Lipotoxicity: How Saturated Fat Raises Blood Sugar

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Reduce Saturated Fat Intake to Protect Your Pancreas

The reason those eating plant-based diets have less fat buildup in their muscle cells and less insulin resistance may be because saturated fats appear to impair blood sugar control the most.

The association between fat and insulin resistance is now widely accepted. Insulin resistance is due to so-called ectopic fat accumulation, the buildup of fat in places it’s not supposed to be, like within our muscle cells. But not all fats affect the muscles the same. The type of fat, saturated vs. unsaturated, is critical. Saturated fats like palmitate, found mostly in meat, dairy, and eggs, cause insulin resistance. But oleate, found mostly in nuts, olives, and avocados, may actually improve insulin sensitivity.

What makes saturated fat bad? Saturated fat causes more toxic breakdown products and mitochondrial dysfunction, and increases oxidative stress, free radicals, and inflammation, establishing a vicious cycle of events in which saturated fat induces free radicals, causes dysfunction in the little power plants within our muscle cells (mitochondria)—which then causes an increase in free radical production, and an impairment of insulin signaling. I explain this in my video Lipotoxicity: How Saturated Fat Raises Blood Sugar.

Fat cells filled with saturated fat activate an inflammatory response to a far greater extent. This increased inflammation from saturated fat has been demonstrated to raise insulin resistance through free radical production. Saturated fat also has been shown to have a direct effect on skeletal muscle insulin resistance. Accumulation of saturated fat increases the amount of diacylglycerol in the muscles, which has been demonstrated to have a potent effect on muscle insulin resistance. You can take muscle biopsies from people and correlate the saturated fat buildup in their muscles with insulin resistance, the cause of type 2 diabetes. 

While monounsaturated fats are more likely to be detoxified or safely stored away, saturated fats create toxic breakdown products like ceramide that causes lipotoxicity. Lipo– meaning fat, as in liposuction. This fat toxicity in our muscles is a well-known concept in the explanation of triggers for insulin resistance.

I’ve talked about the role saturated and trans fats contribute to the progression of other diseases, like autoimmune diseases, cancer, and heart disease. But, they can also cause insulin resistance, the underlying cause of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. In the human diet, saturated fats are derived from animal sources, while trans fats originate in meat and milk, in addition to partially hydrogenated and refined vegetable oils.

That’s why experimentally shifting people from animal fats to plant fats can improve insulin sensitivity. In a study done by Swedish researchers, insulin sensitivity was impaired on the diet with added butterfat, but not on the diet with added olive fat.

We know prolonged exposure of our muscles to high levels of fat leads to severe insulin resistance, with saturated fats demonstrated to be the worst. But, they don’t just lead to inhibition of insulin signaling, the activation of inflammatory pathways, and the increase in free radicals; they also cause an alteration in gene expression. This can lead to a suppression of key mitochondrial enzymes, like carnitine palmitoyltransferase, which finally solves the mystery of why those eating vegetarian have a 60% higher expression of that fat-burning enzyme. They’re eating less saturated fat.

So, do those eating plant-based diets have less fat clogging their muscles, and less insulin resistance too? There haven’t been any data available regarding the insulin sensitivity, or inside-the-muscle-cell fat of those eating vegan or vegetarian—until now. Researchers at the Imperial College of London compared the insulin resistance and muscle fat of vegans versus omnivores. Those eating plant-based diets have the unfair advantage of being much slimmer; so, they found omnivores who were as skinny as vegans, to see if plant-based diets had a direct benefit—as opposed to indirectly pulling fat out of the muscles by helping people lose weight in general.

They found significantly less fat trapped in the muscle cells of vegans compared to omnivores at the same body weight, better insulin sensitivity, better blood sugar levels, better insulin levels, and, excitingly, significantly improved beta cell function (the cells in the pancreas that make the insulin). They conclude that eating plant-based is not only expected to be cardioprotective, helping prevent our #1 killer, heart disease, but that plant-based diets are beta cell-protective as well, helping also to prevent our seventh leading cause of death, diabetes.

This is the third of a three-part series, starting with What Causes Insulin Resistance? and The Spillover Effect Links Obesity to Diabetes.

Even if saturated fat weren’t associated with heart disease, its effects on pancreatic function and insulin resistance in the muscles would be enough to warrant avoiding it. Despite popular press accounts, saturated fat intake remains the primary modifiable determinant of LDL cholesterol, a leading risk factor for our leading killer–heart disease. See The Saturated Fat Studies: Buttering Up the Public and The Saturated Fat Studies: Set Up to Fail.

How low should we shoot for in terms of saturated fat intake? As low as possible, according to the U.S. National Academies of Science Institute of Medicine: Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.

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:


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.

188 responses to “Reduce Saturated Fat Intake to Protect Your Pancreas

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    1. But tomorrow – in the newspaper – we will read that saturated fat is good for you, saturated fat does not cause cardiovascular disease, nor does it cause diabetes (that must be a genetic disorder!), milk is good for the bones (milk is actually good for the doctors $$), eggs does not raise cholesterol – and by the way: Americans did not land on the moon and climate change has nothing to do with burning fossil fuels…..
      ….but then there people like you, Michael Greger, Thea, Tom Goff, Joe Caner, Vege-tater, Darryl, Don Forrester, BIBI VIRO, Haemodynamic, Renae and many other great people on this site to fight ignorance.

      1. Our tribe is growing. The word is getting out. There will be a tipping point.

        Happy Thanksgiving, everybody, I’m thankful for all of you, for Dr Greger and his work, for the intelligence of those discussing nutrition here, for my Vitamix, my husband who is now eating WFPB, and for whole, natural foods.

      2. I am so very grateful to all of you, as well. We are a growing community! And here is a call to the Canadians among us: the Canadian government is seeking public input into a revision of the Canada Food Guide, so here’s a chance perhaps to shift the guide away from the “meat and substitutes” and “milk and substitutes” categories, and help our community grow even larger. If you are interested in participating, the public consultation questionnaire is at , and there is plenty of room for lengthy comments. I suggested five food categories: vegetables (especially green leafies), fruit (especially berries), pulses, whole grains, and nuts and seeds. And I encouraged Health Canada to consult!

      3. You rock doc, we are so lucky to have you in the fold to help fight all the twisted agendas that are killing real people…while the perpetrators make a different kind of killing. Now if we could only clone you actual health care practitioners to outnumber the current sickness maintenance industry! Finding a doctor willing to do more than write a prescription is getting harder and harder! My ex has failed dramatically in less than a year and is nearly unrecognizable physically and mentally, yet his doctors have no answers or even guesses what is ailing him, just business as usual and pass the buck. I even got desperate enough to go with him because everyone he knows wants to know what’s wrong with him! The answer? Try a different antidepressant and come back next month! When I pulled her aside and asked her to suggest improving his diet because her word is golden to him, she laughed and said if she could do that she’d have no patients! I had to walk out or I would have lost it! So frustrating!

      4. The microplastics in our food and water will get us long before climate change. If government really cared for our resources and health costs while producing less CO2 and worse gasses they would focus on the country producing less animal protein for consumption.

  1. Most materials that are in the blood pass through (across, not around) the endothelial cells towards the extracellular fluid. That means that the living endothelial cells are the first to suffer a ‘fat attack’ during a high fat meal. Can you imagine the effects to the cells being filled with saturated oils? I guess it would affect the genetics of the cells too.

    1. Arsenic or cyanide? Butter, as food, came from an epoch in time where survival was centered around finding calories. But today there are smarter choices if your interest is living long and healthy.

    2. Thanks for your question Duncan.

      Here is a great article from harvard health that looks into this subject and I quote (see here).

      “Today the butter-versus-margarine issue is really a false one. From the standpoint of heart disease, butter is on the list of foods to use sparingly mostly because it is high in saturated fat, which aggressively increases levels of LDL. Margarines, though, aren’t so easy to classify. The older stick margarines that are still widely sold are high in trans fats, and are worse for you than butter. Some of the newer margarines that are low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat, and free of trans fats are fine as long as you don’t use too much (they are still rich in calories).”

      Hope this answer helps.

  2. There are actually a variety of saturated fatty acids, which are named by the length of their carbon chains. A while ago I came across an article that listed the types of saturated fatty acids, described which ones unfavorably affect health, and which ones are benign. I lost track of where I found that article, so here are a few things I THINK I learned from reading it:

    Long-chain saturated fatty acids like palmitic and myristic acids profoundly increase serum cholesterol, and are therefore best avoided. But stearic acid, which is abundant in dark chocolate, isn’t so bad. I enjoy dark chocolate, and want to know if I can eat more of it without causing myself harm. Then there are medium-length saturated fatty acids like caprylic acid and caproic adic, which (if my memory serves me) don’t alter cholesterol or inflammation at all. Caprylic and caproic acid are marketed as MCT oil, and some people propose that MCT is useful for enhanced cognition. I don’t know if this is true or not.

    I may be wrong in what I just typed because I’m trying to recall from memory, and I don’t want to potentially spend a lot of time re-hunting down this obscure article. If anyone can tell me if I am correct or erroneous in my statements, or direct me to an article that describes the various saturated fatty acids and their metabolic effects, that would be swell.

  3. So plant based fats like safflower, corn, soy & sunflower oils? :)

    I agree that saturated fats cause inflammation but I think we should be stressing the use of “mono-unsaturated” fats as the plant based alternatives. Avacado, olive oil, nuts, etc. Otherwise you run into getting far too much omega-6 (safflower, sunflower, corn, soy etc). Not all plant based fats are good.

    Another item I’d love to see articles about is the different types of saturated fats (palmitic, myristic, stearic and lauric acids) and their effects on inflammation, insulin resistance etc.


      1. Excellent article and I agree it is never all-or-nothing type answers. Those are sound bites for mass media repetition.

        The link to the olive oil is interesting. I’m sure there are more polyphenols etc in olives than in olive oil. I’d love to see a comparison and avacado vs avacado oil as well. It seems the more processing the less benefit and more harm is the rule to foods.

        I mainly use fat to keep triglycerides low.

        1. hi TR M , your comments about oils reminded me of this video where Dr Greger describes what they found in arterial lesions in one trial. lauric, oleic, and lineoleic acids seemed to be the culprits here.
          I dont use any oils/fats and so far I have kept triglycerides low eg half of what my HDL is. If a person has very high triglycerides, does the addition of fats work to lower it ?
          Thanks, all the best

          1. Yes. Adding fats to the diet lowers triglycerides. Excess calories are another cause of triglycerides.

            “Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or low-fat diet.” N Engl J Med 359: 229-241 (2008)

            The “low-carb” title was misleading. About 40% of the calories were carbs but “low glycemic load carbs”. Exactly the type of carbs you want in your diet.

            Full explanation here:

            1. thank you Tr M ! I didnt know this.. I did know about the connection to excess calories and triglycerides, which is why I have walked around ‘on the hungry side’ trying to total cholesterol. Awesome, I’ll read up

      2. Very good article. Thought this is a great point that paleo or grass fed meat advocates do not seem to understand.
        “Turning again to the work of paleoanthropologists, they tell us that the meat we have eaten throughout most of our history was nothing like the meat we often eat today. For instance, beef from a modern, grain-fed steer may contain as much as 35 percent of its calories in fat, and much of that fat is saturated. In contrast, the flesh of antelope — thought to be far more like the meat on which our species used to cut its teeth — contains only about 7 percent of its calories in fat, almost all of which is unsaturated. And some of that fat is even omega-3.”

        1. We used to occasionally get venison from hubby’s friend, and I was never fond of any kind of meat anyway, but the huge difference in fat content was immediately obvious, not to mention cooking it well seemed to make it equivalent to shoe leather without fat marbling. I always wondered why people who think they are carnivores or even omnivores aren’t out using their native apparatus to find, pursue and kill prey and eat it raw, since that’s what every other meat eater does with great relish, it’s hardwired. Picking up a pre-killed docile cow from the grocery store, cooking it on the grill, and cutting it into bite sized pieces seems a bit passe for a “hunter” with a killer instinct. Weapons are a learned trick and would never be necessary to procure food… nature always provides the proper “tools” for the appropriate diet of every animal. Whether you have a taste for flesh or not, this seems too glaringly obvious if you watch how a REAL carnivore feeds itself and it’s offspring.

          1. Well said Vege-tater. I try not to emphasize this too much since I am primarily concerned with my health and others in society. The human suffering, economic and environmental issues are monumental.

            Now the fact that the “great hunters” like to kill for fun has some very substantial consequences for the values we develop in our socialization processes.
            I once had an employee who after taking off work for two days and buying an elk tag and etc, spent about $3,000 on meat to feed his family for the winter. Then he missed and came home with nothing but a smaller bank account.. But he had done his manly duty in pursuing the kill.

            Quite simply, if I am socialized to kill readily, then it becomes easier to kill the two legged animal.

  4. I love Dr Greger’s blogs and videos. They are so informative. But what I find confusing is when other highly respected physicians promote the opposite of Dr Greger and also quote studies to back up their claims. An example is Dr Joseph Mercola. Although advocating for eating meat, dairy and eggs, he does qualify it as grass-fed beef and pastured eggs. Not being able to afford those, I do tend to eat a more whole food, plant-based diet. I was doing really well eating this way about a year ago and lost weight and got off cholesterol and diabetes medications. But I think I got bored with the limited selection of plant-based foods I could afford (senior citizen living just on Social Security) and I added back a small amount of chicken, ground turkey, eggs and dairy, and now I am slipping backwards! I’ve gained back some of the weight I lost and just generally don’t feel well. I don’t eat processed foods and make virtually everything from scratch including such things as whole-grain bread and almond milk. I am going to do my best to get back to eating WFPB diet!

    1. Thanks for your comment Janzelle.

      As you can see you know perhaps more than anyone how WFPB diet is best for you and I highly recommend you to transition back into it.

      In regards to other nutrition advisors, it’s important to remember that their own eating habits and traditions influences the information they expose. On the other, within the studies they present, these people tend to have a very reductionist mentality when it comes to looking at science, i.e. they are missing the bigger picture (see here). Plus, apart form study design weaknesses, often the studies they quote are funded by the same industries they are promoting, which is in another factor to think about.

      However, despite all this, it is currently undisputed in science and all major health organisations confirm that a plant based diet is great for health, not only from a epidemiological perspective but also from a mechanistic perspective. Randomized controlled trials further help make a stronger case for it.

      Hope this answer helps.

    2. Janzelle Willars: Thanks for sharing your story. It sure can be confusing!
      In addition to what Darchite pointed out, I’ll add that Mercola doesn’t just promote say meat, he sells it. That’s a pretty big conflict of interest.
      FYI: Every penny that Dr. Greger makes off his books, DVDs, and speaking engagements goes back to charity, which at this point, is this website. No one is right about everything, but there is no conflict of interest here.
      I have some references to some great articles that address the question of “Is grass-fed/organic etc meat any healthier?” Let me know if you are interested and when I get back to the computer that has that info, I’ll share it with you.

    3. Janzelle, there’s a whole variety of plants to choose from to prevent boredom and you can mix and match vegetables all day long. Use different seasonings as well to alter the taste at different times. Another thing is that vegetables are relatively cheaper than animal products which should suit your pocket as a Senior Citizen. Give veggies another try. Your health will thank you for it in the long run.

    4. I can relate, I’m in the same boat, but whole food starches are the bulk of my diet and are pretty cheap. I wouldn’t get as extreme as this guy, … but he had valid reasons and has had amazing success, so makes me believe we get what we need from real food even if the “numbers” seem short or unbalanced. For example, I used to have wicked problems with kidney stones for many years, and was told I needed to drink tons of fluids and cut oxalates in greens for starters. It never helped until I stopped eating animals products, and now I eat tons of greens loaded with them! I reversed diabetes and a load of other issues too, so I’m totally convinced from both the science and my experience, plant based is the way to go!

      As for Mercola…he is selling products so his info is biased, and twisting the science is easy if you pick sponsored studies or cite the ones that don’t even prove the point you claim, I’ve seen that a lot. Dr G works hard to avoid that problem, and anything he sells he makes no personal profit from, it comes back to run Nutrition Facts or goes to charities.

    5. I will echo Vege-Tater below, but also suggest that you go to Dr. Mcdougall’s site and pull up the recipes posted there. Mary, his wife, has been testing and posting recipes for decades. I go there often when I’m looking for a healthy WFPB version of a familiar food or flavor that I miss from SAD diets. It may not be exact, but its flavorful, healthy, and safe to eat. Here is the link to their recipe page:
      Some recipes are very simple, others are more involved. One simple key for me is to keep cooked potatoes in the fridge. They can be Italianized, Mexicanized, Asianized, etc., in five minutes or less. Add 1/2 C cooked greens (spinach, kale, etc) and you have a meal. So simple. And very, very inexpensive. I, too, live on a very low income. Keep the faith. :-)

    6. Janzelle,
      I am not the most popular person in the comments section of this site, I am not that optimistic and enthusiastic as other WFPB subscribers, I had some critical comments in the past, but even I want to urge you to give up the animal products and get back to a as close as possible to 100% WFPB diet. If you saw it worked for you (both subjectively – you felt better, and objectively – weight, cholesterol) and if you see now things getting worse – this is all that matter, you found what’s working for you and you know what’s not working for you. You don’t even need to ask yourself why others promote something else. You know your solution. You just need to apply it. And try different spices, you should find a couple that you’ll like.
      So, enjoy that meat-free meal!

      1. Just read this on Pritikin Center, there are only two fruits she and her colleagues at Pritikin caution against: avocados and coconuts.

        Avocados are problematic if weight loss is your goal. They’re high in fat and therefore dense with calories. Coconuts are high in heart-damaging saturated fat.

  5. Interestingly, since I’ve been on a low-carb high-fat ketogenic diet over the past 5 months or so I have not only lost a lot of belly fat that I had been struggling with since I was a teenager (without trying in any way), but my morning glucose levels have dropped from around 110 tot about 80. This drop has happened slowly over a 4-5 month period. When I do eat some carbs my blood sugar response is much less than it used to be… now I know that just measuring blood sugar isn’t the same as a test for insulin resistance, but based on the above the opposite should have happened. I should also note that I eat probably 75-100 gram of raw organic butter per day and the only other fat I really use is coconut oil, also high in saturated fats . Perhaps its time to drop the vilification of saturated fat and find the real culprite.

    1. Thanks for your comment Rudi.

      That is definitely a good decision, butter isn’t any good for health as discussed by Harvard Health in a recent article (see here):

      “Referring to butter as “healthful” is a stretch, because butter is mostly saturated fat, which has been shown to increase total and LDL cholesterol, a well-established risk factor for cardiovascular disease. While we should certainly reduce consumption of unhealthy carbohydrates such as refined starches and added sugars, we should also limit consumption of saturated fat and eliminate trans fat.”

      Coconut oil is not great alternative either and I quote from a recent review on the topic (see here).

      “coconut oil, when compared with cis unsaturated plant oils, raises total cholesterol, HDL-C, and LDL-C, al- though not as much as butter does. The impact of coco- nut oil consumption on the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-C was often not reported. No convincing evidence that consumption of coconut oil, as opposed to con- sumption of unsaturated oils, led to improved lipid pro- files and a decreased risk of CVD was discovered during the literature search.”

      Hope this answer helps.

    2. That’s really great that you’ve been seeing improvements! I wish I had saved the link but someone recently posted a really good article describing the pathophysiology for how once you already have insulin resistance you need to go to a WFPB diet or a ketogenic diet to start improving it. The body has trouble switching between carbohydrates and fats for energy one you have insulin resistance so you need to settle on one until you have removed some of the intramuscular fat causing you issues.

      Lowering your weight and fasting blood glucose is great but the saturated fat intake is still raising your risk of heart disease regardless. With heart disease being our number one killer, that should be everyone’ biggest worry.

      1. Ryan, I’m really curious how a ketogenic diet might help diabetes. True the blood sugar levels might go down simply because of the carbohydrates being removed and a resultant calorie restricted diet. However, I have seen nothing to suggest that the ketogenic aspect per se might improve insulin sensitivity. When necessary sugars are present your body will still not be able to cope due to a resultant insulin resistance. This insulin resistance comes from saturated fatty acids (egged on by the branched chain amino acids in animal products) reducing the effectiveness of the insulin. / I see no necessary reason a ketogenic diet would change this.

        1. On a ketogenic diet the body burns fat not carbs. You dont need carbs at all – the body can make what the brain needs in terms of sugars by gluconeogensis. A leto genic diet is not calorie restricted unless by a natural tendency to eat less because of it’s greater satiety from fats in the diet. I lost 14 pound in weight on a ketogenic diet without ever being hungry or counting calories. As I’m not eating carbs I don’t need to produce much insulin (which is a fat storing hormone) as my body burns fat not carbs. I’ve lost weight, lipid profile improved, pre diabetes reversed (as long as I stay off the carbs. Not saying a plant based diet can’t work for some people but i wish people would stop dissing alternatives and realise there is no ‘one size fits all’ for healthy diets. i work on increasing insulin sensitivity by exercise and weight training now which means my body does not overreact to any carbs I might occasionally decide to eat.

        2. I got the info from one of Darchite’s posts:

          { It seems strange but here is what Dr Garth Davis recently spoke on the topic (find original post here):

          ” I always tell people that it is very difficult to turn carbs to fat, a process called De Novo Lipogenesis (DNL). This is in fact true. In your average person if you eat bread, for instance, your body will store it as glycogen in your muscle or utilize it for energy.

          There is a very important exception to this rule. If you are insulin resistant, then your body will greatly increase conversion of carbs to fat (DNL). So if you are very overweight (my patient population) then you are likely insulin resistant, and therefore, carbs can make you fat.

          Now that does NOT mean you should not eat fruit or carbs. What it means is that you need to address the cause of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance seems to be due to 2 main issues. First, our cells thrive on sugar. cellular metabolism is driven by glucose. Now, to get sugar into the cells, you need insulin receptors. Problem is that certain amino acids and fats cause fat to enter the cell and disrupt the ability of the cell to make insulin receptors. Without insulin receptors the sugar cannot get in the cell to be utilized as fuel. The body will start pushing out more and more insulin in an attempt to get the sugar in the cells. The high insulin suppresses the cells ability to release fat, and more fat is stored in the cells creating a vicious cycle.

          Secondly, the fat that enters the cells creates a problem with storing glucose as glycogen. Fat basically competes for utilization in the cell with glucose. If glucose cannot be stored or transported into cell than you get hyperglycemia and the resulting hyperinsulinemia creates hypertriglyceridemia. Top that off with the fact that the cells aren’t getting their usual fuel and will need t get fuel from fat. Hence there is increase in conversion of carbs to fat.

          This can easily be cured. Exercise greatly improves glucose utilization and insulin receptor production in the cell. Weight loss, obviously, reduces intramyocellular and intrahepatic fat, and thereby increases insulin sensitivity.

          When it comes to diet for insulin resistance there are 2 diets that seem to work. All fat or really low fat. This may sound contradictory, but think about it. If you are eating nothing but fat your odd will run out of glycogen and turn to utilizing fat for fuel. Without eating any carbs, minimal insulin will be secreted. You may still be insulin resistant but if you are not eating carbs, and mainly eating fat, you won’t exhibit high insulin and high sugar.

          As you know, this is not my preferred method of treatment because I find it limits many nutrient dense foods (fruits), may have negative effect as far as cancer, cardiac disease, and inflammation.

          The opposite, a high carb/low fat plant based diet, is my treatment of choice. Basically, by eating a high fiber diet you get slow release of sugar into body and the foods are low in calories so you tend to lose weight. You also are not getting the high amounts of fatty acids and amino acids that enter the cell and interfere with insulin receptor production and glycogen formation.

          Interestingly, it appears, if you are insulin resistant, the answer is in the extremes. You cannot really do some of both. Fat by itself, if not in ketosis, is harmful. Likewise, excessive carbs, in a diet that contains saturated fat, is harmful. The magic seems to be in the extremes.”

          Hope this answer helps.}

          1. This is wonderful. I was just wanting to ask why some “health gurus” say to eat high fat, low carb. I know someone doing this with her family. They are tiny skinny and she won’t hear of it being not good. She thinks she is doing right to raise her little child on lots of butter, meat, coconut oil, chicken hearts–high fat, sausage, etc., and acts like all else is stupidity. Their genetics make them skinny naturally, but because she is skinny, I think it causes her to think she has the market cornered on health eating this way. She also advocates undercooking meat. I don’t know how their health is, but because they are skinny, it is difficult to try to share any other perspective with them without getting shot down. Any other information on weight loss/management and plant based I would appreciate as I don’t feel high fat and animal based is healthier. Thank you for your time posting this and thank you, Dr. Greger! I am so in love with all you have done and are doing and with your happy manner!

  6. Just the information I need to try to convince my T2D daughter that sat fat impedes insulin sensitivity – which she had pooh poohed!

    But I am wondering just how “widely accepted” this fact is. I am pretty sure the ADA website does not mention it, and I am also sure the doctor responsible for her diabetes treatment has never mentioned this to her. Also, it’s my understanding that there are quite a few doctors in Europe recommending high fat / low carb diets to treat diabetes. That’s all quite disappointing.

    1. David J: Here is a link to a post that Darchite did not too long ago. It explains how someone can use a high fat diet to treat diabetes symptoms (not the cause). This is a risky route to take in terms of overall long term health, but if all someone cares about is treating the main symptom of diabetes, then it is an option as others have reported “working” for them on this site.

    2. As well as the excellent advice from Thea and Darchite below, I would say that it is widely accepted. It is in fact the official position.

      The CDC managing diabetes pages for example state (see the “What healthy food choices should I make?” section)
      “Eat less fat. Choose fewer high-fat foods and use less fat for cooking. You especially want to limit foods that are high in saturated fats or trans fat”

      The British NHS offers the same advice
      “Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet and reducing your sugar and fat intake, particularly saturated fat, can help prevent type 2 diabetes, as well as manage the condition if you already have it.”

    3. I have to say that when, in a last ditch effort to reverse my diabetes with a low fat, whole food, plant based diet after seeing the excellent movie “Forks Over Knives”, I was amazed when it happened in less than a few weeks, so I went to the ADA website to question why I kept getting e-mails and phone calls soliciting donations to “find the cure for diabetes”, when there already was one, and they should promote it, since it’s been known about since the 1940’s! Well, mysteriously the website had no feedback options, only credit card forms! So I searched to find their forum and went there to share my good news! I definitely expected some questions and commentary since they advocated the low carb route that I had religiously followed for years, which obviously made the glucose readings LOOK lower, but did nothing to alter or reverse the actual disease, even with two medications. Anyway, I posted my experiences with valid references, links, and happy enthusiasm…and literally got attacked with a slew of ad hominem insults, foul language, and overt hostility! I was initially shocked and the reaction, but once it sunk in, it was glaringly obvious that it wasn’t a few people reacting to new or questionable information, but a concerted effort to ridicule truthful information that had the potential to seriously alter their paradigm and profit. Reading this really cinched it, so despicable!

      1. I share your experience with the ADA site. I went there recently as well to look for contact information and also to see what they recommend. You cannot contact them and they have some questionable information on their site.
        Before going WFPB my BP was inching upwards (130/80, is now 110/65), cholesterol rising, 30lb overweight, gout, osteopenia via bone scan, prediabetic. That was 10 years ago. All issues now resolved and BMI 21.5.
        I also shared WFPB info with a friend who was spending $500/month on his diabetes meds. At 70 years of age he went WFPB and resolved his Type II to his physicians complete surprise. He, too, is frustrated that the ADA doesn’t share better information.

        “When the people lead, the leaders follow.”

        The only thing I can say is “It works for me”.

  7. I have to think that this also has some impact on neurological health. Alzheimer’s for example appears to be correlated with high blood sugar and cardiovascular “issues”.

  8. So what is the increase in percentage of individuals eating high fat diets with type 2, over people eating eating plant based. I mean, there are plenty of obese people that don’t have insulin resistance.

    1. Yes, and there are plenty of smokers who don’t have lung cancer or heart disease also.

      The argument is about increased risk. For example, if 100,000 people play Russian roulette once, you would expect most of them to survive the experience. This does not prove that playing Russian Roulette is not risky.

      I do not know if there a study comparing high fat dieters with plant based dieters but this study found
      “Prevalence of type 2 diabetes increased from 2.9% in vegans to 7.6% in nonvegetarians; the prevalence was intermediate in participants consuming lacto-ovo (3.2%), pesco (4.8%), or semi-vegetarian (6.1%) diets.”

      And other studies indicate that high saturated fat consumption is a key risk factor for T2D eg
      “Individuals with T2DM consumed a high saturated-fat diet, with a higher total-fat, MUFA, PUFA and protein content and a lower GL, carbohydrate, fibre and sugar content than ND individuals …… Dietary education needs to emphasise and regularly reinforce the importance of higher fibre, fruit, vegetable and wholegrain intake and the substitution of monounsaturated for saturated-fat sources, in energy balanced conditions, throughout the lifespan of T2DM.”

      1. Very good observation Tom. I especially like the comparison with smoking. Indeed, from my own observations, it seems that the incidence of cancer with smoking seems to actually be less than T2 diabetes with obesity. I would like to see statistics on this.

        1. Yes. There are plenty of statistics around. The problem is making sense of them.

          In 2012 about 29 million Americans had diabetes but only about 415,000 Americans had lung cancer. Deaths from lung cancer in the US are supposed to reach 158,000 in 2016 while diabetes related deaths might be over 230,000 but direct comparisons are very difficult. Headline comparisons like that don’t tell the whole picture.

          Also, I understand that that smoking is more likely to give you cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease than lung cancer. Of course, it could give you all three if the balls line up. Similarly overweight/obesity increases your risk for a whole host of diseases including heart disease, stroke, some cancers, arthritis, breathing disorders etc as well as T2D.

          Almost 37% of US adults are thought to be obese. But only about 17% of US adults are thought to smoke. Nonetheless, smoking is still described as the number one cause of preventable death. However, such estimates largely depend on what is defined as a preventable cause of death and the assumptions used in attributing causes to a single factor. It is a highly controversial area and many deaths are in reality the result of multiple factors.

          I believe that there are entire professional journals devoted to studying these issues. It is interesting to dig around this area but people spend entire careers studying the data but would probably admit that they still don’t fully understand it. You are probably better off trying to read things like the regular health statistics reports issued by the health authorities in most countries to give you a basic understanding and going on from there. In the US I think the 2015 report is the latest?

          Of course if you want a shortcut, just Google “burden obesity” and “burden smoking” and see what you get. But it is very easy to compare apples and oranges looking at these things so you need to be cautious in drawing conclusions.

  9. This issue of saturated fat is one that is likely going to provoke a lot of comments. Nothing sparks arguments online than saturated fats being good or bad for our health. Opinions are deep and sometimes emotive.

    In the end everyone would have to look at the evidence as Dr Greg has done here and decide for themselves which way they want to swing.

    My personal experience (not just a view) is that saturated fats has limitations on well being and must be reduced in our diet. I saw a huge difference in my lipid profile once I cut down my consumption of saturated fats. Significant reduction of saturated fat had a positive impact on my lipid profile and glucose profile. This is not an emotive view but an objective one.

    If people have doubts, they should test it out for themselves. Cut down your consumption of saturated fat and request a lipid profile from your doctor as well as blood glucose profile and compare for your own benefit. You can’t beat a personal objective test!

    1. Yes but the effects are sensitive to what you replace the saturated fats with.

      If people eat processed foods, white bread, hydrogenated spreads and oils, chips etc in place of high saturated fat foods, then they are unlikely to see a benefit. This is where the WFPB way of eating comes in. It is not simply about what to avoid, it is about what to eat to promote health. If you eat right in the first place, then you will automatically minimise the things that adversely impact our health.

      1. Tom, I agree with you. There always has to be a replacement for something denied. The substitution makes all the difference.

        Personally, I get my fats from nuts, seeds and avocados. As for what oil I use to cook, I use Rapeseed oil which is fairly stable at high temperatures. That’s how I have done my substitutions for saturated fat reduction or elimination, if you like.

  10. Since the latest video is about salt and the current articles are about saturated fat, it may be worth noting that one of the ways some LCHF devotees may be avoiding obesity is by consuming a high salt high fat diet.

    “The UI team started the study with the hypothesis that fat and salt, both being tasty to humans, would act together to increase food consumption and promote weight gain. They tested the idea by feeding groups of mice different diets: normal chow or high-fat chow with varying levels of salt (0.25 to 4 percent). To their surprise, the mice on the high-fat diet with the lowest salt gained the most weight, about 15 grams over 16 weeks, while animals on the high-fat, highest salt diet had low weight gain that was similar to the chow-fed mice, about 5 grams.”

    It would have also been interesting if they had extended the experiment to see the long term effects on mortality.

    1. What do you know about LCHF Tom? See for me, LCHF is a diet that is rich in whole plant foods (non starchy), leafy greens that grow above ground, natural fats (non processed rubbish like canola oil, sunflower oil etc..) and minimal processed meats. LCHF isn’t about covering our food in salt to offset the fat.

      As for your mouse study that you linked that isn’t actually the study but a clickbait article written about the study. I wouldn’t be so quick to believe another animal study considering the cross over from mouse to human is completely different and the data is very easy to jig one way of the other with mice. All you can gain from a study done on mice is that you should or shouldn’t feed mice that particular diet for too long.

      1. I know

        1. low carb diets generally are associated with higher mortality in human observational studies
        2. in experimental studies using animal models, high fat low carb diets deliver higher mortality than high carb diets
        3. in human studies, replacing saturated fats with PUFAs and MUFAs results in fewer adverse events including death
        4. the common language of LCHF includes a lot of doublespeak – unhealthy fats are called “healthy fats” and processed foods like cheese and butter are called “natural fats”
        5. cheese, butter and other dairy foods are usually naturally high in salt. So is meat.

        Yes, one mouse study isn’t conclusive evidence of anything. That is why I wrote “may”.

        1. 1. Observational studies are interesting at best. Not conclusive. RCT’s based on Ornish and Low Carb (atkins in this case) in obese women show better weight loss, better blood profile and just generally better overall when the Low Carb diet was followed. I think we can agree that RCT’s are better than observational studies.
          2. When these experiments are conducted it is very important to look at the chow that is fed to these animals. Often what is deemed to be Low Carb, High Fat is quite different from what an actual LCHF person follows. Often it isn’t quite low enough, is made up of horrible ingredients and the fats used are not the same sort that I would use. See when I eat LCHF I eat my carbs in the form of vegetables. Often these animal studies use messed up corn mixtures or something else that doesn’t accurately reflect a true LCHF diet.
          3. I would like to see the data on this. I suspect that it comes down to the fact that those that eat PUFAs and MUFAs generally eat a better diet allround. I think you would find that they still partake in eating meat / fish and have a better overall health than those that eat a processed food diet (which is what is usually, unfairly also associated with eating meat).
          4. The only unhealthy fats that I can gather are the highly processed fats that are prone to oxidation. These are mainly vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower and soybean oils to name a few. Have you seen what the process is that goes into creating canola oil? and if you happen to watch it they make mention that it is a healthy oil / fat? Also all the by products that is created goes off to feed animals. This is where the unhealthy meats come from. Not grass raised / organic meats that are not only good to consume for the diet but also good for the environment as they are virtually carbon neutral.
          5. Do you know how cheese or butter is made? It is a very simple process. Pinch of salt added to cream and you whip it. Pretty easy and very natural. Cheese is slightly more complex process but again fairly easy and very natural.

          I think this WOE is fine if you can keep it up and you have favorable results but by no means is it the only way to eat and it most definitely isn’t the healthiest diet for everyone.

          1. Thanks Luke.

            1.Experimental studies as well as observational studies show that low carb diets are associated with higher mortality. I am not aware of any studies of any kind showing low carb diets delivering lower mortality. The experimental studies have largely been done using animal models of various kinds. However, they consistently show that high carb diets appear to deliver the lowest mortality eg see this article for a summary
            or this study as an example
            “C57BL/6J mice were fed with a HF diet (60% kcal/fat) or control diets (15% kcal/fat) for 27 months. One-half of the mice on the HF diet developed obesity (diet-induced obese (DIO) mice), whereas the remaining mice were diet resistant (DR). At 8 months of age, both DIO and DR groups had increased hyperglycemic response during a glucose tolerance test, which was normalized in 16-month-old mice. At this latter time point, all groups presented similar performance in cognitive tests (Morris water maze and inhibitory avoidance). The survival curves of the HF and control diet groups started to diverge at 15 months of age and, after 27 months, the survival rate of mice in the DIO and DR groups was 40%, whereas in the control diet group it was 75%.”
            Source:”High saturated fat and low carbohydrate diet decreases lifespan independent of body weight in mice”

            Thanks for the A’Z study link. However, the Ornish Diet is less than 10% fat, but at no time did the “Ornish Diet” group in this study consume less than 21% fat. Indeed, at the 12 month point the so-called Ornish Group were consuming on average 30% of their total calories as fat. However, I agree that the LCHF diet can be an effective way deliver weight loss for obese people and also deliver improved lipid, BP and glucose numbers. But any diet that delivers weight loss can do pretty much the same think – look at the Twinkie and potato diets for example. In most people though, high fat diets appear to be obesogenic eg see this discussion
            In any case, I am far from conviced that short term weight loss in obese people is more important that increased mortality risk.You might also want to look at this article by Dr Greger on low carb diets

            2. The mice on the control diets were also eating chow. However, if you want to find a justification for dismissing both observational and experimental studies, then it is possible to do so. I would agree that they are not a lay down misere when it comes to proving low carb diets increase mortality. However, the fact that both observational and experimental studies point in the same direction, while there is no evidence of an opposite effect, is telling. As is the evidence identifying the mechanisms by which high saturated fat ingestion especially damages the cradiovascular system.

            3. This evidence and references are discussed in major reports such as
            Here are some meta analyses of studies examining replacing saturated fat with PUFA
            See also

            4. Claiming that there is no evidence that high saturated fat consumption is unhealthy is only possible if you ignore the professional literature and instead believe people selling sensational books or with websites and blogs in the wackier parts of the internet. Also, I would say that it is undoubtedly doublespeak to claim butter and cheese are natural fats when it is quite clear that they are manufactured products. And claiming that butter or cheese are somehow natural but eg traditional cold pressed oils aren’t makes no sense whatsoever to me. let me be clear though, I think that both isolated hard fats and liquid fats are unhealthy

            Also, the claim that grass fed meats are healthy is just wishful thinking that is contradicted by the evidence. Assertions do not trump actual evidence ( I seem to be using “trump”more often these days – I wonder why?)

            1. 1. The Okinawa one is interesting. I’m don’t pretend to know what is happening here but I have a sneaky suspicion that the lower amounts of protein allow mTOR to do its thing. Again, I don’t know a whole heap about it and I don’t quite understand it fully but there seems to be a link to lower amounts of protein and autophagy. Potentially could be the reason more so than higher carb. Of course it goes without saying that the Okinawan diet would be much better than a SAD diet.

              As for the mouse study I can tell you that no one that eats LCHF will eat “(45% lard and 15% soybean oil), 15% energy from starch (corn) and 25% from protein (soybean protein)”. None of that is LCHF. Also, I’m not sure what mice were used because there was that recent Australian mouse study that media picked up and ran with after the title of Paleo is harmful (or something along those lines) was released. Turned out they fed them a rubbish chow and the mice were predisposed to developing diabetes no matter what was fed to them due to the mice used.

              Another mice / animal study?? There are actual human RCT’s that have been conducted. As for Greger’s post, I’m sure it looks quite favorable for this WOE vs LCHF. Always does for some reason, even though there is a growing number of new studies pointing to LCHF being very healthy? Agree to disagree on that one if you will.

              2. I don’t think there is any evidence that Sat fat damages cardiovascular system. Again, this is based off observational studies where the data was cherry picked to suit the hypothesis. If this 7 countries study was correct, why didn’t they do an RCT to prove their theory? Oh but wait, they did and what did it find???

              Now I’m going to guess that you will say it further points to your points about reduced fat overall is good. I think it points more to the fact that highly processed, easily oxidised oils such as corn, canola, soybean etc.. is very damaging to our cardiovascular system. In fact, oxidised oils as mentioned have the ability to continually roam in our blood as oxidised LDL because we don’t have receptors in our cells for them to bind to. Essentially, the key they are using has changed and doesn’t fit the cell receptors lock anymore. This could further explain why the cholesterol contained in these oxidised LDL particles end up in our arteries. They spend that much time in the blood system that the need to go somewhere and if the artery walls are damaged they will find their way in. This is what I have read and is what makes sense to me.

              I won’t pretend for a second that Sat fat doesn’t raise cholesterol. It can and often does, however in someone like myself, that is LCHF fat adapted, my increase comes as a result of my HDL increasing, my Triglycerides decreasing (HDL/Trigs is a better ration to understand CVD than total Cholesterol anyway). My LDL has increased but as my Trigs have gone very low I’m confident in the knowledge that my LDL is the healthy kind and not the oxidised LDL I mentioned above. It has been shown that high Trigs and oxidised LDL go hand and hand. As I’m fat adapted I use my own internal fat for energy as well as fat eaten and the small amount of glucose I get from veggies. Because I use mainly fat it makes sense for my LDL’s to be higher since my fat energy needs something to carry it around to my cells for use.

              3. There was an interesting line where it says that replacing Sat fat with carbs may actually be worse for CVD in link 2. I won’t read link 1 since it is by the USDA. They have a hidden (but not that hidden) agenda. In the 4th link it also states that it was significant that replacing Sat fat with carbs and coronary events. I don’t dispute the health effects of MUFA’s in fact they have been shown to help the heart so olive oil and fatty fish are perfect. As for PUFA’s there isn’t any disputing that they can lower LDL-C but that isn’t the issue. It is what it does to the particle that most find issue with and it stems back to oxidation. It is easily oxidise due to the nature in what is processed. Didn’t read the 5th due to information overload. I get your point though, there are studies on both sides to find in favour of this WOE or mine.

              4. I never said cold pressed oils aren’t natural or unhealthy. Yes, cold pressed olive oils and flaxseed oils are healthy. Highly processed oils such as canola oils / seed oils are bad.

              Butter is minimal processing. In fact, I could (if I had one) milk my own cow, skim the cream from the top, add a little salt and whip it into butter. Minimal processing.

              Cheese is a case of heating milk to a certain temp and adding rennet. (I’m over simplifying the process but anyone can do this as I have before). Again minimal processing. No different to processing legumes or soybeans for consumption.

              What I don’t understand is that there are essential amino acids that we get in sufficient amounts from eggs without the need to mix multiple plants to attain. Cholesterol from eggs aren’t harmful because your body up or down regulates depending on how much is consumed.

              Also, there are essential fatty acids. Essential means we can’t create these. So we need to eat fat. There are also fat soluble vitamins that we get from combining vegetables with fat. We don’t readily absorb these vitamins without fat.

              We may have to agree to disagree on this. However I’m happy to have an intelligent discussion for once on this site. At the very least you have links that point away from this propaganda sight. Every time a moderator replies they always link me to Gregor links. It would be like me linking you to my own website with my own wild claims if you questioned my writings.

              1. Thanks Luke.

                I completely understand why the moderators link to other videos or blogs here that discuss the points you might raise, One, it is quick – writing a full response from scratch takes a lot of time (I like to do it because that is how I learn best) . And Two – Dr G’s videos contain a list of references and sources which can be used to follow up specific points. So why reinvent the wheel?

                Yes, I have seen all these claims before in LCHF etc books and websites. They are false. Sorry

                Animal studies are animal studies so I agree that they are not conclusive. However, I would note that the animals on the control diets were also eating “rubbish chow” diets as you put it. And the findings are consistent with each other and with human observational studies

                There have been no actual human RCTs of the effects of lifetime consumption of LCHF diets – it would be totally impractical. However there have been shorter term RCTs of what happens when SFAs are replaced by other nutrients. They are summarised and referenced here

                this renterpretation of old data is sadly typical. Go back to the 60s and 70s when margarines and oils were largely hydrogenated and scientists weren’t aware of the effects of trans fats and so didn’t even mention them let alone analyse them. There is however no excuse for the modern revisionist reinterpreters of old studies to pretend that effects likely due to trans fats were in fact caused by PUFAs and/or MUFAs. We now know that TFAs are even worse than SFAs.

                2. There is a huge amount of evidence that SFA damages the cardiovascular system – even over and above the fact that SFA consumption raises plasma cholesterol which in turn leads to blocked arteries. For example


                But endothelial effects aren’t the only other 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.

                And also

                And don’t get me started on the idiotic lies told about Ancel Keys and the 7 Countries study by the LCHF crowd or I will be here all night. The lack of basic fact checking on this is appalling.

                Ditto the claims about which are the better lipid measures to assess risk. This has been analysed by panels of experts around the world, Their findings and the underlying studies don’t support the preferred LCHF crowd’s preferred markers.

                3. I don’t honestly think that there are any studies that show SFA is healthy. There are however studies that show that trans fats and refined carbs are just as bad as SFA or perhaps even worse. If you are interested in PUFAs and oxidation I suggest you watch this .. it is 35 minutes but provides a whole host of references to relevant studies

                4. you did write “natural fats (non processed rubbish like canola oil, sunflower oil etc..)” and olive oil and indeed all oils (just like butter and cheese for that matter) are processed foodstuffs. The claim that the body automatically compensates for cholesterol consumption has been disproved by many studies over many decades eg
                Effects of dietary cholesterol on serum cholesterol: a meta-analysis and review.
                “Serum cholesterol concentration is clearly increased by added dietary cholesterol but the magnitude of predicted change is modulated by baseline dietary cholesterol. The greatest response is expected little, if any, measurable change would be expected once baseline dietary cholesterol was > 400-500 mg/d.”

    2. Where did you get the high fat high salt idea?

      Like the person down below said, it is a diet of high healthy fat plus a lot of low carb vegetables but avoid the high carb foods but there is nothing said about salt. The fat can come from a plant (coconut, nut, seed, etc) or from unprocessed animal fat. But you can be all vegan and still consume a high fat diet. There is nothing that said that it has to be animal fat.

      1. Just calling your favourite fat “healthy fat” doesn’t make it healthy. You are confusing magic with science here.

        I don’t understand your comment, My post simply said some high fat dieters may avoid obesity by eating a lot of salt with their fat. You can’t be arguing that all keto dieters are on low salt diets surely? I mean the amount of salt in cheese, butter meat etc is already high and when you add table and/or cooking salt, it can skyrocket.

        1. Real cheese, butter, coconut, walnut, real animal fat, real egg, are all examples of good fats.

          Fats from processed foods are bad. So are fats from vegetable oil, potato chip.

          PUFA fat from nuts for instance while good, can be harmful in large quantity due to inflammation. Saturated fat is harmless in large quantity albeit too much will cause weight gain but not inflammation. But PUFA fats are harmful in large quantity.

          And saturated fat does not cause oxidation when heated while PUFA fat does.

          1. Well, we are supposed to believe this just because you say so?

            All you do is make nonsense assertions, provide no evidence, and ignore or contradict actual scientific findings. I do not know why you are here. This site is called nutritionfacts not nutritionfantasies. There are whole swathes of the internet inhabited by people with similar fantasies and delusions to your own. Why don’t you go and play there instead of coming here to disturb rational people? Your entertainment value is now wearing a little thin.

          2. By the way, among your usual false claims was a new one – saturated fat doesn’t cause oxidoation.

            SFA;s do oxidise just not as much as PUFAs – by and large. Laurate or lauric acid is a saturated fat and is the most oxidisable of all fatty acids for example. Perhaps that is another reason why coconut oil is not a good idea?

            If I thought it would help you I would suggest you watch this video below … it probably won’t since you aooear ignore arguments based on evidence. You just prefer to repeat your beliefs over and over again. I will link it anyway because other people might find it interesting

            1. Tom Goff: Thanks for sharing the Plant Positive’s video with us! It’s a great one. Plant Positive does a great job of helping people to see through “experts” who are really not giving out valid information. He does this for free and makes no money off of it.
              The video following the one you linked to is a hoot for people who want a video specifically dissecting claims made by one of the pro-animal food pushers (Anthony Colpo).

              1. Yes, I used to have a subscription to Colpo’s newsletter years ago. After a while the craziness just became too much. Trying to look at both sides of the argument is all very well but sometimes you just have to accept that some of these people are merely plausible-sounding crackpots and move on.

  11. I reversed hypogonadism (which in turn caused me depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance) by increasing my intake of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol from organic animal sources (meat, cheese, butter, lard, raw milk, etc).

    I feel young again. My doctor gave me a clean bill of health. My total testosterone is slightly above 900ng/dL. My total cholesterol is within a slightly elevated range, but HDL:LDL ratio is optimal.

    Articles like these are actively participating in the dietary emasculation of men. Believe me, I used to eat based on conventional recommendations for a “prudent low-saturated fat diet”, and it only wrecked my hormonal health.

    1. Oh joy, yet another magical, mystical, exception to human biology and scientific fact! Wait, maybe not, maybe an alien from another planet? A lobbyist from the animal industry? Or perhaps just wishful thinking?
      Instead of slinging ridiculous accusations about the dietary emasculation of men by your dubious example, I highly recommend you delve a little further beyond shooting blanks and get educated on maintaining a useful weapon!

    2. It is very unlikely that a prudent, low-saturated fat diet would wreck your hormonal health even if you had eaten such a diet. I think it would have been noticed by now if people eating such diets were experiencing an epidemic of hypogonadism or other hormonal problems.

      1. Mr Goff, all you have to do is go for a walk and look around. Look at the men around you, and see how many of them exhibit classic signs of low testosterone – lack of athleticism, man-boobs, love handles, they are skinny-fat, etc…

        Vegans, while sometimes having normal to high total testosterone levels, experience much higher SHBG, resulting in low bioavailable testosterone:

        1. You have just refuted your own argument.
          The people around me with what you call the classic signs of low testosterone are all omnivores. Also, the study you cited stated vegans have less IGF1 and more testosterone than meat eaters. It did not state vegans experience “much higher” SHBG. It simply said that vegans’ higher testosterone was “offset” by higher SHBG. The abstract does not state whether this means fully or partially offset. It also stated there was no difference in other hormones. As I wrote before, you are simply refuting your own claims.

      2. By the way, I am a biochemist. I have a very good understanding of how one’s body chemistry works, and that includes the endocrine system. I have friends who are endocrinologists and they will confirm that the consumption of quality saturated fatty acids and cholesterol-rich foods does in fact improve men’s androgen levels – in effect increasing total testosterone, and lowering SHBG.

        1. And yet your own link showed that vegans have higher testosterone. Presumably then there is more than one biochemical pathway in operation here.

          1. The key here is higher SHBG = lower free/bioavailable testosterone. A guy could have total testosterone under 500ng/dL and have high bioavailable testosterone and feel pretty amazing. Another guy could have total T over 900ng/dL and have high SHBG, causing low free testosterone, and he will show symptoms of low testosterone.

            1. The abstract you cited showed vegans had higher total testosterone. It also implied that they had the same or slightly higher free testosterone than non vegetarians. it further showed that hey had lower IGF1 (a good thing probably) but all other hormones measured did not differ

  12. I think it would probably be impossible to eliminate all saturated fat from the diet. To do so, you would have to stop eating not just animal products, but also nuts, seeds, avocado and olives. And even if you did that, you’d still get trace amounts of saturated fat from other vegan products. It seems to me that there must be some small tolerable amount of saturated fat that will not affect our health, perhaps around 5 grams per day.

    1. Yes. That is why, if you look at the title of this article, you will see that Dr G talks about reducing – not eliminating – saturated fat from the diet.

      The “packaging” is also important. The small amount of saturated fat in rolled oats probably has quite a different effect from the saturated fat in butter. The problem is not so much saturated fat as high saturated fat foods and diets.

      1. And also nuts and avocados have a lot more healthy monounsaturated fats than they have saturated fats. I suppose coconut has mostly saturated fat, however. Nuts clearly are healthier overall than meat, dairy or eggs for heart health as well as for insulin resistance.

      2. I appreciate you pointing that out, Tom. I was reacting to the last sentence of this article: “Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero.”

    1. Tryglycerides change quite quickly, within several days. Cholesterol results as well as glucose levels will take longer. The A1C is a measure of how much glucose has formed a complex on the hemoglobin molecule and shows this effect over a longer period of time so will also take awhile to reverse. Most people wait three or more months after dietary changes to have new labs drawn.

  13. This info is based on bad sciences from the 1970 and it is still stuck today. But countless of studies have proven the contrary.

    Studies involving 347,000 people proved that saturated fat is harmless and is even beneficial.

    Note that I am talking about fats in general and not animal fats. Saturated fat from a plant such as coconut, is demonized because it happens to be “saturated”. I think that vegan pundits like to lump it together with animal fats because it is in the same “saturated” category.

    Saturated or unsaturated have no meaning for medicine but it is the length of the fatty acids that matters Some long or short chain fatty acids may or may not be harmful depending on the length but not on the saturation. Most saturated fats are good, but some unsaturated fats are bad. Saturation has no meaning. Absolutely NONE.

    Omega 6 fat and transfat are more inflammatory and dangerous than saturated fat. Vegans who eat too much peanuts and seeds and vegetable oil may get a load of Omega 6 which is more inflammatory and harmful than saturated fat. Inflammation is what lead to arteriosclerosis and not saturated fat.

    And last, ketogenic diet calls for eating a lot of fats but it can be any fats, and coconut fat is actually one of the best because it is a medium chain fatty acid.

    Don’t associate fat with animal fat. Fat is fat and some plant fat can be harmful too but coconut fat is the best, even better than olive oil. You should use it for frying.

    And God forbid, if any of you happens to have Parkinson or Alzheimer down the line, be sure to tell your relatives beforehand to feed you with coconut oil. It may not cure you 100% but it will slow down the progression of the disease.

    But this kind of article making blanket statement against saturated fat is misleading, and it will hurt a number of people. And it is downright dangerous.

    And last but not least, I hope that you all have a good Turkey day yesterday. Oops you guys don’t eat turkey, I hope that you all have a good kale and bean dinner with your family last night.

    1. I am finishing up a 48 hour water ( & green tea) fast to get back to one of the “original” Thanksgiving traditions of fasting rather than feasting. Abstaining from food for a while helps one be truly grateful for a meal. Dr. Greger has promised us some upcoming videos on intermittent fasting. Cheers!

    2. Oh please Broccoli, don’t you ever stop? These claims are simply bunk. You know it. I know it. We all know it.

      Endlessly repeating them does not make them any less untrue. The claim that the information in these NF articles and in major reports on nutrition, fats and health is based on bad science from the 1970s is just one of the idiotic lies that the internet saturated fat cranks tell each other about to try and convince themselves that they are so much smarter.than all those silly scientists, researchers and physicians It is a lie that is easily disproved by some simple fact checking. However, I suppose if you are going to sell fad diet books, membership sites, pills and potions you have to come up with some explanation for why all the latest scientific and medical findings are exactly the opposite of what you are claiming. Tragically, there are people, including you it seems, who are willing to believe this.

      The 3 studies you cited, including the notorious Siri-Tarino one, are all observational studies. They do not show what people who did not eat saturated fat, ate in its place. Refined carbs, highly processed foods, hyrdrogenated oils and spreads are all just as bad as saturated fat. Trans fat is even worse. In studies where saturated fat is replaced by less unhealthy alternatives, adverse events including mortality go down. As it happens, here have been many studies of what happens when you replace saturated fats in the diet by less unhealthy alternatives like polyunsaturated fats. There have been at least 3 meta-analyses and systematic reviews of all these many studies. They found that when people consumed polyunsaturated fat in place of saturated fat, cardiovascular events and mortality declined.

      We know that you do not like to let the facts get in the way of your opinions, but most of us here do like to know what the science shows, not what people with blogs, websites.Youtube videos and books to sell claim.

      Incidentally, referring to what the science shows is not “demonising” or “vilifying”. Those terms are just a tactic to dismiss all the evidence without having to consider it.

      But yes, there are different types of saturated fat. You might find this article by David Katz relevant

      1. Tom, you are making very good progress. Now you see that there are several types of saturated fat. That Huffington “research” article is bad when they compare real fat with fat from processed foods.

        And do you know that observational studies involving 347,000 people over 25 years are more valuable than a lab study using mice or 10 people with biased researches because researchers have to say that saturated fat is bad by skewing the results to that direction or otherwise they will lose grant money?

        And last but not least, do you know that Polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFA fat is very inflammatory if consumed a lot and that is in nuts, vegetable oil, etc. The familiar term is Omega 6. PUFA is much much worse than saturated which is either harmless or beneficial. Yes you get Omega-6 while eating processed foods but also while eating nuts and vegetable oils for instance.

        And you should study on medium chain fat or MCT which is found in coconut. Yes saturated fat in coconut is not only harmless but very beneficial.

        Take a look at all the referenced research in the following article.

        You guys are so misleading with this archaic saturated fat and cholesterol theories from the 1970. So many vegans are getting heart diseases while avoiding saturated fat and eat tons of PUFA fat. I feel so sorry for them because they try hard to be healthy but end up with CHD and Alzheimer’s because they believe in this misconception.

        1. As I said before, you can repeat this nonsense over and over again. It is still nonsense no matter how many times you say it. I have provided references to the science showing just how completely wrong your claims are. Your only response is to repeat the claims and ignore the evidence. Actually, I am being polite here aren’t I? These aren’t just “claims” and “nonsense”, they are downright falsehoods.

          And saying …. “researchers have to say that saturated fat is bad by skewing the results to that direction or otherwise they will lose grant money?” … seems to be the exact opposite of the truth given the amount of dairy and meat industry funded research around. Not to mention the Atkins Foundation money and NuSci money that is influencing study designs..

          Unsubstantiated claims and false allegations, eg your final paragraph, are not a valid argument. As far as I can tell, the evidence shows that so-called vegans get less heart disease than non-vegetarians eg

          “Non-vegetarian diets were compared to vegetarian dietary patterns (i.e., vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian) on selected health outcomes. Vegetarian diets confer protection against cardiovascular diseases, cardiometabolic risk factors, some cancers and total mortality. Compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets, vegan diets seem to offer additional protection for obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular mortality.”
          Non-vegetarian diets were compared to vegetarian dietary patterns (i.e., vegan and lacto-ovo-vegetarian) on selected health outcomes. Vegetarian diets confer protection against cardiovascular diseases, cardiometabolic risk factors, some cancers and total mortality. Compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets, vegan diets seem to offer additional protection for obesity, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular mortality.”

          Of course, some vegetarian diets are unhealthy. That isn’t the point. Dr G has been saying this for many years.

          There has been a lot of research done since the 1970s and by and large they have confirmed that high saturated fat intake and high cholesterol are significant risk factors for a range of diseases. Pretending otherwise is a good way to sell books etc to people who want to be told butter, cheese, steak etc are health foods but it is simply untrue. Why continue deluding yourself?

    3. I believe you made an error in calling thanksgiving , turkey day.oh actually after reading your comments you may have made other errors as well.
      We had turkey stuffing (no real turkeys were Sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, Roasted beets, Garlic, Sweet N Sour red cabbage , cranberry sauce, mushroom gravy and peas. Pumpkin pie later for desert .

      1. Esben,

        Agree it’s not necessarily turkey day….as a desert note….my other half made a pumpkin pie using coconut and soy milks, which resulted in a great texture but changed the color…the taste was on the mark. Your stuffing sounds like ours, nice move. Dr. Alan Kadish Moderator for Dr. Greger

        1. I’ve never looked into if the pilgrims did eat turkey on their first thanksgiving or not . Beans would have been available , if they had been able to obtain them . We seen in a museum this summer foods which pre date Europeans in North America . They had 50 varieties of corn, dozens varieties beans , which included rice beans (very small bean cooks up like rice and potato bean which cooked out like mashed potato) also watermelon, melons, squash etc. This was in New York State and Ontario area.
          Thanks to people interested in seed saving these varieties are still around today.

      1. If the “correct site” means a site whose readers totally agree with my comment, then, yes, I didn’t post the comment to the “correct site”. But the spirit of my comment was: as I saw in a couple of videos, and also backed up by her studies, Rhonda Patrick is able to talk 30min about the effect of different ingredients from food on our body, without me recognizing a chemical compound (maybe she’s wrong, maybe she’s right, but you can’t say she a layman). And as this site is too often driven by dogmatic beliefs and wishful thinking, I just wanted to show you that there are other people on this planet dedicated to finding a healthy diet which have no problem in eating an egg or two.

        1. “And as this site is too often driven by dogmatic beliefs and wishful thinking,”

          Really? How about some examples. All of the videos and articles are based on research findings and the sources are cited.

          It is very easy to make charges like these about anybody and everybody. Substantiating them is another matter altogether. The fact that you don’t suggests that you can’t . I get it that the research doesn’t tell us what you want to hear but that in and of itself is not a valid criticism.

          1. :)
            You may try to accept that there may be people interested in finding The Truth as a goal in itself, no matter if that Truth will match or not one’s wishes. And I have no guilty pleasures with eggs, I never cooked one, broke 1 (max 2) in my entire life (just because someone wanted me to show how to do it), and after I left my mom’s place (many years ago), I rarely ate eggs. If I want to give up eating processed foods and start cooking myself, veganism (or lacto-veganism) is the only solution because I don’t like dealing with meat or eggs in raw form. So, please give the benefit of the doubt to the idea that my interest in this debate meal vs no-meal, eggs vs no-eggs is intellectually, and not gastronomically, driven.

            1. IMHO, science is not about The Truth. That is a subject best left to philosophers and theologians.

              I am not doubting your motives, I am just saying that you make only vague unsubstantiated criticisms – and this is neither a helpful nor a constructive attitude.

              1. Science is exactly about finding The Truth. Theology is BS and philosophy is dead (as Stephen Hawking told us). The only way we’ll find out objective features of the reality and how things really work is through science.

                1. I have always thought that science was more about facts and accurately observed and described reality than The Truth although I suppose that there are scientific truths. But The Truth and truths are rather different things (to my mind anyway)

          2. A “dogmatic belief” is saying “You should never ever eat animal products!”. Let’s assume animal products are not that healthy as plants, or even un-healthy. Even then, we have a continuum, at the bad end a 100% animal products diet, at the good end 0% animal intake. Seeing this not as a continuum, but as a discrete set with only 2 possible states, saying “You eat meat, it’s bad!” and “You don’t eat meat at all, that’s good!” sounds like an ideological normative rule to me. A more nuanced approach would be to say “The less meat you eat, the better. Ideally, you shouldn’t eat meat, but if you really enjoy it, every other week, what the heck, enjoy your steak!” Calling all these that disagree either non-experts, either BigPharma apologists is another dogmatic aspect.

            The degree of certainty, the degree of extraordinary benefits, the emphasis of any dozen-participant study from many of dr G claims are “wishful thinking”. If I take a look at Wikipedia, or here, or here, at Richard Dawkins foundation, at Novella’s foundation, at, at Rhonda Patrick, AHA (see poultry and fish recomandations), they are a bit more nuanced.
            If you disagree with anything that you read in the links I provided, write them, I can assure you of the Dawkins and Novella intellectual honesty (it doesn’t mean they can’t be wrong), crowd wisdom of Wikipedia usually present things objectively, you can get involved in editing Wikipedia pages if you find something wrong there.
            And just to be clear, if it would be about what I prefer (but reality showed us so many times it doesn’t care what we prefer), I’d like WFPB diet be the best possible option, this is what I plan to switch to, I am naturally inclined to avoid cooking meat, maybe I’ll miss the added sugars and the convenience of frozen pizza. But what I want to say is that WFPB community needs to be a bit more humble, there is no consensus among nutrition experts that animal products are that bad.

            1. That is all fine and well but what does it have to do with what is said on this site? And in particular, the criticisms you made of Dr G and NF

              As I have written before you need to provide actual examples of where Dr G has said or done these things you are criticising. Just making up statements as you have done here isn’t the same thing. For example, “Calling all these that disagree either non-experts, either BigPharma apologists is another dogmatic aspect. ” Dr G has not done that although the cholesterol sceptics and anti-statin crew certainly have. How can anybody take your comments seriously when you come out with nonsensical stuff like that?

              Also, saying that the studies quoted in the videos ,and Dr G’s voice-over commentary that they may indicate this or that, are wishful thinking is not using the term wishful thinking in a way that would be recognised by any English dictionary I am aware of. The videos/articles I have seen are entirely legitimate interpretations of the evidence and its implications. And, despite your assertions, my experience is that where there is no scientific consensus on a matter, Dr G is always careful to say “may” or “could”.

              Personally I think your criticisms are wrong and indicative of personal bias. Unless and until you can provide concrete examples I will continue to think so.

              1. You have a point there, nobody takes me seriously, I am anonymous posting a comment on a website. But you know what? There are people that take Wikipedia, AHA, Dawkins, Novella, Rhonda, seriously, and you can’t blame them, these are legitimate sources to check. Don’t have a debate with me, I have no expertise on diet, but go after these guys, convince them that they are wrong.

                And how can you tell that ranking fruits, nuts, legumes etc by their antioxidant power, hoping that eating the best will help you, when USDA (yes, I know, the puppets of the bad guys) says there is an “absence of scientific evidence that ORAC has any biological significance”, is not “wishful thinking”? It’s the definition of “wishful thinking”.

                My criticism that WFPB cohort should take a lower stance on disregarding animal products is an indicative of 1 single thing: there are people that I find trustworthy which don’t consider animal products that bad.

                1. George – you are shooting first and still haven’t got around to asking any questions yet. In a manner of speaking.
                  This is a site that says the evidence indicates a WFPB diet is best. Dr G and many others here think a 100 vegetarian WFPB diet is optimal if appropriate supplements are added. But others think a WFPB diet with small amounts of animal foods, like the Okinawa diet, is best. Both viewpoints are legitimate and there is no.conclusive evidence either way. And that too is the point.
                  We can’t stop eating until we have conclusive evidence but we can discuss what evidence there is and why we think it shows. Also if you actaully watch the videos and read the articles, you will see a lot of “mays” and “coulds”. The absolute certainty you complain of is in your own mind.
                  Dr G also that any steps towards a WFPB diet will bring improvements. It is not all or nothing …. even though he thinks that a totally vegetarian diet with the right supplements is probably optimal.

                2. Incidentally, this video below explains why Dr G considers a 100% WFPB diet is better than a WFPB diet containing small amounts of meat.

                  It seems an entirely reasonable and moderately presented stance to me. It is hardly dogmatic or whatever other negative descriptor you like to use to describe these videos and blogs. Note also that he says “This suggests that it’s not black and white, not all or nothing; any steps we can make along this spectrum of eating healthier may accrue significant benefits.”

                  1. only a short remark: I said “this site is too often driven by [..]”, this wasn’t a direct criticism of dr G, but of the entire community here, in general; and the problem is not that dr G does not have a study behind him when he says something, the problem is others (and my opinion is, intellectually honest people, of course, the paranoiacs will say Big Pharma etc) also have their studies behind them.

        2. George: re: “…there are other people on this planet dedicated to finding a healthy diet which have no problem in eating an egg or two.” No doubt others try to find a healthy diet, but a person pushing eggs and butter is either deliberately misleading you or sadly misguided and uninformed. Doesn’t matter how knowledgeable she sounds to a lay person. People like Nina and Gary Taubes sound knowledgeable to people too. These carb phobic, fat pushing teachings have been thoroughly debunked.
          I’m sure your Rhonda quote studies. We all know that the paleo people like to do that. What we have seen time and again is that such studies are fatally flawed and/or funded by the animal industry or people making money off of selling these diets. And such studies are not representative of the body of scientific evidence. If you would like a detailed education in learning to see through such confusionist talks, you could review the information on the site

          1. Well.. it is fair for you to say Rhonda is mine only to the extend that it is fair for me to say that dr G is yours. :) I have no idea if Rhonda has a tribe of true believers, but if she has, I am not one of them. I just wanted to show that there are people educated in this field of nutrition that don’t mind eating here and there a bit of butter and an egg.
            At this moment in history, you are not able to find an academic physicist that will tell you that sun revolves around the earth. We have an consensus there. You just can’t say that about nutrition, and don’t assume I am happy saying that, I find this frustrating. But unfortunately, that’s the truth, there are experts of the field, which don’t agree on certain points. I don’t see how you can deny this.

            1. George: re: “…there are experts of the field, which don’t agree on certain points. I don’t see how you can deny this.” Thank you for clarifying your point. It is a fair question. For an answer, I would say that it depends on what you call “experts.” As Dr. Greger has pointed out, we are at a point in history similar to where the world was with smoking just before people started to acknowledge the science. The science was there (7,000 studies against smoking before mainstream medicine decided to admit it), but there were no shortage of “experts” who would tell smokers what they wanted to hear. Such experts made lots of money off of saying that smoking was healthy, were hooked themselves and/or were thoroughly mislead and unable to understand the science themselves. Or, to use your example, you could say that we are the same point in history just before all the experts understood that the earth revolves around the sun. The science was there, but you could find experts who disagreed on the point. Until you couldn’t.
              I’m saying we are at that same type of point when it comes to nutrition. There is no shortage of “experts” who will tell people what they want to hear when it comes to diet. There are a number of reasons why these people say these things. That doesn’t mean that the body of scientific evidence actually supports what they are saying. It is possible that the scientific evidence will change in the future. However, that is highly unlikely. Despite what low carb true believers would have us believe, the science looks to be continuing to point in the same direction now–as it has been for decades. The evidence on this website, especially combined with the in depth almost journalist reporting from Plant Positive which exposes these “experts” you are talking about, is compelling evidence to back up this claim.

              1. Thea – Doesn’t NF have any “guidelines” regarding over-posting and dominating the conversation? Day after day now the conversation – if one could call it that – is dominated by broccoli and the constant tirades. I, for one, would sure enjoy hearing what others have to say.

                1. Guest: Yes, we have rules, but we are very reluctant to ban anyone. A poster has to reach a certain threshold of ___ (not sure what word to use), and there has to be indications from other participants that a poster is a real problem *beyond* just expressing an alternative view point. Finally, before a poster can be banned, two or more moderators have to decide that a poster has reached the point where banning is appropriate.
                  “broccoli” reached that point and was banned this morning. This may not surprise you, but “broccoli” has decided that being banned doesn’t apply to him. So, he is changing his e-mail and IP address with each post.
                  Please be patient as we try to deal with the situation. The best thing now is for everyone to ignore broccoli.

                  1. Well now you will miss learning new info from me. I hope that you don’t get Alzheimer or some disease that is preventable through MCT / coconut. And you are depriving other people from learning new things that can help them getting better health. I hope that karma does not catch up with you.

                  2. Thank you for letting us know Thea.

                    I think what I will do for now is just leave the site. Not interested in perusing through tons of ‘broccoli’ posts – just easier – and more satisfying – to entertain myself elsewhere.

                    1. But you don’t need to leave the site, you can ‘leave’ the comments sections but still read the main articles or watch the videos.

              2. Well, definitively expert is not someone who agrees with us and laymen aren’t those who disagrees. I’d say an expert is someone with a deep understanding of the topic. “My” Rhonda is an expert for sure (she did research on nutrition). Steven Novella (neurologist) and Richard Dawkins (biologist) are not necessarily experts on nutrition, but they aren’t engineers either :P, and I do respect their critical thinking, and (I know it’s important to mention this here) I can guarantee they didn’t sell their soul to Big Pharma. (I mention these 3 because they all seem to have a different opinion than dr G on meat, see my other comment.)

                Thea, this reference to smoking is a kind of “Science was wrong before” fallacy. Just because they were wrong on smoking in the past, it doesn’t mean they are wrong now, too. I posted this quote in the past, I’ll repost it, because it’s relevant, funny and for the sake of the great Carl Sagan: “The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown”.

  14. I was a dedicated vegan for years. Dr. Greger was one of my go to guys for “cutting edge” science related to nutritional health. For the most part this is still true. However, not everything espoused by this site is bulletproof. Unfortunately, Dr. Greger has painted himself into a box defined by scientific dogma with little tolerance for science that runs contradictory to his preconceived notions or agenda. I would advice all of you to do a lot of research in diverse areas of nutritional science and functional approaches before buying everything you read on this site. Try to be independently minded and well informed. Having said that I would agree that most of the recommendations given by Dr. Greger are a VAST improvement over the conventional diet of most Americans, and sadly now the world. Sites like this are a good starting point.

    1. And also keep in mind that there just may be things we don’t know yet. And please entertain the idea that some of these yet unknown things are related to this topic of nutrition. And please try to not fall into the trap of finding the perfect diet, I think if you get the main points right, it’s fine. At some point in the past, humans had no idea about the shape of the Earth (or even worse, they thought it was plain), maybe we now just don’t know everything about nutrition and we have to get used to that.

      Dr G has no problem in promoting himself in a website which also hosts a very large palette of pseudoscience practitioners, just go and see how many charlatans you can find there. If you are true to science (like I’d expect from dr G), you wouldn’t allow your image to be associated with that fraudulent site. It’s just one more thing that makes me not buy 100% of what dr G says.

      1. When I look at the list of “Plant-based Practitioners” on the plantbaseddoctors website, I see a lot of MDs and DOs along with RDs. Sure there are a number of practitioners listed are not trained in western medicine, but so what. And lot of ideas floating around in the “alternate medicine” field like chiropracty, and traditional Chinese medicine are not as hard science based as the more traditional MD/DO/RD fields. But then again look at all the “real” doctors and dietitians out there who vigorously ignore the very hard evidence supporting a whole plant based diet as the best way to avoid, halt and even reverse most chronic diseases. So I don’t think it is fair to cast shade on those who aren’t “science” based when many of those who have the “right” letters after their name don’t follow the best consensus science.

        Perhaps you can educate all of us on exactly how plantbaseddoctors is a fraudulent website.

        As for Dr. Greger, he is anything but dogmatic and willing to reverse course when new science comes to light. An excellent example is that the best thinking for a long time was that animal protein contributed to osteoporosis due to calcium being leached out of the bones in order to buffer the acid produced from the sulfur containing amino acids found in abundance in animal but very little in plant proteins are broken down and used for energy. When very clever science showed that the large majority of the extra calcium in the urine was coming from increased absorption of calcium in the intestine and very little of it from the bones, Dr. Greger fully acknowledged the change in thinking in this video>/a>. BTW, that doesn’t mean that the very strong correlation between animal food consumption and osteoporosis isn’t just as real as ever, or that the actual cause still isn’t because of the animal foods we eat, just that the acid forming nature of animal protein isn’t the primary culprit.

        1. So, finally we have someone brave enough to address this comment of mine. I appreciate the courage, but as I think you know, you are fighting a losing battle, there’s nothing to defend here, dr G exposing himself in that ‘select’ companionship is just wrong, pure and simple. Medicine is not western and eastern, allopathic and homoeopathic, surgical knifes and energetic stones. There is only single medicine, a branch of science, evidence-based. If you promote homeopaths, acupunturists, etc, you are a fraudulent site. There are few things I can think of now, worse than selling illusions to people when they are very vulnerable, like after finding out they have a very serious health problem.

          This is not about defending incompetent people, it is about promoting the idea of doing the right, in the right manner (which can only be the scientific way). So, we have doctors holding the right credentials, that have no idea about what they are doing. What do we do? Do we send patients to a acupunturist? No. Wrong. Not OK. We send people to a competent doctor.

          This is an aspect that raised me some concerns. I saw in a few videos dr G’s story, with her grandma “send home to die”. Well, this is one way to tell the story, but I don’t think the doctors said: “Lady, go home and die!”. I think they said: “Sorry, there’s no reason to keep you in the hospital because we don’t have a solution for you.” And dr G shouldn’t have taken that too personal, he should know that sometimes being a doctor involves 1) giving bad news, 2) making mistakes, and 3) having limitations imposed by the current understanding of things and technological means available. So, at some point, the doctors disappointed you, they couldn’t save someone dear (and even worse, your dear was savable, and was finally saved). What do you do? You team up with the acupunturists? No. Wrong. Bad thing. You must try to fix the system from the inside. The medical community is wrong now? OK, convince them they are wrong. Don’t act like trying to convince people there’s another way, an alternative medicine, a quick, easy and cheap solution hidden from us by bad members of the global conspiracy.

          Look, we all don’t change our mind overnight, it takes time to have the entire world believe something else, building a consensus takes time. Let’s remember what Planck said “Truth never triumphs – its opponents just die out. Science advances one funeral at a time.” Maybe in order to have not a single people eating animal products, we first need to wait for all paleo, keto etc people to die. Yes, maybe veganism is the best option, and maybe right now we are in the process of getting a consensus on this, and dr G is just one of the early adopters of this correct idea. What I say is just that there are reasonable people (just to counterattack possible arguments: yes, they have their studies, too; no, they are not bloggers, they are professionals; no, their recent vacation in Bahamas wasn’t paid by Monsanto – I have no proofs on this, but I have a certain ability to distinguish between manipulation and arguments (maybe wrong, but) made in good faith) who are more reserved, nuanced on a definitive answer on smallest details about nutrition.

        2. And just one more reason that plantbaseddoctors is fraudulent: why do they have that name of the website when they want to send you to an acupunturist? That acupunturist will insert into your body some pine needles?

          1. George: What name would you use to cover a resource that people really want and that people see as being consistent and properly on the same list?
            I agree with Jim Felder. I think your take on this is totally off. But you are welcome to your opinion. If you really think this is a shady site, why are you here so much? I’m not trying to discourage you from learning the information on this site. I just have to wonder how you reconcile the opinion you have with your actions.

            1. @disqus_EXJURIXKLQ:disqus, just to be clear, I didn’t say is fraudulent, I said is.

              And I am not sure if I understood you correctly, but if I did, I have to say that it is impossible for people to find useful a bunch of naturopathic, chiropractor practitioners, acupuncturists, homeopaths and other mambo jumbo pseudodoctors. Ok, if you need someone to talk to, they can be useful, but in terms of successful medical treatment, these are BS. What name I’d use for a website that mixes medical doctors with acupuncturists?

              But I don’t know why we have this discussion. This should be very clear for anyone just a little bit scientifically literate, that all these pseudosciences are BS and that if you really want to help someone, you tell her to run in the opposite direction.

              Now, it may be useful for me to find out the general opinion of the community of regarding these fraudulent pseudoscientific treatments. The fact that dr G puts his picture near these charlatans, while Novella or Dawkins would surely try to destroy them, to ridicule them, can be useful for me to evaluate each side’s opinions on other topics.

              No, is not shady, I didn’t even suggest that, all the effort shows there’s passion behind this project, there are much more things I think dr G is correct on, than things where I think that he speculates or that he’s wrong. And in the future I don’t plan to be here so much :) (as a commentator, I mean).

              1. George: Here are some quotes from you in the last few days:

                >> “Dr G has no problem in promoting himself in a website which also hosts a very large palette of pseudoscience practitioners, just go http://www.plantbaseddoctors.o… and see how many charlatans you can find there. If you are true to science (like I’d expect from dr G), you wouldn’t allow your image to be associated with that fraudulent site. It’s just one more thing that makes me not buy 100% of what dr G says.”

                >> “It is very, very disappointing for me that dr G is promoting himself on that website.”

                >> “dr G exposing himself in that ‘select’ companionship is just wrong, pure and simple.”

                I find those words implying quite a bit about Dr. Greger himself. And since Dr. Greger is main name on this website, your words have implications for this website as well.

                I just find your opinion on this matter to be SO off base on so many levels that I have nowhere to go with it. As I said, you are entitled to your opinion. Others do not share your opinion. How much more do you really need to say on the matter of Dr. Greger putting his name on that website? Have you had your say now? Are there more important issues we could discuss?

                1. George: An interesting thought just hit me. You are so black and white on the issue of the plantbaseddoctors website. There are methods of helping people on that website that you absolutely consider fraud. If you don’t agree with it, it is fraud.
                  It’s just not that black and white. As an example, consider this: There are people who take their dogs for acupuncture. That treatment has been known to cure dogs of problems that western medicine has not helped with. Two separate, classically trained (western medicine) vets have said something like this to me: “Dogs don’t have a placebo effect. There is some pretty strong reason to believe this treatment is truly helpful.” I don’t fully buy that statement myself. (I believe that dogs do have the placebo effect at least to some degree.) The point is: This topic is not as black and white as you are making it out to be.
                  On the other hand, you also have been arguing the following: If people review the teachings of the animal food promoters and find those teachings to be lacking in scientific backing and say so, then those people are not properly taking into account the gray area of nutrition science. Some quotes from you: “And also keep in mind that there just may be things we don’t know yet. And please entertain the idea that some of these yet unknown things are related to this topic of nutrition.” and “…this wasn’t a direct criticism of dr G, but of the entire community here, in general;…”
                  For me, your posts are not coming across as logical and consistent positions to take. I think you are very clear in your head about what you believe. That doesn’t make it an objective reality… You have to back up your opinions with something more than name calling, re “such and such site is fraudulent” and positions of “these people I trust say something else, so the opposite position can’t be true”. I believe you have been given links that debunk teachings from the animal food promoters. You choose not to follow that information. That’s your bubble, and fair enough if you are not interested, but it’s not a reflection of an absolute reality.

                2. Ok, let’s stop here, anything I’d add could be seen only as my attempt to have the final word on this. I sense people start to feel upset, and as I saw, you @disqus_EXJURIXKLQ:disqus, but also @tom_goff:disqus and @jim_felder:disqus, are pretty busy trying to provide many answers, explanations, advice for the people on this forum and I don’t want you to lose your enthusiasm or have a hard time because of the negative emotions you could experience after our replies.
                  “In health!”

    2. This is all very vague. You need to provide some concrete examples of where “Dr. Greger has painted himself into a box” for your criticism to have any validity. So far, you haven’t and therefore it doesn’t.

      Also, I see no contradiction between the contents and intention of this site and the functional approaches you refer to which apparently recognise that “chronic disease is a food- and lifestyle-driven, environment- and genetics influenced phenomenon.” Isn’t that exactly what this site also recognises?

      Nobody’s perfect of course but the site seems to welcome informed debate and invites people to point out factual errors. If you have some constructive criticism to offer, then I am sure NF would want to see it. But simply saying, in effect, he is wrong (on some unspecified matters) doesn’t help anyone.

        1. I am flabbergasted.

          You look at these videos and you don’t think of people selling immune boosting supplements like Dr Mercola, Dr Sinatra, “Dr” Bowden etc. When it comes to medical conspiracy theories, you don’t think of the cholesterol, and saturated fat sceptics and their Bug Ag and Big Pharma conspiracy theories. When you think of research bias and the ignoring of the totality of the research, you don’t think about Westman, Phinney and Volek and their Atkins funded studies, etc. No, you think of Dr Greger.

          I don’t know what to say except that it probably demonstrates something about your mindset

          Incidentally, you have still not provided any evidence to justify the allegations you your first post.

          1. From all these names I read a bit about Atkins and only heard of Mercola. So, no matter what my mindset would be, I couldn’t think of them. That videos reminded me of dr G because his videos/posts/opinions I saw/read recently, I am sure you can find better candidates to illustrate what Novella said.
            I answered you now here.

  15. The most common comment I get from people is that all fats/oils are not bad. And most often the fat they love to love is coconut oil. The article links saturated fats to animal products but since coconut oil is saturated and is plant based, is it considered better or worse?

    1. Linda, coconut oil happens to be one of the best fats not because it is plant based but because it is a medium chain fatty acid that is very stable. Saturated or unsaturated fats have no importance but it is the length of the fatty acid molecules.

      Coconut itself is very nutritious too.

      1. broccoli: In addition to having some medium chain saturated fats, coconut oil also has long chain saturated fat. Just look it up on the Nutrition Data Self website. Since food is a package deal, you get the bad with the less bad when it comes to coconut oil. Also note that as NutritionFacts shows (see my previous link), coconut oil raises cholesterol levels in humans as much as butter.
        Being a pure fat, coconut oil has nothing to recommend it from a nutrition/health standpoint. On the plus side, coconut oil makes a great base ingredient for deodorant.

        1. Coconut contains mostly MCT and a small amount of LCT. Whereas fat from vegetable oil and seeds and nuts are all long chain. It should be used to make soap and cleaning solution.

          1. The USDA database for coconut oil breaks out not only the split between saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, but also the specific types of saturated fat. The following image shows the breakdown. Saturated fats with 12 or fewer carbon atoms are deemed short-chain fatty acid and those with 14 or more are deemed long-chain fatty acids.


            As you can see coconut oil is indeed about 2/3 short chain and 1/3 long chain saturated fatty acids. Dietary intervention trials have shown that saturated fat clearly raises LDL cholesterol. However not all saturated fatty acids have the same effect. The three that raise LDL the most are Lauric, Myristic and Palmetic . As the breakdown shows these three saturated fatty acids constitute 80% of the saturated fat and 70% of the total fat present in coconut oil. So even though Lauric acid is a “medium-chain” fatty acid, and represents the largest portion of the fat in coconut oil, it will raise the LDL level.

            Coconut oil is not health food!

              1. @disqus_EXJURIXKLQ:disqus I got to thinking about whether from a fat composition basis coconut oil was “better” or “worse” than butter. If the combined amount of Lauric, Myristic and Palmitic saturated fatty acids are the main hypercholesterolemic components, then butter is potentially better than coconut oil. In coconut oil these three represent 69% of the total fat while in butter they only represent 39% of the total fat. A secondary factor is that about 8% of the fat in butter is transfat, which is about twice as hypercholesterolemic as saturated fat, while coconut oil has none. And of course butter is a source of dietary cholesterol where coconut oil isn’t. Still the amount of the “big three” saturated fats is nearly twice as high in coconut oil than it is in butter. Here is the analysis


                Of course, neither butter or coconut oil is good for you and both should be avoided like the plague.

                1. Jim Felder: Sorry I didn’t reply sooner. I set aside your post until I had time to read it slowly and think about what you were saying.
                  Such interesting thoughts! I know that you know that neither is healthy. It’s just an interesting question to ponder. I thought you covered the hypothetical issues very well. So, the question is, with all those factors, how does it play out?
                  I don’t know the answer, but I wanted to share two things with you. One is that Dr. Greger has an old video where the transcript says that coconut oil is just as bad as butter in terms of what coconut oil does to our cholesterol levels: . I haven’t looked at the study, so I don’t now the details.
                  On the other hand, Tom Goff had a post recently (which I can’t find, drat), where I think he linked to some studies showing that coconut is not as bad as butter.
                  So I don’t know. Just talking with you. Thanks for the interesting discussion!

        2. Speaking of fat cells, LCFAs are predominantly stored in your body as fat. MCT is very digestible and will be used by the body as fuel and there is no fat stored in the body.

          Just because one eats plant foods does not mean that the correct fat is consumed.

      2. I am not sure why Dr Hyman does not tell the whole truth or what he has invested in coconut oil but a little research will show that the MFTs in coconuts’ 92% saturated fats is only 10%!! That is hardly healthy – one can lose a little weight but clog their arteries with his prescriptions. He will never be my advisor as he only gives the facts he wants you to know and hides the rest. Sadly, a lot of people listen to him to hear what they want to hear. I work at our co-op and people repeat him and tell me that there are good fats and a low fat diet is not good. I tell them that I eat avocados but not avocado oil so my diet is not low fat. I also eat nuts….and other foods with their oils intact, in moderation. I do use coconut milk and even oil but in very small amounts within a plant based, whole food diet.

      3. The MCTs in coconut oil only comprise 10% of their 92% saturated fats. Dr Hyman, if that is your source, sells coconut oil and never mentions this proportion. Not my advisor as he has conflicts and I can hear people in my co-op parroting him. Same for Dr Mercola who also sells the oil. Could not get a more striking example of a conflict of interest. People who only sell information are the ones I will listen to.

        1. Linda, buy MCT oil instead which has more MCT. It is derived from coconut but they extract the MCT part. MCT oil has 10 times the MCT content of coconut oil.

          MCT oil is cheap, $14 a bottle which lasts 2 months per person..

    2. The evidence suggests that it is not as bad as butter but it still raises LDL cholesterol even more than unsaturated plant oils:

      “Overall, the weight of the evidence from intervention studies to date suggests that replacing coconut oil with cis unsaturated fats would alter blood lipid profiles in a manner consistent with a reduction in risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”

      However, I really can’t see any reason to consume either solid fats or oils

  16. Does the CONTEXT matter–high saturated fat with high carbs, or high refined food? What about saturated fat in a whole food diet? …. Or the type of saturated fat, such as from animal foods versus coconut oil? (I have been advised to eat a lot of coconut oil for the antimicrobial, brain protection, etc. And I struggle to NOT lose weight on a plant based diet and am extremely underweight due to health issues. Thus, I’m asking b/c I’m concerned.)

    1. @grae_bird:disqus, there are many questions posted on this forum, and maybe the experts or almost exports don’t have the time to answer all, so sometimes some lay persons like me try their best: I would say that saturated fats bring no benefits, can be even bad, and should be avoided (no matter their source: animal or plant) – it doesn’t mean you should avoid all plants that contain the smallest amount of sat fat, but you should avoid these high in sat fats.
      See these comments: this, and this, and this article of David Katz.

    2. Hi grae_bird! I will attempt to offer some answers to your question about type of saturated fat. With all the supposed benefits of coconut oil floating around on the internet and it being a plant food I can see why there is cause for confusion. Dr. G. has a number of videos on coconut oil that I encourage you to check out:

      As more and more evidence rolls in, the claims regarding memory etc do not really pan out and it certainly isn’t good for heart health (causes LDL cholesterol to increase) as seen in the videos above.

      For boosting memory I suggest you enjoy nuts and berries often and have faith that your plant based diet is already giving you a positive edge.

      I hear your concern about trying to keep weight on following a plant based diet and have a few ideas. If you’re not doing so already, try to eat something every 2-3 hours, even just a couple bites of a nutrient dense food like hummus and whole grain crackers or handful of trail mix. It’s amazing how a few extra calories here and there throughout the day can add up and not interfere with appetite at meals. Nuts, which have been shown to be good for your heart are loaded with calories. A generous handful (1/2 cup) provides about 400 calories which can go a long way to help you keep weight on or gain some. Hope this helps!

      1. THANK YOU so much!!! What is your take on this?

        Short chain SFA have been suggested to be beneficial for the gut microbiome (17) whilst medium chain fatty acids are metabolised rapidly in the liver and have been associated with less body weight gain (18).
        Longer-chain SFA (>20:0) have been shown to have an inverse association with Type 2 diabetes, for example, perhaps due to having a different metabolic pathway (19).

        There is also evidence for a differential effect of odd and even chains. An inverse association has been observed between odd chain SFA
        (15:0 and 17:0) and Type 2 diabetes (19). This is opposed to the positive
        association seen with even chain SFA (14:0, 16:0, and 18:0). It should be noted
        these associations were for plasma rather than dietary SFA. The underlying cause of increased circulating even chain SFA has been shown to be de novo lipogenesis in the liver, thus this association may better reflect the impact of dietary carbohydrate rather than exogenous SFA (19).

        17. Bugaut M. Occurrence, absorption and metabolism of short
        chain fatty acids in the digestive tract of mammals. Comparative biochemistry
        and physiology B, Comparative biochemistry. 1987;86(3):439-72.

        18. St-Onge MP, Jones PJ. Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides:
        potential agents in the prevention of obesity. The Journal of nutrition.

        19. Forouhi NG, Koulman A, Sharp SJ, Imamura F, Kröger J, Schulze MB, et al.
        Differences in the prospective association between individual plasma
        phospholipid saturated fatty acids and incident type 2 diabetes: the
        EPIC-InterAct case-cohort study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
        2014;Oct;2(10):810-8. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70146-9. Epub 2014 Aug 5.

        1. HI again grae_bird. Sorry for the delay in responding. I’m usually only on as a volunteer once a week.
          While it’s important to review studies in the proper context (see Dr. G’s video for more on this:, what I can say is that yes, many studies are pointing to the beneficial effects of short chain fatty acids on our intestinal microbiome. Regarding the metabolism of medium chain triglycerides and effect on body weight, I don’t believe the evidence is as robust here. Practically, even if this effect could be significant, it would be very difficult to translate into diet recommendations as there are no sources of 100% MCT (only available in hospital for specific conditions). I think coconut oil comes closest at around 40% MCT which is why it has been promoted for this effect. The last study you’ve cited is new news to me and very interesting. I will pass it along in case Dr. G hasn’t read it yet as it may be something he can address in future. Thanks again for your interest and questions!

  17. NOTE: The following is so helpful and on-topic that I had to post it on two pages. Sorry to those people who are seeing this twice!


    Recommendations to Avoid Saturated Fat Confirmed

    Dietary saturated fat is linked to developing heart disease, according to a new study published in The BMJ. Researchers followed 115,782 participants from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study and the Nurses’ Health Study who were free of heart disease at the beginning of the analysis. After adjusting for multiple factors, including weight, exercise, and family history, people who consumed the most saturated fat had an 18 percent increased risk for developing heart disease, compared with those who consumed the least, after approximately 21-26 years of follow-up. Replacing saturated fat in the diet with healthier foods, including whole-grain carbohydrates, was associated with a reduced risk for heart disease. The authors conclude that current recommendations to avoid saturated fats are necessary to prevent heart disease.

    Zong G, Li Y, Wanders AJ, et al. Intake of individual saturated fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women: two prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ. 2016;355:i5796.

  18. Was wondering what you think of the Wahl’s protocol. She promotes eating a lot of animal protein. And then uses a lot of coconut fats. She claims we are starving our mitochondria . She has had a miraculous recovery from Ms using this protocol.

  19. I think this is the best site on the Internet for nutritional information and the book “How Not To Die” is very current and a worthwhile read.
    However, if you like entertainment and will not let misinformation change your lifestyle look at the authoritynutrition site. Not only are the articles putting out misinformation but the comments are primarily written by people that are eating it up.
    I tried to politely correct some of the comments but then the site banned me…

  20. The problem with the Imperial College of London study is that it was not controlled for overall fat intake (at least from what I can tell from the abstract). Vegans commonly eat less fat than omnivores, so we don’t know if the improved insulin sensitivity was due to less saturated fat intake or less fat intake in general. The abstract states that the vegans ate more carbohydrates, so I think we can pretty much assume their diets were lower in overall fat. Saying that eating “plant based” is better for insulin sensitivity is helpful to some extent, but it’s certainly not making any fine distinctions. My motivation behind this questioning is that I eat mostly plant based, but I’m still uncertain about what the ideal fat intake should be.

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