Masterfile Credits: Masterfile
A common mistake people make is focusing on the percentage of fats, carbohydrates and protein that make up their overall caloric intake, says Dr. Fuhrman. The real focus should be on micronutrients— vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals—which enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other substances important for proper growth and development. Dr. Fuhrman believes that life expectancy is proportionate to the micronutrient density of our diets. The best way to get the most micronutrients for the fewest calories is to take on a “nutritarian” approach and nosh on an array of colourful veggies, fruits and beans.
2. Do get off the diet train
"You want to improve your diet, not go on a diet,” says Dr. Fuhrman. Eat for your health and eat to prevent cancer, because you won’t stick to anything long term that’s solely for weight loss. If your weight yo-yos, it will eventually do more harm than good, he says.
3. Do manage your blood sugar
While whole foods such as lean vegetables, nuts and seeds are crucial for keeping your blood sugar on track, according to Dr. Fuhrman, beans are best. “The biochemical effects of the bacterial growth that you develop from eating beans lowers glucose absorption and slows stomach emptying from other foods,” he says. In other words, the calories and glucose from foods you eat alongside beans will be absorbed more slowly, and that bacteria sticks around in your gut until the next day. He recommends more fibrous bean varieties, such as red, adzuki and black.
4. Don't try the Paleo or Atkins diet
While protein lovers might jump at the idea of choosing bacon over bread, for Dr. Fuhrman, any health benefits of weight loss are negated by a higher intake of animal products, which he says can increase your risk of cancer, stroke, diabetes and heart attack. “High-protein diets are very dangerous ways to lose weight,” he says, citing studies that show those who consume a large percentage of calories from animal protein are more prone to cancer.
5. Do ditch the standard North American diet
Dr. Fuhrman says most people get 60 percent of their calories from processed foods. In fact, Americans eat 571 more calories per day than they ate 40 years ago. “Processed foods and sugars are so powerfully addicting that the mind will come up with excuses and obstacles to say the person can’t change,” he says. “But the things in life that give you a giant payback take some effort.”
6. Don't be afraid to treat yourself sometimes
If you have a sweet tooth, make a dessert from fresh, dried or frozen fruit. It’s a great way to signal to your body that you’re done eating for the day. One of Dr. Fuhrman’s favourite desserts is ice cream made with blended frozen bananas, a date and some coconut.
Changing your diet can have a huge impact on your health. Find out how you can lose weight without exercising.
|This content is vetted by medical experts |
|This story was originally titled "The Nutritarian Way" in the February 2015 issue. |
Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!