Mark Hyman (doctor)
Mark Adam Hyman
November 22, 1959
Mark Adam Hyman (22 November 1959 — ) is an American physician and New York Times best-selling author. He is the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center and was a columnist for The Huffington Post. Hyman was a regular contributor to the Katie Couric Show, until the show's cancellation in 2013. He publishes Doctor's Farmacy on the Internet, which examines many topics related to human health and welfare.
Hyman is a proponent of functional medicine, a controversial form of alternative medicine that lacks evidence for its use. He is the board president of clinical affairs of the Institute for Functional Medicine. He was the editor-in-chief of, and is a contributing editor to, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal. Hyman promotes a diet known as peganism which has been criticized by dietitians as a fad diet.
Hyman graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor's degree in Asian Studies. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Ottawa and completed his training at the Community Hospital of Santa Rosa in family medicine.
Hyman started his medical career as a family physician in rural Idaho and later as an emergency department physician in Massachusetts. He was the co-medical director at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, Massachusetts, from 1996 to 2004. He opened The UltraWellness Center in a small shopping mall in Lenox after leaving Canyon Ranch.
In 2009, Hyman testified before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions about integrative medical care. Hyman also participated in a Partners In Health program to bring medical care to Haiti following the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
In December 2013, The Daniel Plan, a book Hyman co-authored with Pastor Rick Warren and Daniel Amen, became Number One on the New York Times bestseller list. Hyman is the author of several books on nutrition and health, such as 10 Day Detox Diet. Hyman was named the director of the Cleveland Clinical Center for Functional Medicine in September 2014.
In April 2016, Hyman joined environmentalists and civil rights leaders in calling for federal investigations into U.S. fluoridation policy, writing that communities of color are at particular risk of adverse health impacts. In a book authored by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (entitled Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak), Hyman wrote the preface in which he advocates for the removal of Thimerosal from vaccines.
Quackwatch lists Hyman's 2003 book Ultraprevention: The 6-Week Plan That Will Make You Healthy for Life as one of their non-recommended books due to promoting misinformation and containing unsubstantiated advice.
Hyman endorsed a low-carbohydrate high-fat diet in his books Eat Fat Get Thin and The Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook, published in 2016. In these books Hyman disputes common held ideas about consuming dietary fat. He says that saturated fat does not cause heart disease and obesity; processed carbohydrates do. Hyman recommends his readers to transition to a pegan diet.
Hyman promoted the pegan diet, a plant-rich diet which combines principles of the paleo and vegan diets. The pegan diet is gluten-free and encourages consumption of nonstarchy vegetables with grass-fed organic meats and low-mercury fish. The diet consists of 75% plant foods and limits fruits to low-glycemic berries. The pegan diet opposes refined sugar and foods that can spike insulin production. The diet also opposes cow's milk but is not dairy free. Hyman allows the occasional organic goat or sheep milk, yogurt, kefir, grass-fed butter, ghee or cheese.
Hyman first wrote about the pegan diet in 2014 and outlined it in his book Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?, published in 2018. A review in Publishers Weekly commented that "Pegan is a silly, paradoxical misnomer: no diet can be simultaneously paleo (meat, fats, and few vegetables/fruit) and vegan (with no animal products whatsoever). However, the diet’s recommendations are basically sound: fresh, locally sourced, preferably organic food; nothing refined or processed; and a focus on not raising blood sugar." Hyman has stated that the pegan diet can be defined by one simple rule: "If God made it, eat it; if man made it, leave it."
Peganism has been criticized by dietitians as a fad diet. The diet's emphasis on vegetables and omega-3 fats is in accord to mainstream nutrition advice but has been criticized for limiting the consumption of beans and whole grains which are associated with multiple health benefits such as reducing cardiovascular disease and cancer risk and supporting weight management. The pegan diet is restrictive and may cause magnesium, iron or calcium deficiency. Dietitian Abbey Sharp has commented that it "would be shocking to me if anyone was able to maintain this diet in the long run without incurring serious psychological damage".
Aisling Pigott, a dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association has suggested that the pegan diet is too restrictive to maintain and although some of its principles such as eating more plant-based foods and fewer processed foods is recommended for good health "labeling this as a ‘diet’ is unethical and potentially dangerous and difficult to follow." Dietitian Carrie Dennett has written that "while the pegan diet is more moderate - and potentially easier to follow - than either of its dietary parents, it does restrict many nutritious foods for reasons that aren't quite supported by science." A downside to the diet is that it can be costly for those with low income who cannot afford the expensive "grass-fed" and "pasture-raised" animal source foods Hyman recommends.
Dietitian Alyssa Pike has disputed Hyman's claim that gluten should be avoided by people without a gluten allergy or intolerance and concluded that "the concept of this diet, combined with its number of restrictive rules, will likely make it hard to follow long-term and add to confusion about what to eat and why."
- — (2005). Ultraprevention: The 6-Week Plan that Will Make You Healthy for Life. New York: Atria Books. ISBN 978-0-7434-4883-3. OCLC 57448242.
- — (2007). The Ultrametabolism Cookbook: 200 Delicious Recipes that Will Turn on Your Fat-Burning DNA. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-1-4165-4959-8. OCLC 156902321.
- — (2008). The UltraMind Solution: Fix Your Broken Brain by Healing Your Body First: The Simple Way to Defeat Depression, Overcome Anxiety and Sharpen Your Mind. New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-1-4165-4971-0. OCLC 297439691.
- — (2008). Ultrametabolism: The Simple Plan for Automatic Weight Loss: Awakening the Fat-Burning DNA Hidden in Your Body. New York: Atria Books. ISBN 978-0-7432-7256-8. OCLC 213354732.
- — (2009). The Ultrasimple Diet: Kick-Start Your Metabolism and Safely Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 7 Days. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 978-1-4391-7131-8. OCLC 351316362.
- — (2012). The Blood Sugar Solution: The Ultrahealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Co. ISBN 978-0-316-12737-0. OCLC 639167583.
- — (2014). The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet: Activate Your Body's Natural Ability to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Fast. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-23002-5. OCLC 843858725.
- — (2016). Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-33883-7. OCLC 911070119.
- — (2018). Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? The No-nonsense Guide to Achieving Optimal Weight and Lifelong Health. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-33886-8.
- — (2019). Food: What the Heck Should I Cook?. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-45313-4.
- — (2020). Food Fix: How to Save our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet - One Bite at a Time. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-45317-2. OCLC 1105151559.
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