Hi dear friends!
As promised, I am sharing the interview with Dr. Joel Furhman. Talking to such a prestigious doctor was an absolute pleasure and now I am ready to share it with you!
MXO: Good evening Dr. Fuhrman, it is a pleasure for me to meet you virtually and have you share your knowledge with us.
Dr. Furhman: Thank you.. It’s a pleasure for me to be here.
MXO: Apart from being a Board-certified family physician, have written 10 books related with nutrition, you have done extensive research in the field of nutrition helping lots of people to lose weight permanently and reverse chronic diseases. According to the data collected by the Colombian Department of Public Health, 56% of the population are obese and most chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, heart disease and some types of cancer, represent about 90% of the public health costs.
Clearly these figures are alarming, and we need to look at nutrition and habits in a more conscious way.
As an Integrative Health Coach, I am very interested in sharing studies from recognized medical doctors like yourself to educate people about the dangers of our current eating habits and lifestyle habits.
Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge with us today. Recently I wrote a blog about the nutritarian diet which you advocate.
Can you explain what the nutritarian diet is about?
Dr. Furhman: Certainly. Well, the question is, is there one goal standard or ideal way of eating that can maximize the life spam of the vast majority of people? In other words, what are all the factors, nutritional and dietary that will slow aging and extend human life spam? When we do that, we find that when we rev nutritional excellence up that degree to maximize human life spam, prevent cancer, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, then we also have a powerful way to reverse disease. So, people who are diabetic, will lose weight and become non-diabetic, people who suffer from headaches, the headaches will go away, those who suffer from asthma, will stop using inhalers because it goes away, so what I am saying here is not only that nutritional excellence not only prevents chronic diseases, it is also more therapeutically effective than medications.
A nutritarian diet means a diet rich in nutrients and I will refer to two principles. Firstly, the most foundational studies show that the most proven methodology to slow aging and extend the life spam its moderate caloric restriction in an environment of micronutrient excellence. This means exposure to a diversity of micronutrients from colorful plants. What we see in developed countries is that diets are high in processed foods and animal products and very low in foods with phytonutrients, antioxidants, with anticancer effects.
The second principle has to do with a diet that is hormone – favorable because certain hormones in excess can increase the risk of cancer. For example, when you are overweight, specially around your belly, those fat cells produce vast amounts of estrogen, and high levels of estrogen increase the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer.
MXO: Do you think we can control appetite with a diet rich in nutrients?
Dr. Furhman: Having a diet rich in nutrients means less appetite, no rush of sugar means no addictive behavior towards food. When people eat diets with a high glycemic content (high levels of glucose), like bagels and white rice, the body responds with a huge insulin release response, and this increases the chances of heart disease, cancer and dementia. The brain can be damaged by the rapid rush of sugar in to the blood stream but it can also be damaged by the high level of insulin.
More sugar also means more calories, and this caloric rush can create addiction. Why? Because it stimulates dopamine in the brain creating addictive behaviors. It has a drug-like effect in people.
When you eat a diet that is high in water, fiber and nutrients it occupies space in the stomach, its digested slowly and helps to control appetite.
MXO: Can you explain the term “metabolic waste” and how it relates to body toxicity?
Dr. Furhman: The modern diet is high in animal products, which has lots of nitrogen waste, ammonia, urea, uric acid, and the processed grains (carbohydrates) don’t contain nutrients, both raise toxins in the body, metabolic waste products, so the body has more toxicity. In a diet like this one, when you try not eat more food, the body is going to feel more fatigued, weaky, headachy, basically you won’t feel well in a non-feeding state because the body is trying to cleanse and repair in the non-digestive state. So, you eat a meal right, and you are busy digesting and eating and you feel better because your body stopped detoxing.
When a person is not eating healthy, they build up more waste products in the body and the waste products act like drug waste (same as with drug addicts). People mistakenly confused fatigue as a sign of hunger, but it’s not hunger its being toxic. This toxicity means more acidity, more free radicals which will affect the entire body.
MXO: Ok, so we know we need to eat a diversity of colorful vegetables. If fresh vegetables aren’t available, would you recommend frozen vegetables?
Dr. Furhman: A lot the times frozen vegetables are even more nutrient rich and even fresher. Sometimes when they pick the vegetables, they overcook them or are not good quality (making reference to cooked frozen vegetables as opposed to fresh frozen vegetables) so it’s better to eat the frozen vegetables that were picked and frozen right away.
MXO: There is a growing number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Colombia including children. If you could give 2 specific recommendations what would they be?
Dr. Furhman: The most favorable carbohydrate for a diabetic are legumes like lentils, beans, peas, chickpeas, all type of beans. They are full of resistant starch and they contain slowly digestive starches. Another food that I recommend are nuts and seeds, they are good fats which are broken down very slowly. So, a typical lunch could be a big salad with raw vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, lettuce with a nut dressing with almonds and sunflower seeds, with some balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic. So, the secret is to make the dressing with nuts, not with oil. And then a bowl of beans soup and a piece of fruit for dessert. So, we are not using processed oils, rice or refined carbs.
Ideally you want to get most of your carbohydrates from beans, raw vegies and fruits.
We are talking about a diet that is heave in plants basically.
If animal products are in the diet, they should be kept to a minimum level because they drive the nutrients out of the body that are needed to heal. Also, because they raise a hormone called IGF1 (Insulin Growth Factor 1) which increases heart rate, makes diabetes worse and increases rates of cancer. So, we want to keep this IGF1 hormone low by being on a vegan diet or keeping animals’ products to the minimum.
End of Part One
Are you learning something new? What are your thoughts? I would love to read your comments. Keep an eye on Part Two of this interview.
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Maria Ximena Ospina