Eat to Live

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I’m reading this book and it has totally  changed my perception of food, calories, and nutrition! I’ve nearly finished reading it but wanted to share some of the top 5 things i’ve learned so far. I highly recommend that everyone gets a copy of this book.

I came across the author Joel Fuhrman on two documentaries I recently watched on Netflix – one called Vegucated, and another called Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. Using the concept of ‘nutrient density’ he compares various fruits and vegetables (especially leafy green vegetables) to show how they compare with other foods. For example, comparing the nutrition you would get from 100 calories of kale to 100 calories from chicken breast or steak.

1. One of the first things he mentions in the book are the terms ‘Fortified’ & ‘Enriched’. I don’t know about you, but whenever I have seen these terms on a box of cereal i’ve always thought it means they have added extra vitamins and minerals to make it even more nutritious. Wrong! It actually means the complete opposite. Vitamins and minerals have been removed during the manufacturing process, and only *some* are added back.

2. 100 calories of fat in a meal will be converted into 97 calories of body fat. It doesn’t matter what form the fat is in or the source, when you consume fat in a meal most of it will end up as body fat. Scientists can take a ‘fat biopsy’ from the hips and waist and tell you where exactly the fat came from – pig fat, dairy fat, chicken fat, or olive oil. The fat stays exactly the same from the form it was eaten in. Fat is an appetite stimulant, so the more you eat, the more you want. Oils (including olive oil) are 100% fat and contain 9 calories per gram, compared with 4 calories per gram in carbs. One tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories. It has more calories than butter.

3. Most of the calories in meat comes from the fat in the meat. 100 calories of broccoli has more protein (11.1g) than 100 calories of steak (6.4g). 100 calories of broccoli also has 3x more iron (2.2mg) than 100 calories of steak (0.8mg). Joel Fuhrman goes on to say that “For many important nutrients, broccoli has more than 10 times as much as steak”. Green vegetables have more nutrients from fewer calories. Animal products are ‘calorie-dense’ but have few nutrients.

4. What do you think is the leading cause of osteoporosis? Lack of calcium? According to the book osteoporosis tends to occur in countries where calcium intake is highest and most of it comes from protein-rich dairy products (cow’s milk, cheese). 100 calories of kale has more calcium (257mg) than 100 calories of cow’s milk (189mg)

5. There’s nothing wrong with carbs, our bodies are designed to run on carbs. It is refined carbohydrates (white flour, pasta, bread, rice, etc), that is bad. Fat contains 9 calories per gram, compared to approximately 4 calories per gram in carbohydrates. Fresh fruit, beans, legumes, wholegrains, and root vegetables derive their calories mainly from their carbs content and we should get our carbs from these sources.

He also talks about protein, and how despite the popular misconception, we don’t need to eat lots of meat and fish for protein. He points to the gorilla, hippo, rhino, and elephant – all of which eat predominantly green leaves as their diet, which i’ve never thought of really. You don’t see gorillas taking protein shakes, yet a male silverback gorilla can weigh between 300-400lb, most of that is pure muscle!

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