Joel Fuhrman, (born December 2, 1953), is an American author, physician, speaker, and media personality who advocates what he calls a micronutrient-rich diet.
A former competitive figure skater, he suffered a serious injury which removed him from competition. He says an alternative medicine therapy helped speed his recovery and led him to become a physician. His practice is based on his nutrition-based approach to obesity and chronic disease as well as promoting his products and books. He has written several books promoting his dietary approaches and sells a related line of nutrition related products. As of April 2013, his book Eat to Live was on the New York Times bestseller paperback Advice & Misc. list for 90 weeks.
Life and career
Fuhrman was born in New York, New York, on December 2, 1953. He was a competitor in the amateur figure skating circuit. He was a member of the US World Figure Skating Team and placed second in the US National Pairs Championship in 1973. In 1973, he suffered a heel injury which prevented him from competing. He followed an " irregular cure" from a naturopath which included a long fast and lead Fuhrman to become interested in alternate medicine. He came in 3rd place at the 1976 World Professional Pairs Skating Championship in Jaca, Spain, skating with his sister, Gale Fuhrman, but due to the short-term massive muscle loss from the fast was unable to make the Olympic team. In 1988, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Fuhrman has advocated eating at least one pound of raw vegetables and another pound of cooked ones each day. He popularized the notion of nutrient density in what he calls the Health Equation: Health = Nutrients/Calories (abbreviated as H = N/C). Peter Lipson, a physician and writer on alternative medicine, has been heavily critical of Fuhrman's health equation, writing that since its terms cannot be quantified, it is "nothing more than a parlor trick". Fuhrman created what he calls the "Aggregate Nutrient Density Index", a ranking of foods based on micronutrient concentration. Whole Foods began using the scores as a marketing project and reported that the sales of high scoring foods "skyrocketed".
Fuhrman has heavily marketed his products and his infomercials have "become a staple during the self-improvement bloc of PBS pledge drives." In the October 2012 edition of Men's Journal, Mark Adams stated that Fuhrman "preaches something closer to fruitarianism or Christian Science than to conventional medical wisdom". Adams also reported that Fuhrman believes that the flu vaccine "isn't effective at all".
Fuhrman is a board-certified family physician and serves as Director of Research for the Nutritional Research Foundation.
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