Doctor's Note

This closes out a five-part video series on the cholesterol-lowering effects of nuts and seeds. See  How Fiber Lowers Cholesterol for an explanation of the "trash-picker analogy," then  How Phytosterols Lower Cholesterol and yesterday's video-of-the-day Optimal Phytosterol Dose. I elaborate on the "package deal" concept in Risk Associated With Iron SupplementsSafest Source of B12Plant Protein Preferable, and Food Is a Package Deal. A few videos (there are more than 50) on why fish are not the best choices for omega 3's include Nerves of MercuryThe Effect of Canned Tuna on Future Wages, andDioxins in the Food Supply. Don't nuts make you fat, though? That's the topic of tomorrow's video-of-the-day Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence. If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

For more context, check out my associated blog post, Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    This closes out a five-part video series on the cholesterol-lowering effects of nuts and seeds. See  How Fiber Lowers Cholesterol for an explanation of the “trash-picker analogy,” then  How Phytosterols Lower Cholesterol and yesterday’s video-of-the-day Optimal Phytosterol Dose. I elaborate on the “package deal” concept in Risk Associated With Iron Supplements, Safest Source of B12, Plant Protein Preferable, and Food Is a Package Deal. A few videos (there are more than 50) on why fish are not the best choices for omega 3′s include Nerves of Mercury, The Effect of Canned Tuna on Future Wages, and Dioxins in the Food Supply. Don’t nuts make you fat, though? That’s the topic of tomorrow’s video-of-the-day Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence. If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      What happened to Chia seeds?  Such a great source of Omega 3, low in Omega 6 (3:1) and a decent amount of Phytosterols 170/100g.
      http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2
      http://www.deepdyve.com/lp/taylor-francis/chemical-characterization-of-the-lipid-fraction-of-mexican-chia-seed-pwJ5Qxj6EC

      Did the author(s) have something against them?  Were they tormented by their Chia Pets as a child?

      Did their parents make them watch Bob Ross videos while they painted the seed mixture upon his molded bust and made to sit and watch his dew grow into an amazing (like his paintings) chia afro?

      I don’t know, but something is rotten in the state of Denmark!

      Cha, Cha, Cha, Chia Pet! 

      • SJ M.D.

        Why is it always Denmark !?

        ;-)

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          I don’t know.  You have to ask Shakespeare.
          ;-}

        • coacervate

          In Tahiti the natives cook the coconut crabs and break open the liver.  After gorging on coconuts the crabs livers are like pate, and they eat it on bread, still hot, on dip into luscious fruit compotes and oils of bane de que’il.  They drink the best french wine and savour the roasted meats and fresh shrimp with rich mayonaisse..They eat this and more and have wild natural sex and then they die…magnificently.

          heh.  NZ tv…its soooo good for you.

      • Paulc

        3000 calories is probably more than most of us need in one day, but if you ate it all in chia seeds, you’d only be getting about 1 gram of phytosterols. You’d have to gorge yourself each day on nothing but sesame seeds, just about the highest source of phytosterols to get the 2 grams needed to lower cholesterol. Tahini, anyone? How about a side of halva for dessert? Oh wait! You don’t need to eat foods with cholesterol in them in the first place!

        • HemoDynamic, M.D.

          Paulc, you are correct,
          As with all the comparisons for nuts and seeds in Dr G’s vid, they are all based on 100 grams and all would contribute a whopping amount of fat to the diet.

          Also one thing that has been mentioned before but not in this vid because of time constraints is inflammation.  All of the nuts and seeds are inflammatory with exception to Flax seed and the ‘Not Mentioned Chia Seeds’ ;-(

          So if I was going to try and lower my cholesterol and inflammatory load I would only recommend Flax and Chia seeds.  But I would never recommend the 100 grams per day which is like 2/3 of a cup and 500 calories and 0ver 300 of those caloris from fat.

          I say, just don’t eat animals, eat plants and supplement with nuts and seeds one to two ounces a day.

          • WholeFoodChomper

            HemoDynamic, M.D., the claim you make about all other nuts being inflammatory seems to be counter to the empirical information about nuts (especially walnuts) that Dr. Greger has discussed and posted:

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/black-versus-english-walnuts/

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/fighting-inflammation-in-a-nut-shell/

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eating-healthy-on-the-cheap/

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-do-nuts-prevent-sudden-cardiac-death/

            I get that nuts are high and in fat and need to be eaten in moderation, but Is there something that I missed?

          • Vegganrunner

            Wholefoodchomper I am glad you linked those videos because I received this in e-mail and began to search for evidence. Of course I should have gone to browse topics like you did! The last thing I need is inflammation!

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.

            WFC,
            It is well know in Biochemistry that higher ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids lend the body to making more Arachidonic acid (AA).  This is because the same enzymes that convert Omega 3 FA to Linolenic acid are used to convert Omega 6 FA to Linoleic acid (LA) and Arachidonic acid (AA).  Here is a nice summary from nice website: http://www.azchia.com/ala_conversion_epa_dpa_dha.htm
            “The issue is that the same enzymes that convert ALA, also convert LA into its long chain metabolite known as arachidonic acid (AA 20:4ω-6). Given this scenario it is understandable that diets high in omega6 fatty acids can influence, and in reality reduce, the conversion of short chain omega3 fatty acid into its long chain metabolites.
            The second factor is genetic variations in gene encoding for delta-5 desaturase and delta-6 desaturase enzymes. These variations have been reflected in changes in desaturase expression or activity, and have been found to influence long chain fatty acid levels in the blood. (Glaser, et al., 2010).
            A third influence which affects conversion can be classified as dietary/lifestyle factors. This is in addition to the omega3/omega6 dietary ratio discussed above. It has been shown that high intakes of saturated fats, trans-fat, alcohol and caffeine can have a detrimental affect on the role of delta-6 desaturase. (Horrobin, 1993) The result is impaired synthesis of long chain fatty acids.”

            I’m not saying that nuts are bad for you I AM saying that the higher the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio the more AA you will make, and the more AA you have in your body the more Inflammation you will tend to have. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/chicken-eggs-and-inflammation/

              However, remember that food is a package and there are many things in foods (nuts and seeds) that may influence inflammation besides just the Omega FA’s.

            Take a look at the website Nutrition Data Self below.  They show the inflammation factor related to foods and in the very first post of this video, from myself, I included the link for Flax.  But here are the pages for flax and walnuts:
            Flax  http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3163/2
            Walnuts: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3138/2

            If you look in the middle of the page you will see the Inflammation Factor listed.

            I hope this helped.
            ;-)

          • WholeFoodChomper

            Thanks for sharing your explanation, but honestly I think it left me more confused. You make some interesting points, but I’m not sure that they convince me that “all … nuts and seeds [except for flax and chia seeds] are inflammatory”. I’m not a biochemist by any means, but as a lay person trying her darn best to be critical reader of scientific information, the Azchia article you
            sited does not seem like a very credible source given its chia seed bias and the fact that most of the references in the bibliography are quite dated.  Additionally, based on the Nutrition Data Self link you shared (cool web-site by the way) some nuts, like walnuts, do seem “moderately inflammatory”. However, I looked up some additional nuts and it does not seem that your claim is supported: almonds are listed as moderately anti-inflammatory, hazelnuts and macadamias are listed as strongly anti-inflammatory, and pecans as moderately anti-inflammatory.  Based on the current empirical evidence about nuts’ anti-inflammatory abilities and the fact that food is indeed a packaged
            deal, I guess I’m still confused about your assertion that “all … nuts and seeds [except for flax and chia seeds] are inflammatory”.

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.

            I will repeat what I stated previously with bolded words for emphasis,
            “I’m not saying that nuts are bad for you I AM saying that the higher the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio the more AA you will make, and the more AA you have in your body the more Inflammation you will TEND to have. (I did not say you WILL have) http://nutritionfacts.org/vide

            However, remember that food is a package and THERE ARE MANY THINGS IN FOODS (nuts and seeds) that MAY INFLUENCE INFLAMMATION BESIDES just the Omega FA’s. Hence your finding that some nuts and seed may be anti-inflammatory overall.

            But I stand by my previous statement that foods with a higher Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio will tend to make more Arachidonic Acid. Some sources put Almonds at a 1800:1 ratio.  Add some alcohol and caffeine and you will set yourself up for some added Arachidonic Acid formation.  Which means added inflammation.

            Omega 3 FA are not converted to pro-inflammatory molecules. So the nuts with the lowest Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio (< 1) will have the highest anti-inflammatory properties. 

          • Kate Scott

             I don’t think it is as straightforward as that Hemodynamic, although I agree that that is the theory (that omega 6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory and omega-3′s are anti-inflammatory). For one thing, the clinical studies using nuts find them to be anti-inflammatory – not just walnuts, which have plenty of omega-3′s but also almonds and others which as you note have a very high omega-6:3 ratio. That might be due to other things in those nuts that offset the effect of the n-6 fatty acids,but it also might be because the idea that n-6 and n-6 are strictly pro and anti inflammatory, respectively, is not quite right  – or so the recent science would seem to suggest.Have a look at 
            Fritsche, K.L. Too much linoleic acid promotes inflammation – doesn’t
            it? Protaglandins,Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 2008; 79:
            173-175.

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.
          • WholeFoodChomper

            Thank you HemoDynamic, M.D. for taking the time to clarify and explain this topic some more. I really appreciate it.

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.

            I don’t know that I helped but I tried.  I am learning all the time as well.  That is one absolute with me is always trying to learn more.  Problem is I sometimes forget what I learned in the first place.  Only so much room left in that one brain cell of mine.
            ;-}

          • WholeFoodChomper

            I can totally relate to that. :)

          • BPCveg

            My own research on this topic suggests that to minimize inflammation we should try to get as close as possible to equalizing our overall omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (i.e. 1:1 ratio). Most people are consuming concentrated high omega-6 oils that throw them into a 10:1 ratio or higher. So the goal is to bring it down to at least the range of 2:1 to 4:1.

            Most nuts are predominately monounsaturated and therefore contribute little to raising our omega-6 levels. For example, although it is true that almonds have an extremely high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, consider that an ounce (28g) of almonds only contributes 3.4 grams of omega-6 fatty acids (i.e only 12% of the total mass of almonds is omega-6). You can easily balance off such low omega-6 contributions by consuming moderate quantities of flax or chia seeds, which have an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of around 1:3, which is very useful. The only common nuts that I know of that contribute a substantial mass of omega-6 fatty acids are walnuts, pinenuts and butternuts, although walnuts have a substantial quantity of omega-3 fatty acids so the overall ratio is not too bad (i.e.3:1).

            For those following a minimally processed whole foods plant based diet (i.e do not use concentrated oils), the main source of omega-6 fatty acids are from seeds. For those striving to keep omega fatty acids in good balance, I think it is a good idea to moderate consumption of seeds, as well as butternuts and pine nuts. People who eat huge quantities of soya products could also tip the balance away from and optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Notwithsanding these few rules, I think that one need not worry about normal nut consumption contributing to overall inflammation.

            Feel free to challenge anything I have said. This is obviously a complex topic and I don’t know all the answers, but this is my understanding so far.

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.

            Below is a pathway of Omega 6 FA and it shows you how it gets turned into AA. I’m trying to find an easy to understand webpage that will make it all a bit more clear, I hope.
            ;-}

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.

            The above image is useless, here is a larger version.
            I wish I could edit or remove pics if I need to with this program.

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.

            Here is a recent published study July 2012 that is a systematic review that shows something interesting.  Increased Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid) does cause increase in proinflammatory Prostaglandin E2 and Thromboxane B2 (a metabolite of Thromboxane A2 which is proinflammatory and the molecule that Aspirin blocks formation of to reduce inflammation) but it appears that in healthy people that it does not cause inflammation in the inflammatory markers that were evaluated.  I would love to see if the people felt an increase in inflammation and aches and pains.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22889633

          • Kate Scott

             I can’t figure out how to reply without the box getting too narrow, which is why I didn’t reply to your post above. Anyway, thanks for your replies. But I was puzzled because the first link you posted where you said “read the whole thing” seemed to support my suggestion that maybe omega-6 fatty acids (I mean the parent LA, not AA) aren’t as bad as we have thought.
            I have always though it important to keep the LA/ALA ratio low, but the more recent science, coupled with the apparent anti-inflammatory effects of nuts, is making me keep my mind open on this issue at present.

          • Kate Scott

             I just read the systematic review you posted the link for – interesting. So maybe LA is neutral as far as inflammation goes, and then nuts have other components in them that on balance mean they have an anti-inflammatory effect.

      • WholeFoodChomper

        Hilarious!

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      BTW, great series of vids on Nuts and Seeds!
      ;-}

      • veganrunner

        I love Chia seeds. I order them bulk on amazon and the kids love them too. They add them to coconut water or hibiscus tea and they expand over night and become little suspended surprises that are fun to chew! 

        • WholeFoodChomper

          I just tried these magical seeds in a chia seed “pudding” inspired by a suggestion on the package. Yum!  They are fun.  

          Who is the source of your chia seeds on Amazon.  These seeds are yummy, but kinda pricey (compared to flax seeds) where I get them.

          • veganrunner

            Company is Seeking Health and they are called Optimal Chia Seeds. 6 pound bag.

          • WholeFoodChomper

            Super, thanks!

      • SJ M.D.

        Agree!

    • SJ M.D.

      Margarine with plantsterols? Whats next? Beef with aspirin or clopidigrel? :-)

  • Elderberry

    Another reason to eat seeds and nuts in proper amounts. I noticed a number of comments to the previous video about weight gain from eating nuts. But I’m moderately active, eat well and probably larger portions of good food than I need (healthy vegan), including seeds and nuts (wheat germ, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts, pistachio nuts) at virtually every meal, and I stay slender. The great and unexpected side benefit of eating seeds and nuts regularly is that it totally eliminated my craving for chocolate and sweets. I was a true addict there, and would also put on a few extra pounds seasonally from eating too many sweets, but now— it’s not that I can take sweets or leave them, it’s that I don’t want them at all and feel great without them and do not gain weight. I have no explanation for this, but will continue to eat seeds and nuts. 

    • veganrunner

      I am your new best friend! I wholeheartedly agree with you. I too eat no sweets or anything processed (except rice tortillas, I am gluten intolerant). I eat nuts and seeds throughout the day and do not put any weight on. I think some of these commenters are still eating junk but are ok with it as long as it is not an animal product. 

    • SJ M.D.

      Same experience here – if I crave something sweet, I eat some nuts (or nutbutter) and it disappears.

    • MarionL

       You’re one of the lucky ones. I can’t control my weight when I eat very many nuts at all. I even have to watch the amount of peanut butter I eat. When I started eating nuts on a regular basis I saw a slow but steady increase of uncontrollable weigh gain, before I realized what was causing it- 10 lbs in just a little over a year. I didn’t think that nuts could be the cause because of what Dr. Greger had said about nuts in his videos, but apparently, that doesn’t apply to everyone. Once another nutritional expert advised me to stop eating nuts, the weight came off. Nuts just don’t work for everyone

  • 1morcker

    I love reading the comments here as much as I love watching the videos.  Thanks for all the valuable information everybody.  It’s really helpful – even the criticism.

  • AlexanderBerenyi

    Was the fish comment really necessary?…really?

    • WholeFoodChomper

      I see no problem with it at all.  Fish (like phytosterol supplemented margarine) is not a health food, which is a point that Dr. Greger has made many many times (
      http://nutritionfacts.org/?s=fish).  Having him underscore that here as a juxtaposition to a point that he has made many times before is simply a non-issue. In fact, I rather like it. Because it may even encourage folks to research fish a bit more.

      • AlexanderBerenyi

        Oh, right, because DHA & EPA are akin to a tub of artificial trans fat.

        Just like anything of animal origin is as good of a source of nutrients as a scoop of sewer sludge with some added vitamins/minerals, eh?

        It’s just a little over the top, is all I’m saying.

        • WholeFoodChomper

          I understand that you may have some stylistic issues with Dr.
          Greger’s approach of delivering the message. That’s fine. However, it seems that
          you’re misunderstanding the point(s) that Dr. Greger is making about food being
          a packaged deal. He didn’t say that “DHA & EPA are akin to a
          tub of artificial trans fat.” (In that particular analogy, you got the
          comparison wrong; it’s the fish, not DHA/EPA, that is akin to trans fats. More
          on this below.) He also didn’t say “anything of animal origin is
          as good of a source of nutrients as a scoop of sewer sludge with some added
          vitamins/minerals”.  These
          statements are examples of your own misinterpretation of what Dr. Greger has
          said and the point that he is making about food being a packaged deal.    

           

          Regarding the fish comment in this video, Dr. Greger isn’t discounting
          the positive effects of DHA/EPA. He is making a comparative statement in
          the form of an analogy to underscore his point about how ingesting one food for
          its good nutrients (e.g. fish or supplemented margarine) can be detrimental if
          that particular food also contains known toxins and damaging substances (e.g., mercury,
          dioxins, xenoestrogens, and PCBs in the case of fish and trans fats in the case
          of supplemented margarine). In fact, Dr. Greger has good things to say about
          DHA/EPA and how to go about getting them w/o all the pollutants (http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/omega-3-fatty-acids/). And, I know you know that he recommends a low dose yeast- or algae-derived DHA/EPA supplement (http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-greger%E2%80%99s-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/ ) b/c I’ve shared that with you in the past. Dr. Greger isn’t
          the first and only doctor to denounce seafood as a non-health food. Fish is
          dangerous to consume and that is why pregnant women and children are told to
          avoid it.  The rest of us should as well.

           

          Regarding the
          “sewer sludge” comment, in another thread I’ve already pointed out to
          you that you misinterpreted what Dr. Greger said (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/new-mineral-absorption-enhancers-found/#comment-603192806), but I’ll restate
          it here once again. What he said, while talking about the legal definition of
          “excellent/good source” is:  “… you can throw a
          multivitamin into a scoop of sewer sludge and call it a good source of half a
          dozen things.”  He said nothing about animal source foods
          being equivalent to sewer sludge. Instead, he showed how the
          legal definition of “excellent/good source” can be
          manipulated.  In fact, what he actually said about animal sourced
          foods (in this case, milk and beef) in that particular video was that they’re
          not a “good source” of nutrients b/c it isn’t possible to get certain
          nutrients w/o the harmful doses of hormones and saturated fats (not to mention
          a bunch of other industrial toxins found in animal fat). 

        • Toxins

          Your body converts omega 3 from plants (ALA) to DHA and EPA. Fish has already preformed DHA so your body does not need to convert it.
          ALA is not converted effectively to DHA under the condition that one is consuming too many omega 6 fatty acids. Since most whole plant foods contain good ratios of omega 6 : omega 3, this is of no concern unless one is eating a lot of nuts other than walnuts, flax seed and chia seed.

          The National Academy of Sciences does not recognize EPA and DHA as essential. This means there is enough evidence for them to conclude that we can make enough of it without eating it in its preformed state.

          In addition…
          Do vegetarians have to eat fish for optimal cardiovascular protection?1–3 Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89(suppl):1S–5S.

          Interest in the cardiovascular protective effects of n–3 (omega-3) fatty acids has continued to evolve during the past 35 y since the original research describing the low cardiovascular event rate in Greenland Inuit was published by Dyerberg et al. Numerous in vitro experiments have shown that n–3 fatty acids may confer this benefit by several mechanisms: they are antiinflammatory, antithrombotic, and antiarrhythmic. The n–3 fatty acids that have received the most attention are those that are derived from a fish source; namely the longer-chain n–3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n–3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n–3). More limited data are available on the cardiovascular effects of n–3 fatty acids derived from plants such as a-linolenic acid (ALA; 18:3n–3). Observational data suggest that diets rich in EPA, DHA, or ALA do reduce cardiovascular events, including myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death; however, randomized controlled trial data are somewhat less clear. Several recent meta-analyses have suggested that dietary supplementation with EPA and DHA does not provide additive cardiovascular protection beyond standard care, but the heterogeneity of included studies may reduce the validity of their conclusions. No data exist on the potential therapeutic benefit of EPA, DHA, or ALA supplementation on those individuals who already consume a vegetarian diet. Overall, there is insufficient evidence to recommend n–3 fatty acid supplementation for the purposes of cardiovascular protection; however, ongoing studies such as the Alpha Omega Trial may provide further information.     

          • AlexanderBerenyi

            My goodness gracious…

            The benefits of this stuff is much farther reaching than just cardiovascular. Research the connections between it and mental health as well.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-3_fatty_acid#Conversion_efficiency_of_ALA_to_EPA_and_DHA

            The short-chain n−3 fatty acids are converted to long-chain forms (EPA, DHA) with an efficiency below 5% in men, and at a greater percentage in women, which may be due to the
            importance for meeting the demands of the fetus and neonate for DHA.

            Conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in human adults.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16188209

            Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11844977

            So, take walnuts, for example. Let’s say for every 9g n-3 (ALA) you get 4g n-6. Factor in that the ALA here converts at <5% to longer n-3's, and it's lessened by the presence of n-6, you're looking at a pretty shoddy deal in terms of getting your tissue levels in order.

            Now take wild Alaskan salmon. For 2.5g EPA/DHA you get <0.25g n-6. That is a far, far better ratio.

            If you want to eat walnuts, fine. If salmon, fine. Just realize what the reality of the situation is.

          • Toxins

            Is mercury, dioxins and other contaminants healthy for the fetus? What about brain fog caused from fish consumption. You cannot justify fish in this way.
            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/fish-fog/
            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-effect-of-canned-tuna-on-future-wages/

            these are just several of many points against fish. Food is a package deal, if you get preformed DHA with a plethora of pollutants I dont see the justification.

    • veganrunner

      Alexander are you an upset pescatarian? What was wrong with the mercury comment from Dr. Greger? 

      • SJ M.D.

        Not to mention saturated fat, dioxin, PCB and Prozac…..

  • Tami Djernes

    Nuts and other plant fats are so tasty and satisfying, that it’s easy to eat too many.  I blend 4-5 walnuts/almonds, 1-2 TBSP flax seeds, and a tsp chia seeds into our morning green drinks, but that is the limit.  I couldn’t lose the last 10-15 pounds until I quit making cashew gravy and guacamole, and I quit snacking on nuts.  I like keeping my BMI at 19-20.  If I did not limit nuts and other high fat plant foods, my BMI would be on the higher end of normal. Any food we love can become addicting. For some of us it’s easier to eliminate tempting foods completely than to only eat tiny amounts. 

  • BPCveg

    Speaking of short-chain n-3 to long-chain n-3 conversion efficiency, what do you think of the following study:

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/92/5/1040.full.pdf+html

    Notice in Table 5 how fish eaters and vegans have vastly different intakes of EPA and DHA yet the plasma blood levels are relatively close.

  • Hathor42

    There are natural sources of phytosterols, other than nuts and seeds.  That chart in the last video was from a study that on its face said it was looking only at the stats for nuts and seeds.

    I haven’t discovered a definitive, exhaustive list.  Apparently, there are different types, some foods haven’t been tested, folks disagree (imagine that!), etc.  But here’s one.  http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/phytochemicals/sterols/  One ounce of almonds just edges out one-half cup of brussels sprouts.  I can’t afford to eat five ounces of almonds.  But five servings of b. sprouts…I probably do that once a week.  (Love those little suckers.)

    It is misleading to look at weight as opposed to per x calories or per serving.  And lots of plants have phytosterols.  It would be interesting to add up what any whole food vegan is getting, even without nuts and seeds.  But you’d run into the problem that not everything has been tested, like I said.  Looks like folks who write studies on this subject sometimes end up running their own tests to get the relevant figures.

    We shouldn’t get bogged down and forget real life experience.  Which diet has been shown to reverse heart disease?  Only one: low fat vegan (I’m talking around 10% fat here).  Any evidence that adding nuts to that diet helps in any respect?  I’d love to see that (nuts are yummy), but I haven’t.

    My husband and I were whole food vegans for nine years, not going too high in fat but allowing ourselves a bit of olive oil and some nuts on occasion.  Oops, he silently develops a 95% blockage of his left main artery and almost dies (no symptoms til the end, cholesterol a shade over 150, no smoking, plenty of exercise).  Now it’s low fat for us.  Three years later, he’s doing great, and we’re not inclined to mess with that. 

  • Chrissy

    Question about Omega-3 fatty acids – I’m hearing a lot about how vegans often have a dangerously high Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio and that for that reason, it’s good to bulk up on Omega-3 fatty acids through sources like flaxseed, walnuts, etc.
    I’m happy to do that and in fact have incorporated both into my diet. But since I don’t really consume any foods high in Omega-6 like cottonseed oil and other oils, or really much in the way of processed foods at all, is that Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio really even an issue?
    And in fact, I was even wondering whether it’s possible that I’m not getting enough of the “bad” Omega-6 fatty acids and have too LOW an Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio. And if so, what healthy, plant-based foods (not vegetable oils, etc.) should I consume to increase my Omega-6 intake?
    Most of the doctors that discuss Omega-3s seem to assume that we’re all getting too much Omega-6, but it seems like sticking to a whole-food, plant-based diet would ensure that that doesn’t happen. I honestly don’t get why vegans tend to have such high Omega-6:Omega-3 ration. Unless of course most vegans are junk-food vegans, which seems unlikely since I would think that most vegans are more health-conscious than the average American eater…

  • Kate McConaughy

    Thank you. How do the black and gray areas differ at the 6 second marks in the video, please? Fat vs. phytosterols? Pumkins seeds are very high in whatever is gray. Thank you.