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What Would Jesus Eat?

The Ultimate Program For Eating Well, Feeling Great, And Living Longer

By Don Colbert, M.D.

Book Review by Gary F. Zeolla

The book reviewed on this page, What Would Jesus Eat? by Don Colbert, M.D.,
is available at a reduced price from Amazon .

The premise and advice in the book for the most part are very sound. Colbert concludes from the Biblical and scientific evidence that is good to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish, and less saturated and hydrogenated fats, red meat, sweets, and processed and refined foods. He also correctly notes that there are sound health reasons to follow the Old Testament guidelines of “clean” vs. “unclean” meats.

However, Colbert could have been a little clearer that diet is a health not a spiritual issue. Paul makes this abundantly clear when he says, “But food does not present [or, commend] us to God, for neither if we eat do we excel [or, are better off]; nor if we do not eat do we fall short [or, are inferior]” (1Cor 8:8; ALT). But at the same time, Paul said, “All [things] are lawful for me, _but_ all [things] are not advantageous [or, beneficial]. All [things] are lawful for me, _but_ all [things] do not build up [fig., edify]” (1Cor 10:23; ALT). So even if it is not a sin to eat “unclean” meats or junk food it may not be “beneficial” to do so.

Colbert is correct in noting that Jesus was not a vegetarian, as some activists have tried to claim. He correctly points out that fish was eaten by Jesus and is a very healthy food. But it should also be noted that there are vegetarian sources of the healthy fatty acids found in fish. Colbert mentions olive oil, but flax seeds, walnuts, and other nuts and seeds are also very good sources of these healthy fats.

Colbert is also correct in discussing the importance of exercise. It drives me crazy when Christians try to justify not exercising by quoting 1Timothy 4:8, “For bodily exercise is beneficial for a few [things], but godliness is beneficial for all [things], having promise of the present life and of the coming [life]” (ALT). True, Jesus did not follow some kind of “aerobics workout,” but He didn’t need to. As Colbert notes, the amount of walking that He did was more than enough exercise.

I also like Colbert’s emphasis that what he is advocating is not a diet program but a lifestyle change. “Going on a diet” simply doesn’t work. What is important is to focus one eating healthy foods and being active. Health benefits and even weight loss will naturally follow.

However, Colbert is a little too strong in recommending a “low-fat” diet. As indicated above, some fatty foods are in fact very healthy. And if one tries to keep the percentage of fat too low in their diets they won’t be able to eat sufficient amounts of these healthy fatty foods to attain the health benefits.

Also, there are people who fare better on higher protein, higher fat diets. However, even in such cases I do believe it is best to stick to eating “healthy” foods. One can alter the proportions of protein, fats, and carbs in ones diet by eating different proportions of such foods.

As for what are healthy vs. unhealthy foods, Colbert, of course, discuss this in his book, and it is the point of my similar book “Creationist Diet: Nutrition and “God-given Foods According to the Bible.” In my book I don’t focus on what Jesus ate per se, although that is mentioned. I focus more on the early chapters of Genesis, hence the title and somewhat different conclusions than Colbert comes to. So my book would give the reader a different perspective on what the Bible teaches in regards to diet.

Note: The abbreviation “ALT” after the above Biblical quotes refers to my translation of the NT, the Analytical-Literal Translation. The ALT, my Creationist Diet book, and Colbert’s What Would Jesus Eat? are all available from Amazon. For further details on my books, see Books by the Director.

October 2014 Update

In the 12 years since this review was written, I have written a newer book, God-given Foods Eating Plan. In it, I look in detail at what Jesus ate, and He most definitely was not a vegetarian. I also discuss that the right kind of red meat is beneficial, not detrimental. I have also written a two-part article on Healthy Habits and the Christian, where I look in much greater detail on what the Bible says in this regard. So check out those more recent resources for further and updated details on these subjects.

The above review was posted on this site May 11, 2002.
It was updated October 22, 2014.

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