Publication of My Book on the Discovery of the Mediterranean Diet by Ancel and Margaret Keys

In late March 2015 I published my book on Dr. Ancel Keys, who was a pioneer researcher into the role of serum cholesterol in coronary heart disease.  Dr. Keys was born in Colorado in 1904 and attended college at the University of California at Berkeley.  He was awarded his Ph.D. from the same institution and then Dr. Keys performed two post-doctoral fellowships in Europe.  When he returned to the U.S., he spent several years at Harvard University, less than a year at the Mayo Clinic, and then in 1938 he was recruited to the University of Minnesota, where Dr. Keys remained his entire scientific career. While he was at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Keys met Margaret Haney, a chemist who began to work in the Keys laboratory as a technician.  In 1939, Ancel and Margaret were married and began a partnership that would last 60 years.  During this partnership, several very major accomplishments were completed.  These included, several that have had a great impact on the American people:
1. He formulated ready-to-eat meals (called K-rations) for the American armed forces during World War II. These turned out to be a technical success and are immortalized in hundreds of
movies and books about World War II.
2. He led a major study during World War II on starvation that provided important information on how to treat starved prisoners and civilians.
3. He conceived and implemented the Seven Countries Study and identified important dietary factors that were associated with coronary heart disease.
4. He led a series of controlled dietary fat and cholesterol feeding studies in humans that resulted in the “Keys Equation,” which accurately predicted the changes in blood cholesterolconcentrations when changes were made in the composition of fats in the diet.

But the capstone of their accomplishments was the writing of three very popular
cookbooks that would help people eat healthy. These were “Eat Well and Stay Well” (1959), and an updated version, “How to Eat Well and Stay Well the Mediterranean Way” (1975). Both books were featured on the New York Times best seller list. They wrote a third book, “The Benevolent Bean,” published in 1967, and it was also successful. A collage of the covers of the three books is shown below:

Covers Collage for Henry 4-2015 PS 200 res

The covers of the three cookbooks written by Ancel and Margaret Keys. Photograph of the collage by JL Dixon. The cover images were used by permission of Penguin Random House LLC (which Doubleday & Company, Inc. is now part of) and Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC (which published The Benevolent Bean in 1972).

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