I have a lifelong interest in health and longevity which began at age 5 when I did not like the idea of death and thought that by becoming a professor of doctors and a scientist, I would be one of the first to receive the knowledge to extend lifespan. While I started my career as an Internist and Endocrinologist with an interest in biological clocks, my PhD in physiology led me to consider holistic systems and in the 1970’s I was drawn to the integrative aspects of nutrition through understanding the adaptation to starvation and its flip side – the susceptibility to obesity and excess body fat. Somehow my life’s work has all come together as nutrition science has defined new frontiers all of which are influenced by your daily behaviors in the realms of diet, exercise, and behavior. The latest science on the impact of biological clocks on human genes and the impact of nutrition on the gut bacteria have closed the circle bringing my interests together.
Over the last 40 years, I have studied healthy nutrition and exercise and practiced them in my personal life. Today, I teach at major universities, consult with global leaders in the nutrition industry (Herbalife, POM Wonderful, and McCormick Spices) and spread my message to as many people around the world as I can through talks, books, and social media.
I was raised in Los Angeles, attending two different elementary schools (Arlington Heights and Canfield Avenue), Louis Pasteur Junior High School, and Fairfax High School as the result of three apartment moves. I then took the Wilshire Bus to UCLA where I majored in Physical Chemistry and and played pool and snooker in the afternoons to relax. I was also fortunate to be on the 10 yard line at the 1966 Rose Bowl as we beat #1 Michigan State 14-12 due to the courageous play of Bob Stiles, who was in my Spanish class offering up his body to a much heavier fullback and being knocked out. I got into Harvard Medical School based on a recommendation from the first Nobel Prize Winner at UCLA, Dr. Willard Libby after discovering the lower atmosphere of Venus in his Space Sciences lab in 1968. After med school, I did my internship at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston where I was known as “Hyper Hooper”, later the basis for a fictional character in the bestseller House of God by Samuel Shem (Steve Bergman, a fellow intern). My hobbies are fitness, reading, music, photography, and oil painting. I am also an average golfer.
At UCLA, I did the following: Founding Chief, UCLA Division of Clinical Nutrition, 1983; Founding Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, 1996; Founding Director, UCLA Risk Factor Obesity Program, 2001; Fellow, American Society for Nutrition 2013 (highest honor of the society); Best Doctors in America 2001-present based on votes of 35,000 doctors.
Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Public Health, David Geffen School of Medicine since 2014, with continued active voluntary teaching at UCLA after being Professor of Medicine and Public Health since 1992 and Associate Professor from 1983-1992. Since 2014, I am also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Gerontology at the University of Southern California, teaching and pursuing my lifelong interest in anti-aging.
My primary research interests are obesity treatment and prevention, the role of nutrition, phytonutrients,and botanical dietary supplements in the prevention and treatment of common forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. He is the author of over 250 peer-reviewed scientific articles, over 50 book chapters, and four professional texts:
Dietary Fat, Lipids, Hormones and Tumorigenesis and Nutritional Oncology (Academic Press, 1999,2006), Immunonutrition (CRC Press, 2014), Primary Care Nutrition: Writing the Nutrition Prescription (in Press, 2017, CRC Press)
I have also written four books for the public:
Natural Remedies for a Healthy Heart (Avery Publishing Group 1998)
The Resolution Diet (Avery Publishing Group 1999)
What Color is Your Diet? (Harper Collins/Regan Books 2001)
The L.A. Shape Diet (Harper Collins/Regan Books March 2004)