Do your health a favour and read this book.
How Not To Die Summary- It is an invaluable resource. Dr Greger extolls the virtue of a plant-based lifestyle but does so with an absolute raft of scientific evidence behind his claims and theories. The ‘nutrition facts’ team and the online resource is a fountain of knowledge – mining data from global studies to pull together key facts/summaries, making our job easier!
This book is split into two sections. The first discusses key ailments of the 21st century and presents theories behind how our diet could be responsible for causing and curing, these ailments (with a gazillion references to peer-reviewed studies, blind studies, etc). The second section offers a load of recipes – ideas for helping us to get to that magical ‘daily dozen’
Poor diet is the number one cause of premature death, and it’s often ignored by the medical industry.
Our genes only account for 10-20% of the risk for most leading causes of death, like high blood pressure, heart attacks, cancer. As evidence of this, when people move from low- to high-risk countries, their disease rates change to those of the new environment. For example, a Japanese person who moves to America raises her risk of heart disease, even though she is genetically Japanese.
But aren’t we dying less, and living longer? Not necessarily. Even though lifespan in America has increased slightly over the past decades, the quality of life at the end of life is worse.
The author Michael Greger argues diet is behind all of this. Specifically, a diet heavy in meat, dairy, eggs, and processed foods is much less healthy than a diet based on whole foods and plants.
Here’s some evidence of how plant-based diets increase health:
People who used to be vegetarians but who went back to eating meat increased their risk of disease significantly—they increase heart disease odds by 146%, stroke by 152%, diabetes by 166%, weight gain by 231%. Their life expectancy drops by 3.6 years.
Women who eat more whole plant foods reduce odds of breast cancer by 90%.
In total, lifestyle accounts for 78% of the risk of chronic disease. Not smoking, having normal body weight, exercising half an hour a day, and maintaining a healthy diet can reduce the risk of chronic disease by a huge margin.
A plant-based, whole-food diet has been shown to decrease your likelihood of getting a large panel of diseases, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s. Here’s a selection of the many research results cited in the book:
Drinking 3-4 shots of kale juice a day over 3 months lowers bad LDL cholesterol and boosts HDL cholesterol as much as running 300 miles does.
Increasing fibre by 7 grams/day reduces the risk of stroke by 7%. For the maximum reduction in stroke risk, eat 25 grams/day of soluble fibre and 47 grams/day of insoluble fibre.
The more plant-based foods you eat, the lower your hypertension rates. Flexitarians show a 23% reduced risk of hypertension; vegans show 75% reduced risk.
Japanese men showed a 25x increase in prostate cancer risk after World War II. This is also associated with a 7x, 9x, and 20x increase in egg, meat, and dairy consumption respectively.
Premenopausal women who ate 6g of fibre a day had 62% lower odds of breast cancer, compared to those eating <4g a day.
Diet can reverse disease, not just halt it. It’s not too late if you already have heart disease or diabetes. Studies have shown that switching to a plant-based diet can reverse atherosclerotic plaques. It reverses the influence of smoking on lung cancer, and decrease the inflammation that leads to many cancers.
Preventing disease is better than treating it. Drugs have side effects, and some disease is irreversible.
Exercise coupled with a healthy diet is the recipe for long life. While healthy eating is essential, its benefits can only be increased by adding exercise to the mix. The daily recommendation is 90 minutes of moderate or 40 minutes of intense exercise. If you liked the How Not To Die summary then comment below on whether you are interested to read this book or not.