|Walter Kempner, MD - Founder of the Rice Diet
Walter Kempner, medical doctor and research scientist, is the father of modern day diet therapy and creator of the Rice Diet. All who have followed in his footsteps, including Nathan Pritikin, Dean Ornish, Neal Barnard, Caldwell Esselstyn, and myself, owe homage to this man and his work.
Kempner's Rice Diet program began at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 1939. The treatment was a simple therapy of white rice, fruit, juice, and sugar, and was reserved for only the most seriously ill patients. Although low-tech, the benefits of the Rice Diet far exceed those of any drug or surgery ever prescribed for chronic conditions, including coronary artery disease, heart and kidney failure, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and obesity.
Originally used for only short time periods and under close supervision due to concerns about nutritional deficiencies, subsequent research proved the Rice Diet to be safe and nutritionally adequate for the vast majority of patients.
A major breakthrough occurred by accident in 1942 when one of Dr. Kempner's patients, a 33-year-old North Carolina woman with chronic glomerulonephritis (kidney disease) and papilledema (eye disease) failed to follow his instructions. Because of Dr. Kempner's heavy German accent she misunderstood his instructions to return in two weeks, and after two months, she finally returned, with no signs of deficiency, but rather with robust health. The woman had experienced a dramatic reduction of her blood pressure, from 190/120 to 124/84 mmHg, resolution of eye damage (retinal hemorrhages and papilledema), and a noticeable decrease in heart size.