A Program for Defying Aging
What if you could grow old without feeling the effects of age, without succumbing to the physical and mental decline assumed to be the inevitable companion to aging?
You can. The decline is not inevitable. On the contrary. It is possible to look and feel good, both physically and mentally, throughout a very long life.
How do I know? I’ve been a full-time medical practitioner for more than forty years, and in that time, the Atkins Center in New York City has treated more than 65,000 patients. A great many of these have been elderly patients suffering from all those degenerative ailments we associate with being old: osteoporosis, failing eyesight, senility, heart disease, diabetes. By defying the conventional wisdom, and by applying many of the medical innovations that conventional wisdom disdains, the Atkins Center has brought new life to the vast majority of these elderly patients. They have become younger—not chronologically, since no one can literally turn back time—but by all the usual medical measures. This means that their laboratory results and all the measures of their physical and mental capacities are better than they were when the patients first came to the Center. It also means that the rate at which these patients encounter the problems attributed to aging have slowed, often to a remarkable degree.
Right now, at the start of the twenty-first century, the know-how for defying the effects of aging is in our hands. The scientific breakthroughs come at us with startling rapidity. The evidence is there—even if the medical mainstream stubbornly dismisses the evidence, or ignores it, or insists that more study is needed to make absolutely sure.
Most of what we call aging is simply the presence of disease—chronic, ubiquitous disease that undermines our body so consistently that we universally accept the deterioration as the consequence of “getting older.” Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many of these common ailments can be prevented or reduced.
What causes these ailments? What sets in motion the processes of aging? We’ll look closely at the characteristics and underlying causes of the so-called diseases of aging in the chapters that follow. We’ll see that there are very specific reasons why certain aging diseases—cardiovascular ailments and diabetes in particular—became so common in the latter part of the twentieth century, and why they were not common before. We’ll see just how the aging factors of these diseases work.
Once we know why we suffer these ailments and what the underlying causes are, it’s possible to create a strategy to fight back, a program to defy the effects of aging, no matter how old we become.
First, Defy Prevailing Beliefs
There’s a lot more you could know about defying aging than you’re being told.
Evidence about ways to live healthier and longer lives is too often caught in the crosscurrents of modern science. While the currents of scientific discovery provide the breakthrough information we need to defy the effects of aging, the crosscurrents of economic self-interest preserve the status quo and prevents those breakthroughs from getting the widespread use and acceptance they deserve.
In the area of nutrition, for example, the potential of vitamins and minerals to fight disease and defy age is a case in point. It wasn’t until 1920 that vitamins were identified; over the next eighty years, more and more nutritional substances were discovered, as were their roles and functions in preserving and restoring health. By now, thousands of scientific studies have been performed showing that such substances are often better and safer than drugs in overcoming and preventing illness. But the medical community, which by the early 1900s was already single-mindedly devoted to a pharmaceuticals-only treatment system, found no place for these substances in its consensus protocols. Vitamins and minerals were banished from the disease-fighting curriculum at medical schools, and remain so, with rare exceptions, to this day.
Nature’s herbs offer another example. Their medicinal use dates back many centuries, but the scientific analysis of why and how they accomplished their healing was done only in recent years. And the analysis offers compelling evidence for the power of many herbs to slow or reverse the effects of aging. But again, no place was found for their benefits in the medical mainstream.
Caught in the same crosscurrent are such discoveries as hormonal balancing, probiotic bacterial balancing, chelation therapy, detoxification, and more age-defying techniques presented later in this book. All have achieved support in various scientific studies but none are in common usage.
That leaves us today with a unique opportunity for major health progress. As the nutritional breakthroughs continue to pour forth from the laboratories, all you need is an awareness of when going along with the system will help you defy age, and when defying the system helps get you to your goal—as you take advantage of the knowledge that courageous, innovative scientists have already provided us.
The age-defying program in this book provides that awareness. It embraces what works—a range of techniques and practices and nutritional advice to defy the effects of aging, whether the knowledge comes from those who cling to prevailing beliefs or from defying prevailing beliefs. For those of us who don’t have much time to waste, the program in this book frees scientific discovery from the eddy of scientific policy-making and puts the evidence where it belongs—right in our hands.
A Two-Pronged Attack
There are basically two ways to defy age. One is by using techniques so health-promoting they seem to turn back the clock. When you are healthier overall, you are better equipped to defy the disease processes associated with aging, to stop them before they have a chance to begin. The other way to defy age is by reversing the disease processes that may be present, especially cardiovascular disease, the scourge of our era.
The program I present in this book does both.
The key to both is diet. Whether reversing a disease process that has already taken hold or equipping yourself to fight off incipient ailments, diet can be a formidable weapon. I use the word “diet” loosely. After all, I have something of a reputation as the author of an effective weight-loss diet. But this book is not aimed at showing you how to lose weight the luxurious Atkins way, although it will certainly help you do so if you need to. Rather, the Age-Defying Diet is an overall nutritional plan aimed at eliminating the aging factors from your life now while optimizing your body’s ability to fight them off in the future.
But diet isn’t enough. In recent years, there have been many discoveries about the important role of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, herbs, hormones, and other forms of natural nourishment. I call these substances vitanutrients—vita is the Latin word for “life,” of course, and vitanutrients truly nourish and sustain life. Where pharmaceutical drugs actually inhibit normal body processes, vitanutrients are enablers that facilitate the body’s natural physiology. They are also generally safe, effective, and typically inexpensive remedies that can replace the drugs and invasive procedures that enrich the mainstream medical establishment, which could be why the mainstream medical establishment tends to dismiss vitanutrients as unimportant. The evidence, however, as I’ll discuss later in the book, demonstrates that supplementing your diet with vitanutrients can be tremendously important in eliminating many of the ailments of aging.
So can exercise, of course. You’ve heard that before, but the program in this book will show you specifically how and why exercise defeats aging.
My Age-Defying Diet combines all three of these age-opposing weapons—diet, supplemental nutrition, and exercise. I’ll teach you what specific combinations to use to clean out the toxins from your body, rejuvenate aging organs, counteract adverse environmental impacts, restore healthy bacteria to your digestive tract, optimize your brain power, and much more. The tools for doing the job are all right here, easily available and demonstrably effective. The “authorities” may not tell you so, but authority should always be questioned.
Are you getting older? Then you know it’s time for a revolution. It starts now.
DR. ATKINS’ AGE-DEFYING DIET. Copyright © 2001 by Robert C. Atkins, M.D. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.