• mark gottlieb

    The entire topic of nutrition and cognitive wellbeing is fascinating. As I get more knowledgeable and informed in nutrition it seems the inter-related domains of nourishment, consumption patterns, and behavioral satiety are all potential villains and heroes in various nutrition related dynamics, health and pathology. Both physiologically and behaviorally the brain plays such a central role in these. Great video!

    • Dave

      Much more along these lines at plantpositive.com where the most thorough science-based review ever of the high meat, high fat diet is analyzed – starting from their own references. You owe it to yourself to check it out no matter where you are now. Cheers.

  • Guest

    Could high-fat vegan sources be creating more dementia as well? As of late I’m a bit concerned that too much nuts and avocados and plant fats like that, when one goes overboard (which is easy to do, as these plant-fats taste great) could contain the same detrimental properties as the meat-based fats. Maybe not as bad, bud still bad. I’d like to see some research on this, so maybe you could do so, since most of us here are vegan already, I think.

    • Darryl

      A number of studies have linked saturated fats and trans-fats with Alzheimer’s (particularly in ApoE ε4 carriers), while finding negative associations with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. There are some plants high in saturated fats (eg coconut and palm oils, macadamia nuts), but for the most part the MUFAs and PUFAs predominate among plants. Not the most recent review, but this article sums the research through 2010 in a readable fashion.

      • JoAnn Ivey

        Avocados are 76.6% lipids. The Omega 6:3 ratio of avocados is greater than 15:1 which is not good.

  • BB

    This video shows how the “Grain Brain” low carb theory is just a bunch of nonsense. I know people who say they feel better after eliminating grains, but when I question them on how much whole grain they actually ate before eliminating the grain, it was very little. They ate mostly processed grain products. When you do introduce whole grains to your diet, it should be slowly so your digestive system can adjust to the fiber…..then no problem, actually digestive problems are quickly eliminated. I do understand grain sensitivity as I have celiac disease, but that is only a few grains. I eat lots of rice, quinoa, corn, etc. When you look at other cultures and how their health deteriorates when they stray from their traditional diet for the SAD, it is all very crystal clear!

    • Linda N

      Once again both sides have it wrong and it is never ever that simple. EverI cannot eat grains. But I can eat the pseudo-grains quinoa and buckwheat. Grains per se are not the problem.For me (and for a lot of other people whether they know it or not) it is the MOLD in the grains that is the problem. Corn is especially moldy. Do a search on the internet. The way grains are stored long term allows them to grow hidden mold. By the time I gave up all grains, they all smelled and tasted like mold to me and the reactions were horrific. And I cannot eat Wild rice or rice for the same reason. Both are grown in watery patties and my reactions are horrific to them. And of course refined grains and refined anything is not good for anyone.

      Another problem with some grains is the gluten. Some people can eat totally gluten-free grains but not gluten grains. And this problem has come about from antibiotics as one cause that is worth looking into. Wheat especially has been altered to contain more amino acids and more gluten. http://www.celiac.com/articles/695/1/Does-Candida-Albicans-Trigger-the-Onset-of-Celiac-Disease/Page1.html

      I do not believe in either totally vegan diets nor totally carb free diets. Although most veggies have plenty of low-glycemic carbs, white potatoes, sweat potatoes, and starchy root veggies can give me such severe reactions I can almost wind up in a hospital if I am not careful. These are very high in starch but what sets me off is the MOLD.

      I frequent both lists and BOTH sides, including this blog by Dr. Gregor, have some good information, but both sides also are so stuck in their belief systems that they are prevented from seeing any big nutrition picture.

      Biochemical individuality is truly the key. So called double blind studies are only true for the participants for the most part. As the course I took in Functional Medicine at the Institute for Functional Medicine put it, there are many problems with Randomized Control Trials;

      The trials are tailored for drug testing, not clinical care and some factors that frequently limit the external validity of RCTs include:

      Where the trial was performed.
      Characteristics of the patients under study.
      Study procedures often don’t approximate the real world.
      Use of shifting or clinically insignificant outcome measures.
      Statistical manipulation.
      Conflicts of interest in funding.

      And most of all RCTs neglect the individualized nature of heath. and tell us nothing about how to create individualized, patient centered therapeutic plan that will work for a patient with their unique combination of existing conditions, genetic influences, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices.

      And all of this goes double and triple for studies concerning nutrition. Including epidemialogical studies. What works for one person or group of people or culture may not work for the next person due to each persons unique individual biochemistry. Also many traditional cultural diets are not always that nutritionally complete. Many are, but many are not, and the nutritional deficiencies can be seen in the people that eat them.

      Some people do very well on almost totally vegetarian diets, Others, like me don’t do so well, although my diet is pretty full of plants. Some times I see what vegans eat and my plate is piled much higher in vegetables than many vegans. Some vegan might be better labeled starchetarian rather than vegetarian. And vegan diets can indeed be very low or non existent in many critical nutrients. B12 and zinc come to mind immediately but there are others. This is probably the first time in history people can thrive on totally vegan diets because we now have B12 supplements.

      Dr. Terry Wahls followed a vegan diet for decades and came down with MS. The only way she got herself into remission and functioning again, (she was in a tilt-back wheel chair towards the end there) was to go towards the paleo end of the stick, although her diet does vary somewhat

      Obviously a vegan diet was not best for HER. For others, such a diet may not work. Again, biochemical individuality is key. One thing does not change, however. Whatever diet is chosen must be based on real whole foods and not processed depleted, junk, and refined foods and food stuffs.

      • Daniel Wagle

        It is simply not true that zinc cannot be obtained from plant sources, or that it is very low in any plant source. Here is the section on zinc from the World’s Healthiest Foods http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=115 This lists plant foods that contain close to 1/4 the daily recommended amount of zinc per serving.

        Sesame Seeds
        Pumpkin Seeds
        Lentils
        Garbanzo Beans
        Cashews
        Quinoa

        Wheat germ is also an excellent source. Oats are also good. And remember that animals do NOT make B12. B12 is made by bacteria, so one does not have to eat animals to get B12- just the right kind of bacteria. I even learned that taurine can be sourced from certain kinds of algae. No animals have to be eaten to get any nutrient in a natural, non synthetic way.

        • Linda N

          We will just have to agree to disagree on this one, Daniel.

          Health effects of vegan diets

          “eliminating all animal products from the diet increases the risk of certain nutritional deficiencies. Micronutrients of special concern for the vegan include vitamins B-12 and D, calcium, and long-chain n–3 (omega-3) fatty acids. Unless vegans regularly consume foods that are fortified with these nutrients, appropriate supplements should be consumed. In some cases, iron and zinc status of vegans may also be of concern because of the limited bioavailability of these minerals.” http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/89/5/1627S.full

          Plant foods said to contain B12 actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block the intake of, and increase the need for, true B12.

          “Pseudovitamin B(12) is the predominant cobamide of an algal health food, spirulina tablets.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10552882

          Plant foods that contain zinc also contain phytate, which inhibits zinc absorption. Bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other trace minerals from vegetarian diets: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/633S.long

          • mbglife

            Dr Greger recently addressed the phytate argument which was found to be incorrect. And B12 was probably more available in nature before we started “managing” agriculture, but regardless, I would rather eat meat free and take a few supplements than try to get some measly amount of some things from meat. Are you saying zinc comes from animal products, aside from organs (organs which are very polluted and in some cases toxic)? And meat eaters don’t score optimally high on B12 either. To point out the problem with plants but not how injected, infected, and diseased animals are isn’t a fair comparison.

            I’m trying to eat optimally for the times in which I live, not some other time. For me, that means organic vegan and a few supplements.

            I also don’t see how drug trial methodology is relevant to the studies Dr G presents. Many, if not most of the studies he references are conducted on large, sometimes thousands of people, or based on meta analyses. And when you start to see global trends, it actually does mean something. Yes people are individual and may react different than the whole, but it to follow you logic why do the studies to begin with? I tried paleo for a year and reasearched it to the hilt. All it got me was declining health: a 100 point rise in cholesterol, rise in blood pressure, bad digestive problems and constipation. And I was eating free-range, grass-fed, blah blah blah. I’ve tried both sides and I know what works for me and these studies overall, have only improved my health.

          • Daniel Wagle

            I did not say PLANTS contain B12. I said that B12 was NOT produced by animals. This is what Wikipedia stated in its article about B12, ”

            Neither fungi, plants, nor ANIMALS are capable of producing vitamin B12. Only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes required for its synthesis, although many foods are a natural source of B12 because of bacterial symbiosis. The vitamin is the largest and most structurally complicated vitamin and can be produced industrially only through bacterial fermentation-synthesis.”

            Maybe a person would have to “supplement” to get it, but it is “naturally” produced by bacteria fermentation. It is NOT produced by animals. At least it can be obtained without it being synthetic. But a person could get it from a food that was fermented by the right strain of bacteria.
            This is what Wikipedia stated about Long Chain DHA in its article about Algae,
            “Some varieties of algae favored by vegetarianism and veganism contain the long-chain, essential omega-3 fatty acids, Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids, but the original source is algae (microalgae in particular), which are eaten by marine life such as copepods and are passed up the food chain.”
            So in other words, fish do NOT make DHA, they derive it from algae, just like animals don’t make B12, but derive it from bacteria. I consume nutritional yeast, which is fortified with B12, but this is derived naturally from a bacterial cutture and not made synthetically. The yeast itself is from a culture as well.

            Eating an all animal diet would result in far more nutritional deficiencies than would a diet sourced from plants, bacteria, fungi and algal sources. An all animal diet would have no fiber, very little Vitamin C and would be lacking in many phytochemicals and anti oxidants.

          • fruitbat

            Being a meat eater increases the risk of more deficiencies than eating plant based, including magnesium, potassium, folate, copper, vitamins C, E and K, and other problems including losses of calcium due to too much sulfur, and high cholesterol. Yet you never see studies warning of the dire consequence of being a meat eater and not eating foods “fortified with these nutrients” (as though these are special substances not found in normal foods).

            Vitamin B12 is found in lake and river water in much larger amounts than is found in meat (livestock fodder is fortified with B12 and other things anyway), but fresh water today is polluted, and tap water is chlorinated, which destroys B12 (chlorine also affects B12 levels in the body in a round about way by displacing iodine, which is needed for the production of a thyroid hormone involved in the methylation process). Pernicious anaemia was only discovered after water chlorination began in the late 19th century in England.

            Posting a study about an exotic fresh water algae only shows that this specific rarely-consumed substance contains B12 analogues. These cobamides may in theory bind with B12 receptors, there is no proof that it actually happens. But even if they did the existence of this rarely-eaten supplemental food is not enough to allege that vegans consume more cobamides and therefore all vegans are at risk of health problems.

            38% of meat eaters have lower-than-desirable levels of B12, this increases to 75% in elderly people. 9% of meat eaters have an outright deficiency. Only 0.1% of B12 is actually absorbed from red meat – you’d have to eat about 100kg of it to get your RDA. To act like this is a vegan problem is disingenuous. The same is true of vitamin D – one study in America showed that 100% of non-white people had a deficiency. Over 70% of people in the UK are thought to be deficient. It is only feasible to get about 10% of the RDA of vitamin D from diet, so to allege that vegans are somehow more at risk is false. Vitamin D is manufactured by the skin after being exposed to sunlight. Modern indoor lifestyles cause vitamin D deficiencies. If anything vegans would be less at risk since we are more aware. Also, we are the only group that has an average weight within the healthy level – all other groups are overweight. Overweight and obese people need more vitamin D because it is fat soluble and is diluted in excess fat cells.

            The media likes to promote a very specific animal food as THE source of a certain nutrient, then baselessly accuse vegans being “at risk” of deficiencies. The notion that meat eaters will fare better with omega 3′s is based on the idea that they all eat certain types of oily fish on a regular basis, which they do not, and that they DON’T consume enormous amounts of omega 6 fats, which they do. On the other hand, vegans consume omega 3 rich ground flaxseed frequently as it is used as a binder instead of eggs. Also, most plant foods contain some amount of omega 3 and it accumulates. Most fruit, vegetables, nuts seeds, and grains have some omega 3. However, excellent omega 3 sources are found in ordinary foods in the plant world – just 5 grams of flaxseed will provide over 100% of the RDA (if you’re American, one ounce = 28 grams), as will 3 walnuts, or 15 grams of hemp seeds. Among vegetables, most leaves provide about 15% of the RDA per 100 grams, and onions, leeks and bell peppers are also high. Among fruit, a bowl of raspberries (300g) will provide 33% of the RDA. Other berries are almost as good. Soya beans and it’s curd (tofu) are very high in omega 3′s, as are other beans, although not as high as soya since soya is very fatty. I’d hazard a bet that vegans fare better than average on omega 3′s.

            It’s worth remembering that certain fish are only high in omega 3 due to consuming algaes, or consume other fish that consume algae. Algal omega 3 supplements are superior to fish based supplements. Grass-fed meat has slightly higher levels than fodder fed animals, because grass and other leafy greens provide omega 3′s!

            Calcium is another example of the livestock industry equating a specific animal-based food with “getting enough” of a certain nutrient, then claiming vegans may be “at risk” of deficiency to scare people into buying more of it. In this example, the dairy mafia promotes cow’s milk as high-calcium and absolutely essential for human health. This is despite the facts that: (1) no other animal eats milk past infancy (2) let alone the milk of another species (3) humans have only been consuming milk for the past 5000 years – where did they “get their calcium” before that? (4) 2/3 of the world did not consume cows milk at all until the past couple of decades, and (5) significant swathes of the world’s population still do not consume dairy.

            Promoting milk as high calcium and therefore essential for bones and teeth is an easy sell, since dairy products are generally whitish and so are bones and teeth. Most people don’t even realise that calcium is a grey shiny metal like any other. Yet dairy products remove more calcium than they provide, since the body has to neutralise the excess sulfur with its own calcium. Countries with the highest dairy consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis.

            There are many plant-based sources of calcium that are higher than dairy products, without also causing calcium losses. Unlike animal foods, these foods also contain nutrients that are essential for utilising calcium. It is worth remembering that vegans need less calcium (600mg vs 1000mg a day) because not eating animal products mean we lose less. Unlike meat eaters, we get adequate magnesium, potassium, and silica, which are essential for bone and dental health. Silica can actually replace calcium in some areas.

            Plant sources of calcium include sesame seeds and tahini, poppy seeds (which are ridiculously high), soya beans, many other beans, peanuts and other nuts, amaranth, wholewheat and other grains, oranges, dates, figs, kiwis, winter squashes, dark sugars (such as molasses and muscavado), dark green vegetables (especially kale, rocket and purslane) and sea vegetables. Again, like omega 3′s, all plant foods contain some amount of calcium – not only does this accumulate effortlessly, but it is easy to boost calcium above and beyond what you need in a day by consuming some of these common nutritious foods.

            The allegation that vegans “may be at risk of deficiency” of omega 3 and calcium is based on the two products that are promoted in the media as “good sources” happen to not be vegan. On the other hand, the allegation that vegans need to worry about iron is simply a lie. Vegans have the highest iron intake of any group, and unlike meat eaters we consume enough folate and vitamin C to utilise it. Vegetarians are 40% less likely to suffer from iron deficient anaemia than meat eaters. Only 40% of the iron found in meat is this haem iron that they think is so easily absorbed, yet this specific type of iron is toxic and is thought to be a cause of bowel cancer. A reduction in accumulated haem iron is thought to be the reason why donating blood has health benefits.

            Zinc is bound with phytate in nuts, grains and beans but not in fruit and vegetables. Another poster has pointed out the potential benefits of phytic acid, but it can be reduced if desired by simply soaking the seeds.

            Finally, your comment that you think vegans only manage to survive because B12 tablets now exist is ignorant. (1) vegans have always existed, and our numbers include Leonardo Da Vinci and St David of Wales, a tribe who have been vegan for their 2000 year existence, a group from a Chilean mining village who Charles Darwin commented on positively for their strength, and an ancient 5000 year old European body that isotope tests showed to have eaten a plant-based diet (2) It is only very recently that people have begun to eat so much meat. Until the last century this indulgent lifestyle was reserved for rich people. In the past, including in Europe, average people only consumed meat a couple of times a year. Many people round the world lived this way until as little as 20 years ago – the China Study was an excellent example of this (3) vegans from developing countries without chlorinated water do not get B12 deficiencies. Also wild herbivorous animals do not get B12 deficiencies bu develop them when taken into captivity (4) many people round the world are still almost vegan due to not being able to afford the excessive meat intakes of Westerners.

          • Linda N

            Most parent ALA omega 3′s do not convert well to EPA and DHA. Only a tiny portion is converted. Also, I completely disagree with your diatribe on B12. Comparing veganism to the SAD diet is totally meaningless. B12 deficiencies exists for a variety of reasons, including the fact that intrinsic factor declines with age. However vegans are particularly at risk. Read “Could it be B12?”

            The Standard American Diet is good for no one and it surprises me not that most Americans are deficient in a variety of vitamins and minerals. The SAD contains lots of refined grains, sugar, junk food and is largely devoid of fruits and veggies.

            The amount of vegans I have seen totally ndestroy their health is overwhelming. Perhaps even more overwhelming than those on the SAD diet, as I often see vegans making the same mistakes as every other unhealthy eater but with even more restrictions and limitations, refined grains, sugar, beans, and processed soy making up the bulk of the diet. Yuk

            But I do wish you luck with your vegan diet!

      • Wegan

        Not Vegan! From Terry Wahl’s website:

        “When I became a medical student, I lived on beans, rice, whole-grain bread, eggs, cheese, pasta, potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. I believed that fat and protein were necessary for my high-energy lifestyle. My multiple sclerosis symptoms began during medical school, long before my diagnosis, but I ignored them.”

        Maybe it was the dairy and eggs that she also cut out:

        “Eventually, I developed the Wahls diet, focusing on 9 cups of fruits and vegetables: 3 cups of leafy greens, 3 cups brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and 3 cups of sulfur-rich vegetables. My diet also includes sea vegetables and organ meats.”
        She’s also selling a book. Doesn’t she know that organ meats are toxic?
        I wonder what’s up with McDougall’s MS study.
        TAX MEAT!

        • Linda N

          “She’s also selling a book. Doesn’t she know that organ meats are toxic?”

          Organ meats are one of the few dietary sources of CoQ10. Her diet now does in fact contain proteins from meat and organ meats although not in large amounts. A couple of times a week. (Paleo people tend to eat way too much protein) The eggs and dairy are eliminated precisely because so many people have severe food sensitivities to them that are fueling their autoimmune illnesses. Eggs are still allowed for those with no sensitivity to them, as well as rice and other non-gluten grains.

          I stand by most of my statements on this list. Dr. Gregor has an agenda too. He promotes only those studies which meet HIS view of things. And I see this same issue on pale sites. You can find just as many studies that show that pale diets, GAPS diet etc work for this or that. But Dr. Gregor never shows you those studies because he is biased toward vegan diets, or at least vegetarian ones.

          In the end both sides are just as bloody biased. As someone who has actually studied nutrition I get flack and attacks on both lists, and I just brush it off.

          Nutrition is much more complicated than either side wants to admit.

          I do not see any one physician as a nutrition expert. Medical schools don’t teach nutrition. Physicians have to learn it on their own. And when they get stuck in an agenda, thinking what works for them is going to work for everyone else, they badly mislead their followers. This goes for physicians pushing pale diets as well, including Dr. Wahls.

          These doctors are like the blind men and the elephant. Each thinks the whole of nutrition is only the piece that they believe in and that worked for them.

          You can find many bloggers who went on vegan and vegetarian diets who ruined their health on them and had to stop. Same with pale bloggers.

          Again, biochemical individuality is the key.

          • Wegan

            What I meant was that perhaps stopping eggs and dairy is what cured her.

          • Linda N

            No. I have her book. (Among the hundreds of others I have). From my perspective it is possible she might have a methylation defect and thus her vegetarian diet was not the right one for her, or her many previous food sensitivities were interfering with the methyl cycle or both and more. (She had to give up all grains and dairy as well as eggs and pseudo grains.)

            Dr. Wahls is now a functional medicine physician so she finally is learning the type of nutritional biochemistry that she did not get in medical school. And she admits in her book that medical school did not teach her anything at a all about nutrition, gene defects, and all that, and she had to take courses at the Institute of Functional Medicine and also do hours and hours of research online.

            This woman took herself from being just about hopeless in a tilt back wheel chair to a functioning physician again, and people will still want to argue that the diet that turned her back into a functioning physician again is some how an unhealthy diet. It is the right diet for HER.

        • Kathy

          Tax meat? Why should we enrich the government and punish the citizens for their meat choices? Education is a better solution than punishment, please.

          • Wegan

            The government could use that money to promote sustainable energy, etc. At least remove the subsidies for corn etc. Over 50% of greenhouse gases come from meat industry. http://www.worldwatch.org/files/pdf/Livestock%20and%20Climate%20Change.pdf

            Education isn’t cutting it when people want to stay ignorant and billions are spent to keep them that way!

            The first step is of course to amend the constitution to say that corporations are not people, my friend.

      • HemoDynamic, M.D.

        I have to disagree with you about Dr. Terry Wahls.
        She followed a Vegetarian diet NOT a Vegan diet:
        “When I became a medical student, I lived on beans, rice, whole-grain bread, eggs, cheese, pasta, potatoes, vegetables, and fruit. I believed that fat and protein were necessary for my high-energy lifestyle. My multiple sclerosis symptoms began during medical school, long before my diagnosis, but I ignored them.”

    • Nat

      The healthy fats are broken down efficiently unlike the animal fats.

  • Arun Mukherjee

    I wonder about the reference to rural India. Do rural Indians live long enough? The average age of death in India is lower than in Western countries and as a rule rural Indians die at a younger age than urban Indians due to lack of health services.

    • Gross Bro

      Average life span in rural India is 65.9 years; symptoms of dementia can start appearing in late 30′s early 40′s.

    • Julie

      I’ve heard theories that the large consumption of turmeric in India is responsible for their low incidence of dementia.

  • http://bebrainfit.com/ Deane Alban

    And yet Dr. Perlmutter author of Grain Brain and practicing neurologist completely disagrees. He deals with Alzheimer’s patients daily and has found in his practice that low carbs/high fat works for his patients. So how does the average person decide what’s really best?

    • Gross Bro

      Did he try eliminating /only/ processed grains from their diets? Did he have the patients eat whole grains instead?

      It’s easier to sell books when you’re able to point fingers and vilify something.

    • David

      Here’s a key exchange between Hamblin (who speaks first) and Perlmutter:

      I asked for some clarity on that. “We don’t have clinical studies linking gluten to Alzheimer’s, ADHD, or —”

      “With all due respect, we do. That information is well established. It was actually published by the Mayo Clinic, that gluten can in fact be related to risk for dementia. So I would beg to differ with you on that point. Gluten, certainly in patients with celiac disease, is strongly associated with risk for dementia. As was described in the Proceedings of the Mayo Clinic, it was a treatable cause of dementia. So I think that’s pretty revolutionary and exciting.”

      That study didn’t appear in my inbox. I asked him for it later, and he promptly sent me a 2006 case series that identified 13 patients in a review of Mayo Clinic records from January 1, 1970, to December 31, 2005. That is an interesting correlation — the study’s authors called it a “possible association” — but is far from well-established causation that gluten is a mechanism for dementia in people with celiac disease, much less all people.

      Got that? Under Perlmutter’s prism, a single study, of 13 people, with a finding of “possible association,” turns into a near certainty.

  • The Nutritarian

    Excellent, as Always! Thank you.
    Some things seem so obvious, but then again, your programming from youth, parents, siblings, wife et.al. talks to you and makes you question what you know to be right. It is a constant challenge with each and every bite. It this what I most need at this time? Have I consumed too much of “this”/or too little? It is WONDERFUL to talk about a Whole Food Plant Based Diet. But that doesn’t tell me what to eat and when, really. As I say: “We are each an experiment of one.”/so we have to THINK and PLAN accordingly/and listen to this great and wonderful vessel GOD has entrusted us with. Like “Toxic Hunger”….say addiction to Peanut Butter…or any particularly desirable food/one must learn to savor the flavor without consuming it too frequently or in too great of amounts.

    Freedom: We relish and celebrate it at this time of year!!! As well we should /”we” have fought so hard to get it and to maintain it. But, as we know, Freedom is not “free”. It requires our investment in knowledge and rigorous application of that knowledge for our benefit and the benefit of our fellow citizens. Invest – in YOUR Brain/and reap the dividends again and again and again.

    Happy FOURTH!!!!!!!

  • Cindy

    I have two questions for you.

    Is it safe to eat seaweed because of Fukushima?
    I would love to eat it but I am to worried that it is no longer safe to eat.

    Can vegans have cholesterol that is to low? My
    doctor was very worried. I had been
    vegan for 5 months at the time of this test and here are my numbers:
    Cholesterol 123, Triglycerides 47, HDL 40, LDL 74, Chol/HDL Ratio 3.08. His response to what should I do about this
    was “Can’t you just eat some eggs”. I ignored his advice because I know better than
    to eat that. I am still vegan but I am concerned
    because my doctor is concerned.

    • Ciny

      If seaweed is no longer safe to eat I would think that green
      tea would also be affected. I would love
      to know your thoughts.

      • guest

        check out the aluminum content in green tea.
        also fluoride content. maybe not so good!?

    • JoAnn Ivey

      Has your doctor read the latest study by Dr. Esselstyn which showed actual reversal of heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn restricts fats to less than 10% of daily caloric intake, and he wants his patients to have cholesterol levels below 150, preferably lower. The only 2 prior studies showing actual reversal of heart disease, by Ornish and Esselstyn, were done on the same plant-based very low fat diet. Populations around the world with low incidence of coronary artery disease have cholesterol levels like yours. My doctor is ignorant of nutrition – he asked me how I got my protein.

      • Darryl

        For heart disease and for ischemic (clotting) strokes, lower cholesterol (esp LDL) seems to always confer lower risk. Hemorrhagic strokes may be another matter. The concern around cholesterol below the reference range (< 140 mg/dl) largely stems from some studies showing an association with depression, anxiety and attempted suicide. Causality was never established, but there are theories about cholesterol and serotonin receptors.

        I suspect if Cindy feels pretty content, doesn’t have an eating disorder (no, veganism doesn’t count), and isn’t elderly (where low cholesterol can be a marker of decline), there isn’t much reason to worry about her numbers (which I’m frankly envious of).

        • elsie blanche

          For someone with very low cholesterol, and who is concerned about issues relating to anxiety and depression, is there a way for a vegan to raise his or her cholesterol without resorting to eating animal products, yet at the same time maintaining a “healthy vegan diet”? It is my understanding that the body makes its own cholesterol, but is there a way we can intervene and do things (such as fasting, eating certain vegan foods, eliminating other vegan foods, etc.) that might ramp up the bodies production of ch.?

          • Brenda

            I wish I had this problem. I have been plant-based, whole foods for two years and still struggle to get my cholesterol within the safe range so the doc stops pushing statins. I did learn that cholesterol is used in the process of Vitamin D through sun exposure. I had been taking HRT and avoiding all sun – fully covered head to toe and not going out from 10 – 2 – miserable existence. This year I am getting about 15 minutes of unprotected sun a day for natural Vitamin D to avoid taking supplements. I am hoping this will use some of the cholesterol my body makes. It is confusing to have my body make so much more than it apparently needs. My argument to my doctor is my body is making it and I’m not fighting my body by ingesting synthetic chemicals.

          • Thea

            Brenda: re: “This year I am getting about 15 minutes of unprotected sun a day for natural Vitamin D to avoid taking supplements.”
            >>> I thought you might be interested in Dr. Greger’s sun recommendations that are based on where you live and time of day. Just scroll down to the Vitamin D section:
            http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/

            re: ” I have been plant-based, whole foods for two years and still struggle to get my cholesterol within the safe range…”

            >>> I remember hearing someone (I *think* it was Esselstyn, but might have been McDougall or someone else) try to address this problem which seems to affect some people the way it has you. The theory (and it was just presented as a theory, not something tested/proven) was that for some people, after years of too much dietary cholesterol, their bodies just keep producing and producing like a broken factory. That was the gist of the idea.

            The question becomes, how do you fix that factory? I’m not a doctor, but I have some thoughts. There are several videos on this site which highlight certain whole plant foods which are known to specifically help lower cholesterol. I don’t have a list off the top of my head, but you can search on this site and maybe tweak your diet to especially include these foods. Maybe that would help you.

            Also, you might want to check out Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse heart disease, because he covers all angles of what might damage your endothelial cells. I bring this to your attention for two reasons: 1) you mention you are plant based, but do not give details. You can consume oils and still be plant-based. But oils are reportedly bad for the endothelial cells. 2) cholesterol numbers are just numbers. You don’t care about that really. What you care about is not having a heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol numbers are risk indicators, but the bottom line is to stay healthy. So, the point 1) above is really an important issue. Maybe (I don’t know, this is just a thought!!!) higher cholesterol is not an issue for you as long as you do everything Esselstyn recommends for having healthy endothelial cells. Just a thought.

            Also, I have my own personal theory (that is totally lay-person–not based on any particularly advanced perspective/knowledge of biology and may be completely 100% wrong) that people who switch to whole plant foods and start to loose weight may have more cholesterol running through their blood – but that will eventually lower when they finish losing weight. I have no idea what your weight situation is. I just thought I would throw out my theory in case you find it helpful.

            re: “My argument to my doctor is…”
            >>> Not being an expert, I can’t say whether or not it is wise to avoid the drugs, but I can say that I totally agree with you. If someone tried to encourage me to take statins, I doubt I would do it. The side effects are not acceptable and I know I can treat the problem with diet. So, why not.

            Having said that, I thought I would let you know that I believe that both Esselstyn and McDougall do prescribe statins for some patients initially along with diet recommendations just to
            be agressive in treating a potential heart problem. But the ultimate goal is to get their patients off the drugs and I understand that they are very successful in doing so.

            Best of luck to you. I hope this was helpful.

          • Brenda

            Thea – thank you very much. I read Dr. Esselstyn’s book two years ago. I dropped 50 pounds which has remained stable for over a year – BMI is 19. I actually got to talk to Dr. E on the phone – at the time I was not doing all he advised. I’ve been two years without oil and I eat a lot of raw greens every single day. I know Dr. Greger has said barley and pinto beans – both have been added to my diet over six months now. I was on seven medications, now down to one. I stopped the statins due to muscle pain. My sun exposure is based on Dr. Greger’s recommendations. I’m in the North. I understand my body needs to recover from all the bad eating habits and even the medications. I think Dr. E’s study showed results after three years so I have six months to go. I did drop my triglycerides from 600s to half – so I am heading in the right direction. Doctor says now he won’t test my cholesterol because the reason for testing is to treat and I refuse to take statins. It makes him nervous because I did have an MI in my mid 30s.

          • Brenda

            I forgot to mention that I also discovered I had an infection in my system, which I understand can raise LDL. I have a lot of quirks to my medical history so I know it is mainly trial and error for me to find out what works. The body is amazing and I’m trying to get mine to the point of healing itself as much as possible.

          • Thea

            Brenda: Wow. You are amazing. You have come so, so far. I’m wishing you all the luck in the world.

          • Brenda

            Thank you. I really appreciate all the suggestions. I’m still trying to figure out if there is anything else I can change to improve.

          • Thea

            Brenda:

            You may want to check out this NutrtionFacts article on amla:

            http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/01/17/amla-indian-gooseberries-versus-cancer-diabetes-and-cholesterol/

            The article not only references amla, but dried apples. Something else that you might use in your tweaking.

            Good luck!

          • Brenda

            I did buy amla powder and was using it prior to my last blood tests but haven’t been using it recently – though I did find dried golden berries. I eat whole apples – two a day – do you think dehydrating them adds something that eating them “raw” doesn’t? I’ll watch the video again – sometimes I think I’ve memorized most of them. :) I think someone made a comment about amla powder being consumed on an empty stomach – I was mixing it with turmeric and non fat soy milk like a mini shake.

          • Thea

            Brenda: re: ” do you think dehydrating them adds something that eating them “raw” doesn’t?”

            I have absolutely no clue. At a complete guess, I would say that rather than a chemical change that makes a difference, the dry apples are simply more concentrated – you can eat more because the water has been removed. If that’s the issue, then whole apples would be just fine. My goodness, two hole apples sounds pretty good to me!

            But I really don’t know. For all I know, the experiment was with dried apples because those are easier to fake for a control group. Maybe… ?

          • Dommy

            Exercise!!!

          • jessica torok

            In Grain Brain, Dr Perlmutter says cholesterol is important for healthy brain.

          • Brenda

            yes and I agree with that. I don’t want it down to some unreasonable level, just to where the doctor will stop making excuses why I have to take statins. My total is 220, I’d be happy with it under 200, preferably under 150; HDL is 37 but I believe recent studies say higher isn’t better. My LDL is 121, I’d like it under 100, triglycerides are 310 and need to be at least under 150 but since they were at 600 they are improved. Since I’m two years plant based, whole foods it is all what my body is making not dietary. I wasn’t touching any nuts at all per Dr. E’s recommendations but I just started, especially walnuts to see if that helps.

          • Darryl

            Elsie, a number of studies have pointed to deficiencies in HDL cholesterol in depression, which is fortunate as this is generally considered the “good” kind of cholesterol: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

            Some lifestyle and diet changes that increase HDL cholesterol include aerobic exercise, weight loss, smoking cessation, moderate alcohol consumption, monounsaturated fats, long-chain omega-3s (eg algal EPA/DHA), soluble fiber, and cranberry juice. Several of these have improved the course of depression in clinical studies, though their mechanism (via HDL or otherwise) isn’t clear.

            For seriously low HDL which is a marker of cardiovascular risk, doctors have prescribed high dose nicotinic acid (niacin, a vitamin B3) or fibrates (fenofibrate, bezafibrate, gemfibrozil). However, it’s not so clear this has cardiovascular benefits.

          • Thea

            Darryl: I know you were replying to Eslie, but I wanted to thank you for this reply. I found it very interesting and helpful!

          • Linda N

            Coconut oil and butter. Red Palm oil.

          • elsie blanche

            Maybe I’ll try the red palm oil (i never have had it before), but butter is very inflammatory for me….Body pain and dermatitis .

          • Linda N

            I meant coconut butter.

    • Thea

      Cindy: re: “Can vegans have cholesterol that is to low?”

      I think Darryl’s reply is helpful. You might also check out this video from NutritionFacts: “Can cholesterol be too low?”:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/can-cholesterol-be-too-low/

    • KWD

      Hi Cindy, As far as seaweed and Fukushima….this video of Dr. Greger’s references a chart from a study in 2009 (before the accident) that shows dietary sources of Polonium and seaweed is on the pie chart around 2:50 seconds. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/fukushima-and-radioactivity-in-seafood/

      A quick search of pubmed also pulled up a list of papers of which some of them are post-Fukushima studies that may be relevant to your question: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=seaweed+fukushima&cmd=DetailsSearch

    • http://www.mokysblog.com/ Moky

      Cindy, my total cholesterol is 97. My plant based doc is thrilled and happy. My CRP is also 0.5. He told me I’m basically heart attack proof.

    • mbglife

      A few years my cholesterol has been 121 and then 117. My doctors and nurses have always patted me on the back and told me to keep it up. I read once that Ray Kurzwell, futurist, tech genius and life extension enthusiast has a cholesterol of well below 100. So, I wouldn’t be worried just yet about trying to get your cholesterol back up. I’d be just doing more of the same, although, you might look into the balance between HDL and LDL. I’m not a doctor nor a nutritionist, but I think eating eggs likely won’t change your ratio, just make you numbers higher.

    • jessica torok

      Buy seaweed by Maine Coast Sea Vegetables.

  • Darryl

    Many of the ecological associations are also consistent with George Brewer’s inorganic copper theory, covered in a past NutritionFacts video and taken up by other researchers. Few in Africa or rural India have copper plumbing. On the other hand, Japan uses stainless steel plumbing, so their increase in AD prevalence from 1 to 7% of > 65 year olds is due to something else. Brewer himself suspects copper and high dietary fat interact, as supported by this study.

    • guest

      Interesting though that there are some nuts that are sky high in copper, as well as saturated fat. Maybe this being a reason too many nuts is not so good. And a high-fat vegan diet often has way more copper than zinc. Way more.

      • Darryl

        Brewer’s argument is that inorganic copper (eg from plumbing, contamination, or copper salts in mineral supplements), unlike organically bound copper from foods, bypasses the liver and enters circulation unregulated, as free ions. There have been a couple studies that indicate serum free copper is predictive of cognitive decline, while total copper isn’t (1, 2).

        There’s not much work on nuts and cognitive decline, but this study indicated a protective effect, as did this one (though only with walnuts).

        • Timar

          Don’t forget that phytic acid has the strongest binding affinity to copper among all metal ions (Cu2+>Zn2+>Ni2+>Co2+>Mn2+>Fe3+>Ca2; see this review). Hence the phytic acid present in nuts and seeds may naturally protect against their relatively high levels of copper. Phytic acid may also explain the strong negative correlation between (whole) grain consumption and rated of dementia. The paleo advocates engaging in scaremongering about phytic acid may be demonizing a highly beneficial nutrient, which would ironically be most urgently needed within the context of a Paleo diet high in iron and copper from animal sources.

  • Rivka Freeman

    Regarding “Pass the Grain to Spare the Brain” being protective against Alzheimer’s and regarding Meat and Animal Food fed #GMO compared to Paleo organic grass fed meat causative: both of these foods categories high glycemic starchy carbs and animal proteins are foods that must be limited, meal by meal, each time we eat a meal if you are not vegan. Greens are different we can eat unlimited amounts of greens and blood sugar stays great the more we eat!
    Bet? Both GRAINBRAIN and MEATHEAD in EXCESS on a chronic basis after every meal when consumption makes hyperinsulinemia this causes Alzheimer’s.
    Are there studies on portion sizes and quality of grains sparing the brain? Do the studies comparing #GMO fed animal food and organic pasture raised meat causing Alzheimer’s adjust for achlorhydria and anemia and homocysteine?

    • EP_2012

      If the supposed mechanism for Alzheimer’s is the “increases in cholesterol, saturated fat, and iron”, what makes you think pasture raised meat would be any different? Are they void of those components?

      And these studies go back to the 1960′s, linking animal fats to dementia, whereas GMO feed has only been available since the mid 90′s, so it’s a leap to suggest that’s what the problem is.

      Meat is meat is meat. We see time and time again that it makes little difference where the meat comes from how how it’s raised, when compared to not eating it at all.

      “Are there studies on portion sizes and quality of grains sparing the brain?”

      I believe those questions are answered already in the source studies. The more meat the higher the incidence, the more grains, the lower.

      If you have any studies showing PROTECTIVE effects of grass fed, organic, pasture, happy meat, then please provide it.

  • bruxe

    2:10 … it’s right about here he does this thing, where he takes this study that seems to say too much animal fat can feedback positively into cancer rates which will go up , and then extrapolates as if it is part of the same study saying that this is consistent with studies that show vegetarians are two to three times less likely to to become demented … then his reasoning he basically draws a straight-line connection between the two studies.

    THIS IS NOT WARRANTED – IT IS NOT SCIENCE – IT IS PLAYING WITH STUDIES.

    Now … he may be right … but there is as yet nothing to prove that. It’s basically saying, isn’t this interesting, implying to the vegetarian crowd they are better than “regular people” because they are much less likely to become demented.

    In other words this kind of playing with words can affect people’s behaviors because of unproven subconscious connections that the listener failed to or did not want to think about and qualify.

    I really like Dr. Gregors web page because I hear about a lot of very interesting studies that I otherwise would not, but I wish he would either do less of this, or mention it when he does it, or qualify in some way some of these statements.

    We do not know, and in fact as a layperson anyway I think there is plenty of doubt that the relationship between eating meat and some diseases is non-linear and a result of could be implanted bad behavior because of the way we manufacture, treat, and sell and consume food these days – i.e. just too much with too many chemicals.

    The conclusions drawn need to be really careful I think.

    • Arjan den Hollander.

      Greger aint pushing animal rights issues down your throat is he?
      Do you see him dead bent on selling you stuff?

      Seems to me the only motivation here remaining must be to try to get people to eat themselves towards healthier lives.

      He and his team have saved my life as I can attest and for that I’ll be eternally gratefull. If only I could get my mother to make the changes so she will be able to enjoy her grandchildren for as long as possible.

      I’m pretty sure there are thousands of people still visiting here with similar stories.

    • Neil

      You comment is unclear. At 2:10 in the video, Greger mentions the study on Adventists, which looks at how dementia may be linked to animal product consumption. What is the relevance of your comment regarding cancer: Greger “2:10 … it’s right about here he does this thing, where he takes this
      study that seems to say too much animal fat can feedback positively into
      cancer rates which will go up . . . .”?

  • JoAnn Ivey

    We have to choose the right path for ourselves based on the evidence, and the Blue Zones with high whole grain, mostly plant based diets are healthier and longer lived than all populations with high meat/dairy intake. Those people are slimmer too – guess 1.7 billion Asians didn’t read the book that tells us rice will make us fat. Since I went plant based whole grain, I’ve reversed arthritis, osteoporosis, lowered my blood pressure and cholesterol, aortic plaque just disappeared. I’m getting healthier eating like this.

    • val

      Kudos to you JoAnn! what bothers me is the number of Americans who are suffering needlessly due to the food they eat (or don’t eat!)

    • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

      Regarding one of the Blue Zones – Okinawa Prefecture. As with all vegan vs. paleo topics there is a controversy :( Results from one of the studies: 1. Nutrient intakes in 94 Japanese centenarians investigated between 1972 and 1973 showed a higher proportion of animal protein to total proteins than in contemporary average Japanese. 2. High intakes of milk and fats and oils had favorable effects on 10-year (1976-1986) survivorship in 422 urban residents aged 69-71. The survivors revealed a longitudinal increase in intakes of animal foods such as eggs, milk, fish and meat over the 10 years. 3. Nutrient intakes were compared between a sample from Okinawa Prefecture where life expectancies at birth and 65 were the longest in Japan, and a sample from Akita Prefecture where the life expectancies were much shorter. Intakes of Ca, Fe, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and the proportion of energy from proteins and fats were significantly higher in the former than in the latter. Intakes of carbohydrates and NaCl were lower.

      Nutr Health. 1992;8(2-3):165-75.
      Nutrition for the Japanese elderly.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=1407826&query_hl=7&itool=pubmed_docsum

      Also, a more recent article “Nutritional factors on longevity and quality of life in Japan” states that The relationship of nutrient intakes to life expectancies in Japan since the Second World War has demonstrated that sufficient intakes of animal protein and fat are crucial for attaining longevity. In the community dwelling elderly, the higher the serum albumin was, the longer the further life expectancy in the elderly. Serum total cholesterol showed a U-shape relationship to further life expectancies in the elderly.

      Low serum cholesterol was deleterious (!) for higher levels of functional capacity. Low serum cholesterol and low serum alpha-tochopherol accelerated depressive status in the community dwelling elderly.

      J Nutr Health Aging. 2001;5(2):97-102.
      Nutritional factors on longevity and quality of life in Japan.

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11426289

  • http://www.larabriden.com/ Lara Briden

    Dr Greger, the studies that you mention are all about rice being protective for brain health. There is a big difference between rice and gluten grains. It is gluten – not grains per se- that has been linked with dementia.

    • http://macsmiley.tumblr.com/ MacSmiley

      Gluten…not grains per se…
      … which is why Perlmutter entitled his book, Grain Brain, right?

    • Neil

      That is incorrect. Not all the studies referenced are about rice. From what I could tell, only the two studies regarding Japanese reference rice. The study dealing with northern India dealt with grains (including rice) and legumes.

      Also, what are the links to scientific studies showing that gluten is linked to dementia?

      • Ben

        There are none, it’s a myth that gluten has any connection to dementia.

      • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

        Saw this one, though it’s more related to celiac disease and dementia: http://archneur.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=792544

        • Neil

          Thanks. Yes, from what I know, the gluten craze is a myth– subsequently turned into marketing bonanza by the food industry–based on the very small percentage of the population that suffer from celiac disease and gluten sensitivity (which may lead to irritable bowel syndrome, for example). http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/86
          I asked Lara to provide the studies on which she is basing her blanket statement that gluten is linked to dementia when, based on what I have seen, gluten may be linked to dementia in the small number of people suffering from celiac disease. But even this link seems to be a tentative one: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19018335

    • mbglife

      When I heard Perlmutter on his PBS show I heard him say gluten and grains and carbs over and over. He never said just gluten.

  • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

    Just stumbled upon this little study:Alterations in mood after changing to a low-fat diet. In short, they tracked persons on a 41% fat diet (controls on the average fat consumption in the UK at the time) and a 25% fat diet for several months.

    The results: Hostility and anger increased significantly among the low fat dieters, and depressed mood decreased among the 41% fat dieters while it increased among the low fat dieters. Tension and anxiety also increased among the low fat dieters.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9505799
    Br J Nutr. 1998 Jan;79(1):23-30.

    • largelytrue

      Why should we care about this one study? Was it well-designed? Does it have statistical power? Does it do a good job of isolating this one factor, dietary fat? Is it of direct concern to us, who want to compare diets without processed food in them?

    • mbglife

      I don’t see what this has to do with this discussion. Dr Greger isn’t against fat, he’s against saturated fat. And I agree with @largelytrue.

      • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

        Yes, but he is in favor of high carbs, and recently more and more studies demonstrate that people eating greater amounts of carbs have a higher risk-level of dementia and Alzheimer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m on whole-plant based diet myself, and after reading such studies I’m just worried that 70% of my diet is carbs (though mostly gluten-free).

        • largelytrue

          You don’t appear to be doing any synthesis, though, and in that sense you are amplifying the problematic aspects of these short videos in your own work. If you are simply selecting a bunch of studies for abstracts and conclusions that sorta-kinda imply some sort of harm to high carbohydrate diets of some sort, you aren’t doing much.

          Gregor is not strictly high carb, by the way. He’s been generally permissive about nuts, and tolerant about whole coconut, though he apparently doesn’t favor avocados.

          • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

            No, I’m not doing any synthesis, I’m just a worried patient with neurological problems on my second month of whole plant based vegan diet, and I’m getting worse :( And my citations of conflicting articles are an expression of my hopelessness that every study Dr. Greger shows us has a study showing opposite results – just saw a few studies on how low cholesterol is related to depression, dementia, AD, MS and other psychiatric and neurologic issues. And I’m pretty much cutting down my cholesterol with the WP veg diet…

          • largelytrue

            But you’re certain that you are best off going to eat some coconut oil, as per your other comment? You don’t seem hopeless or confused there. Your general pattern of peppering single studies on several videos seems rather like you are Campaigning to Deliver the Truth to the site.

          • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

            Sorry if it seemed so. As I said, I am totally confused regarding the proper diet, after reading a practicing psychiatrist’s blog (http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com). The posts are all based on scientific articles, just as Dr. Greger’s. The bottom line (based on quite a few studies linked in her blogs) – in order to preserve your mental health and nervous system you must avoid grains (especially wheat) and legumes, eat plenty of meat, get plenty of saturated fat (animal based) and be careful to not get you cholesterol too low since it results in dementia and Alzheimer’s. Anecdotally, there is a mentioning of great vegan gurus like Herbert Shelton developing Parkinson’s. All this is opposite to what nutritionfacts.org is suggesting to do and what I’ve been doing for more than two months now…

          • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

            Oh, and for example studies have shown that broccoli, so much praised by Dr. Greger promotes severe DNA damage in the colon and can be related to colon cancer (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16441953).

            My point is – sadly it seems that Dr. Greger picks and presents only studies which support his plant based diet and completely ignores opposing studies and views.

          • largelytrue

            That’s an extreme view, since he certainly does introduce challenges to his ideas as a part of developing his argument, and frankly his main format is not well-structured to give a high depth of argumentation about his overall position re vegan diets; 5 minute videos are not 5 page blogs or dissertation-level work.

            I may take a look at the shrink blog but I’ll tell you my prior perception right now:
            1) Psychiatry is even more rife with pseudoscientific speculation than bodily medicine. Marketing is perhaps a big part of this.
            2) Evolutionary Psychiatry smells of paleo faddism and the naturalistic fallacy in general. Our evolutionary past was not idyllic and functional in service of our own existential happiness. It was good enough to get us to cling, sometimes foolishly, to any chance to pass on our genes, as much as that tendancy could be inscribed by incremental changes in an imperfect genome.

          • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

            You are absolutely right, except maybe the marketing thing :) After my half a year communication with different psychiatrists I especially agree on the psych being a pseudoscience. And the blog I referred to also definitely smells of paleo – which is not surprising since the blogger is a paleo apologist herself. However, the studies which are cited on the blog and the whole approach is not that much based on the evolutionary past. And since the neuro-psycho issues for me are naturally the most important, possible positive effects of animal (saturated) fat, taurine, carnitine, creatine, cholesterol and other substances (which I eliminated from my diet) on brain health really got me worried.

          • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

            Also, what is your opinion regarding these two studies (sorry for repeating myself – I just posted reference to them as a reply to another user):
            (1) 1. Nutrient intakes in 94 Japanese centenarians investigated between 1972 and 1973 showed a higher proportion of animal protein to total proteins than in contemporary average Japanese. 2. High intakes of milk and fats and oils had favorable effects on 10-year (1976-1986) survivorship in 422 urban residents aged 69-71. The survivors revealed a longitudinal increase in intakes of animal foods such as eggs, milk, fish and meat over the 10 years. 3. Nutrient intakes were compared between a sample from Okinawa Prefecture where life expectancies at birth and 65 were the longest in Japan, and a sample from Akita Prefecture where the life expectancies were much shorter. Intakes of Ca, Fe, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and the proportion of energy from proteins and fats were significantly higher in the former than in the latter. Intakes of carbohydrates and NaCl were lower.

            Nutr Health. 1992;8(2-3):165-75.
            Nutrition for the Japanese elderly.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu

            (2) A more recent article “Nutritional factors on longevity and quality of life in Japan” states that The relationship of nutrient intakes to life expectancies in Japan since the Second World War has demonstrated that sufficient intakes of animal protein and fat are crucial for attaining longevity. In the community dwelling elderly, the higher the serum albumin was, the longer the further life expectancy in the elderly. Serum total cholesterol showed a U-shape relationship to further life expectancies in the elderly.

            Low serum cholesterol was deleterious (!) for higher levels of functional capacity. Low serum cholesterol and low serum alpha-tochopherol accelerated depressive status in the community dwelling elderly.

            J Nutr Health Aging. 2001;5(2):97-102.
            Nutritional factors on longevity and quality of life in Japan.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu

          • largelytrue

            2) Is kind of a crappy review, in my opinion. They don’t consider likely objections very well, but there are lines of evidence indicating that animal foods reduce stroke mortality in Japan. A lot of the mortality there is linked with smoking and excess salt, leading to hemhorragic stroke, as you can see. Do you live like a Japanese person and carry these risk factors in your lifestyle?

            Cholesterol often appears protective in the elderly but disease at the end of life often lowers cholesterol. Serum albumin and milk consumption connect with healthy behaviors in Japan, as they state about the perceived health of milk. So you often see it connecting with lower salt intake and higher fruit and vegetable intake. They observe this link with salt in the paper. Meanwhile, while cerebrovascular disease has declined in Japan over the years, as you can see in the plot, other forms of mortality in their plot have tread water, despite increased standards of medical care, public health, and increased fruit and vegetable consumption in recent decades. So we can’t really say that animal food is doing much for their other risks.

            The general complaint is that the authors are very association-happy. They show correlates of animal consumption and contrast between tertiles, but we have no particular reason to think that these associations would be real in an accurate model of all relevant factors.

            1) Again you see a general comparison between Akita and Okinawa. The Akitan population is more hypertensive. Okinawans consumed more fruits and vegetables, less salt, and exchanging meat for fish probably also helps with hemhorragic stroke. Cholesterol and albumin decline with age in the Akitans, but can they really infer that this is not reverse causation here, a signal of the disease rather than a cause? Do they do any investigation into causality at all? Again, my general complaint is that they pool risks into all cause mortality and look for univariate correlates, or something pretty close to. This gets you into a heap of trouble because you cease to think of causal mechanisms and models when you do so, especially when you don’t state that your model adjusts for known risk factors in mortality among the Japanese elderly.

            Sorry if this is not as rigorous as you’d like, but it’s my quick response to the work of these works, which share the same lead author.

          • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

            Thank you very much for the insight. I plan to continue my whole foods plant based diet experiment (n=1:) for at least half a year…

          • Thea

            laregelytrue: Reviews of studies fascinate me. Thanks for taking the time to do this. It is helpful for lots of people.

          • largelytrue

            You’re welcome. We are in a space where we need to read deeper to understand what’s going on, but we all don’t have all the time and skills to accurately judge all of the literature.

            It helps to bring some reading and reviewing into the open. It shows our weaknesses, it shows our strengths, and it suggests how we might improve our beliefs and arguments.

          • b00mer

            Hi Mindaugas,

            I couldn’t read the entire article you linked to (do you have access to it?), but all the abstract states is results from changing from 41% fat to 25% fat. It does not say what the fat calories were replaced by; often it is simple sugars in studies like this. Also keep in mind that 25% is not a low-fat diet in the opinion of the doctors who advocate for low fat vegan diets. For heart disease prevention, 10% cal from fat is typically the benchmark. The Okinawans, who enjoy excellent mental and physical health into old age, get about 6% of their calories from fat.

            It reminds me a bit of the terrible “low fat vs mediterranean” diet study out last year where they looked at a medi diet with 39% fat plus omega-3 supplementation and counseling vs a “low” fat 37% fat diet without omega-3s or counseling and called the medi diet the winner. Or a joke of a Hillshire Farms funded study I saw recently that claimed a high-protein (i.e. sausage and egg) breakfast could lead to weight loss because participants reported more satiety than those eating pancakes and syrup instead.

          • Mindaugas Raulinaitis
          • b00mer

            Thank you for the link. If you are eating a whole foods plant based diet, I’m not sure I would worry about the results obtained from a pilot study of 20 people looking at the differences resulting from consumption of regular vs low-fat versions of “mayo, french fries, and chips”, with a third of the participants knowing which version they were eating. Especially with many other studies available showing the mood benefits associated with increased starch consumption/serotonin levels, decreases in arachidonic acid, and even therapeutic effects from specific plant foods.

            Have you tried entering your diet into cronometer to determine if any of your micronutrient levels are low?

          • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

            Yep, I’m using cronometer, most micronutrients seem fine, except B12 and vit D, but I supplement those. Thanks for the reply! It seems that reading opposing paleo blogs have the largest negative effect on my mood :)))

        • Ben

          In studies like the one you posted, they will give one group whole milk and the other skim milk. Yeah, that gets their fat percentage down, but their animal protein levels go up, no wonder studies like the one you posted show harm for supposed “lowfat” diets. That’s not the healthy way to go lowfat.

  • The Nutritarian
  • Juan Live

    Dear Dr. Greger would you please make a video about Cactus fruit and its anti cancer properties?

  • Mindaugas Raulinaitis

    Another study:

    Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet.

    In this paper, we have highlighted that AD may also be caused by a deficiency in the supply chain of cholesterol, fats, and antioxidants to the brain. We have provided much evidence of the importance of these nutrients to brain function, and have shown that AD patients are deficient in cholesterol and fats in the cerebral spinal fluid.

    Seneff S, et al, Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet, European Journal of Internal Medicine (2011), http://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/EJIM_PUBLISHED.pdf

    I’m gonna go eat some coconut oil :)

    http://evolutionarypsychiatry.blogspot.com/2011/06/nutrition-and-alzheimers-disease.html

    • Timar

      I am puzzled about how the paper by Seneff et al. made it through the peer review process. It is full of logical leaps and speculation. Seneff is a computer scientist engaged in the Weston A. Price Foundation. She has no professional qualifications whatoever to write a paper about Alzheimer’s but brings in at least as much dietary ideology as any vegan diet guru.

      She speculates about the causative role of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in Alzheimer’s disease and manages to completely ignore the role of dietary AGEs – which are present in copious amounts in cooked meat, cheese and fried foods – and which have been shown to excert strongly pro-inflammatory effects in healthy subjects and contrubite to metabolic impared insulin sensitivity and metabolic pathways associated with the pathogenesis of type II diabetes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). The evidence brought forth by Vlassara et al. suggests that exogenous/dietary AGEs are a major causative factor in type II diabetes and possibly other chronic diseases associated with a pro-inflammatory status (e.g. upregulated RAGE and mTOR signaling) such as neurodegenerative diseases whereas endogenous AGEs are rather a consequence of impaired insulin sensitivity and type II diabetes and the mechanism by which the disease finally exacerbates itself in a “positive” feedback-loop.

  • Nick Kokoshis

    Dr. Greger, wasn’t there research a while back that showed that vegetarians and vegans had twice the rates of degenerative brain disease due to chronic low B12 levels leading to elevated homocysteine leves?

  • EccoLa

    So where does butter (or, more specifically, Indian ghee) fit into this picture? Dr. Greger more than once mentions how healthy Indians are in this video. They cook with clarified butter (ghee), and ghee is also the most widely used medicinal element in Ayurvadic medicine. Is ghee the exception to what Dr. Greger says about animal fat? Is that OK to cook with?

  • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

    For me it is all about risk. The most comprehensive discussion of lifestyle issues that influence Alzheimer’s disease is Neal Barnard’s Power Foods for the Brain. He cites the studies which correlate certain things with greater risk such as cholesterol, saturated fat, zinc, iron, aluminum and lower risk such as exercise, sleep, cognitive activities. He also explains the effects on folks with the gene associated with it… ApoE. I would imagine that small amounts of ghee would have more risk then none and less risk then alot of ghee. If you want to lower your risk eat less animal products and saturated fat while avoiding excess iron, zinc, aluminum along with exercise, sleep and mental activity. At this point I wouldn’t think that ghee is an exception but you need to stay tuned as the science keeps coming.

    • Timar

      Zinc is very probably a protective rather than a risk factor, as it competitively inhibits copper metabolism. In many neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, there is a striking disbalance between serum Cu2+ and Zn2+ in the CNS as well as in the serum, shifted towards copper, that may aggrevate the disease.

      Hence, a recently published small-scale RCT has remarkably shown protection against cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients with high dose (150 mg daily) zinc supplementation.

      Interestingly, the disregulation of metal homeostatis is closely related to an accumulation of cholesterol in the CNS, both working in concert to enhance the accumulation of amyloid plaques. This shows that the hypothesis by Seneff et al., refered to below, that Alzheimer’s results from cholesterol deficiency is utterly absurd.

      • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

        Good points. The RCT article gives a nice overview of the problem. The population was “deficient” in zinc so supplementing with zinc would seem to make sense in the short term. However recommending that populations take an isolated supplement over time is a different matter. It also may be a matter of dose in that Zn has been shown in vitro to accelerate clumping of beta amyloid plaques. We need more and better studies to help prevent and slow the progress of this disease. Given the time course of this disease we need longer term studies involving larger populations to help sort things out. Even with those in hand there are problems with the use of reductionistic approaches to complex systems.

  • Cynysha Thompson

    WOW!!! Simply, wow!!!!! This upload of a few minutes is power packed with information!!!! It is also very, very sad to see that these new wave of ‘professionals’ jumped on the anti grain band wagon just to make the dollar bills!!! From the get go their ‘theory’ was flawed and they knew it!!! They used a blanket theory and took advantage of regular people like myself who needed to take a more in depth look at grains and how they really affect the human structure. They failed to really take a hard look at the numbers and percentages of people affected by gluten/grain sensitivity, gluten/grain intolerance and Celiac’s Disease. For example, I am a Celiac. This DOES NOT MEAN that grains are all around evil. It simply means that specific to my genetic make up, gluten and grains are a definite NO NO. For others in my family this is not the case. Gluten and grains procured from a reliable, non processed and preferably organic source in its proper balance are wonderful for the body. What really was the shocker for me was the shift in the Japanese culture!!!!! They have ALWAYS been upheld as superior in eating habits BECAUSE of their choices to rely much more heavily on vegan/plant based food!!! As I studied the trends in the shift to more animal protein within the culture I didn’t want to acknowledge what seemed to be happening because I saw more and more a plethora of tiny restaurants popping up all over Japan offering courses after courses of ‘throw away’ parts of the pig, chicken and beef. They would pile up little bamboo sticks with four to five chicken uterus’s, non laid eggs still found within the womb of the chicken, the parts of the pig’s throat and cow udder. They would be roasted on these bamboo sticks over a small open flame and eaten while drinking large amounts of sake. It is a sub culture that is really taking hold because the average tourist wants a more indigenous experience when they visit. It also pays homage to a time and place for the Japanese just as ‘soul food’ does the same with the African American culture of the South. This doesn’t mean that it’s a good thing to practice.

  • GrainBrainH8R

    THANK YOU !!! It sickens me to think how people actually are ignorant enough to believe that GRAINS, of all the natural foods millions of people have eaten for millions of years, are harmful to the brain and increase the risk of cognitive decline. It is disgusting how books like Grain Brain and Wheat Belly pray on the stupidity of the general population and actually have people convinced that a low-grain diet is beneficial. This is the type of information people should be listening to..Great video!

  • rubagreta

    Who funds this clown, Monsanto or ADM? I cut out grains and sugar and lost 20 lbs. (all in my gut) in four months. Do you think we have an obesity and diabetes epidemic because people are eating more steak, chicken, fish, vegetables, fruit and nuts? No, we have an obesity epidemic because they are eating bagels, donuts and cereal for breakfast, huge bowls of “fat-free” pasta and pre-packaged crap for lunch and dinner, and gouging out on bags of pretzels and potato chips while they sit in front of the TV. This man should be arrested for malpractice.
    READ WHEAT BELLY! Today’s wheat is not the wheat of 40 years ago. It’s mutated hybridized junk food, people!
    Tonight I will enjoy a nice piece of grilled fish with sautéed veggies. Enjoy your bowl of pasta.

  • Jo

    What about the fashionable aspect of microbiota living in vegetarian or vegan’s guts when compare to meat eater? There must be different and recently it has been emphasized the it role in immunity and many diseases? Anyone could share anything about such study?

  • Question

    The Grant study in the sources list is more about how oxidation and inflammation are causes of alzheimers, and omega-3s from fish was the best counter to that. It also mentioned that plant forms of omega-3s were inferior to fish for this purpose. Also, though I did not find this mentioned in the study, cooked oils, whether from animals or plants, are oxidative and inflammatory if they have had a chance to get rancid or are heated above their smoke point, not to mention what can happen during the processing of refined oils. So it is possible that the animal fat people are eating in these studies was oxidized during the cooking process (to be safe, you have to saute with some sort of liquid on as low a heat as possible, and don’t let it blacken or brown), and also likely wasn’t organic and pastured. But I can’t find solid info about the quality of meat test subjects were eating. I think it was just what the general population eats. I’d really love to see a study that looks at high quality meat consumption (organic, pastured, cooked in a way that doesn’t oxidize the fat), not conventional meat consumption, and I can’t find that info easily when I look through studies. Does anyone know of one they can direct me to? Just throwing this out there since I decided to click on one of the sources referred to in this video, and it seemed to be a little different from what the video was saying.

  • Parmenion59
  • Anne

    You’re forgetting that most grains esp wheat aren’t what they used to be and are GMO! Also many people now can’t tolerate the grains for the same reason!

    • Thea

      Anne: Actually, there is lots of evidence that whole grains, including wheat are very healthy for the majority of the public. Dr. Greger already has some videos on this topic, but if it interests you, stay tuned. Dr. Greger has an indepth series on wheat coming up that is really great. In that series, you will learn how very few people actually have wheat sensitivities – based on the actual science.

      Some thoughts for you to consider:
      1) In the US, GMO wheat has not been approved for growing or sales. That’s my understanding based on recent news stories. So, if you live in the US, you don’t have to worry about GMO wheat.

      2) Almost no food, plant or animal!, is “what it used to be”. Humans have been selectively, dramatically breeding plants and animals to the point that very little of it resembles its original form. Dr. Greger has a great video talking about how chicken has evolved in the last 100? or so years. And there is a great TED talk that talks about how all our plant crops, including foods like brocolli, bear no resemblance to their “wild” forms. If you were only going to eat foods that humans have not changed through systematic breeding, there is very little you could eat. If you are interested in the TED talk, here it is:
      http://blog.tedx.com/post/45914179742/debunking-the-paleo-diet-christina-warinner

  • Alex Barron

    There is tremendous conflict in these comments. Perhaps there is something we can all agree on. Eating whole foods is good for all of us. Avoid anything processed. Learn to cook. Trust your instincts.