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Nutritarian diets offer permanent, hunger-free weight loss, says Joel Fuhrman

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Should you go vegan? Or Paleo? Cut your carbohydrates or count calories? According to Joel Fuhrman, M.D., it doesn't matter what type of diet you choose as long as you emphasize nutrient-dense foods. In an exclusive interview on Jan. 21, Dr. Fuhrman explained how a nutritarian diet has been shown to help reduce cravings and food addiction.

Rather than obsess about portion control or calories, Dr. Fuhrman says that you can achieve weight loss by emphasizing primarily plant-based, nutritionally dense foods in your diet. It's all laid out in his book "Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss."

What's unique about this approach: "You will eat more food than before, instead of constantly trying to force yourself to eat less of the same addictive foods," Dr. Fuhrman explained to me.

For those who have struggled to stay on diets but given up as a result of cravings and hunger, Dr. Fuhrman says that his approach ends those problems.

"There is no hunger and no deprivation. Meeting the body's micronutrient needs helps to suppress food cravings and high-nutrient foods do not produce dangerous addictive cravings," he adds.

Foods featured in the "Eat To Live" diet include vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds. Dr. Fuhrman notes that these choices also "improve immune function and prevent later life diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. Achieving a favorable weight is the beneficial side effect."

And for those who have resolved that 2014 will be the year when they finally win at weight loss and keep off that weight, Dr. Fuhrman offers these tips:

1) Eat G-BOMBS every day: Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds. That means the first step is to eat at least one large salad every day.

2) Understand H=N/C. That means Health = Nutrients/Calories. Eat more leafy green vegetables, followed by other non-starchy vegetables, beans, fruit, nuts and seeds.

3) Stick with it. "The weight loss will begins immediately, which will help motivate you to persevere and stick with the program. Preferring healthful foods is a skill, and skills take practice and perseverance to develop.

And although the "Eat to Live" diet emphasizes plant-based foods, Dr. Fuhrman notes that you don't have to be a vegan.

"One can be a vegan and eating a health-promoting, high-nutrient diet, but one can also eat a small amount of animal products while following a Nutritarian diet and still live a long, healthy life," he adds.

In past years, the question of whether food addiction is valid has been raised. Dr. Fuhrman believes this condition results from the typical American diet components: Salt, sugar and saturated fat.

"The idea of food addiction is becoming more widely accepted among scientists, with good reason. Research now strongly suggests that the excessively sweet, salty, and/or fatty foods of the standard American diet produce addiction-like effects in the pleasure pathways of the brain, resulting in loss of self-control, overeating, and weight gain," says Dr. Fuhrman.

"The only way to break an addiction is to abstain from the addictive substance. It may seem difficult at first, but eating more high-nutrient foods reduces the desire for low-nutrient foods; it becomes easier with time," he adds encouragingly.

Dr. Fuhrman also is the author of "Eat to Live Cookbook: 200 Delicious Nutrient-Rich Recipes for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Reversing Disease, and Lifelong Health."

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