Eating for Health

“Since early childhood we have been bombarded with incorrect nutritional dietary advice, and unfortunately the scandal continues today. Even after decades of scientific research refuting its recommendations, the latest USDA recommendations – the Food Guide Pyramid … Still reinforces the dietary errors that people have become accustomed to making.
The food pyramid includes a level of animal food consumption (four to six servings daily) that causes the diseases that kill us: heart attacks and cancer. It suggests we should consume a huge quantity of low-nutrient-content foods such as refined cereals, white bread, and pasta.
Foods are grouped in ways that don’t make sense anymore. Meat, beans, and nuts are all in the same food group because they are considered protein-rich foods. However, while nuts and beans have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels and heart-disease risk, meat is linked to increased risk. The pyramid offers little help for those really wanting to reduce their health risks.
In light of all scientific data available, the USDA’s recommendations are a disgrace. Our government suggests that people consume five measly servings of fruits and vegetables daily (and even apple juice is considered a serving). The data is overwhelming and conclusive; this dietary recommendation does not allow enough vegetation to afford people true protection against the killer diseases now epidemic in modern society.”

“Based on an exhaustive look at research data from around the world over the past fifteen years, my recommendation is that your diet should contain over 90 percent of calories from unrefined plant based foods. This high percentage of nutrient-dense plant foods in the diet allows us to predict freedom from cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, and excess body weight. Fruits, vegetables, and beans must be the base of your food pyramid; otherwise, you will be in a heap of trouble down the road.
The diseases that afflict, and eventually kill, almost all Americans can be avoided. You can live a high-quality, disease-free life and remain physically active and healthy. You can die peacefully and uneventfully at an old age, as nature intended.
To achieve the results in preventing and reversing disease, and attaining permanent healthy body weight, we must be concerned with the nutritional quality of our diet.
The picture is becoming crystal clear – the key to what will make you thin will also make you healthy. Once you learn to “eat to live,” thinness and health will walk hand in hand, happily ever after.”

Dr Joel FuhrmanEat to Live p66/67

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13 Responses to Eating for Health

  1. sybaritica says:

    I’m just curious how you would characterize the Inuit diet, which is almost exclusively animal protein and fat?

    • A brilliant question and one that I have often thought to ask Dr Fuhrman but unfortunately never got round to. I therefore promise to get an answer for you to satisfy us both.

      • sybaritica says:

        Not that it is a diet I plan to adopt, even though I live in the eastern Arctic 🙂

      • Please don’t be so quick to make that resolve. I decided to test out this diet because of the overwhelming scientific evidence supporting its health benefits and found that they worked for me.
        I worked as an Occupational Therapist in a general hospital until a few weeks back and saw first-hand the debilitating health conditions that afflict the vast majority of the elderly (and not so elderly) in our society that I am convinced are not only preventable but in some cases even reversible through a radical change in eating habits.
        Could I ask you to click on the China Study in my blog as I have reproduced the whole of the books Introduction (about 7 pages so not too long) and then tell me what you think about the evidence as presented. This, I hope, will give you more confidence and prompt you to obtain and read the whole book.
        I look forward to your response.

  2. sybaritica says:

    Actually, I meant I wasn’t planning to adopt an all meat diet just yet 🙂 BTW .. I responded to your e-mail so we may be crossing paths here, but I mentioned the Chinese peasant diet … I don’t see the link to the ‘China Study’…

  3. sybaritica says:

    Interesting discussion… However, even though quite a bit went beyond my knowledge level, I have to say that Dr Fuhrman did not really come off that well against some of the arguments offered by others as far as I could see.

    Ultimately, I believe there is no *perfect* diet for humans. That may even sound a little trite stated so baldly, but the idea that there *is* a perfect diet is actually at the basis of most nutrutional arguments. Human physiology has adapted to the foods available and the adaptation is never absolutely perfect …. I adopt Michael Pollan’s dictum… ‘Eat food [ie: whole, unprocessed ‘real’ food]… not too much… mostly plants’


    • I like that. It sounds like good advice to me and fits in with all of the arguments as espoused by Dr Fuhrman and Colin Campbell. Dr Fuhrman on his food pyramid suggests Egg, Fish and fat free dairy should make up less than 10% of your calorie intake. Professor Colin Campbell based his animal studies on 20% animal protein compared to 5% animal protein i.e. reduced animal protein intake improved health outcomes and increased life expectancy.

      • I eat a mainly whole-food, plant based diet whenever I cook for myself so that when I go out for meals with friends and can’t get anything totally devoid of animal protein it doesn’t really matter as overall my intake of animal protein will still be less than 10% of my calorie intake. Likewise, if I was ever invited out for a meal at a friend’s place and they were unaware of my dietary preferences and they served up meat, I would have no hesitation in eating the food presented so as not to offend (not that that has happened too often).

      • Thanks again John for the discussion. I’ve just got back from the footy in Melbourne and just wanted to add another couple of points.
        You may well be right about the fact that Professor Campbell has tended to focus on a single dietary component i.e. animal protein, but it does seem clear from his well-crafted 23 yearlong study that meat (animal protein) in excess is definitely implicated as a significant element in the development of many of the chronic diseases of the developed world. It also seems clear from many studies, other than those conducted by Professor Campbell, that unprocessed nutrient rich plant foods have a very beneficial effect on health.
        Given this then, I feel it is only sensible to eat a diet low in animal protein and high in nutrient rich plant foods as a preventative health strategy. As I have said in a previous response, I have seen too many people, first hand, either dying or totally debilitated by chronic diseases that are clearly a result of poor long term lifestyle choices.
        One of my mantras is that “with knowledge comes responsibility”. Knowing what I know, I feel I have no choice but to tell others and to live it out to the full, whether anyone listens or not.
        From the points that you have made and the way you have presented them, I know that you are a thoughtful and reasonable person and so I will always be happy to discuss further as and when you feel the need to do so.
        At the end of the day we only have responsibility for one person and that is to ourselves to live out the truth as we see it, and to reap the resulting consequences, whether that be good, bad or indifferent.
        Thanks again for listening.

      • I have managed to find a talk given by Professor Campbell given on the 8th December 2009 ( which spends some time discussing the following questions;

        Wild Meat

        What about wild meat in the diet and its health effects? I don’t eat it but lots of Indigenous people do.

        Raw & Organic Meat

        1.Campbell ignores studies of the Canadian Inuit in the 1930’s which showed that those living on a largely raw, all meat, high fat diet derived from sea mammals, fish, land mammals and birds enjoyed terrific health and incidentally, very low cholesterol levels, free from chronic disease even in old age. He also ignores Dr George Mann of Vanderbuilt who studied the Masai in the 1960’s with their diet of meat, blood, and milk, and reported excellent overall health, near total absence of heart disease and none of the other terrible debilitating diseases Campbell would expect them to have.
        2.The highest longevity rates in the world belong to Andorra (between France and Spain) with a diet of meat, garden vegetables, and some fish; San Marino (a microstate completely landlocked by Italy), with a diet similar to Italian cuisine, and Japan (also a balanced diet with lots of fish and some meat and eggs).
        3.I would love to see any citations you have that report more reliable research on the Inuit and Masai.

        I urge you to listen to at least the first section which covers these points

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