Reviewer Bani Sodermark. Bani has a Ph.D in mathematical physics and has been a teacher of physics and mathematics at the university level in both India and Sweden. For the last decade, her interests have been spirituality, healthy living and self-development. She has written a number of reviews on Amazon. Bani is a mother to two children.
Author: Russell Eaton
Author: Russell Eaton
The question of achieving a longer, healthier and happier life without undue suffering has been a very cherished goal for many of us. Two bestsellers that explore this question in detail have appeared recently. The first is “Supergenes” by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi and it addresses the science behind long term lifestyle changes that are required to achieve not just wellness, but a state of “radical well-being”. The second is “Longevity Now” by David Wolfe and also aims at cultivating a deeper sense of aliveness by focusing on excellent nutrition and elimination.
In comparison, this book takes up the subject of longevity by compiling the results of cutting edge scientific research on nutrition and the aging process to present an assortment of tips designed to extend our lifespan. The goal, according to the author, is a longer and healthier life, free of aches and pains. The timescale of the lifespan envisaged is about a thousand years.
The two major causes of aging, according to the author, are oxidative stress and glycation. The former is the damage to DNA proteins and lipids caused by oxidants, which are highly reactive substances containing oxygen. The latter occurs when glucose, the main sugar we use as energy, binds to some of our DNA, proteins and lipids, leaving them unable to do their job. The above two factors contribute to telomere shortening, telomeres being stretches of DNA at the ends of the chromosomes. Telomere shortening has been directly linked to aging. By minimizing oxidative stress and glycation, we can preserve the finite telomere capacity of the body. This is the key to staying healthy and living longer.
The question of minimizing oxidative stress and glycation leads to the question of obesity as a major consequence of mitochondrial oxidative stress, since the latter stimulates fat accumulation, independent of excessive calorie intake. Thus the injunction to having a slim body. The author, in this connection, debunks a few well-known obesity related myths, which are as follows:
a)The first obesity related myth is that “Calorie counting leads to weight loss”.
b) The second is the protein myth, viz.,”We need animal protein for body growth, repair and cellular maintenance.” The author cites expert sources that validate the above, adding that an excessive consumption of protein can cause cancer.
c) A third myth is “The oils and fats that you eat make you fat, clog your arteries and cause heart disease.” The author cites sources to show that a high fat diet is absolutely essential for good health, avoiding obesity and living longer, provided they are not hydrogenated. He also puts forward evidence to show that “Sugary foods and carbohydrates make you fat. Fats do not make you fat.”
Among the worst carbohydrates which contribute to obesity is fructose, hence the injunction to reduce the sugar content in general and fructose in particular, in order to combat obesity.
d)Another myth that is busted in this book is “Nutritional supplements are important for healthy functioning”. The author shows that supplements, with the exception of the vitamins D, K2 and B12, do more harm than good.
e) The last and most powerful myth to be debunked is that of physical activity vs exercise. The former is shown to be beneficial while the latter has been proven to be harmful. By exercise is meant, physical activity that leads to hyperventilation and sweating.
The author concludes by presenting a cogent summation of his analysis of the voluminous research that he has quoted. His top ten tips for optimal health and longevity are, a healthy diet, avoidance of animal protein, nutritional supplements, fructose, exercise and junk food, good sleep and a concrete plan to improve one’s health.
For me, personally, this is a book that got me thinking. I had difficulty accepting some of the myths, especially the one on exercise. Yet the evidence is there for all to see. Otherwise the book is well written, the pace is steady, though one can get a bit confused at times with the technicalities.