Mary G. Enig

Mary Gertrude Enig (née Dracon; July 13, 1931 – September 8, 2014)[1] was a nutritionist and researcher known for her unconventional positions on the role saturated fats play in diet and health.[2] She promoted skepticism towards the consensus in the scientific and medical communities that diets high in saturated fats can contribute to development of heart disease,[3] while she advocated for a diet based on whole foods and rich in certain saturated fats.[4]

Mary G. Enig
Dr Enig.jpg
Mary Gertrude Dracon

July 13, 1931
Indianapolis, Indiana
DiedSeptember 8, 2014 (aged 83)
Alma materUniversity of Maryland, College Park
AwardsMaster of the American College of Nutrition
Scientific career
InstitutionsWeston A. Price Foundation

Along with Sally Fallon, Enig co-founded the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) in 1999. Enig died of a stroke at the age of 83.[5]


Enig attended the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) where she received a MS and later a PhD in Nutritional Sciences in 1984.[6] From 1984 through 1991 she was a faculty research associate at UMD with the Lipids Research Group in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry where she participated in biochemical research on lipids.[6]

Enig was a Licensed Nutritionist in Maryland from May 1988 to October 2008.[7] She was a Master of the American College of Nutrition.[8][9] and was a former editor of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition where she published articles on food fats and oils.[10][11]

Enig was a board member and vice-president of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) which she co-founded with Sally Fallon in 1999 to promote nutrition and health advice based on the work of early 20th century dentist and researcher Weston A. Price.[12]

Dietary viewsEdit

Enig, a member of The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS),[13] disputed the widely accepted view in the scientific community that consumption of saturated fats contributes to heart disease.[4][14] Her chapter in the book Coronary Heart Disease: The Dietary Sense and Nonsense – An evaluation by scientists was reviewed in the New England Journal of Medicine, which noted that while she provided an appropriate discussion of trans fats in diet, she did not accurately depict the medical literature on the connection between diet and coronary disease, and that she wrote with an inflammatory tone that was unjustified.[15] Enig responded in a letter published in the journal.[16]

Enig claimed butter and coconut oil are good for heart health. She published articles on the properties of coconut oil and was a vocal advocate for its consumption.[17][18] Citing the work of Jon J. Kabara, she claimed that unprocessed coconut oil could be effective in the treatment of viral infections including HIV/AIDS.[19][20][21][22]

Enig was an early researcher of trans fatty acids,[11] warning of their dangers before they were widely accepted.[17][23] She believed that trans fats lower the beneficial type of cholesterol-carrying particles (HDL)[17] and pushed for improved labeling of trans fats on products, which is now mandatory on food products in the U.S. and in Europe.[24]

In 1989, Sally Fallon, an advocate for the nutritional theories of Weston A. Price, recruited Enig to utilize her nutritional training to co-write a book to promote Price's work, Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. It has sold more than 400,000 copies as of 2011.[25]

Enig co-wrote another book with Fallon called Eat Fat, Lose Fat which promotes what Enig considered "good" fats, and argued that many who follow low-fat diets feel low on energy because they are "fat deficient".[26]


  1. ^ Obituary - Mary G. Enig,, September 9, 2014.
  2. ^ Maloof, Rich. "Coconut Oil". MSN Health. Archived from the original on May 18, 2011. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  3. ^ Camm, John; Luscher, Thomas; Serruys, Patrick (2009). The European Society of Cardiology Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. Blackwell Publishing. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-19-957285-4.
  4. ^ a b Black, Jane (August 6, 2008). "The Great Divide". Washington Post. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  5. ^ The Pioneering Spirit of Dr. Mary G. Enig,; accessed May 16, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Passwater, Richard A. (November 1993 – January 1994). Health Risks from Processed Foods and Trans Fats. Interview with Dr. Mary Enig. Whole Foods Magazine.
  7. ^ "Verification Page". Maryland Board of Dietetic Practice. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
  8. ^ Eauclaire, Sally (July 1996). "Soy backlash". Vegetarian Times. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  9. ^ Awards Information Archived August 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine,; retrieved June 17, 2011.
  10. ^ Bowden, Jonny (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why. Gloucester,MA: Fair Winds Press. pp. 108, 167, 177, 301, 311. ISBN 978-1-59233-228-1.
  11. ^ a b Burros, Marian (October 7, 1992). "Now What? U.S. Study Says Margarine May Be Harmful". The New York Times. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  12. ^ "Board of Directors". Weston A. Price Foundation. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  13. ^ THINCS Membership
  14. ^ Ravnskov, U.; Allen C.; Atrens D.; et al. (February 2002). "Studies of dietary fat and heart disease". Science. 295 (5559): 1464–66. doi:10.1126/science.295.5559.1464c. PMID 11859893. S2CID 31990802.
  15. ^ Stone, Neil J. (1994). "Book Review – Coronary Heart Disease: The Dietary Sense and Nonsense – An Evaluation by Scientists". New England Journal of Medicine. Massachusetts Medical Society. 330 (9): 943–44. doi:10.1056/NEJM199403313301321. PMID 8114883.
  16. ^ Enig, MG (1994). "More on Coronary heart disease: The dietary sense and nonsense". The New England Journal of Medicine. 331 (9): 615, author reply 615–6. doi:10.1056/nejm199409013310914. PMID 8047097.
  17. ^ a b c Webb, Densie (September 5, 1990). "Processed oils rival butter in raising cholesterol". Wilmington Morning Star. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  18. ^ "Trimming the Fats", The Washington Post, December 10, 2003.
  19. ^ Enig, Mary G. (May 2000). Know Your Fats. Bethesda Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-9678126-0-1.
  20. ^ Enig, Mary G. (September 1995). "Health and nutritional benefits from coconut oil and its advantages over competing oils" (PDF). Indian Coconut Journal. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  21. ^ "Garin: Claims on health benefits of VCO need proof". The Philippine Star. September 12, 2010. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  22. ^ "Research on coconuts for Aids urged". The Nation. December 29, 1997. Retrieved June 9, 2011.
  23. ^ Pollan, Michael. (2008). In Defense of Food – An Eater's Manifesto. Penguin. p. 45; ISBN 1-59420-145-5.
  24. ^ Joe Milicia (January 19, 2005). "Companies pull trans fats before label rules". The Bryan Times. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  25. ^ "Sally Fallon is not afraid of fat". March 17, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  26. ^ "A LA CARTER, Chewing the fat to lose weight". Retrieved June 10, 2011.