NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Americans spend $33 billion on weight loss products every year, yet 95 percent of diets fail. One doctor says the key to dropping the pounds and achieving ultimate health is by ditching the diet altogether.
“That picture, I’m thinking, ‘That’s not me,’” said Felicia Rose Ricks as she looked at one of her only existing “before” shots.
“At that time the scale was like 343 [pounds],” Ricks recalled.
After one crash diet after another failed, Ricks realized it was time to turn her life around. That’s when she discovered Joel Fuhrman, M.D., author of “The End of Dieting,” who says it’s possible to reach your body’s ideal weight and prevent disease by eating what he calls a “nutritarian” diet.
“Americans eat too many calories, but the calories they’re eating are low nutrient calories,” Dr. Fuhrman said. “Fifty-five percent of the American diet is processed foods. All the fiber, all the antioxidants, all those micronutrients and minerals and vitamins are removed in processing.”
Instead, Dr. Fuhrman says most of your calories should come from whole, plant-based foods.
“When you eat nutrient rich foods like green vegetables and mushrooms and onions and cherries and berries and seeds — when you eat these high nutrient foods that melt away heart disease, they take away your food cravings, they control your appetite,” Dr. Fuhrman said.
As part of his nutritarian lifestyle, Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating a large salad every day, at least a half cup of beans, and loading up on fruits and veggies. Meat, dairy and oils are limited to only two or less servings a week.
“The average American is consuming 400 to 500 calories a day from oil,” Dr. Fuhrman said. “Where are they going to burn that off? It goes from your lips to your hips within like five or 10 minutes and once you’re on the body it doesn’t come off that easy.”
Instead of oil, Dr. Fuhrman recommends consuming an ounce of nuts and seeds every day.
“When we eat foods like nuts and seeds for our fat supply, like walnuts and almonds and pistachio nuts, or toasted sesame seeds, the fat comes into the body very slowly in a period of hours, not over minutes, and the body can burn it for energy and it can utilize it,” Dr. Fuhrman explained. “It doesn’t accelerate fat storage hormones.”
By eating nutrient-dense food, Dr. Fuhrman says you won’t just lose the extra pounds. You’ll also help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and even cancer.
“We’re saying when you eat an American diet, you’re causing these chronic diseases to build up in your tissues, but we can reverse that disease process and have things go back the other way,” Dr. Fuhrman said. “Yes, your body can fix things slowly but it does so and it makes for miracles in people’s lives.”
Ricks knows first-hand about those miracles. Today she is more than 200 pounds lighter than her former self, and the 59-year-old has a new outlook on life.
“I feel absolutely wonderful, on top of the world,” she exaplined. “I can’t explain how great I feel. I have so much energy now. My life has completely changed. I’m excited every day I get up. I really am.”
For those that think a nutritarian diet is too extreme, here’s what ricks has to say: “Having gastric bypass is drastic. Having your heart opened up um for open heart surgery to me that’s drastic.”
For more information about Dr. Fuhrman and his book “The End of Dieting,” visit DrFuhrman.com