Physician Profile: Sarah Keating, M.D.: Good Nutrition for Life
Sarah Keating, M.D., spends most of her day in a laboratory in the high-risk pregnancy unit at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. As a perinatal pathologist, Dr. Keating aims to determine why some pregnancies go wrong so that they can go right in the future. She is a medical detective—an expert other doctors turn to for answers.
Although her behind-the-scenes work doesn’t allow her the opportunity many doctors have to counsel patients on health and nutrition, Dr. Keating finds other ways to speak out about the benefits of healthy eating.
Dr. Keating has followed a vegetarian diet for 16 years and removed all animal products from her diet over two years ago. “I felt incredibly full of energy,” Dr. Keating said of her transition to a vegan diet shortly before her 50th birthday. “It was wonderful to turn 50 feeling the healthiest I’ve ever felt.”
During the several years Dr. Keating has been a member of PCRM, she has written many letters to the editor responding to articles about health in Canadian newspapers. “There is so much misinformation out there,” Dr. Keating said. “People still believe that chicken is a health food.” A letter from Dr. Keating that appeared in the Toronto Star responded to the findings of the Women’s Health Initiative study, which some people misinterpreted as proof that low-fat diets don’t reduce one’s risk of cancer. Dr. Keating reminded readers that the study participants still ate animal products full of cholesterol and saturated fat and that “only truly significant changes to our eating habits can reduce our risk of disease.”
Dr. Keating is also on the board of the Toronto Vegetarian Association. The group works to inspire people to adopt a healthier, greener lifestyle by providing an informative website (www.veg.ca), maintaining a resource center with educational material, and attending wellness conferences.
Dr. Keating would also like to see more nutrition training for doctors. “Doctors are often asked for advice about nutrition even if they don’t know what the latest studies are saying,” Dr. Keating said. “They need to have up-to-date information based on the latest scientific research because the information we have about nutrition is advancing so quickly.”