If you want to lose a few pounds—and improve the overall quality of your life—you should listen to Chris Kresser. He’s an expert on health, wellness and diet, and his advice on nutrition could also help you get off the couch to become a healthier person.
For Chris, part of the key to living a good, long life is food. “Diet is one of the most important things we can think about when we have those goals,” he said. “What we put into our bodies is what determines our health.”
According to Chris, Americans are overfed but undernourished. “There’s no shortage of calories available,” he said. “We can walk down to the 7-Eleven and get a Super Gulp and candy bars and all that, and we’ll get plenty to eat. We’re not going to starve. But we are starving in the important way.”
Chris’s advice for the best possible diet comes down to three simple words: eat real food. “What we need to do is make sure everything we put into our mouths has the maximum amount of nutrients, and the minimum amount of junk,” he added.
The idea behind this diet differs from most mainstream diets. “I don’t think that concept is really well understood, because you always hear, ‘Oh, we should do low-fat, we should do low-carb, or high-protein.’ And that stuff is relevant,” said Chris. “What’s more important is just making sure the food you eat is just super-nutrient-dense. That’s going to fill you up, it’s going to make all your physical processes work right, and it’s going to prevent you from having disease.”
The consequences of consuming a lot of empty calories, according to Chris, are not dire, but they deeply affect our quality of life. “We can function without [some vitamins],” Chris said. “You’re not going to die…You’re just going to feel like crap all the time. And you’re going to go the doctor and tell them that, and they’re going to have no idea what’s wrong.”
The key to constructing a nutrient-dense diet, Chris said, is eating real food—not stuff that comes out of a bag or a box. For example, stay away from flour, sugar and industrial seed oils—the stuff that Chris calls “the crappy vegetable oils.” These include sunflower, safflower, canola, soybean, and corn oil. “They’re the oils you see in all processed and packaged food because they’re super-cheap,” Chris said. “Instead of using those, try olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, or even butter. These are the healthier fats to eat.”
Much of these changes are easier said than done for the general population. “The biggest change that needs to happen is to make that stuff more affordable,” Chris said. “Until we can make those foods more accessible and affordable, then the change is going to be limited.”
In Chris’s view, it would be hard to get the entire country to eat a healthier diet. “It’s a challenge, but I think it’s kind of inevitable, because our health-care system is just completely buckling and breaking down,” Chris said. “People aren’t getting the results they want just from taking prescription medications, and their doctors aren’t able to help them the way they want.”
“But,” Chris added, “I think if most people followed this three-word diet, ‘eat real food,’ we’d be a lot healthier than we are.”
For Chris, this simple, three-word diet not only promises better health, but also a better life. “The thing for me is that we’re only here for a short time, and we want to maximize our time here,” he said. “And that means feeling good, being as productive as possible, preventing illness and disease, and extending our lifespan as far as we can.”
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