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Why do some people follow a healthy lifestyle, eat a nutritious diet, yet still look older than their age?

I certainly have seen people who are ultra-fit, but they show a lot of the aging process going on. When you're subjecting the body to lots of physical stressors, like ultra-marathoners do, you have so low a percentage of body fat that the skin is not looking as youthful and supple as it could. On the other hand, the ultra-marathoner might outlive us all.

A lot of people who have been overweight all their lives, then lost weight, will have sagging skin that gives the appearance of aging. But that should never be a deterrent to losing weight. That's what plastic surgeons are for.

If you don't like oatmeal, what about Cheerios?

Research suggests that all oats are good for you. But I have to say, we were doing oatmeal research with Chicago firefighters, and it was 100 degrees in the firehouse. So I had them take Quaker Oats and make muesli out of it, not cook it. Three-quarters of a cup seems to be the magical amount. It's the soluble fiber that may play role in the aging process.

An interesting thing about oatmeal -- it makes your body produce nitric oxide, which helps blood to flow more freely. That allows more oxygen and nutrients to all the cells including skin cells.

The firefighters were saying they felt better, had more energy.

Are you Mr. Perfect? Do you do anything wrong?

I'm a guy who likes to eat. I became a dietitian not because I'm enamored of nutrients but because I love food.

Ironically, when I was writing about getting butts and guts smaller, mine got bigger. I gained 20 pounds while writing the book! My cholesterol shot up to 238! I realized, I'm not following my own advice. I would literally be sitting down till all hours -- typical new-writer syndrome. Midway into writing my book, my wake-up call was my cholesterol check.

In one month I lost 10 pounds and my cholesterol went down to 168 -- by adding in foods rather than taking them away.

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