Can Oatmeal Reverse Heart Disease?

Can Oatmeal Reverse Heart Disease?
4.72 (94.39%) 57 votes

Less than 3% of Americans meet the daily recommended fiber intake, despite research suggesting high-fiber foods such as whole grains can affect the progression of coronary heart disease.


Fiber continues to be singled out as a nutrient of public health concern. There is a fiber gap in America. These are the minimum recommended daily intakes of fiber for men and women at different age groups; this is how much we’re actually getting. We’re getting only about half the minimum, considered a public health concern for all Americans. Well, not all Americans. Less than 3% meet the recommended minimum, meaning less than 3% of all Americans eat enough plant-based foods–the only place fiber is found–though a nominal 0.1 is thrown in for the meat category, in case someone eats a corndog or nibbles on the garnish.

If even half of the adult population ate three more grams a day, like a quarter-cup of beans, or a bowl of oatmeal, we could save billions in medical costs–and that’s just for constipation. The consumption of plant foods, the consumption of fiber-containing foods, reduces risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and obesity as well.

The first to make this link between fiber intake and killer disease was probably Dr. Hugh Trowell many decades ago. He spent 30 years practicing medicine in Africa, and suspected it was their high consumption of corn, millet, sweet potatoes, greens, and beans that protected them from chronic disease. This got kind of twisted into the so-called fiber hypothesis, but he didn’t think it was the fiber itself, but the high-fiber foods that were so protective. There are hundreds of different things in whole grains besides fiber that can have beneficial effects. For example, yes, the fiber in oatmeal can lower our blood cholesterol levels so less gets stuck in our arteries, but there are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients in oats that can help prevent atherosclerotic buildup and then help maintain arterial function.

Visionaries like Trowell were not entrapped by the reductionist “simple-minded” focus on dietary fiber, and insisted that the whole plant foods should receive the emphasis. Fiber intake was just kind of a marker for plant food intake. Those with the highest fiber intake, and the lowest cholesterol, were those whose who ate exclusively plant-based diets.

Risk factors like cholesterol are one thing, but can these individual foods actually affect the progression of heart disease? We didn’t know, until this study was published. Hundreds of older women were subjected to coronary angiograms, where you can inject dye into the coronary arteries of the heart to see how wide open they are. They got an angiogram at the beginning of the study, and then one a few years later, all while analyzing their diets. This is what they found. The arteries of women eating less than a serving of whole grains a day significantly narrowed, whereas the arteries of women who ate just a single serving or more also significantly narrowed, but they narrowed less. These were all women with heart disease eating the standard American diet, and so their arteries were progressively clogging shut. Heart disease is the #1 killer of American women, but there was significantly less clogging in the women eating more whole grains, significantly less progression of their atherosclerosis–in fact, almost as much slowing of their disease as they might get taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Statins can also slow the rate at which our arteries close. But do we want to just slow the rate at which we die from heart disease, or not die from heart disease at all?

A whole foods plant-based diet has been shown to reverse the progression of heart disease, opening arteries back up. Whole grains, like the drugs, can help counter the artery-clogging effects of the rest of the diet. Having oatmeal with bacon and eggs is better than just eating bacon and eggs, but why not stop eating an artery-clogging diet altogether?

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Caro Wallis via Flickr.

Fiber continues to be singled out as a nutrient of public health concern. There is a fiber gap in America. These are the minimum recommended daily intakes of fiber for men and women at different age groups; this is how much we’re actually getting. We’re getting only about half the minimum, considered a public health concern for all Americans. Well, not all Americans. Less than 3% meet the recommended minimum, meaning less than 3% of all Americans eat enough plant-based foods–the only place fiber is found–though a nominal 0.1 is thrown in for the meat category, in case someone eats a corndog or nibbles on the garnish.

If even half of the adult population ate three more grams a day, like a quarter-cup of beans, or a bowl of oatmeal, we could save billions in medical costs–and that’s just for constipation. The consumption of plant foods, the consumption of fiber-containing foods, reduces risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and obesity as well.

The first to make this link between fiber intake and killer disease was probably Dr. Hugh Trowell many decades ago. He spent 30 years practicing medicine in Africa, and suspected it was their high consumption of corn, millet, sweet potatoes, greens, and beans that protected them from chronic disease. This got kind of twisted into the so-called fiber hypothesis, but he didn’t think it was the fiber itself, but the high-fiber foods that were so protective. There are hundreds of different things in whole grains besides fiber that can have beneficial effects. For example, yes, the fiber in oatmeal can lower our blood cholesterol levels so less gets stuck in our arteries, but there are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant phytonutrients in oats that can help prevent atherosclerotic buildup and then help maintain arterial function.

Visionaries like Trowell were not entrapped by the reductionist “simple-minded” focus on dietary fiber, and insisted that the whole plant foods should receive the emphasis. Fiber intake was just kind of a marker for plant food intake. Those with the highest fiber intake, and the lowest cholesterol, were those whose who ate exclusively plant-based diets.

Risk factors like cholesterol are one thing, but can these individual foods actually affect the progression of heart disease? We didn’t know, until this study was published. Hundreds of older women were subjected to coronary angiograms, where you can inject dye into the coronary arteries of the heart to see how wide open they are. They got an angiogram at the beginning of the study, and then one a few years later, all while analyzing their diets. This is what they found. The arteries of women eating less than a serving of whole grains a day significantly narrowed, whereas the arteries of women who ate just a single serving or more also significantly narrowed, but they narrowed less. These were all women with heart disease eating the standard American diet, and so their arteries were progressively clogging shut. Heart disease is the #1 killer of American women, but there was significantly less clogging in the women eating more whole grains, significantly less progression of their atherosclerosis–in fact, almost as much slowing of their disease as they might get taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Statins can also slow the rate at which our arteries close. But do we want to just slow the rate at which we die from heart disease, or not die from heart disease at all?

A whole foods plant-based diet has been shown to reverse the progression of heart disease, opening arteries back up. Whole grains, like the drugs, can help counter the artery-clogging effects of the rest of the diet. Having oatmeal with bacon and eggs is better than just eating bacon and eggs, but why not stop eating an artery-clogging diet altogether?

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Caro Wallis via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

Oatmeal offers a lot more than fiber, though. See my last two oat videos: Oatmeal Lotion for Chemotherapy-Induced Rash and Can Oatmeal Help Fatty Liver Disease?

Trowell’s work had a big influence on Dr. Denis Burkitt. See Dr. Burkitt’s F-Word Diet.

This reminds me of other interventions like hibiscus tea for high blood pressure (Hibiscus Tea vs. Plant-Based Diets for Hypertension) or amla for diabetes (Amla Versus Diabetes). Better to reverse the disease completely.

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

201 responses to “Can Oatmeal Reverse Heart Disease?

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  1. What do you think about eating 100% plant-based vs plant-based with a small amount of animal products (like 1 egg a week, 1 glass of milk a week and so on, or maybe even less than that)? I’ve seen the video comparing low meat vs no meat but what about vegan vs close to vegan?

    1. Bob this raises a very interesting point. I don’t believe I’m going out on a limb here in posting this without compiling references as they are somewhat ubiquitous on this site. The headlines of the past few years have suggested that fat doesn’t matter and that the egg actually makes little difference in cholesterol levels.

      The problem here is that these headlines have been based on the “marginal impact” of a single egg or pat of butter for someone on the SAD. (standard American diet). The indicators are that the first egg of the week might be the most deadly with the subsequent ones just cheering on the progression of atherosclerosis.

      I have been on a strict plant based diet for years now and my cholesterol went from about 235 to 130. (I also cured my psoriatic arthritis but that’s another story.) While I never eat any animal product I did for a while start eating a delightful dark chocolate with plenty of saturated fats. Not much but enough to send my cholesterol back up to more than 200.

      So, until I see otherwise, it is my contention that it is the first one that compromises good health. Still having said that, I must say that a good dietary changes are composed of two things, what you put in and what you take out. If you put in the fiber and other phyto-nutrients it will be tremendously helpful but the one egg will still be damaging.

        1. Plant-based saturated fats HAVE NOT sent my cholesterol higher, for what it is worth.

          But I tend to feel better without excess or even average amounts of these saturated fats.
          Small amounts maybe OK.

          Too much polyunsaturated fat (omega 3 and 6) , especially flax, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, walnuts,
          tire me out more than the saturated fats.

          This relationship with the saturated and polyunsaturated fats in me is not always consistent, but for the
          most part it is.

        2. Obviously too much but what is “too much”. I think it was about the equivilent of 2/3s of a Hershey bar. It was vegan but it did have the saturated fat. It might also be that there were some other sources of saturated fat elsewhere in my diet that I did not note . But the correlation was very strong. Elsie notes below that plant based saturated fats have not sent here cholesterol higher. We are all different to some degree and I wish I could eat lots of chocolate. (I think it might be good for the sole)

          Without the animal products and eating tons of veggies I believe I still have protection against the inflammation that seems to be part of the atherosclerosis but I want the cholesterol lower so I limit the chocolate. .

          1. What about egg whites?Dr Ornish has shown reversal with egg whites included and that’s animal protein isn’t it? Thanks

            1. Great question and I have wondered about it. First I’m not sure Ornish is still using egg whites but in any case I have not seen much to support a real serious problem with them nutritionally. (Doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, I just haven’t seen it.) However, environmental contamination from chicken farming is horrendous. The cost of production of that food is very high and they are pretty much empty calories. So I see no need to eat any part of the egg.

              1. >> However, environmental contamination from chicken farming is horrendous

                You cannot assume everyone that eats eggs gets them from factory farms … that is a complete non-sequitor. These kinds of answers just get me. It is like every person on here is a walking ( I assume ) talking commercial for some point of view that they are really excited about. I just find it more distracting than helpful.

                Q. Can I eat an egg … A. The world is awash in chicken shit, be a vegan.


                Seriously, I think you should eat whatever you want to eat, and I hope you are healthy and can serve as a role model fore what it is you believe in at some point, but please it sure would be nice to stick to the facts and the point.

                1. Well it is unfortunate you feel that way. I personally am thankful for any opportunity I have to learn something new. The world is complex and a lot of issues tie together and I think we should promote discussion of all these issues – I personally can not think of any negative to that.
                  Doing what we want and doing what is right are not always the same thing. And In this case in particular, I think it is safe to say that the health of the planet and human health are inextricably linked and so I don’t think this was an off side comment what so ever.

                  1. >> it is safe to say that the health of the planet and human health are inextricably linked

                    Everything is linked to everything else if you are a Buddhist or if you just want to see it that way. Doesn’t mean that bringing it all up in a reversing heart disease is relevant.

                    I am just saying – IF, for example, the cost of good health was high, would that affect how you thought about good health or be a reason not to have it or pursue it? I’m not saying eggs are great, or that treating chickens bad is acceptable, just that those problems are not relevant to the person who has heart disease and wants to do something about it.

                2. “You cannot assume everyone that eats eggs gets them from factory farms … that is a complete non-sequitor.”


                  I read nothing in Stewart’s comment that sounded like he was saying that *everyone* who eats eggs buys them from factory farms. However, given the way statistics works, it is entirely reasonable to conclude that since the majority of eggs sold in the U.S. are produced in factory farms, that most people who eggs are buying factory eggs.

                  “Q. Can I eat an egg … A. The world is awash in chicken shit, be a vegan.???????????”

                  What you’re doing here is setting up a straw man argument to knock down with the position you want to advance.

                  “Seriously, I think you should eat whatever you want to eat, and I hope you are healthy and can serve as a role model fore (sic) what it is you believe in at some point, but please it sure would be nice to stick to the facts and the point.”

                  People already are eating what they want to eat though many/most people who come to are seeking to improve how they nourish themselves. There are a sizable number of us who are interested in learning about how we can minimize our impact upon the world through our food choices. I personally went vegan out of concern for the cows and chickens who were providing me my eggs, milk and cheese as a milk-egg vegetarian. It was only after I made that decision for them that I learned about how a WF-PB dietstyle would allow me to reverse my heart disease and drop my statins, beta blockers, and I forget what else I’ve stopped taking.

                  I view the comments at like a nutritional information buffet… as I read the ideas and comments that are offered, I consider most, and try out the ones that make sense to me and pass by those that seem unappealing.

                  I second your admonition to stick to the facts and the point and would encourage you to do the same with a less negative delivery. I bid you, and especially those around you, peace.

        1. Good question Elsie. I’ll try to not make this too long but I think it instructive.

          I started getting swelling and pain is my distal joints almost 10 years ago. I checked numerous sources and found that the problem was psoriatic arthritis. I have had plaque psoriasis and psoriatic nails for 45+ years. Well when I was sent to a rheumatologist, she wanted to put me on methotrexate. I researched it and decided it would likely take 1 maybe two decades off my life. And, it turns out I had a cliet, a widow whose husband was killed by methotrexate. So, I looked at other options and found that I did have a gluten sensitivity. This is true for 1 in 8 or 9 people. So no gluten is not “the answer” but it seemed to be for me. I went gluten free and got rid of the symptoms in 10 days. Any contamination would cause great pain so I read all lables,, carefully.

          Well after a coupla years I still had a sensitivity and still had swelling in the distal joints though little or no pain. I was looking at this site regularly and after seeing references to numerous factors in animal products causing inflammation I decided I should give it a try. In just a few months on a whole food plant based diet, the swelling disappeared and the gluten sensitivity disappeared. Now the plaque psoriasis is almost gone and the nail psoriasis has greatly diminished.

          I took the plant based nutrition certification course with Collin Campbell and reported this in the student discussions. I was told that this is very common and almost the norm for the gluten sensitivity to disappear on a WFPBD.

          So, no I do not find this a difficult lifestyle. Not only is heart disease almost impossible for me, the odds of staying cancer free have gone up tremendously. I have type one diabetes so heart disease is a big issue thanks to the elevated advanced glycation end products from chronic hyperglycemia. Eliminating animal from what I ingest reduces the AGEs to probably less than that of a non diabetic on the SAD. So this lifestyle is very compelling for anyone wanting to live long and prosper. I had the added incentive of wanting to be pain free.

          1. Wow. Thank you Stewart, for your lengthy and thorough reply. Glad to hear things have worked out for you. I am happy for you and do not even know you! I sense courage and determination on your part, and it’s inspirational.

            Interesting the gluten issue went away for you once going vegan. May I ask, how much plant-based-fat do you eat a day, and what sources? Avocados, coconuts, nuts, seeds…any of this stuff a normal part of your diet? What % of calories you think you get from fat? Just curious……it’s something that might help me know.

            1. Good morning Elsie. I do start my day with a strange mixture that I have refined to be quite tasty if not attractive. I get up at five or so, have coffee beet juice and other fruit to get my blood sugar up. The diabetes demands this since my morning run raises insulin activity. Then I have breakfast which includes a small amount of fat. That fat for breakfast is all from flax seed, about 2 tablespoons of ground. I also have mushrooms, onions, 1/2 can of beans (usually black eyed peas) a tomato all slow cooked together. Then I mix in some chopped greens, a mixture of spinach, kale and chard. I also add a good number of savory spices for added antioxidants and flavor. So there is lots of fiber and very little fat. But keep in mind, even the kale has some fat.

              The rest of the day is not so great. I frequently eat out or have some sort of vegan quick meal. Usually they will have canola oil added. Occasionally I will have a salad with falafel which is of course fried. I use a tahini dressing which has no added fat. Dinner might be something similar. I do generally have a hand full of nuts every day but I do not deliberately add any fat to my diet. I think avocados are great and I do eat a fair amount of nuts and seeds though not excessively. I never go near coconut just because I don’t much care for it.

              The bottom line is, due to the empty calories, I try to eliminate as much fat a possible by having baked chips instead of fried and will totally eschew added fats in salads. I very likely still get at least 20% of my calories from fat. Breakfast starts at 10% or less and I end the day with more.

              Hope this helps.

              1. Yes, this helps. Thank you. You did mention that “… my morning run raises insulin activity.” This confuses me. Wouldn’t the morning run lessen the amount of insulin needed to get the sugar into the cells? I always thought that exercise decreases the need for insulin.

                Also, what happens if you skip the beet sugar and other fruit and just go for you run? Is your blood sugar way too low prior to run/post run….exhausted, no energy?

                1. Oops, sorry about the ambiguity in the wording. When I say that the exercise “raises insulin activity” I just mean that the insulin works more efficiently and will lower the blood sugar more that it normally would. Generally I target a morning blood sugar to be about 80 when I wake up. Often it is less. At that level, any insulin activity beyond a minimum will lower it beyond an acceptable level and yes I would have no energy and perhaps become disoriented. When I eat the fruit and drink the juice the blood sugar will go up generally over 200. At that level, I will still need to turn off my insulin pump for the duration of the run to keep the blood sugar from going too low. If it goes over 250, (and yes I do check frequently) I will maintain the normal basal infusion and the blood sugar will either return to normal or at least come close. If the run approaches 10 miles then things might become somewhat weird because of glyconeogenesis. That is, my body might source proteins for forming glucose and raise my blood sugar.

                  The bottom line in answer to your question, I must have some source of carbohydrates to be able to function for the run or there would be no energy.

              2. Wow, Stewart – I have been making almost exactly the same meal with beans for years. I make a bulk amount with 2 or 3 cans organic black beans with organic tomatoes, onions, mushrooms,
                squash, aubergines, parsnips and yams. I add turmeric root, ginger root and fresh herbs I may have. I slow cook this for an hour or so, then mix in kale, spinach and thin-cut brussels sprouts. Some I freeze, and the rest goes in the fridge. I find this can last me several days, and I will have it at any time of day, sometimes for breakfast too!

          1. Hi Stewart E , your comment was very helpful ( and your breakfast sounds really healthy ! ).
            What do you have as a substitute for bread or rice ? Is it mainly beans and other legumes?
            That’s what I find tricky. I’d like to eliminate them if I could .

            1. Hi Vegank. My general dietary rule is to try to maximize nutrient density and with that, eat what I like. I grew up a hill Billy eating a lot of hog jowls and black eyed peas. I really liked them but realizing the calories were in the hog and the nutrients were in the peas I altered my diet. And the peas are still great with some added vinegar pepper sauce or balsamic vinegar.

              When I get Oriental food take out, I either have brown rice or if they do not have it (and some do not) I leave out the rice all together. Then I add in a mixture of brown rice and quinoa when I get home. I get that pre cooked at Costco so it’s no bother. Completely whole grain breads can be healthy and tasty, especially if they have seeds added. However, the trick is to eliminate all empty calories if possible so no butter or vegan equivalents. After a while even the oil added to soups at Whole Foods starts to taste greasy and unnecessary.

              1. Thank you Stewart E for your comprehensive reply ! I agree, choosing healthier types of bread , rice and including legumes instead of eliminating sounds more achievable. I will try it.
                I was just thinking that making a batch of whole grain pita bread at the beginning of the week to go with lunch might work too.

      1. Dr. Greger has weighed in on Dark Chocolate and recommends cocoa in its pure form. You can buy some chocolate tea from the Republic of Tea, it has cocoa and rooibos but no saturated fat. I am sure Dr. Greger would recommend eating raw cocoa pods. I personally think milk-free dark chocolate should and always will be considered a health food, maybe one day like nuts, as it can reduce your risk of heart disease and even help remove calcium from your arteries ala Vitamin K2 or/and with Vitamin D3 therapy.

        In many of the following studies people were eating one hundred grams of dark chocolate a day. That one-fifth of a pound!

        Cocoa has positive effects on health.
        Cocoa intake, blood pressure, and cardiovascular mortality: the Zutphen Elderly Study
        In this study, the authors show that after 15 years, cocoa intake was inversely correlated with blood pressure and all cause mortality. (More intake meant lower blood pressure and less all cause death).
        Chocolate consumption is inversely associated with calcified atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries: The NHLBI Family Heart Study
        People who ate chocolate has less hypertension and clinically diagnosed CHD (Chronic Heart Disease). The more chocolate the research subjects ate the less calcium or hardening their there was in their arteries.
        In the discussion of this paper the authors summarize a report that diabetics who were fed cocoa had a 30 percent increase in blood flow to their brachial artery.
        Balzer J, Rassaf T, Heiss C, Kleinbongard P, Lauer T, Merx M, et al. Sustained benefits in vascular function through flavanol-containing cocoa in medicated diabetic patients a double-masked, randomized, controlled trial. J Am Coll Cardiol 2008;51:2141e9.
        They also summarize a report that dark chocolate reduces risk of heart disease by 40 percent in medium levels of consumption.
        Buijsse B, Weikert C, Drogan D, Bergmann M, Boeing H. Chocolate consumption in relation to blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease in German adults. Eur Heart J; 2010 [Epub ahead of print].
        Another study shows that chocolate is inversely correlated with prevalent heart disease and eating it 5 times a week can reduce your risk of heart disease by 57 percent.
        Chocolate consumption is inversely associated with prevalent coronary heart disease: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study.

        Chocolate is a very heart healthy food, even for diabetics.

        I have culled this list of research from this website in part:

        You can see the links in my comment here:

        If your cholesterol is high you could consider adding Niacin therapy to your excellent Whole Foods Plant Based diet program. Niacin is a statin available to all for little money and can improve all blood fats almost immediately. It has a positive effect on lifespan. It can bring all blood lipid levels to ideal. You can take one to three grams a day. Most grain products are currently robbed of their Niacin by polishing. You can read about Niacin therapy here:

        1. Good morning Mathew. You do make some good points that I certainly will not contest. My own experience is just with my particular reaction to that saturated fat. In general, my total cholesterol stays below 150 with HDL being higher than LDL and triglycerides less than 50. When I reduced the chocolate, or I should say the coco butter, my cholesterol went back down so I’m not worried about an additional intervention to lower cholesterol.

          The black bean brownie recipe Dr Greger mentioned some time ago was great and I do eat that sometime. I will try that chocolate tea you mentioned. That could be a great daily addition.

          1. You mention the new government panel on Cholesterol. Did you know that eggs can lower blood pressure? I think it could be because of all the sulfur. They say it is because of an ACE protein inhibitor. However, I think that they might raise LDL, I mean, at least a little bit. It might be hard to keep these separate in the government’s mind. You could tell the egg industry to say: nourish your blood pressure with the egg! Nourish your morning with lower blood pressure and the egg! Have a nourishing morning with lower blood pressure brought to you by the egg. Maybe you could say that. Apparently you can’s say the egg is safe. Did you know that the body can make its own cholesterol, there for making Cholesterol an inessential nutrient, but it is still a nutrient.

    2. Small infrequent amounts are probably fine. Very small. But hardly anyone can actually leave it at such small amounts once they give themselves permission. Why not just cross them off the list as food items and stop torturing one’s self by eating a small amount every now and then to barely keep the addiction alive?

    3. Ultimately it’s up to you. We do not promote one diet over another. The only studies I know of that compare vegan to vegetarian to semi-vegetarian diets are the Seventh Day Adventists studies. These offer a great insight to dietary and disease trends. Dr. Greger touches on many of these studies in his videos on flexitarian diets (as you pointed out) and 12 others. It’s note worthy that the vegans studied in this population were found to have the lowest body weights and lowest risk of type 2 diabetes, compared to vegetarians and semi-vegetarians. Furthermore, female-specific cancers are significantly lower in vegans vs. vegetarians, although gastrointestinal cancers were significantly reduced in vegetarians vs. semi-vegetarians. See if some of these link help? I also see great comments below. Diet is so personal and we’re all at different stages. As Dr. Forrester (one of our amazing medical doctor volunteers) mentioned to me in a comment about calcium needs, “it’s all relative” and I couldn’t agree more. Based on our childhood upbringing, disease state (if any), medications, mood, body weight, job, world views, religion, etc. will all determine what we put in our mouths. Not to mention many folks gravitate toward a plant-based diet for other reasons beside health. We all have to decide what’s best. The good thing is we have plenty of research to prove a vegan diet is safe and effective in every stage of life.

    4. What do you think about 100% quitting smoking (other than 1 or 2 a day). It just makes really quitting harder, and likely you will soon be back to your old habits. I recommend you get a copy of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book “Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease”. In it he has a chapter titled “Moderation Kills” in which he provides some convincing arguments against doing exactly what you are proposing.

    5. I found that even eating foods like you suggest, raised by bad cholesterol and made the nerves in my body hurt after my injuries.

      Now, with 2,4-D unregulated and in the marketplace and used to grow food such as feed for dairy and meat, the dioxin-contamination will move through the food chain to people –even slim people.

      How fast do you want to die?

    6. You will not get an objective or reasonable answer to that here. Virtually everyone here will tell you that any animal products are poison and will kill you. You may as well just make up your own mind.

  2. You keep harping on the good effects of simply adopting a whole-food plant-based diet. But for those of us who have been following this lifestyle for years, even decades, you need to assemble the finer points, and what we specifically as low-fat vegans should be looking out for in our diets, in the environment and in interacting with the established medical system to get optimal health.

    1. I guess I feel like this site has done a pretty good job of highlighting the finer points for high carb low fat vegans. Avoid processed foods, Supplement B12, get enough sun or supplement Vitamin D, Supplement DHA or ensure your diet gets enough of the right omegas, eat berries, drink water, and perform moderate exercise regularly. There may be a few in there I missed, but basically that’s been what I’ve seen from the videos I’ve watched so far.

      1. Yes, I suppose ‘harping’ was a bit of a loaded term, though I feel an accurate one. I for one understood your finer points from reading Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease more than seven years ago, if not from Ornish in the 1990s or Pritikin from the 1970s. I admit they are important, but well known in our community. Can’t we move on from there?

        What about the question of smoothies with fruit and greens, Gregor is for them, Esselstyn says no because of released simple sugars from the blended fruit.

        What about the question of raw vs. cooked food? Nutrients and availability, ease of eating, the value of killing bacteria and other topical parasites in the food. Expense or trouble of obtaining suitable fresh vegetables and fruit in many parts of the world. If you eat more brown rice and lentils than oranges, bananas and watermelon does it affect health or longevity?

        Some of the healthiest and most fit people I know (yogis) still use a fair amount of olive oil and coconut (water, oil and meat) in their diets, and swear by it, though I continue to abstain.

        If you eat ground flax seed every day, isn’t it essentially the same as eating nuts? It sure is a lot less expensive.

        In a recent interview, I heard Gregor say his advice boils down to “Simply stuff your face with as many whole fruits and vegetables as you can.” Yet Gregor has also alluded to the known scientific history of calorie restriction in prolonging longevity. What is the review of this research? I’ve been a vegan for so long and eaten so many vegetable foods that I can selectively “stuff my face” on 1700 calories a day or 2700, and gain or lose weight accordingly.

        So yeah, I think it would be a lot better world if more people “simply” said no to animal products, cruelty and the stupid waste of resource — material, medical, animal, human & economic. But it’s also possible if we move into the next societal and organizational steps beyond the continual “go vegan” harping we can have more profound effects and bring a lot of enthusiastic people along.

        Suppose vertical agriculture was set up on a massive scale in what are now desert regions of the world, (Mojave, Eastern Washington, Sudan, Sahara, Mongolia) with solar powered mass transport systems (hyperloops), so that organic whole plant-based food was very low cost to produce and transport (maybe free) compared to today’s ever increasing costs of conventional food. How many people would go vegan then? What would happen to health, wars, the need for energy, the need for national borders? It could be less hard and less costly than the Manhattan project of the 1940s, and could certainly be made more patriotic and life-positive.

        Beats bleating endlessly, “Pleeease go vegan, it is really good for your health….and the animals.”

        Not fighting just thinking. All the best, people.

    2. Hi Slim055. Thanks for your post. Feel free post more specific questions and we can discuss the finer points of low-fat vegan diets.


  3. Does what kind of oatmeal matter? I eat a bowl of “5 minute” oatmeal every morning. There’s also the “60 second” oatmeal and the “20 minute” oatmeal. Oatmeal’s flavor was never that exciting for me – wall paper paste. I began experimenting with a recipe and now I really like my oatmeal. 1/3 cup “5 minute” oatmeal, 1/8 cup of liquid egg whites, 1/8 cup of Quinoa flakes, 1 cup water, 2-3 Tbsp olive oil, 2-3 Tbsp Crystal Hot sauce, ½ tsp Old Bay Seasoning, ½ tsp cumin, ½ tsp curry, ½ tsp paprika, 1 clove of freshly chopped garlic. Great way to start the day!

    1. Oat groats and steel-cut oats are least processed, but rolled oats are still considered a whole grain. My old boss bragged about cooking oatmeal. He would use cold water first, then add the oats, increasing the heat slowly using plenty of liquid to make a nice creamy oatmeal. Try spicing it up! Berries, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit, cinnamon etc. can go a long way making breakfast more enjoyable.

        1. Every single whole food is a good source of protein when measured against the amount of calories they provide. Each day is a nutritional race to try to get all of the nutrients macro and micro we need before we get all the calories we need to maintain a healthy body weight. When viewed this way all whole plant foods, with the exception of most fruits, provides a higher percentage of the daily protein than they do of daily calories. Green leafy vegetables and legumes in general provide a much higher percentage of daily proteins than they do of daily calories. Whole grains in general still meet more of the protein needs than they do calorie needs. Examples (for an active 55 yo, 84 kg male): 140 g (1 cup) of cooked whole wheat pasta 6.8% of 2500 calorie and 11.1% of the daily 67 g of protein. Broccoli 176 g (2 cups) 2.4% of calories and 7.4% of protein. Cooked black beans 172 g (1 cup) 8.9% of calories and 22.7% of protein. Romaine lettuce 112 g (3 cups) 1.9% of calories and 5.2% of protein. Salad! Salad is an excellent source of protein (for the calories it contains).

          Interestingly a single large egg (albeit with the yoke) provides 3.6% of calories and 9.1% of protein for a ratio of percent protein to percent calories of 2.53. This is almost exactly the same ratio of percent protein to percent calories as black beans (2.55) and romaine lettuce (2.74). For egg whites the ratio is higher at 7.71.

          And to put to bed again the hoary old myth that plant proteins are incomplete let’s look at the essential amino acids in the cup of whole wheat pasta, wheat being often cited as being an “incomplete” protein with lysine given as the “deficient” or even “missing” amino acid. There are 9 or 11 essential amino acids (EAA) depending on how you count the methionine+cysteine and phenylalanine+tyrosine pairs. The first thing to say is that there are no plant food, even fruits, that are completely missing any of the EAAs as is often stated by even doctors and dieticians. Second each plant food with the exception of fruits provided an equal or higher percentage of the minimum daily requirement of each EAAs than it does percentage of calories.

          Wheat is often cited as being an “incomplete” protein with lysine given as the “deficient” or even “missing” amino acid. And wheat is in fact technically deficient in lysine. A cup of whole wheat pasta provides 6.8% of calories but only 6.6% of my daily lysine needs. But this is hardly significant. First if I binged on pasta and eat nothing but plain pasta all day I would only need to eat an extra 75 calories to meet my RDI for lysine. Secondly, the daily requirements have a built in 100% factor of safety, so really the 0.2% “deficiency” of lysine in wheat is inconsequential. Legumes can even be viewed as excessively complete proteins. A cup of cooked black beans while only providing 9% of daily calories provides between 37% (Valine) and 60% (Phenalalinine+Tyrosine) of all the EAAs.

          So as have been often said, if you eat a whole food plant based diet, you have no need to worry about getting enough protein. Just eat enough calories to maintain a healthy weight and protein and all of the essential amino acids automatically take care of themselves.

          What can mess that up is if you eat a lot of food-like substances high in refined sugars and refined oils that only contribute calories without providing protein. So enough olive oil in your diet and you do need to worry about focusing on foods with excessive protein to make up the difference. So maybe your “oatmeal” needs that egg white to dig itself out of the hole that the 240 to 360 calories of protein free olive oil digs for it. I suggest you just leave the junk food out of your morning oatmeal.

        2. We need the essential amino acids that our body can’t make. The essential amino acid profile for eggs, asparagus and broccoli are similar and clearly meet the minimal requirements. In my opinion the best referenced articles on the subject are three newsletters by John McDougall see April 2007, Protein Sources; December 2003 History of Protein; and January 2004, Protein Overload. Dr. McDougall has said there has never been a case of protein deficiency given adequate calorie intake. Dr. McGreger’s video addresses this specifically…. course the plants come with fiber and phytonutrients and a much lower risk of food borne illnesses such as salmonella see… Olive oil contains alot of saturated fat and is very calorie dense. I’m not aware of studies showing olive oil helping with constipation but fiber certainly seems to help… you can see the video’s on stool size and keep tuned as upcoming in the future is information on the number of stools per day.

          1. My thoughts on nutrition and protein was formed I think in the 70’s with that book “Diet For A Small Planet”, where the author talked about complete and incomplete proteins saying that if you ate vegetarian things, they had incomplete protein so that you did not get any benefit from eating it. That is, you had to eat say peanuts and drink milk at the same time because they were complementary proteins.

            It almost seems funny now, but I think a lot of people for a long time thought this, especially the counter-culture hippie ones that seem to unabashedly accept anything whether it makes sense or not. But this was particularly tricky because it was couched in terms of science. So, my question is always, how do we know we are not making the same kind of mistakes today?

        3. Ty, Plant-based sources have plenty of protein. There is no advantage to animal sources of protein. On the contrary. I agree with Ann. Respectfully, it sounds like you are a believer in the “Olive Oil Myth”. The nutrient per calorie density ratio is very tiny as there are almost NO nutrients in olive oil. In addition, they, (refined oils), harm the endothelial cells that line the arteries and are responsible for producing nitric Oxide, your cardio system’s natural vasodialator. I would compare olive oil to Marlboro Lights. It’s better than eating lard, (smoking camel straights), but it doesn’t mean it’s good for you! I’ve been eating WFPB for 11 years and lemme tell ya movin’ the bowels is the least of my worries! :)

          1. Actually, and very respectfully VegCoach, Marlboro Lights (now Golds) are just as dangerous as Marlboro Reds (Full-Flavor). Cigarette companies designed their products to look good on the government’s testing regimen and still give the smoker adequate nicotine. Basically the companies put rings of tiny ventilation holes in the filters — the more rings of vent holes, the more air mixed in with the smoke and the government testing regimen reported lower values of tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide. But it was a scam – the companies knew that people don’t smoke like the government machines. People block the vent holes enough and use other techniques (e.g., smoking more of each cigarette, inhaling more deeply) to get as much nicotine as they need to sustain their addiction. If there is 8 mg of nicotine in the rod of a cigarette, a smoker can get from 1 mg to 3 mg of nicotine out, depending on his/her needs at the moment. BTW, the companies were convicted of conspiring to de-fraud the American public with this ruse (under the RICO act), as well as by misrepresenting the dangers of smoking, nicotine addiction, and secondhand smoke and by marketing to kids. But the Supreme Court has upheld the Department of Justice’s case and Judge Kessler’s decision. Of course most people don’t know that b/c the companies have delayed the court imposed remedies (i.e., telling the American public they lied). Sorry for the tangent, but I suspect processed food companies have learned a lot from the tobacco companies.

          2. There is so much hype about olive oil. I am glad to see you call it the “olive oil myth”. People are shocked to hear that I do not believe in the benefits of olive oil. My answer is: Isn’t it better just to have a few olives, the whole fruit with all its nutrients? Leaves them thinking. But i never hear this mentioned anywhere.

        4. You will get all the protein you need without looking for “good sources” and all oil is “bad” at least according to Dr. Esselstyn who provided some of the source research for this video.

    2. I use oat groats (the whole oat) which you can get at many health food stores. I put it a crock pot style cooker at the ratio of 1 part oat groats to 6 parts water (my husband likes it thicker, when he makes the oats he uses a 1:5 ratio) and let it cook overnight on low. Fabulous oatmeal is ready when I awake in the morning. Add cinnamon, nuts, fruit or other toppings of your choice. It couldn’t be easier or more low cost. It’s probably pennies per bowl and very healthy–much, much better than processed oatmeal. When traveling I often order oatmeal for breakfast and it’s never as good to me as the overnight oats.

    3. Not quite as extremely divergent, but here’s another variation for 10-Minute Energizing Oatmeal from George Mateljan at
      I might sub 1C of almond milk for the skim milk & sliced almonds.

      Prep and Cook Time: 10 minutes

      1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
      2 cups water
      sea salt to taste
      1/2 tsp cinnamon
      1/4 cup raisins
      1/4 cup sliced almonds
      1 cup skim milk
      1 TBS blackstrap molasses

      Bring the water and salt to a boil in a saucepan, then turn the heat to low and add the oats.

      Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly so that the oatmeal will not clump together. Add cinnamon, raisins and almonds, stir, cover the pan and turn off heat. Let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with milk and sweetener.

      Serves 2
      1.00 serving
      (206.54 grams)

  4. Let’s say one did go on the WFPB ( whole foods plant based ) diet, or the previously mentioned rice, fruits and veggies diet … is there any measurement about what the average rate of artery clogging reverses would be expected?

    Conversely, is there any way to tell if this regime is doing you any good, that is, if you only ate oatmeal or rice as the major component of your diet for a week (and no artery clogging stuff like bacon and eggs), a month or a year and had no measurable change in your stats – would you know how long to wait before looking to doctors for a more interventionist approach?

    1. Hi Brux. I am not sure about measurements other than cholesterol and blood flow to the heart. I would not wait to find a more intense approach if numbers (like a high cholesterol) didn’t start improving after 3 months. Maybe others can offer their take as well.

    2. Brux, There is literally no risk factor for switching to a whole foods plant based lifestyle other than you may slip on a banana peal. So why not just do it? I switched January 1 of this year. I visited the doctor for my first ever adult annual check up and blood tests a couple weeks ago. Having been on a standard american diet for 46 years, and on a WFPB diet for 18 weeks, my blood tests were good and I expect them to just get better.

      1. Awhile back I saw a video on YouTube with Dr Dean Ornish that showed side by side xrays of clogged arteries that cleared over time under his WFPB diet and lifestyle modifications. You can probably find it by searching Google or youtube.

      1. Dr. ‘Caldwell’ Esselstyn. The ‘Colin’ you’re probably thinking about is Dr. T. Colin Campbell who wrote “The China Study” and “Whole”, both of which I also recommend.

    3. Get a copy of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. It’s low cost and will answer your questions and give you some very good advice. It was written by Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. who created the diet that Bill Clinton raves about.

  5. I recently received information that grains are what elevate our triglycerides and that we should not eat so much. And, in fact, the presenter specifically stated that oatmeal is NOT good for us. I was eating GF oatmeal every day. And brown rice as well. And, as usually happens in dietary truths – I had also started eating Lara Bars (dried fruit/nut bars), and then I ate more of them. My blood results showed HIGH triglycerides. So I stopped eating the Bars. And I stopped eating oatmeal. The point made was the amount of carbs I was consuming… so now I am attempting to count the carbs and see what happens. Do I have a question? Yes – so what kind of grains are ok and at what amount (and without the loading of fruit, syrup, etc.). Rather than talking about specific foods, why not teach people to be aware of the carbs – the good ones and the bad ones – and that too much has harmful effects on us??

    1. Good carbs are those that are as close to unprocessed as you can get, so legumes, veg, fruit, sweet potato ………..oats, hmm, a bit of processing but, on balance, they are good for most.

      I have 1/2 cup oatmeal, rolled oats, couple handfuls of sauteed spinach, 1/2 cup of blueberries, and about 14 grams of nuts, all in a bit of almond milk.

      If you stick to three good WHPB meals and don’t do too much snacking on fruits and processed junk (Lara bars), your trigs should be fine, all else equal.

      1. I’m curious about that meal you mention! Do I understand right that you combine all of that into one bowl? All mixed up? Spinach? With *oatmeal*?! All warmed up? It sounds weird, no disrespect intended, to eat oatmeal with spinach, but I’m curious and always looking for something new/different.

        1. I’m not Will, but yeah, sounds kinda like a green smoothie with oats! Savory oatmeal is actually awesome! Oats are a grain, same as rice, so just think of what you eat with rice and apply the same principles. I almost never have sweet oats anymore…and never for breakfast. A breakfast bowl of creamy oats with with cooked butternut squash or pumpkin and some nutritional yeast, a 1/4 tsp turmeric, and a little white miso added after it’s cooked (so I don’t kill the beneficial organisms) for saltiness, flavor, and probiotics, is one of my favorites. Similar in satisfaction to my once favorite comfort food, mac and cheese, but it has all kinds of benefits instead of harm!

      2. How are Lara bars processed junk? I am genuinely curious as I eat them regularly as a snack between meals. I know they have some new flavours but the ones I eat have only dates and cashews as ingredients, or dates, peanuts and sea salt. Aside from the texture, I can’t see anything suggesting that they are processed at all.

        1. I’d rather each the ingredients on their own naturally, some of those bars have a lot of sugar if you look at the nutrition profile. If you enjoy them, keep at it.

        2. Good question. I would agree. Lara just uses whole foods, right? Maybe Will M. meant a different bar? Thanks, Emily.

    2. I for one eat ALOT of grains, especially oats (berries, melons) and brown rice like you mention. I’ve had two full cholesterol over 3 years with during this span, increased how many grains I ate. My trig at first test was 57. 3 years later is was 48. Only meats I consume are poultry.

      1. Don’t eat any part of, or anything from, anything that has a face or a mother. That includes poultry, dairy products and fish. Unless of course you really want Heart Disease and Cancer.:o)

    3. Refined grains are never the best choice and they can surely raise triglycerides if eaten in excess. As this video suggests oats are totally healthful based on the array of scientific references Dr. Greger mentions. I promote all whole grains. We have several videos about triglycerides, if interested. Lastly, Dr. Greger explains in his book, “Carbophobia” the importance and healthfulness of carbohydrates (unrefined whole grains). You can read it for free, here. Hopefully these resources may help. Thanks for your comment, PamyCST!

      1. Thanks for your replies! I want to “live long and prosper”! I know it takes good food, in the right amounts, water and movement. (and very temperate consumption of a few other things!)

        1. Congratulations on your decision to live a longer life. Dr. Greger has a book coming out in the beginning of next year called “How Not to Die,” about lifespan extension according to information on this site. You can go to this website, to read a magazine about your interest. recommends exercise, not smoking, Whole Food Plant Based Nutrition, and maintaining a healthy weight. According to this site, using the Lora Dunning Adventist University health studies, being a vegetarian can add ten years to your life. Drinking ten cups of green tea a day can add twelve years to your life, and matcha is recommended here. Dr. Linus Pauling said that taking three grams of Vitamin C a day could help you live 25 years longer. I don’t really know if it is true or not but there are some people who carefully try to find out what their personal maximum of Vitamin C is (before they have soft bowel movements).

          Dr. Greger right on the top has some advice for you, eat as much oatmeal as you can and eat four helpings of walnuts a week. Make sure you get your fiber, eat your dark leafy greens, and get your minimum 9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day.

          The best foods are beans, nuts, matcha, cocoa, whole grains, berries, spices, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables.

          The best foods are itemized here:
          nuts are walnuts, pecans, peanuts
          fruit is cranberries, lemons, and apples
          vegetables are beets, garlic, and kale, spinach, broccoli, and carrots
          tea is hibiscus, matcha, and white tea with lemon
          berries include amla, goji berries, barberries. blueberries,
          spices include tumeric (with pepper), ginger, and rosemary (oregano is also recommended).

          Many people have found that eating less is healthy. Drinking the tea can help suppress your appetite. Caloric restriction is known to extend lifespan in all animal models. We are trying to mimic it here, not knowing that the vegan diet is itself calorie restriction and its own mimic, in my opinion.

          If you want to be a vegan, you should consider supplementing with D3 and B12. There are other supplements that are recommended for long life as I alluded to with the Pauling quote, but this site has said that the best nutrition is from food, Whole Food Plant Based. Very fresh food is also recommended here.

          Niacin is perhaps the first vitamin that has been shown to improve lifespan if you are interested in Orthomolecular medicine as a lifespan extension strategy. Phoshporus, Iodiene, and plant based Iron are possibly also related, in my opinion.

          There are therapies that are known to add to your life:

          Meditating can add ten years to your life
          Swimming can add ten years to your life
          Being married, having sex once a week can ten years to your life
          Listening to classical music can add at least a few years, Mozart in particular is powerful
          Going to Church or synagouge and praying can add ten years to your life
          Donating blood monthly can add ten years to your life
          Flossing can add six years to your life.
          Light drinking, not recommended here, can add to your life.
          Being part of a large social network, like this one, can add many years to your life.

          Congratulations on your decision to live a long and successful life. You will find many advocates here. You are the living embodiment of “very temperate consumption,”

          Live and long and prosper.

          1. Holy crap! I do everything on your lists each adding years and years to my lifespan. By my calculations then I should never die ;-)

            1. Congratulations. Have you been to I think we should eat every food on the list 2-3 times a week, except for the meat. According to people on this site, vegans have vascular health similar to people 34 years younger than them. It may be possible to develop the methods to live into your 90s or even 100s with everyone. I am sure your efforts have already made you younger than your biological age and you will find a synergistic effect among the additional years, not a cumulative one.

    4. When you had results with high triglycerides was your cholesterol also high or was that otherwise normal? I’ve seen numerous anecdotal reports of people on a WFPB lifestyle experiencing high triglycerides without the typically associated high cholesterol. And for them it seems to be a transitional state in their body that eventually resolves itself as they remain high carb and low fat and limited to no processed foods.

      1. Hello. I think high triglycerides could be a sign of a B3 or Niacin deficiency. If you are supposed to eat 6-11 servings of grain a day, or whole grain, and B3 is robbed from it in the polishing process, how much do you think you really need? My triglycerides were always high, until I tried Niacin therapy. Now they are back in the normal range and I have Ideal blood numbers. Cholesterol 93, HDL 48, Cholesterol, non-HDL 45, Triglyceride 84, LDL 28. This was good news for me. Low B3 can have an effect on your brain and can slow you down. Perhaps you need more whole grain, or falling that, high Niacin therapy. You can read about it at or see the results of it as a Statin at


    5. I think you should consider Niacin therapy. Niacin lowers triglycerides, LDL, and raises HDL. You can tell if your personal Niacin level is too low by the texture of your hand. If you close your dominant eye, is it very hard to keep your weaker eye steady? If so, you might have a Niacin deficiency. For years Niacin was the gold standard of Statins until the drug companies tried to make one with a profit. Whole grains, and you name some of the best, are supposed to be very good for you and just about everyone here doesn’t agree with the low carb fad. It is safe to take 1-3 grams of Niacin a day. Niacin from the diet is very good and is best found in whole grains and bran, but much is lost in the refineries. Niacin, as part of the energy complex, is an important factor in life extension, it is used by your mitochondria in every energy reaction in your body, My personal triglycerides fell by more than 100 points on Niacin in only about a month. For more information you can read Niacin: The Real Story by Hoffer, Saul, and Foster. Dr, Greger describes the heart disease epidemic that over rain Asia when milling was brought there in The heart disease that came with pellagra from milling our grain may still be with us.

  6. Dr. Greger (or anyone you can refer me to), what is your understanding of the role or lack thereof that lectins have on autoimmune disease? I’d like to reassure a friend that they are okay (she avoids grains and beans for fear of the lectin worry). Here are a couple studies she cited. What can I tell her to ease her mind and help her be able to enjoy grains and beans, since otherwise they are so health promoting? Obviously the longest lived populations all enjoy(ed) beans, but in a compromised leaky-gut scenario or just in general, can lectins be harmful and promote autoimmune disease? Thank you!

        1. Dogulas: Please read this article on this website:

          “Will The Real Paleo Diet Please Stand Up?”

          The Wikipedia entry, too, mentions the heat sensitivity of lectins.

    1. Hey Douglas. Let me see if I can help. Have you read Dr. Greger’s blog will the real paleo diet please stand up? I didn’t know he was an Eminem fan either ;-), but anyway, he mentions lectins and lists references at the end. Lectin’s don’t seem to be a problem. The studies you posted mention one episode in 1988 where some people got sick off beans. They talk about potential food poisoning, but considering the amount of food poisoning from animal-based foods I would take my chances with beans. Large bodies of evidence suggest they are healthful.

      1. Thank you very much. Very helpful! I hope answering all these thoughts people have on here isn’t making you burn out. You’re doing a great job. Thanks again.

      2. I like this quote from Dr. G’s ‘real paleo’ blog you linked to Joseph.

        snip! ~~~> ” The value of legumes and grains in the human diet is validated by
        people of the Blue Zones – the longest lived, healthiest populations in
        the world – all of whom consume legumes and grains as part of their
        traditional fare.”

        Powerful statement…

    2. I have Multiple Sclerosis and eat LOTS of beans, legumes, rice and oatmeal. My MS doesn’t seem to get worse (in fact seems less of a problem) for it.

      1. Hi Roy, I am in the exactly same boat with regards to MS but also with symptoms improving with diet. Are you aware of the OMS program by George Jelinek? Otherwise I would like to direct you to his website:


  7. There is a lot of podcasts and articles that encourage the consumption of saturated fats like coconut oil and butter. It confuses me why there are individuals out there who encourage saturated fat consumption claiming benefits like a testosterone boost, improved cognition and a improved capacity to burn fat.
    ps. I’ve been mostly WFPB for about 2 years because of this site.

    1. Are oats inflammatory? Perhaps if you have an allergy or celiac disease and are not eating gluten-free oats, but I have not seen any research to think that oats are inflammatory. I could be wrong. Someone can probably help us answer. Thanks, THE STONE

      1. Hi Joseph, I think what THE STONE is referring to is the omega 6:3 ratio of oats at about 22 In this respect, my understanding is that all grains are slightly inflammatory for the same reason. So, I take some ground flaxseed (along with all the other anti-inflammatory veg & fruit I’ll be eating on any given day), and my WFPB diet is, overall, anti-inflammatory. Anyway, that’s my understanding.

        P.S. You’re busier than a one-armed paper hanger and doing a great job! Thanks for all your effort.

        1. Ahh thanks! I see. Well if that is the case it makes sense, but i would say that the omega 6:3 ratio is not the only way to measure inflammation. Inflammation is a just a term and represents most all chronic diseases, at least it plays a role in the major killers (CVD, obesity. type 2 diabetes, etc). This study shows oats have the ability to reduce inflammatory markers. Adding flax to oats is still a great idea! I may argue berries and dried fruit, too. :-) Thanks Lawrence very kind of you to say.

    2. I found that avoiding oatmeal which is mixed with dried fruit gave me skin allergies, but as soon as I switched to plain /whole organic/oats with fresh fruit solved the problem. Not sure if this helps but dried apricot was the culprit (not all dried fruit ).

  8. “….meaning less than 3% of all Americans eat enough plant-based foods,” Only a lousy 3%? How come I wasn’t part of the survey? Did I miss your link where I could read more about this? Thanks.

  9. Talking about oatmeal. I found out that many of my family members wish to eat oatmeal but wouldn’t do it for inconvenience of taking the time to make the gruel in the morning, cleaning the pots etc. So here is a different approach.
    Toast the oats in the oven of in a frying pan. Now they are crunchy. You can eat them as is, incorporate them in soups, or in the morning coffee. They are so versatile this way. You can eat them at any time of the day. My whole family are going crazy about this way of eating oats.

  10. I’ve been cooking 1/2 cup rolled oats, 2 TB raisons, 2 TB dates, then stirring in 1/4 cup crushed flaxseed. I’ve heard flaxseed is heat sensitive, so I stir it in at the end. It adds another 8 gm of fiber! I had a lipid panel done recently and my triglyceride level was just 40! (Supposed to be below 150) All other lipid levels a little lower than normal, except my good cholesterol. Oatmeal is a perfect vehicle for chia or crushed flaxseed. All of it does wonders for improving lipid panels!

    1. Fresh ground flax seeds are not heat sensitive whereas flax oil is so sensitive room temp destroys the Omega 3’s before it ships from the factory. For more search You Tube for a 2003 video featuring Dr. Greger entitled, “40 Year Vegan Dies Of Heart Attack”.

    1. I think you mean the error bars. Its typically the standard error, though could be a related value such as standard deviation or variance. It doesn’t mean there is an error in the data. It basically tells you how much variance there was in the dataset. The height of the bar is typically the mean (average) – but not all individuals were exactly equal to the average – some were a bit higher, some a bit lower – that’s just biological reality – the bigger the error bar, the more individuals with values far from the average. If the error bars are small, most individuals had values pretty close to the average

  11. I used to have a bowl of oatmeal each morning with berries, ground flax, cinnamon and ginger. But then I decided to have a smoothie for my first meal. However, I recently realized that I can add the oats to my smoothie (along with all the other ingredients) to give the smoothie a thicker texture. It’s almost like two meals in one and I actually like it better that a bowl of oats.

    1. Good idea. I used to do smoothies, huge ones (~32oz) mostly banana and always with spinach, but I would have to eat again in 2 or 3 hours tops. Adding oatmeal would add fiber and some fat which might give a little better staying power to the meal. Of course now I’d add ground flaxseed too. Might try that on the weekend when I don’t have to wait for a break to eat again.

  12. l have acid refux,can’t have any milk products and nothing with gluten.Thank goodness l can eat meat.Eggs are out including pork.Alot of fruit,veggies and fish,beef and chicken.If their a gluten free Oatmeal that l can have with just a bit of sugar??

    1. Carolle did you see the previous video? I had acid reflux to the point of PPI dependence, but WFPB completely fixed all of that in four to six weeks-despite my continued consumption of alcohol. Bit of sugar: Molasses is a tiny bit better than sugar for sweetening, but I try to get all of my sweetness from fruit. I eat my oatmeal with some combination of bananas and blueberries or strawberries, sometimes a bit of molasses.

    2. Bob’s Red Mill brand sells certified gluten free rolled oats. Oats have no gluten so his verification is that it is processed in a plant that does NOT process gluten products, and the growing fields are away from wheat feels to avoid drift contamination. You can get them at Whole Foods Market (they can order for you if not in stock), or from Amazon or direct from BRM’s web site.

      But really, ditch the animal products if you’re trying to see long term improvements in your health. It might take while. It did for me.

      Good luck

  13. Maybe the 0.1 fiber for meat represents the fecal contamination that is inherent in American-style processing of carcasses. Get some!


  14. I eat 1 cup of Muesli with organic Soymilk, a banana and walnuts for breakfast everyday. I love it. I eat unlimited amounts of whole foods with no portion control. I drink green tea all day and work out only 30 min a day. No problems at all. And i eat the muesli cold and uncooked, i like to chew it a little.

  15. Those last pictures should have been credited to Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, since they were from his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, which I highly recommend.

    1. And that is quite included in the image of the report over which the images are shown. See @ 3:44. “Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD” as I read it.

      1. You are absolutely correct. I need to be paying more attention, though the pictures (which are what caught my attention) do cover up his name.

        1. Yes. That happens. Many times I freeze-frame to read the slices of reports and such that appear in the videos. Even look some of the full reports up.

  16. I was 2 years on a Whole foods plant based diet and I was feeling bad, my testosterone level was at 220 (cholesterol at 180), then I re-introduced lean meat, eggs yogurt I started to feel better and my testosterone had raised to 600 and cholesterol to 215.

      1. Veggie Eric: I’m not the guest whose post you responded to but i’m concerned about your attitude. As I understand this is an open website. Anybody, not just vegans, can watch videos, read the comments, make comments, ask questions, express concerns, share experience, learn, and teach. If the site were intended for vegans only, Dr. Greger would be preaching to the choir. His goal, as I understand, is to spread the word on the benefits of a whole-food plant-based diet, based on the latest research, to as many people as possible, not to create a cult. Let’s face it: there’re a lot of people who eat animal products but are very healthy. On the other hand, there’re WFPB vegans who end up dealing with life-threatening health problems. (A lady who commented on a recent video had been a vegan, meditator, and exerciser but was dealing with metastatic breast cancer.) Is it genetics? Is it the environment? Is it the nutritional exposure during childhood? Or, is it just randomness? I don’t know; do you?
        Let’s just be vegans, not veganazis.

        1. Absolutely, this site is open to any and all. My response above was to a certain individual who trolls this site often just to post anti-vegan rhetoric. His last post was an anti-B12 supplementation post… before that he called Dr Greger “ignorant”. That’s not being productive or having spirited debate.

          I appreciate the dialog and your advice is noted.

    1. Not sure what you ate, but your cholesterol going up isn’t anything to brag about. I was sick for years with a problem the doctors couldn’t diagnose (turned out to be a combo of food allergies to a couple foods and a bad parathyroid. All removed. All better.) But back when I was desperate to try anything, I stopped my vegan diet to go Paleo carnivore. It was stupid. None of their claims (not that they’re consistent) were all unsubstantiated, no testing. My cholesterol went from 121 to 218, my blood pressure went from 105/65 to 128/92, and the rest of my numbers weren’t much better, except sugars went down a little (so what?). I was constipated and gaining weight. Even before I was cured I went back to a WFPB diet and my numbers went back to what they were.

      So sorry, I can’t speak to your experience, but I’ll never do animal products again. Plus I was always grossed out thinking of diseases the animals probably had, not to mention the hormones and antibiotics add to them. Thank goodness I kicked that death ride to the curb.

      Mark G.

    2. First, Are those good numbers for cholesterol? I don’t think they are. Also, who are you? Is the story that you are telling us true? I sure hope it isn’t. I can’t understand what you were eating on a WFPB died that would so affect your testosterone levels. It is not a normal outcome. Have you had a full medical exam. I would be worried about my hypothalamus function if I were you since what you have told us here is unusual. If what you are saying is true, you should go to your doctor and have some further tests done.

      Please take what I am saying to heart. My girlfriend had erratic hormonal numbers and we later found out that she had a tumor growing on her hypothalamus. What you are telling us here is not normal.

      This is one of those few times that I hope the author is just trolling this site to cause confusion because the alternative puts his overall health in question.

  17. Dr Greger or Joseph:
    I just did my annual physical and was surprised that for my cholesterol, my LDL is above my HDL. I’m 59, don’t eat processed food, except some simple whole wheat bread made without oils. I adhere to a vegan whole foods diet. Here are my scores, which are good except for the inversion of LDL and HDL.

    Total cholesterol – 126
    HDL – 57
    LDL – 62
    Triglycerides – 37

    With numbers like this, should I worry enough to try to tweak my diet to get the cholesterol numbers to flip? It’s this maybe from a day or two of too many nuts or avocado (I try to eat them only with a meal to absorb veggie nutrients). Any thoughts?

    Mark G

  18. I was wondering, how much sodium should i get everyday? Because i eat a plant based diet with no added salt i usually get only around 300mg per day. Is that bad? How much should i aim for?

    1. Hi Carlotta. Less than 1500mg. 300mg seems super low. It has been estimated that the minimum requirements for sodium are 500 mg/d. You are not far off.

  19. Interesting, but the paper of CB Esselstyn mentioned in the end of the video stated that the reversal of arherosclerotic plaques was obtained in combination with cholesterol lowering medications.

  20. I thought humans NEEDED cholesterol, and that it had something to do with our brains and nerve impulses or insulation between signals? When I look at that graph, the strict vegetarians seem awfully low, relatively at least. Is that good or bad?

    1. It’s good. I’ll mostly just focus on pulling from my network of thoughts here for the time being to give you some of the main claims, but:

      1. Sanity check: the research community is aware of the useful functions of cholesterol when it advises for lowered serum cholesterol: they are more on top of this than the vast majority of apologists for high serum cholesterol
      2. Newborn infants have even lower cholesterol in relative terms, when the brain to body size is really large and the brain is actively growing. Is their cholesterol suboptimally low? If theirs is not too low, is the vegetarians’?
      3. The graph that you are looking at in the video has its axes drawn away from the origin. The vegetarians’ cholesterol is not orders of magnitude lower than the others’, in case you thought that.
      4. There are various genetic polymorphisms that lead to very low serum cholesterol. Some have other consequences that are quite harmful, but one which involves a mutation of the APOB is basically unsymptomatic except for lowered risk of CVD:
      5. Sanity check: if cholesterol is so important to humans in so many ways and can be found in meat of all types, isn’t this a sign that this need for cholesterol is pretty common in all animals, including herbivores, and that serum cholesterol is regulated pretty well from the low end? That is, if the bodies of rabbits, cows and gorillas can produce enough cholesterol for their needs on an essentially herbivorous diet, why can’t ours?
      6. Sanity check: if cholesterol were only important to humans and low cholesterol had dire consequences on brain function and so forth, wouldn’t this kind of problem apply much more selective pressure than CVD, which mostly enfeebles and kills humans after they have had children? In this scenario, it seems more likely than not that our genes would try to give us generous amounts of extra cholesterol as insurance, and this would suggest in turn that serum cholesterol levels much lower than ‘natural’ for humans may still be safe and optimal.

      You may want to check out some Plant Positive’s videos critiquing the low-carb and ‘Paleo’ movements. Several of my claims are supported more closely on his site than they are here, and his videos are relatively easy viewing besides given their focus on fact-driven debate around a complex, wide-ranging topic:

      1. > 1. ….. advises for lowered serum cholesterol:

        That is certainly all we hear, but I’ve heard very little about a good range, or a lower limit. All we hear is lower and lower levels. Thus, my question.

        > 2. Newborn infants

        There is very little to be gained by this kind of “common sense” reasoning if you have no experimental data. I see a lot of this here on NF and mostly ignore it. People “fuzz” this kind of thinking out to support anything they want. That’s fine with me, but it doesn’t advance my understanding or answer the question I posed.

        > 3. … graph that you are looking at in the video has its axes drawn away from the origin.

        As do all graphs. It is linear with 20ug steps. I think you mean the zero point is not at the axis. I do know how to read a graph.

        > 4. …. There are various genetic polymorphisms

        That’s more what I am talking about. If you wanted to respond to the question you could read and condense what you got out of that link … but it is still speculation on the norm. Specifically, are there cases where low cholesterol causes disease, and at what levels with what qualifications is the question.

        > 5. … if the bodies of rabbits, cows and gorillas can produce enough cholesterol for their needs on an essentially herbivorous diet, why can’t ours?

        I am sorry but this is faulty logic. You cannot arm wave and talk in general about wild animals and have it pertain to humans.

        > 6. … it seems more likely than not that our genes would try to give us generous amounts of extra cholesterol as insurance

        There you go again. I appreciate what you are trying to do, and how you think, but this doesn’t answer the question. The ideas you pose might serve as the basic hypothesis for data mining or experiment, but they are not something to base your behavior or diet on.

        The You-Tube video is interesting, and meaning no disrespect, i think if you understood it in its totality you could have summarized it in a sentence or three. One of the arguments though is that humans are recommended to have cholesterol levels at twice the levels expected, which the narrator says is bad. OK, then why is twice the level not so bad when we are talking about say B12. Again, this is a kind of emotional argument, saying that we do not know what levels of cholesterol are good. I am quite prepared to accept the low levels in the graph are ideal, I just want to know if some experimental verification exists to indicate that.

        I recently watched a documentary called “The Widowmaker” about heart disease and the medical industrial complex’s failure to embrace the calcium scan technology even though indications were than it was the only metric that worked to predict sudden cardiac death. What does cholesterol have to do with the build up of calcium in the circulatory system, and when does it become a problem.

        I think of a lot of these are simple linear knee-jerk thinking along the lines of, seeing people with a long history of eating the standard American diet and their sicknesses and then taking what should be treatment for those people and saying it should be norm for everyone. Maybe that is valid and safe, and maybe it isn’t. This has been the major motivator of most of my comments here on NF.

        It is not that I disagree with anyone, it is that I want data and facts. Many people are satisfied with innuendo and it causes them to do all kinds of things that may not be necessary or even safe.

        For a test in the last few days I tried the rice diet, with veggies, that was suggested on one video. Actually, I felt better, except for some abdominal gas. I think I am going to work that into my dietary regime in some way. But again, I cannot assume it is doing something that it might not be doing unless I can verify it. So … what if it helps me … then what? I learn that I have to eat rice and veggies for the rest of my life? I am not sure I want to do that! ;-)

        1. Actually there is Now an overwhelming amount of evidence suggesting at least 5 eggs a day lowers cholesterol and prevents CVD and heart disease. The cholesterol from meats and eggs is so beneficial that we will all die within a month without it. Please eat lots of eggs. They are soooo healthy I eat at least 10 eggs a day to get all my beneficial cholesterol which is found naturally in body cells. I also eat 100 pounds of ice cream a month. That increases cholesterol absorption. Which is also high in calcium. I’m so glad I could help. Tata

          1. 10 eggs per day is like 2200 grams of cholesterol! The Institute of Medicine recommends obtaining cholesterol “As low as possible”. You are free to consume any diet but I would urge strong caution to anyone eating that much saturated fat and cholesterol.

            1. Joseph, I flagged this comment because it is obviously spam from a complete a-hole … Jo Madre … “your mother” … get it? He is a warped anti-social personality, maybe a 12 year old kid from a broken home seeking negative attention would be my best guess.

              1. Thanks for the heads up! I try to give folks benefit of the doubt. ;-) Keep up the comments and always flag one that looks suspicious. I don’t mind comments like these. Folks can disagree but ad hominem attacks and foul language become evident I have no time for inappropriateness in a place where we’re all trying to learn!

          2. I flagged this comment too. This is obviously a troll…Funny to read, but these types of comments distract from the WFPB message being promoted here. Not even going to dignify a response anymore… just flag um when I see um.

        2. 1,5,6. A sanity check’s purpose is to look for obvious mistakes. In the context of argument and (as opposed to code and calculation), the goal is to look for defects in the form of reasoning. Your question in many ways isn’t presented with reasoning but I assume that there is something other than emotion behind it. If the idea that vegan’s cholesterol has likely crossed the threshold of safety from the low end is just a feeling that you have based on mistrust of government and recommendations that revise themselves and so forth, there’s not too much that I am willing to do to persuade you on that emotional level. The sanity check’s purpose is to get bad reasoning and tall tales off the table, not to assert outright that this is the reasoning that you accept wholeheartedly.

          2,5,6. We aren’t working with deductive logic here, not entirely. We have to take inferential steps based on probabilistic reasoning. Looking at analagous cases and thinking about what they may imply isn’t something that one should simply “tune out”. Do these kinds of evidence stand as the final word about what is too low in adults? Of course not. But they do point in a common direction in that they lend more credibility to lower levels being adequate, and they are facts.

          4. This is another type of inference from an analogous domain, and is relatively strong in type of case if weak in the quantity of cases examined. Still, though, there may be some complex reason why tissues adapt if this condition persists from infancy, which doesn’t happen if low cholesterol is induced in middle age or whatever, leading to some sort of dire consequence that hasn’t been well publicized (at the very least). Is this form of study inadmissible for considering the question of when one’s cholesterol may be too low, because of this one possible defeater of the inference that we might draw from it as most likely? Of course not; it succeeds in narrowing the field of acceptable hypotheses and focusing our attention on those hypotheses that are more likely to be true. Same with the observations of infants, primates, and pre-industrial farmers. These all are characterized by serum cholesterol concentrations that are more similar to the vegans in your reference than the omnivores, and in some cases quite a bit lower.

      1. Excuse me while I enjoy my bacon and eggs, whipped cream and blueberries. Good for diabetes. Dr. Atkins’ thousands of patients did well on high fat, low carb diet. We are omnivores, not heribvores. You can keep big Pharma in business. I’m tired of seeing 300 lb carb munching obese slobs walking around.

  21. I toast my oats till they’re golden brown in a dry frying pan, in a bowl add peaches, cinnamon , nutmeg, ground flax seed, unsweetened almond milk. It is easy and quick, no sticky dishes and pots to worry about. I prefer the organic ones because the texture is less sticky, has a light nutty fragrance where as the conventional one seems a little bland.

  22. Hello friends,

    I just wanted to pass on my story for anybody’s s curiosity. I am a 22 year old white male. My grandma is Norwegian and my grandpa has some German and possibly some Scottish/Irish. My other grandparents are English with a possible hint of Native American (that was never proven).

    So, I am allergic to oats. I am the only one in my family that has noticed these symptoms. First I get a strange feeling near the lower opening of my esophagus, it feels hard and stiff. Then, and I’ve only noticed this next symptom with Quaker oats, if I try to exercise at the gym, I will get a migraine. I hate migraines with a passion. Mine usually last for at least 12 hours and they started in 2007 after my family left the Bay Area on the west coast and moved to bend Oregon.

    So I tried eating more vegan foods after I tried going vegan and I still enjoyed the taste of oats so I bought the quick cook steel cut oats and that allowed me to exercise but I still got the annoying hardening symptom in my esophagus. I did not realize that it was the oats however until my mother mentioned the relationship. I also have a problem with heart palpitations that I noticed get very pronounced with certain foods. But the oats have been the biggest issue all along. I never knew how many oats I was eating before either. I usually had a bowl of Cheerios or oat meal in the morning since my diet a month ago, or I would have some granola which is made of oats. I tried using almond milk, then it was soy milk, but it didn’t make a noticeable difference in symptoms.

    And now I think I have a glut in sensitivity because I had some wheat toast with peanut butter and I noticed that I started getting heart palpitations. so I haven’t had bread in about two days now and I also haven’t had a heart palpitation in about 2 days as well…wtf, I thought oats and bread were supposed to be “heart healthy”. What a joke. I’ve been eating oats and bread all my life and right after this vegan change, I’m all a sudden super sensitive to everything. Also, Sabra Hummus and Costco organic guacamole give me strong heart palpitations. I developed the heart palpitations a few weeks after trying to go vegan the first time last year. That turned out very bad. I definitely had no idea about fat solvable vitamins and minerals, essential vitamins and minerals, the bad oxalates in uncooked foods like spinach…which I was eating a huge bowlful every morning and I eventually noticed that i had the same weird esophagus hardening /stiffening effect with spinach too. I still eat spinach but I like to eat less or cook it with my veges first. Also, I learned about how I needed to eat more legumes to replace my protein intake from meats and dairy. I literally lost close to 20 pounds in 3 weeks a year ago and I had close to 6 bowel movements a day for the whole time I ate vegan, which I thought was unhealthy because I also had diarrhea and I am a 6 foot tall male weighing 165-175 and I dropped below 150. I soon after developed heart palpitations and–I was drinking a ton of oolong tea which for those who don’t know, is full of caffeine. I never eat or drink anything with caffeine and then all of a sudden for two weeks in a row I was drinking one to two cups of oolong tea a day. I was so wired at night and I had no idea why. So watch out for that. I love matcha green tea from the republic place, o haven’t tried too many other brands but that was by far my favorite brand… Anyways, I mix a little bit of raw organic cocoa, about a teaspoon amount with half a tea spoon in 9.0 ionized water (from my iontech water ionizer…I feel like i should get paid for this… Anyways and the chocolate powder with the matcha green tea and the water take my heart palpitations away. It’s probably a healthy increase in antioxidants idk… So if you get migraines and you eat Quaker oats or cherrios/cereals with oats/granola see if eliminating those does the trick. Otherwise ether barometric drop in pressure might be another problem like it was for me in Oregon. Ever day that I exercised in Oregon I would develop a migraine. Half side of my vision would go blurry and then the head throbbing started and ended 12 hours later and some times the next morning. I also noticed that I would get dead arms and dead legs wickedly bad during a migraine. I would just be laying down and then try to turn over and my legs and arms were all numb. I think Celtic salt helps prevent the dead arms and legs though because (story time) case study n=1; when I would do my vegan diet I noticed I didn’t eat very much salt and therefore I wasn’t getting a good mix of vitamins and minerals–I probably wasn’t eating enough healthy unsaturated fats like those in peanut butter either to absorb the small amounts of trace minerals and vitamins that are fat soluble and therefore require fats in order to be digested and collected. So I started adding a loch of Celtic salt here and there to my steamed Vegies and even my water and I noticed the dead arm and dead leg sensation disapeared that same Night. I can tell because when I sleep on my back wiith my hands under my head and my elbows flat on my pillow around my ears, I will usually feel a tingling sensation in my arm pits then they go numb–but much less so after I’ve eaten Celtic salt. I keep using the word Celtic. I did some research a while back and found out that NaCl aka table salt is not good for us or our hearts (according to the heart institute of health) Which is probably due to there being no other trace vitamins or minerals in the salt because it is mined from the earth, steamed, and possibly bleached to get it to look white. I know that iodized water is bleached because other wise it would have a pink look to it.

    Anyways, my research led me to the conclusion that Celtic salt might be healthy In small amounts because it contains some 97 or 84 vitamins and minerals– I can’t remember– as well as small amounts of trace minerals/elements from the ocean. I could talk about how it was collected from the sea in little pools with rakes but I’m not sure if that is how it is still collected. Anyways it is supposedly much healthier than sea salt–which i read is collected from places possibly near contaminated water sources then stripped of its minerals for industrial purposes and refined even further for a “pure” white form…etc etc etc.

    So yea that worked for me. Also since I’ve started My health rant I might as well mention that I also get migraines from the Safeway fruity circles a breakfast cereal for children. 5 minutes after eating it, I’ll Either be getting ready to go to work or to be driving to work and I’ll get a migraine that lasts about 4 hours. I also don’t have to exercise to experience this. I know every person is deferent and thank the lord because I can barely tolerate myself At times lol.

    I think that’s it. Hope this helps a worried soul who is or was experiencing the same terrible symptoms I’ve experienced after going vegan and–some of the horrible experiences I had before leaving the SAD diet behind.


    Rob from the bay

  23. Here in lies the problem. People try and get into health and may take a stab at being a vegan and it becomes a frustrating hornets nest of misinformation or one day or source says this is good and the next day a contradiction. For breakfast every day I eat 1/4 cup of steel cut oats made in a pressure cooker (Sorry if that was not relevant..:)) I grind 2 tablespoons of flax seed, add 30 grams of hemp seed and 30 grams of walnuts. Now from a couple of posts I hear that is bad for you? To much Omega 3 and Omega 6 is bad for you. I have been keeping my Omega 6 to 3 ration at about 2 to 1. Am I heading in the wrong direction with this diet? Can I ask everyone a question I have been seeking an answer to for a month. If I am getting the majority of my Omega 6 from Almonds, hemp seed, peanuts ect do I still need to watch my Omega 6’s and is the Omega 6 to 3 ration still important?

    1. It’s always important to consider and be cautious of the omega3:6 ratio but I think it’s easy to get lost in the numbers. Dr. Greger mentions finding a good ratio and I discuss this issue here. Research suggests the importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. The omega 6’s are usually problematic and inflammatory when people start overdoing omega 6-rich added oils and consuming too much meat, cheese, and eggs.

  24. I am curious if steel cut outs can be eaten healthfully by solely cooking them the night before. I have been reading about phytic acid, and I am aware soaking them overnight gets rid of about 1/4 of the phytic acid. Is it better to soak them and cook them, or just soak them? Thank you.

      1. I was curious if soaking them the night before makes any difference than cooking them in terms of nutrition. I have been reading a bit about phytic acid, mostly comes from paleo advocates (I do not agree with). I have also read that the longer you cook oats, the more “damage” you can do to the starch. I soak them (with no cooking) the night before and then put them in my smoothie.

        1. >> I have also read that the longer you cook oats, the more “damage” you can do to the starch.

          Rice, potatoes, wheat, corn, oats, etc … have been cooked for thousands of years, what kind of damage are we talking about?

          I don’t think any human population has ever had 100% access to perfect foods in the right place at the exact right time, even hunter gatherers. The people who are studied in all of these studies that do better than the US do better, ( my opinion ) it seems because they do not do the bad things we do, not because they eat foods that are not cooked, or have nothing artificial in them whatsoever. That might be a great goal, and when I grow stuff in my garden I aim for that, but the idea that buying organic produce in the supermarket is not even good enough to sustain life without disease kind of throws me. It seems like anyone can come here and the more radical and extreme they get in their comments the more people rally behind them, whether there is any data behind it or not?

        2. I’ve always heard that most, if not all oats sold in the US are heat-treated. Heat destroys the phytase enzyme that would have otherwise catalyzed the reaction causing the breakdown of phytic acid. Thus, soaking most oats won’t help degrade phytic acid.

          Does anybody know of a source of oats that aren’t heat-treated?

  25. A year ago I chosed to eat plant based instead of having a heart surgery for a 3 coronary bypass. I’m so thankfull I did after having read Dr Caldwell B. Esselstyn’s book Prevent and reverse Heart Disease. Today my cholesterol level is ok and I eat oatmeal almost everyday! Thank you Dr. Gregger for your great work… you helped save my life!

  26. Hi Mark. Those cholesterol numbers looks good to me. LDL will always be a bit higher than HDL. Your total cholesterol is in a desirable range so whatever you’re doing seems to be working! Check with your doctor if they agree. Triglycerides seems very low are you sure the reading was not 137?

  27. Hi Mark, Agree with Joseph that overall your numbers look great. If you want to boost your HDL just a bit more, check out these pieces about the role of exercise, Brazil nuts, and cocoa in lipid balancing. After doing these things, I got my tryiglycerides and LDL to match in the 30’s and HDL in the 80’s. Hope you get the same result (or better!)

  28. Hello, I am curious about resting hear rates. I have been on a whole plant food diet almost exclusively for 7 months now, and my resting heart rate is 47 bpm (I do not know what it was when I ate meat and processed foods). I do cardio and go to the gym a total of 4 times a week. I understand the average resting heart rate is 60-100, and athletes can have it closer to 40. I ask because I am not an athlete by any means, and my resting heart rate is quite low. I have noticed dizziness here and there when I go to the gym. I do not believe I am deficient in any nutrient at the moment because I am very conscious of what I eat based off of nutrition facts. I know that bradycardia can induce dizziness if not enough oxygen is being transported through the blood. Any thoughts? Maybe add a little bit of salt to my food? Thank you!

  29. If you follow a perfect plants-based diet and your cholesterol is still high (total:243, LDL 173 when last checked), should you take a statin? My BMI is 19 and I get a ton of exercise daily. I’m following Dr. Furhman’s greens-beans-onions-mushrooms-berries-seeds and nuts plan. I’ve been on the plan for four years and although my weight is only 7 pounds lower because I was already thin, it did lower my cholesterol almost 100 points. But it’s still sky-high.

    1. Have you been checked for Familial hypercholesterolemia? A starting cholesterol around 340 and especially one that won’t go below 200 with a super healthy diet sounds like it might be that you are hetrozygous (one copy of the mutated gene). Does either of your parents have really high cholesterol that is difficult to control?

      For those with this genetic condition there is only so much diet can do. In order to get the additional reduction needed to get into a healthy range might indeed require medication. But even if you do require medication to get your cholesterol into a healthy range, you should absolutely stick with a diet that at least got you half way there since the required dose of statins would be much lower and as a result have much fewer and milder of the less serious side effects and much lower risk of the really serious side effects.

  30. Interesting: “58 clinical trials involving almost 4,000 people from around the world that assessed the effect of diets enriched with oat beta-glucan compared with controlled diets. Diets enriched with about 3.5 grams a day of beta-glucan fiber from oats were found to modestly improve LDL cholesterol and also non-HDC and apoB compared to control diets. LDL cholesterol was reduced by 4.2 per cent, non-HDL cholesterol by 4.8 per cent and apoB by 2.3 per cent.”

  31. I know this video is old, but is instant oats included in his assessment. Or is he referring to steel or slow cooked oats? Are instant as beneficial?

    1. Hi, Komajiro Swirls. I am Christine, a NF volunteer. One would have to read the studies cited to find out exactly what form of oats were tested. I do not know the extent to which differences between instant and other forms of oats have been evaluated. Generally, less processed foods are more beneficial, and I would assume that applies to oats as well. At our house, we cook steel cut oats overnight in a slow cooker, for instant convenience with minimal processing. I hope that helps!

        1. Kimajiro: If I remember correctly, Dr. Barnard once talked about study where some teenagers were given instant oats for a while and then later given the traditional rolled oats. Both are rolled, but even that little bit of difference of having the thinner flakes from the instant oats had the teenagers getting hungry sooner. The instant was digested faster so that the kids were getting hungrier faster. It was the same amount of calories, though. So, if one is trying to lose weight, the less processed one is better.

  32. Can anyone explain why we do not take greater heed of the total to hdl raio which is far more predictive than the simple ldl count. Many people are trying to drive down their LDL when they would be better off improving their HDL. Plenty of people will have excellent Total to HDL ratios but doctors will be Statinating them because of their LDL levels. Evidence taken from this large study

      1. Glad to hear it but doctors are not using them it would seem because anyone with an LDL above 3mmolor certainly above 3.5 is advised to go on Statins by the majority of UK doctors. My total to hdl ratio was just an example. Even more predictive is the Apo B / APOA1 ratio. Many doctors have pushed for this to be the standard test as it is more predictive than total to HDL ratio and of course good old simple LDL c

        1. Where is your evidence that UK doctors are not using the risk calculators?

          And how would you know that the Apo B/APOA1 ratio is a better predictor? Such issues have been rigorously studied by panels of real experts and their conclusions and set out in the relevant guidelines eg

          and the 2013 US guidelines

          and European guidelines

          It is certainly an important predictor but no predictor is perfect. For example, in patients with acute coronary syndrome
          “There was no significant association with ApoB level and the risk of composite cardiovascular outcome after adjustment for age, sex, statin use, GRACE score, ACS severity and day of measurement (Hazard Ratio (HR) 0.79, 95% CI: 0.41-1.55). Increasing ApoB/ApoA1 ratio was also not associated with risk of developing composite cardiovascular events compared with lower ratios (HR 0.92 95% CI 0.45-1.87). ”

            1. That link does not go to NICE itself. It goes to a Nepalese study which found

              “In addition, we have not considered other cardiovascular risk factors which might have an equal role for the development of CVD in case group. Hence, taking in consideration of the co-existence of other cardiovascular risk factors, more studies involving large population size is required to establish apo B/apo-I ratio as promising marker for assessment of CVD.”

              If you spent all your time on NICE’s website, I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t be making the comments that you do.

                    1. There is a general tone from some of your replies like ‘you would not be making the comments that you do’ which suggests any I say rather than be analysed and debated should be dismissed as irresponsible. By contrast I do not think that anything you are saying is irresponsible, in fact I welcome the debate as only then can we all in our own minds balance the conflicting evidence

                    2. Your comments echo those typically found on websites which ignore inconvenient evidence and have little or no credibility. They are not typical of those found on credible sites devoted to evidence based medicine – like NICE.

  33. Hi Moufette. I will pass along your request. According to Cardiologist Andrew Freeman, M.D., who spoke last month at the International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine in Washington, D.C., which I attended, whole food, plant-based diets may be able to reverse congestive heart disease or heart failure. Risk factors include Increasing intake of potassium-rich foods while decreasing intake of sodium, losing weight if needed, avoiding smoking, and increasing intake of naturally nitrate-rich plant foods such as beets may help. Causes of congestive heart disease or heart failure include high blood pressure, coronary disease, diabetes, and obesity. Dr. Freeman presented data from a presentation he attended at the American Heart Association 2017 Scientific Sessions, the authors of which stated, ““Eating a diet of mostly dark green leafy plants, fruits, beans, whole grains, and fish, while limiting processed meats, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates and foods high in added sugars is a heart-healthy lifestyle and may specifically help prevent heart failure.” (Lara KM, Levitan EB, Guitterrez OM, et al. Dietary patterns and incident heart failure in adults with no known coronary disease or heart failure. Presented at: American Heart Association 2017 Scientific Sessions; November 11-15, 2017; Anaheim, California. Abstract M2081, quoted by Andrew Freeman, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.P., in HEART FAILURE & PLANT-BASED DIETS: CURE?, Presented at the International Conference on Nutrition in Medicine, August 10-11, 2018; Washington, D.C.). I hope that helps!

    1. Absolutely! Both buckwheat and quinoa flakes would satisfy the criteria for “grains” under Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen and both would be considered whole grains as long as they did not have additives, such as sugar or preservatives, under the ingredients list. Enjoy whichever option will get you to eat more healthy plant foods.

      Thanks for your question,


      Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen:
      Daily Dozen App (iTunes):
      Daily Dozen App (Google Play):

  34. Breakfast,
    Great question! Yes rolled oats are considered whole grain. However, there are different levels of processing even in whole grains. More processing such as rolling and/or grinding may improve digestibility and availability of nutrients, yet may also raise the glycemic index. So its up to you to decide which form you want. Someone with blood sugar issues may want to opt for less processed versions such as steel cut oats.

  35. Hi,

    After eating oats (steel cut organic soaked in water) I get some heartburn, feel heavy and even a bit dizzy. I just started incorporating them into my diet (and the other daily dozen as well), so should I keep getting my body used to them and eventually these side effects will disappear, or is it better for me to avoid them due to some more fundamental underlying reason?

    Thank you

  36. HealthyEaterTrainee,

    When a food causes you an upset it’s typically better to avoid and do some investigation to determine the cause. I’d be curious if the oats cause your blood sugar to raise a bit higher than other foods or if you’re sensitive to oats or gluten specifically. You might try Red Bob’s gluten free oats and check for your reaction as a simple experiment.

    You can evaluate your blood sugars with a simple glucometer. Many are available for free with some strips to get you started. Note your level prior to eating the oats (should be in the 70’s-80’s) and then test at 30 minutes and one hour after the meal. Excessive amounts are dependent on who and what levels you believe to be elevated. Typically greater than 140 ng/dl after a meal (1 hour later) should be enough to have you evaluate your health further.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  37. I haven’t seen any evidence yet that a whole plant diet can eliminate plaque from arteries or artery walls. I would like to see the evidence. Also, the view that cholesterol causes heart disease is under attack and many cardiologists don’t believe that it is true. The view rapidly gaining adherents now is that sugar causes heart disease by causing insulin spikes, which cause inflammation which injures the lining of the epithelium.

  38. Hi alan – Thanks for your comment! The development and progression of heart disease is complex and there are many factors involved, varying from plaque buildup to endothelial dysfunction. I encourage you to first check out Dr. Dean Ornish’s Lifestyle Heart Trial published back in 1998, which was the first randomized controlled trial that showed coronary atherosclerosis reversal with a plant-based diet. ( To summarize some of the results, those in the experimental group saw a 40% reduction in LDL levels, stenosis regression, and experienced a 91% reduction in frequency of anginal episodes.

    This study ( also showed CAD reversal with a whole-food, plant-based diet. Normal blood flow was restored to the heart as well as normal artery configuration was regained in those following the plant-based diet.

    Here are a few additional videos to check out for further evidence:

    I hope these resources give you further insight and the evidence on the power of a plant-based diet on heart disease reversal!
    -Janelle RD (Registered Dietitian & Health Support Volunteer)

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