Doctor's Note

The findings of the EPIC study linking meat consumption to weight gain can be found in Meat and Weight Gain in the PANACEA Study. The Cattlemen were also vocal in questioning the federal dietary guidelines; see Dietary Guidelines: Corporate Guidance. For more on abdominal fat, see Does Eating Obesity Cause Obesity?Fill in the BlankWaistline-Slimming FoodWaistline-Expanding Food; and Milk Protein vs. Soy Protein. Tomorrow, we’ll cover the various ways excess body fat can be measured.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts Poultry Paunch: Meat & Weight GainDiet and Cellulite; and Is Coconut Oil Bad For You?

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  • The findings of the EPIC study linking meat consumption to weight gain can be found in yesterday’s video-of-the-day Meat and Weight Gain in the PANACEA Study. The Cattlemen were also vocal in questioning the federal dietary guidelines (see Dietary Guidelines: Corporate Guidance). For more on abdominal fat, see Does Eating Obesity Cause Obesity?, Fill in the Blank, Waistline Slimming Food, Waistline Expanding Food, and Milk Protein vs. Soy Protein. Tomorrow we’ll cover the various ways excess body fat can be measured.

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

    • Veganrunner

      Drum roll please….

      Two months ago I went vegan from what would best be described as a flexitarian without dairy and I just got my bloodwork back..

      Total cholesterol 119
      LDL 50.
      HDL 59
      Triglycerides 52

      Man I love this stuff!

      •  Congratulations, those are fantastic numbers! What were they like before?

        • Veganrunner

          Total 150
          LDL 70

          Absolutely fine before but I am really enjoying this. My father died at 52 from heart disease and his brother at 38. I only wish my siblings and cousins would eat plant strong. Most of them are themselves at various stages of heart disease.

          I will keep sending them your videos!

      • HemoDynamic, M.D.

        I wish my patients had cholesterol that low.  Those are fantastic numbers!  Keep up the great work!

  • Biao Xu

    So true!
    I was consuming minimal meat but quite some milk/dariy.  After watching FORKS OVER KNIVES, I removed these animal products from my diet totally and only thing I was eating meatwise was weekly serving of wild-cat salmon which I will cut out soon also.
    The change was 3 months ago. During these 3 months, I increased my consumption of nuts/vegs while at the time decreasing my amount daily exercise because my body is just feeling great with greater energy level without all too much work-out!
    My allergy is completely gone.
    I just noticed my waiste shrunk even more  since I am using one more hole back on my belt. 4 Years ago my waist is about 35 (190 LB) and now it is under 29.5. I am 6 feet and weigh about 155 LB. I lost about 6-7 LB 3 months after switching to nearly total whole-food plant based diet. But I feel stronger than ever maybe more muscle after the switch!
    Yes, I consume lots of nuts (walnut, sunflower seeds, almond -all raw and peanut butter) EVERY DAY so my calarie intake total daily is not really low!
    This video today and yesterday’s is just right on point.
    With plant-based whole food diet, maybe you should worried about not losing too much weight! LOL!

    • Paulc

       Congratulations Biao Xu. I had much the same experience. About 10 years ago, I also dropped my last animal indulgence, a mere 3 1/2 ounce tin of sardines each week. I lost 20 pounds within the next 2 or 3 months, my knees stopped aching, my irritable bowel syndrome and depression cleared up over the next year, I sleep better now (don’t have to make nocturnal visits to the little person’s room any longer), my energy is up and the crown of my head which was was developing a bald spot now has a thick covering of hair. Before, I looked and felt my age. Now, I love telling people how old I am and watching the look of incredulity that creeps on their face.

      • Veganrunner

        Paulc what a great story! Just from a tin of sardines? Wow.

  • cetude

     Cattlemen’s association is full of crap – antibiotic abuse is normal and
    about half of ALL our meat supply is infected with resistant infections
    such as MRSA, VRE, superbug strep, etc., including c. diff. Going
    vegan was the best thing I ever did – my
    cholesterol issues vanished and I’m no longer on any pills (because when
    you eat MEAT, even “lean” it will drive your cholesterol up badly), and
    I feel a lot better. I also found out it’s far easier to keep your
    weight down. You STILL have to watch your weight when vegan – BUT it’s a
    lot easier to do. Because whatever they put into raising animals as a
    growth stimulant goes into YOU when you eat it.

  • cetude

    The pharmaceutical companies – even DOCTORS – depend on the meat industry because the WANT people to have high cholesterol – which means writing more prescriptions, which means more doctor visits, which means more heart attacks and strokes which means more medications which means more $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ in their pocket.  ARSENIC is included as standard feed for all poultry – and ARSENIC has been linked to diabetes and cancer.  Diabetes is a big, big, big money makers for both doctors and the pharmaceutical companies – even the diabetic test kits are all laughing their way to the bank with $1 per test strip. Now tell me again that meat is good for you when we have a nation with 700,000+ STROKES and over a MILLION heart attacks a year in the USA.  And YOUR DOCTOR will TELL you “you gotta eat meat.” NOW YOU KNOW WHY!  And there is also big money with bowel cancer – which is also linked to eating meat.  Kaaaaching!!!  

  • cetude

    One thing I really love about being vegan is my irritable bowel syndrome also vanished. I had no idea MEAT was irritating to the colon.  I used to have watery diarrhea followed by constipation, then back to watery diarrhea not to mention the crippling abdominal pains.  Well, that’s over with with my vegan diet. I have a normal bowel pattern and my abdominal pains are gone and I enjoy regularity.    ****MEAT IS POISON!!!***  MEAT IS EVIL!! 

  • cetude

    MEAT is also the product of the devil because it is murder. 

  • Sharon

    I would love to see a picture of a Cattleman’s meeting to see the general weight of those attending.

    • LKSkinner

      That could be really interesting – I bet they’re a pretty “beefy” crew!
      It’s quite disconcerting when you start to see the pattern, big beef supports big pharma, who woos doctors to prescribe cholesterol drugs . . .

      Also, when you put together the impact on the environment – beef production demands an incredible amount of water, for example – with the impact on our health, going plant-strong is the only way to go.

  • How can you put healthy weight on if you get too slim?

    • Eric Wagner

      Eat more calories from healthy foods. It really is that simple. 

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      The only “Healthy” weight I know that one can put on is muscle (and some more bone density). 
      The only way I know to put on muscle is resistance training (eg. weights, pushups, sit ups pull ups, swimming etc).

      Look at vegan bodybuilder Billy Simmonds in his video.  He was the 2009 Natural Mr. Universe.

    • Toxins

       Eating more complex carbohydrates such as brown rice may assist since these tend to be more calorie dense but you should not dip below normal weight levels if your consuming whole foods, when your hungry, till your full.

  •  Possibly I seemed a bit pointed in my comments about exercise vs diet.  I got down to about 160 at 6 foot by dietary moderation and exercise.  Since getting to this weight, I have been improving the quality of my diet. Now, I don’t eat meat at all, and very little dairy and eggs. I also started eating a dark green salad everyday- of course inspired partly by Michael Greger.  I also eat a variety of nuts and seeds, such as flax and pumpkin everyday.  Since doing these things, my weight has crept down to about 158 without any further decrease in calorie intake.  I used to take a high dose of cholesterol medicine, but now my numbers are 170 total, 64 HDL, 60 triglycerides and 94 LDL, without taking any medicine at all.  My HDL used to be less than 20 when I was weighing about 255.  I was still eating eggs at these latest numbers.  I will get it tested again soon, and this will be after I gave up eggs.  I guess what I saying is that one should do everything to improve one’s health.  Heart disease and obesity run in my family.  Instead of making diet 80% and exercise 20%, why not make both of them 100%?  Instead of pitting diet against exercise, why not pit them both against eating meat, as well as taking prescription drugs to treat one’s ills?  It seems that calorie control (not eating as few calories as possible, but eating the right number), lots of exercise, and a high fiber whole foods Vegan diet as well as hydration are all very effective in improving health and in controlling weight.

  • OK – I just have to weigh in with my numbers too. 2 1/2 years vegan.   F 59

    Cholesterol – 107
    Triglycerides – 46
    HDL  – 51
    LDL  – 47

    It was never an issue. My highest was 130 prior to vegan diet. Good genes. But still it’s fun to see the look on my doc’s face when the numbers roll in.

    Love this website. Always gives me some great info and reasons to stay the course. Your tastes really do change. If I could only really shake my sweet tooth….

  • Jordan

    Thank you Dr. Greger.  I have recently lost 200 pounds by switching my diet towards a plant based diet.  I didn’t know what I was doing I was just desperate and I kind of fumbled my way through.  As the weight came back as it inevitably does, I found myself sinking into dispare.  Would I really end up back in hell again?  Upon seeing your videos I felt a peace settle in on me.  It was really odd because this morning my nephew died after a long battle with the Standard American Diet.  But I finally feel that I’m not stumbling.  Now I’m spending my time trying to download all of your videos before the beef council wacks you and takes your site down.  You’ve stuck your neck out for humanity.  Thank you.  I’m sold,… and I vow to spend the rest of my days spreading this message. 


  • My three housemates are convinced that all the bad things attributed to beef are only true of feed-lot, grain-fed beef, and that pasture-fed beef has such a different nutritional profile that eating it is healthier than a fully plant-based diet. Can that be true?

  • judynew

    “Cattlemen’s Association is full of crap.” lol

  • disqus_5nxVB2klLp

    Just to clear the air before assumptions on my question are made; I agree meat consumption shows to be harmful to a person’s overall wellbeing. My question is did any of these studies take into account grass fed, free range, and no antibiotics? Is there a difference between the consumption of the two types of animal meats? Also have cortisol levels in animals shown to have in correlation with this weight gain? It’s pretty much understood what type of affects cortisol has on us. If there was shown to be a correlation with all of this it could go to show that our slaughtering techniques and animal treatment has to be improved, and the affects we are seeing with weight gain aren’t as a result of the protein of the meat but rather the cortisol.

  • Kim Churchman

    Anyone know how I can turn off the subtitles?

  • Daryl

    Did this EPIC study (and others) measure the growth hormones, antibiotics, etc in the meat? While I’m perfectly willing to accept the results that a plant based diet is generally better for you, for weight and general health, we know that animal tissue concentrates chemicals (just think DDT) so logic alone raises the warning bells that it may be a contributing factor. When will that study be done?