Is Canned Fruit as Healthy?

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What About Canned Fruit?

Food cans used to be soldered with lead compounds—so much so that people living off of canned food may have died from lead poisoning. Thankfully, this is no longer a problem in the United States. Lead contamination was one of the first priorities of the Food and Drug Administration back in 1906, before it was even called the FDA. Newspapers now have online archives going back a century so we can read about landmark historical events like “FDA Proposes Lead-Soldered Cans Be Banned” from way back yonder in…1993. So even though it was a priority in 1906, the ban didn’t actually go into effect until 1995. Evidently it was complicated because lead solder was “grandfathered” in as a “prior-sanctioned” substance.

Now that the lead is gone, though, are canned foods healthy? It depends primarily on what’s in the can. If it’s SPAM or another processed meat product, for instance, I’d probably pass.

What about canned fruit? We know fruits and vegetables in general may help protect us from dying of cardiovascular disease, and, when it comes to preventing strokes, fruit may be even more protective. But whether food processing affects this association was unknown, as I discuss in my video Is Canned Fruit as Healthy? One study found that unprocessed produce, mostly apples and oranges, appeared superior to processed produce. But that study focused mainly orange and apple juice. It’s no surprise whole fruit is better than fruit juice.

What about whole fruit when it is in a can? Dietary guidelines encourage eating all fruit whether it’s fresh, frozen, or canned, but few studies have examined the health benefits of canned fruit…until now. Canned fruit did not seem to enable people to live longer. In fact, moving from fresh or dried fruit to canned fruit might even shorten one’s life. Therefore, perhaps dietary guidelines should stress fresh, frozen, and dried fruit rather than canned.

Why the difference? While there’s no longer lead in cans these days, there is bisphenol A (BPA), the plastics chemical used in the lining of most cans. BPA can leach into the food and might counterbalance some of the fruits’ benefits. Recently, for example, blood levels of this chemical were associated with thickening of the artery linings going up to the brains of young adults. Canned fruit is often packed in syrup, as well, and all that added sugar and the canning process itself may diminish some nutrients, potentially wiping out 20 to 40 percent of the phenolic phytonutrients and about half of the vitamin C.

Maybe one of the reasons citrus appears particularly protective against stroke is its vitamin C content. It appears the more vitamin C in our diet and in our bloodstream, the lower the risk of stroke. And the way to get vitamin C into the bloodstream is to eat a lot of healthy foods, like citrus and tropical fruits, broccoli, and bell peppers. “Therefore, the observed effect of vitamin C on stroke reduction may simply be a proxy for specific foods (eg, fruits and vegetables) that causally lower stroke” risk. How could the researchers tell? Instead of food, they gave people vitamin C pills to see if they worked—and they didn’t.

This might be because citrus fruit have all sorts of other compounds associated with lower stroke risk, proving that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You can’t capture Mother Nature in a pill. It’s like the apocryphal beta-carotene story. Dozens of studies showed that people who ate more beta-carotene-rich foods, like greens and sweet potatoes, and therefore had more beta-carotene circulating in their system, had lower cancer risk. What about beta-carotene supplements instead of whole foods? Researchers tried giving beta-carotene pills to people. Not only did they not work, they may have even caused more cancer. I assumed the National Cancer Institute researcher who did this study would conclude the obvious: produce, not pills. But, no. Instead, the researcher questioned whether he should have tried lower dose pills, alpha-carotene pills, pills with other phytochemicals, or maybe multiple combinations. After all, he said, “[i]t is likely that neither the public nor the scientific community will be satisfied with recommendations concerned solely with foods…”

Check out my other videos on the can-lining chemical BPA, including:

Is fresh fruit really that healthy? See:

Is it possible to get too much of a good thing? See How Much Fruit Is Too Much?.

Now that there’s no more lead in the cans, are there any other ways we’re exposed to the toxic heavy metal? I did a whole series on lead, which you can watch. See also:

I close with yet another screed against reductionism. For more on that, see my videos Why Is Nutrition So Commercialized? and Reductionism and the Deficiency Mentality.

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.

101 responses to “What About Canned Fruit?

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  1. If “You can’t capture Mother Nature in a pill”, then what is the best way to consume b12? I would love to get a perspective on this one, as a big fan of

    1. Samet, B12 is entirely different. Our natural source of B12 back in the caveman days was from bacteria in the water and soil, which we ingested while drinking contaminated water and eating contaminated plants. As the source for that nutrient is bacteria ON the fruits instead of a nutrient IN the fruits, a supplement is completely justified in this case. Further, the B12 supplements tend to come in the form of the bacteria itself. So you are still consuming the whole “food” in that case. Nothing was highly processed or chemically-extracted as it is with vitamin supplements. Hope this helps!

      1. Correction to my above comment: the B12 supplements are not the bacteria itself, just the B12, so not really the whole food after all. My apologies for my initial confusion!

      2. I suppose you were there in the caveman days so that you can prove that they obtained their vitamin B12 from drinking contaminated water and eating contaminated plants. B12 is not the only nutrient that vegans need to supplement in their diet. Whole foods are the best source for our nutrients whether from plants or animal sources. Eliminating one whole sector of food is only going to cause deficiencies in needed nutrients.

        1. That’s ridiculous. We can just measure B12 levels in unchlorinated water and unwashed root vegetables today. We don’t have to go back to ‘caveman days’. Nobody denies that B12 in manufactured by microbes that live on the roots of plants. There’s no reason to think that plant root living microbes didn’t also manufacture B12 back in ‘caveman days’ also.

          Where’s the evidence for those claims you nake?

          It’s easy to make blanket statements like those. They are all over the internet. It’s much harder to provide evidence for them especially when eg ‘vegan’ men in the Adventist mortality studies had the lowest relative mortality risk of all cohorts – just 72% of the risk of meat eating omnivore males.

        2. @Sweetpea:

          “Eliminating one whole sector of food is only going to cause deficiencies in needed nutrients.”

          If you are referring to the elimination of meat / animal products and supposedly causing deficiencies. You do know that farm animals are given supplements, don’t you?

          So is it the meat that is helping your supposed valid argument in your head, or the supplements that are given to the animals that make them a source of the nutrients that you think we need to eat animals for?

          I don’t eat animal products and I only supplement with D and B12 yet I haven’t had my doctor tell me that I am lacking on nutrients nor have my blood results ever screamed that I am nutritionally missing out on something.

          Now, in your defense, whole foods are better than processed foods but the whole animal foods compared to processed foods and drinks is more like less worse for you than healthy for you.

    2. Samet,

      B-12 supplements have measurable positive results.

      B-12 is part of regulating Homocysteine and methylmalonic acid.

      Homocysteine is such a big deal for Brain conditions, like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer”s and Dementia. It is a big deal for things like Heart disease and Stroke and MS

      And it is involved even in things like tinnitus.

      Yes, there may possibly be a risk from taking too much, but the risks of taking too little are pretty high, too.

      People have had their spines rot out and have died from being low in B-12.

      1. People have had their spines rot out and have died from being low in B-12.
        Pictures or it didn’t happen. ‘-)

              1. Rare?

                Some of us have developed symptoms of B12 insufficiency while supplementing Methyl B12. 60% of people are B-12 deficient.

                Yes, rotting spine is rare, but kids raised vegan do die if parents don’t supplement. That is another video.

            1. Note to self, next time you search for this video, think Alice in Wonderland first.

              “But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. …(If I only had a brain)
              “She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it)

              “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

              1. I think I will add one as a tribute to the site.

                It was all very well to say “Drink me,” but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. “No, I’ll look first at,” she said, “and see whether it’s marked ‘poison’ or not.”

    3. Grow your own food in healthy soil. Don’t hyper sanitize your food. According to T. Colin Campbell in “The China Study”, there is growing evidence that plants grown in healthy soils take up B12.

      1. I tend to follow Jack Norris’ more sceptical approach to the question of whether plant foods provide adequate amounts of B12.

        In any case, the US National Institutes of Health recommend that vegetarians, people with Crohn’s and other small intestine disorders, and everybody over 50 take a B12 supplement or consume B12-fortified foods

    4. Hello Samet,

      Vit B12 is an exception to the rule. Because we no longer live in a natural world, sometimes there are some “unnatural” measures we must take. In nature we would get our vitamin B12 from the bacteria on our food or from the bacteria in our water, but because of the risk of infection, we clean our food and treat our water. This prevents us from consuming the B12 producing bacteria, but we also don’t get cholera, so it’s a good thing! 99% of the time, the statement “You can’t catch Mother Nature in a pill” rings true, but this is one time that it doesn’t.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt, Health Support

  2. Okay, for women and for the people who are making economic decisions based on the studies, the citrus only helped males.

    Cruciferous helped everybody. (Total consumption of vegetables and cereals were not associated with cerebrovascular disease incidence.)

    These associations were primarily due to the consumption of citrus fruits and occurred only in men.

    The consumption of cruciferous vegetables, however, predicted a reduced risk of cerebrovascular diseases (RR 0.79; 95 % CI 0.63, 0.99), ischaemic stroke (RR 0.67; 95 % CI 0.49, 0.92) and intracerebral haemorrhage (RR 0.49; 95 % CI 0.25, 0.98). In conclusion, the consumption of fruits, especially citrus, and cruciferous vegetables may protect against cerebrovascular diseases.

  3. “[M]ost food cans are no longer lined with BPA, according to the Can Manufacturers Institute.” So, are they just lying, or what? In any event, I don’t eat canned fruit but do eat no-salt-added canned vegetables including mushrooms, tomatoes and beets because they are conveniently presliced and seem to be relatively cheaper than fresh. My understanding is that the nutrition is pretty much the same as fresh versions. I do feel bad about throwing out the metal cans since there’s basically no local recycling options.

    1. “[M]ost food cans are no longer lined with BPA, according to the Can Manufacturers Institute.”
      That’s been my observation as well… assuming the chemical isn’t transparent allowing the metal to show through.

      But I’m wondering if the plastic bags my frozen cherries, blueberries and strayberries come in are somehow coated with something more dangerous than just plastic itself?

      Being flash frozen I assume there is little opportunity to assimilate from the plastic and I never let the bags thaw before going back in the freezer.

      I have glass gallon jars I could probably get by with transferring the fruit to, but haven’t been doing so.

      1. Lonie,

        That is a good question.

        This time of year, the bags have sat in a hot car for over a half-hour before I get home from Whole Foods. Usually longer, because I stop at 2 grocery stores at a time, for price and selection.

        1. This time of year, the bags have sat in a hot car for over a half-hour before I get home from Whole Foods. Usually longer, because I stop at 2 grocery stores at a time, for price and selection.
          Same here… but I usually shop early morning to beat the crowds and find the shelves better stocked, so not so terribly hot.

          Still, maybe we should pack an ice chest to store our frozens in.

  4. What about home grown canned fruit that is real organic(nothing of any kind is used to grow it) That has only lemon juice and water? I also grow the lemons. I can in glass with a gasket glass lid.

      1. Betty, this topic has come up before and glass should be better, but certain glass, from China, particularly is still toxic. Ball Glass jars should be better.

  5. love you passion and knowledge Doc however I think the food faddist mentality is exactly like fundamentalist who spout that drinking wine will make you go to hell. Some wine is probably beneficial and excess amounts are poison. Ignoring wise supplementation is a very foolish option as we age. Many reasons exist for that but the main one is that we are a disposable creature from natures standpoint after we pass the prime of reproductive years. The chemistry nature put into us is to have little ones, not to live to 80. In order to allow the mitochondria to not fall into dysfunction (which is the key to longevity) we must override the natural tendencies of aging by healthy foods but also heavy supplementation to slow mitochondrial damage. If not we must all simply give in to father times ravaging after age 50.
    Health should not be a religion nor should it only be ruled by science nor by anecdotal evidence alone. Fill your toolbox Dr with overflowing options and don’t worry about being labeled a quack. (i know that is too late since you preach food is medicine which is foreign to conventional medicine).
    The finest book ever written on mitochondria and disease is “Tripping over the truth” by Travis Christofferson and I encourage you to read.
    Following that theory up with the over 50,000 references to nutritional possiblities for assisting the mitochondria in PubMed, it seems so sad to simply close your eyes to this magic world that is at your fingertips.
    I am 62 and take 72 supplements per day. I eat as healthy as you do and exercise hard 5 times weekly. NO ONE after age 50 can have the optimal blood work i have without supplementation. I have looked at bloodwork of over 2000 clients in past 10 years so I know.
    I do commend you however for your amazing ability to explain the complex in simple terms and your determination to educate on the power of clean healthy foods.
    Edward V

    1. Edward,

      You looked up nutritional possiblities for assisting the mitochondria, but then didn’t turn to the food. That is where you differ from Dr. Greger.

      Dr Wahls with Paleo it was after she started eating 3 cups of greens, 3 cups of cruciferous, 3 cups of brightly pigmented fruits and vegetables and 1 cup of herbs that she got out of a wheelchair.

      1. Edward,

        You are misrepresenting Dr. Greger as a doctor. I will try to gently call you out on that.

        Dr. Greger is not against all supplementation. He is pointing out that people die faster with a lot of it and most of it doesn’t work at all and when it does, it doesn’t work as well as food does.

        He is in favor of B12 supplementation and Vitamin D3 supplementation and making sure you get your Iodine and when he can’t eat the food version of Turmeric and Amla, he takes it in capsule form, but it is not Curcumin, which Dr. Greger takes. It is Turmeric and when he can eat it, he eats it.

        1. I don’t know if you understand his position.

          He will have people eat Broccoli Sprouts and will tell them that there is almost no Sulforaphane in the capsule form.

          He will have people choose Turmeric even if they choose to take the food in capsule form.

          Honestly, for a while, I put Amla into capsules and that is still a food rather than an isolate and I know exactly what is going into the capsule.

            1. If each supplement cost $10, it would already be $720.00 or $8,640.00 per year. If each supplement cost $20 for a month supply, it would cost $1440.00 or $17,280.00 per year.
              If half of the supplements cost closer to $40 for a month, you would be up to $25,920 per year.

              I think you found something more expensive than Paleo.

      2. I wouldn’t place any faith in Wahls’ claims. She makes a nice income from her claims by selling books and seminars, supplements etc relating to her protocol but there is no good science backing her claims.

    2. Edward V,
      You present no actual, verifiable information for your many extreme claims. To me, you sound like a faddest, not Dr. Greger.

      1. Sounds like a supplement salesman to me. How did we get by for all the millions of years without these wonderful supplements?

        1. How did we get by for all the millions of years without these wonderful supplements?
          We got by with scurvy, rickets, etc.

    3. “…until now.” Dr. G’s new phrase. :-)

      “I am 62 and take 72 supplements per day.”
      – – – – –

      I’m (a good deal) older than you, and no way would I swallow 72 supplements a day. NO way! I take one multivitamin tablet a day (for women 50+) — half in the a.m. with breakfast and the other half with dinner later in the day.

      I could crow about my sustaining good health too, but I shan’t. :-P

      1. YR,

        I am with you.

        72 pills are about what the Cancer community takes in Enzyme pills. Probably more. I briefly did that process. A few months one Summer. I would buy out every store of Enzymes and couldn’t afford it. It cost me thousands of dollars, but it was part of getting rid of a lump on my breast and eczema. The lump and eczema did go away, but I also did the juice portion of Gerson that Summer, and, I ate a ton of cabbage. (Tom, cabbage isn’t big where I live. My family ate it one day per year. St Patricks Day. Kale is everywhere nowadays. It used to be just spinach and iceberg lettuce. Now, it is Romaine Lettuce and Kale and it is harder to find spinach or cabbage, but they do have bags in the salad section, called either coleslaw or Asian salad.)

        1. Sure Deb but I was just trying to suggest that boiled potatoes and the local cheapest leafy greens are affordable pretty much everywhere. Or rice and beans. Or whatever.

          In other words, the claim that people can’t afford to buy vegetables seems factually incorrect (note that potatoes, rice, maize, millet etc are all vegetables – they just aren’t green leafy vegatables which is what many people think of as ‘vegetables’ these days).

          1. Yes, but it is organic versions of everything else.

            I was wondering why my grocery bills got so high and I think it is because I used to eat pasta and potatoes and pizza before switching to WFPB.

            I would make a lasagna and it would feed me for a week.

            Trying to get the phytonutrients and going organic are what caused my grocery costs to soar.

    4. “I have looked at bloodwork of over 2000 clients in past 10 years so I know.”
      – – – –

      How is it you were privy to the blood work of “over 2000 clients” ? Whose clients? Methinks a bit of embellishing is going on here.

  6. There is often a recommendation of consuming Nutritional Yeast. One needs to be aware that not ALL nutritional yeast has B12 included. So if you are consuming it, it is suggested that you read the label. I noted this in my local health food store label that has the bins where you serve yourself and weigh it on the scale. I went to the Mfg source and there are several formulas, most with B12, but not all. Perhaps it’s less expensive! Anyway, I went to another location, told them of my concern. They brought out the 25 pound bucket for me to read— incidentally there are $3 more a pound and it did have B12. I use it to make an absolutely wonderful dressing that I use on my salads, over steamed broccoli and on baked potatoes and rice. Oil free and yummy and I’m confident that I’m getting B12.

    1. Ruthie,

      Could we hear your absolutely wonderful salad dressing recipe?

      Some of us aren’t losing that much weight and salad dressing and oat milk are the most likely culprits. I am using oil-free dressing, but it is store-bought. It is delicious, but I am not losing weight and that is what I am blaming now. It might not be the reason, but it is something I can replace and see.

  7. Dr. Greger thank you for all of your great information! I wonder if you could do a blog or video on this recent study that just came out about a spicy diet and dementia risk? We eat a lot of spicy food! It’s one of the best ways I can get my husband to eat a mostly plant-based diet. Thank you!

    1. Yes, some of us who really like chili would like to know that answer.

      Though, the sentences which made me think there was more going on were: “The team also noted that participants who generally ate a greater amount of chili tended to have a lower financial income, as well as a lower body mass index (BMI). They also engaged in less physical activity, compared with people who ate a smaller amount of chili pepper.”

    2. Wondering if it is going to be Glutamate?

      I looked it up searching for Homocysteine and Glutamate + Capsaicin and did find this in a rodent model and “increase release of neurotransmitters in the DH such as glutamate…” is what I am wondering about. No, I am not a scientist, is what I shall remind everybody, even though the regulars know it already.

      “Subsequently, a rodent model was used, and once again it was shown that intradermal injection of capsaicin could lead to increased response of second-order neurons (Fig. 10); this was associated with an increased release of neurotransmitters in the DH such as glutamate and SP (Willis, 1997; Yan et al., 2006). Willis, 2001 demonstrated that a heightened release of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides in response to capsaicin resulted in an increased activation of AMPA, NMDA, mGlu and NK1 receptors on second-order neurons. It was later shown that SP synthesis, as well as release, was amplified after injection and is also believed to contribute to sensitization of second-order neurons (Yan et al., 2005).

    3. The study found an association between consumption of 50 grammes plus of chili daily and dementia risk. Yt doesn’t mean that associationswere found for all spices.

      I’m cautious about this. Alzheimer’s has long been known to involve sensory impairment including loss of taste and smell. Changes in eating habits are common. Perhaps people with early undiagnosed Alzheimer’s ate more chili to compensate for a declining sense of taste.

      Associational studies like these can generate great headlines but they infer causation from simple associations which in reality are often confounded or reversed. I see no reason not to eat spicy foods especially if chilis are kept to less than 50g per day.

      1. Tom, that is a good one!

        I looked for other things.

        It unclogs arteries, benefits the heart, lowers blood pressure, protects against hardening of the arteries. All of those should be associated with fewer cases of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

        That is why I looked at Homocysteine and Glutamate.

        It lowers the absorption of thiamine for a time period and, yes, that is another animal study.

        I haven’t checked gut microbiome or lead content in capsaicin in China. (it was China, wasn’t it?)

              1. Adventurous should have been protective via brain plasticity (assuming they started off adventurous and lost it somewhere along the way in the brain issues)

                The next thing which comes up to me is, “wait a second” they are eating chili and maybe high meat. Some people only count meat chili as chili. The young people may not be eating a traditional diet.

                  1. I found studies where Lead poisoning leads to anemia and I found studies where anemia leads to Alzheimer’s and I come back to wondering if they had HyperHomocysteine.

                    1. I also found sedentary as causal with a change of white blood cell counts and that is linked to inflammation, and a decrease in circulation, both of which are linked to Alzheimer’s. Plus, sedentary versus active affects Tumor Necrosis Factor and that is linked to Alzheimer’s.




                      They need to do lab work on those people. I wonder if Colin knows anyone who can talk with the researchers.

                      The spice being heart-protective and yet at high enough doses people are getting Alzheimer’s, they have just created more of a mystery than anything.

        1. Yes, China.

          Also, as you say there is evidence from rat and mouse studies that capsaicin (a key nutrient in chilis) has neuroprotective effects.

          There’s even a possibility that eating larger amounts of chili reflects some instinctive response to the early stages of undiagnosed Alzheimer’s much like the cravings of pregnant women are thought to reflect nutritional deficiencies And the way that chimps and other animals are thought to eat unusual foods for medicinal benefits eg

          All in all, it seems to me that claiming that eating large amounts of chili increases dementia risk based on an associational study is a tad simplistic.

          1. There are possible mechanisms.

            And there might be epigenetics involved.

            It is interesting (and way too far over my head, but I read the words and do find them interesting. It might harm neurons, I think and it may increase brain plasticity, which should be the opposite of Alzheimer’s.





        2. I come back to the fact that sense of smell is the first thing lost.

          Tom, I have brain damage and can’t smell out of my left nostril and chili and spices are what I could eat every day.

          I am not eating it everyday but I often have gone through long stretches of it.

          And adding in that it might make me feel better and maybe add plasticity, it could be cravings, plus it is what I can taste, plus how I feel after, benefits.

          Plus it is cheap compared to most vegetables.

          Plus, it is filling and is a comfort food.

          They were poor and I don’t have a lot of money.

          My 3 out of 4 of my closest friends are in serious trouble financially and health-wise.

          The sense of comfort food actually being comforting and the fact that poor people get hungry and sometimes don’t have any food.

          I feel like I understand that group eating chili often.

          And they can’t smell properly and put more and more in and that might harm them.

            1. I didn’t eat chili until 5 to 6 years after my brain breakdown.

              So i do fit Tom’s theory perfectly, except that I don’t currently have low BMI, but I am not as poor as many of my friends and some of them do have low BMI from not having food. I have had people stick their hand into my jar of peanut butter and they were really hungry and they got the jar of peanut butter and my friends father used to talk about how he lived for weeks off of peanut butter. It is another comforting, filling food.

              Stress and depression and exposure to crime and violence and loss of loved ones come with being poor and I have seen people go into Dementia after losing loved ones.

              1. I can even add that my brain has improved since the time I started eating chili. I am not going to give the chili the credit, but if you look back in this site, you will find that I went from hating spicy foods and hating spices, to living spices.

                When I got to chili, I loved it and started making it in my Instapot, which may have reached China by now. Who knows?

                I would make a big pot of it. Eat it all week and then I would do the same thing the next week.

                That happened enough weeks in a row that I switched to vegetable wraps.

                So I am an N of 1, but mega-dosing chili didn’t cause my brain to decline.

                1. What I can also say is that chili powder was in everything I made. Possibly not everything, but I was pouring large quantities of it into lentil loaf and every lentil dish and into my tacos, etc.

                  I had a few seasons when it was with turmeric and garlic and onion and paprika and cayenne and chipotle in a special used daily category in my spices.

                  Those are the bottles I kept needing to replenish.

                    1. I have seen it before and this caused me to look up the Adventists, who don’t eat spicy foods except for converts. A religious leader in the movement felt that mustard agitated a child and it looks like they use turmeric and don’t eat hot spicy foods.

                      I started watching the video link you posted and got up to his “Reasons people get Alzheimer’s” and looked up
                      chili powder and inflammation,
                      chili powder and antioxidant,
                      chili powder and glucose regulation,
                      chili powder and lipid regulation,
                      chili powder and blood pressure,
                      chili powder and gerd/heartburn because of spicy foods affecting sleep (The meds for heartburn don’t raise Alzheimer’s risk) Lack of sleep does raise the risk.

                      Chili powder is high in Vitamin C and should reduce cortisol, so it should be lowering almost all of the risk factors.

                    2. They did a mortality study, also in China, and eating spicy foods was inversely associated with the risks of death due to cancer, ischemic heart diseases, and respiratory diseases and infections, so infections as a cause of gut microbiome problems and brain problems chili powder should be protective.

                      It is inverse with mortality and it was the more days of week you ate it the better.

                      During a median follow-up of 7.2 years (interquartile range 1.84 years; total person years 3 500 004), we documented 11 820 deaths among men and 8404 deaths among women. Absolute mortality rates according to spicy food consumption categories were 6.1, 4.4, 4.3, and 5.8 deaths per 1000 person years for participants who ate spicy foods less than once a week and 1 or 2, 3 to 5, and 6 or 7 days a week, respectively. Age adjusted and multivariate adjusted analyses showed a statistically significant inverse association between spicy food consumption and total mortality. In the whole cohort, compared with participants who ate spicy foods less than once a week, the adjusted hazard ratios for death were 0.90 (95% confidence interval 0.84 to 0.96) for those who ate spicy foods 1 or 2 days a week, 0.86 (0.80 to 0.92) for 3 to 5 days a week, and 0.86 (0.82 to 0.90) for 6 or 7 days a week (table 2⇓). Compared with participants who ate spicy foods less than once a week, those who consumed spicy foods 6 or 7 days a week showed a 14% relative risk reduction in total mortality. The multivariate adjusted hazard ratios for total mortality among men, compared with men who ate spicy foods less than once a week, were 0.90 (0.83 to 0.98) for those who ate spicy food 1 or 2 days a week, 0.90 (0.83 to 0.99) for 3 to 5 days, and 0.90 (0.85 to 0.96) for 6 or 7 days a week; the respective hazard ratios among women were 0.88 (0.79 to 0.98), 0.78 (0.69 to 0.88), and 0.81 (0.75 to 0.87) (table 3⇓). There was no heterogeneity between men and women in any of the associations (P=0.723).

                    3. “A religious leader in the movement felt that mustard agitated a child and it looks like they use turmeric and don’t eat hot spicy foods.”

                      “So, do the Adventist’s and Nurses not eat spices?”

                      I am pretty sure you are referring to Ellen White, considered a prophet by SDA.

                      I was raised SDA for pretty much all of two decades and it would really only be the most dogmatic of dogmatic that didn’t eat spices. I even went to SDA private schools until sophmore year in high school and nobody that I knew avoided spices. Most of them were vegetarian and there seemed to be lots of cheese and milk in the diet but meat was eaten by a small proportion of Adventists.

                      I didn’t really encounter any vegans that I can recall but lacto vegetarian was pretty much the norm. And spices – never was a problem and I never heard anyone talking about abstaining from spices due to E White’s teachings

  8. Dr Whitaker Md said about a lot of these supplement studies, that they used inferior brands that used poorly absorbed vitamins, etc & had harmful substances, therefore sabotaging the results. besides, i would wonder about any studies carried out by the natl cancer institute & i would wonder who funded it. money is always an influence for either side.

    1. Dr Whitaker Md said about a lot of these supplement studies, that they used inferior brands that used poorly absorbed vitamins, etc & had harmful substances, therefore sabotaging the results.
      I think you could add to that they may have used pills instead of some sort of sublingual delivery.

      There are *pro* supplement takers who, being unable to get a sublingual version, will open a capsule or mortar and pestle a tablet into powder and hold that under their tongue… rather than swallow its original form.

    2. ” i would wonder who funded it. money is always an influence for either side.”

      Dr Whitaker appears to make his living selling supplements. Perhaps money was an influence on why he made the comments he did?

    1. Frank,

      Let’s change the wording.

      Eating 3 oranges gives a type of Vitamin C which can prevent Cancer.

      In studies, the pills DIDN’T prevent Cancer.

      For Vitamin C, it was more that it didn’t give the benefit.

      Other vitamins actually killed people faster.

      1. “Other vitamins actually killed people faster.”
        – – – – –

        Interesting comment, Deb. Do you have any “for instance” links?

        1. Hi YR, I think what Deb might have meant here is that there are other phytonutrients and a natural form of vitamin C in whole food oranges vs synthetic vitamin C in pill form.

          And in a previous video, Dr G pointed out that the synthetic Folic Acid is actually harmful vs the natural Folate found in green leafy vegetables.

          He also did a video on the whole turmeric powder being more nutritious than the extracted curcumin, although neither of these are considered “vitamins”.

          The bottom line: as a general rule, whole foods are usually healthier for us than extractions and synthetics. But I’m sure someone can come up with a counter-example ;-)

          1. The bottom line: as a general rule, whole foods are usually healthier for us than extractions and synthetics. But I’m sure someone can come up with a counter-example ;-)
            Good call Hal… on someone coming up with a counter example, that is. ‘-)

            The first one that comes to mind is a study conducted by Colorado University researchers using an extract of Milk Thistle called Silibinin. The results were that the Silibinin was both protective and therapeutic… I’ve posted links below from PubMed:



            1. I am not sure that those examples demonstrate that estractions are healthiervthan whole foods.

              All they do is present a case that silibinin may be beneficial. However, in neither case do they appear to test the extraction’s efficacy compared to consuming the (whole food) herb itself – Milk Thistle.

              I think we need something that compares the extract head to head with the whole food. There must be examples I am sure … but I just can’t think of any off-hand.

              The adantage of extractions is that dosage, strength and quality can be controlled better than in whole foods.

              1. I think we need something that compares the extract head to head with the whole food.
                I don’t disagree… that’s why I take Sylimarin (from which the silibinin was derived) which I believe is extracted from Milk Thistle.

                Anyway, I take the Sylimarin vegi-caps on alternate days with Milk Thistle vegi-caps.

    2. Hello Frank,

      I think there may be a misunderstanding here. The research showed that the Vit C supplementation did not prevent cancer, whereas 3 oranges did. I do not believe there is research showing that Vit C can cause cancer, but other vitamin supplements do seem to increase risk.

      I hope this helps,
      Dr. Matt, Health Support

  9. I know Dr. Greger is speaking to the general public here when he says that you can’t put mother nature in a pill (reffering to the essence of whole foods).

    But then you get these remarks in the comments about how we are able to cover vitamins in a pill which are offcourse an important part of whole foods.

    It would be better put if one would say; “our current science is not advanced enough to put whole foods into a pill”.

    We can already put certain fragments in there for what it’s worth (a lot actually); all the vitamins and minerals but most of the content is still lacking. In theory our scientific capabilities could in the future become much better compared to today’s limitations.

    For example; artificial intelligence and quatum computers will be vastly more powerfull to render things like individual compounds in whole foods (or the entire universe) and how they behave in concert.

    This increased rendering power with more advanced scanning devices could in theory become as advanced as what you find in whole foods. When 3-D printers are further developed this would really open the door to on the spot whole food creation but also improvement on natural limitations in current natural food.

    Whole foods are already being improved f.e. increased limiting vitamins in certain species and these are already saving thousands of lives. F.e. vitamin A in Africa.

    Arthur C Clarke was a brilliant futurist and writer, but he is probably most widely known for the third of his famous three laws, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

    We could just as easily swap the word magic for nature in that quote. Maybe in 100 years, maybe 1000 years? Who knows.

    The error is offcourse walking in the grocery store today thinking we’re already this advanced and being so naive that we can’t see the capitalistic forces dominating current food creation even if it was a technologic possibility.

    But we’re not at zero either, work has been done and current tech is advanced enough to cover the vitamins and minerals. That is why we can all eat commercial crap without dying…

    My book is taking longer to write than expected. It’s all in my head though, maybe one of these days it can flow out freely. Follow me on twitter.

  10. My book is taking longer to write than expected. It’s all in my head though, maybe one of these days it can flow out freely.
    Writing has become difficult for me as well… Like you I have the story in my head but I’m here and on other sites interacting instead of fleshing out my scripts. There was a time when writing was my only concern but that has evolved into also producing my own content.

    Once that is established I shall get back to script writing. When I was only story forming before, writing was the easiest thing to do.

    (Sincere apoligies for getting off track.)

  11. Hi, I haven’t read the dozens of comments here under so my apologies if the question was raised : we are talking of fresh fruits vs dried or canned – but what about bottled or jar preserve ? Are they safer. Thank you

  12. Dr. Greger
    despite your deep knowledge of nutrition and your very helpful blogs, this one demonstrates your Achille’s heel that you have regarding vitamins. Heating vitamin C destroys most of it depending on the temperature and fruit that is stored in warehouses (like apples) loses vitamin C over time. Apples that were stored for 6 months can have little if any C left. It’s fragile. According to the US Department of Agriculture, an orange on the tree can contain 90 mg of ascorbate. But by the time it reaches the supermarket shelf, the handling and temperature changes can reduce this to 45 mg. Lastly the comment about doctors trying C to replace food displays typical medical misunderstanding about the absorption of supplements, the time C remains in the body (4-6 hours) and the size of the dose. Medical testing of C has been one long history of using tiny doses to prove that it doesn’t work.

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