Image Credit: Eden Foods. This image has been modified.

Do Eden Beans Have Too Much Iodine?

I love canned beans. Legumes in general—beans, peas, and lentils—are among the healthiest foods on the planet, and canned beans make it easy to boost the nutrition of nearly any dish. They are packed with potassium, fiber, and folate, and are a preferred source of protein. Worried about gas? Check out my blog Clearing the Air.

Just as I encourage folks to keep a purple cabbage in their crisper to slice off shreds into whatever they may be eating (one of the best dietary bangs for our bucks), I’ve always recommended my patients keep an open can of beans in the fridge to spoon into whatever they happen to be eating throughout the day. Though we haven’t yet brought ourselves up to the British ideal (beans for breakfast!), I’m always trying to think of creative ways to sneak more into my family’s diet.

Eden Foods, the oldest organic food company in North America, deserves credit for being the first to remove the chemical bisphenol-A from the lining of their cans (see my video Which Plastics are Harmful?). They also add kombu (a sea vegetable also known as kelp) to their beans to improve flavor, digestibility, and nutrition. Sea vegetables represent the most concentrated dietary source of iodine (see Avoiding Iodine Deficiency), a nutrient that can be low in people eating otherwise healthy diets (see Pregnant Vegans at Risk for Iodine Deficiency). For those who don’t like the taste of seaweed and—for good reason—don’t use table salt, Eden brand beans can provide a healthy source of iodine. However, kombu is such a good source of iodine, it can actually provide too much.

In my 2-min. video Too Much Iodine Can Be as Bad as Too Little I document a peculiar case in Australia of police raiding cafés to seize kombu-containing soymilk banned for containing too much iodine. Hoping to keep the SWAT team out of my pantry, I contacted Eden Foods to inquire about the iodine content of their beans.

They claimed their beans had “1.17 mg iodine per 100 mg.” That’s obviously an error—there’s no way 1% of the can is iodine. I assumed they meant 1.17 mcg, since iodine is typically measured in millionths of a gram, not thousandths of a gram (for example, the recommended daily intake is 150 micrograms). Alternately, maybe they meant per 100 grams, which is a typical serving size. Either way, there still might be concerns about toxicity, as the tolerable upper limit is 1.1 mg a day, but I really wanted to get at the truth.

I gently explained to them that the numbers they were quoting me couldn’t possibly be correct. If they were, then a can of their beans would exceed the potentially toxic daily dose of iodine set by the Institute of Medicine by more than 450,000%. In other words, a single can a year would put someone over the tolerable upper daily limit of intake!

Incredibly, they insisted their numbers were accurate. I asked to speak to the lab. No response. I’ve talked to other nutrition professionals who contacted them and were told the same thing. Jeff Novick–one of my favorite dieticians–even got Whole Foods to inquire and still got nowhere. It’s so ironic. Normally when I challenge food companies, they make outrageous claims to try to paint their products in a more positive light; in this case, a company is insisting their food is much more toxic than it could possibly be.

I’d welcome any other attempts to solve this mystery. Their facebook page is, toll free customer service number (888) 424-EDEN and email If anyone has better luck at unearthing the truth, please post below in the comments section. We’ll figure this out yet!

-Michael Greger, M.D.

July 5 UPDATE: See the Eden Foods President’s response and the ensuing back-and-forth at

July 18 UPDATE: Eden’s tests are in, and preliminary results suggest the iodine content of their beans ranges from 36.3 mcg per ½ cup serving (Great Northern beans) to 71.2 mcg (Navy beans). That’s quite the Goldilocks sweet spot–a single can could fulfill one’s daily iodine requirement nicely, and it would take around 20 servings a day to hit the upper limit (and even I don’t like beans that much! :)


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

67 responses to “Do Eden Beans Have Too Much Iodine?

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      1.  Hello My name is Kim. I had went to their facebook and asked for an answer and they stated that they will have an answer shortly. This is def, a concern in that I eat this brand on occasion. great eye Dr. Greger :)

      2. I buy their beans dry rather than canned. And then prepare batches in my slow cooker after soaking overnight.
        I probably don’t get enough iodine in my diet as I don’t add salt to our food when cooking.
        My husband literally pours the salt onto his food at the table.

    1. what about if a person has no thyroid.And had thyroidcancer should one avoid all iodine.Like seasalt and alges etc, Or is it necessary for the body anyway,Or can one get cancer back again.When one has no thyroid to Catch up the iodone.I Think I got thyroidcancer because of a false alternative doctor in Sweden gave me way too much alges tablets for his profit,He said I needed it for my Health.Another question is the red colour in Behepan 1 mg cyanokobalamin Titandioxid dangerous.Its b12 supplement.Read that red colour artificiel can give thyroidcancer.Is it the same.Would really appreciate answers in these questions,Thanks Marie Falk.

      1. Hi I’m a health support volunteer with Thanks for your question. Making of thyroid hormones is really the only known reason for needing iodine. If you have had a complete thyroidectomy, you should not supplement iodine or actively look for ways to add it to your diet. I would avoid iodized salt as it is not good for you anyway and you no longer need it for your thyroid. You will naturally take some in but this should not be a problem.


  1. Hi There,

    Good post. I looked into this very question last summer.

    The front line telephone answering folks at Eden clearly didn’t know what they were talking about and after insisting I talk to somebody more knowledgable I did get to speak to someone in the know.

    From our mutually informed discussion I calculated that a 130 gm serving of Eden beans would typically have about 25 % of the RDI for iodine ( 150 ug ). But there is a very large variation in this due to the naturally large variation in iodine content of sea vegetables and the uneven distribution of the iodine from seaweed in the batch itself (seaweed strips being cooked with a large vat of beans and not stirred to evenly distribute).

    So regularly consuming Eden beans is safe and does contribute to daily iodine intake in a useful way.



  2. My post on Eden Foods Facebook page:

    “Come on Eden Foods. You’re getting a bad rep unnecessarily from the lack of a response to credible dietetic inquiries about iodine levels on your products.

    “Address this issue head-on in order to head-off a quickly snowballing concern by health-conscious consumers, or risk losing us as customers. It really is as simple as that!”

    And Eden Foods’ response less than an hour later:

    “John, I agree! We will have an answer for you very shortly!”

    The power of social networking? We’ll see. Anxiously awaiting a definitive response to this issue.

  3. Thank you all for being an actively involved food buyers! We can confirm that EDEN Beans do NOT, in fact, contain toxic levels of iodine! 

    Please see the following note from Eden’s President: 

    July 5, 2012 Today I have confirmed from previous laboratory analysis that there is Not too much iodine in Eden beans! From all of today’s data, the 1.17 mg and the 1.17 mcg quantities mentioned in the Nutrition Facts article are erroneous. Today we commissioned iodine tests on our current items, these results will be available in two weeks. The iodine scare is a result of fraudulent use of a very high iodine, flavor enhancer by overseas manufacturers falsely claiming it to be kombu or kombu extract. The kombu leaf used by Eden Foods has nothing to do with this, and only delivers healthful, appropriate levels of iodine, minerals, and trace minerals. Michael Potter, President

    1. Folks can check out the whole thread here:

      Note Jeff’s response to President Potter:

      Jeff Novick: “To be accurate, the information you are calling erroneous is based on
      information that was received from your own company from several
      communications from several people over the course of a year.   So, I am
       glad you are going to straighten this out, by the “scare” you are talking about it is only a legitimate health concern raised by several health professionals in responses to the information they have received from your own company over the year.”

      Jeff then goes on to document this by posting a long back-and-forth he had with the company, which got Eden Foods to relent:

      “Jeff, you are correct. There was definite miscommunication, and we are working to fix both the line of communication, and the information in question.”

      So it looks like in two weeks we’ll have our answer–three cheers for social media! (and Jeff Novick… and beans! :)

      1. Looks like it worked.
        Great job! -Mark”July 5, 2012 
        Today I have confirmed from previous laboratory analysis that there is Not too much iodine in Eden beans!
        From all of today’s data, the 1.17 mg and the 1.17 mcg quantities mentioned in the Nutrition Facts article are erroneous.
        Today we commissioned iodine tests on our current items, these results will be available in two weeks.
        The iodine scare is a result of fraudulent use of a very high iodine, flavor enhancer by overseas manufacturers falsely claiming it to be kombu or kombu extract.
        The kombu leaf used by Eden Foods has nothing to do with this, and only delivers healthful, appropriate levels of iodine, minerals, and trace minerals.
         Michael Potter, President”

        1. I don’t get it.  If the results were confirmed from previous lab results that there is “Not too much iodine in Eden Beans!”  Then show us the numbers that confirmed your conclusion.  Why does there have to be a reanalysis of the already “Confirmed” data?

          And why does it also take two weeks?  In my undergrad College at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, CO we had an NMR that would be able to confirm iodine in a product in a matter of minutes.

          This all still stinks like fish to me!-{

  4. July 5, 2012
    Today I have confirmed from previous laboratory analysis that there is Not too much iodine in Eden beans!
    From all of today’s data, the 1.17 mg and the 1.17 mcg quantities mentioned in the Nutrition Facts article are erroneous.
    Today we commissioned iodine tests on our current items, these results will be available in two weeks.
    iodine scare is a result of fraudulent use of a very high iodine,
    flavor enhancer by overseas manufacturers falsely claiming it to be
    kombu or kombu extract.
    The kombu leaf used by Eden Foods
    has nothing to do with this, and only delivers healthful, appropriate
    levels of iodine, minerals, and trace minerals.
    Michael Potter, President

    1. Check out the whole thread here:

      Note Jeff’s response to President Potter:

      Jeff Novick: To
      be accurate, the information you are calling erroneous is based on
      information that was received from your own company from several
      communications from several people over the course of a year. So, I am
      glad you are going to straighten this
      out, by the “scare” you are talking about it is only a legitimate health
      concern raised by several health professionals in responses to the
      information they have received from your own company over the year.
      Here is a copy of one such communication dated over 1 year ago.
      Begin forwarded message: From: Sandra Baker Subject: Re: Question on Kombu & Beans Date: June 9, 2011 9:22:39 AM EDT To: Jeff Novick Dear Jeff,
      Thank you for contacting Eden Foods and your interest in Eden products.
      Below is the amount of iodine from the kombu per serving of Eden
      beans. We do not have any information as to how much kombu there is per
      serving only the amount of iodine. Serving size of the beans is 1/2
      cup. Organic beans w/ brine (blended contents of a can of beans): 1.17 mg iodine per 100 mg Organic beans w/out brine (brine drained) : .65 mg iodine per 100 mg If you should have any further questions, please let us know. Sincerely, Sandra K. Baker Sales Administrator Eden Foods, Inc. 701 Tecumseh Rd. Clinton, MI 49236 PH: (517) 456-7424 Fax: (517) 456-7205 

  5. I respect Eden as a brand, but in this case, I am rather disappointed. I did not try to go to the Facebook thread, but it seems the President (Mr. Potter) did not reveal the data from their previous laboratory analysis. Why not report this data now?? Why spend money on a second analysis? A second analysis may be helpful in confirming the ranges found in the beans, and I’d be curious about their methodology (e.g. they go into a store and buy a random can, or they use beans in-house that are just about to be canned). I really appreciate and respect that Eden did post a response here, which shows courage and a willingness to engage. I understand that they believe the Australian soymilk fiasca was due to a non-kombu ingredient being represented as Kombu.
    I look forward to the hard data, whether it is from previous analysis or in 2 weeks or both.
    As a consumer, I don’t eat these beans on a daily basis, and the RDA is a minimum recommended daily amount. Being a low-salt user, I don’t mind overshooting the RDA from time to time. Also, RDA’s are usually minimum amounts, so it is best to overshoot (although slightly, but I have a hard time believing a bit of seaweed to season beans would be thousands of percent over the RDA). So, I will continue eating my Eden beans in my cupboard, from time to time, and see what the data shows when it is presented. And if the iodine is far too high, then I’m sure Eden would modify its recipe. In my area, I don’t get baked beans by Eden (maybe they don’t make them?), but I love eating two spoonfuls of these with egg-style or toast-based breakfasts, stirring in a small amount it in my spaghetti sauce, or spooning it over lettuce. I used to think beans were weird and my pre-conceptions told me they tasted bad, but after introducing them into my diet over a few years, I have come to enjoy and appreciate the different levels of heartiness, flavor and texture they offer.

    1. I didn’t even read your post and I just posted the same thing.

      I agree 200%.  Oh, hold on one second, I am going to have to reanalyze my data.  I’ll get back to you in a YEAR!!!!  WT. . . .

      1.  You two make a good point about “why don’t they show us the original
        data?” sounds like maybe they fear that while their *usual?8 supplier
        is ok, that they might have had a (they think/hope) “one time”
        exception with a particular batch?

        But there’s another concern when he wrote “The iodine scare is a
        result of fraudulent use of a very high iodine, flavor enhancer by
        overseas manufacturers falsely claiming it to be kombu or kombu
        extract. The kombu leaf used by Eden Foods has nothing to do with
        this, and only delivers healthful,”

        And this other, second concern is: doesn’t what he says imply that
        there *are*  some/otherr products/manufacturers “out there” to worry about with too much iodine, those that get the “very high iodine, flavor enhancer” as an

        I eat VERY few processed foods but for the very rare times
        I do and for friends who eat such foods more often, I’d love to see a top-10 offenders list with Company/Manufacturer and Product names..from what I understand, we’re talking serious health risk here after all, folks…

  6. As usual, your reasonable apporach is great. I learned about this issue elsewhere in a sort of fear-monger way (eg “Eden beans are toxic!”) so I’m glad to see you’re behaving rationally.

  7. There are many third party companies who routinely check for nutritional
    analysis. Not sure who might have the funds but getting cans with multiple
    date codes tested can prove this out.

  8. Personally, I know that Eden beans contain too much iodine.  I am one of those who are sensitive to iodine and will break out with pimples when there is an excess.  I couldn’t quite figure out what was causing my breakouts until I looked at the ingredients on the can.  After I stopped using this particular brand, the breakouts stopped. I started using them again, and the breakouts recurred.  Enough evidence for me. 

  9.      They seem to be the only company adding seaweed to their beans. Unless someone were
    consuming a can every day you would think there would not be an overdose issue.
    I use icelandic kelp in my smoothies, 1 t. every morning.
         Realted to BEANS…..beans, grains, nuts and seeds have PHYTIC ACID in them. This
    binds minerals so they are not absorbed. Could this be a major reason many vegetarians become deficient in IRON among other minerals?. To lessen/remove this problem ALWAYS SOAK
    THEM and throw away the soak water. I did not find this information on any vegetarian site. i have been a vegetarian or vegan for 25 years and am VERY VERY surprised this information is not widely shared among us so we all learn and benefit.
    best wishes, rachel

    1.  Phytic acid is found in oats, certain grains and most beans. It is quite easy to eliminate phytic acid. Cooking them does the trick, you don’t have to go through great lengths to eliminate phytic acid.

  10. Rachel, it appears that not just ‘vegetarian websites’ but even does not have one single mention (that google can find with the site: restricted to their website) about ‘phytic acid’ so Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics doesn’t know about it either…do you have a trust-worthy source(s)? If so, could you please post the url here?

    1.  Here are some sources regarding phytic acid and other antinutrients.

      It doesn’t matter though, cooking deactivates most of these anti-nutrients which include lectins, phytic acid, trypsin and α-amylase inhibitors. This is fairly well established common nutritional knowledge and most beans, from peas and lentils to kidney beans have these antinutrients unless cooked. Many anti plant based dieters often try and cite antinutrients, yet always leave out the fact that most are deactivated with cooking.

  11. Thanks for the July 18 update. 

    I would like some clarification on the findings/numbers.  Are those levels the amount one would get from just *rinsed* beans?  Or do they include the liquid?  Or do they exclude the liquid, but refrain from rinsing?

    I typically eat canned beans by rinsing the beans first.  I almost never consume the liquid in the cans.  Knowing the answer to the above questions would allow me to know better how much iodine I am actually getting from those yummy Eden beans.


    1. The test results for EDEN beans are all based on full cans of beans that were puréed with the water/kombu flake brine. If beans had been drained, and just the beans had been tested, the iodine levels would be greatly reduced. 
      Happy Eating! :)

  12. Dr. Greger and Eden Foods. Thank you all for keeping at this issue till we could get some definitive info. Maybe there is still more, but I feel ok about continuing to use this awesome product. I have been a fan for over 30 yrs. JeffN advised that I could find this and am so glad to have all of your and his/Dr McDougall’s help. You have given me so much help in many areas. Forever grateful. Lynn

  13. Tolerable upper limit of 1.1mg per day? Um, not really…

    That may be the official number, but that certainly isn’t even close to being what we need for good health. The thyroid isn’t the only part of our body that needs iodine. Our whole body depends on iodine and iodide. The RDA only covers goiter, and most people don’t even get that much because everyone avoids table salt now (with good reason if it’s the white processed stuff). The Japanese consume about 13mg per day through their diet and their incidence of breast cancer and thyroid disease is much lower than ours.

    It’s estimated that a large majority of Americans are iodine deficient, so I don’t think you all have anything to worry about. To the person who broke out in acne when having iodine: unless you have a true allergy to iodine (which is rare), you were probably purging bromide from your system. Iodine displaces bromide (which we don’t need and which took the place of iodine in bread production years ago and is in brominated vegetable oil–which is in processed foods and some soft drinks).

    When first starting to supplement with iodine or if you have a large amount of it, you may very well break out all over your upper body for a couple months. I know I did. Your skin is one of the major pathways of elimination. Fluoride may also be displaced, which is a good thing. The trick to avoiding too much detox side effect is to slowly build up to a higher dose. This helps to avoid the Herxheimer Reaction, as does drinking plenty of filtered and non-fluoridated water.

    A supplement that contains both KI and iodine is beneficial over just KI because there are parts of our bodies that need the iodine form, such as the breasts and ovaries (for women). Lugol’s Solution and Iodoral both contain iodine and iodide in varying amounts.

    There is much information available about iodine deficiency. Check the work of Drs. Brownstein, Abraham, Kelly, Flechas, Miller, etc. A simple search for “iodine deficiency” along with the doctor’s name(s) will bring up the information. It’s important information, too, since iodine is so critical to our bodies. Deficiency can lead to several diseases, including cystic diseases and (eventually) cancer. Unfortunately, most doctors in Western Medicine are afraid of iodine, so a lot of people are needlessly suffering from deficiency symptoms.

    For sure, I wouldn’t worry about the amount of iodine in Eden’s canned beans since that amount is miniscule compared to the amounts needed by our bodies.

      1. As I stated, there is plenty of information written by iodine-literate doctors that shows the RDA is inadequate for *whole-body* iodine sufficiency. I listed the doctor’s names so that people can find the information themselves.

        Dr. Sherry Tenpenny can be added to the list of doctors that have spoken about iodine deficiency; one of her presentations can be found on youtube. Dr. Brownstein and Dr. Derry have written books about the topic; you can find a presentation by Brownstein on youtube, also. Dr. Flechas has dozens of papers referenced on his website alone, with more being found at the Iodine Research website.

        1. I am interested in the studies, not doctors interpretations of the studies. The reason this is important is that a doctor like atkins or D’Adamo (blood type diet) can say anything and use poor sources to make their conclusions.

          1. This isn’t a matter of one lone doctor suggesting that the RDA for iodine is too low for whole-body sufficiency. There are several iodine-literate doctors out there and I’ve listed a few of the main ones. That should be enough to get you headed in the right direction when looking for information. I’m sorry that I don’t have time to sit here and post dozens of links. Anyone who is really interested will be able to find the information themselves.

            As I said, Dr. Flechas has a website with many references, as does the Iodine Research website. There are presentations on youtube by Tenpenny and Brownstein. Drs. Derry and Brownstein have both written books on the topic. Dr. Sircus speaks about iodine deficiency on his site and in his books.

            I’m sorry if the information they present isn’t enough for you to consider that many people might be deficient. It’s enough for me. Ever since I started supplementing, my goiter has gone down, my fibrocystic breast disease got better, and I have had more energy.

            I live in the “Goiter Belt” (aka the Bible Belt) where iodine levels are low in the soil. Not everyone is deficient, of course, but it’s estimated that many people are. Nobody is forcing anyone to supplement with iodine or even get their levels checked. It’s worth reading the available information, though, IMO.

      2. Toxins, is certainly a “respected” source, but I notice it’s a 2001 publication. That’s 12 years ago. Some views change in 12 years or even in less (I’m thinking of Vit D where they used to recommend much less) It’s ironic i’m asking since I’m not 100% sure that even trust the *Vit D* rec’s (I wonder if they are recommending too much) but I’ve had extremely low so am taking D suppl, while trying to keep sharp eye open for any adjustments down …well somewhat similar question for iodine, is there no difference at all between 2013 (almost 2014) thinking and this 2001 publication (which come to think of it is based at least partly on even pre-2001 research)? Just wondering. Thanks

        1. None of the vitamin-D literate doctors would tell people to take some standard dose. They are strong advocates of vitamin D testing since too much D can be a bad thing. Iodine-literate doctors also advocate pre-supplementation testing in order to get a baseline.

  14. Eden foods needs to demonstrate far more responsibility not only in the beans but in labeling products like the dried strips of Kombu. There is no NO MENTION of the IODINE content on the label, which is beyond ridiculous.After calling them, I was told that a 1/2 piece of a strip contains a whopping 9,570 mcg of iodine. Kombu generally and traditionally on an average is the highest iodine containing sea weed. Having a high iodine content in a sea weed is a good thing, because it wins over the bromine. Unfortunately, Eden foods has no idea what the bromine content of their Kombu product is, nor do they provide a mineral or heavy metal analysis of the product. Knowing how much Bromine (bad) is in a product, whether sea weed or other is critical because Bromine and its combinations are ubiquitous and detrimental to health. I have eaten Kombu (can’t remember the brand), quite a bit of it per meal and had no ill effects, in-fact, I cured myself of an illness eating Kombu, drinking Miso soup and eating Umbeoushi pickled plums. So its all good, in moderation. :) But please Eden foods, tell us how much bromine this product has!

    PS. How much iodine remains after boiling the Kombu is another question I would like to have answered. No one seems to know. One NCBI/Pub med said 99% of the iodine was lost but a different one said that 99% remained and caused a case of transient Thyrotoxicosis in two women in Japan.

    Go figure.

  15. Dear Dr Greger and friends,

    The journal Thyroid Research contains a refereed paper which estimates iodine consumption in Japan to be 1-3 mg per day.

    This amount may be quite a bit safer than that consumed by the Americans. Japanese women and men have much less breast and prostate cancer than American women and men, respectively. This is from the same paper.

  16. Hello!

    Is it true that Kombu seaweed can help the digestibility of the legumes? I cannot find any realiable source that confirm that this is true…


  17. It’s mid July 2014. Could somebody summarize where we are on this issue today? How much iodine is in Eden canned beans today– and are the amounts potentially problematic? Thanks, all.

  18. Sorry to introduce a divisive topic, but Eden’s food CEO “Potter went to court more than a year ago after learning the Affordable Care Act required Clinton-based Eden Foods to begin including contraceptives in its health insurance plan. He stated it violated his beliefs as a practicing Catholic.” (wikepedia listing for Eden’s Food, currently citation 18).
    I’m going back to freezing my beans, and using my instant, electric pressure cooker. It requires no oversight while cooking, unlike the scarier older pressure cookers.

  19. Good to know. I was avoiding their beans because of the kombu they add. Now, I’ll start buying their products again.

  20. I’d like to cook beans with kombu at home to get the iodine, flavor, and digestability benefits. Is there any recommendation for the amount of kombu I could add when cooking say, a pound of beans in order to get a safe amount of iodine?

  21. Was there ever any information released about Eden’s soy milk? My wife and I were giving our 18-month-old the milk until we came across an article of another soy milk producer (BonSoy, out of Australia), that lost a class action lawsuit for using a kombu powder that made its milk have a dangerously high level of iodine. We assume there would not be a similar issue with Eden’s milk, but would like any information that may be available. Thanks.

  22. Hi,

    Kmobu adds potassium but not sodium. Home-cooked would have less sodium and potassium. Its much better to cook your own food.

    Yared, Health Support Volunteer

  23. Should I return my beans? Damnit, i saw the kombu and worried it might have too much iodine and now I don’t know since their results are pretty high…

  24. Im really curious what the best source of beans would be. I assume Eden’s beans are not BPs/BPF free as well? And even if you buy uncooked beans they come in plastic bags – does this pose any risk?

        1. I meant that as a comment to whoever sends the emails to those subscribed. There’s no link in them back to the page. But I found the link to comments, so that works.

  25. Hi Everyone

    I’m new to Dr.Greger’s work and find it confusing, ambiguous, AND compelling. I live in Oregon and went to a local health food store today (12/9/2019) and bought Emerald Cove brand “organic Pacific Nori”. Oh, and greens nuts beans fruit vegetables to the tune of $140 for 3 days food supply, just for myself. Before you start picturing a fatty deserving of such expense, I weigh 110-120 lbs – probably – but never weigh myself, since I’ve weighed the same since I was 16 y.o., which was 52 years ago. I’ve been vegetarian/vegan since 1971. Skip the applause. It just turned out that way.

    On to nori, each package has 10 sheets, with package total net weight 0.9 ounces (25 g), on sale for $5.49 per 10 sheets. Normally $7.99 for 10 sheets.

    Each sheet is a “serving”, containing 35mcg IODINE per sheet. I had to eat 4 sheets, yuk I hate fish and everything fishy, but the deal breaker is cost. 4 sheets is 140 mcg, 10 mcg less than minimum daily, but close enough for this futile exercise. AT THIS RATE, GETTING MY IODINE FROM SEAWEED WILL COST ME $96.00 PER MONTH AND MAKE ME GAG EVERY DAY. Someone please tell me there’s another way. I have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, but couldn’t tolerate Synthoid – generic or brand name, and I hate canned food (ain’t eatin no Eden) and rarely buy non-organic foods of any kind, least of all from-the-sea-foods. Even this organic stuff is labeled as coming from Japan Korea ‍♂️“OR” maybe, equal possibility, no judgments allowed in modern life, yeah right maybe, just may be, from, wait for it, maybe from China. (read fast, as one syllable, so as not to be heard, like a sneeze)

    SOorry, I’m offensive angry American, already sufficiently surrounded by Cheap Chinese Crap in my house, and every cheap ready-to-break-or-wear-out-before-your-eyes material object visible in daily life outside the house is made there. I will die before I will trust China’s food (bless you), unless I’ve ordered from column A or column B at the local Golden Whatever Restaurant. I tell you nothing but truth there.

    Anybody there can help? Good fortune awaits the helpful and the help. (Quote from my today’s Golden Whatever Restaurant fortune cookie)

    1. Hi, Joe Naymouth! I am glad you are finding the material on this site compelling, but sorry it is confusing you. If you don’t like nori, perhaps sprinkling some dulse flakes on your food would be more palatable. You may be able to find them at lower prices online than at a health food store. You can find everything on this site related to iodine here: Thyroid health is covered here: Autoimmune conditions are covered here: I hope that helps!

  26. Thank you very much for the guidance on seaweed, Christine.

    HOWEVER, aside from cost and yuk, taste, of nori, I now must wonder about the actual amount of iodine in my 4 sheets of nori consumed yesterday, vs their package label claim.

    In addition to my having been diagnosed with hashimoto’s hypothyroid, I was diagnosed over 30 yrs ago with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, a congenital electrical wiring issue with my heart, causing, for me, occasional and infrequent episodes of tachycardia, and/or arrhythmia. My longest and highest bpm rate episode in the past was about 150-175 bpm, lasting maybe 10 minutes max. My cardiologist told me not to worry since I am heart healthy in all other ways.

    This morning, after having eaten those 4 nori sheets, I had the worst, scariest tachycardia ever, bpm >250 that lasted just short of 3 hours. I‘ve done regular weight, strength training 3x week for 20 minutes, and treadmill cardio 3-4 times weekly for 45 minutes, for decades, with no symptoms. My cardiologist stress tested me a couple years ago and was unable to trigger a WPW event at some soul crushing treadmill rate for forever.

    This is very concerning. I previously got my iodine from small, but unmeasured amounts of added-by-me Morton’s iodized salt, the only regular salt in my diet.

    Now, after being appropriately terrified by Dr. Gregor’s unquestionable statements on the dangers of salt in relation to heart health, I started in earnest, obtaining the proper range of iodine another way. Hence, the pricey nori sheets. The mere reading of your suggestion to try “dulse flakes” produces visions of my ex-wife shaking the cardboard cylinder above the stinky goldfish fishbowl she refused to clean regularly. Double yuk. Again, hence the nori in my cupboard. I realize that’s my personal taste problem.


    After reading about Eden’s official Corp. attitude about claimed iodine levels in their beans, AND noticing an OBVIOUS ERROR ON NUTRITIONAL INFO ON MY NORI PACKAGES, I’M LOST HERE. (Nori pkg. claim – “Vitamin B-12 = 1.9mcg” = ”80% daily value”, when my understanding is that my newly purchased cyanocobalamin sublingual tab label is correct – “Vitamin B-12 = 1,000 mcg“ = ”41.667% daily value ”.)


    It seems not-unreasonable to view all seaweed package labels as critically suspect.

    250 bpm is exhausting. I’m reluctant to eat another bite of seaweed regardless of flake or sheet.


    I respect the dilemma he faces. By presenting scientific conclusions ONLY (my impression from what little I’ve read compared to how much is here), he is not responsible for the varieties of readers’ actions or subsequent behavior. He is only a messenger. And, we’re probably all, or almost all, adults. We must and do decide for ourselves. We, the users must own the dilemma. It’s the apparent price we pay for learning.

    Having been shaken from the roots, though, of past habits, it’s not clear how to proceed. I have to believe Dr. Greger is a normal human being, aside from his many credentials and wonderful personality. As such, and excluding concerns about cost of a WFPBD diet, DOES HE REALLY HAVE TIME TO PURCHASE AND PREPARE ALL THE FOODS HE EATS EVERY DAY, AFTER MONITORING THEIR QUALITY AND CONSTANTLY ADJUSTING HIS DIET TO CONFORM WITH EACH DAY’S REVELATION-FROM-RESEARCH? Or, does he have assistance?

    The more I learn here, the more shaky the ground under my feet, in many and varied ways. That’s not conducive to my health. It’s also a no-going-back position, becoming informed/educated. We can’t will ourselves back to cozy ignorance. Garden of Eden type stuff. Ha!


    Now I have two questions, seemingly unanswered on this site, related to iodine;



    Christine, thanks again. I perceive that Dr. Greger as moral and ethical, doing his best. We users must participate at our best, in order to maintain and raise the standards for an acceptable level of quality information presented, for the benefit of ourselves and others.

  27. Hello Joe, and thank you for your (several) questions and comments,

    I am a family doctor and a volunteer for Dr. Greger on this website. My knowledge about nutrition has been gained mainly over the past 6 years after starting a WFPB diet myself, following this website, and going to lots of conferences. Here is my summary of your questions/concerns, and my responses:

    1) Your general concern that, because our knowledge about nutrition and dietary dangers is always evolving, you sometimes feel almost paralyzed by the uncertainty. I can sympathize with this somewhat, however, I think that if you just remember the broad strokes of what Dr. G advises, you’ll be fine: eat a diet composed almost entirely of whole plant foods, organically grown if possible — veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, and some nuts and seeds — plus a very few supplements. Here is his short list of supplements: Notice that iodine is on his list.

    2) The “obvious error on nutritional info” on your Nori package. You are mistaken about that. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mg per day, for adults, so 1.9 mg is indeed about 80% of your RDA. You mis-read the RDA on your sublingual cyanocobalamin 1000 mcg capsule: it is 41667% of the RDA, not 41.667%. The reason that we take such high supplement doses is that “only about 10 mcg of a 500 mcg oral supplement is actually absorbed in healthy people” — quote is from this reference:

    3) Your concern about what is actually in a package of seaweed, and also your concern about food coming from China, in view of the stories we hear about contamination and unscrupulous business practices. This is a very legitimate concern, because the oceans are very polluted, and from one month to the next, there may be differing amounts of nutrients (including iodine) and pollutants. So information on the nutrition label might not be accurate. This is, in part, why I take an iodine supplement, instead of eating seaweed. See #4.

    4) “Is there any other safe way to get iodine on a WFPBD besides seaweed and salt?” Yes, you can take it as a supplement. I decided to start doing this almost two years ago, when I developed fatigue with exercise and realized I was iodine deficient — which was causing symptoms of hypothyroidism, due to eating very little salt (due to elevated BP) and these days sea salt is used in many so-called health foods instead of iodized salt, and I also don’t eat fish or dairy or seaweed. Dr. G recommends you take 150 mcg per day — see #1. I take 225 mcg, only because I wanted a vegan capsule, and found one made by “Pure encapsulations” that was also inexpensive.

    5) “Can it (seaweed) be cooked in a pot of beans at home without degradation of iodine content?” Answer is YES. Iodine is an element, and doesn’t degrade with heat.

    I hope this helps.
    Health Support Volunteer for

    1. It definitely helps. Thank you. I’m leaving this site now to search for iodine supplements as you mentioned. I must assume that you take responsibility for offering the advice as scientifically sound, and have replied as a representative of, rather than of your own belief system.

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