The Natural Human Diet

Image Credit: Nathan Rupert / Flickr. This image has been modified.

The Natural Human Diet

Our epidemics of dietary disease have prompted a great deal of research into what humans are meant to eat for optimal health. In 1985, an influential article highlighted in my video The Problem With the Paleo Diet Argument was published proposing that our chronic diseases stem from a disconnect between what our bodies ate while evolving during the Stone Age (about 2 million years ago) and what we’re stuffing our face with today. The proposal advocated for a return towards a hunter-gatherer type diet of lean meat, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

It’s reasonable to assume our nutritional requirements were established in the prehistoric past. However, the question of which prehistoric past we should emulate remains. Why just the last 2 million? We’ve been evolving for about 20 million years since our last common great ape ancestor, during which our nutrient requirements and digestive physiology were set down. Therefore our hunter-gatherer days at the tail end probably had little effect. What were we eating for the first 90% of our evolution? What the rest of the great apes ended up eating—95 percent or more plants.

This may explain why we’re so susceptible to heart disease. For most of human evolution, cholesterol may have been virtually absent from the diet. No bacon, butter, or trans fats; and massive amounts of fiber, which pulls cholesterol from the body. This could have been a problem since our body needs a certain amount of cholesterol, but our bodies evolved not only to make cholesterol, but also to preserve it and recycle it.

If we think of the human body as a cholesterol-conserving machine, then plop it into the modern world of bacon, eggs, cheese, chicken, pork, and pastry, it’s no wonder artery-clogging heart disease is our #1 cause of death. What used to be adaptive for 90% of our evolution—holding on to cholesterol at all costs since we weren’t getting much in our diet—is today maladaptive, a liability leading to the clogging of our arteries. Our bodies just can’t handle it.

As the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Cardiology noted 25 years ago, no matter how much fat and cholesterol carnivores eat, they do not develop atherosclerosis. We can feed a dog 500 eggs worth of cholesterol and they just wag their tail; a dog’s body is used to eating and getting rid of excess cholesterol. Conversely, within months a fraction of that cholesterol can start clogging the arteries of animals adapted to eating a more plant-based diet.

Even if our bodies were designed by natural selection to eat mostly fruit, greens and seeds for 90% of our evolution, why didn’t we better adapt to meat-eating in the last 10%, during the Paleolithic? We’ve had nearly 2 million years to get used to all that extra saturated fat and cholesterol. If a lifetime of eating like that clogs up nearly everyone’s arteries, why didn’t the genes of those who got heart attacks die off and get replaced by those that could live to a ripe old age with clean arteries regardless of what they ate? Because most didn’t survive into old age. 

Most prehistoric peoples didn’t live long enough to get heart attacks. When the average life expectancy is 25 years old, then the genes that get passed along are those that can live to reproductive age by any means necessary, and that means not dying of starvation. The more calories in food, the better. Eating lots of bone marrow and brains, human or otherwise, would have a selective advantage (as would discovering a time machine stash of Twinkies for that matter!). If we only have to live long enough to get our kids to puberty to pass along our genes, then we don’t have to evolve any protections against the ravages of chronic disease.

To find a population nearly free of chronic disease in old age, we don’t have to go back a million years. In the 20th century, networks of missionary hospitals in rural Africa found coronary artery disease virtually absent, and not just heart disease, but high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, common cancers, and more. In a sense, these populations in rural China and Africa were eating the type of diet we’ve been eating for 90% of the last 20 million years, a diet almost exclusively of plant foods.

How do we know it was their diet and not something else? In the 25 year update to their original paleo paper, the authors tried to clarify that they did not then and do not now propose that people adopt a particular diet just based on what our ancient ancestors ate. Dietary recommendations must be put to the test. That’s why the pioneering research from Pritikin, Ornish, and Esselstyn is so important, showing that plant-based diets can not only stop heart disease but have been proven to reverse it in the majority of patients. Indeed, it’s the only diet that ever has.

For more on the absence of Western diseases in plant-based rural populations, see for example:

I’ve touched on “paleo” diets in the past:

In health,

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:

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.


163 responses to “The Natural Human Diet

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  1. Although this is just speculation, because early man had little or no technology to hunt animals and because he was relatively slower than even small game animals, he may have eaten mostly weeds as his primary food source. They’re easy to catch and abundant plus they’re a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Perhaps he spent most of his day blousing for them although he may have also eaten fruit, nuts and seeds when in season The greens would have provided him with the low ratio of omega-6 to 3’s that it’s claimed our ancestors ate. In fact, until recently, collecting wild greens for food was still commonly practiced.




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        1. Why complicate things with frugivore/starchivore etc… There are 3 distinct sub divisions. Herbivores, omnivores (carnivores that eat plants) and then carnivores.




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      1. You are partially wrong. Chimps are mostly vegetarian, but they will eat meat once in a while
        They , for instance, have been observed both hunting smaller monkeys and scavenging meat.
        Baboons eat insects and small vertebrate animals.
        ps: I am not a paleo fan & I try to eat as much as I can a WFPB diet but we cannot try to distort the reality to match our preferred diet.




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        1. Nope, you are totally wrong. Apes aren’t vegetarian nor are they vegan… These are only human lifestyle goals. Nature “designed” 3 distinct groups based on Prefered dietary choices. Carnivores, omnivores and herbivore. Ape are herbivores regardless of what they may eat as cats are carnivores regardless of what they may eat. It’s a question of biology and not of personal choice.

          You are what you’re physiological design dictates choosing to eat in a manner not suited to your design does not alter your design.




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          1. Ok I got you point. Chimps are herbivore (but not vegan) but are not against eating some meat here and there, occasionnaly and not just during in territorial war as you wrote. I am just just against ideological veganism and that we were never meant to eat animal products. That is why Dr Greger never used the argument of the ape family to justify a vegan diet




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            1. Biologically we weren’t ever meant to eat animal protein. We are not able to metabolise it as carnivores do. There are profound differences between herbivores and carnivores. That the exact problem here. We are a entire species suffering from disabiliting dietary diseases. If you fed chimps a diet rich in meat eggs and dairy they would suffer the same diseases we do. The human physiological make up is that of a herbivore and the choice is simple,if you want to be happy and healthy for the rest of your life eat as nature intended.




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            2. An argument may not always be construed per se. However, a healthy discussion moving towards a common, and well informed decision will benefit both people holding the discussion. I do not like the term “argument”. Moreover, that is left to a person’s lexicon and preference. I recently switched back to a peso-vegitarian diet, seems to work for me. I would assume, since I am not everyone else, I only know what suits my needs. Therefore, find a solution you are comfortable with, then follow suit.




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  2. This is a fantastic blog!
    I have often wondered how our ancestors ate in those times and it would be unlikely that they sat down to 3 meals a day of animal products while sitting most of their of their lives or driving up to to the window to order it. How the heck did the paleo proponents rationalize that one? I just don’t know.

    I would speculate that those people worked very hard physically to survive and to catch flesh for consumption-no fish finders, radar, etc. Nope, they just got what they got and shared it and then waited until the next big kill for all to share and likely each of them got very small amounts.

    But us, we sit down to not only 3 large portions of animal flesh a day, our snacks are make of animal products that are processed and then some still say, “oh, this is how we were meant to eat- like the ancients”. Really?




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    1. I agree. 10,000 years ago, our ancestors hadn’t discovered any metals. And it’s going to be difficult to kill a lot of animals without any metal. They may have had stone and wooden tools but I have yet to hear a plausible scenario where they could have killed a significant amount of calories in the form of animal flesh. And it would be very dangerous because even a small scratch or bite could easily lead to a deadly infection. How much easier and safer it would be just to pick some fruit and forage on grasses, greens, nuts and seeds.




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      1. Hi Blair,
        Good points about infection. It is my understanding that there lifespans alone would have been threatened by infection, trauma and starvation. Don’t think many lived to any ripe old age and the anthropological autopsies that the Protein Power people wrote about may not have shown disease because they died so young. Not so with young people today according to Dr. G.




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      1. But wouldn’t the disease and death rates from watching others be sick and die have discouraged that eating behavior? They would have to be right there at the kill at within 3 hours of it I would imagine- we all know what critters grow in meat. Winter might be a different story. I wonder if they could make that connection- I think so.




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        1. Yup, you would certainly think that if a certain food source was causing all who consumed to be ill and die from diseases like atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes and on and on, we’d simply stop consuming it. This would be the action taken by an intelligent species.




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    2. Truly, it makes no evolutionary sense to expend that much time, effort, strategy, energy (calories) for an elusive and risky meal when you have no native adaptations for hunting at all and can easily gather or dig. My guess is, in times of need we scavenged what was left behind by real carnivores, and eventually learned some tricks to get our own, but other apes do too, and they never evolved. It absolutely cracks me up when I hear people insist we are carnivores based on tradition and their tastes alone and some very shallow rationale…as they take their prepackaged, shrink wrapped, raw muscle from the grocery store and throw it on the grill, cover it with seasoning and sauces then sit down and cut it into bite sized pieces…before they even THINK about putting it into their mouth! They might need to watch a wildlife special and watch a cat or wolf hunt, kill, and tear happily at the raw warm flesh with just the “tools” that are inherent to them. I challenge any human who thinks we are even omnivores, to go for it!




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  3. Compelling commentary, Dr. Greger. I checked out your reference to Milton, K (2000) and went on read some of the authors other abstracts. Interesting to read Milton’s other article (Milton, K. J Nutr. 2003 Nov;133(11 Suppl 2):3886S-3892S) where the author states the importance of animal source foods in our evolutionary development of an “unusually large and complex brain”. Too bad we didn’t evolve to resist the chronic diseases associated with the increased animal source foods given how important they have been to our evolution.




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    1. Missing an important point here. If our “unusually large and complex brain” can today function and thrive on a diet devoid of animal source foods, it stands to reason that those foods played no substantial role other that nourishment at the time.

      We have not only not evolved any resistance to the diseases these foods cause, we have made not one evolutionary advance to consuming it. When you consider other chronic diseases it’s also clear that animal protein is not well metabolised by herbivores.

      By the way, humans have actually lost brain matter the size of a tennis ball in our recent evolution.




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      1. Very good point, Riaan. Milton, K (2003) also brings up the point that “Today, many humans, particularly those in high income nations, have a variety of high quality, non-ASF [animal source foods] dietary alternatives, but such foods were not generally available to paleolithic human ancestors nor to many people today in low income nations.” I’m glad I have the high quality non-animal source foods I have access to today!




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        1. It’s in contrast the poor settlements that are unable to afford “a variety of high quality, non-ASF [animal source foods] dietary alternatives” that are absent of the diseases covered in this article. You know, nations living on rice or maize or potatoes etc ;)

          Although I would have to say, for a human, you find no finer alternative to the protein from these plant sources.




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    2. “where the author states the importance of animal source foods in our
      evolutionary development of an “unusually large and complex brain””

      In response to the quote text above, lions eat meat but have a small brain. Elephants eat plants but have a big brain. So just those two animals alone break the meat brain myth connection that the text above suggested.




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        1. Carnivores are by no definition dumb. All animals evolve and are completely capable of dealing with everyday life. The myth that animals operate on some low level instincts alone is not very well thought through and rather vain if you ask me. We are but apes that learned increasingly complicated tricks assisted by our opposable thumbs. Intellect is not really our invention. One could argue that all live is intelligent… A spiders venom being able to affect the nervous system of other organisms. Our intelligence is inspired by our surroundings. We understand everything not because we are especially smart by some freak of nature. We understand because our intelect is based on interpreting nature, like all organisms. We are not as special or unique as we’d like.




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          1. Agreed, every creature has special intelligence, I only meant as judged by man, the self proclaimed “smartest” one. I prefer animals myself.




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    3. When Kathy Milton wrote that, the human ability to convert dietary ALA from plant sources to the DHA used in neural membranes was believed very limited, because only men had been tested. We now know premenopausal women convert substantial amounts, precisely to prevent serious deficiencies in embryonic development and nursing infants.

      Conversion of ALA to EPA, DPA and DHA in young women (2002)

      However, infants still benefit when the maternal diet is supplemented with DHA.

      Brains are energy intensive organs. But gatherer-hunters groups on the African savannah like the Hadza obtain adequate energy (with surprisingly little effort) predominately from plant sources: women gather berries and baobab nuts in season and dig fibrous/starchy roots all year, while men gather honey and hunt, with some of the meat being shared. Modern experts in hominin evolution think the lynchpin to human brain evolution wasn’t the meat, but being able to cook those roots to improve starch availability. A few key papers outlining this change in thinking (I can point you to a couple dozen papers supporting them, if you’re interested):

      The raw and the stolen: Cooking and the ecology of human origins (1999)
      Grandmothering and the evolution of Homo erectus (1999)
      The importance of dietary carbohydrate in human evolution (2015)




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      1. Darryl, thanks for providing this updated information on the topic. It helps clarify things for me. I am definitely going to check out those articles you posted.




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  4. I get uncomfortable with arguments like the one in this video based on average life expectancy. If there was a lot of infant and child mortality, and there probably was, then there would have been many adults living into their 50s and 60s or even older. It is possible that we have adapted to live at least into our 60s eating a modest amount of animal products. I look at my parents, grandparents and other older folks in society around me and I see people surviving decades of cholesterol consumption. However, heart disease and stroke do get them in the end.




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    1. I guess the point is really that we have not evolved into carnivores or omnivores even. We don’t have the natural mechanisms to relieve excess cholesterol. Autopsies of young soldiers show that atherosclerosis noticeable with the naked eye exist in 100% of people eating the normal westerner diet of meat eggs and dairy.

      People can also smoke for 70 years, but I wouldn’t call that surviving. Its also about quality of life.




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    2. I too would like the life expectancy to be given for those that reach at least 15 years of age. For paleolithic humans I have seen an estimate that if a person could survive to 15 yo, then they could expect to live on average an additional 39 years or age 54. So definitely more than the expected life expectancy measured at birth, but still not something that modern people would be happy with.

      What is not said is how long did these older paleo folks live with degenerative diseases. Did they start living diminished lives starting in their 40s? By living in a group where they could still contribute to the success of the group by taking on less demanding tasks. As such they wouldn’t have necessarily starved once they couldn’t gather or hunt their own food. So it is possible that while they died in their 50s they spent the last 10-15 years of their lives with diminishing health.

      Since our goal is to live a vigorous and healthy life well into our 80s and 90s, eating a paleolithic diet might still be a poor way to achieve that goal, even if paleolithic people did live into their 50s rather than 20s/30s

      So while saying that they didn’t need to worry because they only lived to 25 is indeed misleading, saying that once they survived childhood they could expect to live to their mid-50s may not be much better.




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      1. Nice to see you are paying attention. I was commenting on today’s article, not a video. Since I never watch the videos and just read the transcripts, I do not really distinguish between videos and articles.




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  5. I do not really understand why people don`t look at history.There is no a single nation all over the world to be vegetarian 100 % More.. we have French population who live long but eat a lot of saturated fat and now their cheese is said to protect heart and vessels and we have Japanese who also live very long but eat much fish.We are given Africa as example but they do not really take the first place for longevity.Now it is in fasion to tell people to be vegetarian or vegan.. but I have difficulty to understand.. why being a vegan one has to take supplements as B12 and some more.. it tells me that something must be wrong if vegan food misses something to be added as supplements..




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    1. B12 is made from a microbe in the soil. The human population used to get B12 after eating close from the earth and drinking from unpolluted rivers. Animals do not make B12, but they do store in their muscle after eating a diet that is supplemented with B12.




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      1. We probably got b12 from ingesting our own feces… You know, scratch a little… eat a little later. B12 is a hygiene problem, we now wash our hands.

        People don’t understand that the animals they consume are supplemented with b12.




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    2. People don’t understand that the animals they consume are supplemented with b12. In other words a human consuming meat gets their b12 from supplements or fortified “food”.




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        1. I believe our own gut bacteria also produces b12 in abundance. According to my sources we are just unable to ‘absorb’ b12 so low down the digestive tract.

          This is why it’s called the hygiene problem. Washing our hands prevents the consumption of our own excrement.




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    3. The French live about as long as you’d expect for their animal fat consumption.
      “(I)t turns out French physicians under-report ischemic heart disease deaths on the death certificates by as much as 20%, according to a World Health Organization investigation.
      So, if you correct for that, then, France basically comes right back in line with the death versus animal fat and death versus cholesterol lines, with about four times the fatal heart attack rates as Japan decades after four times the animal fat consumption.”
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/what-explains-the-french-paradox/




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    4. Virginija: You’ve gotten some good answers so far. B12 is something we would have gotten naturally from living dirty. We now live in an unnatural, sterile/clean environment. Living clean is a good thing in my book. It just means that the B12 issue is not an argument against whole plant food diets. For more information: http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/08/25/vegan-b12-deficiency-putting-it-into-perspective/
      .
      The other point I would make is in response to your starting question: “I do not really understand why people don’t look at history.” They do! Have you heard of the blue zones? These are the healthiest, longest lived traditional cultures on the planet. While they are not 100% vegetarian, they are very close! The traditional Okinwans were 95% plant based (based on calories). Which means that they traditionally ate only a very teeny, tiny amount of animal foods. For more information: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/
      .
      The bottom line is that this is definitely not about “fashion.” This website covers what the body of scientific evidence tells us about what diet is the healthiest for humans. I would encourage you to hang out and learn more. A great starting place would be this recent summary video: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-not-to-die




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    5. Not just vegetarians are deficient in B12, everyone can be. There are tons of videos here that will explain your questions from actual scientific studies, not the twisted agenda you get from people who make profits.




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    6. Virginija, minor point, but it is the Okinawans, not the Japanese in general, who have super centenarian status, and their diet consisted of 70% sweet potato (starch.) They were poor and rarely had access to fish.




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    7. If we are talking about optimal nutrition, which is what we do here, there is no “diet”, omnivore or otherwise, that isn’t deficient in something. Generally, your standard Western diet is deficient in calcium, fiber, folate, iodine, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E to say nothing about phytonutrients (of which there are over 100,000 in plants). Personally I find taking one vit B12 tablet a week is more healthy than than eating chicken poop. Overall, a diet of whole plants is the most nutrient dense diet and you will find that documented in the National Library of Medicine.

      “Now it is in fasion [sic] to tell people to be vegetarian or vegan.” That’s not my experience. Paleo and other low carb diets appear to be the rage amongst the scientifically challenged AND seem to have significant funding behind those movements.




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      1. Note the calcium requirement appears to vary markedly depending on the other elements of the diet. Requirements for whole plant based dieters are likely much lower, and readily achievable with leafy greens (etc.)

        Calcium requirement is a sliding scale (2000)

        From the available data, we can calculate what the calcium requirement might be at different animal protein or sodium intakes. These calculations show that a reduction in animal protein intake from a reference value of 60 to 20 g/d or a reduction in sodium intake from 150 to 50 mmol/d reduces the theoretical calcium requirement from ≈750 to 550 mg/d. The combination of both restrictions would reduce the calcium requirement to 400 mg/d.




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    8. It’s only in the past 30 years that we’ve had a substantial body of knowledge of which diets are health optimal, and which components are harmful (saturated fats, excesses of certain amino acids, inflammatory compounds, etc).

      One can’t eat an omnivorous diet without consuming high amounts of harmful components. One can eat a whole food plant based diet relatively free of those components, and easily supplement the micronutrient its missing. I spend $6/year and less than 10 seconds a day ensuring I get B12. There’s a small bottle of liquid cyanocobalamin by my sink faucet, and I add a dropperful to my Brita water pitcher (down the spout) as I’m refilling it.




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      1. You’re talking about two different things – cardiovascular disease, and lipid profile. The article I posted looked at cardiovascular disease, so there’s no “meat paradox” there. I assume it’s because their diets doesn’t have processed foods or sugar, which are greater causes of heart disease than dietary cholesterol.

        A growing body of research is finding that cholesterol isn’t the best indicator of heart disease. Total cholesterol is pretty meaningless, but the triglyceride/HDL ratio is more meaningful: http://www.docsopinion.com/2014/07/17/triglyceride-hdl-ratio/

        I think in the end, any diet that reduces processed foods and sugar is going to be good for your health, whether that’s plant or meat based.




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        1. Carol, plantpositive addresses Cordain’s position that hunter gatherer meat eating diets are not atherogenic. The paper you posted is authored by Loren Cordain.

          If you have additional info that would weigh the argument, feel free to email plantpositive.

          I disagree heartily with your statement that meat based diets can be healthy. A search on this site for “animal proteins” will give ample resources. http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/02/14/animal-protein-and-igf-1/ http://nutritionfacts.org/video/plant-protein-preferable/




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          1. A search on this site will always find cherry picked data to suggest that plant food is the only way.

            We evolved not to eat meat but because we ate meat. More nutrient and energy dense which allowed our brain to grown and our stomachs to shrink. That is why when you look at apes that eat 90% + plant based diets they are constantly eating, stomachs are massive to break down every last bit of the plant eaten and their brains are smaller.

            Cholesterol isn’t the problem as Carol says. It is the processed / high sugar foods that is the problem. If meat is so bad for us then why do we need Vit B12 so badly? And yes, through the wonders of science you can now supplement with B12, but take it away and we are left with lots of sick vegans / vegetarians / plant food only people.

            In no way am I saying that vegetables aren’t good for us either because they are. I’m just not convinced that meat is the demon this site makes it out to be.




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            1. Luke, the question of B12 is discussed in other comments on this page – no sense in repeating it here. I do encourage you to explore this site where I’m sure you will find convincing evidence ti exclude animal products from your diet. http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/animal-protein/ This link provides an array of on topic videos and articles to get you started.
              Today I enjoy the benefits of a whole food plant based healthful diet. Thank you Dr Greger. signed, an ex-rancher of range-fed cattle from the interior of BC who survived a quintuple bypass.




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              1. I have another short video here Luke that may be of interest to you. Dr Kim Williams, president of the Amercian College of Cardiology speaks on cholesterol, heart disease, diet , and his own choice for choosing a wfpb diet. If you scan this man’s lengthy list of lifetime professional accomplishments you will see why I hold him in such high regard and authoritative in all maaters concerning heart disease and diet.

                https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=q1oB569xq88

                I see that Carol and yourself are seeking debate on the issues . I myself am seeking life, and that why my own research ended here, and at this site of dr greger’s where I continue to learn and be encouraged by a generous and knowledgeable community. Wishing you good health.




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                1. Not looking for a debate. There is a lot of money riding on the fact that cholesterol has been vilified. If lets say for example that one day the evidence was in, and the whole world knew that cholesterol wasn’t the cause of heart disease (CVD) etc…. Guess who falls over? The pharmaceutical industry would take a massive hit. The pharmaceutical industry needs to keep pushing the cholesterol myth because they have such vested interest in it. Not to mention that the lipid levels that are given to doctors have been set by industry. That’s like an alcohol company setting the legal drink driving limit to suit their agenda.

                  You should also realise that most (not all and I don’t have the facts / figures at hand) people that have been admitted for bypasses / heart disease (CVD) have normal lipid profiles. Why would someone that has had a heart attack, have normal lipids? Could it be that cholesterol isn’t the enemy and something else is causing the heart issues?

                  A side note, without cholesterol we would die. Fact! Yes, our body has evolved to create all the cholesterol we require but our body has also evolved to self regulate the amount it needs to create based on how much is taken in through the diet. The only issue is it all depends on what is being eaten as to what sort of cholesterol is created. Example, if we eat healthy fats such as, olive oil, avocado and yes animal fats, our lipids are healthy and less prone to oxidation. If we flip this and use highly processed, already damaged before you get it, seed oils like canola, soybean oils then yes, this will be bad. The lipids created from such oils become rancid and oxidised, especially if cooked at high temperatures, which is usually the case with these oils. These lipids do cause damage and should be avoided at all costs.

                  There are many doctors that sit on the side that cholesterol isn’t the issue and neither is meat. There is a growing amount of research that is coming out in favour of cholesterol being fine. The issue is that when one cholesterol positive study is reported you can bet that the pharmaceutical companies / industries have one to refute it straight away.

                  Plants are good for us. Don’t get me wrong. I just believe in a balanced diet consisting of meat and veggies.




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                  1. Luke: re: “Why would someone that has had a heart attack, have normal lipids?” Because “normal” in a society of sick people is not a healthy level. What we call “normal” in Western society is not really human-normal. The problem is in the definition of normal used by the medical establishment verses what lay people think it means.
                    .
                    On the other hand, note that people who have human-normal cholesterol levels (which is total below 150 and LDL below 60 or 70) are pretty much heart-attack proof. You can learn about this statistic and more on this site.
                    .
                    Yes, your body needs cholesterol. But as explained on this page, your body needs it so badly, it makes all the cholesterol you need. On the other hand, the dose makes the poison. When your body makes too much cholesterol, you get heart disease and have a high risk factor for heart attacks.




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                    1. Well we will all have to wait and see who is correct. I’m fairly confident that statins play a massive role in the continuation to vilify cholesterol and it is all down to the fact that a diet consisting of cholesterol was fed to rabbits, an animal that wasn’t equipped to deal with the large quantities they were fed. Unfortunately we place too much faith in animal and observation studies. The RCT’s I see are leaning more towards a cholesterol myth (IMO). But then since it doesn’t fit Greger’s hypothesis (and his lackeys) I’m sure they will all be industry funded studies that only benefit the meat industries.

                      Believe what you want as I do too.




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                    2. Luke: re: “…it is all down to the fact that a diet consisting of cholesterol was fed to rabbits…” This is not correct. You are missing a giant amount of direct human data/experiments. Your understanding of history and our nutritional science appears to be missing the majority of what humans have done and learned.
                      .
                      You do not sound like you are interested at this point in learning about the data available. “I will believe as I want to.” If you ever change your mind, not only is this site a great source of valid information, but the site http://www.plantpositive.com is another great resource. Plant Positive does an expert job of debunking the misinformation from the cholesterol denialists.




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                    3. Rabbits were just the start. I don’t think a full history lesson is required. That’s where it began, people looked at clogged arteries of cadavers and made assumptions to what caused it, Ancel Keys cherry picked data to point the finger at saturated fats, Harvard scientists were paid by the sugar lobby industry to not only steer the blame for CVD away from sugar but also to pin it on saturated fat. I’m sure I’ve missed some historical moments out but for the most part that is the gist of it. Big industry and lots of money used to pin the blame elsewhere whilst in the meanwhile, the general public is fed, low quality, nutrient poor food and told that is good for them. Too much money hangs on cholesterol being the devil.

                      I don’t want to make this about saturated fat but then again, if it is so bad for us, why is it, in part, the most macro in a mother’s breast milk?

                      On a side note though, I’m happy that this site isn’t pushing processed carbs and recommends wholesome fresh produce. We can agree on that, but I will agree to disagree on cholesterol being as bad as it has been portrayed.




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                    4. Luke: Again, your understanding of history is deeply flawed. You do not seem to be aware of the data available or what actually happened. Just as an example: The accusation of “Ancel Keys cherry picked data..” is well debunked. Here’s one source to educate yourself if you are interested: http://plantpositive.com/blog/2014/6/28/how-time-magazine-sacrificed-its-standards-to-promote-satura.html You can scroll down to the section on Ancel Keys if you aren’t interested in the whole article. He also links to a video where I think he covers the topic in more detail.
                      .
                      For anyone who is not an infant with an infant’s needs, talking about saturated fat in breast milk is not all that compelling. Studies show that you can feed saturated fat to a non-infant human who has normal cholesterol levels and their cholesterol levels will shoot up. Do that enough, and their cholesterol levels rise to levels associated with heart attacks. On the other hand, cultures which eat a diet of relatively low saturated fat and low cholesterol levels their whole lives simply do not have heart disease. This is not a belief. This is the human experience as shown by the data.
                      .
                      Just to put the whole cherry on top: There is only one diet that has ever been proven to reverse heart disease. It’s a low fat whole plant food based diet. It’s been proven more than once, and it is the only diet that has been shown in published peer-reviewed journals to literally open up arteries. That’s some pretty powerful human experiments. It’s not a guess on what causes clogged arteries when you take clogged arteries, change someone’s diet, and watch the clogs dissolve.
                      .
                      To address your conspiracy theory: There’s very little money in rice, beans, apples, and broccoli. The healthy diet is the cheap diet. There’s no great amount of money resting on telling people that eating healthy involves eating whole plant foods.




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                    5. Thea, do you get any information from any sites but plant positive? Any recent medical journals? Not trying to be argumentative, but I find it best to try to listen to several different sources and keep up to date with emerging science. I haven’t seen any other sources that you’ve referenced, but sorry if you did and I missed them.




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                    6. Carol: If you will recall, I gave you two links to a source debunking Nina’s book and that blog was not from the Plant Positive site. I’ve also linked to pages here on NutritionFacts which link directly to medical journals. I find that this site is a great source for keeping up to date with emerging science. But note: My purpose in the conversations on this page is to combat misinformation. I’m not attempting to do a literature review myself. I’m OK with referencing a few sources. People can follow those links and learn more if they are interested.
                      .
                      Lay people have a very difficult time following the science. Dr Greger explains one reason why in this video: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/spin-doctors-how-the-media-reports-on-medicine/ Just because you see something in a medical journal doesn’t make it true. You need to have the skill and knowledge base and experience to analyze the information. So, while it may seem admirable to you that you are looking at some medical journals, it’s not something that would prove productive for most people. Most people would look at the articles like you reference and not be able to see through them.




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                    7. It may be difficult to follow scientific papers, but it’s not impossible, and it’s important to find out what the data actually says before it’s filtered through someone else’s view. Google Scholar is your friend. I’m sure Dr. Gregor is great, but I’d rather make up my mind for myself, based on the latest research. Time for bed for me now, so have a good one!




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                    8. Carol: It’s not about following a scientific paper here or there. It’s about the body of evidence. Following the body of evidence is how someone would be able to see through the flawed science and thinking in the medical journals and places like Google Scholar. I try to help people understand the body of evidence. Have a good night.




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                    9. No, the latest research isn’t showing any such thing.

                      Aseem Malhotra’s opinions can most kindly be described as controversial. They are not shared by panels of experts around the world who have examined all the evidence. The BMJ, where Malhotra’s claims were published, was forced to publish a correction to the article.

                      Incidentally, it appears that the BMJ may also have been accepting money to publish pro-saturated fat viewpoints (although there is no evidence that this is the case with the Malhotra article).
                      http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/2015/10/nina-teicholz-bmj-nutrition-coalition.html

                      As well as all the evidence that has been published over many decades that saturated fat consumption is an important risk factor, a simple observation is that no high fat diet consuming groups have ever been associated with longer than average life. Whereas a number of studies have associated low saturated fat consuming groups with longevity – eg Okinawans eating a traditional diet. On this general point, yesterday a report of a new study appeared …..

                      “The study participants who ate the highest amounts of vegetables had a lower risk of dying during the study period than those who ate the lowest amounts, the researchers found………….. participants who ate the highest amounts of added solid fats had triple the risk of dying from any cause during the study period compared with those who ate the lowest amounts. ”
                      https://www.yahoo.com/news/eating-middle-age-set-long-144500180.html?ref=gs




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                    10. “Aseem Malhotra’s opinions can most kindly be described as controversial. They are not shared by panels of experts around the world who have examined all the evidence.”

                      In my experience, consensus of opinion does not constitute a valid argument against individual opinion. Only facts matter. And nobody has examined all the evedince: no individual, no panal.

                      Emerging evidence suggests that the arachidonic acid content of animal products may be more problematic than saturated fats. “We now know that major changes have taken place in the food supply over the last 100 years, when food technology and modern agriculture led to enormous production of vegetable oils high in ω-6 fatty acids, and changed animal feeds from grass to grains, thus increasing the amount of ω-6 fatty acids at the level of LA (from oils) and arachidonic acid (AA) (from meat, eggs, dairy).” http://openheart.bmj.com/content/3/2/e000385

                      I’ve been collecting and analyzing linoleic acid (LA) research for nearly 7 years. Only recently did I come to suspect that the arachidonic acid (AA) profile of animal products may have an impact on cardiovascular health. If feeding animals grains rich in LA boosts the AA content of animal products, then perhaps some research is in order to quantify the effects. It may turn out that the AA content of animal products, among other deleterious effects, increases heart attack risk.

                      Recent research into genetic vulnerability to heart disease has shown that endogenous production of AA varies in human populations. This may explain why traditionally vegetarian South Asian and African cultures seemingly cannot tolerate current levels of LA intake. Excerpts:

                      “…about 80% of African Americans have a polymorphism (rs174537) associated with more effective conversion of SC-PUFA to LC-PUFA by desaturase-5, resulting in higher levels of both arachidonic acid (AA) and EPA, even though their fish consumption is lower, on average, than that of whites. The ‘desaturase hypothesis’ is that, in populations following a Western diet rich in omega-6 and relatively deficient in omega-3 PUFAs, FADS polymorphisms associated with high desaturase activity may lead to predominant proinflammatory, detrimental effects. It is intriguing to hypothesize that the higher levels of disorders such as hypertension, asthma, and aspirin resistance in African Americans are linked to a higher inflammatory state driven by overproduction of prostaglandins and leukotrienes synthesized from AA. http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=2022250

                      “Common variants at this locus have also been associated with serum phospholipid concentrations including arachidonic acid, desaturase activity (increased arachidonic-to-linoleic acid ratio), increased CRP concentration and CVD risk, phospholipid subfractions including sphingomyelin species, and increased plasma glucose and T2D risk. These findings suggest a proinflammatory response mediated by increased desaturase activity, although the mechanistic link between these pathways and lipoprotein metabolism is unclear. Similarly, it is uncertain whether one or all of these genes are involved in TRL metabolism.” http://www.jlr.org/content/52/2/189.full

                      Consider the fate of Asian Indians residing in the United States. “More than half of the Asian Indians are lifelong vegetarians. Unlike other populations, heart disease rates are equally high among vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Vegetarians, compared to non- vegetarians, had similar levels of lipids but higher levels of diabetes. The prevalence of CAD was even higher for men (12%) in another small study. Women participants were few and young and had a lower rate. The high rates of CAD in Asian Indians in the US are not limited to physicians. In a large study of 13,537 Americans in California, the rate of hospitalization from CAD among Asian Indians was four times higher than in whites and six times higher than in Chinese. The rates for Japanese, Filipinos, and other Asians were no different than whites. Thus, Chinese and Asian Indians are at the opposite extremes with regard to heart disease.” http://www.cadiresearch.org/topic/asian-indian-heart-disease/cadi-us/heart-disease-asianindians-in-us

                      Meanwhile, back in India the outlook for the younger citizenry is grim. “Heart disease is more prevalent in the younger generation: Heart disease has escalated among the younger generation with a significant risk in both males and females. ‘More and more number of young Indians are suffering from coronary artery disease, owing to their poor lifestyle, and if this continues the future looks even more dangerous,’ says Dr Kumar. ‘Five years ago, we hardly saw young patients with heart problems. Now, we get many cases where people in the 25-35 age group are diagnosed with heart disease’ said Dr Ajay Chaurasia, head of cardiology department, BYL Nair Hospital stated in the Saffola Life study.” http://www.thehealthsite.com/diseases-conditions/heart-disease-in-india-6-shocking-facts-you-should-know/

                      In related news, researchers are just beginning to study the effects of using oils rich in essential fatty acids in high heat culinary applications. “We hypothesize that South Asians’ susceptibility to CHD is partly attributable to high-heat treated foods producing high neo-formed contaminants (NFCs). Research to accrue direct evidence is proposed.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27776951

                      Take a look at page 16 of the below report. Note the relative proportions of animal fat and vegetable oils back in 1961.

                      Cardiovascular risk in India – implications for health insurance https://www.actuariesindia.org/SeminarDocs/9th%20Seminar%20on%20Current%20Issues%20in%20Health%20Care%20Insurance%20(HCI)/ppt/Cardiovascular_risk_in_India_implications_for_health_insurance.pdf

                      The panels of experts referred to above would do well, in light of emerging evidence, to question their conclusions regarding the connection between saturated fat intake and CVD. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J77Bweikiw8




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                    11. If all we were talking about was opinions, I would agree with you. However, the reason the vast majority of researchers, scientists and physicians do not share Malhotra’s opinions is the evidence set out in the various reports by expert panels.

                      The links and excerpts you posted provide no reason for exonerating the role of saturated fat in increasing the risk for CVD. The fact that high oil consumption and trans fats also increase CVD risk does not alter the fact that saturated fat increases CVD risk. The evidence – epidemiological, experimental and the discovery of the mechanisms by which satfat damages the cardiovascular system – is pretty overwhelming.

                      And lifelong Indian vegetarians are not vegetarians in the true sense of the term. They eat significant quantities of dairy foods. I don’t think that i need to point out that in the US at least dairy is the major source of saturated fat in the diet.

                      I also do not know why you think page 16 of the Insurance company report proves your case. After all, it states in black and white that since 1961 the supply of vegetable oils has nearly doubled while the supply of animal fats has trebled.

                      I think that you are clutching at straws here.




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                    12. You say, “The evidence – epidemiological, experimental and the discovery of the mechanisms by which satfat damages the cardiovascular system – is pretty overwhelming.”

                      If the evidence linking saturated (especially dairy) fat to heart disease were as overwhelming as you assert, then T. Colin Campbell would not have written this: “I propose that this argument for or against saturated fat should have been moot from the very beginning of this research. Here’s why. The original hypothesis that dietary fat, especially saturated fat, is chiefly responsible for heart disease began with laboratory studies over a century ago and the findings are, at best, uncertain. Much more impressive evidence also was published to show that the early stages of heart disease, atherosclerosis, and its predictive serum cholesterol marker, were increased much more by dietary protein than by dietary fat, especially the protein in animal-based foods.” http://nutritionstudies.org/fallacious-faulty-foolish-discussion-about-saturated-fat/

                      Dr. Campbell may have a point. The fats fed to animals determine the fatty acid profile of cell membranes that make up the cell structures that constitute the meat, poultry, and dairy consumed by humans. If the flesh, eggs, and milk of animals fed up on grains is higher in arachidonic acid than that of pastured animals, then those animal products are essentially toxic as Campbell asserts.

                      In primate obesity research – Barbara C. Hansen of the University of South Florida said calories, but not high fat, were important. “To suggest that humans and monkeys get fat because of a high-fat diet is not a good suggestion,” she said. Dr. Hansen, who has been doing research on obese monkeys for four decades, prefers animals that become naturally obese with age, just as many humans do. Fat Albert, one of her monkeys who she said was at one time the world’s heaviest rhesus, at 70 pounds, ate “nothing but an American Heart Association-recommended diet,” she said.

                      Dr. Grove and researchers at some other centers say the high-fructose corn syrup appears to accelerate the development of obesity and diabetes. “It wasn’t until we added those carbs that we got all those other changes, including those changes in body fat,” said Anthony G. Comuzzie, who helped create an obese baboon colony at the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio.
                      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/health/20monkey.html

                      It’s interesting that until 2007 the panels of experts you refer to agreed that added sugars did not contribute to heart attack risk and did not cause obesity or diabetes. That’s because primates (and people) who do not naturally become obese with age can consume a lot of carbohydrate in general and added sugars in particular before their triglyceride levels are affected. In 2003 this was the thinking: “A recent report from the American Heart Association on sugar and CVD concluded that, although no dietary trials link sugars consumption and CVD, there are several reasons that sugars consumption should be limited, among which was evidence that sucrose has a dose-dependent effect on serum triacylglycerol concentrations.” http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/4/873S.full

                      There’s also this: “Together with other recent analyses of sugar industry documents, our findings suggest the industry sponsored a research program in the 1960s and 1970s that successfully cast doubt about the hazards of sucrose while promoting fat as the dietary culprit in CHD. Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry–funded studies and include mechanistic and animal studies as well as studies appraising the effect of added sugars on multiple CHD biomarkers and disease development.” http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/article-abstract/2548255

                      Finally, from the October 2016 issue of “Today’s Dietitian”: The recommendation to reduce dietary saturated fats has its origins in epidemiological associations first drawn 70 years ago between saturated fats, blood cholesterol, and CVD. Despite clinical evidence that high intake of saturated fats raises cholesterol in humans and pharmacological evidence showing that lowering LDL cholesterol reduces risk of heart attack and stroke, the idea of a causal relationship between saturated fats and CVD remains controversial, mostly because a physiological mechanism hasn’t been identified. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1016p26.shtml

                      Until the physiological mechanism is identified, in my opinion, the evidence linking saturated fat intake to CVD will remain underwhelming.




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                    13. Thanks David.

                      I am not sure that Campbell’s views constitute the ultimate authority on this matter. In any case, my understanding is that his belief is that animal protein is much more damaging not that saturated fat is harmless eg your quote that says “were increased much more by dietary protein than by dietary fat”.

                      As for quotes on fat and obesity, they seem a little peculiar to me and they appear to be a minority view. My understanding is that high fat diets are the way that researchers induce obesity in animal models – just Google diet induced obesity or eg

                      ‘In humans, a significant positive relationship has been found
                      between the amount of dietary energy from fat and the
                      proportion of the population who are overweight (in epidemiological studies), and in clinical studies between the level of dietary fat and body-weight gain as well as between the reduction in the dietary fat and weight loss(16,17,19,100).
                      These associations have also been shown in animal
                      studies(23 – 26,101). This relationship in humans or in animal models of more dietary fat leading to greater obesity
                      shows that the fat content of the diet is an important factor
                      in energy balance. In general, diets containing more
                      than 30 % of total energy as fat lead to the development
                      of obesity”
                      https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/S0954422410000168

                      As for your statements about sugar, I don;t think that they are correct For example even your own quote stated

                      “although no dietary trials link sugars consumption and CVD, there are several reasons that sugars consumption should be limited, among which was evidence that sucrose has a dose-dependent effect on serum triacylglycerol concentrations.”

                      And the Today’s Dietitian quote you found is not just wrong, it is positively bizarre. It states “Despite clinical evidence that high intake of saturated fats raises cholesterol in humans and pharmacological evidence showing that lowering LDL cholesterol reduces risk of heart attack and stroke, ….”
                      If raising cholesterol, and the fact that high blood cholesterol blocks arteries which causes cardiovascular disease, isn’t a physiological mechanism by which saturated fat causes CVD, I don’t know what is.
                      https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/resources/heart/heart-cholesterol-hbc-what-html

                      I know that dietitians aren’t biochemists, physicians or physiologists, and it’s unreasonable to expect too much knowledge of other fields, but that statement is, well, I am just lost for words. I mean, I am a layman and even my jaw dropped when I read that.

                      Of course, cholesterol raising isn’t the only mechanism by which saturated fat damages cardiovascular health. You could try working your way through these for example

                      http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/25/6/1274.full
                      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109706013386
                      http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/803568
                      http://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(14)01311-3/abstract

                      But endothelial effects aren’t the only way, saturated fats (SFA) affect cardiovascular health. This table summarises a range of effects of SFA on atherosclerosis (compared to omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids). None of them suggest SFA in large amounts is heart healthy.
                      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2878127/table/T1/

                      Also see
                      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/07/150714112424.htm
                      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100713011053.htm
                      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150427101527.htm
                      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150903131408.htm




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                  2. Thank you for your response Luke. I would like to add just a couple of things for your consideration. First let me say, I am on a monbile device LOL and this is hard work trying to engage in conversation without a pc, so forgive my spelling errors and my brevity. Second , I agree with you on a a couple of points at least partially. 1. Yes there is gynormous amounts of money involved in pharmaceuticals and other industries related to our current views and methodologies concerning heart disease, diabetes, cancer etc. Your example of the cholesterol lowering medications is just one of many ( I am i tolerant of them.) 2. There may be other factors besides cholesterol, or in addition to cholesterol that causes/promotes or aggrivates heart disease. I agree, and thats why I specifically chose a wfpb diet to address inflammation and to fascilitate nitric oxide delivery. Since adopting this diet I have received the evidence that it is working in achieving those goals – one cardiologist told me that my inflammation levels were the lowest he had seen in his career!

                    Discussion of how lipid levels, and oil consumption is something I have to leave to finer minds. Dr Kim Williams makes his case in the video I posted above. Thea has made excellent points in her post below. Thank you Luke, All the best to you




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                    1. Without knowing what your diet was before you switched I can only assume it was full of processed crap so yes, switching to this way of eating will definitely help. Wasn’t my issue. Just that cholesterol is always demonised yet it hasn’t done anything wrong. All the best.




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                  3. The science clearly says under 150 cholesterol and you are nearly heart attack proof. Current recommendations are 200, normal average for a sick population. The “facts” you are stating are just twisted old BS that have been repeated verbatim over and over.




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                    1. From a cardiologist:
                      “This focus on standard lipid testing causes individuals and doctors to neglect all the other causes of heart disease, some of which are more important than cholesterol. Can you have a heart attack if you have low cholesterol? You sure can. Can you survive to the age of 95, outlive all your neighbors, and never have a heart attack despite high cholesterol? Absolutely. Can you suffer a debilitating or fatal heart attack with “normal” cholesterol? It happens every day—1,152 times a day nationwide, to be exact, according to a 2004 report by the American Heart Association.

                      Yet most of the time, doctors attempt to assess heart disease risk by looking only at a standard cholesterol panel. The truth is, many risk factors are involved in the development of heart disease. Most people with coronary disease do not have just one contributing cause but rather five, six, or more contributing factors. High cholesterol is, at best, just one item on this list.”




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                    2. From a cardiologist:
                      “This focus on standard lipid testing causes individuals and doctors to neglect all the other causes of heart disease, some of which are more important than cholesterol. Can you have a heart attack if you have low cholesterol? You sure can. Can you survive to the age of 95, outlive all your neighbors, and never have a heart attack despite high cholesterol? Absolutely. Can you suffer a debilitating or fatal heart attack with “normal” cholesterol? It happens every day—1,152 times a day nationwide, to be exact, according to a 2004 report by the American Heart Association.

                      Yet most of the time, doctors attempt to assess heart disease risk by looking only at a standard cholesterol panel. The truth is, many risk factors are involved in the development of heart disease. Most people with coronary disease do not have just one contributing cause but rather five, six, or more contributing factors. High cholesterol is, at best, just one item on this list.”




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                    3. This is partly true. Yes, there are many factors involved in heart disease.. Everybody accepts that. But it doesn’t mean that high cholesterol is unimportant Nor is it correct to argue or at least imply that doctors only look at a standard lipids panel in assessing risk. The risk calculators used in the UK, US and European guidelines on prevention/treatment assess a number of factors.

                      The argument about normal (ie average) cholesterolis also misleading, In the US and Westernised societies generally is too high, so it’s no surprise that heart disease is also normal in our societies.

                      The argument that your unnamed cardiologist makes is akin to saying

                      can you get lung cancer if you have never smoked? Yes you can. Many factors can cause lung cancer. Smoking is o one possible cause.

                      This of course is factually correct but the implication (that because it’s only one of many possible causes, we needn’t worry about it) is highly misleading.




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                    4. Carol: I like Tom’s answer, but I also think a quote for a quote is in order.

                      “According to the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Cardiology this year, the only risk factor required for these atherosclerotic plaques, our #1 killer, is cholesterol. Elevated LDL or “bad” cholesterol in our blood.” from : http://nutritionfacts.org/video/cavities-and-coronaries-our-choice/
                      .
                      After watching the whole NutritionFacts video, I interpret this to mean that there are other risk factors which can increase the likelihood of a heart attack — but only when in the presence of high cholesterol (specifically LDL) levels. (See the chart at about 2 minutes 30 seconds) Without the high cholesterol levels, the other risk factors become almost irrelevant. The risk factor of “stress” is my favorite for making this point. Lots of people have lots of stress. Do we really think that people in other countries, say people in countries where heart attacks are practically unheard of, don’t have stress in their lives too? Stress may be a risk factor, but only in the presence of the main risk factor, cholesterol. This contradicts what your quote is saying above.




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                    5. There’s research coming out lately though that points to sugar vs. saturated fat contributing to heart disease :
                      https://healthimpactnews.com/2016/british-cardiologist-sets-record-straight-on-the-truth-about-saturated-fats-and-heart-disease/.

                      I really feel the whole cholesterol thing is focusing on the wrong issue, and it’s not the best predictor of heart disease. That’s why vegan/vegetarian/paleo/LCHF/keto diets can ALL be healthy, since they all tend to avoid added sugar and reduce inflammation. Another important factor is Omega 3/6/9 ratios.




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                    6. Carol: re: “…it’s not the best predictor of heart disease.” Except that it is. Have total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 60 or 70? Then you have no heart disease (baring some kind of congenital defect). It’s that simple. That predictive.
                      .
                      There’s no new wave of science saying something different. If you want to understand why some studies fail to show the link between cholesterol and heart disease, you could research concepts such as reverse causation and what happens to cholesterol after it is elevated over time. Paleo and keto etc diets include foods high inflammation, such as meat, which is one reason they are increase disease risk. No one is saying that sugar is healthy. But just because avoiding sugar is a good idea doesn’t meant that there aren’t other foods that are also unhealthy and that are best avoided by the majority of people.




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                    7. I think frugality is a bigger factor in health and longevity. But vegans don’t like to hear that, they too wanna stuff their faces with whole grains ,beans or bananas. Look at okinawans, they get to live very old and they eat small portions.




                      0
                  4. @i6Shot:disqus You are exactly right, there is indeed lots of money riding on whether cholesterol is a factor in heart disease (as well as many other diseases that have their origin in a rotten vascular tree). There is hundreds of billions of dollars at stake for the animal agriculture industry. Big Animal has spent hundreds of millions on shaky and slanted science in exactly the same way the tobacco industry has done trying to undercut or at least cast doubt on the far more extensive and solid science that shows not only the clear relationship between saturated fat and dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels and blood cholesterol and atherosclerosis rates, but also shows the biochemical pathways that elevated cholesterol is a necessary prerequisite for the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.

                    One of primary ways that they skew the science is to only study sick populations. A cholesterol level of 200 may be very common in western societies, and as such can be called normal, but that doesn’t make it a healthy level. And in fact the data clearly shows that a cholesterol level of 200 puts you at high risk of developing heart disease. So the researchers working for the animal industry get their biased results by only looking at people with “normal” and higher cholesterol, which means that they are only looking at the differences between high and really high levels. It is not surprising then that the results don’t show a strong difference in disease rates.

                    It would be like trying to determine the effect of smoking and only included people who smoke between a pack and two packs a day in the study. Since you are only studying a sick population the difference in lung cancer and other disease rates as a function smoking rates will be small with the primary determinant of who does or doesn’t get cancer in this sick population likely to be determine by genetics. This is exactly the types of studies funded by the tobacco industry who then touted the results as showing that smoking wasn’t the cause of lung cancer. Of course when a well structured study was done that included both smokers and non-smokers the story was completely different.

                    This is the tact being used by the animal industry today. Look at who the subjects are in most of the studies that purport to show that cholesterol isn’t a factor in CVD. They all have elevated cholesterol levels, even if those levels are normal for the general population. The results as you would expect when everybody in the study is already grouped at one end of the actual spectrum of cholesterol levels observed in humans don’t show much of strong signal between cholesterol levels and CVD.

                    When non-biased researchers bring in the equivalent of non-smokers into the study populations the picture is completely different and the relationship between CVD and cholesterol level is stark and unmistakable. Further no other factor is anywhere near as strong. The results of these studies clearly show that people with long term cholesterol levels under 150 do not develop CVD. It is just that clear. Look at the studies referenced in this video, especially this paper. This paper compares the heart disease rates between indigenous people in Kampala Uganda in the late 1950s with migrant Asians and Europeans and the blood cholesterol levels of those two different populations. The indigenous peoples ate very close to a pure plant based diet, while the immigrants ate a diet high in animal products. Over a three year period the Kampala health department did not record a single death in the indigenous group from heart disease while 33% of the deaths in the immigrant group was due to heart disease. The paper then compares the cholesterol levels of these two groups with divisions by age within each group. The indigenous group started with a total cholesterol of 166 in the 12 yo school kids and declined to 145 in the over 40 group. On the other hand in the immigrant population cholesterol started at 206 in the 12 yo and rose to 248 in the over 40 group. Can you honestly say that blood cholesterol levels are not the key determinant in the development of CVD when you compare populations that have high rates of CVD and those who have essentially zero rates?




                    0
            2. “We evolved not to eat meat but because we ate meat. More nutrient and energy dense which allowed our brain to grown and our stomachs to shrink.”

              This is not a fact but an hypothesis albeit one much favoured by people who want to justify meat eating. Other theories include cooking, eating aquatic foods, eating insects, eating starchy tubers, or even because we waged war
              http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2851852/Human-intelligence-evolved-prehistoric-ancestors-began-work-WAGE-WAR-rivals.html

              Wikipedia summarises a number of other hypotheses
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_human_intelligence

              And high cholesterol is a risk factor. That’s what the science shows.
              http://www.jlr.org/content/45/9/1583.full

              Simply believing the claims of agenda-driven individuals, set out in highly sensational books or on dubious websites, without fact-checking the claims they make can be misleading and risky. It’s important to look at the evidence on both sides before coming to conclusions.




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            3. You’re a genius aren’t you ? B12 comes from plants, meat containes it because animals consume plants. Since mass produced veggies have been “sanitized” they are devoid of b12. Do your homework next time.




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              1. Brutus Maximus : This forum is not a place for insults. We encourage questions and work to educate people when we can. We don’t denigrate people for not knowing something. If you wish to continue posting on NutritionFacts, I recommend reviewing the posting rules, which you can find on the FAQ page linked to at the bottom of this page. – Moderator




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                  1. Brutus Maximus: The following sentences were inappropriate for this site: “You’re a genius aren’t you ?” and “Do your homework next time.”




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          2. Here are a few studies regarding the saturated fat/cardiovascular disease hypothesis:

            http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.short

            http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2002-021480

            http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/409791?resultclick=1

            I’d suggest reading Nina Teicholz’s book “The Big Fat Surprise” which has many great references regarding the lack of causation between dietary saturated fat and chronic diseases
            http://thebigfatsurprise.com

            Here’s a list of the references in her book, in case you don’t want to read it: http://thebigfatsurprise.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/BFS-paperback-Notes-and-Bibliography.pdf




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            1. Here is part 2 of the critique. https://thescienceofnutrition.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/the-big-fat-surprise-a-critical-review-part-2/

              From the page: “Unfortunately there are quite a few instances of inaccuracies in the book ranging from simple citation errors to deliberate misrepresentations of scientific studies to outright plagiarism. These are bold claims that I am leveling against the author. I don’t take these lightly, and I stand by them. I have checked many of her references and the results of my efforts are below.”

              Since you consider Nina’s book to be valid, you might consider reading the two pages I referenced.




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              1. I’ll gladly read the pages you cited, but have to ask if you read her book, or just the reviews from others on it? I’m glad you’re healthy on your diet, but I’m also healthy on mine. I think humans can adapt to a variety of diets, there’s not just one that everyone has to eat to stay healthy.




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                1. Carol: I did not read the book. Some issues are a question of opinion or honest disagreement. In that case, it would make sense to look at all sides. In this case, it’s not a question of opinion or honest disagreement. Why read a book that is demonstrably/proven to be deliberately misleading?
                  .
                  I’m not sure what you mean by “…humans can adapt to a variety of diets…” Adaptation in the evolutionary sense is something that happens across generations. Within single lifetimes, humans can get by with a variety of diets for some time. However, as we’ve seen, decades of eating in a way that is not healthy for most humans usually catches up with people, leading to early death and often lots of unnecessary suffering.
                  .
                  Some people can get away with eating unhealthy, just like some people can get away with smoking. But most people can’t get away with it. We are trying to prevent the unnecessary suffering on this site. You feel healthy now. That’s great. But that’s not the point. The point is what happens in the future when your diet catches up to you. I hope you are able to stay healthy going into the future.




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                  1. Not sure what you mean by “when my diet catches up to me”. All my blood work is perfect, I’m at a healthy weight, and my blood pressure is great. What’s going to happen?




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                    1. Carol: re: “…when my diet catches up to me…” I was not talking about you in particular. I was talking about humans in general in that paragraph. Your blood work may be perfect. I wouldn’t know. So many people on this site boast of having perfect blood work, but when they share their actual numbers, the numbers show that their levels are actually too high to be safe.
                      .
                      There are people who smoke for decades and live to be 100 with no hint of cancer or COPD or anything. They are lucky. That doesn’t mean that smoking is generally healthy for most humans. The same goes for diet. You may be one of the lucky ones who can get away with eating a diet that is generally unhealthy for most people. I don’t know. I don’t know what your diet is. You have given hints, but not really said I don’t think.
                      .
                      Your diet and situation is irrelevant to the point. You tried to make the point that there is a variety of diets that humans can “adapt” to and be fine. My point is that this is not true based on the actual data. Individuals may be fine, but as a population, a whole food plant based diet is *the* diet that maximizes chances of healthy outcomes. Those who stray from that basic diet have a high risk of facing early disease and early death as their diet catches up to them eventually.




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                    2. Carol: Ooops. I just re-read my post and realized that I used the phrase about “diet catching up” twice and can see that I did apply it to you specifically the second time. So, that part of my reply is not correct. The main gist of my post is still valid, but I’m sorry I said I was not talking about you specifically when clearly I was the second time. :-)




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            2. Teicholz is a shill for the meat and dairy industry, that’s pretty obvious. Anything promoted by corporate media is automatically suspect in my view.




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        2. Isolationism is pointless, and just nonsense to further an agenda for popularity or profit! Eating animals is a package deal, you can’t separate the components, and the evidence is very clear that even if you could, there is no need to eat flesh and we are much better off without it.




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          1. Dr Williams agrees with you Vege-tater, and on this video discusses problematic substances in animal based diets like TMAO, phosphorus, cholesterol, and IGF1.. topics most of us have heard Dr Greger address many times over on this site. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0SXqD6Y99PU He reiterates that the optimal diet is a plant based diet. (this video is a longer interview than the one previously posted)




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        3. I don’t think that is what Cordain et al are saying at all although I think that we would all agree that reducing (better still eliminating) processed foods including sugar will be good for our health.

          They argue:

          Although fat intake (28 – 58% energy) would have been similar to or higher than that found in Western diets, it is likely that important qualitative differences in fat intake, including relatively high levels of MUFA and PUFA and a lower o-6=o-3 fatty acid ratio, would have served to inhibit the development of CVD. Other dietary characteristics including high intakes of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals along with a low salt intake may have operated synergistically with lifestyle characteristics (more exercise, less stress and no smoking) to further deter the development of CVD.”
          http://www.direct-ms.org/sites/default/files/Meat%20Paradox%20EJCN.pdf

          Meats obtained in modern Western societies wouldn’t display such fat profiles. And of course, we need to remember that even consuming organic grass fed meat raises cancer risk. CVD is not the only problem.
          http://tier-im-fokus.ch/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/aune_2009.pdf

          I would also be very wary of accepting Dr Sigurdsson’s views on this and similar matters. he has a very clear agenda that does not accord with current scientific knowledge. Expert panels have looked at these questions extensively over many years and reached different conclusions. If you are really interested in these matters I would recommend looking at the very extensive evidence summaries set out in the UK, US and European guidelines.




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    1. The idea that Arctic hunter-gatherers are or were free of cardiovascular disease is a myth. Atherosclerosis amongst them is common in modern times, and has been found in pre-contact Inuit mummies.

      However, it remains true that hunter gatherers often have lower levels of cholesterol than might be predicted from their BMI and saturated fat intake. One important reason is endemic infection with parasites, especially intestinal helminths. So the “paleo prescription” may be incomplete without self-infection with hookworms.

      While humans have adapted to environments from the Arctic to the outback, fossil and genetic evidence indicates our species evolved on the East African savanna. A few hundred Hadza persist in Tanzania, like other hunter gatherers pushed into marginal habitats, but their diet remains a useful model of our common ancestral diets. Depending on season, tubers comprise 18 to 31% of their diet, berries 18 to 37%, baobab 7-15%, meat 10-35%, and honey 1-19%. Men consume more meat, while women (and presumably children) consume more tubers. The low total fat content of the Hadza diet derives mostly from the baobab seeds. Indeed, during the dry season, the fat content of tropical game meat may be so low that diets of more than 30% meat would induce protein poisoning.




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  6. Brilliant. I try to argue this sometimes but I just fall all over the words. Who can read this and not be persuaded?

    More pop ups please. This is bigger than us . To get to our target audience you’ve got to have moxie, spunk, personality. Gotta have Ssssss-team Heat! Gotta get on Dancing with the Star (struck). Time to level up Sensi. Everybody, tell Fox News that Dr. G has all the dope on … sex. Yeah that’s it. Dr. G gon sex you up…with plants! Tap dancing is coming back too…just sayin




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    1. Alexandre: It’s a really good question. I’ve wondered that myself in the past. I have no idea what the answer is, but I do have a guess/idea:

      I don’t consider dogs to be natural creatures. Humans have taken a natural creature, the wolf, and changed it in ways that would never have happened without human intervention and continued maintenance. There is even at least one breed that can’t give birth naturally. (It must be done by ceserian (sp?) section.) Now consider that that article you referenced says that atherosclerosis is pretty rare in dogs in general, but more common in certain breeds. Also consider that lots of pure breeds are known for having certain diseases. We have basically created life forms predisposed to certain diseases.

      My theory is that we have created some dog breeds predisposed to a defect where their bodies do not process cholesterol correctly. So, in a herbivore like a human, atherosclerosis is a diet related disease. We were never meant to consume the amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat that we do. But in a dog, it is a genetic defect where their bodies can’t get rid of cholesterol properly. That’s my made-up theory. :-)

      If you ever get a real answer, please come back and post. I’m interested!




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      1. Hi Thea! Thank you so much for your reply. Yes I too wondered in the same direction as you did and I agree but if humans have changed a natural creature into a not as natural one as the dogs, I cant stop to imagine that what we have been doing to our own species is nothing short of what we have done to dogs. The question remains :)




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    2. The fact that it seems to occur mostly in certain breeds seems to suggest a gene mutation (or mutations) may be relevant.

      However, research has suggested other mechanisms may also be relevant. For example, Vege-tater suggests cooking may be a problem. She may well be right since “In dogs, advanced glycation end products appear critical to atheroma formation[13”. (Cooking produces significant amounts of these, especially cooking fatty meats).
      http://www.vetbook.org/wiki/dog/index.php?title=Atherosclerosis

      (Hydrogenated) coconut oil has also been shown to induce atherosclerosis in dogs. Whether this is due to the saturated fat or the trans fat resulting from hydrogenation – or both – is not clear. Still, it sounds like a good reason to steer clear of coconut oil. The other point emerging from this article is that
      “In those cases where plasma cholesterol levels exceeded 750 mg/100 ml, the animals also developed severe atherosclerosis”.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2032077/

      So even dogs are not immune to the effects of high cholesterol.

      I am not aware of any evidence linking grain consumption by dogs with atherosclerosis. Of course, certain elements of the alternative health blogosphere like to blame grains (and/or sugar and/or nightshade vegetables) for any and all health problems. However it would be sensible to ask for some actual evidence before simply assuming such an argument has legs..




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    3. Atherosclerosis can be experimentally induced in dogs with high saturated fat diets when their thyroids are removed. When atherosclerosis occurs in pet dogs, its secondary to hypothyroidism in 60% of cases and diabetes in 20% of cases.Hypothyroidism with associated hyperlipidemia has been observed in in Doberman pinchers and in Labrador retrievers, while hypertriglyceridemia with associated hyperlipidemia is seen in a third of Miniature Schnauzers.




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  7. Jane goodall discovered that chimps also eat 5-8% of meat and also insects like termites. So there is still something vegans are missing using the ape argument.




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    1. Dr. Greger makes this very point in today’s blog. “What were we eating for the first 90% of our evolution? What the rest of the great apes ended up eating—95 percent or more plants.”




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    2. i am not sure where you get those figures from but the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada reports that “Meat is a favoured food item among chimpanzees, but makes up less than two percent of their overall diet.’
      http://www.janegoodall.ca/about-chimp-behaviour-diet.php
      That sounds like a whole food plant based diet to me even if it is not a completely vegetarian diet.

      In any case I do not think that vegans (as opposed to all people who eat completely vegetarian diets) care much about the diet health argument. While not a vegan myself, my impression is that vegans argue that we should avoid all animal products in our lives for ethical and environmental reasons, and their diet/health argument is simply that a balanced completely vegetarian diet is healthy. They do not seem to argue that it is the optimal diet.
      https://www.vegansociety.com/society/strategy/our-vision-and-mission

      However, like you, I think that diet arguments supposedly based on evidence from our species’ evolution (the paleo diet claim is the most notorious) are fundamentally flawed. There is no evidence that evolution selects to maximise healthy longevity in individual members of species. An omnivorous diet benefits a species by allowing it to exploit a much wider range of food resources than species dependent upon meat or plants alone. This can be vital in times of food scarcity or extreme environments. However, just because a history of omnivorous eating benefitted the species, it doesn’t necessarily follow that eating a mixed diet will maximise an individual’s health and longevity. Sickle cell anaemia and diabetes have benefitted or at least been neutral in their fitness effects for the human species for example.

      in any case, chimps also drink alcohol but nobody seems to argue that this prove that drinking alcohol is natural and healthy.despite a very long history in our evolution. Alcohol does provide a lot of calories and it can disinfect eg drinkung water so evolution might well select for it. However,, that doesn’t mean that alcohol consumption must necessarily maximise an individuals’s health and longevity
      “The findings back the so-called “drunken monkey” theory — that apes and humans share a genetic ability to break down alcohol that was handed down from a common ancestor.
      By metabolising alcohol, according to this idea, our forerunners could eat fermented fruit found on the forest floor, gaining a precious additional source of calories and vitamins.”
      http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/food/drink/is-this-why-we-love-drinking-booze/news-story/48f4707bbf23ccdd1d233379faeb34cc

      Substitute ‘meat’ for ‘alcohol’ or vice versa to see what I am suggesting.

      That is why I think we need good studies and research to determine the optimum diet to rely on for our individual health, rather than a chain of simplistic reasoning based on a faulty understanding of how natural selection works. Nevertheless, articles like this can be helpful as a factual counterweight to the more extreme and ridiculous arguments for meat-eating based on a very selective interpretation of our evolutionary history. And the meat of the argument is in the article’s last full paragraph.




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    3. Yeah, since chimps didn’t evolve, and we have sense and a conscience, what would be the point eating it other than desire? We no longer have to scavenge for what is available, and there is no need to eat flesh.




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      1. That’s complete bs. The fact that we evolved is irrelevant to this article. The point of the article is about the natural human diet. If we are so close then why do chimps or other apes feel the need to eat anything else than leaves or fruits ? that’s the real question.




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        1. My point was meat is always given credit for our evolution, and if that were true, why didn’t other primates follow suit since, as you said, they are known to eat it too? As for the question of why they feel the need to eat anything that isn’t leaves or fruit, simply the same context as when, after the war, people boiled wallpaper from demolished buildings for the starch and calories in the paste, or when people are marooned and drink their own urine. It’s called survival, necessity, something we seem oblivious to with a grocery store around the corner and money in our pockets.




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  8. People and doctors, please stop buying into this “evolution” that is only a theory and please turn to the truth. Go to the book of Genesis and learn about creation. Learn that the intended original diet for mankind is strictly plant based. Learn that God created the heaven and the earth the sea and all at in them is in 6 days!! (Not millions of years) and rested the 7th day and blessed and made it holy. (Sabbath day.) Learn that we were created after God’s own image and how satan is pleased when people liken themselves unto beasts of the field which marr their image and the image of their Creator. The earth is not millions of years old but is but several thousands and our ancestors were actually better in stature and longevity than we are now. We are actually degenerating and not evolving into better creatures. They were much taller in stature and lived hundreds of years. However due to sin and unhealful eating and being away from the tree of life, the human race declined in longevity and it is still by the mercy of God that our lives were shortened because this demoralized, sinful sorrowful earth is not a pleasant home for us,specially if Christians, to dwell in forever. Please research about the rebuttals of evolution and read your bibles, God’s book to His creation. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished onto all good works.” http://www.remnantofgod.org/mark.htm




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    1. Vanessa: This is a site to discuss science. Evolution is a well accepted scientific phenomenon. Your post is not appropriate for this site. — Moderator




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  9. I’m just woundering this thing with the cholesterol. Maybe it gives us an additional hint? Waht about the cholesterol in real Carnivores, can they produce all the cholestrol they need inside the body or do they need (!) cholesterol from outside, from food?
    Because, the humans don’t need cholesterol due foot – like some vegan people prove ;-)




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  10. A little opposition your honour… the relative young average age for dying in the past is also (or even) more related to the infant mortality at least since 2.000 years. But in general I agree with your words deeply.
    One thing about the cholesterol I’m woundering but maybe it is only based on my little cabacity on information…
    Do carnivores need cholesterol from food because there body isn’t abel to produce enough? That would be a addional hint whay we don’t need it… ;-)




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    1. Perhaps it’s the other way around – carnivores evolved not to produce cholesterol because they get plenty from their diet :) Just speculating :D But every interesting either way!
      EDIT: nevermind




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  11. We are not herbivores. We don’t have the digestive system of horses,cows,sheep etc. We are primates and are frugivores. Our diet should consist mainly of fruit, soft greens and herbs. Look up Dr Robert Morse. He is a true healer and one of the only few health experts talking about eating for our species.




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    1. I looked him up. His “qualifications” seem to be from dubious institutions so calling him a health expert is …. very generous of you.




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    2. I have much respect for Mr Morse and i think there is a huge part of truth in what he…preaches lol now the very best for me would be a mix between Dr greger+Dr morse!!this way, i stay on the safe side!As for him, looking fat, i think that’s a very cheap excuse to dismiss altogether his informations!




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  12. BREAKING MEDICAL NEWS!
    .
    High-Protein Intake Increases Risk for Heart Failure
    .
    High amounts of protein increases risk for heart failure in women, according to data presented this week at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting. Researchers tracked and compared different types of protein intake for 103,878 women from the Women’s Health Initiative. Those who consumed the most protein overall increased their risk for heart failure, compared with those who consumed the least. In addition, an increase in vegetable protein lowered the risk for heart failure, suggesting the link is with animal protein specifically.
    .
    Barbour MF, Ashraf F, Roberts MB, et al. Association of dietary protein, animal and vegetable protein with the incidence of heart failure among postmenopausal women. Abstract presented at: American Heart Association, annual meeting; November 13-15, 2016; New Orleans, LA. (from PCRM)




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  13. This debate is easily solved by what humans would and could eat in the wild to survive. No fire, no cooking, and no other food prep. All grains, legumes, and tubers are toxic raw. No other non meat food could be found in sufficient quantity to survive on and be healthy with.

    Moreover, the rescue device of evolution is a failed hypothesis. There is no proof by way of logic, experiment, or empirical evidence that star dust can assemble into living organisms. Likewise, there is no proof that discreet intrabreeding organisms (syngameons) can transmutate into new organisms that do not revert to the original wild type. Evolution is in direct contradiction to proven scientific laws and principles, such as the law of biogenesis, the laws of thermodynamics, the universal probablity limit, laws of chemisty, information science, and common sense: functional complexity does not arise from chaos, and once present cannot gain functional complexity through random events.

    Evolution is primarily believed because thinking people believe the only alternative is nonsensical religions. However, all religions are man-made and have nothing to do with the creative cause of our reality.




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  14. So many of my family members are into the new “Whole 30” diet and I’m concerned. It calls for meat, diary, eggs, oils and NO grains or sugar. it seems to be counter to everything on this site, but the followers say “Grains are inflammatory, bad, bad, bad!!” I thought the other things were inflammatory? What is wrong with grains?




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    1. Elaine Rising: There are several videos about inflation on NutritionFacts. If you would like to learn more, here is an overview/topic page: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/inflammation I think you will find that your family members are eating quite a an inflammatory diet.
      .
      As for what is wrong with grains? Nothing! Nothing as long as we are talking about intact grains as opposed to flours or heavily processed grains. In fact, Dr. Greger recommends 3 servings of grains a day. (See the Daily Dozen for more information.) To learn more about grains, check out this topic page: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/grains/




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  15. I am following the whole food – plant based diet and found that if you enjoy what you make and eat, and are satisfied with your meals, whether the meal lacks any animal products is irrelevant, it’s not missed because you LIKE WHAT YOU’RE EATING. If I make a vegan lasagne, I am often asked what I used for the meat. I ask if it matters, and they usually say no, it’s terrific. But if they stay curious, I say “nothing.” I don’t “replace the meat”, I make a spectacular dish I love that happens to be plant based, whole food. And that is it in a nutshell. I believe that it is a subtle but very important mind shift from “what will I use instead of meat and cheese” to “make something hearty, delicious and nutritious and the lack of animal products never figures into the equation”.

    Couple this with the staggering amount of science ( yes, SCIENCE, boys and girls) that supports the whole food – plant based diet to stay healthy and well fed, it seems like a no brainer to me. I can’t remember where I read this once, but I love it: “there are a thousand reasons to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet but NO reasons to include less.”

    Cheers all and good eating!

    Andy




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    1. Darryl: Fascinating stuff. In addition to noting the grain consumption and lack of fire/cooking, I also noted the part of the paper that talked about essentially using toothpicks. Cool.




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  16. I eat meat because Alpha Plants do. The strongest, most intelligent and war faring plants are meat eaters. Not only do they eat meat but some are capable of waging chemical warfare on the weaker ones and taking over their land. Superior plant’s like superior people need animal fat.

    http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150420-the-giant-plants-that-eat-meat

    We see other evolutionary processes that lead towards consuming animal fat. Carnivorous snails eat several types of small animals; this is the case of the species of the genus Powelliphanta, which live in New Zealand and feed on other gastropod mollusks such as slugs and earthworms, among other terrestrial animals.

    Eating plants was the first step not the destination. You are fighting against evolution and will soon disappear.

    http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150420-the-giant-plants-that-eat-meat

    Carnivore,
    Seattle




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