Spiller, Gene A(lan) 1927–

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SPILLER, Gene A(lan) 1927–

PERSONAL: Born February 19, 1927, in Milan, Italy; immigrated to the United States, 1950, naturalized citizen, 1962; son of Silvio Gaetano (an army general) and Beatrice (a homemaker; maiden name, Galli) Spiller. Education: University of Milan, D.Sc., 1949; University of Southern California, M.A., 1952; University of California—Berkeley, M.S., 1968, Ph.D., 1972; additional study at Stanford University School of Medicine.

ADDRESSES: Home—P.O. Box 123, Los Altos, CA 94023. Office—SPHERA Foundation and Health Research and Studies Center, 340 Second St., Los Altos, CA 94022-3624. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Consultant in nutrition research and education, Los Angeles, CA, 1952–65; University of California, Berkeley, research chemist, 1966–67, associate specialist in physiology, 1968–72; Mills College, Oakland, CA, lecturer, 1971–81; Syntex Research, Palo Alto, CA, principal scientist and head of nutritional physiology, 1972–80; Foothill College, Los Altos, CA, lecturer, 1974–; researcher and writer on health and preventive medicine, 1974–; consultant in clinical nutrition research, Los Altos, 1981–; Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention, Stanford, CA, consultant, beginning 1986; Health Research and Studies Center, Los Altos, president, 1988–; SPHERA Foundation, Los Altos, president, 1990–.

MEMBER: American Institute for Nutrition, American Society for Clinical Nutrition, American College of Nutrition, American Association of Cereal Chemists, American Diabetes Association, British Nutrition Society, Mediterranean Group for the Study of Diabetes, Wilderness Society, Sierra Club, Alpine Hills Club.


(With John W. Farquhar) The Last Puff, Norton (New York, NY), 1990.

The Superpyramid Eating Program: Introducing the Revolutionary Five New Food Groups, recipes by Deborah Madison, Times Books (New York, NY), 1993, published as Eat Your Way to Better Health: Good Health and Great Recipes with the Superpyramid Eating Program, Prima Publications (Rocklin, CA), 1996.

(With Rowena Hubbard) Nutrition Secrets of the Ancients, Prima Publications (Rocklin, CA), 1996.

(With Bonnie Bruce) Cancer Survivor's Nutrition & Health Guide: Eating Well and Getting Better during and after Cancer Treatment, Prima Publications (Rocklin, CA), 1997.

(With Bonnie Bruce) Calcium: Nature's Versatile Mineral, Avery (New York, NY), 2000.

Healthy Nuts, Avery/Penguin (New York, NY), 2000.

(With John W. Farquhar) Diagnosis—Heart Disease: Answers to Your Questions about Recovery and Lasting Health, Norton (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Rowena Hubbard) The Power of Ancient Foods, Book Publishing Co. (Summertown, TN), 2003.

Contributor to Tube Feeding, Jones & Bartlett, 2001.


(With Ronald J. Amen) Fiber in Human Nutrition, Plenum (New York, NY), 1976.

(With Ronald J. Amen) Topics in Dietary Fiber Research, Plenum (New York, NY), 1978.

(With Ruth McPherson Kay) Medical Aspects of Dietary Fiber, Plenum (New York, NY), 1980.

Nutritional Pharmacology, Alan Liss (New York, NY), 1981.

The Methylxanthine Beverages and Foods: Chemistry, Consumption, and Health Effects, Alan Liss (New York, NY), 1984.

CRC Handbook of Dietary Fiber in Human Nutrition, CRC Press (Boca Raton, FL), 1986, 3rd edition, 2001.

(With James Scala) New Protective Roles for Selected Nutrients, Alan Liss (New York, NY), 1989.

The Mediterranean Diets in Health and Disease, Van Nostrand (New York, NY), 1991.

Handbook of Lipids in Human Nutrition, CRC Press (Boca Raton, FL), 1996.

Caffeine, CRC Press (Boca Raton, FL), 1998.

SIDELIGHTS: Nutritional expert Gene A. Spiller's books include numerous academic volumes about food and nutrition, as well as several books intended for the general reader. In the 1990 volume The Last Puff, which he wrote with John W. Farquhar, Spiller includes information on nicotine addiction and how to quit smoking. Featuring testimonies from ex-addicts (like those found in AA founder Bill W.'s Alcoholics Anonymous), The Last Puff includes personal stories from actress Celeste Holm; David Goerlitz, who achieved fame in cigarette advertisements as the Winston Man; and twenty-eight others. Calling the work "refreshingly unlike the usual stop-smoking manual," a Publishers Weekly critic observed that the first-person stories are "realistic and persuasive." In a review for the Washington Post, Robert H. Williams noted that the self-help guide "manages to be a valuable little book with something for everyone … with an interest in quitting smoking."

Spiller used the latest in dietary research for his 1993 guide The Superpyramid Eating Program: Introducing the Revolutionary Five New Food Groups, later published as Eat Your Way to Better Health: Good Health and Great Recipes with the Superpyramid Eating Program. Going beyond the recommendations of the U.S. government's Food Pyramid, Spiller points out the advantages of eating more natural, or "whole plant," foods. Spiller's pyramid has whole grains, beans, egg whites, and nonfat dairy items as its base; fruits and vegetables as its second level; fish, nuts, olives, avocados, and seeds as its third level; and low-fat meats and dairy products at the top. He details how cultures that traditionally eat foods from his "superpyramid" rarely suffer from common Western health problems like heart disease and obesity, and includes recipes from Deborah Madison to aid the reader in exploring these foods. "The author takes great pains to point out that his program is not a diet" but more of a lifestyle, a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted, adding that while the book has little that is new, the "text is an interesting amalgam of food lore, recipes and nutritional self-help guidelines." Library Journal contributor Carol Cubberley recommended the book, calling it a "well organized and clearly written" examination of a nutritional way of life.

In Diagnosis—Heart Disease: Answers to Your Questions about Recovery and Lasting Health, Spiller teams up with physician John W. Farquhar once again to take on a pressing public health issue. In a series of questions and answers, Spiller and Farquhar look at the causes and treatments of heart disease, as well as lifestyle changes people can make that can help prevent cardiac trouble. They also include a special section on particular heart-health issues facing women, for whom heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. While noting that the information in Diagnosis—Heart Disease is covered in many other books, Library Journal contributor Eris Weaver remarked that it is nonetheless conveyed "accurately, concisely, and in very simple language." A Publishers Weekly critic found that the book "decodes doctor-speak and provides accessible information," and recommended the book for people undergoing cardiac treatment.

Spiller told CA: "There seems to be a need for more scientist-writers. I love equally well the science of disease prevention, creative writing, and now audiovisual communication. I feel that this combination of talents can help me write and publish work that the general public can enjoy and be inspired by, without the rigidity that often permeates the popular writing of some scientists. In the past ten years I feel I've become part of that select group of creative scientist-writers that is so much needed in this changing world.

"In 1990 I expanded my publishing activities through a new nonprofit foundation, the SPHERA Foundation, to produce creative and inspiring work on health and disease prevention. I plan to continue editing and writing medical books on topics at the forefront of research (heart disease, cancer, and so on)."



Booklist, February 15, 1993, Barbara Jacobs, review of The Superpyramid Eating Program: Introducing the Revolutionary Five New Food Groups, p. 1021.

Library Journal, March 1, 1990, Robert Schmid, review of The Last Puff, p. 110; March 15, 1993, Carol Cubberley, review of The Superpyramid Eating Program, p. 100; February 1, 2001, Eris Weaver, review of Diagnosis—Heart Disease: Answers to Your Questions about Recovery and Lasting Health, p. 120.

New York Times, July 12, 1990, Jane Brody, review of The Last Puff, p. B8.

Publishers Weekly, February 16, 1990, review of The Last Puff, p. 76; February 22, 1993, review of The Superpyramid Eating Program, p. 92; February 5, 2001, "Healing Yourself and Others," p. 86.

Washington Post, July 31, 1990, Robert H. Williams, review of The Last Puff, p. WH14.