The Pioppi Diet: A Healthcare Manifesto
Eating and living more healthily is not just about delaying death. It is about having a healthier and happier quality of life now and in our later years. Remember that sprightly eighty-five-year-old man in Pioppi? Both Donal and I hope that we are as agile and as mentally sharp as he is when we get to his age. And, given a choice, I’d rather drop dead healthy than live the last decade of my life with a disability I could have avoided.
Proportion of disease caused globally by key causes of ill-health
Source: Prof Simon Capewell, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, University of Liverpool, analysis of Lancet global burden of disease report
‘Ageing population’ is a term we are hearing cited more and more as a cause of the increase in demand on our health services. But although a population may be ageing, demands for healthcare will increase substantially only if those later years are accompanied by chronic disease. An analysis published in the Lancet found that, if rising life expectancy in the European Union was characterized by years of good health, health expenditure on an ageing population would be expected to increase by only 0.7 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 20601. In other words, it’s having an ageing population with chronic disease driven predominantly by lifestyle factors that’s the major issue2. […]
Only from my own research, and many years after qualifying as a medical doctor, have I concluded that adopting a high-fat Mediterranean diet, quitting smoking and engaging in mindful movement and stress reduction are more powerful than any drug in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases, including heart disease. […]
Towards the end of his life, the pioneering heart-transplant surgeon Christiaan Barnard said, with some regret, ‘I have saved the lives of 150 people through heart transplants. If I had concentrated on preventative medicine earlier, I could have saved 150 million.’ As it turns out, lifestyle, the Pioppi Diet, is that medicine.
Dr. Aseem Malhotra
1. Rechel, Bernd et al., ‘Ageing in the European Union’, Lancet, vol. 381, issue 9874, 1312–22.
2. Hex, N., et al., ‘Estimating the Current and Future Costs of Type-1 and Type-2 Diabetes in the United Kingdom, including Direct Health Costs and Indirect Societal and Productivity Costs’, Diabetes Medicine (July 2012), 29 (7): 855–62; doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2012.03698.x.
Dr Malhotra’s eight steps to get Pioppi-ing
Don’t fear fat
Sugar and refined carbs are the enemy.
Exercise for health not weight loss (and walking is best)
Extra virgin olive oil is medicine
As is a small handful of nuts – eat both, every day
Get seven hours of sleep a night
Fast once a week for 24 hours
Have dinner, then don’t have breakfast or lunch the next day
Stop counting calories
Not all are created equal
The veggie option
Have two portions of veg in at least two meals a day
Eat 10 eggs a week
They’re satiating and full of protein