03/18/2015 06:47 EDT | Updated 05/18/2015 05:59 EDT

Harvard Dr. Frank Sacks says UBC 'eat-what-you-want' doctor wrong

A doctor at the Harvard School of Public Health says the idea that there is no science to support healthy eating is "laughable."

Dr. John Sloan, a family physician and a clinical professor at UBC's School of Medicine, recently self-published a book in which he says there is not enough science to support the idea that healthy eating leads to better health outcomes.

Frank Sacks, a professor of cardiovascular disease prevention in the Harvard School of Public Health's nutrition department, casts doubt on that controversial statement.

"I don't know what science he's looking at, but he's missed the last 50 years of science, easily," said Sacks.

"There's a very, very strong body of science that really established a range of healthy eating."

Sacks says scientific evidence shows that diets high in fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables can help prevent heart disease and diabetes.

He says Sloan is misrepresenting science to support his personal bias of wanting to eat whatever he wants.

"We run into this in the nutrition field especially," said Sacks. "People like to eat what they eat, and a lot of people do not want to be told what they should eat."

Sloan may be an excellent family physician, said Sacks, but that does not make him a good medical scientist.

One of Sloan's ideas that Sacks does support is that no matter what you're eating, you shouldn't eat too much of it.

Otherwise, his reaction to Sloan's book and the publicity it has received is mostly of concern.

"What I care about it is the misinformation he's putting out there," said Sacks.

To listen to the full interview, click on the audio labelled Debate: can you really eat whatever you want?