Doctor's Note

More on meat and mortality:
Never Too Late to Start Eating Healthier
Harvard’s Meat and Mortality Studies

And check out my other videos on meat

Also see my associated blog posts: Harvard’s Meat and Mortality Studies and Eating To Extend Our Lifespan.

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on meat. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Cameron Wells

    You’ve discussed the health effects of meat, and advocate a reduction or elimination of meat from people’s diets (with proper B12 supplementation). You’ve also posted a fair amount of videos on the industrial contaminants present in meat, and how those can contribute to cancer rates, mortality rates, etc.
    My question is, have there been any studies which focus specifically on the health effects of naturally farmed beef, pigs, chickens, etc (from cows which are free range, grass fed, not constantly given antibiotics, etc), and do those studies reinforce data procured from studies regarding the healthfulness of industrially produced meats?

    • Toxins

      Hello Cameron!

      Compositionally, organic meat and conventional meat is basically the same. Regardless of whether there are antibiotics or not, they are typically still contaminated, such as even organic chicken containing arsenic But lets assume that these products were not contaminated at all, lets say they were as clean as a whistle, with no heavy metals or anything. Still, these foods are sub par. The incredible healing power of plant foods over animal foods is overwhelming. Animal based foods are nutritionally poor meals, providing little nutrients to your body. Antioxidant wise, they fail the test as well Looking at meat and dairy, they still contain trans fats which the recommended daily allowance is at 0 Dairy blocks the phytonutrients of plant foods, Looking at chicken, its fat to protein ratio is abominable Fish protein itself shortens lifespan by 6 years by cutting down our telomeres and overall, what do animal products have in common? They promote cancer due to raised IGF-1 levels, promote heart disease, autoimmune disease, dementia, etc. What can stop the progression and in most cases reverse these diseases? Plants, not meat. It seems clear based on all of the evidence that plant food, all around, is much healthier than meat, organic or not.

      • beccadoggie10

        Hello “Toxins,”

        None of your links have cited that organically grown and fed chickens contain arsenic. Furthermore, when I ate meat prior to 2012, I only ate organic and my fingers, which are chemically sensitive to both VOC’s and to arsenic still had lots of circulation when organic poultry was eaten, but not when so called “natural” poultry was eaten.

        The USDA standards do not allow arsenic in organic-chicken feed.
        Learn more:

        I don’t know where you get your information, but none of the urls you posted said that organic chickens are fed arsenic laced feed.

      • fineartmarcella

        VERY WELL said toxins, and you are just showing the tip of the evidence based iceberg!
        But, It will always be that the fleshlovers come to the truth only by being drug by one foot kicking and screaming. They always have faux proofs that would magically ‘change’ the outcome of eating the poisons in meat, like ‘but the meat poison was organic’, its kind of like their logic runs even with ‘I’ve shot myself with a shotgun plenty of times and its never hurt me yet!’

  • lworley1

    The meat intake and mortality study is interesting – apparently, women actually get healthier as their red meat consumption increases! Male mortality increased 107% from the 1st quintile to the 5th, but women’s mortality decreased 29% from the 1st to the 5th quintile of red meat consumption! I am definitely checking into a sex change if this study is accurate!

  • wilscot

    Where do you get the idea that women get healthier as their red meat consumption increases? Tables 2 and 3 in the paper show that all cause mortality increases for men from 1.00 to 1.31 in the 5th quintile of red meat consumption (T2), and for women it is 1.36 in the 5th quintile of consumption (T3).

    • lworley1

      I might possibly have misread the table – good thing I didn’t get that sex reassignment surgery after all!

  • max

    “When comparing the highest to the lowest quintile of white meat intake, there was an inverse association for total mortality, and cancer mortality, as well as all other deaths for both men (Table 2) and women (Table 3). In contrast, there was a small increase in risk for CVD mortality in men with higher intake of white meat. There was no association between white meat consumption and accidental death in men or women.”… I respect your videos but how could you neglect to mention any of this? That was taken right out of the study you cited and it states that high white meat intake resulted in less mortality. The small increase in CVD for white meat was 5% and that was only in the very highest quintile of consumption. Basically, you try to make meat out to be worse than it is, when a far better idea would be to put emphasis on reducing red and processed meat, and reducing refined carbohydrate intake. I agree that most likely being vegan is the healthiest option but i feel like you are cherry picking your data

  • Clint

    Dr Greger,

    I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life and have – four years ago become vegan. I was wondering if you’d reviewed any of the reference material in the link -> ?

    I have experienced, recently, three of my co-workers go through some form of CVD over the last few months. While their ages vary from 40-60 and their weight and size vary greatly also, one thing is consistent.. They are all omnivores. The worst case was a heart attack – this man was not overweight.

    I’m not out to convert everyone to a vegan diet – as you’re doing a great job with that ;) What I do want is to influence the people that are close to me, that I care about, so they can be spared the poor quality of life that follows the standard western diet.

    Do you have any tips for dealing with this issue?

    Kind Regards
    Clint Walker

    • Thea

      Clint: The problem with responding to the page you linked to is that the page is so long with so many points. It is hard to address all of those points in a single post here. I do have some thoughts for you, but in the end, it is more likely that the best you can do is model good behavior. It’s so hard when people you care about are self-destructive. But sometimes humans tend to listen to the people closest to them the least. So, your ability to influence directly is limited.

      Having said that, you could happen to leave around a couple copies of the book, “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” by Caldwell Esselstyn:
      I would recommend reading the book first yourself (half of the book is recipes, so there isn’t that much to read) so that you can talk about it with any co-workers who happen to bring it up.

      I don’t know how practical this would be, but another idea is to host a series of lunches, say one a week?, where you show the following videos: Forks Over Knives, and Dr. Greger’s three summary videos:
      And at the same time, serve them some really delicious plant food. That’s a good 1-2 punch: hit them with real science and also show that healthy food is really, really good.

      I noticed that the Authority Nutrition article started out with the tired argument that humans have been eating meat for X years! Following is an article that is a great response to that statement. The problem is that it is not a 30 second sound bite. It takes a bit of time to understand all the flaws in Authority Nutrition’s argument. So, I don’t know how effective it would be to share this information. But here you go to learn that humans are naturally plant eaters – based on our biology:

      That might get you started. I hope this helps. Good luck.

  • Although its quite true that meat does contain large amount of fat and now that Michael Greger posted a video regarding this issue. It’s natural to say chicken, cows, pigs all contain somewhat percentage of arsenic. Although i am not a vegetarian, recently i have started to avoid meat or even poultry foods.

    Still there are many arguments, that relying on high fiber diet makes weight loss easy rather that simply relying on muscle building purchases. So what is the future from today! No idea… But i believe it will take a lot of years for this change to happen.

    I did came up with some articles on that suggested relying on fruits and vegetables are much more beneficial to overall health – unless they are adulterated with harmful pesticides and food coloring.