Image Credit: Abele Gigante / Unsplash. This image has been modified.

Follow the 5-to-1 Rule for Packaged Foods

When people think fiber, they think constipation. And it’s true: If we could get Americans to eat just the minimum recommended daily intake of fiber-containing foods, we could save our country $80 billion—and that’s just from the effects on constipation alone. But that’s not all. “Accumulating evidence indicates that greater dietary fiber intakes reduce risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, weight gain, obesity, and diverticular disease, as well as functional constipation.” So, we need to eat more fiber-rich foods, which means eating more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes (beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils).

As fiber intake goes up, the risk of metabolic syndrome appears to go down, with less inflammation and an apparent step-wise drop in obesity risk. It’s therefore no surprise that greater dietary fiber intake is associated with a lower risk of heart disease: There is a 9 percent lower risk for every additional 7 grams a day of total fiber consumed, which is just some rice and beans or a few servings of fruits and veggies.

How does fiber do its magic? What are the mechanisms by which dietary fiber may extend our lifespan? It helps get rid of excess bile, feeds our good bacteria, and changes our gut hormones, which collectively helps control our cholesterol, body weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease. Reducing inflammation is a whole other mechanism by which fiber may help prevent chronic disease.

An accompanying editorial to a fiber and heart disease meta-analysis implored doctors to “enthusiastically and skil[l]fully recommend that patients consume more dietary fibre”––which means a lot of whole plant foods. If we do buy something packaged, however, the first word in the ingredients list should be “whole.” But, even if it is, the rest of the ingredients could be junk. A second strategy is to look at the ratio of grams of carbohydrates to grams of dietary fiber. We’re looking for about 5 to 1 or less. For example, whole-wheat Wonder Bread passes the first test: The first word in its ingredients list is “whole.” However, it then includes corn syrup and the contents of a chemistry set. So, let’s see if it passes the 5-to-1 rule.

In my video The 5-to-1 Fiber Rule. I show examples of some Nutrition Facts labels. The whole-wheat Wonder Bread lists 20 grams of carbs and 2.7 grams of dietary fiber per serving. Dividing the carbohydrates by the dietary fiber, 20 divided by 2.7, is about 7, which is obviously more than 5, so back it goes onto the shelf. It’s better than white Wonder Bread, though, which comes in at over 18. Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, however, makes the cut: 15 divided by 3 equals 5.

You can do the same thing with breakfast cereal. Multi-Grain Cheerios sounds healthy but has a ratio over 7. Uncle Sam original cereal is an example of one that makes the cut, sliding in under 4.

The editorial concluded that the “recommendation to consume diets with adequate amounts of dietary fibre may turn out to be the most important nutritional recommendation of all.”


I love producing videos about practical, day-to-day decision-making. Next time you go to the grocery store, look for products that fit the 5-to-1 ratio rule. They aren’t easy to find!

Eating fiber-rich foods is more than just a way to avoid constipation. For example, watch my videos Fiber vs. Breast Cancer and How to Prevent a Stroke.

There’s a misconception that we can’t digest fiber. We can’t do it alone, but we can with a little help from our gut flora friends. See Prebiotics: Tending Our Inner Garden and Gut Microbiome: Strike It Rich with Whole Grains.

This isn’t to downplay all the suffering caused by constipation. Check out How Many Bowel Movements Should You Have Every Day? and Should You Sit, Squat, or Lean During a Bowel Movement? to learn more.

Isn’t this talk of fiber reductionist? Good question! So good, in fact, that I created an entire video about it. See Is the Fiber Theory Wrong?.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


88 responses to “Follow the 5-to-1 Rule for Packaged Foods

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  1. I am curious why we have the 5:1 rule if oatmeal doesn’t make it. Looks like steel cut oats are 29 grams of carb to 5 fiber and regular oats are 27:5, both over 5.

    1. I think the answer is in the title of today’s article. The rule is to be applied to packaged foods as a guide. Oats are a whole food. But by the same token, whole wheat flour comes in at over 5 as well, nearing 6 by my calculation.
      https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5744/2 If the wonder bread gets tossed, does home made bread get tossed to ? This brings me to another point which is that a food like home made bread, or bakery produced bread may add a great deal of enjoyment to a simple whole food meal. If by including the bread, the roti, the chunk of cornbread you are choosing to eat the chpped vegie salads, soups, dahls , vegie chili etc, then I would say its well worth including – no matter where its at on the fiber scale.

      1. I agree the title specifies processed foods. I am wondering why the cut is different for processed than for whole foods.

        I do not infer that the article suggests we not eat whole grains. I should have been clearer.

        1. That’s a good question cg, and something I wondered about since the video was shown. Why hold a manufactured or even slightly processed food to a standard that the whole food ingredients themselves can not meet ?

    2. You want to have less then 5. A lot of carbs come from added sugar. How much sugar is listed on the label? I am not an oatmeal eater but I could see that being the reason.

    3. I think when Dr. Greger did the video, I worked on my oatmeal and found that adding flax seed and walnuts to my steel cut oatmeal brought it into the 5 to 1 rule.

      And I had shifted some of my bread products to Ezekiel bread, and now I have shifted all of them there to get rid of the flours.

      Between him showing the video and now, I forgot the details of 5:1 rule entirely, so I am glad that he did it again, because I forgot what to divide by what.

  2. 100% whole grain kamut, my favorite grain, and just that, nothing else added and nothing taken away, 1 cup cooked contains 47.5 grams carbs and 7.5 grams fiber. 47.5/7.5 = 6.33. So are you saying I should not eat that!

  3. Here’s another one: Whole-grain brown rice, whole-grain quinoa, brown flax seeds, and brown sesame seeds are the main ingredients. It has 21g of carbohydrates and 3g of fiber per 30g serving. Do we need to stop eating these crackers? They’re delicious!

    1. This made me think of a Trader Joe’s product called “whole grain crisp bread.” To die for, sold in the cracker shelf, contains mostly seeds, some wholemeal rye flour, oat bran, etc., with 7 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber and 4 gr of protein. Hope they continue to sell these. My TJ’s discontinued Uncle Sam’s cereal so I have to search out another source..

  4. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Dr. Greger was talking packaged, processed food and not packaged whole foods like some grains. I think this rule is made for those who still want to buy bread and cereals but are trying to make the best decision possible.

  5. Yes, oatmeal is 100% oat but it have 20 g of carbohydrate and 3g of fibre. So it would not pass the test. I am puzzled.

    1. Because oats are a whole food, the carbs are slowly released into your system because they are attached to the fiber, making them a healthy choice even if above the 5:1 ratio. However, processed foods often have the fiber removed and added sugars that are quickly adsorbed and can cause a spike in your blood sugar level, not a good thing. That’s my two cents.

  6. I enjoy the articles but have just one request: COULD YOU PLEASE PROVIDE TRANSCRIPTIONS OF THE VIDEOS????????

    I do not like watching videos on my computer……..I’ve seen other sites with videos offer transcriptions so am hoping you will do the same………….please!?!?!

    Thanks!!!!!!!!!

  7. So this means it is OK to eat dairy-free Halo Top frozen dessert with its 17 g carb to 5 g fiber ratio of 3.4 :) One can get 80% of daily fiber intake by eating the whole pint ….

    https://www.halotop.com/dairy-free-flavors/

    https://static1.squarespace.com/static/555e46ffe4b00d375ca9fd13/t/5a8c457d9140b75766355f0b/1519142269900/nutr-df-caramelmach.jpg

    Not deluding myself as I am sure there are other ingredients that are not so healthy such as sat fat and a high amount of sugar and sugar alcohol (another name for sugar I suppose)?

    Pointing this out as 5:1 rule may have some exceptions :)

    1. Laughing at: One can get 80% of daily fiber intake by eating the whole pint ….

      So does that mean you have to buy two pints?

  8. cg: “I agree the title specifies processed foods”

    Which begs the question at what point is a food “processed”?. Oats are whole food. So if you cut them or roll them are they processed? Pre steamed instant oats? are they processed..
    If you spice them is it processed?
    That always got me.. What is processed or at what point is a food processed?

    mitch

    1. Hey Mitch, Dr. Greger typically defines processed foods as foods that have had positive attributes removed or have had negative things added in. So for example, juices are processed because they’ve had their fiber removed. Milk chocolate is processed because milk and sugar have been added to the cacao/cocoa. I hope this helps.

    2. Rather than trying to figure out when a food is processed this explanation from the Cycling Based Grumpy GrannyBrump Granny, will help us to understand when a grain is healthy.

      Brenda Davis’s Whole Grain Hierarchy;

      Intact whole grains are the healthiest form of grains. Intact grains remain just as they were on the plant. They are not processed in any way. Examples are oat groats, quinoa, brown rice, red rice, buckwheat, barley, wheat berries, kamut berries and spelt berries.

      Cut whole grains are grains that have been cut in two or three places. They are almost as healthy as intact grains. Examples are steel cut oats, bulgar wheat, Red River Cereal and 12 grain cereal.

      Rolled whole grains have been processed through rollers, increasing the exposed surface area and allowing more leaching of nutrients. However they still retain most of their healthy characteristics. Examples are oatmeal, rolled quinoa and rolled buckwheat.

      Shredded whole grains have been shredded into smaller pieces still. An example is shredded wheat.

      Ground whole grains are flours that have been processed into very small pieces. In breads, the lighter and fluffier the bread, the less healthy it is. Look for heavy breads full of grain pieces. Look also for sprouted whole grain breads – grinding sprouted grain results in more nutrients in the final product. Examples of ground whole grains are whole wheat flour, spelt flour and buckwheat flour.

      Flaked whole grains are processed so extensively that they fall from the realm of healthy foods. They suffer from an extra liability from extra ingredients such as oils, salt and sugar that are added to the final product. Examples are cold flaked cereals such as bran flakes.

      Puffed whole grains are the bottom of the barrel when it comes to whole grains. Examples are rice krispies, puffed wheat and brown rice cakes. Unfortunately rice cakes are so highly processed that practically no nutrients remain.

      Finally we get to Dr. Greger’s 5:1 Rule – a quick and easy way to tell if a product is actually “whole grain” (1). The strategy is to look at the ratio between carbohydrates and dietary fiber in a particular product. This information is easy to come by because it is all itemized on food labels. So here’s what you do as you search your local grocery store for healthy products. Find the number of grams of carbohydrate in the product and the number of grams of fiber in the product. Divide the carbohydrate number by the fiber number and, if the result is 5 or less, you know that the product is high in whole grains. Alternatively, multiply the number of grams of fiber by 5 and if the result is more than the number of grams of carbohydrates then you have found a wholesome product.

      For example, here are the Nutrition Facts labels from two breads. The first bread is a good choice. 5 gm of fiber with 19 gm of total carbohydrate equals a value of less than 4. The second bread is not a good choice. 1 gm of fiber with 20 gm of total carbohydrate equals a value of 20. No fiber to speak of in this one!

  9. I like the rule, and try to follow it when shopping. I like multiplication more than dividing so I multiply dietary fiber by 5 and if it’s more than the carbs into the basket it goes. Simpler, I think.

    1. Yes, and I like calculator math done on the internet beforehand, rather than having my whole walk through the grocery store be one big math quiz.

      I am happy that Dr. Greger helped me solve how to increase the fiber of my oatmeal and which type of bread to eat already.

      Hooray for any process, which takes away all of this complicated figuring things out process.

  10. How much fat should I eat a day? I was told That I should take 1500 units of EPA a day. What food
    will provide me with this amount, I am taking one tablespoon of flax seeds and one of chia seeds everyday. I am vegan.

    1. In one of the videos, a younger version of Dr. Greger started listing how everybody disagrees on how much to take and he said, “One to two tablespoons of flax” per day.

      As far as total fats per day. Most of the WFPB doctors say 10% calories from fats, while watching the Omega 3 to 6 Ratio.

      Here is a list rawsome healthy compiled: http://www.rawsomehealthy.com/how-much-fat-is-too-much-fat/

      • Dr Colin Campbell the author of the famous book on nutrition called the ‘China Study’ promotes around 10% being the ideal fat intake from whole plant foods.

      • Dr Neal Barnard a well known plant foods diet advocate recommends that around 10% of total daily calories should come from whole plant fats.

      • Dr D. Graham, sports nutritionist, author, and the father of the 80/10/10 movement recommends no more than 10% fat on average.

      • Dr J. McDougall, MD, well known author and founder of the very successful McDougall health programme – recommends 10% maximum fat.

      • Dr Dr Caldwell Esselstyn a general surgeon and researcher conducted his own study and had great success putting his heart patients on a whole foods plant diet that contained around 10% of its total daily calories as fats. Those who followed his diet healed themselves of heart disease.

      • Dr Michael Klaper, MD, past advisor to NASA, lecturer, radio host and contributor to TV health programmes recommends around 10% fat.

      • approximately half a medium avocado per day or

      • about 20 medium olives per day or

      • 1-2 tablespoons of nut/seed butter per day or

      • small handful of nuts/seeds per day

      1. If you are going to limit yourself to 10% fat, you probably should not eat nuts, olives or avocadoes at all.

        (Dry) oats are 14% fat by proportion of total calories, broccoli are 9%, black beans are also 9% while regular tofu is a whopping 53%.and regular whole wheat bread is 12% – all figures are from the selfnutritiondata website.

    2. Dr G recommends 250mg of a noncontaminated source of DHA/EPA daily. Vegan, algae-derived DHA/EPA is the way to get this. Can be found in store and online. Here’s a video reviewing the details on this topic: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/should-we-take-epa-and-dha-omega-3-for-our-heart/ And here’s another video on why he suggests taking the DHA not just EPA or ALA: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/should-vegans-take-dha-to-preserve-brain-function/

      Best! Dr Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

  11. Looking at all of these people who immediately try to figure out their oatmeal, I have to say that even just finding organic, steel cut oatmeal was a complicated process for me.

    Way easier to find steel cut, which isn’t organic or instant oatmeal, which isn’t steel cut.

    Then, trying to figure out the prices and sales on top of that, and see the fiber ratio, which differs a tiny bit per brand and checking the sugars..

    So, I figured all of that out, but don’t know what “overnight oats” means.

    1. And what does “thick cut” in Dr. McDougall’s oatmeal packets mean?

      Is “thick cut” different than “steel cut” or “Irish style”?

      I genuinely know that people who don’t learn all of this, have no idea what they are doing wrong.

      Dr. Lisle talked on YouTube about switching one woman to steel cut oatmeal and just with that one change she lost 75 pounds.

      Susan Peirce Thompson talked about the flours and said that getting rid of flour and sugar, she brought 1 out of 5 people to normal weight in one year – even post menopausal women.

      I add in Dr. Barnard’s “Cheese Trap” and learning to cook without oil and I am losing two pounds a week right now and am still eating oatmeal and sandwiches, with :”Follow Your Heart cheese-style product” and it is like I haven’t changed anything, but it changed everything and I am watching my poor friends go up and up in weight, trying to do every single thing.

    2. Hey Deb, if you want to make your life easier (and half the price) just forget about the organic part. Regular fruits and veggies are nutritionally more cost effective than organic.

      If you check out the topic on nutritionfacts you’ll also find that the majority of pesticides in a regular diet come from meat and dairy. Just eating only plants more than makes up for the small amount of pesticides on produce. Fun tidbit- they haven’t done safety testing on the majority of organic pesticides and natural isn’t automatically safer. Just my 2 cents, hope it helps

      1. Great point Ryan. There are some fruits I like to soak in the 10:1 water salt solution (from Dr. Greger) to get rid of the pesticides. These are grapes, apples, strawberries and a few others. I normally don’t buy organic because of the cost, so this treatment is my way of compensating.

  12. Doctor McDougall has been promoting the 5 to 1 fiber to carb ratio for many years now.
    I have found in real life though it so severely limits any use of packaged convenience foods that a 6:1 or even 7:1 ratio is easier to follow.

    I don’t eat wheat, but love Marys gone crackers with a ratio of 6.66 which is much better than most processed crackers. And if you are using them for chickpea or white bean hummous and carrots and celery you have lots of fiber going down the hatch simultaneously.

    Typical Corn chips are 20:1. Never touch the stuff. But Beanitos or Beanfield brands of corn chip with added beans have a ratio of 6. They are a staple for me. They make a great base for bean nachoes (more fiber) with lettuce and salsa. I think you get the idea.

    Sometimes you need to take Dr. Greger with a grain of fiber and himalyan pink salt.

    1. Exactly Claire Green! These sprouted corn tortillas don’t make the cut either with 23/3 carb/fiber numbers and if I recall correctly they are a fav of Dr Greger. Considering all the yummy things you can make with something like this using beans, vegies and leafy greens they are a good buy.

    2. I have not tried the Beanitos or Beanfield.

      I find that is where I don’t know how to process my processed foods, because I can get organic blue corn chips and taco shells and be off on the fiber or do those products and not be organic.

      Wishing they would have one organic type in their line.

      They are nonGMO and say they do try to include organic products in their products.

      I genuinely value Dr. Greger giving the optimal standard based on the scientific studies. And, yes, I do find it quite a struggle getting every meal that I eat to fit within those guidelines, but I prefer his process of telling me what the studies say versus many doctors who don’t give the study details.

      1. So, researchers, which is a more powerful force:

        The fiber ratio versus the obesogenic properties of Round Up?

        Wondering about the eat too much of which kind factor, too.

        1. Hey Deb, I’m chiming in again. I remember Dr. Greger quoting a study saying that the average omnivore and average vegetarian both have higher than recommended BMI’s. Vegans were the only group that made the cut with average body mass indexes in the healthy range. You don’t have to go organic to stay a healthy weight. I think this is what you were getting at?

          1. Hi Ryan,

            Thanks for you comment.

            It was just me pondering what “Round Up being Obesogenic” means in practical terms,

            Infants are getting obese, from their mothers having Round Up in their systems.

            It makes me wonder when I eat non-organic salads at a salad bar, does the power of the plants neutralize all of the obesogenics or not?

            Plus, it wrecks the gut bacteria of those plant products and that is linked to obesity.

            So, again, is the low calories enough to counter the bad gut bacteria?

            You are probably right about plants having so few calories that it might not cause problems, as long as I keep my calories low enough.

            But it also increases the risk of heart attack by 26% and the risk of cancer and diabetes and thyroid problems, which I am trying to get over.

    3. I am going to say that I don’t like comments, which disrespect Dr. Greger and I know that he is doing optimal and not everybody wants to or needs to live up to optimal all the time.

      I don’t know what it is about the internet that people put people like Dr. Greger who is trying to save people’s lives and is doing it nonprofit down, rather than just say that you don’t want to live within the 5 to 1 ratio.

      It isn’t just your comment.

      The internet is a put people down to get other people to take them less seriously culture and I want people to take Dr. Greger seriously and I want Dr. Greger to have an audience, which appreciates his hard work.

      I know that he is working on his book, this year, and some of his information will recycle from his messages, but I still am on a campaign to see if any of the internet communities can become grateful, respectful places.

      I listened to the Food Revolution Summit and every interview with every one of these leaders acts professional, humble and respectful with each other. I value that so highly and want to point it out that we treat people who are working nonprofit as if we were better than they are and smarter than they are, and we are not appreciative enough of the information, put out freely to save our lives.

      1. I don’t see anyone disrespecting Dr Greger here unless I am missing something. From what I am reading, one question that has arisen surrounds the carb to fiber rule, and the reason ot would apply to processed foods and not whole foods. It’s a genuine question that arises out of curiosity and not criticism imo.

        For someone who is just learning about whole foods and shopping, the 5 to 1 rule is a handy guide.

        I think the community here in general is grateful as ever to Dr Greger and his team for the time and effort they put into the site and for the life-saving info that is presented day after day,.

        1. Thanks Barb.

          Maybe I was reading it wrong.

          The comment about taking his advice with a grain of salt, when I want the world to take WFPB seriously and most of the world doesn’t yet.

          There is a movement to try to get people to not take it seriously and it is working in the lives of most of the people I know.

          I listened to the Food Revolution Summit and men like Dr. Greger are desperately trying to reach the world to save as many as he can.

          I think part of it was that I came here and read what he wrote and recognized that Dr. Greger had taken the time to read his comments and people had talked about constipation and Ezekiel bread and the comment about fiber came up and he thoughtfully posted this in response and I find him gracious and I watched the video he posted of him with his young people and they are these sweet, sincere people and I want him to know that I genuinely appreciate that I see that he is continually responsive to this community.

          And I want those young women and young man to see adults acting as role models to this movement and I consider this movement to be one of the most important movements in the whole world.

          Yes, I consider it to be like the packets of salt and sugar saving the children.

          Though, in this case, maybe it is saving countless thousands of six year old children from losing their grandmother’s and mother’s and it might be saving the future of those children.

          If only the message can get out.

          1. And, I know that the sentence may even have been a joke, but it seems to me that whenever Dr. Greger puts up something, which people don’t want to listen to, people often take pot shots at him and he and Dr. McDougall used the same study results to get that ratio and I needed to hear it again.

            1. Sure Deb, thanks for your reply. You made some great points including the response to Asher. If we are being diligent on a day to day basis in consuming the best diet we can, making a concession so to speak in eating some bread might not be a big deal. Most days I am over the 75 gm of fiber mark eating wfpb anyway.

              Btw, you asked about onernite oats, and here is a recipe. I use 2/3 cups rolled oats and just under 4/3 cup plant milk in mine, but you can adjust to your liking. http://ohsheglows.com/2015/07/22/vegan-overnight-oats/ Enjoy !

              1. * 2/3 cup oats will make enough for 2 servings for me, and I keep the same amount of chia , 2 tbsp. Prepare and refridgerate the night before you want to eat it.

                1. How does it taste, in comparison to either cooking oatmeal on the stove or in the microwave? Do you genuinely like it? Or is it something mushy, you have to get used to?

                  1. It tastes great with almost a dessert quality about it but not sweet really, other than the tase of banana and cinnamon. Try the single bowl recipe as given and adjust with a little more/less plant milk if you like after that. Throw on some berries and a walnut or 2 and you have a meal. I find it easier to make 2 servings at a time. i think you will really be impressed. Give it a go!

        2. This is a type of bread I use often that does satisfy the 5 to 1 rule http://www.mestemacher-gmbh.com/ There are other brands of the same kind of bread available, and organic. Low to no fat, high fiber, and very few ingredients. It’s quite inexpensive too, and tasty with soup, salads or dips.

          The other bread which I tried after reading a recommendation from Dr Esselstyn’s wife is manna bread. https://www.mannaorganicbakery.com/ Very yummy flavours, low/no fat, high fiber (fits the rule ), satisfying, and organic. I buy it on sale .. worth the price I believe.. Just a thought.

          1. Wow, thanks Barb, that is really helpful.

            I like having options.

            I have so many friends who are Keto and some of them have gained almost 100 pounds in the past year trying everything, but not knowing that Whole Food Plant Based might actually work. I looked at photos of Dr. Atkins and it breaks my heart watching people I love not have any concept of how to change their lives, but I got them to try Ezekiel bread this week and now I have a few more breads to try.

            I also got them to try steel cut oatmeal. I forgot to mention flax seed and chia seed and walnuts as increasing the fiber ratio and helping with things like avoiding breast cancer and lowering high blood pressure.

            I am sorry Barb if I got sensitive. I am so aware that the doctors in this community have been trying to save lives for decades and that the world constantly gets people to look down on the movement and it is the dignity of these men, which will change things. It is them being upright and being respected. It is already starting to happen, but there are forces, trying to come against every single thing they say. I am not saying that was what was happening here. I just am aware that Dr. Greger actually does read his comments and people talk behind his back here, in front of him and I just never liked anyone making fun of anyone and the internet culture does it all the time and it is the same dynamic as was there in Grade school. The same types of thinking processes, except there isn’t a teacher standing up and saying, “What you said, might have just hurt his feelings. Can you think of something more positive to say?” or some version of that.

  13. I eat Alavarado Street Balery’s flax bread because it is one of the only breads where the serving size is 2 piece. However, it has 18 carbs and only 2 fiber per 2 slices. Should I continue eating this? Ezikial bread is really expensive at my store and I don’t know of any other brands that make minimally processed breads. Any tips?

    1. Asher,

      These are the types of questions we all wrestle with.

      I go through the same questions about organic produce, because of how expensive it is.

      I have to come out of a head to head logic to a health care costs logic, where suddenly, it wins by ten thousand miles, because Round Up messes up with gut bacteria and increases heart problems by 26% and associated with thyroid problems and increased Cancer and Diabetes, etc.

      I am not telling you to “ditch the bread” because that is a question you have to wrestle through.

      I made my decisions based on having so many health symptoms and not wanting to pay even one medical bill, so Ezekiel Bread products and Steel cut organic oatmeal and Organic produce stayed.

      I lowered my grocery costs by eating a whole lot of organic beans – usually on sale at my grocery store for less than a dollar per can. I had my friends give me the rice, which they had been talked out of eating on a different web-site. I don’t eat that every night, even though I have heard Dr. Greger say they looked at whether it caused Cancer and it doesn’t.

      If the bread is your “weakest link” then make the decision actively to keep it or ditch it or eat bread less often.

      And I would throw health in as part of the decision making process.

      Are you overweight? Do you have Diabetes?

      If you don’t have health problems, and the rest of your diet is good, then, this might be a “flexibility” area for you. Dr. Greger is doing “optimal health based on studies” and if you are healthy or young and healthy, then there are probably years where you don’t have to worry as much about every little thing.

      1. I add to the questions on this topic:

        Are you getting enough dietary fiber?

        Do you have bathroom problems?

        Do you have hunger or end up eating something worse than the bread for snacks?

        1. Tom,

          I welcome you complicating my life with studies any time.

          You give good information and I will transition to those dried beans.

          I just have been lazy.

    2. . The Ezekial bread in Fairway is around $5.00 or $5.49. In whole foods it is around $5.99. Make sure you look at the nutrition label and follow the 5 to one rule as not all Ezekial breads have a ration of 5 sine are higher. In heath food stores Ezekiel bread, when not on sale, is usually about $2.00 more. Yes Ezekial bread is more expensive than many breads. However, with all its fiber you can only eat a couple of slices at a time. Do yo remember Jewish Bakeries of yesteryear. Every-time I bought a whole rye bread, I ate the entire rye withing minutes of getting home. You just can’t do that with Ezekial bread. It is rather dry and I always toast it. The healthiest store bought humus is made by Rip Esselstyn and is only sold in Whole Foods. My favorite is his red pepper hummus. If it is available I will smooth some on my Ezekial toasted bread with a little lemon squeezed on top. Delicious! By the way Rip, son of Cauldwell Esselstyn, makes humus and other prepared foods with no oil and healthy ingredients. Try his pasta sauces that follow the same rules.

  14. Re: dried beans vs. Canned. An Instant Pot can cook dry beans in an hour and they taste great! I soak mine but you can skip that step and it is still very fast.

      1. Deb, I hope you like it. We love ours–makes the best chili, soups and Indian food. Make vegetable stock in 1/2 hour. Flavors all captured and blended. We use it at least twice a week.

        1. Denis,

          It is going to help me eat my beans dry without soaking them and get more nutrition from them. I like it already.

    1. Denis, we also use our Instant Pot a lot. In the morning we make fresh Steel Cut Oats. By the way the cheapest price for organic steel cut oats is usually $1.49 a pound at Fairway and Whole Foods.. Fairway on Tuesday and Wednesday offers 6% off on the total bill if you are 60 or older.. So our own instant Pot formula is 1 1/4 cups steel cut oats. 1/4 cup of oat bran. 1tsp of Ambla (powdered Indian Gooseberries,), 1 tsp of Ceylon cinnamon, a few shakes of turmeric, cloves and black pepper. We then add two cups of plant based milk and three cups of filtered water. We set the Instant pot on manual for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes of manual pressure we turn the instant pot off and wait around 20 minutes until the pressure drops naturally and you can open the instant pot. Then we add frozen berries and a frozen banana. When it cools a bit we also add fresh berries such as blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.Delicious and nutritious. We have two large bowls at brakfast and enough left over for two small snacks later in the day.

      Cooking dry beans is more of a challenge so I am asking others on this site how they cook their beans in the Instant Pot. Whole foods used to provide complimentary guides on how to cook dry beans, which we still follow. What we do is to boil around half a pot of water and throw in two cups of dry beans (my favorite is dark red kidney beans) I turn off the flame and let the dry beans sit in the hot water for about two hours. (This is the quick soak method and is meant to reduce the amount of indigestible starches) Then I drain the beans and place them on the bottom of the instant pot and cover them with a couple of inches of cold water and cook on manual for only 4 minutes. After a natural release of pressure (with instant pot turned off) they are done. Kidney beans seem to come out the best. Black Beans and especially anduki beans are a bit mushy.

      I confess to washing the beans in a strainer to get rid of the starchiness. Yes I know I lose some nutrition but is it really that much?.

      So I am asking other Instant Pot users on this site to tell me hoe they cook beans in the instant pot that come out firm and beautiful? How do you get good results with black aduki, pinto and chickpeas?

      PS. I think lentils are just as healthy and my favorite is red lentils which only take about 20 minutes to cook. My favorite is the red lentil pasta sauce with tomatoes, fresh basil and of course red lentils. ( I think the recipe is by Jane Esselstyn. Delicious and relatively quick to cook. Instead of whole wheat pasta my preference is to use this sauce on barley groats cooked in the instant pot.

      Anyone know a reasonably priced electrician in Queens NYC. I need to upgrade my electric so I can use more than one Instant Pot at a time. Perhaps there is a vegan electrician online who gives a vegan discount. LOL?

      By the way the canned beans in Whole Foods both plain and organic are very reasonable in cost. I don’t always have the time to cook dry beans. However, with every meal we always add beans to what we are eating to raise the fiber and nutrition of the meal.

  15. In the middle of the night, I ended up watching Dr Gregers 40 year old vegan dies of a heart attack and pondered what would have happened to vegaism if Dr Gregers grandmother hadn’t lived.

    I was pondering it, because Dr Ornish spoke of being suicidal as a young man and I had shivers if he had killed himself what would have happened to vegan ism when that mortality study came out.

    I don’t think it would be WFPB right now without them.

    The mortality studies would have shipwrecked it if it weren’t for the work Dr Ornish did.

    Even with all of the studies, things still haven’t progressed enough, in my eyes, when so many people are dying of all these diseases and the doctors don’t even know about it.

    It genuinely made me shiver.

  16. Good advice for peoples who like formulas and things.

    I have now in front of me one of my favorite unhealthy snacks….a Lilly’s vegan stevia/erythritrol sweetened chocolate bar…which for some unknown reason has 19gms.s of total carbs but 8gms of fiber for each serving about half a bar.
    I rarely eat that much but I do not think it is necessarily thought of as a healthy thing to eat despite the apparent good fiber ration, it also has 10Gm’s of saturated fat.

    We have to apply common sense to things to my opinion. Mostly this applies. Fiber is basically a good thing we want more of.
    I would suspect they act to balance out simple sugars in things but it is a personal assumption.

  17. When I eat packaged food, I often add extra veggies or beans, tofu, nuts, nutritional powder that I make, whatever’s on hand, to improve the fibrous and nutritional value. Life is short. I don’t want to spend it in front of the stove, cooking from scratch every day. :-)

  18. Is oat bran better than oat meal because it passes the 5:1 test even though it is less of a whole food?

    Or the rule doesn’t apply to Whole Foods and thus both are ok because oat bran is a processed food that passes the test.

    1. Hi Michael weitzen – Thanks for your great question! Both oat bran and oatmeal are going to be great fiber-rich choices! You’re right that oat bran will pass the 5:1 test while many oatmeals may not. It is important to remember that with oatmeal you are eating the entire whole grain (bran, germ, and endosperm) versus just the bran part, so the overall nutrient content is going to be higher in oatmeal. A good rule of thumb is the more whole and less processed a food is, the more nutrition bang for your buck you’re likely going to get!

      I hope this helps answer your question!
      Janelle RD – Registered Dietitian & NutritionFacts.org Health Support Volunteer

      1. Thank you. So the 5:1 rule probably only applies to processed foods that may be adding sugar or removing fiber but in theory there could be healthy packaged foods that could fail the rule but that’s why it’s a guideline:

  19. Anne,

    I am not a moderator. I don’t know the answer about the tea. As far as the oatmeal rolled or steal cut oats…both are
    good. They are both essentially a whole food so no worries. The 5:1 rule is only for processes packaged foods like bread. Remember to avoid overly processed foods which means either good stuff removed or bad things added. Since bread often removes fiber and nutrients from the whole wheat and then adds sugar and salt it is often over processed. The 5:1 rule shows you how reasonable the bread you are choosing is. Both types of oatmeal as well oat bran are good but oatmeal cookies are probably bad.

    1. Thanks so much ?? very helpful.
      Greatly appreciated. I just found this website so I’m new to all this ??

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    1. No. The whole concept is to eat plant based Whole Foods and not to be a “reductionist” and break foods into their components. There are thousands of great chemicals in plants and they all do different things and behave differently based on interactions with other chemicals in the same plant. You shouldn’t focus on protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber. That’s what the food industry does to manipulate the situation. Everyone would agree that an apple is healthy yet it would be considered low protein (and fail the 5:1 rule). People will ask where do you get your protein but if you eat a variety of plant foods it will never be an issue. Most Americans eat 30% of their calories from protein but probably 7-8% is enough. The only two rules I follow are the 5:1 on processed foods (again an apple would fail this rule but that’s ok because there are lots of other good things in an apple besides fiber because it’s not a processed food) and the sodium rule. That rule is that you want to avoid foods that have more milligrams of sodium than calories. That keeps you less than 2000 milligrams of sodium a day. Again, you don’t need to check sodium in or worry about whole unprocessed foods.

      1. Awesome! Thank you so much. Your explanation so easy to understand and so helpful. Yu have given me great info for a great beginning. TX again.

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      1. Thank you. How about hibiscus tea can I have right after my dinner or should I wait 30 minutes after my meal.
        Would be to help my digestion.

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  20. You can probably take any b12 you want unless you have a condition where you don’t make an enzyme (intrinsic factor) that protects b12 from being destroyed by stomach acid. I take 5000 mcg b12 daily and check my blood levels once a year. You should have a 3 year supply stored in your liver already so you have plenty of time to get it right. If 5000 mcg doesn’t maintain your serum (blood test) b12 level (it will for most people) than you should probably just get a shot which will bypass the stomach. There is also a dissolving b12 that goes under your tongue and supposedly also bypasses your stomach, but I don’t think it has been shown to really work any better than regular pills. Try to save some money.

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