Doctor's Note

For those unfamiliar with Dr. Esselstyn’s work, check out:

Kempner was a lifestyle medicine pioneer. What’s lifestyle medicine? See, for example:

Lots more videos on Kempner’s accomplishments coming up—stay tuned!

What Diet Should Physicians Recommend? If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

To post comments or questions into our discussion board, first log into Disqus with your account or with one of the accepted social media logins. Click on Login to choose a login method. Click here for help.

  • BB

    I have family and friends who seriously need to adopt a plant based diet, but are seriously resistant. What would work for them and many others is a residential program such as the Rice House or the McDougall 10-day program. I have met people who attended the McDougall program and said it was the key to changing their perceptions about food and health. These programs are expensive, although probably not as expensive as the co-pay on a heart attack or years of medications. Instead of just managing disease, these programs can reverse disease and should be covered by medical insurance.

  • elsie blanche

    Another epic video. Two in a row.

    Curious though….eating rice on a daily basis (arsenic) might be a big no-no in our modern day? I’ve seen the arsenic
    data and videos and all, and it still seems that one can’t fully escape it. One is left to choose the rice that has “less arsenic”
    than the other, but it still seems to have considerable amounts that I’d think would add up on a daily basis.

    Another low protein, low fat starch would have worked just as well in place of the rice for Kempner, it seems? Or was it even necessary
    and could the patients have healed on nothing but fruit?

    • Merio

      i think that the point is to focusing on complex carbs like those found in potatoes, rice, grains etc.

      So i think rice could be replace without problem.

      Anyway it will be interesting to see if a fruit based diet could make the same favorable effects of the Kempner diet.

    • yiotta

      In the 18th century people used arsenic the way people use cocaine today, and they were able to develop a tolerance for it. I don’t know how much arsenic is in various types of rice, but judging by the population of Asia, it can’t be too much of a problem.

    • CentralValley NeighborhoodHarv

      You can always grow your own rice.

    • Bris Vegas

      Rice only contains arsenic if it is irrigated with contaminated groundwater. This is only a problem in a few countries such as Bangladesh. It is not a problem in any Western country.

      • Gina Mai Denn

        I’ve read that rice fields in America are contaminated with arsenic from being grown on old cotton fields and being fertilized with chicken poop, and they feed arsenic to chickens to keep parasites down.

  • Merio

    First thing: i saw the video.
    Second thing: i save it in my favorites NF videos.


    It seems that carbs are not so bad after all.

    It depends on the source.

    • Dan

      More like it depends what you eat with them lol….and if you remove the fibre, and nutrients from them..

      • Merio

        Yes, nature already made “pharma drugs”.

        And without charging anything.

  • Kyle

    It is interesting that both a very low carb high fat diet and a very low fat high carb diet both work well. It seems that that combination of fat and carb is bad for the body.

    • Don’t fool yourself

      High animal fat diets push up your cholesterol. They will make you sick.

      • Paul Holcomb

        Absurd generalization. Many of us do great on high-animal fat diets. I am a mid 50S male, been eating a LCHF diet (approx 60-70% of calories from fat) for over 30 years. My HDL has always been higher than LDL and TG. Probably 1/2 of those fats are saturated, mostly from full-fat cheeses, yogurt, butter, lard, and beef. I also eat several handfuls of mixed nuts daily, and use olive oil generously. What do I avoid? Junky, simple carbs, and most flours and grains, with the exception of oats. Latest lipid panel? HDL 85, LDL 67, TG 36, VLDL 7. Eat the fat!

        • Trent

          Your numbers are very impressive and suggest relatively rare genetic profile not found in vast majority of population.
          Most people/patients do not do nearly as well as you do on this type of diet.

        • James Wald

          Full disclosure: Paul is also lobbying to re-introduce whole fat dairy products back into school lunch menus.

          • Jocelyn

            Maybe he should watch the video on fatty streaks found in children as young as 10 due to the high cholesterol diets typically eaten these days.

          • Paul Holcomb

            James, Thanks for mentioning the petition, which is entirely my own effort. I receive no funding from dairy or any other industry. I suspect big dairy isn’t concerned about the ban because low-fat/non-fat yogurts, cheeses, and milks tend to be highly-sugared and highly-processed to make them palatable. Sugar sells. And therefore, probably higher profit margins.

            Trent, agree I might have the CETP or HL mutations, although the CETP mutation is uncommon except in people of Japanese ancestry. I have found that my TC:HDL ratio improved as I reduced carbs and added fats, primarily saturated fat. This is precisely the change one would expect based on most of the literature. Here’s a good bibliography of the recent studies that challenge the (rapidly crumbling) conventional paradigm regarding dietary cholesterol and heart disease risk:

          • James Wald

            Footnotes: Zoë Harcombe (linked) sells diet books.

          • Robert

            Who with knowledge and sanity would eat dairy???

        • Paul Spring

          Great genetics! Unfortunately your biomarkers say nothing about your cancer risk and other protein-related disease. You are a freak of nature my friend.

          • Adrien

            Great genetics or great lies. That would not be the first low carber to lie about his cholesterol numbers, since they are utterly convinced that animal food are good. I’m guessing it’s fasting cholesterol by the way not postprandial cholesterol.. ;) Just like the eggs industry want us to believe that dietary cholesterol does not raise blood cholesterol.. A lie repeated in choir by the low carbers.. For me It’s just as saying sugar does not raise blood sugar levels. A ridiculous claim that serve only the bottom line of big meat, big dairy, big eggs and big pharma industry. Not the health of the people.. Low carber can be sincere, but they can be sincerely wrong and mislead.

          • Paul Spring

            Yes – it is the passion for and addiction to the taste of meat that leads them to concoct the most bizarre justifications of their addiction. That’s human nature – don’t confuse them with the facts.

        • DanielFaster

          These are not necessarily heart attack proof numbers (total cholesterol should be below 150), you are at grave risk (is there any other kind?). Hope you don’t get cancer! Besides, that which is gratuitously asserted may be gratuitously denied; such is the fate of individual anecdotes such as this.

          • Paul Holcomb

            Paul, Good genetics and appropriate diet. The numbers are not as important as the trend, which clearly improved with carb-restriction and fat addition. This trend is in accord with the latest literature I cited, so in that sense I don’t think I am a freak of nature. I will write about this in detail on my own blog in the near future.

            Regarding cancer, the literature clearly suggests an inverse risk between LDL and the risk of developing cancer:

            Not sure what you are referring to regarding protein-related disease, except to note that the appropriate diet for me is low-carb, moderate protein, high fat.


            Every good medical writer understands the power of the anecdote or case study. Anecodotes aren’t science, but they are helpful in making a point. Your point is well-taken as I am old enough to remember Jim Fixx, the running guru who died of a heart attack at a very young age. So I am using myself as an anecdote very reluctantly.

            James, I was hoping you woulld take a look at the studies on Zoe Harcombe’s site. I disagree with her about fruits and vegetables but that’s beside the point. She did a fine job compiling the literature so it;s worth a share.

            Lastly, I’m glad I “came out” on a vegetarian/vegan website. This is interesting. Thanks to everyone for the debate.

          • Veganrunner

            Hi Paul,
            Just one suggestion. How about using the term “simple carbs” in your next “coming out.” It isn’t accurate to say in one sentence you believe in carb restriction and then in another you are ok with fruits and veggies.

            Also Jim Fixx was obese and used running to lose weight. Although people like to bring him up he probably isn’t the best analogy.

          • Paul Holcomb

            Yes, simple carbs are the ones we all agree are harmful. But broadly speaking the diet that works for me is (relative to the standard American diet & the recommendations) a low-carb diet. Carb restriction to the point of ketosis probably wouldn’t be good for me, but it is appropriate for some.

            My point about Jim Fixx was that he should make us all just a little bit humble about our agendas. No one has this all figured out. That’s why I keep saying “the diet that works for me…” I got started on this conversation a couple days ago became someone posted “High animal fat diets push up your cholesterol. They will make you sick.” Good grief.

            If vegan works for you, that’s great. My concern is that and the USDA National School Lunch Program Guidelines are pushing a high carb, low-fat agenda for everyone.

          • Veganrunner

            How do you figure they are pushing a high carb agenda? The plate consists of fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and a side of milk. No where on the plate is there a spot for a piece of cake. So again you are against complex carbohydrates not just junk food. You have a problem with grains, fruits, and veggies and I have a problem with the milk and the “protein” section suggesting a chunk of chicken. It should have legumes in that spot.

            Have you ever gone to school and had lunch with your kids? The first day I went was when they were in first grade. It was the last day they bought school lunch. None of the food was remotely healthy or fresh. It all came from a can. You might want to make that lunch date before you come out so passionately about full fat dairy being included.

            My daughter is lactose intolerant and my son breaks out in ache. Obviously another animal’s milk is not good for human consumption.

            Paul are you sure you aren’t working for the dairy industry?

            Here is what the plate should look like.


          • Veganrunner

            Dr Greger has a great suggestion for those school lunches that include milk and animal protein in todays blog. Berries!


          • Linda N

            Thanks Veganrunner for this clarification. And for the suggestion for using the term “simple carbs when talking of the specific carbohydrate foods that low-carbers avoid. When most low-carbers talk about lowering carbs, they are usually referring to grains, beans, and starchy veggies like potatoes and tubers. But what most people do not realize is that all fruits and veggies are carbohydrate foods. Even low Glycemic index veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans etc etc. etc. are all carbohydrate foods.
            For clarification, I am not a promoter of either a vegan or a LCHF diet.

          • With your kind of lifestyle, you’ll likely succumb to cancer or heart disease sometime during the next 15 years. I hope not, but it seems likely, if what you say is true.

        • Shawn Urban

          Paul – how do your heart cath angiogram results look?

        • Steve Weinberg

          Paul, paul, paul…….how unscientic of you dude. I am sure you can find millions of people in this country who are healthy on a high animal fat diet as you put it. The science is over whelmingly clear plant based diet is best. Sure you can be healthy on your animal diet but your over all health is nore than likely better on a good plant diet.

        • Charzie

          Congrats Paul, may your good fortune continue, I sincerely mean that. My husband’s diet and medical history sounds very similar to your own at the same age. He is ten years older now, but about 7 years ago his “luck” changed. A short time after a radical prostectomy for an aggressive cancer, he suffered a mild heart attack. The following year he learned he was diabetic. Two years ago he lost most of his leg below the knee to complications of diabetes, and is danger of losing the other, in great part because he still persists in preserving his dietary preferences.
          I was also diagnosed with diabetes shortly after he was, and opted to adopt the recommendations I researched myself, (eventually finding this site a lot easier) making a concerted effort to read only the legitimate actual studies, and not the misquoted, bastardized, selective misrepresentations and double speak from all the “experts” populating the web and books who have an agenda to sell. I opted to dive in and give it a fair trial even though it seemed intimidating at the time. I had amazing results, but my effort to get him on board as well, sadly, failed. It tears me up because I am losing him a piece at a time!
          Paul, I respect your right to live as you wish, but seriously, what is your point in coming here to spout your agenda that is counter to the one encouraged here? I hope you are the exception, but most of us frequent this site because don’t want to gamble with our health when the stakes are so high. My step-grandmother smoked a pack a day and lived to be 92, so should we all light up and disregard the fact that millions of others have died horrible protracted deaths gasping for air from the same habit? I don’t get it?

        • vfran

          I invite you to continue to share your health status through the years.

          • Paul Holcomb

            Still kicking. Just had a little night cap. Wildbrine Red Cabbage and Beets sauerkraut (great vegan food) washed down with fermented heavy cream (Creme Fraiche) from local pastured cows (great animal food.) Omnivore’s delight.

          • Barry Mayo

            Huge problem there, humans are NOT Omnivores! You are a Herbivore 100%! And cows milk is not human milk ! Humans are most often described as “omnivores.” This classification is based on the “observation” that humans generally eat a wide variety of plant and animal foods. However, culture, custom and training are confounding variables when looking at human dietary practices. Thus, “observation” is not the best technique to use when trying to identify the most “natural” diet for humans. While most humans are clearly “behavioral” omnivores, the question still remains as to whether humans are anatomically suited for a diet that includes animal as well as plant foods.
A better and more objective technique is to look at human anatomy and physiology. Mammals are anatomically and physiologically adapted to procure and consume particular kinds of diets. (It is common practice when examining fossils of extinct mammals to examine anatomical features to deduce the animal’s probable diet.) Therefore, we can look at mammalian carnivores, herbivores (plant-eaters) and omnivores to see which anatomical and physiological features are associated with each kind of diet. Then we can look at human anatomy and physiology to see in which group we belong.
Oral Cavity
Carnivores have a wide mouth opening in relation to their head size. This confers obvious advantages in developing the forces used in seizing, killing and dismembering prey. Facial musculature is reduced since these muscles would hinder a wide gape, and play no part in the animal’s preparation of food for swallowing. In all mammalian carnivores, the jaw joint is a simple hinge joint lying in the same plane as the teeth. This type of joint is extremely stable and acts as the pivot point for the “lever arms” formed by the upper and lower jaws. The primary muscle used for operating the jaw in carnivores is the temporalis muscle. This muscle is so massive in carnivores that it accounts for most of the bulk of the sides of the head (when you pet a dog, you are petting its temporalis muscles). The “angle” of the mandible (lower jaw) in carnivores is small. This is because the muscles (masseter and pterygoids) that attach there are of minor importance in these animals. The lower jaw of carnivores cannot move forward, and has very limited side-to-side motion. When the jaw of a carnivore closes, the blade-shaped cheek molars slide past each other to give a slicing motion that is very effective for shearing meat off bone.
The teeth of a carnivore are discretely spaced so as not to trap stringy debris. The incisors are short, pointed and prong-like and are used for grasping and shredding. The canines are greatly elongated and dagger-like for stabbing, tearing and killing prey. The molars (carnassials) are flattened and triangular with jagged edges such that they function like serrated-edged blades. Because of the hinge-type joint, when a carnivore closes its jaw, the cheek teeth come together in a back-to-front fashion giving a smooth cutting motion like the blades on a pair of shears.
The saliva of carnivorous animals does not contain digestive enzymes. When eating, a mammalian carnivore gorges itself rapidly and does not chew its food. Since proteolytic (protein-digesting) enzymes cannot be liberated in the mouth due to the danger of autodigestion (damaging the oral cavity), carnivores do not need to mix their food with saliva; they simply bite off huge chunks of meat and swallow them whole.
According to evolutionary theory, the anatomical features consistent with an herbivorous diet represent a more recently derived condition than that of the carnivore. Herbivorous mammals have well-developed facial musculature, fleshy lips, a relatively small opening into the oral cavity and a thickened, muscular tongue. The lips aid in the movement of food into the mouth and, along with the facial (cheek) musculature and tongue, assist in the chewing of food. In herbivores, the jaw joint has moved to position above the plane of the teeth. Although this type of joint is less stable than the hinge-type joint of the carnivore, it is much more mobile and allows the complex jaw motions needed when chewing plant foods. Additionally, this type of jaw joint allows the upper and lower cheek teeth to come together along the length of the jaw more or less at once when the mouth is closed in order to form grinding platforms. (This type of joint is so important to a plant-eating animal, that it is believed to have evolved at least 15 different times in various plant-eating mammalian species.) The angle of the mandible has expanded to provide a broad area of attachment for the well-developed masseter and pterygoid muscles (these are the major muscles of chewing in plant-eating animals). The temporalis muscle is small and of minor importance. The masseter and pterygoid muscles hold the mandible in a sling-like arrangement and swing the jaw from side-to-side. Accordingly, the lower jaw of plant-eating mammals has a pronounced sideways motion when eating. This lateral movement is necessary for the grinding motion of chewing.
The dentition of herbivores is quite varied depending on the kind of vegetation a particular species is adapted to eat. Although these animals differ in the types and numbers of teeth they posses, the various kinds of teeth when present, share common structural features. The incisors are broad, flattened and spade-like. Canines may be small as in horses, prominent as in hippos, pigs and some primates (these are thought to be used for defense) or absent altogether. The molars, in general, are squared and flattened on top to provide a grinding surface. The molars cannot vertically slide past one another in a shearing/slicing motion, but they do horizontally slide across one another to crush and grind. The surface features of the molars vary depending on the type of plant material the animal eats. The teeth of herbivorous animals are closely grouped so that the incisors form an efficient cropping/biting mechanism, and the upper and lower molars form extended platforms for crushing and grinding. The “walled-in” oral cavity has a lot of potential space that is realized during eating.
These animals carefully and methodically chew their food, pushing the food back and forth into the grinding teeth with the tongue and cheek muscles. This thorough process is necessary to mechanically disrupt plant cell walls in order to release the digestible intracellular contents and ensure thorough mixing of this material with their saliva. This is important because the saliva of plant-eating mammals often contains carbohydrate-digesting enzymes which begin breaking down food molecules while the food is still in the mouth.
Stomach and Small Intestine
Striking differences between carnivores and herbivores are seen in these organs. Carnivores have a capacious simple (single-chambered) stomach. The stomach volume of a carnivore represents 60-70% of the total capacity of the digestive system. Because meat is relatively easily digested, their small intestines (where absorption of food molecules takes place) are short&151;about three to five or six times the body length. Since these animals average a kill only about once a week, a large stomach volume is advantageous because it allows the animals to quickly gorge themselves when eating, taking in as much meat as possible at one time which can then be digested later while resting. Additionally, the ability of the carnivore stomach to secrete hydrochloric acid is exceptional. Carnivores are able to keep their gastric pH down around 1-2 even with food present. This is necessary to facilitate protein breakdown and to kill the abundant dangerous bacteria often found in decaying flesh foods.
Because of the relative difficulty with which various kinds of plant foods are broken down (due to large amounts of indigestible fibers), herbivores have significantly longer and in some cases, far more elaborate guts than carnivores. Herbivorous animals that consume plants containing a high proportion of cellulose must “ferment” (digest by bacterial enzyme action) their food to obtain the nutrient value. They are classified as either “ruminants” (foregut fermenters) or hindgut fermenters. The ruminants are the plant-eating animals with the celebrated multiple-chambered stomachs. Herbivorous animals that eat a diet of relatively soft vegetation do not need a multiple-chambered stomach. They typically have a simple stomach, and a long small intestine. These animals ferment the difficult-to-digest fibrous portions of their diets in their hindguts (colons). Many of these herbivores increase the sophistication and efficiency of their GI tracts by including carbohydrate-digesting enzymes in their saliva. A multiple-stomach fermentation process in an animal which consumed a diet of soft, pulpy vegetation would be energetically wasteful. Nutrients and calories would be consumed by the fermenting bacteria and protozoa before reaching the small intestine for absorption. The small intestine of plant-eating animals tends to be very long (greater than 10 times body length) to allow adequate time and space for absorption of the nutrients.
The large intestine (colon) of carnivores is simple and very short, as its only purposes are to absorb salt and water. It is approximately the same diameter as the small intestine and, consequently, has a limited capacity to function as a reservoir. The colon is short and non-pouched. The muscle is distributed throughout the wall, giving the colon a smooth cylindrical appearance. Although a bacterial population is present in the colon of carnivores, its activities are essentially putrefactive.
In herbivorous animals, the large intestine tends to be a highly specialized organ involved in water and electrolyte absorption, vitamin production and absorption, and/or fermentation of fibrous plant materials. The colons of herbivores are usually wider than their small intestine and are relatively long. In some plant-eating mammals, the colon has a pouched appearance due to the arrangement of the muscle fibers in the intestinal wall. Additionally, in some herbivores the cecum (the first section of the colon) is quite large and serves as the primary or accessory fermentation site.
What About Omnivores?
One would expect an omnivore to show anatomical features which equip it to eat both animal and plant foods. According to evolutionary theory, carnivore gut structure is more primitive than herbivorous adaptations. Thus, an omnivore might be expected to be a carnivore which shows some gastrointestinal tract adaptations to an herbivorous diet.
This is exactly the situation we find in the Bear, Raccoon and certain members of the Canine families. (This discussion will be limited to bears because they are, in general, representative of the anatomical omnivores.) Bears are classified as carnivores but are classic anatomical omnivores. Although they eat some animal foods, bears are primarily herbivorous with 70-80% of their diet comprised of plant foods. (The one exception is the Polar bear which lives in the frozen, vegetation poor arctic and feeds primarily on seal blubber.) Bears cannot digest fibrous vegetation well, and therefore, are highly selective feeders. Their diet is dominated by primarily succulent lent herbage, tubers and berries. Many scientists believe the reason bears hibernate is because their chief food (succulent vegetation) not available in the cold northern winters. (Interestingly, Polar bears hibernate during the summer months when seals are unavailable.)
In general, bears exhibit anatomical features consistent with a carnivorous diet. The jaw joint of bears is in the same plane as the molar teeth. The temporalis muscle is massive, and the angle of the mandible is small corresponding to the limited role the pterygoid and masseter muscles play in operating the jaw. The small intestine is short (less than five times body length) like that of the pure carnivores, and the colon is simple, smooth and short. The most prominent adaptation to an herbivorous diet in bears (and other “anatomical” omnivores) is the modification of their dentition. Bears retain the peg-like incisors, large canines and shearing premolars of a carnivore; but the molars have become squared with rounded cusps for crushing and grinding. Bears have not, however, adopted the flattened, blunt nails seen in most herbivores and retain the elongated, pointed claws of a carnivore.
An animal which captures, kills and eats prey must have the physical equipment which makes predation practical and efficient. Since bears include significant amounts of meat in their diet, they must retain the anatomical features that permit them to capture and kill prey animals. Hence, bears have a jaw structure, musculature and dentition which enable them to develop and apply the forces necessary to kill and dismember prey even though the majority of their diet is comprised of plant foods. Although an herbivore-style jaw joint (above the plane of the teeth) is a far more efficient joint for crushing and grinding vegetation and would potentially allow bears to exploit a wider range of plant foods in their diet, it is a much weaker joint than the hinge-style carnivore joint. The herbivore-style jaw joint is relatively easily dislocated and would not hold up well under the stresses of subduing struggling prey and/or crushing bones (nor would it allow the wide gape carnivores need). In the wild, an animal with a dislocated jaw would either soon starve to death or be eaten by something else and would, therefore, be selected against. A given species cannot adopt the weaker but more mobile and efficient herbivore-style joint until it has committed to an essentially plant-food diet test it risk jaw dislocation, death and ultimately, extinction.
What About Me?
The human gastrointestinal tract features the anatomical modifications consistent with an herbivorous diet. Humans have muscular lips and a small opening into the oral cavity. Many of the so-called “muscles of expression” are actually the muscles used in chewing. The muscular and agile tongue essential for eating, has adapted to use in speech and other things. The mandibular joint is flattened by a cartilaginous plate and is located well above the plane of the teeth. The temporalis muscle is reduced. The characteristic “square jaw” of adult males reflects the expanded angular process of the mandible and the enlarged masseter/pterygoid muscle group. The human mandible can move forward to engage the incisors, and side-to-side to crush and grind.
Human teeth are also similar to those found in other herbivores with the exception of the canines (the canines of some of the apes are elongated and are thought to be used for display and/or defense). Our teeth are rather large and usually abut against one another. The incisors are flat and spade-like, useful for peeling, snipping and biting relatively soft materials. The canines are neither serrated nor conical, but are flattened, blunt and small and function Like incisors. The premolars and molars are squarish, flattened and nodular, and used for crushing, grinding and pulping noncoarse foods.
Human saliva contains the carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, salivary amylase. This enzyme is responsible for the majority of starch digestion. The esophagus is narrow and suited to small, soft balls of thoroughly chewed food. Eating quickly, attempting to swallow a large amount of food or swallowing fibrous and/or poorly chewed food (meat is the most frequent culprit) often results in choking in humans.
Man’s stomach is single-chambered, but only moderately acidic. (Clinically, a person presenting with a gastric pH less than 4-5 when there is food in the stomach is cause for concern.) The stomach volume represents about 21-27% of the total volume of the human GI tract. The stomach serves as a mixing and storage chamber, mixing and liquefying ingested foodstuffs and regulating their entry into the small intestine. The human small intestine is long, averaging from 10 to 11 times the body length. (Our small intestine averages 22 to 30 feet in length. Human body size is measured from the top of the head to end of the spine and averages between two to three feet in length in normal-sized individuals.)
The human colon demonstrates the pouched structure peculiar to herbivores. The distensible large intestine is larger in cross-section than the small intestine, and is relatively long. Man’s colon is responsible for water and electrolyte absorption and vitamin production and absorption. There is also extensive bacterial fermentation of fibrous plant materials, with the production and absorption of significant amounts of food energy (volatile short-chain fatty acids) depending upon the fiber content of the diet. The extent to which the fermentation and absorption of metabolites takes place in the human colon has only recently begun to be investigated.
In conclusion, we see that human beings have the gastrointestinal tract structure of a “committed” herbivore. Humankind does not show the mixed structural features one expects and finds in anatomical omnivores such as bears and raccoons. Thus, from comparing the gastrointestinal tract of humans to that of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores we must conclude that humankind’s GI tract is designed for a purely plant-food diet.

          • Beautiful analysis – I am cutting and pasting this onto a document to keep for reference! Haven’t thoroughly digested this yet ;-). I also recently discovered that human milk has a VERY low percentage of protein in it. 6%, as opposed to cow’s milk, which has 26%. It only makes sense for humans to include a small amount of protein in their diet, especially when you consider that the young infant has a fast growth spurt and at this age needs more nutrients than at any other time of its life, bar puberty.

          • Barry Mayo

            You’re correct 25 to 35 % cow’s milk is not Human milk , 5% and less, and NOT fit for human consumption. You do not need to add animal protein to a humans diet. A varied diet of plant based foods has 2 to 4 times the 2.5 to 3% protein needed by an adult human.
            The mothers milk actually drops drastically the first month and slowly after as the babies protein needs of 3 to 5% drop. So why feed any human cows milk that is 10 times more protein than needed? That is just protein poisoning starting as an infant, plus cows milk has far more bad effects than just too much protein for a Human that is 100% Herbivore.

  • A book that helped me eat brown rice and veggies and get VERY healthy was “You are all SANPAKU” by William Dufty. What he wrote made a lot of sense and I went for it. Of course it was a Japanese peasant diet and a diet that many people around the world eat on a daily basis. Now, I eat “raw” because it’s even more “simple” and “back to nature”. Enzymes are my friends. But if I had to go back to cooked foods, brown rice and veggies would be my choice. It’s important to get people back to “neutral” so they can then notice the effects foods have on their minds and bodies. From there, they can choose what to add to the basics. Eating the standard American diet, it’s difficult to figure out what is helpful and what is not.

    • irene harvey

      i remember that book. dufty made a persuasive case for what was a macrobiotic diet. “sanpaku” refers to being able to see whites of the eyes underneath the iris, & this meant that you were too yin.
      i used to have a macrobiotic restaurant in nyc & was very involved with that life.
      HOWEVER, the couple who brought macrobiotics to the u.s. & opened a school in boston (where my cook was trained), both died relatively young (60’s & early 70’s), one of heart disease & the other of cancer. both of these diseases were supposed to have been prevented by that diet.
      ever since then i’ve stopped paying attention to food religions. at 67 i’ve outlived a lot of health fanatics. at 92, my mother has outlived even more.
      i know health is big business, but it is an area where the scientific method cannot be used, & all theories are just speculations.
      what i’ve noticed is that it doesn’t seem to matter what you eat. heresy, i know. but there it is.

      • I’m the same age as you, Irene, and I feel similarly… no religious eating… but it’s good, as I said, to get back to “neutral” so you can begin to listen to your body. So many of us are totally out of touch with our bodies. My body is very happy now. I listen to it when I shop and prepare meals. I am not afraid to give it what it wants, because it no longer has toxic desires. But my interest in foods is not so much longevity… to me, foods are drugs and they affect my moods… so I like to make sure that I don’t eat things that aggravate my body, because then I get cranky and am difficult to live with (for myself AND others). I simply want to live a happy, healthy, peaceful life while I am here. Umm… I think I’ll have a bit of chocolate… home made, of course. :)

      • Ben

        I think they took the macrobiotic idea too far and they were cooking EVERYTHING. You do need at least SOME raw food in your diet. Like Fuhrman says, a 100% raw diet is not an optimal diet, same is true of a 100% cooked food diet.

      • Linda N

        One of the problems I see with all these different diet ideas is that they tend to look at animal vs vegetable, low carb vs high carb, high fat vs low fat, plant based vs animal based, high insulin vs low insulin etc. But most adherents of any of these seem to looking at the totality of nutrients contained in their chosen diets. I would wager if any of them put their diets into diet analyzer programs or sites they would all find that they are lacking in some or several nutrients. Then they all wonder why their chosen diet didn’t save them from heart disease, diabetes, or whatever disease or diseases they are looking to avoid.

        A plant-based diet is ideal for most people but to me “plant-based” means just that, a diet based on plants; not necessarily excluding all animal products, and all diets have to included essential fats. Beyond getting the macro nutrients, our soils are seriously depleted in vitamins and minerals today and so are the foods grown in them or the animals eating the foods ground in them.

        I think the adherents of all these diets ought to be looking more at whether their diets contain all of the know essential nutrients in at least the RDA amounts (as ridiculously low as they are and the FDA is about to lower the amounts even lower.

        • Apparently protein deficiency is a myth. The Kwashiorkor that found its way into all our school textbooks was a real condition, but the discoverer of it spent the rest of her career trying to debunk that it was protein related. There just isn’t evidence of specific protein deficiency in humans. We get enough protein from a wide variety of plant foods. Humans need very little protein, contrary to popular opinion. Human breast milk contains only 6% protein, compared to cow’s milk, 26%.

          • Linda N

            If you mean animal protein, it can be obtained by eating the right combination of plants, but the idea that we do not need protein is and that it is a myth that has been debunked is preposterous. Every single enzyme, muscle etc. in your body is composed of protein and it must be replaced. And protein needs vary with how ill or well one is.

            Anyone fool enough to go on a rice diet deserves what they get.

          • Whoah, lol, that isn’t what I said or meant! I agree with some of what you say. But anybody who gets sufficient food (ie is not going hungry/starving) and is eating responsibly – getting a wide variety of quality plant foods – will naturally get enough protein in their diet. I did not say that ‘we do not need protein’. I do believe we don’t need anywhere near as much protein as has been advocated in the past. I am not convinced that this rice diet is all we need, and agree that protein is one of many nutrients needed for successful function in a human being. I hope this is clear enough now ;-).

    • Adrien

      Enzymes are not our friends, they actually don’t care about us. That’s for the funny part. For the serious part you can watch people from the raw food community talking about the enzyme myth, here a good exemple:

      With a few exceptions : Sometimes the Enzyme Myth Is True.

      • I don’t know who you are and I don’t know what your point is here. But I think it’s best to go with experts, rather than people who are rather new to the subject. This runner is rather young and has been on raw foods 9 years. I’m quite a bit older and have been vegan for most of my life. I go by how I feel. I feel ok on cooked food, but not good. When I eat cooked food, I need to eat MORE and even when I do, I don’t feel satisfied. I need to use MORE SALT, MORE SEASONINGS, and I don’t feel as good on cooked foods as when I eat raw foods. Raw foods taste better to me. They digest more easily – I attribute that to the enzymes, for every food contains enzymes or it would do the “eternally young McDonald’s hamburgers thing” even after 7 years. When foods are cooked, they lose texture, color, nutrients and flavor – and we haven’t even touched on enzymes yet. That is a waste of food.

        At any rate, here is a guy whose doctorate is in enzymes… “What Your Doctor May Not Know About Enzymes” by Devin Houston, Ph.D. – and what your favorite runner might not know either… Even this author was taught erroneously in med school, as probably most MDs are still being taught. Few classes in nutrition are offered in med school. And the ones that are, are very different than what I have learned over the past 45 years using my body as a laboratory. Try this: – Read up on the myths doctors are taught about enzymes and what is true from the viewpoint of someone who works specifically with enzymes and who teaches med students what is true about enzymes.

        I think the main point missed by many is that carbohydrates are designed to be digested in the mouth. There are enzymes in the mouth for that purpose. All foods contain enzymes to assist in their own decomposition – so they COMPOST. What is supposed to go to the stomach to be broken down by HCl is the cellulose or other proteins that remain after thorough chewing in the mouth…. in other words, we are meant to chew our food and it will be largely digested before we swallow. Most people eat quickly and carbs end up in the stomach… where they can clash with the acid.

        • Bris Vegas

          Starches are (partially) digested by an enzyme (maltase) on the mouth. Sugars are no affected. Maltase is destroyed by stomach acids.

          There are sugar and starch digesting enzymes in the small intestine.

          • Gandhi said, “Chew your water and drink your food.” Have you ever chewed rice until it becomes sweet? I wonder if that is how digestion is meant to be. When I learned to do that, my health improved significantly. When thoroughly chewed, rice became as delightful as candy had been when I was a child. Most people do not chew very much and the food goes to the stomach before it is really finished in the mouth. Is it possible that inadequate chewing puts a heavy burden on the pancreas? If we do our part more thoroughly, then the pancreas might be happier.

          • Chandrakant Kulkarni

            I’m so delighted to read your reference to our Mahatma Gandhi!
            You make me remember the ‘meals discipline’ imposed by my parents upon me, right from my childhood: ‘एक घास ३२ वेळा चावून खावा!’ (Marathi language): meaning, you should chew every mouthful of food 32 times.

          • Do you still do that, Chandrakant? How is your digestion? Counting is a good way to make sure to chew well. :)

          • Chandrakant Kulkarni

            It’s very kind of you, Patricia ji! Well, I’m running 70 now and practically all teeth belonging to my mouth have taken early ‘voluntary retirement’. However, I didn’t go for all that ‘oral furniture’ (= dentures etc.) in spite of pressing requests from my home people. Losing teeth is an indirect signal from Mother Nature to reduce your diet to easy-to- digest & soft / liquid foods.
            By grace of God, my digestion is good till today.
            Thank you 32 times!

  • Sarah

    I am curious about what do do when blood pressure goes too low as was mentioned happens with some people eating this way? I know usually people say add more salt, but are there there other ways to increase it?

  • Going Nuts

    These segments confuse me when I reflect on previous topics. Nuts and seeds are high fat. Where do they fit in this story?

    • Matthew Smith

      Nuts are one of the most powerful factors in protecting against future disease and increasing lifespan. One handful of walnuts a day can have the same benefits as eating four bowls of oatmeal everyday. The only thing more beneficial for long life is beans, with each few ounces reducing your risk of dying from various common kinds of death by eight percent. Not eating walnuts can double your risk of heart disease. Seeds are also effective at improving heart health.

    • yiotta

      Dr. Gregor has at least one video addressing this concern: you can find it by using the search function.

  • MarthaLA

    Oooh, I was all set to share this video, to supplement my pitch for WFPB diet in response to another share of “A nurse has heart attack and describes what women feel when having one:” — but then came Dr. Kempner’s whipping of his patients and I though that this might not be the best NF video to share with my relatives! ;-)

    • MarthaLA

      P.S. I shared Cavities and Coronaries, instead.

      • Lauren Hacker

        Very funny! How did that go over?

        • MarthaLA

          No reactions displayed. I rather bombard them with such shares on FB, but that’s the usual [non] reaction. Maybe they’ll read or view some of these shares one day. Unfortunately, it seems about 80% of the recipes shared amongst the group prominently contain CHEESE!

  • Marina

    A close to one year ago I started PlantBased diet because of my husband fibrillation that really took from us all activity from our life. Even though dr. Esselstyne said that this diet would not cure this disease it helped my husband a lot, but it really hit me: kidney stones I never felt if have any before, my HB is killing me it would not going down, back pain it was not before that severe as now, my cholesterol down but triglyceride now so high( before was within normal), I have now a breathing problems as well. I considered myself before the diet stable, only one problem bothered me is my HBP. Through the tears in my eyes I still believe in this diet.. still search the way to rid of all this side effects of this diet and still be within, just because I like it mentally:). Only time to time I allow myself small piece of organic chocolate and 2-3 pieces of nuts. My husband though looks at my struggles and ready to quit. My friends searching for comments on this diet and I could not advice them to accept it. Is any advice someone can give me to encourage my journey?

    • Esther

      Dear Marina! Do you have some healthy foods which you can eat without problems like breathing problems? I have found out that some foods cause my nose to close, simply said. And some foods cause me itching and other problems. Maybe you should try a piece of a fruit or a vegetable or nut or
      something else and see how you feel some minutes later and then one or
      two hours later. It is a hard work, but maybe it helps you like me to shun the things my body does not tolerate (even healthy things like most sorts of apples) and to eat more the things my body tolerate. In the last time I have also found out that it is easier in the first time to eat some “unhealthy” foods/ meals and some “healthy” foods/ meals to be full and to switch slowly to a more healthy eating, adding more and more healthy and new foods/ meals. My body apparently needs time for adaption. Esther

      • Marina

        Thank you Esther for good advice. I probably took it in a very radical way. I will try to do what you suggested. You are right the breathing is bothering me the most. It is difficult to understand the reaction of separate foods in cooked meal though, but it is really good advice to think about. I do appreciate it very much. Marina

        • Esther

          Hi Marina! Yes it is very difficult to understand the reaction of separate foods in cooked meals, and I almost never try to do it. I am happy when I can eat something without problems. Milk with sugar and eggs (like pancakes) are a big problem for me, unfortunately. It took me a long time to discover that and also to accept it :). But it is nice to have less symptoms. Best wishes for you, Esther.

    • Paul Spring

      Are you taking B-12 supplements? Should be monitored by a physician who understands the plant-based diet and figure out what is wrong.

  • Dr. Greger, I have been very bad and I must be punished

    • Marina

      It’s probably it:)

    • Thea

      Coacervate: I don’t know why, but this video struck me as being very funny. I mean it’s not really funny to hurt someone. But I just have this picture in my head of this doctor running around in a white lab coat, arm high in the air, sounding like a sincere mad man, telling people how important it is to be healthy — and then literally beating the idea into them. It’s just so comical in a sick way.

      And then I read your comment and laughed again. :-)

      • It lives, IT LIVES! Half the time i want to laugh but then I see my precious loved ones fading away and I want to tie them up and beat them into submission because I know…we are cut from the same cloth. If they just do it for a month they will get better like me and are less likely to backslide. Ich fershtayen nicht!

        BTW, Esse is nice but I have it on good authority you toed the line or “there’s the door” to death…a pretty big stick yes? God bless them all!

        • Charzie

          Oh Coacervate, I so know how you feel! How am I supposed to react when my significant other is getting his legs hacked off in increments due to diabetes because going WFPB vegan like I did is TOO EXTREME!??? I’m ashamed to admit one day I freaked out on him and threatened to save us all the grief and amputate at the neck! Aaargh!

      • Darryl

        There’s a great, funny, screenplay waiting to be adapted from Dr. Kempner’s unusual life, though the secrecy of most of his intimates may make it largely fictional. Bound to have more frisson The Road to Wellville.

        • Thea

          Darryl: Fascinating article. Thanks for sharing that!

          I would go to that movie! (re: “One can imagine…”)

      • Matthew Smith

        The Hippocratic oath says to first, do no harm. This is the first rule of medicine. I think Dr. Greger and his volunteers and colleagues here are very brave for writing what they are saying that medicine as a system does harm. I think a higher priority of medicine is to not force medicine upon them. Some doctors hate “living wills,” saying that they are being forced by them to do harm from inactivity. Some doctors like to work in hospitals that have them, saying that a more important rule of medicine is to not force actions. Some doctors feel bad because of the crippled nature of their medicine, that their best activities would hurt their patients. Some doctors feel that they didn’t intervene enough given who they are. Some doctors are Christian Scientists or Adventists, who either don’t believe in medicine at all or believe it should be handed by faith in G-d. I would like to thank Dr. Greger for this site because it could help Christian Scientists more than intervention, it is the best reading room of its kind, and could help the Adventists see the Hand of G-d in health. I think the idea that forcing people cold turkey to eat 1,400-1,600 calories of rice and fruit is bad medicine and masks the true success of the foods not being eaten. This is a bad study, like a great idea being funded poorly presenting bad results or less good results. I would love to hear more specific recommendations of the food to eat like the recipes presented here.

        • Guest

          Do you really think that Adventist hospitals are any different than any other hospital? They are not. Nor are too many of the Doctors different than any other AMA doctor.

          • Matthew Smith

            Thank you, I have made an error. Adventist doctors are not different than any other. They have found that people who believe in G-d live longer than people who do not, people who go to Church live longer than those who do not, and people who pray live longer than those who do not. It is possible that doctors who believe in G-d and are involved in religious activity are more successful than those who are not. Forty percent of American hospitals or more are affiliated with a Church, and one would ask if they are more successful then other hospitals. Being in larger social webs can be better for you, as can being in social webs that involve prayer and meditation. I am glad I am here, as a web of vegans, being here probably will increase my lifespan and improve my health more than other club. I am glad you are here too.

          • The Adventist Health Studies are very enlightening. Through these it has been discovered that nuts on a regular basis improve longevity, as does eating legumes. And lots of other interesting things. They must be doing something right, to add so many useful years to their lives!

    • Mike Quinoa

      It’s not punishment if you enjoy it.

      • DanielFaster

        Like bicycling, when you are really good at it you are miserable

  • Matthew Smith offers aggressive help to those facing chronic illness by way of dietary intervention and offers hope to those who believe modern medicine is not effective in instances of illness. This website offers some specific help on lowering blood pressure with some foods including beets, hibiscus tea, seaweed, grapefruit, beans, brazil nuts, and eating whole grains. I have found that eliminating coffee or any caffeine in the diet can lower blood pressure and heart rate by 20 percent all by itself. Switching coffee to Hibiscus tea and drinking decaf green tea can lower your blood pressure quite a bit. However, caffeine has some health benefits and can help with the heart. Matcha tea is not available without caffeine and caffeine free green tea may have half the antioxidants. The traditional treatment for high blood pressure is a diuretic, a water pill, a pill that makes you pee. Drinking 8 cups of water a day or more can really improve your blood pressure. Meditation and regular exercise is extremely useful. Some people train to have low pressure, like fighter pilots and snipers. Their techniques can include thinking of a beautiful loved one or saying or doing something exciting to a peer. People with tourettes seem to have clear memories and less blood pressure, perhaps because they are dealing with anxiety and nervousness and sating the right kinds of ill words can help calm the mind. We could study them for heart health. These techniques are similar to those used to beat a lie detector test, and can be adapted for long life. Beans, nuts, and dark chocolate all is very good for heart health, and your site says that beets, seaweed, hibiscus tea, grapefruit, beans, brazil nuts, and whole grain can help lower the blood pressure. I think the all rice and fruit diet is missing whole grain, mineral nutrition, and the antioxidant rich superfruits Dr. Greger speaks so highly off, like apples and golden raisins and alma berries and blueberries. Violence is not a good strategy to help people stick to a fast and varied diets with many meals are more effective than actual sacrifice.

  • PJ

    Consumer reports latest issue seems to be trying to scare everyone about rice consumption. I would like to see something addressing the allegations in Consumer Reportd.

  • Mikke

    These are my favorite books for heart disease and health ;

    Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. The Revolutionary, scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure by Caldwell B. Esselstyn

    ; Your Body’s Many Cries for Water Paperback – November 1, 2008

    by F. Batmanghelidj (Author), M.D. (Author) ;

    The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problems Paperback – February 22, 2011

    by Michael F. Holick (Author), Andrew Weil (Foreword

  • Liad

    Hi, my name is Liad, I’m a medical student,
    and I am following your site a lot.

    For the last 6 years I have been
    taking 1mg of finasteride every day as a treatment for men hair loss. The drug
    had a good effect on my hair, and I didn’t suffer any side effect yet (like
    fertility damage), but there are more frightening side effect like a higher
    risk of prostate and breast cancer (and it also costs 75 dollars a month), so I
    think to stop taking the drug.

    In the last year I am vegan, and
    keeping a healthy diet and a moderate exercise. I would like to know if there
    is any evidence that a healthier life style may improve men hair loss.

    Thank you!

    • guest

      Go grain fee and soy free. White sugar free. Give it a try. And no cooked nuts seeds or heated oils. No fried food.

  • Mikke

    eating rice , wheat , bread , pasta (high cab-diet ) will make you insulin resistant ! then you get type two diabetes and more heart disease and fat !

    • b00mer

      Mikke, your statement is absolutely incorrect. And it’s puzzling that in another comment you list Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn as one of your favorite authors since the diet prescribed in “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” is a high carbohydrate diet.

      “[…] whole-grain or traditionally processed cereals and legumes has been associated with improved glycemic control in both diabetic and insulin-resistant individuals. Long-term cohort studies have indicated that whole-grain consumption reduces the risk of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease”

      “In an analysis controlling for medication changes, a low-fat vegan diet appeared to improve glycemia and plasma lipids more than did conventional diabetes diet recommendations.”

      “Both a low-fat vegan diet and a diet based on ADA guidelines improved glycemic and lipid control in type 2 diabetic patients. These improvements were greater with a low-fat vegan diet.”

      Note that a low-fat vegan diet => a high carbohydrate diet

      • Charzie

        I can vouch for that! :)

  • Julot Julott

    It would probably have worked even better with whole rice!

    • Matthew Smith

      Great point. You can get whole grain parboiled rice in Minute Rice form or from Uncle Ben’s. It’s more expensive but healthier. White rice can increase your risk of diabetes, whole grain rice can reduce it.

  • Matthew Smith

    This diet, the Duke diet, was featured in Sixty minutes and is still being practiced there today. They sell people confinement to eat rice and fruit and make them walk or pace. I think this is an unfortunate practice. A rehab for the overweight. Your website has shown that the only people who meet basic weight and blood pressure standards are vegans. The Duke program forces people to be vegans, knowing this efficacy. Knowing the promise of beans, nuts, matcha or green tea, dark chocolate, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, I think anyone can get better in their own time. What is unfortunate is I think they are selling Veganism to people who may be overweight as a side effect of their medications, like Zypreza, Haldol, or Prozac. I admire some cultures for how they handle with nervousness and the mixed desire to pace or sit, eat or drink, store water or metabolize. I think eating several small meals a day when hungry and drinking tea (knowing that water, caffeine, and activity are the number one cause of and treatment for anxiety), and being on your feet an hour a day are very healthy ways to live. Dr. Greger has presented data than any animal product is less healthy than a lifelong vegan diet, noting his regret at eating meat long ago. Eating less meat and less animal fat is a great strategy for intervention. Eating lots of the best foods (lemons, cranberries, apples, broccall, beets, kale, spinach, carrots, garlic, onions, matcha, white tea with lemon, hibiscus tea, chamomille tea, tumeric with pepper, cloves, oregano, ginger, rosemary walnuts, pecans, peanuts, beans, seaweed, whole grains, mushrooms, amla, rosehips, ground flaxseed) should present an immediate intervention in helping the body, not abstaining by taking a pill and hoping the body will miss something. Some times blocking a biological pathway can make overcompensation by other pathways more harmful, as many pills do. How do you recommend compliance on a vegan diet? I think more nuts and beans and dark chocolate would make people more satisfied, not less.

  • Mike Quinoa

    A question for someone. I noticed chloride was mentioned early in this video. I buy no salt added canned beans quite often, and a lot of them are canned in a calcium chloride “sauce.” Is this liquid okay to consume?

    • guest

      Never ingest the liquid inside of canned beans. Rinse this chemical laden sauce out. Even the BPA free cans are lined with chemicals. Who is to says they are safe chemicals that humans should be drinking, eating, consuming. These chemicals are not food. Rinse beans twice.

      • Kitsy Hahn

        Better yet, cook ’em yourself. It’s not difficult. Just soak a bunch of different kinds in a pot of water overnight. The next day rinse the water, and boil ’em up the old-fashioned way. Sure, it takes a few hours out of your life, but you can work it out somehow. After they’re nice and softish, put 1/2 cup or so in glass jars and freeze ’em. Set aside the 1/2 cup or more you plan to eat that day. Easy peasy….and a lot cheaper too.

  • I grew up around the corner from Duke–and knew lots of people who went there for the rice diet. Problem was: They had to keep coming back. Once they went home, they put the pounds back on again. Glad to hear that the Duke folks finally put vegetables on the menu! White rice and fruit are not sustainable–and white rice is no nutritional prima donna.

    • Matthew Smith

      Great diets as you suggest are sustainable. I went to the rice diet website, and, opposed to what I said below, they have closed according to their website. According to both wikipedia and webmd the program is very much like the USDA food pyramid. With 6-11 servings of grain, 5 servings of fruit, 5 servings of vegetables, and a 2-3 servings of beans and maybe some lean meat. I think if you had gone to the clinic they would have put you on a restricted diet of 800-1,200 with only rice and fruit. Is forced starvation, knowing the benefits of veganism, an effective treatment? I think selling people anorexia is bad for health, as evidenced by your comment that they had to keep coming back. Perhaps the ideal diet would be whole grains, super fruits, super vegetables, beans, and a very restricted approach to cholesterol and only plant saturated fats from nuts and cocoa, known to be good for the heart. I used to be on a very strict diet, but I would wake up screaming with hunger and walk into my fridge. I found caffeine helped me with that. I was overweight compared to how much I felt I ate. Fenugreek is helping me with that, making me lose weight. I like this site, they tell me to add foods for health, not remove them.

      • Yes, I like this site too! Dr. Greger and his team are first rate. I’m a health journalist and cancer survivor and try to tweak the recommendations here in order to follow an “anti-cancer” diet. For example, I’m practicing the pre-cautionary principle and avoiding peanuts now because of a new study in animal models showing they promote metastasis. There are a couple of other foods that may be similarly suspect.

        • Matthew Smith

          Great health journalists like you want to get the story out so people can make an informed decision as early as possible. Dr. Greger has a site about people who clean up their diets after they get diagnosed and the efficacy of this plan. It seems broccoli can increase your chances of surviving cancer by four fold. This site says the best anticancer vegetable is garlic or other onion crop followed by broccoli or other cruciferous mustard crop, beets, kale, and spinach are also helpful. He says the best anticancer fruit is lemons and cranberries (even in small amounts) followed by apples, black raspberries are very effective at preventing colon cancer. He says the best anti cancer nut is pecans and walnuts, followed by peanuts, which you say here cause cancer. He says the best anticancer spice is cloves, tumeric, ginger, and rosemary. He alludes that the best anti cancer tea is chamomille, hibiscus, dandelion white tea with lemon, matcha, and green tea. There are other foods that can help reduce cancer, like carrots and tomatoes. Berries are very anti-cancerous, as are beans, particularly black beans or lentils. Some surprising all stars in cancer prevention are mushrooms (the white button varitety), nori seaweed, soybeans, flax seed and green tea. He has shown that strawberries can effectively treat throat cancer. I have long thought that prevention is the best medicine and if it prevents the disease, it could treat it. Many cancer doctors are offended that treatments to cancer will almost assuredly cause more cancer down the road, as that is their method of efficacy, DNA damage. I was hoping to find medicines that work in the opposite manner. This site helps. Thank you, and praise for your mission to empower people to treat and prevent cancer. Are you making a news story on how to beat cancer?

          • I write articles on diet and cancer for Zester Daily, Huff Post and my own blog–and will be publishing a guidebook (with recipes) soon. I should clarify: I did not mean to imply that peanuts actually cause cancer; the study focused on their ability to spread cancer cells once the cancer cells are in your blood. While white button mushrooms can inhibit aromatase (good!), they also contain a type of lectin similar to peanuts. Peanut lectins survive cooking and digestion; the lectins in the ‘shrooms may more likely be destroyed by cooking. Ah, there’s so much we do know and so much we don’t know, and in the face of imperfect evidence, I strive to help people make good decisions. Love those broccoli sprouts!

          • Matthew Smith

            I think your book is a great idea for cancer patients and doctors alike. Although suppressing a disease is a bad policy, the fact remains that most people still do wait for cancer to make a change and that is what medicine is. Your book could clarify what to do. I wish your book well and hope that you tell people, garlic, garlic, garlic. Beets, broccoli, spinach, carrots, and tomatoes have lots of health effects. I like that you are writing a book that says, “I have cancer. Here’s what I can do from my kitchen,” a guidebook for the last resort which is what many people do. Dr. Greger should definitely get credit for this site and showing that if you stop eating meat and get exercise you can greatly improve your chances of survival. Plants have many adaptagenic (stress responsive) properties and can aid the body in chemo or in the damage caused by cancer. There are some foods that stop cell growth, like chamomile and garlic, stop creating veins for the cancer, like Strawberries, that tell the body to stop feeding the cancer, like oranges or orange juice (I think), tell the body to remove the cancer like whole grains (I think), or that say to hunt cancer like tea (I think). There was a House episode were someone was eating a breakfast knowing he had cancer. It was orange juice, whole grain rice, and some other fruits and vegetables. I think the man who asked about the food thought it was unpleasant even knowing that it could save the life of a cancer patient. Perhaps with recipes and attitude changes this could be normal and part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s what the government recommends! Those foods are filled with RNA and uracil, which mimics the DNA molecule Thymine, and possibly causes cancer to abort when it steals food from the body to divide, I surmise.

          • Thanks, Matthew. Actually, the book focuses on prevention and also offers suggestions for what to do if you have cancer. Usually, the two strategies coincide. Sometimes they don’t. If you have cancer, for example, most sea vegetables would not be a good choice. They contain lots of iodine–and currently studies show that people with cancer and low thyroid function have better outcomes than people with cancer and full thyroid function.

            Is anyone else out there interested in having a discussion specifically about plant-based diets and cancer?

          • Matthew Smith

            If your interested in cancer prevention, this is a great site! I have found that eating tomatoes and soy twice a week can restrict your risk of getting most cancers (with broccoli, watermelon, beets, garlic, and flax seed as side kicks). Also, six cups of coffee a day and a serving of beans would dramatically reduce your risk of colon cancer, a surprising killer (with black raspberries, sunflower seeds. strawberries, and billberries all being sidekicks), Thank you, Matthew.

          • Matthew Smith

            Dr. Andrew Saul recommends the Gerson therapy and vegetable juicing for cancer.

  • laguna

    Dr. Greger knows alot about nutrition–
    Economics and history, well not so much…

  • Paul Spring

    My mother at 92, has kidney failure resulting from diabetes and has been on dialysis for a year. Doesn’t seem to be any way to follow a plant-based diet in terms of potassium and phosphorus restriction and an increased need for protein. The WFPB medical advocates are silent on this. Dietitians are vehemently against. Stuck on a diet of cream of rice, chicken and blueberries :-(

    • Matthew Smith

      For Diabetes, Dr. Greger’s site has recommended hibiscus tea, cinnamon, flax seed meal, amla, and beans, Hibiscus tea regulates blood sugar, and cinnamon is effective at one teaspoon full a day although it has some toxicity, flax seed meal lowers blood sugar, as does Amla, which was found as effective as the leading drug, beans lower blood spikes. The blueberries should already be helpful so don’t stop those. Some people have noted that treatments for dementia like Zypreza or Haldol raise blood sugar. I hope your mother won’t slip through the cracks, it sounds like she is missed and needed!!

      • Paul Spring

        Thanks for the guidance. Unfortunately, once one is on dialysis, most of the veggies that prevent kidney failure are now severely restricted. Machines can’t get rid of potassium from the blood so beans and peas, for instance, are not allowed.

        • Arjan den Hollander.

          Your mothers life is ending, maybe you should start accepting that and have a discussion with her about what is going to happen. Maybe you can both still take away some nice moments from a few of those talks, good memories you can carry with you for the rest of your own life. Best of luck.

          • Paul Spring

            Yes. We all do. The hope is for her to be as healthy as possible while alive. The research shows those on a plant-based diet while on dialysis fair better than those who eat inflammatory animal products. As usual, the renal dietitians seem clueless.

  • MSR

    In 1959, after I had been diagnosed with Type I diabetes, my parents and I drove from Maryland to Duke to meet with Dr. Kempner and learn about the Rice Diet. I remember him telling us I had to eat salt free bread, but as a consolation, I could eat an extra apple per day! I have no memory of him, just the fact that I had to eat tasteless bread, though I think that didn’t last long. My doctor at home, Dr. Sugar (yes, that was his real name) must have said I could have my salty bread back.

    • Thea

      MSR: I’m curious. Did you feel that Dr. Kempner’s diet helped you?

      re: Dr. Sugar. Too funny!

      • MSR

        I was only nine and am now 65 so I really can’t remember. I don’t think I actually stuck to it very long, and rather just ate what we normally ate, minus anything with sugar in it, which wasn’t a very big part of the food in my house to begin with. We ate fruits, vegetables, grains, bread, cheese, nuts, minimal meat, milk, lots of salads – actually pretty good for back then. My mother never fried anything and we ate very little in the way of processed foods so I didn’t have to change much of what I was used to other than cut out the sugary things. As time has gone by I have changed to an even healthier diet – no milk, very little cheese, even less meat (only chicken or fish occasionally), very little bread, beans, lots of fruits and vegetables. Having diabetes so young made me aware of the effects of food on health and has influenced the way I have eaten almost all my life. Yes, Dr. Sugar if funny. I have an even better one. I had Legionnaire’s disease in 1978 and nearly died. My doctor then was Jeff Life! True story.

        • Thea

          MSR: Thanks for your reply. Wow, you sure have had the jackpot on fun Dr. names.

          • Had a lecturer in haematology once whose name was ‘Dr Blood’!

          • Thea

            Wow! That’s even kind of creepy. ;-)

  • Really

    “The Kempner diet[2] was tasteless, unappetizing, monotonous, and insipid. Very few patients were able to tolerate it for significant periods. It consisted of boiled or steamed rice in plain water with no salt, and of fruit (except nuts, dates, avocados, and dried or canned fruit). Water and fluids were restricted. Even among the very few who could tolerate this diet, the reductions in blood pressure were of doubtful significance and probably did not exceed the random spontaneous variations in blood pressure.[3] The only other alternative to the Kempner diet was a bilateral lumbar sympathectomy, a major procedure during that period, and one that was limited to only the relatively young and fit.”

    • elsie blanche

      I wonder why the kempner diet excluded dates?

  • Viorica Ababii

    I think I should get a whip for my family.

    • Wade Patton

      “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.” It’s not easy watching loved ones and friends poison themselves. I know. Lead by example and spread the good sources of information is about all one can actually (legally) do. Namaste

  • Megan

    Amazing. My grandfather died of long-term heart disease. If only he knew of this miraculous way of healing his health. Many blessings to you!

  • eldueno

    A plant-based diet isn’t enough for health and longevity. After all, a diet of potato chips and beer, while plant-based would be very unhealthy.

    • Wade Patton

      You are correct. Whole-food, plant-based is what is advocated here (WFPB). It is advocated because of the fantastic results and that the science supports it. Please read around and look at a few more videos. It’ll come clear to you. Bests.

  • Wade Patton

    Changing to WFPB is SOOOOOO much easier than quitting nicotine. Quitting nicotine drives you crazy with frustration and craving and anger and moodiness for weeks or more and then months later, you DREAM of getting your nicotine (I did this twice). Contrast when I stopped eating animal foods on a daily basis*, which only took 48 hours before i began to feel better. And no cravings. No dreams. *I still may have game or fish (both procured and processed by me), but I find myself wanting to “cheat” to be less and less frequently. Not missing it or the exposure or the bad direct effects. I eat 4 times per day, never hungry-never count, and am still losing fat.

  • Andrew

    So what are the rules about whipping a President?

  • patrick

    My wife and I have been plant based for 3 years and we feel better, but as is more comman than not, still overweight due to poor “fat vegan” choices. I have considered various fasting methods including water fasting but have settled on doing a brown rice fast. Would only do it 3 weeks to give our taste buds a chance to adjust to a whole foods plant based diet. Do you see any issues doing something like this as a jumpstart for the new year?

  • Jonathan Grimes

    i noticed the Dash diet says only brown rice. Why did Dr. Kempner only want white rice used?

  • Reemdogg69

    I have Stage 4 CKD with 18 percent of kidney function, what do you recommend I do to reverse or improve my condition

  • Kari Zamora

    testing disqus with links to youtube

  • Kari Zamora
  • Charla

    Where can I find the actual diet?

  • Tam Brock

    I am in my mid 40s. Before I was born my mother suffered a serious kidney issue and they removed one and put her on a vegetarian diet. My mother then became a vegan and I and my sister were raised vegan. What always surprises me is that my mother was put on this diet by her doctors in 1971 to save her life. Her thought then was, why stop? why go back to eating a way that isn’t doctor recommended. The more I read and learn about diet, which has been ongoing my entire life it always seems to come back to this – why wait until you have cancer or a serious illness to eat this way? and second why is it that perfectly nice people suddenly turn into horrible bullies when it comes to discrimination of diet? To be honest there are far more (fart jokes alone) reasons to tease a meat/cheese/processed food eater than there is to tease some one who eats fruit and vegetables. I find the disparaging of diet unfortunate. I don’t wear an ‘I am vegan’ T-shirt. But, as we know it comes up every time I am invited over to someones home for dinner etc…

    As cute as the jokes are about “I love me some bacon” the WHO has let everyone know, eating cured meat is no laughing matter. Again, if we are paying attention, we are being told over and over by research, clinical trials, tests that are retested that there is a healthier diet. Anecdotal fallacies aside (John Doe and hes perfect cholesterol and a life time of eating steak), eating a plant based diet will keep you out of the hospital more times than not. I don’t know about everyone else but I hate being in pain and if some one says hibiscus tea is good for me and I like the taste of it, why wouldn’t I choose it first?

    • Thea

      Tam Brock: Your mom sounds like one smart lady!

  • loni

    is there any specific forms or rice or will any rice work?

  • Mayouri

    did his patients take B12?