Weight & Longevity

The doctor is in! Here, in the first of his occasional columns, Dr. Oz weighs in on …

As a heart surgeon, it’s my job to keep my patients’ hearts beating strong for many years. But my efforts aren’t limited to the operating room – I’ve also made it my lifelong goal to spread health knowledge in the hopes that everyone will take prevention into their own hands so they can live well, longer. With that in mind, I’m thrilled to join Zoomer magazine, which shares my values of celebrating health and vitality.

I believe that our older years are the happiest of our lives and that they should be the healthiest, too. This column will be dedicated to what I believe is one of the biggest challenges to our vitality: excess weight.

It’s what’s landed countless patients on my operating table and it’s clear that the obesity epidemic is cutting lives short. Numerous studies have shown direct associations between weight and some of the diseases we fear most: heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, even certain types of cancer. And as weight goes up, longevity goes down.

In one recent study, obese subjects lived up to seven years less than non-obese subjects. And unfortunately, this relationship is linear – meaning that for every pound you gain, you’re losing time.

But this doesn’t have to be our reality – reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is an achievable goal – just look at viewers of my show who have made truly amazing transformations. With that in mind, I’m sharing the strongest tips I’ve learned along the way to get your scale moving in the right direction.

1 Automate your meals

One of the biggest dietary downfalls we face is not knowing how to make healthy choices. And I get it – often times, it feels overwhelming. My advice? Find the foods you like and stick with them. By automating your meals, you take the guesswork out of dieting, giving you time to focus on the joys in life, rather than fixating on food. And I practise what I preach – my diet doesn’t vary much from day to day. Ask any member of my staff, and they’ll attest to my commitment to Greek yogurt and berries for breakfast each and every morning.

2 Add healthy fats

Once demonized, fats are now being celebrated as an essential part of a healthy diet. And when it comes to weight loss, healthy fats like monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, certainly play a role. In addition to filling you up, MUFAs have been shown to help prevent belly fat accumulation – one of the most dangerous kinds of fat. My personal favourite MUFA is olive oil, and I aim to eat 2 tablespoons of the stuff each day. Other MUFA all-stars include nuts and avocados.

3 Prioritize sleep

You certainly know that sleep deprivation can zap your vitality but what you may not know is that it’s also intricately linked to weight. Consider the Nurses’ Health Study, which followed nearly 70,000 women for 16 years. Compared to women who got seven hours of sleep a night, women who snoozed for less than that had a 30 per cent higher risk of gaining 30 pounds over the course of the study. More recently, research has uncovered some of the possible mechanisms behind this link. A Nature study from this year found that sleep deprivation actually activates areas of the brain specific to craving fatty foods. The takeaway? Make sleep a non-negotiable part of your schedule. No matter how busy my days, I always make sure I get at least seven hours a night.


Dr. Mehmet Oz is a trusted health expert, best-selling author, world-renowned cardiac surgeon and host of The Dr. Oz Show, winner of three Daytime Emmy Awards, which airs weekdays at 2 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and CTV GO. Follow Dr. Oz on Twitter @DrOz.