Will the Real Paleo Diet Please Stand Up

Will The Real Paleo Diet Please Stand Up?

Paleolithic diets are currently the rage, attracting athletes, dieters, and health seekers of all stripes. The basic premise of the so-called “paleo” diet is simple—the diet humans ate in preagricultural, Paleolithic times is best suited for human health. Whether or not what these relatively short-lived humans ate is what’s optimal for the health of today’s relatively long-lived humans is a matter of considerable debate. Preagricultural diets—which essentially consisted of wild plants, wild animals, and wild fish—varied considerably, depending on location, season, hunting and gathering skills, available tools, and so on. People didn’t consume oil, sugar, or salt; anything from a box or bag, or the milk of other mammals. Today’s new paleo devotees attempt to copy this diet by eating meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds and avoiding processed foods, grains, legumes, and dairy products. Followers of the new paleo diet naturally assume that their nutrient intakes approximate that of Paleolithic humans, but their actual intakes may be wide of the mark. Nutritional anthropologists have been estimating the nutrient intakes of cavemen for several decades. As it turns out, vegan diets may actually come closer to matching the macro- and micronutrient intakes of Paleolithic diets than new paleo diets. The table below summarizes the results of a comparison among recommended paleo menus, recommended plant-based menus, and a true Paleolithic diet eaten by early humans. The data compare three days of recommended paleo menus from a popular paleo website, three days of recommended plant-based (vegan) menus from Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition, and the estimated average daily intakes of Paleolithic people. The table also provides dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for adult males (M) and adult females (F) who aren’t pregnant or lactating. Nutrients and other dietary factors in the new paleo or vegan diet that are more similar to the true Paleolithic diet are highlighted (pink for the new paleo diet and green for the vegan diet).

True Paleolithic, new Paleolithic, and plant-based diets compared

Sources: New paleo data: average of 3 days (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday) of recommended Paleo menus, adjusted to 3000 kcal.1 Vegan data: average of three days from the Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition menus2 , adjusted to 3,000 calories. True Paleolithic data3, 4 *RDA for iron is 18 mg for women of childbearing age and 8 mg after age 50.

The comparison shows that this recommended new paleo menu supplies protein, vitamin A, and zinc in amounts closer to a true Paleolithic diet than do the vegan menus. However, its fat and saturated fat levels are about double, cholesterol almost triple, and sodium five times as much as that of a true Paleolithic diet. In addition, the new paleo menu contains about a third of the carbohydrates, and half the vitamin C, calcium, and fiber of true Paleolithic diets. Even the 100 percent plant-based menus deliver fiber in amounts at the lowest end of the estimated Paleolithic intake range; clearly our preagricultural ancestors ate plenty of plants (the only source of fiber). The vegan menus do provide intakes of carbohydrate, fat, saturated fat, fiber, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, calcium, sodium, and potassium that are closer to the levels supplied by a true Paleolithic diet than do the new paleo menus. Why are new paleo diets and the true Paleolithic diet so far apart nutritionally? The answer lies in the differences between the meat and vegetables consumed today and those eaten in the Paleolithic era. The wild animals eaten then provided an estimated 6 to 16 percent of calories from fat compared to about 40 to 60 percent in today’s domestic animals—even those that are grass-fed. They were also free of added hormones, antibiotics, and environmental contaminants. All animal organs were consumed, and insects provided significant amounts of protein. In addition, virtually all fruits and vegetables available in supermarkets are more palatable, more digestible, and easier to store and transport than their wild cousins, at the expense of valuable protective dietary components. Wild or uncultivated plants provide about four times the fiber of commercial plants (13.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams versus 4.2 grams of fiber per 100 grams, respectively).4 Certainly, there are some benefits to switching from a standard Western diet to a paleo-type diet—highly processed foods, refined carbohydrates, fried foods, and fast foods are eliminated, and fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are encouraged. On the other hand, today’s paleo eaters tend to include more meat than did early humans, ignoring the impressive evidence linking meat consumption to risk of chronic disease. Grains and legumes are dispensed with, even though these foods have a long and impressive track record as valuable sources of calories and protein for the world’s population. The value of legumes and grains in the human diet is validated by people of the Blue Zones – the longest lived, healthiest populations in the world – all of whom consume legumes and grains as part of their traditional fare. Modern paleo advocates claim that these foods weren’t part of Paleolithic-era diets, but new research challenges that assumption.5 They also argue that lectins naturally present in these starchy foods are harmful to human health. Consuming too many lectins can cause significant gastrointestinal distress. However, because legumes and grains are almost always consumed in a cooked form—and lectins are destroyed during cooking—eating beans and grains doesn’t result in lectin overload. Sprouting also reduces lectin levels in plants, although not as effectively as cooking. Generally, pea sprouts, lentil sprouts, and mung bean sprouts are safe to consume, as are sprouted grains, which are naturally low in lectins. Most larger legumes contain higher amounts and should be cooked. The Bottom Line: With its focus on consuming large quantities of meat, the new paleo diet is a pale imitation of the diet of early humans. Unfortunately, this dietary pattern also ignores the numerous health risks associated with eating meat, the ethical issues associated with an increased demand for food animals, and the looming environmental crisis that makes eating lower on the food chain an ecological imperative. People who want to move closer to a true Paleolithic diet should explore plant-based diets—such diets come as close to true paleo diets as modern day people can hope to achieve. References

  1. Paleo Plan Website (paleoplan.com/resources/sampler-menu-meal-plan/).
  2. Davis B, Melina V. Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition: The Complete Reference to Plant Based Nutrition. Book Publishing Co, 2014.
  3. Eaton SB et al. Paleolithic Nutrition Revisited: A Twelve-Year Retrospective on Its Nature and Implications. Euro J Clin Nutr. 1997; 51(4):207–216 .
  4. Konner M, Eaton SB. Paleolithic Nutrition: Twenty-Five Years Later. Nutr Clin Prac. 2010; 25:594–602.
  5. Revedin A et al. Thirty thousand-year-old evidence of plant food processing. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2010;107(44):18815–18819.

Brenda Davis (right) is a leader in her field, an esteemed, popular speaker, a member of the Vegetarian Hall of Fame, and a past chairperson of the Vegetarian Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). She lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, with her husband, Paul. Vesanto Melina (left) is a sought-after speaker and consultant; she has taught nutrition at the University of British Columbia and Bastyr University in Seattle and is consultant to the government of B. C. She coauthored the joint position paper on vegetarian diets for the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada. She lives in Langley, BC with her partner Cam Doré. They are the coauthors of  14 books, 7 jointly. These books include their latest releases, Becoming Vegan: Comprehensive Edition (2014) and Becoming Vegan: Express Edition (2013), and the popular favorites, Becoming Raw, The New Becoming Vegetarian, Becoming Vegetarian, Becoming Vegan, and The Raw Food Revolution Diet. Brenda also is co-author of Defeating Diabetes and of Dairy-Free and Delicious. Vesanto is co-author of Cooking Vegan, Cooking Vegetarian, Raising Vegetarian Children, Food Allergies: Health and Healing, and the Food Allergy Survival Guide. Their books have been translated into 9 languages and have sold over 650,000 copies.


246 responses to “Will The Real Paleo Diet Please Stand Up?

Comment Etiquette

On NutritionFacts.org, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. NutritionFacts.org is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

      1. It’s all in the marketing. No one is selling the “miracle vegan diet”.
        I saw an infomercial peddling “free air TV..no cable bills”. Their product was an antenna. Everyone had TV antennas before cable TV. It’s all in the marketing.

  1. Hi, I heard you speak at the Engine2 conference in Phoenix earlier this year. Am curious why you chose the plant-based diet you did with almost 30 percent fat as a point of comparison for this article? Thanks!!
    p.s. I hope to attend the cruise you will be speaking on in 2015!

    1. This article wasn’t written by Dr. Greger, it was written by the two women pictured, Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. Their sources are listed in the reference section and they state that they chose their own books for the comparison diet.

    2. We were comparing a standard vegan diet to a standard “paleo” diet. The average vegan consumes close to 30% of calories from fat, although their intakes of saturated fat and trans fat tend to be very low.

      1. The average paleo diet is also very low in trans fats. Saturated fats have not been shown to be detrimental to health. Instead of cherrypicking lines from studies, maybe Gregor and his cohort could simply look the the large meta-analyses done recently on saturated fat.

        Also, how did you arrive at the macronutrient ratios for paleo people? the whole point of the paleo diet is that it is a template that allows for a wide range of macronutrient ratios. Paleo can be high carb or high fat. Why can vegans never get their heads around the idea that paleo is not necessarily high meat?

        1. In an NCBI study very recently (go find it)……. Following a single oral dose of saturated fat, just one, yes just one bolus of fat resulted in a measurable increase in insulin resistance, hepatic triglycerides, and gluconeogenesis. In mice, the saturated fat bolus resulted in the induction of several NAFLD-associated genes. Together, the results of this study indicate that saturated fat intake has immediate effects on metabolic function. Last I checked, the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health aren’t cohorts and cherry pickers. Now just totally get out of here with your nonsense and take your own cohorts and cherry pickers with you.

  2. The one fact that is gets ignored in these discussions is that humans have always fasted, either for religious reasons or because of food shortages. The Inuit were (and to some extent still are) meat eaters, yet they would often go for weeks without eating because there was nothing to eat. Cancer rates plummeted in Europe during and after WWI and WWII – how much of that is because of the scarcity of animal protein and how much of it was because of the abundance of hunger? What does the literature say?

    1. Endocrinologist Diana Schwarzbein says fasting (skipping even a single meal) wreaks havoc on endocrine system. Stresses body’s hormone systems. I think its more likely that fasting helps people who are eating CRAP or SAD diets because they are no longer eating Calorie Rich and Processed junk. Not because of a fast (nutrient deprivation) inherently being beneficial. If you don’t eat crap, a fast should be of no benefit and likely detrimental.

      Dan Bernardot also says even calorie intake over the course of the day is best way to eat. His book is awesome for Nutrition for Athletes:
      Advanced Sports Nutrition-2nd Edition

      Diana Schwarzbein has a really good talk here

      The Benefits of Caloric Restriction Without the Actual Restricting

      1. Fasting, among other things, activates SIRT genes (a great cellular tune-up) and have recently been shown to trigger stem cell regeneration of the immune system. It is a natural process that can be most beneficial, even if it is not without its trade off (like most things in health). A short fasting should be easy for a healthy individual.

      2. I fasted for 28 days years ago. Actually fasting gives a different perspective than research or theory. After three days the hunger pangs go away. Ketosis occurs and the only difficult part is getting your appetite back.. Your metabolism slows down, your body rests and heals. I can’t believe the human body is so fragile it’s wrecked by missing a single meal. I suppose a meat eater might have problems with blood sugar and missing one meal. I don’t have an appetite when I work or exercise hard so often miss meals. My hunger returns after a coupe hours. Some of this stuff is researched to death. These days I value my personal experience over much of the research that’s regurgitated.
        Coming off a fast is critical and could wreak havoc on the endocrine system.

          1. martaab,
            Good to be back. Thanks. I’m not adjusting easily to all the censorship but I’ll keep trying ’til I get it right, unless they permanently delete me. Again, thanks.

    2. What also gets ignored is that people did not drive to their local market and then pop food into a microwave to eat. ALL food was foraged – hunted, gathered – requiring massive amounts of physical energy to secure. Preparation itself also often required plenty of physical work as well. So, the effects of any meat eating was quite different then than now.

    3. Elizabeth, you’re right about health improving during WWII. It’s a sensitive topic but POW’s and those who survived interment camps were in better over-all health than prior to the war. Likewise, folks who lived through the depression saw their health improve. It’s scary to realize starving is better than eating meat and dairy.

      1. Elisabeth, Larry, Keep in mind that the Germans didn’t just take the livestock (meat, dairy, eggs), they took EVERYTHING! That included vegetables and grain. Eating less food overall probably did more to reduce cancer rates rather than the absence of any particular food group. Don’t be so quick to blame meat, when bread may have been the culprit (not saying it is). Don’t confuse correlation with causation. Otherwise, someone might pose these 2 questions: The first question – Which nation has the highest percentage of vegetatrians? Next – Which nation has the highest percentage of diabetics? The answer to both questions is India. A wise person will see things as they are and not as they wish them to be.

        1. Randall, it’s you who is quick to run interference for meat and dairy. People didn’t overeat during and before WWII like they do today. Meat was eaten less often and in smaller portions so the evidence against them is even more compelling. Sure, if that was the only example, more research would be warranted…but the research has been done many many times. With advanced science and research we know the high protein in meat and dairy triggers cancer cell division. We know 100% of heart disease is caused by meat and diary. We know type II diabetes is caused by the fat in meat and diary. We also know that eating plant food lets the heart heal and the symptoms of diabetes goes away. Eat all the meat and dairy you crave. You can even have my portion.

          You cite vegetarians as unhealthy. You are correct. Vegetarians are no more healthy than meat and dairy eaters. Again, it demonstrates even smaller amounts of meat and dairy cause illness. Smaller portions is not the answer. It’s like asking your doctor how few cigarettes you can smoke and not got cancer.

          The Indians you cite in your argument don’t eat cows for religious reasons. Depending on what kind of vegetarian they consider themselves (there are many), some eat lamb, goat, chicken, fish. etc. That’s hardly “meat free”. Zero meat and diary is a good start to a healthy immune system. That’s science, not opinion.

        2. Almost all (so called) vegetarians in India eat milk and other dairy products. The “strict vegetarian” restaurants that abound in India do not have much dairy free items and one gets funny looks when asked for “strict vegetarian” items!

          And most vegetarian Indians eat junk. Very little fresh produce is part of the meal. They cook the hell out of everything and pour sugar and butter and ghee where possible. It is a very heavy grain/sugar/oil/dairy based vegetarianism. One should be surprised if the diabetes rates are low!

  3. 29% fat for a plant-based diet?? Whoa! Not sure what plants you’re eating, but fat comprises 10% of my calorie consumption on a whole food / plant-based diet. I know I’m missing something here–would you explain more please? Perhaps the vegan menus you chose from your source include lots of oils and nuts?

    Very nice analysis, thanks for assembling!

      1. Yeah, not hard to get to 30% fat. I do it on some days. Dr. Fuhrman makes the point that a diet of 15% fat can be a healthy diet, but a diet of 30%+ can also be a healthy diet. But Fuhrman does not think a diet of 10% or lower in fat can be a healthy diet. That’s where Fuhrman breaks with McDougall. I have no idea who is right. I prefer to eat more fat by adding the walnuts to the flax and chia seeds and occasional avocado. Usually that means I am around 18-30% fat.

        1. The problem with the 29% fat allowance for vegans is it misleads anyone seeking serious weight loss. It gives them permission to max out at 29%. Their weight loss would be much quicker and easier if, for the time being, fat consumption (even “healthy” fat) was closer to zero than 29%. Likewise, if you are new to healthy eating and your immediate goal is to clean out the old arteries, eating 29% fat isn’t the fastest approach. Lower the fat consumption and result will be fast and the newbie will be motivated by their quick easy success.

          Once their weight is under control and their arteries get a clean bill of health then adding some fat will reduce and stop the weight loss as they ease into “maintenance mode”.

          1. Interesting. So is there evidence that bad arteries won’t clean up when switching to a plant-based diet high in dark green leafies, if there is around 30% fat in the diet rather than lower?

            1. “Likewise, if you are new to healthy eating and your immediate goal is to clean out the old arteries, eating 29% fat isn’t the fastest approach.”

              Notice I said, immediate goal”?

              Since fat is the culprit, those wanting to clean their arteries asap aren’t served by eating 29% fat. If you’re trying to drain water from a tub, adding water as you drain will only slow the task down. Whether your diet is high in greens or not, the problem is the fat. Besides, short term, fat takes the place of fiber and serve no long term purpose. Oils in nuts and avocados might be “good fats”, but it’s easier to fill full on grains that use up the allowed calories on foods, even healthy foods, which won’t be as filling. If the dieter gets hungry the diet will crash. They’ll fill full on grains, etc. For me, nuts are like potato chips, it’s hard to eat just one. Lose the weight pronto and clean up the arteries by consuming minimal fat. Then re-evaluate and decide how much fat is appropriate for your health and lifestyle..

              Some people are high risk. They’ve been advised to have heart surgery. If their preference is to avoid the surgery and clean their arteries why do so over a prolonged period of time? One strenuous day might cause a problem. Weight loss sooner is better than later.

              1. Is the goal to be skinny or be healthy? Our brains and bodies are comprised of many many fatty acids. How on earth could you recommend going fat free when we need fat to even survive. There are things called ESSENTIAL fatty acids for a reason, and your brain is made up of mostly fat. Maybe you are mistaking the fact that fat clogs the arteries. Where did you get that assumption? Did you make it up out of the ether? Omega-3 fatty acids actually help clear and unclog arteries, and advocating anyone to stop eating fat is dangerous. If someone ate avocados, nuts, and flax, they would be much healthier and likely lose the weight much much faster if they were eating the same amount of calories in rice and beans. Remember, carbs turn to sugar, and unless you’re out running marathons all day, that sugar will store as fat just as much as that avocado will. I suggest you refrain from giving others recommendations when you are basing them on baseless feelings you have about nutrition.

                1. The only nuts and seeds that are rich in omega 3 are walnuts, flax and chia. The rest have terrible ratios which do not allow adequate conversion of ALA to DHA and EPA. One can get by on a “fat free” diet, as fat is contained in everything. At the end of the day, if your diet is rich in greens and veggies, omega 3 is usually up there. See for yourself on cronometer.com

                  1. Toxins! I agree with almost everything that you are saying. the only thing that I question is if you already had a look at the walnuts ratio of omega6:omega3 – almost 5:1 it’s not so good.

                    1. But it’s not optimal! However, I agree with you, Jeff Novick and with the scientific evidence that tell us that walnuts are very good to us, but I don´t think we can say that it’s because of the omega 3 content of walnuts (it’s much more than that).

                    2. Definitely, and it is a high antioxidant nut as well. Remember though, 5:1 is is really not that bad, and you would still have anti inflammatory properties out of that ratio.

                      ” A ratio of 2-3/1 suppressed inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and a ratio of 5/1 had a beneficial effect on patients with asthma, whereas a ratio of 10/1 had adverse consequences.”


                      Of course I agree, lower is better.


                      Nitpicking over 5:1 vs 4:1 will not make it or break it.

                    3. If one is taking 1-2 tablespoons of ground flax daily, then the 5-1 ratio of the walnuts becomes a non-issue as the overall ratio of the diet will be in the optimal range, which is 4-1 to 1.1.

                    1. Well the information i provided is straight from the USDA database. You can do the math yourself to see. Macadamia have a ratio just above 6:1, walnuts have a ratio just above 4:1. Considering this, Macadamia nuts do not seem to be that bad of an offender. I jumped too quickly to conclusions without doing the math. Peanuts are above 5,000:1 and almonds are also in the thousands although not as much as peanuts. Thanks for bringing this up

                    2. You are welcome. And while both walnuts and macadamia nuts are pretty close to the same ratio, they certainly are miles apart on price. But what bothers me is the Balance Score concept is supposed to factor in everything to provide a sort of coefficient of desirability. It says that macadamias (-4) are far more desirable than walnuts (-46). And I don’t know why.

                    3. I don’t know either, no system is perfect when ranking foods. Antioxidant capacity and phytonutrients are usually not included in these results as well.

                2. One of my goals is to have minimal visceral fat. I prefer muscle to “skinny”. I prefer skinny to fat. Why choose? We can be thin, muscular, have little visceral fat, and be healthy, all on the same starch based nutrition plan and vigorous exercise.

                  I can’t imagine the effort required to “go fat free”. Fat is available in the amounts needed in our plant food.
                  If all that is required to remove plaque form arteries is omega-3 fatty acids then why be concerned about limiting fat consumption to 29%. The body will clean up the arteries without dozing on omega-3’s. Saying omega-3’s “help” clean arteries isn’t an indication fat, 29% by caloric count is needed to do the job. Omega-3’s are available without 29% fat consumption. The arteries clogged from excess fat…maybe from eating nuts and avocados.

                  “Carbs turn to sugar” is an over-simplification Processed carbs are already “pre-digested” in a sense.. .so are easily processed and do cause a glycogen spike. Complex carbohydrates, however, take time to break down and digest and be absorbed, maintaining a more stable sugar level. They provide slow energy.
                  My reasoning is supported by science. Our problem in the U.S.A. isn’t we lack omega-3’s so much as we eat too much fat stored “as is” and processed carbohydrates which spike our sugar level and leaves us without the slow-burning energy provided by the complex carbohydrates I recommend.

                  I’ve seen a lot of fat runners who obviously consume too many calories. They won’t run it off unless they reduce caloric count to a couple-three hundred less than their body needs. Running, in itself, is no indication of that.

                  It’s a simple task to find this or that “healthy” nutrient in many foods. Arguably, nutrients required for a healthy body and strong immune system. However, that’s not a prescription to indulge in fat calories, for example, when the goal is to lose weight or clean arteries. After all, if one can live on potatoes along for six months without causing health problems, eating less than 29% fat for a month, or two, ot three won’t likely cause the brain to die. Alternately, however, the high fat consumption will likely cause a stroke, heart attack, osteoporosis, cancer…something easily avoided by reducing the fat until the weight is lost.

                  1. I am a vegan and think that the ideas behind paleo diets are a fantasy. Which is why I am completely stupefied that this article claims to compare modern diets to a “true” paleo diet. The Paleolithic period covers 200,000 years and multiple homo species spreading across the globe. A tiny tiny fraction of those people died under circumstances in which their remains were preserved, and only in regions where environmental factors were favorable. The idea that anyone could have come up with a detailed caloric analysis of a “true” paleo diet is not only ridiculous, it feeds into the ideology of paleo dieters themselves by implying that there is such a thing as a single, correct paleo diet.

                    1. All good points Cris. The “experts” see an ancient frozen body discovered in the Alps or an Egyptian mummy which the researchers use new techniques on to unravel their “mysteries” and by listening to the PhD hypothesize about “what it must have been like” to be that carcass at that time is amusing. The researcher is so full of himself he invents antidotal stories about “…”and that’s the way it was on October 16th, 300 years B.C.” (It’s uncle Walter’s fault.)

                      I wonder what the story will be in two thousand years when a PhD digs up a moonshiner in Eastern KY from the 1930’s or a 1960’s Mormon buried with his sixteen wives. The brilliant researcher will conclude humans drank liquor because water was unsafe after the last world war and so many warriors died in battle the few remaining ones had the burden of repopulating the world with all those surplus women (It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it!)

                    2. Good comment. Evidence is thin on the ground. Seems to me that its a bit like going through someone’s bins the day after Christmas, and trying to deduce what they’ve been eating every day for the past 50 years.

                    3. The so-called paleo diet also fails to note any regional or seasonal differences. I would suspect that tribes by the sea, in jungles, or on the plains would have vastly different diets.

                    1. Stephen, I don’t have any personal knowledge to pass on. My thoughts are we get too tied up in numbers, weight, calories, BP, etc. In this day and age there are so many drugs that can give up “good” numbers and in doing so “hide” the symptoms we must be careful of what we choose as a number target,. My honest believe is that if we eat a starch based diet, our natural “normal” fat amount will be maintained. That is to say, visceral fat will not be a health problem.

                      On the issue of strength, keep in mind you and I could have the same amount of fat, be the same height and one of us have much more muscle…yet not be as strong. In such a scenario, how do we equate body fat with muscle? Strength is more important than muscle mass in my thinking. I’ll qualify that comment by adding, if you train with weights for strength you’ll have much more muscle mass than the average vegan or meat eater, but not as much muscle mass as a body builder. No one has really ever combined the science of weight training (power lifting) with optimal (vegan) nutrition. Individuals may have for their own benefit but not as a “science”. We don’t even have Olympic lifters in this country any more…because we don’t have skilled coaches. We DO have extremely strong power lifters but they advocate lots and lots of meat and protein suppliments.as do most professional athletes and their trainers. I wonder how much better athletes they would be if they didn’t overdose on protein and train too often.

                      Since your question is astutely qualified by adding….”for health and longevity”, I can give my unqualified personal opinion. I think we should do rang-of-motion exercises (or just movements) periodically and log the results. Then at any point we see we are losing rang of motion then we need to implement an exercise to re-establish that range of motion. Likewise, some standard of strength should be maintained, maybe twice the strength of the average Joe, and maintain it. The body will appreciate the work and sweat and you’ll be able to care for yourself as you age. Athletes will tell you their legs go first. they lose half a step…then a step…then they are through. Likewise, we all slow down. If we are slow and weak to begin with, the slope is very steep and very short. Get some strength though power lifting and the muscle mass will automatically be there.. To me, an “ideal” fat-muscle mass ratio is a fool’s game. Eat a vegan diet and exercise and sweat and your body will reveal to you what is optimal for you. Suppose you heard a number and it became your target and you achieved it. Do you then adjust your diet to maintain that ratio? I prefer to get my personal ration from my body, based on a vegan diet and hard work or hard exercise.

                      Why do you ask? What are your thoughts on the optimal ratio between fat and muscle mass for health and longevity?

                    2. Larry,

                      I appreciate access to your considerable knowledge. I think I can offer a little different spin on the question. But it will benefit from your critique. So, follow me on this.

                      There is an optimal BMI established for health and longevity of 18.5 – 22. But a person could easily be in this range and die from the effects of osteopenia or lack of muscle mass to hold the frame together. It is also fairly well established that muscle-bound individuals do not fair well for longevity. I’ve read the average death age of football players is 47. From this I conclude there must be a sweet spot in the middle that is optimal for health and longevity. The question is, where is it?

                      I’ve read extensively the literature, contacted numerous organizations and talked to a number of experts. So far, no one flaws my logic but no one had an answer either, until recently. Two sources shed some light on the question, a Chinese study and the CR people. Though the picture is still rather fuzzy, the optimal percent body fat for health and longevity appears to be in the range of 11% -17% for males. When you observe that bodybuilders often reduce to 8% body fat, these results indicate that this is not healthy. Further, the average couch potato has a percent body fat around 28%, not healthy either. So targeting 11% – 17%, a fairly broad range, seems to have health and longevity value for average people.

                      If this is right then the entire weight loss industry is short sighted in that weight loss is only half the equation. For dieters with 30, 50 or 100 pounds to lose to get to optimal BMI should be targeting a percent body fat of 11% -17% at the same time to achieve the optimal results.


                    3. Stephen,
                      I didn’t know what the “clinical” ratio was when I answered earlier, but I avoided looking it up since I believe so many other parameters factor in. Especially in an overweight, sickly country such as ours.
                      Today Rachael Ray gave another of her pitches about how she cooks for her husband John, who loves pork chops with white beans and sausage. I suppose had she married a vegan the couple million who watch her would eat healthier. My point being, we have greater problems than missing the mark on fat/muscle ratio. One would think if football players died, on average, at age 47 we’d hear more about it. Even if true, I doubt an incorrect ratio sped up their end of life so drastically. They are super beasts and take drugs and who-knows-what to compete. Body fat to muscle ratio is probably one of the lesser evils.
                      Likewise, bodybuilders are prolific steroid users and overdose on mass quantities of “protein” and other concoctions purported to maximize muscle mass. They don’t fare well in longevity studies either. Either category of “athlete” would skew any research by inducing way too many variables. Athletes, in general, will consume or inject any concoction that will take a tenth of a second off their time. they’re not the best population for a longevity or health study.
                      I would not be surprised if your “optimal” numbers were in the same range as a vegan’s muscle mass to body fat ratio. I bet an athletic vegan’s number would be on the low side. having said that, were the studies done on meat eaters or vegans? That variable alone would cause a huge disparity in ratios.
                      All that you have said makes sense and in my opinion, confirms my “guess” that a vegan would have the “optimal” ratio. How could they not? We didn’t evolve packing excess fat year round or excess muscle mass. On a plant based diet our body’s reach “equilibrium” for optimal ‘everything”, I’d guess.
                      However, your criteria was…”for health and longevity” To that end let’s not look at one parameter (body fat ratio) but at overall factors and determine which, if any, gives the most bang for the buck, longevity-wise.. That answer is already on the books and I believe reliable. To maximize longevity..and seemingly that implies “health”, it’s a simple matter of reducing calories. On what is referred to as a “starvation diet” rats have lived, I believe 50% longer with great endurance. The science behind the fact is that we are here to reproduce and in good years we reproduce prolifically. And in bad years, well, we don’t! What constitutes a good year is when food in abundant. Lots of food consumption triggers an aging gene…to make way for the next generation. In bad times when little food is available, nature wants to keep us around to reproduce at some point when food is finally abundant so the aging process slows. So, trick your body chemistry into thinking it’s ‘starving” by eating less calories and you’ll slow down the aging trigger. I’m sure as a side effect, the fat to muscle mass ratio would be a very low number. Now THAT’s the study I want to see! If we eat a nutritionally dense, but calorically restricted diet, and trained for strength, what would our fat/muscle ratio be? That answer would be more correct, I believe than any study done on obese Americans…or even the Chinese study you referenced..
                      On a starch based diet we don’t have to target an 11% ratio for it’s the guaranteed result of eating plant food instead of meat and dairy. You see, if 11% is the target then we could achieve that goal eating meat and dairy but we would not have optimized our health. If a starch based diet is the target then one of the benefits is a low body fat, guaranteed.

                    4. Meant to add..the calorie restriction folks don’t seem to be athletic. Whenever I see their food they seem to eat greens and fruits and little starch. I believe Dr. Greger produced a video that discusses calorie restriction and still getting similar longevity and health benefits from a vegan diet. I bet one could weight train on a restricted diet if it were nutrient packed. I’ve eaten seven hundred calories many times and not been hungry because i was active. You can also reduce weekly calories by fasting a couple days. Scientific strength training takes little time. Most train too lightly and don’t recuperate between training sessions.

                    5. Larry,

                      I knew your critique would be helpful. As I’ve stressed, the few investigations into optimal body fat percentage have been fairly feeble but still revealing. Researchers told me the reason is lack of funding since no one sees a way to make any money with the results.

                      But, in general, the investigations have been done on near vegan populations. So that should nearly eliminate all other issues. Every subject died of old age, not from a chronic diet or substance abuse.

                      CR people point to research that indicates too much muscle-building reduces longevity while too little results in sarcopenia which also reduces longevity. Hence we are back to my sweet spot idea. Furthermore, my result target is the same as your wish in that it optimises diet and CR first and then looks at body composition on top of that.

                      My personal experience came to the different conclusion which is what really got my dander up. I am somewhat more athletic than most. I run a 5k in 37 minutes. Yet when I did CR to lose weight to get to a BMI of 20 and had my body fat measured by one of the most accurate means, it turned out to be 24% – a fair distance from the middle of optimal of 14%. Had I known that in advance, I could have targeted both at the same time.

                      So here is where we disagree right now. My results indicate that a particular diet like starch based or plant based DOES NOT guarantee anywhere near optimal body fat percentage as suggested by the feeble research. If one wants it, one must plan and work toward it as a specific goal. A great additional argument is that there does not appear to be any down side to doing that even if the idea ultimately turns out to be wrong.


                    6. Stephen,
                      How are you defining “ideal or optimal body fat ratio”? Some arbitrary number research points to? Food in its simplest sense is merely food. Humans contaminate their food for reason other than health. IF you accept a plant or starch based diet as optimal for humans…and the calories consumed equal the calories needed is at equilibrium (for lack of a better word). Therefore, wouldn’t you not recognize the resultant body fat ratio to be optimal too?
                      A couple I know are on high BP meds. He hunts; they eat meat and dairy. A starch based diet is absolutely foreign to them. Any benefits I tout lands on them like wishful thinking. Their meds keep the BP and cholesterol numbers in the “normal” range for Americans who eat meat and dairy. Meanwhile the food they choose to assault their body’s with continue to take it’s toll. They are keeping “good numbers” but unwittingly have induced a false sense of security. Meanwhile the meat and dairy continue to clog arteries and overload the body with protein and chems and hormones and preservatives and whatever else is hidden in those foods. They feel protected by the drugs since they are told their numbers are good.
                      Likewise, when you are considering YOUR ideal fat/lean ratio do you want to achieve the statistical average of all the population or do you want what is optimal for you? Additional, do you think forcing your ratio lower with extra exercise to burn the extra burgers is the same as if you achieve your ideal number by eating your ideal fuel (plants)? Remember we are not peas in a pod. there is no play book. Whatev3er PhD you discuss this with will argue a plausible case. But, they aren’t identical to you. They don’t have equal understanding of nutrition, exercise, and the body of knowledge available to them. Their bias interferes with assimilating their finding. A more direct answer to your question about your body is to measure the body fat after you are on a vegan diet for one year. I always argue one person does not make a statistic but in this case YOU are YOUR statistic. So, do you want to average in the numbers from countless others who eat whatever and aren’t you?
                      If you ask, “How much can you squat” and I answered, the average squat of over 1300 athletes is XXX pounds, you’d think I was nuts. You should be the expert on what your optimal body fat ratio is. My personal concern would be to eliminate visceral fat. That’s done by not eating meat and dairy.

                    7. Larry,

                      I should have been more clear in my terminology. I did not mean to say “ratio”. I meant to say, optimal body fat percentage. There is a long list of historical ways to measure it starting with underwater weighing. I tried them all and found them to be too inaccurate for practical use. However, several newer technologies do provide clinically accurate results including Pod Pod and DEXA and MRI. They are easy to do and provide beautiful detailed clinically accurate reports.

                      I used the same simple measure that was used in optimizing BMI statistics: life insurance mortality records. In other words, the ages people die as a function of their BMI or body fat percentage. Both these investigations result in J curves that suggest an optimum value without considering anything else.

                      As you correctly have guessed, these values are merely statistical averages over the population being observed. In the case of BMI it was millions of people because the database is huge. But for optimal bodyfat percentage the number was only a few thousand people that records could be kept one over about 15 years. And the participants were essentially vegetarians of average build. So questions of diet or toxins were not addrssed. But the question of fitness is addressed because, to get percent body fat down to an optimal level at an optimal BIM requires increasing muscle mass.


                    8. Stephen,
                      This is just opinion, but I would not decide MY optimal body fat based on ANY statistical data, even information derived from “vegetarians”. Each has his own definition of what the term even means. Some eat eggs and chicken. Some eat lots of nuts and avocados. You seem determined to find a number you are comfortable with. In my opinion you’d be better served to find a nutritional lifestyle that eliminated visceral fat. That would be vegan. People who eat meat and dairy, and the rest aren’t optimal in many areas, So even if you do drive your fat ratio to “optimal” for vegetarians, well, keep in mind vegetarians are about as fat as meat eaters, and just as unhealthy. You don’t appear to seek your personal optimal fat ratio but are looking for a number that is within a range established by others who have not considered all that you are capable of factoring in. Why lower your standard to their limitation? You accept them as the authority even thought you recognize they are not seeing the whole picture. You have my permission to body build, take steroids, and exercise down to an 11% body fat to muscle ratio. However, you won’t be as healthy as you could be otherwise…if for example, you took advantage of the cumulative knowledge in front of you. lived a vegan lifestyle. Eating meat and diary is a choice. You can do so in this country, but exercise won’t erase the damage. You won’t fool mother nature.

                    9. Larry,

                      Well, from a personal standpoint I’ve thrived on a WFPB diet for over a decade without a sick day. What is difficult for some is easy for me for some reason. And I’ve never had to take any medication or supplements except B12.

                      I’m not motivated to get to the lower range of 11%. But, since the estimated optimal range is quite broad, it seems reasonable to increase my muscle mass to reduce body fat percentage to the upper limit of 17%.

                      What do you think?


                    10. Stephen,

                      I think we are right where we started. You are determined to increase muscle mass to achieve a number. And I don’t understand the underlying motivation, or conceivably, what is accomplished health-wise. Incidentally, how new much muscle need be grown to balance your equation?
                      If you are a bodybuilder then I understand the notion of increasing muscle mass. Since you’ve targeted 17% body fat as your goal please comment on this one curiosity… since you are satisfied your body fat percentage is “too high” presently, is your goal to reduce total body fat or increase your weight so the ratio is “better”? If you choose the ladder then are you saying the extra muscle mass is not a deterrent to longevity?
                      Alternately, body fat is only reduced by dieting or liposuction. What if you achieve your magical number and by adding muscle mass but then lose a leg in a accident? Will you add more muscle mass to get your 17% back? Or carefully construct an artificial limb to the precise weight needed?

                    11. Larry,

                      I’m only determined to see optimal body metrics for health and longevity as science can discover it.

                      The researchers who study sarcopenia have a rule of thumb that I don’t have readily at hand. So I’ll guess. They say if a person maintains the same weight going forward from age 30, they will lose maybe 1% of their muscle mass per year at the same weight. That means a reduction in muscle mass of 30% in 30 years and 60% at 60 years. At that rate the person muscles will dwindle to the point that they will not support the skeleton and then bones break which often causes premature death at the same weight.

                      That is why active intervention to at least maintain existing muscle mass at the same weight seems appropriate and optimizing muscle mass might be a desirable target.

                    12. The research you reference is based on meat and dairy eaters and folks who lift weights improperly. I’m not in that population so their numbers don’t concern me. Even doing “conventional” weight training does not stop loss of muscle mass.

                      Using your numbers suggests the study group gained fat as they lost muscle weight. Otherwise their total weight would have dropped instead of remaining constant Loss of muscle mass is more complicated than statistics. It’s treatment is more specific than doing some kind of exercise with the belief it addresses the problem.. “Wisdom” means you survived your mistakes. I guess in a few decades you’ll give yourself some feedback.

                    13. Larry,

                      That’s exactly right. At the same weight a typical person exchanges muscle mass for fat at about 1% per year. And, of course the vast majority of the population are meat eaters and gain fat tissue on top of that as a result. Then you factor in osteoporosis, particularly in women, and you have shrinking muscle mass, thinning bone density and added adipose tissue – the prescription for disaster called preventable premature death.

                      Actually, my program is being monitored by a local trainer weekly and the Pennington Institute every ninety days and has showed steady progress now for over six months with a target optimization date six months from now. We’ll see.

                    14. I’m baffled, Stephen. you earned a certificates in nutrition based Dr’s Campbell’s research and have been a vegan for ten years but are now being monitored by a web site “Pennington Institute” which advocates fish and “white meat” (possum?) as good sources of protein. They also promote supplements. I don’t think Dr. Campbell covered that in his research. Seems to me you are mixing evidence based research with something else.

                      Since meat and dairy eaters have the problem of losing muscle mass as they age I don’t know how that info applies to you. If after 30 years it’s learned you didn’t lose muscle mass does your physical training apply to meat eaters to? Since the meat is causing their health issues, who can argue throwing in exercise will stop the loss?

                      What are you “optimizing” that can be evaluated after only six months? We were talking about losing muscle mass at a rate of 1% per year. There is no accurate instrument that can unequivocally ascertain 1/2 of 1% muscle mass loss over six months….or prove none was lost to that measure of resolution/accuracy. Just the expected error range alone is six times greater than what you are trying to monitor…unless you are measuring some other parameter not introduced into our discussion.

                      By “local trainer” I take it you’re speaking of a fitness trainer? Nothing grows muscle mass better than weight training using Russian/Eastern block (old Soviet Union) weight training methods. Not too many coaches have that talent or knowledge in the USA. I’ll be curious to see how you measure success.

                    15. The Pennington Biochemical Laboratory, has “discoveries” to help “obese prone” people control their weight. Seriously, our nation isn’t fat because American’s are obese prone. Their fat because their belief about weight control, and nutrition in general, is dictated by media. Remove Rachael Ray and Dr. Oz from the limelight and stop misleading the public, and Americans can lean what they need to know about healthy eating.
                      Just this week CBS announced “a study” showing three glasses of milk a day caused more hip fractures than one glass (in adults). Finally some honest reporting. But even then one of the news announcers claimed she believed 1% milk is very healthy,,,,adding, “I hope they don’t take my bacon away. Pennington doesn’t advocate a plant based diet. Personally they offer nothing I want.

                    16. Stephen,
                      What is your notion of a WFPB (whole foods plant based?) diet? After ten years your body fat should be optimal. There ARE “fat vegan’s” who eat nuts and avocados and while technically their diet may be 100% vegan, the excess calories and fat are stored, hence the name fat vegan. Dr. McDougall is pretty adamant about nuts and avocados. Since you are a numbers guy, the simple truth, as you know, is you didn’t store the 24% body fat eating kale. If the bed of your p’up truck had a load of trash would you dump the useless weight or replace the aluminum engine with a cast iron one to improve the trash weight to metal ratio?

                    17. Larry,

                      The Whole Food Plant Based Diet was developed by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, a Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son Dr. Thomas M. Campbell II, a physician. You may read about it here:


                      Dr. Campbell is a research scientist with hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and a career of mostly NIH funded research to his credit. Dr. McDougall, with a few notable exceptions, is an MD who voraciously reads the literature.

                      I hold a Certificate in plant-Based Nutrition from Ecornell University, a program developed by the Drs. Campbell.

                      Dr. McDougall diets are very similar to the one proposed in “The China Study”.

                      Dr. Campbell agrees with you that an optimal diet should automatically result in optimal body composition. But my experience does not agree. I can literally gain weight eating kale and run myself into the overweight BMI category. It must have something to do with genes. And I’ve checked my percent body fat using the latest credible technologies in a university research setting at the LSU Pennington Institute and it is not optimal either. So, for me, optimizing both BMI and percent body fat takes conscious effort.


                    18. Stephen,

                      I read the Dr’s book, “The China Study” many moons ago…still reference it. Since their work is based on science it’s expected they and Dr. McDougall would share similar views. None of them would advise increasing muscle mass to hide body fat. You own that one.

                      Since I’m a student of their research it’s correct to say I agree with them.

                      Ten days at Dr. McDougall’s retreat, in his “controlled environment” eating his menu would shed the extra fat pounds you are trying to hide. If not you are a biological anomaly indeed. Poor people in poor countries do not have a fat gene. It’s an American scapegoat for glutinous consumption of meat and dairy.. Old movies show thin Americans. When did this fat gene become the problem?

                      Try this reality check…chart all the food you eat for the week….add up the calories. Then reduce by 200 per day the next week. If you lose a pound or more then you are on a fat loss diet. fi no weight is lost then reduce calories another 200 per day and weigh again at the end of the next week. At some point your body will tell you the calories it needs to sustain weight and max calories to lose weight. You won’t find that number on a chart either.

                3. Isaac, Here, in part, what Dr. John McDougall says:
                  “The fat you eat is the fat you wear,” and remind them that there is nothing attractive about wearing olive, flaxseed, or corn fat.* For this reason alone, most of your friends and family should steer clear of so-called “healthy oils” derived from plant-foods. Gaining weight can be expected from consuming high-fat whole foods, such as nuts, seeds, avocados and olives, as well as “free oils,” which are usually purchased in bottles. However, the shared propensity for weight gain is where the similarity between unprocessed plant foods and free oils ends.

                  I consider whole foods, even those with high concentrations of fats, to be health-promoting. However, people interested in losing weight should avoid nuts, nut butters, seeds, seed spreads, avocados, and olives, since they all serve as sources of concentrated, easy to consume, calories. When I was growing up we had nuts in their shells as a special treat for Christmas. Now these same nuts come bare-naked, salted, and sometimes roasted in additional oils—and the twist of the lid of the jar brings effortlessly to your lips (and your hips) handfuls of fat-laden, calorie-concentrated rich food. These same foods, however, may be a welcome addition for growing children and active adults. But they should be used sparingly by most of us.
                  END OF CUT N PASTE
                  Isaac, we are so lucky to benefit from the efforts of Dr. Greger, Dr. McDougall, and all the other talented, devoted medical doctors who sift through the sewage to find the gems and put factoids into perspective. It’s easy to conclude erroneously based on one, or another factoid. Like they say, the internet is a vast wasteland where you and I can prove or disprove whatever the other says. I like to personalize the data and relate to it one-on-one. I don’t eat “onega-3’s” I eat food. Some have omega-3’s and some have other important nutrients. Going 28 days without food taught me a few things I don’t believe most doctors know or even thought about. It didn’t kill me and my brain is intact and functioning well having been deprived of “essential” omega-3’s. Oxygen is essential but I can hold my breath for a bunch of seconds and not suffer any consequences. As already alluded to, food is certainly essential to sustain life and I did without that essential for a short month. Afterwards my “brain” memory, etc., was tested and I’m in the top 3% in one category and the to7% in another. All mental scores were high. More recently I was tested again and my memory is most excellent. How can I ignore all that personal, although you might argue “antidotal” data and be steered by some factoid out of contact. I don’t think Dr. Greger would disagree with the above words by Dr. McDougall. Nor does Dr. McDougall’s statement directly differ with the omega-3 factoids you present. He’s saying, as did I, why not lay off the added oil until optimal weight loss is achieved? Py personal experience is doing so will have zero negative effects and the weight will drop off faster (because calories are less).
                  Since I served as the guinea pig why not benefit from my personal experience? I eat flax seed but I don’t rely on it to protect me from meat caused diseases. I prefer to avoid the poison than take a daily antidote that may or may not protect me.
                  I have devoted my time and energy and knowledge and experience to sharing valuable, practical, beneficial health information because you called on me to refrain from sharing, claiming my efforts were baseless. If I take your advise I have lost nothing.

                    1. Judy, I’ve witnessed the most “off topic” comments at business meetings imaginable. It’s obvious that one person isn’t familiar with the issues but somehow that unrelated comment often triggers thought and discussion resulting in so much energy and creative thought the prevailing problem is solved. The most innocuous words can be a catalyst to previously unexplored territory.

                      Personally, I feed off such comments. How else do we know what gaps to fill in or point to build on if someone doesn’t first risk expressing their thoughts? What any one of us writes is a culmination of what all of us are willing to share. I thrive on feedback. Thanks for the kind words.

                  1. My opinion is that I don’t agree with “low carb,” which demonizes whole grains and legumes or “low *whole plant* fat” which eschews nuts and seeds. It is wonderful to completely avoid the saturated, atherogenic fat contained in animal sources. Greger has stated that nuts are not that terribly fattening, but that meat is. The *animal* fat that you eat is the fat that you wear, not necessarily the fat from whole food plant sources. I eat a big serving of oats everyday, but also 4 ounces of nuts, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and two tablespoons of ground flaxseed virtually everyday. I used to weigh 255 and am now close to 150. I lost the last 10 pounds while eating all these nuts, along with the grains and legumes that the Paleo crowd says are fattening. I do exercise every single day and I also count calories. I tend to go by calories, rather than macronutrient percentages. Neither carbs nor fat make me fat, if I am not in a calorie surplus. Counting calories is that way to avoid going into calorie surplus. This study found both whole grains AND nuts as well as fruits and vegetables were inversely related to weight gain, whereas red and processed meats as well as butter were associated with weight gain. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1014296#t=articleTop The problem with this study, however, is that it relates potatoes to weight gain. I would probably concur with french fries and potato chips, but not whole baked potatoes with the skin on them. Okinawans eat sweet potatoes everyday and are not overweight. The way I look at it is that once cannot be “whole food, plant based,” and be low carb at all, but one is not fully plant based if one eschews nuts and seeds to be low fat.

                    1. Interesting perspective Daniel. Are you in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s? My mother ate lots of peanut butter and really gained weight as she aged. If you’re 99 I’m impressed. Otherwise get back to me in 50 years.
                      Agreed, calorie count is the primary determinate of weigh. You can lose weight on 100% fat if the calories are low. I guess what I’m curious about is how your arteries are doing…no assumption here, just curious. We all violate the rules in our youth only to pay the price when we are older. I don’t know how much nut oil is too much. I’m just saying weight loss and artery clean up is easier if we don’t add fat tot he fat we want to remove. Thanks for the comments.

                    2. I am almost 54. When I was in my 40’s, I felt that my metabolism was really slowing down and I found it very difficult to lose weight by just dieting. Of course, I was not plant based at that time. I now exercise absolutely everyday by bicycling and this counters the slow down that comes with age. I lost about 95 pounds by exercising everyday (along with calorie control), but since going into maintenance 4 years ago, I have transitioned to a plant based diet. I actually started eating nuts to stop losing weight, which kind of goes along with what you are saying. But gradually improving my diet over the last 4 years, I have lost 10 more pounds, without ever eating less than 3000 calories a day. I continue to count calories, as well as exercising everyday and am able to consume about 3400 calories a day and maintain this weight. When I was obese, I was taking 40 milligrams of Crestor and my HDL was often below 20. Now I take no Statins and my HDL is from 75-82.. My triglycerides are now 43. My LDL for awhile fell to 95, but now it is 81. So, I think BOTH the whole grains, such as oats AND the nuts (as well as exercise AND losing weight) are good for heart health. Animal foods and processed sweets are NOT good for heart health. I would suggest only to eat nuts INSTEAD of sweets and potato chips, rather than eating them on top of other junk foods. I not only have cut out the meat, but I have also drastically cut down on desserts, such as donuts, cookies, as well as dairy and eggs. Desserts often have very obesigenic and atherogenic trans fats. I think eating lot of sweets contributed to my weight gain. Not exercising very much didn’t help either. There are numerous studies which correlate animal fats with weight gain and cardiovascular disease, but the opposite is true for both nuts AND whole grains as well as legumes. It is quite probable, that if someone didn’t exercise as much as I do, they wouldn’t have lost weight despite eating so many nuts. To answer your last question, it seems like the answer is yes. Vegans are thinner than meat eaters, because no whole plant food is related to weight gain, including nuts (and high carb grains and legumes). Red meat is correlated with weight gain in many different studies.

                    3. Daniel, some of your routines and mine parallel. I ride my mountain bike 15 miles a day..3-4 times a week in the summer and I walk an indoor track in the winter. Then supplement my aerobic exercise with strength training…weight lifting. I do take one day off each week so the body can mend. One every couple months I take a week off;. I gage my stamina on a mile long hill that’s part of my bike route. Usually after the one-week break I can storm up that hill even fast than normally. You don’t build endurance overextending yourself. Once I climb that hill I am spent. It’s done little to increase my stamina. the result comes form what I do afterwards. By that I mean while still have my oxygen debt form the hill climb I continue to ride at a brisk pace while repaying that oxygen debt…that’s what builds the endurance. Likewise, most 99+++% o all weight lifters (body builders and strength trainers) train too often and wrong. Lifting weights does not make one stronger. In fact, it tears us down, microscopically tearing the muscles. Once that happens 48 hours of no heavy weight exertion is needed for the body to heal and grow back stronger. We get stronger by resting between strenuous exercise.

                      I can’t imagine eating the calories you do. I’ve studied the weight loss charts and was curious about the high to low range in body weight assigned to each caloric level. I found the amount of calories was way too high for me. I gained weight eating the calories recommended on the next lower range. I know the Paleo diet has plenty of calories and with a starch based diet it’s hard to over eat but I don’t want to eat all that just because a chart gives me permission. I listen to my body. It’s like riding my mountain bike. Someday I tear up that hill. Some days I need all 26 gears in my bike just to get to the top. Likewise, one day Imight consume 2,000 calories and the next I eat 700. I know that’s supposedly a starvation died but my body seems to thrive on it.

                      The low calories causes me to reflect on the “life extension” diets from a few years back. they supposedly ate starvation diets and therefore project they’ll live to 120. Frankly, I don’t think it’s a starvation diet! I think the words “starvation diet” were coined before all the science is in.

                      Keep in mind, I’m a 30 year plus vegan. Studies are typically done on vegans to see how a vegan body deals with al that the meat eaters are tested for. There’s no interest in documenting such data. In fact medical doctors seem to see us vegans as irritants. We are contrary to all they believe. A couple yeas back I had some very minor surgery. The two nurses taking history and prepping me were fascinated by blood pressure was so excellent and my pulse was in the fifties. I explained my vegan lifestyle and exercise level. They listened and ask plenty of questions. next scene I’m face down on an operating table, fully awake and the surgeon is removing a cyst from the back of my neck. Scalpel in hand, his first words are, “So, TO WHAT DO YOU OWE YOUR EXCELLENT HEALTH?” The two nurses listened as I spoke. I KNEW he was gunning for me and I wasn’t in any position to debate the topic so I simply said, Gee, doc,I don’t know.” After asking if I had kids at home, a wife, and about my work, he announced loudly and clearly, “YOU ARE HEALTHY BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE ANY STRESS IN YOUR LIFE.” I’m sure he felt he straightened out the minds of those two nurses and removed any nonsense about veganism being beneficial to me. No, I didn’t wimp out…just know not to argue with a man wielding a knife. That’s typical of my experience with doctors, they discredit diet and rationalize their training provides the answer. All too often if I share the good word with some obese person wanting to change his life and recover his health, the person listens to my story and then says, “but if I do that my doctor will yell at me.”

                      Anyway, I’m not ready to eat so many nuts. I recall jack Lalane shared that he put two walnut sin his cereal each morning. that’s about max for me. These day’s, whether we are watching Doc Hollywood (Dr. Oz), or even reading this site, individual foods are credited with being the antidote for what ails us. What’s share here is reliable but Oz is not. Even if the miracle food is indeed that, I can’t include them all in my diet. My belief is if I don’t put the bad stuff in my body I don’t need a miracle, Too many eat the bad stuff rationalizing, “Hey, I watch what I eat… I put broccoli sprouts on both sides of my balony sandwich and it kills al the cooties even before I shove it down.”

                    4. Another thought is that your mother might have been eating the regular peanut butter that has hydrogenated fat in it. That certainly can lead to weight gain. I eat only natural peanut butter.

                    5. High fat diets appear to effect people on the metabolic level, as several animal models have indicated. I share this only as a response to “You can lose weight on 100% fat if the calories are low.” which of course is true, but there is more to the story.

                      When mice are obese and they are allowed to eat as much of they want of a high fat diet, they gained twice as much weight as the non obese mice eating the same high fat diet.


                      Rats were put on a low fat or high fat diet. The high fat rats got fatter and heavier then their low fat counterparts. In addition, rats that were previously fed the high fat diet required less food to maintain their weight when put on the low fat diet. This means that they would eat less, and their weight stayed the same. The high fat rats seemed to have metabolically damaged their system from consuming the high fat diet.


                      This rat study showed that when rats were put on a high fat diet, mostly from lard, they not only became obese, but they developed a fatty and inflamed liver. When they were switched to the low fat diet, their condition improved but their livers remained damaged.


                      In this study, older rats were put on a high fat diet, and they developed pre diabetes.


                      Another mice study, mice were put on a zero carbohydrate diet and were compared to mice on a regular mice diet. Despite calories being the same, the zero carb mice gained weight and developed fatty livers.


                      Now for Humans, people were either fed excess carbs or fat. The fat group gained more fat, and this would seem obvious since fat contains more calories.


                      In this study on humans, it was found that those who ate the most fat had the strongest correlation with greater accumulated fat.


                    6. Toxins, calories count whether we are aware of our numbers or not. The starch based diet emphasizes no need to count calories and it’s true. It’s hard to get fat eating truly vegan. However, why not stop eating when “full”? why eat until really full simply because we can? The body has to digest and process all the unneeded food. My experience is that the best way to discover your body is to count calories and chart foods. You quickly recognize truths for your body…truths different from my truths, for example. You learn nutrition seeing what constitutes 1200, 14000…or 2000 calories. You see what can easily be removed to cut calories, fat, or even cost without any ill-effect on health. You recognize which foods add cost but questionable nutritional a value. Most importantly you are honest with yourself and .see that backsliding isn’t a deal breaker…you simply continue your normal routine and discover why you ate the box of Reese’s cups.
                      Even if you start your diet with an unimaginable100% fat it’s easy to see what substitutions emerge a healthy, filling, tasty, and economical meals. Chart calories a few weeks and you’ll realize YOU are finally in control.

                    7. Slider, I don’t know how to make sense of your post. What points, if any, are you agreeing with or disagreeing with? The point of my post was to show that fats have a negative impact on the body compared with carbohydrates when consumed in similar amounts. That’s all, I am not sure what your conclusions are or what you are disputing.

                      I did not say we should eat till we are stuffed out of our minds, thus I am not sure what you are trying to say.

                    8. Toxins: This was really helpful! It starts to get at the question: does fat percent matter? I don’t know that we know exactly what percentage is generally too high, but I think your post does a great job of pointing out that the question *is* relevant.

                      I have this on my mind lately, because I read that article by ?David Katz that talked about the gigantic flaws in the latest study that supposedly looked at whether high fat or high carb diets are better (or something like that). I thought there was a lot of value in the article. But one of the points I disagreed with was his assertion that the question itself, how much fat or how many carbs make up a healthy diet is not relevant, and oh so of the past. His opinion made no sense to me, but your list of studies and explanation above puts some science behind my opinion. :-) Thanks!

                    9. I am glad you found it helpful Thea, I have to credit Plant Positive for bringing to light these animal model studies.

                    10. How much of anything is “too much” depends on the effect it has. For the millions of obese Americans it’s apparent they are eating too much fat. Your body burns fat as its primary food

                      ou are not overweight there is no reason to add fat to your diet since fat is naturally occurring in plant foods sufficient for optimal health.

                    11. I guess my point was that if a person is consuming a whole foods plant based diet, it would be next to impossible to get 80% of one’s calories from fat, esp. if one eats legumes and whole grains (both very high carb), as I do. I eat a lot of fruit as well, which also has carbohydrates. Virtually all plant foods have carbohydrates in them, even spinach AND nuts. Even with all the nuts I eat, I don’t think my fat percentage is more than 30%, if that. I also don’t put any oil on my food, which does hold down my fat intake to some degree. One would have to mostly consume a carnivore diet to eat mostly fat diet. I just say, eat from all of the major plant groups (vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes and nuts and seeds) in the right amounts and then a person would not have to worry about eating too much fat. Probably most people could consume about 1 ounce of nuts a day and not gain weight- I wouldn’t recommend eating as many as I do for most people- it would mostly be for very active people, who also should up their carbohydrate consumption.

                    12. Not gaining weight from eating nuts seems like we’re getting something free. But I’m not so sure. Most nuts are in the 70-90% fat range (by calorie). The more nuts one eats the higher the total caloric intake must be to still get al the nutrients not found in nuts from other plants. To me, that suggests if I want to not burden my body with digesting and processing and eliminating food calories) not needed, I should keep my caloric count down. That means primarily eating highly nutrient low fat/calorie dense plant foods. .Remember, longevity research proves that reducing total caloric count to “starvation” levels, turns off the aging gene. The genetic theory being that in times of famine, nature wants to keep species alive so they are around to reproduce when food supplies are better. Therefore the aging process slows down. In theory we can trigger the slow down process by restricting calories. I’ve mentioned before I’ve skipped meals, had 700 calorie days, and fasted. My body has adjusted nicely and I am NEVER hungry I certainly don’t feel like I’m starving.
                      Each has to choose, do I want to eat lots of nuts that won’t make me fat…and use of my caloric allotment, or eat only what I really need for a healthy life and slow down the aging process? My personal experience caries infinitely more weight that the studies. I’ve seen the 60 Minutes stories about the “starvation diet” It shows a passive guy who eats greens. My experience is I can be really content with my food eating beans, legumes, rice, etc., and sprouts…and all the rest (nuts) in moderation, and not eat all those calories and not “starve” either. The starvation diet scare folks away. they are wrong. starving. Again, a phrase was coined that does not truly describe the experience. Most American’s eat a glutinous diet. Some on junk food. Other glut out on healthy foods. If you don’t eat the poison you don’t need mega doses of the miracle food.

                    13. My personal approach is not that nuts have “free” calories. I exercise a lot and cut down on other foods to eat the nuts. I portion control them and don’t eat them freely as I budget my calories for them and I am thinner than I was in High School, and I WAS thin in High School. Greger’s video http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/12/27/nuts-dont-cause-expected-weight-gain/ seems to indicate that nuts have “free” calories. Nuts have more protein than vegetables have. To get the same amount of protein in vegetables that I would get in nuts, I would have to eat bushels of vegetables. I also eat Pumpkin Seeds because they have a lot of zinc in them and I am trying to control an enlarged prostate. Pumpkin seeds and the peanuts I eat are also high in protein. Yes, you can get protein from beans, but I eat at work and it is not always practical to eat beans. I eat them with rice on each off day. I also don’t agree with Isaac that rice and beans make people fat. Animal fat and refined carbs and processed sweets and fried foods make people fat. Not any whole grain, beans OR nuts or fruit esp. make people fat. Also go down and see how I soundly refuted Tom Ballard’s assumption that a high animal fat diet is slimming and good for one’s health. Even Loren Cordain who wrote the Paleo diet admitted here that saturated fat IS atherogenic. http://www.meandmydiabetes.com/2010/03/24/loren-cordain-caution-on-saturated-fats-disaster-with-grains-will-be-public-after-march-25th/ I differentiate between saturated/trans fat and monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. I also differentiate between high fiber carbs and refined carbs. I try to eat only healthy fat and carbs from plant sources without going into a calorie surplus. I don’t personally agree with calorie restriction at all. I do calorie balancing instead, which is to eat the number of calories that maintains my weight. There are some Vegans, such as Durian rider who strongly oppose calorie restriction. On youtube 40below fruity who is Vegan, criticizes this approach, as she states it is unsustainable and didn’t work for her in the past in the long run. That is why most “diets” fail. The low calorie nature of them is not sustainable.

                    14. Daniel, you’re assuming the extra protein in nuts is desirable. Is it? According to ove Dr. Greger video, cancer cells are triggered to start growing at 20% protein. Most plants are around 5% protein. I like Dr. McDougall’s perspective. He says, “we need the most protein when we are growing the most (1st year of life.” He then asks, “What does nature provide for that rapid growth?” Answer…mother’s milk. Therefore we just need took see the protein content. By calories, protein is 5% of the milk’s content…which closely coincides with most plant food. Eating more of anything than we have evolved to need, to me, is paramount to diagnosing and prescribing food as the treatment. Over 5% overloads the kidneys. Kidneys have such reserve capacity we don’t realize they are impaired until they stop working. argument to not eat meat, “even” free range, non-hormonal meat.

                      At times it seems you eat the quantity of nuts because you enjoy them…since they are free (weight gain wise). Other times it appears you see “medicinal” value in their consumption. Eating nuts because they are free calories (w=eight gain-wise). Does not mean they are free in all aspects free or cheap enough, some would idle their cars instead of shutting them off. is causing the engine to idle and wear out. When you eat extra food and burn it off exercising what is gained? Some exercise keeps us from rusting. More isn’t necessarily beneficial. Running a marathon doesn’t make one healthier than running half a marathon…it just means you have even more endurance for running. Bench press 500 pounds and you are twice as strong as a 250 pound bench press. But all the benefits were realized long ago. In fact, as you become fit it takes less exercise to maintain your level of fitness.

                      Agreed, “good fats” have some health benefits and are required to sustain life. However, I challenge you to reveal how much fat is really NEEDED. I’m guessing it’s minimal.

                    15. I am in a hurry, but I would say it would be immensely difficult to get 20% of one’s calories from protein on a plant based diet. I just aim for 10%, or 1 gram per kilogram. Exercise DOES offer an extra benefit if running the marathon controls one’s weight more than the half marathon. I exercise just enough to control my weight. Losing weight has enormous health benefits- it got me off of cholesterol medicine, for instance. For pure health, granted, you don’t need to exercise that much. For weight control, it takes a lot of exercise. And, by exercising, weight loss is usually more sustained than taking a pure calorie cutting, no exercise diet. Calorie cutting does not work for most people in the long run for weight loss. I agree with you that it doesn’t take a LOT of fat to be healthy. However, eating as much fat as I do, which is still less than 30% of my calories hasn’t caused any health issues or weight gain. Also, nuts, in my opinion, should not be eaten “ad libitum,” or “freely” or until one is satisfied. One should practice strict portion control and test out on the scale how much one can eat. I discovered I could eat a lot and still be thin. Other people might be different. Your mother probably didn’t practice portion control with peanut butter.

                    16. The Paleo diet is just a marketing scam. I don’t waste my time dissecting each and every misstatement it makes. Those who follow it want to believe. I’m sure they feast on nuts as well assured their high fat diet is healthy. What you don’t know CAN kill you.

                      Anyone using a marathon, or even half-marathon for weight control is eating too much! I’m as much an exercise advocate as you. But science (or observation) does not support your claim, “For weight control, it takes a lot of exercise.” If so, all quadriplegics would be morbidly obsese, as would all babies, and all sedate people of all ages. Most populations around the world who have not been contaminated with
                      American eating habits are thin and they don’t exercise.

                      You also state, “. I exercise just enough to control my weight.” In my opinion most people don’t realize how important exercise is to good health. As important as it is, it’s not a requirement for weight loss. To over-eat and exercise and over eat and exercise makes as little sense is to keep the lawnmower running
                      between grass cutting chores by keeping the tank full. If yo don’t need the fuel why fill up the tank?

                      Weight control is a simple equation. To maintain weight simply eat enough calories to support body functions. To gain weight add a couple hundred calories. To lose weight reduce your maintenance calories by a couple hundred. Of course if you choose to quantities of high caloric nuts or avocados, you’ll have to exercise to burn the unneeded fuel. If you don’t actually count calories then you are not aware of the surplus calories you are eating.

                      I wouldn’t be so fast to conclude your health status is optimal. Thin runners do drop dead. Ever hear of Jim Fixx? (The Complete Book of Running) It’s common to get a clean bill of health from your doctor and one day after a medical evaluation, drop dead. We think we are healthy until we are proven wrong! Until/unless you get certain parameters measured you don’t really know the actual status of your arteries, etc.. Eating the quantity of fat you profess to enjoy would cause me alarm and I’d have some serious tests done before convincing myself my regimen is a healthy one. The consequences only show up after a long
                      period of abuse.

                      Contrary to your belief, you can easily get off high blood pressure meds and lower your cholesterol and lose weight, all without ANY exercise. That’s the benefit of the starch based diet. On that diet you don’t need all the miracle foods to battle the bad foods. Why set up your body as a battle ground…it’s a one-man science project!

                      The root cause for you to exercise seems to your claim to burn fat, which only exists because you consume more calories than you need. That practice, of course, is contrary to the longevity studies suggesting what’s termed a “starvation diet”. Stating excess calories ages us. The research does not say, Eat excess “good fats” and burn the extra calories running for optimal health. No, it points out we need to reduce the caloric intake to the minimum for life extension. Inversely, to shorten lifespan all that one needs to do is consume extra calories, even “good ones”.

                      I can eat all the kale I want and never gain weight. Unfortunately I don’t care for kale. I always enjoy nuts. Too bad nuts aren’t so calorie dense.

                      I’ve seen no indication quantities of nuts are the only way to get the omega and other nutrients they are so rich in. Kale is rich in certain nutrients too but you don’t claim to eat it in large quantities. You didn’t indicate you tested kale to see how much you could eat. Ditto for all other high nutrient foods. When I eat nuts it’s because I really enjoy the taste. The nutrients are a bonus and the fact they don’t add weight (within reason) is even more incentive to enjoy them more often. But, like I’ve said, my goal is to eat the calories I truly need, including the nutrients and anti-oxidants, and omegas and the rest, and no more…that is, without over-eating so much I need to run to keep the weight off. We sometimes indulge in superfoods” we like, rationalizing “they are sooo good for us, why not?

                    17. Please show me ONE study which indicates that nuts are bad for heart health. I don’t think you will even find any on Nutritionfacts.org. For instance, here http://nutritionfacts.org/2012/12/13/cholesterol-lowering-in-a-nut-shell/ Greger states that nuts may be particularly protective for cholesterol levels and heart health. He also touted physical activity and fiber consumption, both of which I do. Paleo folks, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to find studies which indicate that whole grains and legumes are bad for heart health. They might find a few about the harm of gluten for some people, but few people are gluten intolerant. Anyway, not all grains have gluten in them. Of course, Paleo doesn’t eat a lot of NUTS, they eat a lot of MEAT. 65% of their calories comes from animal products. Animal products, esp. red meat and butter RAISE cholesterol. Nuts LOWER cholesterol. 0% of my calories come from animal products. Coconut oil may be one of the few plant products that RAISES blood cholesterol. Greger stated this here,

                      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/does-coconut-oil-clog-arteries/ That is why I don’t eat this. Here is a study, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/teenagers-and-weight-loss/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0 whose conclusion is, “Teenagers trying to lose weight should engage in an exercise program that includes both aerobic and resistance training, a randomized trial has found. It also found that diet without exercise accomplishes little.” I tried for 25 YEARS to lose weight by a mostly dieting approach. It didn’t work nearly as well as a very consistent exercise program, along with dietary moderation. I never got nearly as thin as I am now by a strict just dieting approach. AND I wasn’t eating that many nuts when I was obese. I was eating a lot of sweets. Maybe at first just eating less might work, but only doing this slows down the metabolism, which makes regain likely. Eating so little protein as you suggest doing can exacerbate the loss of muscle tissue while dieting, which would further slow down metabolism and lead to weight regain. Every study shows that a just dieting approach does not lead to permanent weight loss in 95% of cases. I also did not find a light exercise program that effective for weight control. Consistent exercise, along with dietary moderation is effective. Plant based diets are a very important component of weight loss. However, Barnard’s studies of Vegan diets without exercise resulted in lower HDL. My HDL has been greatly raised by my exercise and my LDL lowered by the plant based diet and weight loss. Of course, Jim Fixx shows the folly of the just exercise, pay no attention to diet approach. I have heard he ate a lot of donuts. I don’t think you can show that he ate a lot of nuts. Also, look up FTO gene. This gene NECESSITATES exercise for weight control. For this gene is down regulated by regular exercise. People with this gene are contrary examples to your assumption that exercise is completely unnecessary for weight loss for anyone. Also, I eat greens everyday. I eat from all the plant food groups, and don’t eliminate any of them as you do. You criticize me for consuming 3400 calories a day. Michael Arnstein and Scott Jurek consume far more calories than I do, but you don’t claim they are unhealthy. Scott Jurek also doesn’t avoid healthy plant based fat. Michael Arnstein probably eats far less starch than you do, but a lot more fruit.

                    18. Daniel, honestly, would one study change your interpretation of the science? Dr. Greger could find more than one study faulting nuts. He presents a narrow window not examining those things you hold dear, “exercise to burn off extra calories”, “cholesterol reduction”, etc. Those matters are examined in other videos. You exemplify what a plant based diet can accomplish. You set a fine example for those who need a confidence boost. However you keep citing Dr. Greger’s presentations to support your interpretations. What he says and what you believe are two different views. Your body makes ALL the cholesterol it needs. When you stopped eating meat (and dairy I presume) you fixed your cholesterol problem. At that point adding nuts to your diet (cholesterol-wise) wasn’t needed.

                      I can’t say enough about the benefits of exercise. You’re preaching to the choir here (or maybe the pulpit). Lots of people are active enough to keep their metabolisms from dropping while dieting. You didn’t lose weight during 25 years of dieting because you didn’t follow the basic premise of eating less calories than you need. Again, there are thin people all over the world who do not exercise. When you started the plant based diet and exercise you were motivated. Even if you failed to count calories the weight loss would happen because your food is plant based. Plants don’t have enough calories, or fat (in general) to prevent weight loss. Instead of counting calories you limited calories and your method insured your limit was below the weight loss threshold.

                      “Just dieting” weight loss isn’t permanent because calories aren’t limited during the maintenance phase of the diet. They, like you would have to exercise to burn off a few extra hundred calories. However, even you would gain weight if you ate more and tried to exercise it off. exercise does have it’s limitations.

                      The “little” amount of protein you doubt is the exact amount of protein (5%) needed by new born babies who are growing at the fastest rate in their life. Sure muscles will atrophy without nutrition and without exercise. The inverse is true, also. Weight train and gain muscle and your body will require more calories to support the extra muscle. That might be muscle that is never used except to lift heavy weights while training. Show ME one example of someone, in the history of mankind, who died from insufficient protein. If you eat plant food you automatically get enough protein.

                      3400 calories might be two-three times more than you need. I’m not criticizing, just pointing out the folly of over-eating to stuff your body with omega-3’s antioxidants, and other mega nutrients to fight the ills of meat and dairy when you don’t eat meat and dairy. Your body functions as a chemical processing facility.

                      For me, the verdict is still out on these gene studies. The “fat gene” is used to explain why American’s are fat but throughout the world where they can’t afford meat and dairy, folks are this, they don’t seem to have a fat gene…not an active one, anyway. FTO necessitates exercise for weight control, you say? What constitutes “exercise”? Again, most of the world doesn’t do a scheduled exercise routine yet they are very active. American’s substitute exercise to immolate an active lifestyle. In Zimbabwe, Africa I witnessed women gathering fire wood for cooking and keeping warm at night. It’s like that around the world, people labor to exist. I’m sure there’s a gene that enables us to function that way and I suppose if we stop laboring it’s best we exercise.

                      All Dr. Greger’s studies, presentations, and views are great and help me decipher the nonsense dissipated by media and determine what I’m doing right and doing wrong. What I eat differs based on whether I want to maintain weight or clean my arteries. It all evolves around a starch based diet. I can’t possibly eat all the nutrients in every Dr. Greger video so the next best thing is to structure my nutrition towards my personal issues. For example, if I’ve been on a starch based diet a number of years there is no concern for cholesterol so no need to eat lots of foods to reduce cholesterol.

                      Some folks eat too much food when there are actually just thirsty. I think we can agree lots of nuts make us thirsty. frankly, I don’t know what all the plant groups are. I don’t purposely eliminate any plant group…don’t know where you got that notion. It’s not true.

                      Likewise, I never claimed you were unhealthy. My point is it’s pointless to eat extra calories just to exercise to lose the calories. It’s like idling your can when it’s not being used.

                      I doubt anyone living on fruit is eating the quantity of nuts you enjoy. As for the ultrrunner, it’s nothing new. Aborigines, in Australia used to chase rabbits all day long until the rabbits dropped from exhaustion. The aborigines, like your extreme examples, surely ate some additional calories.t the amount of calories needed to perform the work of survival. What’s the point of doing extreme endurance feats so we can consume more calories? The Aborigine runs to survive.

                    19. Daniel, are you actually viewing the “Teenagers trying to lose weight” study, objectively? It’s ridiculous and a waste of research money. It doesn’t say how much aerobic exercise the teens did daily. Walk for an hour and you’ve pretty much maxed out. Walk for 20 minutes and adding resistance training would provide additional weight loss benefits.
                      More importantly, look at the results after twenty-two weeks. That’s over five months and the best they could do was a 4.8% body fat reduction after dieting, aerobic exercise and resistance weight training. Do you know as much a 3% in these studies is “error”. If I did all that work for over five months and only lost 4.8% body fat I’d be disappointed to the extreme. A teen with 45% body fat would only have lost 2.16 pounds of fat in over FIVE MONTHS. Does that excite you?
                      A starch based diet alone will drop several pounds each and every week. Add an hour of walking and alternate with weight training and that level of weight loss will be maintained even longer and the body will transform with more endurance and strength. The example study you presented is abysmal. A joke. It’s an example of some doctor who needed to publish so did this silly study which only showed his ignorance about diet, exercise, and nutrition. If nothing else, a teen weight training for over five months can easily double their strength. These poor kids learned “diets doesn’t work” and exercise doesn’t work.
                      Meant to ask, do you drink soft drinks (diet or otherwise)?

                    20. Frankly, you have found what is wrong with most weight loss research. In almost ALL studies using whatever method, the persons hardly lose any weight whatsoever. There is a study on how low carb was supposed to be so much better than low fat, but how much weight did they lose in a year? A whopping 12 pounds!! That is SO impressive, isn’t it? Low carb is supposed to be so great, and if they lose 4 more pounds in a YEAR, than another method, then that supposedly shows how superior low carb is to low fat. Actually, most studies on exercise and weight loss are pure bunk as well. They usually only exercise about 1-3 hours a week at very low intensity, but they still lose SOME weight. When I did that much exercise a week, I would hardly lose any weight. When I exercised at my doctor’s suggestion at least an hour a day, my weight really came off much better than it ever had- I lost a LOT more than 12 pounds in a year. I started out thinking that I had to exercise all the time and eat nothing to lose weight. The doctor actually stated that if I exercised a lot I could consume 5000 calories a day. I kind of balked at that. I didn’t quite get up to that number, but 3400 is something I can live with and therefore I have completely maintained my massive weight loss and even lost more after 4 years. Thinking I had to starve myself to be thin really held me back a lot. It was a discovery that I didn’t have to starve myself to be thin and that is something that insured my success. I did get my cholesterol down before cutting out the meat, by my massive weight loss, but I think cutting out the meat, eventually the eggs and the dairy, as well as eating oats and flax and nuts everyday got it down as well as the weight even further. DIET is all important, I think DIETING isn’t. Exercise is better than DIETING. DIET trumps exercise in the supply of nutrients. It is harder to get nutrients from one’s diet, if one severely limits caloric intake. I drink diet drinks but am trying to cut down on them as much as possible. I have already validated starches in one’s diet. Tubers, whole grains and legumes are all very healthy foods, but they are not very low in calories. Of course that is not an issue for me, but these foods do contradict a calorie restriction philosophy. Do you disagree with Joel Fuhrman, who states that while whole grains are healthy, that nuts and seeds along with legumes may be healthier, because of a lower glycemic index? Here he spoke of consuming about 2.5 ounces of nuts and seeds a day. Seeds, such as flax, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds are all integral parts of his diet. Is he wrong?

                    21. Last things first, Daniel. Dr. Fuhman is more than wrong, he tells lies! I never heard of him until your mention so I went to his web site. You don’t need the vitamins and other supplements he’s peddling. He’s nobody to me. End of subject.
                      We’re not communicating. I am not an expert on nutrition. I rely on Dr. John McDougall for the application of nutritional science. When I speak in an “authoritarian voice”, I am usually just the messenger quoting or para-phrasing Dr. McDougall. I also cite studies Dr. Greger has written about or presented videos on. I am however, very knowledgeable on exercise. training a week will, if done properly, cause the maximum amount of strength to develop. The exercise is a great supplement for dieting for many reasons we both have spoken of. It does aid weight loss but most anyone can lose tremendous amounts of weight without exercise. You rely on your belief system and I on science. I would advise anyone trying to lose weight to walk an hour six days a week to supplement their starch based diet. After a few weeks I’d alternate walking with weight training.
                      Whether it’s low carb or high protein, the weight will come off nicely if calories are restricted sufficiently. If you exercise two hours each day the weight will still come off nicely but the exercise does not deserve the credit. Again, to confirm this truth you need only look at a table of calories burned vs each exercise to see it’s a long haul with just exercise.
                      It would benefit you to read Dr. McDougall thoroughly. If you have questions you can email him. I guarantee he will answer you personally in a few hours or a day or so.
                      It’s counterproductive for you to treat your enlarged prostate with plant food or medicine and still drink diet colas. Diet cola is a heavy duty diuretic. Break the addiction and you won’t have to get up so often at night.. Diet drinks do not satisfy the body’s need for water like water does.
                      Dieting correctly is very important for obese people. Yes, restricting calories restricts nutrients. To me it makes more sense to restrict calories for a couple-three months and get the weight off than to struggle most of one’s life with a weight problem. If you count calories you learn about food and discover what you actually need to be healthy. I don’t consider that restrictive. The alternative is to eat excess calories force feeding for certain nutrients. In a sense it’s nothing more than self medicating. Again, as I said previously, it’s my opinion “restricting calories” is a poor name for what I advocate…which is eating what is need and nothing more….no hands-full of nuts and flax seeds. BTW, how do you eat the flax seeds?

                    22. McDougall and Fuhrman know each other very well. I guess Fuhrman doesn’t agree with McDougall in being grain and starch based- he rather is vegetable based. Greger speaks well of Fuhrman. I admit it is a turnoff that he sells supplements and Greger does this website without pay. I would just say that I totally agree on counting calories. I weigh and measure my food STILL after being in maintenance for 4 years. This has really helped to keep the weight OFF. I also think a person can consume *some* plant based non saturated fat IF they count their calories. The main thing is that the portion sizes will be smaller than they are for starches. Non starchy vegetables, of course can have very large portions. Usually one should use spoons to measure fatty foods, but cups to measure starchy foods. To be honest, one can even lose weight consuming junk food if they count their calories. Such as the twinkie diet and there was someone else losing weight eating at McDonalds by counting calories. I lost weight consuming over 2000 calories a day. If I sat on my behind while losing weight, I am sure I would have had to consume fewer than 2000 a day. This is less sustainable. Even if a person just burns an extra 500 to 1000 calories a day by exercise- that eliminates the need for any “crash” diet. Not exercising practically necessitates crash dieting for weight loss. You may not advocate crash diets, but I am just arguing against a dieting, no exercise approach. Exercise can also enable a person to eat BOTH starches and non saturated plant fats. I could only lose about 30 pounds without exercising very much in my 40’s. When I was younger, I could lose more. Also, look at the difference that I am making for the environment by bicycling to work. This cuts down on greenhouse gases in a major metro area of Atlanta. Of course, not eating animals helps the environment as well. I eat flax on my oatmeal. Daily sustained exercise, counting calories and eating only high fiber plants and microorganisms is a great formula for weight loss. I am trying to eliminate diet sodas. Do you have any suggestions for a falling white blood cell count? I know I don’t have AIDS.

                    23. Most medical doctors are not trained to provide nutritional knowledge ort preventive medicine. They ARE, however, trained to do the blood workup and other lab tests to diagnose and treat a “falling white blood cell count”. I am not!

                      White blood cells fight germs and viruses. One benefit of a plant based diet is to strengthen the immune system. Given the right foods the body is better able to fight off whatever it’s exposed to and heal itself. Not resting between exercise can tax the immune system so it doesn’t do its job. When I rode my mountain bike every day I got weaker. I rested two weeks (no exercise) and afterwards the same bike ride was faster and I felt stronger…like my endurance had grown 30% Exercise tears the body down. It’s the rest between exercise that grows it stronger. (Insufficient recovery period and you grow weaker, not stronger.)

                      If my white blood cell count was of concern I’d have my blood tested today (as a baseline marker) and stop all exercise, and retest in a couple weeks. More importantly, I’d find the right doctor and learn what tests are possible and what each determines. Keep in mind, a true vegan will have several blood markers different from meat eaters. A doctor not versed in a plant based diet might be bewildered by some of the blood numbers. Remember, the “norms” for some tests differ because they are based on a population of meat and dairy eaters. Besides, what is accepted as normal might be on the cusp of being bad. A doctor who practices preventive medicine and advocates a plant based diet is familiar with what your numbers should be.

                      When the body is ill it needs it resources to heal. If you are eating too many calories then energy is expended digesting and eliminating food not really needed for optimal health. There’s a penalty for over eating, even the good stuff. It has to be passed through the body. Your body is like the 911 emergency system, it can’t fully focus on emergencies if resources are diverted to non-emergency issues. Dr. Fuhrman’s expensive vitamins and supplements, for example, have to be eliminated. It’s a waste of money and bodily resources. Besides, your urine should be fairly clear, indicating you are drinking enough water. You can’t even do that simple urine observation because the vitamins color your urine.

                      I think you might be over training and over-eating and you can easily address those concerns if you choose. However, you cannot self-diagnose a medical concern. You’re priority today should be to find the right doctor and determine what’s going on.

                    24. I found this article about how Vegans often have lower white blood cell counts than omnivores. http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/wbc My doctor said I shouldn’t be too concerned about it. This article also states it usually shouldn’t be of any concern. I hardly ever get any infections or colds anyway. Maybe this can settle our argument. Nuts don’t seem to make me gain fat, as perhaps meat, cheese, fried foods and pastries would. However, eating nuts can prevent or slow down weight loss. When I started eating nuts, I stopped losing weight, but I didn’t gain weight, either. I have lost 10 pounds more over 4 years, so this is very gradual. I am not trying to lose weight, so I can eat more. Fuhrman, who you don’t like suggests not eating more than one ounce if one was trying to lose weight. He said a person could eat more if they were just maintaining their weight. I looked at a review of the Starch Solution and I don’t quarrel with any food that he includes on his diet. Sweet potatoes are a fantastic food to include, for instance. I agree on being against oils, because they are high in empty calories, but he doesn’t completely ban nuts but they are limited, but a person might choose not to eat them at all if they were trying to lose weight. Doing as much exercise as I do, which I do upon my doctor’s recommendation has not hurt me at all and has been immensely helpful to me. Becoming plant based added an additional benefit. If I was overeating, I would be gaining weight and my triglycerides and blood sugar would be high. My blood sugar, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are trending downwards and are already within normal ranges. I bet the volume of food on the McDougall diet is not any less than my own and therefore my diet isn’t any harder on my digestive system than yours would be. Anyway, it is MEAT that is most detrimental to the digestive system, and neither one of us eat that. Neither my diet nor yours therefore is hard on the digestive system. A dietitian at work state she knew a woman who didn’t eat any plant foods, but only meat and soup and her digestive system shut down. She never said that plant foods were hard on the digestive system.

                    25. Your article reaffirms blood test numbers for vegans can be different than meat eaters. Their “normal” isn’t really normal for humans. It’s just common for meat eaters.as low (guess I forgot the details until your reminder).

                      So, you think you’ve run our of arguments, eh? One of the rule for debate is to keep repeating the facts.

                      You still aren’t quite on the same page with me on nut consumption. We don’t “eat the same calories, just different foods”, as you suggest. You eat many more calories than me. My thoughts are it’s because you eat so many nuts. Your fat consumption is higher for the same reason. Eat too many beans and you are eating unneeded protein. You have to not eat a lot of rice to make room for the nut fat you eat.

                      There are plenty of folks on a starch based diet who don’t eat nuts and don’t exercise like you and their HDL is good.

                      I’m glad your white blood cell count is not an issue. Mine was low too and my doctor was stumped until I told him I was a vegan. If you want to see your doctor break out in a sweat eat some bets and drink the juice the day before your next physical. When he sees the “blood” in your urine he’ll go into panic mode.

                    26. Fuhrman’s books are great for people that don’t know anything about diet. A great place to start. I look the other way regarding his vitamin promotion.

                    27. His vitamin promotion is an integral part of his philosophy. Leaving that out is like picking and choosing which Commandments you want to follow to be a good Christian. It doesn’t work that way. Hmmm, I follow Dr. McDougall, but instead of a starch based diet mine is balony and cheese based. (everything else is the same).

                    28. I believe he promotes the same supplements that Dr Greger does. Have you by chance looked into that? Granted he sells them but…..

                    29. “Granted he sells them but…” …what?

                      Not so fast! Dr. Fuhrman sells and advocates a long list of vitamins and supplements.(pills). Are you saying Dr. Greger is on board with all of them? Keep in mind, Dr. Greger “reports the news” and adds commentary. It could be easy to blur the line between what he is reviewing in his videos and articles and what he personally practices in regards to “vitamins”. He has several videos on individual vitamins and just one video labeled “vitamins”. Most of that video talks about the benefits of beans for colon and even breast cancer prevention. He even isolated phytic acid as the secret weapon in beans, nuts, etc., that offers so much protection. Only towards the very end does he even mention vitamins saying the phytons act like vitamins.

                      I’m not going to review all Dr. Greger’s vitamin videos but as I recall he is similar to Dr. McDougall. that is, they are skeptical thinking that we can extract a handful of vitamins and reproduce a chemical version, or even extract the genuine vitamin (or nutrient) and get the same (or full) benefit, as though we ate the whole food and its thousands of component parts. What’s in our food is still a mystery on many levels. And just how our whole foods benefits us is a greater mystery. How arrogant and foolish to think we can bottle it.

                    30. I was trying to link Dr Gregers recommendations on his list but I can’t find it and off to work. But off the top of my head. Vit D depending on how close to the equator you live, of course Vit B12, algae oil. That might be it.
                      Dr Fuhrman–Vit D, Omega 3, B12,(page 184 Eat For Health) looks about the same. :-) I really don’t want to argue about someone you aren’t familiar with. And I am not going to compare 2 amazing doctors. They each make money in different ways. But they both advocate great eating. As I said before until you know a bit more about Dr Fuhrman this conversation doesn’t really make sense.

                    31. Dr. Fuhrman’s views are as foreign to me as the Paleo diet. You say, “looks about the same”, comparing Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Greger but it isn’t even close. Dr. Fuhrman’s web site is full of vitamins and nutrients he recommends you buy. He charges a fee to belong to his insiders group Dr. Greger operates a non-profit. His livelihood isn’t dependent upon swaying you to buy a bottle of his pills. He puts the info out there and YOU decide.

                      Dr. Greger, like Dr. McDougall says “get nutrients from whole foods, then, in some instances take a pill.” (B-12 Dr. for McDougall). You skipped over the huge number of pills Dr. Fuhrman is peddling. He’s a modern day snake oil salesman. maybe instead of taking sunshine supplements in pill form we should get some extra sun in the winter. How many pills equals sunshine?

                      I’m familiar with Dr’s. McDougall, Greger, and Fuhrman. I simply have not read Dr. Fuhrman’s books. I’m very familiar with his position on nutrition topics having listened to his videos and watched him insult Dr. McDougall in a debate. Why fill my head with any more of his nonsense?

                      I’m infinitely more knowledgeable about nutrition than most medical doctors. And most dietitians believe mostly what they are taught in college (the food pyramid). Even given the right knowledge they won’t jeopardize their careers speaking out. Instead, they parrot what the meat and dairy industries have brow beaten and intimidated our government to promote (about how important meat and dairy is for health…and the importance of eating a balanced diet with moderation of all foods).

                      Frankly, it is you who aren’t familiar with the three doctors. You’ve gone from small talk to “I don’t want to argue with the uninformed”. You are mistaken. Believe as you wish but don’t waste time seeking affirmation from me. Fuhrman does not advocate great eating. He advocates you buy his pills. He advocates Dr. McDougall is wrong about a starch based diet. He advocates eating animals. What is the “great” part?

                      I stated Fuhrman’s views based on his words. When you dismiss be as not knowing about Dr. Fuhrman, or claim I am wrong about Dr. McDougall or Dr. Greger, you are in reality dismissing those doctors as I am only parroting their views.

                      Oh, I’m already at work.

                    32. In the words of John Mcdougall regarding fuhrman, essylsten can campbell, “I would like you to join me in recognizing and commending the efforts of all three men for effectively communicating to the world’s population the importance of eating a primarily plant foods diet. Now it is time for our common goals to be recognized and our differences to be set aside. ”

                      Not even Dr. McDougall is at war with this man, I feel that you are going over the top with your post hating on fuhrman. They have very similar nutrition views

                      McDougall Diet (by John McDougall, MD): Based on starches, vegetables, and fruits. Healthy, trim people can eat some nuts, seeds, and avocados. Animal foods for holidays, at most. Emphasis is on eating starches.

                      Fuhrman Diet (by Joel Fuhrman, MD): Based on green and yellow vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds. Not always low in fat. Small amounts of animal foods allowed. Emphasis is on eating “nutrient-dense” greens.

                      I don’t think these are that wildly different, no where in that description does it say supplements are required to be successful on the diet, because its not.

                    33. Dr. McDougall is always a gentleman and as you pointed out, respectful of all. That’s why it’s even more perplexing for me to see Dr. Fuhrman attack Dr. McDougall and his starch based diet.

                      “Eating animal food” (Fuhrman)…and “not eating animal food” (McDougall) is not similar. Who in the U.S.A. eats “a little” animal food? How much is a little? Dr. McDougall points out eating a little is a stepping stone to eating a lot.

                      Agreed, supplements are not needed to be healthy. Tell that to Fuhrman. Fuhrman sells unneeded supplements for selfish profit. He even has Doc Hollywood (Dr. Oz) endorse him on his web site.

                      Dr. Oz yesterday “announced” he learned he has a high mercury content in his body from eating fish. (Duh, who’d of guessed.) He claimed he has a world renound chef (aren’t they all by now) on the show to tell us which fish are safe to eat. The guy showed how to prepare sardines with oil and salmon with oil. He never got around to talking about if they were “safe” or the mercury content. It was just another episode of Dr. Oz shamelessly promoting meat and oil. He’s a lot slippery since he got chewed on the behind by Congress. Since his public flogging he’s the “victim” …so many crooks using his name”. Poor Doc Hollywood. His endorsement to a serious nutrition based doctor is the kiss of death.

                    34. Dr. McDougall is always a gentleman and treats others with respect. That’s why I find it so offensive Dr. Fuhrman insults Dr. McDougall and the starch based diet he’s practiced and shared (for free) all these years.
                      How are these “similar nutrition view” (Fuhrman…”eat meat”) (McDougall…”don’t eat meat or oli or dairy”.
                      You saying Fuhrman’s supplements aren’t needed for health doesn’t stop him from selling them.

                    35. Fuhrman has limitations on meat but has a plant centered diet, they are really not that different. I am with you on the McDougall diet, but I don’t think its necessary to chop on Fuhrman, his diet is also quite successful in many of the same ways McDougall’s diet is for others.

                    36. What is Dr. Fuhrman’s “limitation on meat”? Everyone who eats meat has a limitation, by budget, appetite, etc. Unless the dieter satisfies their hunger through plant consumption the limit on meat will be reached when the eater fills full.
                      I did a quick search and several doctors are critical of Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional promotions.
                      My take is that because Dr. Fuhrman was once a prima donna ice skater before taking up medicine… later than most would, he seeks the attention he once got on the ice by challenging authority figures like Dr. McDougall.
                      Again Toxins, if you understood the starch based nutrition plan Dr. McDougall recommends and practices you would not call it similar to Dr. Fuhrman’s inclusive meat-eating regimin.

                    37. slider1: re: “What is Dr. Fuhrman’s “limitation on meat”? Just like McDougall has limitations on nut eating and specifies what that limited amount is, Fuhrman does the same thing. I just attended a lecture by Fuhrman where he listed bullet points outlining his diet recommendations. One bullet point said something like “0 to 3 small servings a week of animal products” and another bullet said “no dairy”. In Fuhrman’s Eat to Live book (that I purchased, just like I purchased Dr. McDougall’s several books), the 6 week plan on p 284 of my copy allows no animal products at all.

                      As stated earlier, if you actually read Dr. Fuhrman’s books, you would see that he takes a lot of time explaining to people the problem with animal products and does a lot to discourage people from eating them. You may want Dr. Furhman to go as far as McDougall does to discourage people from eating animal products, but there is a place in this world for Dr. Fuhrman’s approach.

                      The people responding to you all understand McDougall’s plan. And we all endorse it (to my knowledge). And we all see how the similarities between McDougall’s and Fuhrman’s plans/recommendations are far bigger and far more important than the differences. So, you have to ask yourself, is it really that everyone else who studies and understands nutrition is just plain wrong? Or are you the one who is wrong? Are your personal feelings against Dr. Fuhrman (because he offended you the way he talked about Dr. McDougall) affecting your ability to objectively analyze the information he presents? Are you personal feelings preventing you from learning about the many patient success stories Dr. Furhman has had and that sound exactly like the success stories Dr. McDougall has had?

                      I have my own issues against Dr. Fuhrman. He’s not my favorite nutrition doctor by far. But I still went to his lecture and found more good than bad.

                    38. The world is round I tell you! Not so fast, Christoff Columbo, all the members of the flat earth society can’t be wrong. The nerve of that guy claiming the world was round. Silly man.
                      Fast forward a few hundred years and the same reasoning is still employed “majority rules”. Fact is, several medical doctors disagree with Dr. Fuhrman. For example, Dr. Peter A. Lipson, MD. “Your Disease Your Fault”. Dr. McDougall also disagrees with Dr. Fuhrman, however he is much more respectful to Dr. Fuhrman than Dr. Fuhrman is when he confronts Dr. McDougall. Type in a search for complaints about Dr. Fuhrman and they are diverted to HIS web site under the guise, “Is Dr. Fuhrman a Quack”. He high jacks the search and then sells his story once again. Nope, for y’all who’s keeping score it’s not me against the flat eat=rth society. It’s a number of medical doctors critical of Dr. Fuhrman.
                      I’m not mortally wounded because Dr. Fuhrman is confrontationally critical of Dr. McDougall, he’s protecting his empire, after all. I’m simply asking why the focus is on my observation of Dr. Fuhrman’s behavior instead of his criticism of medical doctors who disagree with his position on eating meat and selling vitamins?
                      How can anyone honestly claim they understand Dr. McDougall’s nutritional views and still ascertain they are similar to Dr. Fuhrmans? The differences are big. the ethics are big. I’m critical of Dr. Fuhrman for peddling vitamins and the retort is “Dr. McDougall sells a n app with 875 vegan recipes for $4.99.
                      My personal feelings do not change the facts. I’ve cited the facts and you reduce them to “personal feeling”. Maybe what is going on is it’s hard to adjust to reality when some are confronted with it. If these two doctors are so similar then Dr. McDougall should just retire, enjoy life knowing Dr. Fuhrman will continue his fine work. If the two agreed so much they wouldn’t be debating. Dr. Fuhrman wouldn’t be challenging Dr. McDougall. And Dr. McDougall wouldn’t appear so frustrated (to me) restating his case for a starch based diet.
                      As stated previously, I don’t need to actually read his books since I have actually viewed his videos, including his debate with Dr. McDougall. those are unedited, off the cuff. they’re REAL!
                      The real acid test isn’t my opinion or the opinion of the flat earth society. The real acid test is a function of time. At the end of our lifetime will our arteries be clean or contaminated with animal fat? We’ve all seen the pretty lady with the milk mustache proclaim, “Milk does a body good”. They don’t show her at ager 98 drinking three glasses a day. I still don’t know the benefits of eating the meat Dr. Fuhrman suggests.
                      Any questions I ask can better be answered by Dr.McDougall. I guess if you want to eat meat Dr.Fuhrman is your guy. He gives permission to violate Dr. McDougall’s teachings. How much meat does he recommend for optimal health? More importantly, how many followers can actually limit themselves to that quality?
                      I guess if your standard is “more good than bad” Dr. Fuhrman fills the bill. But as one respondent said, “I just skip what he says about taking supplements”…well that’s like saying, “I’m catholic but there’s a couple-three Commandments I ignore.” Seriously?

                    39. Still going strong on this conversation I see. And I see you still aren’t familiar with Dr Fuhrman’s Eat For Health. He would recommend and prefer that people don’t eat meat. But as Toxins states below the small amount that Fuhrman allows will not hurt someone.

                      So this last Christmas I was at a party when I see this beautiful healthy looking woman walking towards me. I finally recognized that she was actually a friend who had lost 225 pounds. She tells me she had been following Eat to Live and Dr Fuhrman. She doesn’t eat meat. If you have never seen The Quack report then I can see why you mentioned that above. Many alternative doctors are listed there. I wouldn’t recommend that for your source of reliable doctors.

                      I have many patients who have made slow changes to less animal. Overtime they have embraced the concepts. This one man in particular was all about The South Beach Diet. I am still having to explain to him why it is ok to have a baked potato. He went from having dairy/cheese and meat daily to now eating primarily vegetables, legumes, fruit, and a small serving of sushi/fish one time per week. This staged approach isn’t unreasonable. I forwarded him Dr Greger’s video from yesterday and I suspect that he will soon be even dropping the fish

                    40. I’m simply politely answering your, and other posts directed to me. that means YOU are still going strong.

                      One caveat: My posts aren’t displaying to me after I restart my computer so I may be reposting some posts totally unaware. If so, sorry!

                      I have read that Dr. Fuhrman advocates eating fish. Therefore your weight loss example was not following his regimen.

                      What I was trying to say about quackery is that when I type into a search window, “Dr. Fuhrman, quack”, it takes me to a PRO Fuhrman web site, complete with his photo and I am indoctrinated as to why Dr. Fuhrman is not a quack. I didn’t say I thought he was one. I’m not suggesting anything of the sort. He’s a trained medical doctor who is greedy and want’s to be number one. Unfortunately he compromises the science to entice more members to join his pay-as you-go club and sell his supplements like candy. Those who claim to disagree have not explained the long term consequences of supplements.

                      My experience is it’s easier to give up meat and dairy cold turkey. The secret is to never get hungry…easily done eating the McDougall starch based diet. Most (in my opinion) meat eaters reluctant to give up meat (the “I’d rather die” bunch.),is far based. “How do I get my protein.” or how do I live without protein.” or, “I’ll always be hungry.” I explain how little protein they actually need and what the excess meat and dairy protein is doing to their bones and kidneys. Then I tell them to plan on eating all the meat they want 9in theory…but, first eat the starch based meal they prepare. After eating if they are still hungry then hog out on meat. they’re never hungry. Hunger means guaranteed diet failure..

                      Dr. McDougall says “no meat”. I agree. Having said that, he (and I) are not anal…I’m not anyway. He eats a slice of turkey at thanksgiving. I do the same. Otherwise my extended family feels I’m missing out. It makes them uncomfortable if I find fault with their food. So I don’t. I eat turkey on very special holidays. I don’t think I’m a hypocrite. I have not eaten cow parts in thirty years. (unless they were fed to turkeys without my knowledge.)

                      Please stop characterizing me as “unfamiliar with Fuhrman’s books. If he plagiarized dr. McDougall, I’d still fault him for his videos and selling supplements, and getting Dr. Oz to endorse his web site, et al. His book won’t redeem him. If I read his book and didn’t see the other I might be gushing all over him (not). Maybe you’re just trying to prove how two-faced number two can be?

                    41. Slider you do know that Dr Greger went on Dr Oz right? And actually Dr Fuhrman talks about how polluted fish actually is. I say read the book because you might find McDougall and Fuhrman have more in common than you think. I tend to eat more like what Dr Greger and Fuhman recommends because they both stress nutrient density. I tend to not eat much processed foods like pasta/bread etc. And Fuhrman wouldn’t stress meat because it is so low on the points scale he has come up with. (nutrient per calorie) These guys lecture together on panels you know. I think you have a grudge that McDougall probably doesn’t share.

                    42. He was in the audience…didn’t quite make it on the stage with Doc Hollywood. Funny segment, Oz flip-flops on one of the supplements he recommends. He went from yea to nay. Turns out his recommendation kills people.
                      Dr. Greger toned down his message on meat to “the three R’s, the first being “reduce” meat. One big Mac instead of two, I guess. I wish Dr. Greger would speak on whether his message was screened or scripted, or modified, or weakened, or limited by the Oz crowd as a condition to be on the show. Or did he just decide to be prudent and not shock the meat lovers with reality?
                      I’d like to see Dr. McDougall on OZ. I’ve wondered why not. I once ask them to contact Dr. McDougall and consider him. He’s most excellent at getting his point in without being so obvious or offensive to meat eaters. Personally I think Oz is afraid to have McDougall on air.
                      Seriously, veganmonster..err, veggiepoo, stop with the nagging. Do you suppose if Dr’s. Fuhrman and McDougall has so much in common they’d be arguing about it? Get real. I SAW Fuhrman in action. He’s not yet over his second place on the ice rink. Got beat by Tonya Harding; he claims she tuned him up a little before his big event.
                      I can’t say Dr. McDougall and I share anything. I accept his perspective on nutrition. I respect his commitment. He’s not wishy-washy. He doesn’t say “meat is bad but if you’re gonna, your’re gonna. but just three times every week for a whole year; or about 156 hamburgers mixed and matched with fish sandwiches, or the equivalent in BBQ chicken wings….and it’s still about the same as a starch based diet.

                    43. He was in the audience…didn’t quite make it on the stage with Doc Hollywood.
                      Funny segment, Oz flip-flops on one of the supplements he recommends. He went
                      from yea to nay. Who knew his recommendation was killing the audience.

                      Dr. Greger toned down his message on meat to “the three R’s,
                      the first being “reduce” meat. One big Mac instead of two, I guess. I
                      wish Dr. Greger would speak on whether his message was screened or scripted, or
                      modified, or weakened, or limited by the Oz crowd as a condition to be on the
                      show. Or did he just decide to be prudent and not shock the meat lovers with

                      I’d like to see Dr. McDougall on Oz. I’ve wondered why not. I once ask them to
                      contact Dr. McDougall and consider him. He’s most excellent at getting his
                      point in without being so obvious or offensive to meat eaters. Personally I
                      think Oz is afraid to have McDougall on air.

                      Seriously, veganmonster..err, veggiepoo, stop with the nagging. Do you suppose
                      if Dr’s. Fuhrman and McDougall has so much in common they’d be arguing about
                      it? Get real. I SAW Fuhrman in action. He’s not yet over his second place on
                      the ice rink. Got beat by Tonya Harding; he claims she tuned him up a little
                      before his big event.

                      I can’t say Dr. McDougall and I share anything. I accept his perspective on
                      nutrition. I respect his commitment. He’s not wishy-washy. He doesn’t say
                      “meat is bad but if you’re gonna, your’re gonna. but just three times
                      every week for a whole year; or about 156 hamburgers mixed and matched with
                      fish sandwiches, or the equivalent in BBQ chicken wings….but put some
                      broccoli sprouts on it to kill the cooties and it’s still about the same as a
                      starch based diet.

                    44. Dr. Greger was in the audience…didn’t quite make it on the stage with Doc Hollywood.
                      Funny segment, Oz flip-flops on one of the supplements he recommends. He went
                      from yea to nay. Who knew his recommendation was killing the audience.

                      Dr. Greger toned down his message on meat reducing it to “the three R’s,
                      the first being “reduce” meat. One big Mac instead of two, I guess. I
                      wish Dr. Greger would speak on whether his message was screened or scripted, or
                      modified, or weakened, or limited by the Oz crowd as a condition to be on the
                      show. Or did he just decide to be prudent and not shock the meat lovers with

                      I’d like to see Dr. McDougall on Oz. I’ve wondered why not. I once ask them to
                      contact Dr. McDougall and consider him. He’s most excellent at getting his
                      point in without being so obvious or offensive to meat eaters. Personally I
                      think Oz is afraid to have McDougall on air.

                      Seriously, veganmonster..err, veggiepoo, stop with the nagging. Do you suppose
                      if Dr’s. Fuhrman and McDougall has so much in common they’d be arguing about
                      it? Get real. I SAW Fuhrman in action. He’s not yet over his second place on
                      the ice rink. Got beat by Tonya Harding; he claims she tuned him up a little
                      before his big event.

                      I can’t say Dr. McDougall and I share anything. I accept his perspective on
                      nutrition. I respect his commitment. He’s not wishy-washy. He doesn’t say
                      “meat is bad but if you’re gonna, your’re gonna. but just three times
                      every week for a whole year; or about 156 hamburgers mixed and matched with
                      fish sandwiches, or the equivalent in BBQ chicken wings….but put some
                      broccoli sprouts on it to kill the cooties and it’s still about the same as a
                      starch based diet.

                      veganrunner, you do understand that a vegan who eats meat three times a week is really a vegetarian, at best. Vegetarians don’t fare any better than full blown meat eaters health-wise. Incidentally, from time-to-time when Dr. Greger is doing his video he sometimes says “vegan” and during he same video he says “vegetarian”. I get confused and don’t know if he attributing the results of a particular study to a meat and veggie diet or an all plant diet. That makes it hard for ME to be sure what his views are (sometimes).

                    45. Oh, Veganrunner, your South Beach Diet convert…concerning his “staged” approach to eating healthy, there is no reason to stage the transition if his belly is full. It will always be on the McDougall starch based plan.
                      The television stations are hitting the “pink” money drive “to cure cancer” this week. Poor Joan Lundon is in treatment. The media folks, the one’s paid to spread the word, are ignorant about what’s causing their diseases. Could it be they are so indoctrinated with reading the 30 second sound bites that they only believe what they say on a cook show? (Rhetorical only).

                    46. Slider you are assuming everyone thinks like you. Believe me they don’t. Most people, as I am sure you know, hate change and the idea that they have been doing it wrong all along is very difficult for some. I also went cold turkey with the help of my friends on this website. Well I guess that isn’t accurate. I had given up diary many years before. But for the general population suggesting they give up meat is a crazy idea. First you have to believe that everything you were previously taught is wrong. Hard to do for most.

                    47. That’s possible, veganrunner (not) but it’s more likely you think you can read minds. What am I thinking right now? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…………………..See, gocha.
                      “People hate change”? Where have I heard that before? Hmmm, I know, Oh, I just wrote it. Did you peek?
                      I’ll give you a little insight and just flat out tell you what I think. I think your “patient” needs an authoritarian figure he has confidence in because when it comes to weight loss he’s in over his head. You made up a plan and he’s following it. If you tell him it’s the “Magic Incremental Segway from Meat” technique developed especially for difficult cases like his and so far…it has worked 100% of the time, he’s not going to disappoint you. You thought it up so it ingenious. On the other had, there’s silly me. what do I know? I can’t even understand how Cain and Able are alike. Yet, it appears I might have been “thinking”. But was I really? Anatomical body functions don’t require my thought. I just breath, for example. Eating can be the same way. Or we can “think” about it. When we think it through we realize we might starve on a vegan diet…not get enough protein, might not even be a “man”; real men DO eat meat. But what if we don’t think about dieting or weight loss or eating to be healthy? “Thinking” when we don’t really have the answers makes us neurotic. We’re controlled by fear. What if…perhaps instead we think of some sneaky way to trick the body into giving up meat we just…oh, I don’t know…maybe, well, for example, just eat starches until we are FULL…That’s it eat low calorie starches and some greens until we are content. Our little bellies are bulging and we couldn’t even think about eating meat. If we die from lack of protein, well, who cares, we’re on a dopamine high so nothing matters…at least we aren’t hungry. After filling up on starches we can take a walk and later a nap and if we don’t die from lack of meat, eventually we’ll get hungry and we can do it again.
                      The only problem I see with the plan is it doesn’t require a lot of thinking. maybe you can jazz it up a little.

                    48. That’s possible, veganrunner
                      (not) but it’s more likely you think you can read minds. What am I
                      thinking right now? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…………………..See, gocha.

                      “People hate change”? Where have I heard that before? Hmmm,
                      I know, Oh, I just wrote it. Did you peek?

                      I’ll give you a little insight and just flat out tell you what I
                      think. I think your “patient” needs an authoritarian
                      figure he has confidence in because when it comes to weight loss he’s
                      in over his head. You made up a plan and he’s following it. If you tell
                      him it’s the “Magic Incremental Segway from
                      Meat” technique developed especially for
                      difficult cases like his and so far…it has worked 100% of the
                      time, he’s not going to disappoint you. You thought it up so it
                      ingenious. On the other had, there’s silly me. what do I know? I can’t
                      even understand how Cain and Able are alike. Yet, it appears I might have
                      been “thinking”. But was I really? Anatomical body functions
                      don’t require my thought. I just breath, for example. Eating can be the
                      same way. Or we can “think” about it. When we think it through
                      we realize we might starve on a vegan diet…not get enough protein, might
                      not even be a “man”; real men DO eat meat. But what if we
                      don’t think about dieting or weight loss or eating to be healthy?
                      “Thinking” when we don’t really have the answers makes us
                      neurotic. We’re controlled by fear. What if…perhaps instead we think of
                      some sneaky way to trick the body into giving up meat we just…oh, I
                      don’t know…maybe, well, for example, just eat starches until we
                      were FULL…That’s it eat low calorie starches and some greens until we
                      are content. Our little bellies are bulging and we couldn’t even think
                      about eating meat. If we die from lack of protein, well, who cares, we’re
                      on a dopamine high so nothing matters…at least we aren’t hungry.
                      After filling up on starches we can take a walk and later a nap and if we
                      don’t die from lack of meat, eventually we’ll get hungry and we can do it

                      The only problem I see with the plan is it doesn’t require a lot of
                      thinking. maybe you can jazz it up a little.

                    49. Thea, nuts do not have the contaminants found in meat, nor
                      are nuts as high in harmful protein. Nuts are not raised in cages or have their
                      beaks clipped off so they don’t peck themselves to death when they go crazy
                      from being trapped in a one-foot cage. Nuts aren’t fed the remains of other animals.
                      Nuts wouldn’t even get infected with fecal matter if we didn’t handle animal
                      products. Chicken, for example, is so contaminated with bacteria we are advised
                      to never wash it (for fear of spreading the germs in the kitchen. Instead we
                      are supposed to kill the germs and other contaminants before we eat the meat. I see a difference between nut limitations and meat limitations. When you over eat nuts you’re not over eating contaminated
                      meat. Feeding animals on such a large commercial scale is polluting our water with fertilizers and fecal waste. Most grain is grown to feed livestock.For one tenth the grain it takes to feed animals we could feed ourselves directly with the grain (and avoid the diseases). The conversion factor from grain to meat is very costly to our environment, our wallet, and our health.

                      A leader does not lecture against a nutritional practice and
                      then say, “well then, in that case, , smoke em if ya got em.” Leaders set an
                      example and keeps repeating the message. Eating meat and buying Fuhrman’s supplements is not similar to not
                      eating meat and not taking supplements. Besides, who eats 0 to 3 small servings
                      a week of meat? What is a small serving?
                      Why zero servings? Why not 1 to 3 small servings? Does his plan expect the nutritional plants
                      to offset the bad from the meats? Or is he just submitting to poplar pressure
                      to gain followers?

                      As I stated earlier, I have viewed his videos and his debate
                      with Dr. McDougall. The videos are spontaneous,
                      off-the-cuff and represent his views. The books are highly edited and proofed.
                      What might I learn from the books that undoes his combative nature with Dr.
                      McDougall, for instance?

                      What you consider a “small difference” is paramount. Fuhrman
                      says eat meat. McDougall says, “Don’t eat meat”. If they are so alike then McDougall
                      can retire and Fuhrman can continue his fine work.

                      The sailor spoke, “The world is round.” (Laughter). “Nonsense”,
                      replied the flat earth society, “we all know it’s flat, Chris Cristoffo, next you’ll
                      claim the Earth orbits the Sun.” (Laughter).
                      Maybe the problem is some folks have trouble accepting a different point
                      of view. It’s hard to accept being wrong. It’s hard to accept change. If we all eat zero to three “small” servings
                      of meat each week the national health would surely improve. But isn’t that like
                      asking a two pack a day smokers to limit themselves to between zero and three
                      cigarettes a day? Fuhrman is just giving permission for millions to eat all the
                      meat they want. He’s saying, “Smoke em
                      if you’ve got tem…but try limiting yourself to three.” Or,” keep the heroin to
                      a minimum.”

                      The science says the arteries will clean up if a starch
                      based diet is followed. Has Dr. Fuhrman done his study to show the results if
                      an obese person, one needing heart surgery, who instead eats nuts and avocados
                      and three small servings of meat each week… and reduces starches? Show me Fuhrman’s
                      study. While he’s doing the study be sure and measure the Mercury contamination.
                      Dr. Oz admitted this week his Mercury
                      level is “high”. He advocates fish every week.

                      When I point out Dr. Fuhrman attacks Dr. McDougall’s 35 year
                      long starch based diet I’m accused of personal attacks. I’ve seen the videos.
                      He does indeed attack Dr. McDougall. My observation of his attack isn’t an
                      attack. I’m just reporting what Fuhrman did. Dr. Peter Lipson is highly
                      critical of Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritional views, as are other medical doctors. Dr.
                      McDougall wastes a lot of his time correcting Dr. Fuhrman when they debate. His
                      health conscious peers are critical of him.

                      My take is the former second place ice skater is angry he’s still
                      second place. There are more than enough traditional medical practitioners in
                      the U.S.A. who would deny both Drs. Fuhrman and McDougall. Fuhrman is
                      increasing his piece of the pie by giving permission for folks to sin.

                      Type in the search phrase, “Dr. Fuhrman, quack”, and the links
                      take you to Dr. Fuhrman’s web site where he continues to massage your noggin. I’m
                      always concerned when someone hijacks my “quack” search and takes me to a pro
                      Fuhrman web site to sell me. His “formula” isn’t even a formula. What numbers do I plug into Fuhrman’s silly equation
                      H=N/C? And what are the specific results? It’s just sales hype. They call him a
                      quack for advocating a “healthy” diet. That alone is manipulative. A healthy diet isn’t quackery, therefore does
                      that mean he’s not wrong in his nutritional views on meat and supplements. Not
                      at all. He’s motivated by money and recognition. He wants to be in the center
                      of the ice rink. Maybe his values are skewed but it doesn’t make him a quack,
                      just wrong and manipulative.

                    50. Slider really needs to familiarize himself with Dr Fuhrman’s views. Yes we would prefer that everyone give up animal products from day one but for many people that is just too much to ask. Many people need to ease into it over time and that is what Eat to Health is all about. It helped with many of my family members who are now vegan.

                    51. He also needs to tone down his responses to you, a couple have infringed on the posting rules of this website and have been deleted.

                    52. I think it’s a big difference for our physiology and for our planet in eating small amounts of animal foods or no animal foods. Fuhrman allow animal foods just to appear less radical to the clients (in my opinion).

                    53. I agree. I also think that a small percentage of calories ~5% from animal products will not hurt people, although I consume non

                    54. I should add though, Fuhrman as a character is questionable based on the mcdougall post. The diet itself is not all that terrible though.

                    55. Well actually Dr Greger and Dr Fuhuman are most closely aligned. They both advocate eating the most nutritious foods. You might be splitting hairs a bit. They all 3 are amazing. Dr McDougall charges 5 dollars for his recipe app. Should I dislike him for not giving it away as Dr Greger does?

                    56. Lol, and you said you didn’t want to argue with the uninformed.
                      Dr. McDougall’s recipe app comes with 875 vegan recipes and the ability to search them by ingredients. Do you know what one recipe book costs? Most have a handful of recipes (relatively speaking) and I’m guessing McDougall will add more. Imagine the convenience of the app. How can you compare that with a lifelong obligation to buy pills instead of getting nutrients from healthy plant food?
                      I don’t know that any of them are “aligned” or what that even infers. Each stands (or falls) on his own merits. Fuhrman advocates eating meat. Could you explain the “nutritous” aspects of meat?

                    57. Dr. McDougall’s recipe app includes 875 vegan recipes and the ability to search based on ingredients. Not bad for a one-time cost of $4.95.

                      Unneeded vitamins and supplements are a reoccurring expense for a lifetime. And we really don’t know the long term effects.

                      I see no comparison.

                      You might be nit picking Dr. McDougall for his wonderful recipes and app.

                    58. Dr. Fuhrman and McDougall are close colleagues, I think it is a far stretch to call Fuhrman wrong and a nobody. They work together and have similar nutrition protocols. As Jeff Novick puts it, we are arguing the 1% difference between these doctors while the 99% similarity is really what is most important.

                    59. Fuhrman can be somebody important to you (your choice). He’s nobody to me. Novick has his percentile wrong. doctors. Dr. Fuhrman called his “close colleague” “silly” in their debate. He was critical of Dr. McDougall’s “low nutrient foods”, even called the starch based diet “2nd class nutrition”.
                      My take is Dr. Fuhrman promotes what he calls “high nutrients” and then fills the need by selling supplements. His web site promotes some meat consumption. He even claims some people are “naturally heavy”. Maybe so in his sheltered world but I’ve traveled to many third world countries an there are no heavy people except those who work for American companies and eat meat and dairy. Fuhrman is naïve while promoting a belief he cannot support with science. He claims 10% fat is unhealthy. To learn more about his views it appears one must join his inner circle by paying a monthly fee.
                      Dr. McDougall promotes a starch based vegan diet, low in fat (10% for example) and he gives away his twelve day starter program to anyone who wishes to download it. McDougall doesn’t advocate supplements (except B-12).
                      I don’t think Dr. Fuhrman has thought his high nutrient philosophy through. Assume we all take his pills and super charge our bodies with all that he deems important. Doesn’t he understand that, assuming it doesn’t kill us…well, at some point down the line our species will have evolved to do quite nicely on his supplements. In fact, we’ll be so evolved to need the extra nutrients we’ll all die without them. Then what’s next? Extra super duper nutrients?
                      I am so grateful to discover Dr. McDougall twenty-five years before I heard the name Dr. Fuhrman.

                    60. Hi Slider,
                      Pick up and read one of Dr Fuhrmans books from the library. You might change your mind. Eat For Health is a good one. He has a system set up for beginners to the WFPB diet. It then progresses to stage 4. He actually points out that no animal is best. And limited supplementation. I believe similar to Dr Greger. But I agree his selling of vitamins can be an issue.

                    61. Time would be better spent if you read one of Dr. McDougall’s books or spent an evening on his web site. He lists actual diseases and how they respond to a starch based diet. Please don’t think me closed minded but one of Dr. Fuhrman’s books won’t correct the misinformation I heard come out of his own mouth when he debated Dr. McDougall. Instead of pointing out that “no animal is best” he should be saying all animals are bad. His sale of supplementation isn’t limited.

                      Suppose we all take his supplements, and each generation afterwards takes his supplements…what happens as we evolved to need his supplements?. Is the dosage doubled? Already, we’ve seen the effects of overusing medications to treat germ and virus infections. the drugs aren’t effective against the super bugs.

                      Will future mankind not be able to make Vitamin E or other essentials because mankind evolved to use the supplements? Have we evolved so poorly that only Dr. Fuhrman can save mankind by selling us chemical supplements?

                    62. I have read Dr McDougall’s book and visited his website many, many times. I didn’t say anything about Dr McDougall. I said I liked Dr Fuhrman.

                    63. Agreed, you didn’t say anything about Dr. McDougall. You invited me to read Dr. Fuhrman. I explained reading him would not change his views as spoken by him. I then implied that instead of ME reading Fuhrman YOU should read McDougall. You have more to gain by reading McDougall than I by reading Fuhrman. In fact if I read Dr. Fuhrman I’ll just point out more of his nonsense. My personal opinion is he just panders to customers and sells whatever they will buy.

                      You may have visited Dr. McDougall’s website many times but you don’t know his views. He, unlike Dr. Fuhrman is opposed to vitamins and supplements and fat.

                      Here’s his views on vitamins: https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2010nl/may/vitamins.htm

                    64. Daniel I have read many of your posts throughout the years and don’t you ride your bike as much as you do to commute to work and back?

                    65. I usually do, unless the weather is bad. If there is ice on the road, I won’t. Even if I had studded tires, most cars wouldn’t have them and they might slide into me. Atlanta is not prepared for winter conditions. I also ride on my off day, even to the store. I have a back pack to put the groceries in.

                    66. Veganrunner, since you are curious about bike riding I’ll share a little oddity about my bike riding experience. I ride a 15 mile route several times a week on my mountain bike. Everyone tells me to buy a lightweight bike and it will be easier. That would defeat my purpose…a sweaty workout.. If it’s 103 degrees I do my ride. One hill a over a mile long. Less often I roller blade, but the trip is twenty miles. I can honestly say the roller blade trip is less grueling than the bike ride. For two reasons, I believe. One is the bike trail I ‘blade on is relatively flat, and two, probably because I coast a bit more on blades.

                      One year I got tired of the racers blowing by me on ‘blades wearing their peculiar bullet shaped helmets, each passing by in precision regimented unison, like those gaud awful synchronized swimmers in the Olympics. To hang with them I purchased some expensive new roller blades with “class seven bearing”…I could fly and coast forever on those things. Used them twice. They have sat in my closed for years collecting dust. I realized my mistake first trip out. One little push off with my legs and I coasted “forever”. I was indeed fast but it wasn’t a workout anymore! The class five bearing give enough resistance that I get my expected workout. The fancy blades are going on eBay, Size 11 1/2 EEE if anyone’s interested.

                    67. Nice story Slider. Sounds as though you enjoy a good workout. I like to run but my husband cycles. A lot! It sounds as though you have figured out the keys to good health–WFPB and exercise. And Dr Ornish would add no stress and love.

                    68. Interesting conversation you two are having. I do want to point out that Jim Fixx was fat before he started running. He was probably a heart attack waiting to happen. But he was so instrumental in the fitness craze he gets a gold star.

                    69. Also, I didn’t want to sound like the Paleo crowd who states that the more fat you eat, the better. I also don’t agree with their argument that low fat diets cause weight gain, unless perhaps a person substitutes refined sugars for the fat in the diet. You probably eat complex carbs instead of fat, and this is perfectly valid. I guess I am saying that people don’t usually gain weight on the McDougall diet, and it is valid to be low fat, as long as one is getting one’s essential fatty acids- omega 3’s and 6’s, and the amount necessary is NOT that high. I also think that it isn’t absolutely necessary to be so low fat, although it is optional. I also reject the Paleo rejection of the lipid hypothesis.

                4. You are saying that carbs turn to sugar and will store as fat if not running marathons all day long. What about the people in Japan, China and other Asian countries that eat LOTS of grains and beans.. And the people in these countries are not fat unless they have adobted the SAD diet. Also the people in the blue zones eat lots of grains and beans and they are not fat either.

                5. Agreed. Point of interest is that my husband a few years was put on a statin, baby aspirin an and advised to take BP meds which he declined as we both felt it was within normal. He proceed, like many, to suffer from increasing side effects from the these drugs while restricting his intake of some foods he really enjoys like nuts, avocados etc. Last spring while he waited for his first appt. with his new family physician he’d said enough and decided in his case a trial time off the statin and then low dose aspirin was safe and needed. Within a week he felt better then he had in years. His almost daily nose bleeds went with the aspirin. His new family doctor (who specializes in and works closely with a cardiology team) reviewed his old blood work and tests along with new ones (2 months off meds) and couldn’t see why he was put on the drugs he was and given his BP was 110/70 and he’s 63 that was also not a factor. We were thrilled.

                  His doctor gave him the OK to enjoy small handful of nuts (ideally a variety) each day, 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado a few days week and other foods he enjoyed. He has given up boxed cereal and has a bowl of Scottish oatmeal made with almond milk and with alternating toppings like flax (Dr. Greger approved), chia, ground walnuts/ pecans (Dr. Greger video says they’re highest in antioxidants), and rotating fruits. He also has new daily routine that includes going to bed and getting up a bit earlier for some quiet/ me time, and is learning to balance more. Today his BP and blood work are well within normal/ healthy by various accepted standards. He looks and feels younger then most of his friends/ peers. If you ask him a big part was to stop fearing everything he ate and learn to enjoy food and life again and not be on constant red alert. Aware yes. Fearful? No. We all have to find what works best for us.

                6. Yes our body needs fat, yes our brain is made of fat. But do you actually know how much fat the human body requires to thrive?

                  I’ll give you the answer to clear up your confusion; And I found it rather difficult to find this information aswell. There is 9 calories per gram of fat and the body needs around 15 grams of fat per day to be healthy. Thats around 130 calories from fat in a standard 2000 calorie diet (6.5%) Anything above that is plenty.

    1. Interestingly, plant-based diets around the world vary considerably in their fat content, but the nice thing is, when it comes to reducing the risk of chronic disease, even higher-fat plant based-diets appear to be vastly superior to diets based on animal foods. And although nuts and seeds have been much-maligned due to their high fat content, research consistently demonstrates that people who regularly eat nuts are thinner, have a smaller waist circumference, healthier biomarkers (lipids, for example), and better overall health. If you are interested in more evidence on this topic, check out Nuts May Help Prevent Death, Nuts and Bolts of Cholesterol Lowering, Nuts and Obesity: The Weight of Evidence, Testing the Dietary Compensation Theory, and Which Nut Fights Cancer Better?.

    1. I watched the Ted talk and although the content was great and thorough I almost fell asleep (so sorry to say it.. and I am HIGHLY engaged in the topic!) We need more shareable stuff like Ted talks/ info graphics that put complex information in simple to understand & share terms to help spread knowledge like this. Do you know of any other content like that?

  4. Question: your chart shows plant based fat intake at 29%. But, Doctor Esselstyn’s book and T Colin Campbell set their fat intake at 12%. SAD is 30+% ??

  5. Great job oversimplifying for a self satisfying conclusion! I wonder if I could teach nutrition at university too.

    Someone could reach 65% carbs a day and still be eating “paleo”.

    1. Not the Paleo taught by the leading figure head, Loren Cordain. Cordain says a true Paleo diet must consist of 55% animal foods. That does not leave room for 65% carbs.

      1. I think that nowaday, most promoters won’t push for a specific macronutrient ratio, but suggest to adapt it to the individual depending on the goal to achieve, lifestyle or personnal tolerence.

  6. Good article but NEITHER the new Paleo or Vegan diets are optimal because the sodium intake on the vegan diet is still triple that of the True Paleo and much too high, vitamin B12 levels on a pure vegan diet are zero leading to eventual death from pernicious anemia unless B12 supplements are taken and if you look at the “Blue Zones” all around the world where men and women typically live in high numbers to age 90 or 100, in GOOD HEALTH, none of them are “true paleo or neo paleo” and none of them are vegan.

    Yes, their diet is overwhelmingly plant based but they do eat seafood and animal products weekly or monthly.

    So like our true paleo ancestors the best approach in today’s world is likely a plant based diet with small servings of wild seafood and/or grass fed bison or game meat that is very close in composition to the animals that true paleos ate versus the fat and pesticide laden, nutrient-deficient, modern livestock meat and farmed seafood.

    1. I agree. While reading “The Blue Zones” it really struck me how all of these health and longevity diets are similar: whole food, plant based, with no sign of the high fat Paleo type diets so popular today. Yes, collectively they eat meat, eggs, poultry, sheep/goat milk/cheese &/or fish SPARINGLY. We’re not talking every meal, or even every day, but each of these blue zone populations (Okinawa, Costa Rica, Sardinia, Seventh Day Adventists) consume small portions of animal foods weekly or monthly.

  7. Interesting! To communicate effectively the data table really needs to be updated to a bar graph, a line graph, or some other graphic that will show the comparison at a glance.

    1. Another critique of the chart is that it lists both New Paleo and Plant based diets as having 2.6 mg of riboflavin, but only the plant based diet is highlighted as closest to the True Paleo diet.

  8. So what is ideal? (Well, not necessarily idea, but closest to real paleolithic era diets). Something largely plant based diet with just a little bit of wild/grass fed meat? Sounds good to me. Sounds a bit like the Mediterranean diet.

  9. I have a question about the Cholesterol row in the table. If “true paleo” is 480, then “new paleo” is 828 away – while vegan would be 480 away. So, vegan wins again? Is the color on the wrong column? Or am I missing something?

  10. Wouldn’t any ‘true paleo’ person have spent nearly every waking moment on the move? The modern paleo folks seem to believe that exercising for an hour or so about 4 times a week is sufficient. In my experience, the healthiest diet is the one that supplies what is needed but nothing more, an inactive person can thereby do just fine on a low-cal, plant-based diet; but I’ve worked in vocations which were very demanding physically, and, there simply isn’t enough time in the day to prepare and eat what is required. Accordingly, diets must be as diverse as the lives of those who have varied lifestyles and that is further complicated by varied metabolic factors.

  11. It’s interesting that so few of the writers attacking the paleo diet (such as this one and a recent one in The New Yorker) ever go to the source. The source of what you call the “New Paleo” diet is Loren Cordain, a professor at U of Colorado. As he would say, he didn’t make up the paleo diet as is the case of every other pop diet, including vegetarian and veganism, but he discovered it. Using scientific investigation he discovered how our long-ago ancestors ate during the time of the evolution of our genetics.

    Why do writers not go to the source? Because they’re not doing your homework, not really looking for answers, but instead setting up a straw-man to beat up with their forgone opinion that a vegetarian diet is healthier, even though it is perfectly clear that that is not the diet of our ancestors.

    Are there merits to eating more vegetables? Certainly. Are there merits to staying away from the standard american diet? Most definitely. Can we learn something by looking at how our genetic ancestors ate? Very much so. Are you as an individual healthier on a vegetarian diet? Maybe so, that’s for you to say. But to distort truth to proselytize vegetarianism for everyone is disingenuous at best and certainly not good science.

    I’ve been treating patients for 30+ years and have seen a few do very well on a vegetarian diet, but have seen many more do very poorly. We are not all the same. The nutritionist Roger Williams talked about biochemical individuality over 40 years ago. Now we know there is a genetic bases for that individuality.

    Personally, I think we’d do much better if we stopped creating fights between vegetarians and omnivorous and instead focused our displeasure toward the institutions that are ruining all our food – plant and animal – (and farmland, and planet): agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, processed food industry.
    Best of health, Tom Ballard, ND

    1. Who was it … I think it was Szilard on the Manhattan Project, who said, “Mediocre scientists should be paid not to do science.” Cordain is still waiting for his well-deserved check.

          1. I don’t know you, so please don’t take this as a criticism of you. This is the kind of question the medical-industrial complex has taught us to ask, as if there is one answer for everyone. You wouldn’t call a car mechanic and ask, “What kind of tuneup do you advise?” without knowing the mechanic is going to ask you what kind of car, how many miles, when was the last tuneup, any problems now, etc. So why is it we treat our bodies as if they were simpler than our cars? We are the victims of massive disinformation that undercuts our health and our ability to even ask the right questions. The medical-industrial complex wants us to recite our symptoms and receive drugs that cover up those symptoms. Again with the mechanic, we wouldn’t stand for hearing an answer like: “Your car is making a strange noise? Turn up the radio.” But that’s exactly what the typical MD advice is and their nutritional advice is, essentially, eat less protein and fat and eat more carbs, which has directly lead to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes. Don’t believe me, look up Walter Willit MD from Harvard.
            Tom Ballard ND

            1. My answer as a rationale that i think you understand better than me: with the term “vegetarian diet” i could enclose a lot of different nutritional plan, eg i could eat only steamed potatoes everyday and only potatoes, i can call me “vegetarian”, but i do not think this diet is going to be sustainable for a long time. Another example: i could eat fries, refined pasta and rice, iceberg lettuce, vegan snack, a lot of vegetable oil and call me a vegan again, but probably i’m not going to succeed in my effort.

              And for this quote:

              But that’s exactly what the typical MD advice is and their nutritional advice is, essentially, eat less protein and fat and eat more carbs, which has directly lead to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes.

              well, i do not agreee ’cause guidelines were not followed by US citizens and even when the Mc Govern Report was published, overweigth was already a problem:



              And i think to know who to blame: obsessive marketing, conflict of interests and scarce human nutrition courses in Medical Schools.

              So you right about disinformation, it’ really widespread and i think that sites listed below are going to help us to find the way:






              Best regards

              1. Yes, I agree that marketing is a problem, but my point is that the medical field should be held accountable. They have been charged with taking care of the nations health. They’ve made a great deal of money doing their thing, and yet they have consistently fallen down on their job of educating the public.Even if they had taken a nutrition class, what can you teach in a 10 minute appointment? Their loyalty is clearly elsewhere and the result of that is good people endlessly arguing about what the “best” diet is. Critical thinking is lacking.

                As for the your mention of the McGovern report, diabetes and obesity rates have skyrocketed since their guidelines were issued.

                I appreciate your effort to educate me with these websites, but again I refer yo to someone who has nothing to sell, Walter Willet, MD, head of Harvard’s nutrition. I’m not an amateur. I’ve been a professional 24/7 for 32 years.
                Tom Ballard, ND

                1. I do not want to educate you on nothing (maybe it’s the opposite), but only to told you about my sources and why i think that a whole food plan based diet should be a primary option for therapeutic puroposes, (of course it depends on the context).

                  I will study Doctor Willet publications, but even i know a lot of doctors and RDs that suggests WFPB diets, and probably you know them: Caldwell Esselstyn MD, Dean Ornish MD, Joel Fuhrman MD, John McDougall MD, Neal Barnard Md, Brenda Davis RD, Jack Norris RD, David Katz MD (maybe non entirely plant based, but focused on plants), T. Colin Campbell (PhD, MS).

                  Even they are professionals.

                  The problem is not to sell something, but to sell something that it’s not good and i think that most of them are “selling” many good things.

                  While talking again about the Mc Govern Report, i think you’re implying that Mc Govern guidelines were the cause of the obesity epidemic, but it’s not true ’cause US citizens do NOT followed guidelines.


                  And the the Mc Govern report was influenced by the “animal” industries:


                  Best Regards

            2. Hi Tom, for those who do want to look him up, it is spelled Willett. The vast majority of MDs are not trained in nutrition, its true but this beginning to change and becoming a requirement. At the second annual Plant-based Nutrition Healthcare Conference over 400 MD and clinicians attended, .However, the advice dispensed by MDs as you stated “essentially, eat less protein and fat and eat more carbs, which has directly lead to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes”, is not entirely true. “There is no single, simple answer to explain the obesity patterns” in America, says Walter Willett, who chairs the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

            3. Here is an article which challenges your belief that increases in consumption of saturated animal fat and protein will help quell the obesity epidemic. This article http://www.nutritionj.com/content/11/1/40 talks about how Sweden had previously lowered cholesterol levels by lowering animal fat consumption levels. However, recently the high animal fat Atkins diet you recommend has become a lot more popular in Sweden. Carbohydrate consumption has gone down and fat consumption has gone up in Sweden. It was thought that this diet would lead to weight loss and control of diabetes. However, it has not led to lower BMI’s in Sweden and has reversed the declines in cholesterol levels. This article states,
              “BMI increased continuously for both sexes, whereas serum cholesterol levels decreased during 1986 – 2004, remained unchanged until 2007 and then began to rise. The increase in serum cholesterol coincided with the increase in fat intake, especially with intake of saturated fat and fats for spreading on bread and cooking.”
              It concludes by stating,
              “Men and women in northern Sweden decreased their reported fat intake in the first 7 years (1986–1992) of an intervention program. After 2004 fat intake increased sharply for both genders, which coincided with introduction of a positive media support for low carbohydrate-high-fat (LCHF) diet. The decrease and following increase in cholesterol levels occurred simultaneously with the time trends in food selection, whereas a constant increase in BMI remained unaltered. These changes in risk factors may have important effects on primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
              It also stated that the evidence for weight loss from low carb, high fat diets is weaker after 6 months,
              “Notably, the increased fat intake was not associated with any reduction or stagnation of the increasing levels of BMI in the northern Sweden population, even though several studies indicate positive effects of LCHF, i.e. weight loss in a short-term perspective [44,45]. However, evidence for weight loss effects beyond six months is lacking[44,45], and long-term safety is controversial, i.e. some studies report adverse health effects [41,46-49] and others do not [50”
              You can look at pictures of Loren Cordain- he is NOT thin. Most Vegan doctors, such as Neal Barnard, Joel Fuhrman, John McDougall and Michael Greger are all thin. Also, this study shows there is a strong relationship between LDL levels and heart disease. http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)67394-1/fulltext

              1. You make my original point very well – that vegetarians and omnivorous and other factions are using up time and resources fighting each other instead of their real enemies: the medical and food industries.

                You illustrate this perfectly by challenging me on a position I NEVER MADE. I never made an argument for ANY diet for all people, yet you jump right in defending vegetarianism. I didn’t defend Loren Cordain or the Paleo diet. I just asked why people wrote articles about it without referencing the guy who discovered it.

                Please people, get it out of your head that everyone needs to be eating one diet and that is _____________ because of this history or that study. I’ve known this for years but know it even better now that I’m doing genetic testing and health reports on my patients. WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. The nutritionist Roger Williams formulated this 50 years ago with his concept of Biochemical Individuality, now we have the genetic evidence to support this,
                Tom Ballard, ND

                1. In this regard i think you’re right even if i do not know well the subject, probably in the future (i hope near) i will examine that field of knowledge.

            4. Each brand and model car is different. There are only two basic models of humans, and even they are mostly alike in many areas. True, it wouldn’t be wise to use tune-up specs optimizes for a Chevrolet to tune a Jaguar. But then again we are not discussing tune ups. We are discussing FUEL. Most cars burn the same fuel, gasoline. Some use diesel. Any car designed to burn gasoline will run correctly on the same gas.
              Likewise, both models of humans burn the same fuels. Fat is the primary fuel. Glycogen is the alternate fuel. All humans, both models, will thrive on a plant based diet. One might presume this or that green vegetable, or certain fruit is indicated (for medicinal reasons) based on individual needs/illnesses. However, regardless of how much someone has caused their health to deteriorate from poor food choices, it’s safe and appropriate to suggest a basic plant based die to get back to health. Doing so eliminates the poisons ingested from eating meat and dairy. The basic plant based diet can then be adjusted to include/exclude certain plants to supplement the body’s healing process.
              I don’t think ‘Dr. Willit from Harvard” has a basic understanding of nutrition. If, as you claim, the “typical MD advises to eat less protein and fat and more carbs”, the health of most all American’s would be improved to the point health insurance costs would not be an issue. health care would not be an issue. Based on your expressed views, you represent the typical MD., a proponent for meat and dairy. You could benefit by watching the library of videos available to you on this web site.

    2. I think it’s possible to do very poorly on a vegetarian or vegan diet, but it’s also possible to do very well. The devil is in the details. A person could be an ethical vegan and eat absolute junk. To me the gold standard of a diet’s healthfulness and suitability is reversibility of existing coronary artery disease (which by logical extension would mean prevention thereof as well). This has been done on a wholly plant-based diet, but no other type to my knowledge.

    3. “Doing well” or “doing poorly” is subjective unless you record their cause of death and document illnesses, etc., over the years, People “do well: on a paleo or vegetarian diet if the criteria for doing well is they survive the day, the month, and even the decade. At some point, their health declines. The rate of decline is a function of what fueled their bodies over their lifetime. Vegans who avoid meat and dairy are, overall, healthy even later in life with less illness before the end of life.

      1. Larry, I’m sure you’re a good honest person who wants to do right. You’re on a mission to do right, but does it make sense for the the world health guru to broadcast: “Everybody listen, you should all be eating exactly like Larry no matter your race, sex, work, background, genetics, etc. His diet is working for him so it will work for all of us!”? The reason I know you’re on a mission, is that you didn’t respond to my message, but rather jumped in with your life lessons. And that’s what they are, and I’m happy you figured out what works for you, but your life lesson isn’t everyone’s.
        Tom Ballard, ND
        Author of Nutrition-1-2-3 and other books

        1. Neal Armstrong had a mission. He traveled to the moon and returned safely. Do you suppose Dr. Greger has a mission? He devotes endless hours researching medical/nutritional studies and creating nutritional videos everyone can use to improve their health and educate their minds…free of bias, deception, and personal agendas. from much that I read here I can only believe the videos are under-used.
          Even corporations have missions. Management and workers alike are expected to know the company mission. Ford’s mission statement: “Quality is Job 1” has even been part of their advertising campaign over the years but I don’t think “honesty” is part of a mission statement. Frankly, if I have to agree with erroneous nutritional propaganda to be deemed “honest”. then I’ll pass. Rather that attest to my honesty, or someone else’s “dishonesty, I prefer to discuss nutritional facts and beliefs. Leave the girl talk to Rush Limbaugh and Shaun Hannity. I think they are having a contest to see who can say “Obama” the most times in six years.

          I suppose if I had to declare my mission it would be to create nutritional awareness amongst people who are being deceived by government, educators, medical doctors, authors, nutritionists, dietitians, and big business. If not for all their nutritional misinformation and promoting meat and dairy as “healthy food”, the gullible would not have nearly the health problems experienced. And heart disease would be erased form our species. .

          I’m flattered, but the vegan lifestyle has been around as long as mankind. I am but one of many messengers.

          It never crossed my mind y’all write and post here without a purpose. Take you, for example…you chose to confront me about not responding as you expected to one of your posts by posting here instead
          of simply replying to my post to you. Your message is pretty obvious.

          Honestly, I didn’t mean to ignore you. I do bore easily or sometimes I simply get so involved in my own thoughts I forget someone might need my input. Had you posted your comment amongst the exchanges you and I made, I might know what you are feeling slighted about. If you want to go back and repost from there I’ll gladly read your concerns and consider if I have any comment. If I don’t, well, no need to worry, Thea sometimes posts reassurances to folks seeking validation. Some life lessons are unique enough they warrant sharing. We all don’t have to fast 28 days to reap the knowledge about the experience.

          I really don’t know your point. Are you suggesting you believe some humans should eat meat and dairy and some should not? How does “race, sex, work, background, genetics”, determine whether we eat meat and dairy or, instead, eat only plant food? You seem to disagree with me but you haven’t disagreed with the information I share about meat and dairy being harmful, or a starch-based diet being healthy and protective. Do you believe that if everyone ate just plant food and did not eat processed flour, meat, and dairy some would become sickly?

        2. Neal Armstrong had a mission. He traveled to the moon and returned safely. Do you suppose Dr. Greger has a mission? He devotes endless hours researching medical/nutritional studies and creating nutritional videos everyone can use to improve their health and educate their minds…free of bias, deception, and personal agendas. Even corporations have missions. Management and workers alike are expected to know the company mission. Ford’s mission statement: “Quality is Job 1” has even been part of their advertising campaign over the years.

          I suppose if I had to declare my mission it would be to create nutritional awareness amongst people who are being deceived by government, educators, medical doctors, authors, nutritionists, dietitians, and big business. If not for all their nutritional misinformation and promoting meat and dairy as “healthy food”, the gullible would not have nearly the health problems experienced. And heart disease would be erased from mankind. .

          I’m flattered, but the vegan lifestyle has been around as long as mankind. I am but one of many messengers. It’s not “my” diet. It’s a result of evolution and belongs to all mankind.

          It never crossed my mind y’all write and post here without a purpose.

          Honestly, I didn’t mean to ignore you. I do bore easily. Or sometimes I simply get so involved in my own thoughts I forget someone might expect a reply. Some life lessons are unique enough they warrant sharing. We all don’t have to fast 28 days to reap the knowledge about the experience.

          I really don’t know your point. Are you suggesting you believe some humans should eat meat and dairy and some should not? How does “race, sex, work, background, genetics”, determine whether we eat meat and dairy or, instead, eat only plant food? You seem to disagree with me but you haven’t disagreed with the information I share about meat and dairy being harmful, or a starch-based diet being healthy and protective. Do you believe that if everyone ate just plant food and did not eat processed flour, meat, and dairy some would become sickly?

          What is your “mission”, Tom? After all, you advocate the palio diet on a web site that routinely publicizes articles and videos exposing the harmful effects of meat and dairy.

        3. Tom, my response to you was deleted. I cleaned it up and that response was deleted. I assume this will be too so you get the last (and only) word.
          I did check out your web site because I didn’t know what a “ND” is or does. Only 17 states recognize ND’s. Do you see that changing?

    4. Perhaps if your “patients” were on a vegan eating plan instead of vegetarian meals, their health would improve. Vegetarian can be as harmful as meat and dairy. Interchanging “vegan” and vegetarian” is as misleading as grouping complex carbohydrates (whole grains)with simple carbohydrates (processed flour) and calling them “carbs” and misleading folks claiming they are “bad”. There’s nothing like a good Dr. Greger video to set your mind strait.
      I’m sure you mean well but it’s important others not be mislead. I know Dr. McDougall, will answer your questions and make sense out the confusion you’ve shared. Ask hi to explain the problems with the palio diet. It’s great for selling books, but does noting to educate about nutrition.

      1. Yes, well thanks for your advice for my patients that you don’t know or know the health of or the incredible struggles they’ve been through, often because they followed some “perfect” diet that wasn’t right for them.

        In reading scientific nutrition articles and textbooks I’ve come away in support of what 30+ years ago we called Biochemical Individuality and now we call genetics or nutragenomics. I’ve done dozens of DNA health analysis and I’ll mention here just one result that questions your belief that it doesn’t matter who we are we should all eat your way:

        How well does your liver convert carotene into vitamin A?

        As you maybe know, our body doesn’t use carotene, it uses vitamin A. If our livers are good at converting carotene into vitamin A, all is well. If not, we may have trouble unless we’re eating foods with actual vitamin A in them. Most of the food charts that you’ve probably been exposed to list vitamin A content of foods and list carrots, etc. But vegetables have carotene, not vitamin A. Your diet is working well for you because you have a good carotene>vitamin A pathway, but not everyone does. Genetic studies also reveal great differences in utilization of amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin D, sulfur, choline, etc, etc.
        Best of health,
        Tom Ballard, ND

        1. I don’t have a “diet”, Tom. That’s your presumption; not based on facts. Unless you are claiming you cured someone by prescribing meat and dairy you don’t have a point.

        2. Hi Tom,
          “Biochemical Individuality” was published in book form in 1956. I don’t know how present-day established medical knowledge views it. If its’ validity is accepted (somewhere) there must be present-day research published, right? Have you published on it?
          When you say, “one diet fits all”, that to me is like saying “we all breath air”. which of course Is a basic truism, universally accepted. Likewise, clean water “fits all”, is another safe bet. Similarly, unless different races or sexes have evolved differently, wouldn’t a plant-based nutritional plan fit all? I’ve only compared starch-based vs. meat and dairy based, so any inference otherwise is a false premise. The plant kingdom is full of edible plants many you and I haven’t even heard of. It’s unlikely any two people would eat the exact same plant-based diet (your premise, not mine.) The only issue I have addressed is whether meat and dairy or plant food is healthier for all humans. This web site is replete with videos suggesting meat and dairy lost that race long ago.
          Agreed, sick people need individualized treatment but does that change the basic truism supporting a plant based diet? If an organ fails does that indicate plant food won’t sustain the sick individual? Saying someone with a poorly functioning liver needs specialized treatment and medication and/or nutritional supplements (vitamins, etc.) is a far cry from declaring their illness requires a meat and diary existence. Regardless of their ailment, they still need to eat. So again, I ask, “Is meat and dairy less damaging to a human liver?”
          If you have some example of how eating meat and dairy is healthy and eating plant food is not, please share your knowledge. Since eating meat and dairy is like throwing fuel on the fire of a cancer patient I can understand the wisdom of not eating those foods. But I’m not aware of any treatment for Vitamin A deficiency that is remedied by abstaining from all varieties of plant food and instead, eating meat and dairy. Please enlighten me.

  12. I am having an extremely difficult time figuring out how much sodium I am getting. I’ve watched all the existing videos on these topics but all I really understand is that too much sodium is bad, 150mg/day of iodine is recommended, and more than ~1100mg/day is bad. Though I don’t know *how much* is too much sodium, nor do I know how much I am eating.

    I eat 100% plant-based foods, practically nothing from cans (beans cooked in a pressure cooker), and don’t add any salt to my food except for 1-2tsp of hot sauce (85mg/tsp). Am I really eating 2000mg of sodium per day? If so, where is it coming from? I have also heard that 500mg/day is the minimum required, is there a chance that I may not even be getting that much?

    On a related note, I am also a bit concerned about how to get iodine on a daily basis. For now I have been taking a 360mcg kelp supplement 3x a week which should be ~154.3mcg/day. Are these supplements actually absorbed by the body this way? I realize it works for B-12 so I take that once a week, but I haven’t been able to determine whether this works for iodine. What approach do you use to ensure that you get 150mg/day of iodine?

    1. “Is this really an optimal amount of sodium to eat every day?”

      I don’t think the diet specs provided are to illustrate an “optimal” intake, rather they’re meant to represent an assumed typical intake for either diet, if a layperson collected any number of meal plans or recipes off the internet or from a collection of cookbooks. If you’re eating no sodium added WFPB, then you’re probably consuming about 500 mg sodium, plus whatever you add in the form of hot sauce or table salt. If you’re curious about your intake, you can put a day’s worth of food into cronometer.com, and see for yourself exactly how much you’re consuming prior to your added hot sauce. If you’re happy with the amount of sodium you eat now, I would not deliberately alter it to consume more, it sounds like you have a great diet! Whenever you hear recommendations of 1500-2300 mg, keep in mind those are coming from a perspective where most westerners are eating up to 4000 mg per day! So for most people, a goal of 1500-2300 mg would be a tremendous improvement.

      Regarding your last question about iodine, Dr. Greger does explicitly recommend 150 ug per day, and I’m not sure what he would say about your 360 ug 3x per week intake, but I personally found some 150 ug iodine kelp-based tablets fairly easily (I believe mine are the “Now” brand, which seems widely available), so you could maybe consider buying that dosage whenever your current bottle runs out. Or you could try posting that question in the “Optimum Nutrition Recommendations” page; maybe one of the volunteers will pick it up and relay it to the “Ask the Doctor” section.


  13. Every time they find an ancient skeleton, it seems like that skeleton had 47 different ailments before dying from a tiger attack at age 35. I’m not sure I want to eat what they were eating …. Seriously, though, do we have any reason to think people were healthier back then? The stories I’ve read about skeletons they’ve found indicated to me that they were actually very unhealthy …..

    1. The sensible thing to do is not compare an old hunter gatherer to you, but compare it to an old farmer. You will find that average health was indeed much worse after the introduction of agriculture, whether the hunter gatherer was eating a hunting or gathering centered diet. The same probably goes for vegan as I’m sure that vegans basing their diet on beans and nuts will be healthier than those basing their diet on grains.

  14. Why would we want to eat like the so called paleo man or the Inuit? Who said their life expectancy was the greatest or of the highest quality, anyway? What is the big deal about? Maybe as a whole foods, plant based, nutrient dense vegan for 20 years, I don’t get it. Maybe I reached the old timer stage of life. Fads come and go. There can be found great and healthy dishes in many cultures, but you won’t find them in the restaurants. My grandparents from Italy thrived on greens and beans like, escarole and bean soup. Many old timer African American’s lived on collard greens and beans. And they didn’t kill a farm animal a day to feed the family. Any meat was a seasoning. Or, on a rare special occasion a small piece would feed the family. Actually, the peasant poor man’s food was the best. Today, most Americans young and old don’t cook at all. My husband and I stayed with one couple that didn’t own a pot or a pan. There is too much convenience and too many are spoiled. They go out to eat at least once a day. I’ll stick to my nutrient dense vegan diet, cook at home and eat my greens and beans.

  15. I do not think there was a specific Paleo diet before agricolture and domestication of animals.

    Probably we ate a lot of different kind of food trying to save the day probably even insects/mushrooms that are ubiquitous in certain climates.

    Near seas and rivers probably we catch fishes and stuff like that.

    It depends on the region of the world one decide to study.

    Anyway i think it’s interesting to listen to Plant Positive view on this subject:


  16. Why are the masses so capable of ignoring the scientific evidence and embracing the incomplete, unsupported paleo concept? Is it the attraction of good news about bad habits or is there another force at work?

    1. Perhaps because this is only something I’ve seen because a zealous vegan animal rights friend told me about, and not something I’ve ever seen on the internet or heard from a doctor or the news.

      Or perhaps because, let’s face it, none of the diets you think are poisonous are actually killing people acutely. Almost any diet that emphasizes natural ingredients and moderation will be miles ahead of the standard American diet that I’m not even mad anymore that my friends think eating fruits alone is healthy.

      1. This is a fine point of philosophy but I am not sure that here is the most appropriate place to discuss epistemology. Or are you implying that the archaeologist misinterpreted (or even falsified) his findings?

        1. I am saying that archeology is not an exact science. It seems that often non-scientists are more certain then the scientists doing the research. What will the next discover be? And just because one tribe was grinding flour that doesn’t mean the whole world was.

          1. The point is that people claim that grains were only a significant part of he human diet after the invention of agriculture, and that claim appears to be disproven by archaeological findings like this. And the whole world doesn;’t grind flour even now. What is your point?

              1. I think the paleo people argue that this occurred in the last 10,000 years or so … saying this is too recent for humans to be fully adapted to novel foods like grains. Of course, nobody really knows … Wikipedia says 12,000 years ago but it could have been earlier (rising sea levels may have drowned the earliest evidence of agriculture or ..,,, whatever). You’d have to ask Loren Cordain and other paleo diet promoters what they are saying about this now.

              2. Yes, people would have eaten whatever was available to them. Again, we seem to be talking at cross purposes. My post noted that the paleo diet is based on at least one false premise. The post was not about what is a healthy diet.

                Yes, the article was short but it gave the reference to the original journal article which is free to read (with registration). And no it doesn’t prove your point that archaeology is not an exact science Even if it did, that would be irrelevant since the point is about the actual finds …. unless you are implying that all dating techniques used in archaeology are in error.

                I know what paleo means … here it is short for paleolithic or old stone age Academics and archaeology have some useful working definitions – conventionally it is used roughly to refer to the period when people primarily used stone tools about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago. Also, I am not advocating the idea of a paleo diet … I am criticising it. You need to challenge the paleo diet advocates of you have criticisms.

                I am still not sure what your point is.

    1. Tom: I thought you might be interested in this: In addition to archeological evidence based on tools, scientists are also figuring out what early paleo people ate based on analyzing the DNA of material in their teeth! It’s pretty cool. And they are finding that early paleo people ate grains, legumes and tubers – including barley. (No milk of course–past weening.) I think it is fascinating stuff. Here’s where I learned about this if you are interested:

      1. Thanks Thea. Yes, I came across this a few months ago and it is very interesting. Of course, even if the fanciful history promoted by paleo diet advocates were true, it would still not follow logically that the “paleo diet” is optimal for maximising individuals’ health and longevity. Such an assumption can only be made if you don’t understand how evolution actually works.

        While I love my whole grains including rolled oats and wholemeal bread, I am rethinking my view of wholemeal bread’s place in a healthy diet given this July 2013 article:


        1. Tom Goff: re: “… even if the fanciful history promoted by paleo diet advocates were true, it would still not follow logically…”

          I couldn’t agree more!!

          I just find the topic so interesting because so many people put so much stock in the idea of eating like paleo people. But I fully feel the modern paleo diet is a very misguided notion from it’s very basic premise.

          Your point about whole grain breads is also well taken. I hadn’t seen that article before, but I have heard plenty of damning thoughts against flour-based foods in general, including “whole grain”. One bit I was exposed to early on in my vegan phase is a slide from one of Brenda Davis’s lectures where she showed how healthy grain product categories are in order of most to least. At the top was sprouted whole grains=most healthy. Then down from that it went to something like (I don’t have the slide in front of me): whole grains, cracked grains, rolled grains, … flour, puffed grains. That slide really stuck in my mind. Thus, I realized early on that bread, even whole grain bread, is not the wisest of choices for filling my belly with a lot of frequency.

          What I ended up using as my personal guide to healthy eating when it comes to grains is a phrase I got from Jeff Novick. In one of his videos, he talks about “whole, *intact*, grains”. That concept of eating the grain intact, and seeing example of what he considered intact, was really helpful in guiding me.

          Having said that, if you really love your whole grain bread, I would suggest (as a lay person just giving my opinion) that you still allow yourself to have some of that yummy bread as treats from time to time. It’s hardly a terrible treat! Just maybe not make it part of your regular diet??? Just a thought. (And believe me, I’m not one to judge. I’m often better as knowing what to eat than actually doing such a good job of it myself.)

        2. Tom: One more thought on the grain/bread thing: When I want to make say a dessert with whole wheat flour, I use a device in my grocery store that lets me push a button and the machine literally grinds whole, organic hard wheat berries right before my eyes and dumps just what I grind right there into my bag.

          Why mention this? Because The article you linked to in your post says something similar to what I have heard before: “The common processing of whole grains—which can involve grinding, puffing and flaking them—can also impact their healthfulness. Processing can make whole grains tastier; it can give them a longer shelf life, too, by removing fats from the outer layer of the grain that can turn rancid. But some processing techniques have been shown to degrade natural antioxidants and reduce fiber content. In fact, the AACC International recently proposed modifying its definition of “whole grain” to allow for some nutrient losses during processing.”

          So, I wonder if the machine I am using to create my own whole grain flour skips some of the badness one would get from buying traditional pre-packaged whole wheat flour. I know that the nutrients in the flour is going to more rapidly decline, but I’m wondering/hoping that it is still a more healthful product relatively.

          1. Thanks for your helpful responses, Thea.

            I live in a small town in Australia and wheat/oat berries and groats are almost impossible to find. Rolled oats and stoneground 100% wheatmeal and ryemeal breads are what is available. However, I can buy sprouted grain bread and pumpernickel so I might confine myself to small amounts of those with the occasional wholemeal fruitloaf for a treat.

            I probably should try to do without wheat/oat/rye grains altogether but I think McDougall is right about starches being necessary for satiety and I don’t think I can restrict myself to brown/red/black rice and potatoes entirely.

            Thanks again.

            1. Tom: I see your point.

              One tiny thought for you, re: “… restrict myself to brown/red/black rice and potatoes…”
              Don’t forget beans/legumes! Those are starches too. :-)

              Not that that detracts from your main point.

              1. Thanks for the reminder, Thea. I usually eat my beans etc with rice but I tend to think of them as meat substitutes, ie protein, rather than as starches which can be eaten alone or as the main part of a meal. So it is good that you have made this point.

                On whole grains again, Joel Fuhrman offers some useful comments on the best types about 30 minutes into this video although he seems to think beans are better!

                1. Tom Goff: I *really* enjoyed that interview. It was very well done on Fuhrman’s part. One of the great aspects was that it was given to an audience that is not normally exposed to this information. Thanks for sharing!

  17. There is also evidence of a mutation during the nelolithic that seems to have been the trigger to the progressive adoption of agriculture:

    Paleo-dieters are always blaming the agricultural livestyle without even loosing a second though about how real life was. They seem to imply that somehow agriculture was imposed by the government (all Obama’s fault, of course) or something the like. None of them has even stopped to think that the (few) millions of people during the Paleolithic/Neolithic transition were NOT subject to any central authority that told them what to do and how, nor were there any hypes back then.

    In any case: I have yet to see one of these supermarket-cavemen lasting more than 6 months with this “diet”

    1. It’s hard to say whether the government was ever in charge but it certainly isn’t today. In any group of people someone will always take charge. Written language is most likely a product of business. Witch doctors and medicine men have been around for a long long time. Have you ever heard the term “Nothing personal, Just business” ? A salesmen will always have a conflict of interest The paleo diet simply sounds like an attempt to take the business out of food. Even in the age of information you still have disinformation.

  18. Saw a documentary on ancient Roman Gladiators. Their diet consisted mostly of barley(!). How awesome is that? Everyone assumed they ate mass quantities of meat.

    1. jamfhall1: Thanks for your post! I have heard Dr. McDougall talk many times about the gladiators as being known as “barley men”, but I was interested in seeing some sources for that information. When I did some quick initial research, I didn’t find much. Can you tell me which channel you saw the documentary on? When? It’s name?

      No biggie if you can’t remember. I’m just curious. Thanks.

      1. I just looked on Netflix, there’s The True Story of Gladiators produced by the History Channel. That looks like it, since I’m a Netflix junkie. :)

  19. HA! 4000mg of sodium is not average for a paleo diet. Paleo is vegan + a small amount of meat per meal. It’s not a can of corned beef hash 3 times a day.

  20. I think this article is kind of biased or I’m missing a point.First I wanna say that I’m vegan primarily for ethical reasons even if I think that the vegan diet is a very good one. Please explain to me how and from where did you get the figures of the “new paleo diet” which states that today paleo diet eaters are having only 15% of their calories intake from carbohydrates? Because in you sources cited I found nothing stating that, and even if it did can we consider that it’s representative of all paleo eaters?

  21. Question / Comment:
    I have been on a mostly vegan diet for 2 years. Eating a high carb, low fat and nearly zero animal product diet. Unfortunately, I have a genetic marker HLA B27 that has predisposed me to recurrent bouts of iritis and now I am on the brink of being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. I am a doctor of physical therapy with a specialty in sports medicine and have always thought that a high carb diet was best for me.
    Nonetheless, I am at a crossroads. I have been reading studies from a Dr. Ebringer that state carbohydrates such as potatoes, pasta and bread increase the presence of Klebsiella bacteria in our colon. Thus, the Klebsiella bacteria is thought to be a precursor for the inflammatory process of AS.
    I am really looking for your opinion on this.
    If I do eliminate these carbohydrates I will be left with fruit and vegetables….and this might be the choice I need to make.
    Do you have any feelings about this one way or another?
    Thank you for any time you have to respond.


    1. You present a lot of important questions. Unfortunately I am not familiar with that genetic predisposition. Anecdotally, I have a friend with AS who claims to react to nightshades (potatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc)., so he is cautions about eating particular foods that may trigger a reaction. Note that food triggers vary for everyone so I am not saying to avoid these foods, but one thing to ask your doctor about is an elimination diet. It could help you navigate what foods may be giving you trouble, if any.

      One study found exercise may be beneficial. I did see some of the doctor’s research you mentioned, but again I am not familiar with their approach. I think of many of these diseases require a heavy dose of anti-inflammatory foods. So perhaps a diet similar to a diet for treating rheumatoid arthritis could help?

  22. The trouble with any of these comparisons, and with Paleo on the whole, is that the english word ‘meat’ can mean so many different things.

    Lets remember that for people living in the Paleolithic, meat was only 4% fat. And was mostly unsaturated fat. And they had to do a ton of hard work to get it. None of things things are taken into account.

    If you compare:

    a) A normal vegan, who still eats eat, potatoes and a variety of other non-foods.
    b) A Standard American Dieter, who eats low quality meat several times a week.
    c) Someone who follows the known human diet; high quality meat, on occasion and a plant-based diet.

    What do you think would really happen?

  23. Paleolithic humans were mostly gatherers who ate large amounts of plant-based foods, insects and grubs, and a small amount of meat. It wasn’t a slab of meat every day, three times a day. Meat isn’t easy to hunt! Just look at today’s hunter-gatherers. Only in the far north is meat the mainstay of the diet because plants are dormant half the year. During the relatively short growing season they are a huge portion of the diet.

  24. I am having trouble finding any research data regarding lectins and how they are destroyed by soaking and/or cooking. Can anyone direct me? I see lots of anecdotal sites, but cannot find facts.

    1. On that subject, I hope Dr Greger will at some point address some of the points made in books such as this one: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IMYGX8S in which some of the recommendations (peel vegetables and fruits, prefer white to brown rice, etc) are exactly the opposite of Dr Greger’s. There does seem to be evidence that at least some lectins are pro-inflammatory.

  25. I want know if is true or not that boiled vegetable transform organic mineral in inorganic. Really I want know, I didn’t have found answer in this website.

  26. Would love for Dr. Greger to provide clear information about plant lectins and food choices for people who have autoimmune diseases and inflammation in the body.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This