when low risks means high risk

Image Credit: Keoni Cabral / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Why Some Dietary Cholesterol Studies Fail to Show Harm

How else can we make decisions for ourselves and our families but by the best available balance of evidence? The latest meta-analysis, pooling data from more than a dozen studies involving more than 300,000 people, indicates that there is a dose dependent association between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But that doesn’t mean every individual study showed evidence of harm. Even though the totality of evidence points to harm, the egg industry can cherry-pick studies that show no apparent effects.

If eggs are harmful, why don’t all of the studies on heart disease and egg consumption show significant harm? It may have to do with Geoffrey Rose’s “sick population” concept. If an entire population is sick, then the range of “health” may not be sufficiently broad to establish a significant association. Rose’s paper is one of the most famous papers ever written in preventive medicine and should be required reading for all medical students.

Imagine if everyone smoked 20 cigarettes a day. If everybody smoked, then clinical studies, case-control studies, and cohort studies would all lead us to conclude that lung cancer was a genetic disease; and in one sense that would be true. Some smokers get cancer; others lifelong smokers never do. But if everybody smoked, we’d never know that smoking was a risk factor. Thankfully, in the case of cigarettes and lung cancer, it so happened that the original study populations contained about equal numbers of smokers and non-smokers. In such a situation, studies are able to identify smoking as the main risk factor.

But take cholesterol. In the video, When Low Risk Means High Risk, you can see the cholesterol levels of the people with and without heart disease in the famous Framingham Heart Study. There’s hardly any difference because practically everybody’s cholesterol was too high; it’s like everyone was a smoker. The painful truth is that even someone at “low risk” for heart disease is likely to die of heart disease. Everyone who eats the standard Western diet is, in fact, a high-risk individual when it comes to heart disease.

In a sick population like ours where nearly everyone is eating lots of saturated fat and cholesterol, adding some more saturated fat and cholesterol in the form of eggs may just take us from one sorry state—probably dying from heart disease—to another sorry state—still probably dying from heart disease.

So, when the current federal guidelines say we need to particularly restrict dietary cholesterol if we’re at high risk for heart disease, we need to realize that nearly all Americans that live past middle age are at high risk of dying from heart disease—it’s our #1 cause of death. As stroke specialist David Spence and colleagues put it, “A 20-year old man might feel safe smoking and eating egg yolks because his heart attack is 45 years or so in the future. But why would he want to accelerate the progression of his atherosclerotic plaque and bring it on sooner? Stopping egg yolks after the heart attack would be like quitting smoking after lung cancer is diagnosed.”

There may in fact be a plateau of risk for smoking, too. Whether we smoke for 25 years or 35 years, our risk for lung cancer may be the same—really high, but about the same. The tobacco industry could truthfully tell someone who’s smoked for most of their lives that, don’t worry, you can keep smoking and your risk of lung cancer won’t go up (conveniently failing to mention that if you’re already at high risk and you quit completely, your risk would drop dramatically). It’s like if you took a raging drunk and had them take a shot of whiskey. In someone who’s hammered, it might not make much difference, but to a teetotaler, a couple shots could have quite an effect. So, it’s like the alcohol industry with a group of drunks saying, see, couple shots, no big deal. But that doesn’t mean it’s not better to be sober.

Instead of going from high risk to high risk, better to go to low risk or no risk.

This reminds me of what the beef industry tried to pull. See BOLD Indeed: Beef Lowers Cholesterol?

Is our diet really that bad? See Nation’s Diet in Crisis.

Here are a few other important egg industry videos:

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of DeathMore Than an Apple a DayFrom Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

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


209 responses to “Why Some Dietary Cholesterol Studies Fail to Show Harm

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    1. Well, it’s interesting because we’ve known the dangers for a long time thanks to groups like the American Institute for Cancer Research. Dr. Greger mentions how AICR is one of his favorite cancer-specific charities in his video on dietary factors for breast cancer. I wrote a review paper with one section on red and processed meats in 2014 echoing the same precautions: Applying the precautionary principle to nutrition and cancer.

      What’s different now is that the World Health Organization is now recognizing the dangers of red and processed meat. My only worry is that now folks may start turning to other types of meat like chicken, which may not be any better. Chicken tends to form the most carcinogens when cooked and carries loads of contaminates (see videos on chicken). It has essentially the same amount of cholesterol and fat as red beef. Beans on the other hand have plenty of protein, loads of phytochemicals and cancer-protecting compounds, and very little fat.

      At any rate it’s a good wake up call for the world to hear! So many “heath experts” have been giving dangerous messages like “bacon is back” or “red meat is not as bad as you think”, which of course could not be further from the truth. I am just so glad we have Dr. Greger to help us understand these links, too, and why studies on saturated fat set up to fail.

      1. re: “My only worry is that now folks may start turning to other types of meat…” That was my exact thought too! That’s the problem with the media discussing scientific studies. It is almost never done properly/with intelligent critical eye and even if that were true, they fail to put the study into perspective. It’s a huge disservice to humans.

      2. Well said. I also thought people’s next move was going to be to find refuge in chicken and fish. When large Swedish studies on the risks of milk intake came out in 2014, a lot of people found comfort in the idea that “maybe this only applies to milk”, not other dairy products. Today, I’m not sure anybody remembers those studies despite the fact they had been well publicized (I know people even today that are being reminded by their doctor to drink milk). Also, there seems to be a brick wall that appears when trying to question eating habits, even the most destructive of them. I’m sure a lot of you have experienced this when trying to help a loved one improve their health. Maybe it’s time to start reflecting on the psychological aspects of this and what can be done…

        1. BB, your post resonated with me. I just returned from a visit with family, all of whom I love dearly and one of whom has brain cancer. In spite of trying to gently educate them over the past few years about the myriad benefits of WFPB eating, they continue to eat meat, eggs and dairy and even make jokes about it in front of me. I would love to better understand the psychology of their behavior. I’ve listened to many Doug Lisle (Pleasure Trap) interviews and I still don’t really understand their outlook. They all took turns poking fun at the WHO red meat/processed meat study yesterday. It makes me so sad.

          1. I feel your pain. I’m lucky I was able to make a humble difference with some people, but I feel most people don’t want to question that part of their lives, unless they’re specifically instructed to do so by official channels (but the information that comes from those channels is often very weak). I say this after talking to countless people who asked me how I was able to lose the weight, to be healthy, etc. It usually goes like this: they ask, I respond gently, they stay silent or get offended (I don’t live in California). I don’t know what to tell you, food is a very sensitive issue for a lot of people. I’ll listen to Doug Lisle further, thanks for mentioning it. Here is an interesting interview with Dr. McDougall on the topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvf5rf19GhY

            1. Wow, this is a huge issue and so frustrating! Once people hear their favorites aren’t on the “menu” they lose what little interest they had so fast! It hurts to see people you love not even care to let the info in, never mind act on it! I get it because I was there once too, but I get even more frustrated with myself because sometimes I just can’t keep my big mouth shut about it! I had a recent “breakthrough” though… a close relative realized that they needed to change and wants me to help them. Now I have my chance, and I am totally dumbfounded where to start! I was thinking of arranging a “popcorn and movie night” so they could invite a few others over and watch “Forks Over Knives” together, the doc that got me to try a WFPB diet for my own ill health. Anyone have any other or better choices that “gently” introduce the topic? (Don’t you dare suggest “Earthlings”, LOL…though I think everyone actually NEEDS to see it! http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/earthlings/ )

              1. i ALWAYS bring up the ethical aspects Charzie-i am not one to keep quiet when it concerns violence and exploitation against helpless others. the truly sad thing is that non-violence, compassion and empathy are looked upon as being “extreme” and a personal choice which are not right for everyone.

                i found this excellent statement a while ago and think it summarizes things very nicely:

                “Here’s
                the key to veganism, commitment. It’s not a diet where you sometimes
                cheat or eventually go back to eating a “little” meat,
                dairy and eggs. Every time you cheat, an animal suffers or is killed.
                That’s the reality of what we are talking about. If you wish to be or
                remain vegan, you have to make a commitment to the animals. It’s
                ultimately not about you or your health or your pleasure.”

                btw, as far as the relative who reached out to you for help, FOK and Cowspiracy (recently available on netflix) are good places to start. also, if you have not seen it yet i would very highly recommend showing them Gary’s Yourofsky’s amazing 1 hour lecture:
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRc8Z8BaaFM

                1. I agree 100%, but they are just starting to care about these issues and my first concern is with their health, and then the rest will fall into place. I find people feel attacked if you go at them with too much info, and opening minds can be scary!

                  1. When I see things like this, I think back when I first started watching Dr. Greger’s videos. The first one I finished and I said oh crap, and pretended it didn’t happen, a few days later I did another search and saw a couple more, and started to worry and panic. Eventually I watched a lot of them at once, and I could see the big picture, and I immediately went to a mostly WFPB diet, and over months my understanding of that diet has refined somewhat.
                    When I think of that process, and think that I am more open to change than anyone else I know, its not an easy process. And while there are resources out there if you spend ALOT of time and look for them, the world is designed to misguide you.

                    To this day, my mother still picks up weird Vegan burgers and other junk food. I tell her I’m not Vegan, she doesn’t get it, I tell her that this is just garbage that isn’t meat. Sadly she just doesn’t understand it, and doesn’t want to understand it. We will spend time together by grocery shopping often, and every time she seems some garbage or anything with a Vegan label its like “Oh, look at this” because that is the depth of understanding.

                    1. You are so right. It even took me a while after I was already sick and had been diagnosed with diabetes for it to sink in that what I was taught and being told was not what I NEEDED to know, so I get why people cling to what is familiar, even when it ‘is killing them. If they let a “new” truth make sense to them, then they are “forced” to act on what they learn, too uncomfortable, so much easier to just block it out or rationalize it away. It’s just so damn frustrating!

              2. Charzie the movie night is a great idea. Maybe start with Food, Inc? I say that only because it brings in all aspects of animal consumption. Then show Forks Over Knives. We went to see Food, Inc when my kids were in High School. My kids then had movie night at our house to freak their friends out with Food, Inc. Boy if you can get them to set through both movies you will have them that much closer to making the right choice.

                1. Thanks, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it, but will check it out again. Ha, getting them to sit through one will be a feat, but hopefully we can do installments if they find one or the other to their “liking”. I figure since they have the big screen, I’ll bring the healthy snacks…bribe them with food…works for me! Our whole family is one of those that live to eat instead of eat to live, so it will be a challenge to find something that will satisfy all our goals and make an impressive statement! LOL. Thinking about those “deviled eggs” made out of little potatoes…they were awesome and filling too. Okay, that’s another topic! Thanks again!

          2. Years of indoctrination by pro-corporate sources? I hear the comment that the rules are always changing…so they don’t pay attention any longer.

            You should probably pay more attention to your own psychology? In my case I’m learning not to mess….they have chosen their own paths…or their paths have been chosen for them. They can see the writing on the brick wall and still will run happily right into it? Birds of a feather flock together?

            Love the one you are with….?

            1. Yeah but ya know, there are so many variables. We had been together for 44 years, both obese and diabetic, I opted to make some drastic lifestyle changes and he fought me all the way… He refused to take care of himself, until he couldn’t any more. I also lost a son in his early 40’s. Easy to say butt out, and I did, until the people you love start dropping around you Fred. If I can get through to one person, I don’t really give a sh*t if they think I’m a PITA. I try not to be overt, but if they get in my face, they WILL get a whole lot more than they bargained for!

        2. Great point, BB. Doug Lisle PhD., takes a similar approach in his book, the Pleasure Trap. Definitely a time to start reflecting (and sharing more of Dr. Greger’s videos) on the best ways to facilitate change. I think the main thing to understand is that diet is very personal. It hinges on so many beliefs and values. The best doctors and dietitians are ones who can empower their patients without making them feel like crap for eating certain foods or having certain habits. Nobody came out of the womb with a perfect diet (well, maybe untrue if mom was top-notch healthy and breast fed ;)) or having all of the answers, so it’s important to recognize what built the brick wall in the first place and try to break it down slowly. Way more important is to help clients recognize their own barriers and allow them to decide what’s best. We did so much motivational interviewing in my previous work with MD Anderson Cancer Center. The idea was to focus on counseling techniques so we could identify one’s “stage of change.” It was super helpful for our study participants and our team, but it takes many years to expert and I am no way an “expert.” I’ve learned the most important thing is becoming a better listener. Your words and guidance can be so impactful when you truly listen to someone with your entire core, not just your ears. Anyway, far too long of a personal post, but that is just my two cents.

          1. Thank you Joseph, those are definitely words to reflect on. Very instructive as well, to listen more efficiently and to look out for one’s stage of change. And sometimes (this did happen to me a few times), a person will look to change their diet at some further point in time, will remember my example, and will get in touch with me to get more information and references. So many people we know are getting sick that its hard to stay indifferent…

      3. Thanks for that information. I notice you mention beans as a safe form of protein. In a recent show about the cure for cancer, I saw an expert warn agains the consumption of beans, or black beans because of some sort of toxin that beans are high in. Do you know of any such danger with beans?

        1. Maybe they were referring to raw black beans? I have heard there can be toxic compounds in raw black beans, but quickly looking I couldn’t find any data. Can anyone help here? By cooking or sprouting beans there is no danger. In fact, studies on beans have found they can help extend life, reduce heart disease risk, cancer risk, and diabetes risk.

          1. Joseph: re: “Can anyone help here?” I feel like your post is already the answer. With all the evidence in favor of beans, I find it hard to believe that whatever people find in black beans is really a problem for human health after the beans are cooked. Just my 2 cents.

  1. So true. I love hearing from overweight and even normal weight men who’s diet is primarily saturated fat telling me how low their cholesterol is. Then I ask, are you on statins? They look at me like why of course I’m on statins, as though that supposed to be the normal progression of life these days. Arggg.

    1. I EAT meat (grass-fed beef and organ meat once a week), prepare it with a lot of herbs in a slow-cooker, eat it once a week, my cholesterol is more than normal and I have never taken statins. It is a combination of initial quality, way of preparation and frequency of eating real meat (not processed meat – I do not argue about processed meat placed in category 1) that counts. More over – this WHO study is observational epidemiological study that is by definition far from being accurate, everyone draws conclusions from 1,5 page extract (the whole study will be published as WHO monography later) and I have suspicion that the timing of release is somehow orchestrated to disrupt discussion on 2015-2020 MyPlate version where dietary cholesterol was supposed to be “freed from a 50-year ban”. I love Dr. Greger’s vids and articles on veggies and fruits, but as soon as he touches anything from animal sources I can see the same over-generalisation as in case of Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. John McDougall and others…

      1. I am 68 and not on statins either. Thankfully, I read the China Study and found Drs. Greger, Barnard, Esselstyn, McDougall, etc., My health improved once I realized that the meat and dairy industries had polluted my brain with half truths and I stopped eating food provided by those industries. A side benefit is that I have been losing weight gradually without even trying by avoiding those foods–26 pounds so far according to my doctor. Thank you, Dr. Greger!

      2. It’s not a generalization when 80% of Americans or Canadians, or British eat a diet primarily of processed foods and animal products from factory farms. You sir are the exception, the outlier, the edge case.
        As an exercise, let us all accept that there is a way you can eat animal products regularly as part of your diet and be as “healthy” as a person who eats no animal products. Assuming both people are at the same health level, same risk for disease level. Why would then someone choose to not eat animal products and instead choose only whole food plants? Ask which of these two lifestyles results in the slaughter of sentient beings? Which of these two lifestyles result in more efficient/sustainable use of the environment? Assuming the personal health results are the same, should not a considerate human highly favor a plant based diet vs one of animal meat?

        1. Hallo there, I am not into “ethical” portion of this problem (BTW, those vegetarians/vegans are usually those with the most of health problems – those concerned about “healthy” eating at least do some own research and are aware of some of the down-sizes of being on a 100% plant diet…). And IT IS a generalization – I am not defending industrial/commerce way of raising animals. One cannot compare that with a small farmer raising just few cows purely on grass. I am a nutrition coach, seeing 10-15 new clients every week. 3-4 of them are approaching me with deteriorated health being vegetarians/vegans. And it is all about the same – deficiencies in B12, creatine, L-carnitine, some also in iron, iodine… This all leads to sarcopenia, disrupted hormonal system (women with extremely high oestrogen dominance, men with pear-shaped figures, moobs and nearly no testosterone). To sum it up – I would go for sustainable mixed diet where over 75% is veggies, 10-15% fruits, 10-15% fermented dairy products, eggs and high-quality meat. F.Y.I. – we are four in our family and as we buy all grass-fed beef from the same farmer, he told me that our yearly consumption will not even count for a “whole cow”…

          1. I feel as though you are dismissing the ethical issue because you run into people struggling to be healthy on their lifestyle, and some are vegetarian/vegan. We have entire NATIONS of unhealthy people on a variety of diets. As you yourself have apparently found, it takes care to be healthy on the lifestyle you have chosen. Just likes it takes care to be healthy on a vegan lifestyle. That does not remove the validity of ethical arguments against the use of animal products.

            1. Mike, I am not trying to talk people off their ethical issues – I am just saying that if they do not educate themselves on basics of nutrition (= ethical + nutritional point of view) it might have detrimental consequences to them. And again – I am not even comparing health levels of vegetarians/vegans and omnivores/meat-eaters – higher overall mortality risk is definitely higher for 2nd group. Especially for those consuming a lot of processed meat. Cancer, cardiovascular diseases, younameit. But I put an equation in between dying in 50’s from cancer and dying in 70’s from any other cause where 70 years include 20 years of morbidity from sarcopenia, osteoporosis, advanced hypothyroidism (= consequences of eating vegetarian/vegan diet and not minding what you really eat, what is the absorption of what you eat, if there is anything missing in what you eat…), etc.

          2. “Vegan” is not descriptive enough, it simply describes a person avoiding certain foods. It does not describe what the person actually eats. Are they eating whole foods and different plant parts, as Dr. Greger recommends? Are they avoiding sugary and oily restaurant meals? OK, “Men with pear-shaped figures”? That doesn’t sound like the results someone would get from following Dr. Greger’s recommendations.

            If you study Dr. Greger’s work further, as a whole, not in part, you’ll be able to see why there is no generalization. Eating 10-15% from animal products involves an opportunity cost of eating 10-15% less phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, etc. If that’s not a concern to you, that’s fine, but it might be to others who aim for an ideal diet that maximizes the body’s repair mechanisms from not having eaten so well in the past, having to breathe polluted air, having worked with radiation-emitting equipment such as in hospitals or dentist offices, living under constant stress, etc. Why live with a 10-15% debt when you don’t need these animal products in the first place and when you can maximize your health by replacing those points by nature’s remedies?

            Concerning the deficiencies you describe, B12, iron, iodine… that sounds like someone who hasn’t taken his B12 supplement or eaten his greens and seaweed. Why would you try to correct those by adding meat in the diet? There is no RDA for carnitine because the body is supposed to make it. The body is supposed to make carnitine and creatine, usually unless there is a rare genetic defect (see following clip: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/when-meat-can-be-a-lifesaver/).

            As per the National Institutes of Health (https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Carnitine-HealthProfessional/): “Healthy children and adults do not need to consume carnitine from food
            or supplements, as the liver and kidneys produce sufficient amounts from
            the amino acids lysine and methionine to meet daily need.” According to the same source, carnitine problems occur either due to a genetic disorder, other types of disorders such as chronic renal failure, or under particular conditions, e.g. the use of certain antibiotics.

            Again, why would one’s first recourse be adding meat to correct these issues?

            1. Hallo Mike, I am not going to enter this discussion if you do just copy/paste of the paragraphs without doing your own research. Just one note – not everyone is into supplements and not everyone likes seaweed. The sentence “Healthy children and adults do not need to consume carnitine from food or supplements, as the liver and kidneys produce sufficient amounts from the amino acids lysine and methionine to meet daily need.” does not really makes much sense to me or anyone who understands biochemistry… Do you know dietary sources of methionine? Out of 1000’s of them, there are 2-3 coming from plant sources (http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000084000000000000000.html), similar (slightly better in favour of staying out of animal products) is situation with lysine (http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000083000000000000000.html). And again – supplementing creatine without supplementing B12 and having sufficient B6 and B9 (latter two are usually not a problem for vegans/vegetarians) calls for high homocysteine… Adding (or for most of the population – reducing to) 10-15% from top-quality animal sources, you in fact make your diet more complete and eliminate most of the supplements that you would have to take in order to stay really healthy on 100% plant-based diet… In fact, it could be even less than 10-15% – if you choose sources wisely, you would not really need more than 1-2 eggs per week and 1 portion of animal fat/protein… Anyone who approaches vegetarian/vegan diet directly from SAD will experience a huge improvement in health and I would highly recommend it to everyone. 3-4 months eating this way will do miracles, but then I would definitely adjust the diet the way I am proposing to eliminate long-terms effect of not getting some of the nutrients that are exclusively or nearly-exclusive to animal world.

              1. It’s not very difficult to understand what they mean by healthy children and adults. The discussion was centered around the fact that people who don’t have these genetic defects and are not under certain conditions (examples of which are given) don’t have problems making their own and don’t need to get it from food.

                You don’t have to go for foods that are highest in methionine to get this amino acid. Plant foods contain all the essential amino acids including methionine, and in fact it may be more harmful to look for the animal sources of methionine. I know that you don’t like it when I quote from sources, and if you don’t want to pursue the discussion, that’s OK, but I choose to give links and sources. Here, I’ll stick to pages from this very site, you’ll see that the more you go into Dr. Greger’s work, the less you’ll feel he’s unduly generalizing: http://nutritionfacts.org/?s=methionine

                A lot of vegans eat refined foods so that doesn’t make them healthy. That’s not the diet we’re talking about on this forum. We’re talking about eating whole plants and mushrooms.

                The healthiest populations have eaten less than 1% of their diet from animal products: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/caloric-restriction-vs-animal-protein-restriction/

                It seems that your position is that you need a whole range of supplements to be healthy on a vegan diet. Not really, see Dr. Greger’s recommendations (vitamin D is for everyone and better get your DHA from other sources than seafood, so that too is for everyone. Lots of videos here on these topics):
                http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/

                1. Yeah, and basically any plant protein has complete amino acid profile, right? The only considerable sources of methionine is soy – that wonderful thing that makes girls become women few years earlier than they should and gives men those wonderful moobs and love handles… Did you guys even attended biochemistry on secondary school? I guess that is a topic covered there (hint – there is no such single source plant protein). Why would I need methionine? How about healthy skin, nails, hair? Connective tissue? To prevent muscle loss? C’mon – grab some “Biochemistry for Dummies” and educate yourself…

                    1. That actually does vary with individuals. The most that can be given is an average. I myself, with a homozygous MAT snap and double homozygous DAO snps and more, have to actually take an extra 1000 to 2000 mg a day of methionine to help make SAMe to supply the coenzyme to HNMT to help breakdown the food histamine that my double homozygous DAO enzymes cannot do extracellularly.

                    2. Not exactly, Most days I take 500 mg of Methionine twice a day, but some days I need more depending on how backed up I am with high histamine levels. (There is no such thing as a no histamine diet, just a lower histamine diet.) But I take it with almost equal amounts of choline (so necessary if you know biochemistry) No Cysteine and no N-acetyl cysteine either, as it is a massive histamine releaser.

                  1. Martin: re: “Yeah, and basically any plant protein has complete amino acid profile, right?” Correct — in terms of the essential amino acids. You can learn more at the following page, which includes a nice bar graph for each essential amino acid — showing how much you need of that amino acid and how much common plant foods have. The data comes from a USDA database. The graph (really the whole page) is very helpful in understanding protein needs and food sources. (Scroll down the page a bit to get to the bar graph.)
                    http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html

                    1. I decided to add a quote from the above page (shown below). And then to explain for anyone who is following the conversation: This information is why largelytrue’s question is so important. If someone says that you can’t get enough of X in certain types of food, then she/he has to be able to answer: 1) how much do you think we need? and 2) how much can you get from the foods in question? And they should be able to provide some reliable sources to back up each answer.

                      The link I provided answers these questions from a good source. If Martin has different answers, it would be helpful to know what his answers are and what his sources are. (Otherwise Martin’s beliefs would appear to be wishful thinking.) I look forward to seeing Martin’s answer to largelytrue’s questions. I’m sure he has some good numbers for us to review. (Or maybe a change of opinion?)

                      *************************
                      Here’s the quote from the above page in case anyone doesn’t feel like weeding through the whole thing (though I highly recommend doing some weeding!):

                      ” So when we compare the *actual* requirements to what plant foods *actually* contain, we find that basic plant foods aren’t incomplete at all. They have every essential amino acid, in excess of what we need. It might not surprise you that beans are a complete protein by themselves, but even carrots are a complete protein. Tomatoes are a complete protein. Celery is a complete protein. Even iceberg lettuce is a complete protein.

                      (Those who would object that we can’t eat enough lettuce to satisfy our protein needs are wildly missing the point. The point of using a day’s worth of calories for a single food is simply to show how the food measures up, not to suggest that anyone could or should eat only a single food. These plant foods are complete no matter how much or how little of them you eat. That is, if only 1% of your diet is lettuce, then lettuce supplies more than 1% of your protein and amino acid requirements.)

                      Interestingly, the amounts for “Need” in the table are twice what they were until recently. The original recommendations in the WHO’s 1973 and 1985 reports were based on William Rose’s pioneering work in the 1950’s, and were considerably lower.6 Rose determined the levels needed by his subjects by intentionally feeding them diets with a synthetic mixture of declining levels of amino acids until they became deficient. After finding the highest amount needed by any subject, he then doubled that figure to arrive at his recommendation.7 And the current WHO recommendations have doubled their earlier figures again. And even with all these increases, individual plants still measure up as fully complete.”

                      Hope people find this helpful.

                  2. The tangent about moobs and precocious puberty because of soy is also wildly off topic to the question that I asked you, but you are nonetheless welcome to try to support it scientifically if you like.

                    1. Largelytrue – you may have heard about this – http://www.sott.net/article/214295-The-Alarming-Reason-Why-More-Girls-are-Starting-Puberty-Early. I have WITNESSED this personally, 2 years ago in Afghanistan (Bamyian province) – girls having first period around 10 yrs of age, having pubic hair at 7-8 yrs of age – United Nations do supply them with tons of soy for nearly a decade – as they would otherwise starve to death… In this region it is for sure better than nothing, but this is not the case in developed world. And that is just tip of the iceberg. Dr. Greger does not get to this topic that much and I am not saying that he does that by purpose (after all, soy is vegan/vegetarian friendly). Just google “oestrogen dominance” and you’ll get your science… Again, even though I think soy does more harm then good (if you have other options and you still blindly stick to it), I am not into over-generalisation – if I come across a client with history of breast cancer in her family and she is tested BRCA1/2 positive, I will calm her down, “prescribe” right lifestyle (yeah, epi-genetics beats all the drugs!) and… ask her to get isoflavones as a supplement. Or consume soy products now and then…

                    2. So it appears to be very thin evidence connecting soy and precocious puberty together, then, right, at least as far as you’ve mapped out? Mercola isn’t very particular in demonstrating that soy phytoestrogens are causal, let alone consistently associated with these problems. Precocious puberty is of course happening around the world, but if we grant that soy consumption is as you describe it in Afghanistan, your claim is still anecdotal, not statistical. That’s very weak evidence indeed.

                    3. ;-) You did not do what I have suggested (google “oestrogen dominance”), right? If you would, there’s over 18.000 links you can check. And if you want to discredit Dr. Mercola, how about Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Chris Kresser, Dr. John Lee, among others? Is it really like “Dr. Greger or no one”? And sure – soy is not the only cause of this – it is one of pieces that fits into this puzzle. Another one, for vegetarians/vegans, might be lack of dietary cholesterol that serves as pre-cursor for the “antagonist” of oestrogen in male – testosterone. And again – I know that one do not have to eat 10 servings of meat every week (2-3 eggs per week and/or 1 portion of highly quality beef would do it) and that excess of testosterone is also bad…

                    4. Martin, I don’t generically accept a biased sample of doctors as authorities, when the possibility is strong that they are on the fringe. Their arguments matter to me, not an appeal to a number of links of unknown quality. And it’s important to me that a person vouching for the validity of their arguments should have a grasp of what that argument says and how it is supported.

                      If we grant that dietary soy phytoestrogens have affinity for the estrogen receptors in the body, which I am willing to do, it is still jumping the gun to say that they have substantial effects in leading to precocious puberty in girls. As Hemodynamic M.D. alludes to in another comment on the discussion page that I linked to earlier, an alternative possibility is that these can be relative antagonists by reducing the number of receptors available to more potent endogenously produced estrogen.

                      Evidence must also be used to support the claim that nutritionally typical amounts of soy consumption lead to substantial rates of gynecomastia in pre-pubescent boys. I don’t think that you can simply assert that it’s a rampant problem based on a loose mechanistic hypothesis without epidemiological data to back it up.

                    5. Hi, as I wrote – it is JUST ONE piece of the total picture. And for those 2 villages I have visited? No epidemiological data needed – these people were fed soy exclusively for past 8+ years and I have seen the “records” of the province doctor, that is (not by coincidence) a doc from my country working for Medecins Sans Frontieres. The evidence is in the papers… And again – without soy, some of those kids would not be alive now so regardless hormonal issues, they are luckier than kids in some more remote areas…

                    6. It’s a weak piece of the total picture and I don’t see your “records”, first off. Epidemiological work is important in part to control for possible confounders. If something happens in two villages and you can show a direct correlation with an increase in soy consumption there, that’s great (but you haven’t), but even then it would be better to see this relationship in other regions and with different soy products.

                      And, as you’ve said yourself, these people you are talking about ate soy exclusively. That is much more soy than would be needed or even desired on a typical plant-based diet, right? At least, you haven’t made the case that nearly that much would be needed.

                  3. Martin. See my post on histaminosis above. And no, most people on this blog did NOT take biochemistry. And they do approach a vegan diet directly from a SAD diet with little to no understanding of nutritional biochemistry or even a basic college level course in Nutrition. That is the problem here. They are following Dr. Greger with no tools for independent evaluation of the studies or concepts presented. And it is sad to see.

                  4. Maybe it is you who should revisit human physiology and biochemistry. The ‘soy causes man boobs’ fallacy is based upon faulty understanding of estrogen, what it is and what it isn’t. Paleo bloggers further embellish this confusion between estrogen and phytoestrogen, and they twist every type of soy research studies out there. Truth of the matter is, most soy research studies either show neutral or positive health effects from consuming dietary soy. I say dietary because the most egregious anti-soy studies trotted out by bloggers actually involve isolated soy or isolated soy injected into mouse models. Anyways, phytoestrogen is NOT estrogen, consuming whole soy foods does not predispose men to grow “moobs”, nor does it impede normal testosterone production or levels. This is at higher levels of isoflavone consumption than East Asian countries such as Japan or Korea. If eating soy products like tofu, soy milk, okara, and natto, etc…are deleterious to health, then we would have seen evidence of this in Asian cultures that consume soy as part of their regular diet. And yes, long living Okinwans and Japanese DO eat a lot of soy, especially Okinawans. I should know, my grandparents lived in Okinawa and I spent time there.

            2. You allude to one of the biggest issues surrounding the arguments of diet. Vegans look to the standard American diet as an indication of what all meat eaters consume. factory farmed meats, processed garbage injected with hormones and the like. Most meat eaters look to vegans as existing on a diet of tofu and potato chips. While I agree those assumptions are probably accurate for the bulk of the people they are not accurate for all. There is a difference between getting your meat from a factory of tortured sick animals and getting your meat from a pastured cow that lives a healthy good life or better yet from hunting your own wild game. I find it a bit funny how you say eating 10-15% of your diet as animal products means you are missing 10-15% of nutritional opportunities from plants. The reality is and we know this to be true that vegans who do not take supplements suffer in the long run. Does taking supplements sound to you like you are eating a complete healthy diet??? Its time to come to terms with the fact that vegans are eating for their own personal ethics and that’s fine, I take no issue with that at all but I do take issue with someone eating processed GMO tofu and taking b12 supplements trying to tell me a diet that needs none of those things is nutritionally inferior. I mean come on. Really?

              1. There is a difference between getting your meat from a factory of tortured sick animals and getting your meat from a pastured cow that
                lives a healthy good life or better yet from hunting your own wild game.

                And what is that difference, and why does it override the similarities when it comes to heart disease causation?

                    1. Sure but before I do let me first find ask if you actually care? You see most people just want to argue and no matter how much information you provide, they will dispute it, coming up with excuses and explaining away what is right in front of them. So I don’t want to waste anymore of my time or yours unless you are really looking for answers.

                    2. So far you are just spinning excuses, as far as I’m concerned. I’m asking you not to do that and to provide evidence that we can examine instead.

                    3. An excuse would mean I actually care about you or what you have to say. I don’t so there is no reason for me to make an excuse. If you are not smart enough to know that a wild elk in Alaska is is nutritional superior to a cow raised in a pen fed slop and injected with hormones, it’s not likely anything I could provide you would be understood. Or maybe I’m just making an excuse because there is certainly not an abundance of information on the subject available with a 10 second Google search right?

                    4. No, you can take your time to produce good thoughts instead of the garbage that you’ve been spouting out from your “age brain”. You might look over my original question. I was asking not just what makes the wild elk superior in your view, but why that overrides the similarities between wild elk and penned cow when it comes to heart disease and colon cancer and so forth. Demonstrating nutritional superiority is a relatively minor part of what I’m asking from you, and if you want I can just concede that idea for the sake of argument, so that you can focus on the other part of the question.

                    5. I don’t really subscribe to the theory that fat be it saturated or not is bad for you but if you do, then wild game meat is lower in fat than store bought meat. Second Wild game meat is not injected with drugs how could you argue that that in and of its self is not healthier? As far as I am aware all the studies which find a correlation to heart dieses and red meat are conducted with factory farmed meats so even if you believe there is no difference you certainly would have no proof. Additionally its possible that other dietary or lifestyle factors contributed to the correlation not the meat. I mean people didn’t only eat meat. Lastly there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence from many people eating grass fed and game meat who show vibrant health and excellent markers for all the things people generally consider as being important when looking at someone’s general health. There is a difference from a dude who eats frozen burger patties from the 99 cent store along with his French frys ho ho’s and cigarettes and someone who eats garden drown fruits and veggies and wild game. There just is.

                    6. Why do you even care about this when you know what to eat “instinctively”? Reread my comment and see if you can comprehend that you are not answering the other part of my question, which I have tried to get you to focus on.

                    7. You must be a little slow. That’s OK I will type a bit slower. You can eat dirt if that’s what you want I don’t care what you eat just don’t think you can read some article on the net and pretend dirt is what everyone else should eat. Get it yet?

                    8. Are you even for real? Have you grasped what I was trying to say or not? Equating a reasonable grasp of what science indicates with “reading some article on the net and pretend[ing]” and the best available knowledge on optimal diet with the claim that “dirt is what everyone else should eat” is not only an intellectually dishonest, but also an alarmingly stupid analogy.

                      You also show no sign that you are actually reading what I am saying and making an honest effort to hold up your end of the conversation. This is despite the fact that when I asked you if you had the capacity to answer my question seriously, you said you did. I see no signs of such capacity. Whether it is deliberate or not, your obtuseness is astounding.

              2. Taking “supplements”? B12 and vitamin D are obtained from living a natural life, in communion with sun and soil. Since we’re not living that way, yes, I prefer to supplement with B12 (instead of eating the animal who did get their B12 from the soil) and a little bit of vitamin D in the winter months. If you think that’s unhealthy, that’s OK. Processed GMO tofu? I don’t know what made you think I endorsed that. No big deal.

              3. and Martin Novotný. First of all, I find it sadly amusing that meat eaters come here spewing their biased, self serving opinions, and then accuse Dr Greger of having a vegan agenda! Don’t you get the absurdity of trying to qualify what is YOUR OPINION based on
                what you eat because you LIKE to eat it, and trying to make it sound legit by inventing invalid points and manipulating the facts? Dr Greger and the people who frequent his site base choice on FACT, no matter how inconvenient…few of us were raised NOT eating meat, don’t you get that???
                People who don’t have an egotistical personal agenda base their
                decisions on what the facts say, not by trying to justify their preferences and convoluted/circular reasoning!
                So I have to ask, WHY do you come here? I have never felt compelled to go to a paleo site and tell them they are idiots because they eat meat, regardless of how “lovingly” it’s raised and/or fed! Do you actually entertain the notion that “pastured” animals are sustainable for this population? LOL! But then I suppose I would expect such egocentric people to think they are some special exception to this inconvenient fact. Mass slaughter of other sentient creatures isn’t your concern, but their life history DOES concern you? Hmmm, I wonder…how do you tell the CAFO and pastured cows apart when they are all slaughtered in the same plant, equally terrorized and slogged through the same feces, and chemical soup? The taste? Oh wait, I forgot, you go and select them right off the lot. Or maybe you just enjoy killing them yourselves so you know for sure? Oh, lemme guess, I am being ludicrous/sentimental because reality has NOTHING whatsoever to do with what you WANT to eat.
                By the way, phytoestogens in plants (like soy) are NOT the same as estrogens in animals, try again. B12 comes from soil bacteria, and we used to get it from spring and well water and on food from the earth, before modern times. Maybe taking a supplement is a good idea for everyone, not just herbivores, eh? If you are going to attempt to argue in favor of something, try to get educated first so you don’t embarrass yourselves. I mean, come on. Really?

                1. Because you have a weak brain doesn’t mean everybody else does. You see that’s what an incomplete diet will do to you. Go get ya some steak and let your IQ flourish.

                  1. Ha ha ha, you are soooo hilarious! I bet you worked on that “insult” for hours! I did eat meat like all the other clueless sheeple, until I got diabetes and gave what I learned here a trial. In less than 3 weeks my weak brain must have been convinced he was right, because no more diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, IBS, etc etc. Go find something constructive to do and spare us your superior intellect, genius.

                2. Thank you for your post. The supplements Dr. Greger recommends, Iodine, D3, Selenium, B12, Iron, DHA/EPA (vegan) are all possibilities for “dipping.” “Plongement” in french. Did you know that death, according to some model, could be developing a tolerance to a low amount of a nutrient until your body finally releases all its reserves? These nutrients indeed could be the ones that are particularly important in preventing death. These are the same nutrients that our bodies are suspecting are ebbing from us everyday, and must manage as critical reserves. To add back these nutrients is a critical investment in anyone’s health that should be made as fast as possible. I did not know that you could be deficient in Sodium. I think it gives me a lot of energy. Iodine in particular maintains a healthy heart and might be the true supplement of dipping fame.

              4. People need supplements because even the healthiest foods may have low levels of nutrients if grown in soil that is deficient in nutrients. Its impossible to consume certain nutrients from foods in sufficient or optimal levels like iodine, Vitamin D3, and Vitamin B12 regardless of what type of diet you eat.

          3. >>>BTW, those vegetarians/vegans are usually those with the most of health problems
            can you provide any objective evidence for the above generalization?

        2. One more thing – I HIGHLY value Dr. Gregor’s work that drives higher veggies & fruits consumption! With that, consumption of everything else naturally decline. We shall be all ambassadors and promoters of this style and no question whatsoever – nayers to highly processed meat (or rather highly processed food as such).

          1. Hi Martin,
            After reading all the above posts I am just a bit sad that you are suggesting to WFPB eaters that seek out your advise to start eating meat. :-(

            Can you come up with something else to recommend?

            1. Hi there, it might be English not being my born language, but where the heck did I recommend that? Not at all – I was just pointing out that 1) eating WFPB diet might be dangerous in a long-term if you do not educate yourself – about potential deficiencies that you CAN prevent with minding what exactly (out of WFPB basket) you eat and with minimum supplementation and 2) not all “meat” is really meat – you cannot compare soy burgers (I know that by definition that’s not what you call WF, but majority of population does not really care – it is meatless so it must be good, right?) with steamed kale, same like you cannot compare eating 100g of grass-fed beef a week with a basket of BBQ wings for every other dinner.

              1. Martin it hasn’t been my experience that people who eat WFPB eat soy junk. Well good for you–so when a vegan client comes to you for nutrition advice you recommend edamame instead of soy burgers-or better yet you recommend them to a nutritionist. And absolutely everyone needs to be made aware of the necessity of B12.

                1. Good for you that you have self-educated people around you. Yep, you nailed it – I would never ever try to talk my clients off vegan/vegetarian diet, but rather explain them what they have to mind when planning meals/shopping/eating (variety, variety, variety). And no need to recommend a nutritionist – my education allows me to work as both dietitian and nutritionist (even though I cannot use a title earned in USA, such as health coach from IIN or Precision Nutrition, C.H.E.K practitioner, etc….).

                2. And contrary – if they would eat too much junk (in general) I would guide them out of this. Same goes for eating meat in higher frequency/quantity – within 2-3 months I would focus on step-by-step elimination of meat, except for 1-2 portions per week of high quality meat.

        3. “let us all accept that there is a way you can eat animal products regularly as part of your diet” We already do because millions of people do it.

        4. “Why would then someone choose to not eat animal products and instead choose only whole food plants?”

          Because some of us have genetic snps and/or health conditions where we have severe food restrictions and our dietary protein has to come from animal sources. I have extreme histaminosis due to genetic snps (homozygous for both relevant genes that code for gut Diamine oxidase) that code for the enzymes that breakdown food histamine. I also have multiple snps in the methyl cycle. In a histamine intolerance diet, beans are off limits because they are histamine releasers. Nuts too. And moldy foods And many other foods high in histamine or that cause the release of histamine from mast cells. Some with mastocytosis or mast cell activation disorder can sometime eventually eat beans, but not those of us with double homozygous DAO snps. The food restrictions are many. I also have very slow MAO enzymes (same histamine breakdown pathway) And DAO supplements, while helpful to a partial degree, are criminally expensive and only made so far by 3 companies. At least eggs and chicken are not fermented. Meat is aged in both the US and UK so it is out as well. (While not necessarily deliberately fermented, the aging process does convert histadine to histamine by the meats own enzymes as well converting all the other biogenic amines to their toxic by products as well. All go through the same biochemical pathways as the breakdown of histamine. Thus over-loading the pathway even more. Fish is out for those of us with severe histaminosis as well unless gutted and cooked within minutes of being caught fresh.

          Thus, I have to watch my protein intake overall, as the amino acid histadine is converted to histamine in the body and my conversion enzymes work great. I just cannot break down the histamine after the conversion!! As someone else with extreme histaminosis put it: Ok so you have to be on a close to vegan diet. But then you cannot eat beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas etc. mushrooms, tempeh, tofu, no soy of any kind, nuts or their butters, most seeds, and any seeds that have been sitting around on a store shelf (which is all of them), Seitan, any vegan protein supplements etc. Hemp and chia seeds are out as well for most of us too. Sesame and sunflower seeds are histamine releasers (Cannot get near them!) Plain fresh milk is allowed but I am violently allergic to all dairy.

          Grains are allowed and are low in histamine, but they are high in mold and I go into seizures if I eat them. Thankfully I can eat Quinoa and buckwheat and keep them in the freezer. But I have to limit my starchy carbs for other health reasons.

          Outrageously one commenter on one of my other posts had the audacity to tell me that what I was talking about in terms of gene snps/defects was that that was nonsense and we were all the same and all in need of vegan diet, period. All the same? Tell that to people with the gene defects that cause down’s syndrome, or PKU, or cystic fibrosis!!! Maybe on a general level we are all the same, but the devil is in the details.

          This may surprise most of you on this blog but ethically I would love to be a vegan. (I really miss beans, oatmeal and more!), but health wise my body cannot take it. The chronic high histamine levels causes chronic inflammation and that means the body is trying to chronically repair the damage, and that takes more than normal amounts of protein which I sadly cannot have. So my low protein diet includes the protein sources I can eat: chicken, eggs, quinoa, buckwheat, and I still have to control the amounts.

          In addition, the chronic inflammation in the gut serves to promote leaky gut which over time tends to create more and more food sensitivities, so round and round we go, struggling maintain health under very difficult circumstances!

          I got into studying nutrition and functional medicine because I had to save my own life but I coach others as well. Like Martin Novotny below, I too see way too many vegans with horribly poor health. MikeOnRaw notes that we have nations of unhealthy people on a variety of diets and it takes care to be healthy on the lifestyle one has chosen. But I ask, how many who eat the SAD diet or choose to be vegan actually get out nutrition books and study the nutritional pathways and the necessary human nutritional requirements and all that before doing so? One vegan who I think has done her homework (and that is because she was diagnosed with cancer, is Kris Carr of “Crazy Sexy Cancer fame. She eats no animal protein or byproducts whatsoever, but she makes darn sure she knows her vegan protein sources and juices and/or smoothies every single day. She also makes judicious use of vegan protein powders and takes supplements (including but not limited to supplements of B12.

          Frankly I think nutrition courses should be mandatory in every single junior and senior high school, and we should also start with nutrition instruction starting in kindergarten and up. When Jamie Oliver went to these schools he was appalled that every grade school student knew what a french fry and a Big Mac was, but most of them had never even seen or eaten such things as butternut squash, green beans, or green or red peppers!!

          So cannot we just agree that all of us on all of these diet blogs are indeed searching for health through food, and that is our common denominator? No one diet really is right for everyone. The saying “One man’s meat is another man’s poison” became a cliche because of its truth.

      3. Well said Martin. I eat a ton of veggies. And I do mean a ton. Probably more than most vegans And I see daily the garbage most vegans eat anyway. And the load up on starches too. Dr. Greger’s videos on fruits and veggies are great, but he continues to fall short and remain severely biased in the animal protein, cholesterol areas. As for the WHO, we know who controls them. Big Pharma mostly, as indicated by their vaccine stance and severely outdated and questionable dictates. I am always suspicious when Big government or the WHO come out with recommendations, and the idea that this is somehow orchestrated to disrupt the discussion of the 2015-2020 MyPlate and the discussion on the saturated fat ban would not surprise me. Big Government and the WHO do not have the health interests of the public at heart. That said, we have known for decades that processed meats were horrible entities. And they feed these poor animals GMO soy no less as well as these meats being full of crap and chemicals. The real problem I see is that most people eat processed and confined animal feeding operations meats and eggs, and not enough fresh and frozen veggies. And too many vegans (not all) relying upon processed fake soy burgers and GMO tofu. One needs those need fresh colorful veggies the most. Even most vegans (not all) do not eat enough veggies from where I sit. They get stuck in eating lots of starchy beans and tofu, canned tomato sauces (always made from moldy tomatoes) and thus have no room for the health promoting veggies. And for those of you watching and waiting to pounce with your next criticisim, yep, I may indeed edit this post later if I think of more stuff! Usually do these posts while doing homework. (Nutrition and functional medicine studies!)

        1. Hi Linda, thanks for this. Yep, I think you know exactly what I was referring to. And yes, WHO’s 1,5 page elaborate coming just before discussion on 2015-2020 MyPlate version? Not a coincidence ;-) I am not a fan of conspiracy theories (still think that 9/11 was a lousy job of CIA and other agencies…), but the fact that WHO decided to release full text in a monograph (my best guess – 2-3 months to come) instead of publishing it immediately on their website or in Journal of Oncology (both ways are faster) is weird. I have promised not to interact in this thread anymore, but seeing some of the replies even deleted (vulgar?)? What’s wrong with you, people?

  2. Off topic question:
    If drinking alcohol is a cancer risk, then why is it good to have some vinegar? I get that there is little or no alcohol in it, but it strikes me as so similar that I have a hard time believing it’s helpful and not harmful. Or is it the vinegar confers a few benefits but might also have some risks? (I’m similarly confused about the benefits/risks of fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi.)
    http://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-vinegar-good-for-you/

    1. Most people don’t drink vinegar (I hope). I doubt cooking with alcohol is as bad for you as drinking the stuff, not to mention that lots of people drink too much of the stuff.

    2. Apple cider vinegar is still okay, but don’t mess with the pills. Are kimchi and sauerkraut harmful? It seem a little bit of sauerkraut is okay. The thing with fermented foods is the high sodium content. Dr. G has said things like “kimchi is likely why Korea has the highest stomach cancer rate in the world.” I like this powerpoint from a dietitian from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle presenting at AICR on fermented and picked foods on cancer risk.

      I don’t think all fermented foods are off the list. Apple cider vinegar, tempeh, miso, and the ethnic breads like dosa (which is just lentil and rice flour I believe) you mention are likely fine. I think the major worry is sodium content from these foods (kimchi), ethanol from beer, and lactic acid build-up from kombucha.

    3. Vinegar (active ingredient: acetic acid) and alcohol (active ingredient: ethanol) have completely different physical, chemical, and biological properties. The only relationship between the two compounds is that oxidation of ethanol results in acetic acid.

        1. Generally total cholesterol isn’t a number that people are concerned with. This because LDL is the scary one. And HDL unless otherwise boosted by dietary intake tends to sit where your particular body wants it to sit.. You can see in this video (transcript is faster) that a total cholesterol of 170 is not considered particularly protective though well below the standard for don’t worry about it.
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/heart-attacks-and-cholesterol-dying-under-normal-circumstances/

          1. I remember when 200 cholesterol level was ideal.Now they say 175 eh ? And when we all get to 175 ,I suppose the medicine makers will lower cholesterol levels to 150. Medicine and doctors are good but they are not the answer to everything. Don’t be a wobble head.Think for yurself.

        2. Dr. Greger says to shoot for a total cholesterol under 150. Check out that video and write-up on cholesterol it explains a lot! Sorry I did not add that the first time around. You’re right the optimal cholesterol video only mentions LDL. Let me know if this helps?

          Thanks!
          Joseph

      1. I like how that paper on optimal LDL level is co-authored by paleo father Cordain, yet most of his disciples today are no where near those numbers ^_^

        1. Can you provide me the link on the cholesterol levels of everyone on the paleo diet? I am interested to see the support for you claim.

              1. You can see it all over paleo forums – both the high numbers and the feeble attempts to explain why you don’t need to worry about it.

                1. I don’t know what forums you are looking at but I see exactly the opposite. You have to remember also that simple because someone says they follow the pale diet does not mean they are following it correctly. It’s the same for vegans. Many people try a vegan diet and destroy their health. I think you can eat vegan and be healthy but if you don’t do it right it’s a disaster. The same for any diet or way of eating.

                  1. I have been watching many different ones, but sure. Could you send me a link to any paleo person sporting an optimal LDL and cholesterol level as specified by Cordains paper? That would be 50-70 LDL and 70-140 TC

                    1. No. It’s violates HIPAA laws. But since you are already on Paleo forums as you claim you can certainly ask. It’s not difficult to find plenty. At least it wasn’t for me but perhaps I don’t have an agenda to hide.

                    2. ? You are licensed? And you can send out that info with no name. But, I don’t believe she is asking for a name. She is asking where is your source that encourages a low LDL in the Paleo world.

                    3. Cholesterol is not as simple as HDL And LDL as once thought. Those numbers do not occur in a bubble they must be investigated a little deeper and in conjunction with other markers. To simple look at someone’s LDL and say that because it is over 100 you are at risk of heart disease is a very elementary statememt. If this were the case we wouldn’t have folks roaming around living healthy lives with numbers closer to 300 total. High cholesterol is not in and of indicative of heart diseas. We know that inflammation is what’s dangerous and the cholesterol number can be an indicator of that it’s needs to be investigated. People are taking cholesterol out of context. There are many studies that show the food we eat as having minimal impact on cholesterol.http://chriskresser.com/the-diet-heart-myth-cholesterol-and-saturated-fat-are-not-the-enemy/ links to the research are included within the article.

                    4. Oh my…well if you go to the top of the page and look under topics you can search under cholesterol and inflammation.

                    5. So now you are changing the topic from LDL. I was stating that you can’t find paleo people with that low numbers, nothing else. No point in starting to go over all the faulty arguments from cholesterol deniers in this thread. Also, I’m not gonna ask random people about their LDL scores, I have seen plenty of them presented on forums and never once a good score.

                    6. I wouldn’t expect that you would find low numbers. We rarely find what we don’t want to. I would continue learning about cholesterol if you are so intrigued. Your understanding of it is quite incomplete. Even main steam research now understands far more that what was originally hypothesized. Or you can hold on to your opinions and believe what you like. We all have the freedom of our beliefs.

                    7. You are saying that my understanding of cholesterol is incomplete. That’s odd, since I haven’t made any claims at all about it except that I noted that paleo people have high LDL and cholesterol. How does that prove anything about my understand of it?

                    8. Actually, you’re one of those zealot paleo trolls we keep hearing about, here crying for attention and to be disruptive for your own amusement.

            1. Great find Johan! I think it’s funny the way animal food eaters will do and say anything to tamp down their own cognitive dissonance about the harm and dangers of eating animal foods. I read someplace that Jimmy Moores cholesterol was actually 360 with statins. Sweet! lol! Gotta love eggs, they really get that cholesterol up into the optimal paleo range of 300-400. hey now! =)

  3. Dr G’s research was the final straw in persuading me to make the change, which initially I saw as a difficult “sacrifice”. My system readily adapted and soon I didn’t even miss it. And that has worked for other areas as well.

    IMO there are several types of problems with the persistence of the provably false narrative that eggs are OK.
    1) Some would lose money if public opinion were moved. They rather you lose health than they lose profits. So they hire paid shills to spread propaganda.
    2) Some don’t want to give up something, so they find those who tell them what they want to here to rationalize their actions. I suspect eating disorder is a factor for some of those.
    3) lack of information or misinformation. (see above)

    Dr G is like a personal trainer for nutrition to those who are willing to learn. This past year my health has made a remarkable turnaround putting into practice what he taught. (I read many but Dr G is my go to source.) At my physical last summer, my 24 year old intern told me my blood work is better than hers. I’m 62, and the numbers are reversing the 20 year long trend of worsening. Try doing that with Egg McMuffins.

    1. Congrats to you for making the changes you needed to optimize your health, despite your preferences at the time! I wish I had known about it long ago and prevented all my problems before they were problems. Sadly, for some (ahem) there is nothing like reversing disease to prove what the ideal diet should be!

  4. I think Dr. Greger is the diet equivalent of a global warming alarmist. He also cherry picks the data. We did not evolve to be herbivores. Neither our teeth nor our digestive tract are similar to herbivores. That fruits and vegetables are healthy — no question. That modern agriculture has developed fruits that are less healthy than the original varieties — no questions. Take grapes. When I was a child the grapes we ate had pits and thick skins and a small amount of flesh. The greatest nutrition was in the pits and skin, but most people peeled off the skin and spit out the pits. No our agriculture industry has developed large grapes with no pits and thin skins. These grapes have far more fructose and far less of the important nutrients provided by the pits and skin. The same can be said of farm raised fish and animals, which are far less nutritious than their wild ancestors. That is because of what they are fed and the conditions in which they are raised. I think both wild fish and meat in small quantities are quite OK. Sugar and carbohydrates are definitely no-nos.

    Dr Greger only talks about heart disease, but all cause mortality is what we should really be concerned with. It appears, based on research not provided by Dr. Greger, that low levels of cholesterol, especially in older adults, increases all cause mortality. Additional studies seem to indicate that a fish/vegan diet confers greater longevity than a purely vegan diet. The Japanese have done studies comparing longevity in farming villages with longevity in fishing villages and fishing viliages won.

    For me two principles apply — eating the most nutrition for the least calories and keeping chronic inflammation to a minimum. I eat fish and shell fish a three to four days a week. I eat two eggs every day except Saturday and Sunday. I eat NO sugar and no bread, pasta, rice, white potatoes, or other high carb foods. I do eat oatmeal every morning supplemented with soluble fiber, which I also add to my omelets. I eat a lot of leafy green vegetables and other low carb vegetables. I take a bit of French cheese made from grass fed, unpasteurized cow and goat milk with a bit of wine most nights. Needless to say I eat NO processed foods.

    I try to keep my TC around 200. I take a statin 2 days a week only because my doctor insists I take a statin. I also do peak training, lift weights, watch no TV, subscribe to NO MSM, garden almost every day and have no stress — I live well within my means. All are components of being healthy and avoiding not just heart disease but all causes of mortality. I tried the Dean Ornish diet and thought I was going to die of severe irregular heartbeat. It was scary. As soon as I added fish and fish oil supplements, they started to recede. Now I rarely get them. So the omega – to omega -6 ratio is another key metric. Fish is the best way of maintaining a healthy ratio which also is anti-inflammatory.

    I have been keeping close tabs on my blood test results for decades. Today they are perfect. TC around 200, LDL around 100, HDL around 70, triglycerdies around 60, inflammation, i.e., hs CRP less than 0.3 (i.e. not measureable), omega-6 to omega 3 ratio 3 to1, and in the low risk range for oxidized LDL, finally, Pattern A LDL.

    I think an all plant based diet as recommended by Dr. Gerber is not the best diet and the fact that he only discusses heart disease means he misses all those other diseases that can befall us. Low levels of cholesterol seem to predispose to cancer, which he does not discuss.

    Cheers!

    1. Please reference your glittering generalities…

      “Additional studies seem to indicate”…
      “Low levels of cholesterol seem to predispose to cancer”…
      “I think both wild fish and meat in small quantities are quite OK”…
      “It appears, based on research”…
      “Japanese have done studies”…
      “I think an all plant based diet… is not the best diet”…

      Prove what you say.
      You are not an expert and what you say is merely anecdotal, unless you prove it.

      1. I do not have the time to answer your questions. It has very little value added. You can do your own research. It all came from the internet. If I can find the studies so can you. How do you address the fact that our teeth and digestive system are not those found in herbivores. That should say something about our evolutionary design. I suspect you are an alarmist when it comes to diet. I’m a skeptic so we will never agree.

        1. rpabate: re: “How do you address the fact that our teeth and digestive system are not those found in herbivores.” Well, actually our biology, especially our teeth and digestive system, are far closer to herbivores than carnivores. Check out the following page. And if the first table is not from a compelling enough source for you, I think the rest of the page definitely is compelling.
          http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/natural.html

          From the first paragraph:
          “A fair look at the evidence shows that humans are optimized for eating mostly or exclusively plant foods, according to the best evidence: our bodies. We’re most similar to other plant-eaters, and drastically different from carnivores and true omnivores.1,2,3 Those who insist that humans are omnivores, especially if their argument is based on canine teeth, would do well to look at what the evidence actually shows. We’ll cover that below.”

          1. So lets think about what you said logically for a sec. Our teeth are closer to an herbivore than a carnivore. But they are not entirely either one or the other. So if you think rationally about it if we were herbivores we would have teeth just like all the rest of them wouldn’t we? But we don’t, so it appears to me our diets should be “mostly” fruits and vegetables with some meat. Solved. No studies needed.

            1. You want to decide optimal diet by teeth and sweep in-depth research to the side? This is foolish, no matter what you interpret tooth shape to mean.

              1. In depth research? Where di you see that at? You mean these cherry picked garbage studies designed to reach a conclusion before they are ever started? Please. We eat meat. Travel the world a bit and get off the internet.

                1. No one disputes that “we eat meat” in a generic sort of way. It’s part of the history of our species. But you appear to be falling into a naturalistic fallacy and that is appallingly foolish.

                    1. Huh? Do I have to decide what I can or can’t feed a cat based on their teeth alone? Why would I accept a naturalistic fallacy there? Why would I insist that bean sprouts and oranges constitute a great diet for cats without seeing good evidence for that first?

                    2. That’s the beauty of nature, there is nothing to “decide” you just do. Or you can think you are smarter than nature and die early. We all have choices.

                    3. You can presume that you understand nature and are in line with it for weak reasons, right? Science is about understanding the natural world with improving accuracy and detail, and we know that natural selection is not a natural force that optimizes us perfectly for an ancestral environment when ‘optimality’ is defined by reproduction in that environment. When the concern is longevity in a non-ancestral environment that incorporates some important advantages for longevity, it’s likely to be even less perfect design.

                    4. I am nature, there is nothing to understand, you just live. I don’t need someone to tell me what to eat or not to eat, I know instinctively. I am an apex predator because of my age brain which was developed by eating meat.

                    5. I suppose if you need a “scientist” to tell you what to eat you are already lost in your human experience. Science has never been wrong. Has it? Today’s science is tomorrow’s oops.

              1. Well I guess we will disagree then. Put a vegan in the forest with a non-vegan who lives and who dies? We eat meat, sorry, we just do.

                  1. Haha ok well I guess common sense is not your strong suit. Go watch a few episodes of naked and afraid. You can see it for yourself right on film. Vegans can not survive as forgers alone. They just cant.

                    1. rappinronreagon: I deal with reality, not fiction TV. I hope you can understand the difference between fiction and reality and that “reality TV” is still just fiction. The show must really be compelling for you since you are using a fictional TV show to guide your reality. For myself, I will not be using fictional TV as a guide to human nutrition. It’s not something to bet one’s life on. And that’s common sense you can take to the bank (or African savanna…).

                    2. Well I suppose since there is not a single population of vegans anywhere in the the entire world, any argument you make is invalid. Sad to be so wrong isn’t it?

            2. Wanna get really logical instead of trying to push an agenda? We are actually STARCH DIGESTING HERBIVORES, unlike other herbivores who cannot utilize starch as effectively, and so must rely on fruits and vegetables. We have extra copies of amylase to digest the starches/carbs that are the primary fuel for our cellular processes. (5-15 or more depending on ancestry, as opposed to 2 for primates), and our hind digesting gut also has unique bacteria for the purpose. This adaptation is what allowed us to migrate to areas away from our beginnings near the equator where plants are always available, to areas where the seasonal storage of a plant’s reserves were stored as starch in roots, tubers and grains. This increased our food options and helped satisfy our caloric requirements as we ventured out. Besides learning to cook our food, this starch adaptation is the most likely reason for our great advances in evolution, NOT meat eating as is so often cited. If that were true, why wouldn’t carnivores be even smarter than us? And why didn’t we also evolve sharp teeth and claws and speed and agility like even omnivores, to catch live food on the run as would be required??? It is way more likely we developed “tools” to carve up the carrion left behind by TRUE carnivores and omnivores, in times of hunger, and only eventually leading to any future development of actual tools and skills for hunting. All true omnis and carnivores have their “tools” born on them, or else they would perish far before they could develop them!
              I don’t know how many of you, who feel so sure we are meat eaters, have actually tried to procure food without tools but with your own natural abilities out in the wild, but good luck trying to catch even a bunny, squirrel or even a chipmunk!! The energy (calories and effort) and extensive time expended in pursuing a living creature without any inherent adaptations would only be attempted when facing starvation, as picking fruits, plant parts and digging roots, or even rooting for larvae, juicy bugs, snails, clams, etc., is a whole lot easier and more reliable when available!
              Seriously, cut the rhetoric and dogma and REASON…what our big brains evolved to do! (Or not.)
              http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/12/11/amylase-and-human-evolution/
              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7690604
              https://www.drmcdougall.com/health/education/health-science/lesson-in-nutrition/

              1. What a load of garbage. How about you and I meet up we will get naked and be dropped off in the middle of nowhere and see who survives? You know they have a little show called naked and afraid it’s on all the time. You can actually watch what happens to humans when no grocery store has all of their GMO fruit and b 12 supplements waiting for them. You can’t argue with nature. Go read some more paid advertisements er I mean “research”. Oh and you are not allowed to use the words agenda or dogma are you kidding me? Pot meet kettle.

                1. Sure, challenge accepted! We used to go primitive camping for weeks out in the boonies, and I can easily survive off the bounty nature provides. Conversely, the “hunters” always came back hungry and had to settle for the “rabbit food” we procured.

                  Not familiar with those TV shows since I don’t even own a TV, so I guess I ain’t as edumacated as you be. lol But in regard to your “concern” I grow my own food and forage, thanks. I have a permaculture food forest here, and if the stores shut down, it would be YOU who would be weeping over those styro trays with dead flesh rotting inside the plastic and wondering what on earth you could eat now, not me. As for my B-12 “pills”…my ferments have plenty of SBO’s, so I would manage just fine. But gee, thanks for thinking of it! Hey, did you know that animals actually store the B12 we ingest in our lower gut, and most animals can access it by doing something I’d like to suggest for you, but this is a family site.

                  Boy, you sure get your panties in a bunch when somebody challenges your AGENDA huh? Pretty amusing, thanks for the diversion, kettle. Bye!

                  1. You can only gather if there is something to gather. But there are animals everywhere. Last I checked the forest wasn’t providing tofu and apples. Animals on the other hand exist everywhere. So seeing as how I can eat anything any you are stuck looking for twigs pretty evident who would thrive.

                    1. Thanks for proving to all us clueless humans here, the superior” intellect, charm and wit of those like yourself who eat animals!
                      Hey, guess what? You’re an animal too. Go eat yourself, genius!

            1. I understand that but rpabate doesn’t seem to. This is his comment I was responding to. ” How do you address the fact that our teeth and digestive system are not those found in herbivores.”

    2. I used to believe some of the stuff you are saying and then I read The China Study and found out about The Blue Zones. You might take a look at them and see how it meshes with what you’ve learned elsewhere. Maybe you are fine, but my dad had perfect cholesterol levels and still needed a double bypass a year ago. These days I’m 95% vegan with total cholesterol of less than 150, also 30 pounds lighter. Anyways, hope you stay well and continue to enjoy searching for answers.

      1. I read the China Study and have been to China many times. The author of that book compares rural people who exercise via hard work constantly, can’t afford to smoke or drink, have far less stressed lives, experience far less pollution, have close family ties, with city dwellers who don’t exercise, do smoke and drink far too much, have far higher stressed lives, generally lack close family ties (once a year on Chinese New Year the trains are packed with city dwellers going back to their families for this most important of Chinese holiday) and live and work in very polluted conditions. If the authors could control for those difference, which they can’t, then maybe diet might make a difference.

        1. I have not read the China study. The authors of that study say that people who eat no meat live longer. I think this study is flawed because it does not control for socio economic status. Ultimately, the authors of the study are arguing that the Chinese who were starved by Mao are living longer because of caloric restriction, in my opinion. The poor people of China do not live as long as the wealthy in China. This is true in America, too, but it is perhaps more true in China. More money makes people live longer. The rich people of China live longer but they eat more meat. Those who eat less meat have less disease, according to the China study. Eating meat may be a risk factor for disease, it is clear. It is not clear that the regions studied in China, where there is little meat, live longer, because those are very poor people. The poor simply do not live as long as the rich. Living through the great depression added five years to many peoples lives. I believe the China study is simply tracking this benefit. “Eat more beans. beans, beans,” Dr. Greger quoted a desperate doctor as saying.

          1. In other words, the China study is tracking the genetic superiority of the people who survived Mao. He did kill 83 million people, often by starvation. Those who survived on the diet he presented had some advantage that the China Study displays, in my opinion.

            1. Interesting hypothesis, but not backed up by research into that very topic. Emigrants are an ideal natural laboratory. If there was any type of genetic advantage in the survivors of the cultural revolution, then they would be protected from diet related disease when they emigrate. Study after study show that emigrants from undeveloped or developing countries like China where heart disease, cancer and the like is still rare that emigrate to the US and other western countries that adopt the local diet develop diet related disease at exactly the same rate as their new country. Only those who maintain their traditional diet are protected.

            2. So then, Matthew, explain why so many people who have changed their diets to the ideal recommended from these studies (not paid for by vested interests) got rid of lifelong illness and other health issues? I assure you I am not starving, and I am one of them.

              1. Congratulations on treating any illness with a vegan diet. Congratulations from the bottom of my heart. There very clearly is an association between meat consumption and disease. Did you know that in this very discussion thread, someone says that they performed autopsies on thousands of dead Ugandans who ate little to no meat and found only one incidence of heart disease? However, the oldest of these individuals was 55. Ugandans on the Whole Foods Plant Based diet, who are very poor, die in their 50s. If you were to study the hearts of American men you would see more damage than in the Ugandans but they at 55 probably have hearts that are at least a little bit healthier than they are in their 70s. My point is that the region of China, and I am going to get this book out of the Library, where they eat the least meat is the poorest. Those people don’t live very long. They also are usually sicker than the wealthier people. Compliance among vegetarians is low. In polls, if you ask vegetarians what they had for dinner (the 6 percent of the population that is vegetarians) almost all will say that they ate meat. I am happy to now be a vegan. It took me six months. I feel better. I feel more productive, I hope. Vegetarians are smarter. I hope being a vegetarian will make me smarter. Vegans can live six or more years longer than other people. However, the wealthy live far longer than the poor. The wealthier often have less disease. The average age Harvard men die is in their 90s. Why is this? I am so happy you have found a curative diet, like so many others. The time to make an investment in your health is now. The Whole Foods Plant Based diet is the biggest investment you can make in your heath, in my opinion. There is definitely a causation between meat and disease, based on the compelling evidence Dr. Greger presents. I am grateful he presents this evidence. I believe he is making a successful clear case without cherry picking studies. I know he is doing a great job. I would like to stand with you, and with this group. On South Park, the show said the food pyramid is upside down and meat should replace grain as what we eat 6-11 servings of. The TV show proclaims Paleo the winner. I would like to stand with you that eating more plants is healthier. Thank you for your input. The vegan diet can treat almost any illness, according to this website, and a skillful, clear case being made by Dr. Greger. I think he knows he is right. I also think that the Vegan diet is not going to be the winner of the Paleo and Vegan war, but it is truly better for health. Plants for the win.

                1. HI, this is just my opinion about our “ideal” diet, based on what I’ve studied, and being an avid nature camper where we’d just go out with a few basic supplies but not bring food along so we had to forage and gather our own, I have a better appreciation for the reality of how we likely ate in a less “advanced” stage of evolution. Greens, fruits, nuts, tubers, flower buds, etc. are pretty easy to find and gather, but even the guys were pretty sad at “hunting” anything. (No weapons or traps except whatever they could conjure up.) If I didn’t have such a strong cultural bias however, there were also plenty of easy to gather grubs, and other soft bodied insects, snails, slugs, crayfish, clams, and fish…pretty much what our closest ancestors still eat…and it makes total sense…it’s easy to get! It makes no sense to expend needed calories chasing down and hunting an animal when you can just grab a handful of something off a tree! I don’t think we would have started “hunting” anything until we observed carnivores doing it, and perhaps snagged the remains of a kill they left behind… I believe some of the first tools we developed probably were to help scrape the flesh from bone, since as herbivores we are just not equipped with the anatomy to saw and tear that way with our grinding teeth and a flat mouth unlike actual carnivores or omnivores. As we moved away from our supposed origins near the equator where plants were more seasonal, the ready supply food became more tenuous, so we had to learn new strategies, like digging up the plants who stored their energy for the next season in tubers, corms etc., and utilizing the plentiful seeds from the grains and such…and learning to utilize fire to cook them and make them palatable! (This is evident in our extra copies of amylase, an enzyme to break down starches that our primate relatives have fewer of. A nod to McDougall!) Moving farther north where it was colder with much shorter growing seasons, to survive we HAD to perfect other ways of obtaining food, so perhaps that is when hunting became a necessity, otherwise it makes little sense, as I mentioned. I have NO clue how long evolutionary processes take to accommodate for this type of thing, but it could be that depending on where the majority of our ancestors lived, we may have different genes to account for our varying ability to tolerate animal products. Personally I CANNOT, and I believe that an emergency adaptation to do so can give a little more leeway to some of us, but cannot confer the benefits of eating what we evolved to eat since our origins… plants! Let the animals live, and eat bugs if you have to eat something that’s not a plant! LOL! (There is an awesome show on Netflix now called, “How to Grow a Planet”. all about plants, amazing stuff! If you can, do watch it, well worth your time!)

                  Oh one more side note…not that I ascribe to any religion, but I learned that in the Bible, God told Adam and Eve that they could eat any of the plants that grew in the garden, so Adam and Eve were vegans! My version that got them kicked out of the garden has them going to the forbidden “tree of knowledge”, and eating the serpent…damned us all! LOL It wasn’t until the flood, when all the plants perished, that God gave Noah and his family permission to eat animals. Hmmm, I wonder how many animals never made it off the Ark? Roasted unicorn anyone? Har har!

          2. You haven’t read the book, but feel that you can comment on what the authors did or didn’t say. Amazing act of clairvoyance, or you are taking other people’s commentary as if it were fact.

            I have read the book fully three times (and learned something new each time). Here is what I read. Rural China was selected for many of the reasons that you cite. They don’t drink or smoke much. They don’t have the exposure to pollutants that city dwellers do. They mostly live within a hundred miles or so of where they were born and largely have eaten the same thing their entire lives. And yet they still eat a diet that vary significantly enough that effects due to variations in composition of the diet might correlate with variations in disease rates.

            And it is the disease rates that first drew the researchers. The Chinese government went through a massive effort in the 1970s to map diseases in all regions, especially cancer after the Chinese Premier developed lung cancer. Over 800,000 people were drafted to just take the data. The result was an incredibly detailed disease map of the country, and the results were startling with the rates of some types of cancer varying over 200 times. Not 200%, 200 times. With this map, the researchers collected information on diet from widely varying areas of the country and when the data was fully analyzed by people with actual training in bio statistics and epidemiology and not untrained bloggers with a book to sell, they found a very strong trend that was highly significant (99% chance that it wasn’t random) between the number of calories from animal foods and the rates not just one but many different diseases. They also collected blood and urine samples and were able to show that many biomarkers such as cholesterol also tracked remarkably well the amount of animal foods in the diet.

            But if you had actually read the book instead of just commenting on it, you would know that it deals with many many other lines of evidence besides the one study conducted in China by the author of the book, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, significant though it is. And all those other studies by hundreds of different researchers spanning nearly a century all point in the same direction – A diet is healthy in exactly the proportion to the percentage of whole plant foods it contains and inversely proportional to the amount of animal foods and refined carbohydrates and oils. But please don’t take my word for it. Actually read the book for yourself. Don’t let other people do your thinking for you!

            BTW, that same massive confirmation what constitutes what is and what is not a healthy diet continues to the current day with studies conducted around the world by leading researchers publishing in the most established journals. You will find no better or concise compendium of that massive amounts of research than this very website. Dr. Greger has done all the grunt work so you don’t have to. But unlike so many others out there claiming to have some great personal insight in the optimum human diet, Dr. Greger lets the research speak for itself. Most of the videos in fact are Dr. Greger reading verbatim from the relevant research papers themselves. BUT you don’t need to take his word for what the papers say. He gives you hyperlinks to the very papers themselves. All you have to do is click on the link and you can be reading the papers themselves in seconds and know what they say and if that agrees with Dr. Greger. Again, think for yourself!

            So draw up a keyboard, check your preconcieved ideas and just learn. If after delving into the catalog of videos on a whole range of diet/health topics, you still don’t agree, well at least you will have done your homework and can honestly say that you did consider the evidence and are still unconvinced. Hopefully you will also understand the need for actual evidence to back up your conclusion and so will be ready with studies that provide even stronger evidence than that presented here for why you reach a different conclusion. This process is what is commonly know as “science”.

            1. Thank you. Thank you very much. More precisely, I would ask why is less disease not associated with a longer lifespan in the China Study? Why is it that the authors of the China study cannot say that a plant based diet leads to a longer life? Poverty, as a marker of a plant based diet, does not add to lifespan. Thank you for telling me that their is 200 times variation in the rate of cancer in China. They started adding Selenium to their salt for cancer prevention. I think that they don’t have iodized salt in China.

                1. I just finished reading “The China Study.” The book doesn’t actually say much about the China Study. It says people in China eat less meat and have lower cholesterol. It says animal protein is harmful. That’s about all the book talks about. It doesn’t say people in China live longer than do Americans but hints that they might have less disease. I am disappointed that this book says so little with reference to the title. I do not think poorer people who eat a more plant based diet live longer than rich people with more modern medicine. This book does not say that Chinese live longer than Americans. It did say that of a group of thousands of twenty year American soldiers killed in the Korean war, almost all had evidence of heart disease. A longevity benefit from a plant based diet is difficult to glean from this book. The book does say that supplements are harmful. I think that that is unproven, and if you match a specific vitamin with a specific benefit you will be surprised by efficacy. I am surprised that the book talks about a breast cancer study which costs many millions of dollars and found no link between diet and breast cancer. Maybe if they studied Iodine intake they would have found a link.

        2. That is all very true. It’s next to impossible to control for all of these factors which are also important. When I made my decision to change is was also based on the work of Dr. Esselstyn, Pritikin, Ornish, and Mcdougall who have had great sucess helping people get off meds and recover from heart disease with a vegan diet. Dr. Gregors grandmother was successfully treated by Dr. Pritikin which is what helped motivate him to become a doctor and get involved in lifestyle medicine. I’m erring on the side of caution here, but lost both of my grandfathers to heart disease before I was born. Be well and best wishes in your search for good health.

          1. I had a double bypass twenty years ago this coming January. I was on the AMA/AHA low fat diet for 20 years. It was stress, which for me goes to my heart. My father had a heart attack about the same age also because of stress, but he did smoke until middle age and did not exercise. He lived to 91. When I had my heart incident the doctors were amazed because I was exercising, not overweight, had a 32 inch waist, and my TC about 220 mg/dl. — not too bad, I then went on the Ornish Diet which caused me severe arrhythmia. I felt aweful. Then I read three books that had me add cold water fatty fish and krill and fish oil supplements. Over time the arrhythmia went away. On the 10 year anniversary of my operation I met a young man on a hiking trail in Red Rock Canyon (near Las Vegas). I asked if I could join him on a hike to Turtlehead Peak, the most difficult trail in RRC. It was a very steep I think 3,000 ft climb. I huffed and puffed all the way up but no chest pain. I did not stop to rest once. I may try it again on my 20th anniversary, although I am cautious about the descent. I don’t want to have a injury that will prevent me from my regular daily exercise. A few months ago I started peak training after my daughter gave me a FitBit for my birthday. At first I was regularly getting my HR in the 90 to 100 percent of my MHR. Now its really hard to reach 85%. If you see a 75 yo man in the Costco parking lot running behind his shopping cart, that’s me. I garden every day. Great exercise for both mind and body and lifting those heavy pots is great strength training. And the amazing thing is I have no pain. My whole family suffers from arthritis pain except me. Sometimes if I overdo it I’ll have pain for a day but it always goes away — knock wood. I think it’s because I am anal about inflammation. That is the diet you need to look into. Cheers!!!

        3. Rpabate you got it! But I think you missed it. The point is when you compare the same group (Chinese) of people–Chinese who live in the city and those trappings vs Chinese who live in the country and a “cleaner” lifestyle–the country people win every time health wise. That is the China Study. You don’t want to “control for those differences.”

          1. You do need to control those other aspects if you want to isolate the impact of diet, which is what the book was all about, the difference in diet. I am also wondering how many of those country folk ate eggs, probably most. Eggs are a great source of protein and other important nutrients. The difference between country folk eggs and city folk eggs is the diet and living conditions for their chickens. Poor country folk can’t afford to purchase the feed fed to chickens raise for city folk eggs, so their chickens eat a far more natural and varied diet, including, probably, bugs and worms. Bugs are actually quite healthy. Lots of protein.

            We also know that country folk also consume plenty of animal products. Living in close quarters with farm animals, including ducks and chickens, have been the source of some really bad infectious diseases. I have no idea how well the authors of the study weeded out those country folk that ate a vegetable only diet and those that also included a diet that included animal and poultry products.

            The eggs I eat are pasture raised and fed a diet that includes flax seed. That is why the eggs contain a fair bit of omega-3s. Grass fed livestock pasture raised is also probably fine in small amounts. They have less fat and more omega-3s. However, if the killing of farm animals bothers you, that’s fine. I respect that although I thinks it’s a bit over the top. Every day millions of birds, rodents and wild animals are being killed by other wild animals. That’s just the way of nature.

            1. My point was about the specific design of the China Study. It was to look at the entire Chinese population and to figure out why some were getting cancer and others were not. It’s actually quite interesting.

              1. Just checked Amazon. Book is not for me. I don’t eat meat except on rare occasions. I only eat wild caught fish, mostly sockeye salmon, mussels and raw oysters. I also eat eggs 5 days a week and only eggs that have high levels of omega-3. What I focus in on are the following — inflammation, oxidation, insulin, the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio, triglycerides, LDL Pattern and HDLs mg/dL. I have no inflammation, according to every hs CRP test I have ever taken. My oxidized LDL is in the optimal zone on every test I have taken. My insulin is 4 uU/ (optimal range 3 to 9). My N-6 to N-3 ratio is 2.3:1( optimal is 5:1). Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory. Google Bill Lands and his work on the omegas. My triglycerides are around 55 mg/dL (optimal is less than 150). I have found that if I eat oysters before a blood test my triglycerides drop into the 40ies. My LDL Pattern is A (large and fluffy optimal). My HDL are around 75 mg/dL. So I am very OK on all the risk factors for chronic illness.

                I think that we have demonized cholesterol just the way we have demonized CO2. I don’t think having cholesterol as low as recommended on this website is particularly healthy. It is inflammation and oxidation that is dangerous, both of which I watch like a hawk. So far on these two metrics I am batting a perfect score.

                  1. Could be but that is just one of my metrics. Is inflammation a lie? Is oxidation a lie? Is the Omega-6:Omega-3 ratio a lie? Is very low insulin a lie? Is very low triglycerides a lie? All of these are markers for good health and all of these I rate optimal in my blood tests. I don’t have high levels of oxidized LDL so does it make a difference that my LDL’s are a bit high. Most people don’t have a good a level for HDLs. Mind’s excellent. All I know is that for a 75 year old I walk faster, exercise longer, do far more strength training at far higher weight levels, have far lower body fat, a much trimmer waist size and far greater stamina than 99.9% of the 75 year olds I have encountered, and have been told the same by doctors. I must be doing something right.

                1. I just started the book. I like to find books that may gently convince some of my patients that eating WFPB is a good idea. It is very reader friendly. (So far) he is a vegan but has a gentle open way of saying add as many fruit and veggies as possible to limit the animal on your plate. I like that approach. Or at least it worked with me. And then I just got to a point where the thought was repulsive.

    3. rpabate: There is a lot of points in your post. I don’t have time to respond to all of it. But here is one point that exemplifies your claims. You wrote, “It appears, based on research not provided by Dr. Greger, that low levels of cholesterol, especially in older adults, increases all cause mortality.”

      The link between lower cholesterol and higher mortality in older adults is well known as ‘reverse causation’. In other words, your claim that lower cholesterol causes early death is highly unlikely. Below is a copy of part of a great post from Tom Goff which explains how we know this in more detail. What we do know is that high cholesterol (i.e, total cholesterol above 150 and LDL above 70–I understand why your doctor wants you on a statin!) is related to increased mortality. There is plenty of evidence to support this statement on this site. Here are just two videos that are helpful:
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/optimal-cholesterol-level/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/cholesterol-crystals-may-tear-though-our-artery-lining/

      Dr. Greger looks at all cause mortality all the time (as well as lots of other diseases besides heart disease). If the topic of all cause mortality really interests you, you could investigate this site more. You would see solid evidence on how eating a whole food plant based diet helps people live longer and how eating meat, dairy and eggs is associated with shorter life. Dr. Greger also has a book coming out called, “How Not To Die” that specifically looks at the issue of diet and life expectancy.

      In short, while I agree with you that all cause mortality is an important factor to consider, your ideas about what makes for a healthy diet and longer life are simply not reflected in the evidence.

      ***********************

      From Tom Goff:
      “… it is believed that the low weight and low cholesterol in older people associated with higher mortality is best explained by “reverse causation”. That is, certain long latency diseases like cancer, some respiratory diseases, viral infections etc cause lower cholesterol. Alzheimer’s Disease is another example of such associations. In these cases, unexplained declining cholesterol levels and weight loss which are not the result of dietary changes (or statins) are most likely early pre-clinical symptoms of disease. People who have stable low weight or low cholesterol throughout life do not have higher mortality or cancer or Alzheimer’s incidence. Ditto for people who have cholesterol lowered by statins.

      The fact that people who have lowered cholesterol as a result of statin usage do not have higher stroke risk suggests that this association with stroke may also be an example of reverse causation. This 2009 editorial from “Circulation” offers an interesting discussion of the subject:
      http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/16/2131.full

      1. Could be. My father, who had high cholesterol, never exercised, smoked into middle age, lived to 91. He never took a statin. I am more influenced by levels of inflammation, levels of oxidized LDL, level of HDL and LDL pattern size than the level of TC. I’m 75. I do peak training 3 days a week getting my heart rate to between 85 and 100 percent of my MHR in 20 second bursts followed by 40 seconds at a reduced rate. I never have chest pain. I subscribe to no TV. I hardly ever sit, which I am doing now only because I am having lunch. I have a girlfriend 23 years younger than me. I have been tested for my biological age and found it was 20 years younger than my chronological age. I listen to audiobooks when I exercise, prepare meals and do gardening, which is great exercise for both my body and brain. I know about all the studies indicating that statins save lives. My former cardiologist told me that not one percent of his patients lived as healthy and productive a lifestyle as I do. So when my doctor keeps saying that all the meta studies show that statins save lives, I retort that those studies involve the average American living the average American lifestyle. What about people who live my lifestyle, how would statins stack up? She says there are not enough of those people to do such a study. Frankly, I would use Google to explore the idea that too low cholesterol level pre-disposes to cancer and other life threatening conditions. A heart doctor told me I would die of heart disease because of my high TC (I never went back to him — read or listen to” Mind over Medicine”) and he would die of cancer because of his low cholesterol. Regarding cholesterol and statins Google Stephanie Seneff. Also Google “Lies, Damn Lies and Medical Science” an article in The Atlantic magazine. I applird what I learned from that article to what we are told by the global warming alarmists. I’m a total skeptic. Just released is a new paper by a French math society trashing climate alarmism. You should get it on “WATTSUPWITHTHAT” or “The Global Warming Policy Foundation”. Also check Dr. Judith Curry’s blog “judithcurry.com. Stay active means staying healthy.

        1. rpabate: re: “My father, who had high cholesterol, never exercised, smoked into middle age, lived to 91.” Exactly. You can always find someone who lived a pretty unhealthy lifestyle and still lived a long time. Do you really think your father’s example means that smoking is healthy? I hope not. The point is that your father lived a long time despite his bad habits. (not because of them)

          You too could get lucky. But this site is not about getting lucky. This site is about the science. What does the evidence tell us in regards to disease risk? What diet is likely to extend our lives based on good solid evidence? The evidence against cholesterol and heart disease is as clear as the evidence against smoking and lung cancer. You ignore that at your own peril.

          Good for you for getting a lot of exercise. Sadly, there are studies highlighted on NutritionFacts showing that exercise rarely compensates as much as we like to hope for a bad diet. But again, you could get lucky. And exercise certainly isn’t going to hurt. It is likely to lessen your risk somewhat.

          I think it is helpful to draw a distinction between being a “skeptic” and being a “denier”. In this context, I would define a skeptic as someone who understands all the evidence, thinks about it carefully, and based on some solid reasoning, decides that the evidence really points a different way than others interpret. A denier is someone who denies the evidence no matter how much and how strong the evidence is. People who do claim cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease are called cholesterol deniers. That’s because the evidence regarding cholesterol really is that strong. If you really are a skeptic, then you will want to check out Plant Positive who has done a very in depth report (in the form of videos), looking into the claims you have made:
          http://plantpositive.com/

          1. I am not banking on getting lucky. I have an outstanding diet. I just don’t believe that only eating vegetables is the key to good health. I eat plenty of vegetables, but I also eat eggs, some cheese and fatty fish and shellfish. Cholesterol is a very important for good health. Like CO2 it has been demonized. Can you imagine CO2 being categorized a pollutant by our EPA? Madness. I think cholesterol has also been demonized. It’s not the cholesterol that’s dangerous but the inflammation and oxidation that are the culprits. There are many factors that influence inflammation from stress, depression, improper care of teeth and gums, an out-of-balance N6 to N3 ratio, sugar and high carbohydrate intake, and probably others that I am either not aware of or cannot remember. Cheers!!

          2. I’m not a denier. Cholesterol is a factor but have these studies controlled for chronic inflammation and oxidation? I haven’t seen one that did and yet chronic inflammation seems to be a factor in all chronic illnesses. Again, my level of inflammation is so low it’s not measurable using the hs CRP test <0.3 consistently. My level of oxidized LDL is in the low risk range constantly. My HDL is always above 60 mg/dl and at times as high as 75 mg/dl. I must be doing something right. Cheers!!

              1. But I have no inflammation and I eat fish, eggs and small amounts of cheese. What better evidence do I need than hs CRP consistently less than 0.3 mg/L. Optimal is considered anything less than 1.0 mg. So I am at the lowest end of the optimal range. In fact I assume that the < (less than sign) in front of the 0.3 means they can't measure it because they would not have used the less than sign. Another inflammation marker more specific to heart disease is myeloroxidase (pmol/L). Optimal range is anything less than 320. I am consistently less than 320. My last reading was 267. One time I was as low as 161 when my TC was much higher than today. I've never been higher than the 267– my last reading. Another inflammation marker is La-Pla2. My last test was the intermediate risk range. Out of the 5 test scores 3 were low risk range and 2 intermediate risk range. My best (i.e., lowest test result 154) was when my cholesterol was the highest (248). Everything I eat is of the highest quality prepared by a fine chef — me. Believe me, I eat plenty of nuts, seeds, berries, and leafy green vegetables. Being single and living alone, if I buy most any green leafy vegetable I consume the whole bunch in one sitting – like spinach, chard, beet greens, and most times lettuce. I eat a vegetable only diet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. That is when I have beans instead of fish. I have no problem if an individual is a vegan, I just don't think it's the best diet because it's missing the Omega-3s especially the DHAs and EPAs. Google Dr. Bill Lands for more on the N-6 to N-3 ratio.

                Cheers!!!

          3. I’m not a denier. Cholesterol is a factor but have these studies controlled for chronic inflammation and oxidation? I haven’t seen one that did and yet chronic inflammation seems to be a factor in all chronic illnesses. Again, my level of inflammation is so low it’s not measurable using the hs CRP test <0.3 consistently. My level of oxidized LDL is in the low risk range constantly. My HDL is always above 60 mg/dl and at times as high as 75 mg/dl. I must be doing something right. Cheers!!

            1. You are a denialist, a fool, both, or you seriously need to clarify your position. After all that hemming and hawing about supposed lack of control for confounders in a study that you don’t like, why are you introducing a Chart of Great Importance that totally lacks the kind of statistical control that you have said is so important? Don’t the huge disparities between countries in the way heart disease is cared for matter to you, especially when they correlate with the capacity to eat lots of saturated fat and cholesterol?

              1. I am neither in denial nor fool. I suspect a large part of the reason vegans have better health outcomes than meat eaters is because the choice to be a vegan most likely also means the the choice to lead a more healthy lifestyle. Clearly eating a wide variety of whole foods, which I do, confers great health benefits. However, adding wild caught fish and shellfish, grass fed livestock, whole eggs from chicken fed a diet heavy in flax seed (think omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid) and small amounts of cheese similarly made from the milk of grass fed livestock confers, in my opinion, additional health benefits.

                I was on a plant only diet for over five years and almost died. I had terrible arrhythmia whenever I started cardio and laid down to sleep. One time they were so bad I was taken by ambulance to hospital. My research turned up a possible imbalance between omega-6 and omega 3 that can cause sudden cardiac arrest. Once I started eating cold water fatty fish, taking krill oil and fish oil supplements they start to subside. Now they are practically non-existent. I also have more energy and muscle mass.

                We know from anthropologists that our ancestors were hunter gathers. You don’t hunt plants. Plants are gathered. Animal and foul are hunted. I would include fish and shell fish in the same hunter category as animal and foul but if you want to include them in the gather category that’s OK with me. Clearly our hunter gather ancestors ate more than just plants.

                Clearly, eating meat, poultry and fish raised for mass consumption is unhealthy as is the consumption of products made from the aforementioned farm raise meat and fish. Clearly, eating any processed food is unhealthy. I don’t consume these products, but adding cold water fatty fish, shellfish, omega-3 enhanced eggs and a small amount of cheese made from the milk of grass fed livestock is not unhealthy and may in fact confer health benefits.

                Additionally, when I have my blood tested for heart disease markers I score low risk in almost all categories except TC and LDL, although my LDL pattern A is considered low risk. I believe cholesterol has been demonized just the way CO2, another element essential for life, has been demonized. I think the low the better cholesterol level has been pushed for commercial reasons just the way lower CO2 levels have been pushed for both ideological and commercial reasons.

                Longevity is not just about cholesterol just the way climate change is not just about CO2. Chronic diseases are complex. Inflammation seems to be a marker for many, especially for heart disease but also for some cancers, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Oxidized LDL is also a marker for heart disease. Insulin level a marker for diabetes. On all three markers, my results always fall in the low risk category. The fact that some may think my TC at 200 mg/dl is high risk does not concern me. I think that TC at 150 mg/dl is high risk. So far all the factors that do concern me — inflammation, oxidation and insulin — are perfect and I am very suspicious that a 150 mg/dl cholesterol level has a large element of special interest attached to it. Please read “Lies, Damn Lies and Medical Science” from The Atlantic magazine.

                Finally, chronic disease, especially heart disease, has many more elements that impact it, including stress. You are clearly stressed for you would not have called me the names you did if you weren’t. That may be more unhealthy than eating some fish, eggs and cheese.

                1. I didn’t call you names and you haven’t answered my questions about your special chart. You’ve instead scattered in multiple directions, putting unrelated claims ahead in likely defense of the ego. You seem more stressed than me.

              2. Some people believe what they choose to accept, and create their own reality. Others weigh the best of the facts, make informed decisions, and act on them.

      2. Thea, I have an interesting chart on my computer that I would like you to see but I cannot attach. Let me give you the link as best I can read. It is a study by the WHO plotting various diseases and all cause mortality and cholesterol levels for men in many different countries. Obviously one has to take these statistics with a grain of salt as I have no idea how good cause of death statistic are in many of the countries shown on the chart. On the chart the sweet spot seems to be between 200 and 240 mg/dl TC. Hope you are able to access the graph. Cheers!!
        http://www.heartstats.org/documents/download.asp?nodeid=6797

      1. Yes. I take the following supplements — soluble fiber – 2 servings, one tablet 150 mg Sytrinol and 10 mg policosanol, and green tea extract. Oatmeal has a big impact. I have it with one serving of soluble fiber, five prunes and a handful of walnuts. My omelet starts with fresh tumeric, garlic, black pepper and serrano pepper chopped up in a herb chopper. All highly anti-inflammatory. That get added to coconut oil and red palm oil all unrefined and cold pressed. Then I add sweet onion, shitake mushroom, and pricilla green pepper (really dark green), chopped tomato and chopped kale (a lot of chopped kale). When this mixture is cooked al dente I blend two whole eggs, with another serving of soluble powder, chia seeds and curry powder and pour over the cooking contents in the frying pan. Eggs are a really healthy food. Three days a week a eat natto. Not great but healthy. Google K2 in the form of MK7. My salmon at dinner is poached in olive oil and white wine. Only wild salmon. I add dried chillies and WF Med Seafood seasoning. Included are spring onions, sweet onions. When slightly cooked I add chopped tomatoe and plenty of parsley. I add the salmon last pouring on a little more wine wine and black pepper before spooning the simmering other ingredients over the salmon. Super healthy. Part of the reason my N6 to N3 ratio is sooo healthy. I rank with the Inuit in terms of the ratio and the Inuit seem to have very low rates of heart attck and eat a lot of fish. I also gulp down flaxseed oil before eating fruit. I love oysters. I have found that if I eat oysters before taking a blood test my triglycerides plummet into the 40s. I make a mussel dish similar to the salmon. Again, I come back to the fact that our teeth and digestive tract is not what is commonly found in herbivores. That speaks far more than research reports which I have little faith in. Read “Lies, Damn Lies and Medical Science” The Atlantic magazine. Google it. Gotta go. finished my luch and off to my garden. Just back from the gym. Stay cool.

        1. re: ” I rank with the Inuit in terms of the ratio and the Inuit seem to have very low rates of heart attck and eat a lot of fish.” The idea that Inuit have or had low heart disease is an often repeated myth. You can start to educate yourself on the Inuit from the following page (you really have to see other videos on that site also in order to get the whole picture):
          http://plantpositive.com/32-the-eskimos-again

          Here’s one quote: “…let’s look at the actual paper. As you see, Gottman is the author. His conclusion is, “Qualitatively, the pathological findings within the native Alaskan population do not appear to be significantly different from those found in the rest of the United States.” Realize this was written in 1960, right in the middle of the epidemic of heart disease that drove the urgently needed research back then into diet-heart. For the Inuit to be no better off than the Americans of those days is not saying much. I don’t think this supports any claim by the Paleo promoters that they were free of heart disease, and I don’t think a meaty paradox exists here. Gottman commented that they were especially vulnerable to infectious disease. Deaths from infectious disease at younger ages would have reduced the number of people living to be old enough to die of heart disease. …

          Gottman says there was a 40-year-old woman with calcified arteries. 40 is way too young for such a thing…This calcification is what happens during heart disease. Gottman also mentioned a 41-year-old man who suffered a stroke due to plaque formation, and he, too, had diseased arteries. 41 isn’t old to me, Dr. Cordain. Would Gottman have guessed that his paper would be used one day to say that these people were unusually healthy?”

    4. “I try to keep my TC around 200. I take a statin 2 days a week only because my doctor insists I take a statin.” A TC of 200 is indeed the norm – for a population where it is the norm to have a heart attack. It is FAR from perfect. 1/3 of all heart attacks occur in people with TC between 150 and 200. It is only when TC is less than 150 does the rate of heart attack decline to very nearly zero. Populations where it is rare to have a total cholesterol above 150 simply do not have heart disease. If you are on this site, I strongly encourage you to view a few of the videos starting with this one.

      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/one-in-a-thousand-ending-the-heart-disease-epidemic/

      In the 1960 (before they too were invaded by western dietary practices) over 1000 Ugandans who died of natural causes were autopsied and their hearts examined for any evidence of heart attacks, healed or unhealed (and thus likely the cause of death). They found only ONE single healed infarct. This means that none of those 1000 deaths was caused by a heart attack. The number one cause of premature death in this country was totally absent.

      Oh and be careful with throwing around terms like “cherry picking”. Them’s is fightin’ words. If you haven’t viewed at least several dozen of the top videos on this site and looked at the journal articles from which the information presented was drawn (Dr. Greger very helpfully lists them all WITH hyperlinks with every video – see “sources cited” link with each video), then you have no bases what so ever to make such a charge. Now I could be unkind and say that if you really want to see cherry picking, all you need to do is visit any Paleo diet web site, but I won’t ;-)

      I hope you will stick around. Alternate points of view are always welcome and in fact are quite refreshing. But do take some time and look at the (as the Donald would say) HUUUUGE amount of information freely available to you with full sources cited

    5. And your point is? That you will continue to eat what you like and want to believe, and will live, or not, with the consequences? Perfect(?) TC of 200 and taking statins somehow seems to be a red flag for your rationale here. Have you ever even TRIED ditching the animal products for a few weeks to get off the statins instead of “pleasing your Dr???

    6. ” Dr. Greger is the diet equivalent of a global warming alarmist. He
      also cherry picks the data. We did not evolve to be herbivores. Neither
      our teeth nor our digestive tract are similar to herbivores.”

      Excuse me? I think you owe Dr Greger an apology. Your ‘cherry picking’ insult is unfounded and uncalled for as well as your climate change denial-ism rhetoric . Why are you even here on a plant based diet site if you are not interested in plant based diets? Just to discourage folks on plant based diets and troll a bunch of Vegans to push your bro-science low carb paleo BS agenda on us? Why aren’t you over on Jimmy Moore’s site with all the rest of the animal eating low-carber lemmings? You guys can take long walks on the beach with mug-fulls of coffee and lard, double fisting Kerrygold butter stick and talking about all the Inuit athletes winning gold in the Olympics…But this is not that place…You are purposely trolling here and looking for attention and a fight. It gets old man. Have some respect for Dr Geger and his work or take it someplace else.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better! His dedication to this issue showed by his relentless efforts testifying at the USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee meetings. See Dr. Greger’s testimony. How many doctors take the time out of their busy schedule to show up and stand up for a righteous cause?

      1. Dr. Greger is an invaluable asset in the nutritional world – a bridge to the science for most folks who have neither the time nor inclination to get into the weeds of the underlying studies. Dedicated, selfless. The real deal.

  5. Why do studies indicate that, at least among the elderly, higher cholesterol levels are associated with lower death rates from all causes? Why are hospitalized patients with higher cholesterol less likely to get nosocomial infections?

    1. From Tom Goff:
      “… it is believed that the low weight and low cholesterol in older people associated with higher mortality is best explained by “reverse causation”. That is, certain long latency diseases like cancer, some respiratory diseases, viral infections etc cause lower cholesterol. Alzheimer’s Disease is another example of such associations. In these cases, unexplained declining cholesterol levels and weight loss which are not the result of dietary changes (or statins) are most likely early pre-clinical symptoms of disease. People who have stable low weight or low cholesterol throughout life do not have higher mortality or cancer or Alzheimer’s incidence. Ditto for people who have cholesterol lowered by statins.

      The fact that people who have lowered cholesterol as a result of statin usage do not have higher stroke risk suggests that this association with stroke may also be an example of reverse causation. This 2009 editorial from “Circulation” offers an interesting discussion of the subject:
      http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/16/2131.full

    2. I believe the answer, sir, is that they are the long lived group of those with high cholesterol. If they haven’t died by age 70 with high cholesterol, they are not going to die. There is some research that HDL is not important for heart health, this is in order to sell more statins. Those with HDL live much longer, according to a paradigm being debunked. Perhaps those with high HDL are being lumped in with high cholesterol. HDL is important for heart health, according to past research. Niacin (in large doses of one gram or more a day) can raise HDL. Big Pharma doesn’t like that.

  6. Some authorities often NDs had convinced me Eggs and Cholesterol were just fine.Essential for use by the brain primarily
    and elsewhere. I had a dozen last week. Now I’m convinced I must drop them again. After years without them I won’t miss them

  7. A very important article. Well written, thank you. These “cholesterol is a myth” and “saturated fat is not harmful” are
    doing so much damage that even so-called experts and some health-care professionals are buying into them and spreading them. Thanks to Dr. Greger, we at least have tools to stay on track…

  8. I hope to see from a consencious of studies, a reasonable range-dosage of egg consumption that result in lower risk of cardiovascular disease, i.e. a level well below the ‘plateau’?

  9. What’s up with the new guidelines from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that DON’T make any recommendations for dietary cholesterol intake. From a NYT article:

    “The panel also dropped a longstanding recommendation that Americans restrict their intake of dietary cholesterol from foods like eggs and shrimp — a belated acknowledgment of decades of research showing that dietary cholesterol has little or no effect on the blood cholesterol levels of most people.

    ‘For many years, the cholesterol recommendation has been carried forward, but the data just doesn’t support it,” said Alice H. Lichtenstein, the vice chairwoman of the advisory panel and a professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University.’

    Dr. Krauss said that some people experience a rise in blood cholesterol after eating yolks and other cholesterol-rich foods. But these “hyper-responders” are such a minority — roughly a few percent of the population — that they do not justify broad restrictions on cholesterol intake.”

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/19/nutrition-panel-calls-for-less-sugar-and-eases-cholesterol-and-fat-restrictions/?_r=0

  10. Stop deleting Comments that don’t support your agenda. If that is what you intend to do then make a private forum where you can all circle Jerk your bullshit.

  11. Let me see if I can come up with a comment that fits the agenda of this site. Oh my god, GMO soy and corn are so good and healthy and the lobbies are 100% about health and honest research. We should all replace all our food with soybean and corn. Dr. Gregor only prints the best most latest research for us to read and he would never omit opposing research which would Conflict with his pending book. He doesn’t care about profits just that we all eat the best diet. It doesn’t matter that there are no populations on the planet that have existed on a vegan diet, we vegans are obviously using superior research to trick nature. We will live long happy lives devoid of any disease. Thank you. How is that?

  12. Dietary cholesterol is very poorly absorbed and therefore doesn’t cause high cholesterol levels in the blood. It’s refined sugar and refined carbohydrates and casein which is cow’s milk protein which cause high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. This is because these foods are very inflammatory which causes you liver to increase production of cholesterol for the purpose of increasing production of hormones to fight the inflammation. The large majority of cholesterol in your body doesn’t come from dietary cholesterol, but is produced by your liver. When your liver is under stress increased cholesterol production is the result. There are other reasons to avoid eggs such as high levels of animal hormones which can cause estrogen dominance and high estrogen levels but the cholesterol in eggs is harmless.

    http://www.1800chemist.com/taped2/10-22-15-Natural_Cholesterol_Control.mp3

    1. Hi Nike,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your question.

      There are several aspects of this study that can be analyzed. 1) These study findings are based on 9 coronary heart disease reports and 8 stroke reports. That is a small sample of disease incidences to determine the effects of a food. 2) This is an association study, and any conclusions should be made in light of this. Randomized controlled trials are much more effective at teasing apart cause and effect relationships. 3) Just because a food does not increase risk of a disease in general, does not mean that food is healthy. We should be striving to consume foods that reduce our risk of disease. Additionally, if the average person, who consumes (in all likelihood) a fairly poor diet, eats eggs, that may have a neutral effects, since eggs may be no better and no worse than the rest of their diet. However, consider somebody eating a very healthy diet, but that decides to add eggs into their diet pattern now. Will that person’s risk remain low, or would it increase? Unfortunately, we don’t know the answer for certain, but hypotheses can be made, and hopefully one day, can be tested.

      I hope this helps answer your question, even though we don’t truly understand the effects of eggs on health.

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