Fred Kummerow, who died last year at the age of 102, was a biochemist and Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
He spent more than 60 years campaigning against “trans fats” i.e. vegetable oils that have been refined at high temperatures. He argued that cholesterol and saturated fats are not the main causes of heart attacks, but the culprits may actually be a lifetime of eating trans fats in processed foods. His efforts have caused many food companies to remove trans fats from their products, amid growing scientific and consumer pressure.
In 2015, just after his 100th birthday, Dr Kummerow published an article called “Good Health & Wellbeing – My Diet” in World Nutrition, the Journal of the World Public Health Nutrition Association.
Since he has proven the effectiveness of his diet by living to 102, it is worth noting what Dr Kummerow ate in a typical day.
Here is what he says in his article:
“I believe the diet listed below is based on correct principles. It provides the vitamins, minerals and trace minerals for the liver to synthesise all the components for a healthy body. It contains sufficient amounts of protein to keep the body in a positive nitrogen balance. It also contains a balance of omega 6 and omega 3 fats.
“We all need to limit consumption of foods cooked in over-heated and over-used oils, keep omega 6/ omega 3 ratios in balance, and eat nourishing diets that include all the food groups.
“People in the US should eat more like the French. This is also a matter of how people eat. Slow down, make meals a time to relax, and enjoy smaller portion sizes. I am now over 100 years old and have followed these guidelines for over sixty years.
My typical diet:
For breakfast – an egg (cooked in butter). Cooked whole wheat grains and oatmeal served with several kinds of fruit, including a banana and fruits with a colored skin, topped with milk. A few walnuts, pecans or almonds. Yoghurt and milk.
For lunch – meat or fish prepared under the broiler. A small piece of baked potato. Some fresh or frozen vegetables. Lettuce salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing. Fruit. Milk.
For dinner – smaller portions of what I ate for lunch. Meat, vegetables, fruit. Milk.
“I exercise every day. I weigh myself weekly and if I am gaining weight, I eat less for the next 3-4 days. (That is the best way to lose weight. If I am losing weight, I treat myself to a dessert of ice cream or cherry pie.)”
If you are looking for good, practical advice on what makes a healthy diet, Dr Kummerow’s recommendations are a good place to start. There’s nothing extreme or faddish about them. No bans on wheat, dairy or any other foods. In fact, he drank milk at every meal!
This diet plan has proved itself in the ultimate test – a real life lived to the age of 102.