Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Live longer, avoid cancer, and lose weight: research shows that making your own food may be your most important decision

Living longer and feeling better is often a matter of which food we eat when we’re hungry – and it looks like we’d be all be better off if we stop choosing commercially-processed food.  This includes those convenient ready-to-eat protein bars, heat-and-eat meals, and food from restaurants or grocery store delis.  Multiple studies show commercially processed food to be associated with increased weight gain [1], a shorter life [2], and more cancer [3].  In one of the most recent studies [1], participants were randomized to either a diet of unprocessed food or a diet of highly-processed food: both diets were matched for calories, sugar, fat, fiber, and other major nutrients.  Those eating the highly processed foods gained weight over the period of the study, while those eating unprocessed foods lost weight; although they were offered the same amount of food, they apparently simply ate less.  There appears to be many reasons why processed foods cause more harm (see pages 59–61 of Good Food, Great Medicine, 4th edition), including chemical alterations during processing, additives, calorie density, and less appetite suppression.  The fact that those eating less processed foods were also more likely to be at lower risk of common diseases is a bonus worth considering!
My recommendation:
For optimal health, one of the best decisions we can make for ourselves and our family is to prepare our food from scratch as much as possible.  It takes some extra time, but the rewards are unbeatable.  Get together with family and friends and make home cooking a part of your life.  Bring a lunch to work.  Keep snacks simple and homemade, and put together a repertoire of easy dinners.  Teach children how to help in the kitchen when they’re young and cook when they’re older.  There are lots of meal planning ideas, recipes, and snack suggestions in Good Food, Great Medicine, pages 134–146.  Call our office at 503.291.1777 to sign up for a disease reversal class or schedule an appointment for a one-on-one medical consultation (

Miles Hassell MD

[2]Schnabel, L. et al. JAMA Intern Med 2018; doi:10.1001 (NutriNet-Santé Study)
[3]Fiolet, T. et al. BMJ 2018;360:k322 (NutriNet-Santé Study)