The other thing is, besides avoiding toxicity, which is important, we have to avoid excess in toxicity. But besides that, we have to make sure that we have no deficiencies as well.
Another thing that makes my recommendations different from, let’s say, the calorie restriction people – people who believe that calorie restriction is their means to live a long time, which it is; is that while calorie restriction in an environment of comprehensive nutritional adequacy is very important, it's not the whole thing either. There are some important things we learned from this body of knowledge we call calorie restriction – but while that knowledge is important it is not everything. With calorie restriction diets, deficiencies can develop in later years, and those deficiencies could be a very bad thing.
In today’s climate, for example, we’re living in northern climates. We live indoors and we could develop deficiencies in vitamin D and a deficiency of any of the 40 known vitamins and minerals can cause problems.
Other perspectives that form this body of knowledge we call dietary or "Nutritional Excellence"
We learn a lot from the body of knowledge that recognizes that raw food is rich in nutrients and adds a lot of fibers and natural enzymes that haven’t been destroyed by cooking and that it prevents the formation of acrylamides and toxic compounds which are not helpful in many diets. We can learn a lot from eating a lot of raw foods and yet some of the concepts people advocate about raw food diets are false. There are lot of myths and falsities that are promulgated in the raw food movement as well, such as raw foods supply digestive enzymes that aid in the food digestion of what we’re eating. If we don’t eat those enzymes, our pancreas overworks producing enzymes and that ages us and enlarges the pancreas. Just a whole bunch of nonsense in that movement that’s untrue but there are still a lot of good things too that we can learn from that.
The same thing from natural hygiene. There are many things to be learned from that body of knowledge and historical interest is a very important foundation of good nutrition of natural foods and getting the full symphony of nutrients that can’t be duplicated in the laboratory and a lot of important things. But that body of knowledge is not sufficient to today’s society to guarantee most people live to be 100 especially later on in life when our digestive absorption goes down and certain deficiencies can develop. Each individual’s character and genetic variability is not taken into account to devise an optimal lifestyle for them. So clearly, we have to be discerning about various bodies of knowledge giving advice, including the vegetarian or vegan movement, which had a lot of great stuff in it, but that alone, of course, can get us in trouble.
Now, even the Atkins camp gave us a lot and contributed a lot of good things to society, good ideas for people to live a long time because they talked to people how unsafe it was to eat refined sugar and white flour, and the idea that just because something is low in fat, it’s okay, that it’s good for us. There’s a lot of publicity put out by those high protein camps to make people understand, that just because it’s low in fat, it doesn’t mean it’s good for you. There’s still a lot of people who believe today, that just because you cut back on fat, you’re supposed to achieve good health and clearly, that’s nonsense and cutting back on fat is not the main criteria which enables a person to live long. And there’s a lot of people, even the vegetarian movement, who still think that cutting back on fat is an important factor to make us live longer.
So the other thing we’re talking about is the fact that we have to monitor our deficiencies as we get older.
A whole bunch of famous people, very well known people in the health food and natural food movement died young because they, let’s say, became B12 deficient or where they were found to be deficient in essential fatty acids or they had an increased genetic need for taurine or carnitine or they were low in vitamin D. I see this all the time. I see people that are healthy and they get some problem in later life. And even though they lived a real healthy life, they didn’t develop heart disease or cancer, they start to deteriorate and age fast and develop later life problems. The benefits of a dramatic reductions against heart disease and blood pressure when they were young ends later in life when they begin to fade away as deficiencies express themselves.
So monitoring blood tests or taking supplements to assure no deficiencies develop because we’re all a little bit different and we all maybe have a little bit of different needs for vitamin D. We may have a little different needs of B12. Maybe some people need more DHA. Maybe some people need more taurine on a diet style low in animal products or more carnitine. Maybe some people need an extra selenium or zinc, and one people may need more iodine than others.
So it’s just important to perhaps supplement an optimal diet to assure that deficiencies don’t develop or to take blood test to make sure that whatever the levels that they’re supposed to have, you have those optimal levels to assure nothing develops later in life that could be the result of deficiencies because I see this all the time with people.
So clearly, we talked about not having deficiencies. You know, clearly a feature of living a long time is that diet does not have to be so strict. The thing is, the most important thing about diet is not making it vegan and having no animal products, it's just not the most important factor. Nutrient Rich Nutrition or "nutritional excellence" is about much more than that.
Dr. Fuhrman is a New York Times best-selling author, nutritional researcher and board certified family physician specializing in nutritional medicine. Learn more by visiting his informative website at DrFuhrman.com.
John Allen Mollenhauer is the founder of nutrientrich.com a Nutritional Education Trainer, and leading authority on Performance Lifestyle, which teaches people how to live a healthy lifestyle successfully and develop Your Lifestyle to better achieve your goals.