Bestselling author and family physician Joel Fuhrman, who has sold nearly 3 million copies of his books in all formats, is back with his second book this year, Fast Food Genocide: How Processed Food Is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It (HarperOne, Oct. 17), written with assistance from Robert Philips. It will launch with a 100,000-copy announced first printing. To find our more about the doctor’s latest, PW spoke with his editor Gideon Weil, v-p, editorial director at HarperOne.
Do you think Fuhrman is overstating, starting with the book's title, the dangers of fast food?
The title is intentional in setting up an alarm. The idea that healthy food is just about weight loss is the problem. People are making choices in a vacuum. When food is only about weight loss, you’re like, ‘Screw it, I love bacon.’ Eating bacon leads to diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, which is way underreported. It’s easy to think about McDonald’s and Burger King as the problem. It’s not just french fries and super-size drinks that are killing us. We’ve created a culture of processed food. He talks about the typical lunch, a Subway sandwich, a bag of chips, and soda. We put cheese on everything.
Fuhrman has published a number of important books, including bestsellers like Eat to Live (Little, Brown, 2003). This book seems more like a summation of his work to date, focusing on the importance of diet beyond weight control.
This book represents 25-plus years of research. As his editor, I was shocked to discover so much new and powerful research. Those who have read him before, need to read this book. He goes into his philosophy on what to eat. He talks about G-BOMBs (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds). These foods are life-giving, disease-reversing. Anyone who eats vegan or vegetarian sees these foods as dynamic.
You’ve been working with Fuhrman for a number of years. How did you come to be his editor?
Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free  was the first book we worked on together. I approached him in 2010. This is right when flu shots were becoming omnipresent. I wanted someone to speak about flu shots versus immunity. I had a list of possible writers and he was at the top. ‘I don’t want to write just about flu shots,’ he said. ‘Let’s talk about super immunity and long-term health.’
You’ve edited seven of Fuhrman’s 10 books, some of which are cookbooks. In each title he stresses the importance of diet in terms of preventing and reversing disease. Has editing his books led you to make any changes to your eating habits?
I believe in his message. His books all fit together, but they can be read alone. I’ve been on his plan for years. [This book] is a great motivator.