Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast, the weekly podcast where Dr. G. gives you the tools you need to boost your health and live your healthiest life.
Dr. Gundry (00:15):
Welcome to The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Now, unless you’ve been reading my books or listening to me, you’re saying, “Imagine reversing type 2 diabetes, stopping cancer in its tracks, and adding a decade of healthy living to the average American’s lifespan? Sounds too good to be true.” But, as my guest today will explain, you can achieve all of these things with nothing more than food.
Joining me today is Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He’s a New York Times multiple bestselling author, and he’s got a new book out called Eat For Life. He is absolutely an expert on nutrition and natural healing. Today, Dr. Fuhrman and I are going to chat about the popular food that you need to immediately cut back on, why you actually need to slow your metabolism, and the three changes you can make today to radically change your health and your life span.
Dr. Fuhrman, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show. Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of yours. Your book Eat To Live was probably one of the first books I picked up over about 20 years ago when I started my journey into your area of expertise. It really had a huge influence on my decision that maybe food could reverse heart disease, as you’ve shown, as I’ve shown, as many others have shown. Let me just start off by saying congratulations on your career, and I salute you and compliment you on what you’ve been doing the last number of years.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (02:06):
I appreciate that. Well, thanks so much. I know that you know, too, how rewarding it is, the personal satisfaction we get when we have a person with psoriasis that gets well, or lupus whose kidney function goes back to normal, a person who’s rid of their diabetes, their chronic headaches. It’s just using nutritional excellence as a primary therapeutic modality is just better for the patient. It’s so much better for the doctor too. It’s thrilling to watch these miraculous health transformations.
Dr. Gundry (02:35):
Yeah, it really is. I mean I’m sure I’m like you. I’m like a kid in a candy store. I look forward to going to work every day to watch somebody reverse what every doctor that they went to said, “You can’t get rid of this.” It’s like, “Here, take your medication and shut up,” including most cancer specialists. Hopefully, we’ll dive into that as well.
You and I, actually, we have our differences, and that’s okay, but you and I probably agree on 90, 95% of just about everything. Let’s start with a basic question. You’ve coined the phrase nutritarian diet. What the heck is a nutritarian diet?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (03:24):
Well, thanks for that. I think the word nutitarian is supposed to represent the pinnacle of health excellence in the dietary community. In other words, what I’m saying right now, what do we hold up as an ideal way to eat to live as long as we possibly can, to be disease-resistant? It means to eat a diet that’s super healthy. The word nutritarian means rich in nutrients in the quantity but also the variety and making sure we’re not missing one, in particular, nutrient that could be important for our survival.
The primary principle to a nutritarian diet… I have to preface that by saying the most proven methodology to slow aging and live longer, and the only proven methodology, is moderate caloric restriction in the context of micronutrient excellence. Let me say that one more time because we know we have the most overweight population in the history of the human race, and fat on the body shortens life span. Everybody eats too many calories, so I’m saying that too much fat, too much carbohydrate, and too much protein… Those are called macronutrients. The micronutrients in food are vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants. Americans, in the modern world, are ubiquitously deficient in those things. That’s why we have a COVID-19 crisis, because we have people dying of micronutrient deficiencies and excess calories.
We have the malnourished overweight population where… and I’m claiming that it’s not 70% of Americans that are overweight like the authorities say. It’s more like 90% because they use a BMI of 25 as the demarkation line between a normal weight and overweight. I’m saying all long-lived societies, all blue zones have BMIs for males below 23 and, for females, below 22. Using a 23 BMI, then we see 89% are overweight or obese. Among those people who are of a normal weight, the majority of them, about 80% of them, are normal weight because they either smoke cigarettes, or they’re alcoholics, or they have some illness keeping them thin. 2.4% of Americans eat healthfully. That’s why we’re seeing so much COVID deaths, because we have a completely malnourished society.
There’s no such thing as an overweight person who’s healthy. Fat on the body is pathogenic. It spews out reactive oxygen species, cytokines, lipokines, makes insulin resistance. What I’m saying, right now, moderate caloric restriction to maintain a healthy weight slows the aging process and lowers your metabolism so you age slower. Everybody’s trying to raise their metabolism so they can eat more food and not get fat. I’m saying no. We should be eating less food, a little bit less so we moderately slow our metabolism so we need less calories and don’t get too thin.
It’s the opposite. Those calories we choose have to have a high micronutrient bang per caloric buck. The foods with the highest micronutrients per calorie are… Generally, green vegetables are most protective against cancer, heart attacks, dementia, and of course… I’m also saying that this anti-cancer lifestyle arms the immune system so we don’t get cytokine storm, flooded with mucus in lung… so we’re not going to die during a epidemic.
I think, about eight years ago, I published a book called Super Immunity. I wrote about how that, not only are infectious diseases going to kill more people in the future, but we’re laying ourselves at risk of having some novel virus or new bacteria arise from bacteria changing their… becoming more resistant to antibiotics, that we’re going to have more infectious deaths in the future unless people start eating healthfully, because medicines can’t buy us good health. We have to start earning nutritional excellence to protect us against these things. Then, of course, COVID-19 comes along, and people are dying now that don’t have to die if they ate healthfully.
Yeah, so a nutritarian diet means nutritionally rich with enough variety to get the immune system really strong.
Dr. Gundry (07:24):
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. This past week, there is a paper out of China looking at selenium status. There are some areas in China that have very low selenium in their soil and other places where they have adequate selenium in their soil. Many people listening to us going, “Well, what the heck is selenium?” It’s a micronutrient. They found that the people who had low selenium status in their diet had virtually an 80 to 90% death rate from COVID-19. People who had a high selenium status in their diet virtually did not die from COVID-19, just one micronutrient. We can look at vitamin D, for instance. You’ve been on the cutting edge of this.
It’s really hard to convince somebody that selenium, for instance, could make a possible difference in your health. Yet, in your book, you make a very strong case, and you always have, that we are lacking in multiple micronutrients, and we’ve overwhelmed in macronutrients. Take us through what are you going to do about this? Are people listening to you?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (08:44):
Well, I think many are, but a lot aren’t. The majority of people are committing suicide with food. I think that the fear of cancer is 20, 30, 50 years down the road or whatever it is. That’s not enough for them to, let’s say, quit smoking or stop eating bagels, and hot dogs, and doughnuts, and pizza. What I’m saying is that people want a magic pill that they can take so they can smoke three packs a day and not get lung cancer or eat burgers and pizza and not get breast cancer. That’s a fairytale. That’s never going to happen. If you eats sweets, commercial baked goods, fried foods, and things like that, you’re going to have a horrible life, but now it’s different.
What’s different now is COVID-19 can kill people, right away, who eat that way. Fried foods suppress immunity. What I’m saying, right now, is I think now is an opportunity to have more people recognize the importance of nutritional excellence. Even though the mass media is not talking about this, well, I’m getting the opportunity to speak more, I think, at home through Zoom and Skype and things like that, but I do think that more people might be waking up to the fact that we can control our health destiny, and we don’t have to be fearful of being killed by this virus if we get in great health.
I just want to say something so people aren’t so fearful is that I know that, when you’re overweight, you increase your risk of death by more than 700%. A nutritarian is a person who’s at their normal weight with a BMI below 23 because they’ve eaten lots of healthy foods and vegetables. What I’m saying right now is we see that, if you’re overweight and you change your diet, within a few weeks, you start to become less insulin-resistant even while you’re still overweight. The aromatase activity, the activation of the heightened estrogen starts to come down. The body doesn’t spill out as many lipokines and cytokines if you’re losing weight at the rate of one kilogram a week.
We see that with people having gastric bypass even or Lap Band, that if they’re losing weight, their diabetes starts to go away even before they’ve lost all their weight. I’m saying, right now during these times, that a nutritarian is a person who’s, yes, at their ideal weight eating very healthfully, but also a person who may still be overweight who’s dropping weight at at least a pound every three days, because if they’re eating right enough to lose weight at at least two pounds a week, we’re going to see rapid increase in immune system function that’s going to afford them more protection while they still haven’t gotten to their ideal weight yet.
What I’m saying right now, of course, is that the white blood cells are chronically overly stimulated. The normal range of white blood cells on a blood test request is 5 to 10, but when you start flooding your body with these nutrients, particularly ones found in green vegetables, we see people getting a lower white blood cell count as inflammations go down. My normal white blood cell counts for my patients and followers might be between 2.2 and 6 might be a normal white blood cell count because what I’m saying is that the battery keeps its charge, the flashlight keeps its charge when the flashlight’s turned off. Keep the flashlight turned on, the batteries burn out. We don’t want to keep our body in chronic inflammation because then we’re not going to respond quickly to a virus, be able to put out the fire from the viral replication.
I’ve also discussed, in my prior books, that virus’ RNA can replicate and take more pathogenic forms and evade immune system capture in a immunosuppressed or nutritionally-deficient health. As you said, a deficiency of any one nutrient, even a deficiency of beta-carotene, of zinc, of selenium, of vitamin D, of a host of different nutrients… Your weaknesses are what you’re missing. Whatever you’re missing, that could be something that weakens your immune system. We need comprehensive micronutrient adequacy and including a diet rich in phytochemicals from different vegetables.
I have this acronym called GBOMBS, GBOMBS, G-B-O-M-B-S, so people recommend to eat these natural foods with anti-cancer effects regularly. Of course, that stands for greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds, so it’s greens, beans… to try to encourage people to eat their flaxseeds, to get their variety of mushrooms, to eat… in other words to eat… Of course, I want people to eat a big raw salad every day at least once a day, a large salad every day with some cruciferous green on it like arugula or shredded cabbage or baby bok choy.
What makes my advice different than most people is I want their salad dressing or the fat in their diet to come from nuts and seeds not from oils. It’s not walnut oil. It’s walnuts. It’s not sesame oil. It’s sesame seeds. It’s not flaxseed oil. It’s flaxseeds. We make delicious dressings, and sauces, and desserts, and dishes that we take the oil out and we put the whole nut or seed in because the studies are very… The evidence is overwhelming that, when you make that switch, we extend human lifespan, improve immune function, and decrease the calorie-consuming monster. In other words, what I’m saying right now, too, is when you eat a diet low in nutrients, you become a calorie-consuming monster, and you can’t control the appestat.
Dr. Gundry (14:13):
Yeah. It’s fascinating. In some of my talks, I show a US Senate document that says our soil is now so depleted of nutrients that we could eat huge amounts of food and never actually get the micronutrients that we need. I ask my audience, which includes many physicians that I speak to, “Tell me the date that this Senate document was made.” Most people guess maybe 2000. Some people guess 1990. It was actually 1936. Our soil was so depleted even back then that people knew about this problem, but of course, nobody did anything about it.
Let me ask you this. Our listeners say, “Well, gee, I go to the grocery store, and I’m eating a lot of greens. Is there a really big difference of why I should pay a little bit more for organic greens than conventional greens?” What’s the difference?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (15:19):
I think so. I think it’s worth it today. I mean I always say we have an unprecedented opportunity to eat a diet better than our ancestors could have eaten. True, we have nutritional deficiencies in soils in the Midwest and the plains states. It’s particularly the soy, the corn, the wheat, the rice, the grain, the potatoes that are nutritionally deficient, but the green vegetables grown in California, the green vegetables grown in organic farms that use regenerative agriculture… We’re talking about compost and bat guano and whatever they’re doing. We do have nutritional-rich foods available to us. We don’t have to eat the nutritionally-barren stuff.
Of course, it’s the processed foods. Don’t forget processed foods are 60% of what Americans are eating today, like pasta, bread, salad oil, mayonnaise, doughnuts, cookies, crackers, rice cakes, breakfast bars, chips, soft drinks, and bars, and breakfast cereals. They’re eating food with no nutrients in it, zero nutrients.
In any case, I’m saying that, when you eat an organic food, you’re getting better soil, more nutrient diversity, but also, the leafy greens have a lot of surface area. A little dump of pesticide in the wrong place, a little spray from that thing in the wrong place, and you could be having a huge exposure to toxicity on a head of cabbage or on a head of kale because it has so much surface. With an apple, you could peel it. With a carrot, you could peel it with a peeler or something like that. With a cantaloupe, you’re not eating the skin. With a nut or seed, it grows on a tree with a sealed hard shell, and the roots go down for 20 feet into the soil. You’re not going to get a lot of pesticide residue in the center of a nut or seed of an avocado, but with the green vegetables, and with berries, and with certain foods, you have the possibility of being exposed to harmful substances.
Now, I just have to say that oats, conventional oats, are contaminated with glyphosate now, and the conventional rice is contaminated with arsenic, so [crosstalk 00:17:09]-
Dr. Gundry (17:09):
Thank you for saying that, absolutely true.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (17:11):
Consumer Reports said even a lot of organic oats are still contaminated with arsenic, by the way, so-
Dr. Gundry (17:15):
And glyphosate, yeah.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (17:18):
Yeah, so we have to be more careful. We have to more careful than ever before. We also have microplastics in seafood that are now… there’s plastics off the shore that even the sardines I used to think were relatively safe… Now we’re finding even smaller fish have microplastic particles in them.
Dr. Gundry (17:36):
Since you brought that up, what’s changed about this new program versus your thinking in the past? Give us some details.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (17:46):
Some changes are the fact that the raw vegetables like… I mean the cruciferous green family and the onion family have an enzyme in them. The enzyme in the green vegetables is called myrosinase. The enzyme in the onion is called alliinase. Those enzymes produce the organosulfide compounds and the [isothiocyanites 00:18:09] that are probably the most powerful anti-cancer benefits in the dietary portfolio, but those enzymes are deactivated by cooking, so we want to eat raw onion and raw greens.
If you blend the kale or the bok choy or you blend the onion or the leek while it’s raw, then we can still break down the cell wall so the chemical reaction that forms the ITCs takes places in the blender instead of the mouth. Then you can pour it into the soup or the stew to cook, and the heat will not destroy the anti-cancer ability because you blended it raw.
If we’re eating these salads raw, we have to crush them in the mouth really well and chew to a liquid to get maximum anti-cancer effects because, years ago, I used to say… When I first wrote Eat To Live, I had people put the kale and the onion in the soup whole, and they would take it out with the tongs and then put it into the blender to cream it into the soup base. Now I don’t have them do that. Now they have to blend the green vegetables while they’re raw into the soup base, and they have to blend the onion and leek raw. Then, once it becomes a puree, then they can pour it into the soup to be cooked. We were trying to retain the viability and the activity of the anti-cancer substances.
There’s also been a lot of new information out about mushrooms, including ergothioneine and the ability of mushrooms to control excessive immune response to… I think that, more than ever before, I recommend eating a variety of different mushrooms or even taking a mixed mushroom extract if you’re not get a variety of mushrooms in your diet, because they found an ergothioneine receptor on stem cells in a lot of the body’s cells to stabilize DNA from aging. We get a lot of anti-aging effects from including mushrooms regularly in our diet, and the fact that mushrooms have their full viability for those anti-cancer effects when they’re cooked, whereas the greens maintain the viability more when they’re raw.
Some of those nuances we’ve more targeted, in recent years, to help people make a really true anti-cancer diet, which makes it more protection against COVID-19 too.
Dr. Gundry (20:20):
I know you’ve used this equation in your book, H equals NC. What does that mean? Why is it maybe the most important principle of your book?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (20:32):
Right. That’s the thing we’re saying about moderate caloric restriction in the context of micronutrient excellence. That H equals N over C means your healthy life expectancy and how youthful, vibrant, intelligent you’re going to be as you age and how good health is related to the micronutrient per calorie density of your diet throughout your life.
We’re talking here about a person who maybe smokes three packs a day for 20 years is called… three packs for 20 years is… What’s that, 60 pack years? You know?
Dr. Gundry (21:06):
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (21:06):
Person has like three grams of salt for 30 years, that’s two grams above one gram. That’s like 30 years times 2 grams over, that’s 60 salt years. It’s the years you can build up of doing the healthy habits affect you positively or negatively. The sooner we start reducing salt, eating healthfully, not smoking… We got to get people started on this program of flooding their body with nutrients.
That H equals N over C means what is your micronutrient exposure as far as the adequacy of it and the breadth or completeness of that exposure, and for how many years have you been on a diet with adequate micronutrients where you haven’t over-consumed calories? It also means, when you ask me something, the newest things we’re finding out is that, when you eat a heavy meal late at night and you go to sleep on a full stomach, you put on more weight, and you inhibit detoxification, and you increase the aging process. When you eat earlier in the day, and you eat a lighter meal dinner or an earlier dinner, and when you go to bed on an empty stomach, you slow metabolism, you get more rest when you sleep, you reduce more free reactive oxygen species, and you lose weight easier.
I’m trying myself to do this now, to less eat late at night, to try to eat a smaller dinner, and try to get digestion finished before I got to sleep at night, because every once in a while, you come home late. You’re busy. You’re hungry. You eat a bigger meal. I’m trying to get that out of… trying to have my… the people who follow my advice and to have my advice to them and our interactions motivate me to do better to. I want to stop eating late at night and try to eat smaller meals and eat earlier in the day too.
That’s another nuance. That’s another new thing that’s important, but it all fits in with this H equals N over C, which means get your nutrients in. Don’t get as many calories in because a little bit extra calories speeds up your metabolism, and it makes you age faster. It raises body temperature. It raises the respiratory quotient. Then, if calories burn, the respiration goes up. Also, it raises your thyroid function. The activation of burning more calories to chew off those calories ages you. It’s like if you’re making a pact with the devil. You’re going to be speeding up your stem cells. Your stem cells are aging faster, and your telomeres are going to show more signs of aging the more you overeat calories, so we have… whereas you under-eat a little bit, you slow down those parameters. You lower body temperature. You lower the respiratory quotient.
We found out that people in the lower range of normal of thyroid function have less atrial fibrillation, less cardiac arrhythmias, and less heart attacks. We used to think that keeping them in the higher range of thyroid function to induce weight loss and lowering cholesterol is better, but now that’s been shown to be wrong. We don’t want to over-treat them with thyroid medication. We don’t want to push their metabolism up. We want them to be a little colder and a little lower and not worry about that. Of course, not abnormally low, but we’re saying here don’t rev up your thyroid artificially. It’s not great for your life span.
Dr. Gundry (24:18):
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No, I agree. I get the opportunity of studying and having, as my patients, a lot of late-90s, early-100-year-old people living in Palm Springs. These people almost universally run a low body temperature. They’re sitting around 96. The vast majority of them have low-ish free T3 levels. You’re right. They are incredibly fuel-efficient creatures, and they run a low metabolism. That’s what I talked about in The Longevity Paradox. The idea that we need to rev up our metabolism is the exact opposite for longevity purposes.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (25:34):
Absolutely. That’s great that you’re saying that, because it’s like nobody… This is so novel because the rest of the world is saying the opposite, so I’m glad you found the same thing.
Dr. Gundry (25:44):
Yeah. You and I, I think, both are on PBS, and that’s what I say in my PBS special.
Now, here’s another thing that you and I both agree on, that we need to reduce the consumption of animal proteins. I’ve written about this, and everybody can’t believe it. You have been one of the original proponents of reducing animal protein. Why is that so important?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (26:08):
There’s numerous reasons. One reason is is that, when you go over a certain level of animal protein, you push up IGF-1 into an abnormally high range. IGF-1 has growth-promotion effects that enhance the cellular replication that can allow cancer cells to replicate. It also is angiogenesis-promoting, which can allow cancer cells to glean their own blood supply and replicate. Lower levels are healthier, but if you’re too low as you age, could also be unhealthy. There’s a narrow range of IGF-1 that’s ideal, so tweaking that to the perfect level is an important aspect.
The other aspect is too much animal protein can also increase the production of TMAO. Trimethylamine oxide could go too high. When your trimethylamine oxide goes over a certain level, it becomes an inflammatory modulator of the… It inflames the endothelium and promotes atherosclerosis. You also build more gram-negative bacteria in the gut. When you have more animal protein and animal fat, you also get more insulin resistance, so then you have a higher response to a carbohydrate.
You have all these keto and paleo people eating a lot of animal protein and animal fat and they say, “See, when I eat a mango or some oatmeal, my sugars go through the roof. I got to stay on animal products.” The reason their sugars go through the roof on those foods is because they’ve distorted the shape of their insulin receptors, which too much animal foods and saturated fat… Now, when they eat those foods, they get an excessive response because they’re not going to be insulin-resistant. It also makes it harder to lose weight, so yes.
You know what? Also, the Seventh-Day Adventist 2 study was very clear, and we give more credence to studies that follow people for decades and look at hard endpoints like death. What they found is that more plant protein in the diet made for longer life span, and more animal protein in the diet made for shorter life spans even when people went up to relatively small amounts, like went up from 10 to 20%. You still saw more deaths.
What I’m saying, right now, is that that eating a diet that’s richer in plant protein with hemp seeds, green vegetables, soy beans, other beans, nuts, pine nuts, all these things that we find that as… quinoa as plant… that we want protein adequacy, but we want more of the protein to come from plants because plant protein is not as biologically complete. When it’s not as biologically complete, the body can turn it into growth hormone and IGF-1 more slowly because it completes it by matching amino acids from the interstitial… there’s an interstitial… What should I say? Storage of amino acids that, if the body can take, it can balance amino acids from. It can also add more amino acids by bringing some bacteria, digesting the bacteria or sloughed-up epithelial cells.
The body doesn’t complete protein to make growth hormone excessively unless it needs it. When you take an animal protein, because it’s not efficiently burned as calories or stored as fat as efficiently as carbohydrate or fat, it’s not stored as efficiently as fat, the body will more readily turn the extra protein calories into growth hormone or produce more nitrogenous waste like urea, uric acid, and ammonia. You have more inflammatory wastes, more urea, uric acid, and ammonia, more production of hormone, more production of inflammatory substances, so we’re trying to reduce animal protein.
Dr. Gundry (29:37):
You’ve recently moved to the San Diego area. There’s another physician down there, Dr. Paul Saladino, who is one of the biggest proponents of the carnivore diet. You probably don’t spend a lot of time together yet. The carnivore diet folks are saying, “Well, look at the weight loss that everybody’s having.” They’re avoiding those mischievous substances called lectins that you and I should talk about sometime, and maybe today. What do you say to the carnivore diet folks?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (30:18):
I think it’s really sad that people are getting such dangerous and erroneous information, because you can look at a short-term study to come up with a hypothesis.
In my short-term study, I might feed people nothing but Twinkies, just Twinkies, nothing else. They’ll get sick of eating Twinkies. They’ll reduce their calories. They’ll lose weight. Or I can give them just white rice to eat, and they’ll lose weight. Their blood pressure will go down. That doesn’t make that a longevity-promoting diet because their blood pressure went down and they lost weight. Give them just meat. Put them into chronic ketosis. They lose weight. Their triglycerides improve. Their diabetes is going away. That makes you comes up with a hypothesis that has to be confirmed with large epidemiologic trials that look at hard endpoints.
A hard endpoint is not like you triglycerides went down or your glucose went away, went better. It means that you actually live longer. I can give you a cholesterol-lowering drug that things look better in the short run, but until I see hundreds of thousands people on that drug for decades and I see longer life span, I’m not convinced that there’s some trade-off that maybe could be hurting your life span with that drug. We don’t know that yet.
What I’m saying is that people can be tricked into anything. We can be fooled into these wrong, erroneous notions because they’re not trying to make sure they’re matching the short-term soft endpoint studies with the long-term hard endpoint studies talking about death. We know that every study that had large numbers of people that went on for decades and looked at animal protein intake or meat intake, that the more meat they ate, the younger they died, and the more cardiovascular deaths they had, and the more cancer deaths they had.
It’s dangerous information. The person is appealing to people’s love affair with these illicit foods like meat and… I love lamb chops too. I would love to told barbecued ribs and lamb chops are great for you, but unfortunately, they’re not. We have to have reality here and go with the sign, the overwhelming evidence. I think that person should be… I hate to be badmouthing people, but it’s dangerous to follow the advice of a person like that. I even ordered his book, and I even saw all the nonsense in that book and how he only showed the short-term studies and didn’t include any of the data that showed what he’s saying is wrong. I thought it really was not a good thing to do for people.
Dr. Gundry (32:49):
Yeah. Well, tell us how you really feel. No, but you’re right. I mean the Duke Rice Diet works. You eat nothing but rice. I used to follow a great blogger. You probably actually followed his blog, Mr. [Heisenbug 00:33:12]. Does that ring a bell? It was in the early days in the microbiome movement. Anyhow-
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (33:19):
Yeah. A lot of the vegan people still hold up the rice diet as the perfect diet, Kempner’s Rice Diet, and they’re on this idea that… and they don’t understand you’ve got to look at people through their whole life and how they look when they’ve gotten to be what we’re talking about, 85, 90, 95 years old, and see how that affects them. It’s just not a healthy diet long term. We want people to lose weight and to get healthy and to maintain that way of eating. That’s also going to enable them to age healthfully and be vibrant, physically active, and have their full mental faculties as they age. You’re not going to do that on a rice diet or a potato diet.
Dr. Gundry (33:52):
Right. What I was bringing up, there was a fellow on this blog site whose sign was Tater Tot. Tater Tot went on a total potato diet. That’s all he ate was potatoes. He lost weight. His numbers looked great. He was using it as an example of, “Well, the people who say you can’t eat carbohydrates because you’ll gain weight, don’t be ridiculous. Here, all I’ve eaten is potatoes, and look, I’m thin and trim.”
I think your point is correct. These mono diets… and I’ve written about that in my books. These mono diets work primarily because, just like a Twinkie diet, you get so tired of eating Twinkies you kind of stop eating. It’s the same with the Atkins diet. He, I think, admitted this, is this mono diet of, say, a carnivore diet, which was the original Atkins diet, you just get sick of eating that way, and you really do reduce your caloric intake.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (34:52):
Absolutely, and ketosis does burn fat. It’s just not safe to do it. It’s just not safe putting your body under such stress. You can smoke cigarettes and snort cocaine to lose weight too.
Dr. Gundry (35:04):
Let’s talk about ketosis. When you do reduce calories, you are going to produce ketones. I, for one, think that production of ketones, I don’t think all the time, is a pretty good thing for a lot of reasons. Do you want to get into ketosis every now and then, or do you think we should always be in ketosis?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (35:29):
Ketosis is a natural state when there’s no calories around. It’s the way the body has to burn fat stores and… because the brain is able to accept ketones as an alternative energy fuel when it can’t get enough glucose, but it’s only designed as an emergency fuel. There is some evidence that episodically fasting to go into ketosis episodically may have some anti-stress or beneficial effects on longevity, but that doesn’t mean it’s beneficial to stay chronically in ketosis. Intermittent fasting can give you the benefits of that without having to go into ketosis fully or be able to go on a total fast or a total carbohydrate restriction.
There may be some cases in the future, like brain tumors that don’t respond, that may respond to ketosis. There may be some individual application to that type of diet, but as a person… We’re talking about people thinking they should be chronically in ketosis, to avoid carbohydrates, to eat to the point to stay in chronic ketosis as a means of controlling their body weight. Long term, that’s going to enhance aging, and shorten their life span and, most likely, increase most common cancers. We’re seeing that already.
We’re even seeing that in studies that show that vegetables have the most protection against cancer and the anti-inflammatory effect on the endothelium. We even show that when you add some fruit and berries to vegetables, you get even more longevity benefits and more anti-cancer potential, so even cutting out some fruit… Even though vegetables are the best, they still show fruits and vegetables or berries and vegetables are better than just the vegetables alone. Then when you add nuts and seeds to a diet that’s low in fat, then we even get more life span benefits from it. We’re seeing more variety, so cutting out a whole class of foods to stay in ketosis lowers your phytochemical exposure and your micronutrient variety that also shortens life span.
Dr. Gundry (37:22):
Where I’m leading to is where do you come down on intermittent fasting and/or time-restricted feeding in this process?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (37:31):
I’m an advocate of that. Remember we talked about not eating late at night. I’m trying to do it myself somewhat too, but of course, I think it’s good to eat less food on a regular basis. I used to advocate more long-term fasting, don’t eat for a full week, but I think you can only do that a few times in your life. I think the idea of intermittent fasting where you can do it regularly, you can do it every two days a week, or you can do it a week every month, or you can do… The more you can incorporate episodes where you’re actually eating less on a regular basis, it’s beneficial, and I think it’s represented in the equation H equals N over C, too, that we want to… this idea of moderate caloric restriction.
This idea that people should snack all the time and eat frequently is a myth. The evidence shows that the less frequently we eat, the better off we are. It’s not as beneficial to skip breakfast and eat later in the day. It’s more beneficial to skip dinner and finish eating earlier in the day. That’s what I’m trying to do, once in a while, is just have a glass of juice and go to bed or skip dinner once in a while.
I do think intermittent fasting has its role. I don’t think you need to use processed foods or a special [inaudible 00:38:37] or special magic foods. You have to eat good natural foods and can chronically incorporate this idea of not overeating in your diet and sometimes restrict calories so you’re hungry once in a while. Hunger is a healthy thing to feel. Don’t keep stuffing your face all the time. Some nights, I go to bed a little bit hungry, and I would feel like going and eating something, but I say to myself, “No, just have some water and go to bed. It’s good you’re going to bed hungry. It’s going to extend your life span.”
Dr. Gundry (39:03):
No, it’s very true. I teach people to embrace the hunger. People are so worried that being hungry is somehow abnormal and…
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (39:13):
Yeah, it’s good. It’s right. Also, the worse your diet is, the more uncomfortable you feel when you’re hungry. The healthier your diet is, hunger is very mild and doesn’t even feel… It’s just a tiny [inaudible 00:39:22] in your throat. It’s the people that eat bad feel like they detox when they go into hunger, and they feel shaky and weak and feel terrible. Eat healthy. You change the perception of hunger that’s mild.
I published a study on that. It was published in Nutrition Journal. It was entitled The Changing Perception of Hunger on a High-Nutrient-Density Diet. It showed how hunger lessened and became no longer uncomfortable when you ate very healthfully. That’s what we’re saying, that hunger is good. You should be eating when you’re hungry. You shouldn’t even be eating if you’re not hungry. Hunger makes things taste better too. We’re a creature of habit, and Americans are ubiquitously overfed and overstuffed and told to eat too frequently and eat all the time.
Dr. Gundry (40:05):
All right. Give our listeners three things to do to start improving their markers of good health right now.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (40:15):
Well, I feel lunch is the most important meal of the day. What I’m saying to people to do, right now, is to have one meal where you have a big salad as a main dish. It’s a chopped salad, so chop the salad up. Put something cruciferous into it, so like bok choy, kale, or arugula. The dressing should not be oil-based. It should be nut or seed-based. The biggest myth perpetrated to the population is this idea that oil is a health food. It has to be a dressing made with walnuts or almonds or sesame seeds. My dressings are made, maybe, with tomato sauce with some almonds and black fig vinegar and some roasted garlic, or it’s made with oranges with sesame seeds and cashews and some blood orange vinegar and a squeeze of lemon. The dressing has to be healthy.
I’m recommending people make a big bowl of healthy vegetable bean soup on the weekends or something. Put in the mushrooms and the onions in there and the carrot juice base and the leeks and the… It’s simple. It’s easy to eat a healthy lunch. Eat a big, healthy lunch and make dinner a smaller, lighter meal.
Dr. Gundry (41:22):
I don’t know if you can see, but I’ve got my avocado socks on today. Can’t I have an avocado on your program? I mean come on. It’s monounsaturated fat and fiber.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (41:34):
Of course. Of course you can.
Dr. Gundry (41:36):
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (41:36):
I’m not against avocado.
Dr. Gundry (41:38):
Oh. Well, thank you, but there’s a lot of fat in there. Come on.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (41:42):
Well, don’t forget I want people… I want them to keep their calories favorable enough so that, if they’re overweight, they’re dropping a pound every three days. They can titrate the amount of nuts and seeds or avocado they use to make sure they keep losing a pound every couple of days so they’re not overeating, so we’re using it as a salad dressing, as a sauce, as part of the… We make some great dressings and desserts with avocado. You, obviously, can overdo those foods. That can derail weight loss, but you got to use them judiciously so you’re still losing weight on the program.
Dr. Gundry (42:14):
It’s been great having you on the program today. Really, again, congratulations on all your work. Hopefully, we’ll get back together again, and you and I can just have a wonderful talk about lectins. Maybe I can convince you to pressure cook your beans. I love beans as long as they’re pressure cooked.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (42:35):
I do pressure cook my beans.
Dr. Gundry (42:35):
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (42:35):
I do pressure cook my beans.
Dr. Gundry (42:36):
Oh, did you hear that, ladies and gentlemen? He pressure cooks his beans. Thank you.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (42:43):
Oh, I have chickpeas on my… Also, don’t forget I take care of a lot of really sickly overweight people who are food addicts, and abstinence, and putting them in a controlled environment, and some professional guidance to get rid of their food addiction. Food addiction is like cocaine addiction or drug addiction. People need the expertise. To get well, they sometimes need extra care. I’m talking about people don’t have to be sick. Don’t be afraid and scared of the thing of having this be difficult. With the right kind of help and guidance, people can come back and be thin again and stay there.
Dr. Gundry (43:20):
Where do people find you? How do you do this?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (43:23):
Well, they can find me at drfuhrman.com, and you know I have a retreat here in San Diego. If they’re really in trouble and they need some professional care, they could stay here for two or three months and get rid of their food addiction and have enforced abstinence but learn the emotional, the psychological and everything, and the cooking and all the techniques so they can go home and know what to do and not be troubled by their being in the prison of their love affair with rich foods that are killing them. I really feel that I can get to people who really need this kind of help and change their life.
Dr. Gundry (43:53):
Well, very good. All right, so it’s time for our audience question. I want you to chime in on this. We’ve kind of nibbled around this question. Paul on iTunes asks, “I have a close relative who has a rare form of cancer. We read a couple recent studies correlating grilling food with a higher incidence of cancers. The data, they said, showed that the carcinogenic compounds created from the heat and also carried by the smoke are definitely a cause for concern. They recommend baking and roasting at lower temperatures. Should we stop grilling our pasture-raised boneless, skinless chicken breasts that we enjoy almost weekly in the summertime? Please say no. Thanks so much.”
All right, Dr. Fuhrman, what say you?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (44:34):
I say it’s well-known that those things are carcinogenic. The World Health Organization calls it a Class 1A carcinogen. It’s well-known. If you’re going to eat a small amount of animal product, it should mostly be cooked as a stew, in a soup, or a [wokked 00:44:49] vegetable dish with moisture. We’re talking about when you dry-cook foods, it’s worse. When you cook it over a flame or you fry it, or broil it, or barbecue, or make it dark and crispy or blackened, it’s obviously more carcinogenic. We want to keep moisture present so we don’t dry out and darken or blacken or brown our foods.
Dr. Gundry (45:09):
How abour grilling vegetables? The same thing apply?
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (45:14):
Yes and no because, when you grill peppers, you can take away the black skin because the moisture in the pepper prevents the burning. Yes, we shouldn’t blacken or darken our food, but remove the darkened or blackened portion if you can. Right, it’s better to cook things with some moisture so they don’t get blackened or darkened so the vegetables may not be as carcinogenic, but it’s not health favorable to darken and blacken food. We’re talking about eating corn flakes, Fritos, potato chips, French fries, pizza crusts, and toast should not be darkened or browned. Things should be not overcooked because overcooking food is a mild carcinogen called acrylamides increase when you over-darken or cooking foods, in general, but the meats get even worse when you do that.
Dr. Gundry (46:00):
Yeah, and I agree. You should grill you peppers and blacken them so you can peel off the skin, and you’ll obviously take the seeds out of it, and that’ll delectinize it, so I agree. Exactly right, do it with moisture. Do it with slow, warm heat away from fire. Yeah, sorry about that.
Okay. Well, again, really appreciate having you on. Welcome to California. I know you’re going to love it out here. Hopefully, we’ll meet in the not-too-distant future, neighbor.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman (46:34):
Thank you. All right. Take care. Be well, everybody.
Dr. Gundry (46:37):
All right. Take care.
[Vicassandra 00:46:39] on YouTube wrote, “We really should do what Dr. Gundry says. I’m stocking up on the right veggies and mushrooms, and I’m making some of the recipes you suggested on YouTube. That cauliflower never tasted that good. I also put garlic in practically every dish. Thank you so much for looking out for us, Dr. G. I appreciate these videos big time.”
Well, thank you very much. That’s why we go to the trouble of coming up with these recipes and doing these videos, because hopefully, they’re resonating with you. I’m always looking out for you. Thanks for writing in, and we’ll keep at it.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast. Before you go, I just wanted to remind you that you can find the show on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. If you want to watch each episode of The Dr. Gundry Podcast, you could always find me on YouTube at youtube.com/drgundry, because I’m Dr. Gundry, and I’m always looking out for you.