Achieve Nutritional Excellence Eating a Nutrient-Dense Diet

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published January 28, 2019

Podcast Transcript

Joel Fuhrman, MD: When you eat healthy, you are creative, you are active, you are feeling well and you're not using food for emotional sustenance, you’re using food for nourishment and you enjoy eating, but you're not going to be addicted to it. So, when you die is poor, you become addicted to the food and you can't control your appestat and this enables people to be comfortable eating the right amount of calories.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Welcome to the Mastering Diabetes Audio Experience, where we teach you how to sit in the driver's seat of your diabetes health for the rest of your life. We'll teach you how to reverse insulin resistance, achieve your ideal body weight, gain energy and get your best A1c following more than 85 years of evidence-based research in the Mastering Diabetes Program.

Robby Barbaro: Our program teaches you how to reverse prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and how to simplify your life with type 1 diabetes by maximizing your insulin sensitivity, using food as medicine.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: We're on a bold mission to reverse insulin resistance in 1 million people. We're glad to have you joining us.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: We are honored to be here today with Dr. Joel Fuhrman. Now, you may have seen Dr. Fuhrman on TV, he's a board-certified family physician with over 25 years practicing Nutritional Medicine.

You may have seen him on TV, you may have seen him on PBS, you may have read one of his books, or you may know someone who has been personally impacted by his tireless attention to nutritional excellence. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe a diet that is nutrient dense, and plant rich and includes anti-inflammatory foods that facilitate weight loss, improved immunity, and the reversal of both diabetes as well as heart disease.

He is the author of 12 books, including the 6 New York Times bestsellers Eat to Live, The Eat to Live Cookbook, The End of Diabetes, Super Immunity and The End of Dieting.

Dr. Fuhrman is also the Director of the Nutritional Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes research to understand the effect of nutrient dense diets on chronic disease. Dr. Fuhrman, we are honored to be here with you, as always.

Joel Fuhrman, MD: Thank you. Always great, a lot of fun, and looking forward to talking to both of you.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Fantastic. In today's Podcast, I think we can cover a lot of topics here, but we want to delve into a little bit more about the “Nutritarian” diet, or as you refer to it, as a nutrient dense plant rich diet, NDPR diet. So, can you maybe start at the top and just educate our listeners here about what exactly is a nutrient dense, plant rich diet?

Joel Fuhrman, MD: Right. I mean, right now nutritional science has made incredible advances and we could slow the aging process, and live longer without cancer or heart disease, strokes or dementia. It's an amazing time in human history that we can actually know how to slow aging and prevent these diseases, and nobody's taking advantage of it.

And a “Nutritarian” diet takes advantage of every advancement in nutritional science to slow aging and increase human lifespan, and the same diet that maximizes slow aging and makes you live longer is effective at reversing disease, therapeutically for autoimmune conditions like psoriasis and asthma, and autoimmune hepatitis and rheumatoid arthritis. In other words, it's just remarkably effective to reverse the disease.

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The foundational principle is that the most, how should I say, the methodology most proven to slow aging and extend lifespan is moderate caloric restriction, in an environment of micronutrient excellence. So, we're talking about, not extreme caloric restriction it could be anorexic, if you use too much muscle tissue, but when you moderately calorie restrict you stabilize the cells, so you don't produce free radicals, because extra calories and extra rapid metabolism from extra calories produces excess aging in the cell, and excess of free radicals.

So, we moderately calorie restrict, and the why we comfortably eat less calories to a small degree, is by eating foods that are rich in nutrients, especially the high fiber, high nutrient plant foods that are naturally low in calories, naturally high in fiber, and fiber regulates appestat, because not only does fiber fill you up and occupy space in your stomach, but fiber also is degraded by bacteria, into butyrate, a short chain fatty acid, which has negative feedback on the hypothalamus on your appestat. So, when you have more fiber, you degrade less calories.

A lot of these recommended high nutrient foods like green vegetables, and beans, and onions and mushrooms, they're naturally low in calorie and calorie density, but also for example, eating things like beans, their calories are not biologically accessible, because they have so much resistant starch, and those calories pass through you to the toilet bowl, not absorbed. And when you eat nuts and seeds as your primary source of fat, instead of animal fats or oils, then you also have the calories absorbed very, very slowly into the bloodstream, allowing them to be preferentially burned as energy instead of stored. And because there's so much fiber and sterols and stanols, they suck calories out, so even though they turned appestat down by 100 calories, but all those calories don't get absorbed into the bloodstream, because the sterols the stanols bind fat, and pull that fat out into the toilet, passing right through you.

So we're talking here about a diet designed with optimal phytochemical exposure, so that when you are metabolizing calories, any free radicals or reactive oxygen species created from the metabolism of those calories are immediately diffused, and removed by the phytochemical density and the micronutrient density of the diet itself.

So, a Nutritarian diet is designed to contain the full gamut, the full Symphony, high micronutrient anti-cancer foods, as well as making sure that we don't over consume foods that might raise hormones that are going to have a negative effect, like excessive estrogen raised my body fat, or sets of insulin raised by high glycemic load foods, or excessive IGF-1 raised by high protein animal products or isolated soy protein, and also making sure that we have optimal amount of all micronutrients humans need. There’s no potential for deficiencies, anything that might enhance or have negative effects and be in jeopardy.

So it's a comprehensive look, I'm trying to create the gold standard so people can shoot for ideal eating, and we find when they do so their mental clarity increases their intelligence, their creativity, the mental fog lifts the more emotionally excited about life. And with time, they enjoy this way of eating more than their prior ways, which they thought they could never give up and thought they could never do without the oil, and the sugar, and the meats and cheeses. They thought they didn’t, but now they've learned how to make it tastes great, it's palatable, it makes them feel satisfied and they achieve their ideal weight.

So, one of the big aspects that makes this unique and different for the way people think is the effect on the metabolic rate, because we actually want people to have a moderately slow metabolic rate to extend lifespan. So, that's a brief overview. And then we could certainly communicate better and talk more about how we're both utilizing these principles.

Robby Barbaro: That's a terrific overview, and one of the things that I really like about your work is like you said, this dedication to nutritional excellence, the gold standard and you teach that, you make that clear. And one thing people are confused about, you mentioned how people could include beans in their diet, and I know you're a fan of healthy fruits or certain fruits. They're confused, they’re scared, “No way! That's gonna make me gain weight.” Can you just give a little more information of why people do not gain weight and actually reach their ideal weight on your program?

Joel Fuhrman, MD: Sure. I always say that the population out there, in the mass media, learning their nutrition from magazines and comic books, they're trying to speed up their metabolic rate so they can eat more food and not get fat. We're trying to teach people how to moderately lower the metabolic rate, so we can eat less food and not get too thin.

What I'm saying right now is, when we're eating a big salad and vegetables bean soup, or a piece of fruit, or eating a Nutritarian diet, we're eating all the food we want. Our desire for calories has lessen, because it's the lack of nutrients in the diet that drives up addictive tendencies, and desire to overeat. Especially when you're not eating healthy foods, and the most-unhealthy people have the most excessive food cravings and uncontrollable appetite. It's like their appetite became a monster that they can't control because they're nutritionally deficient.

We have a nation of the excessive calorie malnourished, you know, we have the overweight malnourished people. The opposite occurs when you nourish yourself maximally. When you eat a lot of high nutrient plans, like we're talking about onions, and mushrooms, and green cruciferous vegetables, and beans of course, because beans are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, you know, the things that have anti-cancer effects.

What I'm saying right now is when you… And berries. When you eat a lot of these high nutrient plans it ratchets down the appestat by multiple mechanisms, and the food stick in the biofilm that the favorable microbiome, most stable microbiome, built by the consumption of beans and cooked mushrooms, and raw greens, and raw onions or scallions, that flows for foods, cooked mushrooms, cooked beans, raw onions, and raw greens have an effect to have anti-diabetic effects, that fruit thickening the microbiome covering the villi in the small intestines, thus slowing the absorption of everything you eat, or the glucose of everything you eat.

So, beans have an anti-diabetic affect, their effects on the microbiome, which scientists call the Second Meal effect. They call it the second meal effect because you don't just get the benefits at the meal in which you eating beans, if you eat beans the day before, the next day without eating beans, you still get those benefits because of the effect of beans have on the microbiome.

Now also, because it has this beneficial effect in the microbiome, because it's the resistance starch in beans that gets digested, that’s the fuel for the bacteria that grow and live off the resistant starch. And those calories that are burned from the bacteria are turned from storage into fat, short chain fatty acids, but the beans are converted, the resistance starch is counted as calories on the beans, but those calories are not biologically accessible, because when the bacteria turn them into fat, it happens so far down in the digestive tract that 90% of those calories or lost into the toilet. They're not ever… They're too far down the small intestines, and the point of just the proximal course of the colon where the calories go through you, and you don't absorb those calories.

So, a large percentage of the carbohydrate calories in beans are lost to absorption, and the other calories in the beans are so slowly as digestible, that the calories enter the bloodstream at about two calories a minute, not a 20 to 30 calories a minute, like white bread or white rice, or white flour, whatever it is, with all the others sugars’ peak, sweet high carbohydrates people eat.

So, beans are favorable carbohydrate, they’re favorable for diabetics, they're very slow to digest, they keep you feeling like you don't have to eat for many hours, and their calories are not all absorb, and they have second meal effects which makes other foods less glycemic. So, that mango you ate for breakfast is now, instead of it being moderately glycemic, it's relatively more low glycemic because you ate the beans and greens the day before.

So, it's everything what meshes together to give you maximum benefits, when you have the full portfolio of these beneficial foods in your diet, particularly the GBOMBS, GBOMBS: Greens, bean, onions, mushrooms, we know why those are so protective, we could talk about their anti-cancer effects. And then of course seeds and berries. So, GBOMBS: Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds.

And people are starting to recognize the incredible power of berries, with their huge amount of phenol, anthocyanin, that have beneficial effects on the brain, and beneficial effects on as, actually anti-diabetics too, and they actually promote the growth of healthy bacteria too.

So, it's a very microbiome favorable diet, and it's also a brain favorable diet, because a lot of food addiction and emotional eating comes from the brain, and your brain is like a big jelly sack, or a big jellybean, like a big ball of fat, and that fat becomes rancid and it needs a constant supply of antioxidants, and carotenoids, and phytochemicals, anthocyanin and polyphenols, it needs a continuous optimal supply to maintain its positive emotions, and its positive effect on eating food, and not get sad and dysthymic. Because the American diet is so low on nutrients that people are dysthymic and they want to use food to sustain and all the time.

When you eat healthy, you are creative, you are active, you are feeling well and you're not using food for emotional sustenance, you’re using food for nourishment and you enjoy eating, but you're not going to be addicted to it. So, when you die is poor, you become addicted to the food and you can't control your appestat and this enables people to be comfortable eating the right amount of calories. Most people eat the right amount of calories, not to overeat, they feel too uncomfortable, too shaky, too weak, too much anxiety, and they feel with almost mild withdrawal depression from their sweets they're eating, when they try to eat a diet that's healthy. And because we're flooding the body with so many brain beneficial nutrients that helps people get over those addictive and emotional overeating patterns.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay, so you touched on a lot of things here, specifically with regards to the anti-diabetic properties of nutrient dense plant rich diets. One of the things that we teach in our Mastering Diabetes Program, which I know you also agree with here, is this, the diabetes community has a very myopic view of achieving good blood glucose control.

So, they will do whatever they can in their life to get a low A1c, and a lot of these people in the low carbohydrate, and ketogenic worlds are now trying to push their A1c not just below a 5.7, the threshold for prediabetes, they're trying to get it down to below a 5.0, into the 4.3, 4.5, 4.6 range believing that if they get their A1c super low, then they can stave off long term complications.

So, many people just stay focused on trying to get their A1c super low, in order to do that they adopt a low carbohydrate diet, which is a very nutrient poor diet, which then has long term ramifications. When it comes to a nutrient dense, plant rich diet, specifically, what do people with type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes, what can they stand to benefit from shifting over, and starting to eat a Nutritarian approach?

Joel Fuhrman, MD: Well generally they get rid of diabetes completely, and become non-diabetic in the short period of time, even before they lose all their body weight, they generally lose… They start losing more weight the first month, so a lot of people lose 15 to 25 pounds the first month, especially if they're overweight. But then, eventually the weight loss slows down and they start losing about 2 pounds a week, our about 8 to 10 pounds per month, until they're at 20 pounds of their ideal weight, and then the weight loss may still down to 1 pound.

So, the point here is that for some people lose 8 pounds a week, or 8 pounds every week until they actually get within 1 or 2 pounds, or 3 or 4 pounds of their ideal weight. But what I'm saying right now is the diabetes goes away, the type 2 diabetes goes away before they reach their ideal weight. For example, I just had a person come into my retreat, it was two 370 pounds, a type 2 diabetic, he lost 70 pounds in the first three months, but he got rid of his diabetes by then, but he’s still 300 pounds. His diabetes was gone.

So, it's not just the weight loss, it's also that we're cleaning, we're making their… They are on a biochemical effects that are helping the beta cells in the pancreas that were hibernating to regenerate, and some stem cell activation, that then can replenish some of those beta cells, get more beta cells activities, and see some of their their insulin measurements, even their fasting insulin, go up a little bit.

So, we're actually seeing better insulin response, reduced insulin resistance… Which are these little impregnation in their little invaginations inside of the cell wall, where the insulin brings glucose in, are blocked by the saturated fats in animal products. So, when we remove that and we clean that out, we're decreasing and ensuring that when fat comes off the body we're decreasing insulin resistance. And I see insulin resistance drop as the person is losing 2 pounds a week.

Let me explain that, when the person is weight is stable and they're very overweight you don't see the reduction in insulin resistance because the fat cells are still producing pro-inflammatory mediators, angiogenesis promoters, and there’s so much estrogen. But when they're dropping steadily 2 pounds a week, we're still seeing the estrogen go down, and the production of angiogenesis go down, and pro-inflammatory mediators are going down.

We're seeing that insulin resistance is improving as their weight is dropping, even if they're still not yet at the ideal weight.

So for example, I have a type 1 diabetes come in, and he's requiring 200 units of insulin a day because like you're saying, the doctor just said, “Eat whatever you want, cover it with insulin.” He's overweight, he’s got insulin resistance even on a type 1, and he's requiring 200 units of insulin a day. And I'm telling him that insulin is an angiogenesis growing hormone that promotes cancer. And if you're going to require so much insulin you're going to be dying young, not from the high glucose but from the high insulin that’s going to accelerate your risk of cancer and cause aging of the brain, and be your downfall. It's not just the glucose that causes the problem, it's the high level of insulin that causes the problem too.

So, within one month of eating this way, of course, he dropped about 20 pounds in that month, but his insulin requirements went from 200 units a day as a type 1, to 35 minutes a day as a type 1, and he's not having the highs and lows. Imagine the highs and lows he was having? When you're taking 200 a day, you can’t exercise, you’re bottoming out. It's just crazy.

Now, we're seeing dramatic effects. And I actually publish the pilot study where I had… It was a six months study of type 2 diabetics, where all but one got rid of their type 2 diabetes completely within six months. The one person still did not have type 2 diabetes because his sugars were ok, but his doctor got them on Metformin, and he was having favorable sugars. So, the only reason we couldn't classify him as non-diabetic is because we couldn't say that his sugars were normal without any medication, because he still had some Metformin. But essentially almost 100% reversal. Hemoglobin A1c was 8.2 when those people started the program, and it went down to 5.8, and average of 5.8 within six months time.

So, that was averaging a 5.8 which means somewhere, obviously 6.1, 6.2, 5.4 or 5.5. But that was only within six months. And they all didn't just improve their diabetic parameters, but they actually became non-diabetic because their old hemoglobin A1c of 8.2 was under diabetic medications, and the 5.8 was on no-diabetic medications.

So, we're talking here about consistent reversing of type 2 diabetes, setting people free from being diabetic, and eventually achieving the ideal weight consistently, and, you know, in other words, we can guarantee people these kind of results because we see it happen all the time. There's people that just get rid of the diabetes.

Robby Barbaro: These are fantastic results. So, tell us more about this retreat center that you reference.

Joel Fuhrman, MD: You know, I know from my 30 years of practice that I've affected thousands of people, and they've gotten well from heart disease, and asthma, and psoriasis, and diabetes, but I’m always concerned, and left a little bit hopeless when the person knows what to do and they just can't do it. They don't do it. And, “Why are you coming back?”, “I didn’t do the program”, because food addiction is so powerful for some people. And in a social environment, it encourages their food addictions and the rationalizations they make up for themselves why they can't do this.

So, I developed a retreat where people can come and stay at my facility for 4, 8 or 12 weeks. And I do recommend most of the times, for these people that are food addicted an 8 to 12 weeks stay. So, it's not just a health spa where people come for a week, because all these health spas of 1, 2 weeks, whatever the stay, they lose weight, they feel a little better, they go home, they gain the weight back again. And temporarily losing weight has no benefit. And I've always, my contention was always that if I can bring people in for 8 to 12 weeks, just like a drug addiction center where they're away from their cocaine for 12 weeks. I can show them the that food can taste fantastic, I can make a gourmet, I can have them lose their food addictions, and not that desire those triggers, and these are the foods that trigger their addictions and throw them off the wagon. Now I can get rid of their food triggers. I can get rid of… I can wean them off their medications on the medical supervision, and I can send them home with the skills and the psychology, you know, with psychological counseling, the right type of training and education while they're there, I can send them home with the skills we can do this properly and like it for the rest of their life. And that's what I observed.

Like the man I told you who lost 70 pounds. He's home now, he weighs 300 and continuing to lose weight. One of my patients, Nicole, she lost 50 pounds when she stayed at the retreat, and then the year she went home, she lost 150 pounds the 12 months after she left the retreat. She's tried to go to spas, and she's tried the diet before, but she couldn't maintain the benefits, but staying with me and learning this, and being trained, and getting the counseling, and learning how to cook the foods, getting the emotional support, they left knowing they could do this with the skills to do it, know exactly what to eat, how to make the food, and it really goes home with them and it sticks with them. So I'm able to say yes, it's a lot of time to go away for, and it still could be expensive, but the results are lifesaving and life changing.

An example of this, when I first opened up, I had two people, two men, come in with unstable angina which means they were having chest pains, even arrests popping out, you know, and I'm saying these guys, “You're like, ready to go to the hospital, you'd be dead in a week or two if you didn't have angioplasty, or a stent placed…” But lo and behold, within a period of weeks, they’re walking around, they're walking up hills, when they appeared a month ago, they we're having chest pains no matter how hard or fast they walk, soon they're walking up hills, and so, in other words, we're seeing miraculous transformations from people who could not do this on their own.

I had another person who was there just now, after one month, she obviously had some issues, you know, with not just food but also with alcohol, and the first few weeks she was there, she was really complaining about and having trouble going off the sugar, and going off the alcohol, and she said, after 6 to 8 weeks, she said if she left after 3 or 4 weeks she wouldn’t be able to maintain the Program. But the fact that he stayed the full 12 weeks has made her a completely different person with a different personality, and a different skill set, and a different outlook on life. And it's just amazing the health transformations I can accomplish at a place where I actually have complete control of their life. You know what I mean?

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Absolutely. And I think one of the things that you touched on here, which is so important, is that especially the weight loss industry over the past 30, 40, 50 years is all about fast results, right? Lose pounds in the next two months, lose 15 pounds in the next 30 days. And what it does is, it plays games with people's heads, and it sort of excites people to want to make fast progress by changing their lifestyle. And then even if they are successful at making those changes, chances are, those changes don't stick. And so, you know, that feeds into a behavior not only for weight loss, but also for disease reversal, and it makes people always try and opt for the short, the quick, and the fast option versus what you're saying is, you're saying, “No, no, no, no. I'm going to literally pull you out of your daily life. I'm going to transplant you into this retreat center, I'm going to have full control over you. And during this time, everything about you is going to change.”

So, you know, if we had the opportunity to create that retreat center, we would do it in a flash, and the fact that you have this going right now is fantastic. So, give our listeners a little bit of insight here. What can they expect? What is their experience going to be like? What other health professionals are on site, and what is a daily sort of experience look like?

Joel Fuhrman, MD: Yeah. And I have to say, as you're saying that, because it's so nice to be there because the atmosphere is so nice in rural San Diego, where you look out over there, you look out over the backyard, of the infinity pool, and you see the mountains, you can almost see out to the ocean, to the valley over there, and the weather is great all year around. It's just the most beautiful atmosphere to be in, and I have the best soil in the world, where I’m actually having the soil like, I’m earthworm castings… Jungle and forest composting peaks, and crushed mineral rocks and Bat Guano with no commercial fertilizers, no animal maneuvers, you know, it's way over the organic, we're talking about regenerative agriculture with incredible food, and quality greens is one of the premises, and exotic fruit trees… Including low sugar fruits, like guava and passion fruit… All kinds of incredible delicious stuff that's not incredibly sweet.

And so we have a lot of options there to feed people incredible recipes. When they're learning with the chefs, and my chefs… I have three chefs that are, it's actually people, who would come in who won’t even fix this to eat, because the food is so good. And as we get, it's really… And people are learning the recipes. So, they're having cooking instruction, they're learning how to become real great healthy food chefs as part of the process.

Of course we have psychological care, and nursing care, and my own medical care. They’re on there, when they come in, I’m seeing every person myself, it's really the only place where people get me to take care of them directly, because that’s where I’m at. On the East Coast my associate, my partner Dr. Benson sees the patients, but in the West Coast they come into my facility, I'm seeing all the people there. And I’m monitoring them, so that their medication needs whether they're on autoimmune drugs, therapeutic agents, or insulin, I’m personally monitoring and keeping track of their measurements, and lowering the medications appropriately, whether it's the blood pressure medication, so that they wean off in a safe manner, and they're being accurately taken care of by myself and my medical team.

And of course, you know, we have activities like we take them to the beach, and we take them to the zoo, only once a month we take them to a restaurant, we have some excursions off the premises, on the premises, obviously, we have a nice gym, we have beautiful a beautiful park, and we have a great exercise pool, and we're putting in our sand volleyball court at the beach area, and you know… So, we have a lot of what's beautiful amenities. Very, very enjoyable place to stay as they're getting lectures, and cooking classes, and group counseling, and individual counseling, and regenerative therapeutic massages if they'd like.

In other words, it's a nice environment, they don't have to leave the premises, but they're not locked in there, we have a van and we take people around, walking on the beach and go, you know, doing other things around town. So there's excursions as well. But of course the excursions, even the excursions are supervised. And you can't just walk down the street to a McDonalds, we’re out there in the countryside where people walk around the neighborhood in these beautiful parks, walking through mountains and trails, and there's not a McDonald's around the corner, so they're in a pretty safe environments, where they’re not going to cheat on the diet, you know what I mean?

Robby Barbaro: Yeah. This is really beautiful. You have clearly put a lot of thought into planning this all out, and making sure people have an extraordinary experience. If somebody is listening or watching this, and they want to learn more, how can they go find out more information?

Joel Fuhrman, MD: Well, the best way is just to go to DrFuhrman.com because there's a tab that says “retreats”, and they can learn more about the retreat, and there they'll get the phone number there to call my staff and learn more about it. But yeah, thank you for the opportunity to talk about it, because it's something that's so exciting to me because it's all about my career, the rewards of my career, and as you guys, I feel the same thing, it's just exciting to watch people make these health transformations. And it's so sad when people know this information and don't make the transformations, and through my career, I've had so many people like calling me up from the emergency room, or from the ICU in the hospital, and say “Dr. Fuhrman I had a heart attack. I know I should have listened to you, now I'm going to listen, now I'm really going to do it.” “Now, I'm glad you're going to do it, I'm here to help you, I'm here for you.”

But I'm thinking to myself, “Why couldn’t you do it before you had the heart attack? Or, why couldn’t you do it before you had a stroke? Why do you have to wait you're hospitalized, and then you tell me you're going to do it?” So it's that’s just… Because you guys know that there's a certain percent of people that hear the right information, and they're gonna do it, they're gonna benefit, and that's fantastic. But some people hear the right information, and they need extra help, and the fact I can give them that extra help, makes me feel like I'm not going to leave those people without an option to get well.

So, that's why I'm excited about this, about trying to think of ways to solve the obstacles that people have with achieving superior health, because it's there for the taking, if people want it. They don't have to be sick.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: And just to clarify here before we go, people can come to your retreat center for, correct me if I'm wrong, either one month, or two months, or three months, and they can stay for an extended period of time to make sure that they get their life completely transformed before they return back to their home environment. Is that right?

Joel Fuhrman, MD: That's correct. Well, I try to, you know, sometimes people occasionally came for short period of time, we have some openings for shorter periods. But as you know, I'm strongly recommending people come, if they have a serious issue, for at least 8 to 12 weeks. The longer they stay, they will find that really benefits them, that's what makes this different, and I priced it so it gets less costly the longer they stay, so it's not an affordable to stay for a longer period of time.

So I really want people, if they could, to think about, even though this is a huge investment of time and money, think about the rest of your life after this investment, and how this could change the trajectory of your life, so you are no longer diabetic, and no longer having emergency rooms, and whatever difficulties with your work, no longer be medically crippled, running back and forth the medications and treatments. So, it really can make a huge difference in a person's life.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Yeah, I was reading some research recently that said that the average person with any form of diabetes spends an average of $14,000 per year on both direct and indirect medical expenses. So that's, you know, doctor’s visits, prescription medication, those are the direct costs, and then the indirect costs are things like time missed from work. And so, you know, if you just kind of look at the math and you're saving an average of $14,000 per year over the course of the next 10 years, you know, in comparison, spending a little bit of money to go to a retreat, and actually learn a completely new lifestyle, it's just a drop in the bucket.

Robby Barbaro: And now, people have all those costs for diabetes, but their quality of life is reduced, the how long they're going to live is reduced. So investing in your health is so worth it, right?

Joel Fuhrman, MD: And the fear, you know, when you're sick, you always have that fear of being sick and what it's going to do to you, and having to take medications. There's something about it that you lose your confidence and excitement about life, because now you're designed to being sickly the rest of your life.

And I find that the biggest changes people have… You wouldn't believe these overweight diabetics who come and their personalities change, they become so much more outgoing. They're telling jokes, and they're laughing, and having a positive outlook on life, when they don't have to fear of being sick. So it's a combination of factors. It's a combination of the diabetes affecting the brain, increasing risk of depression and lowering the mood, and the fact that they were not as healthy, the brain is not as healthy and creative, and it doesn't have the emotional high from just being well. So, a lot of factors involved, but it changes people personality, and their future outlook on their life, and that's a tremendous benefit that people don't really understand about. Don't see it as much as me see, you know what I mean?

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: 100%. And I mean, you've also touched on this in previous Summit interviews. And there's a whole collection of research that really shows that there's a strong connection between the nutrient density of your diet, and your risk for depressive disorders. And there are people who increase the nutrient density of their diet following a Nutritarian approach, or the Mastering Diabetes approach, or more plant rich diet, actually end up with significant improvements in their brain biochemistry, which leads to less depression, less anxiety, and improve quality of life. Period. End of story.

Joel Fuhrman, MD: Exactly. You just said it. That's exactly what we see all the time, it's so rewarding to see that, and I'm actually enjoying spending time with people, playing charades, telling jokes, playing games, doing things besides just learning. You see them come in, they’re a little bit cautious, but their personality changes made me really different… Having a different personality.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: 100%. So, you know, if you're listening to this Podcast right now, and you're thinking to yourself, “I want the guidance. I want to understand exactly how to transform my life.” But maybe you're finding it difficult to pull yourself out of your daily routine, think strongly about whether or not Dr. Fuhrman retreat is something that would benefit you, because in the Mastering Diabetes program, we teach you exactly how to make changes, and we show you how to do it, but the onus is on you to do it in your own home environment. And if you're the type of person that finds that it's just a little too challenging, or do you need extra support, we absolutely love Dr. Fuhrman, we love the Nutritarian approach, and he's got tremendous results with his patients living with diabetes, and even with his patients not living with diabetes, that he's touched on.

So, if you're in a position where you feel like you want that support, you want that guidance and you really want to take your health to the next level, strongly consider it, visit his website and get more information.

Dr. Fuhrman, thank you so much for being here with us today. We really appreciate it. You're always a pleasure to talk with, and we absolutely love hearing about the transformations that you promote, and the commitment to nutritional excellence is something that's just unparalleled.

Joel Fuhrman, MD: Thank you so much. Thank you guys for the work you do. We leave also telling people that they have to recognize they don't have to be sick, they can be well and they can have a great and happy life.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: We hope you enjoyed this episode, and can apply some of these principles to your personal life. Now, we have an Online Group Coaching Program that has helped thousands of people living with all forms of diabetes, reverse insulin resistance, drop their A1c, lose weight, and gain tons of energy. And also reduce their need for oral medication and insulin using, their food as medicine.

We like to call ourselves the world's most robust, and ridiculously affordable, Online Coaching Program for people with diabetes. And we've helped people living with type 1 diabetes, type 1.5 diabetes, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes living all around the world.

Now we provide you with three tools that are specifically designed to put you in the driver's seat of your diabetes health. The first is an Online Course that gives you step by step instructions on how to change your diet. Starting with breakfast, then lunch, then dinner.

We teach you exactly which foods to increase, which foods to limit, and which foods to avoid entirely. The course is designed with you in mind. We provide you with relevant information, and we do our best to reduce overwhelm, because we know just how confusing the internet can be these days, when searching for simple ways to improve your blood glucose control.

The second tool is even better than the first. We provide you with access to our online community, with thousands of people that are going through this process with you. You'll be able to interact with our team of coaches, including Kylie Buckner, a Registered Nurse who is brilliant. She also happens to be my wife, and is one of the most kind and compassionate human beings that I've ever met. Adam Sud. He reversed type 2 diabetes. He lost more than 160 pounds and he de-addicted himself from both food and prescription medication at the same time.

You'll also get to interact with Mark Ramirez, who lost more than 50 pounds, reversed type 2 diabetes, and is a certified Food For Life Instructor, through the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. You'll also get the ability to interact with both Robby and myself in the online community. And we guarantee that we’ll answer your question within 24 hours to help you solve problems in real time.

The third tool is a twice monthly Q&A video conference, where you can ask our team of coaches any question that you have about your personal program, and meet others that are going through this process with you. Now, we're proud to say that our coaching program is very popular, and because of that, we've instituted a waiting list to join. The reason we created the waiting list in the first place is because we have more than 2000 active members in our program and want to provide excellent service to our existing members. You can still join the program, but in order to do so you have to put yourself on the waiting list and you'll be notified of when we open next. When we do, we'll send you a personal invitation to join.

To join the waiting list simply go to www.masteringdiabetes.org and click on Coaching in the navigation bar at the top of the screen, or click the link below in the show notes. We can't wait to help you transform your diabetes health from the inside out. We hope to see you on the inside.

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About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.