Interviews / August 16, 2012

Jay Kenney, PhD, RD, FACN

By Charles Platkin, PhD

Diet Detective: What dessert do you dream about?

Dr. Kenney: Chocolate mousse made with tofu, Splenda, vanilla, and cocoa powder.

Diet Detective: Best health book?

Dr. Kenney: One of my all time favorites was Live Longer Now by Nathan Pritikin Longevity Center. Recently, I would say Eat Right Electrolyte.

Diet Detective: What’s a healthy food item that you love and that you would eat every day?

Dr. Kenney: Oatmeal with cinnamon, soy milk, and fruit.

Diet Detective: Two best health magazines?

Dr. Kenney: I don’t read magazines, I read newsletters. I like the CSPI newsletter “Nutrition Action” and “Communicating Food for Health,” which is geared toward dietitians.

Diet Detective: What do you consider the perfect food?

Dr. Kenney: There is no one perfect food, but what comes close is broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

Diet Detective: What physical activity do you do to keep yourself in shape?

Dr. Kenney: I walk, play tennis, and lift weights.

Diet Detective: Favorite cooking tip?

Dr. Kenney: Cook from scratch. Don’t use processed and convenience foods.

Diet Detective: Do you have a Calorie Bargain?

Dr. Kenney: Try fresh, sweet strawberries instead of candy. Strawberries have 140 calories per pound. Candy has virtually no nutrients and it costs you 2200 calories per pound.

Diet Detective: How did you get to where you are?

Dr. Kenney: I earned my undergrad degree in nutrition and food, and then proceeded to obtain my Masters and PhD in nutrition. I did my post doctorial work in nutrition, and have been with Pritikin since 1985.

Diet Detective: Define and discuss failure.

Dr. Kenney: I relate failure to nutrition. Most Americans fail when it comes to nutrition — nutrition education in the US is abysmal, and more and more Americans are dying from poor eating habits than ever before. It is hard to explain why nutrition is such an ignored topic in the US today.

Diet Detective: What is a major item on to-do list?

Dr. Kenney: Retire and write a book.

Diet Detective: Define individual responsibility?

Dr. Kenney: In terms of nutrition, I would say it comes down to who is responsible for the food that goes into your mouth. It is the individual’s responsibility to get oneself informed about what constitutes proper nutrition.

Diet Detective: How do you react to adverse situations?

Dr. Kenney: Depends on the adverse situation. My solution is to avoid them.

Diet Detective: Defining moment in your life that changed the course of your life?

Dr. Kenney: At some point in my life, I realized that life is a biological process. Most people’s lives are dominated by fantasy. I decided that reality is far more important than fantasy.

Diet Detective: What’s the biggest chance you have ever taken?

Dr. Kenney: Investing in the stock market.

Diet Detective: What’s the biggest lesson you have learned about yourself?

Dr. Kenney: Life is not that complicated if you focus on what is real.

Diet Detective: What keeps you going?

Dr. Kenney: The biological drives.

Diet Detective: What’s your favorite saying?

Dr. Kenney: America has the best politicians that money can buy.






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