LV Life Editor
As part of the Social Justice Lecture Series, Dr. Joel Fuhrman educated a crowd of more than 200 people with his presentation “Optimize or Destroy Brain Potential with Food.”
Fuhrman emphasized the importance of a micronutrient-rich diet, highlighting the unhealthy eating habits of many Americans throughout his lecture Oct. 26 in the Campus Center Ballroom.
“Only 2 percent of our population is normal weight by eating healthy and living a healthy lifestyle,” Fuhrman said. “So when we study Americans, we study a very sick population.”
The standard American diet consists of 54 percent processed food, 32 percent animal fat, 11 percent vegetables, fruit and nuts and 4 percent whole grains, Fuhrman said.
“This diet couldn’t be better designed if it was made by ISIS to kill us,” Fuhrman said.
Fuhrman highlighted the difference between a diet focused on micronutrients versus a diet full of macronutrients.
Macronutrients include protein, carbs and fat while vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are included in a micronutrient-based diet.
Eating more micronutrients naturally suppresses hunger, while macronutrients are addicting and take longer to suppress hunger.
When a large amount of macronutrients such as oil and white flour enter the blood stream quickly, it affects brain function, Fuhrman said.
It stimulates dopamine receptors in the brain, which can make the person feel high and then seek to reproduce that sensation.
“We do know for many people that mental health and learning can be directly correlated with food, and as Dr. Fuhrman says, we are deciding our mental health by what is on our fork,” said Nicole Elliot, visiting professor of education and human development.
Scientists add oil to french fry batter, add sugar to meat and put salt in Coca-Cola to make them more addicting, Fuhrman said.
Although many people believe moderate consumption of unhealthy food is okay, Fuhrman said that studies show that even one serving of commercial fast food can increase the risk of breast cancer by 45 percent.
The carcinogens in the food are so powerful that even people who make the food and inhale fumes can get lung inflammation.
“They eventually had to use lab animals to see ‘what can we add to the food to make animals not stop eating it,’ and now they don’t have to use those animals anymore, because they have humans,” Fuhrman said.
Transitioning to a healthier diet is not as easy as cutting processed foods.
Trying to stop a food addiction can lead to detoxification and withdrawal.
Fatigue and anxiety occur when the body tries to detox from an overconsumption of unhealthy food.
The unhealthier someone eats, the more uncomfortable it is to try to stop, Fuhrman said.
A growling stomach, headache and weakness are not feelings of hunger, but of toxic hunger when the body is trying to detox, he added.
“It’s your addictions that prevent you from solving problems in your life, it’s your addictions that magnify stresses,” he said. “It’s your addictions that put a cloud of negativity on your life, it’s your addictions that take away your ability to come up with creative solutions.”
Fuhrman recommended his G-BOMB diet which includes greens, beans, onions, mushrooms and berries.
Unfortunately some areas known as food deserts do not have access to the recommended healthy foods.
Food deserts are typically low-income minority neighborhoods.
Their inability to get local healthy food often leads to years being shaved off of their lives, he said.
This leads to the thought that the people in these areas do not know how they should be eating, or that they just don’t care, Fuhrman said.
“Often when I hear conversations about eating healthy and food deserts the aspect of systematic social oppression is not part of that conversation,” YmaSumac Maranon, adjunct professor of bilingual education, said.
“So it looks like communities of color have a deficit when it comes to understanding how to eat healthy. You framed it in a way that shows yes in fact they do know, but systematically they have been oppressed,” Maranon said.
Marisol Pellecer was able to speak to Fuhrman after the lecture about her daughter who has rheumatoid arthritis.
Fuhrman told her that a change in her diet could significantly improve the quality of her life.
“The fact that there’s an expert saying that she’s doing the right thing, it gives me a lot of hope actually,” Pellecer said. “To hear it’s totally reversible is incredible.”
Brooke Grasso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.