Are Weight-Loss Supplements Effective?

Are Weight-Loss Supplements Effective?
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Are there any safe and effective dietary supplements for weight loss?

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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.

In my last video, I noted that one investigation found four of out five bottles of commercial herbal supplements bought at major retailers didn’t contain any of the herbs on their labels, instead often containing little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice “and houseplants.”

At least you hope it just contains houseplants. Weight-loss supplements are infamous for being adulterated with drugs. In a sampling of 160 weight-loss supplements sampled that claimed to be “100 percent natural,” more than half were tainted with drugs: active pharmacological ingredients, ranging from antidepressants like Prozac to erectile dysfunction meds like Viagra. Diuretic drugs are frequent contaminants, which makes sense. In my keto videos, I talk about rapid water loss as the billion-dollar gimmick that has sold low-carb diets for more than a century. But why the Viagra?

At least the spiked Viagra and Prozac are drugs that are legal. Researchers in Denver tested every weight-loss supplement they could find within a 10-mile radius, and alarmingly found a third were adulterated with banned ingredients. The most common illegal adulterant of weight loss supplements is sibutramine, which was sold as Meridia before it was yanked off the market back in 2010 for heart attack and stroke risk; now also blamed for cases of slimming supplement-induced psychosis.

An analysis of weight-loss supplements bought off the internet advertised with claims such as “purely natural,” ‘‘harmless,’’ or ‘‘traditional herbal” found that a third contained high-dose banned sibutramine, and the rest contained caffeine. Wouldn’t you be able to tell if caffeine was added to a supplement? Perhaps not if it also had Temazepam added—a controlled substance (benzodiazepine) “downer” sedative found in half of the caffeine-tainted supplements.

Doesn’t the FDA demand recalls of adulterated supplements? Yes, but they just pop back up on store shelves. Twenty-seven supplements purchased at least six months after the recalls were released, and two-thirds still contained banned substances—17 out of 27—with the same pharmaceutical adulterant found originally, and six containing one or more additional banned ingredients. Aren’t the manufacturers penalized for noncompliance? Yes, but “fines for violations are small compared to the profits.”

One of the ways supplement makers can skirt the law is by labeling them as “not intended for human consumption;” for example, labelling the fatal fat-burner DNP as an industrial or research chemical. That’s like how designer street drugs can be sold openly at gas stations and convenience stores as “bath salts.” Another way is to claim synthetic stimulants added to slimming supplements are actually natural food constituents, like listing the designer drug dimethylamylamine (DMAA) as “geranium oil extract.” The FDA banned it in 2012 after it was determined DMAA was “not found in geraniums.” (And who eats geraniums anyway?) Despite being tentatively tied to cases of sudden death and hemorrhagic stroke, DMAA has continued to be found in weight-loss supplements with innocuous names like Simply Skinny Pollen, made by Bee Fit with Trish.

There is little doubt that certain banned supplements, like ephedra, could help people lose weight. “There’s only one problem,” wrote a founding member of the American Board of Integrative Medicine: “This supplement may kill you.”

Are there any safe and effective dietary supplements for weight loss? When popular slimming supplements were put to the test in a randomized placebo-controlled trial, not a single one could beat out sugar pills. A systematic review of systematic reviews of diet pills came to a similar conclusion; that none appear to generate appreciable impacts “on body weight without undue risks.” That was the conclusion reached in a similar review out of the Weight Management Center at Johns Hopkins recently, which ended with this: “It is fitting to highlight that perhaps the most general and safest alternative/herbal approach to weight control is to substitute low-[calorie] density foods for high-[calorie] density and processed foods, thereby reducing total [calorie] intake.” (In other words, more whole plant foods and fewer animal foods and junk.) “By taking advantage of the low-[calorie] density and health-promoting effects of plant-based foods, one may be able to achieve weight loss, or at least assist weight maintenance without cutting down on the volume of food consumed or compromising its nutrient value.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Bruno Glätsch 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.

In my last video, I noted that one investigation found four of out five bottles of commercial herbal supplements bought at major retailers didn’t contain any of the herbs on their labels, instead often containing little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice “and houseplants.”

At least you hope it just contains houseplants. Weight-loss supplements are infamous for being adulterated with drugs. In a sampling of 160 weight-loss supplements sampled that claimed to be “100 percent natural,” more than half were tainted with drugs: active pharmacological ingredients, ranging from antidepressants like Prozac to erectile dysfunction meds like Viagra. Diuretic drugs are frequent contaminants, which makes sense. In my keto videos, I talk about rapid water loss as the billion-dollar gimmick that has sold low-carb diets for more than a century. But why the Viagra?

At least the spiked Viagra and Prozac are drugs that are legal. Researchers in Denver tested every weight-loss supplement they could find within a 10-mile radius, and alarmingly found a third were adulterated with banned ingredients. The most common illegal adulterant of weight loss supplements is sibutramine, which was sold as Meridia before it was yanked off the market back in 2010 for heart attack and stroke risk; now also blamed for cases of slimming supplement-induced psychosis.

An analysis of weight-loss supplements bought off the internet advertised with claims such as “purely natural,” ‘‘harmless,’’ or ‘‘traditional herbal” found that a third contained high-dose banned sibutramine, and the rest contained caffeine. Wouldn’t you be able to tell if caffeine was added to a supplement? Perhaps not if it also had Temazepam added—a controlled substance (benzodiazepine) “downer” sedative found in half of the caffeine-tainted supplements.

Doesn’t the FDA demand recalls of adulterated supplements? Yes, but they just pop back up on store shelves. Twenty-seven supplements purchased at least six months after the recalls were released, and two-thirds still contained banned substances—17 out of 27—with the same pharmaceutical adulterant found originally, and six containing one or more additional banned ingredients. Aren’t the manufacturers penalized for noncompliance? Yes, but “fines for violations are small compared to the profits.”

One of the ways supplement makers can skirt the law is by labeling them as “not intended for human consumption;” for example, labelling the fatal fat-burner DNP as an industrial or research chemical. That’s like how designer street drugs can be sold openly at gas stations and convenience stores as “bath salts.” Another way is to claim synthetic stimulants added to slimming supplements are actually natural food constituents, like listing the designer drug dimethylamylamine (DMAA) as “geranium oil extract.” The FDA banned it in 2012 after it was determined DMAA was “not found in geraniums.” (And who eats geraniums anyway?) Despite being tentatively tied to cases of sudden death and hemorrhagic stroke, DMAA has continued to be found in weight-loss supplements with innocuous names like Simply Skinny Pollen, made by Bee Fit with Trish.

There is little doubt that certain banned supplements, like ephedra, could help people lose weight. “There’s only one problem,” wrote a founding member of the American Board of Integrative Medicine: “This supplement may kill you.”

Are there any safe and effective dietary supplements for weight loss? When popular slimming supplements were put to the test in a randomized placebo-controlled trial, not a single one could beat out sugar pills. A systematic review of systematic reviews of diet pills came to a similar conclusion; that none appear to generate appreciable impacts “on body weight without undue risks.” That was the conclusion reached in a similar review out of the Weight Management Center at Johns Hopkins recently, which ended with this: “It is fitting to highlight that perhaps the most general and safest alternative/herbal approach to weight control is to substitute low-[calorie] density foods for high-[calorie] density and processed foods, thereby reducing total [calorie] intake.” (In other words, more whole plant foods and fewer animal foods and junk.) “By taking advantage of the low-[calorie] density and health-promoting effects of plant-based foods, one may be able to achieve weight loss, or at least assist weight maintenance without cutting down on the volume of food consumed or compromising its nutrient value.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Bruno Glätsch via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

If you missed the previous video, check out Are Weight-Loss Supplements Safe?

I mentioned one of the recent keto videos I did. Here is the whole series:

My new book, How Not to Diet, is out now and is all about optimal weight loss.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

89 responses to “Are Weight-Loss Supplements Effective?

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  1. Just follow the advice of Miss Piggy: “Never eat more than you can lift.” :-)

    So many people have oral fixations and feel the need to keep stuffing things in their mouth, including supplements that can kill them. Always searching for that magic something.

    If they don’t have gum to chew, cancer sticks to “stick” in their mouths, or snack foods to nibble throughout the day, they feel deprived.

      1. I have a little bit different take on the eating, nibbling, “oral fixations”, etc.
        I haven’t looked into this on PubMed or anything, but I harbor a hypothesis that the snacking and nibbling that we all like to do is in fact a built-in component of our physiology. If we were still gatherers of food i.e., we had to seek it out, we would be grazing as we went along. Sort of like cows, deer, elk, chimps, etc. Digging for roots and eating leaves might mean that we nibble as we go along each day. So I feel like I understand how someone might want to nibble. It’s a built-in behavior. I would beg to differ with both Freud and Jung that constantly putting things in one’s mouth is a sexualized behavior. The first things that babies do is put whatever-is-in-their-hand into their mouths which, in my hypothesis, is in preparation for a lifetime of foraging for food.
        I used to work with a woman who, when finished with her lunch, would chew gum every day afterword because, as she said, “I’m finished eating but I’m not done chewing”. I, too, sometimes just feel like chewing and gnoshing with no immediate hunger. So I munch on peas in the pods – crunchy and sweet and comparatively low in calories. For me, the desire to chew is one of the pleasures in life.

        1. I haven’t looked into this on PubMed or anything, but I harbor a hypothesis that the snacking and nibbling that we all like to do is in fact a built-in component of our physiology. If we were still gatherers of food i.e., we had to seek it out, we would be grazing as we went along.
          ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
          Interesting hypothesis Ruth.

        2. Ruth,

          Thanks for sharing.

          Yes, leave it to a man to make every single thing about sex.

          That is my gender-biased response.

          Though, Dr. Lisle might point to the pleasure centers of the brain and the studies where the animals stop eating and die, and sex trumped food, but I think drugs won. Boy, that was a long, long time ago. Hard to keep information.

        3. “…..the snacking and nibbling that we all like to do is in fact a built-in component of our physiology.”
          – – – – –

          Ruth: Uh-uh…I for one do NOT like to snack and nibble my life away — so “all like to do” is incorrect.

          As I’ve posted before, as I eat three filling meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner), I’m not even thinking about what to stick in my mouth at other times.

          But if it works for you, and you have no weight issues…….

          1. Sorry to see you so rigid and concrete about my comments. The comment you quote and take issue with is euphemistic.
            I was writing to speak to or about YOU specifically.
            However you choose to live your life. . . fine by me. I don’t follow how you choose eat during your day. You’re not worth my time.

    1. YR, re: “snack foods to nibble throughout the day”.

      So true, especially around the Holidays! Then in January all the weight-loss advertisements start appearing for pills and exercise machines!
      Same ole thing year after year to suck in the naive young people who don’t yet know the routine :-)

      1. WFB-Hal,

        It’s Big Business at it’s best! Overfeed the population by selling them CRAP, then sell them iffy weight loss treatments and products. Win win for them — hand in glove.

        Then, when the ill effects of excess weight and other health concerns become apparent, Big Med and Big Pharma step right in. More winning!

        As the cartoon of the first day of medical school stated on the blackboard: “ A PATIENT CURED IS A CUSTOMER LOST.”

        1. Suppose everybody in the US went WFPB today. If what these plant based doctors say is true then 90% of doctors would be out of work shortly. Pharma profits would tank by over 90% and health care infrastructure like hospitals, insurance etc would see a similar loss of revenue. Most of the corn and soy grown as feed would be unnecessary so a bunch of farmers would go under as well as the animal products and processed food industries. It would tank the US economy.

          1. Blair,

            But suppose it was a slower, gradual process. The markets would adjust.

            btw, the US pays much more than any other country, with rare exceptions, for health care costs. It’s exorbitant. Also, a drag on the economy. A huge drain on personal finances. And, it’s not really “health care,” but rather “symptom treatment.” SAD.

          2. It would tank the US economy.
            ———————————————–
            d j answered:
            But suppose it was a slower, gradual process. The markets would adjust.
            ————————————————————————————————–
            Or instead of the markets adjusting… how about life-on-earth itself adjusting to the predicted result from the link below?

            https://singularityhub.com/2019/12/29/how-a-machine-that-can-make-anything-would-change-everything/

          3. So Blair,
            Do you think it would be terrible if farmers grew vegetables instead of GMO grains and soy? They could also grow fruit trees and berry bushes. If they had animals, they might let them roam around, as if they respected them and wanted them to have good lives. Have you ever looked into permaculture or sustainability? Regenerative agriculture? There are ways of growing food in line with nature. So the food is nutritious, wildlife survives, and everyone has enough to eat. The soil gets better over time and we are more able to feed ourselves over time. Maybe not as many billionaires tricking people into staying unhealthy, but a lot more people contributing toward positive lifestyles. Doctors being employed to keep people unhealthy is terrible for our economy. They are highly skilled people. They could help the economy in lots of other ways: research, designing protocols for maintenance of health and prevention of disease instead of only profits. We need an overall system that actually helps our people. Imagine a system that was truly health care, instead of a disease profit system.

    2. I read your comment a few days ago, and this has been bothering me more as time passes, rather than less, so here goes.

      I hardly think my parents’ use of cancer sticks was an oral fixation. My father, who was in Holland when World War II started and then fought in it, probably started smoking around then. I don’t know when my mother started but she certainly didn’t stop when she buried my dad.

      She did quit later, and told me that smoking was sometimes the only thing that could calm her down or get her through. The oral fixation of a widow with three young kids.

      I hate smoking and have never taken a first-hand puff in my life. Maybe that was the best that both of them could do in those circumstances.

      Maybe my overeating, or oral fixation as you call it, was the way to deal with the worst depression I’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot, when I was taking care of my mother whose brain was dissolving with dementia. Ridicule my overeating with depression and this conversation is going to get very interesting.

      So the next time you come on here to profess how wonderful your eating habits are and screwed up someone else’s are, maybe consider depositing your oral diarrhea elsewhere.

      1. J., as an unbiased observer, I wonder if you aren’t taking YR’s comments too personally? Her statement: “So many people have oral fixations and feel the need to keep stuffing things in their mouth, including supplements that can kill them. Always searching for that magic something.”… could have been aimed at me because I indeed take supplements by the handsful, searching for that magic something.

        But I doubt she had me in mind when she made that statement… I think she was just offering her opinion on things in general.

        Certainly doesn’t warrant a “depositing your oral diarrhea elsewhere” response (IMO.) Anyway, sorry if you feel bitter about her post and hope you feel better bitte about the whole thing.

        1. Lonie,I have been somewhat expecting a response similar to yours. Perhaps you have a point and of course I’m considering it. I often find things said around here to be somewhat arrogant with a “holier-than-thou” attitude, etc., that I think is unkind at best and I guess I hit my limit on those. I don’t care for ridicule on a forum where we are trying to learn and improve. As an educator, I have no tolerance for that. I’ve put up with too much of that and lots more for too long.

          ~~~~~~~ Re?

          1. “Lonie,I have been somewhat expecting a response similar to yours. Perhaps you have a point and of course I’m considering it.”
            —————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
            To be clear, you have just as much right to have an opinion as the rest of us. ‘-)
            __________________________________________________________________
            “As an educator, I have no tolerance for that. I’ve put up with too much of that and lots more for too long.”
            ———————————————————————————————————-
            As someone who personally could not put up with what educators go through… thank you for your service.

    3. My comment was a reply to the first comment by YR (Yeah Right). I did not specify that at the top of my comment because the comment reply space opened right under the other one. Apparently, however, the reply moves to the end when posted and loses context.

  2. Back to the topic, this is horrifying to me and not just about these meds. Them putting drugs in herbal supplements and not putting any of the herbs in the supplements is so frustrating.

    I am not saying it because I want to take supplements, but there have been times I have taken them and the people around me are taking them.

    Yesterday, when I was looking up what nutritional things improved tight junctions, Berberine was on the list and I do know people who are pre-Diabetic who have taken it. I took it when I started this process because of my horizontal nail ridges. The concept that I could have been taking Viagra instead makes me angry.

        1. Lonie,

          Is it my conspiracy-oriented brain or is someone providing Viagra.

          Someone is sitting around and saying, “What should we use to fill these capsules? Hmmmm, well, if men start getting better erections, they will buy more pills and not know what motivated them.”

            1. So, if you have a 3-hour erection after you take your fen-fen, you might want to get it checked out.
              ———————————————————————————————————————————
              Have I gotten fen-fen mixed up with a viagra mimic? I thought it was a prescription weight loss drug that turned out to be destroying the heart valve of people taking it. (Just looked it up and it was spelled fen-phen.)

              I had a niece taking it and when I learned of the problems from it, I contacted her immediately and she stopped taking it, apparently in time as she has had no heart valve problems in the decades since then.

              But about that 3-hour erection… how does one get that?… not that I, um, want one… just want to know what to do to, you know… avoid having one of those? ‘-)

              1. VIAGRA can cause serious side effects. Rarely reported side effects include:

                an erection that will not go away (priapism). If you have an erection that lasts more than 4 hours, get medical help right away. If it is not treated right away, priapism can permanently damage your penis

                I knew of a man that this happened to. The ER didn’t exactly know what to do. If I remember correctly it took pain to the area to undo the problem.

  3. Dr. Greger – I love you and what you do. That said, it’s very distracting to have you appear in the videos – apparently you are too mezmerizing! I find I can’t concentrate on what you are conveying. And it’s also harder to see the journal articles you put up. Please go back to your voice-over video style. Thanks for everything you do! Life is so much easier when I can look up specific items or direct someone to your website to learn the real science about a topic.

    1. Hi Dani. Here’s an idea: just expand the screen on your computer and you can cut out Dr. Greger’s presence, at least most of him. And you can read the articles he is discussing. I tried it and it worked pretty well.

      1. My solution is to scroll down so the information boxes are at the top of the computer screen. Still get the waving hands in the picture but less of a distraction. But for today’s video I went directly to the comments section and just listened.

    2. Laughing at the mesmerizing. Yes, it must be that.

      The expanding the screen, turning off the volume and pushing the pause button over and over and over again helps, but those front texts come up wicked fast in this one. You gotta be real quick to see what they are covering up.

      1. Dr. Greger,

        It still isn’t you. It is still the format. I want you to just go back to the old one so that people don’t keep shooting the messenger.

        Video people, don’t ever do this to Dr. Greger again.

        I actually enjoyed seeing your face in this one because it is something you are passionate about, but the text boxes cutting off the graphs and charts in the back was edited even quicker this time.

        Gotta be a young editor who hasn’t watched “Brain Games” and doesn’t know that older minds have slower reaction times and we hear differently and see differently and think differently than the younguns.

        1. Mostly, Dr. Greger, I don’t want you to be put in a position where people are judging your suits or other stupid things when you have such important topics.

          Any person in the public eye goes through it but as WFPB gets bigger, your having videos like this just gives the haters you as a target and they are so threatened that you already are one.

          Nope, I want health and happiness and good things for your life as you provide this service to humanity.

    3. I don’t understand why people have problems with this approach.

      It;s how teaching has always been done. Some person stands in front of students or an audience of interested people and informs and instructs with or without visual aids. It’s how schools and universities still do it today. It is apparently still effective and it’s been hypothesised that it taps into an almost instinctive human fondness for storytelling. Which itself may explain why so many people find personal testimonies (true or untrue) so much more compelling than rigorous scientific studies.

      There is always the option of reading the transcript and viewing the source documents.

      For what it’s worth, I personally find the current approach effective and enjoyable..

      1. It;s how teaching has always been done. Some person stands in front of students or an audience of interested people and informs and instructs with or without visual aids.
        ———————————————————————-
        Tom, in a University lecture setting the professor isn’t right there in your face like a movie close-up. And, the professor isn’t presenting written words in a box (like cue cards for instance) while lecturing.

        To be honest, there isn’t that much here that is new, so I’m o.k. with this kind of presentation. I come here mainly for the comments anyway. ‘-)

        1. That’s not my experience Lonie.

          Sit in the first couple of rows and the instructor is up close and personal. And some of those projection screens and whiteboards they use are pretty darned big.

          i think the current format of the videos is pretty much old school teaching style. Or the YouTube talking heads approach for that matter, it seems quite unexceptional to me. But that may be just me.

          Of course, we don’t know how representative of a wider audience the views expressed here are. No offence to anybody posting on this specific topic, but it always seems to be the critics who are most motivated to comment in any given situation. They may or may not be representative of the target audience. .NF probably needs to engage in a more scientific sampling sampling process to gauge which format is most effective in attracting and retaining viewers. And getting the message across most effectively.

          1. Of course, we don’t know how representative of a wider audience the views expressed here are. No offence to anybody posting on this specific topic, but it always seems to be the critics who are most motivated to comment in any given situation. They may or may not be representative of the target audience.
            ——————————————————————————————————
            I disagree that it is only the critics who are objecting. I think one has to be put off by the presentation to be motivated to object.

            I suspect that there are many of the faithful who also object but aren’t natural boat rockers. They are probably hoping those who are objecting get the change back to the old format done without their having to go on record.

      2. Mr Fumblesfingers
        I agree , for some reason if I can’t see the person talking I have a hard time following what is being said . This is a huge improvement over the old style videos .

  4. I just wanted comment about last Friday’s topic of gluten sensitivity and grains.
    To me, it seems the past years gluten-free bandwagon, the current fasting frenzy, and other diets are all about the same thing. People looking to create new rules, or draw ‘boundaries’ to curtail their overeating habits and put some space between themselves and the foods they are addicted to.

    That being said, I was amazed at how many people wrote in to say they experienced profound (some unintended) health improvements by eliminating gluten containing grains. And the improvements did not happen because they were SAD eaters now eating healthy. Some had been pretty much wfpb for a long time prior, but it was letting the gluten (or?) go that produced the life changing improvements. Nice to read the success stories anyway.

    1. Today’s wheat is not the same as the wheat of many years ago. They have bred it to such an extreme that it has way more gluten than before. I prefer ancient versions like einkorn, kamut and spelt. In addition, a lot of WFPB doctors like Joel Fuhrman emphasize that you can eat grains, but they aren’t as healthy as vegetables. Also, fasting is not some new fad. If you are more than 50 years old, you probably remember in your religious tradition that people had many fasting days. Every major religion had many fasting days. Also, people were very strict about 3 square meals in the old days. People ate vegetables at every meal. Letting your body digest and assimilate food before eating again is not some new fad. Most people ate at home with the family. It is the normal way humans have eaten for almost all of our history until the last 30 years or so. Look at what has happened to our health since then. The healthiest people in the world still follow their traditional health and food rules, and as such, are healthier.

      1. John S, I agree with what you are saying. I don’t elaborate very often in the interest of keeping things brief. Indeed, fasting is not new, (I come from Orthodox Church background) but the current wave of interest seems to have garnered a lot of interest in recent years from those wanting weight loss, or autophagy/
        immune benefits etc, and choose which rules appeal to them most.

      2. Letting your body digest and assimilate food before eating again is not some new fad. Most people ate at home with the family. It is the normal way humans have eaten for almost all of our history until the last 30 years or so. Look at what has happened to our health since then.
        —————————————————————————————————————————————————————–
        John, I’ve lived the life you are describing and I see that being a positive… IF you are doing manual labor.

        That is, if you do physical work like plowing a field while walking behind a plow horse, or hoeing or harvesting… then, after the noon meal you go back out and work ’til sundown, three squares a day are the best way to go. That’s one reason professional athletes eat large amounts of calories so they can operate at high physical efficiency.

        But today, the nearest thing to physical work in a field is puttering around in the flower garden. Office workers do need fuel for their brain (and a ketone/glucose balance provides this) to do today’s work.

        I think too many people follow the old ways and that is one reason we see a rise in obesity.

        1. Lonie,
          I’m trying to understand what you’re saying.
          I don’t think that most Americans have been doing the kind of labor you talk about for 100 years. The obesity epidemic is in the last 40 years. You think the old ways like 3 meals and fasting cause obesity? Did you see Dr. Greger’s videos about intermittent fasting? People ate particularly nutritious things in the old days, like berries, but they take time to prepare. Those are the supplements I take. I know what they are because I gathered and made them. I don’t eat breakfast, as a form of intermittent fasting, but I think that most people don’t have time to prepare protocols until they come home from work, so I guess that is sort of new school.

          1. John

            The statement ‘The obesity epidemic is in the last 40 years’ is found all over the internet but it is not true. It is constantly made by saturated fat promoters and low carbers who like to blame the McGovern Report and US dietary guidelines for today’s high levels of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

            In actual fact of course, the McGovern report in 1977 and US dietary guidelines were a response to the growing rates of heart disease, stroke, obesity in the USA
            http://www.zerodisease.com/archive/Dietary_Goals_For_The_United_States.pdf

            As Wikipedia notes, US obesity rates had already reached 26% in 1962
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity_in_the_United_States#cite_note-blackburn-13

            McGovern singles out too much fat, too much sugar and too much salt in the US diet as key problems, pointing out that in the early 1900s 40% of total calories came from vegetables, fruits and grains ….. compared to just 20% in the 1970s. Naturally, industry hated this as did fat promoters like Atkins and modern high fat diet promoters. Consequently, they try to rewrite history by falsely painting all US increases in CVD, obesity and diabetes as a post-McGovern phenomenon. Let’s not buy their deceptive claims.

            Dr Greger’s video on the McGovern report is worth rewatching.
            https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-mcgovern-report/

            Since then; industry appears to have redoubled its efforts especially in the field of funding misleading research. I can only stare open-mouthed at modern statements that dietary cholesterol is not an issue. These are based on egg industry funded studies which ‘game’ existing knowledge that added dietary cholesterol in people whose cholesterol intake is already high (most Americans) does not increase blood cholesterol levels. Modern egg-industry funded studies can therefore legitimately show that increased dietary cholesterol does not affect Americans’ cholesterol levels.

            Saturated fat promoters also appear to have little regard for the actual facts and invent their own much more convenient ones which are repeated endlessly on YouTube and the internet generally. Like this one that obesity rates only became an issue after McGovern.

          2. You think the old ways like 3 meals and fasting cause obesity? Did you see Dr. Greger’s videos about intermittent fasting? People ate particularly nutritious things in the old days, like berries, but they take time to prepare. Those are the supplements I take. I know what they are because I gathered and made them.
            ———————————————————————————————————————————–
            John, I’m not talking about the 2 percenters ‘-) who are in to intermittent fasting (I’m an old hand at fasting BTW… current BMI somewhere around 20.)

            No, I’m talking about the hoi polloi who eat 2 or 3 meals per day of huge plates of food instead of the sparse (by today’s measures) amounts on the plate of my formative years when I worked in the fields for long hours. (Actually kinda liked winter because the days were shorter. ‘-)

      3. High protein has been a thing for long time too – I remember that they used to make a marketing virtue of selling high protein wheat and high protein bread made from it. Some brands/products still do of course.. The protein in question is gluten. So is gluten hero or villain here? It appears to improve gut microbiota and the immune system in people not ‘sensitive’ to it. .
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023594/

        Then there is this paper to chew on

        ‘The present review summarizes the dark side of gluten restriction where nutritional deficiencies, toxicity, morbidity, mortality, and mental health problems are reported’
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6803387/

        I suppose that this modern kerfuffle all just illustrates the old adage about one man’s meat being another man’s poison. Of course when that saying originated, ‘meat’ simply meant ‘food’ and ‘man’ meant ‘human being’ or ‘person’.

        1. Yes, there is crazy overreaction many ways, Tom.
          Even keto types will admit that completely wiping out grains right off the bat is not good for you.
          John Douillard had a great ebook called “Eat Wheat” that explained it quite well.
          If you wipe out all of the fiber that you’re eating due to a problem with gluten, you aren’t solving anything.
          I agree that the “pro eating fat” people are way overreaching. I do agree that a large
          part of it is industry pushing it.
          People are way fatter than they used to be. We aren’t a skinny people right now.
          I am not anti all grains, but modern hybridization of many foods makes them less healthy.
          Jo Robinson wrote a great book called “Eating on the Wild Side.” that explains it.

  5. Nice to read the success stories anyway.
    ——————————————————–
    Agreed… some say that’s just the Placebo effect.

    And while I don’t enjoy being fooled, the Placebo effect is the exception. If it causes my mind to be tricked into feeling better, UP the PLACEBO!

  6. “Fuel Your Day” by Madame Labriski

    This cook book for treats with no sugar or fat is amazing. She uses apple sauce and date purée. Recipes call for eggs but I make my own flax eggs that work great.

  7. I don’t mind watching him talk. . .that much. But with his vegan lifestyle, he has apparently lost weight to where is shirt (and jacket?) are too big for him. I was distracted watching the gap between his neck and his shirt move as he moved.

      1. Dr. G., have you had a blood test recently? Not only have you (unintentionally?) lost weight, your skin looks pale too. :-(
        ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
        Went back and watched the video after reading the above.

        I’m wondering if the beard increases perceived contrast. Or possibly the lighting and even the settings one the screen being seen on. In prepping video for exhibition, we often encounter different skin tones depending on the display the content is viewed.

        On my screen (LG OLED display) the skin tones look o.k. The neck reference you made caught my attention for how smooth the neck appears. (Side note: I’ve noticed some people on TV have very long necks. My grandmother loved chicken necks… if those people were chickens, they would have made my grandmother very happy at meal time. ‘-)

        But the head does seem outsized in reference to the rest of the body. However, this is a common thing among entertainers, and I guess this places him in the entertainer category. ‘-)

        1. Forgot to mention that my system for viewing the video showed a slight lag between the lips and the sound… Probably no more than a two, possibly only one, frame difference, but noticeable none-the-less.

        2. Laughing at the big-headed entertainers.

          Maybe it is the shrunken-head rest of us?

          I suspect it is the 10-pounds-the-camera-adds-effect.

          Perhaps combined with being followed around by paparazzi.

          It could be the rest of us are sedentarily watching Dr. Greger walk on his treadmill.

          The concept of trying to watch his videos on my cell-phone while I am walking on the treadmill just made me a little queasy.

          1. “I suspect it is the 10-pounds-the-camera-adds-effect.”
            — – –

            So off-camera he would be even skinnier-looking than what we see here?!

    1. That’s because modern ‘fits’ and ‘cuts’ for clothing in Western countries reflect the fact that almost everybody is fat now. It’s virtually impossible to buy shirts and jackets that don’t look like tents on people who are a healthy weight.

      And then there is the current fashion for wearing shirts and ties not tucked into trousers. That makes sense when most people are fat – tuck your shirt into your trousers when you are overweight and you start to look like the old Michelin man. Society is now not built around people who are a healthy weight and clothes and fashions reflect that.

  8. I love your video comments but they are geeky in a way that drives off a wider audience. Please continue to work on identifying other academic yet more popular and approachable contemporaries as a starting point to create work that will be popular to a wider audience. O realize this is a tough one. Honestly a good movie director might be worth consulting on this. Stay away from the marketing industry. I think what’s needed is someone like, I don’t know, Werner Herzog who can take incredibly challenging material and make it human and real for ordinary folks. One piece of work or some consultation by someone like Herzog, if successful, could become a model for all future work. Bring in the pros, not the marketing content producers.

        1. Awwww…..I always say anybody who likes cats can’t be all bad. ^_^
          ——————————————————————————————–
          It ain’t necessarily sohhhhhh… I like cats and I’m all bad. ‘-)

          1. Nah, I don’t believe that you are all bad.

            Here is an amazing interview on Dog Doctors.

            Where dogs are trained to tell their owners whether they have low or high blood sugar or cancer or are about to have a seizure or have Parkinson’s, etc.

            https://youtu.be/o33cUo2OqR0

            She talked a tiny bit about how to train the dogs. I have multiple friends who are Diabetic and that would be so much nicer than what happens now.

            My cousin keeps almost dying at these stupid rehabs.

            A doggy could be alerting the staff.

            They said some oat MIT wants to have a study to see if cell phones can smell for cancer and diabetes.

            1. The author talked about people training their dogs by swabbing their skin when their blood sugar is high or low and having them smell it.

              I am wondering if high and low blood pressure has a scent.

            2. Where dogs are trained to tell their owners whether they have low or high blood sugar or cancer or are about to have a seizure or have Parkinson’s, etc.
              ———————————————————————————————
              There was a dog that lived here once and allowed me to feed her. She was always thrusting her nose up everybody’s crotch who came to visit, including my own.

              One Christmas Eve (when my mother was still alive but away visiting my sister) members of her church came by to do caroling. I videoed them doing so to show my mother when she returned. During the session (you are probably way ahead of me here) the dog came up behind one of the young ladies singing and she got this surprised look on her face. I knew right away the dog had struck again. ‘-)

  9. Back go the topic,

    I finally did the slow-through and got to the part where the people are having psychotic episodes and this concept that people are going to be at the doctor saying, ”No, I am not on Prozac or Viagra” and people will be put on anti-psychotics and will be having side effects and cross-reactions.

    I like that CVS is going go be testing.

    The only answers are either push all the places into testing and ban having thEm sold on Amazon are two I can think of which people will hate.

    1. “Some medications used to treat an overactive bladder.”
      – – – –

      Why take on another (horse?) pill for something like this! Big Pharma trying to get you hooked.

      Just waddle around in an adult diaper like Depends, etc. I’ll bet there’s a big market for those things….might be a good thing to invest in, stocks-wise. Hmmmm…..

      1. Some of us who have some caretaking used to make Depends jokes.

        It Depends.

        I switched to a brand which absorbed more ounces because I needed something I could Depend on.

        Depends never made it through the night.

    2. All these symptoms sound like someone during a migraine attack.

      Common signs and symptoms of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease include:

      — Memory loss that disrupts daily life.

      — Challenges in planning or solving problems.

      — Difficulty completing familiar tasks.

      — Confusion with time or place.

      — Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.

      — New problems finding the right words when speaking or writing.

  10. Online diaper delivery was the way to go.

    Triple the capacity, plus ones specially designed for #2.

    I did buy some reusable ones but boy it is hard to manage adult diapers that way.

    1. Online had better diapers than the medical supply companies.

      I did learn not to use the tape on bed-bound people.

      Blisters.

      What I can say is that, other than one time of her having bed sores after leaving the hospital, she didn’t get them and the highest possible capacity diapers may have been why.

      If the get bed sores, there are coverings which cover a whole butt cheek.

      Tagaderm or something like that.

      1. You actually can tape them, but you roll them from side to side after and unless you put a liner within the diaper, the tape hooks onto them and suddenly the person helping you turn them tugs the diaper and you get blisters and cuts.

        Life experience, priceless.

      1. Fumbles, it’s pretty ordinary stuff overall sold at an extraordinary price. https://gundrymd.com/supplements/tritrim/
        A ‘box’ lasts 30 days! And you have to buy 3 mos to get a refund if you are not happy with the purchase. Notice too that the ‘carb blocker’ is ground up white kidney bean !! Wait a minute… I thought he wrote a book on the perils of beans?

        I did the Daily Dozen for 30 days and lost 15lbs. That’s eating a lot of nourishing food to get there!

  11. Back to the topic.

    I have been buying many herbs by the pound from BulkHerbsAndSpice.com for several years now and packing my own capsules. I like to consume saw palmetto, hawthorn, garlic, ginger, nettle, capsicum, etc. etc. etc. as a regular part of my daily diet (without the trouble of squeezing it all into a meal recipe). Their products seem to be entirely legitimate, and it is a lot more practical to buy from them than to try to forage or grow everything myself.

    1. Is there any reason to think that you are actually getting what you are paying for? Convenience is great, but if you’re buying chopped up houseplants, it’s not so great

  12. I compared this new blazing fast oration at 150 words a minute presentation to a random earlier video, “Is Gluten Sensitivity Real” from August 22, 2014 at a much more reasonable 130 words per minute.

    The contrast is huge between the two presentations. The previous format allows for better voice inflections to be used. It conveys the information in a more personable format instead of listening to a rapid-fire barrage of run-on sentences without time to let the point settle in the mind of the listener. The previous format had the text of the scientific reports in full screen, it was very beneficial to stop playback with those and read the surrounding text, which is next to impossible now…this greatly reduces the full effect and conveyance of information. The rapid movement is distracting also. Taken as a whole the previous presentations were many times more effective and pleasant to listen to. The new “set” is cheap with a gaudy green background. And why not wear a doctor’s lab coat? The opening sequence is like the opening bell of a horse race, an explosion of multiple objects moving much too fast and then remaining as such the whole time without taking a breath. Sorry, this needs work.

  13. Dr. G, what is it that you think you are adding to the videos by waving your arms and making humorous faces? Please think about your viewers. Do we get more by concentrating on your graphs, charts, and excerpts, or do we benefit from your distracting antics? Would love to have sent this in a private message were it possible.

  14. Hello everybody.

    Ugh.

    So I’ve been over the “adding two tablespoons of vinegar to your drink thing before every meal” which features in How not to diet, and the conclusion is clear. Don’t do this in real life folks… I think we can all agree that this is not the brightest of ideas.

    Vinegar has a pH of ~2.5 this is only slightly less acidic compared to real stomach acid which has a pH of ~1.5. Vinegar is acidic, some people even use vinegar as a home remedy to burn of moles and warts, leaving it on your skin too long can cause burns. There are enough case reports on this effect in the literature.

    Irkoren, S., & Sivrioglu, N. (2013). Unusual burn injury due to application of white vinegar and aspirin mixture. International Wound Journal, 11(4), 348–349. doi:10.1111/iwj.12148

    Feldstein, Stephanie, Maryam Afshar, and Andrew C. Krakowski. “Chemical Burn from Vinegar Following an Internet-based Protocol for Self-removal of Nevi.” Journal of Clinical & Aesthetic Dermatology 8.6 (2015).

    Using vinegar with a food recipe might be perfectly safe, what we are talking about here is large amounts of vinegar taken orally… Drinking 2 tablespoons of it before every meal. Vinegar is slightly less acidic compared to stomach acid. What you would be getting is risks as those seen with untreated chronic stomach burn (GERD) to some degree;

    *) Irritates the lining of the esophagus, causing it to swell. This inflammation is called esophagitis, which can lead to painful swallowing.
    *) A cause of ulcers, or sores in the lining of the esophagus.
    *) Over time, the damage caused can scar the lining of the esophagus. When this scar tissue builds up, it makes the esophagus narrow.
    Called strictures, these narrow spots make it hard to swallow food and drinks, which can lead to weight loss and dehydration.
    *) Barrett’s esophagus: About 5% to 10% of people with GERD develop this condition, where stomach acid causes precancerous changes in cells.
    *) Increased Risk of Esophagus Cancer

    Not only that, seeing that in contrast to heartburn you must ingest the vinegar by mouth, there would be extra damage to your teeth from the vinegar. Even when diluted with water the vinegar would wear down the enamel, your teeth’s hard outer layer. This can weaken them and lead to cavities.

    If you made this weight loss method a habit another risk would be Epiglottitis. The epiglottis is a leaf-shaped flap in the throat that prevents food from entering the windpipe and the lungs. It stands open during breathing, allowing air into the larynx. It is pretty sensitive in humans, even very hot foods could cause it inflammation or infection, high and chronic oral vinegar consumption could damage your flap and throat too.

    Common sense dictates, for your soft tissues (and hard enamel), don’t do it…The method does not come with a safely evidence based water to vinegar ratio recommendation that would clear away all these risks. Things like tooth enamel damage is going to happen with the method to some degree whether you dilute with water or not.

    It just doesn’t make any sense really, why even bother with something obscure as this? If you want weight loss, just start eating the diet that is featured in How not to diet (and in How not to die) as an overall plan. That is the real trick. The vinegar thing is good for vinegar, good as a reference and theory, but to really lose weight safely and sound and in good health, eat the Daily Dozen, eat a whole food plant based diet at every meal. Happy New year!

  15. Doctor Greger,

    Could you enlighten us about the proper water to vinegar ratio? I’m not a chemist for figuring out acid base relations.

    How much water should one add to get two tablespoons of vinegar towards a pH of something more “normal” or nutritionally commen, let’s say towards that of orange juice?

    (Ps. I can see support is gathering in the comment section to get you out of the picture. Did you make up your mind already about bringing back the old format?)

  16. What about prescription weightloss drugs? My nephew had been complaining that the over the counter stuff wasn’t doing anything for him. After I convinced him they’re garbage, he went to his doctor and got a prescription for Adipex. Im not making much progress on the wfpb diet with him, but he did give up pop and lost 20#. My sons and I have been encouraging him with healthy recipes and have even shopped for him to stock his pantry and freezer. Now im worried about the weight loss drug he’s taking.

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