What’s on Your Fork Now Determines Your Health Later

May 20, 2016 by Joel Fuhrman, MD

active couple

Baseball legend Mickey Mantle once said, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself.” Like all memorable quotes, it’s a mix of clever wording and a universal truth: the poor diet and lifestyle choices of our youth start to catch up with us as we age. But the good news is that embracing a healthful lifestyle, including a nutrient-dense, plant-rich diet, can allow us to maintain optimal health and achieve enhanced longevity.

We get older with every tick of the clock. But we have the power to decide how we want to age: with vitality, living life with gusto, full of energy and with our faculties intact; or in pain, beset by chronic (and preventable) diseases such as arthritis, atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes and dementia. Aging itself is not the primary cause of these common illnesses; the cause is predominately one’s diet. Those types of diseases develop over many years of eating a less-than-ideal diet.

In the United States, as in other developed countries, too much of the food that is consumed has almost no nutritional value. I am talking about highly processed foods that are often refered to as “empty calories” because they are so low in micronutrients. These are products, not whole foods. Eating commercial baked goods, snack foods, luncheon meats, ice cream, soda, and oils, is dangerous.  They are usually made with sweeteners, white flour or loaded with sodium. Our addiction to these high-calorie, low-nutrient foods have led to astronomically high rates of obesity, cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and even cancer do not have to be the inevitable consequence of aging.  It is possible to live a long life, free from disability and chronic disease if we eat a nutrient-dense, plant-rich diet, with little if any refined foods and minimal amounts of animal products. I call this way of eating a Nutritarian diet, to represent the healthiest way to eat in the world

There are many advantages to adopting the Nutritarian eating style:

  •     When you eat low-calorie, high-nutrient foods, you can eat abundantly.
  •     A diet based on greens, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and fruit defends against cancer.
  •     Eating a nutrient-dense, plant-rich diet can keep you slim.

Eat big salads that contain lots of leafy greens, and include tomatoes, raw onions, dressed with a nut-seed based dressing.  Chew your foods thoroughly to breakdown its cellular walls to release as many of the nutrients as possible. Avoid excessive amounts of oils and animal products – if you do use them, don’t eat them often — only in small amounts, like a condiment, a few times a week, or two or three times a month.

My primary goal, throughout my career as a physician and nutritional researcher, has been to help people recognize the direct connection between food and health.  We have a unique opportunity to live longer and more healthfully than ever before. We can age gracefully, free of the common diseases associated with aging.

Thousands of scientific studies have been published to support eating this way. By utilizing these advances in nutritional science, I have enabled thousands of people to reverse their chronic disease, lower their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol to normal, without drugs, and to restore their health and vitality. Today is the day for you to begin if you have not already.

I urge everyone to learn the principles of this style of eating. This is not about deprivation. It is a delicious, satisfying and sensible way to enjoy eating as we increase our ability to live a fuller, healthier and longer life.

Commit to taking better care of yourself today.  You’ll not only reap immediate rewards – you’ll also give yourself the chance to enjoy a long and healthy future.


Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, seven-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
For over 25 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.


Comments (0):



05/23/2016 05:49 PM

Thank you Dr. Fuhrman for sharing you knowledge!!! You have blessed so many people by sharing your nutritional knowledge!
This comment was last edited on 05/23/2016 05:49 PM


05/25/2016 06:14 PM

When I finally did recognize the connection between my lifestyle choices and my health I was able to get off all medications my doctor had me on for years. I did it in 9 months. Not only that, I and one other patient in my doctor's practice shocked her so much with our results that she has changed her career path! She is leaving her practice to train future physicians and teach lifestyle medicine. My loss but a whole lot of other people's gain. Dr Fuhrman is making such a huge difference.

Dr. Fuhrman

05/26/2016 03:21 PM

Thank you for your warm wishes and encouragement. Wishing you all the best!


05/27/2016 04:06 PM

Information and encouragement - that's what I get from your presentations and blogs. Even at age 64 (almost 65) I still feel I can turn at least some things around. I am relatively healthy, albeit extremely overweight. The one week I have been eating right already has made a noticeable difference. Thank you for taking the time to share with us.

Lisa Fuhrman replies:

06/02/2016 06:46 PM

You can turn a lot around! I'm glad you are seeing a noticeable difference; more good things will ensue as you continue eating what you're body knows is good for it! Much warm wishes!


06/29/2016 01:07 PM

I Battle with sweet addicted I don't seem to get a handle on it I fall more often than not?


06/29/2016 01:07 PM


06/29/2016 01:07 PM

Hard to stay on tract


06/29/2016 01:26 PM

I have tracked my eating, and exercise for 4 months. I started at 240 pounds, I work out 6 days a week, big 'green smoothie' fan, and lots of salads. No dairy, limited meat, no sweets. gbombs galore! 4 months later 240 pounds.... 2 years ago I was 203, and 10 years ago I was 269. I don't get why the weight went on, when I am pretty much doing what I did to get to 203! Very frustrating. I am in my early 60's.


09/20/2016 10:32 PM

I have not lost any weight, however, I will better than I have in a long time, so maybe our bodies are working on more important things at this time , hang in there..


06/27/2017 04:07 PM

The nuts and seeds in the receipes are confusing can you make the salad dressings with nuts and put nuts in receipes and still lose weight? I am about 70  overweight


03/25/2021 09:05 PM

Is red light/infrared light (Joovv) beneficial to health ?