Why Would Eating Fish Increase Diabetes Risk?

Fish and Diabetes
facebook
tweet
google

In the past two years, six separate meta-analyses have been published on the relationship between fish consumption and type 2 diabetes. The whole point of a meta-analysis is to compile the best studies done to date and see what the overall balance of evidence shows. The fact that there are six different ones published recently highlights how open the question remains. One thread of consistency, though, was that fish consumers in the United States tended to be at greater risk for diabetes.

If we include Europe, then fish eaters appeared to have a 38% increased risk of diabetes. On a per serving basis, that comes out to be about a 5% increase in risk for every serving of fish one has per week. To put that into perspective, a serving of red meat per day is associated with 19% increase in risk. Just one serving per day of fish would be equivalent to a 35% increase in risk. But why might fish be worse than red meat?

Fish intake may increase type 2 diabetes risk by increasing blood sugar levels, as a review of the evidence commissioned by the U.S. government found. The review found that blood sugars increase in diabetics given fish oil. Another possible cause is that omega 3’s appear to cause oxidative stress. A recent study, highlighted in my video, Fish and Diabetes, found that the insulin producing cells in the pancreas don’t appear to work as well in people who eat two or more servings of fish a week. Or it may not be related to omega 3’s at all but rather the environmental contaminants that build up in fish.

It all started with Agent Orange. We sprayed 20 million gallons of the stuff on Vietnam, and some of it was contaminated with trace amounts of dioxins. Though the Red Cross estimates that a million Vietnamese were adversely affected, what about all the servicemen who were exposed spraying it across the countryside? Reports started showing up that veterans exposed to Agent Orange appeared to have higher diabetes rates than unexposed veterans, a link that’s now officially recognized.

These so-called “persistent organic pollutants” are mainly man-made industrial chemicals and are among the most hazardous compounds ever synthesized. They include dioxins, PCBs, and certain chlorine-containing pesticides, all of which are highly resistant to breakdown in the environment.

Initially condemned for their deleterious effect on reproductive function and their ability to cause cancer, there is now a growing body of evidence showing that exposure to these pollutants leads to metabolic diseases such as diabetes. This is a breakthrough that “should require our greatest attention.”

For more on the role industrial pollutants may play in our diabetes epidemic, see Diabetes and Dioxins and Pollutants in Salmon and Our Own Fat.

More on the changing views surrounding fish oil supplements in Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil?

Other foods associated with diabetes risk include processed meat and eggs. See Bacon, Eggs, and Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy and Eggs and Diabetes, while Indian gooseberries and flaxseeds may help (Amla Versus Diabetes and Flaxseed vs. Diabetes).

Other videos on how polluted our oceans now are include:

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2015 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Image Credit: Gideon / Flickr

  • Will. M.

    I appreciate this but I’m still going to eat my 3 oz of salmon twice a week.

    • DrDave

      Many very large and recent studies (100,000’s of subjects) have ranked eating styles – they all came up with the same profile: healthiest and longest lived are vegans, then come various types of near “vegetarians” like lacto-ovos (milk and egg eaters) and pescetarians (fish eaters), and finally omnivores, who generally have the worst health as represented by the health statistics in the US today. I know of many tobacco and alcohol users who said the exact same thing you just did and finally came to a messy, painful, and regretful end. Science can be a useful tool – if we listen. Why not put the odds in your favor? Of course, it is possible that God or nature will make an exception in your case. It can happen. Best of luck.

      • charles grashow

        Are vegans the healthiest and longest lived because of their diet or their lifestyle or a combination of both?? How much does exercise, no use of tobacco, etc. contribute?

        • DrDave

          Charles, given the size of these large, self-described populations, the vegan diet habits no doubt varied widely. They were mostly European, so there was some smoking, some alcohol use, and quite a bit of vegan junk food. Exercise habits also varied widely in the vegan group. However, when people are put in metabolic wards where complete dietary control can be exercised, we see even more impressive results for veganism. As Dr Ornish says, “the more you do, the more you get.” However, if you only do a little, you will only slow disease progression. It seems that disease reversal is only possible for most people with a very low fat (10% or less of calories), whole foods vegan diet, as Drs Esselstyn, McDougall, and Ornish have shown. There are also many studies that show that diet is much more important than exercise (see Dr G’s videos on this). The guy who started the running craze in America, Mr Jim Fixx, was an ardent jogger with a low BMI – he was found dead by the side of a rural highway in the NE in his running shorts. He died of a heart attack in his 50s. His left anterior descending coronary artery (the “widow maker”) was 100% blocked. He ate the standard American diet. 25% of adults in America still smoke, but I do not recall any studies that look at vegans who do/do not smoke. I suspect that those who smoke are not attracted to a vegan diet, and vegans are not drawn to smoking. Alcohol use, especially wine, is another matter.

          • charles grashow

            http://www.engine2diet.com/~engine2/usrfiles/files/publishedstudies/heartdisease/intensive-lifestyle-changes-for-reversal-of-coronary-heart-disease.pdf

            Intensive Lifestyle Changes for Reversal
            of Coronary Heart Disease
            Dean Ornish, MD; Larry W. Scherwitz, PhD; James H. Billings, PhD, MPH; K. Lance Gould, MD;
            Terri A. Merritt, MS; Stephen Sparler, MA; William T. Armstrong, MD; Thomas A. Ports, MD;
            Richard L. Kirkeeide, PhD; Charissa Hogeboom, PhD; Richard J. Brand, PhD

            Program Intervention
            Experimental group patients were prescribed an intensive lifestyle program that included a 10%-fat vegetarian diet, moderate aerobic exercise, stress management training, smoking cessation, and group psycho social support previously described in detail. Patients were encouraged to avoid simple sugars and to emphasize the intake of complex carbohydrates and other whole foods.Only 1 patient in the experimental group was actively smoking at baseline, and she quit at entry. Control group patients were asked to follow the advice of their personal physicians regarding lifestyle changes.

            SO – was it the diet, the exercise, the stress management training, the smoking cessation, or the group psycho social support?

            In the famous 15 year Esselstyn study EVERY patient in that study was on a statin drug. SO, how much of the results were due to the diet and how much was due to the statin?

          • Thea

            Charles: re: “In the famous 15 year Esselstyn study EVERY patient in that study was on a statin drug.” I’m not sure which one is the 15 year study. I can say that in the book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”, Dr. Esselstyn says that he starts patients on drugs in addition to diet in order to get the cholesterol down ASAP, because these are the super-sick patients. But once cholesterol gets to a healthy level, the drugs can be stopped. (I don’t know if those patients got to that point or not.)

            More importantly, the control group, the people who dropped out of the study presumably were on the drugs, but not doing the diet. Those people went on to have more heart attacks and death. The patients who stayed in the study did not. The difference between the two groups was the diet, not the drugs. At least that’s my understanding.

          • vince

            Hi Thea…Is it not true that Dr Nathan Pritikin arteries were clear as a bell (And was diagnosed with heart disease in his 40’s)and he ate some healthy animal protein…His diet talks about him eating fish,turkey,chicken and lean meat like grass feed Bison and Elk along with vegetables, fruit,complex carbs and beans.Just not over indulging in the animal protein.So could we not say he reversed the disease with animal protein in it? Just asking cause again people just can say one way is the only way cause we all know so far we haven’t had a 300 million people(US population) trial on every type of diet for years to see what’s best for everybody. Yea I know I’m stretching it…lol :)

          • Marco Bellacci

            Hey Vince.
            NOTHING is a cure-all. Ofcourse you can reach healthy goals in many ways with a diet that includes animal protein. Like you can improve your stamina by going from 30 to 10 cigarets pr. day and so on. By I gues it is fair to say that there are more than enough evidens out there to show that it is a damn good idea to replace meat with plantfood. At least in my opinion. And also it is with out any doubt the most human diet in relative to mother nature and all the beautiful and sentient animals out there :).

          • vince

            That’s all I’m saying Marco what works for u might not work for me I might be able to reverse heart disease like Pritikin did with some healthy fat and somebody else might die from eating it….There are so many variables that have to be taken into context with each person.If u read what I said high carbs drove up my ldl-p and small ldl-p way high and there are a better marker for the risk for heart disease then the standard ldl-c and cholesterol level lot of people die from heart attacks having normal lipids but never had particle counts done and they were sky high…I just dont believe that one way is the only way to live a healthy life thats all.God bless u.

          • Thea

            vince: I don’t know details about Dr. Pritikin. But what I do know is that from scientific perspective, there is no such thing as “healthy animal protein”. Someone may be able to have *tiny* amounts of animal protein in a diet and do OK. But they are doing OK in spite of the animal protein, not because of it. Also, some rare people consume a lot of meat and seem to do OK on it–just like the occasional anecdotal person who smokes may make it to 100 and in great health. That doesn’t mean that smoking, or eating animal protein, from scientific perspective is healthy. The evidence is pretty clear on that point. Plant Positive goes into great depth about this topic, animal fats, etc. Well worth checking out:
            http://www.plantpositive.com

          • vince

            Ok I’ll check it out Thea thanks.And when u get a chance check out Dr Pritckin diet.

      • Nicolás Diaz

        that is not true. Links to thouse studies

    • Alan

      Hi Will – I suggest that you take DrDave’s advice. For why would you invite Diabetes and other health problems when you can avoid them???

      • shempus

        Probably because it tastes so good. Since I went vegan (alright, Seagan now) everyone has to tell me that joke – vegans don’t actually live longer, it just feels like it. 87)

    • shempus

      There is a local fish here in So Cal that doesn’t seem to live/breed anywhere else, the white sea bass (not a true bass either). Though my diet is otherwise vegan and I use FOK and Engine 2 recipes the most (very little oil or salt added), when I find the local shop got some of this fish I will buy some and have a portion a week, maxing out at two/month. Now I hear the toxins in it put me at higher risk for diabetes? And the fresh caught salmon I will have next month when I visit my stepdad who caught it is maybe even more dangerous? Scary, but I know I’ll succumb and have some.

  • flexitarian

    I also appreciate but I also will still occasionally eat meat (epecially organ meats that are high in nutrients), small fish like sardines that are best omega 3 sources of course with a lot of plant based foods, grass fed milk from farm and low fat yogurt, fresh vegetable and fruit juices made by myself. Only a bit himalayan salt, no white flour, no sugar, no fastfood. I was straight vegan for 3+ years and I just didn’t feel well, developed depression and low testosterone, now I finally feel well and really like my diet. When I was on vegan I was just starving for some yogurt, a bit of meat or cheese. But even I’m not vegan I still like your videos and all the knowledge I gained throught years of watching it daily as I’m incorporating it into my ‘flexi’ diet.

    • guest

      I’ve been a vegan for a little longer than a year. Since I exercise a lot, I take a vegan protein supplement. Physically, i’m doing well but not mentally. The problems are lack of concentration (especially while reading), not full-blown depression but somewhat down, low confidence, and memory. I don’t know if these problems are naturally due to aging or due to vegan diet. I’d been eating coconut products all my life but when I became a vegan, I stopped them. But very recently, as an experiment, I reintroduced them. Just as we humans look different and have different personalities, we have different bodies, and ultimately each of us has to find the diet that is right for us. But, just like you flexitarian, I’m grateful to Greger et. al. for all the information they provide. I just don’t have time to search for and read all these papers.

      • Julie

        guest, I would hazard a guess that something is amiss with your current diet if you have noticed some problems mentally. Lack of concentration, feeling down, memory issues are not normal signs of aging. Are you taking Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) supplements? Vitamin D, essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA, iron, zinc can be low in vegans. Some lab tests can help confirm deficiencies and (re)reading a good book on vegan nutrition like Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis may help you pin point what you may be missing.

        • guest

          Julie: Thanks for responding to my posting. I take as supplement every nutrient you’ve mentioned except EPA and iron. About two months after turning vegan, I had a blood test done and there was nothing amiss. Soon after I turned vegan, I bought Becoming Vegan and use it as reference. One nutrient I’m concerned about is choline, which is a B vitamin, and I’m not sure I get enough of it everyday, given that the body can’t store B vitamins except B12.

          • Thea

            guest: re: ” One nutrient I’m concerned about is choline, which is a B vitamin…” You might want to look into a website called cronometer. You plug in the food you eat and the website will tell you a lot of details about the nutrients you are getting. It might tell you exactly what your choline intake is and thus whether or not you will want to supplement or tweak your diet somehow. Just an idea.

          • Julie

            guest, you may be on to something with the choline! Choline is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Symptoms of low acetylcholine include loss of visual or verbal memory, memory lapses, impaired creativity, diminished comprehension, difficulty calculating numbers, slowness of mental responsiveness. From aninteresting interview with Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, I learned that sunflower lecithin contains phosphatidyl choline, providing the phospholipids needed to surround nerve axons and nourish the brain, increasing memory and speed of thought. http://undergroundwellness.com/tag/dr-ritamarie-loscalzo/

            Now for the other nutrients. Today your lab values may be different than they were 2 months after turning vegan. Iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin, folic acid and magnesium are necessary for serotonin production. Deficiencies of serotonin include loss of pleasure in hobbies and interests, feelings of depression, depression when it is cloudy, difficulty finding joy from life pleasures, unable to fall into deep restful sleep, not enjoying favorite activities and friendships. A good multivitamin/mineral supplement with the methyl forms of the B vitamins may perk you right up. I like the Paradise Herbs Earth’s Blend Multivitamin as it has the correct forms of the nutrients and is really inexpensive. Probably wouldn’t hurt to give it a try for a few weeks and see if you don’t notice an improvement. (Reference: “Why Isn’t My Brain Working” by Dr. Datis Kharrazian)

          • guest

            Thea and Julie: Thank you so much for taking time to make suggestions. I’ll explore them all. Nutrition, like everything else in life, is a journey, not a destination.

      • globaljobber

        Perhaps it’s the protein supplementation that could be an issue? I’ve read in many places that we don’t need extra protein and even know of vegan weight trainers who don’t supplement and do very well. Personally, I’m in my 50’s and been vegan now for about a year (vegetarian for 10 yrs) and I feel brilliant! Never felt better since I finally shook off the dreadful dairy. I don’t take supplements but eat lots and lots of fruit all day, with lots of salads and then a cooked meal evenings, such as beans, rice, sweet potatoes, etc. I do occasionally take some B12, but not often. I just don’t see why a good vegan diet of wholesome food would cause a problem as long as it encompasses a good source of fresh nutrients. Anyway, good luck and please do try to stick to the vegan diet – think of the poor suffering animals too, it’s not just about us!

      • Pendra

        Vegans need to supplement with vitamin B 12. Start supplementing with B12 and you will see a marked increase in your energy level and thought processes.

        • Randy Bolton

          Agreed. It sounds to me like all these sick vegans on here are a result of no B 12 and possibly little or no iodine. I used to buy iodized table salt, until I read how they made it. Now I just chew on a little sea kelp from time to time to make sure I get enough.

      • Alan

        Hi guest – I doubt that you need the extra protein if you are eating an adequate vegan diet. Fruits, veggies – plenty of greens, nuts in limited quantities, Grains and legumes. I used to use vegan protein powders also and feel much better without them. I use some nuts and seeds, but no added oils. I do not remember the last time i was sick – cold, flu or anything else. Here is a link from an article i just got today from “Forks over Knives”. It is about a professional vegan Bodybuilder who does NOT use any bodybuilding supplements

      • Alan

        Sorry – I hit the wrong button. Here is the link. http://www.forksoverknives.com/vegan-bodybuilder-plant-based-diet/?mc_cid=b8b1865825&mc_eid=09aaf03269
        I want to add that mentally i am doing just fine !!!!!!!!!

    • Randy Bolton

      Organ meats are very hard for people to digest, Chia Seeds are a better source of Omega 3’s than sardines. Milk and low fat yogurt cause over 60 different kinds of cancer because they contain casein, low fat means HIGH sugar in most cases. Himalayan salt contains lead and mercury and will kill you. You don’t have to be vegan, but what you listed for your diet is unfortunately all bad. Vegans are often VERY unhealthy as they don’t get enough iodine or pre-biotics and pro-biotics. They’re also overly skinny because they’re afraid of even the fat from an avocado or walnut which is absolutely ridiculous. Fat is NOT a killer. Animal protein is. Also you listed fruit juice. You have to know how bad that is for you. When fruit is turned into juice, it separates the fiber molecules from the sugar molecules, which are supposed to be attached. The result is this makes the juice like drinking straight sugar. Medical studies have shown horrible blood sugar spikes when a person drinks juice. If you want apple, you just need to eat sliced apple. If you want grape, it’s best to just eat grapes, or you could squash, but not blend some grapes into your water for some natural grape flavor. Good luck, and lose the Himalayan mercury salt. Also, sea salt has no iodine. We need iodine to live. You can get great iodine from kelp or seaweed. All you need is a 1/4 teaspoon of kelp every 3 days to get all the iodine you need.

      • David Johnson

        >>> Chia Seeds are a better source of Omega 3’s than sardines.
        Could you please clarify why do you said this. Are you saying this because chia does not have the pollutants that can be in fish? On the other hand, sardines provide a lot of DHA/EPA, and it is not clear that vegans typically convert enough ALA to DHA/EPA for optimal health, particularly brain health over the long haul. That’s why Fuhrman recommends supplementing with algal DHA/EPA.

        • Randy Bolton

          I’m not sure what I was thinking when I said that. I should have said, “if you refuse to eat fish, chia seeds are a pretty good alternative”. You are right about all the ALA stuff, and for the life of me I can not find the link, but I read a serious medical journal article a few months ago that said vegans only get short-chain molecules for their brain health, but fish was the only thing researchers could find that gave the brain some kind of long-chain molecules, which are absolutely necessary for brain health and memory.

          • David Johnson

            I’m a vegan who thinks supplementation of DHA/EPA is necessary for long term brain/neurological health, and so rely on algal-based DHA/EPA. I don’t have references handy but I’ve seen at least one study that showed algal-based DHA/EPA is as effective as fish-based in raising blood serum levels.

    • vegank

      Apparently coffee/tea with cow’s milk and or even Green Tea can lower your ability to absorb iron , so that might be worth looking into… I would be interested too, to find out if there are certain people who are prone to
      the kind of difficulties (that you mentioned) with being Vegan.

  • Barking Sparrow

    I think this is just some degree of fear-mongering.

    I like and respect Dr Greger and follow his posts, but sometimes I believe he resorts to fear-mongering to justify his vegan diet bias, just like others do with their particular “One True Diet” – (Paleo, low-carb, etc). And Dr Greger has been caught cherry-picking (see sciencebasedmedicine.org).

    I also will continue to eat seafood a few times a week – but I ensure I buy sustainable wild-caught seafood as per Seafoodwatch.org.

    • Panchito

      And isn’t your opinion a constructed justification to keep eating fish? People smoking could come up with similar arguments that attack the messenger instead of the message.

    • guest

      The video confirmed what I already knew from evaluating the published evidence: it is healthier to eat more plant-based foods and less red meat. It didn’t convince me that we should categorically eliminate all animal products. The vegan diet can be a healthy one, and I wouldn’t discourage anyone from following it; but the evidence for health benefits is nowhere near as impressive or definitive as the true believers think. Death is not “a foodborne illness” and eliminating all animal products is not a cure-all. Harriet Hall

      This is the conclusion that was in the opinion piece on sciencebasedmedicine.org . I don’t think that informing people about the information that is out there is fear-mongering, it is just one way to show someone where to start. You have made informed choices based on this site and others, hopefully they will continue to give you valuable information to make your choices. The third sentence is very telling; the use of true believers is dismissive to those who make rational choices to adopt healthier diet patterns.

      • Guest

        Harriet Hall is a shill for the low-carb movement. She’s been bought and paid for and is not someone to be trusted with sound nutritional advice. She is anti-vegan and has in the past bashed many plant based Drs like Essy and Ornish. Same can be said for sciencebasedmedicine.org. It’s a sham site setup to denounce Veganism and push high fat diets. Not a friend of this site.

        • Thea

          Guest: re: “Not a friend of this site.” I think I would word that as, “Not a friend of people who care about science-based medicine.” :-)

          • Guest

            agreed. =)

        • Marco Bellacci

          “Harriet Hall is a shill for the low-carb movement” – Exactly :)

      • Marco Bellacci

        NOTHING is a cure all. But seen in a higher perspective, which diet is proven to be more effecive to good health than the vegan/vegetarian diet?
        And by the way… I know this site is all about health conserns but also, which diet do at the same time benefit natures health and the life of other living and sentient beings as much as the vegan/vegetarian diet?
        So no, nothing is cure-all. But some things are for sure better than others :).

        Einstein saw this long before us when he said

        “Nothing will benefit human health and increase the
        chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a
        vegetarian diet”.

    • george

      Nutrition research is impossible to do accurately, which opens the door to two problems:
      1. A researcher can design a study to prove anything he/she wants.
      2. An advocate of any specific diet can find published research to support his/her diet (cherry picking). Dr. Greger is unique though because he has no financial interest whatsoever in what he does. He apparently truly believes in vegan diet. The question, however is, is the diet that is right for one person, or some people, or most people right for everybody?

    • Fred J Pollack

      I went to the website you mention, and searched for greger and found 1 post from Feb 2013:

      https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/death-as-a-foodborne-illness-curable-by-veganism/

      It was critical of Dr. Greger’s yearly summary: “Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death” from July 2012. Unlike his individual videos (3x/wk), the summary does not provide the extensive links to the medical research that Dr. Greger uses. Any routine user of this site knows that one can click on one of the 1500 or so topics, get a list of videos/blog-posts, and then click on sources cited on each video to find the links to the peer-reviewed medical research used in the video.

      Apparently, the author of the blog post had not bothered to look into the rest of this site.

    • Guest

      Please don’t post false negative things about Dr. Greger like your cherry picking accusation and then site a low-carb shill website like sciencebasedmedicine.org as your source. That site is not a credible source of information and is certainly not real science based. It’s low-carb science and we know all about the shady low-carb crowd like Harriet Hall.

    • Marco Bellacci

      Hello my friends. I am writing as a guest cause I cant log in to my account.
      It
      is sure “funny” to see how people react as soon as the subject is
      something that “hits them”. Your reaction is exactly the same as we see
      every time something bad is said about pork og beef :).
      To me it seems prety clear that any creator of a comment like this one is behind one of three statements:

      1. You are a partner of seaffodwatch.org
      2. You are somehow involved in sciencebasedmedicine.org
      3. You are simply just a meat eater who is pissed about this page :).

      Why?
      Well because NONE of your arguments actually atttacks Michael´s work or
      this video in a sober way og with good arguments. Look at it, you hit
      us with two links. One is to a site that sells / recommends fish the
      other one is to maybe one of the most unserious sites on the net.
      Michael
      Greger is absolutly no cherry-picking. We are here talking about a man
      who hires several persons only to research hes statements in his
      upcomming book!

      If people want to criticze Dr. Gregers work, then please do it with sciense, good arguments or questions that is open minded :).

      To
      the whole “what is right for me” died… Personally I think that the
      world os not only about “what is right for me”. The fact that other
      living and sentient beings are killed just to justify our endless needs,
      is just as important :).

      Thanks to all of you for all the useful informations on this site.

    • Thea

      Barking Sparrow: I read the article that you are probably referring to on the sciencebasedmedicine site back when it came out. That article is *full* of logic holes and shows a lack of understanding of the science that was available even at that time. I don’t see that the author of that article refers to cherry-picking, but if that is how you interpret the points made on that page, then I don’t think you understand what cherry picking means.

      I hope that this explanation might put things into perspective for you: Would you be surprised to learn that there are over 100 studies showing that smoking is either neutral or helpful for our health? Given those studies supporting smoking as a healthful activity, would you accuse a me of cherry picking if I made the claim, “smoking causes or promotes lung cancer”, and then cited some studies to back up my claim?

      Of course not. That would not be cherry picking because life is messy. There are always contradictory studies. The existence of a contradictory study does not mean that someone is cherry picking or biased just because one doesn’t point out all the contradictions–not when there is a massive body of evidence supporting the original claim. In other words, there is a massive body of evidence supporting the claim that smoking causes cancer. So, we can keep an eye on the science to see if the evidence shifts, but at this point, we have enough evidence to claim that smoking causes cancer without having to point out contradictory studies which are probably fatally flawed in one way or another.

      It’s the same situation for nutrition and this site. Sometimes Dr. Greger discusses studies which contradict the main themes of this site. (And then he explains why those studies are invalid.) But most of the time Dr. Greger doesn’t waste our time. (Thank goodness.) Dr. Greger instead focuses on teaching us what the body of evidence says. Since Dr. Greger really has reviewed the vast body of evidence and has the skill to review it, Dr. Greger is one of a select few people on this planet who are qualified to actually share appropriate studies without cherry picking. It’s not cherry picking. It’s called educating.

      As for sustainable seafood, my understanding is that there is no such thing. There is just bad practices and worst. Our oceans (on the only planet we have) have dead zones that are growing rapidly. (Look up “dead zones”.) Experts are expecting the oceans to be completely dead in a few decades if we keep eating fish – *any* wild caught fish. Sites like Seafoodwatch are there just to make you feel good about eating fish. Something to think about.

      • Marco Bellacci

        Hi Thea. Thank you very much for this respons :).

        Now can you please tell me how to “follow” someone here? I am new to this forum and I cant seem to figure it our :)
        Thanks..

        • Thea

          Marco: I’m honored you think I would be worth following. I’m afraid I don’t know how to do that. That’s not something I have looked into before as I don’t do the social media thing. But you can’t help seeing me around on this site. I’ve probably commented on a majority of the pages. So, it’s easy to find me. :-)

          Have a great day!

  • MaryFinelli

    There are SO many compelling reasons to not eat fish. In addition to the increased risk of diabetes, there is also bioaccumulated concentrations of mercury, dioxins, PCBs and other toxins, pathogens, parasites, cholesterol, saturated fat, etc. Farmed fish are doused with antibiotics, parasiticides, and other chemicals. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has found seafood to be by far the most hazardous food.

    Fish are caught or farmed in cruel ways, and inhumanely killed. Wild-caught fish are quickly being depleted and with them the food of animals who genuinely depend on them for it. Countless other animals (whales -yes, whales- dolphins, seals, turtles, birds, etc., are also caught and killed by fishing gear. Slave labor is rampant in the fishing industry, including slave-caught seafood that is sold in the U.S.

    All of the nutrients we need to thrive can be obtained more healthfully, humanely, and environmentally responsibly from plant sources. If you eat seafood, there are many marvelous vegan versions of pretty much every type of seafood imaginable: http://fishfeel.org/seafoodresources.php It’s better for us, for the other animals, and for the environment. There is no good reason to eat fish or any other animals/animal products, and so many great reasons to not eat them.

  • Dennis

    well I’ve eaten fish (mainly haddock) about 5 times a week for the last 45 years and i am ok . there you go.

    • Panchito

      And what is to be OK? People on medications feel OK too. People with lots of inflammation think they are OK for their age because they don’t know. There you go.

    • Thea

      Dennis: No one says that smoking will cause lung cancer. They just say that smoking increases one’s risk of lung cancer–in addition to increasing risk for several other serious problems. Similarly, the studies cited indicate that eating fish increases one’s risk for diabetes (and FYI: in addition to increasing risk for several other serious problems).

      With that understanding, what would you think if someone wrote the following?: “well I’ve smoked (mainly a pack a day) about five times a week for the last 45 years and i am ok. there you go.”

  • dcv168

    I agree according to the good Doc if we don’t eat just grass were all dead.(And I respect him as well but think he cherry picks some info as well)I personally know a Doctor who has shown regression in her patients with some healthy animal protein in the diet with healthy vegetables and greens.I said this before what might work for some people might not work for others so u cant just say if you don’t eat this way you cant live a healthy life or regress some diseases.I mean there are so many contributing factors…Heck you can be a vegan and suffer from chronic stress and die of a heart attack…..Tim Russert the news anchor had a ldl of 60 and a low cholesterol count and suffered a heart attack and died.And now the new food guidelines are coming out changing there stance on saturated fat and dietary cholesterol..I also tried the vegan diet for a year and like the others said I felt weak and just felt like something was missing and my ldl-p and small ldl went sky high due to the excessive carbs, and I ate ALL complex carbs too.

    • Guest

      The same could be said for Paleo diets, I tried it and it made me feel foggy headed and sick and I got depressed. It’s an experiment of one. A WFPBVegan diet is a powerful tool to regain your health and reverse chronic disease if you do it right. The key is to study up and do Vegan properly to gain the benefits.

      • vince

        I understand what u are saying and believe me I did the vegan diet to a T…just did not work for me thats all. if it worked for u or others great all Im saying is one size does not fit all.I think we can agree on at least that?As we all know there are 300 million people in the US and there are probably millions in there 80’s, 90’s and 100’s that eat according to alot of people on this site as bad,but yet lived and are living a great life,just like there are millions that die early eating the same way.So who’s right on what we should eat and not eat,cause for every trial u show me that fish is bad I can show u trials that say it’s not.Be happy, smile,love and enjoy life as much as u can and get off the internet and go for a hike(Not u just in general)…lol

    • Veganrunner

      Oh my. Not to rag on Tim Russert but he was overweight (probably obese). Yes one can be a vegan and fat and not exercise. It isn’t usual for people to feel “tired?” Meat makes me feel tired!

      • vince

        Well I am not fat weigh 160 pounds 5′ 11″ and I work out 5 days a week for almost a hr, which includes cardio,weights,stretching and meditation and because I am soooo active I had to eat like 4 people and still was having a hard time maintaining weight and just didn’t feel good.Latest blood work TC 134 TG 54 LDL 76 HDL 41 not bad but like I said my LDL-P and SMALL LDL-P went up to the high risk levels all when eating a 100% plant based diet.Was told by a well known lipidologist who treats patients with heart disease for the last 20 years told me that I was eating way to many carbs and no they were not refined(I do know about eating and diet) and I am not insulin resistant either.So now I switched to a modified Mediterranean style diet and will have another NMR lipid profile test done at the end of August. So we will see.

  • Clay DuBose

    This guy is wrong. Go to the study he cites for omega-3 increasing diabetes and these are the actual results:

    Consumption of fish and/or seafood was not significantly associated with DM (n = 13 studies; RR per 100 g/d = 1·12, 95 % CI = 0·94, 1·34); nor were consumption of EPA+DHA (n = 16 cohorts; RR per 250 mg/d = 1·04, 95 % CI = 0·97, 1·10) nor circulating levels of EPA+DHA biomarkers (n = 5 cohorts; RR per 3 % of total fatty acids = 0·94, 95 % CI = 0·75, 1·17). Both dietary ALA (n = 7 studies; RR per 0·5 g/d = 0·93, 95 % CI = 0·83, 1·04) and circulating ALA biomarker levels (n = 6 studies; RR per 0·1 % of total fatty acid = 0·90, 95 % CI = 0·80, 1·00, P = 0·06) were associated with non-significant trend towards lower risk of DM.

    Etc.

    • Fred J Pollack

      Clay, you are partially right, but so is Dr. Greger. Suggest you look at figure 3 in the article, and here is the link to just that figure: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3744862/figure/F3/

      And, here is an excerpt from the article, about that figure: “fish/seafood was associated with lower DM risk in Asia cohorts (RR per 100g/d=0.89, 95% CI=0.81, 0.98), and higher risk in North America/Europe cohorts (RR per 100g/d=1.38, 95% CI=1.13, 1.70).”

      From the text of the article, it appears that BMI was a major confounder.

      In general, I don’t like epidemiological meta-analysis. In my view, they tend to obfuscate, but that’s a long discussion.

  • charles grashow

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1312295/
    Twenty questions on atherosclerosis

    “Of the various atherosclerotic risk factors, which one is an absolute prerequisite for development of atherosclerosis?The answer is hypercholesterolemia. What level of total cholesterol and specifically LDL cholesterol is required for atherosclerotic plaques to develop? Symptomatic and fatal atherosclerosis is extremely uncommon in societies where serum total cholesterol levels are <150 mg/dL and serum LDL cholesterol levels are <100 mg/dL (8). If the LDL cholesterol level is <100— and possibly it needs to be 150 mg/dL and the LDL cholesterol is >100 mg/dL, the other risk factors clearly accelerate atherosclerosis.”

    My question is does it matter how one gets their cholesterol down to this level?

    I e-mailed Dr William C Roberts and asked him this question
    Do it matter if one gets their LDL <70 via diet alone or a combination of diet + statins?

    His answer
    I think that it does not matter. That are no studies specifically trying to answer this question, at least I am aware of none. My best, WCR

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Neat study on atherosclerosis! Thanks, Charles. I think it does matter, as statins have been shown to increase breast cancer risk, diabetes, and muscle toxicity. Due to their potential risks it would seem much better if LDL reductions could be met by diet and lifestyle. Obviously if diet and lifestyle are not enough to lower LDL then the benefits of taking a statin may outweigh their risk.

      • charles grashow

        https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CEIQFjAFahUKEwjpscTqj_LGAhWKnoAKHVVyAIw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcirculation.or.kr%2Fworkshop%2F2002fall%2Ffiles%2Fspon_pfizerRoberts.doc&ei=xlKxVem2LYq9ggTV5IHgCA&usg=AFQjCNHwitdtAEsPRWKn8D-jjyrH9gBF3g&bvm=bv.98476267,d.eXY
        Getting More People on Statins
        William C Roberts MD

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1849886/
        “If it is useful for the LDL cholesterol to be <100 mg/dL after a heart attack, surely it must be useful for the LDL cholesterol to be <100 mg/dL before a heart attack! Therefore, in my view, the goal for all populations—not just those with heart or brain attacks or diabetes mellitus or noncoronary atherosclerotic events—needs to be LDL cholesterol <100 mg/dL and ideally 100 million Americans—rather than the present 13 million—would need to be on a statin drug with or without ezetimibe or be pure vegetation-fruit eaters.

        Thus, although it is not clearly established at this time, to prevent atherosclerotic plaques, the serum LDL cholesterol needs to be <70 mg/dL, the serum total cholesterol certainly 20 mg/dL. The latter—surely a surprise to most readers—is in patients with a serum total cholesterol level of about 130 mg/ dL and an LDL cholesterol level about 60 mg/dL. Exactly what HDL cholesterol level is required to prevent plaques is unclear at this time, but clearly if the LDL cholesterol is very low (e.g., 50 mg/dL) then a low HDL cholesterol—as long as it is >20 mg/dL—appears not to be dangerous. Ideal may be equal serum HDL and LDL cholesterol levels or an HDL cholesterol greater than LDL cholesterol. In summary, the recommended guideline numbers—particularly those for primary prevention—are those for decreasing the risk of atherosclerotic events, not for preventing formation of atherosclerotic plaques.

        The rule of 5 and the rule of 7 in lipid-lowering therapy and the goal for all
        The statin drugs, in my view, are the best cardiovascular drugs ever created, in that they have the greatest potential to prevent atherosclerotic plaques and their complications, and they also have the greatest potential to arrest plaque formation and therefore to prevent additional atherosclerotic events. The statin drugs are to atherosclerosis what penicillin was to infectious diseases. Despite their being truly miracle drugs, they are terribly underutilized and underdosed.

        The average serum LDL cholesterol level in American adults is about 130 mg/dL. Therefore, if we want to prevent plaque formation in the USA, most of us will need a 50% LDL cholesterol reduction! As shown in the Table, that goal can be achieved by three doses of statin monotherapy (rosuvastatin 20 and 40 mg daily or atorvastatin 80 mg daily) or by adding ezetimibe 10 mg to all statin doses except the lowest level of recommended statin doses. Because titration is often neglected, starting the dose from the beginning that achieves the preventive goal (LDL cholesterol <70 mg/dL) appears reasonable. When a statin dose is doubled, the total cholesterol on average falls an additional 5% and the LDL cholesterol, 7%. These percent falls with doubling of the doses constitute the rule of 5 and the rule of 7."

        • Matthew Smith

          High dose Niacin therapy would achieve your goals. Taking two to three grams of Niacin a day could lower LDL and raise HDL to desired levels. Niacin is stripped from grains and an ideal diet for Niacin levels is hard to design. Niacin is a key component of the mitochondrial theory of aging as it greatly adds to the efficiency of mitochondria. On a near Vegan diet and high dose Niacin therapy my LDL fell to 28. Niacin was once considered superior to many statins and although now is falling out of favor because it is impossible to make a profit on, it is the only substance that can raise HDL as well, something that is causing doctors and pharmacy companies to say HDL is not important. I had always heard HDL was one of the most important factors measured, after of course blood pressure. I think nutrients stripped from grain is still a factor in what is sickening us. Idealy, no one would need a supplement, but the problems described in the video “The Tomato Effect” may still be with us. A life time of Niacin deficient wonder bread is still leading to heart disease as happened in China when the mill was first brought.

          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-tomato-effect/

          Niacin, in orthomolecular doses, can raise HDL by 25 percent, lower LDL by 30 percent, and lower triglycerides by half.

          • charles grashow

            I take 20 mgs Atorvastatin QED, 97.5 mgs WP Thyroid ED – latest blood work 5/11/15
            ApoA1 – 137
            ApoB – 56
            ApoB/A1 Ratio – .41
            Omega 6/Omega 3 Ratio – 3.3
            LP(a) <10
            A1C – 5.6
            hs-CRP – 0.5
            HDL – 54
            TC – 129
            TG – 36
            LDL, Direct – 67
            LDL-P 870
            Small LDL-P 160

          • Matthew Smith

            Congratulations on your excellent health and good luck in your mission to lower LDL, for which niacin may be an ideal substance compared to the costs and risks of statins. There is no substitute for lifestyle medicine, and it is sad that people can develop so many deficiencies on modern (packaged, not whole foods) diets.

          • charles grashow

            So far no side effects from the atorvastatin and I’ll be starting year three

          • Fred J Pollack

            Charles,
            It is great that a statin is working well for you. Before going on LF-WFPB diet 6+ years ago, I tried statins. After a couple of months on a statin (1st Vytorin, and then Crestor 5mg), I had calf pain, but only after running for 10min and had to stop. When statin was stopped, in 3-5 days, I could run again without calf pain. Blood tests were fine. Since being on a LF-WFPB diet, I’m not on any drugs. Latest blood work from 06Mar2015:
            TC 128, LDL 65, HDL 50, TG 65, Glucose 83.

            Joseph, inadvertently, I am sure, left out another risk factor with statins: diabetes, which the FDA now recognizes that people on statins have an increased risk of developing.

            Also, you may find this review article of interest:
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3463373/
            “Effect of Statins on Skeletal Muscle: Exercise, Myopathy, and Muscle Outcomes”

    • Fred J Pollack

      Charles, w.r.t. question of diet vs statins to get LDL < 70, excerpt of an interview with Dr. William Castelli, former director of the Framingham Heart Study:

      KIRK HAMILTON: But what would the diet be if you didn’t have drugs and you could get everybody to do exactly what you wanted diet-wise in the United States? How would you reverse the heart disease?

      DR. WILLIAM CASTELLI: Well you’d have them on a pure vegetarian diet and not getting fat on the vegetarian diet. And in these reversibility trials there were these two diet trials. One was the St. Thomas Hospital study in London and the other was the Dean Ornish study. And for the same fall in cholesterol, if you get there with diet you get twice the shrinkage of the lesions than if you do it with drugs. In any event, what we’ve learned is that in these reversibility trials, that the two diet trials, for the same fall in cholesterol if you get there with diet you did get twice the shrinkage of the deposits than trying to do it with drugs alone. And you see we have these patients, you know, they want the golden bullet. Doctor, give me that magic bullet so I can go out and eat anything I want. Well we don’t have a therapy like that. And we need to get our – it’s much better if you can get people to go on a diet. Now if I would have put everyone on a vegetarian diet and drive their numbers down by diet, we would get rid of all the atherosclerosis in America. Now I have as I said a billion people out there somewhere around the world where they’re on that kind of a diet and they can’t get this disease.

      Interview here:
      http://www.prescription2000.com/current-research/rx2000-interviews/593-2011-02-18-william-castelli-heart-disease-lipids

  • Panchito

    Fish eating taxes the environment. It disrupts the ecosystem by the huge demands of society and advertising. The glorified fish oil is marketed product that is contributing to the destruction of sea life. It is irresponsible to consume fish products while there are equivalent or better plant products like for example dha epa from algae. That is where fish get their omega 3s, plants.

    • Julie

      With algae omega 3’s now widely available, I see no reason whatsoever for anyone to take fish oil.

  • William Hamlin

    I am tired of researchers changing their viewpoints seemingly every year. They get paid big bucks to find answers that people need. Maybe they are afraid that if they find definite answers they will put themselves out of business. Also, I have friends that are vegetarians that are having health problems because of their diet, and having to be diligent on complete nutrition with a vegetarian diet—and now their bodies cannot handle meat because they have not eaten it in such a long time. It is very frustrating to feel that George Orwellian 1984 double talk and double think have become pervasive in our culture. Just what in the heck are people to believe. My primary care physician and cardiologist say that they are now (the system) not individual doctors—but the system as a whole—not sure that cholesterol is the villain it once was supposed to be because there are people who have clear arteries and been overweight for a long time that have overly high cholesterol readings.

    Bill Hamlin

  • smith

    but vegans are not the longest lifespan. Vegans with fish are proven to have the longest life span.

  • Randy Bolton

    The title of this article catches one’s eye, but it seems very clear to me once again, that FISH are not a problem. It’s the poison we contaminate the oceans with that is the problem. We radiate the ocean with nuclear leaks, we mine gold and coal and the runoff from mining operations gets mercury into the air and water and fish accidentally ingest it. They have an island west of Hawaii where the government disposes of nuclear waste. They figured the island is so isolated that no one would notice gallons of radiation being poured into the ocean. We get man-made DDT in the oceans and then ya know what we do… We blame the fish. Without all the man-made contaminants. Fish would be a fine meal.

    • Thea

      Randy: I do not think you have captured/noticed the point of this article at all. After all, even if fish were squeaky clean contaminant wise, fish would still be full of animal protein, saturated fat, cholesterol, etc. Here is an important part of the article I would like to draw your attention to (with links included above):

      “Fish intake may increase type 2 diabetes risk by increasing blood sugar levels, as a review of the evidence commissioned by the U.S. government found. The review found that blood sugars increase in diabetics given fish oil. Another possible cause is that omega 3’s appear to cause oxidative stress. A recent study, highlighted in my video, Fish and Diabetes, found that the insulin producing cells in the pancreas don’t appear to work as well in people who eat two or more servings of fish a week. Or it may not be related to omega 3’s at all but rather the environmental contaminants that build up in fish.”

      Contaminants are certainly a huge problem with fish. But that is by far not the only problem. Dr. Greger uses the word, “Or” in the paragraph above to identify a cause on why fish increases risk for type 2 diabetes. But it is also quite possible that all of those reason work together.

      • Randy Bolton

        I’m glad there are so many people talking about health. I feel this is the way that we can truly progress as a society. Allow me to reply to what you’ve stated. First, people who are on a “Mediterranean Diet/Lifestyle” have almost 30% less chance of getting diabetes. Here’s the link to that study that reviewed 19 other studies in multiple countries and involved over 100,000 people. So, it’s highly unlikely that fish have anything to do with diabetes. Here’s the link: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20140327/take-heart-mediterranean-diet-combats-diabetes-study-says . Additionally, diabetes rates have DOUBLED over the past 30 years. It is now at epidemic levels. What has changed in our diets over the past 50 years (30 yrs +20 or more years to develop diabetes) equals rates have doubled over the past 30 years. What’s different? Are we eating that much more fish? Probably not when it’s $10 a pound at the store, and people have less time to personally fish. We have however changed our wheat. We have also piled aspartame, sucralose and sweet-n-low in to every coffee house in the country. We are giving hormones to cows and chickens, and only a fool would think those hormones are not getting directly into use once we eat ’em. We’re mining for gold and coal which releases mercury into the atmosphere. The mercury gets in the clouds and comes down in rain. So, it’s not only poisoning fish in the ocean, there’s probably mercury on your driveway right now. We also have an island west of Hawaii where the government dumps radiation in to the sea. They say they ‘clean it’, but I don’t believe them on that much. One thing we do know for a fact is that obese people (in the U.S.) get a very high share of diabetes, but it’s most likely not because their fat, but rather what’s making them fat. The one thing that intrigues the heck out of me is that there is a rural section of India, where the eating is mostly healthy rice, where the people have a very high rate of diabetes. To this day no one knows why. If I were a researcher, I would consider that region ground zero.

      • Leslie

        Thea, this all makes me think that maybe the omega 3’s in vegan DHA supplements might therefore increase diabetes risk, just as Dr. G. says is possible with fish oil, no?

        Did you find any clarity on this? I do not recall Dr. G. commenting on such.

        • Thea

          Leslie: I would not believe that a vegan omega 3 supplement would increase diabetes risk. That’s because diabetes is caused by too much fat building up in the cells. (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/diabetes-as-a-disease-of-fat-toxicity/) The amount of fat in a vegan supplement is very small. In the context of a healthy diet, I can’t imagine that a tiny omega 3 pill would cause a problem.
          .
          If you look at the quote I copied in the post above, you can see that the second study is addressing eating the entire fish – which would be a lot of fat and all kinds, not just omega 3. And the earlier part that talks about fish oil doesn’t mention how much oil. And again, if it’s all of the fat from the fish’s body, then it is more than just the omega 3s. And then there is the contamination issue with fish based products that do not exist with algae/vegan based products. I just don’t think that a vegan omega 3 pill could be a problem.
          .
          What do you think?

          • Leslie

            Thea, thank so much. Good to read your thoughts on this. What do I think? Well, the interpretation I took from the video was that omega 3 fish oil supplements, as well as whole fish, were shown to increase diabetes risk. Maybe I heard it wrong….I’ll rematch it.

            I don’t think it would necessarily be the toxins, as there are some very low fat and low toxin fish/shellfish available, it seems.

  • Ron Evans

    It would be more useful to see the absolute risk numbers rather than the percent increase. Percent changes can be very misleading, for example if the risk increases from 1 in 1000 to 1.35 in 1000. Wow, 35% increase.

    • largelytrue

      Sure would, but it’s also useful if the viewers who want to investigate this stuff try opening up the article. Not everything about research can get to you faithfully in a few colorful words. In this case, the meta-analysis focuses on relative risk as the outcome measure to aggregate, so an aggregated measure of the absolute risk effect is not directly available. But you can get a feel for the rates of DMT2 in the studies in table 1: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3744862/table/T1/

      Just skimming through, and speaking very roughly, it seems that the typical age is ~50, typical exposure ~10 years, and incidence around ~1 in 200. But if you know anything about the epidemic proportions of diabetes in the world, a credible way to reduce the number of cases by anything near 35% would of course be huge. According to the American Diabetes Association, for example, around 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 65 have DMT2, and 8.9% of the population overall: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/

  • coday

    Are there any studies on the relationship between short-chain omega 3s (e.g., from flaxseeds, whole, ground or oil) and pancreas performance/insulin sensitivity?

  • Maria222

    Does anyone know why there is “fish powder” in my Trader Joe’s Women’s vitamin? Mostly it has good stuff but I near the gelatin, on the list, is fish powder, sounds kinda of creepy to me.

  • Rodrigo Cardoso

    Very clarifying! Can’t wait to put some family and friends scratching their heads on this subject and substituting fish for vegetables. Portuguese translation done: http://nf.focoempatico.net/porque-e-que-comer-peixe-pode-aumentar-o-risco-de-diabetes/

  • vince

    I have a question.When they say Reversal of heart disease what does that
    mean exactly?Does the plaque melt away? Or does a new lining of
    endothelium cells form over the plaque and make it stable and the green
    and veggies just open or dilate the artery more?

  • Perhaps what matters most is how you cook fish. Omega 3 fats oxidize easily when exposed to heat or light. By using low heat and wet cooking cooking methods along with marinades containing anti-oxidant compounds (lemon, rosemary, other herbs and spices), you can help protect the fats from doing harm.

    I’d love to see a study that takes into account cooking methods–or controls for rancidity in fish oil. Perhaps the study showing fish associated with lower diabetes levels in Asia (see Fred Pollack comment below) has something to do with Asians often eating fish raw.

    • vince

      That’s how I cook my fish low oven heat and lemon juice.

  • Deb

    Disagree. What causes type 2 diabetes is high carbs and sugar. I went on a gluten free, no sugar low carb diet and my blood pressure went down, my migraines lessened by half and I eat meats, butter, olive oIL and coconut products. I was a normal weight when I started, and I lost a couple of pounds anyway. Being vegan for humanitarian reasons is one thing, but to bad mouth naturally grown meats, fish and eggs is doing a disservice

  • Jerry LA

    Here’s another view of fish & diet. Our family history no diabetes however some incidence of cancers:
    A vegetarian diet may reduce your risk of certain kinds of cancer by 22 percent, according to a new analysis from the Adventist Health Study-2.
    The least at risk of the vegetarian groups were the pescovegetarians, or vegetarians who eat fish. They were 43 percent less likely to develop cancer. No details on how much fish or what type.
    Also note Omega 3 can help MS see “Overcoming MS” by Dr. George Jelenik
    http://news.adventist.org/all-news/news/go/2015-03-16/vegetarian-diet-cuts-risk-of-certain-cancer-adventist-study-finds/

  • Randy Bolton

    One thing I’d like to throw into this thread is that, while medical studies have shown that animal protein causes a lot of very serious illnesses and sickness, the world ‘animal’ is a very broad term. cows and chickens are mammals. Fish are not mammals. Reptiles are all together different. While the China study did show that when people in the Netherlands and surrounding areas had their meat (beef and chicken) taken away from them by the Nazis, and these people started eating a lot more vegetables and became healthy, the study does not mention that many of these people were able to get fish from the seaside or lakes. So, they didn’t go 100% vegan if you read your history. Still, I believe very seriously that sweet potatoes are underrated, and we should be getting full on them rather than fried chicken. Sweet potatoes are a vegetable, NOT a potato, and they are going to rule the world one day.

    • Jim Felder

      Also from the book the China Study was the statement by Dr. Campbell about the results of his study in China that while no population studied were completely plant-based, the range of animal food consumption was quite broad and when examined, there the risks for various chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer were the lowest in the group that consumed the lowest amount of animal food. Plus an extrapolation of the trend lines through all the groups didn’t flatten out in the lower consuming groups, indicating that there was every reason to suspect that the lowest risk would come at zero consumption.

      Also remember that the populations studied in China as a whole ate much lower amounts of animal foods and much higher amounts of whole plant foods than western diets and yet the trend towards zero animal food consumption for lowest risk was still visible.

      The converse lesson can also be drawn in that the health risk from animal foods is not binary. Adding a little to your diet only does a little harm. So we shouldn’t let perfect be the enemy of good and encourage people to eat as little animal foods as they can and more importantly celebrate with them when they make any progress towards getting more of their calories from whole plant foods while still helping them to understand that they can protect their health even further by continue to move away from animal foods. So if somebody can’t imagine fixing a pot of beans without at least a little ham or bacon in it, I am going to say “yay beans!” since the benefit from a lot of beans still outweighs the harms from a strip of bacon used to flavor the whole pot.

  • AndreaJ

    I think it’s quite interesting that if you go to PubMed and search for fish and diabetes, all the articles that associate fish consumption with diabetes concluded either that fish consumption protects us from getting diabetes, or that there is no significant association. However, fish consumption has been proven to have cardioprotective effects, among other positive effects. All I’m saying is that I don’t think we should be radical about things. One day this is great for our health, and then it’s terrible. I think the key is really to balance things and not to overdo anything.

    • largelytrue

      I looked only among PubMed citations that included fish and diabetes in the title, but would this count as a counterexample? Total fish consumption had a statistically significant positive association with diabetes risk in this prospective study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19675200

      At any rate, there is such a thing as a balance fallacy, and the appeal to a vague idea of ‘moderation’ amounts to very little in the way of advice; indeed the ease by which people often assume that they have an appropriate ‘balance’ in their diet is probably part of why the idea is so popularly endorsed.

      It’s great to be skeptical, to investigate things carefully, and to turn away from simplistic stories in the world of nutrition. If you do this more I think you will be less inclined to sit on your hands and complain about volatile swings in the healthfulness of a particular food (a large part of that is hype from low-tier sources). Healthfulness is a plural and contextual concept, so we shouldn’t be too averse to theories in which a food is healthful in some situations but not others. Sources that aren’t open to the idea should be regarded as suspicious on some level.

  • zm4jk0

    Dear Dr. Greger, there is nothing on ADAPTOGENS on your site. Those are foods which are considered to help the body when dealing with all kinds of STRESS – a very importaint topic those days i would say. And also a major factor for any dis-ease. Please add adaptogens on your list for the future videos! Thank you!

  • Joel

    “If we include Europe, then fish eaters appeared to have a 38% increased risk of diabetes.” According to the paper, there was no overall effect on diabetes? where does this 38% number come from?

  • David Palmer

    One line in this article told me it was suspect. “Fish intake may increase type 2 diabetes risk by increasing blood sugar levels..”.

    Really? How? Fish contains no ‘natural’ sugars, no carbohydrates whatsoever (which your body turns into Glucose), no other sources of glucose. Given this please explain how it can raise BGL’s, because until you’ve answered that question, the whole article is meaningless.