Eat To Live Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Eat To Live will help you lose weight, feel better, and live longer by identifying the flaws in what we think is true about nutrition and using science and case studies to reveal how certain foods affect us for better or worse.

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A few years ago I lost 25 pounds in just six weeks as part of a company weight-loss challenge. Unfortunately, I gained most of it back within the same amount of time after the competition ended. 

Today, I’ve learned my lesson and don’t participate in these kinds of events anymore. But every fall I begin gaining weight and don’t lose it until the summer of the following year. I don’t like this cycle. It’s not fun. But you’re probably sitting there realizing this sounds all too familiar and is something you struggle with also. 

The truth is, the odds are against healthy eating and longevity. Big corporations lie to us to keep our bellies fat so their pockets are full of money. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. What does it take to eat healthily, feel great, and live a long life?

Joel Fuhrman is here with the answer in Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition.

Here are the 3 most helpful health lessons I got out of this book:

  1. The stuff that most of us put into our bodies lacks the proper elements to keep us at optimal fitness levels.
  2. If you eat foods that have a lot of nutrients per calorie, you will be healthy.
  3. Add plenty of fruits, beans, legumes, and raw or steamed vegetables to your diet if you want to lose weight, protect yourself against illness, and live longer.

Ready to finally learn how to take charge of your diet and fitness? Let’s dig right in!

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Lesson 1: You can’t stay at optimal fitness levels if you keep eating the nutrient-deficient foods in most modern diets.

We all have access to foods that we know are good for us. But that burger just sounds so much better than a salad, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, we make the bad decision in these cases all too often. And each one takes a toll on our health, eventually adding up over the years.

You probably don’t like all of the negative side effects of food that you know is bad for you, but it’s hard to resist. On average, American’s caloric intake is 62% from processed carbohydrates and oils. 

Why are these foods so bad for you anyway?

If your stomach is the size of the average person’s, then you can hold about one liter of food in it. If your stomach was completely full of calorie-dense foods like meat and cheese, it would contain about 3,000 calories! 

Consider that a liter of fruit and vegetables has only 200 to 500 calories and it’s easy to see why so many people are overweight and have health issues. But what about the energy we get from that delicious burger?

Well, you might get energy from it, but it isn’t going to give you any nutrients. That will leave your health in a place where you don’t want it to be. 

Remember it this way. We get calories, or energy, from fat, protein, and carbohydrates. But nutrients are the vitamins and minerals that make sure that energy is keeping our bodies running properly.

Lesson 2: Healthy people eat foods that have a lot of nutrients per calorie.

Having a diet built around animal products is dangerous and can have disastrous health effects. According to the best wisdom, the healthiest, most nutritious diet is a plant-based one. This is because all of those vitamins and minerals are in the highest concentrations in plants. 

Compare 100 calories of broccoli to 100 calories of steak. The broccoli has 118 mg of calcium, 46 mg of magnesium, and 2.2 mg of iron. The steak, on the other hand, has 2 mg calcium, 6 mg magnesium, and 0.8 mg of iron!

Diving into our earlier discussion of nutrient-dense foods, it all boils down to an equation: Health = Nutrients/Calories. You can also call this nutrient density. If a food has a higher number on this scale, it’s better for you. 

Fruits, beans, legumes, and green vegetables are the very best of everything. They come in with nutrient densities of anywhere between 50 to 100. Refined sweets, on the other hand, have a score of 0, while whole grains only get a 20.

Plant-based diets get a lot of bad rap, but they can give you everything you need to survive and more. Spinach, for example, is 51% protein. A cheeseburger, by comparison, only gets up to 20% protein!

Lesson 3: You can live longer, protect your body from illness, and lose weight if you eat more natural foods.

There are dozens of other reasons you should consider a plant-based diet. Eating unhealthy foods messes with the body’s ability to tell when it’s hungry. Some processed food manufacturers know this and use it against you to get you to eat more of their products

A better, more nutritional selection of foods, on the other hand, regulates this much better. One man even lost 333 pounds on a plant-based diet!

Evidence also suggests that some of the foods we’ve been talking about can reduce the risk of cancer or even reverse it altogether. 

So what foods should you be eating instead of that hopefully now less appealing cheeseburger? 

Eat to Live isn’t just the name of the book, it’s the title of the diet the author recommends. It suggests you focus on eating as many green vegetables, beans, legumes, and fruit as you want because your body will tell you when to eat more or less.

For your green vegetables, try romaine lettuce, broccoli, Swiss chard, cabbage, kale, or collard greens. Beans and legumes, like peas, are great too because they help with weight loss and disease prevention. 

And last but not least, fruits are an important part of the diet. This is because they help curb the natural sweet tooth that we all have while also containing the nutrients we need to survive and thrive!

Eat To Live Review

Eat To Live is an amazing book that really inspires you to eat healthier. The emphasis on losing weight didn’t sit right with me because although that’s a good goal, what happens afterward? Really that’s just about the only thing I could say I would change, there’s nothing else to criticize about this great book!

Who would I recommend the Eat To Live summary to?

The 41-year-old who has a layer of fat around their waist and wants to get rid of it, the 24-year-old that is learning about nutrition and is hoping to set lifelong healthy eating habits, and anybody that’s tired of being overweight and having a hard time doing any physical activity.

Last Updated on September 8, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.