This week we have the pleasure of hearing from Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
Dr. Fuhrman is a board-certified family physician, NY Times best-selling author and nutritional researcher who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods. Dr. Fuhrman is an internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows including The Dr. Oz Show, the Today Show, Good Morning America, and Live with Kelly. Dr. Fuhrman’s own hugely successful PBS television shows, 3 Steps to Incredible Health! and Dr. Fuhrman’s Immunity Solution! bring nutritional science to homes all across America.
Dr. Fuhrman’s #1 NY Times best-selling book, Eat to Live, originally published in 2003, has sold over 1,000,000 copies and has been published in multiple foreign language editions. In October 2012, Super Immunity became a NY Times best seller and in January 2013, his latest book, The End of Diabetes also reached The NY Times list. Dr. Fuhrman joins us today to stress the importance of eating a therapeutic dose of micro-nutrients and to ensure that we don’t throw babies out with bathwater :)
The Slim Is Simple.org Non-Profit Nutrition Education Effort
[Audio Starts 00:24]
Jonathan: Hey, everyone. Jonathan Bailor here with another bonus Smarter Science of Slim podcast. I’ve got to tell you – I am uniquely excited for today’s show because I remember years ago reading a book and in that book, I found a quote and that quote said, “For the vast majority of people, being overweight is not caused by how much they eat, but by what they eat. The idea that people get heavy because they consume a high volume of food is a myth. In fact, eating large amounts of the right food is your key to success.”
Those words, written by today’s guest, who is the wildly successful New York Times bestselling author, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, really was formative in not only my life, but also my professional work. Today, I’m so excited to welcome the author of the wildly successful and inspirational book, Eat To Live, as well as Super Immunity as well as The End of Diabetes. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, welcome to the show.
Dr. Fuhrman: Thanks so much, Jonathan. Great to be here and be part of this today.
Jonathan: Dr. Fuhrman, I wanted to have you on the show because one, I’m a little star-struck because I’m a fan of your work, but really the seminal point that I have derived from your work and that I think is so critical is this idea of what I call ‘therapeutic doses’ of nutrition and how eating more, but smarter, is actually the key to health, which is so different than just saying ‘eat less of a traditional American diet’. Is it not?
Dr. Fuhrman: Well, that’s exactly right. Telling people to eat less food and cut back on calories and weigh their food is essentially a formula for failure. Number two, as people fail repeatedly, the process of losing weight and gaining it back again and losing weight and gaining it back again actually changes the structure of the fat stored in the body and makes losing weight in the future more difficult and actually takes out certain fatty acids from the fat storage and puts back more saturated fat in the fat store of the body, increasing the risk of both heart disease and diabetes and cancer even. So not only does it not work, it’s actually dangerous to follow conventional methods.
Jonathan: Dr. Fuhrman, the key then – the alternative – is really instead of being told to eat less, we need to eat more, but not just Twinkies and Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, but more of the most nutrient-dense foods we can find. Correct?
Dr. Fuhrman: Right. We have to restore the degree of nutritional normalcy and reduce the oxidative stress-free radicals – advanced glycation end products called AGEs. In other words, I’m giving examples of the toxins that build up in our tissues and as those toxins build up in our tissues and cause inflammation, the body stores fat, can’t get rid of its fat, and it drives an addictive drive to over-eat and you can’t control your appetite and you can’t control your weight unless you get healthier, lower the levels of free radicals – advanced glycation end products – through eating a higher amount of high-nutrient foods that allows the body to be permeated with antioxidants and phytochemicals and certain nutritive factors that normalize tissue and actually normalize fat stores so you’re not going to become overweight, either. In other words, it’s almost impossible to become overweight when you’re eating a diet predominantly of natural nutrient-rich foods because obviously it’s not normal to store the degree of fat – it’s almost pathologic, it’s almost like a tumor on the body that’s the result of eating improperly that allows people to get so overweight.
Jonathan: That is such a profound distinction, Dr. Fuhrman, this idea of, one, a slim body ensues. First, you must have a healthy body and a healthy body will naturally pursue a slim body. That is such a paradigm shift from the traditional — We’re told to fight our body, to rip nutrition and calories out of it and to deprive it of things, and what we’re talking about here is fundamentally the opposite; it’s an uplifting, it’s a healing. Correct?
Dr. Fuhrman: That’s right. When you think about it, it’s that the American diet is dramatically nutritionally deficient causing an entire population of sickly people. So when you look at a normal person in America, when you do scientific studies on normal people, they’re not normal people. We’re studying a population of sick people that are nutritionally deprived. In other words, what’s a normal white blood cell count on a blood test per your doctor? Between 5 and 10. That’s not normal. That’s average range of sick people – go between 5 and 10. A healthy person gets a white blood cell count closer to 3, outside of the normal range. I can give you one example after another, but they’re studying sick people who don’t eat properly.
They consider 66% of Americans overweight. That’s because they just determined that a BMI of 25 and above is overweight and it has to be overweight to be above 25. All along, societies have BMIs below 22. Eighty-five percent of our population is overweight; not 66%. That’s just an artificially determined number to make us all not look as overweight as we are; but the point is is that nobody has to have heart attacks and strokes, nobody has to get cancer. We have a population where everybody in America – over 90% of people – get put on blood pressure medication, cholesterol drugs, diabetic drugs by the age of 60, that half of our population of all ages are taking drugs and by the time you’re over the age of 60, you’re taking multiple drugs. Everybody in America develops heart disease, dementia, strokes, overweightness. It’s totally unnatural, it’s totally avoidable, and people think it’s normal, natural, and even genetic because that’s what they’re told and because everybody else is sick like them.
Jonathan: Dr. Fuhrman, what do we do about this? You hit the nail on the head when you said that it seems like there is an inevitability. It’s just a matter of time until you get these diseases, but these diseases have clear causes and it’s been demonstrated repeatedly, through your work and through other people’s work, that when we have a healthy body – just like a healthy body is less likely to get the flu or to get any other kind of illness because it’s healthy – it is also dramatically less likely to get these diseases. So, how do we change this model that is so broken?
Dr. Fuhrman: Well, obviously you’re not going to get the models changed from the powers that be. In other words, there’s too much political, social, and economic power. Also, besides the fact that the drug industry and the food industry, controls the airways and the government and the lobbyists and advertises and controls the minds of — Besides the fact that it’s a difficult enemy in Monsanto and it’s a difficult road to hoe against all that, the major issue here is that unhealthy foods are powerfully addicting and it takes over people’s ability to make logical and rational decisions because now the decision making about what food to eat is based on feelings and emotions that are protected by the primitive brain’s desire to continue the foods that they are addicted to, so most people have lost their keys to the bank.
They can’t even think about this rationally because they’re just trying to protect their addiction any way they can. “Oh, I don’t like vegetables.” They’ll be thinking of all kinds of excuses. “I travel too much.” “I’m on the road.” “It’s too difficult.” “I don’t have time.” “It’s too expensive.” “I get weak if I eat this.” They come up with one excuse after the other because they’re addicts trying to maintain their diets now and most diet books appeal to the masses who want to hear something positive about maintaining their addiction.
The point is that we have to re-educate society and that is happening. Luckily, I had the opportunity to get my own television show on PBS and literally it’s been such a blessing. Literally, there’s thousands, maybe even millions, who know of this work now. Obviously, I’ve sold more than a million books, so there has to be millions that know of it if they’ve read the book they’ve purchased, but in any case, the point is, it’s growing. It’s definitely growing, but obviously it’s not going to take over all of America because the forces of every hospital, every doctor, every drug, all the drugs out there, all the restaurants and fast food restaurants, and the American Heart Association, the American Diabetic Association, the American Cancer Society – they’re funded by the food industry, by Coca-Cola, by the drug industry. It’s very hard for them to come out with an ideal plan, either.
I’m trying to give people straight science without bias, with no commercial influences, and when you do so, it hits a chord in people and it gives people the ability to say, “You know what? It’s not easy, but it’s worth it not to ever have to worry about having a heart attack.” I’m making the radical claim. I actually took this statement a step further than you. You said ‘reduce the risk of these diseases significantly’. I made a more radical statement. I’m saying that nobody has to have a heart attack or a stroke; that we can really knock it out 99%. Of course, there’s going to be the rare person with some predetermined genetic issue, but the point is is that heart disease and stroke should be a very rare occurrence; not having half our population die of that stuff. We’re talking about nearly wiping this stuff out.
I’m saying that nutritional excellence has tremendous power and the idea – this myth that you need willpower of steel and that you have to live your life in deprivation to live life free of disease and in a healthy way there is also a completely ridiculous myth. Your body likes what you get used to. Healthy foods can be made and prepared to taste delicious in gourmet. You don’t lose any pleasure in life at all. It’s just a knowledge-based problem. When you have the knowledge, you have a better life, you enjoy food more, you get more pleasure out of life, you can eat as much as you want. You don’t want to really stuff yourself to discomfort and you protect yourself against diseases and you’re not overweight.
Jonathan: It really is a win-win-win. I often tell people, Dr. Fuhrman – building off of what you just said – is that if you’re pursuing health and it’s anything less than a delight – the process itself is anything less than a delight – you might be headed down the wrong track because you might be down that track of just eating less and exercising more and not focusing on quality, but rather focusing on just the reduction of quantity, which again, it’s not enough to just take your hand off the burning stove, you need to then put the hand in a state where it can heal itself, and that’s where the nutritional density becomes so important. Right?
Dr. Fuhrman: Absolutely. Also, I’m not going to take away the fact that the conventional diet is so high in sugar, it’s so high in salt and other things like that, deadens taste buds and in the initial phase of changing the natural foods, people say, “Strawberry doesn’t taste good. Vegetables have no flavor. Garlic and onions…” The point is is that taste gets re-trained. It does take a little time to re-train your taste buds. I’m not claiming that there’s not any temporary loss of pleasure, but once you’ve re-trained your taste buds and then gotten your sensitivity of your tastes stronger, and it’s improving your health of your taste actually, and you also learn how to prepare foods this way, then there is absolutely no loss of pleasure and actually an increase in pleasure and enjoyment of food. People have got to give it a chance.
Jonathan: Dr. Fuhrman, what are we to do? We live in a culture which can try to be very, very black and white. For example, there is a – what I consider to be, false dichotomy sometimes when people say ‘plant foods are healthy and animal foods are unhealthy’; because even from a nutrient density perspective, if we were to look at refined grains versus a grass-fed beef liver with no hormones, no nothing, certainly there are really nutrient-dense sources of energy and nutrition both deriving from the animal kingdom as well as the plant kingdom and there are horrible sources of nutrition calories from both the animal kingdom and the plant kingdom, like if you’ve got your dwarf, GMO, Monsanto-ized corn versus a wild-caught Alaskan salmon, what are your thoughts on this that sometimes poses a dichotomy – like, all plants are healthy, all animals are unhealthy?
Dr. Fuhrman: Well, now you’re getting into some of the complicated side of the issue. It’s complicated. We can deal with some of those complications and discuss some of those issues right here and now and a few of them are this: the American diet right now is 26 percent of calories from animal products and 62 percent of calories from processed food, which is really just junk food – I don’t want to call it food, but it includes white rice and white bread and oils and sugar and cookies and crackers and rice cakes and breakfast bars and chips and pretzels and…
Jonathan: Edible products. Edible products, not food.
Dr. Fuhrman: Right. So anyway, that’s 62 percent. Now, obviously that 62 percent of junk should be as low as possible and the 26 percent of calories from animal products is too high to allow people to live a life free of heart disease and cancer, so we have to reduce animal products significantly.
We can discuss what level of animal product consumption would still not raise the hormones that increase cellular replication and growth that promote cancer to make eating animal products safe. Right now, Americans eat more than double the amount of animal products. Switching to a healthier and more naturally-raised animal product isn’t going to solve that issue because a diet that is too high in biological protein raises a hormone called IGF-1, insulin-like growth factor 1, which is the major factor – the major hormone – producing a high rate of breast cancer and prostate cancer. It’s not really whether the hormones are in the animals, it’s the hormones that we produce in response to our body and eating more than animal products.
First of all, I do want people to eat less of animal products. I’m not saying they should have to eliminate it. We have to recognize that the nutrients that are lacking in the American diet that are causing all these problems are predominantly the antioxidants and phytochemicals that are found in plant foods that are not found in animal products anyway. So when you knock out processed foods to a very low level or eliminate them and you reduce animal products significantly, then you enable space in the diet to eat all the plant foods and all the natural high-phytochemical and high-micronutrient plant foods we need to eat. Even the best-raised and the cleanest animal products do not contain those antioxidant phytochemicals.
So we’re talking here about our diet – if I could say: “Are you eating a big salad every day with a bit of onion and tomato on top? Are you making that salad a main dish with one of the meals? Are you eating a big double-sized portion of lightly steamed greens like broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, spring beans every day? Are you eating at least half a cup or preferably at least a cup of beans every day? They have remarkable effects of longevity, resisting starches and support the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Are you eating at least an ounce or two of nuts and seeds a day which have dramatic lifespan-enhancing effects? Are you eating at least three fresh fruits a day? Are you eating some mushrooms and onions each day, which have dramatic protection against cancer?”
If you’re doing those six things I just mentioned and you’re having a small amount of animal products in your diet, then you’re probably doing good. When you’re eating all the things you’re supposed to be eating, there’s not that much room to have all the animal products people are eating and as that portion of your plate gets larger, you don’t have room in your stomach or in your appetite to eat all the healthy variety of foods that are so protective and give you that super immunity to prevent cancer, anyway.
So I’m saying hormonally here, when you eat processed foods like sugar and white flour and white rice and white potato even; too much of that, it spikes up insulin. Insulin is a hormone that promotes fat growth in the body and is pro-angiogenesis, which means supports feeding the fat with more of nutrients and oxygen, growth of blood vessels into the fat. When you eat foods like mushrooms and onions and greens and berries, they have anti-angiogenesis factors which say, “No way, Jose. You’re not storing or putting fat on my body.”
Forget the ‘calories in, calories out’; it doesn’t let fat grow when you eat enough of these foods because they are angiogenesis-inhibiting and they don’t raise insulin significantly enough to promote fat growth. Now, when you eat too much animal products – we’re talking here about something like a Paleo diet where some of these Paleo advocates are advocating people eat 60-80 percent of their diet from animal products – then you’re raising insulin-like growth hormone to very extra-high levels that is growth-promoting, fat-promoting, angiogenesis-promoting, it promotes cellular replication, and is cancer-promoting – which is at every society that raises animal products to higher levels and we see more rates of breast cancer. As they cut it back, we see lower rates.
The point is that yes, if the animal products you choose to eat should be those that are the cleanest, and unfortunately the farm-raised fish is probably the most chemically polluted animal product we can eat out of all of them. Obviously, people think all fish is good. It’s very hard to get fish that’s clean enough in today’s polluted world. Obviously, wild salmon is not available to feed all the masses that want to eat it; there’s not that much wild salmon around. If we could get that cleanly, that would be a preferred source. Nevertheless, the question is ‘how much animal products – and when you get the clean ones – would be permissible?’ and I’m saying that level is somewhat less than 10 percent of total calories in your diet as opposed to the 26 percent we see Americans eat today and certainly much less in Atkins diet, Dukan diet, Paleo diet.
All these pocketed diets that appeal to people’s love affair with animal products are feeding people too many animal products that can’t afford people the opportunity to give them the degree of protection against heart disease, strokes, dementia, and cancer that I’m claiming we can give people.
Jonathan: Dr. Fuhrman, certainly the points around eating being a zero-sum game is something that really resonates with me and it is an issue I’ve had sometimes with — Again, if our goal here is eating substances that contain the highest level of micronutrients, and the most healing profiles of macronutrients that are required to support life, and also minimizing the intake of anti-nutrients and things which can cause the body to not be able to utilize nutrition properly, I’m curious about your take on grains. Specifically, they are a plant food, but certainly when we talk about getting clean sources – clean sources of meat can become a challenge, clean sources of fish can become a challenge.
Obviously, clean sources of grains can become a challenge and we all know – I think we all know – individuals who do eat predominantly a plant-based diet, but they eat so much starch that they’re still taking in sub-three servings of vegetables per day because again they’re using that starch to crowd out those more nutrient-dense options, how can we help with that? And the starch is unclean – it’s been genetically modified, it’s been dwarfed, and all these kinds of crazy things. How do we help with that?
Dr. Fuhrman: Right. I call them the ‘junketarians’. I coined a word and that word is ‘nutritarian’ [sic]. A nutritarian means a person who understands that we’re in control of our health destiny, that getting disease is not luck, and that we have to aim towards meeting our body’s micronutrient needs, with both the amount and diversity, and leaving no holes not filled with a peg. In other words, we have to make sure we’re not missing anything. We want to have nutritional completeness and I call that comprehensive micronutrient adequacy and that means a little more thought into it. Nutritional science has made dramatic and exponential advances in recent years and I’m saying this science has enabled us to support the use of natural foods in a balanced way to afford us tremendous opportunity to live longer than ever before in human history. Let’s get a whole bunch of people on board in a nutritarian program.
There’s so much diversity and differences in the way people are eating and I’m saying, “Well, look, there’s a lot of little acceptable factors here that anybody could agree with and the more people we move towards this nutritarian [sic] approach, the more we’re going to improve the health of our country, lower the cancer rates, lower the heart attack rates, lower healthcare costs, improve our economic deficit in our country, reduce dependency on – We have so many sick people that there’s no way our society, with so many sick living so many of the years of their life being ill, can be supported. We’re too unhealthy. It puts people in prisons. It takes away their opportunity in life. It holds people in poverty because the poor nutrition affecting the brain causing aggressive behavior, causing lack of attention and capability to work, and we’re talking here that poor nutrition is destructive to our society’s future and has taken our society down the wrong tubes. So yes, it’s good to focus on all this agreement and get people who have these really far-out views to pull them back to center because we’re all going to benefit from people getting healthy.
Jonathan: And that pulling back to center and focusing on what we agree on and what is almost unarguable – for example, some of the things we’ve talked about here like the most nutrient-dense plants in the world – that is not, at least I believe and I think you show with your scoring systems, it’s not arguable. You just divide micronutrients divided by the number of calories and you see that there are nutrient-dense vegetables and fruits and no grain in the world can really touch the nutrient density of clean vegetables and clean fruits and we have these fibrous, nutrient-rich, whole food fats like avocados and cocoa and we can pursue things like wild-caught fish and nutrient-dense clean meats and in some ways, you can just use math to demonstrate that these are the most nutrient-rich sources available and provide the most of what the human body requires and the least of that which is either optional or detrimental. It seems like that is the foundation and that can certainly be customized; but if we just had that foundation in place, it seems like we would be so much better off.
Dr. Fuhrman: Well, that’s right. I’m making it clear here – I don’t put clean-caught fish or raised meats as the foundational food. They’re not foundational foods because the foundational foods is the vegetables because people are already eating enough meats and they’re eating too much of that. They need to cut that back. Foundational foods are obviously the plant foods because we’re talking here about when people say – I look at the animal products more as condiments or flavorings or add small additions, but nevertheless – the point about grains is well taken.
People eat most of the grain intake as flour and as you finally grind the grain down to a smaller and smaller particle, it increases its glycemic effect and that has the body which raises insulin more, so even whole wheat flour – even whole wheat pasty flour which is even more finely ground than whole wheat flour – has an insulin-promoting effect on the body and you would not want to make that food eleven servings a day like the old USDA Pyramid used to have it. As the grain becomes more coarsely ground – we’re talking about let’s say a wheat barrier that is not [indiscernible 25:33] like a steel-cut oat as compared to old flour – those foods can become an important part of getting in calories as well, but they shouldn’t form the major source of calories, either.
We want people to have nutritional diversity in their diet and nutritional diversity is fun and if we follow our primate around the woods with a long-distance title photo lens, we’ll find an animal – the gorillas and chimpanzees and baboons in the woods – go after nutritional diversity. They don’t just stay in a banana tree, sit down and eat, and gorge themselves for hours and hours. They’ll go away to a different type of tree and travel a mile down through the forest and eat something else that they can find.
In any case, in some respects, it’s simple and in other respects, let’s use modern science. Who knew that mushrooms had all these factors that protect against cancer so powerfully? Who knew that a little bit of mushroom a day could be so powerfully protective and beneficial? I would never have known that. Or that raw onion has these organosulfide compounds that are performed when the cell walls are crushed and blow up when you cook it? If you cook it while it’s still whole, you could lose those. So we’re talking here about using modern science to enable people to eat a healthier diet that wasn’t available to our ancestors.
We could do better. Even though, of course, we’re talking here that getting back to nature, we’ve got to get back to permaculture and not using so many chemicals and people have to grow more of their own food and we’ve got to get back – people do have to learn. They graduate from elementary school, colleges, professional schools, medical schools, and they know nothing about nutrition. The one most important thing that controls your health, how long you’re going to live, and whether you rely on medication and have surgeries, get pancreatitis, get gallstones, kidney stones, reflux, constipation, hemorrhoids, your chest cut open, you’re living in a nursing home where you can’t move, and kidney failure, and you can’t move with a stroke and get put in a wheelchair – all this stuff. Your life is dependent on how much you know about nutrition and people know nothing about it.
It’s the most important thing you could possibly learn and that’s what my work does. I want to educate people with all the information they need to make the right choices in their life, to know what they need to know to a higher level of integrity and depth because when you do know all the bases here, you do make the right choices because the more you know, the easier it is to eat right because you understand how critical these choices are to your future.
Jonathan: Absolutely. Certainly, that foundation of – I mean, this is what I do personally – I’m upwards of 15-20 servings of non-starchy vegetables per day because I personally have seen just such radical health benefits to that and as you mention, your work, Dr. Fuhrman, there is no question that when it comes to therapeutic dose of nutrition, it is impossible to do that without the foundation of your diet; meaning, the bulk, the sheer mass of the food you’re eating has got to be coming from those nutrient-dense plants. Then certainly I think there is a room for interpretation and I don’t want to focus our podcast on that – but I’ve yet to see a study done on an individual who is eating nutrient-dense across the board, both from plant and animal foods. I think sometimes a lot of the research that is done, we see tainted foods or low-quality foods used and we conflate things and, again like you said, the junketarian is no good.
If we have a baseline of the nutrient-dense plants because again that’s the only way we’re going to get that therapeutic dose of nutrition and then, I think there’s even an interesting question to be asked around – ‘do we need to be getting those calories from grains or should we be focusing more on plant fats like avocados?’ It’s not hard to get calories from fats, as you know, and they’re certainly nutrient-dense fats.
Dr. Fuhrman: Well, the Seventh-day Adventist study actually tracked this. They compared, for many years – I think it was 70,000 people in the study – where they had compared vegans who did not eat nuts and seeds against vegans who had a more natural fat in their diet by including more nuts and seeds and they found that those who ate nuts and seeds regularly lived about eight years longer on the average than vegans who had a low-fat vegan diet without nuts and seeds and that those who ate some animal products with nuts and seeds actually lived longer than the vegans who did not eat any nuts and seeds. Did you follow that?
Dr. Fuhrman: So there are certain people who think that all fat is bad and that your diet should be as low in fat as possible and even avocado and nuts and seeds could be completely excluded from the diet and that would help your heart reverse heart disease better or help some other that help you lose weight better. In reality, those are myths that potentially would put you at more risk of certain diseases by putting your fat that low. On the other hand, to disagree with something you said just now as well is that the studies, if you look at all of the data from many different studies, there are quite a numerous amount of essentially very well-done studies that show that when animal products increased to a higher level in the diet, you start to see the emergence of heart attacks and cancers that are common in the West.
The point I’m making here is those studies are not done on commercial animal products; those studies were done in more primitive cultures in rural China and Thailand – some of these studies were worldwide – and primitive cultures that are done and we could use the China study as an example – are done on people who are using grass-fed or home-raised or natural animals and as those get too high, we still see the emergence of these diseases.
Even though I’m 100 percent in agreement that our commercial animal products are junk food, that they feed them junk, they feed them a corn-based diet of GMO corn, they buy spent potato chips and candies from the food manufacturers that have been damaged and can’t be packaged for human consumption, they feed them to the animals, they give them antibiotics and hormones. The conventional animal products people are eating is disgusting, but I can’t believe people actually put soda in their body, either. I can’t imagine my whole life taking a glass of sweetened chemicals and throwing it down my throat. It’s the one body you’re given and one body you have. I just can’t figure people out. They’ll put anything in their body.
Jonathan: Certainly fascinating with the studies mentioned is also again – I think it’s wonderful to have this focus on the nutritional diversity and nutritional density because even citing the China study as an example, some people walk away from that work hearing the message ‘all plant-based foods are good for you and all animal-based foods are bad for you’ when the single highest correlation shown in that study was between starchy plants correlating with a higher incidence of heart disease. Of course, it was a correlation, so it really didn’t prove anything, but again, one of the things I really appreciate about your work, Dr. Fuhrman, is that focus on getting away from these polarizing statements and more focusing on the science which just says ‘eat more of that which the body requires and less of that which is optional or detrimental’ and that can come from a diversity of sources.
Dr. Fuhrman: Right. Of course, when we’re looking at studies – obviously this is my career; I’ve dedicated my career to this and I’ve probably carefully reviewed more than 10,000, I don’t know whether it’s closer to 20,000 but certainly more than 10,000 studies on this subject – and I’d have to say the preponderance of evidence is overwhelming and nutrition shouldn’t be that controversial. It’s only controversial when people have a predetermined agenda to protect and then they’re going to look to see if they can manipulate the data or find something that supports their position. When you review everything with a logical insighted mind, I think that this nutritarian approach which I’m kind of advocating and also [indiscernible 34:05] to a degree, I’m saying to you, “Well, here’s the parameters what make for healthy the healthiest diet” and giving people some really careful guidelines where then they can move in certain directions but staying too far out from this – we want to move in the right direction, not the wrong direction – but at this point, I’m saying here that the preponderance of evidence is overwhelming and in a French Court of Justice of people who didn’t have a predetermined bias or some agenda, we would see that the doesn’t have to be so polar.
Jonathan: Absolutely. I think there is so much here to be hopeful and celebrated in these common denominators and sometimes I just shake my head because in some ways, I think it’s human nature to demonize our differences and to focus on ‘why aren’t you exactly like me?’ versus ‘you know, there are these common threads which, to be very clear, we can certainly do a lot of things to improve our health and to be robust’ where, to demonize the absence of perfection can often scare people away from doing anything. I certainly appreciate your work to help millions of people to move more towards a diet high in that which you need to heal the body and less of that which is either optional, not required, or frankly detrimental.
What’s next for you, Dr. Fuhrman? You’ve got a lot of stuff going on. What’s the next big thing we can expect from you?
Dr. Fuhrman: Well, I’m really excited about the opportunities I’ve had to affect so many people. As you can imagine, what a blessing when you have like hundreds of people’s emails telling you how much they reversed their heart disease, off their blood pressure medication, got rid of their diabetes. My End of Diabetes book just came out and it actually got to the New York Times’ bestseller list in even the first month, so that’s been very exciting. I just filmed this last week a new pledge fundraising show for PBS – not a show, but a new pledge event for PBS, and I’m going to be traveling a lot in June to most of the television stations around the country, being live in the studio with PBS, raising money for their stations, but it gives me the opportunity to be out there with the people and with the public and encourage and motivate them about eating better. It’s really working, so I’m really excited about that.
I have the Eat To Live Cookbook coming out in September, which is like 180 new recipes that are really gourmet with a contribution from a lot of world-class chefs that are now moving at least part of their careers to the nutritarian community. I’m just working on a new book, of course, and enjoying the work that I do. It’s been an honor. I’m honored and blessed to have the opportunity to work with people and to help improve their health, like you or any person – even a person who uses themselves as a personal example, if they lose weight and get healthy, other people ask them how they did it and they motivate other people and if you have a good effect on other people and you have goodwill towards them and you help other people motivate themselves to a better life, it makes you feel good. It doesn’t have to be a thousand people, it could be a couple of people, but the point is is that we’re all in this together and the more people that enlist and become examples of good health, then they can help spread a positive ray of light to people that see them as a role model, too. So all these things have really been exciting.
Jonathan: Certainly, Dr. Fuhrman, I love the point you make there. Certainly you’re doing important work and frankly, we all have important work to do and by feeding our bodies in a way that is just rich in nutrition, that enables us to do a level of important work that we never would be able to do if we didn’t have that level of nutritional support. It really is a virtuous cycle and I appreciate all the work you’ve done to help perpetuate and in some ways, instigate that cycle. Thank you so much.
Dr. Fuhrman: Oh, you’re welcome. How do you like the word ‘nutritarian’?
Jonathan: Oh, I do. I like the word ‘nutritarian’ and I’m always talking about nutrient density and nutritarian that which focuses on what you must eat to support health and making sure you never eat anything that crowds those things out. To me, that is on par with the quote from you that I started the show with.
Dr. Fuhrman: I think that you just voiced the whole philosophy in that short sentence. You said you eat enough of those things – that’s right, so you don’t crowd out – That’s exactly right. Whatever you just said, that was it.
Jonathan: Well, maybe we could jointly put a T-shirt together. Dr. Fuhrman, it’s been an absolute pleasure and I hope we can have you back on the show. Folks, certainly do check out – there’s a plethora of resources out there – the book of Dr. Fuhrman’s that’s my personal favorite is Eat To Live – New York Times’ bestselling dominance, as well as he’s got Super Immunity, he’s got End of Diabetes, and you can learn all about all of his great work over at DrFuhrman.com. His last name is spelled F-u-h-r-m-a-n. Dr. Fuhrman, thank you so much for joining us, it’s been a pleasure, and I hope we can have you back.
Dr. Fuhrman: Thanks, Jonathan. I enjoyed it, too.
Jonathan: Thank you. Listeners, I hope you enjoyed today’s show as much as I did. Remember – it’s definitely not about starvation. It’s about eating smarter and exercising smarter and living better. Talk with you soon.
Jonathan: Wait, wait. Don’t stop listening yet.
Carrie: You can get fabulous free SANE recipes over at CarrieBrown.com.
Jonathan: And don’t forget, your 100% free Eating and Exercise Quick Start Program as well as free fun daily tips delivered right into your inbox at BailorGroup.com.
[Audio Ends 40:22]