About Joan Sabate, MD, DrPH

Joan Sabaté MD, DrPH, is a Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Loma Linda University School of Public Health where he directs the Center for Nutrition, Lifestyle and Disease Prevention. Originally from Spain, Dr. Sabaté is a board certified physician in Internal Medicine who moved to the U.S.A. to further train in Public Health Nutrition. He obtained a doctorate in Nutrition and a Fellowship in Nutritional Epidemiology. Being a member of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is his most recent service to public health.


Dr. Sabaté maintains three broad areas of research outlined below. Please click on the Research Projects & Grants link to view his current research projects.

  • The health effects of nut consumption
    From 1990 to 1993 Dr. Sabaté conducted the first of many clinical trials with nuts. This first study established the link between walnut consumption and protection from heart disease. The landmark results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1993. Since then he has tested a variety of nuts on risk factors for heart disease, body weight, diabetes and cognition, truly making him the Nutty Professor.

  • Vegetarian nutrition
    Dr. Sabaté’s research career began with a study comparing anthropometrics of schoolchildren from vegetarian households with those following a typical western diet. Over the course of many dietary intervention trials and epidemiological studies, he has contributed to establish the efficacy of vegetarian diets for children's growth, adult health and longevity. As the Chair of the last five sessions of the International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, he has fostered the research of others and has shifted the conversation on vegetarian diets from nutritional adequacy to health promotion and disease prevention. His book Vegetarian Nutrition is a standard reference book in the field. It is also published in Spanish.

  • Environmental nutrition and sustainable diets
    Until recently environment and nutrition were separate fields of research. Dr. Sabaté and his colleague, the late Dr. Sam Soret, were among the first to recognize that the complexities of our contemporary food systems required an interdisciplinary approach to address the impact of food production and dietary choices on the environment. The outcome of their work is the Environmental Nutrition research program at the School of Public Health. The program focuses on sustainable diets and explores the interrelationships between the environmental and health impacts of food choices. The sustainability, health, and equity of food systems will be improved by the research conducted through this program. Dr. Sabaté is editor of the book Environmental Nutrition: Connecting Health and Nutrition with Environmentally Sustainable Diets, published by Elsevier.


Dr. Sabaté has authored more than 200 research articles in the scientific literature, many of them in high-impact journals (h-index of 61and more than 15,000 citations).

Selected publications in areas of expertise

Nut Research

  • Fraser GE, Sabaté J, Beeson WL, Strahan TM.  A possible protective effect of nut consumption on risk of coronary heart disease:  The Adventist Health Study.  Archives of Internal Medicine 1992; 152:1416-1424. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400190054010
  • Sabaté J, Haddad E, Tanzman JS, Jambazian P, Rajaram S.  Serum lipid response to a graded enrichment of a Step I diet with almonds: a randomized feeing trial.  Am J Clin Nutr, 2003, 77:1379-84. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/77.6.1379 

Vegetarian Nutrition

  • Sabaté J, Lindsted K, Harris R, Sanchez A.  Attained Height of Lacto-ovo vegetarian children and adolescents.  European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1991; 45:51-58.
  • Orlich, M.J., Singh, P.N., Sabaté, J., Fan, J., Sveen, L., Bennett, H., Knutsen SF., Beeson WL., Jaceldo-Siegel K., Butler TL., Herring RP., & Fraser, G.E. Vegetarian dietary patterns and the risk of colorectal cancers. JAMA Intern Med.2015; 175(5), 767-776. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.59
  • Segovia-Siapco G, Burkholder-Cooley N, Tabrizi SH, Sabaté J. Beyond Meat: A comparison of the dietary intakes of vegetarian and non-vegetarian adolescents. Front Nutr 2019 6:86. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2019.00086

Environmental Nutrition


Dr. Sabaté teaches a wide range of topics on nutrition from vegetarian nutrition, to public health nutrition, nutritional epidemiology and research methods. For his current teaching schedule, click the LLU Teaching link to the left. He is a sought-after guest lecturer and visiting scholar having taught in Spain, South Africa, Russia, Romania, and in most Latin American countries.