Doctor's Note

I’ve previously suggested phytates may play a critical role as well (Phytates for the Prevention of Cancer). Resistant starch may be another player, since they cool down their corn porridge, and some of the starch can crystallize and effectively turn into fiber (the same reason why pasta salad and potato salad better feed our gut bacteria than starchy dishes served hot). I touch on it briefly in Bowel Wars: Hydrogen Sulfide vs. Butyrate but I have a lot more on resistant starch coming up. Resistant starch may also help explain Beans and the Second Meal Effect.

Fiber may just be a marker for healthier eating, since it’s found concentrated only in unprocessed plant foods. So the apparent protection afforded by high-fiber diets may derive from whole food plant-based nutrition rather than the fiber itself (so fiber supplements would not be expected to provide the same protection). Here are some videos that found protective associations with higher-fiber diets:

What might be in animal products that can raise cancer risk? Here’s a smattering:

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  • Ellen Lederman

    This isn’t making sense to me. If Africans aren’t now getting much fiber, why is that? If they are still eating mostly plants, what happened to the fiber? Before I watched the video, I just assumed they were eating Westernized junk food, including meat. From this it seems like they still eat plants. Where did the fiber go? And if they are still mostly whole foods plant based, why are they gaining weight? (I understand they are less physically active than what was teh norm years ago, but still…)

    • Julot Julott

      Fries, chips and others are plant foods…unhealthy ones though~

      • Ruth Griffith

        fries and chips chips are processed and fries are fried in the cheapest oil ever fried food is not good for any of us

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Good questions. From the video it seems the native African diets were low in animal product consumption and they had low cholesterol levels. Fiber intake has gone down due to more refined grains being available.

      • Brian Ski

        What is he talking about? Am I mistaken in believing Blacks eat their fare share of fried chicken?

    • b00mer

      From the transcript:

      The modern African diet has a low fiber content as most populations now depend on commercially produced refined cornmeal.

      • Patricia Ross

        Most food-aid programs from the US include large amounts of heavily processed corn meal – relating in part to the subsidies to corn farmers in the midwest. Around the world, you’ll find people who hate corn-meal mush and associate it with poverty.

        Further, the people where I live, the Mende of Sierra Leone, know that Americans prefer white rice. So they think it is better, more healthy, than the whole rice they used to eat. They assume Americans wouldn’t deliberate eat inferior food.

        • Paul Hayward

          A likely assumption, indeed!! And the Americans assumed that the Corporations whose Brands they are loyal to wouldn’t feed them inferior food….. SURPRISE!!

        • sottolaw

          Very little difference between white rice and brown rice in terms of health effects.

    • White flour products?

    • White flour products?

  • Jason

    I also have trouble believing that modern Africans are consuming American levels of fiber (<20 g/day) even if they're eating more refined grain. And even if this were the case, the fact they still have very low rates of colon cancer wouldn't invalidate the fiber hypothesis (increasing fiber consumption by 10 g/day lowers colon cancer risk by 10%) because cancer requires a long gestation–probably decades. It could be that modern Africans will be developing much more colon cancer after decades of eating refined low fiber diets. It is still to early to know for sure. In the meantime, the prudent course is probably to eat plenty of fiber, avoid large quantities of meat and alcohol, and probably get plenty of calcium in your food. It would be nice if Dr. Greger addressed the issue of colonoscopies, and their benefit/harm in colon cancer prevention…though this may be too political an issue for a US doctor to comment on.

    • Wade Patton

      Pam Popper doesn’t shy away from warning against routine tests and screenings, especially mammograms. Find her on Youtube.

      • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

        Not to mention Peter Gøtzsche, Director of The Nordic Cochrane Centre

      • Dori Woodhouse

        As a colon cancer survivor, I feel strongly that colonoscopies save lives.

        • Wade Patton

          Some years ago I ran across research that indicated that users of NSAIDS rarely ever developed any polyps and therefore practically never had lower bowel problems. I liked the idea as a survivor of dairy products (and the sinus issues/headaches resultant in some medical concern and testing-EEG), as well as a migraine bearer. Translation, I’ve consumed lots of NSAIDS. Might be time for me to re-examine the efficacy of such testing–as I push that “magic” age.

    • Thea

      Jason: A poster named “Gary Brown” previously discussed colonoscopies that I thought was so helpful (especially because of the link to Dr. McDougall’s article) that I saved it. Here is the post, and I highly recommend reading the linked article:

      “So I have read some information about colonoscopies. Dr. MCDougal infers that that sigmoidoscope exam is a much safer exam procedure vs most colonoscopiesjob minus the prep, mess, expense, and dangers of a perforated colon and possible issues with Anaesthesia.
      https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2010nl/aug/colon.pdf

      • John

        Thanks for posting that article Thea. Great info!
        John S

      • Which asymptomatic population should get screened, at what age and frequency isn’t yet clear. Original studies showed decrease in mortality via occult blood screening. Subsequent studies showed this benefit to be most likely due to follow up screening by flexible sigmoids most likely due to false positive occult blood screening. The issue of flexible sigmoid vs colonoscopy is still up in the air as well. One reasonable approach is to have a flexible sigmoid done by someone who does them regularly whether that is a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or registered nurse. Initial screen could be done at age 55 to 60 or sooner given other factors such as a family history of colon cancer at early age or specific genetic conditions. If multiple polyps are found on flexible sigmoidoscopy it would seem reasonable to follow up with colonoscopy. The interval for subsequent if any screening is still not well sorted out. There is a need for more research at this point but we are clearly over screening asymptomatic persons resulting in unnecessary costs and suffering. These issues are discussed by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch in his book, Should I be Tested for Cancer? Maybe not and here’s why.

        • Thea

          Don: Thank you very much for your added input here. You paint a slightly different picture than I got from Dr. McDougall’s article. I am slowly working to sort this issue out for myself and your input is a big help at providing some balanced information. Also, thanks for the book tip. I’m adding that book to my (ridiculously long) list of books to read.

      • Jason

        Thanks greatly for that article of McDougall’s, Thea. I was surprised that our odds of getting colon cancer were so low, and it does seem that American medicine is pushing colonoscopies onto the public willy nilly, almost–to use an overworked simile, as the NSA spies on, or at least holds the metadata of all of our phone calls, emails, and other transmittals JUST IN CASE they might come in handy. Well, colonoscopies aren’t cheap,and so sigmoidoscopies or even testing for occult blood in stool samples is probably a much more efficient (and less traumatic) way of determining who might have colon cancer. I wouldn’t undergo the indignity of a standard colonoscopy, so I opted for a ‘virtual’ colonoscopy, which is essentially a CT scan of the entire region. The bowel prep was unpleasant (three days of eating boring fiber-free foods and drinking the noxious milkshake containing radioactive dye). I won’t bother getting the test again, despite the fact my results were a bit inconclusive in the right colon area–which McDougall says is a frequent problem. It is comforting to know that the vast majority of operable or preventable cases occur before this, in the left colon, so a sigmoidoscopy ought to be sufficient. Trouble is finding someone who will do it. In the meantime, choosing a fiber and plant-rich, low meat and alcohol diet, and taking stool samples every year or so ought to be plenty for most of us. There’s a new stool assessment put out by Cologuard that is reported to be pretty accurate–though it does have a high false positive rate, probably leading to many unnecessary colonoscopies.

        • Thea

          Jason: Nice addition to the discussion. I had never heard of a “virtual” colonoscopy. I like that idea. I’m adding it to my list of things to investigate in the future. I’m not at an age where I need one just yet. But it is coming and I want to be able to investigate all my options.

          I keep hoping that the perfect alternative to colonoscopies will come up before I need one. You never know.

    • aribadabar

      Very good points!
      I would add the charts in the video are from ’80s – the average diet of many of the countries listed has since changed significantly and has become more and more Westernized with the increasingly global reach of the fast-food giants as well as the smoking habits have evolved over the last 20-30yrs.
      It would be interesting to compare the charts with some more recent ones.

    • My thoughts exactly, Jason. We’re told that tumours can take decades to develop so i can’t see how ruling out fibre as a preventative measure at this stage is in anyway valid.

  • tbatts666

    Pretty convincing.

    I am sure there are confounding factors. Maybe these western Africans are fasting more (right west Africa is pretty Muslim).

    Thanks for the amazing review dr g!! It does affect how I talk to patients in the clinic!

    • George

      I agree. that there’re confounding factors. According to the video, Americans eat more animal products than Africans, implying that Americans eat more animal fat than Africans. But Americans probably eat more plant-based refined oils (soy oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, etc.) than Africans. And what about the consumption of refined sugar? Who consume more sucrose, Africans or Americans? Also what about the level of physical activity? Do Africans now sit in front of a computer or a TV all day eating deep-fried Twinkies and drinking soda?

  • Jason

    A bit off the topic of colon cancer, but since the first table in Dr. Greger’s presentation here shows Belgium with an extremely high rate of lung cancer and Thailand with a very low rate, and he attributes 90% of lung cancer cases to smoking, I am led to infer that Belgians smoke much more than Thais–which I don’t think is remotely true. In fact, taking air pollution as a whole, I’d wager that Belgium has much less of a problem than Thailand or other countries in SE Asia. So why the tremendous disparity in lung cancer rates? I’m tempted to say diet plays a role, and this should be an obvious claim for Dr. Greger to make, since he stresses the importance of diet. Nevertheless, he doesn’t go there. There is the ‘Japanese Paradox’, which is almost as well known as the French Paradox–that Japanese men–over a third of whom smoke–live on average nearly five years longer than American men–only about one fifth of whom smoke.

    • Thea

      Jason: Good observations. I think there is only so much that can be covered in one video. Dr. Greger does have another video on the “Asain Paradox” though. If you are interested:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/asian-paradox/

    • Darryl

      The mortality data in that chart is from 1986 to 1988, and may be poor. 40% of Thai males, but only 3% of females smoke, and lung cancer incidence in Thailand has risen from 24 to 30 per 100,000 males from 1990 to 2008, and is the leading cancer among Thai males.

      There is a similar paradox of high smoking rates and but lower than expected lung cancer mortality in Japan, where statistics are much better. Cancer progression isn’t just a matter of initiating mutations. and continuing inflammation and growth signalling from diet likely play a role in progression, and there the lower animal product content of East Asian diets may be protective.

      • Jason

        The 2008 statistics for Thai men in Table 1 of your second link show that lung cancer is the second most common cancer among men of the five major cancers assessed (lung, liver, colon, breast, cervix)–evidently, prostate cancer is not that big a problem in Thailand yet. With about 30 cases per 100,000, the lung cancer incidence is much higher than in Dr. Greger’s table linked–which you say was from 1988; that only showed about 6 cases per 100,000. Has lung cancer quintupled in the two decades from 1988 to 2008, or are they simply measuring it more accurately? Be that as it may, the recent incidence of lung cancer among Thai males is still only about half that of American men…and you say that 40% of Thai men smoke. That is about twice the rate of American men (perhaps a bit less than twice). So…twice the smoking incidence, but half the lung cancer incidence. Again, it could be the lag period between exposure to a carcinogen and diagnosis of cancer, but I suspect there are things in the Thai diet which may be protective–or things in the American diet which are harmful as far as lung cancer is concerned. Dr. Greger posted on the protective effects of green tea to help explain the ‘Asian Paradox’, but Thais drink little tea…probably no more than Americans, and certainly less than the British–who have a high lung cancer incidence. True, the British mostly drink black tea, which may not be as protective against lung cancer as green tea drunk by Japanese and Chinese.

        Thanks for the links, Darryl. Interesting.

    • Darryl

      The mortality data in that chart is from 1986 to 1988, and may be poor. 40% of Thai males, but only 3% of females smoke, and lung cancer incidence in Thailand has risen from 24 to 30 per 100,000 males from 1990 to 2008, and is the leading cancer among Thai males.

      There is a similar paradox of high smoking rates and but lower than expected lung cancer mortality in Japan, where statistics are much better. Cancer progression isn’t just a matter of initiating mutations. and continuing inflammation and growth signalling from diet likely play a role in progression, and there the lower animal product content of East Asian diets may be protective.

  • Many researchers believe that resistant starch is the missing detail. Africans eat a cooked and cooled maize porridge throughout the day, as well as lots of beans. Both foods are loaded with resistant starch, a type of insoluble dietary fiber which is fermented in the large intestine, significantly increasing short-chain fatty acids and improving colon health. Average American intake of resistant starch is 5-8 grams/day – far less than the 20+ grams/day recommended by scientists. Hundreds of animal studies are showing that resistant starch decreases risk of colon cancer, but it has yet to be proven in humans. Stephen O’Keefe’s latest study was a diet swap between African Americans in Pittsburgh and South Africans. Read more about that study at http://www.resistantstarch.us/?p=1.

    • Americans don’t get their 5/day fruit and veg. How are they supposed to get any recommended amount of resistant starch when there’s no breakdown of fiber on nutrition facts panels here in the U.S.?

      • The regulations on fiber labeling are moving very slowly. There are a lot of differences between different types of dietary fiber that making generalities is hard and regulations change very slowly in any case. In the meantime, educate yourself and determine if RS’s benefits could help you and then which foods and/or supplements would work. The best listing of the resistant starch content of foods within the US
        was published in 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18155991.

        • Not open access. Besides, your average Jill and Joe can take only so much confusion as it is.

          • Resistant starch breaks many previously held assumptions and it is complicated. That is why I built http://www.resistantstarch.us to help explain it. With over 100 human clinical studies, and funding from many governments and research organizations, it is probably the BEST, mostly unknown ingredient out there. Maybe I’ll build a page explaining food sources soon. I’ve been writing a series of articles explaining the various health benefits in my blog recently.

          • OK – questions answered in a new blog post at http://www.resistantstarch.us/?p=393. A study was also published quantifying resistant starch in the Chinese diet. You can find that article for free at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/44589973_Sources_and_intake_of_resistant_starch_in_the_Chinese_diet

          • Darryl

            A useful compilation of resistant starch values.

          • Interesting compilation, but the list suggests more clarity than it merits. However, http://www.valemaisalimentos.com.br/material/2.pdf is a great reference.

            There is still a lot of confusion and discussion about levels of resistant starch in foods, as the analytical methods have changed over the years. Another analytical method was just proposed to try to correct errors in previous methods. It is actually pretty hard to measure resistant starch in foods, which are complicated matrices. In other words, old data using old methods is near meaningless. It is useful for direction and suggestion, but cannot be used in the way that is posted by freetheanimal. It was the best we could do at the time, but cannot be presented as accurate. Wish the analytical questions would be magically resolved, but we’re not there yet.

          • Darryl

            Thanks. I presume the difficulty is that there are several competing protocols for measuring how digestion resistant starch becomes, and small changes in cooking/cooling/storage can have marked effects on starch retrogradation and annealing. I liked that compilation less because any compilation of values is “correct”, than it incuded some more unusual highly resistant starches (like green plaintain flour and glass noodles) that could be part of more adventurous diets. Glass noodle salads are common in Thai cuisine and I would love try my hand at tortilla making with hi-amylose/waxy maize masa.

          • You are partly correct. Some of it also dates back to the weaknesses in the old fiber methods, which cooked samples to 100 degrees in order to burn off everything that was not tough enough to be fiber (primarily considering non-starch polysaccharides at the time). Those method (AOAC 991.43 and 985.29) and their variations are still being used.

            A dedicated resistant starch method was proposed and some people use it, but it still doesn’t capture all types of resistant starch in ways that are reliable. It seems to overstate some types while under-estimating other types. Some papers use their own, laboratory based methods to estimate RS content and there is no way to tell if those values relate to anything. I trust the Murphy paper the most as I commissioned that work and I know the authors personally – they took every precaution to identify the most accurate data. I believe they’re making progress with refining the analytical methods but we have a long way to go to fully understand RS content in foods (other than it is relatively low).

            As for your more adventurous diets, less processed will always have a greater change of resistant starch content than more processed, but you will not likely be able to get your hands on high amylose or waxy corn unless you have connections to a university research lab, and even then not likely. Those hybrids are proprietary in general and not available to anybody. My advice – eat less processed food of all kinds, but make sure you’re getting fermentable fibers.

      • The regulations on fiber labeling are moving very slowly. There are a lot of differences between different types of dietary fiber that making generalities is hard and regulations change very slowly in any case. In the meantime, educate yourself and determine if RS’s benefits could help you and then which foods and/or supplements would work. The best listing of the resistant starch content of foods within the US
        was published in 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18155991.

    • Americans don’t get their 5/day fruit and veg. How are they supposed to get any recommended amount of resistant starch when there’s no breakdown of fiber on nutrition facts panels here in the U.S.?

    • Justin Miramontes

      Hi Rhonda, love what you’re doing at Resistantstarch.us! Also don’t forget to check out the “Doctor’s Note” section above (right below the video) where Resistant Starch is actually talked about.

      • Thanks for your comments. It is nice to get feedback on the website. Regarding the additional info on “Doctor’s Note”, the O’Keefe study added resistant starch to the African American diet by adding Hi-maize resistant corn starch – which is the same ingredient used in the vast majority of the studies. Nobody seems to talk about this aspect of the study. It is really great to see that he’s planning to do more on resistant starch soon.

        Actually, the published data does not support cooked and cooled pasta as having more RS than cooked pasta – it has the same very low levels. In contrast, several studies shows that cooked and cooled potatoes have more resistant starch than cooked potatoes, although the quantities are still really low. It is far easier to eat resistant starch-fortified pasta, as it is available in every grocery store in the US and Canada (Barilla High Fiber White Pasta). If you’re close to Indiana, Aunt Millie’s uses it in their Healthy Goodness Breads as well.

        • Thanks for all your insights, Rhonda. I’m a bit confused about your comment on RS and what I’ll call leftover pasta (cooked, cooled, then eaten later.) I understand that the degree of retrogradation has to do with how much amylose there is in the starch as compared to amylopectin. http://www.montignac.com/en/the-factors-that-modify-glycemic-indexes/ So noodles that are made from legumes, such as cellophane (mung bean) noodles, would likely have lower glycemic impact if eaten as leftovers as compared to noodles made from wheat, correct? In other words, the amylose content is a more important factor than the RS in causing the starch to reorganize upon cooling. Is that correct?

  • Amanda

    this previous video talks about resistant starch and colon disease
    http://nutritionfacts.org/video/bowel-wars-hydrogen-sulfide-vs-butyrate/

  • Annetha

    I was enjoying a small dish of balela, a Middle Eastern bean salad, when I read this! Family loves it–there’s frequently a huge bowl in fridge. Easier to wean meat-eaters when there’s a yummy option. ;-)

    [My version is adapted from recipe that tries to recreate Trader Joe’s, only I use fewer beans (4 c of each after soaking & cooking) and substitute dry for fresh tomatoes: http://www.thesavory.com/food/recipe-how-make-trader-joes-awesome-balela-salad.html .]

    • Julie

      Mmmm, looks good! I love bean salads in the summer and make one similar to this except I add corn kernels and use fresh basil and oregano instead of mint.

    • Julie

      Mmmm, looks good! I love bean salads in the summer and make one similar to this except I add corn kernels and use fresh basil and oregano instead of mint.

  • Darryl

    A very recent study:
    O’Keefe, SJ et al 2015. Fat, fibre and cancer risk in African Americans and rural Africans

    We performed 2-week food exchanges in subjects from the same populations, where African Americans were fed a high-fibre, low-fat African-style diet and rural Africans a high-fat, low-fibre western-style diet, under close supervision. In comparison with their usual diets, the food changes resulted in remarkable reciprocal changes in mucosal biomarkers of cancer risk and in aspects of the microbiota and metabolome known to affect cancer risk, best illustrated by increased saccharolytic fermentation and butyrogenesis, and suppressed secondary bile acid synthesis in the African Americans.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Thanks, Darryl. Dr. Greger said it’s in his stack for next time! I appreciate you sharing that new study and supplemental information.

    • Hmmm… or should I say “mmm”? I thought most corn is low in amylose. It looks like this putu variant is pretty special. Any idea what other varieties of corn are rich in amylose?

      • The only high amylose hybrids of corn are proprietary. The cornstarch from high amylose corn has been used in the food industry for 30+ years because they help give jelly beans their unique texture. (There is no resistant starch left in jelly beans, but the expansion properties of high amylose cornstarch are valued.) Thus, the high amylose hybrids are proprietary to certain starch manufacturers or have been developed in research laboratories. The resistant starch used in the South African/African American study (and in more than 70 additional clinical trials) was Hi-maize resistant starch from high amylose corn. You can buy it at KingArthurFlour.com or on Amazon. King Arthur calls it Hi-maize natural fiber.

  • sfr53

    I thought Africans ate quite a bit of chicken and chicken eggs. Along with corn (maize) and other root vegetables. Is the lower incidence of colon cancer being based solely on their low consumption of red meat then? Thanks

  • catalinda8

    On the chart showing the rates of colon cancer, Connecticut is at the top of the list. Is Connecticut now a country? Something seems off here.

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Looks like at the bottom of the chart it states Fig. 1 Age-standardized incidence rates for cancers of the colon and rectum in men 34-65 years. Let me know if you want more information for that reference.

      • catalinda8

        So Connecticut has that much more colon cancer than any other place? That’s pretty alarming, considering that’s where I live. Am I misunderstanding the chart?

        • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

          Based on that chart, yes. Keep in mind it was an old study and they only looked at men. I’ll send you it as the whole paper may make more sense.

          • catalinda8

            Thanks!

        • No, not at all. Connecticut just has one of the best cancer registries in the world, and so that’s why researchers use Connecticut data. I would suspect states which have worse diets would have higher rates.

      • catalinda8

        So Connecticut has that much more colon cancer than any other place? That’s pretty alarming, considering that’s where I live. Am I misunderstanding the chart?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Looks like at the bottom of the chart it states Fig. 1 Age-standardized incidence rates for cancers of the colon and rectum in men 34-65 years. Let me know if you want more information for that reference.

  • Delbert Parkinson

    The answer is the trillions of carcinogenic caffeine molecules with its ten pi-bonding electrons that create the large magnetic current fields. Benzene which we know is carcinogenic only has six pi-bonding electrons and we also consume trillions of benzene molecules which add to the high numbers in all of the epidemics diseases. Del.

    • thorn324

      To what question is this the answer? (I’m not contesting what you wrote; I’m simply puzzled as to where what you wrote fits in the ongoing discussion.)

    • thorn324

      To what question is this the answer? (I’m not contesting what you wrote; I’m simply puzzled as to where what you wrote fits in the ongoing discussion.)

  • Rivet Popper

    The difference could also be due to intestinal parasites, which are known to lower cholesterol and change gut pH and protect their host guts. African certainly have more of these than their African American counterparts.

    • Intestinal parasites would not account for the results of O’Keefe’s Diet Swap, as the South Africans would still have parasites with a change in diet (if they had them to start with). When the South Africans stopped eating resistant starch and started eating more meat and fat, their intestinal ecology significantly worsened, while the Pittsburgh African Americans had the opposite effect – significant improvement in their intestinal ecosystem and reduced inflammation. I don’t think that parasites have much to do with it – the microbiota that consume foods entering the large intestine certainly do!

    • Intestinal parasites would not account for the results of O’Keefe’s Diet Swap, as the South Africans would still have parasites with a change in diet (if they had them to start with). When the South Africans stopped eating resistant starch and started eating more meat and fat, their intestinal ecology significantly worsened, while the Pittsburgh African Americans had the opposite effect – significant improvement in their intestinal ecosystem and reduced inflammation. I don’t think that parasites have much to do with it – the microbiota that consume foods entering the large intestine certainly do!

  • I couldnt find the right topic to post this question > I follow a whole-foods plant-based diet. But i keep wondering if this diet really provides superior benefits in every single health aspect (when compared to a common western-diet)? Is this really so? If not, in which health-aspects can a western-diet provide better results when compared to a whole-foods plant-based diet?

    • dogulas

      Western high-fat refined carb diets are better at helping naturally underweight people gain and maintain weight. Which can be helpful to improve female fertility. Underweight women can often stop having periods, or have them infrequently. Normally these naturally underweight women would probably not continue to be able to pass on their genes as effectively. Western diets have reduced the issue however.

      • thanks!

        • dogulas

          Please see Thea’s response to mine.

      • Thea

        dogulas: I like how you tried to come up with something. I wracked my brain and couldn’t come up with anything even though I think it is a good question. I finally decided that the question is akin to asking something like, “What are the benefits of a coke and potato chip diet?” and thus it is reasonable to say, “Nothing.”

        Having said that, I think it is key to point out that your argument would need a lot of emphasis on it’s applicability to underweight women only. It is too easy to read what you wrote (as I did the first three times) and think that you are arguing that WFPB diets tend to make women underweight and thus have fertility problems. I don’t know of any evidence for that. A SAD diet tends to make people fat. That doesn’t mean that WFPB people are underweight. Just weigh less compared to those who are overweight.

        And to the contrary on the topic of fertility, there are doctors who have been able to cure fertility problems by switching people to WFPB diets. One of the bonus sections at the end of the Forks Over Knives DVD talks about this. Also, Dr. Greger has some videos that address fertility where the WFPB diet ends up looking pretty good:
        http://nutritionfacts.org/?s=fertility

        Even when addressing the topic of a woman who for some reason has trouble keeping a normal weight, that person could easily eat high calorie whole plant foods, and I would think would do better health-wise, fertility-wise than maintaining a normal weight with unhealthy high calorie foods.

        So, I would argue that a SAD diet is better than a starvation diet for fertility purposes, but not better than WFPB. Just sharing my thoughts.

        • dogulas

          Thanks Thea! Yeah, my comment was a little bit tongue-in-cheek, or even slightly sarcastic. Notice I didn’t say a western diet makes anyone healthier but if gaining weight is the only goal, the western diet is “better” in that sense. But certainly not best, if, as you mention, the person just uses calorie-dense plant foods instead, to put on the weight.

          I completely agree with you that a whole food plant based diet, and perhaps a low-fat whole food plant based diet (since most people here wouldn’t recommend a diet centered around nuts, avocados, and coconuts (rather than using those foods more like small snacks or condiments), is best for most people.

          But, for example, my friend who eats all the whole grains and beans she cares for, with a handful or two of nuts a day and a couple avocados a week at most, and also unlimited fruits and vegetables, hasn’t regained her period for six months now after going off birth control (she typically consumes 2500 calories per day. Weighs 130 pounds and is 5’11). She has a BMI of 18, and while I think she looks very healthy and not too thin at all, and she feels healthy and vibrant, she just can’t eat enough whole grains and beans to gain weight. Doctors have all told her that she needs to gain weight (“Eat more ice cream, olive oil, anything with more fat in it”), and she knows she can do so with plant foods, but doing so by eating fatty plant foods just doesn’t make sense to her. Still, she’s going to try it for the sake of gaining the weight. To see if her secondary amenorrhea is in fact due to her lower natural weight. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amenorrhoea#Diagnosing_Secondary_Amenorrhea

          I’m not saying anyone needs to eat a western diet. Ever. There are better ways, as you say.

          • Thea

            douglas: *Great* reply. That makes a lot of sense to me. And now I smile to think of a cheeky answer being: to gain weight…

            The story of your friend is interesting. It’s interesting to me that a woman could eat 2500 calories per day and still be underweight. Of course, being underweight can be a serious problem. I hope she is able to find a good solution.

          • dogulas

            Thank you. Yeah it’s a little crazy. It’s always possible that she overestimates the calories, even if it is on cronometer. Either way, she does eat a lot, and says she eats so often that she hardly ever feels hungry at all. So it’s just weird to her that if she supposedly needs to gain weight, she is often feeling plenty full of rice and beans. She is taller than most girls and does exercise moderately about 3-4 times a week, so I’m sure her needs are a little higher than the 1800-2000 calories for most women. Still, a little frustrating for her.

            I hope that in the end the only issue is just that she needs more time than most to recover from hormonal birth control (which is a little bit of an odd thing really — artificially preventing the natural process of ovulation for years on end). And perhaps growing up on a western diet made her body assume that if she isn’t eating loads of ice cream every week she must somehow be starving! Time will tell.

          • Thule

            As I read the symptoms you mentioned I thought about hyperthyroidism, did you friend check for it?

            “Hyperthyroidism may be asymptomatic or present with significant symptoms.”

            […] Weight loss, sometimes significant, may occur despite a good appetite
            (though 10% of people with a hyperactive thyroid experience weight gain[7]),
            vomiting may occur, and, for women, menstrual flow may lighten and
            menstrual periods may occur less often, or with longer cycles than
            usual.[8]

          • dogulas

            We did check for that. Interestingly, while she was on birth control she had a TSH value of 3.9. We checked again about five months later, now two months off birth control, and it was 1.8, with Free T4 in range too. So…maybe she had it for all the years she was on birth control. But no signs now, outward or in the blood, to indicate so. She did have longer than normal periods (5 weeks) years ago before birth control.

          • SeedyCharacter

            Is your friend’s bio family equally thin for height? “Eating fatty plant foods just doesn’t make sense to her”–why not? It seems that if she added some healthy oils to her beans, stir fries, etc. she would gain. Is she avoiding oils for some reason? Could she possibly have orthorexia nervosa? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthorexia_nervosa

          • dogulas

            Yes her siblings are of the same build.

            Eating a lot of fat, even from avocados and nuts and coconut and especially refined oils doesn’t make sense as a requirement for fertility and health because there are many populations in the world that do just wonderfully without them. We can get all the fat we need from whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits. She does have a couple ounces of nuts a day and a couple avocados a week. Even that amount isn’t what you would expect to find in the wild.

            Oils are not health-promoting. And a lot of any kind of fat, including refined oils, causes inflammation and clogs arteries. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_o4YBQPKtQ

            Having said all that, for the sake of gaining weight, she is going to eat those fatty foods and even oils ad libidum now to gain the weight. And go from there.

            Could she have orthorexia nervosa? What, do you eat all the crap you want, to prove you don’t? Anyway, we have found that eating in moderation doesn’t work for us. So it’s all or nothing. We love the food we eat, and we don’t eat nor crave the food we no longer consider to be food. Works for us. Sorry for my snippy comment, thank you for your thoughts.

          • SeedyCharacter

            I think it’s the all-or-nothing thinking and behaviors that may point to orthorexia. Plus the “snippy” reactivity to my question. (I appreciate your apology.)

            BTW, I don’t eat all the crap I want. I recognize there’s huge debate around many issues, including oils, within the nutritional literature. I eat some locally produced olive oil with my veggies and a dash of toasted sesame oil in a few dishes. The improvement in taste helps me consume a lot more veggies. And I can live with the controversy.

          • Veganrunner

            That is an interesting term. What is the term for people who refuse to eat healthy foods? I bet there isn’t one. I have plenty of patients in their 80 and even 90’s and I wouldn’t say they have a good quality of life after eating all the junk you mention. They are on various medications for heart disease, their bodies are failing them and they live in pain. Now if having “orthorexia nervosa” keeps me from aging like the average American I am all in. Yes we are living longer but also sicker lives. You can have my Cisco.

          • SeedyCharacter

            Orthorexia nervosa is considered a form of OCD and is related to anorexia and other eating disorders. There is an inordinate preoccupation with “pure” foods that can come to interfere with “social and occupational functioning.” People die from this illness due to how progressive it is and how extreme it can become. If you are a practitioner seeing patients, it would behoove you to learn about it and be on the lookout for it. Your comment about being “all in” with having orthrexia is worrisome. P.S. I don’t eat Crisco. My 83 year old grandmother did. And I strongly agree with eating healthier to live longer and better–we’re on the same page there.

          • SeedyCharacter

            “What is the term for people who refuse to eat healthy foods?”

            Addicted to the sugar, fat, and salt they see advertised in the media.
            Poor and growing up in food deserts where there were few healthy food options.
            Uneducated and/or confused about what constitutes healthy nutrition.
            So overworked that convenience foods that one can pop in the microwave become standard fare.
            It’s complicated. SAD is very sad, indeed. We’re exporting it all around the globe. African nations are no exception.

          • Veganrunner

            Exactly. So if I decide to get healthy I get labeled but SAD

          • SeedyCharacter

            I get it . . . SAD folks are so much the norm that they’re not pathologized or labeled. Even if they’re on a bunch of meds directly related to SAD, many physicians just won’t connect the dots and use nutritional interventions. (Unless they get a label of compulsive eating, bulimia, etc) But if a person goes vegan there’s a bunch of scrutiny and judgment based on so much ignorance!

            You don’t have to lose sleep about the orthorexia label, however. There’s a big difference between folks like us who are really interested in nutrition and improving our diets and others whose entire focus is on eating their pure foods. Do look at the diagnostic criteria https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.… and I think you’ll agree that these folks are suffering–physically and emotionally–and they need professional intervention. The label does need to exist so that psychotherapists and health practitioners can recognize it, diagnose it and bill insurance for treating it.

            Thanks for this good exchange!

          • SeedyCharacter
    • dogulas

      Western high-fat refined carb diets are better at helping naturally underweight people gain and maintain weight. Which can be helpful to improve female fertility. Underweight women can often stop having periods, or have them infrequently. Normally these naturally underweight women would probably not continue to be able to pass on their genes as effectively. Western diets have reduced the issue however.

    • Common Western diets are more convenient, especially if you were not taught to cook as you were growing up.

    • Thea

      Santiago: I wanted to give this some thought before replying. I think this is an interesting and very good question. Very few things in life are black and white. Usually there are pros and cons to every path, even if a particular path is mostly pros. So, it is reasonable to ask, “What are the cons for a WFPB (whole food plant-based) diet?” or conversely, “Where does a SAD diet shine?”

      I’m no expert, but here’s my take based on the nutrition research I have done the past 5 years: There are some fringe cases/people where a SAD diet might be better than a strict whole food vegan diet, but even then, a person could likely set up their diet to be mostly WFPB and do much better than really following SAD.

      What I mean by fringe cases are people with congenital defects or diseases acquired later on which require the person to eat meat or some form of animal protein. For example, NutritionFacts has a video about a boy who got sick when he became a vegan. Turns out, his body doesn’t make one of the non-essential amino acids. So, the boy either *has* to eat animal protein, or take a pill of that amino acid. (The boy chose the pill.) The second point to make here is that the boy can actually do better/be healthier on a WFPB diet with the pill than he would do with the SAD diet. (It’s just that the SAD diet would beat a vegan WFPB diet in the sense that the vegan diet would kill the boy…) By taking the pill, the boy avoids all the negatives that come with eating animals.

      I know of another example of a great commenter/participant on this site who says that he as a medical condition (I don’t know the details) where he has to have some small amounts of animal products in his diet. I believe him. BUT the key points are: a) he tries to keep the animal products to a minimum, b) other than those required animal products, he doesn’t eat SAD, he eats WFPB, c) this is a fringe case – not an example of how eating even some animal products would benefit humans in the general population.

      Other than those types of fringe cases, I’m not aware of any health benefit from a typical western diet. I think the SAD diet has been shown to be inferior in every way health-wise. Now, if we are not talking about health, but about other issues, then Rhonda is on to something with her answer.

  • I couldnt find the right topic to post this question > I follow a whole-foods plant-based diet. But i keep wondering if this diet really provides superior benefits in every single health aspect (when compared to a common western-diet)? Is this really so? If not, in which health-aspects can a western-diet provide better results when compared to a whole-foods plant-based diet?

  • Matthew Smith

    It sounds like Africa is starving again. When Americans in the Southeast where fed poor diets of pork, cornmeal, and molasses they developed pellagra (a Niacin deficiency) abundantly. The usual cause of death was suicide. Pellagra was characterized by the 4d, dementia, diarrhea, dermatitis, and death. I sure hope those people get some Niacin or fortified grain. I am glad to hear a plant based diet, one without meat, is so protective against colon cancer. Perhaps the Africans got more Vitamin D3 than the Americans did. Did the study compare vitamin D3 levels? They could. Dr. Greger has already shown us that African stool pH is so much lower than American’s, a sign of plant based diets and protection against cancer.

    • Darryl

      Corn has niacin, but it isn’t bioavailable. Wherever corn is the staple, it ideally should be treated with lime, which prehistoric Mesoamericans discovered prevented pelagra. I don’t eat enough corn to worry, but my favorite corn tortillas have only two ingredients, corn & lime.

      • Matthew Smith

        Thank you. That was very informing. One would ask how much niacin is lost from corn in processing.

  • Kim

    As both an African and American, this is an interesting topic. Growing up in Kenya, Ugali (white cornmeal polenta) was and still is a staple. I try to make it here but it doesn’t taste the same. But even back in the 70s and 80s we made it with refined corn flour. Only occasionally did we eat whole corn flour. Still, it’s always eaten with lots of leafy greens. Another staple was whole white corn with beans and potatoes (Githeri) or mashed with pumpkin leaves or other greens (irio/mukimo). Also, no one ever ate or sold brown/whole grain rice. It was always white. I’m a little surprised that fiber is down. It’s true that we ate very little meat and fat. It was either very small pieces in a stew once or twice a week or more significant amounts on a special occasion/holiday. My grandparents were healthy and lived to 85 and 94. My parents are now in their 70s and it’s taken me a long time to realize that I should go back to eating like them.

    Those In the urban areas are getting fatter because of reduced activity (more driving) and more availability of junk and processed food. Same thing happened to me when I came to the US. I’d never struggled with weight before. Now, I’m going back to eating like a Kenyan-more plant foods, less meat and fat, and it seems to be working really well. I’m now back to eating food my grandmother used to make and would recognize. I’m 10 lbs away from my pre-US weight of 125. I’ve only recently ditched meat but I’m struggling to give up dairy and eggs at the moment.

    • Thank you so much for contributing your insights!

      • Kim

        Your website has been very instrumental in helping me not only find my way back to healthy eating but also really understanding how animal products are damaging to our health, so thank you. I’ve been sharing your videos at every chance I get.

  • Belinda

    There is another difference between african americans and africans when looking at colorectal cancer: changes in the gut microbiome over the generations through antibiotics and possibly agricultural methods for example the use of chemicals and maybe gmo’s. There is also probably cultural differences in inflammation which would be the best marker to measure. Inflammation with many variables like stress, microbiome, increasing allergies, disrupted circadian rhythms aswell as meat. There are meat eating cultures with low bowel cancer. It’s very very difficult to isolate meat volume as the cause of colorectal cancer. U need to take the same group of people with generations of low bowel cancer and low meat consumption who live together who do everything else the same and never change there environment and eat the same volume of other foods like vegetables and grains processed or not and then increase the meat of a wide ranging subgroup and watch for changes in bowel cancer rates. Then do the same experiment with another culture with genetic variances and then do it again. Otherwise people we are just drawing very very loose conclusions.

  • Cathie

    https://www.gutsense.org/fibermenace/fm_transcript.html
    You have probably already discussed this in this site, but in the time I have been following the posts I haven’t come across it, so now with this video about benefits of fiber I would like to ask, how come there is an “expert” claiming the dangers of a high fiber diet !!!??? I would like to hear your opinion about his arguments (even some published papers that he shows as “proof” that his theory is true). Thank you!

    • Jason

      I’ll let those who are both more patient and more qualified to debate Monastryrsky’s various assertions here, but I don’t like his tendentious tone–as if only he knows the truth–and some of his conflations. As to the latter, are we talking about natural dietary fiber contained in whole foods or are we talking fiber supplements? I agree that the latter could be a problem. Taking in a lot of fiber suddenly, after previously eating not much fiber, could also be a problem, especially if we don’t hydrate.

      I probably consume on average 80-100 grams of fiber–about three times the recommended daily allowance–and I virtually never suffer from constipation (I average at least two BM’s a day), ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, or the other ailments he warns of here. True, this is merely anecdotal evidence, but I think it is the Western low fiber diet which has been implicated in these maladies–not traditional high fiber plant-based diets. I’ve eaten high fiber foods for more than 40 years. Maybe I’m just ‘lucky’?

      1. Fiber and colon cancer. The best Monastryrsky can come up with is that the Harvard Nurses Study failed to find a significant link between increased fiber and reduced cancer (it certainly didn’t establish a correlation in the other direction: between increased fiber and increased colon cancer). Ditto for the FDA. M claims there are ‘mainstream’ studies which do in fact demonstrate a “connection” between increased fiber and polyps, though he doesn’t feature them as he did the HNS and FDA. I wonder why? Probably because they are also not terribly convincing. If they had been, he would have featured them.

      2. Fiber and breast cancer. M claims that a high fiber diet increases your risk for breast cancer. How? Because along with the fiber, you’ll undoubtedly be eating upwards of 300 grams of digestible carbohydrate. If is certainly both easy and advisable to get much less than ten times as much digestible carbohydrate as dietary fiber; a cup of cooked black beans contains 15 g. of fiber and 40 g. of total carbs. M is assuming that a “high fiber” diet contains plenty of refined carbs, fructose, and sucrose, and hence, leads to diabetes as well as breast cancer. He cites a study on breast cancer in Mexican women which states that “among carbohydrate components, the strongest associations were observed for sucrose and fructose”. It’s more than likely that the food sources highest in fructose and sucrose were artificially sweetened foods (sugar and HFCS), not the naturally occurring fructose and sucrose in, say, fruits, which have been given a clean bill of health in other studies. Anyway, one can simply avoid fruits and choose high fiber plant foods like grains, beans, and vegetables which are not high in fructose or sucrose. Notice how M changed the focus from fiber to other unidentified carbs, which may not even contain much fiber? He says that Americans have a very high incidence of breast cancer. Does he or anybody else really believe these Americans are eating a lot of fiber? In fact Americans don’t get enough fiber, as everyone constantly points out.

      3. Fiber and heart disease. Here M gets really confused here. He asserts that a high fiber-low fat diet increases heart disease, but then allows that it may actually lower HD risk–but only through a “sleight of hand” which lowers cholesterol if it is REALLY low fat…but then, he says this also isn’t any good because it also tends to lower HDL–the good cholesterol–even more than the LDL. He cites somebody I’ve never heard of (Gaby) to rebut the AHA guidelines. So much for authorities and the conventional wisdom. In any event, a high fiber diet needn’t be either low fat or high carb–though I suppose a VERY high fiber diet would tend to be both. I think I get 50-55% of my calories from carbs. M says that getting > 60% is dangerous (at least as regards breast cancer), but the WHO advises anywhere between 55% and 75% carb calories. The USDA advises 45-65%. Clearly, M is bucking another widely held belief. To which I respond, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Monastryrsky provides weak to non-existent evidence.

      I’ll stop at #3. Maybe somebody else will want to tackle the others?

      • Wade Patton

        Thank you for a well-composed response to an “expert” going “against the grain”. I need no further knowledge of anything this “M” fellow says.

        As to the question, ” How come there is an “expert” claiming the dangers of a high fiber diet”?

        The simple answer is to separate himself from the crowd. No one pays much attention to the aligned expert majority. Media and other opportunities to sell oneself seeks out the odd-ball, the “different” one, the novel approach…such that is entirely feasible in our world to make some serious money selling products/services to support any number of cockamamie notions.

        In the case of nutrition, it’s a sad function of the nutritional confusion that pervades our modern societies. Nutritional nonsense can make enough sense to enough people to have financial rewards. Keep this in mind next time some “Expert” comes roaring down the pike with a different take on things. Or look back at the recycling of the “Atkins” sort of thing. http://www.atkinsexposed.org/

        It won’t be long.

        • Jason

          Kate Scott demolished M’s case as regards fiber and breast cancer in the Mexican study, so Monastryrsky seems to be unethical as well as an exaggerator and a blowhard. As you say, he takes advantage of the confusion in nutritional knowledge–as well as some undeniable malpractice in American medicine– to push his outlandish claims. The expert majority is not only not aligned with (as we can see by his deviance from WHO and USDA recommended carb intakes), but is actively maligned. I guess I’d categorize M as a romantic anarchist, who advocates eating more protein and fat from free-grazing animals, high salt and low liquid intakes, and plenty of non-distilled alcohol, as our 18th century forebears did (yes, I read parts of his blog to see where he was coming from). In short, he advocates a diet that would be sustainable for a world with 500 million inhabitants and only affordable for the top 20% of Americans. In this he is not far different from Atkins, Paleo, and the other high meat advocates (who nevertheless aren’t advocating alcohol). I’m waiting for the next pied piper to come along and advocate tobacco (naturally grown, for sure) to add to the high meat, fat, and salt cum alcohol diet. Something for EVERYBODY. At bottom, these false prophets mainly appeal to our vanity and to our appetites,and attempt to free our desires. Hence, they are profitable, as you point out.

          It is sad when Americans average only about 15 grams of fiber that M says we should be wary of exceeding that. In this he strongly diverges from the Paleo advocates, let alone True Paleo–which averaged something like 100 grams of fiber per day. So Monastryrsky seems to be selling the worst of two worlds. At least a ‘good’ Paleo diet–as advocated by Cordain– could contain up to 50 grams of fiber if it truly aimed at getting 50% of calories from fruits and vegetables. Of course we know in practice that it doesn’t, because people tend to load up the meats and animal fats more than the spinach. The whole reason for dietary discipline is to counter the natural tendency to avoid things like fiber, resistant starch, and other things which don’t “taste good”.

    • Jason

      Ironically, I find Monastryrsky’s arguments against colonoscopies rather convincing. Nobody is wrong (or right) about everything. Nevertheless, I find his dogmatic tone irritating.

    • Kate Scott

      Cathie – you need not worry about this guy’s claims. I had a look at one of his claims – he says that it is false that fibre decreases risk of breast cancer (BC). He cites one study in support of this claim and provides a link to the study, so I was able to read it. He says the study found that higher carb intakes were associated with higher BC risk. This much is true. But he omitted some rather key information – the researchers broke the carb category down and they found that the significant association only occurred with sucrose (table sugar), but not with glucose, fructose or lactose. Moreover, and this is the bit that is most relevant to his claim, they found a significant interaction with fibre such the association between sucrose and BC risk was eliminated in women with the highest fibre intake. He forgot to mention that bit! Finally, he made the comment about this study that the findings were “so bad that they canceled the study”.He has just made this up and it is nonesensical – this was a case control (observational) study, not a randomised conrolled trial. So anyone who so badly misrepresents and lies about data is a charlatan and just out to make a buck.

  • Darryl

    I’d never tried polenta (African populations consume local varieties as their staple), as the local version (grits) always seemed liquidy and bland. Today I made a batch (4 c vegetable broth boiled, 1 c coarse yellow corn flour, ½ cup sliced mushrooms, tsp fresh rosemary, covered, microwaved 5 min and stirred (x3)), let it cool all day to maximize the resistant starch. It was great reheated, with and without peri-peri sauce.

  • Lee Fisher

    Interesting video. Seems the fingers are pointing evermore sharply to the human health problems incurred by animal products. In addition to the role of dietary nutrient components (fats, protein, carbs) in analyzing the impact of a food group to our health, it seems that when evaluating the cause and mechanisms of disease (and health), we must now also ask the question of how that food source impacts our intestinal microbiota and their by-products that play a role in human health, no? Based on various reading on our microbiome, including the very good book ‘The Good Gut’ and also several videos here, it seems this interaction may be a missing link in gaining a fuller understanding of cause and correlation? Meat sitting in one’s colon certainly attracts a different set of bacteria than those that enjoy vegetarian meal!

  • Cory Brooks

    How do the Maasi compare with other Africans on colon cancer? From wikipedia, “the Maasai diet consisted of raw meat, raw milk, and raw blood from cattle.” So they should provide a good comparison group.

  • Rebecca Cody

    I’m experiencing a frustrating conundrum. I love the starchy foods like corn, grains, and beans, and have been following a diet close to McDougall’s, which provides delicious and easy recipes. But here’s the problem. From age 12-13 and continuing 40 years I had terrible hay fever for three months every year – spring in California, summer in colder climates. I don’t know how I could have survived without antihistamines back then.

    About 20 years ago I was tested for food allergies, then, to confirm the results, I went on an elimination diet. Every time I ate a starchy food I would have some kind of reaction. The one I remember most clearly was when I added bananas. All I wanted to do was sit on the bed and stare. It was bizarre!

    To my astonishment and delight, that summer I had no hay fever! None! I remained hay fever free for about 20 years, even though I added back small amounts of starchy foods. I thought perhaps I’d had a leaky gut, which had healed without eating much starch, and that made my body more able to handle pollens.

    Then in 2010 I was diagnosed with an aggressive triple negative breast cancer. I went on a vegan all raw diet, juicing, and lots of other therapies, including low dose chemo twice over the next three years, and a mastectomy. Two years ago I shocked at least one oncologist by actually still being alive.

    I never much liked meat, but I had a tough time giving up cheese. I did, though, along with all dairy foods and eggs. I couldn’t stay warm eating only raw foods and my protein levels fell too low, so I ate more beans and other starchy foods. Then a few months ago I starting eating much more starch – beans, corn, organic wheat, etc. And this summer my hay fever is back and making up for those 20 allergy-free years! I’m so bummed. I LOVE the fiber- and resistant starch-containing foods, but I don’t love itchy eyes, sneezing and taking drugs. How can I get the good diet I need without the consequent allergic reactions?

  • Youcef

    1) Animal meat seems to be responsabible for colon cancer
    2) Phytates reduce risk of colon cancer
    3) Iron is absorbtion is heavily reduced by phytates
    4) Iron (heme) is found in high amounts in animal meat and in low amounts in plants (non-heme)
    HYPOTHESIS:
    Could colon cancer be in large part due to an iron overload of the gut?

    • Youcef

      For those interested, the answer is YES, colon cancer is likely in part due to an iron overload as postulated (Source below: truncated list)

      New question: Does iron also play a role in the long list of cancer aspects* that respond well to phytates?
      * See same paper as above for full list.

  • Alo

    Can anyone more knowledgeable than me comment on this article http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/04/04/molbev.msw049.full?sid=c3fde970-db6d-4f76-ab99-aac089cf271f
    Basically says that a DNA “mutation” in mainly plant based cultures (Asians 70% , Africans 52%) caused people to more readily be able to make essential fatty acids from their precursors (Infers humans all ate meat then went plant based and needed a mutation to help them cope with it? I don’t buy that line of reasoning personally). However when these people with this mutation eat western diets high in O6 oils they convert more to inflammatory compounds than those without this mutation leading to higher risk of heart disease and cancer. Which leads to articles like this: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/03/29/long-term-vegetarian-diet-changes-human-dna-raising-risk-of-canc/
    Which seems to me just a beat up. Thoughts?

  • Vegan Vick

    Several family members have a genetic mutation called “Lynch Syndrome” which increases our chances of certain forms of cancer, including colon cancer. I have been vegan for almost 5 years now and would like to think that I am lessening my chances of getting cancer again (I am an 8 year survivor of stage 1 ovarian cancer…also a Lynch cancer). I was very lucky and would like to believe my dietary changes (healthy plant-based), will help protect me from getting cancer again, despite my genetics. Can you please speak to this?

  • JunkFoodVegan

    Nuts and Seeds(Tahini for example) have sturated fats in them,Do they increase our risk for coloncolorectal cancer?

  • Rad Rat Video

    Colon cancer runs in my wife’s family, and so we’ve done our research about it, and now abstain from animal products entirely. But I mentioned this research to a friend, and she made the claim that absolutely doesn’t apply to grass-fed beef. I know this is just an excuse to continue eating meat, but I was wondering if there was any specific research to disprove that claim?