David B. Agus, MD, is a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California and heads USC's Westside Cancer Center and the Center for Applied Molecular Medicine. He is a CBS News contributor and the author of A Short Guide To A Long Life, now available from sister company Simon & Schuster. He lives in Beverly Hills, California.
For most people, going to the doctor is a dreaded event and is sometimes avoided altogether. But what if someone empowered you with the tools to manage your own health. What if you knew the right tests to have taken, how to choose the right doctor for you, and how you should be managing your health in each decade of your life? What if you looked forward to going to the doctor?
These concerns inspired me to launch my online educational course "A Short Guide to a Long Life," new from SimonSays. My goal is very simple—to prevent and delay disease as much as possible. This course teaches you how to listen to what your body is saying and begin to understand some of the general principles that lead to a long life without disease. As a preview, here's the hard, honest truth behind five common health myths that will benefit you years down the line.
A Low Fat Diet Is The Best Diet
The only large study to show a benefit of one diet over another indicates that a Mediterranean diet is far and away the best diet. Stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil, canola oil, eggs, grass-fed beef, chicken and cold-water fish. It's not a low fat diet; it's a good fat diet.
Grazing Throughout The Day Helps You Lose Weight
Consistency matters—a lot. People who don't have a regular meal schedule have 81% more diabetes than people who eat their meals at the same time every day. Eating at different times causes your stress hormones to go up and your metabolism to go down, resulting in weight gain. You should aim to eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day. That doesn't mean you can't have a snack—as long as you have your snack at the same time every day.
Juicing Is A Faster And More Efficient Way To Absorb Nutrients
When you put fresh fruit and vegetables into a blender and expose them to oxygen, nearly all of their nutritional value disappears. Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, and if you can't get them fresh and in season, buy produce that has been flash frozen.
Cutting Out Calories And Fat Will Help You Lose Weight
The best and healthiest way to lose weight is to cut down on your food's glycemic index—concentrated sugar—and incorporate fat and protein in every meal. You might want to rethink that bowl of oatmeal or cereal in the morning. Start off the day with low-fat yogurt or heart-healthy eggs—items that include good fat and high protein levels.
Statins Should Be Avoided At All Costs
Statins are a class of drug specifically designed to lower cholesterol—and they do that beautifully. For people with slightly elevated and normal cholesterol levels, they block inflammation and delay heart disease and cancer. Are there side effects? Yes. They're rare but they happen. You can get muscle aches, and people with pre-diabetes can be pushed a bit towards diabetes. The risk-benefit may not be for you, but statins can also delay disease and that is key to the way I approach long-term health. A great discussion to have with your doctor, if you are armed with the data!
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