Eat to Live gives readers a comprehensive overview of human nutrition, a re-evaluation of conventional nutritional wisdom, personal case studies and a practical dietary program with lots of recommendations. The reader can expect to learn about a number of different nutritional studies as well as the health benefits and repercussions of basic foods such as meat, milk, fish, vegetables and fruits.
Even though Americans have access to a wide variety of healthy, nutritious food, they instead make unhealthy dietary choices, choosing to eat junk food like pizza, burgers and french fries.
Indeed, the typical American diet mainly comprises processed and high-caloric foods, such as refined carbohydrates (like pasta, bread and bagels), fat (oils) and animal protein (meat and dairy).
In fact, as research shows, the average American gets 62 percent of his or her calories from processed carbohydrates and extracted oils, 25.5 percent from fiberless dairy and animal produce, and just 5 percent from fruits and vegetables, excluding potatoes.
Consider, for example, that the human stomach can hold about one liter of food. Since food like french fries, cheese and meat are dense in calories, a stomach full of any of them contains approximately 3,000 calories. By contrast, a full stomach of much healthier foods, like greens, beans or fruit, would contain just 200 to 500 calories.
But aren’t calories useful? Don’t they provide the energy we need to survive?
While it’s certainly true that these high-calorie foods deliver energy to the body, they hardly contain any of the nutrients that are vital to optimal health.
All foods contain calories and nutrients: calories come from carbohydrates, proteins and fat; nutrients come from vitamins, minerals and water. Although nutrients contain almost no calories, they’re essential to the proper growth and development of the human body.
But just because a food contains many calories – as is typical in the modern American diet – this doesn’t mean that it necessarily supplies a lot of nutrients to the body. For example, one tablespoon of olive oil contains about 120 calories. While this is more than 5 percent of the typical daily calorie consumption, it actually provides almost no vitamins or minerals.