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The Leaky Gut Theory of Why Animal Products Cause Inflammation

A single meal of meats, eggs, and dairy can cause a spike of inflammation within hours that can stiffen one’s arteries. Originally this was thought to be the result of saturated animal fat causing our gut lining to leak bacterial toxins into our blood stream leading to endotoxemia.

July 4, 2012 |
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The anti-inflammatory effect of plant-based diets is more than just about the power of plants, but the avoidance of animal foods. We’ve known for 15 years that a single meal high in animal fat— sausage and egg mcmuffins were used in the original landmark study— can cause a elevation in inflammation within our bodies that peaks at about 4 hours.
 Remember the whole endothelial dysfunction story? Where you can hook people up to a device that can measure the natural dilation of their arteries and blood flow through ultrasound.
 So as you can see here, within hours of eating animal fat, our arteries get paralyzed, we nearly cut their ability to open normally in half. And that's not just happening in our arm, the lining of our whole vascular tree gets inflamed, stiffened, crippled. And just as it starts to calm down 5 or 6 hours later, we may whack with another load of meat, eggs, or dairy for lunch such that most of our lives we’re stuck in this chronic low-grade inflammation danger zone, which may set us up for inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers one meal at a time.
 Does the same thing to our lungs, again, within hours. Inflammation in our airways. A single meal with animal fat causing internal damage not just decades down the road but right then and there, that day.
What exactly is causing the inflammation, though. Well, what is inflammation? It’s an immune response to a perceived threat. What’s the body attacking though? , At first—like in arthritis—scientists thought it might be the animal proteins triggering inflammation, which the body might see as like an invader, whereas the reason plant foods don’t trigger inflammation was thought because the body doesn’t consider plants a threat.
 But you can get that same jolt of inflammation just eating whipped cream, there isn’t a lot of protein in whipped cream, so attention turned to the fat, the saturated animal fat: butterfat, or lard, tallow, chicken fat, but that still doesn’t answer the original question. What is the body attacking? Our immune system doesn’t attack just fat. So they dug deeper, analyzing people’s blood before and after the meal and found something extraordinary. After a meal of animal products, people suffer from endotoxemia, their bloodstream becomes awash with bacterial toxins, known as endotoxins.
OK, well that certainly explains the inflammation. We evolved to be acutely sensitive to bacterial invasion and with this much endotoxin flooding into our system after a meal, our immune system must feel its under assault.
OK, but where is it coming from? Well, the researchers knew endotoxin comes from bacteria, and they figured, hey, where is there bacteria? In our gut. So maybe saturated fat causes our gut lining to become leaky and allow our own bacteria to slip into our blood stream and cause the inflammation. And indeed that’s what they found--in mice; you feed them lard and their guts get leaky. And so for years, the prevailing theory has been that “saturated fats increase the permeability of intestinal lining and contribute to the breakdown of the intestinal barrier.” But is that true in people?
stay tuned

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Serena

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

In the last three videos I relayed the latest on the anti-inflammatory effect of plant-based diets. See Achieving Remission of Crohn's Disease, Fighting Inflammation in a Nut Shell, and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Purple Potatoes. The endothelial dysfunction story I mention in this video is described in The Power of NO and the reference to animal proteins and arthritis is explained in Diet & Rheumatoid Arthritis. Stay tuned for tomorrow's NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day, The Exogenous Endotoxin Theory, and in the meanwhile please feel free to check out the 1,000+ other topics I cover.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: How Does Meat Cause Inflammation?The True Shelf Life of Cooking OilsTop 10 Most Popular Videos of the YearLead Poisoning Risk From Venison, Eating Green to Prevent CancerThe Anti-Wrinkle DietHow Tumors Use Meat to GrowPlant-Based Diets for Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Do Vegans Get More Cavities?

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    In the last three videos I relayed the latest on the anti-inflammatory effect of plant-based diets. See AchievingRemission of Crohn’s Disease, FightingInflammation in a Nut Shell, and Anti-InflammatoryEffects of Purple Potatoes. The endothelial dysfunction story I mentionin this video is described in The Powerof NO and the reference to animal proteins and arthritis is explainedin Diet& Rheumatoid Arthritis. Stay tuned for tomorrow’sNutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day, TheExogenous Endotoxin Theory, and in the meanwhile please feel free tocheck out the 1,000+ othertopics I cover.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Just absolutely FANTASTIC!  

      From the bottom of my heart, Thank You for being such a great teacher!

      Happy Independence Day! 

      Even the Plants are feeling their Independence as they rise above it all  ;-}
      Just see below.

  • Stefan Juhl M.D.

    Great video (again). 100 years ago Professor Pawlov made “Ecks Fistel”. He operated on dogs and he connected vena portae (blod from the gut) directly with vena cava inf. (blod to the heart) thereby bypassing the liver “in the first round”. When the dogs were feed plants nothing happened. When the dogs were feed meat they all died.

    • Marzo C

      Cooked meat.

      Dogs need raw meat.

    • starsss

      whats blod?

      • JacquieRN

        blood

  • Gale

    I can’t tell you how amazing this inflammation series is to me. For the 20 years I have had the autoimmune disease of both ears. After having both eardrums replaced my eardrums again reverted back to the pre-surgery thickened state which makes sound conduction impossible. Went I went back to my doctor 4 years ago and said, “ok replace both eardrums again” he replied that he couldn’t because it will just happen again.

    Frustrated I went home and researched Acquired Atricia, which lead me to autoimmune,and inflammation surfing on Google. After the reading research articles and going to various websites I decided a change in diet was the key. My diet had always been healthy with no processed foods but I dropped dairy, sugar, gluten. So my diet was plant based with meat about 4 times per week. Strictly organic and grass feed. Within 1 ear my doctor replaced my right eardrum and my left 10 months ago. I would estimate I eat meat 1 time per week, if that. When my doctor look at my ears 2 weeks ago he said they look the best they have ever looked. I am thinking 100% plant based is even better for my autoimmune disease! Dr. Greger you are the best! (sorry for the typos my iPad is stupid.)

    • Gale

      Let me clarify that. Fish one time per week. I stopped the free range farmers market chicken after your chicken arthritis videos. But now I am thinking, scaling the animal protein down over the last 4years has been what allowed my doctor to replaced my eardrums one last time! I am thinking vegan for me!

      • Stefan Juhl M.D.

        Dr Greger (and others) document over and over again that eating plant based works anti inflammatory. You have demonstrated it yourself. Do you have a choice?

        • Gale

          No. Absolutely not. I love to hear. But what is surprising to me is how dramatic it’s been. And also I have done this on my own. I absolutely love my doctor/surgeon he has said Gale we don’t know but if you cure it we will name the disease after you. It has been a long journey with natural paths, allergists etc. but diet is definitly the key.

          You know how some doctors will say, “well of course that person got better they changed from eating junk to improving their diet.” I havent eaten junk way before my ear issue. My only change was no gluten, (stomach ache) no sugar, no dairy and much less animal protein.

          I am a Dr. Greger groupie!

          • Stefan Juhl M.D.

            You dont want a disease named  after you – instead I will propose “Gales cure” !!!

            Admirable that you did it on your own.

            By the way: Caldwell B. Esselstyn MD says: Moderation kills!

            No sugar, no dairy, no (less) animal protein is probably a big step from your previous diet (even if it was considered “healthy”) In my view you cant have a healthy diet if you eat any animal products (well once in a while probably doesn`t hurt)

          • Gale

            I am totally in agreement. I have been completely vegan at times and the thought of eating it would make me giggle with at how absurd the thought was. (years ago)

            But now I just know it’s what’s best for me. My friends and family already think I am a bit weird with my food restrictions! One more won’t even make them flinch. :-)

          • Stefan Juhl M.D.

            The minority is always right, so dont mind what your family and friends think or say. You are a living proof.

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.

            Who cares about them–this is about You!!!!
            Freedom!!!  Independence!!!!  Living better forever!!!!

            Keep it up and teach others when they are willing to be taught!.

            “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”  Buddhist proverb.

          • elsie blanche

            Gale, I am wondering how things have been and where you stand with your food-triggers re: ears. Certain gluten grains and small amounts of chicken cause piercing ear pain for me. So strange, bizarre. I really wish I understood better the scientific logic as to why this occurs.

          • http://areyoucleansed.awarenesslife.com/index.cfm?action=home&section=store Sandra Hall

            Elsie, I know that I suffer in different ways when I eat certain things. I was taught to rotate my diet every 4 days when I was extremely ill. I was told to keep a food diary for each meal and then write down the symptoms that occurred after each meal. It is called The Rotation Diet. I made it like a calender and kept it on the refrigerator. I made simple meals so that I could target the foods that caused me problems.

            All my food had to be fresh….nothing from a can or a box or package. If I ate eggs for breakfast on Monday then I could not have eggs for 4 days. I eliminated all dairy as I was told it was a mucous forming product…no cheese…no yogurt…..no creamer for coffee. I started feeling better right away!

            I found out the foods that caused certain symptoms and if I had to have them I ate them maybe one time a month. My body healed and I continue to follow the rotation diet today. Now very few foods bother me.

            Lastly I do juice a couple of times a week now and feel so much energy afterwards.

            The way we eat is a habit. We were taught our eating patterns. Choosing better foods will push out the bad habits and replace them with healthier choices that will help support a healthier immune system.

  • Isleway31

    Appreciate this health update. Keeps me focused on making good food choices. Thank you Dr Greger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000966482115 Michelle Mace Rowe

    I hope these studies lead to a “unified theory” of autoimmune disease – with the goal to “cure” these cruel diseases by finding a way to STOP the attack on our own bodies.  I have not been able to do that with my own autoimmune neuropathy even though I’ve been faithful to a Fuhrman style high nutrient, gluten free diet for four years.  I’m still looking for the key even though I’m surely better off than I would have been with SAD.

    • Rick

      Many people who are intolerant to gluten also can’t handle other grains or legumes.

  • Californiavegan

    Great video! I love research-based nutritional info!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/R23GDOKBBN2LYDFDZHZLN7PXVE DanielM

    The claim I hear is that animal products won’t cause inflammation if people suppliment with probiotics. Any truth to this claim? were these studies taking into account people with good digestive flora when considering inflammation?

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I wonder if this is true of all saturated fats? I eat a lot of coconut and cacao butter – have they tested plant-based saturated fats for the same effect?

    • http://www.DonForresterMD.com/ Don Forrester MD

       The saturated fats a family that varies a bit depending on the number of
      carbon atoms typically either 5,12, 14, 16 or 18. The body handles
      these similarly although studies suggest some differences. What is clear
      that they are all calorically dense foods which contribute to obesity.
      We don’t “need” them… we need to consume omega3 and omega6 unsaturated
      fatty acids. Also saturated fats often travel with other natural (such as cholesterol and animal protein) see…http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-protein-preferable/ and
      unnatural compounds( pcbs, endocrine disrupters, pesticides) see…
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/dioxins-in-the-food-supply/…  which cause
      other problems and are associated with food borne illnesses. I would
      recommend applying the precautionary principle and avoiding. Eating
      whole foods and avoiding foods with labels avoids many problems. Unfortunately it is impossible to test the saturated fats independently since all oils have a mixture of unsaturated oils.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PC63YDKINTTAD6FC4H73IIIOGI Lesley

    Right from the get-go the study is flawed. They used sausage egg McMuffin  and the tested people afterward. Inflammation occurred. But since the flour/wheat based muffin was not separated from the sausage we have no way of definitively knowing weather it was the muffin or the meat that caused the inflammation. Wheat is a known inflammatory. You may as well have told all the participants to wear blue shirts, eat the egg mcmuffin and the tested them. You could just as easily conclude that wearing blue shirts causes arterial inflammation as the sausage did based on the method of this study.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jayquasters Jay Quasters

      I eat a plantbased diet. But I was wondering the exact same thing. 

    • Melissasilvia

      Also the bacon and eggs would have been cooked in polyunsaturated oils, which causes more inflammation in the body than organic saturated fats from grass fed animals. 

    • Mal’Eco

      “nutrition and physical degeneration” by weston a price 1930′s show.

      31 completely isolated peoples around the world had one thing in common.

      NO Tooth decay (less than 1% of combined population)
      No crooked Teeth (aka crowding of the teeth, narrowed jaw line)
      No other Hindrances in Bodily Bones Structures.
      No Difficulties in birthing
      (Women commonly have wider pelvic bone region, Giving birth was super quick, was common for women to gave birth in solitude.)
      Virtually Disease free (Tuberculosis was not present)

      common similarites within these people are….
      high intake Vitamins, Minerals, water soluable and most importantly fat soluble vitamins (fat soluables were 5X to 8x higher than typical intakes of big cities)

      why?
      their Stewardship with the land was much different than commonly found in the many depleting characteristics of agriculture)

      Be United! Be Be United!
      a preview of the book is available in bittorrent form,
      MP3 Audio book is great for my busy lifestyle.

  • StabbyRaccoon

    The notion that dietary fat causes endothelial dysfunction is only a conditional truth, not a necessary one.

    Most people have poor lipid metabolism. Maybe if you don’t have poor lipid metabolism you don’t get lipotoxicity of the endothelium when you eat fat, and the fact that low carbohydrate diets don’t cause endothelial damage supports that because they improve lipid metabolism. http://gazette.jhu.edu/2011/08/01/low-carb-high-fat-diets-add-no-arterial-health-risks-to-obese/

    But say you do have poor lipid metabolism and don’t want to eat low carb or low fat? Are you screwed until you improve your lipid metabolism? Not really, it looks like having enough nitric oxide around to help properly dilate the blood vessels and having high levels of endogenous and exogenous antioxidants totally prevents this phenomenon, rendering it a total moot point.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11165454

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16896723

    Also omega-3 will automatically improve fatty acid oxidation http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20555373 probably by enhancing PPAR activity.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11679024

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12018880

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9388088

    So basically everything prevents lipids from damaging the arteries. If your arteries don`t function properly and can’t respond to changes in the contents of circulation than you may have a problem. I can’t stress enough the notion of context. Some nutrients prevent damage to the body, and some of them do it by helping the body transport other nutrients safely. You always want to go look for things that falsify your hypothesis and show that a nutrient is not harmful under certain circumstances, especially circumstances that we should be obtaining anyway like exercising, eating foods with antioxidants, getting enough nitric oxide precursors, etc.

    As for endotoxemia, it is true that dietary fat can potentially cause leaky gut, and so can glucose (I’m not seeing any suggestions to stop eating whole wheat bread though…) but orange juice doesn’t. Why? The researchers have figures this out, during their digestion macronutrients produce oxidative stress which damages the gut lining, and so orange juice with its high concentration of flavanoids will prevent this and then some. Does that mean switch your fat and bread to orange juice only? Well no, you could have all 3 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20200256 Orange juice, a piece of toast, and eggs for breakfast, without endotoxemia? Gasp!

    You could easily find this paper in the side bar on pubmed where the paper in the video was taken from. Imagine that! It looks like it is desirable to have something rich in antioxidants during a meal, and everyone should be doing this, so it becomes a moot point whether or not glucose of fat will cause leaky gut by themselves. It’s easily preventable, and everyone who has a good diet will be unscathed by glucose and fat. Spices, vegetables, fruits, all of that can be expected to protect the gut lining from normal damage during a meal.

    One tip that I picked up for going to parties where they serve food without antioxidants is to carry some grape seed extract or resveratrol in my pocket http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21289251

    I am glad to have been able to save you all from a fat-less, glucose-without-antioxidant-less existence.

    • DLS

       >>Spices, vegetables, fruits, all of that can be expected to protect the gut lining from normal damage during a meal.<<

      "Expectation" is generally not considered to constitute strong evidence, so I don't put any faith in the above. Spices–I doubt that peppercorns and various other "hot" condiments are gut-friendly, as many people complain of irritation with these spices. Stabby, the natural world is a dangerous neighborhood and many plants contain toxicants, having evolved them as a means of defense against predation. Case-by-case is the way to go, IMO, with particular attention to dose. [black peppercorns contain safrole, a carcinogen at sufficiently high doses]. How friendly are plants? Here's Bruce Ames: http://toxicology.usu.edu/endnote/05012008011.pdf

      • StabbyRaccoon

        Well of course I meant that the ones that could be demonstrated to have high antioxidant activity in the same way that orange juice does, not all of them. I should have been more clear there.

        Also agreed on the fact that plants have toxins. More natural ones than synthetic ones from agriculture. All in all I think that there is little risk to most vegetables, fruits, and spices and much benefit. The notion of toxicity as a major source of disease needs to be pit against the ability of the body to protect itself, detoxify, and such. And some foods with toxins, even some toxins like polyphenols, can be our best friends in that regard. Turmeric has toxins but the net effect on our antioxidant and toxin metabolizing enzymes is very positive.

        But I’m not going to say that all plants that we regard as food are benign, no way.

        • DLS

          Glad to hear it. And it is similarly irrational and unproductive to vilify animal foods, IMO. But that seems to be an important theme here. Too bad.

          • StabbyRaccoon

            Agreed, I’m actually just here because someone posted this on facebook and I was aware of the issue and the whole story, that both glucose and fat produce ROS and leaky gut as they get digested and flavanoids like those in orange juice can prevent it.

            I find that a lot of the supposed problems with “animal foods” are eliminated by eating a whole diet that is healthy in general. There is a synergy in a diet between many foods, and if it looks like we’re not adapted to a particular food it’s not always that simple, we can’t be said to be adapted to a particular food or maladapted to it, but to entire diets.

            And I recognize the nutritional usefulness of “animal foods” and so I always look for a way in which a potential problem with certain ones could be avoided in order to benefit from a more diverse diet.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jayquasters Jay Quasters

      Haha. Awesome. Thanks. :-)

    • Toxins

      What I get from this is that you can eat foods that are apparently harmful, harmful being defined as causing inflammation, as long as you consume antioxidants with that meal. Would you then presume that these high antioxidant meals merely act as a buffer to the inflammation, and that this reduction in inflammation merely reaches a baseline, or close to it. To summarize what I am trying to say, consuming an inflammatory food with a high antioxidant food may buffer the inflammation, but eliminating this highly inflammatory food altogether and consuming only ant-inflammitory foods would be more beneficial in that there is no need to buffer, freeing the antioxidants to ease oxidative stress in other cells. Buffering has already been established when it comes to consuming kale juice and smoking, but I don’t see this as an excuse to smoke as long as you consume Kale juice as well as other high antioxidant foods.

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/smoking-versus-kale-juice/

  • TM

    None of these studies “prove” that the saturated fat is causing this inflammatory response. The products consumed in these studies include meat, dairy, eggs, grains. One of the biggest confounding variables of all the mentioned studies is the fact that they don’t test saturated fat alone. Saponins, protease inhibitors, and lectins are in products such as dairy, grains, and legumes – these are all components proven to permeablize the gut, causing bacterial translocation, leading to those low levels of chronic inflammation. Saturated fat hasn’t been scientifically shown to produce this affect. Further studies testing the fat alone must be conducted before the interpretation that saturated fat causes a leaky can be made.

    • DLS

       Yep, and where are the tests of the many plant sources of sat.fat? And how much sat.fat IS there in chicken breast-meat? Almost none.

      And, for that matter, despite the appeal of the hypothesis, many 100s  of millions of major endotoxin eaters live long, healthy, happy lives, free of apparent inflammatory disease. And weren’t some of the alleged longest-lived human cultures those who guzzled fermented milk products?

      Re a heart attack or stroke, we are far from quantifying or even assigning causality here.

    • DLS

       Good point about saponins—It’d be interesting to see the effects on acute inflammation of eating an oz or two of alfalfa sprouts—they’re loaded with alfalfa saponins.

  • Mattddewar

    I truly do love this site, and frequently recommend it in my work, and appreciate the work Dr. Greger is doing. However, at times I get frustrated with some of the postings. I find the premise of the site – that a vegan diet is superior in every way, for every one – to be a completely unfounded, and potentially dangerous, inference to make as a universal recommendation. There are many sound indigenous diets that incorporate animal products daily.  Yes, for some people vegan diets maximize their biochemical capacities. However, for others (I would argue the majority) they do not. I have seen many folks blood work, mood, and overall vitality improve with the inclusion of HIGH-QUALITY animal products.  I have also seen myriad folks wilt on a vegan diet, and fight it until they again include some animals products and are reanimated–in spirit and blood markers. I don’t believe there is a single panacea diet as each individual must be regarded in terms of their composition, level of activity, goals, and age.  No two people are alike. We cannot trap patients within physicians’ philosophical orientations. 

    This particular posting features articles based on people eating McDonald’s Egg McMuffins and then posits that ALL animal fat triggers inflammation? This is absurd. How is fastfood animal fat, or industrial farmed animal products, necessarily indicative of all animal fat? How can folks simply conflate degree and kind?   For example, grass-fed beef is not the same as McDonald’s beef.  There are shades of ambiguity that a physician must navigate.  If human diet recommendations were so black and white, then we would have never survived as a species as evolution hinges on adaptation. 

    I’m sincerely not trying to be disrespectful, I’m just merely highlighting that medicine and health care require a hermeneutical keenness that frees individual patients from becoming abstracted generalities. Yes it is easier to provide care if you have the “right” answer but that doesn’t necessarily make one a good physician or health advocate. We need to be open to the possibility that because patients are different, they thrive in different ways. This is the foundation of patient-centered care. I digress…

    • Toxins

      The reason Dr. Greger promotes a vegan diet so strongly is because there is an abundance of evidence that animal foods do indeed increase our risk for chronic illnesses and when one is trying to reverse a chronic illness animal foods only hurt, not help the treatment/reversal of this disease. For example, the inclusion of a single serving of meat in a week when trying to treat type 2 diabetes significantly regresses the treatment.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2677007

      In this day and age, healthy populations are increasingly hard to find. The inuits even who have a meat centric diet live on average 10 years less then the average American. The okinawans on the other hand who had almost a totally plant based diet with the inclusion of a small amount of meat have the most centenarians per capita in their population. I am not sure if they have been westernized but this data was taken back from the 1950′s.

      Caloric restriction, the traditional Okinawan diet, and healthy
      aging: the diet of the world’s longest-lived people and its potential
      impact on morbidity and life span.

      TABLE 1. Traditional dietary intake of Okinawans and other Japanese circa 1950

      Total calories 1785
      Total weight (grams) 1262
      Caloric density (calories/gram) 1.4
      Total protein in grams (% total calories) 39 (9)
      Total carbohydrate in grams (% total calories) 382 (85)
      Total fat in grams (% total calories) 12 (6)
      Saturated fatty acid 3.7
      Monounsaturated fatty acid 3.6
      Polyunsaturated fatty acid 4.8
      Total fiber (grams) 23

      Food group Weight in grams (% total calories)

      Grains
      Rice 154 (12)
      Wheat, barley, and other grains 38 (7)
      Nuts, seeds <1 (<1)
      Sugars 3 (<1)
      Oils 3 (2)
      Legumes (e.g., soy and other beans) 71 (6)
      Fish 15 (1)
      Meat (including poultry) 3 (<1)
      Eggs 1 (<1)
      Dairy <1 (<1)

      Vegetables

      Sweet potatoes 849 (69)
      Other potatoes 2 (<1)
      Other vegetables 114 (3)
      Fruit <1 (<1)
      Seaweed 1 (<1)
      Pickled vegetables 0 (0)
      Foods: flavors & alcohol 7 (<1)

      Data derived from analysis of U.S. National Archives, archived food records, 1949 and based on survey of 2279 persons.

      Some points:

      Their diet was 85% carb, and 6% fat. Sweet potatoes (a Japanese
      sweet potato) made up almost 70% of their calories. Nuts were less than
      1% of calories (the equivalent of 1/10 of an ounce a day) Oil was
      less than 2% of calories (which is about 1 tsp a day) and sugars were
      less than 1% of calories (less than a tsp a day)

      The total animal products including fish was less than 4% of
      calories which is less then 70 calories a day. That is the equivalent
      of around 2 oz of animal products or less a day.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17986602

      Furthermore, we understand more and more what specific nutrients in animal foods are harmful and the mechanics behind this. As this mountain of knowledge continues to build , it becomes more clear that a plant based diet is indeed truly superior to any other diet out there.

      • Rick

        Yeah, sweet potatoes made up the bulk of their calories.. NOT GRAINS.

        • Toxins

          Grains have been implicated in only positive health attributes, and most major cultures of the world have a starch, including grains, that they thrive on. You cannot try and argue this philosophically with me, provide some science based evidence for your claims.

  • Piotr

    Great video. 
    Thank you for all the hard work and effort you make to deliver us the best of science about nutrition. I’m huge fan of your work for quite a long time.

    But back to video. Reminds me your previous video titled “Soymilk Suppression?”. I’ve heard that black tea is product of fermentation, so I wonder if it could contains some amount of endotoxin. Due to that if dairy or soy milk is added to tea and is known to block some properties of that tea I wander if that mechanism could be somehow connected with endotoxin.
    Moreover I’m interesting where this endotoxin is actualy absorbed? Would it be in the stomach? And if so, is it especially saturated fat that enhance this absorption, or would it be any kind fo fat? I’m curious if there is any studies that measured andotoxin level after saturated and unsaturated fat cansumption.
    And finally, what about another fermented foods? I know that endotoxin is mainly produced by gram-negative bacteria, so what about vinegar for example?
    Thank you once again and looking forward to your answer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=19223175 Chelsea Nordick

    I have been reading a lot about this Paleo diet (not that I would ever eat meat again), but I do have a couple of questions– Mark Sisson and co have been saying that it isn’t animal products, but grains that are inflammatory.  This (they say) results from wheat trying to protect itself from being eaten and releasing toxins that the body can’t break down.  Is there any truth to this?  Also they are talking about people becoming “fat-adapted” 
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/what-does-it-mean-to-be-fat-adapted-part-2-qa/#ixzz20G2qImsZ

    Does this happen? Is it a good thing?  And does the difference of grass-fed cows make a huge difference and actually lower the chance for heart disease? These are all claims that I have been wondering about.

    • Toxins

      The paleo diet relies heavily on pseudo science. Dr. Greger actually covers this diet in his free e book here with over a thousand references
      http://www.atkinsexposed.org/

      Wheat does indeed have these antinutrients, or so called “toxins” in them. But that’s only half the story, because cooking deactivates these anti-nutrients which include lectins, phytic acid, trypsin and α-amylase inhibitors. This is fairly well established common nutritional knowledge.

      As far as inflammation goes, we have here, strong scientific evidence that endotoxins cause inflammation with laboratory tests to confirm this. We now understand the majority of the mechanics behind it. Again, the paleo diet advocates make assertions without good evidence or half truths. They commonly look at the inuits as their role models or other tribes, such as the maaize, living on a meat centric diet. What they fail to mention is that the Inuits live 10 years less then the average American and that the maaize live on average till about the age of 45. The concept of trying to live like our ancestors is appealing, but these short life expectancies are something i do not idolize. This same logic can be seen with many raw foodists who also use this argument of trying to live like our ancestors.

      • stacy

        I’m not paleo, but i am a health researcher and the concepts of paleo are not pseudo science. Why is it that gut healing diets are all centered around cutting out grains and legumes and eating bone broth, Meats and veggies… And why do the majority of people heal eating this way…? I unfortunately know too many former vegan who are eating a paleo diet bc of poor health that they developed as a vegan. I think it comes down to ur personal biochemistry. And, what’s unhealthy about a natural diet of veg, fruits, nuts, fish, eggs, meats? Everything in moderation, peeps?!

        • Toxins

          The concept of Moderation is killing Americans. On average, Americans are taking in less than 40% of the minimum recommended amounts of Whole Grains, Vegetables, Fruits and Fiber. Yet, at the same time, they are taking in over 230% of the amount of Sat Fat,Added Sugars, Fats, Refined Grains and Sodium.

          So, who can moderate?

          Moderation would do absolutely nothing to improve these numbers.What we do need is a dramatic increase in the amount of fruits, vegetables and whole grains while at the same time a dramatic decrease in the amount of Sat Fat, added sugars, fats, refined grains and sodium.

          Moderation is only an excuse and rationalization which is being fueled by the clever marketing and advertising of the food industry to keep us doing the things we know we shouldn’t be doing and to keep us consuming their products, which in the end, is actually a major contributor to our ill health and early death.

          We are all humans, and I do believe while humans can eat a number of foods, there is indeed an optimal diet, and the evidence strongly points towards a plant based diet, not a diet with lots of fish, eggs and other meat.

          If you can provide evidence for you claims that would be greatly appreciated, as a health researcher I would think you would expect others to go off of true science rather than personal anecdotes about vegans converting to eat a paleolithic diet. Moderation really has little value if it is not defined how much moderation is. 1 egg a day, a week, a month?

          Eggs are considered good sources of lutein and omega 3 and an excellent source of protein. For these reasons, they are considered health foods. Firstly, chickens only have lutein due to the fact that they have a varietized feed, these nutrients are not inherent of eggs. A spoonful of spinach has as much lutein as 9 eggs. We cannot really consider eggs an appropriate source of this nutrient. As for protein, all whole foods are complete sources of protein so this statement to its benefits is insignificant. Energy needs satisfy energy expenditures which is equivalent to protein needs. As long as you eat whole plant foods when your hungry till your full, then your getting enough protein.

          Regarding Omega 3, current levels of omega 3 in eggs are highly inadequate and one must consume around 30 eggs to reach an acceptable level of omega 3 for the day. A male needs around 1.6 grams of omega 3 per day, a female needs around 1.1 grams a day. Omega 3 processes to EPA which is also processed to DHA, which is
          highly anti inflammatory. Omega 6 processes down to arachadonic acid which is highly inflammatory. The fact that eggs are the top source of arachadonic acid nulls and voids benefits received from the omega 3 in the egg itself. High intake of arachadonic acid is linked to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, as well as a clear link with cancer development.

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=20950616uid

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18774339

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21139128

          In fact, David Spence, director of stroke prevention/atherosclerosis research center and one of the worlds leading stroke experts, said that based on the latest research, you can eat all the eggs you want IF your
          dying of a terminal illness. Eggs are not considered health promoting nutritionally speaking.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18400699

          Eggs have been linked with heart failure
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18954578

          As well as type 2 diabetes.
          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628696/?tool=pubmed

          Furthermore, in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, David Spence, David Jenkins (the inventor of the glycemic index) and Jean Davignon (director of atherosclerosis research group) posted a review on eggs claiming that the egg industry has been downplaying the health risks of eggs through misleading advertisements. As soon as you eat one egg, you expose your body to several hours worth of oxidative stress, inflammation of ones arteries, endothelieum impairment (what keeps you blood running smoothly) and increases the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidize (beginning stages of heart disease).

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21076725

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9001684

          The egg industry has claimed that cholesterol from eggs is not important and does not raise cholesterol levels. The fundamental flaw in the study the egg industry has used to make this claim is that they measured FASTING lipid levels at night and not levels through out the day after egg consumption. “Diet is not all about fasting lipids; it is mainly about the three-quarters of the day that we are in the nonfasting state. Fasting lipids can be thought of as a baseline; they show what the endothelium was exposed to for the last few hours of the night.”

          http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989358/?tool=pubmed

          A single egg yolk contains approximately 215 to 275 mg of cholesterol. A safe upper limit can be capped at 200 mg if one is looking to prevent heart disease. One egg far exceeds this daily upper limit.

          Fish is also, by far, the most contaminated animal product one can eat. These contaminants take years to leave the body, so why ingest a steady stream of these pollutants?

          Dr. Greger has gathered much of the research on harms seen with animal product consumption. If you are truly interested in delving further, explore this website.

          • stacy

            I dont have time to argue or post studies.. Ost of these studies that dr G posts are not based on grass fed meats, natural whole foods, or healthy diets…. They are done with processed foods. Thus, u cannot compare

            And why do more people heal their guts and autoimmune issues going paleo vs vegan?

          • Toxins

            The opposite is true, in fact. Those on a meat centric diet tend to have much more severe cases of autoimmune diseases as well as more severe IBS. Where is your evidence?

            there are an abundance of studies showing that a vegan diet can significantly alleviate, if not reverse rheumatoid arthritis. Meat has been implicated in making this disease more aggressive.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11177171

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10479237

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9566667

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1681264

            http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/36/1/64.long

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7986787

            http://rheumatology.oxfordjournals.org/content/40/10/1175.short

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11890437

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11252685

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11156742

            need I go further?

            Regardless of organic vs conventional, there are inherent compounds found in meat, from xenoestrogens in milk, to too much preformed arachidonic acid in eggs and chicken, as well as endotoxins found in all animal foods and a spike in IGF-1 which leads to cancer promotion in all animal foods as well.

            Modern meat compared with wild game still produced an inflammatory response, so we cannot view meat as a healthy food on all fronts.

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20377925

            Whether they be organic or not, these compounds still exist, so again, where is your evidence. Stating that “why do more people heal their guts and autoimmune issues going paleo vs vegan?” is not evidence, as this is simply a statement backed without science.

            If you truly are a nutritional researcher I would think you would hold yourself to a higher standard for evidence.

          • rick

            It’s not the absence of meat, but the presence of more vegetables that causes healing on a “vegan” diet. Add more vegetables to your meat diet and you’ll have the same effect. Comparing a vegan diet with an egg mc muffin (and calling it “meat”) is like comparing a meat diet with soy milk (and calling it a “vegan” diet)

          • Rick

            Despite the government shoving the whole grain food pyramid diet down everyones throat, people still can’t adhere to it. Go tell an indigenous tribe that they’re unhealthy for eating meat. Except.. they all look like olympic athletes or lightweight boxers.

        • Sassafrass

          Hi, do you know if sprouted or even just soaked beans are ok to help heal the gut? thx

      • Rick

        What you failed to mention.. is that the short life expectancy is due to BEING EATEN BY A LION OR TIGER OR POLAR BEAR.. or getting a cut, getting an infection and not having emergency medical care. Falling and breaking their leg.. etc. NOT from diet. Diabetes, heart disease, stroke are nearly unheard of in indigenous tribes. The ones that do survive to old age are still active and have the body composition of an olympic athlete. Have you watched any shows like Beyond Survival with Les Stroud? Do you see any of the old tribesman that are obese? NO because they don’t exist. Do you see them injecting themselves with insulin or talking about their diabetes and strokes? NO because they don’t have those problems. Do you see how they’re ripped and shredded with straight up 8 packs and rippling muscles? You’re telling me that’s unhealthy? It’s interesting that an anthropologist can tell the difference between a western modern skeleton and an old skeleton just by looking at bone density and teeth. Their bones are thicker, their teeth are stronger and have way fewer cavities. Hmm…

        • Toxins

          What tribesman in modern society do you know of, other then the Inuits who live 10 years less then Americans, follow a meat centered diet and that have a lifespan comparable with those of the US.

  • http://twitter.com/garyyuen गरिष्ठ

    I’m not sure. I’m not against meat but am positive that the only healthy meat, and even then in limited quantities, and according to medicinal need, are those with good immunity. That would mean animals caught in the wild, according to season, environment, and their diet, are the only ones edible. For the average person, chinese medicine says animal products should be about 5% of your diet. Seems about right to me but only if one could get ‘em as natural as one could thousands of years ago.

  • Kelly

    I think an important addition to this discussion is the importance of the lymphatic system and it’s primary functions, particularly regarding inflammation in the gut. The video cut short of explaining how the body would prefer to deal with toxins and harmful bacteria from anything we consume.  Sadly, it is still poorly understood, but we do know that it is the primary method of fat absorption from the small intestine.  Furthermore, it is the “platform” for the immune system (most people will have experienced swollen lymph nodes during illness) where innate and adaptive immune responses are generated.  Detoxification is yet another important function, where the absorption of nutrients must (should) first pass through the liver before entering the bloodstream.  Compromising this design with a leaky gut obviously allows toxins and bacteria to enter the bloodstream directly, without a filter, so to speak. 

  • Ununpentium1152000

    Naysayer here. You’ve been warned. First off the study cited in the beginning of the video cuts off the rest of the so called “high-fat meal” just plainly stating that an Egg McMuffin and Sausage McMuffin are part of the meal. I would personally like to see the entirety of the meal composition. Without that knowledge however we’ll just move ahead with what the video showed us. The main culprit according to the theory advocated here is saturated fat causes inflammation and gut permeability. Let’s break this meal down and see if this study points us towards this conclusion. So the meal had 14 grams of saturated fat total. That leaves 36 grams of fat that is either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. So right off the bat most of the fat is coming from polyunsaturates and monounsaturated fats. Not a good start but lets keep on cruising. This coming from snack-girl.com an Egg McMuffin contains: 300 calories, 12 g fat, 30 g carbohydrates, 18 g protein, 2 g fiber, 820 mg sodium. Fair enough. Immediately I notice that there is more than double the amount of carbohydrates in an Egg McMuffin then there are fats. Hmm… What about the Sausage McMuffin? Well this coming from foodfacts.com: 22 g Total Fat, 8 g Saturated. Cool…so 14 g are both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Most of the fat again in this meal so far have been poly’s or mono’s. Good to know. Run on Sentence Warning: Forgetting about the fact that the wheat and soy are some of the most allergenic substances known to man and have been GMO’d beyond all recognition and that both wheat and soy constitute a large amount of both the Egg and Sausage McMuffin, and that the egg was prepared with liquid margarine containing the following ingredients, again taken from snack-girl.com:  liquid soybean oil, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, soy lecithin, mono-and diglycerides, sodium 
    benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), artificial flavor, citric acid, vitamin A palmitate, beta carotene (color), and forgetting that hydrogenated oils aka TRANS FATS are more pro-inflammatory that the fires of Hell, and that processed vegetable oil consumption has increased along with greater incidences of heart disease over the past 50 years, let’s just assume that the voice behind the video is telling the truth when he mind numb-ingly states that SATURATED FAT is the cause of inflammation and leaky gut when most of the meal didn’t even constitute saturated fat but instead polyunsaturated vegetable oil and hydrogenated soybean oil (polyunsaturated oil heated to incredible temperatures so that hydrogen may bond to it increasing shelf life and the temperature at which the oil burns or smokes) and that 450 calories of the entire meal were either carbs or protein. Mostly carbohydrates. Easily digestible, incredibly denatured processed and refined carbohydrates. The kind that breaks down like sugar in the body and spikes insulin production leading to fat storage and an inflammatory response incited thereof. So most of what comprises this meal which the scientists cited in the study and which the narrator used as proof for his theory and disinformation is refined carbs, processed polyunsaturated highly unstable unfit for human consumption vegetable oils, and hydrogenated oils which often get lumped into the saturated fat category when in reality are in a league of their own under Trans Fats. Let me just be frank and speak common sense. The food came from McDonald’s that was used in the study cited in the first part of this video. They, McDonald’s, makes the cost on their end as low as possible and charge the consumer as much as possible to make a profit. Refined carbs and processed vegetable oils are cheap. They add bulk and preserve the product. It really isn’t food in a sense that it nourishes you. It’s crap. Most of it isn’t even saturated animal fat. Most of the food served in that place is refined carbs, sugar, and pro-inflammatory oils. Use your brain. Why would a food that has been nourishing humans for thousands of years (saturated animal fat) all of a sudden be bad for us? Look at human mothers milk. Most of the fats are saturated. Absurdity aptly abbreviates appropriately all abundantly. Moving on, the study cited at around the  2:15 mark stated that whipped cream jolts inflammation. There is a graph with TLR4 in MNC (mononuclear cells) in the vertical section and cream, notice it doesn’t say whipped cream like the narrator said, glucose, OJ, and Water along the horizontal. WTF is TLR4? Well it’s a troll-like receptor. It is part of the immune system. It attaches to microbes or endotoxins. According to the narrator fats cause the bloodstream to be flooded with endotoxins originating from the gut, or so the theory goes. What about the cream? Undoubtedly is was pasteurized and came from cows sitting in their own dung hence the need for pasteurization. Also the diet of the milk cow is corn and soy which makes the cow produce lots of milk. It’s sold by the gallon not by the quantity of nutrients. Cows typically eat grass in a normal setting. Normal cow milk is high in CLAs (conjugated linoleic acids) and Omega-3s. Machine cows produce high Omega-6 milk with traces of pesticides and antibiotics. The cream then being pasteurized, littered with dead microbe bodies, and omega six fatty acids will obviously stimulate an immune response as all cooked food does. Kind of hard to recognize natural things in our bodies when we keep messing with their structure and composition. As for the leaky gut I’m appalled at the stretch that was made. Fat causes the gut to leak? Our gut is made out of fat! Stress, sugar, alcohol, and processed vegetable oil causes our gut to leak not to mention a severe lack of the building blocks of the gut which would help our body patch up the holes! Flora imbalance, antibiotics, NSAIDS (ibuprofen), are factors in leaky gut. Here is the deal. Whoever wrote the script for this video knew it was bogus. So I’m going to talk to the poor innocent souls who believe such lies. Don’t buy into this so quickly. Do your own research. Believe me, there are people who will lie right to your face. They have an agenda and your health and education aren’t part of it. Use common sense. Don’t be a mind controlled robot. Your body needs saturated fats. Your brain requires cholesterol in abundance. The McDonald’s meal doesn’t prove that saturated fats are evil. It just proves that McDonald’s doesn’t have the healthiest food. Anyone with half a brain knows that. This video is pure misinformation persuading you away from the truth so that you may be perpetually under the weather so to speak. Ask yourself this: What did people eat before all of these new diseases started popping up? Why didn’t they get the same diseases? What did they eat and what changed in our diet that made us sick? If you want a wake up call and an end to the BS like the video above check this out: http://vimeo.com/10533993  Sorry about the sloppiness of the writing and the hastiness of the point making and the grittiness of the presentation. It’s late, I’m tired but I can’t let stuff like this go unchallenged. All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. Seriously though folks. Use your brain. Anybody with a microphone and some video editing software can make a video and present all of what they say as the gospel of truth. Doesn’t make it so. It took me one video to see through this whole website. Now I just laugh at their insidious lies and pathetic attempts at brainwashing. You can fool some people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time. Good luck out there. It’s a mad world.

  • Ryan

    Dr. Greger,
    Did this study include fish? Is the endotoxemia effect seen from the injection of fish as well as meat and eggs?

    If this study did not take into account fish injestion, is there any research that does?

    • Drconniend

      No, this study did not include fish. I have not seen any research on fish and endotoxemia.

  • Rob Lemon

    I haven’t considered an egg mcmuffin food for many years. Come on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001163661247 Leslie Purl

    Any dairy will cause me incredible pain after an hour or two. I have cut out ALL dairy, including casein and whey. It takes 100% participation to notice a difference, since any small amount causes me great pain. I have to read food packages carefully, since it seems like so many things contain dairy, like bread products. I have been dairy free for over a year now and would NEVER go back to dairy! My mother has osteoarthritis and has had both hips replaced in the last 2 years. I am 54 and was on the same path according to my doctor before I changed my diet and went dairy free. It has literally changed my life.

  • Bumpy

    I have granuloma annulare. Has any research demonstrated a definite correlation between leaky gut syndrome and this autoimmune affliction?

  • LynnCS

    Thanks, as always, Dr. Greger, for all this great info. I need all the info I can get to stop going back to buying and eating one of my obsessional foods, Jarsberg cheese. Thankfully, it is my last holdout. You have helped me feel icky about it. That’s what I need. The way the animals are raised, all the way to what it does to my arteries to the fat doing it’s damage, everywhere. One of the most important things about your site is that I can go back, watch and read in more detail whatever I need to know to keep me on my chosen healthy way of eating vegan. It helps me so much when I am swayed by outside influences or my own weaknesses to go off into old habits. I want to prefer the healthy way of eating. Thank you so much.

  • Rick

    This doctor needs to turn in his license or have it revoked. A sausage McMuffin is NOT meat. Lets see you repeat your findings with grass fed liver or grass fed ribeye and see what happens…. Not a real doctor at all. Must be in bed with special interests to put out BS like this.

    • Veganrunner

      I always find it so amusing when people blame Dr Greger for studies done by other scientists. He just reports.

    • ShawnSzentmiklosy

      Some people cannot eat meat. Grass fed or otherwise. What do animals eat? Grass. We’re animals what should we eat? Plants.

  • ShawnSzentmiklosy

    True.
    I almost had a heart attack I was headed for it. I had a cardiologist and everything. Decided to live life. Quit my job, ate plant based, did yoga. 10 months later I’m 40 pounds lighter, I can breathe, my chest isn’t tight.
    Vegetables and fruit that’s it! You will feel like another person. I’m happy, my wife is very happy, my kids are happy. The mood swings are gone and my mind is back in a good place.

    • Thea

      Shawn: Great story! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us.

  • Allen

    Dr. Greger, I just found a new study which seems to say that there’s no difference in the way arteries react a diet that is high in saturated fat, mono-saturated fat or carbohydrates. Can you explain this apparent contradiction?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23964054

  • Gross Bro

    It would be nice to get an update from the doctor regarding the flaw in this study.

    The Egg McMuffin was eaten with an English muffin; wheat is a known inflammatory.

    • Toxins

      White flour yes, but whole wheat is antiinflammatory.
      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/70/3/459s.full.pdf

      • Gross Bro

        Egg McMuffins use white flour… so is this study compromised?

        • Toxins

          No, because the mechanism of saturated fat is still understood as a gut transport. White flour does not contain appreciable amounts of saturated fat.

          • Phaedra

            It sounds like you’re saying that the study is proof until someone points out the problem with mixing in confounding variables, and then the study methology doesn’t matter because you just KNOW it’s the fat. If the study can’t prove anything then why even use it as evidence? Campbell found wheat caused more inflammation and disease than meat did and he found no association with animal fat at all. If we know that white flour is VERY inflammatory, then pointing to meat studies that include white flower wouldn’t make any sense if you’re trying to prove that meat causes inflammation.

      • Phaedra

        According to the USDA nutrient database, whole wheat is inflammatory too and most meat is not.

        • Toxins

          The database does not take into account the phytonutrient profile of a food which significantly dictates its inflammatory property. Regardless of what the database says, we have abundant proof that meat is inflammatory, and you can search this site to find more studies to show this. The USDA databse provides useful information of a nutrient profile but does a poor job of dictating if a food is healthy or not. For example, all fruits are listed as being “too high in sugar”, yet we know the fiber provides a slower release and studies do not show fruit consumption linked with disease, but the opposite.

          Dr. Greger summarizes some of this here.

          http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/09/20/why-meat-causes-inflammation/

          • Phaedra

            In this study, overweight subjects were fed a diet that included either refined wheat or whole wheat. (3 bread slices, 2 crisp bread slices, 1 portion muesli, and 1 portion pasta) After 6 weeks there was no difference at all in their insulin sensitivity or inflammatory markers. The whole wheat was just as inflammatory as the refined wheat.

            J. Nutr. June 2007 vol. 137 no. 6 1401-1407

            I’m trying to see what you mean about all fruits being too high in sugar according to the database, but I don’t find that. They give a cup of Apple a glycemic load of 3 which is pretty darn low. I checked papaya too since I’m eating some right now and that was only a 3 as well. Can you reference an example of that too high in sugar warning to help me understand?

          • Toxins

            From the nutrition facts of an apple: “The bad: A large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.
            http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1809/2#ixzz2xHURKyUf

            Whole wheat bread may be a poor example due to its easy digestibility when compared with less easily digested grains (ex. brown rice, wheat berries, oats, quinoa, etc.)
            http://www.healthgrain.org/webfm_send/251

            The insulin spikes are similar with whole wheat flour, as cracked wheat or wheat berries are digested much slower.

          • Phaedra

            Toxins,

            The USDA provides the nutrient data. I do see the quote you shared when I click the link, but that comment is coming from Self Magazine, the host of that particular calculator. And even though the heading reads, “The bad:”, the statement about the bulk of the calories coming from sugar is an accurate one. Above that it also says “The good: This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C”. That seems like a pretty balanced description. They have to treat each food as though it is going to be eaten in isolation unless or until you add something else. I didn’t find anything there that suggested to me that the reader was being advised to avoid eating them. Please let me know if you interpret that differently. 

            You said it is the phytonutrients that make whole wheat anti-inflammatory, and I don’t understand how the phytonutrient content changes when the wheat is ground. It still contains the same fiber and phytonutrients. It wasn’t only flour-based versions that the participants ate, they also ate muesli which is usually a whole grain (as in unground) food. Most cultures that eat a diet high in whole wheat eat it in the form of bread too and I’ve seen other comments of yours suggesting that the high amount of wheat is partly responsible for the health of those cultures in other threads. If you’re claiming that whole wheat is anti-inflammatory, where refined wheat is inflammatory, I see no evidence of that.

            I agree that the insulin spikes are the same whether the wheat is whole or refined, but if diabetes is about inflammation and dietary fat, then the glycemic impact shouldn’t matter because this effect should be reduced if the whole wheat has anti-inflammatory properties. This study didn’t show that at all.

          • Thea

            Phaedra: You wrote, “I don’t understand how the phytonutrient content changes when the wheat
            is ground. It still contains the same fiber and phytonutrients.”

            I once saw a talk from Brenda Davis, RD where she showed nutrition levels for grains going down as the grains were processed more. Flour was the lowest. (Sprouted intact grain was the highest.)

            Rightly or wrongly, I interpreted that to mean that when you process a grain, such as grinding it up into flour, the substance starts to loose its nutrition. Just like say, when you pick a fruit or veggie from the plant, it starts a decline in nutrition that continues over time.

            Just a thought for you.

          • Phaedra

            Good point, Thea. I’ve never heard of Brenda Davis, but I don’t doubt that there are differences in the raw ingredients, especially in the unstable fatty acids. But since you have to cook grain to make it edible, and the cooking reduces many phytonutrients far more than milling, (ie: phytate), I’d be more interested in the nutrient content of the finished foods. I know of lots of people who freshly grind wheat berries when they bake, in the interest of preserving nutrients, but then eat the bread over the course of several days, meaning the grain is still several days past grinding and losing nutrients by the minute. I also know of many who soak and cook up a pot of whole grain on the weekend and then portion it out over the week. I believe I even watched one if Doc Greger’s videos that encouraged this, but I’m not sure. I think that if you consider that leaving grain whole also makes the nutrients less available because the intact cellulose reduces digestibility, it seems like six of one or a half dozen of the other.

            Considering the way most people eat whole grains, I can’t see how whether they are whole or ground makes much if any difference in the phytonutrient content of the cooked and edible form– and if the argument is going to be made that whole wheat is anti-inflammatory, does that refer only to the boiled form? And if so, what is the evidence that it really is anti-inflammatory? I can’t seem to find any data that shows that any form of wheat has an anti-inflammatory effect at all. Most data makes reference to “whole grains(plural)” and doesn’t look at wheat alone.

            If you go to the official “Inflammation Factor” site [http://inflammationfactor.com/look-up-if-ratings/] and put “wheat” into the search feature, the58 entries and the only anti-inflammatory forms are germ and bran, everything else is inflammatory including whole buckwheat (which isn’t technically wheat). There is also an article there that explains that they recently asked NutritionData.com to stop posting IF values because they weren’t using current IF data, suggesting that the ratings found at the official site are based on the most current data available. I think that most evidence shows that wheat is inflammatory, even whole forms. And if that’s the case, feeding someone wheat while trying to prove an inflammatory response from saturated fat makes no sense at all (unless the goal is to implicate saturated fat, and a set-up is being orchestrated).

            The study posted below this (or maybe above depending on how you order the list) by Allen [http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-leaky-gut-theory-of-why-animal-products-cause-inflammation/#comment-1042406846] found no difference at all in vascular function when saturated fat is replaced with monounsaturated fat or carbohydrate. I realize this video was posted before the study was published, but it would be great to see Doc Greger address it. He’s been called out for claiming to share all of the evidence while seeming to ignoring and/or refusing to acknowledge data that doesn’t support the total elimination of animal food. It would go a long way toward proving his critics wrong if he addressed new, contrary evidence when it appears

          • Thea

            Phaedra: All of the people I know who are eating a whole plant food based diet are focusing their diets on intact grains: wheat berries, quinoa, etc. Not lots of breads. Toxins explained why this matters, and I was just answering your question about, “I don’t understand how the phytonutrient content changes when the wheat is ground. It still contains the same fiber and phytonutrients.”

          • Phaedra

            Toxins explained his *theory* but there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that he is correct since the whole kernel form is rated as inflammatory too. I appreciate your point and have considered it. Though my original point remains, if wheat FLOUR isn’t very nutritious and therefore is inflammatory (because its phytonutrients are missing according to Toxins), can you definitively prove that saturated fat is the cause of the inflammation seen in response to feeding a food that gets almost as many calories from the wheat-flour muffin as it does the sausage patty? Why didn’t the researchers simply feed the sausage alone? A skeptical person might ponder whether researchers knew that it wouldn’t cause the inflammatory response they needed to vilify the fat.

            To the best of your knowledge, is there any data on the phyto-nutrient value of grain-based foods after *cooking*, or was all of the data you mentioned collected on the raw ingredients alone?

            I can’t speak to your experience, but considering most veg experts recommend whole grain breads (McDougall, Campbell, Ornish, Esselstyn, Fuhrman- {though he’s not a fan of many starches} and it appears to be generally accepted as a PBWF), it’s hard to imagine that ‘most vegans’ are choosing cooked whole kernel grains over the more convenient and portable whole-grain sandwich, wrap, bagel, flatbread or cracker. Either way, without evidence that the whole grains retain more of their phyto-nutrients than milled grains do after cooking, it’s all just speculation.

          • Thea

            Phaedra: There is one more bit I wanted to correct. You wrote, “He’s been called out for claiming to share all of the evidence…” To the best of my knowledge, Dr. Greger has never claimed to share all of the evidence. Instead, Dr. Greger says that he researches all of the evidence so that “we don’t have to.” Dr. Greger makes it clear that he is sharing what he considers to be the best science, not all of the science. In other words, Dr. Greger looks at it all, and then shares just the relevant bits with us on this site – or at least as much of the relevant bits as he has time and money for.

            You can find a study to prove/say whatever you want. It isn’t in the scope of this site to comment on every study, especially studies that Dr. Greger does not think are relevant or fit the body of evidence. Nor would I consider such a scope desirable. If you are looking for a site where the expert who runs it takes the time and “air space” to review all competing ideas and studies on a nutrition topic, giving an analysis of why certain studies fit the body of evidence and others do not, I’m sure you can find another site which does so. This site has a very clearly defined scope and focus that seems to work for a very large number of people.

            Of course, if you want to continue to get the great information that you can from this site and also post your own studies in order to get some dialog going, that is perfectly fine. Maybe someone will take you up on it.

            Good luck.

  • rick

    Do We have an explanation for the Inuit diet? Apparently almost all fat, meat and fish.

  • ArcanVmXII

    This guy is such a hack.

    • Tommasina

      We encourage active discussions on the website, but we don’t tolerate insults or name-calling. Please consider this next time you post. Thanks!

    • Phaedra

      ArcanVmXII,

      It seems that the rules here look like this- insulting Dr. Greger, a vegan member or a member who expresses wanting to be vegan, is against the rules and WILL get you a warning and may get you kicked out. However, if you yourself are a vegan, Dr. Greger, or someone who expressed wanting to be vegan, insulting those who disagree with you will be allowed to stand.

      Quoting Jeff Bridges in Starman

      Starman [after speeding in front of a large truck]: Okay?

      Jenny Hayden: Okay? Are you crazy? You almost got us killed! You said you watched me, you said you knew the rules!
      Starman: I do know the rules.
      Jenny Hayden: Oh, for your information pal, that was a yellow light back there!
      Starman: I watched you very carefully. Red light, stop; green light, go; yellow light, go very fast.

      Actions outweigh words.

      • JacquieRN

        Hello ArcanVmXII and Phaedra, we actually welcome
        vigorous debate of the science no matter who you are or how you eat. We aim to make NutritionFacts.org a place where people feel comfortable posting without feeling attacked by comments that are inappropriate, like name calling. So please, for everyone’s benefit, help us foster a community of mutual respect, if not then we will need to delete your comments, not because you disagree with the research presented. Thank you in advance, Jacquie

      • Arjan den Hollander.

        Being kicked out of a dutch vegan forum I understand how a person can become hypersensitive toward vegan loathing and smugness.

        Selfproclaimed vegans are mostly their own biggest enemy, by combining these traits with general ignorance they tend to happily destroy their own health and thrive on annoying others along the way to the point people have to walk away.

        This site however is very very different!!!!!
        This site is nutrition and its effects on the body based.
        This allows it to be a gateway site for the average joe to find the info he needs on certain things and get interested in better eating along the way, maybe :)

        Without a doubt one of the most civilized unobtrusive sites I’ve seen. Ever!

        As I pointed out in another post, there is no room for animal rights in societies that do not even tend to their weakest citizens. I think Dr. Greger understands this.

  • Arjan den Hollander.

    Hi Andreea

    When I dropped grains and processed foods(sugars) from my diet to combat ADHD and its comorbidities, my athletes foot, with me for my whole life, cleared for 99% with full closing of the skin. No more redness or broken leaking skin.

    Never had it gone for more then 2 or 3 weeks after a treatment for 25 years, so I still feel its a pretty significant signal.

    No idea where you are showing signs but as this kind of healing goes from inward outward it could have similar effects no matter where it bothers you.

    Hope it helps and good luck!

  • JacquieRN

    Please do let me know. I can’t give you a timeframe but asap.