Are There Benefits of Energy Drinks?

Are There Benefits of Energy Drinks?
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The effects of Red Bull and Monster brand energy drinks on artery function and athletic performance.

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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.

Given the “global popularity” of the multibillion dollar energy drink industry, it’s critical we figure out if there are any potential adverse effects. “There are currently more than 500 energy drink products [for sale] on the market today.” “The most popular, and most studied…is Red Bull”—a single can of which was found to bump blood pressure by three or four points within 90 minutes of consumption. What about all the other energy drinks? Studies show they similarly increased blood pressure three or four points on average.

Oh, but come on: three or four points? What’s the big deal? 20% higher risk of dying from a stroke is the big deal, and 12% higher risk of dying from a heart attack. Yeah, but that’s if you have elevated blood pressure day in, day out. To see if Red Bull can increase your day-long average blood pressure you’d have to…put it to the test. A “comparison of the effects of energy drink versus [just] caffeine supplementation on…24-hour…blood pressure.”

“The FDA imposes a limit” on caffeine in soda, but the way energy drink manufacturers get around that is by claiming that their carbonated sugar water is not soda, but a “natural dietary supplement…” But, Red Bull doesn’t have any more caffeine than a cup of coffee. The question is, what are the effects of all the other proprietary ingredients they add to the energy drinks? So, they gave people four of the small cans of Red Bull, or four cups of coffee—same amount of caffeine—and then measured their blood pressure over the entire day. Same amount of caffeine, yet significantly higher average blood pressure by about five points over the coffee. So, maybe it’s the taurine, or some other combination of added ingredients, in energy drinks that makes them so harmful?

Energy drinks may also impair artery function. One big can of Monster Energy drink, and a significant drop in your arteries’ ability to relax normally within 90 minutes. The biggest risk, though, is likely the EKG changes that signal an increase in the risk of our hearts flipping into a fatal heart rhythm. And indeed, there are cases of young people suffering cardiac arrest after consuming like seven or eight cans in a row, or even just three cans back-to-back. Some people are just more susceptible. Yeah, there are a number of case reports highlighting “multiple potentially fatal cardiac side effects from high-energy drinks in the general population.” But, it’s the “families with a history of sudden cardiac death” or fainting that education about the risks are “even more critical,” as energy drinks may unmask a “potentially life-threatening genetic condition such as LQTS”—long QT syndrome, which occurs in about one in 2,000 people.

Yes, there are safety issues, but do the benefits outweigh the risks? Unfortunately, “[l]ittle evidence exists…to support [any] beneficial effects.” What about for athletes, though? That’s who energy drinks were originally marketed for. And boy, did that marketing work, with 80% of college athletes reportedly drinking them. So, does it help? You don’t know…until you put it to the test. And, as you can see by the title, “pre-exercise energy drink consumption does not appear to improve endurance.” But it does seem to increase inflammation. Twenty-five mile simulated road race, and they could not find any “ergogenic potential”—any athletic performance-enhancing potential of Red Bull above that of just straight sugar water and caffeine. “In addition, the data indicate that [Red Bull] induced greater inflammatory-related responses than did just [straight caffeinated sugar water or placebo].”

No apparent effect on resistance training either—not just endurance sports. And, those hoping energy drinks will help rev up their metabolism to lose weight may be disappointed to learn you can get the same stimulatory effects with straight caffeine. Or, maybe they won’t be disappointed—black coffee or tea is way cheaper.

No wonder there was no change in athletic performance, because unlike nitrate-rich vegetables, energy drinks don’t change oxygen utilization or ratings of perceived exertion. But, what they do is raise your resting blood pressure. So, the opposite of vegetables likes beets and greens, which both improve athletic performance and reduce blood pressure at the same time—whereas “[e]nergy drinks [appear to] have no therapeutic benefit.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

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.

Given the “global popularity” of the multibillion dollar energy drink industry, it’s critical we figure out if there are any potential adverse effects. “There are currently more than 500 energy drink products [for sale] on the market today.” “The most popular, and most studied…is Red Bull”—a single can of which was found to bump blood pressure by three or four points within 90 minutes of consumption. What about all the other energy drinks? Studies show they similarly increased blood pressure three or four points on average.

Oh, but come on: three or four points? What’s the big deal? 20% higher risk of dying from a stroke is the big deal, and 12% higher risk of dying from a heart attack. Yeah, but that’s if you have elevated blood pressure day in, day out. To see if Red Bull can increase your day-long average blood pressure you’d have to…put it to the test. A “comparison of the effects of energy drink versus [just] caffeine supplementation on…24-hour…blood pressure.”

“The FDA imposes a limit” on caffeine in soda, but the way energy drink manufacturers get around that is by claiming that their carbonated sugar water is not soda, but a “natural dietary supplement…” But, Red Bull doesn’t have any more caffeine than a cup of coffee. The question is, what are the effects of all the other proprietary ingredients they add to the energy drinks? So, they gave people four of the small cans of Red Bull, or four cups of coffee—same amount of caffeine—and then measured their blood pressure over the entire day. Same amount of caffeine, yet significantly higher average blood pressure by about five points over the coffee. So, maybe it’s the taurine, or some other combination of added ingredients, in energy drinks that makes them so harmful?

Energy drinks may also impair artery function. One big can of Monster Energy drink, and a significant drop in your arteries’ ability to relax normally within 90 minutes. The biggest risk, though, is likely the EKG changes that signal an increase in the risk of our hearts flipping into a fatal heart rhythm. And indeed, there are cases of young people suffering cardiac arrest after consuming like seven or eight cans in a row, or even just three cans back-to-back. Some people are just more susceptible. Yeah, there are a number of case reports highlighting “multiple potentially fatal cardiac side effects from high-energy drinks in the general population.” But, it’s the “families with a history of sudden cardiac death” or fainting that education about the risks are “even more critical,” as energy drinks may unmask a “potentially life-threatening genetic condition such as LQTS”—long QT syndrome, which occurs in about one in 2,000 people.

Yes, there are safety issues, but do the benefits outweigh the risks? Unfortunately, “[l]ittle evidence exists…to support [any] beneficial effects.” What about for athletes, though? That’s who energy drinks were originally marketed for. And boy, did that marketing work, with 80% of college athletes reportedly drinking them. So, does it help? You don’t know…until you put it to the test. And, as you can see by the title, “pre-exercise energy drink consumption does not appear to improve endurance.” But it does seem to increase inflammation. Twenty-five mile simulated road race, and they could not find any “ergogenic potential”—any athletic performance-enhancing potential of Red Bull above that of just straight sugar water and caffeine. “In addition, the data indicate that [Red Bull] induced greater inflammatory-related responses than did just [straight caffeinated sugar water or placebo].”

No apparent effect on resistance training either—not just endurance sports. And, those hoping energy drinks will help rev up their metabolism to lose weight may be disappointed to learn you can get the same stimulatory effects with straight caffeine. Or, maybe they won’t be disappointed—black coffee or tea is way cheaper.

No wonder there was no change in athletic performance, because unlike nitrate-rich vegetables, energy drinks don’t change oxygen utilization or ratings of perceived exertion. But, what they do is raise your resting blood pressure. So, the opposite of vegetables likes beets and greens, which both improve athletic performance and reduce blood pressure at the same time—whereas “[e]nergy drinks [appear to] have no therapeutic benefit.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

65 responses to “Are There Benefits of Energy Drinks?

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  1. I was glad to hear the good news that these drinks are not only worthless, but even a bit dangerous. Just another money-making (dare I say…) scam, to prey on people who aren’t in-the-know.

  2. Before them by my take were the sodas. Sodas, mountain dew pepsi, many of them are just carriers for caffeine. And I know back in that day, quite a few addicted to them for that reason. Now the population has largly moved on. People still drink them, especially in third world type places, where they are still relatively new but for the most part their day is gone, replaced by sports drinks.

    It became pretty obvious in time soda was a completely horrible thing to drink. Really now no offense to those who are poor…but it really is only the poor with low education buying that.
    So considering their lineage this is no surprise that they are totally junk almost always. In the 500 we may find some that do not contain caffeine, and have some things that are not so bad, but the base is usually fruit juice which is sugar which is not WFPB.
    My expectation is like soda eventually they fall out of favor but still retain following strictly as vehicles for caffeine.
    Will they make one eventually with a beet juice base….yes they will Dr Greger eventually all things happen…what then??Then will we have one with a base that is healthful and a carrier of caffeine? Hmmmm

      1. Well yes D,. I remind myself………. there are two forms of ignorance commonly willful and not.. Mostly I think the willful kind predominates in very addicted peoples who consume those things. I have known some back in the day drinking 8 at least in one afternoon. They have to at some point say..why am I doing this..like cigarettes perhaps, and then mentally put it forcibly on the back burner.
        A bit harder with sports drinks they are more concentrated, so 8 in a afternoon would kill one likely, or at least leave one feeling very bad. But it is the same.
        Coffee before this day I knew a few who would do that all day every day as well….some good to that but not to that level.

    1. It’s not just the caffeine it’s the addiction of SUGAR WITH CAFFEINE.

      Sugar alone can be a pretty good stimulant. Just give it to any 5 year old and watch. Well 5 year olds that are not already sugar dopped.

  3. interesting they get around caffeine limitations with the supplement loophole. That loophole was championed with good intentions,but has become a cesspool of greed. God bless america.

    Ive noticed a larger selection of naturally flavored carbonated water on the grocery shelves, which is a positive marker for the decline of sugar/chemical laden sodas. So wondering how carbonated water drinks in coated aluminum cans affect ones health.

  4. It would surprise me if there was anyone who didn’t know energy drinks were bad for you but just like fast foods, people ignore what they already know is bad for them ,

    1. mrpinkerton,

      There is no central source of information nowadays. People don’t know anything at all.

      I started coming here last year, but before that, I must have landed on a chiropractor’s youtube video about nutrition and kept getting google giving me that as a source of information. I landed on Dr. Greger one time, maybe because he was on Chris Beat Cancer, which Google/YouTube offered to me. It didn’t offer me more of his videos for a long time and I had to Google “Funny Vegan Dr with Glasses” to find him again. Now, when I go to YouTube, they offer me a whole line of Dr. Greger videos. but because I researched Keto, all of my ads are the Keto guy and I can’t seem to search for enough Whole Food Plant Based articles to get them to change it.

      It is the way things are now. If you look up anything at all, they will feed you sites which support that belief system.

      If people buy energy drinks at Amazon or using an online source, or write about it in an email or Google it, or post a photo with it, they will receive every positive position on their computer. That is the present and future of information.

      1. I had never heard of Dr. Greger or Dr. Barnard or Dr. Esselstyn or T. Colin Campbell or The China Study or Blue Zones or Forks Over Knives or any of it at all.

        I did Gerson, which is pretty much WFPB and they still didn’t offer me even one article or one video on it.

          1. Funny stuff Deb.
            I find my google on my computer is connected to my you tube prompts. Which produces untoward results. One thing quaried here for some specific purpose will show up as a video prompt suggestion. I never intended that but it has happened.
            And they definitively will tend to lead us all down rabbit holes of nonsense. I like a certain well defined type of music. After a bit of runs on my liked stuff, they start to edge in mass media hyped love songs which I detest..This bomb thing now in the news…they are running me right wing conspiracy stuff which is plainly made up news but for some reason they are targeting me with it. And they are claiming they are warring on fake news…

            .I have just started to subscribe to bunches so at least I don’t get as much of their nonsense. About a third vegan channels. Dont’ watch most of it but it is better than being bombarded with things like lizard peoples are invading our politic they tend to lean towards….some reason for that I would guess but it just annoys me.

            1. My lists subscriptions and all my viewing is alt left progressive and far left at that, telesure RT Jimmy Dore TYT and others. What do they prompt be with usually a full line on you tube…F news of course.

          2. One of the reasons that you weren’t directed to NutritionFacts.org, might have been that the good people at PropOrNot, in 2016, outed Dr. Greger and the website for spreading Russian propaganda. While they removed the website and a few others from their list of villains days after the public took issue with them and the article in Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post that first publicized the fantasy, Google is so in bed with the CIA and NSA that it would avoid directing you to such a possibly suspect site, just to keep their sources of power happy. Google is manipulative, to say the least.

              1. My joke had a bad aftertaste.

                Russia still is one of those threatening places who is poisoning people who go against their politics.

                Dr Greger, I hope they truly aren’t threatening the nutritionists who were on the list.

                I don’t see any evidence that you are being blackmailed into saying off things.

                I am almost sure that they would do it.

                And that conspiracy sites would also make things up.

                You be careful not to get too close to the politicians and be careful about wanting to be famous.

                1. I know that billions of dollar food industries are dangerous and billions of dollar pharmacy industries are dangerous and billions of dollars medical industries are dangerous and countries and governments making money off of all of them are dangerous.

                  My wanting the good doctor to stay away from all the dangerous people but I also know that they want to control powerful people, so I pause and say that I am glad that you were removed from the list and I also say, I wish you to be careful. You need to create as many Mini-Me’s as possible to have some spring up and take the focus off of you saving lives.

      2. Deb – 20 Weeks, Regarding your statement, “There is no central source of information nowadays.”, please be careful what you wish for!

        I grew up in the days when newspapers were the primary source of information and everyone believed what they read because they had no alternative source of information. There were a few different newspapers but they all said basically the same thing, but gave the appearance that they were independent!

        Then came TV. The same thing. A few major channels saying the same thing giving the appearance of being independent sources. It wasn’t until the Internet got going in the early 2000’s that things began to change. I really enjoy having access to all the diverse opinions on the Internet. I have no problem filtering out the garbage and false information from the ones that speak the “truth”. I try to logically and objectively compare what I read and view with what makes sense after building a “knowledge base” through experience in my scientifically trained brain over the years :-)

        If we did have a central source of information, who would create and maintain it? The government? (Shades of the “Ministry of Truth” in George Orwell’s book 1984!) Some Big Tech company with the inherent biases we are now finding out that the management of these companies have? Even Wikipedia is not a perfect system either … who determines what really is presented there ultimately?

        I know the convenience of having a central location for all true knowledge is appealing, but unfortunately, this has been proven through history to not be achievable. I may be old fashioned, but I kinda like the idea of Free Speech as opposed to what some may call “benign censorship”.

        BTW, I use “Duckduckgo” as a search engine, which may not be perfect, but it’s an alternative to the Big Tech companies who are trying to rule the Internet now.

        1. Darwin,

          Yes, I do agree with you about that, but back then, when you wanted to correct lies or disinformation, most people would hear it.

          Now, more and more people position their lives to tune all of it out.

          I can’t remember the last time I read a newspaper or watched the news at all. Any channel.

          I opted out when my grandmother got sicker. Never went back. Not sure I ever will.

          It caused such unrest in her and in me. Unhealthy, dramatic, fear-based and it didn’t help our lives to know any of it.

          I don’t watch networks at all and I don’t have cable and don’t trust Google either, but, you see, I am good at not trusting any source of information in the first place, but that is probably why I suddenly started having to understand health things and I entered the internet wars and it is fierce and I might not have been tossed to and fro quite so much if I had never opted out.

          In general, I don’t know anything, except when I want to.

          I do keep track of the vulnerable countries and vulnerable peoples, but that never was what the press actually cared about, so that was always my own process.

        2. I looked up Duckduckgo.

          I will use it.

          I honestly don’t do any of the social media or most things on the internet and wouldn’t find sites like duckduckgo, unless Google gave it to me.

            1. Darwin, Steve,

              I will try it.

              I hate Google anyway because they call our company line multiple times every single day trying to threaten us to update our listing. They actually have a few threatening voices and some polite voices and variety, but I am not big on many things in modern society and we don’t do the type of things which we need online for. We have a specialized customer base, not the public. We probably do have one area of our business, which is public, but they are a captive public. We are who 2 companies who deal with the public use and we are the only ones in the region. They would have to go so many states over to find anyone else and I don’t think the ones in other regions have people with 50 years experience. Anyway, I get a few phone calls per day, which are real phone calls and the rest of them are Google. Not interested when you started saying, “Do not hang up the phone” in a threatening voice a year ago.

      3. I also hate Youtube’s algorithms, they seem to be force-feeding their favored agenda, old videos, and only selected topics I want, and are getting worse not better. I also find it particularly annoying that they have their dubious auto captioning censor cursing. I am not offended by “colorful language” and even if I were, if a hearing person gets to hear it, it feels pretty demeaning and paternalistic for a hearing impaired person is “protected” from it!

        1. I hear ya, Vegetater!

          Though I will say that I get so much free information on YouTube and on the internet that I really have no complaints.

    1. Wow, YeahRight, that was a great one!

      Powerful!

      I feel like I am the character shedding that tear, watching the madness.

      Perfect edge of a cliff we are all falling off.

      Sheep.

        1. Another powerful message, Deb. We knew that mean dude would get his comeuppance eventually!

          However, I don’t believe extraterrestrials are necessarily evil; there are some good ones out there.

  5. Anyway, I came back to look at the transcripts again, because I got distracted by all the comments and forgot to remember the stroke and heart attack data from the 3 to 4 blood pressure point increase.

    1. Deb, I was looking at the blood pressure trial too, and I was not surprised by the outcome (higher average blood pressure with consuming 4 cans Red Bull vs 4 cups of coffee – caffeine being equal) if only because of my personal experience. I have experimented while eating wfpb with varying amounts of exercise, salt, cups of tea and coffee. Nothing really impacted it, although a day at the beach swimming put it lowest. Except sugar! :( I wonder what would happen if they compared Red Bull and sugar ? Maybe it’s just my peculiar response to sugar, I don’t know.

  6. They also taste like sweetened, watered down battery acid… I remember that from the one time I had a red bull in my life. To my defense, it was a long time ago.

  7. Good news everybody, a quality label for “processed” WFPB foods https://plantricious.com/
    This is coming from Dr’s Michael Gregor and Scott Stoll & Brenda Davis RD.

    I twittered this already but the guidelines mention +3g fbiber per 100 calories and the FAQ say +4g fiber per 100 calories.
    It seems to use the RDI from the AHA for maximal daily sodium intake with the 1:1 rule from Jeff Novack RD for individual foods.

  8. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DR GREGER!
    You’ve helped turn an overweight pill gobbling slob in constant pain into a drug free slim vegan. Thank you Thank you! Best wishes and long healthy life to you!

  9. Taurine is used to lower blood pressure. Surely Dr Greger has come across that before; if not, he should do a search. I would like to know what causes this alarming spike in blood pressure in energy drink consumers, but just assuming that it was taurine without any evidence is a weak spot where this video is concerned.

      1. Don’t take my name in vein YR ;) If this is he Winston Price I know of he is..a accomplished MM Artist now our of Arizona, with three specialities I am aware of.
        And I am honored by his presence. If it is some other Winston Price…I may as well be honored by his presence.

        AS to taurine, I am in answer to his question, not really qualified to respond in a technical fashion with authority. In a overall fashion with some familiarity on the subject I will offer a common person opinion.
        Dr Gregers video references a very small number of peoples in his study reference, 9 I think. The blood pressure gain was a average number of 5 points over. a day average.

        Dr Gregers focus we must remember is not on a athletic performance, it is on long life and healthy living in a grouping of average peoples. In this section of his video he is referencing a specific blood pressure response. In the latter part of his video he is referencing just a response to athletic endeavor in a physical measurable way.

        So on the first…..blood pressure increase of five points has statistical negatives associated with it in any population study. However in a athletic specific person of young age with low normal blood pressure perameters(blood pressures vary significantly depending hour to hour on activity past activity and many other factors)_ a five point raise even over a days duration may have not the same negative association. Now if this result compounded and extended to a permenant and increasingly higher Bp…we would have a significant problem. But the study did not reference either of these and are beyond its scope. So a raise of five depending on activity endeavored would not necessarily be alarming at all. I can probably raise my BP in very short term by doing sets of deadlifts significantly if monitored in active phase. Five points would be meaningless. If averaged into a day it would be activity specific.

        The reason I am mentioning it is, that the numbers found in these 9 people I would not say are alarming at all. Normal peoples with American normal BP’s…sure it would be. But really that would depend then upon context.

        It seems there was a effort to isolate caffeine but not specific to taurine….from the video…”Same amount of caffeine, yet significantly higher average blood pressure by about five points over the coffee. So, maybe it’s the taurine, or some other combination of added ingredients, in energy drinks that makes them so harmful”

        So Dr Greger is not attributing the cause to taurine as he states.. maybe and it as well may be some other.
        So no offense to Winston Price..but that is not stated. Likely taurine specific study is necessary to make this determinant. This is not that.

        Personally a five point raise in BP in a health considered context is always considered a negative. In a athletic specific context not always.
        So that is my personal view I don’t represent this site in any manner as most know.

        On athletic performance. No one cannot take a sports drink and work out better put up better numbers. But it may assist one to get to the gym and be consistant with effort when there, fully awake energized. But this context is likely not the purview of Dr Greger, as his exercise is 90 of slow walk on a treadmill. For such a exercise….a sports drink is certainly not a thing to take.
        I will not deadlift better numbers due to any sports drink. I may extend the workout a bit due in the main to the awake effect it gives us.
        He is not wrong it what he says in this specific it is totally correct. But again it is a thing of context.
        So hopefully I have helped to explain it a bit to repeat I have no special qualification in this specific.
        We may on occasion read things into Dr Gregers videos that on study are just not there. No offense to those who do that, I myself have to reread
        the transcripts to see the specifcs on almost every one and now often just read the transcripts, as the videos leads to assumptions not present often.

        So I doing it likely others do as well.

        1. To add if this is the Winston Price I know of, I expect he will consider my statements, and no elaboration will be necessary. If not and this is another Winston Price… I expect elaboration may be necessary, and I will attempt to provide that.

          With Dr Greger and his audience it is important always to consider his focus for these videos. Sport specific nutrition and now vegan sports nutrition have very many carryovers but some things are just of variance within the fields of speciality. Salt load on ultramarathoners for instance in competition, are little served by following his videos on salt consumption negatives with the typical American….they are specifics that overrule generalities.

          1. Some may find this study interesting. It is on rats but nevertheless is a good read. Within it one finds in rats which were normally hypertensive taurine acted to increase BP. In normal rats taurine acted longer term to decrease BP…so it may be a variable affect depending on existant condition or lack of…which would lead to variance in findable result in study… https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2586397/

            1. This study references human cell study animal study and human study result and provided the result that in hypertensive humans likely taurine has a BP lowering effect.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3253515/

              Keep in mind the sports drink study referenced was in regard to normal tensive peoples not hypertensive. Likely it seems that variable result may be found in normal tensive peoples by my read.. They are quite specific in conclusion of result showing hypertensive effect of a positive nature.
              But you may care to read the study yourself and make your own finding. It is quite a comprehensive and interesting read.

              1. These are the kinds of BP increases found in max effort weight lifting. We think of BP as static and about the same the reality for athletes is far from that. Think of adding 5 to these numbers…think it would make a bit of a difference??

                From LS…” Blood Pressure During Exercise
                Blood pressure can be dramatically increased during resistance exercise by doing the Valslava maneuver. This maneuver involves holding your breath during lifting. It is used to help increase the amount of weight that can be lifted. Blood pressures of 320 mmHg systolic and 250 mmHg diastolic have been reported during heavy lower-body lifts. Higher blood pressures during lifting are seen with very heavy weights for a low number of repetitions versus lifting lighter weights for more repetitions.”

                Power lifters typically do lower body heavy lifting about once or twice a week. Overall it is not well studied, but probably other factors excluded such as steroid use body weight and this and that, repetitive training such as this, would tend to lower at rest BP…but the numbers are simply outstanding to consider.

  10. Hi,

    I am an International student living in Singapore and had a few questions regarding plant-based diets.

    I have recently gone on a plant-based diet, but my parents believe that it is unhealthy and unsustainable.
    Their main concern is the fact that animal proteins are better and healthier than plant ones, as well as the fact that a plant-based diet may not supply me with other important nutrients like iron, calcium.

    I’m trying to find data to show them that a plant-based diet is sustainable, however, they do not want to listen to me, as I lack any type of medical nutritional education. Any information regarding the topic online has different sides and takes, that my parents don’t trust any of it.

    I would be so glad if I could get in contact with someone on this site that could help me answer these questions and amplify my understanding of the topic.

    – Are animal protein ‘better’ than plant? Why?

    – What can be done regarding other nutrients

    I appreciate kindly anyone that may help me regarding my issue

    1. Show your parents the movie ‘Forks Over Knives’. It is on Netflix, or you can can download from your usual movie source. That should help them to understand the many health benefits of going Whole Food Plant Based.
      To answer your questions, go to the search by topic part of the Nutrition-facts website.

    2. You can show your parents that they can trust Dr Greger’s website as all the statements are backed up by scientific studies which are fully referenced so they can look up the research themselves.
      With regards to nutrients, the only supplement you must take if your are not eating animal products is B12. It is also worth keeping an eye on your omega3 fatty acids, so include a source such as ground flax seeds or algal omega 3 supplement. There is plenty of iron and calcium in fruits and vegetables, especially green leafies like kale and spinach.
      To see the advantages of plant protein over animal protein, look up protein in the search part of this website, it is an excellent summary

    3. To add to the comments already versed Fabio, here is a link to Dr Gregers video on proteins in plants….https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-protein-combining-myth/
      It was once thought plants only provided certain proteins not enough for human life substance. But that was largly drawn from studies done on rats in the 20th century. Rats in this specific grow much faster than humans and in fact human breast milk is a negative if fed to rats, they do not thrive on it.But humans do. Our bodily processes are much different than theirs in some respects. We also are much different than cows as well.

      Dr McDougall provided a challenge to the protein requirements of the American heart association around 2002 in study piece that was published. It was met with a response and admission that if done with care, a vegetarian diet without animal product may meet our human needs.
      The most typical source of protein for vegans is beans. The protein combining notion was a myth. We seemingly utilize protein in some manner by retaining a store, which we typically consume throughout a day, no singular meal typically provides our protein necessity.
      Aminos are the composite of protein typically referred to in discussion. Varying amounts are present in different foods. There are 9 essential aminos which we are thought to have necessarily in diet, as we cannot produce them internally from other things. They are all available in plants beans and such. This is widely known of today and those who reference earlier thinking are not representing current knowledge.

      If you eat chips and coca cola you may be vegetarian but will certainly be unhealthy. If you are a meat eater and eat only steak and chips you will be unhealthy in the same manner. So the same care and attention must be applied regardless of what one is eating. Singular additional item, Whole food plant based, B-12 is it. WE must add at least once a week a supplement. But if one is eating a semi processed food vegan diet, it is found in many of the products one may buy.
      Iodized salt vitamin D in the US in milk…things are added to other things in the interest of health by usually government instigation. So supplementation occurs in a meat diet as well, it is just most do not recognize it.

      Calcium Iron and this and that…one must be attentive to ones diet and consume a adequately balanced whole food plant based diet. Vitamin B-12 it Is widely recognized must be supplemented. Other than that, there is no nutrient that is vegan specific as deficient.
      Other things one may care to add in supplement as meat eaters commonly do.
      Vitamin D for instance is made by our bodies when in sun. If not in sun much, one may care to supplement with that and it can be found in vegan source.
      I could go through a list of things to look out for, but really we must eat healthy diets when on a whole foods plant based as well as a meat eater must.
      I would suggest in a singular item consideration one may care if not utilizing iodized salt, to consume some variant of sea veggie. Kelp may be excessive in iodine content but dulse is not. Arame I would stay away from it is often contaminated.

      Hope that helps to add to the comments already versed.

  11. Hi
    I was watching a program made by Horizon a few day ago and was amazed at what it was saying.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bprdcn

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bprdcn

    BBC Two – Horizon, 2018, Vitamin Pills: Miracle or Myth?

    At about the 35min mark it explains how free radicals are required for health and that they are beneficial. The Antioxidants stopped any benefits and had a overall higher mortality rate. This goes against everything that I believe and I’m shocked.
    Can you please take a look and give me your verdict on this please.

    Kind regards
    Chris.

    1. Both articles are referencing vitamin pills and supplements. Yes on study various supplements vitamins, many, are not found to produce benefit and may actually produce harm. Vitamins are isolated specifics found within foods and in the most part they are not naturally found in nature.

      We did affirmatively not evolve consuming vitamin pills. The idea however that antioxidents found in whole foods are a negative, I think is a misread of the material. One may overdose if one consumes a pound of turmeric at one sitting and may even die, study may show that, but a normal consumed amount of say 1/4 teaspoon with a meal, is actually very very healthy. So it depends a bit on concentration. One has more tendency to lung cancer if one consumes overtly excessive beta carotene found in supplement, so it depends also on how a thing is consumed in isolation or with other likely interacting nutritional items.
      Free radical production is necessary and enhances certain bodily processes. That also does not infer gross free radical production above that normally present caused by our environment and/or bodily processes is healthy.

      We need oxygen to live but it also tends to produce free radicals, oxidation of tissues, and this and that…so it is always a question of balance of things not a solitary inclusion.
      This is not to infer all vitamins and supplements are bad but one must indeed carefully consider what is needed in ones diet and what is not. For vegans vitamin B-12 is a necessity per example. Without it over time problems present. So we must evaluate vitamins and supplements and decide what is needed and what is not. Overt blanket generalizations are not helpful to that.

    2. Chris,

      Interesting claims….. however it was revealing to listen to the program and the isolated testing aspects, individuals and groups used along with their methods used for assessment.

      Unlike the statement that 99% of us do not have elevated oxidant loads, it’s hard to swallow. I have run hundreds of test where my patients living in the US, many of whom were not taking supplements, who had elevated levels and did need changes in their lifestyles, exposures and nutrition.

      To be clear there is no question that too much of some/many nutrients, be they antioxidants or others, especially in concentrated isolated forms, should be used with proper testing and in the appropriate individual.

      The real issue that seems to be easily glossed over in this video is that some of those injured took large doses and we have no idea of their lifestyle or other cofactors, and I want to emphasis the quality of their supplement. The interview with the 59 yr old who had indeed suffered from liver damage leaves me feeling that the intent of the program is solely as a scare tactic and not good science. The limited number of patients over an undefined time frame of 80 people affected can only be evaluated with full information, not innuendo. We don’t even know if any others had as an example the need for a transplant, just liver issues.

      The scare tactics used at ~50 minute mark about the green tea extract left me angry. There was not evaluation of the quality of the product which is known as one of the supplements with higher potential levels of contamination and the intake levels to meet the stated questionable levels is so blown out of proportion, ie. 80 affected people with unknown levels is so questionable as to be absurd and far from scientific. To get a sense of the science behind even the extraction process go to: Efficient extraction strategies of tea (Camellia sinensis) biomolecules and recognize that knowing the supplement in a bit more detail makes a difference.

      On the other side of the coin, keep in mind that all of the speakers talked about adequate nutrition from food sources. If you look at the authors levels of vitamin d as he stated, he was low, so why not supplement ? Keep in mind that the Vitamin D level was increased in 2016 UK standards. And if you dive deeper you find that not unlike elsewhere in the world the diet intake is not adequate for many either due to monies, cultural practices, or availability to name some of the limiting factors..(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5848749/)

      Let’s really consider what constitutes adequate if you’re in the UK. You can see that not unlike the US they have decided on multiple approaches, EARs/RNIs/ and the LRNIs. (https://www.nutrition.org.uk/attachments/article/907/Nutrition%20Requirements_Revised%20Oct%202017.pdf) But read carefully , this is to meet the minimum need not the optimal needs of individuals.

      So who really reaches their optimal levels should be a question posed, not the minimums to address good health care concerns.

      As to the issue of dose concerns, obviously its dependent on your genetics, exposures, lifestyle and of course diet. Then also consider that it’s very much a potential for anyone to test the effects of their inputs, be that diet or supplements on their cells by utilizing tests such as the Spectracell micronutrients test (https://www.spectracell.com/patients/patient-micronutrient-testing/) and addressing the level of anti-oxidant effects on their own white blood cells. If you want to really address the simplistic and now know to be antiquated idea that the dose makes the poison, download a good easy to understand book, A small dose of Toxicology by Steven Gilbert.

      With all that said I would encourage anyone who thinks that the vitamin field is out of control to check into the industry magazines, freely available, and note the extensive and expanding body of evidence done by multitudes of firms using good scientific methodologies. As some examples see: the Nutrition Business Journal or Nutraingredieints-usa.com or Nutracuticals World or go to the Linus Pauling Institute’s database and keep in mind that this list is a VERY short list of resources.

      It’s amazing when you get other opinions and start to evaluate the literature and findings in a broader light, not being a sensationalist with limited info and an agenda.

      Take away: a PBWF diet, coupled with testing to determine your individual needs makes sense.

      Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

      1. This is rather technical and likely will not be available in link…..www.fao.org/docrep/004/Y2809E/y2809e0n.htm#bm23.2
        but the World Health Organization has provided opinion piece in reference to the necessity for the inclusion of anti oxidants in diet.

        Copy paste in a search box and it will likely prompt up.
        It is quite widely a known, this necessity. WHO establishes its opinions and recommendations, in this specific by a subgroup, that analyizes all the available information from study as determinant.

        I always use global warming as a example in this. There may be 40,000 studies which in some manner represent global warming as real and being human made. There exists as well 400 or so to the inverse. We may in most things find those who represent a minority view and represent that.
        But concensus is in general the determinant of validity not personal bias. Which is why we find every nation with the exception of one, adhering to some form of the latest political attempt to mediate it. The 40,000 way over weight the 400. So it is with nutrition. World bodies determine recommendations on the basis of concensus not outliers.

        1. I think the issue isn’t as complicated when people eat fruit and vegetables and drink green tea.

          People who don’t are the ones who don’t know what to do.

          There are people who eat 100% meat. Should they take supplements or not?

          I can go to the dog study with green tea extract and say that no matter how low the dose was dogs were dying until thry finally shut down the study altogether.

          I think that Dr Greger had a green tea supplement Cancer study where they got more tumors and had increased mortality taking the supplement. But what are people who don’t eat their nutrition supposed to do? Are they better off taking it or not.

          I remember long conversations with my grandmothers doctor when she was low in folate. To supplement or not to supplement, that is the non-foliage eaters question.

          I may have a B-12 deficiency from forgetting my B-12 too often or because they only had the Methyl version. Not 100% sure but I started having leg spasms and on a hunch, I looked up B-12. Could be.

          I thought my soy latte would cover it, but I realized today that I don’t know for sure whether Starbuck’s soy milk is fortified and I have not used plant milks at home even once in all this time.

          Oops.

          I have been taking the Methyl, but I already know people were testing deficient even with the Methyl. I am not dehydrated. I drink a lot of water with electrolites. I dunno. I will get some Cyano tomorrow and see if it goes away.

          Does B-12 deficiency affect sleep?

          1. I just realized that I had stopped having hallucinations for months until I possibly had a few recently. Honocysteine? Or B-12 deficiency?

            I am not consistent enough with my vegetablds eithet. When it got colder, I stopped wanting them.

            1. I just looked up a skin thing I am having with small lesions not close together. If I run my hand over them they feel like chicken pox and I thought they were spider bites or something but it can be caused by B-12 insufficiency, too.

              So maybe.

      2. Nice contribution, Dr Kadish!

        I appreciate the resources.

        I will say that I researched Green Tea extract and got more confused the more studies I read.

        I can’t listen to the UK link to hear what the two of you are discussing. It says UK only.

        Honestly, Dr McDougall and Dr Greger already got me off of most supplements becsuse of the Vitamin mortality studies.

        There are a few which I try to take, but it feels like the studies themselves war against each other and the doctors don’t all agree.

        Thanks agsin for the resources.

        1. Deb, I can’t play the link either of course but I did post the article last week , and I repost it here.

          https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-45971416

          It is about the fellow who needed a liver transplant after taking green tea supplements.
          I am at about the same place you are Deb in my thinking about supplements. I take low doses of B12, some D3 in the winter time, and that’s about it. After I finish the container of matcha, I won’t buy anymore of that either the risk of heavy metal contamination isnt worth it.

          I recently went for bloodwork here and hopefully all is fine. If something is amiss and I need to adjust my diet (with plant preferably, but animal possibly) then ok, I’ll try it. But I won’t buy vitamins or supplements.

    3. Hey Chris- Antioxidant vitamins including Vitamin E are not helpful and have potential harm. It’s not that it wasn’t a reasonable thing to test. But after well-done studies found harm, it is advised to avoid such supplements. One exception is Vitamin B12. If one eats a whole food, plant based diet, there may not be sufficient B12-making bacteria to create enough of this vitamin, which is involved and proper neurologic and blood cell function. Therefore, it is advised to take B12 250mcg daily (or 2500mcg once weekly). Other critical vitamins and minerals can be obtained from a diverse, whole food, plant based diet, and, for Vitamin D, 15 minutes of sun exposure on bare arms and/or fortified foods like soy milk. Best luck! -Dr Anderson, Health Support Volunteer

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