You are correct, there are two schools of thought on this issue and until it can be proven that the type of diet that you are suggesting is one that people can stay on for a 'lifetime' and remain healthy all those many years, then I will stick with the "two generations of MDs and dieticians schooled by those MDs". They've been fairly successful thus far as our elderly population has grown tremendously!
My argument was sort of two-sided though and you missed my main point which was "a lifetime diet". The diet you are recommending is generally a hard diet to continue with for long periods of time. Often people go off of it after loosing the weight (which this seems to help with to a degree) and then resume the type of diet that they were eating prior to this. And therein lies a good part of the problem. The goal is to have everyone across the country, young and old, eating more heart healthy and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Re GERD...there are plenty of people that will not be helped completely just by dietary changes alone and must stay on medications, depending on the reason for their GERD or acid reflux. Little things like teaching people to eat earlier in the evening and lying at an incline to prevent gravity's pull of the acid help greatly!
I'm not completely closed minded on this issue, Dr Norm, I'm reading and learning. :) I appreciate your point of view as well.