Joel Fuhrman, MD, is a board-certified family physician, researcher, six-time New York Times best-selling author, and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term Nutritarian to describe his eating style, which is built around a diet of nutrient-dense, plant-rich foods.
1440: What advice would you give someone who is looking to make a sudden shift from unhealthy eating to a Nutritarian diet?
Dr. Fuhrman: My advice is to first learn about it fully. Read and understand the overwhelming scientific evidence enabling us to protect against disease and extend human lifespan with nutritional excellence.
It is important to know why certain foods protect against cancer and slow aging and why other foods do the opposite—promote fat storage, cellular replication, cancer, and premature aging.
Otherwise they will base their decisions on myths and social norms and not give their taste buds and food preferences the time to transform to prefer healthier foods. I don’t even want someone to start if they have not read one of my books first. They also need to understand the addictive nature of processed foods and how to lessen withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and emotional eating. This is best explained in my book, The End of Dieting.
1440: Can you tell us how Eat to Live and its Nutritarian diet differs from other elimination or detox regimens, for example: Whole 30?
Dr. Fuhrman: There is no comparison. A Nutritiaran diet addresses every nutritional aspect that extends human lifespan. Other diets typically address one aspect, like lowering sugar or lowering fat, or they are based on an unproven and risky hypothesis, such as a ketogenic diet…There are many reasons explained in the scientific literature why diets high in animal protein are dangerous; which are covered extensively in my books…You can’t secure superior health and longevity unless you remove the unhealthy foods and actually eat lots of healthy G-BOMBS.
G-BOMBS are the foods with the most scientific evidence to prevent cancer. It stands for Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds. Eat them almost every day.
A Nutritrarian diet leaves no stone unturned, addressing every factor effecting human longevity. That includes ingesting a superior amount of phytochemicals and antioxidants; the alkalinity of the diet; the mild caloric restriction achieved from eating so much fiber and micronutrients; the cooking methods to reduce exposure to dry heat-generated toxic carcinogens; the avoidance of high glycemic carbohydrates; the beneficial thickening of adherent and beneficial microbiome; the exposure to the full comprehensive array of nutrients that benefit human lifespan; and, of course, the avoidance of chemical toxins, including cancer-promoting supplements such as folic acid.
Additionally, diet that cannot be maintained for life is not of much value. What you do for a temporary period only has temporary benefits.
A Nutritarian diet-style keeps you well physically and mentally for life and is designed to taste fantastic with thousands of recipes tested by a large population of taste testers.
1440: What is the number one mistake you see people make when it comes to “dieting” or trying to lose weight?
Dr. Fuhrman: The main mistake they make is thinking that oil is a health food, when it one of the most calorically concentrated and fattening foods available. It lacks fiber, has almost no micronutrients, and does not downregulate the appetite. For example, if one ate walnuts, instead of walnut oil, or sesame seeds, instead of sesame oil, it would have a completely opposite biological effect. The whole food would be absorbed slowly and incompletely, allowing the body to utilize it as an energy source for hours, whereas the oil would be absorbed almost instantly and turned into body fat.
1440: What types of spiritual practices do you see best assisting people in making diet and lifestyle changes?
Dr. Fuhrman: Social connectivity with others embracing healthy eating and supporting your decisions to eat for health is the most important aspect for assuring change.
1440: How did your career in figure skating lead you to your current career in health and nutrition?
Dr. Fuhrman: I am not sure exactly. I do know that I was passionate about skating and when that passion was destroyed with a severe injury, I was lucky to find a new interest and career that I could become super excited about and devoted to. I have been very lucky to have had the opportunities to pursue my interests in life and I hope all Americans have access to healthy food, a good education, and the opportunity to pursue their passions and dreams as well.