Doctor's Note

Be sure to check out my next video: Are Avocados Bad for You? and my follow-up: Any update on the scary in vitro avocado data?

Also check out: Plant-Based Atkins Diet.

And check out my other videos on avocado as well as breast cancer

For more context, check out my associated blog post: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. Be sure to check out the other videos on avocado as well as breast cancer. Also, there are 1,449 subjects covered in my other videos–please feel free to explore them!

    • Lilly

      Why does the Gerson therapy recommend low fat foods. Avacados are on their forbidden list because of the fat content.

  • maybush1

    So, I assume that since avocado persin “rips cancer cell’s chromosomes apart from limb to limb” and that it does so in “normal cells, too” that avocados are NOT good for you? My poor avocados! Must I really say goodbye?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Unholy guacamole? Don’t shoot the messenger! The ending is just a preview of Monday’s continuation of the avocado story and there is indeed some concerning data. Let me know if you have any followup questions after watching part 2.

      • SMO404

        This is truly a cliff-hanger!! :-) I love my avocados so I’m really going to lose sleep this weekend until part 2 comes out. (Great site by the way!) :-)

        • Kmbrly

          Me too! I was literally eating avocado on (whole grain) toast as I watched this video – feeling quite smug that of course the answer would be a resounding YES! Avocados are absolutely good for you!

          What should I do with the other half of my avocado? How can I possibly wait until Monday to find out??

      • Duane Crickmore

        Does a avacodes have mercury in them? I get real sick when I eat anything made with them, no, bad!

        • Rawmatt

          They have a similar allergic reaction to latex allergy

      • MaryClareHunt

        If someone viewed ONLY the first video four years later (like I did) and stopped, they wouldn’t get to the second video’s message. I’m still confused as to goodness or badness, but millions of people eating avocados and still living can’t be wrong. I’ll side with their results and assume all is “well”.

  • SArmstrong

    Bim-dependent apoptosis?? Man, I love it when that happens to cancer cells…….

  • Chris Brogan

    My cholesterol came in at 239, HDL 81 and LDL 160.  I eat mostly fruits, vegies, nuts, and fish.  I also exercise at least 3 times a week.  At 5’9″ 128 lbs, I feel in great health.  If I completely cut out the occasional piece of cake (about 3-4 times a year), will that lower my cholesterol?

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

       In my clinical experience it isn’t the occasional stuff that gets us in trouble and it would depend of course on the recipe for the cake (e.g. vegan vs non-vegan). To lower your cholesterol you need to avoid all animal products as they all contain cholesterol. Avoid all saturated fat which the body makes into cholesterol. Saturated fat is found in all animal products plus processed oils and is even higher in some plant foods such as coconut oil than in butter see http://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-coconut-oil-good-for-you/. It is somewhat complicated see http://nutritionfacts.org/video/extra-virgin-olive-oil/ and the other videos on saturated fats plus the videos on Omega 3’s.  So the first step in your diet would be to stop the fish… see any of Dr. Greger’s 60 videos for reasons to avoid fish from the cholesterol and saturated fat to toxic chemicals  such as mercury to carcinogens such as dioxin to other substances such as medications. The exercise is helpful in many respects but has a minor effect on cholesterol about a 1-5% reduction depending on amount. Dr. John McDougall has information on his website under Hot Topics which you might find interesting and useful. It is important to work with your physicians for further modifications.Good luck.

      • BrahmanIsAll

        not all cholesterol is bad.

        trans fat is the only bad fat. fat is protein, fish is high in fatty cholesterol.

        • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD-NF Moderator

          Fat and protein are two macronutrients which are useful to our body. They are very different. We require two fats, omega 3 and 6… called essential for that reason and 8 or 9 essential amino acids from protein. Consuming adequate calories will provide enough essential amino acids. Cholesterol is produced by our bodies so we don’t need it. I’m not aware of any reports on patients with a cholesterol deficiency so we don’t need to consume it. If you believe that fish is healthy I would recommend reviewing some of Dr. Greger’s video’s on fish. Of course it is situational and if faced with starvation I would definitely eat fish. However, most folks have alternatives which are more healthy and cheaper. Fish usually contains many persistent organic pollutants, mercury and arsenic along with saturated fat. The fish don’t make the omega 3’s but get it from the plants that they eat. You can review Dr. Greger’s video’s on omega 3’s for more information.

          • BrahmanIsAll

            so what makes him the Total authority? most of these authorities have some kind of monitary payoff to some corp benefactor. its best just to know your own genetic make up and take care of yourself.

            I know nutrition quite well and understand the diffs between supposed good and bad fats, and the intake of complex and simple carbs. the latest understanding is that the only bad fat/protein is Trans. the rest of the old theories that animal fats are bad and cause high cholesterol and heat attacks, seemingly does not stand up any more, when its mostly our own bodies that are the creators of such. my parents have high cholesterol and i have kept my own in check by diet and working out, in the low 200s, and i am 66,

            there are pollutants in everything we breath and eat at some level. by pushing the body physically, eating well (very little white carbs) and drinking vast amounts of water. i live in a very warm climate and this time of year i easy drink a gallon a day, not having to make myself.

            do you still stand behind avacodos are unhealthy?

            galen vansickel
            st georg, utah

          • mjs_28s

            “so what makes him the Total authority? most of these authorities have some kind of monitary payoff to some corp benefactor. its best just to know your own genetic make up and take care of yourself.”

            You dork.

            Dr. Greger cites all the studies in his videos while also including the cover pages for the studies so you can look them up and read them for yourself.

            He is not a total authority but he is a great source to find multiple studies on subjects all in one area rather than having to crawl all over the internet through pile of research reports to find what you are looking for..

          • BrahmanIsAll

            “Hes not the total authority’ ….is what i have insinuated, as there are no as this site is called.

            and you are a name caller and that says a lot about your authority ;)

          • mjs_28s

            “…is what i have insinuated, as there are no as this site is called”

            ?

            I see how you are. You are a myopic person and since you think a certain way you believe that others do as well.

            I am NOT the authority and I never claimed that nor even implied that. I clearly stated that the information is gathered from many other research papers and those reports are cited in the videos. Seems as though I am saying that there are multiple sources of the data. How is that even close to me saying that there is someone that is the authority?

            Even my closing statement lays out the fact that Greger is simply gathering, summarizing, and reporting on what data is out there. No authority there either.

            Troll. Yes, I am calling you a name there because you are lying and a troll.

          • BrahmanIsAll

            WOW, you are nuts, obviously.

            you came on this thread that i posted to a month ago and trolled me! but here you are lashing, spitting and fuming like a 6 year old. all you do is name call, grow up and attempt to enter a normal conversation. i have a right to an opinion as do you. get a life, name calling fool. i have read all the studies, so why are you the one here attacking me like a little a victimized idiot?

          • cod

            >I know nutrition quiet well
            >thinks fat and proteins are the same

          • TrumpInHilwins

            they come together, one and the same.

          • Michael Gonzalez

            Self-liberation, it’s hard to take you seriously when you lump fats and proteins together like that. They are very different things. It’s like saying “the only vad carbohydrates/vitamins are refined sugars”. Carbs and vitamins are totally different things, so why would I lump them together? Likewise, fats and proteins are totally different things.

            For the record, every bit of science we have on the topic says saturated fat elevates serum cholesterol levels and leads to heart disease. It also promotes certain cancers. So, I don’t know where you got the idea that only the trans fats are harmful.

          • Self_Liberation

            i am soooooo upset you do not take me seriously, it will sure ruin my day. i already realize i miss spoken on that, but almost every protein has fat, if not all, some good some bad.

            you need to redo your so-called science, all proteins have certain levels of cholesterol. there are now new studies (and that is all they are is studies} that saturated fats are not the boggy man that was once thought. the bad boy is trans fat. even the gov changed their recommendations.

            it was hard for me to take this site seriously just with of the use of Facts in the name. in nutrition there is no such thing. there is only studies, some good and some bad, and they change often. this site also was still standing as its lead that avocados are bad.

          • Michael Gonzalez

            Again, proteins are macronutrients; fats are different macronutrients. One does not “have” the other. They are totally separate things…. You don’t seem to have the first clue what you are talking about.

            There are hundreds of studies, conducted over the past 100 years, all of which point to saturated fat as being terrible for health. One recent study doesn’t overturn a century of repeated confirmations. Besides, the study you are referring to was hugely flawed, because they didn’t take base measures (something even an undergraduate in statistics could have told them was a stupid move).

          • BrahmanIsAll

            so doc Greger is your boss.

            in reality, there are no nutritional facts. i am sure you guys know what your talking about, and i will agree with most of it, and even though Greger donates all proceeds to his 501, he still receives wages as a principle of that non-profit, and his reputation causes the cost to rise in using him as an MD. not being negative here, but sometimes you guys over-say things that latter turn out to be unfounded, no facts. if you can present a 20 year controlled study, it gets us closer.

            i use a lot of virgin olive oil, starting with 3 tablespoons with whatever my breakfast for the day is. and a lot times i just start with a half an avocado, or oats with dried fruit/berries and a large portion of ground flax. i eat a lot of fruit and veggies, and limit my meat intake, but do eat more in the later years along with cheeses, which i did not allow myself to have for over 20 years. i am big on omega 3s, as much as i can shove in, in a day.

          • mjs_28s

            “…though Greger donates all proceeds to his 501, he still receives wages as a principle of that non-profit, and his reputation causes the cost to rise in using him as an MD….”

            And you know this for a fact because? Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe legally he has to and maybe he takes the minimum. Maybe he takes out as much as he can.

            ” not being negative here, but sometimes you guys over-say things that latter turn out to be unfounded, no facts. if you can present a 20 year controlled study, it gets us closer.”

            And then you back that claim with nothing.

            Have you only watched four videos or something?

            For starters, many of his videos do include some long-term large studies but not every health related issue or food has had long-term massive studies done. They report what is out there. As far as things that later turn out to be unfounded “no facts”, like what? You make this claim and then you dont offer any evidence of such.

            However, assuming that you are a thinker, whenever new science or a newer study comes out that supports, contradicts, or brings new information to light, Dr Greger talks about it. You see, science and research is always on going and new tools and methods are applied over time. The science gets better, testing gets better and thus, sometimes conclusions have to change.

            Dr. Greger puts his science to work in his life as well. There are several videos in which he clearly mentions that he used to think X and included something in his diet. As some new studies came out and it turned out that the previous data was incorrect, Dr Greger changed over his eating to go with the new science. He didn’t delete the old video. He didn’t hide anything. Dr Greger just reads the data and reports on them. He just puts it out there as well as gives his opinion sometimes, shows you where the data comes from and that is it.

            Your comment here takes the cake, remember you say that this site reports things that later on turn out to be unfounded, and have no facts but in another comment you drop this idiocy:

            “I know nutrition quite well and understand the diffs between supposed good and bad fats, and the intake of complex and simple carbs. the latest understanding is that the only bad fat/protein is Trans. the rest of the old theories that animal fats are bad and cause high cholesterol and heat attacks, seemingly does not stand up any more, when its mostly our own bodies that are the creators of such. my parents have high cholesterol and i have kept my own in check by diet and working out, in the low 200s, and i am 66,”

            Care to list your evidence and citations? We all know that exercise can help with cholesterol, but that said your example is just anecdotal and disproves nothing.

            No soup for you!

          • BrahmanIsAll

            i don’t need your whiny soup!

            you are an employee ;)

            i know as much if not more from personal experience of over 30 years.

            i asked the moderator a direct question about what is bad about avocados and he disappeared.

          • mjs_28s

            “i don’t need your whiny soup!

            you are an employee ;)”

            Again you lie.

            Pointing out the fallacies that you spew out is not whining.

            I am not working for anyone so whom do I work for? I’d love to hear your next lie.

            “i asked the moderator a direct question about what is bad about avocados and he disappeared.”

            You did more than that which, makes you a liar again, by omission which seems to be your approach.

            You asked a question, nice and simple. It was answered, you didn’t like the answer and your opening line on your response was “so what makes him the Total authority? most of these authorities have some kind of monitary payoff to some corp benefactor.”

            That pretty much reeks of internet troll so he stopped engaging you and went on to, I assume, read and answer many of the other hundreds of questions that are here. It doesn’t take much experience to see someone like you will just pull them into an endless string of argument.

            Me, however, I hate liars and bullies and I call BS on people. You, are lying and attacking someone’s character without any evidence. Me, I attack your character with plenty of evidence. You also defend your position with a single person sample (you) using anecdotal evidence and think that you are standing on firm ground.

            Let me argue like you:

            cigarettes are horrible for you and greatly increase your risk for disease, especially cancer.

            Yeah, but my uncle smoked all the time for decades and he exercised a few times per week and lived to be 98. All you have to do is exercise a little, Problem solved.

            Sound like a valid counter point? Because it sure isn’t and it reads much like yours did. No wait, your was actually worse. Check it:

            “I know nutrition quite well and understand the diffs between supposed good and bad fats, and the intake of complex and simple carbs. the latest understanding is that the only bad fat/protein is Trans. the rest of the old theories that animal fats are bad and cause high cholesterol and heat attacks, seemingly does not stand up any more, when its mostly our own bodies that are the creators of such. my parents have high cholesterol and i have kept my own in check by diet and working out, in the low 200s, and i am 66”

            What you did there is argue that animal fat and proteins are ok to eat, despite the science behind it, and then you use yourself as an example of someone who eat fish and what not. Then you tell the world that your cholesterol is over 200 still – which is too high!

            Your question: “do you still stand behind avacodos are unhealthy?” was also answered in the video, if you watched the whole thing. Specifically in this video, along with the other part, speaks to the avocados need to testing as the testing that was done used avocado extract / compound. Until there are more studies using whole food avocado that you should “reduce your intake” until we know more.

            Here is the other part…that was release within days of this one, four years ago: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/are-avocados-bad-for-you/

          • BrahmanIsAll

            you are obviously a crazed employee, without a life

            avocados are a super food, duh.

            there is nothing wrong with limited meat intake, a new study says so, and that only trans fats are bad for the heart. you guys can’t even keep up.

            my last post, you are totally crazy and proves this site is just a money grabbing piece of sht and makes everything right which i have stated because you have gone off the farm, and need therapy!!!!! they really need to quit lying on this site and hire more mature people, you are a SICKO. good luck promoting BS…… heeeeyaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!

          • mjs_28s

            “you are obviously a crazed employee, without a life”

            Again, another set of lies on your part.

            “there is nothing wrong with limited meat intake, a new study says so, and that only trans fats are bad for the heart. you guys can’t even keep up.”

            So link your evidence so people can review it and see for themselves and check for bias, such as who sponsored and who carried out the research and created the reports that you refer to.

            “my last post, you are totally crazy and proves this site is just a money grabbing piece of sht and makes everything right which i have stated because you have gone off the farm, and need therapy!!!!!”

            See, that is why you only got one reply from the moderator. People can smell you out a mile away.

            Everything on this website is free. The thing that you pay for is DVDs of the free videos. That way they are in a convenient package but the free content is the same thousands of videos.

            ” they really need to quit lying on this site and hire more mature people, you are a SICKO. good luck promoting BS…… heeeeyaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!”

            I am not sick and I don’t work for this site or any other. Lying again?

            Can’t you serious look in the mirror and ask yourself why you cannot actually address, specifically, anything that you are challenged with? Instead you keep throwing out lie after lie after lie and arguing about some new studies but you never provide links. Also, you have clearly not even seen the videos about meat and eggs, the egg ones are the best, in which even the USDA advises not to call eggs a health food. Even the most biased studies paid for by the Egg farmers was unable to show eggs as healthy but they lie about eggs still. Same with meat. So many unhealthy things with meat. Eating some meat now and then and calling it healthy is like smoking now and then while calling that healthy.

            Here is one link for you, but it involves reading: http://nutritionfacts.org/2015/03/26/peeks-behind-the-egg-industry-curtain/

            Here is a simple video focusing only on estrogen in meat, dairy and eggs, that contains research reports from ten different studies. Just refute one of them with facts.

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/estrogen-in-meat-dairy-and-eggs/
            It would be the first one yet for you.

          • BrahmanIsAll

            http://www.cbsnews.com/news/butter-red-meat-not-so-bad-for-you-after-all/

            personally i don’t eat red meat, but a lot of nuts/fruit/vegies and my carps are brown in nature.

            you are nuts, grow up, at least get your GED, wacko :)

          • mjs_28s

            “you are nuts, grow up, at least get your GED,”

            More lies, but thanks for the link…FINALLY.

            I will watch / read it and be back.

          • mjs_28s

            Interesting but a very narrow study:

            “Methods A systematic review and meta-analysis were undertaken of RCTs, published prior to 1983, which examined the relationship between dietary fat, serum cholesterol and the development of CHD.”

            “2467 males participated in six dietary trials: five secondary prevention studies and one including healthy participants.”

            “National dietary guidelines were introduced in 1977 and 1983,”

            So the studies looked at research and data pre 1983, as if nutritional science and testing methods have not improved over the last 32 years. Then they tested a total of 2,467 males over six studies.

            Not very good controls in some of the testing either:

            “The LA Veterans study17 recorded the lowest RR for CHD deaths for the intervention group: 0.816 (figure 3). However, there were important differences in the groups at study entry. The intervention group had 12 octogenarians, compared with 21 in the control group. Eleven per cent of the experiment group were heavy smokers (more than one pack a day) compared with 17% of the control group.”

            Did you also notice that some of the fats used were not whole food sources? they use vegetable, soy, and corn oils on some of the people! Isolated fats, on a small sample size of people with a huge variance of age, no females, and they included people that were heavy smokers.

            Interesting study but they had a sever lack of a good control group, small numbers, and no females. Seriously, do you think that with one of the groups containing 11% heavy smokers that changing the dietary source of fat would matter much when smoking alone contributes to heart disease as well as other health problems?

            Then including octogenarians, those are people from 80 to 90 years of age, do you think that they should have been included? Some of those folks could have had seven decades of CVD building up so what kind of change do you expect over the time of this study when they were using things like oils for the fat sources rather than whole plant foods?

            That study, while taking lots of work into account by others, was not setup well at all.

            A contrapositive type of study to that would, without controls, to think about is this:

            Would it make sense to study how eating a full plant based diet improves the health of people but you don’t control for people entering the study that are already vegans and have been all their lives? Then narrow that study to only men.

            Its flawed right out of the gate, just like taking the normal person and changing fat intake from meat to a fat intake from isolated oils while also including heavy smokers and people, that pre-1983 that were older than the average life span by 10 to 15 years.

            Its good that you are looking at stuff like this, but you have to look out for red flags like those. Guess what? Even when Dr Greger reports on a study that would appear to be in his favor, his shows you where the bias is, such as the avocado one that got you on a rod in the first place. He clearly states that the science is not in yet and more research needs to be done. Until then, based on the testing on avocados so far, probably best to avoid them.

            Thanks for dropping in the study and bringing this back to a more civil discussion.

          • Thea

            Self_Liberation: You wrote above: “… even though Greger donates all proceeds to his 501, he still receives wages as a principle of that non-profit…”
            .
            FYI: You are making an assumption and in this case, you are not correct. Dr. Greger donates *all* of his time for this site. Dr. Greger makes no money (no salary or wages) from any website, his speaking engagements, his books or his DVDs. *All* of that money goes back to a charity from which he makes no money at all. You can learn more on the FAQ page linked to at the bottom of this page.

          • Self_Liberation

            who cares what you think!

            to put up a site that says avocados are bad, and with a name using the word Facts when there is NO such thing is, says this whole thing here is a front for making millions of dollars on Facts that are not provable.

            i have no need to open anything, it will be just more of the spin and lies. EAT it up big-boy, and good luck trolling :O

          • Thea

            Self_Liberation: Several of your posts are against the rules of NutritionFacts and are being deleted.
            .
            If you wish to keep posting on NutritionFacts, you can find the posting rules by clicking on the green “Comment Etiquette” button at the top of the comments area.

          • Self_Liberation

            please!! of course they are getting deleted, hiding from truth is all this site has going for it and its supposed FACTS.

            the very recent posts to me were to 4 month old posts of mine. so does it sound like i would like to post to this spinning site, what grade are you in? to say nutritional facts, while slamming avocados shows what a sham this site and this supposed doctor are, who is making millions off his non-profit lies about giving all away.

            THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A NUTRITIONAL FACT!!!!!!!!!!!!! they are only studies, some good and some bad, and they change daily. take a hike you naive troll :O

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Angela-Banks/100001388127437 Angela Banks

    I AM LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE FOOD THAT IS GOD FOR YOUR HEALTH AND ITS IN ARE STORES
     

  • bee

    How much avocado would a person need to eat for it to be harmful?

    Are there ANY foods that u recommend people focus their diet on?  lol

  • susano22

    so am I to take from this that limiting the intake of guacamole should be observed? I am so vexed by this whole diet thing. I gave up white refined anything, grain, starchy root veggies, fast food (which I never really ate anyway) I eat organic at every turn, lots of veggies and yet I still seem to have digestive issues both upper and lower and have sneaking suspicion that I am suffering from some sort of inflammatory condition. I did not give up alcohol and have 2 drinks a day, mostly wine and 2 cups of 1/2 caf a day as well. Those are my only vices…… where do I go from here eradicate what feels like acid indigestion…. I tried all the ppi’s to no avail except having to wean off…..

  • Roberto

    Hi Doctor, my name is Roberto. I am a fruit and vegetable consumer and I generally don’t eat meat or dairy. I eat plenty of avocado howerver. I was wondering, should I stop eating avocado?

  • Pam

    Not very happy as I have been eating them almost daily for over a year and love them!!!! What’s a girl to do?

  • David/Nutritarian

    I would like your thoughts on Avocado Seeds!!!!! http://www.realfarmacy.com/avocado-seeds-superfoods-health/

  • drew4021

    Hello Dr Greger, I’ve heard that the Avocado seed is also good blended in a smoothie for example. What are your thoughts on this?

  • Howard

    Howard Johnson 41 minutes ago
    I’ve been asked to post this again so here it is:

    Howard Johnson 1 hour ago
    How about eating avocado pits? Blending The Avocado Pit = Scrubbing Your Arteries https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghBJHwC-H3k Blending the pit of an avocado to clear out the digestive track! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXuthHmm2O8 Please disregard the fact that she is hiding behind a lot of hair
    I’ve been asked to post this again so here it is: Howard Johnson 1 hour ago How about eating avocado pits? Blending The Avocado Pit = Scrubbing Your Arteries https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghBJHwC-H3k Blending the pit of an avocado to clear out the digestive track! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXuthHmm2O8 Please disregard the fact that she is hiding behind a lot of hair
    Read more Show less
    Reply · 1

    ▼ Edit Remove this comment

    Howard Johnson 2 hours ago
    How about eating avocado pits?

    Blending The Avocado Pit = Scrubbing Your Arteries
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghBJHwC-H3k

    Blending the pit of an avocado to clear out the digestive track!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXuthHmm2O8

    Please disregard the fact that she is hiding behind a lot of hair

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Yay! Thanks for reposting. I do not see any research supporting the inclusion of avocado pits in the diet. Eating avocados on the other hand offer some nutritional benefits. There are so many foods that can help “clear” the digestive tract and “scrub” arteries. Eating the pits of any fruit is probably not a good idea. Folks have tried doing this with apricots, here, and found no benefit only concerns about side effects.

  • duck-duck-goose

    It is interesting to note that our ancestors ate lots of butter, grains, eggs, red meat, potatoes, milk,etc. regularly and worked hard physically; most grew their own veggies and fruit (or picked wild, including wild greens), butchered their own meats (or they traded with their neighbors), and MOST lived well into their late 90’s.The old folks did NOT eat fast foods, convenience foods, nor store bought processed foods. About the only soda they had was birch beer and root beer(homemade);they drank switchel(a mainstay on the table before pop). They canned or dried their own food or stored it in root cellars, and predominantly ate what was in season -they didn’t get tropical fruits, as they were not available unless one lived in the tropics. They did NOT go to doctors unless absolutely necessary(broken bones IF they couldn’t set the bones themselves, etc.);cancer was RARE. Prior to that, mankind was the hunter/gatherer- and there were no doctors, and they lived a long life. It was only after doctors started doing business that the life span was greatly reduced to 40 yrs. Disagree? Here’s a fact: when the drs. when on strike in L.A. yrs ago, the death count went DOWN; when they went back to work, it went back UP! All this diet hoopla is just that…HOOPLA! Purify your soil by growing
    sunflowers one yr., then, fortify it with soy beans the next yr., and get growing! Stop worrying
    about these excessive crazies who use you all as guinea pigs to
    ‘support’ faulty ‘research’. Remember the whole egg scam? Or how about the milk scam? They ‘later found out” that eggs do NOT have harmful cholesterol, and the fat in milk was actually beneficial (without it, people tended to ‘make up for it’ by eating lots of the wrong things which caused obesity). Can’t you all see the manipulation in these ‘experts’ who claim to know what’s good for you? Your BODIES know what they need, hence the cravings.

    • Kelley Harvey

      I appreciate this post, not because it is generally accurate or insightful, as it is not. What I like about it is that amidst the ranting and rambling the OP touches on a little bit of truth. We are better off without processed foods. Agriculture today is nothing like family farming 100 years ago. Eating fresh, unprocessed produce is the best thing you can eat. The fact that the OP has demonstrates no understanding of the dietary harms of today’s animal agriculture, is unimportant. Nutritionfacts.org can bridge the gap between misinformation, disinformation and actualy understanding what is good to eat and why. Keep watching and reading.

  • Loodell

    Dr Greger, What about avocado seeds, will you give some info on it, please? Thank you for your great work.

  • Shaylen Snarski

    Oh gee scientists, thanks for torturing a bunch of rats so that I know not to shove a giant avocado seed down my throat…

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10153638395012913/ Sam Moroni

    whats the latest on avo’s? Helpful?.. Harmless?.. or Harmful?..

    • Thea

      Sam Moroni: I’ve looked at references to avocados in Dr. Greger’s new book, How Not To Die. Avocados are listed in generally positive terms and there is even one page describing Dr. Greger eating guacamole. So, I would say that Dr. Greger has changed his mind in general about avocado, but that’s still not a reason to go wild about them. They are still a very high fat, high calorie-dense food. So, probably best eaten in moderation (whatever that means). Hope that helps.

  • Michael Gonzalez

    Dr. Greger… What about the high fat content of avocados? Should a person avoid them if trying to lose weight? I get confused by various statements on the matter of whole plant foods which happen to be high-fat.

    • Thea

      Michael Gonzalez: When it comes to weight management, Dr. Greger discusses the concept of calorie density. Avocados are not the most calorie dense food out there, but they are fairly calorie dense for a whole plant food. So, someone who is wanting to lose weight would do well to limit avocados. Not necessarily avoid completely, not eat a lot.
      .
      Here’s a model you can use for evaluating avocados. Note that nuts are a high fat food, but also very healthy. Dr. Greger recommends people eat nuts every day. But also note that Dr. Greger recommends eating only a very small amount of nuts every day, 1/4 whole nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter. I would use that as a model for any whole plant food high in calorie density – eat it sparingly. And if you really have a weight problem, consider avoiding the super high calorie dense foods all together for a while.
      .
      The key to weight management is understanding the concept of calorie density and how to apply it to weight loss so that you don’t get hungry and you still get all the nutrients you need. The rest of this post offers you resources for getting this done if you are interested.
      —————————
      .
      Dr. Greger covers calorie density, but not in enough detail in my opinion for someone who wants to apply it for the first time. I believe that Doug Lisle is one of the experts in the Forks Over Knives documentary, and he gives a great ‘calorie density 101’ talk officially called: How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I have watched the following talk from Doug Lisle several times and think very highly of it. And it’s free!!! And it’s entertaining! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
      .
      As good as Doug Lisle’s talk is, it pretty much just gives you a solid understanding of the concept, but not enough practical information in my opinion. For starting to get the practical information, I recommend a talk from Jeff Novick,Calorie Density: “How to Eat More, Weigh Less, and Live Longer,” which is no longer for sale. Argh! (I mention it just in case you can get your hands on a copy. Happily, there is a very good second best source for that information: an article that Jeff wrote that you can get here:
      http://www.forksoverknives.com/the-calorie-density-approach-to-nutrition-and-lifelong-weight-management/
      Be sure to pay attention to the charts.
      .
      Chef AJ tells people who want to lose weight to eat “left of the red line”, where I believe the red line is on a diagram of hers representing is 600 calories per pound. And “left of the red line” is all the whole plant foods which are below 600 calories per pound. The above article from Jeff Novick gives you a good sense of which foods are “left of the red line” by food category. But if you want to look up the calorie density of specific foods, you can find many foods on the following site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Most foods on that site have the option of choose an ‘ounce’ as a size. Then you can multiply by 16 to get the calories per pound.
      .
      It would be perfectly respectable if you are one of those people who are just not interested in the theory. You just want to dive right in and want straight how-to information. If you would rather not think about any of that (or start with the theory and then move onto this step), I have one more suggestion that Dr. Greger also recommends in his book, How Not To Die. Consider going through the free program from PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) called 21 Day Kickstart. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions.
      http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/
      (Click the green “Register Now” button.)
      At the end of the program, you will have a very good practical knowledge about how to eat with healthy and “low” (normal for most people) calorie density.
      .
      Another recommendation that Dr. Greger and I share is to get Jeff Novick’s Fast Food videos for tasty, affordable, fast and healthy calorie density recipes. Also, on-line and free is a YouTube series of recipes/cooking shows called something like Chef AJ and The Dietician. I know that Chef AJ will not steer you wrong in terms of weight loss and providing accurate nutrition information.

      • Michael Gonzalez

        I’ve watched some of Lisle, Novick, and Chef AJ. What’s always bothered me about that is that it all comes down to calories. As though a gram of fat is utilized the same way as 2 grams of carbohydrate or 2 grams of protein. That sort of simplistic math never seemed like it could possibly be right, especially when people like John McDougall are insisting that burning fat for energy is itself a very inefficient process, and that (on the flip-side of that coin) turning carbohydrate into fat is a very inefficient process. If calories (regardless of source) were the main issue, then this matter of “caloric density” would be the way to go, for sure. And the reason fats make you fat would be that there are just so many more calories per serving of fat vs. the other two macros. But, that doesn’t seem to be the whole story. For one thing, it doesn’t take into account the so-called “3 wrenches” that T. Colin Campbell brings out in his recent book, “Whole”. He primarily applied this reasoning to particular vitamins, but explicitly said that it also applies to getting usable energy (calories) from macronutrients. Specifically, Wrench #1….

        Wrench #1 is the “wisdom of our bodies”. It has to do with how much we actually absorb and utilize, which is impossible to gauge. One thing we know (as I mentioned from McDougall before, and as studies seem to bear out) is that carbohydrates are NOT readily turned into bodyfat. Even when you seem to be “overeating” on pure carbohydrate, we just produce more body heat and use up the carbohydrate calories in oxidative reactions. On the other hand, fats are most naturally and efficiently stored as bodyfat in our fat cells. As McDougall puts it, the fat you eat is the fat you wear effortlessly (he often cites experiments where they suction out the fat in your buttocks, thigh, or abdomen and analyze it, and they can tell you what kind of diet you eat because the fat has not changed much; it just stores pretty much in the form you ate it).

        Wrench #2 is the variability of foods. This one may not apply as much to calories, especially if your diet is not primarily raw fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables vary widely in the contents of all their macro- and micronutrients. However, I suppose the calories counts in a packaged product might be better controlled. I don’t really know how well this “wrench” applies to calories.

        Wrench #3 is about the interaction of foods with each other. Now, at the very least, I know that excessive amounts of fat consumption (or of bodyfat) can lead to insulin resistance, which then influences the action of insulin. So, at least that much is indicative of some variability in the whole calorie-centric approach.

        Anyway, I’m not saying I have any great answers on this topic. Nor am I trying to diminish what Lisle, Novick, etc are saying. It just seems to me like the calorie approach must be at least somewhat mistaken; if for no other reason than that it seems astonishingly simplistic.

        • Thea

          Michael Gonzalez: I appreciate you taking the time to reply and that your reply was so thoughtful. FYI: I’m a big fan of Campbell. I’ve read Whole and generally agree with his main themes. However, I don’t think the concerns raised in Whole apply here. The concept I’m talking about is calorie density, which is not the same as just focusing on calories. I think it is a very important difference. Dr. Lisle essentially covers the idea that just focusing on calories is crazy in the first part of his talk.

          This idea of paying attention to calorie density is based on looking at a series of high level feeding studies, which I think is consistent with Campbell’s main points. For example, researchers would feed people real food, set them up with various buffets for all-you-can-eat, and then see what it takes for those people to feel full. These are not reductionist types of studies. I’m wondering if you had a chance to view the talk from Dr. Lisle that I linked to?

          One more thought to consider is how successful the various experts have been at using the concept of calorie density to safely/healthfully help people lose weight long term.

          Edit: I realized I left out an important point. You wrote: ” If calories (regardless of source) were the main issue, then this matter of “caloric density” would be the way to go, for sure. And the reason fats make you fat would be that there are just so many more calories per serving of fat vs. the other two macros.” From these sentences, I don’t think you and I have the same understanding of calorie density and how it works.

          • Michael Gonzalez

            Ma’am, I have watched 3 lectures by Lisle and 1 by Novick, and, with respect, the term “calorie density” has the word “calorie” in it for a reason. Lisle always starts off by saying it isn’t about calories, and then spends the rest of the time talking about the density of… *calories* in particular foods! Why? Because the whole point of eating “calorie dilute” foods is to get satiated with fewer… *calories*. Even as he talks about the stretch receptors and richness receptors in the stomach, he specifically addresses the difference in outcomes in terms of *calories*.

            Now, think on the other hand of what Campbell says (and what McDougall says half the time). In the China Study, the Chinese were observed to eat as many or even MORE calories than their Western counterparts. So, clearly, calorie dilution was not the issue (if it had been, they would have been thinner than us because of eating FEWER calories even if they ate more overall bulk of food). The issue was what kind of food they are eating. Campbell mentions it again in Whole, and McDougall often says it as well: Fat in food is easily stored as fat in the body. Carbohydrate is used for energy, is very inefficient to turn to fat, and excess is usually burned off in oxidative reactions. Experiments are cited where people were intentionally “overfed” (in terms of calories, of course), and yet the ones on carbs did not convert much to storable fat. It seems rather clear that number of calories is NOT the issue, and yet that number is the only thing that calorie density can address.

            In Whole, Campbell makes clear he doesn’t even like to use the term “calorie”, because it is misleading. He specifically talks about how wrong it is to imagine that we are getting a certain number of USABLE calories just because some calorimeter tells us that’s what AVAILABLE in the food. Fats are not processed the same by the human body as carbohydrates are. One is for storage and building a few key things, the other is primarily for energy (measured in calories or Joules or whatever other unit).

            Please forgive me if I seem frustrated. It’s just that I genuinely want to understand the truth here, and it seems extremely disingenuous for people like Lisle to say “it’s not about the calories” and then proceed to show us his (admittedly healthy and natural) method for eating fewer calories!

          • Thea

            Michael Gonzalez: I understand your frustration. And I agree that the issue of weight gain is not simple and the concept of calories in and of itself does not fully tell us everything we need to know since not all calories are absorbed by the body. Also calories from cooked food seem to be absorbed differently than calories from raw food. Dr. Greger even has a video about how it may be that nuts eaten whole may not be fully absorbed.

            I can see from this latest post that you do have a handle on the concept of calorie density. I think where you and I are disagreeing is the validity of the concept. I still go back to those feeding studies which looked at how quickly human tummies filled up (the stretch receptor concept) on various foods. On a practical/experiential level, eating by calorie density for someone wants to lose weight just seems to work for many people. There are other ways to lose weight also. People lose weight on a paleo diet too. The key is: how do people do it and stay healthy long term? I think using the calorie density method is the way to go.

            And I don’t think the following point you brought up disproves the concept: “In the China Study, the Chinese were observed to eat as many or even MORE calories than their Western counterparts.” Other factors, such as exercise and weight loss due to parasites eating your food, also play a factor in a person’s weight and would particularly apply to the rural Chinese people studied at that time. (FYI: I don’t remember the China Study saying that the rural Chinese were eating more calories than Westerners. Do you happen to have an easy page reference? If not, that’s fine. I’m just curious.)

            Your original question was, “What about the high fat content of avocados? Should a person avoid them if trying to lose weight? I get confused by various statements on the matter of whole plant foods which happen to be high-fat.” As I explained above, Dr. Greger has addressed weight management with the concept of calorie density. In other words, I think the answer to your question, as addressed by this website, is already here. You can apply that concept to avocados and know Dr. Greger’s answer to your question. If you don’t buy the concept of calorie density, then it’s a matter of not liking the answer found here. But maybe the answer you
            are looking for will come in a future video. So, I hope you will stick
            around.

            If you want to focus on the concept of “fat” that you have in your question, you can also look at Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen and consider the fat content of those foods to get an idea of how much fat Dr. Greger typically recommends. Good luck. I hope you find the answer you are looking for.

          • Michael Gonzalez

            I appreciate your assistance. I’ll have to keep studying. It isn’t that I don’t like the calorie density idea. It’s that we don’t eat calories; we eat foods which are potential sources of energy which is measured in calories. Even what we call “fiber” is a potential source of calories to other animals who can digest it. Potential sources don’t seem that relevant. Moreover, we don’t store energy (“calories”). We store fat. To do that we need to either eat fat directly or turn carbohydrates into it because the energy available in those carbohydrates far exceeds what we need plus what we can burn off in oxidative reactions (which seems to be a very high threshold indeed, made that much higher by the fact that turning carbohydrate to fat uses up 33% of the available energy itself). So, it doesn’t surprise me when overfeeding with carbohydrate fails to yield much weight gain. On the calorie density account, this difference is an anomaly, since the only relevant difference is that fat has so many more calories! But you yourself acknowledge that foods are processed differently in our bodies, which is something a calorie number approach simply cannot account for.

            Anyway. I’m sorry if I’m rambling, and I certainly don’t mean any disrespect. I LOVE what Greger, Lisle, Novick, etc are doing! It just seems to me that this calorie issue is not being thought about clearly enough.

            Thank you for your patience. Best wishes.

          • Thea

            Michael Gonzalez: Your post sparked one more thought in me.

            You wrote: “On the calorie density account, this difference is an anomaly, since the only relevant difference is that fat has so many more calories!” I’m not 100% sure what you are saying here, but I think I understand. And I want to disagree some. My understanding of the calorie density concept is that humans feel satiated first by bulk/volume, which Jeff Novick describes as water plus fiber for low calorie density foods. This makes dry goods, like crackers and bread also very calorie dense, even when those foods are very low fat.

            Processed foods in general tend to have the fiber and water removed (perhaps replaced with fat or perhaps not), making them higher calorie density even when fat is not an issue. Your focus on fat as having more calories per volume is missing part of the point of the calorie density concept in my opinion. I agree that fat is a big part of it, since as you know, fat has more calories per pound than carbs and protein. But I don’t think the fat angle is the whole point/trick of the calorie density concept. I think the focus on the stretch receptors and what makes us feel full is the key point and which gets the results. And I say this even with your point about carbohydrates being difficult/energy expensive to turn into fat.

            I will not have fully made my point without this next bit: While I agree that there is not a strict linear relationship between calories and weight, I can’t imagine someone saying that there is *no* relationship either. Calories/how much we eat may not have a perfect relationship to weight, but there is a general relationship within an individual, all else being equal. What I mean is: The more calories I eat/absorb, the more I weigh. Perhaps not calorie for calorie, but in general. So, a theory like calorie density, which helps me as an individual put into practice concepts which help me to eat less calories overall and yet still feel full helps me/many people to lose weight, which is the goal we are aiming for in this conversation.

            I’m not sure if my thought is directly addressing your point or not. (I’m not doing such a good job of expressing it either.) And you may still feel I am missing something. And I think you are tired of the conversation. :-) I just wanted to point that out.

            Best of luck to you.

          • Michael Gonzalez

            I’m not tired of the conversation at all. I enjoy your thoughts. I was actually thinking you were sick of it, so I didnt want to belabor the issue. And you make a fine point about processed food. Let me make couple of quick points:

            1) I wasn’t saying fat is the only calorie dense food; I was saying the inverse: That the only thing weight-gain-inducing about fat (on the Calorie Density account) is that it possesses so many more calories. It is, therefore, on a par with very low-fat foods which happen to be likewise calorie dense (like the processed foods you mentioned). Given the difference in how fat is utilized by the body, and the inefficiency of de novo lipogenesis in humans, I think that result is a strong indication that the whole CD paradigm is flawed.

            2) I cringed just writing that sentence about fat “possessing more calories”, since no food actually possesses calories. Calories are not objects. They’re like inches or ounces or lightyears. It’s a unit of measure, not a substance. So all this talk of eating them is already misguided. We eat foods, and are able to easily and efficiently convert carbohydrate into usable energy (which can be measured in calories or Joules or any other unit), and with much more difficulty and less efficiency we can do the same with fats.

            I don’t mean to be pedantic or boring, I promise! Lol. It’s just that what you said about how calories we eat must play SOME role seems so reasonable and obvious until you reflect again on the fact that we do not eat calories. Calories don’t exist any more than pounds or millimeters exist.

            What if the reason that fatty and/or processed foods encourage weight gain is about the direct way that fats get stored and the quick absorption of processed carbs (leading to insulin spikes and triglyceride production in the liver)? What if potentially available energy, if only we actually accessed it, has little to do with it? Perhaps peripherally, in that an absence or abundance of usable energy will influence hormones that regulate storage and release of fat…? I don’t know. Seems to fit the data alright……

          • Thea

            Michael Gonzalez: I wanted to take my time before responding. So, I read your post several times and then gave myself a few days to think about it. I think we are at an impasse, or perhaps a better conclusion would be that I am at the end of any helpful contribution I can make. I’m not qualified to have this discussion with you. But I’m glad we had this conversation, because I think you made your point more clear with every post. Maybe someone more knowledgeable or articulate than I will see this conversation in the future and have something helpful to contribute.
            .
            Even though I still don’t fully agree with you, I do think you pose some great questions that deserve some great answers.
            .
            For what it is worth, this is what I came up with after a few days of thinking: I don’t see how the concept of calorie density is contrary to your thoughts. I don’t see a serious inconsistency between the idea of calorie density and your understanding of calories or how fat and processed carbs work, but I can’t figure out how to put my thoughts into words. So, I’ll leave it at that. I’m not saying you are wrong. I’m just saying I can’t continue the conversation. If you feel you get some good answers or insights into the future, I hope you will come back and share! I am
            very interested.
            .
            Take care.