Doctor pushes healthy eating: Kulze emphasizes dangers of junk food

Dr. Ann Kulze

Dr. Ann Kulze was looking trim and fit Thursday, dressed in a figure-flattering black skirt and light pink blouse.

She looks good because she doesn't eat junk food like most of the rest of us. She is out to spread the message that we are killing ourselves with what we eat, but it doesn't have to be that way.

"At the end of the day, we really are what we have eaten," said Kulze, a Charleston native who has become a national celebrity. "You are the only person that can make you healthy."

She was speaking to about 200 members of the Trident United Way's Women's Leadership Council. They were attending a luncheon in the Francis Marion Hotel's Colonial Room. She stepped up to the podium as the pudding and sweet tea were served.

Kulze said she is motivated by "a virtual avalanche of evidence" that links diet and disease.

White breads, pastries, sweets -- these things spike glucose in the bloodstream, which shoots up insulin, she said. Then the glucose plummets and we're hungry again, she added.

"What does it mean to mainline glucose and insulin over and over into the human bloodstream?" Besides making us fat, the unhealthy chemistry leads to heart disease and cancer, she said.

Then there are the actual toxins in fast foods fried in partially hydrogenated oils.

"Let me just try not to scream," she said at one point during her talk, which was accompanied by a slide show with sound effects.

On the other hand, she said, fresh vegetables are full of disease-fighting chemicals, beans of all kinds are "exploding with essential nutrients," and herbs and spices are nature's health drugs.

And don't forget the nuts; just a small handful a day can significantly cut the risk of heart disease, she said.

Kulze, a family physician who specializes in nutrition, summed up her advice in her most recent book, "Eat Right for Life." She's coming out with a cookbook to go with it this summer.

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Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.