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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And don’t miss today’s accompanying blog post, “Generic Lipitor is not the answer to our heart disease epidemic.”

    • BPCveg

      This video presents an argument that appears to contradict another video presented on this website.

      Specifically, it is argued in the present video that foods with any quantity of saturated fat should be eliminated from the diet in order to lower the risk of heart disease.

      By that logic we should eliminate nuts and seeds as they contain substantial contributions of saturated fat. In fact, the data to support this is partially presented in one of the tables that you show in this video, where nuts/seeds appear on the list.

      However, in another video ( it is argued that eating nuts halves the risk of heart disease.

      Therefore, these two videos appear to contract each other.

      • Richard Greyson

        Best I can tell, this website frequently presents half-truths to convince you that animal products are absolutely terrible for your health.

        Weird, because every other site seems to indicate cholesterol is relatively harmless…

        • Toxins

          The myth of the cholesterol myth is popular in the low carb blogosphere but does not stand up to the evidence. presents peer reviewed research, not misconstrued opinions from authors trying to sell you their products.

          “Serum cholesterol concentration is clearly increased by added dietary cholesterol but the magnitude of predicted change is modulated by baseline dietary cholesterol. The greatest response is expected when baseline dietary cholesterol is near zero, while little, if any, measurable change would be expected once baseline dietary cholesterol was >400-500 mg/d. People desiring maximal reduction of serum cholesterol by dietary means may have to reduce their dietary cholesterol to minimal level”

          This study looked at 13,148 participants using an ultrasound to measure arterial wall thickness. “In general, wall thickness increased with increasing intake of animal fat, saturated and monounsaturated fat, cholesterol and Keys’ score and decreased with increasing intake of vegetable fat…the association between diet and wall thickness was in the expected direction in all race-sex groups.”

          Participants were put on an oat diet or 2 egg a day diet for 6 weeks. Those that ate eggs did not have their cholesterol raised, while those who ate oats had their cholesterol lowered. Does this mean egg cholesterol does not affect serum cholesterol? No, it just means that baseline cholesterol was already too high to begin with, as the participants started out with an average cholesterol around 200.

          A 2010 follow up study of the one above placed hyperlipedemic subjects (average total cholesterol 240) either on a egg group, sausage and cheese muffin group or egg substitute group. The sausage and cheese group and the egg group did not have a significant change in lipid panel and both had unfavorable results from the brachial artery test. Both the egg group and sausage and cheese group caused endothelial dysfunction, a sign of inflammation. The egg substitute group did not experience this arterial impairment and their cholesterol numbers actually dropped significantly in the 6 weeks. Again, because the cholesterol was already high to begin with for the egg and muffin group, we should not expect much change in the lipid panel.


          Another interesting study took people who were insulin sensitive, insulin resistant, and obese+insulin resistant and put them on different egg feeding groups. The insulin sensitive group had an average total cholesterol of 186, which was much better then the insulin resistant group who had an average total of 209. After 4 eggs per day, the insulin sensitive group had a much bigger increase in serum cholesterol then the insulin resistant group. Not only this, but Apo B increased, the so called small dense ldl particles, the “bad kind” many paleo proponents make note of.

          Again, an old forgotten (but still relevant) study on eggs. Young healthy participants started out with cholesterol numbers averaging 195. They controlled for all macronutrients, keeping carbs, fats and proteins constant. The only thing that changed in the intervention was cholesterol. They added 6 eggs, a copious amount of cholesterol to their diet, after which cholesterol shot up to 253. And yet again, the feared ldl particle count was increased by the eggs.

          Non vegetarian and semi-vegetarians’ biomarkers were taken. The semi-vegeterians had much lower cholesterol starting out (but still not great) then the full omnivorous counterparts. When given dietary cholesterol, their serum cholesterol went up because their baseline was not too high as in other studies. Clearly this evidence along with the ones above show that dietary cholesterol raises serum cholesterol when the baseline is not already high.

          Please see here for more

          • paul

            cholesterol and arterial fat is an inflammation response, LDL is there doing it’s job it did not start the fire it is just trying to put it out. Keys was the idiot scientist that started this whole invalid craze, by hand picking only 7 of the 22 countries studied and the media and pharma ran with it, to make millions off you guested it, Statins. Surgar is the enemy, a state of acidosis in the arteries is the true enemy. Unlike a leg muscle that is worked to hard, your heart, a muscle too, cannot take a break and in an inflammatory environment, acidosis reaks havoc and shear pressures at bifurcation points in the heart create cracks in the endothelium. Ever hear of a spleen attack? Kidney attack? Think about it. Heart disease is related to the autotomic nervous system, PNS and SNS in particular. too much to list here, but the bottom line is do not buy into the cholesterol and blocked artery theory of the ’cause’ of heart disease, it is a byproduct for sure. And the FDA food chain should have grains at the top not the bottom, and high quality fats at the bottom. Like medicine, even there pyramid is ‘upside down’…

          • MrGodofcar

            The cholesterol in eggs does not raise the “bad” cholesterol in the blood. It raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and eggs actually improve the blood lipid profile.

            The studies show that egg consumption is not associated with heart disease. Whole eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet.


            Rong Y, et al. Egg consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. British Medical Journal, 2013.

            Fernandez ML. Dietary cholesterol provided by eggs and plasma lipoproteins in healthy populations. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 2006.

            Blesso CN, et al. Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome. Metabolism, 2013.

          • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator


            This is false, eggs raise LDL as well as HDL, but HDL disproportionately lower

            In addition, the studies I cited used egg cholesterol, LDL did indeed increase. If one’s cholesterol is high, then dietary cholesterol will have limited to no impact on total cholesterol.

            “Serum cholesterol concentration is clearly increased by added dietary cholesterol but the magnitude of predicted change is modulated by baseline dietary cholesterol. The greatest response is expected when baseline dietary cholesterol is near zero, while little, if any, measurable change would be expected once baseline dietary cholesterol was >400-500 mg/d. People desiring maximal reduction of serum cholesterol by dietary means may have to reduce their dietary cholesterol to minimal level”


            Lastly, the citations you shared are cherry picked and do not represent the scientific consensus. To make it easier to see this and why, please view the videos below and view the sources cited section.


    • rickkartes

      A sign, I read today at the YMCA, states “The body makes approximately 75% of cholesterol, and the other 25% comes from animal products that we eat.” The subject of the sign is “Don’t be confused by cholesterol!” The source is “Aegis”. Don’t know who that is. My sense is that they are trying to minimize the the perceived affect of eating animal products on cholesterol. Is there more to the story of cholesterol. If the response I get significantly refutes the quote, I will take that information to the YMCA.

      • Megann19

        Hello Rick and thanks for your question. I would actually agree with your assessment. That statement seems to make the assumption that everyone eats animal products, and does not make a lot of sense as it is. Cholesterol is made intrinsically (by our own bodies) and is a substance that we need for various biological functions. However, we make all that we need, and do not need any at all from external sources (the food that we eat). If a person has a low cholesterol, and they are not on any cholesterol-lowering medications, it could indicate a serious illness or a state of overall malnutrition (or both), yet it has nothing to do with cholesterol in foods.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, the body makes most of your cholesterol, but from what I understand, the amount it makes is dependent on your glucose levels or sugar intake because of the biological/chemical mechanism by which it is made. Someone at the Cleveland Clinic either works on this or has been interviewed about it.

    • Jan P.

      Hi Dr. Greg. What about the saturated fat and heart disease link? I’ve read that not all LDLs are bad. According to these sources sugar increases arterial plaque-causing LDL while saturated fat increases benign LDL. Since the lab equipment needed to distinguish between the two is so expensive most experiments have merely shown that overall LDL is correlated with heart disease, leaving us with the question: which specific LDLs are responsible and what causes those specific LDLs to increase?

    • Paul

      I hope this doctor has learned a few things since the post… saturated fats, assuming from grass fed animals and organic in nature, are ‘extremely healthy’… saturated fat has been duped by the establishment, just like Statin drugs. Don’t trust doctors, get the facts yourself.

  • MacSmiley

    OK. so this video does not appear on your YouTube homepage, yet the previous Lipitor with your fries video *does*. What’s the diff?

  • Mike Quinoa

    Having a bit of time on my hands (obviously), I’ve found some links to Dr. Gregers’ mysterious lists/pie chart:

    Major sources of transfats…

    Top food sources of cholesterol-raising fat…

    Top food sources of cholesterol…

  • psiscobr

    Dr Greger are you familiar with the book Nutrition and physical degeneration by Weston Price? Please let me know your thoughts. That book convinced me that animal fat was actually good and necessary. My Great grandparents living in Brazil lived to be 115 and 102 and they all ate meat, eggs, raw milk from their farm, they never visited a doctor. So I thought to myself, well Weston Price must be right and now I run into all of this contrary research…
    please help me

    • DrDons

      Weston Price’s research now many decades old had good intentions. I think the studies have since shown that animal fat is detrimental to health. Can we eat it? Of course. Have alot of folks eaten animal fat and lived to be 100 certainly. However many of those who lived to 100 were never exposed in their early years to the processed food that makes up the standard american diet nor did they consume the quantities they do today. Additionally chemicals have been added to the food chain mainly since world war 2 see: So I would recommend avoiding all animal fats which are unhealthy and contain many harmful chemicals.

      • Frasier

        Processed food and chemicals found in the standard American diet do not mean that all animal fats are bad. Organic, grass-fed animal fat is one of the healthiest things you can eat, whether you look at “decades old” WP or the most current research.

        • barbarabrussels

          Hi Frasier, I’ve been curious about this. Could you show me some of the current research that organic grass-fed animal fat is ‘super healthy’ as you seem to have found more than I have. I’ve been scouring the medical journals, but could not find a single one…

          • Blaice

            Three years later, and still no support for such a bold claim as “Organic, grass-fed animal fat is one of the healthiest things you can eat.” It does make me laugh when you see someone in such overwhelming denial though. Claiming such an outrageous thing with zero links or citations to credible research haha.

          • Natron

            Blaice, there is no reason for you to act like disrespectful presidential candidate if your goal is learning.

            Grass fed animals are high in Omega 3 fatty acids, which you know are healthy if you took the time to read this same website that you post on:

            Not all sources of Omega 3 are equally healthy, but the limits of flax seeds (which I eat regularly because they are high in fiber, not for Omege 3 fatty acids) is that they are made of a less ideal form of Omega 3 called ALA. Our brains and bodies need EPA and DHA to function properly.

            Animals convert ALA to EPA and DHA. And like other animals, our bodies also convert ALA to EPA and DHA, but in smaller amounts, and not in the levels we need. By eating specific animals that eat ALA, we get the benefits of high levels of EPA and DHA.

            That’s not the entire story, but I’m not going to write a book here. It’s enough to answer your question and get you started.

          • Blaice

            Nice citations.

          • Blaice

            Btw, I don’t think the mention of ALA was ever made. Also, you seem act very educated, however, the information you “provided” is merely common knowledge. You DO NOT know how effeciently ALA is converted to epa and dha, because the research is not strenuous enough to be dictated conclusively yet. In addition, you also can not make a claim as bold as “Our brains and bodies need EPA and DHA to function properly. By eating specific animals that eat ALA, we get the benefits of high levels of EPA and DHA.”…. To function properly? Really? Maybe that is because we create all the we need via the fats that we are given. You make pretty brash assumption, that of the original poster, who gets his advice from Weston Price Foundation… Which clearly get no financial support from the industry they tote, right?

    • Paul

      Your grandparents are eating properly! And it is probably organic and not GMO foods sprayed with Glyphosate that most all people fail to realize is in every meal if you are not 100% organic with not only fruits and veggies, but with grass fed dairy and meat as well. Cholesterol is ‘the most important product’ your body produces and is with out a doubt the problem in the USA and why so many people have dementia, Alzheimers’ and Autism, the young persons version of Alzheimer. Non-fat diet is a joke and killing us, I eat like your grandparents, organic whole milk and butter, though not a lot, and it is “UNPASTURIZED”. You and your family keep doing what your grandparents did, and if you live here just make sure anything in your mouth is organic… you will be head and shoulders ahead of 99% of the doctors and nutritionist out there :)

  • Vallis

    Dr. Greger, so this video seems to be saying to eat plant based only and no processed food and 0 trans fats. This is very radical talk and go against the whole food set up currently surrounding me and us all. If there were people eating healthy , would they not stand out as being clearly superior physically to others and be a vivid display of the benefit of not eating animal and processed food? Why do vegans often look so pasty pale and meek and lacking in vitality? I would say that the appearance of vegans has been an obstacle for myself switching over easily and sooner. Also the growing obese population has also been a vivid display for me looking to make sure I don’t go down THAT path either.

    • Thea

      Vallis: Hi again. I happened to be skimming comments and came across this other comment by you. I really liked your comment because you pose some honest questions. If you aren’t tired of me yet, I have some thoughts for you.

      re: “Why do vegans often look so pasty pale and meek and lacking in vitality?”
      Whether or not someone looks attractive is of course subjective. But my first reaction to your comment was, “Gosh, who does she/he know? That’s not my experience *at all*.” Have you watched the documentary “Forks Over Knives”? It is available on Netflicks, many libraries and you can purchase it from Amazon. I *HIGHLY* recommend this documentary. I think it will answer a lot of your questions and it is spell-binding. Anyway, this movie has real-life people examples in addition to information on scientific studies. This movie shows vegan body builders and firemen and triathlon people and marathon runners. They all looked great to me.

      Also, you might consider some day signing up for Dr. Bernard’s 21 day KickStart program. Each day you will get an e-mail to a webpage. The webpage not only has meal plans and recipes, but it has inspirational words and tips from vegan: body builders, actors/actresses, athletes, doctors, and professional models. Maybe the “face of vegan” would change for you after seeing all these real-life examples of vegans.

      • Thea, thanks for this responses. I hear it all the time: “I know X amount of vegans and they look skinny and unhealthy”.

        I always wonder how some meat eaters know so many more vegans ( less than 1% of US) than I.

        Anyone on any diet can look or be unhealthy, and yes it’s definitely subjective… to a certain extent. I know a lot of meat eaters who are obese and they look unhealthy. I’m not sure that’s very subjective though.

        • Thea

          Thanks for feedback Tan!

          Also, I can testify from personal experience that not all vegans are skinny. :-(

          • I know some vegetarians that are obese. We all have to find our way somehow. :)

          • HemoDynamic, M.D.

            I know some Vegans that are morbidly obese.  I’ve seen them at Dr. McDougalls!  Remember Oil is Vegan!-}  YUM!!

          • Natural Health Cafe

            I belong to a vegan group in my area and I can verify that all vegans come in different shapes and sizes. I would like to share that a newer member that I met a few months ago lost her husband a little over a year ago after he recovered from a heart attack and surgery, then succumbed to cancer and died a couple years later. It shook her up and she had a nursing background and knew their coach potato lifestyle was not a good one. So after much research and reading of the China Study, McDougall Program, Engine 2, Forks over Knives, and Neil Barnard’s PCRM she went vegan, lost 70 pounds over this past year and looks and feels great in her mid 50’s. So yes, people that eat a whole foods plant-based diet can slim down and look and feel great. We have been hiking together this month and she is in great shape and planning to do some backpacking.
            I just interviewed an Registered Dietician this past week and she is a competitive marathoner and triathlete. Talk about a healthy looking, thin and strong looking lady. They motivate me to get stronger, so I am off to the gym. Best to you! :)

          • Craig Holman

            Vegans may be skinny. That is a possibility. But looking at the normal anyone with a BMI of 23 would look skinny. A comment about ‘vegan’. I occasionally teach about some of this. If you ever saw the movie “The Jerk” the main character, Steve Martiin, has a favorite meal of Tab, Twinkies and a tuna fish on white bread (SAD), I suggest we switch that to vegetarian of Tab, Twinkies and a cheese sandwich and ask if that is healthy. I then suggest we go to a vegan meal with a Tab, Twinkies, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and ask if that is healthy. Finally I suggest we go to an iced green tea (I like Chai) an apple, and a veggie wrap with hummus. Is that healthy? Probably depending on the hummus. I do not call myself vegan as there are too many that might be vegan do not live a healthy lifestyle including diet. I like the word Whole Food Plant Based as it defines what we eat and opposed to what we don’t eat. I would also comment about vegans and their appearance in term of being athletic. Some of the strongest most athletic people in the world are vegan, Carl Lewis, the great Olympian, is only one of many examples. Eat WFPB.

        • omnimatty

          I have been vegan for 2 years now, and have yet to meet a vegan :)

          • barbarabrussels

            I haven’t met any vegans either, maybe next time someone looks unhealthy I’ll ask them if they’re vegan, not.

          • Kevin Talmadge

            go to VEGAN FRIEND ME on FB…tons of awesome and healthy vegans to share info with

      • Anthony

        Yeah I agree. I’ve met an enormous amount of vegetarians, vegans and raw foodists in my time and I only recall one guy looking “pale and pasty” and I’d say that’s his European (possibly German) ancestry not his diet.

    • Thea

      Vallis: This is part 2 of my reply to you.

      You also wrote: “If there were people eating healthy , would they not stand out as being clearly superior physically to others and be a vivid display of the benefit of not eating animal and processed food?”

      I think those are valid points/questions. And the answer is : Yes. And Yes They Do! If you watch more videos on this website, you will see that people eating a primarily whole plant food diet that is supplemented with a vitamin B12 (and maybe vitamin D), *absolutely* do have superior health compared to the rest of humanity. Such people are far less likely to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc, etc, etc. The areas of health abound. There are no guarantees in life, but if you wanted to maximize your potential for a long healthy life, you would be doing yourself a favor by eating a whole plant foods diet. This isn’t my opinion. This is what the science says.

      Don’t take my word for it. Watch more videos on this website. You might also consider watching the Forks Over Knives documentary that I mentioned in my previous post.

      • skkibunni

        They have to take supplements to be superior heathly on a whole plant food diet? I will stick to my occasional meat,eggs, dairy and skip the vitamins, and still remain of superior health to others, including your vegans. Also, don’t you think they are purposely picking the supplementing vegans, who are crazy active, fit and are at the peak of health for the videos/documentary? If you took a random sample of vegans from around the country, they would definitely not look like the people in the video. Last, I don’t see how being vegan is more healthy as I am the picture of a ridiculously healthy 31 yr old female and my doc brags about my bloodwork results every year and I am no vegan.

        • Kevin Talmadge

          Vegans do not require any supplements, any more than non vegans…animals don’t make b12 even, they get it from the fermentation of certain bacteria, and we can too…from just food…other than that, the latest science is clear on how a plants-only diet is healthier across the board, for everyone…

          • Charles Peden

            Vegans should take B12. Vegan food does not contain B12 (unless it is fortified). B12 deficiency can cause irreversible damage and is not something to risk based on mistaken reasoning. has useful information on the topic based on science.

        • Nick Presidente

          Have you used your own logic on meat eating populations? Look at your average meat eater and they are obese now.
          If you eat occasional meat/diary/eggs you will become B12 defiicient, you need to eat it 2x a day, which isn’t occassional. B12 Deficiency is very common in general population.

        • Han

          The reason meat contains b12 is because those poor animals have to be supplemented to remain alive. We’re animals, just like them and we don’t make it either. b12 can be obtained from a healthy soil, in other words live outside in nature and walk on bare feet and eat the stuff that grows there.

          I rather take a supplement than give an animal a supplement and use it as an excuse to eat the animal.

    • Thea

      Vallis: This is part 3 of my reply to you.

      You wrote: “This is very radical talk…”

      I can see why you would think that. It is certainly different from the Standard American Diet (SAD – how very sad). And I know that there are a lot of people who are still not educated about nutrition. But that doesn’t mean that this diet is “radical”.

      Yahoo just came out with an article that talks about vegan diets being mainstreamed. In addition, people highly educated in nutrition science have been advocating (and living) this diet for many years.

      A co-worker of mine (who is a social worker now) mentioned that he learned about a lot of this stuff when he went to school 30 years ago. As Dr. Gregor says in the introduction one of his DVD’s, the big picture, the scientific recommendations/body of information on good nutrition has largely been unchanged for decades.

      Yes, there is a LOT of conflicting information out there on nutrition. This makes it very confusing for mere mortals like you and me to know what to do. In the end, all you can do is research to the best of your ability, and then do what you think is right. That is the journey I have taken over the last couple of years, and I am so very glad I took the time to educate myself.

      Good for you for trying to educate yourself. I wish you all the luck.

    • mbglife

      A diet has to be healthy. I could eat deep fried soy-cheese on white bread sandwiches all day. It would high in calories and very low in nutrients. But if you want to see real examples of what people could look like on a strict vegan diet, check out some of the Firehouse Diet and Engine 2 Diet books. When you see photos of those robust, muscular firemen who are eating a nutrient-dense vegan diet, you’ll get the picture.

      I went vegan decades ago after reading a Pritikin diet book. I was ready because at meals I would wonder if the animal on the plate had cancer or was full or hormones. Sometimes it even made me gag. At first, I still ate a lot of junk food, but I eventually learned. Those changes were the best things I have ever done for myself and might have saved my life.
      Wish you the best of health.


      • Natron

        Eating white bread all day would be a strict vegan diet. Which is why just going strict vegan doesn’t make a person any healthier. What you really mean is the right specific type of vegan diet can be healthy.

    • Kevin Talmadge

      At one point, those who worked to abolish human slavery were thought radical, and it is the same today with those of us who work to abolish animal slavery…such is the way of history…

    • SDn8tv

      Why do vegan often look pasty and pale? Have you looked around at your fellow Americans? They are pudgy and red faced. Just google vegan athletes.

    • paul

      Don’t listen to that Non-sense, it is based off Essylstein and Ornish diets, while they have good points, all plant based is not healthy, especially for your heart!!! They are half right and brilliant, and half idiot and there studies were all flawed. You would hope they would have used absolute data, but like big pharmacy and journals they only reported ‘relative date’ which is worth NOTHING! Limit all your carbs, mediterranion type diet best, 60-65% quality fats, 20-25% Proteins, and 10-15 percent carbs, mostly all coming from vegetables and fruits.

    • Natron

      My guess is that they avoid fats completely.

  • BPCveg

    I think it would be helpful if this website provided some information on the different types of saturated fats and their differing effects on heart disease.

    Even on a well designed plant based diet, it seems virtually impossible to completely eliminate saturated fat intake since beneficial plant foods like nuts and seeds also contain some saturated fat.

    According to a recent book ‘Becoming raw’ (2010) by two experts on vegan nutrition, namely, Davis and Melina, saturated fatty acids differ depending on the length of their carbon chain and include lauric acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid and stearic acid. These saturated fatty acids are present to different extents in different foods and contribute differently to blood cholesterol profile and ultimately to heart disease. After reading this book, I was left with the impression that the effect of different types of saturated fats on heart health is complex and unresolved.

    Please comment.

    • Megann19

      The jury is still out on the issue of saturated plant fats. Everyone agrees that artificially created saturated fats, such as the partially hydrogenated oils (aka trans fats) are very deadly. However, you are absolutely correct about nuts and seeds, which are are very nutritious. There are many examples of saturated fats that come from plant foods which either have a neutral effect on heart health or a beneficial effect, overall. In my opinion, the fats to avoid are the trans fats, and too much of the oils that contain high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids like corn, safflower and sunflower oil. Otherwise, I do not advise my patients to avoid any other types of fats (besides saturated animal fats of course). I only tell them to keep in mind that fats are more calorie dense, particularly if weight control is a concern.

      • Natron

        Reading this gives me hope. What type of practice do you have? Are you a doctor, a nutritionist, or something else?

  • louisa

    I’m also confused by this seemingly contradictory advice. You’re recommending 0% saturated fat, and yet olive oil is 17% saturated fat; sesame oil is 10% saturated fat; canola oil is 3% saturated fat.
    Let’s say someone recommends a diet of no more than 5% saturated fat. Is the saturated fat in plant oils (such as the ones listed above) counted in that 5%?
    Thanks for all your great work!

    • Michael Gmirkin

      As Dr. Esselstyn would say emphatically: NO OIL. Besides which, oils tend to be high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, of which I’ve heard may claims that PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) tend to be quite harmful in their own right. So, why would you want to use refined oils if they’ve got so much bad crap in them and they’re non-nutritive, they’re basically just empty calories…

  • Megann19

    Hi Louisa, The question directly above yours was very similar; see my answer/comment. The types of saturated fats to avoid are animal fats and trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils, and in many cases the label will list “hydrogenated” without specifying if that oil/fat is partially or fully hydrogenated. Yet in most cases those are also partially hydrogenated though the manufacturer did not disclose that).

  • wickedchicken

    Vegan diet + egg whites (no yolks) …. Bad idea? I’m not seeing why it would be??? for ethical reasons yes. But health reasons???

  • wickedchicken

    Thank u for an amazing answer :)

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please also check out my associated blog post, Breast Cancer Survival and Soy!

  • Robert

    Dr. Greger, Assuming one eats a strictly plant based diet, is there an optimal amount of total dietary fat for preventing cancer or slowing the progression of cancer? Thank you Dr. Greger. You are providing a very helpful service!

  • Terri

    What about oils? I am trying to lower my cholesterol with diet. I am not eating any meat, dairy, fish, eggs, etc., but I do have a slight amount of oil. Olive oil, coconut oil and just a tad of canola oil in a salad dressing. Is this acceptable or should I get rid of oil 100%? Thank you!

  • I have just ‘liked’ your facebook page. Thank you for all your information! I am aware that you are pro-vegan, however I am unsure as to what these studies of naturally occurring trans fats in animal products are based on. Can I assume that the meat and dairy products used in the studies came from factory farmed, crowded and stressed animals, fed an unnatural grain diet (and who knows what was added to these grains beforehand), and infused with hormones and antibiotics? These are sick animals. Of course their products are going to be a lot less than perfect. Animals that graze on grasses tend to be a source of omega 3 fatty acids, very much lacking in our diets, since the grasses contain omega 3. (I guess we can obtain that from the plant sources)Where do these animal based trans fats come from? And then wouldn’t we, as humans, have naturally occurring trans fats in our bodies, too? Just trying to understand this claim. Thanks!

  • greeson

    Question: It’s easy enough to avoid the trans fats. But I come across
    saturated fat listed in foods like raw organic almonds and other
    nuts, as well as a package of tempeh. Foods like those, for example,
    show 1-2 grams of saturated fat per serving. Should we then avoid those
    otherwise healthy foods because of the saturated fat? I’m confused now.

    • Michael Gmirkin

      There’s an interesting thread over here, called “When Vegan Isn’t Enough”:

      In it, Jeff Novick talks about the notion that “Well, I eat ‘vegan’ so it must be ‘healthy,’ right?” or “I ate junk food, but at least it was ‘vegan’ junk food.” Junk food is junk food, whether it’s “vegan” junk food or S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) junk food.

      It is entirely possibly to eat “vegan” or “vegetarian” and still eat CRAP foods. Technically, plant oils are “vegan” as they come from plant sources. However, just because they come from plant sources does not, per se, on its own, make them “healthy.”

      There’s a fine line between “vegan” / “vegetarian” and “healthful” eating. They are not necessarily always synonymous.

      Many of the packaged “vegan” foods are frankly still appallingly bad for you, because they still use CRAP ingredients like tons of processed oils, trans fats, etc. Or they still have high saturated fat content, etc. Or they’re using tons of highly refined, nutritionally deficient ingredients, or they’re packed with sugar (albeit from “planty” sources, as though it matter where the ton of sugar comes from)…

      Don’t know if it helps or confounds the issue. Just an extra bit of stuff to think about.

      • Michael Gmirkin

        That said, I suppose it depends on your stance on particular ingredients and qualities of their nutritive [or not] value. If your doctor is telling you to avoid foods high in saturated fats, and/or to keep certain fats to under some % of total calories consumed, then you should definitely take note of the ingredients and fat content and fat-as-percentage-of-calories in foods.

        Can’t recall whether it was Greger or Novick who talked about calorie density and fat as percentage of calories. Likewise, the notion that food manufacturers pull a little trick on us and don’t list fats and such as a percentage of calories (how the advice is given by nutritionists and researchers), but as a percentage of weight, whicih isn’t necessarily the same measurement and can be misleading.

        I think it may have been Novick. Anyway, his suggestion was that if you’re going to fudge on fats and eat some amount larger than suggested (as a percentage of calories), dilute those calories by eating foods that are considerably less calorie-dense and more nutritive like vegetables to balance it out, in toto.

  • Jeffrey

    I have an ask the Dr. Question for you:

    My father seems to eat a lot of cheese – and I mean a lot: about 2.5 pounds per week. He kind of just eats on autopilot without thinking about it. He is probably about 40 pounds overweight. Everything else he eats is pretty healthy, mostly vegetables and brown rice. How concerned should I be about his health, and should I be taking measures to get him to quit the cheese before something bad occurs? I actually took him to see you talk once a few years ago, but it seems like he needs a refresher. Thanks for your advice.

    • Natron

      Cheese is high in calories. Rice is high in carbs. Things to consider.

  • johnd

    Many thanks for your work on health. I read it every morning.

    I’ve been trying to find a book that explains in some detail the outcomes of heart research, such as the Framingham study or the China Study by T. Colin Campbell. Since I’m not a physician I don’t want something highly technical. Instead, I’d like something written for lay people. (I’ve read “Change of Heart” by Levy and Brink, as well as “The China Study” by Campbell. They’re very interesting but I’d like more detail on the science.)

    I’ve tried reading some of the journal articles. They are too technical and seldom pull thing together into the big picture.

    Any suggestions as to how I can better inform myself on this subject?

    John Porter

  • teri

    I guess I have a question about nuts, seeds and the non-sweetened dark chocolate or cocoa bean (nibs) …. I thought these things were actually good for your heart and cholesterol…. clarification please….. I have high cholesterol in the family naturally and do not want to get this one wrong… I am vegan/plant based whole /raw foods so I don’t do the “bad stuff”…

  • Emanuel

    I would like to hear your stance regarding “The big fat debate: taking the focus of saturated fat”. I couldn’t find a video addressing the issue.

  • Melissa Price Elenbaas

    What about the saturated fat found in foods such as tofu, almonds, chocolate, walnuts etc.? Is the saturated fat in whole foods clogging my arteries just like saturated fat from animal products and junk food?

    • Michael Gmirkin

      Probably? There’s still some debate. You might try reading Esselstyn’s “Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease.” He advocates limiting fat intake (from all sources) to under 15% of calories (as opposed to % of weight, which isn’t the same measure).

      “To a degree,” fat is fat is fat, whether consumed from “plant” sources or from “animal” sources. Vegan junk food is still junk food, despite coming only from plant sources… “Junk” take precedence over “vegan,” unfortunately.

      Think of it this way, not all things that come from plants are, per se, healthy… Take for example alkaloids produced by certain plant families, yes, they come from plants/nature, but that doesn’t mean they won’t kill you in high enough quantities (for instance when accidentally eating sufficient quantities of deadly nightshade, etc.).

      Now, that said, there is still some debate on whether *all* fatty acids are bad or whether there are some forms that are beneficial (and in what quantity; any quantity? or only up to a certain dosage) and some forms that will kill you over time when consumed in excess (through heart disease, fatty liver, etc.)…

      • Mark R. Mach

        Look into McDougall, Ornish and Pritikin (not a doctor). All have been reversing heart disease through lifestyle modification. Esselstyn isn’t the only one.

  • dem

    there’s that assumption that total cholesterol profile or LDL level predicts heart disease. . only SMALL density LDL predicts heart disease, as well as testing your level of inflammation. actually, testing inflammation predicts a ton of chronic diseases. not that transfat aren’t bad, they are. saturated fats though? animal saturated fats have been linked with inflammation, but things like coconut oil – no evidence so far.

  • Yaniv

    Hi Doc, I’m confused by this meta-analysis. The conclusion: : A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD. What do you think?

  • Chris

    Dr Gregor, you say there is no tolerable upper intake of saturated fat yet even on my brown rice it says it has some saturated fat in it ?

    • Toxins

      I think the primary message is that we should limit saturated fat as much as possible. Every food we eat contains saturated fat, but we can choose low sources, such as with whole grains, starchy vegetables, fruits etc.

  • Natural Health Cafe

    Hi Dr. Greger,
    I just had a conversation with a nutritionist at a local health food store. He said that our bodies needs some cholesterol even thought our bodies makes up to 75% of what we need. The other 25% is needed and cannot be found in plant foods. This info is coming from the “Grain Brain” book by Dr. Perlmuter. Do we need to consume some additional cholesterol?


    • Thea

      Rhonda: The nutritionist got one thing right: You can’t get cholesterol from plant foods. But that’s a good thing. As I understand it, our body makes *all* of the cholesterol it needs.

      I’m not an expert, but I have some thoughts for you on this topic.

      There’s a good amount of evidence on this site showing how helpful whole, intact grains are to have in our diet.
      This list is not filtered well, but it will get you started:

      Also, a great book for understanding brain health is “Power Foods For the Brain – an effective 3 step plan to protect your mind and strengthen your memory” By Dr. Neal Barnard. Dr. Barnard did a ton of good scientific research for that book and he encourages people to eat about a quarter of their food from whole grains.

      The Grain Brain author appears to be yet another person confused about what our ancestors ate and either unable to understand or deliberately misleading people on the science. While I don’t know the validity of the following articles, they make general sense to me given what I have learned from many known valid sources:

      Finally, I refer you to a series of videos on this site (see first three on the following list) which talks about how good (not) the advice is that we can from health food stores. ;-)

      Hope that helps.

    • Thea

      Rhonda: Even better source of information! I just found a post from JacquieRN pointing out an article from Dr. McDougall. That’s a source I very much trust:

      January 2014: “The Smoke and Mirrors behind Wheat Belly and Grain Brain” by McDougall.

      Thanks JacquieRN!

      • Natural Health Cafe

        Thank you Thea for sharing these links and articles. Much appreciated to find sources that help refute the direction that a health food store has been recommending.

    • Joe Caner

      One could place their trust in a nutritionist who works in a health food store who has read a book which offers a single simple solution written by subject matter experts writing outside of their field of expertise. There have been occasions when science has progressed due to the efforts and observations of outsiders, but the vast majority of today’s registered dietician and those involved dietary research recommend “whole” grains as part of a healthy diet. It’s your choice regarding who you find more credible. Whole grains are an excellent source of selenium, soluble and insoluble fiber. It is difficult to meet one’s selenium intake needs while eating a maintenance diet without whole grains. Glucose is the human brain’s preferred fuel although it cam survive on keytones in times of starvation. Whole grains are an excellent source of low glycemic index carbohydrates. Whole grains are not some new fad food that has just recently made an appearance. People have been happily eating them for millennium.

      • Natural Health Cafe

        Thank you for your input on this subject Joe. I do understand the nutritionists point that wheat, corn, soy and rice have been super mass produced over the past 40 – 50 years and with the GMO to complicate matters, grains that were not subjected to the mass production, chemicals, and GMO would certainly be a different product. But so are the rest of our foods in the system.

  • Gabrielle

    What about saturated fats from plant sources? Such as coconuts or nuts. I eat these a lot.

    • Toxins

      Hello Gabrielle, Coconuts in moderation are fine, they are exceptionally rich in saturated fat so “moderation” is really key here. If you are concerned get your cholesterol numbers checked, as long as your LDL is 70 or lower and your total is below 150, you should be ok.

  • ric

    Nuts have saturated fat too, but your other videos stating nuts are good. I’m confuse.

  • Mathilda

    Hey, my dad has bad cholesterol and is eating medicin for this. He has had a stroke and he loves meat, dairy and eggs. He is willing to make som changes but i have to show him som good facts that really shows that his cholesterol will be lowes and he can be off his medicins (after taking blood tests that shows the progress) if he changes his diet and he will not get any heart attacks and (more) strokes. He is also eating medicin because of his bad metabolism. Can you please link me some sites that states this fact that says what he should do. Can he stop with egg and stop eating read med (maximum once a week/month) or tips like this. I’m a vegan and i would love him to be that to. But I have to start som where with him, he is soon of gluten i think ;). Thank you in advance! :)

    (I also asked this on one of your youtube videos, so you don’t have to answer it on both sites)

    • Thea

      Mathilda: My recommendation is to show your dad the video Forks Over Knives. It is a powerful video that has changed a lot of people’s lives. Also, there is a nice segment in there with a firefighter that I think is helpful for men to see. It will help him see this diet change as a manly thing to do as well as save his life.

      Another suggestion is to get him the book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, MD. That book is full of plenty of facts, has some very helpful pictures in the middle, and is very easy to read. And since the back half of the book is recipes, it is not that much reading to do.

      Good luck to you and your dad!

      • Mathilda

        Thank you so so much!
        I am going to show him the Forks over Knifes!!

      • Mathilda

        Do you know anything about fish?
        When i have watch a few of Michels videos its says clear that eggs, chicken, pork, cheese and so on is bad! But what about fish and diary? Do you know, do they talk about that in forks over knifes? :)

        • Thea

          Mathilda: Ah yes, fish and dairy (cheese is just concentrated dairy). Forks Over Knives addresses all animal foods. Fish and diary are no exceptions. Fish is just another type of meat. So what you learn from the movie Forks Over Knives will apply to all animal products.

          But I also wanted to mention that Dr. Greger does address fish and dairy quiet a bit on this site. Here are some links to get you started if you are interested:

          Like land animal meat and eggs, fish and dairy have cholesterol and saturated fat. And they both have animal protein, the type of protein that helps cancer to grow. And then there are the hormones in dairy that are best to stay away from. And the toxins/contaminants in fish are nothing that anyone should be eating. Etc.

          Hope that helps.

          • Mathilda

            This helped a lot!

            While I have you here… Maybe you also can help me about my dads metabolism problem. He eats medicin for that to… His blood values are more than dubble that it should be. Is there any facts that a planted based diet will help this to?

            Thank you, you are helping me a lot!!!!

          • Thea

            Mathilda: I’m not a doctor and do not know what medical condition you are referring to. All I can say is that a whole food plant based diet helps a whole lot of people with a whole lot of problems. But it is not a magic pill. There is no guarantee that a plant based diet will fix any particular problem, especially if someone has been eating poorly their entire lives.

            That said, as a lay person, I don’t think going to a properly planned plant based diet could hurt. If it fixed all his other problems except for this one, that would still be good and worth doing I would think…

            Just my thoughts on the matter.

  • Leslie Stanick

    I had an angiogram 2 years ago that revealed a 50% blockage in one artery, very close to the heart. I was prescribed lipitor, which I refused to take. I don’t eat dairy, and have reduced meat intake to about once every 2 weeks or less, and only a few bites at that. I was vegetarian when I was a teen, and very rarely eat things like tortilla chips. Yet my cholesterrol level (the bad one) is going up and the good one going down. I eat almost exclusively organic fruits/veg/whole non-gluten grains, and cold pressed olive oil. Could you suggest what else I might do to reduce cholesterol? Thank you.

  • Leslie Stanick

    I also eat quinoa as a staple, brown rice products several times a week, and walnuts almost daily. Fresh wild salmon 1-2 times per month. Avocados…and some dark chocolate several times per week. I wonder if high glucemic foods like rice cakes could contribute, or white rice, which I only eat if I eat out. I have had a lot of stress in the past few years, wonder if this would increase plaque.

  • BenzoSt

    I can’t recollect where I read that different types of saturated fat have differing effects upon serum cholesterol; I think some of the longer ones like palmitic acid and lauric acid raise cholesterol, while others like stearic acid don’t raise cholesterol? I abandoned my use of coconut oil (and butter and eggs) over a year ago because at one point in time my cholesterol was over 300. More recently, I have been using a teaspoon or two of MCT oil (caprylic and caproic acid) to mix with turmeric and pepper to make a tasty coating for lentil and quinoa curry. Are these fatty acids going to affect my serum cholesterol?

    • Toxins

      Studies on coconut oil actually show an increase in cholesterol with increasing intake.Many of these studies are the same ones used to purport that coconut oil is “heart protective” because HDL increases with LDL in those studies. LDL matters far more for heart disease risk as a major review has found, so the increase in LDL should not be seen as negligible.

  • Hélène O’Donnell

    In response to some of the comments, vegans looking weak and pasty may be a bit of an outdated cliché!

  • This is a little of topic but why is it that dairy and meat are still heavily apart of recommended food pyramids? I have my suspicions as to why, but how still are they being able to run this up the flag pole? A lot of people simply think a plant based diet is not great for you simply because of the recommendations to not.

  • Camille

    What can you share about Burning Mouth Syndrome? No local doctor know what to do. Help!

  • Scott

    Hi, I really like your web site and appreciate all the work you put into this, it is a wonderful tool! I do have a question as well, I was wondering what your take on the abundance of research coming out that coincides with results from studies such as this one from long time Vegan Christopher Gardner, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.

    • Tom Goff

      This is a late response to your post (I am nothing to with but if memory serves me right, this was a study of overweight/obese, pre-menopausal women who were counselled to follow one of 4 popular diet books. The group counselled to follow the Atkins Diet had the best results with a mean weight loss of 4.7 kg (just over 10 pounds). . However, the groups were free-living and didn’t follow the diets exactly. The Ornish Diet, for example, is less than 10% fat, but at no time did the “Ornish Diet” group consume less than 21% fat. Indeed, at the 12 month point the so-called Ornish Group were consuming on average 30% of their total calories as fat.

      In the video you linked, Gardner notes that the one woman who followed the Ornish diet exactly lost 50 pounds. In addition, it is important to remember that all these women were very overweight or obese. it is accepted that standard mainstream “diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol are less effective in the obese and the most effective way for obese people to normalize their blood lipids is to lose weight”. (The Ornish diet would be considered I think a very low fat diet by mainstream standards.)

      So, all in all, the Gardner study showed that the Atkins Diet is easier to follow and can deliver effective short term weight loss in very overweight/obese people. I don’t have a problem with that. Note also Gardner’s qualifier in his concluding remarks in the study publication “While questions remain about long-term effects and mechanisms, a low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat diet may be considered a feasible alternative recommendation for weight loss”.
      However, for people who are willing to follow a diet strictly, even those who do have damaged metabolic/lipid systems, it is an inferior solution:
      “Calorie for calorie, reducing dietary fat results in more body fat loss than reducing dietary carbohydrate when men and women with obesity have their food intake strictly controlled,” said lead study author Kevin D. Hall, PhD, of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, in a press release. “Ours is the first study to investigate whether the same degree of calorie reduction, either through restricting only fat or restricting only carbohydrate, leads to differing amounts of body fat loss in men and women with obesity.”

  • Crystal

    What’s your opinion on the saturated fat found in coconuts?

  • baggman744

    “The U.S. government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol”

    “The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food, a move that could undo almost 40 years of government warnings about its consumption”

    Anxious to see the good Doc’s reaction.
    Also, who exactly is “The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel”?

  • Dr sue

    Dr M

  • Dr M

    Are egg beaters or egg whites totally cholesterol free and a healthy source of protein to supplement dietary needs although they are high in arachadonic acid which causes inflammation in the endothelial lining of blood vessels ?
    Are plant based protein shakes such as plant fusion a reasonably healthy protein supplement ?

    • Thea

      Dr. M.: Your concern for protein is understandable given the media attention to it. However, protein supplements are just not needed for the average healthy person eating a whole plant food based diet. Here is the best info on protein that I have seen. It gives you the detail you need to really get the topic:
      So, you really don’t need even a plant based protein supplement. And generally when we start talking about processed foods, even plant based ones, we often wander into unhealthy territory. I can’t say anything in particular about plant based protein supplements. But history tells us that sticking to minimally processed foods is generally a good guideline to follow unless we have a special condition or good evidence otherwise.

      As for egg whites, they may be cholesterol free, but they come rife with a host of other problems. See list below for my standard response to the egg white question.

      Good luck. I hope this helps.
      Stay away from anything containing any real egg, including egg beaters. There are two problems with eggs, the yolk and the white. (To paraphrase Dr. Barnard.)

      According to Wikipedia, here’s what’s in egg beaters:
      “”Egg Beaters is primarily egg whites with added flavorings, vitamins, and thickeners xanthan gum and guar gum. It contains no egg yolks.”

      Since egg beaters do not have egg yolks, the cholesterol issue is not in play. But egg whites are just as bad for you. Dr. Barnard talks about the problems that animal protein presents for kidney health. Other experts talk about the (strong in my opinion) link between animal protein and cancer. The question scientists then want to answer is: Is there a causal link? If so, what is the mechanism by which animal protein might cause cancer?

      If memory serves, Dr Campbell in The China Study mentions several ways in which we think that animal protein causes and promotes cancer. Here on NutritionFacts, you can get a great education on how animal protein is linked to the body’s over-production of a growth hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 helps cancer to grow. To watch the series about IGF-1, click on the link below and then keep clicking the “next video” link on the button to the right until you get through the bodybuilding video. Then you will have seen the entire series.

      And Darryl recently reminded me about the methionine issue. Egg whites have *the* highest concentration of methionine of any food:,18,9,0,13,14,5,4,42,16,17,15,6,3,2,11,7,19,21,12,10,8,22
      Dr. Greger did a nice video showing the link between methionine and cancer. So, there are two clear pathways linking animal proteins, especially egg whites, to cancer.

      Darryl also pointed out that, “…high methionine diets increase coronary risk in humans. In its associations with cardiovascular disease and other disorders, homocysteine may be functioning partly as a marker for the major culprit, excess methionine.”

      And while I can’t find it right now, I believe that Toxins has pointed out two other health issues with egg whites.

      Dr. Greger recently posted some videos on how animal protein can raise insulin levels. The first of the following videos even specifically addresses egg whites.

      With all of the information we have about the harmful effects of animal protein in general and egg white in particular, I think it’s best to stay away from egg white. Why not get your protein from safe sources? Sources which are known to have lots of positive health effects and will naturally give you a balanced amount of protein? (ie: whole plant foods) Make sense?

  • warren

    How long might it take for the arteries of a 66 year old man to clean out when those arteries suffered under a Western Diet for 63 years but for the past 2 years have religiously been treated to a diet as recommended by your website as well as the website of Dr. McDoughall? I also exercise heavily and consistently.

  • CareForTheSentient

    Don’t nuts contain saturated fat? How are we to reconcile this with a tolerable upper intake level of 0?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      The UL is not zero. It is “As low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet” which can vary widely. While it is important to focus on saturated fat and keep levels low, nuts and seeds are so powerful and health promoting we still recommend their use. Note, a little (1 handful) go a long way. ​If interested in more information here is a great video by Dr. Greger that explains the research between nut intake and body weight. Make sure to checkout the bottom of the video’s “Doctors Note” to see more links and info. Lastly, a follow-up to that video is solving the mystery of the missing calories, which may also help.​ Thanks for your comment.

      • Hm, shouldn’t the title of the video get changed? It says, “Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.” It sounds like the UL is 0 for trans fat and cholesterol, but not for saturated fat.

  • John Chartrand

    Hi, Dr. Greger,

    I just recently bought a food dehydrator and I’ve been sprouting brocolli seeds, dehydrating them and making a powder with my NutriBullet. I was wondering if you knew if any of the nutrients are spoiled after 4 hours in the dehydrator at 100 F. Would it be more beneficial to dehydrate for 3 hours at a slightly higher temperature.

    I noticed that you are coming to Ottawa, Ontario soon but unfortunately I will be away. You are the number one health guru. Thanks for helping me go vegan with a whole variety plant based diet.


  • Lucía

    If saturated fats should have an intake of zero, what about flaked coconut? I watched your video about coconut flakes being harmless but I don’t understand how exactly. Can I have 1/2 tablespoon per day, everyday? I love to add that amount on top of oatmeal every breakfast. Thank you.

  • motomatt

    What about Dr Robin Willcourt research ?

  • Wannabemd

    but I just can’t deny my grandmothers chicken lentil soup!!!

  • Traginot

    Can topically applied coconut oil cause high cholesterol?

    My LDL is 193. I am not overweight, do not eat junk food, exercise daily, eat few animal products. I use approximately 1 tablespoon coconut oil every day as a moisturizer. (My HDL, triglycerides, and blood sugar are all good.)

    Is it possible the coconut oil is being absorbed through my skin and raising my cholesterol level? I googled this and could not find a definitive answer. There is apparently a study out there that concludes that rubbing sesame seed oil on babies makes them gain weight.


  • Louanne

    Is Hemp seeds ok to consume?.. since they contain a Saturated fat and
    from what I understand saturated fats are bad for humans (causing high
    cholesterol thus strokes, etc)??

  • Edward Ford

    Hi my name’s Ed and I have been following the vegan diet for 6mths now as suggested in the book how not to die. This includes all the recommended exercise. I am not a fat man my height is 6ft 1inch and my weight is 13 stone 7 pounds
    I had a colesterol test just before I went on the diet and I have just had another one. Before I went on the vegan diet my colesterol was 6.8 and now it is 6.4 but the ldl has increased significant enough for my doctor to put me on statins, he said I had a 32% risk of heart attack in the next 10 years. Any suggestions guys?


  • What if your a physically fit vegan and still have high LDL?

  • Danny

    Michael, ive just seen on nutritiondata website that 1 cup of flax seeds has almost the same amount of saturated fat as 1 cup of eggs. WHATGIVES???

    • Cody

      Hi Danny,

      I volunteer for Dr. Greger at I think what you brought up is an interesting point. You are correct that 1 cup of flax seeds have as much saturated fat or more, than 1 cup of eggs. However, 1 cup of flax contains nearly 900 calories, while 1 cup of chopped eggs would come in at about 211 calories. The first difference I would point out is that eating 1 cup of eggs would be very easily, but eating 900 calories of flax seeds would be quite a bit. Overall, there are many plant foods that have saturated fat, but with most of them, you would have to eat copious amounts in order to intake a high amount of saturated fat. Take spinach for example–spinach has a higher saturated fat:total fat ratio than flax seeds by three-fold! But of course you’d have to eat a boatload (maybe even literally!) of spinach to take in a lot of saturated fat.

      Also important to consider are the tremendous health benefits that a wide variety of research studies have shown for intake of flax seeds, while the health risks associated with egg consumption has been shown through the nutrition literature as well. I encourage you to search “flaxseed” or “eggs” in the search bar or locate it in the topics on the site if you aren’t already familiar with the pros of flaxseeds and the potential risks of consuming eggs.

    • Danny,

      To expand on Cody’s answer, you might want to dig deeper and look at the type of oils, protein and fiber present when comparing an egg vs the flax seeds.

      All of these components should play into your choice, not based on cholesterol or fat content. Flax seed contains various amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, a precursor to the typically low amounts of omega 3 oils, DHA and EPA found in most of us. You will also find they contain some other helpful ingredients, phytoestrogens, which in specific populations have a positive effect on cortisol, one of our stress hormones, ( And we haven’t even touched on the fiber content, also a positive contribution to our intake.

      To amplify Cody’s statement, keep in mind that the amount one could consume is limited by the nature of the flax. Remember to keep your flax seed refrigerated and grind when you’re ready to use not before. Purchase your seeds as fresh as possible and enjoy them in loads of applications.

      Dr. Alan Kadish NF Moderator

  • iamdavebarber

    Dr. Gregor,
    First of all, you da man. I know I write on behalf of many when I write that I so very much appreciate and value your service here. What I love most about you is that you practice the first-principle logic that is typically seen in physicists more than physicians. You never tire of thinking things through thoroughly as you you develop your best recommendations. Thanks.
    My Question: We have read that if we biopsy fat from a human and look at it under an electron microscope, the source of this lips-to-hips/the-fat-you-eat-is-the-fat-you-wear fat, be it olive oil vs swine fat vs chicken fat etc. can be identified. I don’t doubt it. I would like to find the reference on that. Can you please help me with that? Thanks in advance.