Are Avocados Fattening?

Are Avocados Fattening?
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Avocado Board-funded studies suggest avocados may facilitate weight loss, but compared to what?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

What are the effects of avocado on metabolic syndrome, which is “a clustering of risk factors”—high blood sugars, high blood triglycerides, high blood pressure, and obesity—that sets you up for diabetes and heart disease? “Avocado consumption is associated with [not only] better diet quality and nutrient intake, [but] lower metabolic syndrome risk.” Avocado-eaters only had half the odds of metabolic syndrome.

The study was funded by the Avocado Board, though, so it’s especially important to dig into how they designed it. The data came from a snapshot-in-time, cross-sectional survey of about 17,500 people, who were asked if they had eaten any avocado in the last 24 hours on two separate occasions. Two percent said yes, and so, the health stats from the few hundred folks who reported they had eaten avocado recently were compared to the health stats of the 17,000 individuals who said they had not. And, the proportion of people with metabolic syndrome among the avocado group was only half that of the non-avocado group. And, they were slimmer too—significantly trimmer waists and lower body weight, despite no significant difference in caloric intake.

The authors treat this as some kind of mystery, but it was just how many calories they ate on the day of the surveys, not over time—though you could see how people could lose weight. Avocados, like all fruits, are mostly water, along with fiber, which have no calories at all. So, a schmear of cream cheese on a bagel would add more than twice as many calories as the same schmear of avocado. But, that brings up an important point. Maybe those who eat avocados just tend to have healthier diets in general. I mean, if you’re spreading avocado on your toast, maybe you’re spreading less butter or margarine.

And indeed, avocado-eaters also reported eating more fruits and vegetables in general, and less added sugar. No wonder they were healthier. It’s right there in the title: “Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality.” So this is, in effect, saying that those who eat healthier are slimmer, and have a lower risk of disease. Well, duh. And, this could be in part because they were eating avocados, have nothing to do with the avocados, or even in spite of the avocados. You don’t know, until you put it to the test.

What is the effect of avocados on body weight? It’s evidently evident from some study that an avocado extract “caused a reduction in body weight,” but the study was on the body weight of rats, and it was an avocado-leaf extract. Who eats avocado leaves? Well, evidently, in Nigeria, an herbal remedy for high blood pressure is avocado-leaf tea. Oh, does it actually work? Researchers tried it out on some hypertensive patients, and it seems avocado leaves “have a toxic effect on the liver that could cause liver damage.” So yeah, I guess, technically, “it can be used in the treatment of hypertension”—but only if you don’t care about the pesky “hepatotoxicity.” Uh, no thanks.

Are there no human studies on avocado fruit and body weight? Well, evidently, there was a study 50 years ago, back in 1960, on avocados and cholesterol, in which “the subjects did not gain weight when…avocados were added to their…diet.” I did find a reference to the study in the California Avocado Society Yearbook, lamenting how difficult it is to “impress the housewife” as to all the unnamed benefits of avocados.

Now, it’s true that body weights didn’t change much after avocado feeding. But, they didn’t just add avocados to their diet; they substituted avocado for some of the animal fat they were eating. So, they like swapped out lard for avocado; no wonder there was no weight gain. Now, in one subject, they did just add the avocado. Started out at 154 pounds, and after three weeks of added avocado, no weight gain. Okay, so maybe avocado is so satiating—so satisfying—that when you add it to your diet, you just naturally end up eating less of other stuff. But, you don’t really know, until you put it to the test.

“A randomized [controlled] study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on…satiety…and subsequent [caloric] intake.” Adding half an avocado to a lunch meal did improve satisfaction and reduce hunger. But duh, yeah, they just added an extra 112 calories of food; of course, they felt less hungry. The question is: did they feel so much less hungry that during supper, they ate 112 calories less to compensate? And, the answer is: no. In fact, they didn’t eat significantly less at all.

What about over time? This study added an entire avocado to people’s daily diets for six weeks, and found no significant weight gain. So, they triumphantly claimed to “dispel…the myth that avocados are fattening.” But, this was like the lard study. Yeah, they added an avocado, but they removed the same amount of fat in the form of margarine, mayonnaise, and oil. Now, this is a healthy swap—removing junk and adding nutrition, adding fiber. But, if the calories in and out are the same, then no wonder no difference in body weight. In fact, one could have just as well concluded that avocados are as fattening as margarine, mayonnaise, and oil, if you’re eating the same amount of fat.

Maybe the housewife was unimpressed because she just knew a little something about proper study design.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

What are the effects of avocado on metabolic syndrome, which is “a clustering of risk factors”—high blood sugars, high blood triglycerides, high blood pressure, and obesity—that sets you up for diabetes and heart disease? “Avocado consumption is associated with [not only] better diet quality and nutrient intake, [but] lower metabolic syndrome risk.” Avocado-eaters only had half the odds of metabolic syndrome.

The study was funded by the Avocado Board, though, so it’s especially important to dig into how they designed it. The data came from a snapshot-in-time, cross-sectional survey of about 17,500 people, who were asked if they had eaten any avocado in the last 24 hours on two separate occasions. Two percent said yes, and so, the health stats from the few hundred folks who reported they had eaten avocado recently were compared to the health stats of the 17,000 individuals who said they had not. And, the proportion of people with metabolic syndrome among the avocado group was only half that of the non-avocado group. And, they were slimmer too—significantly trimmer waists and lower body weight, despite no significant difference in caloric intake.

The authors treat this as some kind of mystery, but it was just how many calories they ate on the day of the surveys, not over time—though you could see how people could lose weight. Avocados, like all fruits, are mostly water, along with fiber, which have no calories at all. So, a schmear of cream cheese on a bagel would add more than twice as many calories as the same schmear of avocado. But, that brings up an important point. Maybe those who eat avocados just tend to have healthier diets in general. I mean, if you’re spreading avocado on your toast, maybe you’re spreading less butter or margarine.

And indeed, avocado-eaters also reported eating more fruits and vegetables in general, and less added sugar. No wonder they were healthier. It’s right there in the title: “Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality.” So this is, in effect, saying that those who eat healthier are slimmer, and have a lower risk of disease. Well, duh. And, this could be in part because they were eating avocados, have nothing to do with the avocados, or even in spite of the avocados. You don’t know, until you put it to the test.

What is the effect of avocados on body weight? It’s evidently evident from some study that an avocado extract “caused a reduction in body weight,” but the study was on the body weight of rats, and it was an avocado-leaf extract. Who eats avocado leaves? Well, evidently, in Nigeria, an herbal remedy for high blood pressure is avocado-leaf tea. Oh, does it actually work? Researchers tried it out on some hypertensive patients, and it seems avocado leaves “have a toxic effect on the liver that could cause liver damage.” So yeah, I guess, technically, “it can be used in the treatment of hypertension”—but only if you don’t care about the pesky “hepatotoxicity.” Uh, no thanks.

Are there no human studies on avocado fruit and body weight? Well, evidently, there was a study 50 years ago, back in 1960, on avocados and cholesterol, in which “the subjects did not gain weight when…avocados were added to their…diet.” I did find a reference to the study in the California Avocado Society Yearbook, lamenting how difficult it is to “impress the housewife” as to all the unnamed benefits of avocados.

Now, it’s true that body weights didn’t change much after avocado feeding. But, they didn’t just add avocados to their diet; they substituted avocado for some of the animal fat they were eating. So, they like swapped out lard for avocado; no wonder there was no weight gain. Now, in one subject, they did just add the avocado. Started out at 154 pounds, and after three weeks of added avocado, no weight gain. Okay, so maybe avocado is so satiating—so satisfying—that when you add it to your diet, you just naturally end up eating less of other stuff. But, you don’t really know, until you put it to the test.

“A randomized [controlled] study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on…satiety…and subsequent [caloric] intake.” Adding half an avocado to a lunch meal did improve satisfaction and reduce hunger. But duh, yeah, they just added an extra 112 calories of food; of course, they felt less hungry. The question is: did they feel so much less hungry that during supper, they ate 112 calories less to compensate? And, the answer is: no. In fact, they didn’t eat significantly less at all.

What about over time? This study added an entire avocado to people’s daily diets for six weeks, and found no significant weight gain. So, they triumphantly claimed to “dispel…the myth that avocados are fattening.” But, this was like the lard study. Yeah, they added an avocado, but they removed the same amount of fat in the form of margarine, mayonnaise, and oil. Now, this is a healthy swap—removing junk and adding nutrition, adding fiber. But, if the calories in and out are the same, then no wonder no difference in body weight. In fact, one could have just as well concluded that avocados are as fattening as margarine, mayonnaise, and oil, if you’re eating the same amount of fat.

Maybe the housewife was unimpressed because she just knew a little something about proper study design.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

Note this in contrast to studies on nuts, another healthy whole food source of fat, where adding nuts to one’s diet actually doesn’t lead to the expected weight gain. See Nuts & Obesity: The Weight of Evidence.

This is part of my latest slew of avocado videos. Make sure to check out the rest:

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153 responses to “Are Avocados Fattening?

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  1. The main take-away I get from this video is how the design and conclusions of research studies can be manipulated to support an agenda. Thank you Dr Greger for covering important topics like this. And thanks to you and your team for filtering through all the research studies out there to report on only the well-designed studies and pointing out when a study is biased … so we don’t have to :-)

    I only occasionally eat an avocado and I’m at an optimal weight now, so this video won’t change my eating habits. But I might add that even though I have never been excessively overweight, when I went strictly Whole Plant Foods with no added salt, oil, sugar, I did lose a few pounds of excess body fat. My theory is that if we eat the foods our bodies have evolved to eat, then our weight/BMI will naturally settle to the optimal level … no calorie counting necessary!

    Thanks again for an excellent video.

    1. The question in the video title wasn’t answered in the video, he should have waited to release it until a real study came out that doesn’t compare eating avocados rather than butter, but studies eating avocados rather than other vegetables.

      1. Comparing avocados with Lard ? R U kidding me ? Avocado is Natural Fruit. Lard is cage-raised tortured pig fat extract manufactured in a factory used in cooked/burnt food preparation. According to google/USDA per 100 gram, Lard has 900 Calories, Avocado has 160 calories (only slightly more than steamed rice which has 151 calories).

  2. So.. does the video answer the question posed? Or is the point that the studies discussed might be flawed?

    Even if avocados do not lead to weight gain… But before I eat an avocado everyday… Won’t extra saturated fat lead to cardiovascular problems?

    1. For healthy vegans, Avocados are fine to include in the diet, but those with CV problems should remove them until they reverse their CV disease. That’s why Esselstyn is so strict.

      1. I know Esselstyn takes the approach of no nuts or avocado for cardio vascular disease (CVD) patients, but I’d like to know if he is basing that on study evidence or reductionist reasoning (i.e., nuts and avocados have high fat, ergo, they are bad for people with CVD). One of the things I love about Greger is how he is so even handed and strict about sticking to evidence based practice. I think this is especially important when considering a WFPBD, because we don’t necessarily know if there are other attributes to those foods that change the effects of the fats. That seems to be the case with nuts and seeds.

        1. To quote the man himself:

          “For those with established heart disease to add more saturated fat that is in nuts is inappropriate. For people with no heart disease who want to eat nuts and avocado and are able to achieve a cholesterol of 150 and LDL of 80 or under without cholesterol lowering drugs, some nuts and avocado are acceptable. Chestnuts are the one nut, very low in fat, it is ok to eat.”

          1. I see a problem here: how does one know if one has heart disease or not since often the first sign of heart disease is that one has a heart attack and dies?

            1. CVD begins in childhood with Fatty Streaks and progresses over decades in individuals who consume lots of animal and processed foods.

              For the most part, the key indicators include TBC levels above 150 and certainly above 200, hypertension, elevated CRP, etc.

            2. Hi Lisa,
              A quick and dirty is a CT scan of the coronary arteries.. Two types… A calcium score (sometimes on sale for $100) will tell you if you have any plaque in the artery. A CT Angiogram (more expensive) will show blockages but is not an easy test… Physiology and technique is important… Or the gold standard a full blown coronary angiogram… very expensive… Then there is the Nuclear Medicine stress test. This will show if any of the muscle is damaged… very expensive.. If you don’t have symptoms, are healthy and just “want to get it checked out” see if you can get your doctor to order a Calcium Score and discuss your concerns… The CT uses a low dose of radiation if done right…. again technique… Hope this helps..
              mitch

              1. Hi, Mitch–thanks. I am not much interested in doing scanning. I do WFPB and have for 6-7 years maybe with the last year being WFPBNO after being a SAD dieter up till the time I read “The China Study” which changed my life. My doctor is pretty much perfectly fine with my blood work. I take no statins and they have never been suggested for me. My cholesterol is 157 or so. I just figure to be on the safe side, to use very little fat.
                Although I have walked two miles a day for most of my later life (e.g., more than 15 years,) I took up running this year and advanced to running 2 miles a day instead of walking at age 70.

            3. WFPBLiisa, The way one knows if one has heart disease or not is to test, not guess. I can’t remember if it was Dr. Greger who said there’s ‘no documentation of someone having a heart attack if their cholesterol is under 150’ but that’s one way to make a reasonable assumption no heart disease exists. Several tests can be used to confirm heart disease and the severity. CIMT test, Lipoprotein A, CT scan of the heart (Coronary or Cardiac Calcium Score Tomography Report) shows a score for the Left Anterior Descending artery (widow maker), among others. Ideally the CT scan numbers are 0. Determining the cause is interesting, too. Some have markers which are great, like TMAO and/or their APOE gene type, while the Omega 6 and 3 ratio is out of whack, indicating too much oil!

              More detailed cholesterol tests can be done through Cleveland Heart Labs or Boston Labs. HDL Particle number and particle size, LDL particle number, too. Knowing what I know now, I’d start with CIMT, CT scan and an Omega check. Others may take a different approach.

            4. https://www.drcarney.com/blog/entry/who-has-heart-disease-everyone
              “Atherosclerosis results in poor circulation to the extremities, the brain and other organs and is the primary cause of hypertension, heart attacks and strokes. It is a disease caused by years of eating the rich Western diet. Arteries coated in plaque are inflexible and cannot relax and dilate. These fatty cholesterol plaque deposits accumulate and coat the inside of the blood vessel walls beginning in early childhood. The fatty streaks can be seen in autopsies performed on children as young as 3 years of age. By age 10, nearly 100% of children have atherosclerotic plaque formations. “

              1. Thanks, Tom. I am aware of this. My family was aware of the research on fat and got us all on skim milk among other things, unfortunately, which may have had something to do with 4 out of 5 of us getting cancer eventually.

            1. Tallslenderguy
              IF IT WERE only Reductionist reasoning I would conclude that to be good common sense, if nothing else. I was asked to give up eating fruit for a short time to counter the major sugar problem that I had [plus the bad sugars obviously]. It worked. Guess you will just have to spend major time on the answer to such a small matter.

            2. I highly doubt Esselstyn is just avoiding SAFA because it seems like the thing to do.

              You might find this interesting and it might shed some light on a possible reason he does what he does….

              https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4357274/

              “High saturated fat intake induces a pro-oxidative state24 and increased oxidative stress has been shown to adversely affect the capacity of the endothelium to release t-PA…. and contributes to the increased risk of atherothrombotic events in middle-aged and older adults.”

      2. Ok smartass.

        So show me just ONE trial where the “addition” of Saturated Fats “Reversed” CVD in patients who had severe CVD, including prior heart attacks and bypass surgeries.

        And don’t show me some silly diet or trial that shows how Ketosis lowers Triglycerides for a few months, because you and I both know all other aspects of CVD and health worsen Long Term, and even with those Atkins-style diets, they have never actually run long term trials (if they even ran them at all).

        Good Luck.

        1. casper…here you are…Dumbass.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5475232/

          “For decades, the consumption of long-chain saturated fatty acids (SAFA; containing 12-18 carbon atoms) was thought to undermine cardiovascular health. However, recent meta-analyses of prospective observational studies [1, 2] reported that SAFA intake was associated with neither coronary heart disease (CHD) nor stroke mortality nor myocardial infarction. Instead, reduced SAFA intake that was replaced by cis-polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) was associated with a 17% lower risk of cardiovascular events “

          1. Wow… smartass#2 … did you read the ENTIRE paper? Apparently not.

            Plus, even if SAFA was NOT associated with CVD, I asked you to provide one trial and journal entry that shows the REVERSAL of CVD as the great Ornish and Esselstyn clearly did.

            Back to your reference… I’ve done the work for you….

            “Dietary SAFA, when compared to CARBOHYDRATES and cis-UNSATURATED fatty acids, RAISE plasma LDL-C, a causal risk factor for CHD.”

            “The effect of REDUCING dietary SAFA is most strongly affected by the macronutrients that REPLACE them. The GREATEST REDUCTION in CHD risk occurs when cis-PUFA replace dietary SAFA.” (Do you understand these acronyms??)

            “In intervention studies replacement of 10%E from SAFA by cis-PUFA (((((reduced CVD events by 27%))))) [4] and the replacement of 5%E from SAFA by cis-PUFA DECREASED CHD risk by 10% [5].”

            “Emerging evidence suggests that the food matrix may modify the risk of *****CHD associated with some SAFA-rich foods******” “In conclusion, STRONG EVIDENCE supports the partial REPLACEMENT of SAFA-rich foods with those rich in cis-PUFA to LOWER LDL-C and REDUCE CHD risk.”

            1. Caper

              You are absolutely right of course but debating with such people often bring to mind the playing chess with a pigeon analogy

              “Pigeon Chess
              Refers to having a pointless debate with somebody utterly ignorant of the subject matter, but standing on a dogmatic position that cannot be moved with any amount of education or logic, but who always proclaims victory.”
              https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Pigeon%20chess

              I first came across it in some quotation which said that debating X is like playing chess with a pigeon – it knocks over the pieces, craps all over the board, and then struts around bragging about how it won.

              For some reason, I am reminded of that quotation whenever I see posts by a certain person here.

            2. Nope. Not angry at all. Just decided to put words in CAPS so you and MAC would be able to spot the keywords.

              Btw: Still awaiting ONE trial that clearly demonstrates how SAFA reverses heart disease. And feel free to link some photos along the lines of those provided by Ornish so we could see the positive/healing effects of SATFAT. I’ve been waiting since the 90’s. Thanks man.

        1. Don’t pay any mind to Jerry, Sally. He has a contract where he gets paid a small amount of money every time he mentions the term “70 year old theory” on this website. He is just trying to earn enough money to put food on the table…albeit the wrong kind of food.

      3. Jerry Lewis, All fats and oils adversely affect endothelial functioning as measured by the brachial artery flow mediated dilation test (BART) including vegetable oils. This is a direct measurement of endothelial functioning. It is not some vague correlation in some large population survey. We also know that regular impairment of the endothelium results in reduction in endothelial thickness as well as reduction in nitrous oxide production. Ultimately this leads to persistent constriction of the entire vascular tree with an attendant increase in blood pressure. Also endothelial cells are very slippery and so reduce friction and turbulence in the arteries. This does two things. First the lower pressure drop in the vascular tree means that adequate blood flow can be achieved with lower blood pressure. And turbulence is a thrombogenic factor, so reduced endothelial coverage increases the chances of clot formation.
        Fat in the context of a whole food is more slowly absorbed into the bloodstream as compared to free fats and oils (again a direct measurement) which reduces the postprandial lipemia. This is exactly the same phenomena seen with whole versus refined carbohydrates. Whole carbohydrates results in a lower blood sugar peak than is seen with refined carbohydrates. So for the same number of grams of fat consumed the slower absorption of fat from whole foods reduces the peak fat concentration of in the blood compared to free fats. The result is a much lower level of endothelial stress for a given amount of fat consumed. It is therefore highly recommended that all fats be consumed in their whole food form to avoid disruption and degradation to the endothelial lining of the arteries.

          1. The comment sections have many many lurkers who might be on the fence about what the science really does or doesn’t say about nutrition. I write for them, not for trolls like Jerry.

    2. Hi WJB, It looks to me like the safest idea right now is to substitute the avocado for something else you would eat that has about the same amount of calories as the avocado. If you do that, you won’t gain any weight and may lose weight because the avocado is filling and might cause you to eat less later in the day – or for a yet unproven reason causes weight loss.I don’t think scientists have come to the conclusion yet that avocados cause weight loss or no weight gain when added to a regular diet.

  3. The last line about the study—“In fact, one could have just as well concluded that avocados are as fattening as margarine, mayonnaise, and oil, if you’re eating the same amount of fat.”—might not be a correct conclusion. As Dr Greger has shown before in other studies, people eating the same amount of healthy calories as a person eating unhealthy calories seems to end up with less weight gain. That said, I get the point that Dr Greger is making: you can’t conclude much from the Avocado Board’s study.

    1. Mark Good point. Processed foods like margarine etc are usually much more digestible than whole foods and the calories seem to be more easily absorbable.

      The energy content of foods is not always the same as the energy absorbed from foods. We know that humans absorb less than the total energy content of nuts for example.
      http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/96/2/296.full

      And cooking and other food processing technology does seem to make energy from foods more available
      http://www.pnas.org/content/108/48/19199.short

  4. Avocado leaves have culinary uses in Mexican cuisine, especially from the area of Oaxaca where they are used as an herb and provide a mild licorice or anise flavor to food. When I cook traditional Oaxaca black beans, I always throw in a few dried Mexican avocado leaves. The key difference here is the variety of avocado. In Oaxaca, they use leaves from the Persea Drymifolia, but the video clearly pointed out the avocado variety of Persea Americana.

    I believe the toxicity mentioned was related to the leaves of the Persea Americana avocado. There is a reported University of California study from 1984 that shows the negative effects of Persea Americana, but no harm done by Persea Drymifolia. Unfortunately that study was done on goats.

    From what I can find, PubMed has several human studies on Persea American, but only two abstracts on Persea Drymifolia. It would be nice to know if there is truly a difference between the two varieties.

    1. I hope the interest I rise in “the Avocado Affair” will help to make more scientific studies about the discrepancy in oils in the leaves and in the pits of avocados. Have anyone mentioned, to keep pits in a box somewhere, no contamination, no mold.

  5. Avocado leaves? Liver toxicity! My oh my. What about Olive leaf extract that is so popular. I’m just wondering if they cause similar issues. Please tell me your thoughts about this. Thanks. Pat

  6. Fiber has no calories at all? Your gut biota beg to disagree. They digest fiber to produce short chain fatty acids which our body utilizes for energy.

  7. I agree that avacado eaters who do have CV disease should not be eating a avacado a day. What was the conclusion of daily avacado consumption for healthy WFPB people?

    1. Eat as much fat as you want even if you have CVD if it is non inflammatory fat. Of course don’t overeat anything even if it is kale.

  8. The healthy body is highly efficient as using fat, from any source, efficiently. So I keep it simple. Too much fat, I get fat and sick.

    I follow Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen for my fat guidelines: 1 tablespoon of walnuts per day does it for me – healthy, heart protective and it has it’s fibre intact. Yay!

    A healthy and proud monthly supporter of Nutritionfacts.org

    1. PJK – the site you reference states that 1C of avocado weights 5.1 ounces not pounds. I’m guessing it’s just a finger typo but I thought I’d clarify before the confusion starts :-).

  9. The basis of this video is wrong in the first place when I see the word calorie mentioned about 6 times.

    Fat is never fattening as long as you don’t eat inflammatory fat such as rancid or processed vegetable oil, margarine, transfat, processed animal fat, etc. and you don’t go overboard and eat a ton of course. All the calorie counting theory is wrong. Just count all the calories that you eat per day even if you eat plant foods, and then count how much you burn through exercise. You will be surprised to find out that you eat more calories than you burn through exercise and yet you don’t get fat when you eat healthy and non inflammatory foods because you burn fat even in your sleep because you have more metabolism. In fact, you may get fat when you don’t eat fat.

    Avocado fat has recently gained Rx status in France because it fixes arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. So I don’t know why Dr G is downgrading avocado? People need to consume a certain amount of fat for their well being and if you eliminate “saturated fat” such as coconut fat which is beneficial, or healthy animal fat then what else do you eat for fat?

    1. To all the viewers of this site who worry about where they will get their fat – All vegetables, legumes, grains, plant foods have fat incorporated in them, . . naturally. For example, romaine lettuce is 8% fat. One can look up the fat content of all the different foods they would like here:
      http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2477/2
      And no, I am not saying that one gets sufficient calories in a day just from romaine lettuce (I can already hear the criticism). I am simply using romaine lettuce as an example of the fact that fat exists already in whole foods, naturally, courtesy of Mother Nature.

      It is not lost on me that Mother Nature has already put needed fat in our diets – naturally !! :-) The elephant, rhinocerous, elk, rabbit, giraffe, etc. don’t run around wondering where they’re going to get “enough fat”. The needed fat is right there in their diet that they eat every day. Even chimpanzees, our next of kin genetically, don’t worry about where they are going to get their fat. They just eat the natural whole foods that exist around them. (and for those who are wondering, about 2% of their diet is various ‘meat’ which might be from insects or occasionally eating another monkey or a found food – per Jane Goodall, world renown chimp researcher).

      I hope everyone can have a nice day today and a nice and respectful discussion.

      1. Noting the meat aspect of chiimps. For years we were generally under the misperception of chimps being strictly vegetarian. A famous study came out around 1995 in respect to the dietary tracts of chimps as opposed to humans. Theirs per proportion to ours is longer. The gross assumption made was to correlate our shorter intestines to a pattern of evolutionary meat eating, as meat eaters have shorter digestive tracts.
        But this study did also not take into account the bacterial role in digestion. At that time also the appendix was considered simply a remenant from a earlier evolutionary time and having no purpose. Now we know it serves as a bacterial bank of sorts to aid in digestion lower down in the GI tract.

        So shorter GI tract may say not a thing about our meat eating or not. We do as of present we are not ruminants as theirs are much longer and are not carnivores as their are much shorter, accompanies by more intensive acids to digest meat. But really length for human means only a unanswered question as to diet. I tend to think our other features suggest only a very small meat eating ability evolutionary wise.Our difficulty with cholesterol saturated fats and hem iron, lack of killing teeth and muscular strength proportionally to other animals, suggest that.
        .
        Sad we want to think chimps a certain way, like poor dumb peaceful humans/vegetarians when the real is by teeth and muscular function they are much more adapted to hunting and killing animals and themselves than we are. They cannot be lived with for instance, they may attack and kill.
        That bias has led to faulted result in study.

        1. Not necessarily Ron.

          We’ve always known that chimps do eat termites and some other insects. So do cattle and sheep for that matter. It’s pretty impossible to avoid ingesting insects and grubs if creatures are grazing.

          The point though is that chips only get about 2 to 3% of total calories from meat. That’s a proportion of animal foods that isn’t a whole lot different from that in the traditional Okinawan Diet. And that is common chimps – bonobo chimps apparently eat even less than that. Less even than antelopes apparently. If we want to eat like a chimp, we should be eating figs apparently.
          https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/how-to-eat-like-a-chimpanzee/

          And if you think that canines are equipment for meat eating, look at the canines on gorillas, or hippos, or camels etc

          I have always maintained that WFPB can contain a small proportion of animal foods. And should for optimal health if people choose not to supplement or cannot supplement if they lived in societies like Okinawa before the widespread availability of different foods and supplements.
          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/vegetarians-myelopathy/
          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-b12-necessary-for-arterial-health/

          I think an exclusively plant WFPB diet is ethically superior (and environmentally superior) to a WFPB diet containing animal foods but I there is no definitive evidence that an exclusively plant WFPB is nutritionally superior or superior in terms of its effects on human health. The jury is still out on that.

          Of course, if people do choose to eat animal foods, it’s probably better to choose insects (or perhaps worms)
          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/good-grub-the-healthiest-meat/

          1. Well valid points TG….I may have to split this up into parts in response…
            From the blog just published on this site….
            ““This new paradigm is exclusively plant-based nutrition,” Dr. Esselstyn explains. In other words, it consists only of whole plant foods. Why exclusively? Because, as reported in the Cornell China Study, there does not appear to be “a threshold beyond which further benefits do not accrue with increasing proportions of plant-based foods in the diet.” It appears the more plant-based foods and the fewer animal-based foods, the better.”
            As to B-12 I agree supplementation is necessary. However keep in mind if one lived in a place without supplementation available likely they had bacteria in their water and were cleaning veggies in that same water.

              1. But I still cannot resist a copy of a part..::)
                “From now on, we must consider the possibility that in addition to their other interesting traits, chimpanzees may be among the most important predators on certain prey species in the African ecosystems where they live”

                The author goes on to make some other assumptions which I consider invalid such as the mention of humans as a scavenger species and this and that. In anthropology it seems the bias has indeed been to insist as human being a primary meat eater despite a growing body of evidence against it.. The presence of tools for hunting are always pointed to. But the presence of such may just point to a need for protection against animals not a necessary indication of use. For instance in the Americas there existed a gigantic bear specie far larger and more vicious than any we have ever known. Humans consider ourselves great hunters and killers. But the disappearance of this species also marks when humans seemingly first inhabited the Americas successfully. Did we kill off this top of the chain predator or did this top of the chain predator kill us off everytime we attempted to colonize America?

                Questions like that have me doubting. Our inability to take care of excessive meat iron, our inability to handle long term saturated fat consumption, our stomach acid levels(which discount us as scavenger) our lack of vitamin C internal production mechanism to mention a few lead my bias against this bias.
                We like to think ourselves great hunters killer and this and that. Put me and a chimp in a cage though that chimp be much smaller than me….the chimp kills me not I it.

                We suck as predators.Seemingly if our hereditary direction was towards that some human feature would suggest it. I find most point absolutely against the notion not towards.
                Chimps for instance have a type of muscular reaction which produces much more force than ours at any stimulus per equal pound of muscle.
                To me that indicates a thing of hunting which requires such in a predator does not require that in ourselves.

                Like the earth being the center of the universe and our reluctance until about 15 years ago to even admit really the existence of habitable planets I think our suppositions always tend unrealistically toward humans as great singular and unique in every aspect.

                By all rights we are way way less able to hunt than a simple chimp. And yes there average was 3% though likely far exceeding that at times of the year. So realistically what percent do you think with our tiny teeth weak muscles we ate…..was it even 1% or perhaps nothing at all for long periods of time….?

                    1. Yes. That is the wonder of the internet – any crackpot or con artist can have a website. Sometimes it seems that most of them do.

                      What amazes me is that people who are so stupid and/or crazy, can apparently survive and function without support. How on Earth do they manage o hold down jobs and care for themselves?

                1. Could have been everything or nothing depending on the environment and time period. After all, you don’t need to be a mighty hunter or have bulging muscles or sharp teeth to eat insects, grubs and worms. In fact, having a big strong body requires lots of calories to fuel it I remember reading somewhere that a possible contributing factor to the extinction of the Neanderthals was that their powerful bodies required an estimated 5,000 calories a day whereas we get by on 2,000. That would have given our ancestors a survival advantage in times of food shortages and famine, and in marginal environments.

                  1. Agree on bugs and such. We have a natural aversion to scavenging it smells bad to us all of us like feces to us. Bugs not at all.

                    It is clear to me due our long helpless period as children and infants the purpose of any tools for killing were not for aggression but for defense.Our women themselves are helpless to fight hunt or kill for at least the last 2 months of a pregnancy. But they certainly can dig in the ground after tubers and such.Our bellies are simply not large enough to kill anything of size and retain it before it spoils. And our stomach acid levels require we not eat grossly spoiled food and go back to kills many days after the kills like bears wolves and cats do.
                    But how often has anthropology even mentioned that obvious fact?. Bugs yes we could do that and nothing says no we did not in human function. We actually tend towards that by my read.
                    .
                    By my guess chimps in that part of the world we, humans would really be a preferred food source of them…And we prior to just a little while ago thought it safe to keep them as pets. How strong is our bias against the truth of things. To not see a obvious predator in our midst as we want to think it inferior to us and cute when its muscles and teeth speak obviously of a great killing ability. They do not kill each other of significant amount chimps do, as their litter size just would not sustain its population, they would die out. Clearly the teeth and musculature are for hunting. How strong our bias we did not see that until about 30 years ago. Our bias is our ego, always in things ..We strongly want to think ourselves great, so inferior to other animals in structure and function we are.

                    1. On the off topic link…it is said that at least ten percent of us in America are subject to some form of mental illness at any one years time period. And that ten percent is not even inclusive of those who I linked which would push that number appreciably higher by my read. Keep in mind once they did not have access to computers as their ideology considered it the devils tool, but now they all do and can post everywhere as we may. Apparently they had a change of heart as the link attests..We were protected from that sort for a little while.

                      How we even survive as a specie being so faulted is beyond my comprehension. I can only guess we were very very lucky as with this brief window of hospitable climate we seem have had the last 40k years or so…soon to change.
                      Our cognitive ability seems a great asset but it seems the flip side of that coin is indeed madness called by some belief. Are not those with greatest ability the elite in means amongst us not mad….collecting that thing so much they nor their children could ever use….and they want ever more…madness.

      2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3471136/

        “DIETARY FAT

        Dietary fat is a terribly misunderstood and mistakenly maligned nutrient. Myths and messages that have persisted since the 1960s warn that “fat is bad.” That dangerous oversimplification has helped launch dozens of largely ineffective diets and the development of thousands of fat-free but calorie-laden foods. It has also helped fuel the twin epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The message “fat is bad” is problematic because there are four main types of dietary fat with dramatically different effects on health.

        Dietary fat per se is not associated with risk of chronic disease. In fact, diets that include up to 40% of calories from fat can be quite healthy if they are low in trans and saturated fat and emphasize polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.7 Although definitive data are not available on the optimal proportions of dietary fats, a low intake of trans and saturated fat and a higher intake of unsaturated fats reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

          1. I never eat transfat. I am just quoting verbatim what the research is saying. Basically it said that a small intake of saturated fat has no effect on CVD. You don’t consume saturated fat like it is kale but let say coconut fat is beneficial in small quantity and it happens to be saturated fat but you consume it because coconut fat is a medium chain fat which has many benefits for you.

            It’s like driving a car to work despite it causing accident some time. If you don’t drive then you cannot go to work, causing more harm to you.

        1. Panchito I think it depends on whether you are discussing the proportion of total calories provided by fat in lettuce or if you are discussing the proportion of fat in lettuce by weight. The 8% figure probably refers to the proportion of calories while your figure refers to weight since lettuce is mostly water and fibre, if I remember correctly.

    2. Yes, Avocado is recognized in France, and it is not new. Hediard started to sell them in the exotic fruit in his famous grocery. My mother was doing avocado creams for her sick mother, to help her healing and it was working. Avocado is especially a fruit for the brain development for pregnant women, it can be the first raw fruit for a baby. It is also the best anti-aging fruit, especially when used as a substitute for egg and butter and other animal products. I was very excited when I did my scientific research to write the health benefits of avocados. It is a treasure traveling time from the Jurassic era.

      1. Welcome Claude. Bonjour. Can you explain to the Americans how the French stay healthy by eating good fat such as avocado and a little bit of indulgence in the morning with petit pain (bread) with butter dipped in cafe au lait?

        1. Jerry

          They don’t.

          French people in the Lyon Diet Heart study who replaced butter and cream with margarine experienced significantly less heart disease. Including a huge drop in deaths.
          http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/circulationaha/99/6/779.full.pdf
          “The experimental group consumed significantly less lipids, saturated fat, cholesterol, and linoleic acid but more oleic and alpha-linolenic acids confirmed by measurements in plasma.”
          http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(94)92580-1/abstract

          The French know this. That is why their dietary guidelines advise French people to “Limit the consumption of total fat and particularly of saturated fat; ”
          http://www.fao.org/nutrition/education/food-dietary-guidelines/regions/countries/france/en/

          1. My Gosh. This is Mr Death if you listen to him. Margarine is one the most harmful fake fat and this guy praises it like he praises statin. You listen to this guy and it’s like you sign your own death warrant.

            1. It’s not just me saying this Jerry. It is what the science/evidence shows and what all credible health authorities advise. Of course, you have to make sure that it is margarine made without trans fats as in the Lyon Diet Heart study. The fact is these days margarines usually contain less trans fat than butter does. At least this is the case in Australia and most of Europe. I don’t know whether they still sell trans fat margarines in the US. however the Mayo Clinic is in the US and it states

              “Margarine usually tops butter when it comes to heart health. Margarine is made from vegetable oils, so it contains unsaturated “good” fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These types of fats help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol when substituted for saturated fat”
              https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/butter-vs-margarine/faq-20058152

              It is only the cranks and hucksters who falsely claim that butter is healthy and superior to margarine.

              Of course, things might be different on your planet ……………

            2. Jerry, I don’t think Tom is not praising margarine. Clearly any refined fat is not healthful, BUT if you absolutely insist on eating butter, then on strictly a relative basis, a person’s health would be less damaged by replacing that butter with non-transfat margarine. What is perhaps not said, because you can’t give an entire treatise on lipids and nutrition in every comment, is that eliminating any refined fat would be better still.

              1. correction: I don’t think Tom *is* praising margarine. (still hate this comment system that doesn’t allow editing of comments by the author)

                1. Thanks, Jim,. Yes, I don’t see any reason to consume processed foods like margarine or butter. I was merely referring to the findings of a study when I mentioned margarine being less unhealthy than butter.

      2. One drawback for me with avocados is I have tried many ways to preserve the remainder after I have taken out a slice or two. Nothing seems to work very well. It turns brown and mushy even with lemon juice. So, not wanting to waste any, I end up eating the whole thing. Any secrets you care to pass on?

    3. You need to go back and listen ATTENTIVELY to the video again. Dr Gregor IS NOT SAYING what you say that he is. Very clever on your part.

    4. Jerry

      As I said earlier, listen ATTENTIVELY to the video again. Where is Dr Gregor DOWNGRADING Avocado? You are making it all up as you go along. Been doing any NLP lately? Trying to convince people that Dr Gregor is saying what YOU SAY HE IS SAYING????

      1. “In fact, one could have just as well concluded that avocados are as fattening as margarine, mayonnaise, and oil, if you’re eating the same amount of fat.”

        And if you read all the posts from vegans above, you will see that they understand that Dr G said that avocado fat is fattening and it is bad for CVD as Esselstyn has said – their words, not mine.

  10. The following is from a tabloid newspaper according to TG.

    This girl is cured from epilepsy after eating 2 avocados per day for 1500 days (3000 avocados).

    http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/30/girl-epilepsy-close-cure-eating-3000-avocados-7272544/

    This Spaniard man just died at 113. Guess what he eats for breakfast everyday?

    http://metro.co.uk/2018/01/30/worlds-oldest-man-dies-just-one-month-turning-113-7272122/

    “He began his anniversary with his traditional sponge cake and glass of milk for breakfast before opening letters of congratulation from around the world.”

    1. My daughter was cured from Epilepsy and she was not eating ANY Avocadoes.

      You are a troll on this site. You must be a PAID ONE. You don’t present any evidence or research and just blab blab blab and then attack the man. That is the usual done thing when no evidence of research of your own can be produced. Get back under your bridge. We are sick of you on this site.

        1. Jerry

          The ketogenic diet is used to treat certain disorders. But then so are surgery, chemotherapy, toxic drugs and radiation. That doesn’t mean that these things are either healthy or safe for the rest of us.

          As for ketogenic diets used therapeutically for paediatric epilepsy
          “RESULTS: The most common early-onset complication was dehydration, especially in patients who started the KD with initial fasting. Gastrointestinal disturbances, such as nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation, also were frequently noted, sometimes associated with gastritis and fat intolerance. Other early-onset complications, in order of frequency, were hypertriglyceridemia, transient hyperuricemia, hypercholesterolemia, various infectious diseases, symptomatic hypoglycemia, hypoproteinemia, hypomagnesemia, repetitive hyponatremia, low concentrations of high-density lipoprotein, lipoid pneumonia due to aspiration, hepatitis, acute pancreatitis, and persistent metabolic acidosis. Late-onset complications also included osteopenia, renal stones, cardiomyopathy, secondary hypocarnitinemia, and iron-deficiency anemia. Most early- and late-onset complications were transient and successfully managed by careful follow-up and conservative strategies. However, 22 (17.1%) patients ceased the KD because of various kinds of serious complications, and 4 (3.1%) patients died during the KD, two of sepsis, one of cardiomyopathy, and one of lipoid pneumonia.”
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1198735/

          1. But Tom, a ketogenic diet really helps people lose weight, and being overweight is unhealthy. Ipso facto it must be just the greatest thing because everybody knows that one’s ability to lose weight is the true measure of healthfulness of any diet. Since people can lose a bunch of weight on a ketogenic diet it is by definition a healthful diet.

  11. Jerry Lewis – You have said your peace (as you have many many times on this site). Now, please let the rest of us have our discussion as we see fit sans your bullying behavior.

  12. Note to Administration – Please see my post above to Jerry Lewis. I understand that you are OK with what you call “vigorous debate”. I am ok with that as well. But I, and many others on this site, are not ok with the bullying, over-posting, verbal pushing and shoving that is regularly displayed by Jerry Lewis over and over again on this site.
    I respectfully request that you manage this problem for the sake of a free and relaxed conversation AMONG ALL.
    IT’S TIME!

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I would like to just say, with all due respect, that I’m hoping Mr. Lewis can stay. I’m relatively new to this site and what scientists and diet doctors and alternative doctors have been telling us for years is hard to tease through and think about to come to the right answers that work for each individual. The comments from Mr. Lewis represent what I and many others have been told for years and to see the arguments against it with posted evidence is helpful to us. I’ve felt better, much better, -to a point- on the WFPBD. But after a period of time, I have a heck of a time staying on it. I’ve tried over and over and would like to, need to, stay on it. The comments and arguments are helpful support to me that I would otherwise not have because the rest of my family has had limited success staying on it as well. I know I’m not the only one that has difficulty with this diet. And I’m not at all bothered by Mr. Lewis until perhaps the name-calling ensues, and then, the way I think about it is, we’re all adults and can get past it for the sake of learning. We’re all human after all. I really appreciate the knowledge those of you who can stay on this diet have. Please keep arguing and sharing your knowledge for the sake of those who are still working on understanding and incorporating it into their lives.

  13. And Dr Greger contradicts with himself.

    https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/avocados/

    “Not all fats affect our muscle cells similarly either. For example, palmitate, the saturated fat found mostly in meat, dairy, and eggs, causes insulin resistance, while oleate, the monounsaturated fat found mostly in nuts, olives, and avocados, may actually protect against saturated fats’ detrimental effects. Saturated fats may result in the accumulation of more toxic breakdown products and free radicals, and can cause inflammation and the dysfunction of the little power plants in our cells (mitochondria). Monounsaturated fats, however, are more likely to be detoxified by the body or safely stored away.”

  14. Quite a good video. I learn a bit every time I see one of Dr Gregers videos. In this specific my take away’s are ….a study of poor science and result,and the probable that avocados are as most foods are….a simple calorie in calorie out equation. Eat more by calorie and one gains weight, less and one looses weight. Nuts being a possible exception though more research may be needed to prove that definitively.

    Great stuff

  15. Great content. I love the housewife. You should always send your study proposal to her before you embark on a nutrition study. Seriously, thanks for this video. I feel vindicated for not jumping on the avocado band wagon. I get my MUFAs from olives (not olive oil) and almonds. I consider olives miniature avocados.

  16. Thank you for this video. Finishing to write the medical benefits of avocado for “The Avocado Affair” (in bookstores in March 2018), I asked a Professor of Urology expert in prostate cancer, a friend who was a resident in the same urology department where I was immuno-clinical consultant. Yes, people who eat avocados have a low risk to have prostate cancer, they are also eating well as it is presented in this video. Avocado eaters got fat from the avocado and most of the time do not add mayonnaise and hydrogenated oils. They are also eating less sugar and sweets. All helping to be healthier. Avocado is the only fruit rich in CoQ10 which explain also the health benefit. I use avocado as butter and add few personal recipe in the book, they have the same content in CoQ10. Avocado is a carrier and helps absorption of liposoluble nutrient at a cellular level, all that can explain the results I observed with patients losing belly fat, with my prescription adding avocado and walnuts.

  17. My experience with avocadoes is as follows:
    People who consume a lot of meat generally do not like avocadoes. When they change to a vegetarian diet, they come to love them.
    Avocadoes do congest the liver – shown by engorged haemorrhoids – and also thin the blood, induce bleeding. Avocado leaves might have anti viral properties similar to olive leaf but have not been tested. Avocadoes produce a large amount of body heat for several hours after ingestion. Eat one for lunch on a hot day and you swelter. People who love avocadoes go off them during the hottest months of the year – instinctively.

    1. I don’t know. Personal experience, I don’t doubt yours is a valid account.
      But here in New Mexico the influence of Mexican foods and a majority Hispanic population avocadoes are eaten particularly during the summer. A avocado dip with chili in it or a avocado salad are very common in summer. A salad with chunks of avocado thrown in is not winter fare. . Winter has some dishes which are exclusive to it like pesole menudo green chili stew. Avocado is not amongst them.

      Mexico I don’t know but New Mexico seems that is as it is..

  18. Thanks Dr. Greger! I know I can always depend on this site to dissect the so called studies and rely on accurate information to take away.

  19. I eat 1-2 avocados every day along with some coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil in my salads. I also eat wild fish and organic eggs 3 times a week and have lost 35kgs over 2 years. My blood work is also now excellent. I also reversed T2 following the Mediterranean diet. Avocados rock!

  20. Michael and his team should do a video on how to read a scientific paper. I know it’s complex, but at least an overall view.

    BTW, these videos are amazing.

  21. My acupuncturist recently recommended NAD+ and NAC. Do we have any studies or information on either one of these. I do not feel comfortable doing this yet.

  22. Currently still eating Avocado.

    Waiting for better studies.

    It does seem like studies do have progressive revelation and I don’t mind that.

    I am surrounded by meat eaters.

    If it would benefit some people to substitute meat for avocados, then that is good information for them to have.

    Jerry, I don’t mind you challenging the logic. I say that, because I already know that Keto is the other conversation out there and they are presenting that other logic. It is okay, to me, for us to keep having the conversation.

    I have friends who went Keto, because they had serious Diabetes and couldn’t control their insulin and they hate fruits and vegetables. I don’t know if the science will agree, but, the fact that they couldn’t possibly go Vegan, they are making decisions about whether having their Diabetes controlled might be better than not having it controlled.

    As far as Dr. Greger contradicting himself, I suspect that we all do, because the logic might shift from situation to situation. I have a friend with such serious allergies that she can’t eat almost anything that I would call, “healthy” and it pushes her over to meats and every answer I have tried to give, she can’t do.

    My cousin is close to Dialysis and doctors give the logic from every direction and he gets so confused by all of it.

    I feel like we polarized in this country to such a degree that we end up in these arguments, rather than genuinely listening and discussing things. I sat in a room with people more radical than Jerry is and am going to say that I respect the process they are doing, even though it is opposite of the process that I am doing.

    Their lives have been changed so much from going Keto that they are thinking of going back to school to promote it is how committed they are. I know that they haven’t heard all the science from the Vegan perspective. They just know they lost weight and had their blood test numbers become more normal and where we could come into agreement is that Keto got them off of junk food and processed food and empty calorie sugars and soda and they went organic and they stopped using shampoos and deodorants with aluminum and stopped using air fresheners, etc. By the end, the list that we had in common got bigger, but it is because we didn’t do a polarizing process.

    We live in such a confusing time in science and information is changing all the time. I feel like somehow we need to not just react to each other.

    I know that sounds naïve and impossible, but I love the saying that the word “impossible” has “I’m Possible” in it.

    I have been watching brain plasticity videos and Ted Talks where they can print functional kidneys on 3 D printers.

    Somehow, I am optimistic that we can figure out how to respect each other during this complicated process.

  23. And to the rest of you.

    I highly respect everybody who is coming here and following the science.

    I guess it is because it isn’t only an intellectual process to me.

    I have so many people around me who are doing the real SAD diet, which in my eyes is the 95 percent of people who don’t measure up to the wimpy standards of the government in almost any category.

    It is so hard to jump from not eating even one serving of fruit or green leafy or beans all the way over to Vegan in one shot and most categories, it really was well over 90% of the people not even doing a little bit of these things. I went years without eating even one piece of fruit and decades without eating any lentils. I am eating fruit every day now, but that didn’t happen overnight or even over the course of a few years. So much had to happen on the inside to get there.

    I say that to the people who might stop here and be in that genuinely SAD group and feel like they can’t even do one single step. That is where people are and it grieves many of them and others went Keto and I “get it.”

  24. Hello guys, forgive me for being completely off topic, but I´m not sure if there´s any serious study out there. Does anyone know if consuming raw garlic is an effective option to treat an herpes outbreak (cold sore)? I´ve just had one after many years and and I´ve seen a lot of possitive comments about garlic, I´m trying to avoid acyclovir ointments and other drugs, for what I`ve heard they don´t do much once the blisters are fully developed. Thanks a lot!!

    1. Hi Federico! I wasn’t able to find any published studies proving garlic as an effective treatment. However, Dr. Greger does have a video showing seaweed to have a positive effect, which you can view here!

    2. I just take a lysine supplement. It is very effective (for me).

      “A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial of oral L-lysine monohydrochloride for the prevention and treatment of recurrent herpes simplex (HSV) infection was conducted. The treatment group was given L-Lysine monohydrochloride tablets (1,000 mg L-lysine per dose) 3 times a day for 6 months. A total of 27 (6 male and 21 female) subjects on L-lysine and 25 (6 male and 19 female) subjects on placebo completed the trial. The L-lysine treatment group had an average of 2.4 (p less than 0.05) less HSV infections, symptoms were significantly (p less than 0.05) diminished in severity and healing time was significantly reduced (p less than 0.05). L-Lysine appears to be an effective agent for reduction of occurrence, severity and healing time for recurrent HSV infection.”
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3115841

  25. Hi Doctor Greger! I was hoping to send you a request for a topic and read on your website to comment on one of your videos instead. Please consider gathering research on various birth control methods for women, and what method you would advise. I believe many viewers would be interested in learning more about the safety of contraceptives as well as copper IUD and family planning methods. I do know this is borderline on the topic of nutrition but I see so much confusion for women about what birth control methods are healthy and safe for the body. I see so much conflicting information and always trust your research above anyone. Thank you for all that you do!!

    (Posted on Youtube as well)

  26. could someone pls advise me.
    i am interested in lowering my blood sugar, with an a1c of 5.8,
    one yr ago it was 5.3…i cannot acct for why this is happening.
    if i eat a wfpb diet, include such foods as potatoes or rice, etc. my after meal
    blood sugar levels spike to 170+. this has me totally confused.
    i am thin & perhaps underweight. age 72. thanks in advance anyone?

    1. There are doctors who have plans specifically for Diabetes, like Dr. Neal Barnard. They have specific plans, with slight differences.
      Dr. Greger also has a WFPB dietary guideline of his Daily Dozen.

      I would start with listening to some of the people who specifically have done programs to reverse Diabetes.

    2. I am going to ask if you have tried the flax and if you have tried going low fat and getting rid of oils and if you have tried exercise?

      Because those three come to mind first.

      If you already are WFPB, then, do you eat oil?

      Dr Greger recommends the following resources:

      “The three best books on reversing type 2 diabetes with diet are Defeating Diabetes, co-authored by my favorite dietician, Brenda Davis, and from two of my medical mentors: Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program To Reverse Diabetes Now and Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s The End of Diabetes.”

    3. Jimmy, what might be happening is that your insulin resistance is elevated. This happens because of saturated fat that builds up in the muscles and liver cells and interferes with the proper functioning of the insulin receptor and insulin signalling pathway within the cell. In the muscles this causes glucose transport to not accept glucose out of the bloodstream. The liver is different. Normally when insulin level is low it is because blood sugar is low and so the liver generates glucose from first it glycogen stores and if those are exhausted by breaking down amino acids into glucose (via the Krebs cycle) and dumps it into the blood. Insulin resistance in the in the liver causes it to not sense the elevated insulin level and so doesn’t know that there is already plenty of glucose in the blood and as a result it keeps creating glucose when it isn’t needed thus increasing blood sugar above the normal value.

      Normally the pancreas responds to insulin resistance by producing more and more insulin to overcome the resistance and so can keep blood sugar in check (basically knocking the door down if it won’t open). This situation where insulin resistance is high but the pancreas can overproduce sufficient insulin to overcome it can persist for decades and be completely asymptomatic. But the strain of increased insulin production wears out the pancreas faster and so eventually enough insulin producing beta cells die and insulin production starts to drop. When production drops to the point that less is produced than is needed to overcome the high insulin resistance blood sugar and A1C start to rise. At first it is called “prediabetes” and then eventually “diabetes”. But the actual disease started long before this point.

      The good news is that insulin resistance can be reversed. The body doesn’t want to have all that fat in the muscles and liver and so is constantly trying to clean it out. As a result if the fat consumption drops to the point that fat is being removed faster from the cell than it is being added eventually insulin sensitivity is restored to normal values. With a very low fat whole plant based diet, this housecleaning happens at a pretty rapid clip. Clinical trials have seen subjects go from injecting 30 units of insulin a day to zero in just 16 days!

      Often diabetes can happen even though the pancreas can still produce a considerable amount of insulin, it is just that even the large amount of insulin isn’t sufficient to fully overcome the insulin resistance. The best news is that the pancreas might be capable of producing sufficient insulin to adequately manage blood sugar when the insulin resistance is reversed. In this case diabetes can be completely cured. But even if the pancreas is damaged such that it can’t produce enough insulin on its own even with normal insulin sensitivity, eliminating high insulin resistance is still very much worth the effort. It allows what insulin the pancreas does produce to be much more effective in managing blood sugar especially at night and between insulin injections. This really helps smooth out blood sugar spikes which in turn greatly helps to reduce the damage caused to the eyes, nerves, and arteries by high blood sugar levels. In fact it is still worth it if the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin such as the case with Type 1 diabetes (T1DM). Those with T1DM will inject fewer units of insulin and that insulin will be able to better blunt the high blood sugar spikes and so result in fewer of the dire side effects of diabetes. Also it reduces the chances of dangerously low blood sugar levels.

      An A1C of 5.8 puts you just over the line and in the prediabetic category. This would indicate to me that you are still producing considerable insulin, just that it is starting to not be enough to power through the insulin resistance and keep blood sugar levels fully under control. Now is the perfect time to address the real disease and use diet to reverse whatever elevated insulin resistance you might have. The amount of insulin resistance can be determined by a two hour glucose tolerance test that not only measures blood glucose level at multiple points in time but also insulin level. However, since there are no negative side effects of a whole food plant based diet very low in total fat (less than 10% of total calories), you can just assume that you do have an elevated resistance level and treat it with diet. Then in four or so months of full compliance get your A1C measured again and see if it has dropped back into the healthy range. If it has then just keep on with the diet and have your A1C checked at what ever interval your doctor recommends.

      Oh, and while a moderately damaged pancreas might be able to fully control blood sugar with optimal insulin sensitivity, the impaired ability to overproduce insulin means that falling off the wagon and going back to a diet that almost resulted in diabetes can result in a rapid return to high blood sugar level and elevated A1C (and additional damage to the pancreas).

      I hope that this helps answer your question without boring you with a bunch of information that you already knew. Oh, and I am not a medical profession, just a very interested layman.

    4. Oh, and as for blood sugar levels over 170 that is not directly because of the carbohydrates in the potatoes, rice and other foods, but because the resulting glucose can’t get into your muscles cells and your liver keeps cranking out glucose that isn’t needed. Once the insulin resistance is resolved, blood sugar spikes will not be so high even on a very high carbohydrate diet.

      As Deb recommended, either Dr. Barnard’s or Dr. Fuhrman’s book would be a must-have if you want to use diet to reverse your insulin resistance. I have Dr. Barnard’s and he has suggestions for how to use low glycemic index whole foods to ameliorate the blood sugar spikes during the few weeks while insulin resistance is being reduced but you are eating a high percentage of carbohydrates and very low percentage of fat.

    5. Rice can indeed raise blood sugar in some. I’d suggest that you continue to eat WFPB, no oil, and that everything you take in have at least 3g of fiber per serving, and less sugar than fiber per serving. This will eliminate foods with high glycemic index, and assure you’re getting 45-65 g of fiber daily, which is a super marker showing you’re taking in the foods that will keep your blood sugar controlled. One specific goal I suggest is eating at least one large bowl of greens every day. -Dr Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

    6. Rice & potatoes are not the best foods when you are trying to control your blood sugar & A1c. Aldo, avoid or minimize dried fruits in general particularly raisins & dates due to their high fructose content.

      1. Of course there are better options such as quinoa, and sweet potato. However, it’s been proven time and again that eating rice and potatoes do not act as obstacles to lowering one’s A1C.

        The big issue is SAT FAT when it comes to T2DM. Once a person removes the fatty foods, they could continue to eat rice and potatoes and still maintain an A1C sub-5%. But the mistake T2 diabetics make is they continue to consume a combination of rice/potatoes along with Fatty meats, etc. and end up blaming the rice/potatoes for the issue that the meat caused in the first place.

        Think Asian populations… the biggest rice eaters of all. Diabetes was pretty much unheard of until some of the countries started becoming wealthy and consuming more animal products.

  27. Dear Dr. Greger,

    Please comment on Dr. Esselstyn’s opinion that no oil should be used in order to prevent heart disease, not even olive oil!

    Your input is very important!

    Angelo, physician and fan

    1. Dr. Madjarov, All oils are highly refined products that are essentially stripped of all nutritional value except calories. Stripped of their fiber and cellular matrix such highly refined oils are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream where the resulting lipemia induces endothelial stress as demonstrated by a brachial artery flow mediated dilation test (BART). An equal number of grams of fat in whole food form is absorbed much more slowly and as a result the degree of postprandial lipemia is greatly reduced with an attendant reduction in endothelial stress. As such all fats should always be consumed in the form of whole foods. Also from a purely nutritional aspect all oils detract from the average nutrient density of the overall diet by driving off of the plate other much more nutrient dense plant foods to make caloric roomA simple example of a salad illustrates this point. A 10 ounce bag of romaine lettuce, a medium tomato, an ounce of shredded carrots, and 1/4 cup of chickpeas represents 140 calories with 7 grams of protein, 26 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of fiber. It even contains 2.2 grams of fat of which half is omega-3 and omega-6 in a perfect 1:1 ratio.
      But add 2 tablespoons of ranch dressing containing 150 calories to this salad and you basically double the calories of the salad without adding any significant amount of nutrition. The result is that the nutrient density of the salad drops in half.

      On the other hand adding an ounce of chopped walnuts and replacing the dressing with a low/no fat dressing the walnuts add about the same number of calories (185), but unlike the rang dressing the walnuts also contribute 2.6 grams of omega 3 fatty acids, another 1.9 grams of fiber and another 4.3 grams of complete protein (all 9 essential amino acids are present and in amounts where the percentage of the RDI of each, save lysine, is equal to or higher than the percentage of daily calories). The walnuts also contain a number of important minerals and vitamins. They also contain hundreds and possibly thousands of other phytonutrients that we know are active in the body

      From a nutritional perspective then the difference between refined oils and whole food couldn’t be more stark.

      1. Dear Jim F.,

        I agree on all points. This was a very concise review and settles the matter.

        Thank you and may god richly bless you!

        Angelo

  28. I’ve been vegan for almost a year and I am experiencing numbness in my right leg randomly throughout the day and sometimes in my arm or hand. I follow Dr. Greger’s daily dozen recommendations and the numbness started a few weeks ago; therefore, I decided to check my B12 level, which was 920, a little elevated. What could be the cause of the numbness?

    1. Dear Lorena,

      Please check your Homocysteine, 25-OH-Vitamin D and Folate levels. You may have a magnesium deficiency which will not show in the blood work.

      Angelo

  29. We can’t diagnose ailments via the internet. While following Dr. G’s advise and guidelines is an excellent start to support optimal health, it is not a guarantee to be free from disease.There are hundreds of different issues that could be causing your numbness. Some are benign, some are serious. You should go to your doctor to get it checked.

    Dr. Ben

  30. Do you know anything about this idea that the healthiest part of the avocado is right beneath the skin and you should always peel and not scoop the flesh?

    “California-grown avocados contain 11 carotenoids. According to USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, avocados contain a complex package of phytonutrients, including carotenoids that may provide numerous health benefits.

    Carotenoids appear to protect humans against certain cancers, heart disease and age-related macular degeneration. The UCLA research showed that in California avocados, the greatest concentration of beneficial carotenoids is in the dark green fruit of the avocado closest to the peel.”

    I found this study but didn’t find much else
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796540/#!po=77.6596

    1. Hi Lori, stay tuned because we have at least one more avocado video coming out in a few weeks. Are you subscribed to the videos yet? That’s is the best way to see what is coming up when we release a new volume. Thanks for your comment and support!

    2. Avocados are indeed nutritious, but they are NOT magical. The magic lies in the maketing. Avocados are not superior to olives except in size.

  31. “If the calories in and calories out are the same then no wonder there’s no difference in body weight” I’m confused by this statement in the video as I thought the calories in calories out theory was debunked long ago by people with as much nutritional knowledge as Dr. Gregor. Isn’t this the same as saying 1000 calories of doughnuts will cause the same effect as a 1000 calories of broccoli? On another note, thank you Dr. Gregor for all you do!

    1. All calories are equal until they enter the body. First calories are handled differently depending on the packaging. Fat & CHO are metabolized differently. Protein costs more to digest and assimilate. Pure glucose as derived from a sugary drink is absorbed & metabolized faster than the sugar derived from a fiber loaded fruit or vegetable. Fructose goes directly to the liver where it ends up as fat while glucose is incorporated in the glycogen stores in both the liver & muscle or serves as fuel for cells everywhere, but especially in the glucose-dependent tissues such as the brain, red blood cells, adrenal medulla, & testis. Therefore, from a physics / thermodynamics point of view a calorie is a calorie, but physiologically not all calories are created equal.

  32. Hi, Joanie Thomas. Strictly in terms of energy balance, 1000 calories of doughnuts will cause the same effect as 1000 calories of broccoli, once the calories needed to digest the broccoli are factored in. In terms of health and overall nutrition, of course, doughnuts and broccoli have entirely different effects on the body. For one thing, it takes a lot more broccoli than doughnuts to make 1000 calories. While doughnuts are basically just fat, flour, and sugar, making them calorie dense and nutrient poor, broccoli is a nutrient powerhouse with cancer-fighting properties. The short answer is that “calories in calories out” has not been debunked, and it is not just a theory, it is a fact. The “calories out” part of the equation is complicated, however, as some foods require more energy to digest than others, and the body can adjust energy expenditure as a survival mechanism against starvation. By eating nutrient dense foods rather than calorie dense foods, it is possible to eat more food, feel fuller and be better nourished while eating fewer calories. You might be interested in this video and this one. I hope that helps!

  33. Hello, I’ve noticed that this article has been getting a lot of replies, so I hope I can ask here if Dr. Greger has a forum where a person can ask questions not necessarily related to a specific topic. Does someone know where that forum would be, and if it’s popular and used often? For example, I have some questions about lowering blood pressure. I’m on a severely small food budget and wonder if store-purchased canned beets or especially jarred pickled beets have power to lower b/p like fresh beets or beet powder. I say especially pickled beets because they last longer refrigerated, and the store-bought pickled ones tend to contain less sodium. Does anyone know the answer to this and whether there is a popular, general question and answer forum? Thanks in advance!

  34. Hi I’m a RN health support volunteer with nutritionfacts.org. Thanks for your great question. I don’t see any problem with using canned or jarred beats as long as they do not have high added sodium. Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine2 diet, uses as a rule of thumb: if there are more milligrams of sodium than calories per serving, that food is a no go. There is also beet juice as an option:
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/so-should-we-drink-beet-juice-or-not/
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/hearts-shouldnt-skip-a-beet/

    Dr. Greger has a few videos on eating healthy on a budget:
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/eating-healthy-on-a-budget/
    There are links to other videos below that one you might like.

    You also may like some of his videos specifically about blood pressure:
    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-to-prevent-high-blood-pressure-with-diet/

    Hope that helps. All the best to you.
    NurseKelly

    1. Hello NurseKelly, Thank you for your answers! Do you know whether store-purchased, pickled beets are also good for lowering b/p? I live alone and sometimes have to store left-over beets in the refrigeratur for five or so days before I can eat them all. I’m thinking that foods stay safe to eat longer if they are pickled, but I’m not sure about beets. Thank you in advance for your help with this, Sincerely, Susan Davis PS The jarred pickled beets I see in the store have less sodium in them than the plain, jarred or canned beets.

      Also, thanks for sending the links. I’ll check those out!

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