Rice diet

Image Credit: Sally Plank

What Happened to the Rice Diet?

During his career at Duke, Dr. Walter Kempner treated more than 18,000 patients with his rice diet. The diet was originally designed as a treatment for kidney failure and out-of-control high blood pressure at a time when these diagnoses were essentially a death sentence. Patients who would have died in all other hospitals had a reasonable chance for survival if they came under Kempner’s care.

The results were so dramatic that many experienced physicians suspected him of falsifying data, because he was essentially reversing terminal diseases with rice and fruit, diseases understood to be incurable by the best of modern medicine at the time. Intensive investigations into his clinic vindicated his work, however, which other researchers were then able to replicate and validate.

Kempner was criticized for his lack of controls, meaning that when patients came to him he didn’t randomly allocate half to his rice treatment and put the other half on conventional therapy. Kempner argued that the patients each acted as their own controls. For example, one patient, after the medical profession threw everything they had at him, still had blood pressure as high as 220 over 160. A normal blood pressure is considered to be around 120 over 80—which is where Kempner’s rice diet took him. Had the patient not been given the rice diet, his pressures might have been even lower, though: zero over zero, because he’d likely be dead. The “control group” in Kempner’s day had a survival expectancy estimated at 6 months. To randomize patients to conventional care would be to randomize them to their deaths.

We can also compare those who stuck to the diet to those who didn’t. In one study, of those who started the rice diet but then stopped it within a year, 80% died. For those who made it a year but then gave up the diet, instead of an 80% chance of dying, they had about a 50% chance, a flip of the coin. Of those that stuck with the program, 90% lived to tell the tale.

Beginning in the late 1950’s, drugs became available that effectively reduced blood pressure and hypertension, leading to a decreased demand for the rice diet. What conclusions can we draw from this all-but-forgotten therapy for hypertension? Not only was it the first effective therapy for high blood pressure, it may be equal to or more effective than our current multi-drug treatments. See Drugs & the Demise of the Rice Diet.

This causes one to speculate on the current practice of placing patients on one drug, then another, and perhaps a third until the blood pressure is controlled, with lip-service advocacy of a moderate reduction in dietary sodium, fat, and protein intake. At the same time, the impressive effectiveness of the rice-fruit diet, which is able to quickly stop the leakage from our arteries, lower increased intracranial pressure, reduce heart size, reverse the ECG changes, reverse heart failure, reduce weight, and markedly improve diabetes, is ignored.

Should we return to the Kempner protocol of starting with the most effective therapy, saving drugs for patients who fail to respond or who are unable or unwilling to restrict their diet? Today many people follow a plant-based diet as a choice, which is similar to what Kempner was often able to transition people to. After their high blood pressure was cured by the rice diet, patients were often able to gradually transition to a less strenuous dietary regime without adding medications and with no return of the elevated blood pressure.

If the Kempner sequence of a strictest of strict plant-based diets to a saner plant-based type diet offers the quickest and best approach to effective therapy, why isn’t it still in greater use? The powerful role of the pharmaceutical industry in steering medical care away from dietary treatment to medications should be noted. Who profits from dietary treatment? Who provides the support for investigation and the funds for clinical trials? There is more to overcome than just the patient’s reluctance to change their diet.

What Kempner wrote to a patient in 1954 is as true now as it was 60 years ago:

“[D]rugs can be very useful if properly employed and used in conjunction with intensive dietary treatment. However, the real difficulty is that Hypertensive Vascular Disease with all its possible complications—heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, blindness—is still treated very casually, a striking contrast to the attitude toward cancer. Since patients, physicians, and the chemical industry prefer the taking, prescribing, and selling of drugs to a treatment inconvenient to patient and physician and of no benefit to the pharmaceutical industry, the mortality figures for these diseases are still rather appalling.”

Despite hundreds of drugs on the market now, high blood pressure remains the #1 cause of death and disability in the world, killing off 9 million people a year. A whole food plant-based diet treats the underlying cause. As Dr. Kempner explained to a patient, “If you should find a heap of manure on your living room floor, I do not recommend that you go buy some Air-Wick [an air freshener] and perfume. I recommend that you get a bucket and shovel and a strong scrubbing brush. Then, when your living room floor is clean again, why, you may certainly apply some Air-Wick if you wish.”

As the great physician Maimonides said about 800 years ago, any illness that can be treated by diet alone should be treated by no other means.

For background on this amazing story, see Kempner Rice Diet: Whipping Us Into Shape. He would be proud that there is a whole medical specialty now: Lifestyle Medicine: Treating the Causes of Disease.

This reminds me of the role statin cholesterol-lowering drugs have played in seducing people into the magic bullet approach, but as with all magic it appears to mostly be misdirection:

Check out a couple of my recent overview videos for more on this topic: How Not to Die from Heart Disease and Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health.

In this day and age, What Diet Should Physicians Recommend? 

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.

96 responses to “What Happened to the Rice Diet?

Comment Etiquette

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

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

The Short List

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

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

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

View the Full Community Guidelines

  1. I love the analogies Kempner uses. Too many times modern medicine treats the symptoms and not the underlying cause. If they can’t burn cut or poison they can’t fix it..

    1. Thanks for your question Marlon,

      I am of the opinion that any dietary changes should be monitored using the help of a Registered Dietitian to ensure that all nutrients are met and a whole food plant based diet is followed adequately.

      Here is an up to date guide on how to help manage high blood pressure.

      Hope this answer helps.

        1. Anne, Darchiterd IS a Registered Dietitian who volunteers countless hours of his valuable time to bring us answers to our nutrition/health questions . He kindly answers in detail, providing sources when applicable, to so many people on a daily basis. Without the assistance of volunteers like Darchiterd, NF would not be what it is today.

        2. Yes that’s true. They are guided by USA who makes up the dietary guidelines, but they are also on the boards of the meat, dairy, & grain industries, a conflict of interest.

      1. nothing new here, I have read it all, heard it all and only gets repeated..If there was a truly helpful honest way to solve it don’t you think it would be information by Pubmed?

    1. Thanks for your question Nina,

      According to one of the studies mentioned by Dr Greger & I quote:

      “He figured that if a low-salt diet helped with blood pressure, a low-protein diet helped with kidney function, and a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet helped the heart, why not take it to its logical conclusion and design a no-salt, no-cholesterol diet of almost pure carbohydrate. So he designed a diet with less sodium than any low-sodium diet, less protein than any low-protein diet, and less cholesterol and fat than any other low-fat diet.”

      See video here.

      A 2015, meta-analysis has found that:

      “Specific diet and lifestyle factors are known to influence BP. Obesity, excessive sodium intake, and excessive alcohol use are associated with increased BP and risk of hypertension; po- tassium intake and physical activity are associated with lower BP.54,55 In addition, intake of unsaturated fat, protein, mag- nesium, and dietary fiber may be associated with differences in BP.5

      (…) Weight differences do not fully explain the observed BP dif- ferences, however, because studies controlling for body weight have demonstrated a BP-lowering effect of vegetarian diets.6 Second, potassium is abundant in vegetarian diets.57 Meta-analyses58,59 of randomized clinical trials have re- ported that potassium supplementation decreases BP. It is hy- pothesized that a high potassium intake increases vasodila- tion and glomerular filtration rate while decreasing renin level, renal sodium reabsorption, reactive oxygen species produc- tion, and platelet aggregation.60 Third, some reports61 have sug- gested that vegetarian diets may be lower in sodium; how- ever, others57 have shown no clear differences in sodium intake between nonvegetarians and vegetarians. Fourth, some studies32,36,37,41 have reported that alcohol consumption is lower in vegetarian populations compared with the general population. However, of the 7 clinical trials included in our study, 5 were limited to participants with no more than mod- est alcohol consumption; their results are unlikely to be sub- stantially affected by alcohol intake. Vegetarian diets are of- ten proportionately lower in saturated fatty acids and richer in polyunsaturated fatty acids compared with omnivorous diets; both of these dietary characteristics are associated with lower BP.5,62,63 Consumption of vegetarian diets has also been associated with reduced blood viscosity, which may affect BP.64 The consumption of vegetable protein has been shown to be inversely associated to BP.65”

      Hope this answer helps

    2. It’s the low protein and no added sodium. He was reversing serious kidney disease, no surprise there since the diet is so low in protein that it wouldn’t negatively impact kidney function at all. He was also treating malignant HTN and again it was the no-added-sodium part of the diet that cured that. I suspect most fruits have less sodium than lots of veggies as well, but I always figured he had people on fruit partially because who could do such a drastic diet with rice and veggies? Most people love fruit.

    1. Yes, don’t think arsenic was a problem in the 50’s like it is today. I think buckwheat, quinoa and a wider variety of pseudo whole grains would have the same effect. Many of them lower blood pressure.

      1. Arsenic is a specific problem to rice growing areas in the U.S., not Asia. In the south, the plantations during the time of slavery were using arsenic in the soil for cotton crops. Has nothing to do with Asian rice.

    2. Thanks for your comment Michael.

      Arsenic in poultry may be the reason why plant growing near contaminated areas have arsenic in them (see here).

      Dr Greger has a great video on how to reduce arsenic in rice (see here)

      Hope this answer helps.

  2. I love white rice… is white rice what was used here and is that the type recommended? I prefer basmati or jasmine as well;)

      1. I wish we didn’t call them refined grains. There’s nothing ‘refined’ about them. We should call them stripped grains because so much nutrition has been stripped out of them.

  3. Do you have any concerns about the recent news about arsenic in rice? I read the testing results at Natural News on this. Do you have any tips for avoiding this and any brands you love that you feel assured are safe?

    1. Please see Dr. Greger’s video: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/arsenic-in-rice/ and also check the comments section on that video. A quick look at the Natural News article their conclusion was that one should limit the grain intake. This advice is not supported by the facts. I also noticed that the site is chock full of ads and extreme right wing political views.

      1. So do my “right wing political views” require me to be anti-rice? How do ads make a publication unreliable (except maybe pharmaceutical ads)? I am always trying to get my liberal friends to take their diet more seriously, but I never really thought that political ideology had anything to do with it. Can you explain what you see as the relationship between conservative and your conclusion that the health publication was not trustworthy?

        1. “right wing political views” usually involve ideology and not science-based factual info or a reasonable facsimile thereof?

          Ideology usually involves religious or political views that justify what people WANT not what is….

          1. Justifying what one wants to be true rather than being open to the evidence is not a trait I have found more on the right than the left. I have seen more “closed” minds in recent years “aimed” against the religious than from them. If you only spend time and talk to those who agree with your views, it is easy to think that those who do not agree with you are evil or stupid. Our country is so divided because those who see themselves as on one side or the other of the major divides often don’t know and discuss issues with people who don’t agree with them. It is a short coming of both sides and cost everyone in our country dearly. There are intelligent people on every side of the large debates and it is just too easy to say “my side is right. If you don’t agree you are not as intelligent as I am.” I wish my left wing friends were as interested in their health as my right wing friends. Maybe you have a different experience, but until this conversation, I really didn’t think one had anything to do with the other. I still don’t. Health to all and, if it doesn’t upset you, God bless us everyone. Especially those most in need who are often the ones who get the most upset.

            1. I’ve never come across people on either side of politics or in the middle less concerned about their health. The more educated you are and moral seems to be the key to caring about others and yourself. I would not consider Trump as a good example for Morality. And I don’t consider what conservatives always do in office moral either. How is cutting taxes for only the Rich Godly or Moral? How is massive Deregulation of all healthcare, removing laws for the safety of our environment Moral? How is causing economic recession through favoring only Corporations & greedy criminal bankers while not upholding any of the laws against people who put money above all else even God, life, health, country and jobs. If anything it seems like Democrat’s do the opposite of Republican’s that I just described above. Democrats are highly intelligent and appear to be more moral & care about others & their health, more so than most Bible thumping so call God fearing conservatives. If being God fearing, conservative, & religious means they care about others as well as their own health, I’m sorry I see just the opposite IMHO. Republican’s have proven they don’t care about anyone or anything except their own greedy Agenda’s.

              1. To be fair, democrats support those policies too, including bombing the crap out of other countries to control their resources. It’s more about capitalists doing it than either political party. They’re both pernicious. Pelosi is on the record saying single payer health care is never going to happen and democrats don’t support it. That’s the same view republicons have of SP health care.

  4. Great article, thank you. It’s marred a tiny bit by the grammatical error on the link “What Diet Should Physician’s Recommend?” No need for the apostrophe there.

  5. The world-wide attitude is that the diet proven to reverse heart disease and diabetes is not to their taste and would rather take drugs or have operations till death due them part.
    More than 90% of the people I have tried to wean off white rice to brown/black rice and/or sweet potatoes have told me after a taste or two that they prefer white rice and will stick with that.
    The US thinks it has a diabetes epidemic with 9% of the population inflected but this is the response I get in countries where the rate is more than twice as high or 20% and the life expectancy for a male born today is 65.
    Of course, there is much more working here than just white rice but it demonstrates that many people do not wish to change regardless of the stakes.
    So those of us that follow faithfully Doctor Greger’s recommendation will just have to shake their heads and continue paying the taxes and medical insurance rates of a sick society.
    It is estimated that $40B a year could be saved in the US for the medicare expenses of people over 65 if they would take up a healthy lifestyle. Imagine how much would be saved if half of the newborns lived such a life.

    1. I read an interesting study out of Denmark? years ago (wish I knew where!) that getting senior citizens to live a healthier lifestyle saves money on healthcare but overall they lived much longer and that savings was offset by the social security(or their equivalent) paid out over their longer lifespan. So it was in the taxpayers interest to actually have people die earlier. Of course, in that country they probably did not spend huge amounts of money on extreme efforts to keeping people alive another 6 months like we do in America.

  6. Has Dr. Greger published any information/ position on “Lectins”.
    I would be very interested in Dr. Greger’s view of the work done by Dr. Stephen Gundry and his various views that Lectins are bad and we should not eat “American” originated foods like tomatoes.
    I can not see anything in this regard on this site or in his How Not To Die Book.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Many of the foods high in lectins are a significant part of the daily diet in long-living populations so unless one has a specific problem with one of the foods why would one try to avoid it????

      Granted we are not all exactly identical but I consume legumes and whole grains daily without any identifiable problem

    2. Thanks for your comment Kent.

      Here is what a review states & I quote:

      “Beans also contain several compounds that traditionally have been classified as antinutrients, which are compounds that can interfere with the digestion and utilization of nutrients. These include protease inhibitors (PIs), lectins, phytates, and oxalates (23, 24). However, it is important to recognize that the effects of individual components studied in isolation may not predict effects when these components are consumed in a mixture as normally occurs in the diet (25). Furthermore, over the past 20 y, the scientific community has recognized that some antinutrients may actually impart health benefits.
      Antinutrients are found throughout the plant kingdom, but foods containing them can be safely consumed because con- ventional food processing greatly reduces their concentrations and/or because harmful effects occur only after consuming excessive amounts. Beans can be especially high in lectins and PIs. Lectins are plant proteins possessing at least one noncatalytic domain, which bind reversibly to a specific mono- or oligosaccharide. Orally ingested plant lectins remaining at least partially undigested in the gut may bind to a wide variety of cell mem- branes and glycoconjugates of the intestinal and colonic mucosa, leading to various deleterious effects on the mucosa itself as well as on the intestinal bacterial flora and other inner organs (26, 27). However, high temperatures using moist heat can inactivate most lectins (28).”

      Hope this answer helps.

      1. Thanks for the info/ link.
        This one comment is something I have heard Dr. Greger repeat many times:
        “… the effects of individual components studied in isolation may not predict effects when these components are consumed in a mixture as normally occurs in the diet….”

    3. Kent, if you’ll go back to your comment from the other day, I responded with a link to a talk about lectins from Dr Pam Popper, who also recommends a WFPB diet. Lectins, it seems, are a mixed bag – a few are toxic, some help heal even cancers, and they are nullified by cooking, if I recall correctly.

      1. Rebbeca,
        I don’t see your earlier comment or link, but thank you, I will look at her web site.
        I wish there was a way to communicate directly with Dr. Greger, but I have failed to find a way to do that.

    4. I’m sorry but tomatoes are not American food. Tomatoes are extremely healthy for you especially raw uncooked. So you’re saying God made a mistake about creating tomatoes? I think you are mistaken greatly, what are you watching Faux News?

      1. Aaron, your answer is really a non-answer.

        Dr. Gundry’s argument is that Tomatoes, and other plants that originated in the Americas are not compatible with our micro-biome since they are too “new” for humans.

        A science based answer would be interesting.
        What does God creating anything have to do with this conversation? There are hundreds and hundreds of plants that are poisonous for humans. Were they mistakes? Of course not.

        The whole intriguing and compelling point of Dr. Greger’s work is that it is science based and not anecdotal “how I feel” when I eat xyz.

        I’m not mistaken about anything; I took no position but asked if Dr. Greger has addressed these questions. So far I don’t know the answer to this question.

        Do your homework on Dr. Gundry and Peter Diamandis. Enormous credibility; they may be wrong, but I’m not really interested in your “conviction”; I would be interested in proper analysis as some other’s have responded above.

  7. I would also be interested in hearing more regarding the general safety of the rice supply. It was my understanding that we should limit our weekly intake of all types of rice due to worldwide arsenic contamination. Is there any new information regarding this issue? I would love to enjoy rice several times per week, but I am cautious about it now. Arsenic contamination is a serious concern.

    1. Google can provide you all the information on your concern…

      The less processed brown rice has more arsenic because it is located in the bran.
      CA rice has less arsenic and some of the Thailand rice has less.

      The arsenic is in the water so any plant that uses a lot of water may have arsenic but because the rice stores the arsenic mostly in the bran and grows in a fair amount of water it has been tested for arsenic more often.

  8. Ah, another great morning sitting with broccoli, lentil and beet breakfast and enjoying another blog to keep me on track. I can hear the little voice in my head that throws itself on the floor in a temper tantrum for eggs and bacon almost everyday getting less and less volume.

    I would think that nutritional science now shows us to up the effect from white rice and fruit to a whole food plant based diet so we get so much more health benefits out of the choice. I also use the Daily dozen app.

    Great blog!

  9. I’ll bet you could lose weight and get healthier if you also went on a chicken and green vegetable diet. Most people are not going to eat only rice and fruit unless they are forced to do so.

    Did you hear that some doctors even recommend eating Cheese for heart health? Yep. Read it here – http://www.mdedge.com/ecardiologynews/article/129125/lipid-disorders/nutrition-expert-heart-patients-eat-some-cheese?utm_source=News_Power_eNL_012217&utm_medium=email&utm_content=January's%20Top%20News%20Headlines

    1. On Cheese:
      . True or false: Cheese is addictive.
      True! From Dr. Neal Barnard’s new book, The Cheese Trap, we learn that there’s a biochemical reason so many people feel they can’t live without their daily cheese fix. Cheese contains high levels of casein, a protein that breaks apart during digestion to produce morphine-like opiate compounds, called casomorphins. These opiates are believed to be responsible for the mother-infant bond that occurs during nursing. Need help replacing cheese? Check out our Tangy Cashew “Cheese” recipe.

      1. I don’t eat or make the fake vegan cheeses, whether WFPB or not, I just don’t eat cheese anymore, but part of the addiction to cheese I always believed was due to how much sodium is contained in cheese. I mean, they have to get that crap to taste good somehow.

    2. Greg,
      With regard to the doctor sited in the link you provide, he reported receiving research grants from the Danish Dairy Research Foundation, the Global Dairy Platform, the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, and the European Milk Forum. He serves on advisory boards for the Dutch Beer Knowledge Institute, Suntory, Weight Watchers, and several food companies.

      1. HA! I knew it! Thank you B’Healthy! All this big industry money & special interests put out info so that people like my friend, who just died a few days ago, can say, ‘See, it’s all right to eat that.” or “Oh, a doctor said it’s ok.”

        Greg, if you want to be duped by people like that, go right ahead. But just remember your choices may also affect the family & friends who care about you.

    3. People should be able to make their own choices. And they should be able to make those choices on evidence based facts without interference from big industry funding or special interest groups with money making agendas. We all know the expression too well – follow the money.

      It’s like smoking. With all the information that’s been out there for decades regarding the health risks of smoking, there are still people who smoke, including doctors. I wouldn’t ask the average doctor advice about diet and disease prevention because most of them don’t know anything about it. That’s not what they’re taught in medical school.

      Unfortunately there will always be people out there (including doctors) who either don’t want to believe the facts about diet & disease prevention or just plain don’t care about their own health. And there will always big industries out there trying to defend their turf, like the tobacco industry did for decades, because they have too much at stake & fear losing money. Personally, I’d rather listen to the people who have no skin in the game & who are only interested in disseminating evidence based facts. That is my choice.

      Unfortunately not everyone makes that choice. I had a friend who died just a few days ago. She was only in her late 60s. She was a 2-pack-a-day smoker for many decades. She ate the SAD (she loved cheese). She finally stopped smoking, & then I tried so hard to get her on board with a WFPB diet. She did it for about a year. She lost lots of weight, looked vibrant & said she felt great & had lots of energy so she could exercise. Then she fell off the wagon, went back to the cheesy SAD & didn’t want to hear about it anymore. No matter how hard I tried, she didn’t want to listen. She gained twice as much weight, & ended up on all kinds of medications for heart disease & pain meds because she was overweight, which put too much strain on her joints. The last time I saw her she was walking with a cane. And now she’s gone. She wasn’t stupid. She was an intelligent woman. But I will never understand the choices she made. She was a good friend for many years, & I miss her terribly.

      1. Doug Lisle gives a great TEDx Talk called The Pleasure Trap on Youtube, which explains why people have a tough time making the change and staying with it. It’s all about dopamine and how we are built to fill those dopamine receptors in our brains. Vary informative talk (and book), and also quite funny.

        So sorry you’ve lost your dear friend, especially when she could have prevented her early death with better choices.

    4. Greg: I looked that the article you linked. I downloaded first study cited in the article. The cited study is a meta-analysis of Dairy consumption and CVD from the British Journal of Nutrition using 31 other studies. Starting on page 5 of the pdf is a list of the studies used in the meta-analysis. For each study used is a list of the statistical adjustments used in that particular study. In many(most?) of the studies used in the meta-analysis a statistical adjustment was made for LDL or total cholesterol level.

      What this means, if I understand correctly, is that in a study of how diet affects cardiovascular health less weight is given to a the results of a given participant the higher that participants cholesterol level. This is an incredibly clear case of overadjustment since it is well known that only variation in cholesterol level is required to completely explain rates of CVD. If you remove the effect of cholesterol level through statistical adjustments basically you remove from the final adjusted results the primary way that diet impacts heart health. Further since the primary health effect of dairy is to raise the cholesterol level due to the saturated fat it contains. So if the studies this meta-analysis is based on controlled for cholesterol level it is no surprise that the meta-analysis didn’t find a negative health effect of dairy because that effect was stripped out by adjusting for cholesterol!that of the saturated fat in dairy is elevation of cholesterol and since it is well known that only the variation in cholesterol is needed to completely explain the risk of developing CVD, correcting for cholesterol is a case of overcorrection of the data.

      So the whole “cheese for heart health” is based on studies that removal from the results the primary way that cheese effects heart health. So basically this article is crap because it is based on crap meta-analysis, which is in turn based on crap studies.

      For a very good discussion of this I highly recommend the videos at plantpositive.com. The person who put these together goes through most of the studies that are being cited in this meta-analysis and shows why controlling for cholesterol yields meaningless results when determining the effect of diet on heart health.

  10. Hey Mr.Greger are you kidding me? People have to take 3 or 4 drugs to controll there blood presure and diabetes? Poor american drug industry… in Germany the big buisness is goin on – only my parents take each 14 pills every day to control blood presure, diabetes type two, dementia and anticoagulants – for over 20 years now. When I spoke to them about a whole plant based diet my mother answered – the doctor said, it’s not helpful in the end, you can do that but you have to take your drugs! So, my mother said, should I waive of all the good food? Also are thinking my brother and my two sisters…all on the border to diabetes and already on blood presure pills. Listen to the brother or son – no way, because he is only a Registered German naturopath…..the prophet in the own house is nothing worth. And most of the physicans in Germany have no idea of the power of plants – I don’t know one!
    Sorry but this has to be spoken!

    1. Heilpraktiker_Ju, I feel your pain. All we can do is put it out there & hope & pray that they listen, learn & make better decisions about their health. Because it’s not just about them, it’s also about the people around them, who care about them.

  11. Everything is money driven: religion, medicine, education, research, science, etc…..
    EVERYTHING IS MONEY and greed driven.

    1. It’s called capitalism, but the U.S. has a particularly pernicious form. No single payer college or health care, wages through the floor, rights of workers being rolled back, ad nauseam.

  12. The article mentions the dietary changes as being able to lower increased intracranial pressure. PLEASE provide more information on this ASAP! My doctor is trying to get me to agree to a lumbar puncture for this and I am desperately trying to find anything that will help me potentially avoid it.

    1. If you go on Dr McDougall’s website (www.drmcdougal.com) and ask him about it, he will email you back, usually very quickly. He is the one who is carrying on the rice diet work that Dr Kempner began, and he, too, is getting excellent results.

  13. I just have to say that whatever is being used to manage the comments is just about the worst comment management tool I have ever used. Please find a better one or go back to using Disqus. At a minimum comments should be listed in a reply hierarchy. It would be OK for there to be a limit to the level of indentation since once a comment gets about three or four levels deep it generally devolves to a couple three people going back and forth and seeing that back and forth without further indentation would be fine. Also the original poster should be able to edit their prior comments. As for notification of replies, email notification works, but the default should be to be notified by email with the ability of the commenter to uncheck the box if they don’t want to be notified. Still a much better method is a centralized notification capability to allow a person to see a list of direct or indirect replies to any comment you might have made. This makes it easy to follow/reply to several conversations.

    The only thing I like about the tool being used is the link button which makes turning a selected text in the comment into a hyperlink much easier than the manual method one had to use in Disqus. But I am afraid without some major improvements to the comment management tool, the very active and lively community found in the comment section of the videos and blog posts will wither and die. This would be a real shame since much valuable work was done, IMO, by veterans of the comments, especially medical and research professionals who can speak authoritatively to address questions, concerns, correct mistakes/misunderstandings and link in additional information.

  14. How do I get out of this discussion portion. I had no idea it would be coming like spam. I thought it would be like Disqis – when someone comments specifically to the member, not everyone’s comment. I don’t have this kind of free time. Thanks

  15. The simple fact is that for many/most people hell could freeze over before they would eat a strictly plant based diet. Food is too much about pleasure and not enough what is best for their body.

    Personally I’ve changed from paleoish to eating as many plant based foods as I can daily and little meat.

  16. so it is white rice!
    maybe people should recommend white rice, albeit brown rice may be better for you overall.
    apparently white rice is very good for people – so back off as Yosemite Sam might say!
    if white rice was bad then these people would have died earlier not later – if my math is correct!

    1. It could be that brown rice had too much protein for what Kempner wanted to accomplish. It could be that in the 40s and 50s brown rice was hard to come by, or more expensive.

  17. I wonder how people felt in terms of satiety on a rice diet. I imagine I’d be hungry all of the time, constantly wanting to eat despite having large bowls of rice.

    1. I did it for 40 days and lost 26#. Granted I did the most austere Phase 1 of the diet based on JM’s book, so it was literally something like 500-700 calories a day. Some days I wasn’t even hungry, leading me to believe ketosis kicked in due to the low calories. What makes it doable is the fruit. In the strict phase you get five fruits a day, and that was enough to keep me going. I was eating kiwifruit, guava, pineapple, melons, pears, grapes, really anything you want, just not more than five a day for Phase 1. I gradually upped my calorie and vegetable intake after the 40th day and added in more plant based foods. I still don’t add salt to anything and my favorite starch is still rice!

  18. I understand there is a lot of problem with rice being contaminated by cadmium and arsenic. The water they are grown in is the problem. Should we b cutting back on rice because of this problem. I understand that even if grown organically It is not enough to counteract the fact that the ground water is contaminated in the main rice growing countries

    1. Jeff Novick says you can rinse your rice before cooking if you’re concerned about it. I love rice so this isn’t an issue I get my panties in a twist over. Plus I live in San Francisco, all the rice around here is grown in the California Delta, not the southern U.S.

  19. Since adopting a plant based diet the last 3 months and eating lots of rice I have cut my bp med’s in half ( with my doctors permission.) Working on eliminating it completely!

    1. I did the Rice Diet (strict phase 1) for 40 days, lost 26 pounds, and my B.P. dropped to something like 96/61. It’s still in that range after gradually upping my calories and adding more plant based foods. I love WFPB!

  20. I’ve seen other articles by Dr. Greger on the Kempner diet before.

    But I have a serious question. OK, so if this diet is indeed as overwhelmingly effective as claimed, why is there apparently no one today using it successfully? Either as a stand alone or in conjunction with drug therapy.

    Please no conspiracy theories. I completely understand that there’s no financial incentive to do clinical studies, and hence not much opportunity for funding of them, when nothin patentable is involved. But the claims he is making about the success of this diet are spectacular. Fanstastic. Overwhelming.

    So, why is no one apparently using this? It would not require funding to some physicians to recommend this to their patients (presumably in conjunction with traditional drug treatments), and it would seem almost malpractice not to given the claimed evidence. Now that’s not a controlled double-blind clinical study, of course, and so it wouldn’t be usable by itself to prove anything … but if physicians doing this started seeing such spectacular results, that would provide enough smoke to make looking for the fire unavoidable. That surely would be enough evidence to justify someone somewhere to perform the more sophisticated studies.

    Not asking this to antagonize, but it simply does not make sense to me that something this powerful could end up being entirely ignored.

    1. Take note. You do not live in a sane world. You need to make some space for yourself and do what you think is best for yourself. You won’t likely be able to help most people you know…because most won’t want to change. You should ask yourself as to what drives you to try and change other people…is it fear of or lack of willpower as far as changing yourself?

      1. Dude where the heck is all that off the wall coming from? That’s a heck of a lot of projection you got going on there.

        > You should ask yourself as to what drives you to try and change other people…is it fear of or lack of willpower as far as changing yourself?
        Thanks so much for your concern buddy but it looks to me like you need to take your own advice.

    2. The same reason whole food plant based diets are ignored as a treatment for inflammation, heart disease, T2, obesity, decreasing stroke risk, AD, and HTN. Nobody wants to hear it. Doctors think their patients won’t do it anyway. Or they don’t even know about it. I’m a Kaiser Permanente member and they recommend the plant based diet to all their members. They’ve seen the studies, they know if they can get their patients and members on board with this, they’ll save a shit ton of money in patient care. They even sell the books (FOK, Engine 2, etc.) in their bookstore (at least in the San Francisco Kaiser facility bookstore).

  21. Hi John,

    I’m a moderator for Dr. Greger. Very intriguing point you bring up.

    I’m not sure that most people, perhaps anybody, really knows the answer to your question. But I compare it to the fact that despite the incredible benefits of plant-based diets to reverse cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, etc., they are not recommended, almost ever, by doctors. For example, we have Dr. John McDougall’s study that over the course of 7 days, hypertensive patients with a blood pressure of 150/94 dropped their blood pressure to 136/83. And that’s just after 7 days! Imagine what a whole month on the diet could do.

    Perhaps that could be one reason why the Kempner diet is no longer recommended by doctors–everybody who acknowledges and values the power of diet to reverse disease, may prescribe a more plant-based diet as a replacement to the Kempner diet. Why prescribe a Kempner diet when a whole food, plant-based diet works even better? And yet, most physicians either don’t know the powerful effects of such a diet, or they refuse to recommend it for a variety of reasons.

    I hope this helps to answer your question, even though I don’t think one person knows the specific answer to your question.

  22. WhollyPlantFoods, I understand what you are saying, but the fact is, there are a number of us who have been eating strictly wfpb diet for some time now (in my case over 2 years) who still struggle with high blood pressure and cholesterol issues. I cant help but wonder if trying the rice diet for a few months might help?

  23. I am seeing people in the comments who are actually questioning whether today it would still be advisable to start with the rice diet… Ugh… And then there pops up this user darchiterd a dietician who makes things even worse with vague comments that says nothing.

    The rice diet was a diet that motivated a lot of the current WFPB researchers of today, it was a testament to show people that removing the animal foods from a diet resulted in superior health. Because despite feeding people crap like pure sugar and arsenic rice, they got better, because the animal food was left out!

    So should you do the rice diet? NO, you should not do the rice diet. Eat a whole foods plant based diet.

    1. Well, you’re not everybody, and people can do what they want. I did the RD for 40 days and dropped my B.P. to 96/61. It’s still in that range after ramping up more plant based foods and calories. Do what you want, but a lot of people like diets that outline specifically what you can eat and how much you can eat. If that’s not you, okay. But you’re not everybody, dude.

Leave a Reply

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

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This