Dr. Joel Fuhrman, speaking in Carbondale this week, touts the benefits of ‘nutritional excellence’

Jeff Bear
Post Independent

Americans are slowly killing themselves, and “the major cause of death is related to what they’re putting in their mouths” said Dr. Joel Fuhrman, the bestselling author of “Eat to Live” and several other books on the science of nutrition.

Fuhrman will speak on “Advances in Nutritional Science to Live Healthfully Until 100,” at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Third Street Center in Carbondale.

“One in five Americans are now mentally ill, mostly due to poor nutrition — eating fast food and processed foods,” Fuhrman said. “We don’t realize how it destroys the brain.”

He said the tragedies that are occurring from such “nutritional stupidity” are to the point of insanity.

“It used to be that 3 percent of the American population had heart attacks; now it’s 40 percent have heart attacks and strokes. In the 17th century, cancers were almost unknown; now we have everybody getting breast, prostate and colon cancer. Now we have teenagers getting strokes, we have young people diagnosed with diabetes and going blind and having kidney problems.”

Fuhrman said these health problems are especially egregious because modern nutritional science now affords us the ability to live to be 100 years old in great health.

“We can do it if we want to,” he said. “But people aren’t told how they can do that, and make the food taste great, and enjoy their later years and have a longer life span.”

Nutritional excellence

Fuhrman was a competitor in the amateur figure skating circuit in his teens and early 20s. (He placed second at the U.S. National Pairs Championship in 1973, and third at the 1976 World Professional Pairs Skating Championship).

It was during this time that he became interested in what he calls “nutritional excellence” to help improve his stamina and remain healthy during training.

“All through my early life I was into nutrition,” he said. “That’s why I went to medical school was to pursue this career utilizing nutrition as a therapeutic modality which enables people to get well, not just take dangerous drugs for the rest of their lives.

“I realized that getting a medical degree would afford me the best opportunity to have the right type of voice to effect society as powerfully as I possibly could for the better.”

To that end, Fuhrman has developed what he calls the “nutritarian” diet, which consists of foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories. The diet requires that people stop eating meat and dairy for at least six weeks, and eat more whole fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, and whole grains.

He is quick to distinguish his nutritarian diet from vegetarian or plant-based diets.

“Plant-based doesn’t do it justice, because you can eat plants that are healthy and you can eat plants that are not as healthy,” he said. “You can be living on brown rice and white potato, or you can be living on broccoli and red kidney beans and mushrooms and onions.

“A nutritarian diet is a little more scientifically designed to check off every box that extends human life span and gives you the full portfolio of plants that have been well documented to be most protective against later life cancers. When you put together this full portfolio of plant foods that are so protective, they work synergistically to unleash the ability of the body’s immune system.”

Case studies

Fuhrman has published studies on hundreds of people who have normalized their blood pressure and reversed lupus, psoriasis and arthritis with the nutritarian diet.

“I have a study on the nutritarian diet lowering cholesterol better that cholesterol-lowering drugs do, without the risk of diabetes and dementia from those drugs,” he said. “I also have numerous studies documenting the efficacies and hundreds of case studies and case histories of people who made remarkable recoveries doing a nutritarian diet.”

Fuhrman also believes that a person’s diet plays a major role in their longevity, and he listed three things that increase that longevity: moderate caloric restriction, high phytochemical antioxidant intake from colorful plants, and exercise.

“Those three things in combination have the effect to slow the aging process,” he said. “Eating low nutrient food like white bread, white pasta and bagels shorten their life span.

“Nutritional excellence is therapeutically 100 times more effective than drugs to lower blood pressure, to reverse heart disease, to prevent strokes. People are thinking that drugs are their answer, but they just cover up the problem, making them think they can eat unhealthily because now they’re using drugs to lower their blood pressure.

“People should know that if they have a significant illness, that nutrition is powerful and gives them the opportunity to get well again, completely well, and doctors don’t tell people that.”

If you go…

Who: Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

What: ‘Advances in Nutritional Science to live Healthfully Until 100’

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 6,

Where: Third Street Center in Carbondale.

Tickets: $20 at

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