Doctor's Note

How are Americans exposed to saturated fat? Burgers actually fall well below chicken. See Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

The beef industry is by no means alone in having a corrupting influence on the scientific method. See, for example:

For more on being heart attack “proof,” see Eliminating the #1 Cause of Death.

For more context, check out my associated blog post: How to Design a Misleading Study.

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  • bad science

    Great video Dr. Greger.

    Have you seen this?

    • A classic!

    • Dave Bleicher

      Some good points Goldacre makes. But in the end, isn’t he still a vaccine promoting, pharmaceutical industry supporting shill of some sorts, when the truth is that our bodies need to be exposed to the antigens through natural exposure, creating mucosal response, enzymatic response, biliary response, the biggie – the response from the intestinal flora, and then cell mediated response, to effectively create humoral immunity that lasts, where the antibody survives much longer after healthier B cells create the antibody, as well as effective excretion through the colon and urinary tract, and skin, making our diet (with green leafy vegetables being very important) key, with tons of fruits & veggies, excluding bacteria and inflammation forming animal products and the TMAO from them?

  • BB

    This is one of the best videos I’ve seen to show how information can be misleading. Misleading is a mild descriptive. The BOLD study was down-right deceptive.

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D,

    Great video, showing how easy it is to conduct a (lousy) study to prove anything. Actually it is embarrassing to conduct a study like this. Science is not always science.

  • VegAtHeart

    Why do some studies show that nut consumption (which have significant saturated fat content) reduces the odds of heart disease? Or more specifically, what is it in nuts that compensates for the saturated fat to make it a heart healthy food?

    • Toxins

      I find it difficult to have applicability with the nut studies because they typically involve people consuming a standard American diet and then adding nuts. I would find results more intriguing comparing a very low fat diet to a diet that included a moderate amount of nuts.

      • Darryl

        The study that first discovered a cardioprotective effect of nuts was the Adventist Health Study (I) in 1992, not sponsored by the nut industry, and they found significant benefits in their various vegetarian cohorts.

      • Emilie

        Yes, I would definitely agree!

    • I’ve got a bunch of videos on that! Check them out at

      So glad I can help!

      In health,

  • Fan

    I am interested in making a donation, however, I am not confident in the security on your donation page. I do not have paypal.

    • Toxins

      Paypal is a very safe tool for transferring money and is easy to establish. If you ever have problems paypal will also reimburse.

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      Paypal processes all donations to using the same kind of encryption technology that is used by banks and large retailers, but you do NOT have to establish a Paypal account to support the site. In fact, it seems that using a credit card is the only option for making a donation online (as of now). Or, if you live in the U.S., you could mail a check :) Either way, thank you for supporting this project!

    • So kind of you to consider supporting this work! You can send a check made out to “” to:

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      700 Professional Dr.
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  • VeganVet

    Another great video! This is exactly the technique used in the Mediterranean diet study.

  • oderb

    Dr Geiger always seems to focus on Cholesterol and LDL cholesterol – and conveniently ignores two other major risk factors – tricyclerides and HDL.

    My experience and on the advice of my doctor eating a diet high in saturated fat while reducing carbs raises HDL and lowers my TG, and importantly significantly improves the TG/HDL ratio which is a more powerful indictor of heart disease risk than is total cholesterol. Since I changed my diet my risk factors have decreased and I sure enjoy my food a lot more – which is sort of the point of living, isn’t it?

    I would really appreciate a response from Dr Geiger.

  • brec

    Diction alert! “tobacco industry tact” — should be “tack”. A common error. This usage of “tack” derives from its nautical meaning of a sailing maneuver. “Tact”, on the other hand, is sensitivity in dealing with others.

    More relevantly.. The BOLD diet reduced SFA intake from 12 g to 6 g, not 12% to 6% of kcal; the percentages went from 27.9 to 15.4. This is per the study table displayed in the video.

    • Thank you so much brec! I corrected tact for tack. I think I got the percentage right, though. You can tell the parenthetical number is the grams, because otherwise they would be getting 287% of their calories from carbohydrates :)

      • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

        Carbs are healthfood, so 287% are OK – you just need a bigger plate……

  • Jules

    Oh that sneaky beef industry ! I am vegan and plan to stay that way! They can keep their bull !

  • falsifying data
  • Kim Hoover

    Hi Dr. Greger,
    I thought the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was a peer-review scientific journal. How did they justify publishing this?

    • VegAtHeart

      This is a very reasonable question, since it would seemingly require a conspiracy to publish such a preposterous paper! Yet this paper found its way into a major nutrition journal of respectable impact factor.
      My opinion is that the peer review process for most journals is an imperfect filtration of bad papers. Typically only two scientists in the field have to approve of a paper for it to get published. Sometimes even one positive enough reviewer can persuade the journal editor to accept the paper. In cases where a paper is rejected, the authors are entitled to re-submit their paper to other journals. Each additional iteration of peer review will increase the odds that a favourable reviewer is found. Thus, for persistent enough authors, finding a suitable match is inevitable.
      Furthermore, scientists are rewarded primarily based on the number of times a paper is cited. So, in theory, a paper could be cited 300 times, all citations of which argue that the paper is dreadfully bad and yet this would be of great value to a scientist’s career in terms of grant and award earning potential.
      So now you understand the temptation to become a scientist. You are revered as if you belong to the modern priestly caste and the secret to success is nothing more than persistence.

  • Ben O’Loughlin

    Thank you, Dr Greger!

  • Mike Quinoa

    Amazing video Dr. Greger. I have to compliment you on your choice of graphics and visuals—true eye candy. They make your videos not only educational, but entertaining as well.

  • Jess

    Cholesterol does not cause heart disease, nor saturated fat. Get you fact straight.

    • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

      WOW! With this kind of very strong arguments, backed up by references to countless scientific articles, you will convince everybody…….NOT

    • Toxins

      Evidence for your statements?

    • d1stewart

      Well, in fact both saturated fat and cholesterol cause heart disease in monkeys, apes, horses, and numerous other animals that are not obligate carnivores or true omnivores (which have the physiological equipment to eat meat, such as dogs). And humans fall into the same category as the other animals–animals in whom cholesterol and saturated fat do cause heart disease, or atherosclerosis. The reason is that meat is not a natural or appropriate food for humans–as evidenced by its causing numerous diseases in humans.

      Those are straight facts. Get yours straight.

  • M85

    I get the impression that studies on fish eating populations are similiar to this: these people often don’t consume meat or dairy and that might be the reason they live longer not because they eat fish. The traditional okinawan diet was almost 99% vegan with only about 15 grams of fish daily and then people say it’s the fish that makes them live long!

  • mykamakiri

    Dr Greger,

    Thank you for being a continuing source of inspiration.

    Would you consider doing a video about raising pets on vegan food? I imagine this could be quite relevant to a lot of your readers.

    Keep up the amazing work!

    • Thea

      mykamakiri: You may be interested in a talk given by Armaiti May, DVM. She’s been talking about vegan dogs and cats for years. The link below is to page of a bunch of videos. But if you scroll down, you can find Armaiti’s talk from 2011. I saw the most recent version a couple weeks ago and it was great.

      FYI: I’ve been feeding my Great Dane a vegan kibble for about 4 years now. He’s 10 years old (which is good for a Great Dane) and is doing fantastic health-wise. One of the tricks is to get the right vegan kibble as they are not all the same in terms of nutrients.

      Hope you find that helpful.

      • mykamakiri

        Thank you so much for this.

  • d1stewart

    Dear Dr G: The correct word is “tack,” not “tact.” “Tack” is a nautical metaphor for setting a direction; “tact” is social sensitivity in behavior–not an abbreviation for “tactic.” “…and wanted to take the tobacco industry tact” should be “and wanted to take the tack of the tobacco industry.”

  • d1stewart

    This is a great piece. Dissecting how the beef industry–and, it should be added, several academics who have deplorable scholarly standards and should be ashamed of themselves–lie with statistics and tell a whole lie with a partial truth.

  • Toxins

    I am not saying that nuts are unhealthy, but even the Adventists do not have the same type of whole foods plant based diet you or I follow.

  • oderb

    You apparently did not read what I wrote. I said that my HDL went up as a result of diet, not medication. The two should not be equated.Just look at diabetes drugs that bring down glucose while doing nothing for mortality, unlike diet which can lower glucose and mortality.

    And you neglected to mention that the side effects you list are found in mice. Are you aware of any high quality studies that show similar effects in humans? I’d like to see them.

  • theyfly

    I think your analysis of the Beef study is wrong, They were comparing HAD and DASH to BOLD and BOLD+. I realize that the funding draws into the question the results, but I think you’re interpretation is equally misleading. For real insightful and unbiased views, I would check-out Dr Attia and NUSI. They, as far as I can tell, the only objective sources of nutritional information.

    • largelytrue

      Taubes and Attia the most unbiased and knowledgeable leaders in the nutritional world?! You sure?

      • theyfly

        Plant Positive is far from unbiased himself – clearly pushing his personal agenda. He also has his share of critics:

        At least Dr. Attia publishes a disclosure, which appears accurate:

        I was hoping NUSI would have published results by now, and I’m not sure why they haven’t. Guess research takes time.

        • largelytrue

          Some people are better at working around their biases than others when arguing about matters of fact. If Colpo is the most prominent critic of Plant Positive that comes to mind for you, that’s a sign that Plant has little to worry about in terms of competent counterargument.

          Referring to a rambling post from Colpo would be like me referring to you to an extended rant by durianrider. Neither of them are academically skilled and neither are focused enough on a careful discussion of scientific claims.

          Attia’s disclosure has some parts which are covered by plausible deniability, but even then when he only states that with respect to Generation UCAN, “I occasionally discuss or mention them in my posts”, he’s being less than fully accurate. He has given an entire presentation promoting the product, complete with carefully compiled testimonial statements from people who he has trained:

          Note that part at the end about another presentation planned. The UCAN website also has this blogpost with this question and response by athlete Christopher Kelly:

          “What attracted you to SuperStarch and Generation UCAN?

          This year it finally dawned on me that first step to optimal athletic performance is general health. A yearly routine blood test had always shown low haemoglobin and hematocrit and I decided it was time to find out why. More test revealed chronic inflammation, a leaky gut, and gluten sensitivity. Adopting a strict autoimmune diet protocol fixed these issues, and extensive reading into the hows and whys lead me to a better understanding of how blood glucose affects our health and athletic performance. I found Peter Attia’s presentation on UCAN and exchanged a few emails with my coach and the Ph.D. medical researcher that fixed my leaky gut. On paper, Superstarch was clearly an improvement over maltodextrin.”

          So though the internal link is now broken for some reason, the company previously hosted a resource which Kelly thought was a presentation by Attia about the merits of UCAN. The website also has a stray tagging structure for Attia-related content:

          I wouldn’t call this evidence of a little blogging here and there, and no more.

  • Adam Francis

    I thought when conducting scientific experiments, the control variable is the only variable that isn’t kept constant, in this case beef consumption, and all other variables must be kept constant? Isn’t this a fundamental criterion for conducting scientific studies?

  • Daniel

    A friend keeps trying to convince me that Grass-fed pasture-raised beef has a better fat ratio than conventionally raised beef, and is therefore healthier. I replied that whether a cow is grass-*finished* could be hard to prove, anyway, but I’m wondering if the data backs up her assertion? Is grass fed healthier?

    • Thea

      Daniel: While I haven’t seen the actual data, I’m willing to concede that grass fed cow might be healthIER than factory farm grain fed cows, but only in the sense that a Snickers is healthier than a Milky Way because a Snickers has real peanuts in it. (Hope you are form America and know that those are candy bars.) Or another example would be that it might be similar to the way in which “fluffy” LDL is healthier than non-fluffy–which just means that foods which produce fluffy LDL cause slightly fewer heart attacks. Not that those foods are actually healthy.
      So, why do I think this same analogy could be applied to cows? Because the reasons that we know that beef are bad for us would apply to any cow, no matter how it is raised. Those cows are still going to be full of saturated fat, animal protein, high levels of contaminants (compared to organic plants), etc. It is like people who say that certain kinds of eggs have less saturated fat. Even 1/3 less saturated fat leaves you with waaaay too much saturated fat. It’s still bad for you…
      What do you think?

      • Daniel

        I think that’s a fair assessment. I mean, if one is going to eat beef or eggs, better to make it from more humane sources, and make it marginally better quality overall. But yes, the same problems remain.

  • Rkopdi

    How does bacon affect your health?