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What Dr Karl knows

Seven health ‘known knowns’ by our favourite science enthusiast.

Chatting to science whizz Dr Karl Kruszelnicki throws up more questions than answers. A discussion on health sparks a conversation on global inequality. How we unwind at night prompts an observation on the effect LED TVs have on our brain. A conversation on food wastage flows onto GMO foods and pesticide reduction. As we talk, Dr Karl’s lightning-quick mind works at double speed as he weaves his wisdom, experience and knowledge into every sentence and leaves us spinning in his wake.

A qualified medical doctor, engineer, physicist and mathematician, Dr Karl is a regular on the list of Most Trusted Australians and recently published his 34th book, Game of Knowns. We asked him to share some of the ‘known knowns’ of good health and wellbeing. Here’s what we learned…

  1. “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” Dr Karl quoted these wise words by American author Michael Pollan as a simple way to think about healthy eating. By food, he means something your grandparents would recognize – something as real, whole and natural as possible.
  2. We are wired by evolution to keep on eating until we feel full. There is a 20-minute delay from when your stomach is full to when your brain tells you that you’re actually full. Given how readily available food is in our way of life today, it’s no longer such a necessary survival mechanism.
  3. If you exercise and eat well, you’ve got an excellent chance of living until you are 80 in good health.
  4. It’s not inevitable that when you get older you will lose muscle mass. Take a look at people who have been training all their lives – in their 80s they can still have all of their muscle mass.
  5. When trying to set a healthy example for your children, you have three choices: model the right thing to do, mentor your child, or manage them. Managing is the last resort; mentoring is an improvement, but the best is to model and lead by example. How you exercise and how you eat will have a profound impact on children.
  6. When it comes to your health, it’s important to be guided by only one GP – otherwise, things can fall between the cracks.
  7. Family time is incredibly valuable. Unwind at night with your family and try to avoid the computer and TV late at night.

Dr Karl’s latest book, Game of Knowns, is out now from Pan Macmillan.

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