Doctor's Note

Beans dips like hummus are among my favorite go-to snacks. I like to dip snap peas and red bell pepper slices in them. I’d love to hear everyone’s favorite recipe. You show me yours and I’ll show you mine :)

Canned Beans or Cooked Beans? Click the link to find out!

Beans can help us live longer (Increased Lifespan from Beans), control our blood sugars (Beans and the Second Meal Effect), and help prevent and treat diabetes (Preventing Prediabetes By Eating More and Diabetics Should Take Their Pulses).

What about the purported “anti-nutrient” phytates in beans? You mean the Phytates for the Prevention of Cancer, the Phytates for Rehabilitating Cancer Cells, and the Phytates for the Treatment of Cancer? Phytate-containing foods may also help protect our bones (Phytates for the Prevention of Osteoporosis).

Why not just take cholesterol pills every day for the rest of our life? See my videos Statin Muscle Toxicity and Statin Cholesterol Drugs and Invasive Breast Cancer.

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  • David

    Swapped Beans for Grains? Not sure the connection. They were on a good diet to begin with/cholesterol levels And then they came down to a decent level. But I would have thought they would, at some point, keep the beans but otherwise return to their mostly healthy original “diet”. A little confusing. I would think there may be better experiments to indicate the value of daily legume/bean intake. Thanks!!!!!! Beans, Beans and more Beans!!!!!

    • Veganrunner

      They were trying to see if beans were superior for cholesterol reduction as compared to grains. They appear to be.

  • Popular press: Saturated fat has nothing to do with heart disease. Scientists (Ancel Keys) got it wrong all these years. Eat butter.

    Right. Got another bridge in Brooklyn to sell, you guys?

    Thanks for bigger picture, Doc.

  • Filipe Coimbra

    Dear Dr. Michael Greger,

    First of all, I really have to thank you for all you have been doing, trying to make the world a better place, with a lot of health and harmony between our specie and all the others living beings and nature.

    My name is Filipe Coimbra Castiço and I live in Lisbon, Portugal. I have 23 years old and I have been consuming a whole food plant-based diet since 21.

    I’m a graduate student in physical therapy, and I’m beginning in the next week my college graduation in Nutrition, here in Lisbon.

    I already learned a lot about the relationship between nutrition and health, almost because I’m following daily the NutritionFact website (I’m grateful for all your work), and I already read almost all the books from Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. John McDougall, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr, Joel Fuhrman and other excellent authors from other fields that make the relation between health and nature. However, I know that I’m just in the beginning of my journey.

    I wanna starting my personal youtube channel to help the portuguese population, making videos that explores all this concepts about the whole food plant-based diet and his effects in all the chronic diseases and also make cooking videos to make practical support about the theory revealed.

    So, I have three questions that can give me much help in starting this project:

    – First, will I have legal problems because of making certain claims about nutrition and health, even if I support all of my sayings with studies’s references? If so, how can I manage my claims to minimize my risk in being sued?

    – Second, how can I make references about studies without harm the authors’s rights?

    – Third, can you give me a reference about the best (in your point of view) human nutrition textbook? I already start reading the book Krause’s Food & the Nutrition Care Process, 13ed (Krause’s Food & Nutrition Therapy), and I’m reading certain claims that does not support the best evidence and do support certain industries.

    I wish you all the luck and all the health and happiness in your life and your loved ones.

    With all the love,

    Filipe Coimbra Castiço

    • Filipe Coimbra

      Anyone who wish help me with this questions are welcome too :)

      • Tobias Brown

        This question doesn’t focus on the topic at hand here. Maybe delete this and send a personal message to Dr Greger. Just my two cents.

      • Jen Drost, Physician Assi

        Hi Filipe,
        Love your enthusiasm! If you’d like, send me an email at, and we can chat about your questions. Hope to hear from you soon :)

      • Billyv8

        Welcome to our world, Filipe.
        Read everything at this site:

      • Eunice Parcelas

        Respondi acima, mas só agora vi que colocaste isto há 2 anos!! Ups

    • Coacervate

      Nice going. Great idea. You have to consider your country’s position on free speech. It is difficult to believe you would have any legal problems ESPECIALLY if you use solid scientific work to support and refute claims.

      I would look for a forum that discusses internet-related issues and post your concerns there.

      Your last question is the most interesting to me. I have wondered about this too. Maybe we will learn more from others.

      best of luck, con toda mi alma (translators are great, no?)

    • Thea

      Filipe: Thank you for your post. It was very interesting. I think it is so cool that you want to take this project on.

      While I don’t have answers to the specific questions you asked, I do have a suggestion for you: I believe that NutritionFacts has a volutneer program where people can translate videos into other languages. If you did that for the NutritionFacts videos, you could direct people in your country to the NutritionFacts videos and they could hear (or is a written thing only???? – I don’t know) the videos in their own language.

      In addition, to suppliment that work, you could have your YouTube channel where you do your cooking shows and reference the NutritionFacts videos or whatever studies you want to reference.

      That’s just a suggestion for you. Hope it helps! If you are interested in volunteering for NutritionFacts, let me know and I’ll pass on your request to the NutritionFacts staff.

      • Jen Drost, Physician Assi

        Hi Thea and Filipe,
        YES! Thanks, Thea! We’d love more volunteers, especially volunteers that can help us translate Dr. Greger’s work! Woohoo! If interested in volunteering, please email Thanks much to you both! :))

    • Paul Spring

      People can claim anything they want, even if its not based on sound research! (Think of Atkins) Just cite your references when quoting. Why don’t you just translate Dr. Greger’s video into Portuguese? No need to reinvent the wheel.

    • Eunice Parcelas

      Olá Filipe! Eu sou médica e estamos no mesmo barco :) Se quiseres segue a minha página do facebook sobre o assunto (Nice’s Health) e o meu instagram “saudável” @niceshealth e entra em contacto comigo !

      • Filipe Coimbra

        Olá Eunice! Já te sigo no facebook e no Instagram! Hei-de entrar em contacto contigo assim que tornar o website público. Continua, eu vou estar atento as publicações!!

  • John S

    From following Dr. Greger’s videos, I have decided that I needed to eat two things much more often. Beans and amla, also known as Indian gooseberry. I bought amla gooseberry frozen, thawed it, and found it literally physically impossible to eat. Then I asked the attendant in the grocery store how she eats it. She said, “In pickles”. I put it in my sauerkraut and it was great. I also tried to eat the amla powder. Too sour and astringent. I tried putting it in various things: cottage cheese, ok but not particularly recommend by Dr. Greger. I put it in some sourish tasting hummus and it wasn’t good, but I put it in some hummus with a high olive oil content Trader Joe’s brand, and it was delicious. Now I eat TJ’s hummus with sprinkled amla powder several times a week. Nutritious and delicious. Beans and amla.
    John S
    PDX OR

    • Cheryl

      I put a teaspoon of Amla powder in a smoothie and the taste is buried apparently because I don’t notice it at all.

    • Veg-E

      Same with me… I put a tsp of amla powder in my morning banana smoothie and I can’t even taste it.

    • Blanster

      John I bought veggie capsules and a capsule “packing” gizmo (The Capsule Machine on Amazon) so I make my own amla (and tonight turmeric) capsules to take daily. I don’t like smoothies, so I needed to find another way to ingest it. I can’t take the taste on its own, so the capsule route is perfect for me.

    • Amla! What the heck is that?

    • Larry H

      I too find amla to make poor taste for any recipe I add it to. So for morning oatmeal I need blueberries and strawberries to overcome the poor taste for just a half-teaspoon of amla. Is there any good supplier where the amla is not expensive($18/lb before shipping cost at

      • Thea

        Larry H: Mountain Rose Herbs sells certified organic amla powder for $10/pound. I’ve gotten good stuff and service from them myself.

        Good luck.

      • NP

        Go to any Indian grocery and you will get it really cheap. Amla powder or if you can find Triphala – that has three fruits in it and amla is one of them. Triphala is considered more potent than taking amla on its own. According to Ayurveda it balances all three humors in one’s body that are known as Mucus (resides in lungs and when high, it creates sluggishness, obesity, cold), Digestive acids (heat – if high creates acidity, ulcers, heat in body, acidic blood), Air – which resides in the intestines and colon. Unbalance in these humors are the start of all the diseases. Amla works on the acid part mainly and calms it down. Triphala meaning three fruits balances all the three humors and amla is one of that fruit in it. I have been taking amla for more than 20 yrs and I cannot describe all the benefits that it has over here as it will fill up the whole book. It is considered as a superfood in Ayurveda which rejuvenates the cells and keeps it young – Anti-Ageing properties. Take it dissolved in half cup of water and it will taste slightly sour. Would advise not to mix with meals as it will domiate with sour taste – which is from the bio available Vitamin C – highest compared to any of the fruit.

  • David

    Soaking Beans & Nuts….. You talked about soaking perhaps reducing the effects of key/important Phytates? To soak or not to soak…/& grains too. Soaking/for how long/initiates sprouting (?) Your clarification will be very helpful to all of us.
    Thank for the recommendation to soak “your grains overnight”; some say they cook quicker; you say they don’t need/therefore/cooking?
    Sounds like Beans & Nuts/would be great for Breakfast/as you intimated. So many things/relatively simple/but take time to adjust/recall/make habits.

    • Soaking for as little as 8 hours can begin the sprouting process — some legumes like chick peas may require overnight soaking. Drain. Rinse every 6-7 hours and watch for sprouts to appear. You can soak grains and not cook them — they are equally as good just eaten after soaking in water or almond milk or veggie broth. Most dried beans and legumes need to be soaked or quick soaked (bring water and dried beans to a boil – cover and turn off heat. Let sit for one hour. Bring up to simmer and cook until tender) to be edible. I make a big pot of beans and/or grains and have them ready to mix together for a nourishing meal, breakfast, lunch or dinner. I also sprout both beans/legumes/peas and grains like amaranth or kamut. Sprouted beans make great hummus too.

    • Kay Lehman

      I cook my beans in a pressure cooker. No need to pre-soak. Yes, just dry beans from the market, wash and place in about 6 cups of water per pound. The time depends on the bean so you have to use trial and error but I usually cook for about 35 minutes for white or black beans or garbanzos. Then after pressure cooking add whatever else you like in your beans.

    • I usually always soak or sprout legumes before pressure cooking them. Sometimes when I haven’t pre-planned meals I just pressure cook from dry. It mostly depends on one’s lifestyle and preferences. From my anecdotal experience, legumes digest better if they are at least soaked beforehand, and some of the larger beans like red kidney beans digest easiest after they have been sprouting for a few days. I also think sprouted legumes taste better and have better textures than compared to cooking straight from dry. While there’s no need to really fear phytates, soaking initiates the sprouting process and has benefits in of itself (which other videos on NutritionFacts have addressed previously).

  • Coacervate

    I gave up trying to make hummus. It comes out Ok at first, moist and garlic-y but overnight it looses most of its flavor. I thickens and usually ends up going into a soup pot.

    • Penny

      I don’t like chickpeas at all. I have tried hummus premade, making my own, etc. The only way I can tolerate them is if I fully saturate them in an overly flavorful sauce like BBQ. Thankfully, I love other types of beans and lentils. I’m going to try making hummus with green peas and see how that works out.

      • Thea

        Penny: That is so interesting, because I can’t taste much of a difference between any type of bean – with the possible exception of black eyed peas. I think my taste buds are off from a lot of other people. For me, bean differences are about mouth-feel and texture.

        I thought I would share that I once saw a receipt for hummus made out of yellow split peas. So, there’s another option for you.

        Good luck. I hope you find something you like.

      • Coacervate

        Somehow I’ve come to love them, chickpeas…used to call them “Clayballs” but not now. Yes, the store bought hummus is great but how do they get it to stay flavorful for so long? Please let us know how the green pea thing works out. I love peas

        • b00mer

          Lol, I like to call them ‘the potato of the bean world’. I love them so much! When I rinse and strain a can I can’t help eating them right out of the strainer.

          Strangely I’ve never liked store bought versions I’ve tried. They always confuse me, like is this supposed to be hummus or a “hummus flavored dip”? Maybe it’s the texture. Regarding the flavor the store bought versions may have citric acid added in addition to (maybe even instead of) lemon juice.

      • Laloofah

        Here’s a recipe from Dreena Burton (shared on Forks Over Knives website) that uses white kidney beans (cannellini) instead of chickpeas:

    • Darryl

      • Use a high-power blender rather than food processor.
      • Per 14.5 oz can chickpeas, start by blending a creamy emulsion of 2 Tbsp tahini, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp water
      • Add seasonings: I use (per can) 1 clove garlic, tsp cumin, salt to taste, pinch cayenne.
      • Add drained rinsed chickpeas and a bit of water and blend. Add more water and tamp down if the blender stalls. About 1 minute total blending will do.
      • Traditional presentation is drizzled with olive oil and paprika. Oil can be omitted, of course
      • I’m also fond of “Southwestern” variants using lime juice & cilantro and sometimes salsa added at the end.

      • Veganrunner

        Darryl! Not only are you the smartest kid on the block but you can cook!!!!!!!

    • b00mer

      I see Darryl shared his hummus recipe below but I thought I’d share mine too as it’s a bit different. Mine comes off the tahini bottle label, only change is water instead of oil. I use a food processor and it turns out great. I’ve made this countless times, always flavorful, always good texture, I’m gonna say pretty impossible to mess up. Favorite easy dinner combo is hummus spread on a plate, topped with a layer of brown rice and then a layer of steamed broccoli, with extra lemon juice, salt and pepper on the broccoli. Have tried a couple “alternative” flavors/recipes, but always come back to this one. :)

      I first have to put one clove garlic in my crappy old processor by itself, otherwise it won’t get chopped up right
      I then add:
      1 can chickpeas (rinsed, strained of course)
      1/4 c tahini
      juice of 1 lemon (should be at least 1/4 c, get out another lemon if necessary)
      up to 1/4 c water, added as necessary to desired consistency

      That’s it!

      While nothing quite compares to perfect freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly minced garlic, this definitely retains most of its flavor. The flavor of fresh garlic inevitably changes overnight, but if anything it becomes more intense. If it’s been in the fridge a couple days I’ll squeeze another lemon wedge worth of juice onto an individual serving to boost it since citrus juice flavors do tend to fade a bit with time. I don’t detect any change in moistness or texture with leftovers.

      • val

        b00mer, yours is pretty much identical to mine…I never add olive oil. Last time I added about 2 teaspoons turmeric..not bad.

        • b00mer

          How did the turmeric taste? Was it prominent or drowned out by the other flavors? I find I like the basic flavors the best, but I’m always looking for ways to inject turmeric and other spices into foods. I will definitely try this, perhaps start low and see how much I can add before I can detect it. Thanks for the idea!

          Your talk of turmeric also reminded me of this recipe that I like but haven’t made in a while:

          It’s good without any oil or even the water. I tried the sesame oil in it once and did not care for it at all. Maybe a few drops would be good but 1 tsp is way too much imo. I like to up the lime juice and include some zest too. Good with my usual rice and broccoli, and also some cilantro on top balances out the curry nicely.

          • val

            wow! Thank you for that recipe…looks fabulous!

    • KWD

      I always thought chickpeas were kind of bland until I got a pressure cooker. I’ve found that the flavor fresh out of the cooker – without any seasoning – is savory like a comfort food and it seems to keep even when I freeze batches. One other item that I think makes a big difference in hummus is the quality of tahini.

      As far as chickpeas go, during the spring/early summer this year my grocer carried fresh, raw chickpeas (which I had never seen or tasted before). I used them in summer soups – throwing them in at the end just so they had a chance to heat up and stay firm – they add a whole different level of flavor and texture that I found delicious. Unlike the chickpeas I always knew, the fresh ones are green and come in pods similar to edamame but shorter. The only downside is that shelling them is time intensive – 1.5 lbs gave me about 2.5-3 cups of shelled raw beans. I’ve been told they’re also delicious if you prepare them as you would edamame in the shell. I’ll have to try that next time.

    • ketsa

      I like it so much everytime I make Hummus, I eat everything :)
      Some canned chickpeas can acquire a bad can taste, try once with dried peas.

  • Alice

    “I’d love to hear everyone’s favorite recipe. You show me yours and I’ll show you mine ”
    I like a nori roll stuffed with lots of greens (any kind or combination – bok choy is great with red leaf lettuce), chopped garlic or onion, turmeric, cayenne, lemon juice (very important), avocado or hemp seeds, AND sprouted black lentils in the middle.

  • Dan Miller

    Beans, Beans the musical fruit. The more you eat the more you toot. The more you eat the better you feel…. Beans – Beans at every meal. Relax & Enjoy – Eat Plants :)

  • Tania

    My diet has been 100% plant based (whole food) for 19 years and prior to that vegetarian from birth…but at 47 my total cholesterol in 251 mg/DL. It has been steadily increasing over the last few years. I consume zero dietary cholesterol. What should I do?

    • Rohan

      Hi Tania, there are many things that raise our blood cholesterol besides the cholesterol we eat. Check out Dr Greger’s videos and blogs on saturated fats (animals and vegetable oils, mainly) and trans fats (animals and junk food, mainly) to see how we can avoid eating those. Stress is also implicated, as is lack of exercise, so we need to get moving every day; we need to chill out through meditation or some other form of relaxation, and we need a solid seven hours of sleep in complete darkness, every night. Dean Ornish thinks loving relationships are as important as low cholesterol for preventing atherosclerosis, so… it’s definitely the food, but it’s not just the food… All the best…

      • Tania

        Thanks for your reply Rohan. I eat mostly whole foods (plant based), and the main fat is avocado, since they are readily available where I live. I rarely eat nuts or nut pastes, seeds or tahinin since I find them too heavy and hard to digest. Occasionally I use olive oil or flax seed oil in homemade salad dressing or rice bran oil when I cook. I rarely eat junk food. I’ll have a go at giving up those vegetable oils…But as you said food is only one aspect that needs consideration, other areas of my life need more focused attention – stress, relationships, exercise.

    • Tom Goff

      Yes, I have the same problem despite consuming zero dietary cholesterol and virtually zero saturated fats/transfats.

      Remember, however, that even monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils contain a proportion of saturated fat. About 14% by weight in the case of olive oil. Even if you avoid oils, olives are 2% saturated fat by weight – see
      – as are avocadoes.

      As Rohan writes, lack of exercise and stress can cause high high cholesterol. Consuming alcohol and smoking also raise cholesterol, as can certain diseases See this UK Government site:

      Hope this helps and good luck.

      • Tania

        As mentioned above I do eat avocado, probably 1/2 a small one daily.

        I have never consumed alcohol or smoked.

        Will check out those links. Thanks Tom.

    • Val

      Tania, are you eating chips and crackers that have added oils? The transfats therein could be the culprit….salad dressings too are loaded with oils and chemicals and sodium that may also add to the problem. Just a gentle suggestion; not everything that is non-animal-sourced is healthy.

      • Tania

        I agree, there can be very unhealthy vegan choices. I make my own salad dressings, and only occasionally eat chips or crackers…but probably time to avoid them altogether. Thanks for your input.

    • Coclesmary

      My cholesterol is high too, but my “good” cholesterol is very high, so my doctor is fine with it, have you broken it down?

      • Tania

        My “good” cholesterol (HDL) is 2.0 mmol/L (lab range says needs to be > 1.0, which mine is.) Though I don’t know what an optimal level would be? My “bad” cholesterol (LDL) is 4.0 (lab range is 2.1-4.0, so it just scrapes in…not so good.)

  • Maria

    Swapped out cheese for hummus on bread -so easy – so tasty!

    • b00mer

      One of my favorite: hummus on toast, with thick sliced tomato and super thin sliced onion, with a bit of nutritional yeast/nut “parm” sprinkled on top. Tastes better than it should!

    • Val

      hummus is also KILLER on a baked potato (no butter of course).

      • b00mer

        You know I can’t believe I’ve never tried that, given my love for both baked potatoes and hummus. Have both things in the fridge right now, so you just gave me my lunch menu for today :)

        One thing I have done is white beans (a bit creamier than chickpeas) pureed with lemon juice and a dash of salt. It’s similar to sour cream on top of a baked potato.

        • Val

          I even dip cold baked potato cubes into hummus sometimes. Chef AJ (do you know who she is?) has a youtube recipe for something called “Yummy Sauce”– she uses white beans for a base as you suggest and it LOOKS fabulous…haven’t tried it yet though. She puts it on steamed veggies, rice, etc.

  • dawn

    I greatly enjoy this website. No personal offense intended, but since you’ve done such a nice job of revamping this website, it might be time to get someone who can do a better job with the oral reports on the videos. You often garble the words and it’s hard to follow. Again, no offense meant, but I’ve often felt this could be done better.

    • sottolaw

      In my experience, most practicing Docs talk like Dr. Greger. He’s got a lot to say and not enough time to say it. Not always 100% clear, but it certainly adds an air of authenticity to the presentation that would be lost if they were to use a professional reader. His elocution is far better in the context of his lectures, which are posted to YouTube.

  • Sue

    The laziest way I “make” hummus if I’m too busy is to buy favorite commercial hummus (esp buy one, get one free deals), realizing I’d rather eat it with less sodium and fat. So I dump it in a food processor, add a can of drained no-salt garbanzo beans and pulse away. It tastes fine! Freezes great, too. I’ll often add some hummus to a quick thrown-together salad of broccoli/cabbage slaw, radishes, arugula, broccoli sprouts, black beans all tossed together adding a splash of red wine vinegar, topped with chopped tomato. Great lunch on the go.

  • George

    Hi Dr.
    Been with the program for a few years and am pleased with my health status. I have a number of friends I try to convince of the benefits of a plant based diet but they don’t agree and seem to have good reasoning. My first concern is my cousin. He is a diabetic and he is his doctor’s “poster child” for treating it with no medication. He is 76 years old and has been a weight lifter all his life. He wakes up each morning at 5 am and works out in order to burn the sugar out of his system. He watches his sugar intake very carefully and complains that he can’t eat things other folks enjoy. He won’t eat fruit because it too sweet, he won’t eat beans because he says the starch will turn to sugar. He won’t eat carrots or many of the foods you say are the best for you. He says your diet is for converting generally healthy people to a better diet, but not for people like him. He seems to be doing okay but he does have some issues with his fingers and a toe. Many people say the proper diet can reverse diabetis. Is he right about his diet????

    • b00mer

      “He says your diet is for converting generally healthy people to a better diet” – your friend is absolutely mistaken in this regard. Have you seen the “year in review” videos? All three are at the bottom of the “home page”. Particularly the “Uprooting the leading causes of death” video specifically illustrates how a WFPB diet can prevent, *reverse*, or *treat* 15 of the leading causes of death in the U.S. I recommended the “Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” book in my other comment to you, which basically provides the ultimate counterpoint for your friend’s statement. It’s the history of Esselstyn getting started in WFPB-based CVD therapy by treating “the worst of the worst”. People whose CVD was so bad they were ineligible for surgery and basically told to go home and wait to die.

      But specifically regarding diabetes, your friend is also mistaken about the role of carbohydrates in the diet and if he wants to truly cure his diabetes rather than “manage” it, he needs to learn about the role of dietary fat and diabetes. Traditional diabetes “management” tries to control the amount of sugar that is introduced the bloodstream (via meticulous and restrictive dietary planning). However the problem isn’t sugar entering the bloodstream; the problem arises when insulin does not effectively do its job, and sugar is not efficiently transported from the bloodstream into the cells. The inhibition of insulin is due to the presence of fat within the cells. Get rid of the fat, insulin does its job, and one can consume carbohydrates and have the body process them naturally and effectively as humans were meant to do. But if we don’t fix the actual problem, then managing the symptoms (too much sugar) is the main approach. Unfortunately not only does this not actually fix the problem, but this approach encourages the removal of the most health promoting foods (beans, fruit, even carrots!) from the diet and tends to promote increased consumption of diabetes/heart disease/cancer promoting foods like meat and eggs.

      I would recommend that your friend become familiar with Dr. Neal Barnard’s work in particular before making a decision as to whether or not he should try a (low fat) WFPB diet for his diabetes:

      “Tackling Diabetes with a Bold New Approach”

      “Program for Reversing Diabetes” book on amazon:

      Best of luck, and one more thing – try as you might, you can educate as much as you can, but you can’t by your own willpower infuse others with the same motivation or desire for good health. Some people you will be able to help; others will be unreachable no matter how bad their own health problems become and regardless of your own visible success. All you can do is point them towards the resources, continue being a good example, and make sure they know that you’re there as a resource for help should they ever decide to try.

  • George

    My second concern is an individual at the health club where I work out. He claims he is “genetically predisposed” to having high cholesterol. His father died at a very young age with it and he says nothing about changing to a plant based diet will help him. He says he went on a “total cholesterol free diet” for six months and his numbers didn’t change one point. I don’t know what to say to people like him. Are they condemned to medication forever. I feel like I should stop trying to convince people about the health benefits of what I do. Many of them seem to have a story like this guy. Can they be helped by making the change or not???

    • b00mer

      If when your friend said “no cholesterol” diet he meant vegan diet, then that may indeed not have been enough. Dietary cholesterol consumption is only half (maybe less than half) of the equation. The consumption of saturated fat leads to higher cholesterol production within the body. So if your friend was consuming oils, oil-containing processed foods, or even an excessive amount of whole but high fat foods like nuts or avocado, this would have kept his numbers elevated. An interesting illustrative example Jeff Novick likes to use is that a couple tablespoons of olive oil have the same amount of saturated fat as a 4 oz steak.

      Your friend will without a doubt achieve the lowest cholesterol values possible on a low fat whole foods plant based diet. The target value for good cardiovascular health is 150. Make sure your friend knows that 150 is the goal, not the value of 200 which mainstream medicine tends to promote not out of good science but out of a desire to placate the public. I highly recommend the book “Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” by Caldwell Esselstyn for you and your friend. There’s a good chance you can find it at a public library. If that doesn’t convince him of the power of a low fat WFPB diet for cardiovascular health, I’m not sure anything can.

  • Jessica

    We love chickpea salad sandwiches. We mash chickpeas with relish and a little vegan mayo, stir in some chopped celery, and serve on whole grain bread or toast with fat slices of tomatoes.

    The pan-roasted tomato and chickpea salad here is delicious too:

    • b00mer

      Love chickpea salad sandwiches! My favorite is the mock tuna salad by a blog called “yeah, that vegan ****”

      The blog title contains profanity, my apologies; recipe is worth it :)

      For anyone interested in a lower fat vegan mayo, I like the fatfreevegan tofu cashew mayo.

      • val`

        b00mer, I went to that website and copied that recipe…thank you for the tip!

  • arbus

    Just staring making my own hummus. I’m using a VitaMix to make it. I started with this recipe and modified it a bit:

    Here’s my take:

    Two (2) 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans).

    4 ounces of lemon juice (I use the lemon juice that comes in the plastic containers that looksl like a lemon so I can use it all it pitch it w/o measuring.

    1/2 cup tahini

    Half of a large garlic clove whole. Let the Vitamix take care of it!

    4 tablespoons olive oil

    1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on taste

    1 teaspoon ground cumin

    Dash of ground paprika for serving

    1. Combine the all the ingrediants EXCEPT the beans and paprika into the blender. Blend for 2 minutes or so, unit everything is nice and creamy.

    2. Add the first can of beans WITH all the juice into blender. Blend until smooth. Maybe 2 minutes.

    3. Add the SECOND can of beans WITHOUT the juice. Blend. Add as much juice as needed from the 2nd can once blending to ease blending and make as smooth as wanted.

    4. Add paprika to top once in containers

  • Susan

    We eat beans every day and we are heart healthy. We love our beans. Yes they did a great job for lowering so much, no pills for us.

  • viennagirl

    Puree white beans, white balsamic vinegar, cajun spice, garlic and chopped red onion to add protein to Subway vegetable sandwich on whole wheat! We picnic with the sandwich on Schwedenplatz in Vienna when the weather is fine!

  • Tobias Brown

    You are suggesting the seemingly impossible here. If one exercises off 500-600 calories per day and eat back all your calories plus and eat legumes more, 2-3 times per day, plus eat plenty of vegetables, even at only an 11% protein intake level, you’ll be consuming 80-100 grams of protein each day. This is far more than the 40-50 grams recommended for an average-sized adult and on the level of the protein consumption in the general population. Aren’t we supposed to be keeping protein down? Or is it only Methionine that we need to minimize? (I’ve noted that even though I’m trying to eat more legumes, Methionine is still only at .7 grams today).

    • Darryl

      Its rather difficult to consume less than 10% of calories from protein in whole food diets, generally requiring a lot of sweet fruit, white rice, or skinless potatoes. The most obvious difference in amino acid composition between plant based and Western diets is methionine content, which Dr. Greger addressed in these videos. When I compare sample 2000 kcal diets, my own WPB diet ranges around 150% of the methionine requirement, while my past omnivore diet was in the range 250-300%.

      One of the interesting things I discovered delving into the methionine issue is that while the other sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine spares requirements, glycine and serine (which freely interchange) help regulate excess methionine (1, 2, 3, 4). Among higher protein food groups, legumes have the highest ratio of (Gly+Ser)/(Met+Cys): legumes excl. soy (4.2), soy (3.4), nuts (3.0), mollusks (2.8), grains (2.5), tubers (2.4), red meat, poultry (2.4), dairy, pork (2.3), fish (2.1), egg whites, whey (1.8). I speculate that the glycine+serine content of legumes, and their high ratio to the sulfur amino acids, contributes to the lower harms regularly seen when plant protein replaces animal proteins, and the benefit of beans in particular.

      • Tobias Brown

        Thanks for this detailed answer though I don’t understand it. I’m flustered as well that my question was worded so poorly. I’d fix that but I don’t see an edit button. Anyway. Would also love to learn more about your version of WPB… what makes it uniquely yours.

  • Chris Hartley

    The video sources is missing

    Hypocholesterolaemic effect of Bengal gram: a long-term study in man

    • KWD

      Many thanks for pointing this out so we can get it properly listed.

  • Mark

    Red lentil hummus is my current favorite:

    1 cup dry red lentils

    3 cups water
    simmer 20-25 mins and let cool
    scoop resulting “porridge” into your food processor
    add 4 cloves minced garlic
    1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh preferable)
    2/3 cup tanini (make sure it’s not rancid)
    1 tsp salt
    additional water as needed
    process on high for 5 minutes
    It should produce a creamy, lemony hummus with wonderful flavor and superb health benefits (better nutrition than chick peas).

  • BenzoSt

    I used to frequently eat eggs, coconut products, and some butter because I was persuaded they were healthy.

    Resulting lipid panel on March 28, 2013:
    Triglycerides: 55
    Total cholesterol: 314
    HDL: 78
    LDL: 225
    VLDL: 11
    Ratio chol/HDL: 4.02

    My physician advised me to lower my cholesterol, so I dumped those foods and started eating more legumes, sardines, and nonfat yogurt.

    Resulting lipid panel on March 31, 2014 (about a year later):
    Triglycerides: 72
    Total cholesterol: 199
    HDL: 67
    LDL: 118
    VLDL: 14
    Ratio chol/HDL: 2.97

    So in my personal experience it does indeed seem that saturated fat increases cholesterol and fiber reduces it. I have recently committed to 3 months of a smart vegan diet, and will undergo another series of blood tests in mid-November. This smart vegan diet further increases my legume consumption to about 2 cups of beans, peas, and lentils every day.

    Conversely, something that surprised me is that my Pop told me that his physician states that cholesterol doesn’t seem as strongly related to heart disease as previously thought, and that it is more important to stay well hydrated, have a healthy lifestyle, and avoid sugar. This falls in line with a recent article in the New York Times Science Times at

    What do you folks think of all this?

  • Joel Santos

    Hi Dr. Greger. I’ve been going on a whole food plant based diet for a few months now. When my family asks me where I get my protein, I tell them that I get it mostly from beans. They tell me that I should take it easy on the beans because it will increase my uric acid and give me gout. Is there any truth to this?

    • Darryl

      There are a few high-purine plant foods: nutritional yeast and the wild mushroom Boletus sp. when dried. However cooked legumes are moderate in levels, and this paper recommends them as alternatives to higher purine foods like seafood, game and organ meats. Another simple dietary change is to restrict added sugar (including HFCS), as high fructose increases uric acid.

    • Thea

      Joel: If you watch all the videos on the topic of “beans” on this site, I think you will feel very comfortable a good serving or two of beans every day.

      I also wanted to address this issue of “Where do you get your protein?” The following articles will help you to answer the question better the next time it comes up. (Like it comes up for all of us!)

      Here is my favorite website for explaining all about protein. There is a section on the page that talks about the myth of the need to worry about protein combining.

      A close second, to fill in yet some more details is Dr. McDougall article from December 2003.
      You might also check out the January 2004 newsletter article, Protein Overload.

      I hope your new plant based diet is still going well. Good luck.

  • Chris

    Here is a site with some fantastic bean recipes:

  • Damian
  • Explorer

    I started using Hummus instead of milk in my breakfast oats. I enjoy the taste and mix in Turmeric, black pepper and salsa. I make my own Hummus with any combination of legumes, nut butter and olive oil.
    Its unconventional but tastes great

  • Aftab iqbal

    I am diabetic since 2008. I have just started plant base diet my fasting suger drops to 110 from urine protien is 50 can i use beans peas and lentils .

  • Ann

    I tried the grassfed butter diet thing, vegan though, and it brought back tremendous menopause symptoms in 4 weeks after I have almost none on a low fat high carb plant diet.

    • Just an FYI:

      Butter is vegetarian but it is not vegan.

    • Nancy

      Butter is not vegan

      • Ann

        Yes Einstein I know.

  • Brrb15

    I have a question about the effects of legumes on skin. I have been experimenting with plant-based meals and recently made a curry with lentils and chickpeas. One serving of the curry included half a cup of chickpeas and another half cup of lentils. Within three days, my forehead erupted in little whiteheads and red blotches. I noticed this effect previously when I included chickpeas or butter beans in a meal, but then the acne actually reduced when the next lot of meals I had included chicken. Could this be an allergy or did I have too big a serving of beans that negatively affected my digestion? I was kind of peeved about that because I want to adopt a more plant-based diet. Oh one more note, I always have two cups of broccoli and cauliflower with my meals.

  • ilovechess

    Usually store bought hummus (as well as most recipes) contain olive or safflower oil.
    What is the best way to make heart healthy hummus?

  • Concerned vegan

    What about bean consumption for people with G6PD? Many sources on the internet cite the consumption of beans is harmful to people with this condition? It seems very difficult to be vegan without consuming legumes.

  • Darryl

    You know who else loves beans? My favorite microbe:

    Akkermansia muciniphila, whose abundance is inversely related to the severity of the obese phenotype, was increased in the high fat + navy bean group versus high fat by 20-fold

    Granted, in mice, but you can beat the rush to buy beans when replicated in humans.

  • ketsa

    Okay, but when we lower cholesterol, what is considered too low ?

    • Thea

      ketsa: For anyone with normal human biology (ie, not some kind of genetic defect), I don’t think it is possible to lower cholesterol below a point that is healthy. In other words, if you follow all the videos on this site regarding cholesterol, you will learn that:
      a) we are born with our bodies being able to make all the cholesterol we need.
      b) if we eat a healthy diet, our cholesterol levels do not rise above the amount we are born with. The amount we are born with are human-normal levels.
      c) if we have been eating an unhealthy diet and our cholesterol levels are too high, switching to a healthy diet will at most lower our cholesterol levels to human-normal levels.

      Here is a NutritionFacts video that directly addresses your specific question from one perspective:

      Does that help?

  • Jonathan McCall

    I understand that beans contain high levels of estrogen. Is this true? I told my wife we should eat less chicken and eggs due to estrogen content – and she countered that beans also contain a lot of estrogen. Please commment

    • Thanks for your question Jonathan.

      You are making a great decision by taking out eggs, chicken as these like other animal products, contain a lot of estrogen (see here).

      However, beans do not contain estrogen, they contain phytoestrogen (e.g.. soybean), which is slightly different and “phytoestrogens appear to be helpful in the prevention of diabetes and cancers of the colon, liver, brain, breast, ovaries, and skin. “Bad” cholesterol appears to be reduced, cardiovascular risk decreased, and weight loss increased when they are consumed.” (see here).

      On top of that, beans are high in fibre which ” flushes excess estrogen out of the body” (see here).

      Hope this answer helps.

      • Kimberly

        Could you also please comment on any concerns re: people with g6pd deficiency eating legumes due to the risk for both high and low but chronic levels of hemolysis? Is this outdated information or are the warnings against legumes in people with g6pd deficiency valid? Thank you!