Book Recommendations, Reviews and Author Interviews from

The Healthiest People: The Science Behind Seventh-day Adventist Success By Elvin Adams MD, MPH

Publisher: iUniverse Books

REVIEWER: Dr. Thomas Johnson, NCSP, CPQ, IP

Elvin Adams
The Healthiest People: The Science Behind Seventh-day Adventist Success
Available at Amazon and Good Reads
ISBN : 2020;978-5320-9064-6


In recent years, the National Geographic, Dan Buettner and their staff have conducted comprehensive epidemiological and literature reviews looking for areas in the world which had concentrations of people living to 100 years or more. They located 5 areas including Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa,
Japan; Sardinia, Italy; the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa, Rica; and Loma Linda, California. Dan Buettner refers to these areas as the “blue zones.” They report that “Blue zone inhabitants live longer because they ‘ve eaten the right foods- and avoided the wrong foods ones- for most of their lives. Ninety to 100 % of their diet consists of whole, plant-based fare They eat this way not because they possess heroic discipline but because fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts, beans, and whole grains are cheap and accessible.” (p.20 “The Blue Zones Kitchen 100 recipes to live to 100. Washington D.C.: National Geographic, 2020)

An in-depth analysis of one of those areas, Loma Linda is the focus of Dr. Adams latest book -The Healthiest People: The Science Behind Seventh-day Adventist Success. Dr. Adams reviewed over 460 published studies of Seventh-day Adventist covering the last 70 years. Many of those Adventist studies were funded by the US government.

Ellen White is the co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventists. As part of her ministry, she emphasized the importance of diet as a way of respecting all animals- including human as well as non-human animals. Like the founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley {e.g., see Steven Rosen’s Diet for Transcendence: Vegetarianism and the World Religions. Torchlight Publishing, 1997 and (2016)], White was an ardent ethical vegetarian. Both of these church pioneers connected what they saw as spiritual paths to living a healthy Christian life. They were both way ahead of their times regarding nutritional decisions associated with spirituality.

While Adams provides historical religious context for the origins and development of Adventism, he provides objective and independent scientific evidence for his conclusions. He is exceptionally well qualified to write this scholarly work. He received his Master of Public Health degree from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and his MD from the Loma Linda School of Medicine. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and has provided medical care for his patients over decades of practice. He also served as the medical staff director of the United States Office on Smoking and Health.

Dr. Adams refers to Seventh-day Adventists as “the healthiest group of people in the United States and probably the entire world” (p.8). As a group, Adventists have less cancer and fewer heart attacks than the rest of the nation.

The reader may question whether or not he is arguing that all or the majority of Adventists are healthy. He answers an emphatic NO to this question. There is a percentage of Adventists who follow the Standard American Diet (SAD) and they are generally no healthier than the majority of non-vegetarians and others who have inherited diseases or survivors of serious accidents that have survived. There are highly significant differences among Adventists depending on the type of diet followed.

Dr. Adams identifies five different diet categories. They include the following: Non-Vegetarian, Semi-Vegetarian, Pesco-Vegetarian, Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, and Vegan. Examples of the differences among the groups include diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

People with diabetes are at increased risk of many complications, which are mainly due to high blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, chronic continuous low-grade inflammation, and rapidly developing hardening of the arteries throughout the body. Diabetics have an elevated risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. (p.5).

The risk of diabetes is the highest in the non-vegetarian group and the prevalence decreases in each dietary group as their diet moves toward the vegan diet. The same can be said of obesity and hypertension. In fact, Dr. Adams concludes that “Seventh-day Adventists vegans are the healthiest group of people in the United States and the world.” (p.8).

Dr. Adams has included very interesting and informative chapters on citrus; apples, pears, berries and dried fruits; vegetables; nuts and seeds; whole grains; and legumes. Additionally, he does a thorough review of the different kinds of beverages that Americans drink including cow’s milk, sodas, coffee, tea, alcohol and water. He makes a strong case based on his review of the Adventists that the optimal beverage of choice is water and documents the many downsides of the other mentioned beverages. As an example, he cites one Adventist study based on the experience of over twenty thousand Adventists followed for over 6 years. “The risk of a fatal heart attack was reduced by over fifty percent just by drinking 5 or more glasses of water per day.” (p.106).

In conclusion, some of the findings and analysis reported in Dr. Adams’s book are likely to surprise many readers; like the finding that Adventist vegans or ethical vegetarians are the healthiest group of people in the Unites States and world.

I have tried to report some of the highly significant contents of this exceptional book accurately and fairly. I strongly recommend this book and hope that it will be helpful to all readers looking for guidance trying to make the best possible decisions for increasing their health and longevity as well as their family and (in the case of relevant health care providers) clients/patients.


Thomas B. Johnson completed his graduate studies at Brown University (US Public Health Fellowship in social psychiatry and medical sociology), Harvard University (master’s degree in counseling psychology), UC-Berkeley (doctor’s degree in counseling psychology) and Duke University (doctoral internship in psychological services). He is a licensed psychologist, nationally certified school psychologist and a health psychologist and certified by the National Register of Health Services Psychologists. He has served as an adjunct professor at Bates College, Rutgers and the University of Southern Maine. He was a contributing editor of the NASP Communique for 10 years as their editor responsible for alternative and complimentary approaches to health and learning. He has been providing a full range of psychological services including assessments, consultations, education, psychotherapy, supervision and research.

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