Doctor's Note

I was surprised to learn how powerfully diet can affect kidney function and structure. Some of the latest in my kidney series include:

Aren’t some plant foods acidic though? Check out the chart in my video How to Treat Kidney Stones with Diet.

Any way to test to see how acid-forming your diet is? Yes—and it’s fun! See Testing Your Diet with Pee & Purple Cabbage.

If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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

  • Tom Goff

    Fascinating … but I see that grain, rice and pasta are net acid-forming/ That is concerning for vegetarians. Is there a source for the graphic at 2.54? It is consistent with Figure 1 here
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3604792/

    • WFPBRunner

      This may not be a concern. Because we are talking about the “balance of acid-inducing foods.” And vegetarians are on the low side as seen in the video.

      • Tom Goff

        Thanks. My concern stems from the fact that starches like oats, wholemeal bread and brown rice are really the foundation of my diet. While I also eat a lot of fruit and green leafy vegetables, legumes etc, the bulk (50%+) of my diet by volume, weight and probably calories is grains (oats, wholewheat bread/pasta and brown rice).
        Perhaps I need to consider rebalancing towards potatoes and legumes and away from grains (as Thea suggested to me previously in another discussion.

        • Thea

          Tom Goff: I first learned about this general concept of acidic vs alkalizing diets from the book, Building Bone Vitality by Amy Lanou and Michael Castleman. To reinforce what WFPBrunner said, the goal is *not* to eat only alkalizing food, but to eat a diet that balances out as neutral or slightly alkalizing. On page 122-124, the authors do a great job of putting things into perspective. For example:
          .
          “Notice that … soy foods and grain products are acid-producers, but they’re much less …harming than fish, eggs, meats, and cheeses. It takes only about 1 cup fruits or vegetables to neutralize one serving of …bread, pasta, or rice. A plate of pasta (2 cups) topped with 1 to 2 cups vegetables is neutral or alkaline–and definitely alkaline if accompanied by a side salad or a piece of [fresh] fruit. But if the pasta is covered in cheese sauce, the dish becomes acid-forming…”
          .
          “Eat at least four typical servings of [fresh] fruits and vegetables for every …standard American sized serving of meat, including poultry.”
          .
          I included the last quote, not because I think you are eating any significant amounts of meat, but to help with putting the acid-ness of the plant based foods into perspective–and to help anyone else who might be reading this and who still eats meat, cheese or eggs.
          .
          I hope these quotes are helpful for you. While I don’t know your diet, I’m trying to make the point that you may not have to give up those wholesome whole grains that you so enjoy. And for anyone reading this: The diets recommended by Dr. Greger and the PCRM Power Plate would naturally be alkaline without having to worry about it.

          • Tom Goff

            Thanks, Thea. To be honest, I had always assumed that the acidic vs alkalising diet theories were unscientific nonsense. As Wikipedia comments “These claims are not supported by medical evidence and make incorrect assumptions about how alkaline diets function that are contrary to modern understanding of human physiology.”
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkaline_diet

            Given that I don’t eat highly acidic foods (meat, eggs etc) anyway, it has never been of any great relevance to me (I thought). That’s why Dr G’s new video on this was so interesting.

    • Joe Caner

      Tom, the calculated values of food “Potential renal acid load” (PRAL) is based upon a paper by Remer & Manz entitled, “Potential renal acid load of foods and its influence on urine pH.” which is referenced by the study you sited. They chemically analyzed the various mineral components per 100g of various foods and calculated acid or base forming potentials for each of them. I found a PDF reprint of the study at the following URL:
      http://www.direct-ms.org/pdf/NutritionGeneral/Remer%20and%20Manz%20Acid%20Base.pdf
      Check out TABLE 2 of the study. It contains calculated PRAL figures for 114 frequently consumed foods and beverages.

      Interestingly enough, all 20 vegetables analyzed were base producing with spinach being the outlier at (-14.0); 16 of the 20 fruits, nuts and fruit juices were base producing with raisins being the outlier (-21.0); and all 34 foods in the meat, fish, dairy and egg sections were acid forming with my former favorite, Parmesan cheese being the outlier at (34.3), nasty acid forming, kidney killing stuff.

      • poop patrol

        Thanks for the link, Joe. I took a look at those charts and something stood out to me re grains. The only two whole grains that were ‘cooked’, that is the whole grain bread (baked) and rice (boiled), had relatively low PRAL scores. As far as I’m aware, most people don’t eat their grains or grain products raw. Perhaps if scores were provided for oats, pasta, etc ‘cooked’, the results would be different. Also, the grains listed don’t include any gluten-free grain alternatives (buckwheat, millet, etc). Suspect these would have really high PRAL scores uncooked but relatively low scores cooked. I guess my point is cooking may have a significant effect on PRAL scores. Would be curious to see what the scores would be for raw vs cooked vegetables. I suspect like a lot of people, I eat most of my greens cooked, so the score for raw spinach for example, which I eat a lot of – cooked, doesn’t tell me much.

        • https://disqus.com/gebrand/ gebrand

          If you read the “Materials and Methods” section in the PRAL link that Joe provided us we see that the acid load for each food was determined by urinalysis. This I believe means that all of the foods were consumed in a way that one would normally consume them. So for the grains, I think I would have to assume that the grains were consumed as one would normally prepare them for consumption i.e., cooked. (I know I wouldn’t be able to eat 100 grams of uncooked pasta :-) yech!

      • george

        Joe: Thank you for this pretty extensive list. People don’t eat grains by themselves; grains are usually the base of a meal, so to solve the problem of acid-causing nature of grains what we need to do is to combine them with other strongly base-forming foods, like lemon/lime (lemon rice is yum), ginger, raisins, spinach, figs,……

      • https://disqus.com/gebrand/ gebrand

        Beans . .. ? What about the PRAL of beans?

        • Darryl

          I’ve included calculated PRAL (using Remer & Manz’s formula) in this spreadsheet of abbreviated USDA nutrition data (mostly limited to whole plant foods). The range of PRAL for legumes ranges from -5 to 0, mostly in the -1.0 to 0.0 range.

          The PRAL formula assumes that all protein has similarly high sulfur content (from methionine and cysteine), and hence the same acidic contribution. However, plant proteins have significantly lower Met & Cys content, so a PRAL measure taking this into account would have significantly lower or more negative values for higher protein plant foods.

          • jj

            Please explain to me the difference in the sulfur in protein and the sulfur in the organosulfur compound of Methylsulfonylmethane. Thanks.

          • Darryl

            The atoms of sulfur will be indistinguishable. While most MSM is excreted in urine unchanged, and doesn’t contribute much to urinary acidity, some sulfur from MSM does enter the amino acid pool as methionine and cysteine, to be incorporated in our own proteins. When this metabolized MSM sulfur is excreted as weak sulfuric acid, it will increase the renal acid load.

            At the typical therapeutic MSM doses of 2-6 g, it looks like the metabolized sulfur from MSM is comparable to that from dietary proteins. Perhaps a good reason to eat more vegetables high in potasium, magnesium, and calcium, the minerals responsible for alkaline scores in the PRAL measure.

          • jj

            Darryl & George- Thanks for your replies. The info helped.

          • John Axsom

            Is this why my urine smells funny when I take in a lot of MSM? Plus, the urine has a cloudy look to it. I stopped taking MSM for the most part based upon intuition. I am thinking that maybe a lot of the stuff we buy at health food stores ( supplements ) may not be good for us. And, I have a truck load of supplements in my pantry.

          • george

            The oxidation numbers of sulfur in methionine and in MSM are -2 and +2, respectively, meaning methionine is more prone to oxidation than MSM is. The reaction of methionine with reactive oxygen species (superoxide radical anion, H2O2, etc.) leads to a radical (strictly a radical cation), which can cause harm like all radicals. What this means is that the oxidative stress caused by methionine can be mitigated by consuming a lot of antioxidant-rich foods. I’ve seen reports saying that methionine, and cysteine, are oxidized to sulfuric acid but haven’t seen a mechanism to explain it.

          • Susan

            So does this mean that you can eat beans if you have CKD if you don’t eat meat? Beans are usually a no-no because of the phosphorus.

          • george

            Susan: First, everything is relative. Animal-based foods have a lot more phosphorus than plant-based ones, so beans are the better, or less bad, choice. Second, I don’t know how a vegan can get enough protein without eating beans, peas, and lentils. So finding the balance between phosphorus and protein is the challenge a CKD sufferer faces. I can’t remember if Dr. Greger mentions anything about this dilemma in the book.

          • Jim Felder

            George, adequate protein in a whole plant food diet is a non-issue.The real issue is that it would be difficult to eat sufficient volumes of food to meet caloric needs without including these more calorie dense foods. It is easily shown that all whole plant foods including non-starchy vegetables and especially leafy greens have a super abundance of protein in relation to their calorie content. That is all whole plant foods with the exception of a few fruits like apples supply a greater percentage of one’s daily protein requirement than it does percentage of calories (i.e. get 5% of your calories from a bunch of carrots and you will get more than 5% of your protein from those carrots). And this is for the tiny fraction of a percent of people whose protein requirements are actually at the RDI of 10%. The vast majority people really only need 5%-7% of calories from protein to be healthy and so would have an even easier time in meeting their protein needs.

            I used the USDA database to go even deeper and looked at the essential amino acids since plant sources of protein are supposedly “incomplete” in the EAAs, and the story is the same. All whole plant foods provide an equal or greater percentage of each EAA in comparison to percentage of total daily calories. Even wheat which is supposed to be so deficient on lysine provided just slightly less of the percentage of daily lysine than it does calories. Most other foods actually provide a much higher percentage of lysine than calories and so for those folks with truly high protein needs a 1/4 of spinach in an a day when they ate nothing else but wheat would fill that slight lysine “hole”.

            Bottom line is that without deliberate effort to eat selected very low protein plant foods, it is impossible to not get sufficient total protein from a whole food plant based diet that meets caloric needs. So if phosporus load is really an issue, just select low phosphorus plant foods and eat enough of them to get the necessary calories and you don’t need to worry at all about protein.

          • Jim Felder

            The USDA database breaks down the protein amount in a given food to the amounts of each of the amino acids. Perhaps some ambitious person that isn’t me could write a bit of code to recalculate the PRAL scores based on the acid forming potential of the individual amino acids.

          • D.R.

            Darryl- Any thoughts on why the big difference between Remer & Manz’s tabulated value for raisins of -21 versus your calculated -12?

          • Darryl

            My guess is that the Remer & Manz’s data for raisins had much higher potassium and/or magnesium content than the USDA entry I selected as representative of raisins. If you’re looking at that now two year old spreadsheet, you’ll find the formula I copy & pasted across all entries in a column for the calculation.

          • D.R.

            Thanks, come to think of it don’t some raisin producers add salts to aid the drying pocess…No wonder the results are so variable.

      • https://disqus.com/gebrand/ gebrand

        Just wanted to thank Joe for the PRAL link. Very useful. Going to print it and put it inside my kitchen cupboard door for an easy reference.

      • Tom Goff

        Many thanks Joe – that’s a great help. I was going to ask whether there was a difference between whole and refined grains but I think Darryl’s spreadsheet should allow me to figure that out.

    • VegGuy

      I think it’s a good idea to keep grain intake down and not go overboard. Starchy vegetables like winter squash, potato, sweet potato are all nutritious alkaline sources that can replace grains. Also pseudograins like quinoa and buckwheat are less acidic than grains like oats.

    • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

      Tom, not to worry! I prescribe a whole food plant based diet to 100% of my patients. I have been doing that for over five years now. Of the ones that follow that lifestyle change the closest, none have worsening kidney function! And many improve. And (BONUS!) no other chronic disease gets worse. They ALL get better!

      I understand that you cannot see the world that I work and live in (I wish you could because then you would understand) but I have no reason to steer you wrong.

      In fact, this is what I tell all my patients when they establish care with me and which they are reminded of frequently, is that I am a Patient Advocate Physician! That means I give them the information that is most up to date about how to Prevent, Stop and even Reverse their chronic diseases and try to get them off their chronic medications.

      Interestingly, that means eating a varied whole food plant based diet first. Stop smoking. Get daily exercise. Be present in the current moment. And think positive thoughts about yourself which usually starts with Giving Thanks for the blessings you already have. If you can follow those principles you can eat all the whole grain, whole wheat pasta and rice you want and have no detrimental effects upon your body or kidneys. In fact, it is just the opposite. Your body will Thrive!

      • http://SmartDreams.net Gayle Delaney PhD

        We very much appreciate your posts, HD MD! Last week, I wrote Kaiser San Rafael, CA and asked them for a list of internists who were themselves following a WFPB diet and were competent to work with patients on same. I attached the like to Dr. Phillip Tuso’s 2013 Permanente article announcing Kaiser’s decision that this is the optimal diet that they planed to teach their 9 Million patients and 15,000 docs. I asked for info on docs in both San Rafael and Santa Rosa (near Mcdougall’s center) and the response? We have no such information on our docs! So I envy your patients!! The level of ignorance re: WFPB from my Kaiser docs is appalling- and should be grounds for a class action suit when patients needlessly suffer illness, med side effects, and death because their docs did not know or bother to inform us!

        In the last 5 years, I have had Kaiser docs tell me that I could never get off BP meds since I was not fat and exercised a lot and ate so well (pre WFPB). So I lost 13 lbs and cut lowest level ACE inhibitor by ½. Then went WFPB and got off it. My GYN told me to supplement my 4+ glasses of cows milk a day with pills!

        After I broke my arm ice skating very, very, very fast and tripping; to get a reality check, my doc referred me to an endocrinologist! to see the state of my bones at 66 and if I was foolish to keep skating. He said my bones were great and to keep it up. I asked his opinion on the bones of WFPB patients. He said “Oh diets makes no difference! And I work with diabetics a lot. Just as long as you get enough protein!” I responded: “Ah HA! YOU have not done your homework. If you knew anything about what Kaiser has concluded is the optimal diet, you would never bring up the Protein issue as the thing to worry about! Do your homework, Doctor, before you make another comment that diet makes no difference with bone health! And I bet your diabetic patients would benefit hugely from your knowing more about nutrition research!

        When people, docs, specialists are so arrogant, one must doubt they are open to learning anything they do not already “know.”

        Dr. G’s How not to die has a few comments on diet and bone health BTW.

        • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

          Gayle, A great colleague of mine Don Forrester, MD (NF Volunteer) who used to work for Kaiser as a Physician Director said to me, “Unfortunately the Plant Based Diet has not taken off like Kaiser had hoped.”

          Big Pharma was excellent at infiltrating big medicine/hysicians and they did it with their billions of dollars of manipulation. They threw lavish parties, lavish gifts and vacations at the doctors knowing that would sway their prescribing power and it did. Just think, if someone was throwing something at you what would you dive for? Money being thrown at you or Broccoli? (lol).

          But the industry got wise to their doings and now they are banned from giving those lavish gifts and are not allowed to pay for anything unless it is tied to education; however the damage has been done. Now it is an uphill battle to teach egocentric docs to use their critical thinking abilities (which hopefully they learned in undergrad with physics, chemistry, calculus etc.) to evaluate the research. And then have the balls or heuvos (eggs) to implement what they have learned is the truth and implement it.

          There is also fear built into the physicians. They are in fear that if they don’t follow the herd (eg. mainstream common prescribing practices) they will be setting themselves up for medico-legal retribution in the form of peer chastising or worse a lawsuit.

          Heck I was at first afraid of being different from the norm because of aggressive Lawyers. But once I was able to see the rapid change of patients in 5-10 days at John McDougall, MD’s immersions in Santa Rosa my life was forever changed for the better in taking true care of my patients and instructing them on the lifestyle changes needed to prevent, stop and reverse their chronic diseases. In reality the doctors that tend to be sued are the ones that prescribe medications (just listen to the TV commercials) not the ones trying to get them to eat more vegetables. Also docs that act like uncaring assholes are sued more than docs that make a strong relationship with their patients. Gee, I wonder why? Hmmmm.

          Furthermore, many residencies have now banned pharma from resident teaching because of undue influence. Even the writing pens (with their logos) that big pharma used to put out, are now illegal because of undue influence on a physicians prescribing practices.

          When I was working in echocardiography at Scripps Institute and UCSD Hewlett-Packard would let the physicians rent Ferraris and Porches and wine and dine them to get the docs to buy their $250,000 ultrasound machines. Medicine is very big business. I like to relate the dollars as Elephant Dollars. A metaphor to explain the size of financial rewards that await the docs if they prescribe a companies drugs.
          Unethical, amoral, and criminal all in the name of money!

          Big Pharma says: “Shareholders rejoice we just made a pact to add Statins to drinking water. Not only will it help rid the world of heart disease it will make you a lot of money. A true win-win!”

          This is what they want you to think, and this is what they have tried in the past, but it is an absolute lie!!! The absolute risk reduction of taking statins (Lipitor, Crestor, Simvastatin, etc.) for 6 years to stop a heart attack is 3%. If you eat a strict, low fat, whole food plant based diet YOUR OWN BODY can reverse heart disease 99.4%. It’s a no-brainier when you see the truth. Drug companies will lie, fudge study data, cheat and steal to make more money. It is the Big Pharm way.

          And ~99.9% of all drugs have little power to manipulate your body to heal itself. Only your body has the power to heal itself of chronic disease. This can never be found in a pill but Big Pharma wants you to think that it can be found in their drugs and they are good at making the public, and worse, your doctor’s believe it.
          Good for you for standing up against the ignorance!

          • Jason

            HD: The absolute risk reduction of taking statins (Lipitor, Crestor, Simvastatin, etc.) for 6 years to stop a heart attack is 3%.

            I’ve read that those taking statins face an increased risk of T2 diabetes. In some studies the risk was double for those taking high dose statins. This is rarely talked about. Since the T2D incidence is about 8%, a doubling in risk (say if one had pre-diabetes, and about 1/3 of Americans do), taking statins could raise the absolute risk of getting diabetes much more than it lowers the absolute risk of getting a heart attack. But since diabetes is a lingering disease and heart attacks are often fatal, I guess we’ll go with the diabetes…(this is what the medical-industrial complex is no doubt thinking).

            At what point would you prescribe anti-HT medication? 140/90? 150/90? 160/100?

          • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

            Jason: “I’ve read that those taking statins face an increased risk of T2 diabetes.”

            This is correct and I forget the actual numbers. And that is what the current medical consensus see’s, “Diabetes is better than a heart attack.” But better for who? The patient or physician? Surely not for the patient because now the docs will add more drugs to their pile. For the physicians it’s great in a fee-for-service payment system because I get paid when you come to see me every 2-3 months (FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!!!!) The providers fail to speak about the capitalized part to the patient. I tell every patient the consezuences of poor lifestyle and I welcome them to either help pay off my school loan debt and send my kids to college or eat sweet potatoes and broccholi. Unfortunately some patients are too generous to me and I have to see them every 1-2 months because of the plethora of medications they are on to try and slow down their worsening 6 chronic diseases they have. I tell them food is either healing or poison. Isn’t it Ironic that we in the medical industry give poison to our patients that poison themselves with food?
            Change the food and you change the person!

            Regarding hypertension I follow the British hypertensive guidelines and the JNC 8 hypertensive guidelines.
            The US HTN JNC8 guidelines states if you are over 60 years old then treat to 150/90. Under 60 yo to 140/90. The reason we do not treat lower is because if we go too low there is very strong evidence to show a significant increase in all cause mortality if we go to low especially in the elderly.
            FIRST, however, lifestyle changes are encouraged to be implemented. And both guidelines state that but neither of them explain how to specifically do that nor do they tackle the most important issue which is the food. 99% of all people with hypertension will stop having HTN eating a varied, low fat, whole food, plant based diet. Dr. G’s High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice is a nice follow up to that.

          • Jason

            Thanks for your very sensible response, HD. I notice that, as with statins, HT drugs are being pushed by the inferred results of the recent SPRINT study, in which those who were treated to near-normal (120 systolic) had much better outcomes than those merely treated to 140. Left unstressed was the fact that ALL the subjects in the SPRINT study had at least one big risk factor for CHD–e.g., high cholesterol, kidney disease, smoking…If you DON’T have a significant risk factor, I’ve read that even treating those with mild hypertension (systolic = 140-160) doesn’t improve outcomes–though it will reduce measured blood pressures. Clearly, lifestyle changes incl. diet, exercise, weight, and sodium reduction should come first. Since following Dr. G’s recommendations, I’ve been able to reduce BP, and then go off the meds, but since I’m still borderline (avg. 140 or so), I wonder if small dose meds might be wisest. Before going WPF I was taking three pills/day and lost kidney function (creatinine 1.6), but since eliminating animal foods it dropped to 1.2-1.3. I worry that the HT meds, if taken in quantity, themselves may impair kidney function, but I attribute my improvement to the totally vegan WPF ( some cooking oils) diet. I was lucky I didn’t have proteinuria, which seems to be the biggest factor in CKD–even more than GFR.

  • newtothis

    Very seldom do you present a video that does not include study graphs or tables. Is there a study which presents graphs which show the swing in plasma pH as the study subjects swing back and forth between a plant based diet and a standard American diet? Are there studies which show in tabular or graphical form the change in “kidney performance” as such diets are varied?

    I will now check out your video about Testing Your Diet with Pee & Purple Cabbage. Thanks for mentioning your related videos.

    • WFPBRunner

      Newtothis there are 20 ish sources cited if you click on the button above. Alot to review.

  • Netgeogate

    It migth be possible to ameliorate the acidosis by ingesting a spoon of baking soda.

    • WFPBRunner

      Or be a vegetarian?

    • Maureen Okun

      That seems logical, but I’m not sure it would work. It seems that the crucial consideration is whether or not the food causes the production of acidic or alkaline substances, not whether it is itself acidic or alkaline. A lot of fruit is very acidic, but according to this research, it is not acid-promoting in our bodies. Conversely, as far as I know, muscle meat is not as acidic as a lemon, but it appears to increase the acid load of anyone who eats it.

    • Misterimpatient

      That was performed (I think) here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23393104
      It was referenced in the source material for this video. Above my medical pay grade :-)

    • Rebecca Cody

      Last week my husband had a nasty cold. When I had a slightly scratchy throat, not wanting to catch what he had, I checked a clip file I keep of advice from various places on helping conditions with nutrition. I had made a note of Dr Mercola’s advice to use baking soda when starting to catch a cold or flu. He said, on Day 1, to take 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in a glass of water every two hours for six doses. Day 2, take 1/2 teaspoon four times, Day 3 and beyond, twice. He said not to continue the max dosage for long, though I don’t remember how long. It may be worth checking his website to see what else he says about taking baking soda. By the way, so far I haven’t caught the bug!

      • george

        The flip side is that taking baking soda increases the daily sodium load, which isn’t good thing in the long term. If one wants to quickly increase the pH of blood, the better choice is potassium citrate, which increases the daily potassium load, which is a good thing in the long term.

        • https://disqus.com/gebrand/ gebrand

          Also, . . potassium in 1 med. potato – 925mg; 1/2 winter squash – 450mg; 1 orange 240mg; 1 C kidney beans – 717mgs. Plus all the other vitamins and minerals that come with. :-)

          • Rebecca Cody

            That’s good to know. I think the baking soda thing was meant to work quickly when you feel a virus coming on. Does potassium citrate, then, increase the alkalinity of the body?

            I’m not as worried about sodium, especially short term, because my blood pressure tends to run quite low, but many have the opposite problem.

          • George

            Rebecca: Yes, potassium citrate raises the pH of blood – fast. But I’ve never seen any reports of it helping fight a coming cold.

          • Rebecca Cody

            I think the intention of the advice from Dr Mercola is to alkalize the body. I should look back on his website. He probably explains it there. I was just referring to a brief note I made about his suggestion for fighting off flu or viruses.

    • plant_this_thought

      Unfortunately, it’s not the pH of the food consumed but the pH of the ash (I believe this is the correct term) produced when the food is burned (metabolised). Oddly, lemons, which are highly acidic, produce an alkaline ash. I’m not sure what the net result of consuming sodium bicarbonate is, but my guess is that it would produce a big belch as it reacts with stomach acid, followed by production of more acid by the stomach as it resets the pH homeostatically. This process does nothing (correct me if I’m wrong) to change the pH of the blood, which is what the kidneys “see”, and which potentially causes kidney damage, as the video discusses. Also, you need that stomach acid to digest your food.

    • newjumpswing

      Aloha,
      High sodium content.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/10205210641216492/ Paul Baldwin

      This was addressed in Alkaline Water: a Scam? http://nutritionfacts.org/video/alkaline-water-a-scam/

  • Joe Caner

    Interestingly enough, the USDA database contains PRAL numbers. For those of you who are interested, the following is an isolated listing of the PRAL numbers for foods in the USDA database: http://www.bitterpoison.com/static/files/pral.txt

    • poop patrol

      Thanks again, Joe. A quick browse of that list affirmed my hunch – cooking makes a significant different when it comes to PRAL scores for grains and veggies. Cooked oats had an almost neutral PRAL score relative to raw oats which had a high PRAL. Cooked spinach had a signifincantly lower base PRAL score relative to frozen and canned spinach, which are usually packed fresh / flash-frozen. So it looks like it’s good news all-around for most plant-based diets (not as good for the odd few who munch on nothing but raw grains all day).

      • Thea

        Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

      • VegGuy

        The reason for the discrepancy in PRAL between cooked/raw grains and fresh/dried fruits is due to the water weight. For example, the PRAL of 100 g dry oats is 6.6 and the PRAL of cooked oats is 1.8 because 100 g of dry oats has a lot more of the acidic substances and less water. 100g of cooked oatmeal only contains about 33 g of dry oats.
        When water is removed from fruit, it exacerbates the PRAL again since 100 g of dried peaches (PRAL -16.2) has many times more of the alkaline substances than 100 g of fresh peaches (PRAL -3.1).

        • Joe Caner

          Good thinking SmartGuy, I mean VegGuy. :-)

        • poop patrol

          That makes sense, at least for grains and fruits. Curious if you have an explanation for the disparity between different preparations of spinach (boiled, canned, frozen), where water content would not be a factor.

          • VegGuy

            Maybe the alkaline minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium are leached into the cooking water. That may explain why cooked spinach is less alkaline than frozen or canned.

          • VegGuy

            After looking over the data Joe linked, it looks like spinach seems to lose alkalinity the more it’s processed. Raw spinach -11.8, boiled spinach -10, frozen -7 and canned -5. I think we can assume that the more spinach is cooked &/or processed, the more alkaline minerals are lost.

    • https://disqus.com/gebrand/ gebrand

      Thanks for digging this out for us. Very interesting. A Whole Lot of information there!

    • Jim Felder

      I was able to highlight the entire list on this website and copy and paste it into an Excel spreadsheet. It comes in with everything in a single column, but you can break it out into individual columns if you use the “text to data” feature of excel and use the “|” character as a delimiter. With the data in columns you can then sort the by the contents of a column. I found sorting by the type of food most useful. Then all the meat, dairy, egg, baking, brains, vegetables, etc. rows are grouped together. I then do a secondary sort on PRALINE score.

  • Brenda

    One of my more recent visits with my primary internist was enlightening – at least for him. He’s been my doctor for about ten plus years. I changed to plant-based, whole foods five years ago and have gone from seven down to one medication – yippee! On my recent visit doc is reviewing my labs. Says all within normal range. Says my kidneys have improved. Then he pauses and states again — really improved. I’ve learned not to “explain” anymore as we usually end up in a minor fight – he still wants me on statins, etc. So now I just stay quiet and let the test results talk to him :) Let food be your medicine!

    • Thea

      Awesome. So fun to read. Thanks for sharing.

    • VegGuy

      Great to hear, Brenda! I’ve come to the same conclusion, just stay quiet. I’ve found that it is much more peaceful to leave doctors scratching their heads than to explain the dietary and lifestyle changes you’ve made. It takes a special medical professional to listen to and learn from their patients–not many egos can handle it.

    • SoniTheEchidna

      This is great for you, but sad to hear that you have to keep quiet and cannot tell your doctor!

      I’ll be a doctor by the end of this year and my PASSION is about food being your medicine. In fact, that is the whole reason I entered Med school; eventually I want to open up a Wellness Centre (not a spelling mistake, I live in Australia)! I’ve been eating mostly a plant based diet since 2007. It really saddens me to hear that you cannot tell your doctor because you should be able to tell your doctor anything! I hope that my patients can tell me anything because without all the facts it is impossible to treat effectively.

    • Joe Caner

      Congratulations Brenda!
      You much wiser than I. Being quiet has never been my strong suit.

    • Charzie

      I admire your restraint, I am currently doctorless for the same reason. Two doctors had me on a dozen medications and both insisted diet was irrelevant for all but diabetes, and that copied diet handout was a joke! After watching Forks Over Knives, I decided to give a WFPB diet a shot for a month as an experiment, and in a couple of weeks saw huge improvements. Neither doctor was at all supportive or amenable to even reducing the meds, despite what the numbers said, and I was basically told that people aren’t good at sticking to dietary changes, so keep taking the drugs! I just gradually weaned off most of them as they became unnecessary, and after a check where all the numbers were better than they ever had been, told him those results were sans pharmaceuticals…and I got the royal lashing and called names! Well, I am pretty low key unless provoked, but um, he got my opinion in return! I haven’t been back since, and have never felt so good! lol

      • Joe Caner

        The calcified rigidity of some people’s belief systems are truly bewildering. Inexplicably, no amount of evidence to the contrary seem to have any effect on the opinions of those so afflicted once formed.

        • Jim Felder

          As my wife frequently reminds me when I make the same comment, change brings fear and uncertainty into our lives, and the bigger the change, the bigger the fear. And one of the easiest ways to deal with something that makes you fearful is to simply pretend it doesn’t exist. I’m a bull on he though type of guy and her reminder helps me to remember that if people are going to change they have to first overcome their fear and discomfort with a new idea. Well that or have a greater fear of something else like maybe dying.

          For doctors, often their self image is as a doctor fighting the mighty fight for their patients using the incredible power of western medicine. The incredible effectiveness of a plant based diet calls into question then the very basis of much of the medicine they have been taught. So embracing a plant based diet as a primary therapeutic agent, if not THE primary agent in their arsenal represents a complete upheaval of their world view. So it should not be surprising that they are very resistant to change. And that doesn’t even begin to address the change they are going to have to make in their own diet if they really are evidence based scientists as I am sure most view themselves. Much easier to dismiss it out of hand even if that requires ignoring the evidence of their patients who have made the switch to a WFPB diet sitting right their in their exam room. Oh, and like everybody who is forced to confront to what they are working so hard to not think about, they tend to get angry at the person that is giving them such discomfort.

          But I have to hope that most are honest doctors who are trying to do the best they know how for their patients. Maybe as their bet to be more plant docs out there it won’t feel so strange and dangerous and they will start their own journey.

          • Joe Caner

            “A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”
            – Max Planck

          • Charzie

            Oooo, scary true!

          • Charzie

            So true, we all resist change to a degree because it can be so uncomfortable and disorienting, but hopefully it will catch on as more and more people heal themselves and spread the good word. It’s kind of odd for me, but what convinced me to give it a try, even more than the science at the time, were the testimonials of the people whose lives were so dramatically affected by it. Changing one person at a time is a slow process, but will hopefully eventually overturn current societal norms and make it less of a challenge and more accepted.

          • Jim Felder

            The wonderful thing about geometric progression (I tell two people who each tell two people and so forth) can also the most frustrating thing in that in early days when only a tiny fraction has seen the light the progress can be achingly slow where our natural linear thinking says at the current rate the sun might go nova before significant change happens. And then it seems that there is this sudden “explosion” and the whole idea catches fire and before you know it half the people you know have made the change. The entire process though stays exactly the same, one person directly effecting just a few others, from start to finish.

            The really good news for spreading the news about a healthy WFPB diet is that an “accelerant” in the form of this website and others like it has been added to the process to help shorten the time it takes the two people I tell to get on board and begin to influence others n turn. But I don’t think nutrition facts can directly disseminate the message without becoming a big commercial endeavor that can spread its own message through ads. So it will still depend on each of us tell friends, family and neighbors until everybody just knows that this is the healthiest way to eat and it becomes the norm.

        • Charzie

          Calcified is an excellent adjective…just like in arteries, it’s dangerous. Unfortunately it seems that those most stricken are the ones who do get into positions of power!

      • Darryl
        • Charzie

          Yeah, thanks Darryl. This is kinda cool…I was perusing Dr G’s calendar and learned he is coming to our area in Feb. When I was making arrangements to go see him, I found out about the Dr near here who arranged the engagement, and is actively trying to educate other Drs and people in general. I haven’t contacted him yet to see if he is taking new patients because finances are dismal and I need a car first…but it is definitely encouraging to know, I’m psyched!

  • Nancy Nowak

    There is an interesting article in the WSJ today, January 29, 2016 called The Food Pyramid Scheme. One interesting result of the Pyramid is that Congress has appropriated $1 million for an independent review of the dietary guidelines which supposedly are not helping to prevent chronic diseases. Do read the article and see what you think. All of us want to eat the best diet for ourselves. I thought that I was but I still needed a heart bypass operation a year ago. So, this is a topic of great importance to me. Maybe some of us are destined to have health problems no matter what we eat?

    • https://disqus.com/gebrand/ gebrand

      Let me suggest that you pick up a copy of The China Study, T. Colin Campbell, PhD. You may find the second half of the book of particular interest since he details how and why our dietary guidelines by the government don’t reflect the actual science.

      • Nancy Nowak

        I have read both of Dr. Campbell’s book. Really great! I just don’t understand why the plant based diet hasn’t worked perfectly for me. But, maybe I would be much worse off without it.

        • Jim Felder

          Sadly every bell curve has its tail. Have you considered going really “hardcore” and following the Rice diet for a few months. Dr. Mcdougall has said that he still proscribes the diet for a few of his patients who are not responding well the the normal plant based diet. Maybe your system need a hard reset.

        • Thea

          Nancy: Even with details about what your specific diet is, I couldn’t answer that question as I’m not a doctor. But I have some thoughts for you: It is easier to prevent a problem than to reverse one. So, even if you 100% followed Esselstyn’s diet for heart disease (100% plants, mostly whole plants, zero oils, very low fat), it is not a guarantee to fix a problem. It just means that you have a very good chance of fixing or at least managing the problem. And Esselstyn has found that someone with very advanced heart disease must stick to the diet fully. I don’t know your diet, but that might be something else for you to consider.
          .
          Also, there is a time element. I’m thinking it takes some time to really fix a serious heart disease problem. So, you may have to be on Esselstyn’s diet for a while before the effects are fully known. That’s my conjecture and I don’t know what ‘a while’ would be.
          .
          Finally, I’m glad you made the point about, “…maybe I would be much worse off without it.” That’s such a great point. You don’t know what the heart-related outcome would have been without adopting a low fat whole plant food diet would be. Also you don’t know what other problems might have popped up without the heart-healthy diet, as the heart-healthy diet is the generally healthy diet too. So, you may have prevented other problems, such as T2 diabetes or cancer, from complicating your situation. All the best evidence says you haven’t hurt your situation.
          .
          Good luck in the future. I hope things get better for you.

    • HaltheVegan

      I make a motion that Dr Greger be on the Independent Review Board … All in favor, say Aye!

      • Thea

        Aye!

      • Jim Felder

        Aye! Right along with Professor Campbell, Dr. Ornish and Dr. Esselstyn. Hell, let’s just pack the review board with plant docs! Why not, it is what the flesh industries do, but with these folks I have some confidence that the actual science might be part of the deliberations.

        • Charzie

          Wow, imagine what a great force THAT could be! I would LOVE to see that happen!

      • Wade Patton

        aye

      • Charzie

        Aye aye!

    • aribadabar
  • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

    A great review of the evidence. The only thing I would add (which has been discussed here many times–see below), and for those who are really interested, is if anyone has any doubt whatsoever review the Walter Kempner, MD Rice Diet which was the only known treatment for chronic kidney disease, hypertension, heart failure, cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes that worked at reversing those diseases in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s.

    It still works today and I have one patient in stage 5 kidney disease who is currently doing the Rice Diet and his Kidney decline has plateaued (it has even slightly gone back up) and now he is in the stage 4 kidney disease category and he is feeling much better.
    Plants!
    Rice Diet
    Kempner Rice Diet: Whipping Us Into Shape
    Drugs and the Demise of the Rice Diet
    Can Diabetic Retinopathy Be Reversed?
    High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice

    • mike at the river

      Excellent information. I follow a strick plant based diet for over 5 years, but recently my kidney function (stage 3, barely, CKD, type 1 diabetes, Hypertension) has deteriorated to creatinine 2.10, eGFR 33. I know you can’t give individual medical advice over the web, but in general, what else could be done?

      • VegGuy

        mike at the river, eating cultured foods has helped people regain kidney function. Although you may not associate beneficial gut bacteria with healthy kidney function, good bacteria can cool down inflammation in the body and flush excess waste to support kidney health. Faced with dialysis, one woman’s kidney function went up 10% in 1 1/2 months of adding fermented foods to her diet. Might be worth a try. http://www.culturedfoodlife.com/my-new-book-could-change-your-life/ (paragraphs 4 & 5).
        http://bodyecology.com/articles/preventing-kidney-disease-2-quick-tips-to-support-kidney-health

        • Jim Felder

          Does your advice square with HemoDynamic’s advice for type I diabetics to keep their sodium intake low? All the cultured foods I am familiar with tend to have very high sodium levels.

          • VegGuy

            Cultured non dairy milks and kombucha have little to no sodium and you can make cultured vegetables without salt.

        • Charzie

          I am also a huge proponent of cultured foods and always have some things bubbling away on my counter! One of the many things that are great about making your own is that you get to control the salinity of it, I often just use herbal alternatives with barely any added salt.

          • aribadabar

            Speaking of cultured foods, what is your take on kombucha?

          • Vege-tater

            It’s something I really enjoy and is super easy, once you have the scoby. (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) You can order them online, but I tried to find some freebies or barters locally because I couldn’t really justify $25+ on my (currently non existent) income. I wasn’t even sure I’d like it since I had never tried it before, so I finally went ahead and bought a bottle of the pre-made with live cultures, and just created my own scoby. Hard to describe the flavor of fresh kombucha and not what I was expecting, it has a decided tart vinegary tang, but fizzy and pleasant. I love jasmine tea and usually use that for my “plain” kombucha, but when I make it with ordinary green or black tea I usually let it go a little longer until all the sugars are digested and it’s almost like vinegar, and then second ferment it with about 25% fruit, juice, herbs and spices, fresh ginger, whatever, to add nutrients, variety and increase the fizz…which I really enjoy! Tons of ideas online, but once you get the concept, the most fun is coming up with your own unique combos and variations. I usually make it a gallon at a time in a “sun tea” maker with a spigot on it, and then just transfer the finished brew into smaller bottles I can cap tightly to try out multiple variations. My Suriname cherries and oranges are producing like crazy now, so that’s what’s currently brewing! Next time I am going to try kombucha coffee…just a small bottle for starters…not sure how that is going to taste?
            I hope I don’t jinx myself, but I used to get every cold and virus that circulated, and since I started fermenting, not a one. Could be coincidence, but it sure isn’t the only benefit I’ve noticed anyway!

      • HemoDynamic, MD – NF Volunteer

        Being a Type One diabetic makes it difficult for sure. Maybe having an insulin pump would help keep your blood sugars more stable which is the key of Diabetes management. With that said trying to mimic the bodies normal physiology of insulin secretion is very difficult when your Beta cells don’t make any insulin and therefore your body/pancreas cannot respond to the immediate cell signalling that occurs, some would say, right when you see and smell the food.
        Here’s an exceprt from a previous post of mine: “An excellent colleague of ours is Michael Klaper, MD and he does do Skype consultations. He is located in Santa Rosa, CA. You can sign up with Michael Klaper, MD here. He is an excellent physician and probably one of the top five most knowledgeable physicians regarding lifestyle change and reversing chronic disease. The True North Medical Center

  • Dave Bell

    To: HemoDynamic MD – How can I reach you? I am in stage 3/4 kidney failure and need someone’s help with my diet? Please let me know since I have been having trouble finding someone who understands what I need. Thank you for your help.

    • Rhombopterix

      Dave, you should reply to his comment…that will trigger a notification to him

  • guest

    I wonder what the acid/base effect on blood of all those drugs doctors want their patients to take. Is there a list somewhere?

    • VegGuy

      I have read (sorry can’t remember where) that all medications are acidic to the body.

  • Mike Quinoa

    That’s why I always have some fruit and veggies with whatever grains, beans, or nuts and seeds I’m eating.
    The video mentioned chloride being found in the standard Western diet, but what about calcium chloride that’s added to canned beans?

  • progun49

    Would the same diet hold true to a dog with kidney failure; lessen or cut out meat all together to help him?

    • Thea

      progun49: Not being a vet, I can’t say. But I can say that my Great Dane is thriving on his vegan diet. He’s 12 years old, which is very old for a Great Dane (8-10 years being the average for Great Danes). I feed him the brand, V-dog which can be ordered on line. My dog has been on v-dog since he was 6 years old.

      I have a friend whose 15 year old dog started having kidney failure and a switch to a vegan diet for a while stabilized the problem. So, no guarantees, but I’m thinking it *could* help your dog?

      There are some potential gotchas to a vegan diet for a dog. So if you decide to go that route, I recommend doing some research. I can give you some specific references to check out if you are interested.

      • WFPBRunner

        Thea just out of curiosity why did you make the switch with your dog? I have two dogs on dry dog food supplemented with a bunch of cooked and raw veggies.

        • Thea

          WFPBRunner: I had my dog on a meat-based kibble brand called Innova for several years until the parent company sold out to Purina. I didn’t trust that Purina would keep the same quality, and so I started doing a ton of research. I came to the conclusion that a properly formulated vegan kibble could be the healthiest staple for my dog.
          .
          At the time, I personally was vegetarian, not vegan, and knew nothing about eating healthy. I had a terrible diet. (I could do with a lot of improvement still, but at least I know what’s healthy now.) So, my decision on behalf of my dog had nothing to do with my personal choices. My dog went vegan before I did.
          .
          In fact, my dog inspired me. I expected the vegan kibble to maintain my dogs health, but I got a very pleasant surprise. His health improved dramatically (as opposed to staying the same). At the time, my dog had been peeing blood for over a year. He had gone through many tests and x-rays and they could never figure out why he was peeing blood. Sometimes it was a deep dark red that really scared me. Much to my great happiness, a couple months on the vegan kibble magically cured the blood peeing problem. Also, his coat and nails got shinier. And his energy/playfulness level went up.
          .
          FYI: There are several people in my vegan social group who also feed their dog a vegan kibble. All of the dogs are thriving. While I’m aware of only one small dog diet study (which was favorable toward a vegan diet), there are a ton of successful anecdotes out there.
          .
          The key to being successful is to do a bit of research. For anyone thinking about changing their dog’s food, I recommend watching a talk from a well-known vet who helps people make the change successfully. She explains what to look for and the potential gotchas. Also, doing a bit of general internet research can help as supplemental information. For anyone who is interested, here is a more recent version of Armaiti May’s talks :
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIMBX3jdYM0

          • WFPBRunner

            Thank you Thea. That is so interesting. I’ll research this.
            The cheese came out good. We crumbled it on a pizza and it was really tasty. But it probably isn’t my favorite cheese recipe from the book

          • Thea

            Thanks for the cheese update! Good to know the pros and cons.

  • MikeOnRaw

    I agree with others, this is fascinating information. Especially the information on how important whole foods are vs processed, even vegan. As I have said before, we already know a whole food plant based diet is the best because when we look at the groups who have eating this way as part of their lifestyle they end up being the healthiest and long living groups. Every new study that shows how plant based diets improve our body and mind are just a way to explain what we already know.

  • geos

    I for one can comfirm that a WFPB, starched center diet as per Dr McDougalls MWL program will most definitely reverse CKD. In one year of following the program I was able to increase my eGFR from 52 to 74. Of course their was also quite a large change in many of my blood markers to the point that i even reverse and eliminated my Metabolic Syndrome among a whole host of issues. If interested you can read my testimonial about what kind of changes you can expect from Dr McDougalls MWL program here https://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=35090 (excuse any cheesiness in the post)

    And if your so inclined, I kept an online journal of exactly how I did it over the course of a year. Everything I ate, exercise I did, experiences, thoughts, feelings, moods, etc… for every single day of that year. Its rather personal ( a good bit boring and repetitive) but maybe others here will gain some insights to help themselves. you can find my journal here: https://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=27969

    • Jim Felder

      Geos, first off, WOW, you could be the poster child for the effectiveness of a plant based diet. What I think is the most important part of your lab results you shared I the first link was just how in three months all the worst indicators of poor metabolic health, BP, pulse, cholesterol, blood sugar, inflammation and the like came back into the healthy range long before you finished loosing all the weight. And for all we know it could have been faster, but you were only getting lab work every three months. I think that is pretty clear evidence that excess weight is a co-morbidity not the cause of metabolic disorder, that the root cause is the food, and that much better health doesn’t have to wate on the weight. In your post you said your CVD results were still pending. It’s been a couple years, mind sharing what the progress has been on that front. Again congratulations on getting your health back.

      • geos

        Jim, my CVD results are a bit sparse (can only afford so many of these tests) can be found in the same first link thread, 3rd page, 8th post down

    • Charzie

      Kudos geos, I totally relate to your story because I shared a similar experience and wish others who still need to be convinced would just TRY! Thanks for sharing and congrats!

      • geos

        Yes I resisted posting my story here simply because I know so many here are deeply mired in trying to make sense of all the reductionist science to try to “prove” whats best. In my case, I simply did the testing to have my “scientific” proof as an n=1 subject. I have that now. I firmly believe that those that try to believe or wait for that perfect study are simply wasting their time. The real answer is in simply doing. Follow the program for a few months and take stock. You’ll love the results. But you also have to understand this isn’t simply a short term diet. Its for a lifetime. Its simply the best way to fuel the body. Thats one of things that I also tried to show, that some issues can take quite some time to be fixed but even so you do continue to progressively get better the longer you follow the progam, even at a healthy BMI. Also its not about any single “super” food, its about the totality of diet and lifestyle over time. And I think most importantly I tried to show that eating properly effects all sorts of chronic issues at the same time. Its not a one trick pony to try to manage a single blood marker/symptom. Reductionist science can only show you a possible path to causes for some syptoms. Actually doing the program will give you results, by slowing down, halting, reversing and finally cureing disease (at least the limits of your bodies recuperability after decades of abuse). No need for tons of studies, weird belief’s or lots of critical thinking. Just simply do it :-)

  • Guest

    Hello. I guess I am not clear on GFR. I have seen that meat and acid-forming foods lead to high or hyper-GFR; I thought you want a high GFR, as the lower it goes the more kidney disease. Yet, I see a study that says that vegans and lacto-vegetarians have lower GFR than omnivores, which I would think is the wrong direction. Somehow, meat and animal protein generally increases GFR, but instead of that being good, it is bad, very bad.
    It is frightening news as well for diabetics, since to avoid carbohydrates, they eat more cheese and animal products, which would lead to kidney disease; yet, if they ate carbos, that would lead to kidney disease via other mechanisms, i.e., high blood sugars.
    Would taking Ca Carbonate with acid-forming meals be a solution for those who, for whatever reason, wish to continue consuming animal products? Would that not mitigate the acid-forming effects?
    Thank you for this discussion.

    • VegGuy

      Guest, you have the right idea that acidic foods need to be countered with alkaline minerals. However, consuming calcium carbonate with meat will lower stomach acidity, leaving less acid to control any pathogens in the meat. In other words, taking calcium carb with meat will increase the chance of food poisoning.
      A much better idea is to eat loads of alkaline green leafy veggies and a potato with meat, and keep the veggie portions large and the meat portions small. And if you must eat meat please choose those animals that were treated humanely and pastured.

  • Matthew Smith

    I am profoundly interested in the elemental composition of the organs. I imagine kidneys are mostly made of phosphorus. Kidney decline could be linked to cancer in this regard, they both involve a Phosphorus deficiency. I imagine pumpkin seeds are a good for the kidneys because they are rich in Phosphorus. If the kidneys make Ammonia, it is possible they also have a great deal of Nitrogen. Perhaps Nitrogen, not from proteins which are bond and stable, but rather from Niacin, would be good for the kidneys. Food that is heated has lost its Niacin content. All nuts must be roasted in the America, destroying a viable source of Nitrogen. Most food may be soaked, ruining its Phosphorus content. It used to be possible to order an Ammonium Coke at any pharmacy for an upset stomach. The Nitrogen in it must be very good for any mood disorder, perhaps in my opinion. The heart might be made mostly of Iron and Iodine. Its is very interesting to see what elements are found in organs, perhaps this would be a more fundamental way to treat any disease. I would be interested in this research if it is done.

  • TR M

    So where would whey protein be on that scale? I’m veggie but I still use whey for about 1/3rd of my daily protein source. Hemp and other plant based make up the rest.

  • https://disqus.com/raytajoma/ raytajoma

    Another very strong evidence that we are Herbivore.

  • Dr. Matt

    Hi, I am pretty new here. I have been a vegetarian for ethical reasons for seven years (since I read Peter Singer), but I still believe in true dialogue about scientific research. Consequently, I don’t understand how a study like this study is ignored:

    (From the December 9th, 2015 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition):

    Mortality in vegetarians and comparable nonvegetarians in the United Kingdom:

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/103/1/218.abstract?etoc

    “Conclusions: United Kingdom–based vegetarians and comparable nonvegetarians have similar all-cause mortality. Differences found for specific causes of death merit further investigation.”

    This is important information; it is also one of a number of studies in the last few months that scientifically challenges vegan/vegetarian diets. Though, for ethical reasons, I don’t agree with eating meat, I still think it is important – as a rational human being – to learn about the research being conducted that challenges my ethical commitments. Separating value from science is essential (think of all the historical disasters that occurred when the two were conflated, e.g., eugenics movement). In any case, I think it would make the dialogue in the comments sections more fruitful if confounding studies were at the very least acknowledged and not ignored or immediately shot down. This is a site about nutritional and dietary science; it’s NOT a site about the ethics of a plant-based diets (though that would be pretty cool–how about some videos on that?!!!). Therefore, I would welcome a more objective and encompassing treatment of the available scientific literature on diet and nutrition.

    These comments aside, I commend Dr. Greger for an impressive and FREE site. Literally, it’s one of a kind which speaks to the generosity of the community that has grown around this site. I will certainly refer folks as I often give community health and wellness presentations.

    Respectfully,
    Dr. Matt

    • Thea

      Dr. Matt: Welcome to the site! This site welcomes competing views and requests for comments about various studies. I thought I would share my response to your well-written post.
      .
      While I agree with you that studies should not be ignored, I disagree with you that Dr. Greger is ignoring studies. If you take a look at the FAQ section, you can see the criteria that Dr. Greger uses to pick which studies to highlight. Dr. Greger looks at all the studies. He just doesn’t/can’t comment on all of them. If you look through this website, you can find times when Dr. Greger explains the flaws in various studies. But for the most part, Dr. Greger does (by necessity) a lot of filtering of the noise and sticks to explaining what the balance of scientific evidence shows according to his years and years of study.
      .
      As you saw in the FAQ, there are over 100 studies showing that smoking is either neutral on health or even healthy for you. But those studies do not represent the balance of scientific evidence. Would you accuse a site about smoking of ignoring the evidence if the site only rarely mentioned those studies? Or would you acknowledge that the body of evidence supports the view that smoking harms human health?
      .
      The longest lived human populations in world are plant based. I don’t know what the flaw is with the study that you presented. I could take guesses, but I don’t have the time or interested ot investigate. Perhaps someone will take the time to review that study in detail and discuss it with you. But I do know that no one study will overturn the current balance of evidence regarding the supreme healthfulness of a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet.

      • Thea

        Argh! There must be some keyboard shortcut I am hitting accidentally that causes my text to post before I’m done. Please note that I edited and finished my post above.

        • D.R.

          Thea, digressing a little, given your time on this site I thought you might be able to point me towards studies that highlight how much protein the body can process. I have heard comments that we can metabolise only about 20 -30g per meal. Where does this come from and do those who consume vast quantities, such as athletes, show greater nitrogen excretion than the rest of us and for that matter is CKD more prevalent in retired professional athlete cohorts?

          • Tom Goff

            Sorry to butt in but are you asking how much is tolerable or how much is optimal? Dr G has a number of videos on protein (just enter “protein” in the Search box to find them). They may help/ I found this one useful
            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/caloric-restriction-vs-animal-protein-restriction/

          • D.R.

            Thanks Tom, I am familiar with these videos but have not found answers to my question.
            Thought it might have surfaced in discussion threads that I had not participated in.

            The body keeps a small pool of amino acids for its requirements, therefore excess presumably goes to waste.
            It appears we think we call the shots and are master manipulators, but I believe it is the body that does and expects requirements to be delivered when it wants them, else it’s a case of “sorry buddy you should have delivered that yesterday” and it is down the waste pipe for that consignment. I have seen several nutritionists interviewed on TV recently where they state that the most the body can cope with is about 20g and anything beyond that is waste. I am sure you are familiar too with the amounts of raw and cooked protein passing though undigested to the small intestine and all that that implies.
            If the RDA for protein is somewhere between 0.8 and 1.2 g/kg body weight, it is easily reached with a WFPB diet. A lot of the sports nutritionists / quasi sports medicine practitioners in the contact sports arena where bulking up is given primacy, believe they have “the nutrition down”. There the RDA is greater than 3g /kg body weight which has got to stress the kidneys and accelerate aging. Given this practice is relatively new, it will be interesting to see what the consequences will be, beyond the concussion story. My problem with this is these same sports nutritionists and retired athletes also ply their trade in the broader community and have regular folks who want to lose a bit of weight on such intakes ” ‘cos they know the right way to do stuff from their elite athlete experience”.

          • Tom Goff

            Sorry. I am not aware that this has been discussed in detail here. Thea may know more.

            It’s not a subject that I have really studied. All I really know is that there was a major WHO/FAO report back in 1973 which estimated “safe” upper limits for protein intake. This was about 37 grams per day per adult male (but this assumed the person weighed 65 kilos) and was based on a figure of only 0.57 grams of protein per kilo of body weight! The clear implication of course is that excess intake is not “waste” but actively harmful.
            http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/41042/1/WHO_TRS_522_eng.pdf

            On the other hand, I see that a later 2006 review suggested 2.5 grams per kilo of body weight is “safe”
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16779921

            The only thing I can suggest is that you ask your question at Dr McDougall’s website. He has taken a particular interest in this topic over the years. For example, he talks about a total DAILY need for protein of 20-30 grams and provides some references
            https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2004nl/040100puproteinoverload.htm

            Sorry, I can’t help – good luck.

          • D.R.

            Tom, Thanks for your input.

          • Tom Goff

            `Not sure if this is of any interest but Jack Norris has just (today/yesterday) updated his article on protein requirements and “vegans”
            http://jacknorrisrd.com/best-study-on-vegan-protein-intakes-to-date/

          • Tom Goff

            Sorry to butt in but are you asking how much is tolerable or how much is optimal? Dr G has a number of videos on protein (just enter “protein” in the Search box to find them). They may help. I found this one useful
            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/caloric-restriction-vs-animal-protein-restriction/

          • Thea

            D.R.: That’s a super interesting set of questions. I haven’t heard the claim before that only 20-30g protein per meal could be metabolized at one time. So, I haven’t investigated it. But if you’ve been reading my comments at all, you will know that I will likely have thoughts on the matter even if I can’t directly answer your great questions. I hope one of these ideas will lead you to the answer you seek.

            One of my favorite pages/articles on protein is the following: http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html I bring this to your attention because the bar graph in the middle of the page shows protein needs broken out by amino acid type – and how much of those amino acids can be found in common foods. References are given for most of the data on that page. So, I was thinking that you might be able to track down the references to see if the original sources looked at maximums as well as minimums. Plus, the whole article is just super-interesting and helpful. So, if you haven’t seen that yet, I wanted to refer you to it.

            When it comes to thinking about too much protein, I think about Campbell’s research as explained in the book The China Study. (If you haven’t read that yet, it’s a must-read!) Campbell found that when protein exceeds basic needs, you start seeing cancer growth. Except that the finding was more specific than that. Animal protein was found to be cancer promoting while plant protein was not. Most of those athletes you are talking about are loading up on mega amounts of animal protein. I think they are hurting their health and unnecessarily since plant based athletes are making records right and left (I can give you a lot of information about that if your are interested). But this leads us to the question: What about vegan athletes? Are they getting too much protein? In what way could it be affecting their health? I think the video on this page would be a clue to answering that question, but I don’t know.

            Dr. Greger has videos on specific amino acids which when eaten in excess of needs cause health problems. Methionine is one example. So again, I worry about those athletes who overdose on protein.

            I don’t know how valid/good the Medicine.Net website is. But I did do some research into maximums some time ago and came across the following article. On the second page of the article, it states: “Consuming excess protein in the diet (over 35% of total calories), especially with carbohydrate restriction, can lead to the buildup of toxic ketones, substances made when the body uses its own fat cells for fuel in the absence of sufficient carbohydrates. Ketones can harm the kidneys as they try to excrete these substances. This is accompanied by a corresponding loss of water through the kidneys, leading to dehydration. Symptoms of consuming a ketogenic diet can include fatigue, headache, dizziness, heart palpitations, and bad breath. There is excess stress on the heart, and muscle mass and bone calcium both decline. The American Heart Association does not recommend high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets because they often contain high-fat foods and can lead to deficiencies in some nutrients like fiber and certain vitamins. A healthy and balanced diet is by far the best choice for those who want to lose weight or improve athletic performance.” The article has some references that may lead to the answer you are looking for. The article can be found here: http://www.medicinenet.com/how_much_dietary_protein_to_consume-page2/views.htm

            My last thought is that Tom gave a reference to an interesting article from McDougall. I have another article from McDougall that I find particularly helpful. This article explains some of the roots of protein recommendations. For example, at one point, a guy got a bunch of healthy young college men to eat his (apparently gross tasting) protein concoction and then proceeded to manipulate protein levels until the men started having health problems. So, after figuring out that minimum amount, he doubled the number and said, “This is what people need.” I’m thinking that you might be able to track down some of the sources listed in this article and maybe find some information about maximum protein needs???
            http://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/newsletter/archives/ (see the Dec 2003 article)
            You might also check out the January 2004 newsletter article, Protein Overload–unless that’s the one that Tom already linked to.

            I am aware that none of this directly answers your question. But I hope that it leads you to the answers at some point. And if you discover a good answer for us, please let us know. I’m interested.

          • D.R.

            Thanks Thea for the links.. all fascinating stuff. You pose the question about vegan athletes and I understand from T.C. Campbell’s work that all sources of excess protein are problematic. While casein and egg white is the most aggressive if you are up at 20%+ of plant protein you are asking for trouble too. Unfortunately it was not possible to have much/any academic debate on his Cornell plant based nutrition course to explore the research on this further.

          • Thea

            D.R.: Thanks for this reply. I was intrigued by this sentence: “Unfortunately it was not possible to have much/any academic debate on his Cornell plant based nutrition course to explore the research on this further.” Obviously you have tried to really investigate this topic!

            The reason I took such a long time to reply is that I wanted to have time to go through my copy of The China Study in order to respond accurately to this statement, “… I understand from T.C. Campbell’s work that all sources of excess protein are problematic. While casein and egg white is the most aggressive if you are up at 20%+ of plant protein you are asking for trouble too.”

            You could be right, especially about excess protein being problematic in general. But the second sentence did not jive with what I remembered. I finally found the quote I was looking for/had vaguely remembered on page 59 of my copy of The China Study. See what you think:

            “…did it make any difference what type of protein was used in these experiments? For all of these [previously discussed] experiments, we were using casein, which makes up 87% of cow’s milk protein. So the next logical question was whether plant protein, tested in the same way, has the same effect on cancer promotion as casein. The answer is an astonishing ‘NO.’ In these experiments, plant protein did not promote cancer growth, even at the higher levels of intake. … Gluten, the protein of wheat, did not produce the same result as casein, even when fed at the same 20% level.” They also tested soy protein and found that soy protein was like wheat in that did not promote cancer.

            on page 66 it says, “We initiated more studies using several different nutrients, including fish protein, dietary fats and the antioxidants known as caroteniods. … a pattern was beginning to emerge: nutrients from animal-based foods increased tumor development while nutrients from plant-based foods decreased tumor development.”

            You may or may not find this information compelling. I just thought you would be interested.

          • D.R.

            Hello again Thea. If you want to get into the nitty gritty detail we better take it offline. Send me an email at herecomessummer@hotmail.com and I’ll share what I know,.or rather what questions remain unanswered.

    • Tom Goff

      I think the key point here is that Dr G does not advocate vegetarian diets as such. For example, a diet consisting of chips/fries. doughnuts, white bread, jam, whisky and cigarettes is a totally vegetarian diet. But it is not a healthy one. There are plenty of other unhealthy junkfood vegetarian diets out there also. Diets high in trans fat and refined carbohydrates may even be worse for our health than some diets high in animal foods. That is why Dr G advocates a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet. Note that such a diet may include some small amounts of animal foods but, if it does not, Dr G advocates that vegetarians eating a WFPB diet should also take supplemental B12 and possibly vitamin D.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/optimal-diet-just-give-it-to-me-straight-doc/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-supplements-worth-taking/

      As for diet and mortality, the study you reference is nothing new. Similar findings have been seen before – possibly because many of the vegetarians followed ate poor quality diets. Such people may even have higher mortality and morbidity rates than health conscious omnivores. There have in fact been studies showing poorer health among vegetarians but many of these have been skewed because they did not take into account the fact that a number of people adopt vegetarianism in response to a health crisis.

      In conclusion, I think Dr G’s position is that a well-planned WFPB diet is optimal for health and such a diet would also effectively be vegetarian. But it would be healthy because it is a well-planned WFPB diet not because it is a vegetarian diet. This is not a radical prescription. Pretty much every credible health authority on the planet recommends that people should eat more fresh fruit and vegetables

      Finally, further to the diet and mortality question you raised, I found a discussion of this issue by a blogger to be very informative. You might find it helpful also.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/protein-source-an-acid-test-for-kidney-function/

    • Charzie

      I don’t have time to look at the study now, but one big issue that peeves me is that the dichotomy of vegetarians…as in ethical vegetarians who often can live on coke, chips and twinkies, vs. whole food plant based vegans who eat as healthy as possible, is rarely addressed or differentiated in studies. They are all lumped together in one amorphous, meaningless, group.

  • Dr. Matt

    Hi, I am pretty new here. I have been a vegetarian for ethical reasons for seven years (since I read Peter Singer), but I still believe in true dialogue about scientific research. Consequently, I don’t understand how a study like this study is ignored:

    (From the December 9th, 2015 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition):

    Mortality in vegetarians and comparable nonvegetarians in the United Kingdom:

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/103/1/218.abstract?etoc

    “Conclusions: United Kingdom–based vegetarians and comparable nonvegetarians have similar all-cause mortality. Differences found for specific causes of death merit further investigation.”

    This is important information; it is also one of a number of studies in the last few months that scientifically challenges vegan/vegetarian diets. Though, for ethical reasons, I don’t agree with eating meat, I still think it is important – as a rational human being – to learn about the research being conducted that challenges my ethical commitments. Separating value from science is essential (think of all the historical disasters that occurred when the two were conflated, e.g., eugenics movement). In any case, I think it would make the dialogue in the comments sections more fruitful if confounding studies were at the very least acknowledged and not ignored or immediately shot down. This is a site about nutritional and dietary science; it’s NOT a site about the ethics of a plant-based diets (though that would be pretty cool–how about some videos on that?!!!). Therefore, I would welcome a more objective and encompassing treatment of the available scientific literature on diet and nutrition.

    These comments aside, I commend Dr. Greger for an impressive and FREE site. Literally, it’s one of a kind which speaks to the generosity of the community that has grown around this site. I will certainly refer folks as I often give community health and wellness presentations.

    Respectfully,

    Dr. Matt

    • guest

      Dr. Matt: One could be a vegetarian or a vegan but still eat a lousy diet. Potato chips, tortilla chips, French fries, doughnuts, soda, beer, white bread, margarine, fruit punch, jams, onion rings – just to name a few – are all vegan foods but are junk foods. (I wonder how many Twinkie eaters were in the vegetarian cohort.) Cigarettes are technically not a food because they’re inhaled not ingested, but there may be card-carrying vegans who smoke. And what about the vegan couch potatoes? So the true test should be with whole-food plant-based vegans who exercise and don’t smoke.

    • VegGuy

      Hi Dr. Matt. One more piece of the puzzle may be that vegans tend to be low in Vitamin B12 and omega 3 fatty acids. In this older video, Dr. Greger explains how deficiencies of these two important nutrients could help explain the similar all-cause mortality between vegetarians and omnivores. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7KeRwdIH04
      Meat eating vs non-meat eating is really quite vague unless that is the only difference between the subjects. What else were they eating–veggies, fruits, nuts or donuts?

  • Ray Smith

    Just one note: The eighth decade of life is one’s seventies; At age 80, one begins the ninth decade.

  • dr. w.

    with regard to veganism–

    1. please explain why no native people ever found were vegans

    2. please explain why left alone in the wild, a human’s only hope is to

    find animal-based food (watch the television series “naked and afraid,” or the movie “revanent” to get a feel for our real genetic heritage)

    3. please explain why veganism requires, for most people, cooking, which is a

    totally unnatural intrusion to, and destruction of natural food

    thank you,

    dr. w

    • Joe Caner

      Those engaged in a hunting and gathering way of life exploited any and all sources of food available in their surrounding environments. There was no one primitive diet plan. The study of the few remaining modern humans societies living this way accessible to research has shown that in areas abundant in plant life, most of the calories in their diets came from foods of plant origin so it would be more fitting to call them Gathers and Hunters as opposed to Hunters and Gathers.
      There probably were no peoples who subsisted purely on gathering plant material. There were peoples who subsisted on mostly plants which served them well.
      Then agriculture and animal husbandry became the predominant means by which a majority of people made their livings, although, gathering and hunting still contributed to their diets, it decreased in importance. Even then, foods of plant origin were the bulk of most of peoples’ calories.
      Throughout majority of our existence, meat has been relatively costly to either obtain by hunting, or by raising livestock on surplus. With the advent modern industrial agriculture along with state subsidized grain production, this equation was turned upon its head. Meat because relatively cheap. The diet of kings and queens became accessible to common man and women, and along with it, also came its associated diseases of excess. A pharmaceutical industry arose and prospered treating the symptoms of these increasingly widespread chronic diseases enabling those so afflicted to live longer and sicker lives on their new meat rich diets.
      Some of those suffers of the diseases of excess were not satisfied with merely treating symptoms. They wanted to treat the root causes of the disease process, and they discovered that if they eliminated animal products from their diet, that they got well again. Diseases once thought to be a progressive one way ticket to the grave were reversed which caused a stir among those who were open minded enough to give it a try. Researchers looking to verify seemingly outlandish claims of miracle cures studied the phenomenon and published their findings which lead to even more research.
      Which brings us to this website published by a man, enter Dr. Greger, with medical training and interest in the subject reads that research, interprets it and publishes his opinions about what the various research means to a community of people looking to maximize their health by means of dietary intervention.

      We are the new hunters and gathers. We are hunting for good research and we are gathering together in order to share it.

      A WFPB diet may not be natural, but what is natural for a species whose very bodies have changed due to the introduction cooking. Perhaps, it is the next phase of our evolution.

    • 2tsaybow

      An answer to question number one would be that most native people eat whole plant foods with meat playing a minor role because meat comes at a high cost. It is eaten because it is tasty. Once animal products become more available and are consumed at greater amounts, the incidence of diseases of affluence increase.

      Question number two seems to be based your belief that animal products are necessary because you saw this on a television program or in a film. I can only tell you that nutritional science might be a better answer than commercial programs that need to be exciting in order to sell their product(s).
      It might be a good idea for you to read “The China Study” by Dr. Campbell for a more logical conclusion.

      As for question number three, you may also wish to examine what studies are showing today, rather than asking questions about the anthropology of food consumption. We are here now after all. The question is, what is best for ourselves and our planet.

      Is eating a whole food plant based diet more healthy than the Standard American Diet? The answer is yes. Is it the best way to eat for the planet? The answer is yes. Is it the best way for you to eat for you to retain health? The answer is yes.

      I hope that helps, Dr W.

    • Charzie

      1) Veganism is a modern idea based on the best available information from science and critical thinking. Pre-historically, we had no real clue about was was eaten, though new DNA evidence is exposing the fallacies of the “paleo” fad in so many ways. The myth about the infamous hunters is a huge leap just because animal bones were found around settlements. It is highly likely we learned to eat meat by watching true carnivores eat it, and in hunger appropriated the carrion left behind by them, since we are opportunists who will eat anything, even now. (Obviously not necessarily a good thing). Finding bones at prehistoric sites proves nothing because first of all, bones preserve well and vegetation doesn’t, secondly, the first tools found were shards for scraping flesh from bone since, unlike carnivores, we have no native adaptations to do so. Without weapons we are not just pathetic hunters but we can’t even rip flesh from bone to eat it raw, as all carnivores must do. Feeding a bunny cooked meat does NOT make it a carnivore anymore than it does humans. We are herbivores who developed a taste for cooked flesh when food was scarce. Nature only cares that we survive to reproduce, but if we want to outlast that in good health, we need to eat our ideal diet. Since our ancestors were herbivores, it follows so were we, as our
      physiology clearly shows.
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/94656/The-Comparative-Anatomy-of-Eating

      2) I have no clue about television shows or movies, but if you actually want to get a legitimate feel for our true heritage, watch a cat bring down it’s prey and eat it raw, and then you go ahead and try to duplicate it! Having gone camping many times with just the clothes on our backs, and having to solely provide for ourselves, I can assure you that there is plenty to gather, but without weapons, hunting is a pathetic waste of time and essential calories…unless you are into grubs, snails, slugs or carrion. Nature ALWAYS equips it’s creations with all the tools they need to obtain nourishment! Weapons are a construct, not an adaptation. I don’t know any people with sharp pointy snouts, teeth, claws, nor any of the many other physiological adaptations all carnivores and omnivores have. (Though I do know plenty of meatheads!)

      3) Veganism does NOT require cooking, there are many raw foodists if you haven’t noticed. Evolving near the equator where vegetation was always available made cooking unnecessary, but as we migrated into more temperate regions we would have needed to utilize the seasonal storage devices of plants, (tubers, seeds, etc) a fact made evident by our extra copies of amylase, unlike other hominids. Learning to cook them would have opened up a lot of options, and cooking any plant matter in general allowed us to eat a more calorically dense diet over all. The combination of utilizing the storage organs of plants and utilizing fire…the two unique traits or abilities of humans that distinguish us…were very likely the driving evolutionary factor for our supposed big brain and intelligence, and the literal seeds of agriculture and eventual civilization. If eating meat were responsible, as meat eaters love to postulate, than why aren’t lions and tigers and wolves smarter than us?

      While I’m at it, I know someone might also have to ask the ubiquitous…”where do vegans get their protein”, etc? They get it from the same place the animals who have to suffer and die to feed you get theirs…plants. Eating death isn’t good for your life…my health has improved dramatically since I stopped!

    • Tom Goff

      Sorry but your questions are essentially pointless distractions from the important issue for people in developed societies. You may find it helpful to Google the appeal to nature fallacy. You may also want to reflect upon the difference between short term advantages and long term advantages.

      If you are alone in the wild, or live in a subsistence economy, your primary concern is getting enough calories to survive. It would be foolish to ignore any significant source of calories even if they had problematic long term health effects. Eating meat in that context simply makes evolutionary sense. And remember evolution isn’t about helping individual members of species to live long healthy lives.

      Since most people in developed societies, don’t have problems with obtaining enough calories for short term survival, the key issue, for me at least, is what is the healthiest diet for long term health. Dr Greger is attempting to answer this question.

      As for your comments about cooking, I would suggest that you again consider the appeal to nature fallacy and do some research on the matter. You could start here
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/raw-food-diet-myths/

    • Jim Felder

      1. Because people have an aversion to starving and when you live literally hand to mouth, you take advantages of any source of calories that doesn’t make you acutely ill. We don’t live so close to the edge of starvation and so can make more considered choices that optimizes our long term as well as short term health.

      2. Because they are getting paid to conform to a stereotype of the “wild-man”. Also because if you were plunked down in an unfamiliar place you wouldn’t have the deep cultural knowledge of which plants are safe to eat and which are not. With few exceptions animal flesh is not toxic. But if you gave the person a list of safe plants in the area they would be dropped, how to recognize them and where they grow, intelligent people would rather go with a sure thing and find edible plants that can’t run away and leave you hungry. I read an estimate that even today in the wild areas of Tanzania, humanities birthplace, there are 40,000 lbs of edible tubers per square mile. It is very possible that the need to recognize the tops of these tubers and the need to create tools to efficiently dig them out is what started humans down the road to bigger brains. At some point our cognitive abilities became sufficient that we learned to control fire, which allowed us to cook those tubers and so get even more calories and nutrients from them. The large amount of start in these tubers would have been an excellent way to fuel our big glucose hungry brains.

      3. All dietary patterns of modern humans takes advantage of cooking to make more of the nutrients and calories in food available. Cooking is our natural human response to the challenge of getting sufficient calories in a hostile world. There is nothing unnatural about it just because it is unique to humans. The ability to write is also unique to humans, but we don’t worry about whether it is natural or not. It is just part of being human.

      • Thea

        Jim: I hadn’t heard that bit about Tanzania. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mike

    I have kidney disease. In particular, I have high potassium and phosphorous. Won’t a fruit and vegetable diet keep both those high?

    • https://www.facebook.com/DarchiteRD/ Darchite, MSc, R.D.

      Thanks for your question Mike!

      I highly recommend you to read this short summary on kidney disease. However, it is always better to have a registered dietitian or physician monitor your state as the intake of potassium and phosphorus will depend on the stage of kidney disease, whether its acute of chronic.

      Hope this answer helps!

  • Unai Arregui Maestre

    There is a lot of things which i dont agree with. How can be plant food be better protein sources for us than animals (which we have been eating in our whole evolution) There is evidence high protein diets doesnt make kidney disease in healthy people (is good for those with already kidney disease or a problem in the kidneys to reduce protein intake thats true) how can that video say saturated fat is bad for us when is how our body stores most fat, all meat and all saturated fats are not equal. Is not the same to eat a processed mc burguer or a grass fed animal meat. I will keep checking that website and of course contributing with my knowledge which i try to mantein updated with latest scientifical evidence.

    • Guest

      your information is old and outdate. saturated fat from any animal source is toxic to the human body. dr greger has many video explaining the science why.

  • fredddy2

    what diet is good for polycystic kidney disease stage 4 in a 65 yr old male

  • John Axsom

    Would taking high doses of vitamin C ( ascorbic acid ) create a negative acid environment for your kidneys? Also, what about squeezing a lemon into a glass of water for that morning drink that a lot of health conscious people do—-would the acid from the daily use of lemon juice also create an acid environment for the kidneys and thereby cause a decline in function over time?