Frank: Well, welcome to Boomers Today. I'm Frank Samson. Of course, each week, we bring you important useful information on issues facing baby boomers, their parents and other loved ones. I want to just thank everybody for listening in and all the great comments we've been receiving from people on the show, and it's because of our great guests. We have another great guest with us today. I would like to introduce him. His name is Dr. Joseph Arnould. In 1983, Dr. Arnould open Strength for Life Health and Fitness Center in which he integrates the healing arts of exercise, nutrition and chiropractic as completely as possible.
In 2005, he authored Stronger After 40, a 600-page tax on strength training for adults from 40 to the age of 100. Now in his 70s, Dr. Arnould released two new books on exercise in 2018, Neck Strength and Life and Abdominal Strength for Life. In March 2019, Morgan James published his latest book, American Diet Revolution. I want to welcome Dr. Joseph Arnould. Dr. Arnould, thank you so much for joining us.
Dr Arnould: It is a distinct privilege to be able to talk with you today.
Frank: It’s great to have you. The subject matter is near and dear to my heart. Among other things, today we’ll be talking about the best foods to eat, and what foods you shouldn’t eat. It can be difficult to know what is truly healthy for you and what’s not -- I know every time I turn on the TV or I read an article, I see new and contradictory information about what we should be putting into our bodies. Hopefully you could straighten us out and clarify what we should actually be eating to stay healthy, since you’re something of an expert on it. In fact, in your book, American Diet Revolution, you write that all the 21st century advice we’ve received about dieting is corrupt. Can you embellish further on that?
Dr Arnould: Certainly, Frank. First of all, American Diet Revolution began as a brief chapter in a book on abdominal training. However, the more I read about nutrition, it became apparent to me that one of the main reasons people are having so much trouble with nutrition is that we're confused about what food we should eat.
Actually, I became quite angry as I looked at the research because it was apparent that a lot of that advice we were given was not based upon human physiology, was not based on what people tests on what people were actually eating, but rather was based upon what industries were underwriting that advice. Unfortunately, it became quite apparent for instance that the sugar industry had its hand in a lot of the published research in the 1950s and '60s, and so a lot of the advice that we all received.
The most famous example of that advice, which just about everybody remembers, is the Food Pyramid of 1992 which most of us accept that as gospel. We said, "Gee, they are telling us we should eat seven to 13 servings of whole grains a day, and we'd better stop eating eggs and not eat as much meat, et cetera, et cetera." Well, we didn't question why the US Department of Agriculture was giving us that advice. Was that based on testing on human beings or was that based upon underwriting by individuals and companies in the grain industry?
There’s a book called The Big Fat Surprise, which came out in 2014 and talks about what happened in the 20th century. I’m sure all the baby boomers will remember that we were advised to drink skim milk instead of full fat milk and to switch from butter to margarine, and to use Crisco and things like that. Well, as it turns out, a lot of that advice was based upon information which was underwritten by the industries supporting that view who could profit from it the most.
It's a little bit artificial to divide it by century, but that's really the dividing line between the misinformation that included the avoidance of butter and skim milk, and the advice given by books such as Wheat Belly, which came out in the 21st century. It’s also when the so-called food pyramid went out of vogue and the new information came forth that it's okay to eat butter again. It's okay to eat eggs again. It's okay to have coffee. It's even okay to have some chocolate or a glass of wine once in a while. I guess I would just say that the anger is what drove me to write a full-length book rather than a 20-page chapter on what good nutrition would be, but it was clear to me, because I've been taking these diaries of my patients for the last 35 years, that most people are still eating according to the advice of the pyramid of 1992, which has to a large extent been debunked.
Even the US Department of Agriculture has revised that tremendously, but most of us are still under the illusion because it was drummed into our brains so strongly that that's the way we should eat, that we can't get rid of it.
Frank: I mean, I almost look at this in some ways similar to smoking and cigarettes and what happened there, and that everybody thought it was just okay and obviously it wasn't. A lot of companies and people were held responsible. Do you feel that there's just not enough education going on or holding I don't know who you'd hold responsible for this? I have to believe that sugar for example is I'm sure is become addicted for some. It's probably difficult for them to not have that candy bar or not continue to have the types of foods that have sugars and sugar in them.
What are your thoughts there? What do we have to do as a society to really educate people? I mean, you've written a book. We're doing a podcast. We're all doing our little part, but I'm talking on a big picture.
Dr Arnould: First of all, you raised some excellent points about sugar. There was a book written in 2016 by a writer named Gary Tubes called The Case Against Sugar. You've brought in tobacco. What the documents is that in the 1910s and '20, tobacco industry impregnated tobacco with sugar to make it more addictive. Then they gave away free cigarettes to the shelters in World War One. When they came home, they were addicted even more forcefully than they had been if they were just smoking tobacco. It's that same industry that in the 1940s funded many of the research laboratories in nutrition at the medical colleges throughout the United States.
Going off that a little bit, I think that was our biggest mistake in the 20th century is we accepted this information without question. We just said, "Oh well, the US Department of Agriculture said that's what we should do, so that's what we did." We didn't say, "Hmm, are they sure about that?"
Now, fortunately in the 21st century, we question things. We say, "Why is that? How come that..." To a large extent, the internet has given us that opportunity to question things because we get information so much more quickly and from so many different sources now than we could even 25 years ago. We have become questioners and readers and learners. When we'd go to look at a product in the store, we're reading labels now. We are informing ourselves. That really is the key, Frank, is to be continually educating ourselves and not accept what's given to us as the absolute truth, but question it and be reasonable about it and inform ourselves.
Frank: The fact that there are still food products being advertised as ‘low fat’ or ‘low sugar’ could indicate that there is a benefit to limiting our intake of certain foods. Do you think there’s any validity to that?
Dr Arnould: No, I think most of the 21st century has debunked those beliefs for the most part. Nowadays I think people know that it’s not fat that makes you fat. It's foods that raise our blood sugar and it's foods that inflame our gastrointestinal tract. Those are the primary problems.
Frank: That’s great. I also want to talk a little bit about carbs. People are very divided on whether or not carbs are good for you.
I'm just going to tell you my personal situation. I wasn't that overweight. I wanted to lose a few pounds. I was told by my doctor I was pre-diabetic. I was in total shock when that happened, so I quickly cut out the carbs, cut out the sugar, lost some weight, and now start exercising more. Now, things are back on track. Yet some people say they can’t live without carbs, while others are convinced that a keto diet is the only way to go. Are there good carbs? Are there bad carbs? What's your thought from that standpoint?
Dr Arnould: Well, yes, the brief answer is yes. There are good carbs and there are the bad carbs. The distinguishing factor is, "Are they carbohydrates that raise our blood sugar levels quickly and highly, that is that have a high glycemic index, or are they foods whose carbohydrates supply us with lots of nutrients but don't raise our blood sugar too much?" The group in the latter group is, I think, most people and almost all 21st century, if there's anything nutritionists agree upon, we should all be eating lots of vegetables and vegetables are primarily carbohydrates.
We can get almost all of the carbohydrates we need just by eating healthful vegetables every day, like having a big salad or having some vegetables in your omelet for breakfast or having some steamed vegetables at night, having soups, et cetera, et cetera. It's not carbs that are the problem per se. It's the quality of those carbs. On the other hand, there are certain types of carbohydrate foods which do raise our blood sugar very precipitously. That's been measured since the 1980s by what they call the glycemic index, which is a measure of how much 50 grams of a certain food will raise your blood sugar in approximately 15 minutes.
They take, let's say, table sugar. By the way, they compared this to pure blood glucose, the sugar in your bloodstream, white table sugar has a glycemic index of 59. That will raise your blood sugar about 59% as high as pure glucose. What most people didn't realize in the 20th century is that the glycemic index of whole wheat is 72, will raise our blood sugar higher, faster and longer than white table sugar. In other words, it acts like a sugar in our bloodstream. If we go back to the Food Pyramid of 1992, where we were told eat at least seven if not 11 or 12 servings of whole grains a day. This was an invitation for people to raise their ledger up and down several times a day, which not only promotes the onset of diabetes, but of course plays a tremendous role in our obesity crisis, the two which are intimately connected.
We have to look at carbohydrates qualitatively. At the top of that heap, the best possible ones are vegetables. In my opinion, we should eat five to 10 servings of vegetables a day. Even the revised pyramid of today says we should eat seven. That's our basis. That's where we're beginning not with seven to 11 servings of whole grains a day, but seven to 11 servings of vegetables a day.
Frank: Yes, I agree. Can you go through the typical types of food that are pretty high in carbs and probably wouldn't be a good idea to be having on a regular basis?
Dr Arnould: Well, let’s take breakfast for example. Many people enjoy eating cereal for breakfast because it tastes good. It also happens to be very high in carbs and sugar. With my patients, I usually recommend they swap cereal for oatmeal and raisins, for a healthier option. It also all depends on everyone’s individual abilities and preferences, however.
Perhaps that one thing, eliminating oatmeal and getting a healthy alternative, is a great thing. One of the things that I do on my website is I do recipes, but I always give people alternatives. What I tell people is it's not enough to say, "Okay, let's eliminate cereal from our diet." It's also our responsibility to be proactive. That is to put foods into our diet which are very healthy. Just recently, I put a recipe out for what I call crunchola. The basis of it is flaxseed with also some ground hemp seeds and some walnuts in it with almond milk and some coconut flakes and cinnamon and other spices. You've still got a cereal like crunchy, very satisfying taste, but it doesn't raise your blood sugar because what is it?
It's high in fats, natural fats found in flax and walnuts and chia seeds and things like that, hemp seeds. It doesn't cause an insulin reaction. It doesn't promote diabetes. It doesn't promote obesity. In fact, it does the opposite. It's a very healthful alternative. That's what I mean by being revolutionary, not just eliminating foods which we know are toxic like sodas, but substituting new foods in say such as an herbal tea or something that is really helpful for us. That way, we're taking an active approach.
We're no longer the passive recipients of bad information from the 20th century. We're 21st century revolutionaries vowing that we're going to eat healthfully so that we can be as active and as healthy as possible for as long in our lives as possible.
Frank: I don't know that many people that don't like Italian food, but pasta falls into that category of high carbs. Is that correct?
Dr Arnould: Right. But, again, w should focus on alternative. In the book Wheat Belly Total Health, William Davis, the cardiologist, gives us many recipes for making the dough for pizza with cauliflower or with almond flour. We don't have to be imprisoned by the foods of the 20th century that we were indoctrinated in. We can get rid of those and there are healthful alternatives, but we have to educate ourselves about it, Frank. We can't just sit back and watch TV ads and accept what it says on a cereal box.
Frank: We have a few minutes left. I could talk to you all day about this subject, but I want to make sure we leave time to let everybody know a little bit more about your book, American Diet Revolution. Tell us a little bit about it, how it's different from maybe other dietary books and how can people go out and get it? Tell us a little more.
Dr Arnould: Sure. Well, the first thing, the most important reason that I wrote American Diet Revolution was to try to summarize the best information I could of the 21st century. In other words, I'm not producing original research. I'm just taking the best from many, many great authors of the 21st century, William Davis, David Perlmutter, Steven Gundry. It's still confusing to a lot of people, so what I tried to do is to simplify things and explain them in a little more straightforward manner so that we can diminish the confusion factor.
I think that the other element of American Diet Revolution, and that's why I call it a revolution, is I want to make people angry. This is not a passive activity. We have to be activists. A lot of us were born in the '60s. Well, now that we're in our 60s, we need to still be revolutionaries. We were revolutionary socially then. We need to be revolutionaries diet-wise, and look out for our own health and the health of our children and grandchildren. I try to make it a compelling argument and give people what I call armaments, armaments of information with which they can revolutionize their own lives. We don't have to accept just being in poor health as we age.
Each one of us has the opportunity to make ourselves as healthy as possible and reach our own personal potential. Now as far as accessing my book, well, you can go to my website which is called strengthforlife.com. You can find all of the books that I've written. American Diet Revolution is the most prominent. It can also be purchased from Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Bam or Indie, any of those distributors on their websites, but the easiest way is to go to my website strengthforlife.com. There's a book section there. People can access whatever they would like as well as updated recipes and other information, especially about exercise because that's my real specialty is exercise for life.
Frank: We'll have to have you back on another show to talk about the exercise. We didn't even get to that.
Dr Arnould: That would be wonderful. I would enjoy that very much.
Frank: We'll have you back. We'll you have back. Dr. Joseph Arnould, thank you so much for joining us on Boomers Today. I really appreciate it.
Dr Arnould: Thank you, Frank. I appreciate the opportunity.
Frank: Thank you everybody for joining us on Boomers Today. Just be safe out there and we'll talk to you all soon.