The 90 Percent Rule

One of the most popular and misunderstood  topics in Dr. Fuhrman’s book, Eat to Live, is the famous 90 Percent Rule for adopting the nutritarian eating-style for life, and every person has his / her own interpretation of it:

“I eat healthy for a week, and then I celebrate.”

“I try to eat healthy, but I know I have that 10% to fall back on if I want to.”

“I use that 10% for when I eat out, because I know I’ll have salty foods and dessert.” 

“I’m not that hardcore following Eat to Live, after all, Dr. Fuhrman even said that we can cheat 10% of the time.”  

 

For those unfamiliar with the 90 Percent Rule, starting on page 223 of Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman wrote about it, and I’ll highlight below a few points that many misuse as a free-for-all license to go back to the standard American diet at liberty.  

 

  • For longevity and weight loss, the Life Plan diet should aim to be made up of at least 90 percent unrefined plant foods. My most successful patients treat processed foods and animal foods as condiments, constituting no more than 10 percent of their total caloric intake.

  • To hold to the 90 percent rule, I recommend women consume no more than 150 calories per day of low-nutrient food, or about 1,000 calories weekly. Men should not consume more than 200 calories of low-nutrient food daily, or about 1,400 calories weekly.

  • Using the 90 percent rule, you are allowed to eat almost any kind of food, even a small cookie or candy bar, as long as all your other calories that day are from nutrient-dense vegetation.    

     

 

Let’s set the record straight. The 90 Percent Rule is not the excuse to intentionally cheat. There is no valid reason to consume the worst foods that we can get our hands on, because junk food kills and perpetuates more food addiction.

The 10 percent allowance of low-nutrient foods is permissible; however, Dr. Fuhrman never intended for that to be the license for cheating, or anything close to that mindset.  He would prefer that everyone eat 100% of high-nutrient foods for the best health that’s possible. However, he also realizes that optimal health is not everyone’s priority, and everyone has that right to choose their own health destiny by the foods they select. 

Eating 100% high-nutrient foods is most beneficial for breaking food addictions, and eradicating obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and a myriad of other diseases. 

Most of us have been consuming fake foods our entire lives so consuming 100% high-nutrient foods is especially crucial for us to reverse years of damage already done within our bodies. Dr. Fuhrman has stated that we may “look healthy” on the outside when we are close to an ideal weight, but we still have much damage on the cellular level to heal and restore due to years and years of conventional eating abuse. 

It’s not a matter of how far one can push a boundary line and get by with it, but how much one desires to heal damaged cells and feel alive and well; excited to be alive! 

Scrupulous, yes.

Sensible, absolutely.

Who in their right mind would want obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression, dementia, arthritis, or diabetes at retirement age?

With that being said, living in the best health that’s possible is totally one’s personal choice. If one wants to repeatedly eat traditional holiday meals; or pizza, chips and cake at parties; or ice cream blizzards on the way home from work; or glazed donuts at Sunday School; or buckets of buttered popcorn and boxes of candy at the movies; and then feel crappy, crabby and bloated; plus feed cancer cells and blow out precious beta cells in the process, no one is going to care. It’s one’s personal choice. Each person is in control of his or her own health destiny. 

 

So does Dr. Fuhrman himself follow the 90 Percent Rule?

 

 “What do you think I’m crazy?! My father had leukemia, why would I want to put 10 percent low quality food in my body? That is just for people who can’t yet grasp that nutritarian food tastes better and is more enjoyable to eat, and is the food we actually prefer to eat. Nevertheless, this is not a religion, and if on a rare occasion I want to have something conventional that is delicious, I can.”  

 

Be wise. Use good judgment and always be in control of your health destiny, 100% of the time!

 

[The obese belly above was mine a few years ago when I was in my 40's.  Now I'm 51-years-old and feeling younger & healthier than twenty years ago!]

Packing on the Pounds May Lead to "Severe Brain Degeneration"

This is creepy! A new study in the journal Human Brain Mapping claims obese people have 8% less brain train tissue than normal-weight people. I guess you really do have to be stupid to eat fast food:

Obese people had lost brain tissue in the frontal and temporal lobes, areas of the brain critical for planning and memory, and in the anterior cingulate gyrus (attention and executive functions), hippocampus (long-term memory) and basal ganglia (movement), the researchers said in a statement today. Overweight people showed brain loss in the basal ganglia, the corona radiata, white matter comprised of axons, and the parietal lobe (sensory lobe).

"The brains of obese people looked 16 years older than the brains of those who were lean, and in overweight people looked 8 years older," Paul Thompson, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of neurology said.

No pun intended, but this is a no-brainer. Dr. Fuhrman insists its America’s poor diet that makes us overweight and sick with chronic disease, same goes for dementia:

The same factors that cause atherosclerosis, leading to heart attacks and strokes, also create dementia, and I am referring to both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. This includes the same diets that are high in animal fat and low in vitamins, minerals, fruits, and green vegetables.1 Of course, smoking and lack of physical exercise play a role in these common diseases, but the point is that it does not have to happen to you. These diseases, and others that plague modern America, are not the inevitable consequences of aging. They can actually resolve and improve with age or can be avoided entirely. They are simply the result of years of poor nutrition and an unhealthy lifestyle.

My hope for you is that through this eating-style, you, like my patients who have embraced this program, can rid yourself of migraine headaches, acne, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. So many of my patients have restored their health after conventional physicians—and the conventional beliefs about the inevitability of disease— told them their problems were going to be life long. Their doctors were wrong.

So to help ensure your diet doesn’t make you demented. Dr. Fuhrman suggests eating plenty of nuts and seeds, like walnuts and pumpkin seeds. They’re packed with brain-building omega-3 fatty acids.

1. Commenges D, Scotet V, Renaud S, et al. Intake of flavonoids and risk of dementia. Eur J Epidemiol. 2000;16(4):357-363. Otsuka M, Yamaguchi K, Ueki A. Similarities and differences between Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia from the viewpoint of nutrition. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002;977:155-161. Nash DT, Fillit H. Cardiovascular disease risk factors and cognitive impairment. Am J Cardiol. 2006;97(8):1262-1265.

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Lower Cholesterol Cuts Risk of Dementia

I’m demented already, so I might not be the best person to talk about this, but new research in the journal Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders claims keeping cholesterol levels in check, i.e. low, reduces your likelihood of Alzheimer's disease.

Between 1994 and 2007, a review of their medical records showed that 469 had Alzheimer's disease and 127 had vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, which is caused by clogged blood vessels and other conditions affecting the blood supply to the brain.

Compared to people with "desirable" cholesterol levels below 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) in midlife, the risk of Alzheimer's disease three decades later was 57 percent higher in people with high midlife cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dL and above.

"Borderline" high cholesterol (200 to 239 mg/dL) tended to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease as well, but the results were not statistically significant.

Or, you can just avoid problem altogether. A plant-based diet staves of heart disease and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. Now, I think eating vegetables is better than going nuts—right?

Via Reuters.

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Millions and Millions of Kids Too Low in Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is no joke! A new estimate in the journal Pediatrics reports 7.6 million children, adolescents and young adults have levels of Vitamin D so low that they can be considered deficient. Another 50.8 million people have higher levels, but still too low.

The researchers and others blamed the low levels on a combination of factors, including children spending more time watching television and playing video games instead of going outside, covering up and using sunscreen when they do go outdoors, and drinking more soda and other beverages instead of consuming milk and other foods fortified with Vitamin D.

"This appears to be another result of our unhealthy lifestyles, including a sedentary society that doesn't go out in the sun much," Michal L. Melamed of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York said.

The analysis and an accompanying federal study also found an association between low Vitamin D levels and increased risk for high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and a condition that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes, known as the metabolic syndrome.

Taken together, the studies provide new evidence that low Vitamin D levels may be putting a generation of children at increased risk for heart disease and diabetes, two of the nation's biggest health problems that are also increased by the childhood obesity epidemic.

In related news, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to difficulty thinking and increases risk of dementia. To help boost vitamin D, Dr. Fuhrman has his own supplement, called Osteo–Sun, in vegan and non-vegan forms.

Via The Washington Post.

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Omega-3s: Healthy Fats You May Not Be Getting Enough Of...

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that reduce inflammation, inhibit cancer development and protect our blood vessels. There are long-chain and short chain fatty acids. Short-chain omega-3 fats are found in some green vegetables, walnuts, and flax, chia, and hemp seeds. The basic building block of short-chain omega-3 fat is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Our bodies are only capable of converting a small amount of these short chain fats to long-chain omega-3 fats, called docoshexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).

Studies show that people have varying ability to convert ALA into DHA and EPA. Apparently, some people eating sufficient ALA from greens, seeds and walnuts can achieve adequate levels while others cannot. Men generally convert less than women. Conversion of ALA by the body to these longer-chain fatty acids is inefficient: < 5-10% for EPA and only 2-5% for DHA.1

DHA is one of the crucial building blocks of human brain tissue. It has been shown to protect against dementia, depression, inflammatory diseases, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), allergies, and to offer significant benefits for overall cardiovascular health.

Early in life, DHA is supplied via the placenta and from breast milk. While adequate DHA is particularly important for pregnant and nursing women and young children, it is beneficial for all ages!

  • Improves your child's intelligence
  • Aids depression and Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Improves memory
  • Important for brain and eye development
  • Promotes smoother skin; prevents wrinkles
  • Helps prevent heart disease and arthritis
  • Lowers risk of Alzheimer's and senior dementia
  • Lowers "bad" cholesterol

These long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are also produced by marine algae which serve as the source of DHA and EPA in fish. Although, fish is a good source of EPA and DHA, unfortunately, it's one of the most polluted foods which we eat. Therefore, it can not be considered a safe source of these healthy fats.

Fish have been shown to contain fat soluble petrochemicals, such as PCB's and dioxins as a result of the dumping of toxic waste and raw sewage into our oceans. Fish also contains mercury. According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 12 women of childbearing age in the United States have unsafe mercury levels (and the CDC's threshold for safety is high). Multiple studies have illustrated most of the body's mercury load comes from the consumption of fish.

For these reasons, I recommend consuming little or no fish. If you choose to consume fish, try to stay away from those high in fat and known to be high in mercury such as shark, swordfish, mackerel, pike, tuna, snapper, lobster, grouper, sea bass and bluefish. Instead, use the lower fat (less polluted) fish such as flounder, sole, haddock, scallops, squid, trout, hake, ocean perch, shrimp and tilapia.

Some nutritional advisors encourage consuming high amounts of flax seed oil to promote the conversion of enough DHA. I do not agree. First of all, flax seed oil is an empty calorie food with little or no vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and flavonoids that were present in the original seeds. Furthermore, we have a significant collection of data that indicates that the consumption of high doses of ALA from flax oil may increase, not decrease the risk of prostate cancer.1 In contrast, flax seed consumption has been shown in multiple studies to lower the risk of both breast cancer and prostate cancer.3

I prefer people not consume much fish to assure sufficient consumption or conversion of omega-3s. Since the ability to self-convert short chain ALA into long-chain DHA is so variable from person to person, I recommend a mixture of natural omega-3 containing plants plus some extra plant-derived DHA. I advise people obtain their omega-3 fats by consuming the cleaner, plant sources such as walnuts, flax, chia, and hemp seeds and by also taking a daily DHA supplement like my DHA Purity. My DHA Purity is a laboratory cultivated DHA product made from microalgae. It is a pure form of DHA without environmental contamination or unnecessary disruption of our ocean life. 

1. Davis, B. C. and P. M. Kris-Etherton. Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;78(3 Suppl):640S-646S. Brenna, J. T. Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2002;5(2):127-32.

2. Brouwer IA, Katan MB, Zock PL. Dietary alpha-linolenic acid is associated with reduced risk of fatal coronary heart disease, but increased prostate cancer risk: a meta-analysis. J Nutr 2004 Apr;134(4):919-22.

3. Demark-Wahnefried W, Price DT, Polascik TJ, et al. Pilot study of dietary fat restriction and flaxseed supplementation in men with prostate cancer before surgery: exploring the effects on hormonal levels, prostate-specific antigen, and histopathologic features. Urology 2001 Jul;58(1):47-52.

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Vegetable Chemical May Stop You from Going Crazy

First off, let me say something. I eat a ton of fruits and vegetables, but I am still nuts! So I don’t know about this study. I have my doubts, my very crazy doubts.

Presented at the British Pharmacological Society’s Summer Meeting, researchers claim flavonoids—powerful antioxidants in fruits and vegetables—may offer health benefits for Alzheimer’s patients.

Experts suggest consuming flavonoids reduce brain pathology, i.e. disease, and improve thinking. One particular flavonoid, called epicatechin, is believed to protect brain cells.

More research needs to be conducted, but scientists say so far findings support the idea that a diet high in flavonoid-rich foods could impact the development and progression of dementia.

The nutrients in fruits and vegetables have a wide array of benefits, including preventing Alzheimer’s. Vitamin D is another good one. Vitamin D, i.e. the sunshine vitamin, has also been shown to lower the risk of dementia.

In related news, flavonoids have been linked to reduced risk of ovarian cancer and flavonoids found in soybeans improve blood flow and protect against cardiovascular disease.

Via ScienceDaily.

Image credit: La Grande Farmers' Market

Low Vitamin D Makes it Hard to Think!

I need more vitamin D. I can’t think my way out of a paper bag. And now, new research in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry reveals insufficient levels of vitamin D are associated with cognitive impairments in older men. Experts studied over 3,000 European men, ages 40 to 79, and discovered participants with low vitamin D scored worse on thinking tests, compared to people with normal levels. The average vitamin D level was 63 nanomoles per liter, researchers say 90 to 140 is considered optimal; Reuters explains.

We neglect vitamin D. It’s important! Our bodies get vitamin D from sunshine. It acts like a hormone and tells our intestines to absorb calcium and phosphorus. Recently, lack of vitamin D has been linked to sudden cardiac death and even stunted growth. That’s why Dr. Fuhrman’s Osteo-Sun is designed to provide an optimal dose of vitamin D.

Whoa! Not getting enough vitamin D can be scary. Last week, a report showed insufficient vitamin D can make people demented and increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Eek!

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Lack of Vitamin D Makes You Demented!

A new study in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease claims low blood levels of vitamin D may heighten the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Scientists point out numerous studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression and gum disease, and that all of these have been associated with increased risk of dementia. The cost of Alzheimer’s care in the U.S. tops $100 billion each year; via Nutra Ingredients.

Vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic, with c-sections, high blood pressure and heart attacks all linked to inadequate vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body build strong bones and stave off osteoporosis and helps to prevent cancer, such as colon, breast and prostate cancer.

Many multivitamins do not contain sufficient vitamin D. That’s why Dr. Fuhrman’s Osteo-Sun is specifically designed to provide enough vitamin D, both in its vegan and non-vegan forms.

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Diabetic Men Who Stay Fit Live Longer

New findings in the journal Diabetes Care suggest men with type-2 diabetes who stay fit and active have less chance of dying. The study involved 1,703 African American men and 1,445 Caucasian men with type-2 diabetes. Over a 7-year period, death rate for African Americans in the low-fit group was 46% percent, moderate-fit group 27% and 15% for the high-fit group. Numbers for Caucasians were 37%, 19% and 9% respectively, leading researchers to stress the importance of cardiovascular fitness for diabetics; via Reuters.

Let’s be honest. No one should get diabetes. Eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables slashes the risk of type-2 diabetes, but exercise is still great, especially for men. Last month, a report highlighted the importance of impact training, like running, for men to build stronger bones. Just don’t go overboard! Mental fatigue can kill your workout.

We all know exercise helps prevent type-2 diabetes. Good thing, because a recent study showed obesity, heart disease and diabetes all increase risk of dementia, i.e. going nuts.

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Heart Disease, Obesity, Diabetes Increase Dementia Risk

New findings in the Archives of Neurology reveal obesity, along with heart disease and diabetes heighten the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. In a series of studies researchers examined over 10,000 individuals with conditions such as obesity and determined those participants with metabolic syndrome-related ailments had reduced cognitive function later in life, leading to Alzheimer's; HealthDay News reports.

Dr. Fuhrman insists a diet rich in green vegetables helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while diets low in vegetables and high in meat actually increase the likelihood of developing dementia. Exercise has also been shown to protect against dementia.

But we’re still a whacked out country! In 2008, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's reached 5 million. Although later in the year it was discovered internet searches can keep our brains healthy, but I don’t think that includes looking for funneh LOLcats.

Image credit: South Park Studios