change Your Biology Diet: The Proven Program for Lifelong Weight Loss with a forward by David Letterman was published on January 5, 2016.
Early life and education
Aronne was born in Brooklyn, NY to parents of Italian descent. He graduated from Poly Prep Country Day School in 1973 and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Trinity College in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry. In 1981, he graduated from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and founding board member and diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine.
Aronne is the Sanford I. Weill Professor of Metabolic Research and Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, an attending physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and an Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He is Medical Director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, which he founded in 1986 as a multidisciplinary obesity research and treatment program.
Aronne is a past president of The Obesity Society, then known as the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. He is a fellow of the: American College of Physicians, The Obesity Society, and the New York Academy of Medicine. In 2013, he was made an honorary member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Aronne edited and was chairman of the National Institutes of Health's Practical Guide to the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. He was a reviewing member of the Department of Health and Human Services and Food and Drug Administration's publication, Guidance for the Clinical Evaluation of Weight-Control Drugs. Aronne also helped develop the Veterans Administration MOVE! Program, the largest weight loss program in the U.S. Aronne is an Associate Editor of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Obesity. He has been a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission. He has authored over 100 scientific publications, book chapters, abstracts, and books on obesity; and has been the Principal or Co-Investigator of over 45 clinical trials.
In 2008, Aronne founded BMIQ, a web-based program designed to treat obesity and obesity-related illnesses. The program provides evidence-based instruction, which integrates medical care with healthy lifestyle. The goal of BMIQ is to reduce costs related to the treatment of obesity and obesity-related illnesses by delivering an integrated medical program which involves the patient’s primary care physician and a program-provided registered dietitian. The program is provided by employers and health insurers to employees and subscribers as a wellness program that targets BMI.
Aronne supports the creation of the obesity medicine sub-specialty within the American Board of Internal Medicine. Aronne's core belief is that obesity is a progressive metabolic disease of weight-regulating mechanisms, which leads to a deterioration in fullness and satiety. Wherein the "feed-forward" phenomenon, caused by leptin resistance, appetite is stimulated, rather than inhibited, by eating. The final stage of the fullness mechanism breakdown, which Aronne has termed "fullness resistance", is the delayed or nonexistent sensation of fullness. Aronne's goal is to treat patients with weight problems in the same way cardiologists treat patients with heart disease - using all available modalities needed to prevent other health problems from developing. Aronne's approach towards obesity treatment is to first diagnose and treat sleep disorders and review patients' medications. He has found that many patients take common medications that neither they, nor their doctor realize cause weight gain. He substitutes these with weight-neutral or weight-reducing medications. This is the basis of his "weight-centric", as opposed to the dated "gluco-centric", approach to Type 2 diabetes.
Aronne's diet recommendations are based on the low-glycemic and Mediterranean diets with an added "food order" modification. His recommendation, supported by his food order research at Weill Cornell Medicine, is to consume protein and vegetables first (both within the context of a meal and a day) followed later by consuming whole grain carbohydrates.
Aronne was one of the founding hosts of the TV Food Network, co-hosting more than 650 episodes of Getting Healthy, a nightly call-in show covering a variety of topics in health, nutrition, and medicine from 1993-96. His other television and radio appearances include The Charlie Rose Show, The Today Show, Dateline NBC, 20/20, 48 Hours, and most other national news programs. In 2001 and 2002, Aronne appeared on and developed the CBS Early Show's Weight Off series. He put ABC News staff and viewers on a diet on ABC's Good Morning America in another long-term series. Aronne has made numerous appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman as Staff Physician, Dr. Lou. He is widely relied upon and quoted in the news media as an expert in the field of weight research including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, People, Newsweek, USA Today, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Allure, and Cosmopolitan. He is a regular contributor to Woman’s Day, Men's Health, Medizine, and SheZoom.com.
Aronne’s first book, Weigh Less Live Longer, from John Wiley & Sons, Inc., was published in 1996. His second book, The Skinny on Losing Weight Without Being Hungry, from Broadway-Random House, published in March 2009 is a NY Times best-seller. Aronne's third book, The Change Your Biology Diet: The Proven Program for Lifelong Weight Loss was published on January 5, 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Aronne has won several awards for teaching, including the Leo M. Davidoff Society Prize from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 1983 and Eliot Hochstein Teaching Award from Cornell University in 1990. He was awarded the 2015 Atkinson-Stern Award for Distinguished Public Service by The Obesity Society and the 2013 Distinguished Achievement Award by Poly Prep Country Day School. Aronne has been a faculty member of the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society since 1990. He has been regularly ranked in Castle Connolly's and New York Magazine's Best Doctors in New York as a specialist in obesity and internal medicine.
Aronne is married with two children.
- Aronne, LJ. Weigh Less Live Longer, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New York, 1996.
- Aronne, LJ. The Skinny On Losing Weight Without Being Hungry, Broadway-Random House, Inc. New York, 2009.
- Aronne, Louis. The Change Your Biology Diet. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016