The Longer the Belt, the Shorter the Life

From Dr. Fuhrman’s book Fasting and Eating for Health:

Many experiments in animals and observational studies in humans show that both severe malnutrition and overnutrition significantly lower resistance to disease. Longevity studies on humans excluding smokers, drinkers, and the chronically ill illustrate that the leanest live the longest.1 Though thinness is not the only criteria for health, it is undeniable that a person in good health, on a nutritious diet, who is below average weight has by far the best chance for a long life. The National Institute of Health also reports the same conclusion: when smokers and those with a disease that causes thinness are excluded, the greatest longevity is found in those whose weight is below average.2

When the diet is without deficiencies, minimum caloric intake greatly increases resistance to infectious disease. There are a host of mechanisms that strengthen our immune system and make the “soil” unwelcome for microbes when the body is not overfed. After studying various population groups, including underfed wartime prisoners, researchers have concluded that resistance to disease is highest on what would generally be considered an inadequate diet.3 It has been noted that when epidemics struck wartime prison camps, the underfed prisoners had a much lower morbidity than their overfed captors.

When we contract a viral infection and lose our appetites, nature is telling us to fast. It is a means the body has of powerfully exciting white blood cell activity and releasing more immune system modulators, such as interferon, thus enabling the body to more quickly and effectively recover.

The best way to guard against nutritional excesses, while still maintaining optimal assimilation of all essential nutrients, is to consume an abundance of natural plant products that are rich in vitamins and minerals. At the same time one must avoid empty calorie, processed food, fats, refined carbohydrates, and animal products, which are high in fat and protein and deficient in the nutrients that are most protective to our system.
1. Lindsted K, Tonstad S, Kuzma JW. Body mass index and patterns of mortality among Seventh-Day Adventist men. International Journal of Obesity 1991; 15:397-406.

2. Simopoulos AP, Van Itallie TB. Body weight: Health and longevity. Annals of Internal Medicine 1984; 100: 285-295.

3. Murray J, Murray A. Suppression of infection by famine and its activation by refeeding—a paradox. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 1977; 20: 471.
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