A doctor has revealed the secrets behind the “world’s healthiest village”– and there it all comes down to eating less sugar.
Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra – who describes himself as a former sugar addict – has spent years studying the reasons behind rocketing rates of heart disease and obesity in Britain.
Key to his research were residents of the village of Pioppi, in southern Italy, where diabetes is unheard of and many live to over the age of 100.
After studying the Pioppians, Dr Malhotra found it was their lifestyle that gave them many years of extra life.
Diet was a key factor as was lack of stress, seven hours of sleep a night and eating sugar just once a week.
He has concluded that “simple lifestyle changes such as consuming less sugar were more powerful than any medication doctors could prescribe”.
Pioppi is recognised by Unesco as the home of the Mediterranean diet.
Key tips include using olive oil, not fearing fat but limiting intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Dr Malhotra said: “Yes, the local eat pasta – but only in small quantities, and they rarely touch sugar.’
“They only eat dessert on a Sunday, pizza once or twice a month. They take time over lunch. They don’t have a gym but they are constantly on the go.”He estimated that if the British adopted the lifestyle changes they can achieve results within three weeks and, in some cases, even reverse Type 2 diabetes.
“Diet is the number one issue,” he said.
“More than physical inactivity smoking and alcohol, it contributes to more disease and deaths. This should be the message from doctors – food is medicine.”He added: “There is no such thing as a healthy weight, but a healthy person. That is what we should all be aiming for.“Living like a Pioppian would mean a reduction in the 20 million annual deaths worldwide caused by cardiovascular disease.
“Plus obesity reversed and levels of Type 2 diabetes declining. That’s my ultimate dream.”Dr Malhotra said that the reduction of Type 2 diabetics would also transform NHS budgets.
Professor David Haslam, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, praised Dr Malhotra’s suggestions as “fearless” and said they raise important questions about the obesity epidemic in Britain today. source
How to live to 100… in eight simple steps
1 Eat your greens – no fewer than two portions of vegetables at least twice a day
2 Eat 10 eggs a week because they fill you up and are rich in protein
3 Take a handful of nuts – the original super food every day
4 Eat a small portion of extra virgin olive oil every day
5 Don’t be afraid of fat, but sugar and refined carbohydrates, like white bread, are the enemy
6 Stop counting calories as they do not reflect nutritional value
7 Keep active – walking is best and exercise should be for health not weight loss
8 Once a week fast for 24 hours if possible
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