Image Credit: TV Brasil EBC / Flickr. This image has been modified.

Foods to Avoid to Help Prevent Diabetes

We’ve known that being overweight and obese are important risk factors for type 2 diabetes, but, until recently, not much attention has been paid to the role of specific foods. I discuss this issue in my video, Why Is Meat a Risk Factor for Diabetes?

A 2013 meta-analysis of all the cohorts looking at the connection between meat and diabetes found a significantly higher risk associated with total meat consumption––especially consumption of processed meat, particularly poultry. But why? There’s a whole list of potential culprits in meat: saturated fat, animal fat, trans fats naturally found in meat, cholesterol, or animal protein. It could be the heme iron found in meat, which can lead to free radicals and iron-induced oxidative stress that may lead to chronic inflammation and type 2 diabetes, or advanced glycation end (AGE) products, which promote oxidative stress and inflammation. Food analyses show that the highest levels of these so-called glycotoxins are found in meat—particularly roasted, fried, or broiled meat, though any foods from animal sources (and even high fat and protein plant foods such as nuts) exposed to high dry temperatures can be potent sources of these pro-oxidant chemicals.

In another study, researchers fed diabetics glycotoxin-packed foods, like chicken, fish, and eggs, and their inflammatory markers––tumor necrosis factor, C-reactive protein, and vascular adhesion molecules––shot up. “Thus, in diabetes, environmental (dietary) AGEs promote inflammatory mediators, leading to tissue injury.” The good news is that restriction of these kinds of foods may suppress these inflammatory effects. Appropriate measures to limit AGE intake, such as eliminating meat or using only steaming and boiling as methods for cooking it, “may greatly reduce the already heavy burden of these toxins in the diabetic patient.” These glycotoxins may be the missing link between the increased consumption of animal fat and meats and the development of type 2 diabetes.

Since the 2013 meta-analysis was published, another study came out in which approximately 17,000 people were followed for about a dozen years. Researchers found an 8% increased risk for every 50 grams of daily meat consumption. Just one quarter of a chicken breast’s worth of meat for the entire day may significantly increase the risk of diabetes. Yes, we know there are many possible culprits: the glycotoxins or trans fat in meat, saturated fat, or the heme iron (which could actually promote the formation of carcinogens called nitrosamines, though they could also just be produced in the cooking process itself). However, we did learn something new: There also appears to be a greater incidence of diabetes among those who handle meat for a living. Maybe there are some diabetes-causing zoonotic infectious agents––such as viruses––present in fresh cuts of meat, including poultry.

A “crucial factor underlying the diabetes epidemic” may be the overstimulation of the aging enzyme TOR pathway by excess food consumption––but not by the consumption of just any food: Animal proteins not only stimulate the cancer-promoting hormone insulin growth factor-1 but also provide high amounts of leucine, which stimulates TOR activation and appears to contribute to the burning out of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, contributing to type 2 diabetes. So, it’s not just the high fat and added sugars that are implicated; critical attention must be paid to the daily intake of animal proteins as well.

According to a study, “[i]n general, lower leucine levels are only reached by restriction of animal proteins.” To reach the leucine intake provided by dairy or meat, we’d have to eat 9 pounds of cabbage or 100 apples to take an extreme example. That just exemplifies the extreme differences in leucine amounts provided by a more standard diet in comparison with a more plant-based diet.

I reviewed the role endocrine-disrupting industrial pollutants in the food supply may play in a three-part video series: Fish and Diabetes, Diabetes and Dioxins, and Pollutants in Salmon and Our Own Fat. Clearly, the standard America diet and lifestyle contribute to the epidemic of diabetes and obesity, but the contribution of these industrial pollutants can no longer be ignored. We now have experimental evidence that exposure to industrial toxins alone induces weight gain and insulin resistance, and, therefore, may be an underappreciated cause of obesity and diabetes. Consider what’s happening to our infants: Obesity in a six-month-old is obviously not related to diet or lack of exercise. They’re now exposed to hundreds of chemicals from their moms, straight through the umbilical cord, some of which may be obesogenic (that is, obesity-generating).

The millions of pounds of chemicals and heavy metals released every year into our environment should make us all stop and think about how we live and the choices we make every day in the foods we eat. A 2014 review of the evidence on pollutants and diabetes noted that we can be exposed through toxic spills, but “most of the human exposure nowadays is from the ingestion of contaminated food as a result of bioaccumulation up the food chain. The main source (around 95%) of [persistent pollutant] intake is through dietary intake of animal fats.”

For more on the information mentioned here, see the following videos that take a closer look at these major topics:  

AGEs: Glycotoxins, Avoiding a Sugary Grave, and Reducing Glycotoxin Intake to Prevent Alzheimer’s.

TOR: Why Do We Age?, Caloric Restriction vs. Animal Protein Restriction, Prevent Cancer From Going on TOR, and Saving Lives By Treating Acne With Diet

Viruses: Infectobesity: Adenovirus 36 and Childhood Obesity

Poultry workers: Poultry Exposure and Neurological Disease, Poultry Exposure Tied to Liver and Pancreatic Cancer, and Eating Outside Our Kingdom

Industrial pollutants: Obesity-Causing Pollutants in Food, Fish and Diabetes, Diabetes and Dioxins, and Pollutants in Salmon and Our Own Fat

The link between meat and diabetes may also be due to a lack of sufficient protective components of plants in the diet, which is discussed in my videos How May Plants Protect Against Diabetes?, Plant-Based Diets for DiabetesPlant-Based Diets and Diabetes, and How Not to Die from Diabetes.

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.

117 responses to “Foods to Avoid to Help Prevent Diabetes

Comment Etiquette

On, 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. 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. “The main source (around 95%) of [persistent pollutant] intake is through dietary intake of animal fats.”

    So cheese which is processed and concentrated cow fat is one of the biggest culprits?

    1. Cheese and all dairy products fall into the category described by Dr G. Cheese is also quite addictive to many of us. If you’re unfamiliar with this, I suggest you find Youtube videos by Dr T Colin Campbell and Dr Neal Barnard, who recently published a book, The Cheese Trap, about this issue.

    2. DHEA, testosterone and IGF-1 levels…over 65?

      Over 65s seeking to optimise their survival chances should maintain the concentrations of DHEA, testosterone and IGF-1 in their body. This is suggested by an epidemiological study that Italian researchers at the University of Parma published in 2007 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

      The researchers followed 410 men aged 65-92 for six years. Just before the study began, the researchers measured the concentration of DHEA-S, bioavailable testosterone and IGF-1 in the men’s blood.

      The combined concentration of the anabolic hormones DHEA, testosterone and IGF, after the researchers had filtered out age, education, BMI and other factors, was a strong predictor of the men’s survival chances.

  2. Dr. Greger, thank you for this article. My husband is borderline diabetic, so I’m paying close attention to what you’re saying, here. We’ve been following your suggestions for three weeks, now, and are doing amazingly well, all things considered.

    Your book, How Not to Die, arrived yesterday. In the Appendix, you mention four supplements:

    1) B12
    2) D3
    3) Iodine
    4) Omega 3

    We can get reimbursed for these if our doctors write us prescriptions for them, but their specialties are medical rather than nutritional, so it would help if we knew how to ask for what we need.

    If you were writing prescriptions for these things for one of your patients, what would you put down on the prescription pad?

    Thank you very much in advance.

    warmest regards…



    1. Hi Elizabeth, Congratulations on taking the initial steps to gain control of you and your husband’s health. The amounts and frequency of the items listed are explained in the appendix. I’m not sure what more you could need. By the way, the vitamins are not expensive and can be obtained from online sellers or your local health food store. The Omega’s in algae oil (DHA + EPA) are somewhat expensive though. If you go to a doctor for a prescription you will probably get fish oil instead which is not recommended for many reasons. Flax seeds however are inexpensive and have many benefits as you will find out when you read Dr Greger’s book and do searches on this web site. Keep exploring this web site as there thousnds of videos to learn from.

      1. Alas, men and postmenopausal women have very little elongation activity converting the ALA found in flax and other vegetable oils to EPA/DHA. Premenopausal women are on the other hand, fairly efficient (~11%, IIRC), nature’s provision to ensure omega-3s for brain development in fetuses and nursing infants.

      2. Hi, Robert… Hi, Darryl…

        The way things work with the “reimbursement” account that’s connected to our health insurance, over-the-counter supplements are reimbursable *providing* my doctor writes them down on her prescription pad. Although dietary supplements aren’t as pricey as Big-Pharma patented stuff, they can still add up fast, especially if more than one member of the family is taking them.

        The decision as to which one is best to take, though, is down to me because she’s got all she can handle just keeping up with all the drugs Big Pharma keeps pumping out.

        I can appreciate, though, that Dr. Greger can’t be seen to be recommending any particular supplement over all the others, so I guess it’s down to me here, as well.

        Unless… well, mightn’t it be feasible to write an article that lays out the advantages and disadvantages of, say, three different examples of each of the four recommended supplements? Or even an article that just suggests what things to look for in each supplement and what things to stay away from?

        Dream on, I guess, huh?

        Anyway, the four products I’m considering are listed below. If anybody has any experience with any of them, I’d appreciate it if you’d share it.

        Thank you very much in advance!



        VeganSafe B-12 – Vegan Vitamin B12 by Global Healing

        Price: $35


        “A bioactive B-12 blend of the bioactive, coenzyme forms of vitamin B-12. 80% methylcobalamin and 20% adenosylcobalamin. VeganSafe B-12 contains the two most bioactive forms of B12. Cheap, lesser quality forms of vitamin B-12 often used by bargain vitamin companies who add them for marketing purposes.”


        “There are two reasons why I started using this more expensive kind compared to the cheaper brands.

        1) Most of the Sublingual B12 tablets and Liquids have Xylitol, or Sorbitol which are nasty artificial sugars which for me cause major digestive distress. Also most of the tablets contain Magnesium Stearate which is used to lube up the equipment and make processing faster. I couldn’t figure out before why B12 would cause me so much digestive distress, so I would always stop taking the other B12 products I would try. This product is pure and doesn’t have all that garbage in it that the other ones do.

        2) This contains methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. I had read that the combo of the two was better for some people than Methlycobalamin alone. Trying to get both really narrowed down my options and this was one of the few liquid B12’s with both kinds of B12, available in the US that also didn’t have nasty additives or fake sugars.

        So, currently at the time of this posting, this brand is really the only good option for me that met all of my criteria for what I wanted in a B12.” —Jack



        Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Vegan

        Price: $19


        “Vitamin D3 Vegan is a unique formula specifically developed for vegans and strict vegetarians. Sourced from lichen, this plant-based liquid formula is in the natural form of vitamin D (cholecalciferol) and is better absorbed and utilized by the body. Natural vitamin D3 helps prevent vitamin D deficiency. This product does not contain lanolin or fish oil.”


        “This stuff gets 5 stars right away due to the fact it doesn’t make me sick like standard d3 has been. I’m so glad I found this :). I can take the 1000mg dose daily,, where as one pill of 400mg of the other made me gassy and bloated. I look forward to seeing the improvements in my next blood test. I’m thrilled to have found this.” —Jane



        Raw Wild Dulse Flakes Seaweed (4 oz) USDA Organic and Kosher Hand Harvested from the Atlantic Ocean Maine Coast Vegan Sea Vegetables

        Price: $15


        “Our dulse seaweed is harvested from Maine’s pristine waters. The color is a beautiful deep pink rose that dries to a deep wine red. This red seaweed is packed with nutrients that are essential for everyday life, and all sea vegetables are a good source of iodine. Nutritional Values: Dulse is rich in protein and boasts the highest content of iron of any food source which may make it a nutritional snack for women or those who are anemic. Contains all essential amino acids. Dulse seaweed is an excellent source of:

        • Vitamin A, C, D and E
        • Calcium
        • Iodine
        • Phosphorus
        • Magnesium
        • Manganese,
        • Vitamins B1 and B2

        Culinary Uses: Dulse seaweed has a spicy flavor and is soft and chewy with a unique taste and a rich red color. It doesn’t require any soaking or cooking. Use raw, dried, toasted, smoked, fried, or baked. Cooks in 5 minutes (use sesame oil) to make feather-light and crispy. Add dulse to sandwiches, omelets, sauces, and gravies. Also add to dressings, salads, soups and chowders, vegetables, potatoes, bean and rice dishes, breads, casseroles and cheeses! For snacking: pan-fry and eat as a ‘chip’ or try our ‘Pink Salt’ (dulse mixed with sea salt), which is excellent on popcorn! ”


        “This seaweed is so good for my thyroid, tastes good too on popcorn or food, I put it in a 3 oz. shaker, I don’t use salt so this adds a little salty taste without the sodium that’s not good for blood pressure.” —Georgette Lee


        Omega 3

        Deva Nutrition Deva Vegan DHA-EPA Delayed Release

        Price: $24


        “DEVA is proud to offer its new product that is rich in both DHA and EPA derived from a completely vegetarian source (i.e. Schizochytrium sp microalgae). This product contains both DHA and EPA from microalgae that is grown in a controlled environment, eliminating the risk of oceanic contamination. DEVA DHA & EPA oil is encapsulated in delayed release vegetarian capsules to help prevent or minimize repeat issues associated with Omega-3 products. DEVA Omega-3 DHA & EPA is 100% vegan, vegetarian and is certified by the Vegan Society, the non-profit organization that actually invented the word ‘vegan’.”


        “I found out about the benefits of taking DHA-EPA (long-chain omega-3s) through Dr. Greger’s website, In summary, Dr. Greger recommends taking 250 mg a day to preserve brain function, particularly as we age (based on the results from the Framington study). It may be particularly important for vegans since they don’t eat fish, and fish is a source of DHA-EPA. Apparently, though, the reason it is in fish is because the fish eat algae, so it makes sense just to get it from the algae directly if you prefer not to eat fish.

        Here are the reasons I chose this particular supplement:

        • It is vegan (including the capsule).

        • The capsule is made from cellulose (no carrageenan, which I try to avoid because of health concerns).

        • The algae (from which the DHA-EPA is derived) is grown outside the ocean in clean, controlled water.

        I have noticed no negative side effects from taking this supplement. The capsules do have a “fishy” sort of smell if you sniff them, but this doesn’t bother me, and I have never noticed a fishy taste or fishy burps later. I figure the algae just smells fishy, and it’s unavoidable. I’d much rather it be natural than to have some sort of artificial flavor or scent added to try to mask it. Usually those things just make it more unpleasant, anyway. It is impossible for me to measure the positive effects of taking this supplement, but I found the information shared by Dr. Greger very convincing and recommend checking out his website for more information. I plan to take this supplement for as long as I am able to.” —Amazon Customer


        warmest regards…



    2. The B12, D3, and iodine are, alas, nutritional: I’m unaware of studies demonstrating supplementing these improves metabolic syndrome (the usual term in the literature for “prediabetes”. However, long chain omega-3s such as in algal EPA/DHA or fish oil do have favorable evidence, though the studies typically use higher doses than Dr. Greger recommends.

      Gao et al, 2017. Fish oil supplementation and insulin sensitivity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lipids in health and disease, 16(1), p.131.

      The fish get their EPA/DHA from algae, and the bioactive fats are identical. Algal oil has the benefit of avoiding persistent organic pollutants, are a bit more concentrated, and lead to somewhat less fishy burps.

      A year’s supply of B12, D (for those who live at high latitudes), and kelp iodine (for those who don’t use iodized salt) can be had for about $20 online. Marine algal EPA/DHA is considerably more expensive, at least $104 per year at Dr. Greger’s recommended dosage (for 500 mg capsules, it would be every other day).

    3. Hello Elizabeth,
      Thank you for your excellent question. I am a family doctor with a private practice in lifestyle medicine and also a volunteer moderator for this website. I notice that you have already received lots of advice — much of it about specific brands. I will try to summarize in one place what Dr. G has said about these supplements. I would start by reading this summary about supplements by Dr. G:

      Regarding specific supplements:

      1) B12: Dr. G. recommends cyanocobalamin, since it is by far the least expensive. Dose: Dr. G. has said if you take it weekly, you need 2,500 mcg (micrograms) per week; if daily, then 500 mcg per day — unless you’re over 65, then 1000 mcg per day. Here is a video you can look at:

      2) D3: Dr. G recommends 2,000 IU per day, unless you’re obese, then you need 3,000 IU per day:

      3) Iodine: Here is a video where Dr. G. talks about dose of iodine: He mentions that the recommended daily intake for adults is 160 mcg (less for children). (Note: pregnant women need 209 mcg/day). He also mentions that the WHO has set the upper limit at 1,000 mcg per day. If you use iodized salt, you probably get all the iodine you need. Note that potassium iodide is the most common form of iodine supplement.

      4) Omega-3: Here is a great video by Dr. G about why he recommends that we take about 250 mg per day of algal-derived DHA/EPA (vs. fish oil derived, which is contaminated with mercury): He also explains about how, as we age, we lose the ability to make long chain omega-3s, like DHA, from the short chain omega-3s in plant foods, such as flaxseeds.

      Regarding specific brands: I would only say that many of our readers prefer vegan supplements, which do not contain gelatin, which is derived from collagen obtained from various animal parts. There are lots of reasonable choices for Vit B12 and for iodine. For Vit. D, there are only a few that are vegan — derived from algae. One I’ve used is MRM brand 2,500 IU vegan capsules. For DHA/EPA there’s a vegan, algae-derived brand I can buy at Kroger, by Spectrum, called “Vegan Ultra Omega-3 EPA+DHA with Vitamin D” — one month supply for ~$19.

      I hope this helps.
      Dr. Jon
      Volunteer moderator for

  3. What about Insulin and excess Carbohydrates?

    One Day (just one day) of a Low-Carb Diet Decreases Insulin Resistance, Study Finds –

    Hyperinsulinemia Drives Diet-Induced Obesity Independently of Brain Insulin Production —

    Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes –

      1. Nothing new there Greg. It is well known that adiposity affects bodily responses to eg saturated fat and carbohydrates. Excess weight also increases inflammation and affects insulin resistance. That’s why virtually all of the studies showing a benefit to low carb diets use subjects who are overweight (eg your first link) or obese (eg your third link. In the third study, there was also a calorie deficit and resulting weight loss. Weight loss itself will improve biomarkers.

        Short term benefits in overweight people are one thing but it’s worth remembering also that low carb diets are associated with higher mortality eg this about low carb diets using animal (as opposed to vegetarian) food sources

        “The animal low-carbohydrate score was associated with a higher all-cause mortality (pooled HR comparing extreme deciles=1.23, 95% CI=1.11-1.37, p-trend=0.05), cardiovascular mortality (corresponding HR=1.14, 95% CI=1.01-1.29, p-trend=0.029), and cancer mortality (corresponding HR=1.28, 95% CI 1.02-1.60, p for trend = 0.09).”

        I am not sure what your second link is supposed to demonstrate except that obesity can have multiple causes. Hyperinsulemia itself has multiple causes but I understand that one of them is trans fat consumption.

        But the bottom line is that eating low carb is apparently more likely to make you diabetic. In this study of male health professionals “a low-carbohydrate diet high in animal protein and fat was positively associated with the risk of T2D.”

        The references above suggest that if anyones really wants to adopt a low carb/keto diet, a diet high in vegetable fat and vegetable protein is the safest option.

    1. So why aren’t all the Keto diet eaters diabetic? I wouldn’t do Keto, but so many are doing it successfully these days, and its popularity is growing.

      PS: When are you bringing back Disgus? I hate this email format!

      1. Hey Joe, thanks for writing. “Keto eaters’ aren’t all diabetic because (presumably) avoiding carbs helps the pancreas rest and recuperate, allowing it to regain some of its insulin-producing capacity, which then helps regulate blood sugar better when these folks begin eating carbs again.

        I can’t speak to a change in format; so far as I know, there are no plans to go back to the old way of doing things. Thanks and keep well!

      2. Give it time. The animal studies indicate keto dieters are killing off their pancreatic beta cells, but how many have been consuming a keto diet for 10 or 20 years.

    2. “Excess carbohydrates” needs an important qualifier…PROCESSED. Whole food carbohydrates are part of the solution to T2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and obesity…along with eliminating animal products and all processed junk, especially oils. I was diabetic and obese for many years following the standard dietary advice before seeing Forks Over Knives. Despite my doubts and out of desperation, I decided to trial a Dr. McDougall style diet, (high whole food starches and other plant foods, no animal products nor processed food), which went against everything the local medical doctors advised, yet my diabetes was history in about 3 weeks, and that was five years ago. Intramyocellular lipids…fat in the muscle cells, is the cause of T2D, high glucose is just a symptom because insulin can’t invite glucose into the cell to be used as fuel, so stays in the blood. Limiting carbs therefore only limits that symptom, but does nothing to fix the actual cause, fat inhibiting cellular function and causing insulin resistance,

      1. Similar situation here. My wife was diabetic for over a decade with an A1C as high as 11 a year ago. We then adopted a WFPB diet. Her glucose numbers were stubbornly high for a month or two and then the magic happened. Her last A1C was 6.8 and it’s still improving each time despite eating loads of good, whole, unprocessed carbohydrates like beans, potatoes and yams. Low carb diets can lower glucose numbers dramatically for awhile but in my wife’s experience you gradually lose tolerance for virtually any carbs and higher glucose numbers slowly creep up on you over several years along with increased dependence on medications. During her low carb days, her cholesterol was always well above 200. Now it’s 146.

          1. I’ll give you a typical day for her:

            Breakfast: A smoothie with almond milk, kale, spinach, blueberries, black currants, and a banana.

            Lunch: Baked potato, a serving of corn and a piece of fruit, usually an apple or orange.

            Snack: Another piece of fruit during the day.

            Dinner: 3/4 of a can of beans (garbanzos, black, great northern, etc.), half a yam and fresh, raw vegetables from a container we keep in the frig that has carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, celery, bell peppers and green onions.

            Dessert: Either one square of dark chocolate or another piece of fruit.

            And, of course, a glass of red wine.

            1. RandyH, this is incredibly helpful.  My only hesitation is eating the beans plain..  Will have to think of a way to  garnish them to make them more palatable.  Thank you so much!  I especially like the idea of the red wine.  I may have to steam the veggies though and maybe (sob) eliminate the wine for awhile in order to deal with my GERD/reflux issues.
              I appreciate your help.

              1. Wow your diet does not need to be so bland and boring to be healthy. Take this recipe for example.

                500g potatoes (peeled and cut into 1″ chunks)
                500g sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into 1″ chunks)
                1 white onion (finely sliced)
                4 cloves of garlic (minced)
                2 carrots (finely sliced in to small pieces)
                2 sticks of celery (finely sliced into small pieces)
                ½ a bunch of fresh thyme leaves (roughly chopped)
                150g garden peas
                350 g mushrooms (chopped into small chunks)
                10 sun-dried tomatoes (minced)
                1 tbsp tomato puree
                2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
                4 tbsp red wine
                100 ml vegetable stock
                400g lentils (pre packed & cooked)
                400 g tin of chickpeas (drained)
                5 tbsp fresh parsley
                Salt and pepper (to taste)
                2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (very, very finely minced)
                1/2 lemon (juice and zest)


                1 Put the potatoes into a large pan, cover the chunks with cold water, put the pan on the stove, bring it to the boil and cook them for 15 minutes (add the sweet potatoes to the pan after 5 minutes
                2 Take the potatoes off the hob and drain the water with colander
                3 Pour the potatoes back into the pan, season with salt and pepper and mash the potatoes up into a nice smooth, thick mash
                4 Add one half cup of water to a pan and sautee the onions until they start to turn translucent
                5 Add the garlic and thyme leaves and cook them until you’ve released the aromas
                6 Add the carrots and the celery to the pan and stir everything round constantly until they’re sweating and getting soft
                7 Add the sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms to the pan and stir them round until the mushrooms are beginning to sweat
                8 Pour the balsamic vinegar, tomato puree, red wine and vegetable stock into the pan and simmer for 10 minutes
                9 Pour the chickpeas and lentils into the pan and stir them round so they’re well covered by the juices of the rest of the mixture and simmer on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until it’s well thickened
                10 Fold the parsley, lemon juice and the peas into the mixture. Season with salt and pepper
                11 Pour the mixture into a baking dish and smooth it out across the bottom
                12 Spread the mashed potato over the top of the filling mixture and score the whole top with a fork
                13 Sprinkle the rosemary and lemon zest over the top of the mashed potato top
                14 Bake the the pie in the oven at 200℃ for 15 minutes
                15 Remove from the oven, serve up with griddled greens

                No fat or oil required. If there is anything you don’t like, just leave it out or substitute it for something you do like. It’s easy as shepherds pie.

                1. Now that sounds delicious, Matt!

                  We might have to try that this weekend. We often try new recipes but typically just on the weekend because of time constraints during the week.

                  I now what I posted does sound bland and boring but my wife and I are both creatures of habit and we actually love what we eat. We’ve been doing it for several months now and haven’t gotten tired of it yet.

                  Thanks for the recipe!

                  1. Hi Randy

                    Personally I couldn’t do raw veges for the majority of my meals, not that I don’t like or eat them raw.

                    I thought steamed veggies are easier for our bodies to digest and extract nutrients from?

                    You can adapt most recipes that require oil and processed food quite easily.

                    Saute with water, as long as you don’t let the pan dry out totally or have the heat too high there is no real difference to oil.

                    Remove the processed ingredient and replace with a whole food that was a major constituent of the processed food.

                    I live alone and work long hours, I still find time to exercise, cook and clean for myself.

                    You have to remember that eating is fuelling your body as well as your mind.

                    Meals have to be an enjoyable experience, they are the third most important thing to life after air and water.

                    I also find that once you get a collection of recipes under your belt you can make them quite quickly with out having to consult the recipe.


              2. Lida, I eat a lot of beans also. I like them with some water sautéed onion, garlic, and jalapeño, or with stewed tomatoes with oregano, marjoram, basil. Sometimes a little Siracha sauce. Lots of kale or collards on the side. Yams or purple sweet potatoes are a nice edition. When you start eating this way, you feel so good, you will start to crave all these vegetables.

              1. Actually very few grains, Lida. She does have an english muffin for breakfast on the weekends with jam. That’s about it.

                The beans are one of our favorite parts of the diet. Our one vice is buying the canned beans that aren’t low sodium but we get very little sodium from anything else in our diet.

                During our work week, we eat for convenience. Raw veggies only need to be chopped up, a can of beans warmed up, a potato can be popped into the microwave and you can’t find a quicker breakfast than a smoothie.

    3. Thanks for pointing out,

      A recent systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies has found that a LC diet does not improve diabetes risk.

      A recent review has also found that:

      “Total energy intake remains the dietary predictor of body weight. A LCD appears no different from a high-carbohydrate diet in terms of metabolic markers and glycaemic control. Very LCDs may not be sustainable over a medium to longer term as carbohydrate intake in diets within studies often converged toward a more moderate level. The variable quality of studies included in earlier meta-analyses likely explains the previous inconsistent findings between meta-analyses.”

      Hope this answer helps.

      1. Sorry I was trying to respond to an earlier post but it somehow ended up here.

        But I found your (darchiterd) post and the links very interesting too. Thanks!

  4. I look at fat so differently now thanks to Dr. Greger.

    When I look at animal fat, both in the meat and on the meat and think of my own body fat, I think, “wow, fat on my body and the fat on animals is the safe place that sequesters the poisons we mammals eat and are exposed to in the environment”.

    And from there, I think, “what the heck was I thinking when I was eating animals and their fat and unknowingly ingesting all of their toxins!”. I did not know that I did not know.

    So I am not taking in any more than my share of toxins thank you very much. I buy organic produce and cook 90% of meals myself. Nothing will totally eliminate my exposure to toxins but I am confident (thanks to Dr. Greger’s information) that all the fruits and veggies, exercise and a spiritual practice will quite effectively deal with any amount of incidental exposure to toxins that get.

    A proud monthly supporter of the best place for my wellness information needs,!

  5. My a1c levels are very, very high… My blood sugar levels have always tested very, very high except for the time I did a 3 day fast before my labwork.

    I point this out because I test out healthy and with no diabetes symptoms other than the tests I just mentioned.

    A nurse said I have the strongest ankle pulse she has ever felt. My recent eyeball test showed a couple of very healthy eyeballs. A follow up eye test showed very good eyesight (I could cipher 3 of the 6 characters on the bottom line of the eye chart) and results were asymptomatic for diabetes.

    Heart, breathing, kidney function… all checked out very good… nor for being diabetic or for my age, but just very good.

    I’m not putting this out there to suggest anyone should ignore a diabetic diagnosis.

    I am just saying that even if you are diagnosed with diabetes you can still lead a healthy life. In my case I take no meds but I take many, many supplements, even before I was told by my first visit to a Dr. in some 35 to 40 years that I may have diabetes.

    And after being told that, I began tailoring my supplementation to counter inflammation, after reading research saying that the main problem with diabetes is inflammation. Control the inflammation and you can control diabetes.

    I’m healthy, satisfied with my life, smarter than a box of rocks, and fully intend to stay that way until science makes available to me the magic required to live long and prosper.

        1. It all depends on what kind of oil you eat. If you eat vegetable oil or even olive oil that has gone rancid and become transfat then of course you will get inflammation all over the body which causes insulin resistance and raise your blood sugar. Now I bet that if you eat coconut oil then nothing will happen. Try it for one month and tell me the result.

          1. Here’s why your answer doesn’t make sense: I bought single bottles of high quality olive oil and used them regularly. They didn’t have *a chance *to go rancid.

              1. It’s presumptuous of you to think you use high quality oil and no one else does. You can smell oil when it’s rancid.
                The way you are talking now is that people don’t know when oil is rancid.
                If that’s the case, then they shouldn’t use it (which they probably shouldn’t anyway! :D) Have you read The China Study yet?

    1. For me it is the fat and refined carbohydrates in any, “vegetarian/vegan” processed carbohydrates that are cause for alert when I try to prevent getting Type 2 Diabetes.

      Overeating and excessive portions sizes of even the very best quality of healthy foods is still too many calories in for how many calories are used by me and that means weight gain and hormone disruption.

      So I have to keep my portions and their sizes to what is on Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen, exercise and keep excess weight off my body. To that end, I do not have type diabetes and hope to keep it that way. I have so much energy when I actually measure and eat the right foods for me.

      Best wishes to you on your wellness journey.

      A proud monthly supporter of

      1. Really Jerry? Just because you say so? In any case, the argument is that these things may be risk factors for developing T2D not that they are the sole causes.

        The evidence as usual suggests that you are wrong “”a low-carbohydrate diet high in animal protein and fat was positively associated with the risk of T2D.”

        That suggests to me that meat and saturated fat are indeed risk factors for T2D.

          1. Sure they are Jerry. Because you, naturally,. would know if they are typical. No need for fancy sociodemographic analysis,eh, just ask Jerry

            However, apparently about 9.4% of the French population has diabetes.

            Nobody (except you of course) really knows what causes diabetes but certainly obesity and saturated fat consumption are acknowledged risk factors. Nobody (except the satfat crackpots) thinks that if a risk factor cannot explain 100% of CVD or T2D incidence, then this must prove that it is not a risk factor at all. Then of course there are protective factors like exercise and high fruit and vegetable cobnsumption. The argument you posted only works on the simple minded.

            1. First of all, 9.4% is about average. Secondly this sociodemographic study of TG does not show a pattern that eating fat causes diabetes, because countries like China, Taiwan, Denmark, Israel and your Philippines whom you say eat a lot of unhealthy foods and has a lot of obese people. all have low rate of diabetes and they all eat a lot of fats. Countries such as Denmark and France traditionally ate a lot of (saturated) fats mainly from dairy much more in the past than now before the false cholesterol and saturated fat scare, and they were very healthy in the past than now. French are still very healthy today relatively to the world. And I lived and worked in France before and I know that their breakfast consists of croissant and bread + butter dipped in coffee. In Japan, their main breakfast is eggs and they make excellent eggs the shape of a cube.

              Do your homework again, TG, or you won’t sleep well tonight. It’s close to midnight now in the Philippines.

              On a side note, collagen helps your glaucoma. Look it up. One more reason to consume both broth for collagen and the numerous essential amino acids and … saturated fat.

              1. Sorry Jerry but fairy tales aren’t very convincing .

                For example you say that China has low rates of diabetes. Yes it did, under 1% in 1980, It also had low rates of saturated fat consumption, That is not the case now. Apparently China now has the highest reported rate of diabetes in the world

                It may be even worse in the Philippines “In fact, a 2008 survey alarmingly concluded that one out of every five Filipinos have diabetes. That means that around 20 percent of the population have diabetes and this has significantly increased from only 4 percent in 1998” although this presumably includes undiagnosed cases which would not appear in the official statistics.

                However you are still basing your argument on the puerile reasoning used by the satfat crackpots. As I wrote in my last post “Nobody (except the satfat crackpots) thinks that if a risk factor cannot explain 100% of CVD or T2D incidence, then this must prove that it is not a risk factor at all. Then of course there are protective factors like exercise and high fruit and vegetable consumption. The argument you posted only works on the simple minded”

                BTW, Jerry. the fact you lived and worked in France doesn’t make you an expert on France let alone nutrition and health in France. You don’t surely just expect people to take your word for it? I have spent some time in Germany and people often breakfast on bread, wurst and schnapps or beer. They have lower rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia than in France (13,4% vs 25.4%). So if I said bread, sausage and booze must be harmless and I know this because they have low rates of dementia there and they eat bread, sausage and booze for breakfast, would you think that was a reasonable argument?

                All your claims appear to be based on stories and long rambling speculations about why saturated fat should be harmless based on personal observations, Evidence is just something you ignore. Why?

                  1. They didn’t eat fat Jerry, they ate Whole Food. Coconut flesh, not coconut fat. They also got way more exercise. This article discusses the difference in outcome.
                    This is a meta-analysis of coconut oil use. Coconut oil consumption and cardiovascular risk”. It shows just what Dr. Gregor has been saying. Coconut oil use is only slightly healthier than butter.


                1. Tom, I just want to thank you on behalf of all the people that read the comments. Your posts are always insightful, logical, and well-researched. A delight to read. Plus you tackle Jerry’s misinformation head on. You’re awesome! Keep it up!

              2. Jerry

                Thanks for the tip about collagen but the papers I have read suggests that the problem is due to both changes in collagen and increased synthesis of some types of collagen eg

                “The turnover of collagen causes difficulty in hydrolyzation by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), leading to accumulation of type I collagen. Excess synthesis of type IV collagen has also been found in glaucomatous TM [2]. Another collagen, type VI, also increases, which is associated with sheath-derived plaques in the cribriform meshwork [14]. Thus, collagen abnormality in the outflow pathway appears to play an important role in the elevation of IOP and may be one of the significant original factors of glaucoma.”

                That doesn’t suggest to me that dietary collagen would necessarily help.

                I did try a UCII supplement for while because of some mild osteoarthritis symptoms. However after a year, there didn’t seem to be any effect. If anything, after stopping, my osteoarthritis symptoms now seem to be less.

                Anyway, thanks for the thought. I wasn’t aware of the role of collagen in this condition. I will keep reading

                1. What the above study found is that a mutation of collagen may be the cause of glaucoma but not too much collagen may cause glaucoma. It’s like acid reflux is not caused by too much acid.


                  I use a Type 1 & 3 collagen supplement. I stop using it for a while after consuming bone broth every day but then found out that collagen supplement helps my eyes better and so now I go back to use it.

    2. Sean,

      Check out my comment below. WHO; radiation increasing constantly and with it attacking all of our thyroids (awkward wording), diabetes on the rise. By 2050, World Health Organization estimates half (50%) of those living homo sapiens will be diabetic. There is no Plan(et) B.

      My advice: Do the best you can for you but do remember that we live on what used to be a lovely little planet – that is rapidly changing – and not for the better.


      1. OOOOPPPPSsssss. Wrong organ in the body; so sorry. Radiation attacks the pancreas first – hence it deleterious effect leading to exacerbation of diabetes.

        i misspoke. Currently “up to my ears in alligators with PPP – piss poor protoplasm – abysmal medical care in small town America and a mysterious plethora of painful autoimmune illnesses.”.

        Be happy; be well.


    3. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2050 those homo sapiens still alive – half of them (50%) – will have diabetes. Why? Radiation. Radiation first attacks the pancreas. Background radiation is continuing going up; add in Fukushima, Chernobyl, Hanford, Mallincrokdt in St. Louis processing all the uranium, etc. for the Manhattan Project with NO environmental safeguards (using the Mississippi River water) – bingo; ergo diabetes.

      Radiation – pancreas – diabetes. “It’s only a little planet and how beautiful it is” – actually was. There is no Plan(et) B.


  6. Here we go again, processed food, animal food, transfat, saturated fat are all lumped together in one dirty sentence. Sigh! it’s not only misleading but also unscientific.

    Diabetes type II or insulin resistance is caused by inflammation and inflammation is caused partially by fat if we eat the wrong fat.

    For instance sugar causes inflammation and this has nothing to do with fat. Transfat, vegetable oil that changes to transfat because it is rancid or damaged by heat, PUFA and Omega 6 fat in nut and seed if eaten too much, will cause inflammation and therefore diabetes.

    Saturated fat on the other hand is stable, done, fini, and won’t change to transfat and is harmless.

    On the other hand, if you eat too much fat even healthy fat but if it gets oxidized in the body, it will cause inflammation as well. And that’s why you need to eat antioxidant along with fat.

    Regarding Aging meat, it has to do with oiver cooking meat. I now cook my meat sous vide with my Instant Pot.

    All roads will led to saturated fat for Dr G :)

  7. I’ve just turned 61. I’ve been mostly vegan since 1979, before it became fashionable. Yet when I had my latest screening my good and bad cholesterol ratings were super and I was in the low risk category for heart disease, but I seemed to be hovering in this so-called pre -diabetes area. with potential danger to my liver. This is very disappointing. Should I eat nuts and peanut butter or no? I always thought that was good cholesterol.

      1. Thank you Marilyn. However, there are foods that are suggested that increase your level of HDL aka good cholesterol. Among them are nuts. Am I right?

          1. I need to take my fitness level up a notch. Was disappointed in my hydraulic rower. Have an oscillating stationary bike now. You can feel the difference. A portable gym to follow when I make. room. I don’t eat avocados but started using avocado oil some of the time to share time with my olive oil .. Never was an almond guy. Prefer pistachios and pumpkin seeds. Still good?. Hope I’m on the right track. We’ll find out in a few months.Thanks M.

      1. Thank you Lisa. I am only familiar with Dr Esselstyn and Dr Campbell through their dvd Forks Over Knives that I own and watched many times. Of course it makes no mention of nuts specifically. Only plant based diets. I will review my use of of nuts and peanut butter. Also I’m not sure how much my daily lattes are contributing to this picture.

          1. Probably to much syrup is in my lattes. I don’t drink sodas, but these things may be just as bad. I drink tea at home but at work I head straight to Starbucks at lunch. I hope I’m not addicted. I did Teavana a few years ago instead but the employees are pressured into coaxing you to buy something besides a cup of tea, so I left them. Looks like it may have been an unhealthy decision. I will have to think of something. Thanks Liisa.

            1. Earl, maybe just have plain coffee? I do like lattes also, but I have learned to have my coffee with nothing in it when I’m out. At home I add raw cocoa powder and turmeric. But if you react to bitters, you would not like it though. My kids think it’s awful. :-)

    1. Earl I have tried seven times to respond to your post over the last few days. Every time I check back the reply has disappeared.

      Essentially I suggested you consider the HND diet which is discussed in one of Dr G’s videos called “diabetes reversal is it the calories or the food”

      I won’t post the link because that may be the problem but you can do a search for it from the top of the page.

  8. World Health Organization estimates that by 2050 half (50%) of world’s population (those still alive) will be diabetic. Why? Radiation. First place in body attacked by radiation (whether background, Fukushima, Hanford, Chernobyl…………..the hits just keep on a’coming) – is the thyroid; Radiation = thyroid under assault = increased risk of diabetes.


    Beyond sad; science…..also under massive attack in America circa 2017

    1. OOOPPPPPSSssss. Sorry; another junior moment. Radiation first attacks the pancreas; hence WHO estimate that 50% of folks living around the world in 2050 will have diabetes.

      What to do? Eat sensibly, exercise heartily; love fully.


    2. I don’t buy that without a reputable source.

      Do people in Ramsar, Iran, or Guarapari, Brazil, exposed to natural radiation orders of magnitude greater than others outside of the exclusion zones at Chernobyl or Fukushima, have notably high diabetes? No.

      Radiation hormesis is as plausible as hormesis from broccoli sulforaphane.

      There are plausible reasons to project a high level of diabetes in 2050. Processed foods, with high levels of shelf-stable saturated fats (from palm or coconut oil), and high levels of fructose-containing added sugars, with low levels of prebiotic fermentable fiber (from bran, beans and bulbs).

      One needn’t point to the nuclear power industry for our disease burden. It’s right there in the chips/crisps and soft-drinks aisles.

  9. I was diagnosed as diabetic 2-1/2 years ago. I have tried every kind of diabetes reversal plan known to man. My first BG reading after getting my meter was 176 (but that was after a lasagna lunch). It has gotten down to the lo 90’s but always seems to come back up to the low 100’s. I have gone from weighing 195 to a low of 144 and now sit around 150. I lost too much weight, fat plus muscle, and am working with weights and protein to rebuild the muscle mass, since muscle burns glucose just by being there and motion. I have eliminated all added sugar and grains and dairy with minimal deviation. All my numbers are great except for the blood glucose which should be around 85. When people see diabetes reversed in 16 days on a whole food plant-based diet, is there any room for leniency? Some of my protein powders contain whey and others are just plant proteins. How much of the whey protein will stop the reversal? I made some egg plant Parmesan a couple weeks ago and my BG dropped back into the 90’s. I just made some more, before listening to Dr Greger but my BG has remained above 100. The recipe has Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese as well as the egg plant and pizza sauce (unfortunately 2g of added sugar). Is that too much of a deviation to see adequate results? I have been on a partial fast for 4 months and tried to stay on a plant based diet even though the program says that lean meat is ok. How pristine should the whole food plant based diet be to get see a reversal in 16 +/- days?

    Looking at my past records, the lowest BG recorded was 95. Does each individual have a BG threshold below which it will not go? I used to not worry about what I ate or when, but now I am afraid to eat even a snack that goes off the sugar/grain/dairy restriction. For at least 10 years my BG was 95 or higher and my Dr said that was normal when it was prediabetic. My after meal recovery to <100 after 2hrs is something that I have not seen since I started checking on a routine based in my efforts to reverse this condition. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Don't tell me to consult with my pharmaceutical practitioner since he thought prediabetic was normal and said nothing until I was at the point that cleared him to recommend metformin.

    1. Hi – If you’re hoping for optimal health and blood sugar control, then no, leniency is not an option. To be clear, protein powders and egg plant parm would not be consistent with a WFPB diet. Whole plant protein sources are prevalent in the form of legumes, seeds and nuts and these can be added in place of a protein powder if protein deficiency really is a concern. I agree with Liisa’s recommendation to read Dr. Fuhrman’s books as these would be great resources for you and will offer eating plans to reverse diabetes. Best of luck to you!

  10. I’ve been trying to understand which amino acids in animal protein are SO bad that we should give up eating any kind of animal protein. The above discussion mentioned that leucine may contribute to type II diabetes and was given as yet another example of why no one should eat any meat.

    An NIH paper was referenced, which also advocated “restricting” animal proteins, so I thought I’d check it out. The paper has two tables, one listing foods with very high leucine levels, and another listing very low leucine levels. The high levels are found in animal products and the very low levels are in some fruits such as apples. But animal products typically have a large amount of protein per gram of food and fruits have very little protein per gram of food, so this may not be a good measure for comparison purposes. The amount of leucine will be closely related to how much protein is in the food.

    Plant products do have proteins but are often present in smaller quantities than in animal products. If we normalize the leucine content per gram of PROTEIN it might provide a better picture of whether plants have a lower leucine risk than animal products. For example, beef has about 78 mg of leucine per gram of protein. Beans have a somewhat higher protein content per gram of food and are often used as a good protein source by vegetarians. But beans have 80 mg of leucine per gram of protein, almost the same as what is found in beef. Many fruits have very low content of proteins, but even in fruits, if you normalize the leucine content per gram of protein in the fruit, it is also not very different than what is found in beef.

    So, if a meat eater and vegetarian are eating comparable amounts of protein it would seem that they are both consuming approximately the same amounts of leucine and thus not actually reducing their leucine risk relative to diabetes. It would seem as though what the NIH paper is saying is that one must drastically reduce their protein intake in order to eliminate the leucine risk. The paper mentions “amino acid starvation” as the way to impair binding of mTORC1, but it is not clear, to me at least, that such starvation is a good idea. For example, sarcopenia is a significant problem in older adults – do we really want to starve these people of protein?

    The more I read the more it seems like the advantages and disadvantages are not actually related to the protein, but are related to the things that come along with animal and plant proteins. Animal proteins often come with saturated fat, AGEs (largely related to how they are cooked), hormones, pollutants, etc. Plant proteins come with antioxidants and a large number of compounds that are very beneficial to good health. Are these nonprotein components really responsible for the correlation differences that are observed?

    This, for me, is an important question. Perhaps a gently poached wild salmon steak, or a gently poached egg white, or even a scoop of whey protein isolate may not be all that bad. What do you think?

    1. Look at this way. In the U.S. less than 5% of the population are vegans and so 95% must be diabetic. In India. close to half of the population are vegetarian or vegan and yet India has among the highest rate of diabetes. So diabetes has nothing to do with eating meat or fat but it has mainly to do with obesity and inflammation and that can be caused by a number of reasons.

      And diabetes type 1 is genetic and you may get it when you are bown before you can eat any meat.

      So from a statistical point of view, your meat and fat theory does not make sense.

      1. While vegetarianism is more common in India, that means that dairy products are consumed. Now your point about 95% must be diabetic may be coming because a huge rise in diabetes is being predicted in the U.S. ( It’s only a matter of time and whether people will continue to eat meat and other animal products in the face of a huge volume of evidence against doing so.

        See this video:

      1. The methionine page was interesting. It also got to large restrictions of protein as the way to do it. :-) I need to check this out in more detail to try to understand why it does what it does…

        A quick review of the youtube video was also interesting, and again back to restricted diets. :-) The TOR part was also interesting. Overall a good video.

        Thanks for the post.

    2. Careful eater, have you read “The China Study?” You would find it enlightening as to whether to eat “a gently poached wild salmon steak, or a gently poached egg white, or even a scoop of whey protein isolate.” Myself? I wouldn’t touch any of them — because of what I read in “The China Study.”

      1. I’ve not read it but will do so – looks interesting. Did you read the original or the more recent revised issue?

        There’s hundreds of pages of comments about the book on the net, with some science/math folks offering very good criticism of, or disagreement with, some book conclusions. I’m wondering if the revised issue addresses some of these criticisms.

        Why, *exactly*, would you not eat the foods I mentioned? What is wrong with them?

        1. I have copies of both. This is hard to condense in a paragraph and I’m not a prolific writer. Campbell, the author, grew up on a dairy farm and set out to provide protein to people everywhere, thinking that they needed it in order to be healthier. As he progressed in his career, he realized that he was not correct in his initial thinking about protein. In doing so, he joined the ranks of others in his field. He sets out his thinking in “The China Study.” The problem with the critiques on the Internet is that they are not made by people who understand all the variables and are made by lay people who are trying to use sheer analysis without understanding the field or they are simply touting a theory–not the science–like Greger does.

          You will miss a great deal if you don’t read the book because it’s very easy and shocking reading. In my opinion, he deserves the Nobel prize for so aptly laying out his thinking for lay people because he has helped so many people change their lives for the better by this book alone; I count myself among them. I have both editions. The first edition is shorter and would be fine. For a critique of Denise Minger’s criticisms by Campbell himself, go here: and look for ” Reply to Denise Minger.” This book is scientific and is not just a “theory”; Campbell has not only studied nutrition, but has done the research.

          In 2001, I had cancer. Four out of five of my immediate family have had cancer or died from it. I would not eat any of the foods you mentioned because of their association with cancer. I would not knowingly eat any animal product because of this. When I was twenty-ish, I met a woman who would not eat animal products; now, decades older, I am that woman; I just hope the dietary changes I made were not made too late.

          Please read the book. I look forward to seeing you online once you have done so.

    3. Garlick, 2004. The nature of human hazards associated with excessive intake of amino acids. J nut, 134(6), pp.1633S-1639S.

      Methionine was termed the most toxic amino acid by Harper et al and Benevenga and Steele

      Ables and Johnson, 2017. Pleiotropic responses to methionine restriction. Experimental gerontology.

      Methionine restriction extends lifespan across different species

      In general, the literature generally indicates positive effects from glycine, glutamine, or arginine supplementation, and negative effects (or positive ones for restricting) for methionine and tryptophan. Health effects from leucine and the other BCAAs are more complex, as there are benefits to muscle growth, which may be important for sarcopenia in the elderly, but leucine and the other BCAAs remain associated with metabolic disease.

      Plant based diets have the benefit of reducing excess methionine and tryptophan. Legume consumption will increase the ratio of glycine to methionine in the diet.

      1. Thanks for the excellent reply! A quick look at the Ables and Johnson article was very informative. Methionine -> SAM -> homocysteine. That might explain some of the negative effects. I have to look at it in more detail, and at the other refs you mentioned. This is the level of detail I was looking for. Sounds like tryptophan might be next, although I can already guess where that might go. :-)

    4. Regarding the relatively high leucine content of meat, I think the concern is the total amount. The Standard American Diet contains high amounts of meat (and protein) in general so, therefore, the diet will have higher amounts of leucine on a daily basis. Considering many meat eaters also consume beans, they will get a double whammy of leucine at times, whereas, WFPB eaters do not get any leucine from meat, mostly just from legumes.

      1. Agreed – beef has about 3-10 times as much protein/gm food, and, as you say, folks eat a lot of meat. :-) Eating a lot of meat should be part of the *definition* of a meat based diet. Then we might be able to see what the difference in a more “modern” diet, where folks are more selective, might be. I eat around a pound of low carb veggies/meal, with a small serving of very carefully selected, very carefully cooked, very carefully sauced meat. it is not at all clear that this particular small amount of meat is dangerous. That is what I am trying to determine. I have seen no good evidence of that because the amount is small and most of the usual things that go WITH a so called “meat based meal” protein are missing or very low in my diet. Many folks seem to think that having a gram or two of meat PROTEIN will ruin their health. :-)))

        I bring this up because a diet with some meat like mine might be easier for people to do – it is not such a drastic change and may be more appealing because it offers more familiar options.

        1. I respect your opinion, but would like to note that there is no evidence that a small amount of meat is safe either. Since it has not been proven one way or another and since we know that too much meat is bad, I am opting for no meat at all, myself. Couldn’t a similar argument be made that just one cigarette might be okay–that whether one cigarette is safe or not has not been tested and therefore you could smoke one made from *organic *tobacco,

          1. Liisa – sorry for the delay. I replied to the “foods to eat…” discussion as opposed to the “foods to avoid…” discussion where you are comment was. :-)

            I have not seen any studies that indicate that a small amount of meat is dangerous either. :-) One of the best safety indications I have seen concerns people who do not eat anything and get all of their nutrition intravenously through TPN(total parenteral nutrition). The amino acid profile in TPN is very close to what would be in a small amount of meat protein. Since they don’t eat anything and thus get none of the additional components of a conventional meat-based diet, this would be similar to eating a small amount of very carefully selected and prepared meat. These folks can live many years like this without any of the things documented in the meat-based diet studies. The only significant nutrition related problem is caused by the use of linoleic acid(a fatty acid in soybean oil), which in 5 to 10 years causes some folks to have fatty liver problems. These folks do have many other problems, usually related to the reasons why they have to take TPN in the first place, and not nutritional in nature. This would seem to indicate that getting all of one’s nutrition with an amino acid profile close to that of meat protein is indeed safe.

            Studies that are considered to be “evidence” are usually large, very expensive, long-term studies involving thousands of people. NO ONE is going to run such a study to show that small amounts of meat WITHOUT saturated fat, AGEs, hormones, pollutants, etc are “safe”. And, if you look at such studies in great detail, you will often find that there are many assumptions made as part of the process. You should consider which people were selected, or rejected, how and what kinds of data were collected and “corrected”, and possibly rejected, and other parameters.

            It is not been conclusively shown that meat *protein* BY ITSELF, *without* the additional things that usually come with it, is responsible for the effects seen in these large studies that included the additional components. Indeed, in many discussions, these additional components are often mentioned as the things that might be actually causing the problem. This is important because if it actually is the components that are largely responsible for the effects that are seen, then improper selection, cooking, and preparation of vegetables can also generate these additional dangerous components.

            Also, almost everything is dose-dependent. The big studies used LARGE amounts of meat plus significant amounts of MANY additional components, all of which are independently known to be dangerous in their own right. The result is we don’t really know what caused the effect. And, given the above, if the study result was only a bit above statistical significance, and if similar studies do not reach statistical significance, as is the case here, then one may infer that the effect is not really that strong. One sees this all the time in drug studies in which a new VERY expensive drug is only a tiny bit better than an existing drug, but, since as a tiny bit better, it will be approved for sale by the FDA, and the resulting huge marketing campaign will make the drug company $1 billion.

            So, given the large amounts of meat and many additional components in the study that were needed to produce a statistically significant result, it may very well be that small amounts of meat without the additional components are actually quite safe. That is why I was asking about results that pertain ONLY to the meat and/or amino acids. The more I look the more it seems as though the additional components may be more dangerous than the meat itself.

            Given there will not likely ever be a study to prove it safe, a decision to eat small amounts of VERY carefully selected and prepared meat will end up to be a personal decision. Everything I’ve seen so far indicates that it is likely to be safe. But, if anyone has precise information to show that “careful” meat is not safe, please let me know.

            1. I have a hard time dealing with your words “VERY carefully selected.” To me, meat protein is meat protein, and the more meat protein eaten, the worse off one is. I gathered this line of thinking as a result of reading from John McDougall’s writing, Joel Furhman’s writing, T. Colin Campbell’s writing, and Dr. Greger’s writing/videos, among other contributors to nutritional information. I read “The China Study,” and that was my initial eye opener with regard to protein from animals. Why eat something that does not seem to contribute to one’s well being when there are other things that do a better job of contributing to one’s well-being? Please help me understand your point–especially what “VERY carefully selected” meat is because to me, there is no such thing as “VERY carefully selected” meat.

              TPN is not something with which I am familiar, but I am an adherent of WFPB eating whenever I am able to do so, which is most of the time. Your talk about TPN reminds me of Kempner’s rice diets which included no meat whatsoever and which cured people from their horrible health conditions; Kempner’s diet seems the opposite of TPN in the sense that they included rice and fruit but no meat whatsoever.


              1. Very carefully selected actually refers to the final dish, as served. It not only includes the meat but also how it is cooked and also additional sauces, breading, or other added ingredients. The meat itself can of course be red meat, dark meat, white meat, from any of several sources. Red meat is, for example, generally thought to be more dangerous than other meats and is eaten quite infrequently. For chicken and eggs, I visited the tiny farm where they are raised. They are ACTUALLY free range(as opposed to what is advertised as free range), with each chicken having hundreds of square feet in an overall very large area, and, in addition to what they get from the farmland, are fed the very best natural feed that is available. The breeds of chickens are also quite different from those that produce commercial eggs, and the eggs are amazingly good. Beef is again from a small farm, is truly grass fed, not fattened up very much(no feedlot), nor hormones etc. – not at all like what you’d find at the supermarket. Fish is from a small local supplier who gets the fish directly from the local fishing boats(I live fairly close to the ocean). If you’re careful, and learn, and pay attention, you will realize that there can be significant differences in “meat”.

                In my view, preparation and saucing may be just as important as the meat itself, and is rarely taken into account adequately in meat-based studies. I just went to a dinner party at a friends house, and this dinner was probably close to the usual “meat-based” meal that was in the studies. The meat was a fried pork steak, with a slightly sweet breading, and was cooked to a very dark brown(with plenty of resulting AGEs). As you might expect, everyone raved about how delicious it was – so much so that some people had two steaks. They were used to me scraping off all the breading, brown stuff, and cutting off all the fat that was on the steak, so that did not cause any comments. The Brussels sprouts were cooked in sweetened coconut oil – also to a very dark brown/black finish which, again, everyone thought was delicious(most people think AGEs taste good). And potatoes with generous amounts of fat. Almost *everything* about this meal would be much different if it were to fall into my very carefully selected category – this is just a brief introduction to what I consider to be a carefully prepared meal.

                TPN is not like ***ANY*** diet!!! NOTHING ever goes into your mouth! NOTHING ever goes into your stomach! NOTHING ever goes into your intestines! **ALL** of your nutrition goes directly into a vein. You never actually eat ANYTHING. I mention it because the amino acid profile in TPN is very close to the amino acid profiles of meat. And this meat-like profile does not produce any of the problems that are seen in the meat-based diet studies. If the meat itself, and not the stuff that goes along with meat, was causing problems I would expect to see these problems with a meat-like amino acid profile – the same thing you would get by eating meat. But it doesn’t happen, so maybe it’s not really the meat protein after all. Few people know and understand TPN, so I’m not surprised if you’ve never heard of it.

          2. Also, your reference to cigarettes does not address the kind of trade-off that goes along with food. Consider arsenic, for example. Is there arsenic in the food you eat? Almost certainly yes, but you still choose to eat that food for other reasons. Your rationale for doing so is that the arsenic dose is low enough that it is very unlikely to cause any problem for you. Everything is dose-dependent.

            1. Careful Eater, I am currently trying to figure out how to avoid arsenic in my water, so your thoughts on my non-avoidance of arsenic are not quite true…. I try to avoid anything that might be remotely carcinogenic, and since I believe meat to be carcinogenic I do not use it at all–and really, why should I use any? It contributes to pollution in the world, it is carcinogenic, it is unhealthy in general, and it contributes to cruelty to animals. Careful Eater, have you read “The China Study?” If you had had cancer in your life, you might be loathe to eat meat yourself. By way of explanation, I had it in 2001 and try to use every piece of information I can to avoid it coming back in the future.

              1. There’s arsenic in your rice, there’s arsenic in your beans, there’s arsenic in many of your veggies, there’s arsenic in some of your fruit. Not much in some cases, but it’s still there. How are you going to avoid the arsenic in many of the foods that you buy? Also, there are many other toxic and/or carcinogenic compounds in what you eat. How do you avoid these?

                Sorry to hear you had cancer. I guess something like that changes a lot of views about your post cancer life. I’ve not had it but do take a number of measures to avoid it if I can. I really do understand that kind of thinking and totally agree.

                I will be getting a copy of the China study. It has caused so much discussion I need to make my own assessment of the book. I’m a careful reader too, and, in reading the references in the book, may or may not agree with how they are interpreted or described in the book. I like to verify everything before I fully accept it.

    5. Careful Eater, first of all I congratulate you for having an open mind. Then let me clear a few misconceptions as well as explain a few things about eat animal foods.

      – There are billions of people in the world who eat a diverse diet of plant foods plus a small amount of animal foods WITH saturated fat and they are all healthy.

      – The saturated fat theory is a myth and should be put in museum a long time ago.

      – Unless you have a lot of time, you have to eat a lot of plant foods to have the essential amino acids. More importantly there are also the so called conditional amino acids that you will need when you get sick or old, and those are harder to get and sometimes non existent in plant foods.

      – There are also important trace minerals such as zinc and magnesium that are hard to get in plant foods.

      – There also vitamin B12 and all the B’s that are not in plant foods plus true vitamin A (not beta carotene which has to be converted efficiently to vitamin A.

      – Now to avoid AGE when you eat meat then you don’t overcook it. I cook all of my meat sous-vide.

      – To avoid cancer or actually have no risk when eating meat, you eat joint and bone meat and not muscle and lean meat, because joint and bone meat has glycine as opposed to methionine in muscle meat. It’s like Omega 3 to counter Omega 6.

      – The best foods to get all the amino acids and especially glycine, and vitamins and minerals, collagen, protein, all in one is bone broth.

      – There is a very important amino acid called glutathione and it is dubbed “mother of all antioxidant” and that is glutathione and bone broth is a precursor of it.

      (I have a number of links that I will try to eliminate later because it won’t post)

      1. Oh come on, Jerry! Now magnesium comes from animal food? What are you smoking?
        Magnesium is found in PLANT food! That’s why so many Americans are deficient in it. That, and we have depleted our soil with horrible farming practices.

        Further, the amount of meat these healthy people eat, for example in the Blue Zones, is about 2 ounces a Week! and the old time Okinawans simmered their meat and skimmed the fat. And you still haven’t addressed the 7th Day Adventist study. These are healthy Americans, living in a country with a very unhealthy population.

        1. I meant to type selenium. Selenium and zinc are mostly found in fish and shellfish.

          Regarding the 7th Day Adventist, I just replied to TG somewhere and I don’t want to retype again.

          1. Jerry, I thought Brazil nuts took the cake, so to speak, when it comes to selenium. Using your favorite source, the Internet, I found: “Brazil nuts. 1 oz (6-8 nuts): 544 mcg (over 100% DV)”

            1. I know about Brazil nut. There are 2 problems, 1) it is expensive and 2) its nutrients are not verifiable. The only study done on Brazil nut was done by the Brazilian government. I would rather get selenium from other known sources. And you know that selenium is not only needed for your brain but also for the synthesis of other nutrients as well as for detox, anti aging, etc. Next to magnesium, this is one the most important minerals.

              I am a little bit leary about the claim of Brazil but that you only need to eat just one nut per day.



              1. Anyone who has read “The World Peace Diet” would not look to fish as a solution to selenium, but instead would look to a single Brazil nut per day, (Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendation,) to take care of your selenium needs.

                The cost of a single nut per day is not prohibitive for most people, and fish is expensive (unless you are a fisherman–Are you?)

                1. Liisa, you are free to eat Brazilian nut if you trust its claim. In fact you don’t even know about the importance of selenium until I mentioned and then you looked it up. What a pity.

                  I bought brazilian nut one time only at Trader Joe’s for $8.00 for a little bag and I believe that they don’t sell anymore. Anyway, if you just need to eat one nut per day as the Brazilian government claimed then it is not too expensive but if you have to eat a handful then it is more expensive than gold. And you don’t even know how much selenium it contains even if you eat a handful if you depend on one study done by the Brazilian government. I don’t believe in anything that is too good to be true.

                  This is a case of double standard. If the study was done by the “meat industry” then I am sure that Liisa will jump up in down in excitement and I never see her so happy in life.

                  1. …and here comes Jerry–dodging all the horrendous problems with fish so he can fantasize about what he thinks is the exorbitant price of Brazil nuts–just one per day and recommended by Joel Fuhrman, M.D. Meantime, look up the price of salmon….

Leave a Reply

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

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This