Doctor's Note

Here's another video on nutrient absorption:
New Mineral Absorption Enhancers Found

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  • Lisa21012

    Does whey protein powder have the same affect as milk on phytonutrient absorbtion?
    Do we need to add protein powder to our diet to get enough protein on a vegan diet?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Good question about the whey powder. I don’t think that’s known. We’re still not exactly sure what it is about dairy that’s the culprit. I’ll definitely try to stay on top of the topic and let you know if anything new shows up.

      And I don’t recommend protein powder supplements for anyone. We should get our protein from whole foods, and the healthiest sources are legumes–beans, peas, lentils, and soy.

      • don’t forget dark greens! Collards have a surprisingly high amount of protein considering their low caloric weight!

      • don’t forget dark greens! Collards have a surprisingly high amount of protein considering their low caloric weight!

        Also, while I’m vegan and would never touch a glass of milk, my sister-in-law raised a good question: do we know if these studies are specific to pasteurized milk? Do we have any idea if raw milk suppresses antioxidants?

      • Jonathan Checo

        please find the info on whey asap.

    • A A

      You do not need to add protein powder to your diet.

  • VegeMarian

    I’m fearful for my morning smoothies. I’ve learned from other videos that soy milk blocks the absorption of the phytonutrients from tea. Dairy milk blocks absorption of phytonutrients from tea, chocolate and berries. So, logically, might soy block absorption of phytonutrients from berries, too? Anyone done the research?

  • cxfleetw

    Indeed, and how about almond milk? Is it the calcium?

  • hsroex

    Since I see a question about whey protein under this video I put my question here although it does not exactly relate to this video. Whey protein seems to have anti cancerous properties according to this link:

    What is your idea about whey protein?

    I understand:
    – that you cannot approve of a food just because you like a specific component of it – food is a package deal
    – that casein, not so good, makes up 80% of the milk proteins
    – that whey as a supplement, may not be so good, because of the whole idea that supplements can do more harm than good (vit. A,E. beta-carotene, folic acid etc.)
    – at this stage, there is no solid scientific evidence that whey can prevent of cure cancer

    Do you agree with the above? Do I miss something?

    Thank you very much for your time and this website!

    • Toxins

      Protein supplements such as whey will increase the insulin like growth factor hormone in your body which results in rapid aging and tumor growth promotion. IGF-1 is not something we want in high concentrations as adults

  • DrDons

    Hi hsroex, I agree with your conclusions. There are major problems with extrapolating the findings of animal research to humans. There is no need to take supplemental protein as it can be obtained by eating whole foods. See video on the best way to get your protein. The two best articles I’ve seen are by Dr. John McDougall see his articles in his newsletters in 12/2003 & 4/2007(available on his website). Even in endurance training where recommendations are to consume protein & carbs within one hour for recovery purposes this can be accomplished with whole foods. Going beyond the issues with cancer there is clear data from the Nurses Study that showed that animal protein intake accelerated the loss of kidney function. As you alluded to in your comment whey supplements often come “packaged” with other ingredients. At this point I see no good evidence to suggest that whey protein is “anti-cancerous”.

    • Ingrid

      Hey Dr. Don. wouldn’t Methylation problems (like MTHF Reductase Def /Methyl enzyme deficiency ) alter the body’s ability to gain protein from nuts and seeds etc.? How do these folks(like me) get proper protein?

  • jervmonty

    Not having read any of the literature, it does seem to me a bit of a stretch to say that because ellagic acid is not absorbed into the bloodstream if these berries are consumed with milk that they are not beneficial. Not absorbed is not the same as not beneficial. Of couse, if you are referring to cognitive or motor benefits, it seems that getting into the bloodstream is critical. But, if you consider the potential anti-cancer benefits, just for example, of phytonutrients WITHIN the GI tract, abosorption into the bloodstream may actually be counter productive. just something to consider.

  • Terra Preta

    I’m confused. I read the abstract of: Antioxidant status in humans after consumption of blackberry (Rubus fruticosus L.) juices with and without defatted milk.   and I don’t see where it is saying that milk w/blackberry juice blocks the antioxidant. I could only get the abstract as I don’t have access to the whole article. I’ll admit, I don’t really know what the article is saying is I’m unfamiliar with some of the compounds listed. Nevertheless, I still don’t see where it states that milk blocks antioxidants in any way.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I’m sorry the publisher hasn’t made the article available open access, but the study makes clear that “For ETs [ellagitannins, the phytonutrients thought primarily responsible for the high antioxidant content of blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries], a total inhibition of absorption after
      intake of blackberry juice prepared with defatted milk was
      observed.” I’m sorry if I didn’t make the point clearer in the video.

      • Terra Preta

        Thanks Dr. Gregor; I appreciate the explanation.  I’m vegetarian and I use whey to get my protein – I have 2 protein shakes every day and I load them up with vegetables and berries. Now I’m trying to find a new protein. I wish this group would investigate the interaction further and elucidate exactly what is going on. Since soy milk blocks the phytonutrients in tea maybe I can’t get my phytonutrients from my protein shakes. I do have salads everyday but I can put in a lot of things I wouldn’t eat by themselves, in my shakes.

  • Leo3112

    I do frozen blueberries, fresh strawberries and a banana or 2 in a blender with yogurt and raw milk. Are the antioxidants being absorbed or is the raw milk and/or the yogurt curtailing the absorption? Still confused about raw milk and yogurt was not mentioned prior.

  • Kate Stedman

    Dear Doctor – Can you please enlighten us on whether drinking lactose free milk is a safer healthier way to use a small amount of milk in ones diet?

    • Toxins

      Dairy is not considered a health promoting food. Here is some information on dairy. I Highly recommend looking through the links. If you are in need of a milk substitute, soy milk or almond milk would be a better, and healthier alternatives.

  • Anony

    They used skim milk in the tests. How about whole milk?

  • Gina Grano Moyer

    What about kefir made from milk?

  • Linda

    Dr Greger, what do you think of this study that shows Ellagic Acid & EGCG inhibit each other:

  • kreed

    We have been meat and dairy for over a year and feel great. My own cholesterol went from 334 to 196 in less than a year!​

    My brother and his wife have become interested and started to make changes with their diet. They have a 3 year old with leukemia and are wanting to give him the best chances for a full and fast recovery and that is why many of the vegan ideas seem so ‘right’ for them. They are excited about how they feel and how their child feels with the few changes they have made. They are tired of the french fries, hamburgs and milk that the hospitals serve, when they brought up taking dairy out of their sons diet the doctor was not happy. He told them there is a lot of good stuff in milk and made a real point of saying he needs all the calcium he needs because of the medications he is on.

    Does anyone have any thoughts, ideas or experience with this? They really feel that a change in diet would help their son but their doctor is telling them it would be a bad idea.


    • The physicians should be able to order a plant based diet at their hospital. It might not be as good as what you can prepare at home but in my experience it is alot better then standard hospital fare. When I was in the hospital several years ago my plant based breakfast came up with a carton of dairy milk. I wrung the nurses who came in and gave me soymilk instead. They said the dietary dept often made that mistake. You can point your physicians toward any of the 90 videos on dairy at or if s/he prefers reading you can suggest “Whitewash” for an indepth exploration of the harms associated with dairy products. Congrats on your journey. I hope your 3 yo does well.

  • J9

    What about other dairy. Does cheese block nutrients as well? All cheeses?

    • Thea

      J9: Cheese is just concentrated dairy. There’s no reason to believe that cheese would block nutrients any less. If anything, I would expect cheese to block nutrients more.

  • mustafa

    How about ingredients in almost every whey powder?just to name a few:Silica, Sucralose, Acesulfame K, Artificial Flavors,Di-Sodium Phosphate, Silicon Dioxide…That must be good wright?

  • Catherine Williams

    Does casein also inhibit the absorption of phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables such as indoles and specifically DIM? Do the nutrients get absorbed more slowly, or not all?

  • gail

    If I eat berries, how much time should I wait before having a dairy product? Is one hour enough? I really enjoy my coffee with milk each day but will stagger them if that works.

    • James

      Try Soy/Almond/Rice milk. Way better and healthier.

    • Kevin

      After reading a lot of inquiring posts here it seems like people just recommend the alternative without answering the question. Milk protein primarily has casein in it which expands when you eat it and slows down your digestion. I’d say that it might be a bit risky because of that. Based off of the video, the study only measured the bloodstream for a few hours. So who knows, maybe it does get into the bloodstream eventually. I don’t think that’s enough to risk it though.

  • Fit London Vegan

    Hi, where can I find the 2007 study on chocolate… milk blocking phytonutrient absorption?

    • Thea

      Fit London Vegan: Just to the right of each video is a button for ‘sources cited’. While it is not obvious just looking at it, the list of sources cited are actually links to the original articles when such a link is available.

  • Ben

    I have whey protein isolate after weight lifting (I am a bodybuilder). How long should I wait after I have the whey protein isolate shake before I have 1) blueberries, 2) blackberries, 3) Coco, and 4) green tea?

  • danieltb

    Does eating yogurt present the same dangers?

  • Rick

    This is the most depressing of all the videos on your site (for me)! I’ve been watching all the videos on tea, and congratulating myself on the black and green teas, chais, and herbal teas I drink. But now I see that milk blocks absorption of antioxidants—and plain black teas, made strong with milk added, and chai, also with milk, constitute the majority of the tea I drink.
    Not only that but, while I quite often eat frozen berries, that’s nearly always with yoghurt.

    I’m desperately looking for some comfort here: Is there any evidence that milk that has been processed in some way—e.g. yoghurt, evaporated milk, cheese?—may have less-pronounced effects? I guess I should just cut out dairy, but I like it so much that I would really like to be able to avoid doing that!

    • Thea

      Rick: I feel your pain. I once shared the same pain. But I can honestly say that there are great alternatives to dairy and if you can make yourself stop dairy all together, then when you try it again some point in the future, it is likely not to appeal any more. At least lots of people report that as their experience, though the amount of time that has to pass varies for different people.
      Alternatives to dairy are: nut, coconut or soy based milks, yogurts, ice cream, etc. Some substitutions will be easier than others. And I recommend trying various types and brands if you don’t like the first one. Also, different types might be best for different uses. For example, I find soy milk to be best for sauces, but almond milk to be best for pouring on my oatmeal. Full fat coconut is best for cream. I get ‘no added sugar’ either way. Also note that different brands taste differently, so shop around till you find the best one for your tastes.
      But wait, you say! You were not asking for tips on avoiding dairy. You were asking for some way to still consume dairy and call it healthy. I recommend that you spend some time going through the NutritionFacts topic page for dairy. Then I think you might decided that trying some alternatives is worth your effort. You will see that the properties that make dairy unhealthy is the very milk itself. There really is no saving it. Also note that the topic page only touches the main points. It does not go into the latest videos, for example showing evidence against animal protein in general, which of course is in milk.

  • Sniffur

    You need to hire a better narrator for your videos. The guy in this one is singularly UNqualified: very difficult to understand! {thumbs down x 10}