Doctor's Note

Sprouting is so much fun! I’ve got tons of videos on broccoli sprouts, for example: Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck.

But again, whichever way we like them we should eat them. Why? See:

Mostly I just used canned. See Canned Beans or Cooked Beans?

Other videos on practical prep tips include:

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  • Tobias Brown

    In the Paleo Diet world, there’s a new craze for consuming “resistant starch” for it’s positive health effects on the large intestine, where RS enables increased butyrate production. (Supposedly, the later helps to “keep the gut wall healthy and sealed.” and “benefits the body by controlling inflammation…” …Beans are a top source of RS they claim, yet as low-carb dieters, they prefer to avoid natural sources and supplement with potato starch. Is increased butyrate production useful? Can we produce enough via whole foods? Does potato starch offer any real benefits as they claim?

    • Jane’s Addiction

      Yeah I’d like to hear some actual science on this from Dr. G as well. My suspicion is that as per usual the Paleo people are full of it, especially since whole white potatoes are so bad for you, and I can’t imagine an extract from a food like that being good for you where the whole food is bad for you. But, like I say I’d love to hear the actual science on it. Who knows, maybe it’s a blind squirrels stumbling upon nuts situation.

      • Tobias Brown

        The issue of potatoes being bad for you is a different issue, and a very important one… It’s hard for me to accept that one doctor like Dr McDougall can endorse potatoes as maybe one of the healthiest foods on the planet while Dr Greger gives them a red light. How can two people who are so close on the big picture have opposed viewpoints on something as basic as the health value of eating potatoes? It’s very confusing…

        • Guest

          Potatoes, tomatoes, goji berries, eggplant, certain peppers are “nightshades”. Very harmful to some
          people. My arthritic conditions virtually eliminated after removing nightshades, as well as neurological
          issues. Life changing to say the least. I’m guessing you already know about nightshades.

          • John K Nichols

            How does a person discover if he/she should avoid the nightshades? One Vietnamese grandmother warned against eating any eggplant because of her experienced observations with what she ate and joint pain and vitality.

        • Jane’s Addiction

          Well, I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of Dr. McDougall before reading your comment, so I don’t know a whole lot about him. One thing I have gleaned from browsing his website is that he doesn’t seem to include the research that he bases his claims on, which is something that Dr. Greger does for each of his videos. That does lower my confidence in Dr. M’s opinions, even if only slightly.
          To get an admittedly rough sense of where Dr. M is coming from, I watched his video “In Defense of the Potato,” and to be honest I wasn’t all that impressed. In that video, he speaks in very broad terms, and I didn’t hear anything approaching the specificity that you get from Dr. G. Dr. M talked about how “ancient civilizations” thrived on potatoes, how Ireland did well with the potato, and things like that, but he didn’t really dive into any concrete science that I could hear. Of course, there’s many reasons why he might have chosen such a strategy, but all I really got from the video is, “Trust me; I’m a doctor.” Dr. G, on the other hand, goes to great lengths to explain the science in as easily digestible a format as possible, and I can’t recall a single time when he’s used an argument from authority (“I’m right because I’m a doctor”) to justify a claim he’s made.
          I guess the final difference that occurs to me between the two doctors is that Dr. M seems to advocate a specific formulation of a plant-based diet, i.e., one that’s high in starches. Dr. G, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to make recommendations that are nearly that specific, and from what I’ve read that’s the more scientifically justified position. A (mostly) whole foods, plant-based diet would probably help everyone get healthier, but beyond that we either have little firm information on the ideal diet, or possibly there is simply no one-size-fits-all diet plan that a doctor is justified in recommending. So by that measure, I put my money on Dr. G.
          Anyway, I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m trolling you or anything. I’m just another English major who is really wishing I studied more science in college so that I could rely less on the advice of doctors, even great doctors, and read the primary source material myself. Hope my perspective on things is at least a little helpful…

          • Tobias Brown

            McDougall actually works with patients to reverse their health problems. I’m sure he studies the science as well. But he’s going from his direct experience with what works. Technically, this can be viewed as a form of science just as respectable and useful as academic “studies”.

          • Violet

            Technically? No, with all due respect, not always. The whole reason that scientific studies are organized to contain things like control groups, placebos, randomized assignment to either group and conditions that create ‘double blinds’ (where neither the patient OR the experimenter know who is getting the placebo vs the substance being tested) is in order to counteract precisely the types of unrepeatable biases that can occur in situations (like those you are describing with Dr. McDougall) where one doctor/healer/authority/person who truly believes in his/her “medicine” administers it to people who believe in him/her.

            I’m not saying Dr. McDougall is incorrect (I know nothing about him particularly other than what you’ve stated), I’m just saying he should state his sources or have his findings submitted to the same rigorous standards as needed for publication in the top scientific journals, then publish them for the scientific community to scrutinize and attempt to replicate. That’s how science works. It is not built on the anecdotal experiences of any one or even 13 physicians.

          • Tobias Brown

            Maybe research which we find reported in those professional journals originates from hypothesis derived from direct experiences, that is, in the context where Dr McDougall works, trying things to cure patients, finding some things actually work. That too is how science works.

          • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

            Dr. G could say: I’m right despite I’m a doctor !

          • Sensualpoet

            Dr John McDougall is one of the most vocal long-term advocates of whole foods plant based diet. He’s been on board for most of his career and long-term relationships with Ornish, Campbell, Esselstyne, Barnard, etc. He’s a working doctor but he’s best known for his diet strategy books, seminars and spa events designed for people who want to turn their bad habits into good. Yes, he does have a thing for “starch” but this is a minor variation singing from the identical song sheet as the others. His newsletters and depth of experience available through online publications demonstrate he’s on very solid ground. As for potatoes: they are a fine component of any diet, versatile to cook and prepare, easy to store. He is talking about whole food potatoes (not chips or powdered versions or supplement capsules). There are vitamins and minerals, some fibre, a little sugar, no fat. He recommends cooking them without oil. They are also happily filling which helps limits the ingestion of too many calories in general.

          • A Paxson

            Well said sir!

          • Tobias Brown

            Agree. Though McDougall and many others laud potatoes, Dr Greger cites in a video with a title on toxins in potatoes that they are bad for us, and this evaluation is based on his reading of a review article of studies on potatoes. It’s one of the few issues where I really don’t know what to think. Though someone here claims that the toxins in potatoes are something the human body can deal with well enough.

          • Ben

            But it is the white russet potatoes. The other potatoes are fine. There is also a video that shows russets to give us a 50% increased risk of cancer. But compare that to animal foods that give us a 400% increase in the risk of cancer. Just make sure to eat yellow/gold, red, purple potatoes. And, of course, you should never eat the skin of russets, that’s where the toxins are, but on the other potatoes it is advisable to eat the skin because most of the nutrition is there.

          • A Paxson

            I read/watch follow a lot from Dr. G, McDougal, Dr. Ornish, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Campbell and Dr. Barnard. Campbell’s books (Whole and China Study) were very interesting, but a lot of work to get through. Anyhoo…in general I don’t find too much conflicting views or recommendations. There are some, and some people will make a bigger deal than necessary over these slight differences. In general they are all pointing everyone in the same direction, none of them appear (to me) to have seriously conflicting recommendations. It can get ridiculous very quickly though. I’ve seen reader’s debate and get worried about the pro/cons of the actual size of the potato they are eating! If you are now worried about red versus green kale…you are doing just fine.

            I had one of my work colleagues ask me what I was eating for breakfast the other day. He started telling me that he read a study that quick oats are better for you than whole (slow) oats. I just smiled and said…hey at least we aren’t debating between bacon and eggs with gravy! I did follow that I don’t let information without peer and adversary reviewed scientific study keep me up at night though. ;)

          • Corina-Aurelia Zugravu

            Well said, well said :) I totally agree…

          • brucegray

            I bought John McDougall’s first book “The McDougall Plan” in 1983 to give me more balance as an ovo lacto vegetarian. And it was a bit of a bible for years.

            However, I am now a health professional myself, and I can see the cracks in Dr Mc’s presentations. i.e. He teaches that one can overfeed on carbohydrates and not gain significant bodyfat. Why? because according to his reading and interpretation of the literature, de novo lipogenesis (making of new fat from carbs) is a very inefficient chemical pathway and not used by the body significantly. This is one of his major foundations to do a high carb diet for weight loss.

            I’ve read John’s articles and listened to most of his videos on this topic. i have also read the literature broadly on the topic, and believe my understanding of it is better than most.

            What I can say is John only includes references for his articles that support his view on DNL. He has never cited or commented on the majority of articles that show DNL is a significant path in converting excessive carbohydrates into fat, nor the fact that most people who overfeed on high carb diets gain weight similar to eating any other type of diet.

            It was sad for me to discover this about Dr Mc. I think he is a genuinely good guy, but feel age and zeal is compromising his rationality. Further, I note in one of his articles that he says he has always been an enthusiastic and hyperactive personality. His grandmother always used to tell him he’d be better calming himself regularly. He doesn’t agree. For me, this is probably his downfall. I’ve seen signs of an uncontrolled energy, a hypomania even, in him. And this tendency is not helpful in the objective pursuit of the truth via the scientific method.

            Therefore, I warn all to put more faith in the scientific consensus, and less in any one doctor or scientist. The consensus is designed to protect the quest for truth, from the lack of objectivity of any one man.

          • Violet

            Love that last paragraph. Too true!

          • Darryl
          • Colin Wright

            Nice summary (though to be fair, Dr McDougall says to avoid or limit nuts to an once a day). I wonder though, what your opinion is on omega-3’s. Dr Greger suggests a daily supplement of 250-500 mg, while Dr McDougall thinks all oils are essentially bad for our arteries and recommends no supplement. Personally I split the difference. I take a weekly supplement but also try to get some flax into my diet daily. Any thoughts?

          • Daniel Wagle

            Flaxseeds have very little saturated fat. Flax also has a very good Omega 3 to 6 ratio, much better than even walnuts. Almonds only have about 1 gram of saturated fat per ounce, compared to 2 for peanuts. Sunflower Seeds have less than 2 grams of saturated fat per ounce. If a person gets all their fat from nuts and seeds, while excluding coconut, which is the highest in saturated fat, one can still easily stay below 7% of calories in saturated fat. I eat a lot of nuts, but I calculated that I am still below 7% of calories from saturated fat. It could be valid to exclude nuts and seeds, but even then, there are good arguments to eat flaxseed, even if it is the only seed or nut one eats.

          • Violet

            Your approach to this is very balanced, sensible and even methodical. Don’t put yourself down, have confidence in your intelligence girl! Your perspective is very helpful.

        • nonyabizzz

          I think that Dr. Greger does not give white potatoes a red light, but I think that all things equal, he said sweet potatoes and the colored flesh variety appear a bit better.

          as long as you don’t cook them in oil, butter or cream and cheese.

          • Tobias Brown

            Here Dr Greger red lights potatoes, mentioned that the natural toxins in them are bad for us, based on a major review of studies on potatoes, and says we can no longer ignore this,

          • Julot Julott

            Toxins mostly in the skins~

          • Ben

            But only on the russets. You should always eat the skin on yellow/gold, red, and purple potatoes.

          • Julot Julott

            Really? I find it weird…

          • nonyabizzz

            hmmm…. I don’t know what his comment “we already knew they weren’t good” means. But, I generally get organic, and might consider peeling them more. But given the alternatives, I’ll stick to potatoes.

          • Ben

            From an older video white potatoes were associated with a 50% increased risk in kidney cancer. Here is the video:

            That’s why I stick with the gold, red, purple potatoes now.

          • nonyabizzz

            I may cut back on russets, tho.

          • Ben

            Yeah, that’s what I did. Eliminate the russets and eat all of the others which are very healthy. Skins should always be eaten.

          • Svetlana Dimitrovska

            Interesting, after going raw (have been vegan for 3 years now, raw for 1 year) and ditching salt, potatoes are one thing I have found to have a bad taste. I still eat cooked lentils, cabbage, corn sometimes, but I have totally disliked potatoes. This explains it!

          • eric

            Hippocrates Health Institute or the real truth about

        • Disappointed

          Dr Greger’s video on white potatoes SUGGESTS they are toxic and this issue needs further study. That video doesn’t really say anything worth listening to in my opinion. Don’t many plants have their own bug killer?

          • DarylT

            Exactly, there is another study out there in Italy I think that found no association. I will be very surprised if a staple food like white potatoes turns out to be truly unhealthy but it is fair what Dr Gregor reports, it is not his opinion but the finding of some of the research out there. We await further studies I guess.

          • Tobias Brown

            Why shouldn’t the red light and his “bad” declaration be interpreted as a firm recommendation to not eat potatoes? That’s how I take it. Though I know that Dr Greger says that he doens’t recommend anything but just reports on the science.

          • Veganrunner

            Tobias you are not talking about purple potatoes right? (All of the colored potatoes) dr Greger actually recommends those. Just clearing this up.

          • Tobias Brown

            Right. I’m talking about the white potato that’s so popular (minus the butter etc).

          • Thea

            Tobias: re: “…he doesn’t recommend anything…” Not to dispute your main point: I want to let you know that Dr. Greger does have a page of general nutrition recommendations:

            Just in case you didn’t know that already, I thought you would be interested.

          • Tobias Brown

            Thanks. Yes, I follow this list closely. What I mean is that at some point Dr Greger says that he doesn’t advise participants on anything, eating this or that food, that he is simply reporting what the science tells us. I mostly accept this however I seem to hear direct advice coming through occasionally, as with potatoes. He takes a strong stance there, no?

          • Thea

            Yes. :-) Err, I mean, “agree”.

        • Jean

          Don’t eat green or sprouting potatoes. The only PubMed articles I could access talked about using rats with unhealthy digestive systems. Some people should limit or eliminate their nightshade consumption. There is a lot of information and misinformation on the web about this subject. And if you just send $ to some of these people they will send you a test kit and if needed the proper treatment for solanine poisoning.

    • Darryl

      There’s a large body of evidence in favor of resistant starch, and the short chain fatty acids produced by gut bacteria from it. Resistant starch and SCFAs appears to help prevent colon cancer, reduce the glycemic index of meals, displace pathogenic gut bacteria, reduce gallstone formation, and enhance absorption of some minerals, Dr. Greger has covered the topic in this video, and a recent scholarly reviews for those seeking more depth is: Resistant starch as functional ingredient: A review (2010).

      Raw potato, high-amalose corn, cassava, and green banana flour starches are exceptional sources, but for those who prefer food, roasted and cooled potatos, yams, cassava, Asian glass (mung bean) noodles, pearl barley and cooked beans of all sorts are also good. Many cooked starches will gelatinize and become resistant if allowed to cool slowly (eg, potato salad in the refrigerator).

      As is common, the Paleo advocates are half right. They’ve come around to tubers being a part of our ancestral diet, but the influence of Loren Cordain’s early work has prevented them from embracing legumes, which have been part of hominin diets since the time of Neanderthals.

      • Tobias Brown

        The Paleo gurus recommend 4 tablespoons per day of potato starch, worked up to over a period of four days. Does this sound like a very bad idea?

        • Darryl

          Seems harmless enough, but it may not offer much benefit to those already consuming whole food plant based diets.

          Remember, paleo advocates are denying themselves most whole food sources of resistant starch, so this supplementation of a dietary deficiency may be analogous to vegan supplementation of B12. Though there are no studies of resistant starch intake in whole plant diets, in general vegans already have markedly different gut microbiota from the general population, probably reflecting higher intake of resistant starch, fiber, and prebiotics like inulin and oligofructans, and lower intakes of compounds that preferentially feed the less desirable gut bacteria.

          • Is that Paleo recommendation for raw potato starch? In the article “Resistant starch as functional ingredient: A review ,” the author says that unripe, uncooked banana is high in resistant starch but not cooked banana. On the other hand, he says that cooked legumes retain their RS. He’s not clear about potatoes and grains. Daryll, could you clarify whether cooked grains and cooked potatoes are high in resistant starch? Are cooked banana, grains and potatoes all subject to retrogradation once they’re refrigerated? And do you know if the fermentable fiber is higher in cooked beans than in the raw bean sprouts?

        • A Paxson

          Hmph…not sure what to say. Which “Paleo gurus” are your talking about? Certainly not Gary Taubes, Loren Cordain or William Davis?

          My approach and personal take after reading books (McDougal, Ornish, Esselstyn, Campbell):

          1. If I hear or read something that makes me go “hmmm” I go look for the supportive data, peer reviewed by scientists and medical doctors. Start with

          2. If you have to “start up” or “work up” or measure and weigh things (other than obvious like spices and things that need measuring) than you are not getting it. That feels like we have to regularly thread a needle for some magic silver bullet.

          Just eat for health. I don’t want to die early because of heart disease, cancer, diabetes. I’ll compare my BP or blood-work (fasting or non-fasting) to anyone. Once you make it about quality of life, longevity, everything else falls into place. Seems like everyone I “meat” that wants to debate low-carb or paleo have two things in common: a) they want to eat meat and b) they are concerned about body weight. I’ve heard the joke that low carb works perfect if your primary motive is to buy a smaller coffin.

          We human always want to avoid the hard choices don’t we? BTW – Dr. G’s annual leading causes of death summaries…I think anyone that watches one of those in their entirety can’t be anything curious.

          • Tobias Brown

            Right. There are so many Paleo gurus these days. My references are via the Bulletproof Diet guru, or someone linked to him. In this space, these guys present themselves as the bleeding edge advocates for potato starch.

            I’m learning a lot presently by recording everything I eat. I’m pretty sure this device will prove critically important in honing my diet so I can fall below 150 total cholesterol. It helped me see that I’ve been eating more carbs from sugar vs starches, which may have an impact on my triglycerides, so I’m adjusting… I’ll probably stop weighing at some point but I enjoy it now.

          • A Paxson

            Record away! That is awesome and can be very revealing for sure. Keep bouncing around here ( and there (WFPB)…you sound like you are playing in the right neighborhood for sure. My goal when starting was to get off ALL meds. BP meds were the last and my Dr. (who admitted she knew nothing about nutritional science) made a $5 bet I would have to stay on BP meds forever, even if just a small dosage.

            When I say don’t measure or over-think, here is an example: I didn’t have much to cook last night (Oct 5). I didn’t feel like giving much effort either. But I hit pause on the football game, through the following in a pot and ate a big bowl an hour later:

            3 cans of no sodium black beans
            1 can of sliced, stewed tomatoes
            1 squirt of tomato paste concentrate
            1 diced onion (sauteed with a little water, no oil)
            5-8 cloves of garlic (sauteed at the end of the onion saute)
            4-5 hands full of torn up green kale
            1 large cubed russett potato
            (variety of spices like: salt, black pepper, cumin, turmeric, more cumin, oregano, even more cumin, parsley, cayenne pepper and a little more cumin)
            1-2 cups of water

            I’ll probably have that for lunch every day this week, it made a bunch.

          • Thea

            A Paxon: That’s a great story about the bet between you and your doctor. Did you doctor actually pay up?

          • A Paxson

            Yes she did!

            But I don’t think she’ll stop pushing drugs over dietary changes, mainly because I don’t think she trusts most people to be compliant. Sadly…it makes sense. To me it wasn’t about the money or inconvenience. $4 a month for BP meds, no biggie. But it was about the underlying cause, not the quick fix pill (with side effects BTW). If you eat healthy (especially WFPB) and move around some way every day, you shouldn’t have elevated BP or Cholesterol. Right?

            I asked her if she would read a book like China Study or FOK if I gave her a copy. She said she simply does not have the time. She has tons and tons of patients, a business to run and a family. No wonder drug reps with their free breakfasts and lunches get their attention. I know my Doc cares, but her life is a numbers game.

          • Thea

            apax: Nice reply. :-) I think you are perfectly right concerning you doctor’s situation. I think many doctors are in the same place. They aren’t bad people. They are just normal people in a bad set-up. It was nice and smart of you to offer FOK or the China Study. You did all that you could.

            Your story gave me a fun idea. I’m thinking if she were just a bit more motivated, she could bet all her clients that they couldn’t get off of med ____. “You can do it if you wanted to with just diet. I’ll tell you how. But I’m thinking you won’t do it. I’ll bet you $5 to prove me wrong. Otherwise, if you just want to treat the symptoms, we’ll go that route.” I wonder if that kind of approach would be fun motivation for some people and/or your doctor. Or it might offend people. I like the idea myself.

          • Tobias Brown

            Sounds tasty.

            I’m on the good path, only 20 points away from sub-150 total. LDL is at 99 so after almost 2 years, I’m elated!

            Regarding meds, my father has started to experience nerve issues on his statins (he’s 85). He went out for dinner last night with friends and their “very smart” daughter who works for a pharma company told him there’s a med for that now. Hmm. I’ve been suggesting to get off the statins, etc and change the diet. This morning at the resto he took eggs, ham, tats cooked in oil etc. Anyway. It goes to show how making a good salary can cloud your ability to give good health advice.

          • Toxins

            Did you find that your non complex sugars came from fruits or added sugars? I am curious

          • Tobias Brown

            It was a combination of both, however since my last lipid profile (14 month earlier, when triglycerides were considerably lower, 92 then vs 135 now), I had started using refined sugar for the first time once again, in the form of maple syrup… (I’m a Vermonter :) I also at dates very liberally, as well as mango and other fruit, bananas etc. Liberally. Anyway. I set a goal, turn my pattern around over the past few weeks (details posted below) but my doctor says three months before another profile.

            – diet change goal
            – starch 158 grams historic average. keep above 200.
            – sugar 230 grams historic average. keep below 150
            – results from 9/23 to 10/2 dietary changes
            – starch at 230 (was 160), sugar at 140 (was 230)
            – starch: 80 grams more
            – sugar: 90 grams less,

          • Thea

            Tobias: I’m sorry to hear about your father. It is so hard when the people we love listen to bad information.

            On the upside, congratulations on your own success. That’s so cool!!!

          • Tobias Brown

            Thanks. (What it actually comes down to for my father is that he depends on the person who prepares his food. If he were provided an ideal diet, he’d go for it because he likes plant-based.)

            On a different subject, I’m focusing now on whether high consumption of fructose in the from of whole fruit has a significant negative impact on triglycerides and thus promotes heart disease. Has Dr G covered this topic or can you suggest any resources? Thanks.

          • Thea

            Tobias: I can sympathize with your father. I have long said that when I win the lottery, the first thing I’m going to do is hire a personal chef. I know my diet would improve dramatically then.

            Concerning information about linking whole fruit to triglycerides and thus perhaps heart disease – I don’t have any real info on that subject. I think it is an interesting question. Anecdote wise, I started thinking about fruitarians as that would be a group that might provide some insight into the question. It’s not a natural diet, though, so I don’t know how helpful it would be to study them. That said, I’ve never heard of the fruitarians having heart disease problems. Other health problems, *yes.* But not heart attacks I don’t think. (Note I haven’t actively researched it, so I can’t say they don’t have heart problems. I’m just sharing a thought.)

            If you end up with some personal anecdotal info you are willing to share, I’m sure people will be interested. Good luck!

          • Tobias Brown

            I’m actively studying the issue, creating a list of “be careful” versus “it’s not a problem at all” resources. I recall Dr Greger saying eat as much fruit as you like. McDougall warns against eating too much. Anyway. I was convinced that I need to cut back on fruit to deal with my slight triglyceride issue (which is still below 150, which is quite good)… to get my total cholesterol down. But there are plenty of raw foodist who can show outstanding profiles WITH low triglycerides. My expectation is that the key is likely your body weight. Are you still storing some fat and maybe eating a bit too much for your middle BMI level… If so, triglycerides might still be higher… The other idea is that it simply takes a few years to fully settle down your numbers. Anyway. I’m doing some tests of my own… Will post if I ever conclude anything…

          • Any new thoughts on this, Tobias?

          • Tobias Brown

            Not really but having re-watched parts of Dr McDougall’s interview with Nathan Pritikin, the later explained that it actually took 3-5 years for his cholesterol levels to base or hit their low point. I guess our body has stores that need to be used up over time once we change our diet. So, I focus on improving my diet a bit here and there and hope for the best. My doctor was very happy with my total level at 170 and I am quite close to my target of 150, so I’m not super concerned about it.

          • Charzie

            Gee, I wish I had your foresight to make a bet! When I was diagnosed with diabetes, and after doing some research about the drugs I had to take and so on, I decided the medications I had to add to the list I was already taking were about as bad (if not worse) than the disease. Especially after quickly gaining 20lbs after starting them, something I could ill afford, seeing as how I was already morbidly obese (great term eh?) and had been battling that my entire life! At 55 y.o., the weight and diabetes were not the only health issues, besides the obvious high markers for everything, I also had fibromyalgia, severe arthritis, IBS, chronic fatigue, and on and on. Anyway, though she of course advocated losing weight, etc., the handout of the standard ADA diet sheet was less than helpful, so I did my own research, and questioned her about the idea of using dietary measures to replace the medications. Her reply was IF I lost weight my blood sugars would improve, but she had never seen diet replace the need for medications, though she had heard it was possible in RARE cases. LOL! On my next appointment after starting on a low fat WPFD, I became one of those “rare” cases, and she did a triple take after looking at my bloodwork! Her jaw literally dropped as she scanned it again and again! She turned to me and asked, “WHAT are you doing?” So I told her and she was blown away. Again, she had heard about it, but never seen it in her practice! What a sad, sad commentary! If I made her a $5 bet I would get off of each of my meds I could have pocketed $70! Another sad commentary! Ha, SAD (Standard American Diet) indeed! Better yet, I should have bet $1 per pound lost and made over $150! Oh well, the rewards I got were infinitely more rewarding anyway!

          • Violet

            WPFD = whole plant food diet? That’s amazing you took your health into your own hands and really turned your conditions around. Glad to hear you’re body is so much more well now. Much peace to you.

          • Veganrunner

            Apex look at that stew! Nice and healthy.

          • Pat

            It’s important not to reduce cholesterol as it is necessary to proper brain function and cardiovascular health. It has been given a bad rap by pHARMa primarily to boost profits of statin drugs and other toxic meds. The liver produces cholesterol and it is protective for the heart, in particular, and the brain. Too little can be damaging to the heart and also cause or increase the risk of depression. Cholesterol is not the bad guy and cholesterol-lowering drugs do not discriminate between HDL and LDL no matter what the marketing $hills tell you. If the body is producing what would be considered by the medical cartel as ‘too much’, then it’s the body’s signal that the liver is producing an excess of cholesterol in order to stem inflammation which is the common denominator in all disease.

          • Tobias Brown

            So do you plan to eat more eggs, fatty meat, and cow milk and reduce carbs?

          • Toxins

            It is important that you do not fall for the fad diet claims that circulate the internet. Every cell in the human body has the capability to produce cholesterol. Deficiency will never occur in a normal human unless they are born with a rare genetic condition. Dietary cholesterol influences serum cholesterol depending on how high serum cholesterol already is. please see some of these videos on egg and cholesterol.

          • BenzoSt

            A friend of mine naturally has total cholesterol below 100 and feels terrific after eating eggs.

            As for me, my genes cause me to have high cholesterol but I have dropped it from over 300 to under 200 by swapping out eggs, butter, meat, and coconut products for LOTS of legumes – beans, lentils, peas, tempeh. I hope to further improve my cholesterol by trying smart veganism, which means no fish or yogurt until my next lipid panel.

            I’ve heard anecdotally that cholesterol under 150, although terrific for preventing heart disease, unfortunately is associated with increased incidence of suicide or violent behavior.

            The first book about health I read, TRANSCEND by Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman M.D. sets a target total cholesterol between 160-180, but that includes an LDL of under 80 and an HDL above 60… and triglycerides below 100.

          • Toxins

            I can’t speak to the anecdotal evidence of your friend but in regards to low cholesterol and suicide. That is a myth. Please see here.

          • BenzoSt

            It’s reassuring to read that there is no concrete evidence for the claim that low cholesterol causes depression and suicide. I am deliberately trying to lower my cholesterol but have also been feeling mildly depressed recently. Depression has been a recurrent problem for me since adolescence. By exercising regularly and learning more about how to eat properly, I have been managing it without prescription medication. I doubt my current malaise is due to eating copious amounts of beans instead of meat, eggs, and dairy – it is more likely due to enduring the daunting process of applying for grad schools. I do miss the concrete structure my life had while I was a college student.

          • Toxins

            I should also add that total cholesterol below 100 is ridiculously low. There must be some genetically lowered cholesterol at play here.

          • Rhys

            My last measurement was 2.6 mmol/l (100.5 mg/dl), vegan diet, moderate exercise, no medication, early 30s, BMI 23. I can imagine it would be easy to tweak diet and exercise to get lower.

          • Toxins

            Total cholesterol below 150 is heart attack proof status. I am not saying that low is bad, I am just gawking at how low it is since he is supposedly eating eggs too.

      • Ben

        I just had a big bowl of cold potato salad. Easy to make a nice mayanaise with tofu, dijon mustard, lemon juice, wine vinegar, and a little erthritol.

      • Talk to us about potatoes.

        Does the resistant starch or other fermentable fiber concentrate in the potato skin (as opposed to flesh)?

        The GL of a medium baked potato is 17, according to That seems pretty high. Do GL figures take into account the blood sugar levelling effects that fermentable fibers, including resistant starch, produce?

      • Thea

        Darryl: That’s a really helpful post. But I have a question. re: “Many cooked starches will gelatinize and become resistant if allowed to cool slowly (eg, potato salad in the refrigerator).” What if you cook your potato, allow it to cool, and then heat the dish up later? I prefer hot dishes to cold. As long as I let the potato cool at some point after cooking it, do I loose the benefits if I later re-heat the potato?

        Does the same apply to barley? Why did you specify pearl barley? I have been trying to get the hulled barley, which I understand is less processed. Wouldn’t that be just as good in terms of the resistant starch in pearl barley?

        Also, I love the glass noodles. I used to think they were nothing but junk food. I started allowing myself to buy them after I read an early post by you a couple months ago when you listed them as a good source of this type of starch. But do I have to eat those noodles cold?

        I’m guessing these are stupid questions, but I just don’t understand the topic enough to be able to figure it out. Thanks!

        • Darryl

          Creating resistant starch is also known as retrogradation, a crystalization process, where the long strands of polysaccharides align, exclude water, and form hydrogen bonds. This prevents our digestive enzymes from cleaving the the strands into absorbable sugars, so the resistant starch passes on to colonic bacteria which can. Not all starches undergo retrogradation easily; amylose has a highly linear structure that aligns and compacts easily, while amylopectin is a highly branched molecule that doesn’t. A number of grains and tubers have been developed with higher amylose content to reduce their glycemic index, though I’ve not seen labelling of this in the market.

          Reheating will add some thermal energy causing them to bounce about and some but not all of the resistant starch becomes digestable. This paper indicates that the percentage of starch from mashed potatoes that is resistant or only slowly digestable builds up during successive cycles of heating and cooling:
          freshly cooked 1%
          cooled 10%
          reheated x 1, hot 5%
          reheated × 1, cold 17%
          reheated x 2, hot 9%

          • Thea

            Darryl: Thanks for your reply!! That last part is super-fascinating and good news to me. I’m happy with getting 5% or 9%.

      • Interesting compendium…It seems that canned beans are much lower in RS than beans you cook yourself. Wonder why?

        • Darryl

          Canned beans are almost invariably pressure cooked, which leads to more damage to microscopic cell structures enclosing starch granules.

    • b00mer

      Butyrate (by-product of resistant starch metabolism by gut bacteria) does indeed promote healthy tight junctions and has anti-inflammatory effects.

      A fantastic website about resistant starch that was shared by the Healthy Librarian on facebook (she’s a medical librarian and friend of the Esselstyns):

      Video on the butyrate basics:
      More videos:
      Foods highest in resistant starch:

      For most WFPB eaters I don’t think it’s anything that’s going to revolutionize their diet; most of us already eat these types of foods, but it is nice to hear yet another mechanism by which they promote good health.

      As for the paleos… this reminds me of when I read about how some of them take IP-6 supplements, yet refuse to eat any phytate containing whole foods. On the one hand it’s cognitive dissonance at its best, and on the other, I guess I’m happy for their colons that at least they are supplementing.

      • A Paxson

        “…happy for their colons…” funny

        • b00mer

          “Won’t somebody please think of the colons??!?”

          When I read about those paleo diets, I can’t help but be concerned! Considering we’re all just walking coral reefs with a brain, it’s sad to think how those paleo reefs really got the short end of the stick.

          p.s. I like your picture, ALOT

    • Charzie

      I remember when I first caught wind of the Paleo diet I was excited to think that someone finally had the common sense to try to replicate the way our progenitors ate as a healthy diet…it just made sense to me to nurture ourselves on the foods we evolved to eat. Until I started reading the actual information, or rather, dis-information. I’m no scientist, but some of the concepts were just too contrived and dogmatic to feel even remotely natural or sensible in the context I had envisioned. I knew it would be popular because it caters to a lot of what the population wants to believe, but it seems contradictory to me. I have a hard time imagining cavemen walking around with little cruets of oil or bottles of supplements to sustain them while they are so busy slaughtering animals every day!

    • Da St

      I know that northern European cavemen often went through the refinement process to produce potato starch to boost their butyrate production. Many archaeological digs have found the potato mills and rinsing stations. Paleo man was very resourceful. He would often make a bread of potato starch, almond meal and coconut flour.

      • Char

        Coconuts and almonds in northern Europe?

        • Violet

          Exactly. (Hint: Da St is being sarcastic).

  • Jane’s Addiction

    I don’t know, the whole idea of sprouting just seems too unsafe to me. From “Unlike other fresh produce, seeds and beans need warm and humid conditions to sprout and grow. These conditions are also ideal for the growth of bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.” Another warning: “Since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli.” The website does say that you can combat some of this risk by cooking your sprouts, but they still advise children and the elderly to avoid sprouts altogether. In my judgment, it’s not worth the risk–I’ll stick with my cooked beans.

    Here’s the link to the article I quoted:

    • Frannie O’Grady

      The contamination was from commercial operations. E-coli comes from animals. I sprout my own at home with clean Hans and jars.

      • Jane’s Addiction

        From the website I cited: “Are homegrown sprouts safer? Not necessarily. If just a few harmful bacteria are present in or on the seed, the bacteria can grow to high levels during sprouting, even under sanitary conditions at home.”

        • Nalani

          There are people that grow seeds specifically for sprouting, which are in conditions engineered to prevent contamination that conventional seed might encounter.

  • veganchrisuk

    I play it safe and boil my sprouted beans. Yesterday I cooked up about 5kilos of sprouted red kidney beans, chick peas, brown chick peas and black beans. I had sprouted the beans for two days. Using a large stockpot (24quart, 22.7 litre) I boiled some water, then put in the red kidney beans for 30 mins, then added the chick peas for a further 30 mins (now an hour in total), then added the black beans for the final fifteen mins – so they whole cooking process took 1hr and 15mins. I left the lid on the saucepan over night and this morning I spent about half an hour transferring the beans into plastic ziploc bags (I think they are BPA free), and put them straight into my chest freezer – they should last me about a month. I re-heat them by adding them to my other vegetables that I cook in my rice cooker for the final five minutes of the cooking process.

  • ErinNah

    Is it harmful to the gut and other parts of the body to ingest grains that are raw and sprouted? There are a lot of protein supplements and other products that contain raw sprouted barley and other grains, and I often wondered if humans can digest things such as raw sprouted barley. Seems to me like they might harm the gut, but who knows. And, I have absorption problems so have had to supplement with these products.

    • guest

      I too would like to know if eating raw barley (sprouted, of course), is bad for us. Is it even digestible?

  • Armando

    Any opinions on soaking beans, nuts/seeds, and whole grains such as rice and barley as opposed to sprouting? I’ve read that there are similar benefits without some of the drawbacks associated with sprouting but am not sure about this.

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    It would appear that beans are truly “Magical.”
    How do I know? I sang the song as a kid and didn’t really know how much truth I was singing. . . Until Now! ;-)

  • Eva

    The starch in the beans and lentils, as far as I know, is hard on the digestive system. I’d rather cook them. They still have amazing benefits. After all, generations before us cooked them, ate them regularly and those who did that were healthy. In my country, monks would eat cooked beans daily, they get sick of eating it that often, but they hardly have health issues.

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    Take care of your astrocytes – eat your beans….

  • LWC

    What about bean flours? Is there still the same benefit if you cook or bake with them?

    • Corina-Aurelia Zugravu

      LWC, if the flour comes from the whole bean (no outer layer taken off, for example), yes, it`s exactly the same

      • Would the flour be more likely to increase blood sugar?

        • Corina-Aurelia Zugravu

          Sorry for the very late answer. Yes, it matters even the dimension of flour particles. Coarser particles (like those obtained from stone grinders) rise less blood sugar than fine flour particles.

  • Julot Julott

    Sadly too much sodium in canned beans most of the time, need to rinse them and it does remove some nutrients~

    • Marilyn

      Eden Organics beans are low in sodium. Cans are BPA-free. Worth the higher price, in my book.

      • guest

        The BPA-alternatives are being reported to be just as bad, if not worse, in their own way. Google-it. Credible science. Call EDEN, ask them to switch over to glass containers. Many organic companies do it for tomato sauce, applesauce, certain fruits, and much more. The only reason they don’t use glass, as far as i can tell, is because canned beans are part of our culture. The time is ripe to switch to glass, EDEN.

        • Thea

          FYI: Eden already has a couple glass tomato products. So, I’m thinking they might be open to the idea of doing glass beans, depending on how much of a price increase it would entail.

          • guest

            I think it would carry a lot of weight if Dr. Greger would reach out to EDEN and inform them of the credible science showing the BPA-free cans may not be so safe afterall. As far as cost, I think it is worth it. All we need is one company to do this. Obviously people are willing to pay for glass, they are doing it now. And as far as cost, I’ve seen bottles of cooked foods inside large glass jars for less than 2 dollars at whole foods…..bottles way bigger than a can of beans.

        • Marilyn

          Could you be more specific about what BPA lining alternative is harmful & how?
          According to the Oregon Environmental Council, the oleoresin used by Eden in bean cans is a safer alternative:

          Then, there are also the Tetra Paks used by 365 (Whole Foods) beans.

    • Violet

      The best alternative I’ve found (after years of eating canned) is to cook them in a slow cooker. It’s very easy you just set it up and ignore it. There’s no need to pre-soak your beans and you don’t have to be there to monitor the process or turn off the stove. Cook ’em with a bay leaf, a whole garlic clove or two and a halved onion (and no salt or they’ll get mushy) and voila they taste great.

  • Gary Lawrence

    what a relief. I’ve got about 20 cans of organic lentils to get through.

    • 20 Cans! Oh sure its all fun and games with lentils until they explode. Then who’s laughing… not to mention the psychedelic hallucinations. This has all been documented here but does anyone ever talk about the real danger posed by uncontrolled lentil abuse? Noooo. The stigma of these little discs runs deep.

      Sure we keep some in the house but strictly for medicinal use here mister. 20 cans! Just for personal use?? Give over, Gary. Admit it, you’ve got a legume on your back…you’ve got a one-way ticket to …. Lentilism!

  • Filipe Coimbra

    Keep going Michael! I think we, soon or later, will change the world (environment, humans, and others species health) for the better. That’s my hope.

  • RajeshDhar123

    This is really good to know. In fact surprised that cooked is better than raw (raw food eaters might not feel good about this, I am sure). My mom used to stress on eating sprouted than cooked but now with little difference, there is less pressure to sprout. What will be really interesting is to see the impact of both sprouting and cooking. Any guesses? :-)

  • Han

    I just edited this article on wikipedia: If someone wants to improve on that. The critisism of Harriet A Hall was left undebated, and that’s all a colleague required to completely dismiss And we can’t have that.

    • Toxins

      Anyone that considers Gary Tuabes a “good writer”, doesn’t really know that they’re talking about. He is notorious for omitting information from studies and simply making stuff up, in addition to choosing extremely poor quality studies that do not support his theories. It sounds like someone that doesn’t like what Dr. Greger has to share wrote that one.

      • Han

        Exactly. And it’s a shame that people take no further look than wikipedia to dismiss, therefore it’s valuable that people take care of what is written on wikipedia about Please help.

    • Thea

      Han: I appreciate your effort. I didn’t even know that Dr. Greger had his own Wikipedia page. That’s pretty cool.

      re: “… that’s all a colleague required to completely dismiss …”

      That says more about your colleague than it does about the Wikipedia page. Many of the Wikipedia pages I’ve seen have some sort of “the other side of the story” section, whether legit or not. For example, there might be a section on “safety” for a food or “environmental impact” for a page on a package product. The existence of a Wikipedia criticism or even it’s content should not be enough to sway a professional ____, uh anybody. *Everyone* who is anyone has critics. And just because someone *says* that someone is say “cherry picking” doesn’t actually make it true. Wikipedia is just reporting that someone said that. It’s pretty sad your colleague doesn’t get that.

      I’m sure you already get this point I’m making. I just thought writing these points out might provide some helpful verbiage for anyone who ends up having a similar conversation as you and your colleague in the future.

      While I agree with you that the wording on the Wikipedia page needs some adjusting to be more accurate (though I’m not the person the for the job), that page is still going to be a criticism section when all is said and done. So, someone as unsophisticated as your colleague is never going to make a lot of progress, at least not from sources like Wikipedia.

      What bothers me more is the order of the sections. The “Criticism” section should be much further down on the page. I think that would be more consistent with other pages I’ve seen. I don’t know if you can fix that or not. I just thought I would throw it out there.

      • Han

        Makes sense indeed. Critisism should not be the second point. It should be the last.

      • Han

        Thanks for your feed. I moved it down a bit. Somebody else noticed my effort and removed the section I added again. And I added it again. And thus an edit war has started.

        • Thea

          I just took a peak and the Criticism section is at the bottom. Go Han!! :-)

          • Han

            Thea, please help over here if you can:

            editing on wikipedia is really simple.

          • Thea

            Han: I’m afraid that all of my free time is taken up right now – a large amount of it by NutritionFacts. I just wanted to express my appreciation for your effort.

            Your post might encourage others to join in though. So, thanks for your post. :-)

          • Han

            And that’s also a great job. :-)

      • Arjan den Hollander.

        Battle criticism with appreciation I would suggest. How many universities have invited him to speak? If a list from universities to every other educational institution where lectures were given neutral facts turn into passive endorsement.

  • vegan minstrel

    The good doc is right wen he says sprouting is fun. Fun sprout song at

  • Hey, Toxins, could you address the lectins issue here? (I know you’ve talked about them before–in other posts–and this seems a natural place to reiterate that info.) This issue is particularly important in light of the recent research, published by Oxford University Press, showing that lectins in peanuts survive cooking and digestion and stick to cancer cells that are already in the blood, thus contributing to metastases.

    To what degree are lectins destroyed by sprouting alone? By cooking? By cooking and sprouting? What temperatures must be used to destroy lectins?

    Are the lectins in some legumes (the red kidney bean family, for example) harder to destroy than in others? Are the lectins in smaller legumes (e.g., mung beans, lentils) easier to get rid of than those in bigger legumes?

    What about grains? Same questions.

    What about nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, etc.)? I’m particularly concerned about these because we usually don’t cook or sprout them. Does soaking help? To what degree are their lectins problematic?

  • Violet

    This was so helpful – thanks! After years of canned beans I’ve recently been using a slow cooker to make my cooked beans – just load it up and forget about it, so easy! And I find the beans taste much better than canned.

    Quick slow cooker basic bean recipe: 1 cup rinsed dried beans, 3 cups water, 1 bay leaf, 1 onion cut in half only, 2 whole garlic cloves, 1 thumbnail of peeled but whole fresh ginger. Let cook on high 4 hours depending on the age and type of the bean (older beans take longer, smaller beans less time). Don’t add salt during the cooking as it will make the beans mushy. When done discard the flavoring items (onion, etc).

    • Sam

      i know, you’re suppose to boil them for at least 10 min before slow cooking, removing toxins

  • Tara

    Where do you get the lids? I ordered some on Amazon but they rusted by the time the sprouts were ready.

  • Martina Battistich

    Dear Dr Greger, thank you for your videos, always very interesting, but we shouldn’t encourage the consumption of canned goods for ecological reasons (alluminum is very anti-ecological!). Also is Kale so healthy? I live in Italy and we don’t have curly kale, ao I got some seeds from the US, planted them and ate alot of kale for 1 month or so last may…well, after that my legs became blue..with blues. So I had to stop or reduce greatly its consumption. (I have been a vegan for 3 years now, so I am sad about this outcome, also I read that Kale can interfere with the thyroid. Is that true?

  • For how long can canned beans be of use for human nutrition? Until the date written on the can?

  • Tim Miller

    In this video, Dr. Greger mentions that he eats sprouted lentils. I wonder, does he sprout them and then eat them without cooking them? I have read other places that even if you sprout most beans you should still cook them, just less (e.g. this is the position of Dr. Jameth Sheridan of HealthForce who loves sprouted lentils). But is it okay to eat sprouted beans without any cooking? I know you can with mung beans sprouts, and I suspect you shouldn’t with, say, pinto bean sprouts, but what about the gray area between, such as lentils? Or is it even okay to eat raw but sprouted legumes of any kind?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Eating the sprouted lentils without cooking is fine. Others may have more to add but I’ve never heard of cooking after sprouting. It seems to me it would kind of defeat the point of sprouting in the first place. Yes, you should be able to sprout any bean! But as Dr Greger points out there is no major advantage. I would check out Brenda Davis’s book about raw foods, “Becoming Raw” for more research on sprouts. Let me know if this helps? Happy to look into more research.

      • Sam

        i thought, it’s best to soak, then sprout, then cook beans ans lentils to reduceantinutrients

  • Alex

    I am an avid legume user, bulking up with lentils and chickpeas etc. I’ve recently been reading about acidity of foods, legumes apparently quite acid, with alkaline foods seemingly better?
    I’m having difficulty really understanding this at the mo and not sure if it’s really something I need to concern myself with?


  • Francis

    Whats about the beans soaking water? Should i toss it before cooking or use it? Why?

  • Cathy Katin-Grazzini

    While cooked bean are best in combating various cancers, what do we know about raw bean flours (chickpea, mung, various lentil flours so popular in South Asian, French and Italian cooking)? While they may not be effective in fighting cancer, do they pose any risks to health because they are raw? (I use them to make wonderful pancakes, cakes, piecrusts etc., but don’t want to put anyone at risk.)

  • MattieLiptak

    Quick Question:
    What if my only option is refried beans? Is it still considered a “healthy food” or should I go for something else?

    • DrAlex

      Good question. From my perspective, as long as they aren’t cooked in oil (or some other fat), you’re good to go. There are plenty of good recipes out there for “refried”beans that are not cooked in any sort of fat, and you can buy fat-free refried beans also (just peak at the ingredients and be aware that there is quite a bit of salt in a can of refried beans). Hope this helps.

  • Rebecca

    I was wondering what the research says about sprouted nuts, and especially grains. I don’t know if they’re any better for me, but I like the change in taste that sprouting almonds or quinoa overnight causes. And, recently, I’ve been buying sprouted brown rice. This particular type touts the positive effects of GABA after sprouting, but I don’t know if that justifies the higher price. I would guess that the repeated soaking and rinsing would have a positive effect on getting rid of any arsenic in the rice, though.

    • Sam

      peas anyone?

  • Alfredo Niklitschek

    Ok, so in brain cell protection or cancer cell destruction they aren´t superior… but how about in nutrients? I´ve read that the complex sugars legumes have are simplified through sprouting, avoiding gases and other problems presented by legumes in general. Also they are supposed to be a greater source of protein.. Can anyone help me out here?

  • PaulB

    I guess I don’t understand. Canned beans are typically exposed to BPA, a known estrogenic chemical. Dry lentils cook in 15 minutes. Who is that lazy they can’t wait 15 minutes for freshly cooked lentils that don’t demonstrate estrogenic activity?

    • Sam

      my lentils cook longer, much longer. does anyone else want to contribute?

  • Ben

    When concerned with high uric acid or gout, are bean sprouts recommended? If yes, how often may the sprouts be eaten and in what