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The 100 Year Diet by Blair Beebe, MD
Longevity – How to Live to 100 Years

Everyone wants to live longer and being able to live to 100 years old would be top of the list for some. A new book claims that a healthy recipe for longevity is all down to diet, exercise and healthy living. Sounds perfect! WLR’s nutritionist gives us the lowdown.

The 100 Year Diet by Blair Beebe, MD

Reviewed by WLR nutritionist, Rachael Hill

The Hundred Year Diet  - Guidelines and recipes for a long and Vigorous Life written by medical expert Blair Beebe MD and his wife Sue Beebe MA, a French trained culinary expert.

Overview of the Year Diet

The Hundred Year Diet is divided into two main parts.  The first part – ‘Guidelines for Healthful Living’ written by medical expert Blair Beebe, sorts fact from fiction by systematically reviewing the evidence behind which diet and exercise based interventions really do work.  Beebe begins this section by explaining that a major purpose of the book is to counteract many of the ‘popular self-help’ books which often promote recommendations that are no more than speculation” by clearly examining the evidence behind the advice given out about how to control weight and prevent disease.  Part two of the book written by Sue Beebe, an experienced cook with a strong interest in creating fresh, healthy, easy to cook food presents a sensible plan for action that includes a whole host of healthy recipes plus basic information about exercise.

We Should Live to 100 Years

In the introduction to part one Beebe explains that today’s normal average life expectancy should be about one hundred years.  However, in reality it is closer to 78 years.  Why?  Partly because many of the major degenerative diseases such as heart disease and strokes defy early detection but mostly due to basic lifestyle factors such as not enough exercise and poor dietary choices.

Beebe points out that most people see their health as determined largely by fate whereas in actual fact, by eating the right foods and exercising regularly we do indeed have a huge amount of control over how long we live and how healthy our lives are throughout.

Healthy Diet for Longevity

The hundred year diet does not pretend to offer a magic formula for rapid weight loss or a longer, healthier life but it does clearly explain what to do to give yourself the very best chance of avoiding many serious, chronic diseases.

Throughout the book Beebe highlights the research studies that demonstrate which changes in health habits will result in predictable improved health outcomes and goes on to explain that whilst no-one can guarantee good, long term health everyone can adopt these preventative steps and give themselves a greatly improved likelihood of remaining fit, strong and healthy.

Beebe strongly believes that taking an ounce of preventative measures is worth a pound of any cure as although great advances have taken place in modern medicine he is very clear to point out that today’s perception that we can afford to be a little reckless with our habits as we can always be fixed by the healthcare system is way off the mark.

Life Expectancy

He explains that between 1900 and 1950 life expectancy increased by an average of 20 years per person but almost all of this was due to preventative measures such as the discovery of how to prevent a great many diseases.  Since 1950 life expectancy has hardly changed at all and although modern medicine has progressed it is still sadly lacking in its ability to ‘fix’ us once we fall ill, tending instead to simply help us to reduce our symptoms.

For these reasons Beebe is at great pains throughout the book to stress the importance of taking decisive, preventative steps to protect our health as much as possible.

Weight Related Health Issues

The remainder of Part One is broken into Chapters focusing on the major chronic illness that affect us today – obesity, cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.  Less emphasis is placed on the prevention of cancer.  Beebe also dedicates a chapter to the damaging effects of alcohol on health as well as a chapter on why some nutritional supplements promote health and why some do not.  He summarises part one by listing the most important principles of maintaining good health ….

  • Maintaining a healthy weight by controlling calories to avoid diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease
  • Replacing saturated fats with olive oil, nuts, beans and fish to improve cholesterol
  • Eating more fruit and vegetables
  • Replacing fast releasing, high GI carbohydrates with slower releasing, low GI carbohydrates such as wholegrains, beans and pulses to help control appetite and reduce the incidence of digestive diseases
  • Restricting salt intake to help control blood pressure.
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Participating in regular, vigorous exercise.

Healthy Recipe for Longevity

Part Two written by Sue Beebe is the practical end of the book full of hints, tips, lists of must have items for your kitchen and recipes.  All recipes are low in saturated fat and calories and contain good levels of fibre and unsaturated fats. 

All the recipes except one are free of red meat and Sue has written them with the busy, time poor cook in mind.  The section on ‘hint’s and tips’ based on her years of cooking experience and her time spent attending cookery schools in France is very useful as is the following section outlining must-have equipment for your kitchen.

 The recipes are then broken up into soups, seafood, poultry, pasta, rice and couscous, Asian food, vegetables, bread and salads.  The recipes are given in the American cup equivalents and use the American names of a number of ingredients such as zucchini (courgette) and eggplant (aubergine) however using the guide below they can easily be converted to English measurements and all use ingredients readily available in Britain.

American Liquid Measures Metric Equivalent
1 Cup 275ml
1 Pint 550ml
1 Quart 900ml
American Solid Measures Metric Equivalent
1 Cup Rice 225g Rice
1 Cup Flour 115g Flour
1 Cup Butter 225g Butter
1 Cup Dried Fruit 225g Dried Fruit
1 Cup Brown Sugar 180g Brown Sugar
1 Cup Granulated Sugar 225g Granulated Sugar

Rachael’s Verdict ...

If you are fed up of over publicised, over promising diet books that routinely under perform on content and quality this is the book for you.   Beebe and Beebe provide practical guidelines showing not just how to reach and maintain an ideal weight but also to improve blood cholesterol, avoid high blood pressure and take regular exercise.

Each of their recommendations are thoroughly supported by a wealth of well explained, clearly reviewed research providing a refreshingly, gimmick free approach to healthier living.

The recipes are quick, easy and accessible although some are clearly designed to appeal more to an American rather than a British reader.

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Useful Links

The Hundred Year Diet - Available at Amazon at around £12.99

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WLR has the tools and resources with 1000’s of healthy recipes to help you to get in control of your weight, combat weight related health issues and help you live a healthier, longer life.Why not try them free for 24 hours.

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