Doctor's Note

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Atkins Diet and Erectile DysfunctionEating To Extend Our Lifespan; and The Real Paleo Diet.

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  • paul3917

    So, a diet based on what we’d identify as overly processed, vegan junk food is healthier than a meat-based diet. At least the vegans got some phyto-nutrients from nuts and avocados- but the diet may have been high in sodium also. But is there a more optimal diet than that, or are we to conclude that carbs are bad for us? Do they negatively impact our blood sugar? What would happen if this vegan junk food diet went head-to-head with an all-natural low fat, high carb whole vegan food diet consisting of no processed food and only vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, and a few nuts and seeds, say just one serving a day? What is the real difference between animal and plant protein and fat? Plant protein is probably the same in amino acid composition when a variety of sources are eaten, but it adds phyto-nutrients. Fats on the other hand may have a lower degree of saturation than in animal products, and I think, more vitamin E to preserve them from rancidity. Could this account for the differences observed in this clinical trial?

    • Toxins

      Low carb vegan is not equivalent to junk food. Eating a salad is a low carbohydrate meal. don’t expect to stay full for long though if you eat this way!

      • Satiety depends on the size and ingredients of the salad.

        • Toxins

          Well, no. If you choose to eat a large salad as your main meal. It may fill you up, but you will get hungry rather quickly afterwards. Salads are very low carb low calorie meals and your body will burn through it quickly, Complex carbohydrates like brown rice, beans, potato, etc on the other hand, are more calorie dense and take a longer time to digest, keeping you satiated longer.

          • Actually, the salad I had in mind is serving bowl size and includes 1 cup of beans, not just lettuce and veggies.

        • Toxins

          Ah! Well the beans no longer make it low carb my good man. nonetheless, I am not advocating a low carb diet. Beans are healthy!

          • Geoffrey Levens

            Better late than never… If the beans are first sprouted then it might be low carb, depending on how far they are grown. Of course that would take us back to low calorie as well so would have to toss in a nice, ripe avocado, and/or maybe some nuts/seeds, perhaps blended w/ garilc, smoked chipolte powder, and sweet red peppers. MMmmmmmmm….

          • Scott

            I didn’t think of beans as carbs. Thanks for mentioning it. So I looked it up: they have ~ 3 times more carbs than protein.

      • Doug Spoonwood

         Low carb vegan isn’t necessarily equivalent to junk food, because not all “junk” foods are the same.  Potato chips and a veggie “meat” aren’t the same in quite a few respects.  However, low carb vegan, such as the Eco-Atkins diet referenced in the video, almost surely will have a fair amount of sodium in it.  Given that you don’t want too much sodium in your diet, it follows that low carb vegan probably ends up as a less healthy diet in general than a whole foods vegan diet.   This isn’t to say that a low carb vegan diet is as bad as a potato chip diet, or that one needs to avoid high sodium processed foods like veggie “meats” entirely to eat healthy.

    • Sharon Larsen, PhD

      remember it was compared to a regular diet, so a regular diet isn’t that healthy. thus even a diet that contained “junk” vegan food was better than a regular diet. but you are right to ask how it would stack up against a whole-foods, plant based diet. probably not as well. Interesting that we talk about faux meats as being “junk processed foods, but no one ever says that meat is a processed food. But why not? it certainly meets the definition, no fiber, low water, low nutrient and full of chemicals.

      • Cait

        “processed food” only means that it has been changed from its natural form. It has absolutely nothing to do with fiber, water, nutrients, or chemicals. Many highly processed foods are poor in these areas, but they do not define processed foods. A hamburger is more processed than a sirloin, but it’s not necessarily any worse for you, it’s just ground up. Whole wheat bread is a processed food, but it can be very good for you, and it’s certainly better than unprocessed beef.

    • Amitabha Metta LOVE

      Of course, eating whole plant food sources of carbs is the best idea.

  • Did the good doc change his YouTube settings again?

    For weeks I’ve has no problem accessing your videos on YouTube with my old Palm. Today we’re back to missing videos on your YT home page. Can’t find the video by searching the title either.

    Can someone please post the direct link please???

  • *had

  • ramonanewman1979

    when you say regular diet that means like the kind where you might have corn flakes and milk for breakfast and meat loaf and mashed potatoes for dinner or a regular vegan/vegetarian diet? also how would a low carb vegan diet compare to a regular vegan diet? aaaand what do you think about maybe making a blog (or special area)dedicated to your recipes? i really like your recipes i have found so far on here and would like to see more :) thanks!

  • Elfy

    So why are salads considered low carbohydrate? Romaine lettuce, for example, gets 67 percent of its calories from carbs — two-thirds of the calories are from carbs.

    • Toxins

      Although romaine lettuce is primarily carbohydrates in composition, an entire head has only 21 grams of carbohydrates (RDA 7%). the whole idea behind low carb meals is to restrict overall carbohydrate intake, so greens and vegetables are typically low carb.

      • Modus Operandi

        To me low-carb refers to the ratio of carb/protein/fat of a particular food, not including other foods with which it’s eaten.

        • Cait

          Low carb is low *total* carbs in the diet. If you ate nothing but lettuce, that may not be a low carb diet, but typically lettuce does not contribute many calories to a diet, so it can easily be part of a low carb diet.

  • Thea

    I too would love to know what line we would see on the graph if we looked at people who ate what this site has defined as a particularly healthy vegan diet, i.e., one primarily based on a wide variety of high antioxidant whole plant foods (not the faux meats and processed foods so much) with B12 and D supplementation. I don’t know if such data is available or not.

    The information in this video as-is is certainly important because it is one more brush stroke in the big picture. But unfortunately, people take information like this and start to say things like, “carbs are bad”. I don’t think we can make that claim just from the information in this video without having the comparison to people who eat whole plant foods, carbs and all.

    Just a thought.

  • jaxon

    This “observational study ” only indicates that a high protein low carb vegetarian diet appears to lead to lower all- cause mortality rates versus either a high protein low carb Atkins type diet or a regular diet. I assume that a regular diet is a standard American diet (SAD)

    It gives no indication of whether such a diet would be more healthful than a high carb low protein whole food vegetarian diet.That would be of more interest to me and shed a little more light on the proper balance between protein, fat and carbs in the diet.

    • Geofffey Levens

      I don’t think it said anything about “high protein”, more likely very moderate protein and high fat!

  • hcdr

    There are many other studies that provide some lower-level explanations to the correlation. For instance, high animal protein is known to increase cholesterol. High cholesterol is known to increase risk of heart disease. Anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients are known to have protective effects on human cells, retard or reverse growth of cancer cells, and prolong healthy life. Atkins is condemned by nutritionists everywhere, veg*n or meat eating, for many reasons, not the least being that it’s nutritionally deficient and high-cholesterol. That makes a vegan version of ‘high protein, low carb’ diet a very interesting edge case to consider how it differs, and what the implications are.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    I just cleared the former thread here. I’m all in favor of vigorous debate, but even if folks can’t keep things respectful, could we at least please keep things civil? i.e. no ad hominem attacks, profanity, etc. Thanks!

  • NevadaSmith

    I’d be willing to bet that the meat-based diet was not a healthy meat-based diet that recommended no bad vegetable oils, no trans fats, no nitites or nitrates, no meat with hormones or antibiotics, etc.

    Any healthy food in moderation is good whether animal-based or plant-based. This has been shown by various diets of primitive people throughout the world of years gone by.

    When my wife and I switched from a vegan diet to a low-carb high fat healthy diet which includes animal foods and saturated fat our lipids improved. Especially our triglycerides and HDL. I’ll be happy to post the numbers if you wish. If you continue to eat the polyunsaturated vegetable oils as part of your animal-based Atkins diet then you won’t be eating a healthy animal-based diet.

    • paul3917

      Personally, I have my doubts that there is such a thing as a healthy Animal-based diet, Nevada. However, short-term gains can be made in a person’s lipid profile simply by eating fewer calories while on an Atkins diet, and eating too many simple carbohydrates on a plant-based diet can play havoc with your lipid profile. The real question isn’t what the short-term gain is in terms of lipids or weight loss,instead, I think we’d agree that it should center on the mortality and morbidity of its adherents. And, from the information given in this segment, it looks like these are negatively impacted by an animal-based diet. Some indigenous peoples do in fact, do well on diets that include meat, however often it includes small portions or omega-3 rich fish as the main meat source, giving them a measure of protection. Even so, their life expectancy isn’t particularly impressive and their rate of infectious diseases is quite high. Other groups of indigenous peoples, for example, ones the paleo advocates like to use as examples such as the Inuit or the Masai, have spectacularly short lives. Their lower lipid numbers seem to be due to omege-3’s in the case of the Inuit (also resulting in a high rate of hemorrhaging), and due to a diet high in vegetable saponins for the Masai who on their native diet, have the shortest life expectancy in the world.

    • Doug Spoonwood

      “Any healthy food in moderation is good whether animal-based or
      plant-based. This has been shown by various diets of primitive people
      throughout the world of years gone by.”

      No.  Since, so many of those “primitive people” have lived in isolated environments from “civilized” humans for so long, they likely have evolved differently (genetic drift).  Thus what works for them won’t necessarily work for us.

    • Gary Loewenthal

      The meat-based diet may not have been ideal, but the same could be said for the plant-based diets.

      The healthiest, longest-lived native peoples, such as the Hunzas and Okinawan elders, seem to eat a diet in which most of their calories come from plants.

    • Gremmin

      Agreed. All whole and natural foods are OK. High carb fruit and veggies are OK. High carb foods that are a concentration of sugars or starches separated from whole food raise blood sugar far too high. The body reacts by producing cholesterol. The kind that clogs the arteries. Remove the high carb, reduce the cholesterol. Fat is irrelevant. Low fat makes your body feel starved and store fat, and you are never satisfied. Processed foods that are touted as low-fat are almost always high sugar. It will not reduce your cholesterol. Has a low fat diet worked in the 30 years doctors have told us to remove it from our diets? We are fatter than ever, more heart disease and Diabetes than ever. Low carb works. I’ve done it. It works just as Atkins says. I didn’t buy a single Atkins branded product. Just eliminated (until weight and cholesterol was normal) simple sugars and high carb starches like white bread and pasta. I added back, as the diet dictates, whole grains in moderation and even potato chips, which is a whole food, when normal weight/cholesterol is attained. Not trans fat chips of course. How can a diet of natural food as nature provides be unsafe? You only need to cut the foods that make large food companies money. There’s where you get resistance and studies funded by the companies that “disprove” the Atkins or other low-carb diet results.

      I’m not an expert, but I have lived it. And then did some research to find out why it worked. Doctors are taught what is the accepted treatment for conditions at the time that they learn. Sometimes the science is wrong. History has proved that. Why can’t it be changed in this case? Is it political pressure on government or medical organizations by these VERY large companies who stand to lose profits by eliminating their products from our diets? I think it is so. If it didn’t work exactly as Atkins said it would, I wouldn’t be so sceptical of our medical leaders. They are just people who were told what’s what. And as they should, they adhere to what they were taught. What if it was wrong? 

      If this post disappears, I’ll assume that a food company is behind its disappearance. Follow the money. It leads to truth.

      • wideEyedPupil

        More of these same old unscientific arguments that get repeated ad-nausium by people justifying there preference for meat based diets (pasture feed free range no hormone meat of course it’s sooo much healthier for you and the planet, not)

        “Has a low fat diet worked in the 30 years doctors have told us to remove it from our diets? We are fatter than ever, more heart disease and Diabetes than ever”

        You are assuming that the low-fat diet advocated is actually followed by the majority of western populations: newsflash Gremmin, it never has been. Most people are eating increasing levels of processed and denatured carbs, fats and animal based proteins than ever before in history in English speaking (as first language) nations. But you seem to know better than the largest epidemiological studies ever conducted. Losing weight via ketosis is not the same thing as living longer from a healthy diet, just ask Atkins — oh no you can’t he died of HD, too bad.

        • MARGE

          Atkins did NOT die of heart disease. He died from a fall on ice when he hit his head. I’ve seen a diabetics blood sugar that was so high it couldn’t be measured, drop to 120 in 2 weeks eating a very low carb diet with healthy meats (pastured /organic) and low carb vegetables. No medications. If you are diabetic eat a baked potato, rice, popcorn, or bread. (Wheat bread has a higher glycemic index than sugar.) Take your blood sugar before and 2 hours later. I rest my case. For every 1 gram of carb, blood sugar rises 5 points for diabetics. Ketogenic diets are now being used to starve cancerous tumors since the body is not being fed sugar from the carbs. The tumors are shrinking

          • Alastair Leith

            No he did die of heart disease and that was the original cause of death the coroner pronounced for him. His wife flipped out knowing what it would do for his reputation (and her income) and nagged them into saying he slipped and bumped his head. It didn’t change the fact that the coroner found his heart and nearby arteries to be riddled with HD.

          • Alastair Leith

            Animal proteins are a leading cause of cancer.

          • Alastair Leith

            It’s not just glycemic index that you need to consider, its glycemic load. Fruits are mostly water, so while having relatively high GI the load is moderate, they also contain soluble fibres that buffer the release of sugars into the bloos stream. Yes, people can lose weight under ketosis, that doesn’t make meat proteins and fats healthy for consumption above very small amounts. There are other ways to lose weight than ketosis. If you’re happy, then good for you. Don’t confuse that with science.

          • Vege-tater

            I WAS diabetic before I started a high complex carb, WFPB diet, and in less than 2 weeks was no longer diabetic. FAT, intramyocellular lipids, is the culprit in diabetes, NOT complex carbs! Keeping symptoms under control is quite different from fixing the problem!

  • I would like to add my voice to those asking for any results of studies comparing standard vegetarian diets to lower-carb vegetarian diet.

    I have been vegetarian (not vegan – although there were periods of that) since 1990, but have cut out most sources of simple carbohydrates (grains, sugars, potatoes and many fruits) since January & have lost the 30 lbs that have been creeping on as I’ve aged. Mostly, I have done it by increasing my vegetable, legume & nut intake (to replace the pasta or rice or potato), not by increasing fake meats. It seems sustainable to me at this point, and the increased vegetable intake can only be good, right? But with so much contradictory information out there (especially on those sites that espouse a lower-carb diet, but also insist that one must eat a lot of animal protein vs. those veg sites that assume that lower-carb=meat-eating), I would like to know if this is something I should continue with or should I re-introduce grains?

    Could a lower-sugar, lower-starch, whole-food vegetarian diet (sort of paleo-veg) be optimal for health? It seems to make sense to me.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Also, please check out my associated blog post for some context:!

  • In order for us to have an intelligent discussion about this, we would first have to establish that this unnamed study you reference in your description actually showed that people following actual low-carb diets lived significantly shorter lives.  You don’t even share what the study *is* in your description; we are expected to watch the video, I guess, to learn that information.  But the preview picture on your video is not promising.  “Self-reported adherence”?  So no one actually monitored everything this man was eating?  One man?  Really?  Nice science you got there.

    Two points for ya.  (1) How in the world did we survive either winter or the Ice Age with no agriculture–or plant foods available during cold months, actually?  (2) How is eating a plants-ONLY diet–which is what you’re REALLY after–“eco”-ANYTHING when we must clear land in order to grow most of our food crops?  Did they teach you nothing in earth science in school?  Did you not understand that clearcut land leads to greater erosion and severely reduces the number of trees that maximize the available moisture in a geographical area and improve the climate in a cooling rather than warming direction?

    Oh, you *didn’t* understand that?  My bad.  Maybe you’d better LEARN it.  Your kind of garbage pseudoscience is exactly why people keep up with the pro-agriculture apologetics in the face of all the damage agriculture has done over the course of civilized human history in the past 10,000 years.  (Iraq, for example, used to be cedar forest.  It is also the site of the West’s Fertile Crescent and corresponding agricultural revolution.  Whoops.)  But people will live in perpetual denial if they are addicted enough, I guess.  Your problem.  Too bad you’re making it my problem too–I have to share a planet with you.

    • Ghazeltine

      This is the oddest post. Why so hostel? Are you suggesting cows in feed lots are better for the planet?

      People have to eat and research suggests a plant based diet is best.

    • J.D. Mings

      You need to go get Weston Price’s book ‘Nutrition and Degenerative Diseases’,available ONLY from ; if you bother to read that you will stop asking stupid questions and making libelous statements.

      • ED

        ppnf…that’s what was formerly called or closely related to Weston A. Price Memorial Foundation right..just looked there, sure enough ppnf is not only ideologically strongly anti-veg but even promotes the work of anti-veg fanatics like Lierre Keith (who’s also apparently a mentally unstable bigot, search for ”
        Lierre Keith: A Case Study in Anti-Trans Hatred” on veganideal blog) promotes coffee enemas etc etc. J.D. Ming’s post is seems meant to reply to Ghazeitline but accidentally replies to seilhan’s rant (or else is a deliberate deception) but those who value science and logic over anti-veg anti-science can skip ppnf’s sad excuse of a website

      • GeoffreyLevens

        If you actually read Price’s book you will see that almost all of the peoples referenced, although they ate some meat, ate mostly plants.

    • EDpeak

      Putting aside your hostility let’s address your two points, even if (for lack of space) only partially. Your point (1) confuses two completely unrelated issues. The video is about health. Your point (1) is about what humans used to do. Is it not clear as daylight that the two are not the same? What people did to survive the Ice Age tells us nothing about what’s healthiest/healhtier. If you want to confuse the two you don’t even need Ice Ages, you can just say, “how do you think Americans survived in Alabama in the year 1925? On an all-vegan diet?? no!!” and you’d be factually correct, they did not eat an all vegan diet in 1925 in Alabama..what does this tell us about the subject of the video, namely what’s healthy to eat? Nothing. (2) Last I checked the Amazon was not being cut down to grow plant food for people. It’s cut down for “raising” cows and for growing plants to feed the cows.

      Let’s add(3) We can add that even if tomorrow all of that changed and they started cutting down the Amazon for growing direct to consumer vegan food, guess what? Most vegans, would be opposed to such corporate practices, and they are not necessary. Just as many if not most vegans are against the massive use of pesticides, but yes, many veggies in supermarket have pesticides..Do we rail against vegan (and even omnivore) eaters of these? Of course not. Given education, and if also given a choice, and if affordable, these vegans (and omnis) would 95%+ of them, would choose organic. It’s silly to blame them for pesticides existing in veggies, except for that small minotiry (probably more like 1% than 5%) who might insist “no I insist my veggies be grown iwth the most pesticides” Similarly you can grow veg food in other ways that are bad – that’s not veganism’s fault any more than “it’s your fault they pay low wages to the workers in the factory that makes veg food!” which is nonsense – great majority is against such abuse of workers too, and no, clear cutting is not even remotely a necessary part of growing plant based food for human consumption. (4)Calories per acre anyone? Grams of protein per acre? Gallons of water per pound? The list goes on and on, why a carnitarian advocacy is horrible for the environment while the lightest fotoprint as a goal points in the direction of plant-based diet very strongly.

      • EDpeak

        …Lightest *footprint*

      • wideEyedPupil

        Well said. Footprint of animal products is in order of 10-10^3 per calorie as plant foods on many metrics like GHG, water, embedded energy etc etc. Just for one stark example, the bumping and fart of livestock (enteric fermentation) and consequential land use changes (deforestation and savannah burning for pasture) in Australia accounts for over half the nations entire Green House Gas emissions.

    • RJSouth

      Twenty-six percent of the Planet’s ice-free land is used for livestock grazing and 33 percent of croplands are used for livestock feed production. According to the National Corn Growers Association, about eighty percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production. As I understand it if we took the land we have today and used it to grow “human food” we would have enough to feed the world without cutting down any rain forests at all.

      • wideEyedPupil

        We could return some areas to reforestation to offset our agricultural GHG emissions too and still feed the entire globe. But as long as people have a blood lust for meat this will remain but a hope for saving the climate this decade before it’s pretty much game over.

  • Neil Sullivan

    “Eat To Live” is essentially a low(er) carb, plant based diet style. Dr Bill Harris (from VSH) suggests (I agree with him). that no matter where you get your calories (Fat, protein or CHO) it only matters if it’s from healthy whole plant foods and not processed foods or animal products..

  • A Scheme for the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus with High Carbohydrate-Low Fat Diets — N Engl J Med 1936; 215:955-59.

  • The paleotrolls and others new to Dr. Greger’s extensive writings frequently ask him to shoot down or rebut the latest broscience or truthy cholesterol confusionist rehash of the low carb/paleolithic diet/atkins diet or the new fad perfect health diet charlatans. He’s already done it a thousand times before this installment so it’s really a ridiculous request — please read Dr. Greger’s free e-book ‘Atkin’s Exposed’ with over 1,100 references.

  • HappyApple

    What about a high (good) carb plant based diet.

  • lovestobevegan

    Keep your heart healthy and live a longer, healthier life by eating complex carbohydrates (whole grains, root vegetables, legumes, and potatoes). Incorporating quality carbohydrates into your diet is made easy with this simple recipe which includes a delicious carbohydrate-rich food; sweet potatoes. Serve this dish over your favorite whole grain.

    You Make My Heart Skip a Beet

    – 1 red onion, chopped
    – 1 clove garlic, minced
    – 4 cups beets, cubed
    – 4 cups sweet potatoes, cubed
    – ½ tsp nutmeg
    – ½ tsp thyme
    – 2 tbsp basil
    – 1 lb organic* spinach
    – Black pepper

    In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic with a splash of water until onion translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil beets in a small amount of water until mostly tender. Strain and add to skillet. Boil sweet potatoes in the same water until tender. Strain and add to skillet. Add seasonings to skillet and enough of the beet water to create a rich sauce. Fold in the spinach and continue to cook until spinach wilts. Serve spooned over
    whole grains (red rice, millet, barley etc.)

    *Spinach ranks 8th in the “dirty dozen: 12 foods to eat organic” so choose organic.

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan

  • Alfred Boals

    What about research on ozone and hydrogen peroxide?

  • John Weissman

    This nonsense–literally–creates more questions than answers.

  • Sarah V Lucas

    I’d like to see a comparison of high and low carb plant based diets. I still encounter even vegans who are afraid of carbohydrates not realising that whole, unrefined carbohydrates are actually important for health.

  • Teale Niles

    Do you know of any studies comparing the health benefits of a High-Fat, Low-carb, Moderate-protein vegan diet (eco-adkins, vegan keto) and a Low-Fat, High-carb vegan diet (McDougal, Rawtil4, 801010, ricetarian, etc)? Most studies looking at either type of vegan diet compared them to a meat based diet. Which I feel makes it hard to really say if either are good for weight loss, health, diabetes, whatever. It’s no surprise that a high-fat vegan diet would be better than a low-fat meat based diet for certain health conditions. The presence of meat is the biggest issue. I’m still not convinced that high-carb is the way to go. Would a diet closer to the ketogenic diet, relying heavily on chia, flax, hemp, tofu, green veggies, coconut, nuts, olives and olive oil with moderate amounts of fruit and legumes possibly be best? Would eating 60-70% of your calories from fat be harmful in anyway? Provided you keep your omega 3:6 ration between 1:1 and 1:4?

    Follow up questions: Could the benefits of a strict eco-adkins diet simply come from the unavoidable elimination of processed foods like chips, chocolate and baked goods? Perhaps macro-nutrient rations don’t matter at all?

    • Author James

      lol. you should try to eat only and solely lean cut meat with lots of coconut oil and olive oil. as side dish use only chia seeds, heaps of it. will make you strong like a Kenyan runner on EPO. do not read books like “the starch solution”, “forks over knives” or any of the DOZENS of books that all talk about the same diet – despite being from different authors. ain’t that funny … they all talk about the same diet. they don’t come up with each their own diet, no, they all talk about the same diet. can’t be right … ;-)

      • Amo

        high carb low fat vegan kill kill my hormonal system…. So yes they can’t allways be right. ;)
        I think moderation is the key (after adopting a vegan diet)

    • Russ Moore

      Yes. This. I have been wondering the same thing now for quite some time. I watched this video because I hoped it would address the idea of the diet you are describing, but instead it was mostly about higher protein and fat from soy-based meat replacements. I have been watching with great interest recent studies showing improved health metrics on a high fat low carb diet instead of a low fat high carb diet: lower fasting blood sugar, lower fasting insulin, better cholesterol profiles using the most advanced current metrics (i.e. lower triglycerides, higher HDL, and a transition from smaller dense particles of both LDL and HDL to larger particles, lower oxidized particles of LDL), lower HbA1C, better hormone and thyroid balance, and lower markers for inflammation. This would be accomplished as you wrote by eating a vegan diet very high in vegetables, high in nuts, avocados, flax, hemp, and other seeds, and possibly olives and olive oil (but those wouldn’t be necessary), and with low to moderate consumption of beans, lentils, grains, tubers, and fruits. I would love to see studies that compared three vegan diets: Low Fat-High Carb, High Fat-Low Carb, and Med Fat-Med Carb. All three could hold protein lower around 8%-12% to control for that variable. I am very convinced that a plant focused diet, with restricted calories is the healthiest way to eat, but I have been trying to wade through all of the different opinions and actual research regarding fat content in the context of of a very high plant intake, real food, vegan diet. I would love to see studies like that being done where the all of the diets being compared are high quality, high plant intake, vegan diets, that only alter the fat content and carb content from low, to medium, and to high.

      • Thea

        Russ Moore: Some of your criteria of health may not be very good criteria to use. For example, you wrote, “… higher HDL, and a transition from smaller dense particles of both LDL
        and HDL to larger particles, lower oxidized particles of LDL…”

        I could address “higher HDL” if you are interested, but thought I would quickly respond to the particle size idea first. Check out this video from NutritionFacts to see why I think this measure of health makes no sense:

  • High carb veganism #rawtill4 or 801010 style makes the vegan diet so easy and makes me feel so good with my glycogen always filled up. Long term vegans like freelee or durianrider have seen so many of the most committed folks fall off from not eating enough carb.

  • sf_jeff

    I am having trouble picking out a recommendation from this. So, does this mean that if you eat a lot of whole grains, legumes, and vegetables it is healthy to add some canola vegetable stir-fry to the mix?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      From what I gather, a low-carb eco-Atkins diet can be healthful for patients with hyperlipidemia. I’m not sure exactly how much canola they consumed, but surely the protein and fat were higher. The diet was only for a month. Other studies that focus on diets higher in carbohydrates interesting also have great results. A strict plant-based diet can help with diabetes, as Dr. Greger mentions in this video. Lastly, I like his conclusion, that perhaps what matters more is the ratio of plants vs animals in any diet.

  • Carol Christ

    Can anyone suggest a good source for low-carb, plant-based recipes? This fairly unimaginative cook would like to widen her repertoire.

    • Martine van Haperen

      No idea if you are still interested and if you will actually read this if you are, but I just started this blog where I post my lc vegan recipes

      • Carol Christ

        Thank you for reaching out, Martine. I am delighted to know of your blog, and I will be reading.

        • Martine van Haperen

          Great! Leave me a comment if you have any questions or remarks :)

  • Joy Schwabach

    Thanks for your great videos! But I wish they’d also compared the low-carb plant-based diet people with the high-carb, no processed-food plant-based diet. I’m conducting a six-week experiment on myself, since my LDL is still 173 though I’m on a no processed food, fruits and veggies only diet with lots of nuts and seeds.My first experiment is to go low fat -only 5 grams or so of fat per day but lots of fruit, beans, groats, and other intact whole grains. If my LDL cholesterol is still high, my next experiment will be a low-carb plant based diet. Love your work!

    • Amo

      what was the result?

      • Joy Schwabach

        My total cholesterol dropped from 243 to 207, and my LDL dropped from 173 to 149. I ate as much fruit as I wanted, had oatmeal most days and quinoa sometimes. Had beans and lots of greens. But only one to two tablespoons of nuts/seeds or nut butter most days. So it was basically the same diet I had before but with dramatically fewer nuts and seeds.

    • Joy Schwabach

      My cholesterol did come down when I reduced nut and seed consumption to about 2 tablespoons per day, most days. My new total cholesterol was 207 instead of 243. My LDL came down from 173 to 149. Before starting my plant-based journey, my total cholesterol was 297, even though I was vegetarian for two meals a day and was thin and rarely ate processed foods.

  • Now I would like to know how a plant-based low-carb diet compares to a whole food plant-based high=carb diet.

  • Martine van Haperen

    If people are interested in what they could eat on a low carb vegan diet, check out this new blog:

  • Nbenda

    What about the 2014 research results “Effect of a 6-month vegan low-carbohydrate (‘Eco-Atkins’) diet on cardiovascular risk factors and body weight in hyperlipidaemic adults: a randomised controlled trial” ? Would be interesting to have an update on that!


    Hi, I recently became a vegan after several years of testing different foods trying too find that perfect vegan diet that would work with my very picky likes and dislikes. I recently found many seitan based commercial foods that actually taste great, so being vegan is quite nice. I have also found lots of recipes for making plant based cheeses. I would really appreciate your opinion about these commercially available meat-like substitutes. Am I getting something that looks and tastes like meat or cheese, with the only positive that I am getting zero cholesterol, but I’m loosing out on all the other health benefits of a plant based diet. Or is it really healthy? Thanks

    • Thea

      li,papenburg2012: By eating faux meat and vegan cheese, you are definitely taking a step in the right direction. Vegan versions of these foods are: free of cholesterol, free of animal protein, have less saturated fat, and dramatically less contaminants. Often (though not always), the faux meats have fewer calories.

      The bad news is that these foods are often less than ideal. They are typically highly processed, including ingredients like isolated soy protein. Many versions of these foods contain extracted oils. There are some vegan cheeses that I would say are relatively healthy (for example, some of Miyoko’s commercial cheeses are oil-free), but even then, they are highly calorie dense. And they tend to be very expensive.

      There are some home-made faux meats that are relatively healthy. For example, you can make a home made “sausage” that has some beans in it along with the wheat gluten (which is not bad per say, but is a highly processed food/not a whole food). (For the sausage recipe, check out the Vegan On The Cheap book.) And I make some delicious vegan nut cheeses that are s made out of nothing but whole plant foods and a home made probiotic (called rejuvalac). Jeff Novick has a Burgers and Fries cooking DVD which demos extremely healthy recipes. But now we are talking about cooking some of your own food. If you don’t want to get into cooking your own food yet, then this idea may not appeal so much.

      Here’s my recommendation: Consider your commercial faux meats and vegan cheeses to be a great stepping stone. Use them as transition foods, with an eye towards moving toward more healthy (whole plant food) options in the future.

      If you haven’t tried the free on-line 21 Day Kickstart program, I would recommend it. It might help you refine your taste buds as well as expand your food world. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions.
      (Click the green “Register Now” button.)

      Does this help?

  • Sebastian Scott Engen

    What’s the latest doc? How’s the low carb vegan diet compared to just a vegan diet (pasta and everything)?

    • Thea

      Sebastian: I don’t speak for Dr. Greger, but I think the new Daily Dozen found in Dr. Greger’s new book, How Not To Die, is essentially an answer to your question. Dr. Greger looked at all the science and came up with his recommended eating plan, expressed as the Daily Dozen. And Dr. Greger’s recommendations include generous amounts of whole grains, beans, and veggies — ie, lots of carbs.

      What do you think? Are you looking for a different kind of answer?

  • Chris

    Wow, I have been gravitating towards this eating style for the last nine months! I have some very interesting quantitative results I’m going to share hoping to find others on a similar path. My name is Chris and I have religiously been following the low-carb (<75g/day), moderate protein (70-100 g/day), very high fat diet (+140 g/day) diet for several years now. I have been monitoring many bio-markers along the way: am/pm weight, am/pm blood pressure, lipids, and energy levels. I started the diet using lots of animal products (meat, dairy, & eggs) became frustrated because my bio-markers went from ok to horrible! Long story made short, I decided to drop 99% of the animal products and try to remain VLC. My bio-markers are definitely changing for the better: Cholesterol from 169 mg/dl down to 162; LDL from 101 mg/dl to 92 mg/dl (VLDL now at 16 mg/dl); HDL from 48 mg/dl up to 54 mg/dl, and triglycerides from 103 mg/dl to 80 mg/dl. Blood Pressure average from 138/ 82 down to a solid 118/ 77 with an average pulse of 56. Body weight is very steady the last 18 months at 162 pounds (male 5'9".) In a couple of weeks I'm going in for a new lipid panel and will be glad to share the results. Anyone out there with similar results? If so, please post and let's share and talk about it.

    • Thea

      Chris: Getting rid of most of the animal products is a big step in the right direction, but I wonder why you think that eating a low carb, high fat diet is a good idea. I’m aware of the information in the video above, but I was under the impression that the video is comparing a plant based Atkins style diet to a Standard American diet. And the plant based Atkins does better than Standard. But how does a plant based Atkins diet compare to a low fat whole plant food diet? (Maybe the study answers that and I missed it.)
      Are you familiar with the traditional Okinawans, some of the longest and healthiest lived people in the world? Their percentages were: 85% carbs, 6% fat, 9% protein. In grams that’s: 382g carbs, 12g fat, 39g protein. Based on that as a guideline, I would describe your diet as high protein, excessively high fat, and frighteningly low carbs. So, I am wondering: what attracts people to high fat, high carb diets? Why is that compelling to you? What theory makes you think it is a good idea?
      I can see that your cholesterol numbers are starting to get down to a healthy range. I hope you make it to the safe zone with the diet that makes you happy. I also hope your diet leads to long term health.

      • Chris

        Thea, it all started with a product called Bullet Proof Coffee, a high fat drink: This led me to a couple of high fat/ low carb researchers a long the same line of thinking Dr. Phinney & Dr. Volek: and finally Dr. Attia: Intrigued by the new science as well as the amazing athletic performance results I decided to give it a go. I simply wanted to discuss my results with others who were eating the same way. I am concerned because the LCHF diet flies in the face of modern nutrition. I’m going to know more when I pull my next Lipid Profile at the end of the month. If really want the gist of the LCHF diet go straight to Dr. Volek’s presentation.


        • Thea

          Chris: Thank you for the reply. Interesting to hear how these things get into people’s minds. I hope you find a group of people to connect with. My reply was in no way intended to come between you and anyone else who wants to dialog on the topic.
          FYI: Plant Positive is a site dedicated to debunking the cholesterol denialists. It is a set of videos and wonderfully indepth scholarly work, complete with references. All three of the people you mention are covered on the site. I found it pretty eye opening and compelling myself. If you are interested in checking it out, you might start here: Or just work through the series as shown in lists on the right side of the screen.
          I hope you find the support you are looking for.

  • bonjohnson

    I’m having trouble building a new vegetarian diet for myself, there’s so much information to wade through on this site. I understand that Whole Food Plant Based diets are the best, but i’m trying to nail down if i’m eating too much plant cholesterol (peanut butter, nuts, coconut, avocados, minimal dairy), etc.

    Is there a section, or did Dr. Greger write a book, with a nutrition guide? Or has he endorsed any books I could buy that would help me assemble a diet? Thanks =]

    • Thea

      bonjohnson: Oh, the BEST question of the day!!! If you want to get started ASAP, here is an old, but recently revised general recommendation/overview page:

      But Dr. Greger recently released a book called, How Not To Die. Available many places, including Amazon. All of part 2 of the book is all about practical suggestions for implementing Dr. Greger’s eating plan: the Daily Dozen. If you want the Daily Dozen this second, you can download a free phone app. (assuming you have a smart phone). There is a picture of the Daily Dozen in the Book Trailer page on this site that will give you a hint on what it is all about.

      PS: plants don’t have cholesterol. But some plants have lots of saturated fat and maybe too much fat overall depending on your needs. If you follow the Daily Dozen, you should get it all balanced out. But we could talk further about the plants you listed above if you want.

      Diary is extremely problematic when it comes to health. Here is the topic page for diary:

      Another option for a plan/pattern to follow is the PCRM Power Plate. The Power Plate is a *super* easy system, though with less guidance that Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. Let me know if you want a link to the Power Plate.

      How’s that to get you started?

      • Thea

        PPS: Dr. Greger does not take any money from his books, speaking engagements, this site, etc. All proceeds from the book go back into this website. This is one way that Dr. Greger avoids conflicts of interest.

      • mrlee

        Thank you for this information, Thea! And, thanks for reminding me, I’m worried I may be eating too much saturated fats (not cholesterol)! I was not aware his book had a diet system (Daily Dozen) in it, I’ll definitely check it out. I will also do a little research into the Power Plate. =]

        In terms of dairy, yes, I’ve seen the videos, but I’m not quite ready to walk away from cheese altogether. I’ve been working on substituting with Nutritional Yeast and homemade Cashew Cheese. Cashew cheese has surprised me with at how rich, creamy, and tasty it can be!

        [PS: had to post from another account, but I am also bonjohnson]

        • Thea

          mrlee: You are not alone in having trouble giving up cheese. Cheese was the very last animal product that I gave up (threw away?). Some people go cold turkey. While I agree with all the reasons for going cold turkey, I found myself best able to make the transition more slowly. It sounds like you might be going through a similar process to what I went through.

          I’m a huge fan of the nutritional yeast/cashew cheeses. I’m assuming you are familiar with Miyoko’s book, Artisan Vegan Cheeses. re: cashews and creamy. I can remember that same amazement! I often tell people that cashews are god’s gift to vegans. (humanity?)

          Best of luck to you.

  • Jose

    What about other diseases? Cancer?
    Any fact?

  • debbie duncan

    i think the focus of any diet should be quality ingredients regardless of low carb. high carb. low fat or high fat. Tailor your diet to suit your needs by choosing from a range of fruit and veggies (organic if possible) and if you eat animal products make sure they’re grass fed and keep them to a minimum. Any junk food, vegan or otherwise will probably be high in sodium, fillers, thickeners, bad fats, sugar and the rest. I won’t eat animals but i really don’t think a diet high in veggies that is supplemented with some meat meals is any less healthy. You can find studies to support just about any theory.