Eat to Live, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
Eat to Live is a book that was written by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. after years of doing research to discover that Health = Nutrition/Calories. It is primarily a book to convince individuals to start focusing on the nutrition of their food rather than on processed foods, fad diets, and unhealthy alternatives to weight loss.
This book is beneficial to my thesis for many reasons. At the beginning of the book, there is a lot of factual information about how the American diet is detrimental to our health. He lists reasons for the obesity epidemic: advertising, loss of family and social cohesiveness, adoption of a sedentary lifestyle, and lack of time to prepare fresh foods. Fuhrman does a good job building my trust. He provides comparisons that are direct and blunt to get the point across to people. For example, he explains that we are overweight and undernourished and the obesity epidemic is more dangerous than the smoking epidemic. By making this comparison, Fuhrman makes a connection between the social perception of smoking (it’s looked down upon) and the social perception of eating processed foods (it’s generally accepted as the norm). This comparison (to me) raises questions about the validity/truth of the information on processed food-packaging and why it is not as informative to consumers about the healthiness of the food. Why is there a surgeon general’s warning on cigarette packages but there is not one on packaging of unhealthy processed foods? For this thesis project, this part of the book discloses to me that food-packaging should tell the consumer, very explicitly, if that food is deadly or not.
Fuhrman, like Wurman, takes a matter-of-fact tone with the way that he writes. He doesn’t try to sugarcoat his ideas to his readers. He is critical towards the western diet and states facts for why we aren’t healthy, i.e. the title of Chapter 5 is: Are you Dying to Lose Weight? A Closer Look at the Atkins Plan, The Zone, and Eating for Your Blood Type. I think this matter-of-fact tone is necessary for communicating with people who are conditioned to eat a certain way and enjoy eating the foods they eat. There is a certain amount of beating over the head that speaking in this tone accomplishes. If anything, it is an attention grabber sparking interest to keep people reading.
Fuhrman also provides extensive evidence that eating the way he prescribes will work and is attainable. He also provides evidence that not only will Eating to Live help overweight people lose weight, but also that eating a high nutrient/low calorie diet will heal and/or prevent non-communicable disease and therefore extend life. He (and I too) believes that if all people would eat using this H=N/C method (and maybe do some exercise as well), noncommunicable diseases would drastically lower, obesity would be rare, and people would live longer healthier lives; all of the problems of the global burden of disease would be solved! Too bad simplicity is not so simple…
In various places throughout the book Fuhrman proves that the standards that are set by the government are not strict enough. They sugarcoat how we should be living based on how we want to live as consumers. He provides substantial information to how we were made to eat and how Eat to Live isn’t another diet to go on but it is THE intended human diet. He furthers this idea by redesigning the USDA food guide pyramid (what he calls “A Food Pyramid that Will Turn You into a Mummy”) for what it should look like based on H=N/C.
For this thesis project, I think that design can be a connection from eating unhealthily (high calorie/low nutrition) to eating healthily (high nutrient/low calorie) and Fuhrman gives me the necessary information for change. In reading this, I also realize the importance of voice and how it influences people to trust and change behavior. It makes me wonder how people would change what they eat if the nutrition label had a voice like that of Dr. Fuhrman.
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