The Best Kept Secret in Medicine

Image Credit: Sally Plank

Plant-Based Diets as the Nutritional Equivalent of Quitting Smoking

Despite the most widely accepted and well-established chronic disease practice guidelines uniformly calling for lifestyle change as the first line of therapy, doctors often don’t follow these recommendations. As seen in my video, The Best Kept Secret in Medicine, lifestyle interventions are not only safer and cheaper but often more effective in reducing heart disease and failure, hypertension, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and deaths from all causes than nearly any other medical intervention. 

“Some useful lessons may come from the war on tobacco,” Dr. Neal Barnard wrote in the American Medical Association’s ethics journal. When he stopped smoking himself in the 1980s, the lung cancer death rate was peaking in the United States. As the prevalence of smoking dropped, so have lung cancer rates. No longer were doctors telling patients to “[g]ive your throat a vacation” by smoking a fresh cigarette. Doctors realized they were “more effective at counseling patients to quit smoking if they no longer had tobacco stains on their own fingers.” “In other words, doctors went from being bystanders—or even enablers—to leading the fight against smoking.” And today, says Dr. Barnard, “Plant-based diets are the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.”

“If we were to gather the world’s top nutrition scientists and experts (free from food industry influence),” read one journal editorial, “there would be very little debate about the essential properties of good nutrition. Unfortunately, most doctors are nutritionally illiterate. And worse, they don’t know how to use the most powerful medicine available to them: food.”

Physician advice matters. When doctors told patients to improve their diets by cutting down on meat, dairy, and fried foods, patients were more likely to make dietary changes. It may work even better if doctors practice what they preach. Researchers at Emory University randomized patients to watch one of two videos. In one video, a physician briefly mentioned her personal dietary and exercise practices and visible on her desk were both a bike helmet and an apple. In the other video, she did not discuss her personal healthy practices, and the helmet and apple were missing. In both videos, the doctor advised the patients to cut down on meat, not usually have meat for breakfast, and have no meats for lunch or dinner at least half the time. In the disclosure video, the physician related that she herself had successfully cut down on meat. Perhaps not surprisingly, patients rated that physician to be more believable and motivating. Physicians who walk the walk—literally—and have healthier eating habits not only tend to counsel more about exercise and diet, but have been found to seem more credible or motivating when they do so.

It may also make them better doctors. A randomized controlled intervention to clean up doctors’ diets, called the Promoting Health by Self Experience (PHASE) trial, found that healthcare providers’ personal lifestyles were correlated directly with their clinical performance. Healthcare providers’ improved wellbeing and lifestyle cascaded to the patients and clinics, suggesting an additional strategy to achieve successful health promotion.

Are you ready for the best kept secret in medicine? Given the right conditions, the body can heal itself. For example, treating cardiovascular disease with appropriate dietary changes is good medicine, reducing mortality without any adverse effects. We should keep doing research, certainly, but educating physicians and patients alike about the existing knowledge regarding the power of nutrition as medicine may be the best investment we can make.

Of course, to advise patients about nutrition, physicians first have to educate themselves, as it is unlikely they received formal nutrition education during their medical training:

For more on the power of healthy living, see:

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.

74 responses to “Plant-Based Diets as the Nutritional Equivalent of Quitting Smoking

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  1. This is so true about your average physician.
    I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten a blank look or a negative reaction when I’ve asked a question about nutrition of my primary care physician.
    I had one who was downright angry when my husband and I tried to talk to him about trying a dietary alternative to my husband starting to take metaformin.
    We got ourselves a new doctor who is a little better about this, but nowadays we rely on Nutrition Facts for our nutrition needs.

    1. Darek, what are you doing for the LYME disease. What has been the most helpful for your symptoms. I have a family member that has chronic Lymes and so far, the WFPB does not seem to help. Will not take antibiotics. What helps you. Thanks. Anyone can please reply.

  2. It is downright sad how doctors behave in relation to the health of their patients, negating them, thankfully not the food, but simply the related information that can make them well and keep them healthy. On the other hand the public also tend to trust their doctors and their prescriptions too much, sucking up all the negative side effects as an unavoidable part of the deal. It is about time that we wake up and just start to apply some common sense and meaningful criticism to what is presented to us as coming from authoritative sources.
    I am not inclined to accept the argument that doctors don’t know about nutrition. It might well be that they didn’t get this training in their formal education, but neither did many of us on this site, but most of us know basically what to eat or not eat to keep us healthy, without access to nutritional and medical journals, I suppose the doctors can have. So, the next time you suspect that your doctor doesn’t know or doesn’t care about nutrition, look for another one or better yet avoid them all the way. Take your health in your own hands through your food and behavioral choices.

    1. I’ve been routinely asking my friends and family who visit the doctor over the past two years about the nutritional advice they get during the visit. Not a single one has been provided with any meaningful advice. All fall into the category of “eat more chicken”, “less sweets” for cholesterol and weight or “less salt” for hypertension. If I believed in conspiracy theories, I’d say they were all paid to promote bad or meaningless nutritional advice. As we know, most know little about the subject and have no financial incentive to promote good nutrition.

  3. There is no doubt that plant foods are beneficial and everyone needs to eat them. But on the other hand, meat, dairy and real fats are not the culprits but only beneficial if they come from from clean sources. Without repeating myself too often, processed foods, sugar and oxidized fats are the main causes of our health problems.

      1. The China study is old from the 80s and is kind of racist and stereotyping. They imagine Asians eating nothing but vegetables and sweet potatoes. In reality, the Asians today are richer and eat more and eat all kind of foods from meat to seafoods to animal fat to bone broth in form of soup to vegetables to mushroom to fruits and their longevity has increased. I think Korea is now at the top with median longevity over 90. In the old days, people eat less not by choice but because they are not affluent and a lot of people suffered from malnutrition and don’t live as long.

        The key to Asians living longer is because they eat all kind of foods and they are all fresh foods.

        Visit any Asian restaurants in the U.S. and see what people eat and how much they eat and no one is obese. They eat the same thing in Asia.

        1. Jerry, I think you need to read more carefully and with more background info. I’ll leave it to others to review the excellent work in the China Study, but note that your data on (South) Korea is flawed.
          First, though Japanese, Chinese and other East Asians tend to have longer lifespans than Americans, so do those in several European nations.
          Second, the longest-lived, ‘blue zone’ people at the moment are vegan 7th-Day Adventists, many in southern California. The runners-up may have been the postWW2 Okinawans studied by the US occupying force, who ate many of those sweetpotatoes you mentioned.
          Third, your longevity figures are not real, but a projection to 2030 of population age cohort estimates, separately for men and women, for each nation, published in the Lancet. It’s for Korean women and depends on, among many other factors, the absence of World War 3 effects in the immediate neighborhood, a distinct possibility this year, given the instabilities of at least two world leaders.
          Fourth, obesity is rising in many nations, including those with greater average longevity than the USA. And we mustn’t ignore the reduction in healthy longevity that often accompanies the rise in total age at death.
          As an example, Jeanne Calment is the currently accepted world record holder for longevity, having lived to 122½ under the excellent French medical system, but she had to go to assisted living at 110.
          As to fresh foods, I’ll leave it to several posters currently/recently in Japan to inventory the many snacks eaten there whose freshness is a distant memory, though fresh and quick-frozen foods are usually much better than canned or shelved.

            1. You may want to consider that the US has a life expectancy rank of 27, behind Slovenia. That’s after you consider we spend far more per capita than any other country on health care. We have one of the highest meat and dairy consumption rates in the world. Finland’s increase in life expectancy following a major effort to reduce animal protein consumption dramatically increased its life expectancy. Perhaps a coincidence or perhaps Findland’s meat and dairy industries don’t dictate its government policy on health as those industries do in the US.  You can call me a coward since it’s not in a reductionist randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study, but I don’t like the odds of eating meat and dairy when you look at those stats and won’t volunteer for that study if it ever happens. Particularly when the known end of food-chain toxins, hormones, bacteria and antibiotics in meat and dairy are thrown in for good measure, much of which exists even in organically grown animals.  Though processed foods and sugar in particular are major contributors to obesity, they can’t explain the heart disease and cancer deaths. Animal protein creates the oxidative stress on the endothelium of arteries that promotes heart disease. The long-chain amino acid protein from animals feeds cancer tumors. These relationships have been well documented in numerous peer reviewed studies.  For example, with regard to cancer, you may recall the casein (milk protein) cancer studies on rats referenced by Colin Campbell in The China Study. After all 40 rats in the study were infected with aflatoxin induced cancer, when all 20 rats die 100% of the time from eating a 20% casein diet and none of the other 20 die after eating only a 5% casein diet, I smell a rat when eating any animal protein.  This study was repeated over 10 times under very tightly controlled conditions in the US (the original was in India) with exactly the same results.   I don’t know about you, but you can count me out if they ever try to find volunteers for a similar aflatoxin/ casein study on humans. My guess is that even the most radical believers in low-carb diets would be in short supply when finding randomized volunteers for that one, though. Short-chain amino acid protein from plants does not, in any study, have the same cancer growth causing effect. Similarly, plant based protein does not create the same oxidative stress on the endothelium that promotes heart disease. Plants do, however, promote good health when consumed in their whole food (not processed) form and there is no reductionist, peer reviewed, randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study that finds otherwise. The evidence is overwhelming in that regard. For me, I’ll stick with WFPB until there is evidence to the contrary. Call me a coward!

              1. Do Slovenia people and more than 95% of the world population eat animal foods? The fact that the U.S. is ranked 27th in the world in longevity has other reasons unrelated to eating animal foods. Such as opioid addiction epidemic Just take a trip overseas and see what people eat instead of theorizing on your keyboard..

                1. John, sorry you feel that way. I’ve been overseas, though, and I’ve observed that most countries eat a more healthy plant based diet with less meat and dairy.  We’re the richest country in the world. Most cannot afford to maintain a diet so rich in unsustainable animal protein and it’s impossible to feed 7 billion people that way. Animal protein requires well over 10 times the amount of resources (water, energy and land) to produce a calorie versus a calorie of plants for human consumption.

                  1. You make an excellent point.

                    Your ongoing debate and the

                    points you make really help a lot

                    of us who are bombarded everyday

                    from people like Mercola, ketogenic diet,

                    paleo diet, and so on. INFOWARS.

              2. You gave an excellent recap of why not to eat meat.

                Thanks for posting. I need these REMINDERS to keep

                me motivated to stay on the whole plant food diet.

                Sometimes I find myself slipping off the path, and these

                reminders jolt me back onto the correct life style.

                1. Thanks John. I’ve been WFPB for about two years and it took me about a year before that to come completely clean.  It reversed 3 chronic ailments and 30 pounds for me. Required lots of reading and this site is an oasis in a desert of misinformation.   The Standard American Diet is probably more ingrained here than diets in most countries based on my numerous travels overseas. We have the collective and awesome power of American meat, dairy, medical and drug companies in collusion with government to overcome. We’re weaned from a very early age with government subsidized milk at school and face a barrage of industry propaganda to keep us in our place. You won’t find too many sympathizers of WFPB unless they made the switch. There’s not much money or support in our system to keep people healthy.  The great part is you’ll be healthier and may have a chance to save a friend or loved one before they succumb to an avoidable chronic disease. That’s why I speak out whenever possible. Hope you do the same!

                  1. Jerry,
                    It certainly sounds like you are deliberately putting your head in the sand to hide from the truth.
                    It is true that many Asian countries that were once predominantly plant-based societies are now eating much more like their Western counterparts. And are paying the price.
                    With the transition to a more Western style diet, what has happened to their instances of cardio vascular disease? Diabetes? Hypertension? Strokes? Answer: in all categories, the instances have sky rocketed, and mortality is now much more in line with that of the Western world, and that’s just sad. They had it right, but in the name of convenience and fleeting hedonistic pleasure, gave it all away.
                    WHY a population eats a plant-based diet is irrelevant. The point is, when they do, their instances of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, strokes, etc, etc are very low, and when they eat a diet rich in animal products, oils and processed foods, the occurrences of these life shortening maladies increases at a truly alarming rate. This information has been gleaned from years of empirical research and is as obvious now as “smoking is bad for you.” That data is black and white and really not open to interpretation…..unless you don’t want to see it soooo, into the sand goes your head.

                    1. Andy Very well said!  The “China Study” by T Colin Campbell documents exactly those findings during a massive joint research effort of over 500K people in China during the ’80s. Chronic disease was almost nonexistent in regions eating whole food plants, which was most common. It’s interesting to note the Chinese commissioned the study due to the death of Zhou Enlai, who ate a more Western or “royal” diet, from cancer. They wanted to understand it’s cause because it was relatively rare.  I recall when I was there during the ’80s, the Chinese people in Beijing and elsewhere appeared uniformly lean and fit. All appeared to be in good health. Today, as you say, in most major cities I’ve visited recently, they appear and eat more like Westerners. They are also suffering the same chronic diseases from their bad choices. 

  4. I told my doctor about all the new vegetables and fruit I was eating, and how I ride my bike to appointments, etc. His response,”Well, you know you’re going to die anyway!”

      1. Agree! Had one say ‘what are you trying to do, live forever?’ I said, no, just trying to feel good while I’m here. Ugh!
        It’s why frankly, I am not in favor of national healthcare. Country can’t afford to pay for all these people eating garbage, not moving, so overweight, and making themselves sick.
        In defense of many doctors, how many people get irritated or nasty when you try gently to help them understand why they have hbp, diabetes etc. They do not want to change!

    1. Well John, I had a doctor (6 mos pregnant too) say to me “that sure doesnt sound like a fun way to live” when I reminder her I ate wfpb foods. Unbelievable.

    2. John, when I told my doctor about my WFPB nutrition, he said, “Just don’t try to get me to eat that way!” But he also marvels at my blood work, etc. He said the only time he’s ever seen cholesterol numbers like mine are with patients on statins. He marvels at the fact that I have no vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

  5. I am very much impressed to read your writing s. True ly thi very very important for every day life. A good food habbit can make our life live smoother.

  6. This is totally off topic, but I just thought Dr. G might light to know that Herr’s (yes, the potato chip people), are actually feeding discarded Herr’s snack products to its own beef cattle herd on their Herr Angus Farm. “Throw-away potato chips, popcorn, and pretzels”, aka “steer party mix”. An article refers to it as “savory sustainability”. I am not making this up. This is actually happening.

    Here is an article about it in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

    1. Hey Nancy, I can’t say I’m surprised. After I read a story a few years back about one group of people making a delicacy out of bull testicles, I realized that people will eat anything, no matter how gross it sounds. Guess these folks don’t want to hear about the acrylamide toxin in teh chips being further concentrated in the beef. Why spoil their fun?

  7. A fellow student of mine in college said that his father, who was a physician, would tell him, “People dig their graves with a fork.”

    What an exquisite metaphor!

  8. Being a doctor is a business. Just like being a plumber is a business. A doctor cannot make any money talking about nutrition. So, you are just wasting your time talking about nutrition to most doctors except for a few like Dr. Greger, Dr. Esselstyn, and some others. You have to be your own doctor nowadays. Listen to Dr. Greger, do research on the internet, watch whole plant food videos on YouTube. For your doctors who refuse to learn about nutrition send them free coupons to McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. If they get sick enough they might start searching for answers.

  9. I’m convinced that the pay by procedure based medical system we “enjoy” will continue to be the biggest hurdle to engaging doctors in providing patients with good nutritional advice. Providing such advice, particularly promoting evidence based whole food plant-based nutrition, would mean a significant bottom line hit across the medical community. Food, drug and medical device manufacturers that provide incentives to doctors and funds to politicians to continue current practice also make change extremely difficult. All have a significant economic incentive (or political offices to hold) to ignore the health benefits of change. Worse, many actively promote campaigns of disinformation that sew seeds of doubt about change in the minds of Americans.

    1. Although consuming organically grown goats milk products could avoid some of the industrial toxins and antibiotics of cow’s milk, you have most of the same adverse issues related to hormones and animal based protein. Humans are the only species that consume the milk of another species. There is no reason I’m aware of to believe you can avoid the risk of Type I diabetes, breast or prostate cancer associated with cow’s milk by switching to a goat’s milk product. 

    2. Goat milk kefir is very good for you because of the nutrition and fermentation. Don’t listen to these biased and unscientific theories that try to scare you.

    3. I suppose being half dead is not as bad as dead but why would you feel like you need kefir to be healthy? If your regular diet is not providing sufficient good bacteria in your intestines that is the first thing I would investigate while consuming fermented foods like natto, miso or others that do not contain animal products.

    4. Hi Susan,
      In the documentary “What the Health” (which Dr. Greger is in) a doctor says that he does not like people consuming dairy because cows milk is made to feed calves. It is full of hormones, fat, and nutrients to build a strong, healthy cow very quickly. The same is true for goat milk. It’s purpose is to feed and grow kids into goats. So by this logic, it isn’t any better than dairy.

  10. When I was 31 I got a pain in my chest. I was going to go to the doctor, but I decided that my problem was a bad diet and lack of exercise. I read Nathan Pritikin, and I became a vegetarian and began jogging. I have refined my diet over the years, adding, as per suggestion of Dr. Greger, B12 and flax, and I have subtracted rice and added quinoa. I take no meds at 73. I jog, bike, and play Pickleball, and still work. I would say, that although doctors have 50 more IQ points than me, I have never lost an argument with a doctor concerning nutrition, mainly because the those particular doctors were woefully ignorant of nutrition. Lastly, I want to add that I have met many contemporaries who were taking, and complaining about cholesterol and blood pressure meds, and none were ever informed of an alternative by their doctors.

  11. A little research will show that when the tobacco companies saw the writing on the wall in the sixties, they diversified by buying some of the junk food companies. Still making billions with a different poison.

  12. This comment is not directly on topic but relative to a remark in the book “How Not To Die”. The statement is that the carbs/fiber ratio should be 5 or less. However, I checked some of the foods that I consume on a regular basis and was surprised to learn that they do not meet that standard.
    Steel cut oats are higher than 5 as are strawberries. I am not going to stop consuming either on a regular basis but I do not have a problem with my weight. I exercise regularly and my BMI is around 21.
    However, I just wonder how that ratio was computed because I do not think that Dr Greger is against either steel cut oats or strawberries.

    1. I believe that Dr Gregor was speaking about processed foods only, like bread for instance, rather than wholefoods. It was just meant to be a simple way for us to analyse fibre content at the supermarket looking at the labels. Hope this helps.

  13. I’m sitting in a medical centre at present getting my results of full blood works etc which I get approximately every 6 months. There are about 12 doctors here and 9 of them are morbidly obese. I often see them and the nursing staff etc passing around blocks of dairy milk chocolate and think to myself “silly drug addicts” Get off the tit.

  14. Hi Dr. Michael (I am also Michael…)
    One of the things we need is a way to lower insurance rates by showing proof that the proper diet is being adhered to.

    There should be some lab test(s) that will confirm that a low-fat plant based diet has been adhered to for an extended period of say 3 months. Then I can go to my insurance and request (demand?) that I do not have to pay for the cronic diseases that everyone else pays for.

    Do you have any ideas?

    You are doing great things. Keep it up.

    Michael Unger
    Zichron Yaakov

      1. thank you.

        So I can stop attending all the funerals here? My daughter lost to cancer age 36 (5 orphans). Head of the Yeshiva here died of heart disease.
        Strokes, Lupus, neighbor had heart attack. Want more?

        It is all the food. But the doctors here speak foolishness.

        Head of Diaspora Yeshiva was have kidney problems. I told him to eat low protein diet. His doctor told him to eat ice cream. He is now buried after 9 months dialysis.

        So thanks again. Nothing to worry about.

        1. I am sorry about the losses. I have 2 of my own relatives who are paralyzed because of a heart attack and they are both vegans, Do I blame it on vegan diet for this? Of course not.

          There is a misconception about what cause heart attack or Alzheimer’s. The buildup of plaques in the arteries or brain has nothing to do with eating healthy fats or meat but it has to do with inflammation. One of the causes is unstable fat that oxidizes such as vegetable oil or margarine. Saturated fat on the other hand is very stable. There is a whole misconception about it.

          Another reason that has nothing to do with fat or meat but it causes inflammation is for instance consuming too much sugar, or eat too much PUFA fat (Omega 6 fat) such as peanut (which is 100% Omega 6).

          1. the science would seem to contradict your anecdotal evidence. even mainstream health organizations are starting to realize the truth.

            “Kaiser Permanente (one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plans) encourages plant-based diets The healthcare company’s peer-reviewed medical science journal tells physicians to promote plant-based diets to patients.”

            “To address the rising cost of healthcare and skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, medical publication The Permanente Journal recently released an article encouraging physicians to advise patients to reduce meat, dairy, and processed food consumption and implement a plant-based diet. It points to research showing that consuming whole foods can reduce the need for medication for chronic illnesses and decrease risk of fatal ischemic heart disease, all while offering the most cost-effective prevention and low-risk medical intervention. “Healthy eating may be best achieved with a plant-based diet … Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients,” the article states.”


            besides, even if this were not the case, the tremendously negative environmental aspect of raising and killing non-human animals is undeniable:

            “The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future – deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease.” -The World Watch Institute

            last but not least, the moral and ethical issues of commodifying, exploiting and violently killing countless billions of sentient beings every year makes being vegan a no-brainer. since humans can thrive without intentionally harming and killing others, there cannot be any justification for not doing so.

            1. Markgil I came to WFPB for health reasons. Once I realized those benefits, I began to better understand and appreciate the true insanity of the environmental and ethical aspects of eating animal protein. It’s no longer just a personal choice to me.  From the environmental and ethics standpoint, I recommend the books “Whole” by Campbell, “Pig Tales” by Estabrook and “Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Pollan, the documentaries “Cowspiracy” and the more recent “What the Health” (both on Netflix) to anyone who wants to learn the basics. The animal industry is a complete disgrace and disaster for mankind and can’t be sustained.  Do you suggest any others?  From my experience, convincing people with a  lifelong brainwashing by the food, drug and medical industries in collusion with the government, schools and media takes quite an effort and lots of patience. This is particularly so when there is so little money out there advocating that they should eat ethically and healthy and so much money pushing the current system. 

              1. Eating a whole plant food diet gives you an edge

                over others in the workplace, because you never

                get sick, at least I never do. You have more energy.

                Your mind is more alert. And you are at low risk for

                serious illnesses. If people do not want to eat a

                whole plant food diet, then that is their loss, and

                less competition in the work place.

                1. “If people do not want to eat a whole plant food diet, then that is their loss, and less competition in the work place.”

                  this is only taking into account the dietary aspects John-you are not considering the horrendous violence committed against the non-human victims or the tremendous environmental devastation which is inherent in all forms of animal agriculture. if humans were only harming themselves and their own health, it would certainly be a case of personal choice but as soon as you start to harm and kill others, it becomes a moral imperative to do the least harm possible.

              2. what a great story jmcneil-thanks for sharing it. i know many people who followed the same path by starting for health reasons and then evolved to the environmental and ethical positions. i saw a recent study that concluded the percentage of the US population who identifies as vegan in the US went from 1% in 2014 to 6% in 2017.

                as far as other video’s, i would highly recommend “Earthlings” and Gary Yourofsky’s “Best Speech You Will Ever Hear”-both available on youtube and have educated countless people into going vegan. “Peaceable Kingdom-A Journey Home” is also excellent and available for free on the Tribe of Heart website. i would not suggest anything by Pollan as he is not vegan and although claims to be against so called industrial agriculture has no issues with the killing of sentient beings in the name of a momentary taste sensation.

                book wise, the would very much recommend “The World Peace Diet” by Will Tuttle, “Meat Logic” by Charles Horn and “Eat Like You Care” by Gary Francione. “Meatanomics” by Matt Simon explores the economic ramifications and if you want to get really deep, there is an outstanding paper by Sherry Kolb entitled “Decoding Never Again” which you can google and download for free as a PDF.

                the best any of us can do is to provide information to others and it is up to individuals to start living their values rather than saying one thing while their actions are contrary to what they say they believe. it is very sad and telling that humans consider themselves so superior to every other being and are under the illusion that we are moral beings when emotion and social conformity really drive the major of people’s actions. as a big quote person, this reminds me of one of my all time favorites:

                “Aren’t humans amazing? They kill wildlife – birds, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice and foxes by the million in order to protect their domestic animals and their feed. Then they kill domestic animals by the billion and eat them. This in turn kills people by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative – and fatal – health conditions like heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and cancer. So then humans spend billions of dollars torturing and killing millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, few people recognize the absurdity of humans, who kill so easily and violently, and once a year send out cards praying for “Peace on Earth.”~ David Coates

                1. Markgil Thanks for the list of videos and books.  I’ll begin reading and watching those immediately. Most of my reading has focused on health effects, so it’s time to go deeper.   I agree with your assessment of Pollan, but his book “Omnivore’s Dilemma” got me started down the right path. At least he’s objective about the health effects and a proponent of a plant-based diet. I had the same reaction as you when reading “The Whole Foods Diet’ by John Mackey (former CEO of Whole Foods grocery). He is a vegan and personally eats 100% WFPB, but qualified his recommendations of plant-based to only more than 90% since he couldn’t find evidence that the effect of eating 10% or less animal products was unhealthy. My first reaction was to think of how many animals and resources would needlessly be wasted to adopt his approach. I also thought about the number of already sick people with heart disease would die using that guideline. A shame he chose the meat apologist approach.  I forgot to mention “The Jungle’ by Upton Sinclair. I re-read that classic recently after thinking more about the inhumanity and environmental aspects of meat production. It’s amazing how little the process has changed over the past 100 plus years since it was written. Most of the change has been for the worse in terms of toxins, antibiotics and resource depletion. Not to mention the sheer numbers of animals destroyed needlessly for the ill health of humans and the planet.  Thanks again for the advice!

  15. Vegan Diet is extreme and unnatural. No tribe in history of mankind
    avoided animal food. Would not it be more realistic to promote diet of
    mostly plants, with reduced portions of animal food, enough to avoid
    having to supplement with Vit. B12, Fish Oil and some minerals?

    1. Hi Elinbal,

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

      The evidence in the literature does not necessarily suggest that individuals completely abstain from all animal foods. However, the healthiest populations in the world ate little to no animal foods. For example, the Okinawan Japanese ate approximately 1-2% of their calories from animal foods. Simply going without that 1-2% would surely not harm anything. Secondly, Seventh Day Adventists, primarily concentrated in Loma Linda, CA, have extremely high life expectancy. About half of this population is vegetarian, but about 7% of this population is vegan, and in nearly every study on this population, vegans have the lowest risk of nearly every disease and have the longest life expectancy of any well studied population. Based on those results alone, it would be hard to call such a diet extreme.

      However, you are correct–even limiting animal foods significantly would have a tremendously powerful effect on health. Unfortunately, the addictive nature of many animal products makes it hard–it can be a slippery slope for many.

      Thanks for your input and question. Hopefully you can see that such a diet is not necessarily extreme.

      1. I’m still convinced that permitting small quantities of highest quality
        animal foods will do more good than harm: If this would be the official
        recommendation, 30-40% of the population and industry could follow
        this diet. I think that trans fats, refined sugars, Industrial oils, refined
        carbs should be prohibited by law, and declared as disease promoting
        on products containing them.


  17. Tim,

    Nice work and of course glad to hear of your health changes.

    Please make a point of increasing your methyl b12 including consideration of injections (think insulin like deal not a big deal. We will be interested in hearing how your doing come reevaluation times….

    You might consider that your doc may measure b12, which will not be adequate, and should be done using MMA testing…. as a note we know this to be the appropriate means secondary to tests in MS patients…and clinically I have seen significant changes often in my MS patients with this safe and inexpensive supplementation.

    Keep up the great changes and feel better !

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  18. The Plantrician Project has a full directory of physicians who adhere to the Food as Medicine approach, as well as patient focused resources and training for physicians and medical professionals.

  19. In my experience because I had no pressing illnesses until recently, pre-diabetes, my doctors gave me no direct information about health prevention. After I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes I was directed to a nutritionist for patients with diabetes who advised cancer causing sugar substitutes and meal replacement shakes. I was advised by family members to do my own research and decided a fuller balanced plant based diet was a better solution.

  20. Several doctors are proponents of Low Carb High Fat Low Protein Diet.
    Dr. Rosedale, Mercola, Fung and many others.
    They look slim and healthy.
    Could you react on this article:
    Volume 390, No. 10107, p2050–2062, 4 November 2017
    Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study.

    1. Yeah….I have been watching and reading Mercola for many years now, and he always says that he does not take supplements because he eats a lot of fruit and vegetables. However, he is willing to sell you HIS supplements if you feel like you are not getting enough from your diet. He knows darn well that the best source of nutrition is from eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. He frequently shows pictures of his huge garden and his huge orchard of fruit trees, and berries, and nuts.

      This guy is pulling the wool over the eyes of his followers. He is preaching that people should consume lots of saturated fats, eat eggs, drink dairy and get on the ketogenic band wagon….and buy the way… his books also. But, in reality, if you follow him…..he is eating a near vegan diet with a little bit of salmon here and a few other things that we vegans do not eat. But, he is really consuming a LOT and I mean a LOT of fruit and vegetables.

  21. Could you react on this article:
    Volume 390, No. 10107, p2050–2062, 4 November 2017
    Associations of fats and carbohydrate intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality in 18 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study.

    1. Elinbal, the PURE study conclusions are PURE nonsense. What’s almost laughable, if it wasn’t used by these criminals to shape public policy, is that the populations were largely malnourished. I could easily have told you in advance of the study that if the primary source of calories for an impoverished person was processed white flour and rice that they would have a higher mortality that someone who could afford animal products (who also can afford and consume more nutritious WFPB). See the article below in my post that calls out the misleading nature of this study. Keep in mind it was largely funded by our “friends” from the pharmaceutical industry who, of course, don’t have the best interests of your heart to theirs.

      A final thought on the design of the study. It’s more than just suspicious that they took care to study the type of fats, but not the types of carbs. Why? I suspect we have animal and food industry influence in that decision. They knew in advance that the malnourished would die sooner that those who had sufficient money to buy animal products and nourishing food. The study is not only misleading, it’s completely irrelevant for any Western country that has an excess calorie problem and can afford animal products.

  22. It’s unfortunate that scientists and researchers are willing participants in studies designed to support popular fad diets, such as the Paleo and Ketogenics. The latest PURE study, funded largely by pharmaceutical companies, presents a very sinister outlook on our ability to find honest and uncorrupted data from what should be knowledgeable sources. The following article from the Harvard School of Public Health sets the record straight on this study:

  23. I understand (see Eco-Atkins) that as long as we consume variety of Whole Plant Foods, the percentage of Carbs Fats or Proteins doesn’t have to be
    fixed in advance.

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