Dietary Cholesterol & Cancer

Dietary Cholesterol & Cancer
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The relationship between the consumption of eggs and other cholesterol-rich foods and cancers of the colon, breast, endometrium, pancreas, and throat.

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

In 1969, a correlation analysis performed by a Dr. Gregor (no relation, and he spelled it wrong), found this rather tight correlation between animal protein intake in countries and intestinal cancer mortality. In the 70s, this relationship was extended to breast cancer too, and animal fat implicated as well, but it all kind of travels together in the same foods, along with dietary cholesterol. “And there is significant correlation between high consumption of cholesterol-containing food items and the world-wide distribution of colon cancer” as well, a large and highly significant correlation even after controlling for other dietary factors such as animal fat and fiber, supporting “the possibility of a [cause-and-effect] relationship between cholesterol intake and colon cancer.”

So, is dietary cholesterol co-carcinogenic for human colon cancer? Let’s find out by feeding some to rats. Inject rats with a carcinogen, and cholesterol-eating rats get tumors in half the time and all die off, whereas most of the cholesterol-free group survives. But “the relevance of animal data to the human situation is debatable.” How would the cholesterol and cancer link even work?

Well, we don’t need to consume any cholesterol, since our body makes all that it needs, and when we do consume extra, there’s a limit to the amount of cholesterol the body can absorb. So where does the excess go? Down to our colon, and so the cells lining our colon, where colon cancer arises, are therefore constantly exposed to fecal cholesterol. Should a cancerous or precancerous polyp arise, maybe all that extra cholesterol would help it grow faster? The amount of cholesterol we eat could “thus be a factor determining the rate of development, growth, or spread of such a tumour.” This was all just kind of speculation back in the 70s, but they realized that if it were true, that would be such good news, since a low-cholesterol diet, cutting down on meat, dairy, eggs, and junk—the only foods that really have cholesterol—would be a feasible, cheap, safe way to help prevent and treat colon cancer. So, what’s the 40-year update?

Country-by-country correlation can never do more than just inspire studies like this: “the largest nationwide population-based case–control study [to date] to assess the association between cholesterol intake and several types of cancer.” And, they found: “Dietary cholesterol intake was…associated with” increased risk of cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, lung, breast, kidney, bladder and bone marrow—non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. So, the flip side is that “a diet low in cholesterol may play a role in the prevention of several cancers.” What does that mean food-wise? Cutting down on meat, dairy, and eggs, which may increase risk of cancer, though eating diaries would probably just increase risk of paper cuts—lots of fiber, though!

“The findings of this study should essentially be viewed as an indication that a diet rich in meat, dairy products, eggs…is an unfavorable indicator of the risk of several common cancers.” Two cancers they didn’t look into, though, were endometrial cancer and throat cancer. Put all the studies on cholesterol consumption and the risk of endometrial cancer together—cancer of the lining of the uterus—and they found a dose-response, meaning more cholesterol consumption associated with more cancer, 6 percent for every 100 mg extra a day; so, like a daily omelet might increase cancer risk by about a 20 percent, maybe because the extra cholesterol is converted into estrogen, or it may just be the increased oxidant stress reflected in higher levels of oxidized cholesterol. I talk about that in my Alzheimer’s series.

There also appears to be a dose-response relationship with pancreatic cancer, “one of the most dismal malignancies.” The compilation of studies found the risk increased by 8 percent for every 100 mg of cholesterol; so, that would be like 30 percent higher risk for pancreatic cancer for a daily omelet.

And finally, throat cancer. Increased risk was observed for elevated cholesterol intake. About 85 percent higher odds, consistent with the other studies. Yeah, maybe it’s the oxidation, but maybe it’s the inflammation. However, we can’t be sure it’s the cholesterol itself that’s to blame. “Elevated cholesterol intake could [just be a stand-in] indicator that a diet rich in meat, eggs, and dairy products may have unfavourable effects.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Elena Schweitzer via Adobe Stock Photos. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

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

In 1969, a correlation analysis performed by a Dr. Gregor (no relation, and he spelled it wrong), found this rather tight correlation between animal protein intake in countries and intestinal cancer mortality. In the 70s, this relationship was extended to breast cancer too, and animal fat implicated as well, but it all kind of travels together in the same foods, along with dietary cholesterol. “And there is significant correlation between high consumption of cholesterol-containing food items and the world-wide distribution of colon cancer” as well, a large and highly significant correlation even after controlling for other dietary factors such as animal fat and fiber, supporting “the possibility of a [cause-and-effect] relationship between cholesterol intake and colon cancer.”

So, is dietary cholesterol co-carcinogenic for human colon cancer? Let’s find out by feeding some to rats. Inject rats with a carcinogen, and cholesterol-eating rats get tumors in half the time and all die off, whereas most of the cholesterol-free group survives. But “the relevance of animal data to the human situation is debatable.” How would the cholesterol and cancer link even work?

Well, we don’t need to consume any cholesterol, since our body makes all that it needs, and when we do consume extra, there’s a limit to the amount of cholesterol the body can absorb. So where does the excess go? Down to our colon, and so the cells lining our colon, where colon cancer arises, are therefore constantly exposed to fecal cholesterol. Should a cancerous or precancerous polyp arise, maybe all that extra cholesterol would help it grow faster? The amount of cholesterol we eat could “thus be a factor determining the rate of development, growth, or spread of such a tumour.” This was all just kind of speculation back in the 70s, but they realized that if it were true, that would be such good news, since a low-cholesterol diet, cutting down on meat, dairy, eggs, and junk—the only foods that really have cholesterol—would be a feasible, cheap, safe way to help prevent and treat colon cancer. So, what’s the 40-year update?

Country-by-country correlation can never do more than just inspire studies like this: “the largest nationwide population-based case–control study [to date] to assess the association between cholesterol intake and several types of cancer.” And, they found: “Dietary cholesterol intake was…associated with” increased risk of cancers of the stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, lung, breast, kidney, bladder and bone marrow—non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. So, the flip side is that “a diet low in cholesterol may play a role in the prevention of several cancers.” What does that mean food-wise? Cutting down on meat, dairy, and eggs, which may increase risk of cancer, though eating diaries would probably just increase risk of paper cuts—lots of fiber, though!

“The findings of this study should essentially be viewed as an indication that a diet rich in meat, dairy products, eggs…is an unfavorable indicator of the risk of several common cancers.” Two cancers they didn’t look into, though, were endometrial cancer and throat cancer. Put all the studies on cholesterol consumption and the risk of endometrial cancer together—cancer of the lining of the uterus—and they found a dose-response, meaning more cholesterol consumption associated with more cancer, 6 percent for every 100 mg extra a day; so, like a daily omelet might increase cancer risk by about a 20 percent, maybe because the extra cholesterol is converted into estrogen, or it may just be the increased oxidant stress reflected in higher levels of oxidized cholesterol. I talk about that in my Alzheimer’s series.

There also appears to be a dose-response relationship with pancreatic cancer, “one of the most dismal malignancies.” The compilation of studies found the risk increased by 8 percent for every 100 mg of cholesterol; so, that would be like 30 percent higher risk for pancreatic cancer for a daily omelet.

And finally, throat cancer. Increased risk was observed for elevated cholesterol intake. About 85 percent higher odds, consistent with the other studies. Yeah, maybe it’s the oxidation, but maybe it’s the inflammation. However, we can’t be sure it’s the cholesterol itself that’s to blame. “Elevated cholesterol intake could [just be a stand-in] indicator that a diet rich in meat, eggs, and dairy products may have unfavourable effects.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Elena Schweitzer via Adobe Stock Photos. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

167 responses to “Dietary Cholesterol & Cancer

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  1. Reminds me of the studies done by T Colin Campbell on the relationship between animal protein and cancer growth. With laboratory mice, he could start and stop cancer growth by the amount of animal protein he fed the mice. I believe he was was using dairy protein (casein) in the first studies. And as Dr G mentions in this video, whole foods come as a package deal, so animal protein also comes with fat and cholesterol in most people’s diet who eat animal products. So if cholesterol also causes cancer growth, one gets a double whammy when eating animal products. Here is a very informative video of Campbell’s work.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfsT-qYeqGM

    1. I wish this information had been available back in the middle of the last century. My dad had to have coronary bypass surgery (quad) and colon cancer surgery before he was 70. He ate bacon/eggs every morning for breakfast and meat/potatoes for dinner 365 days a year. No one had a clue back then.

      Apparently neither did I until recently: Even though I have been health-conscious since my 20s, I spent decades eschewing red meat and substituting foul (pun intended) because I thought gobbling up turkey was healthier… It wasn’t until I stumbled on Dr. (Paul Revere) Greger’s eye-opening website that I made a complete dietary overhaul. It may have saved my bacon… so to speak.

      1. dr cobalt, I had a very similar experience as you. If not for the Internet and a few enthusiastic honest doctors, I suspect we all would be wandering around in the dark regarding truly healthy nutrition!

        1. Yes, walking around in the dark is bad; but worse is that even today so many tv diet counselors and website gurus are STILL advocating protein over plants. To my knowledge Dr. G is one of a very few who are recommending complete abstinence from animal products. And the study data he discloses in his thousands of video presentations seems to vindicate his position.

          1. dr.cobalt-wfpb-hal: both of you are 100% right..i too have changed to plant based diet (abt.a yr)& will continue until i die which i hope is as long as my healthy life-style allows…btw: @ 80 im feeling so much better than my meat,cheese,egg intake…

          2. Dr Cobalt

            I don’t recall Dr Greger ever specifically recommending complete abstinence from animal products. Do you have a a quote for this?

            That is almost certainly the implication of his videos and blogs (and books) but he is very careful to stick to what the evidence shows when it comes to hs stateents on nutrition and health.

            1. I agree, Mr. Fumblefingers. WFPB is not the same as ‘complete exclusion of all animal products.’ I should let the doctor speak for himself in that regard. However, I’ve probably seen at least half of all his videos on NF.org, read his book, use his cookbook… I’d be really surprised if he did consume any animal products. I’ll bet even his wallet is PB. =]

              Still, thanks for keeping me on the rails.

              1. I happened upon a video (recorded about a year ago) where Dr. G. was interviewed about “the healthiest diet..” Around the 2-minute mark he uses the words “centered around” [plant-based foods]. He also said “minimizing meat, eggs, dairy and processed foods” (although I think he said “junk,” not foods.).

                So, I’m wondering what he means by minimizing. Just how many servings or measurements per week does he have in mind?

                I’ll probably never get a direct answer from the busy, busy man himself; he’ll probably never even read this So I’ll just continue doing what I’m doing.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Olll-NpBBI

                1. Yes, I think his statements reflect the current science. There is no conclusive evidence that a whole food exclusively plant diet is the healthiest whereas there is quite good evidence that a whole food plant based diet is. I recall a video in which he said this but can’t remember which one.

                  The fact that he continues to state this despite his own pretty obvious commitment to a completely vegetarian way of eating is a testament to his principled approach to the topic. Not that people like Campbell are unprincipled – Campbell says that as consumption of animal foods (and processed plant foods) went down in the China study so did disease rates. Although there was no group in the China study that ate no animal foods, he wrote that it would be ‘reasonable’ to conclude that an exclusively plant based diet would be the healthiest. That’s fair enough as a principle but it’s not a ‘scientific’ conclusion and history is littered with ‘reasonable’ beliefs that were subsequently proved wrong. Let’s face it, even complete herbivores like sheep, cattle and gorillas eat some animal foods in the form of insects, insect eggs and grubs on the plants they consume.

                  1. “There is no conclusive evidence that a whole food exclusively plant diet is the healthiest whereas there is quite good evidence that a whole food plant based diet is.”
                    – – – –

                    “Whole food plant BASED” has been working well enough for me. :-)

      2. Dr Cobalt,
        Is it ever to late to do a turnaround? How long do you suppose it takes following a WFPB diet to see a significant lowering of cholesterol? Not sure if you are a medical doctor but that is why I am addressing this to you. Did it take long in your case to see significant changes?

        1. [ Did it take long in your case to see significant changes?]

          Though I haven’t had blood panels done recently, I suspect my total cholesterol is closer to 100 than 200. LDL is probably close to 70. I do know that my BP is a consistent 112 over 62 in the evening. The last time I got a medical exam (2016) my BP was 140 over 80 roughly. That was before I became a WFPB fanatic.

          The real success story, as I’ve shared before in NF.org posts, is my mom. I became her sole caregiver when my dad died in 2002. Back then she had already been hospitalized several times for congestive heart problems and could not walk ten steps without getting “tightness of the chest” or “a brick on her chest.” She was 78 then. I thought she was a goner. Today, 17 years later with me as her chief cook and grocery buyer, she is off all of her heart meds (an entire shoe box full of them), her BP is 130 over 80 roughly, her 2017 total cholesterol was 170; LDL was 84, and she can walk (using a walker) with no chest pains at all. She has lost over 40 pounds. That’s the power of plants, as Dr. G would say. =]

            1. No, Lida, I’m not a doctor. My handle is one that goes back to high school. It was a nickname my school mates gave me because I was interested in science. They thought I would become a mad scientist someday or something.

              But… I’m neither mad nor a scientist. It never occurred to me that some might think I’m misrepresenting my professional status.

              If others find it so… I might consider changing it.

              1. Thanks for clarifying before you get a barrage of medical questions! I think using lower case letters as in dr should have given us enough of a clue but since others were addressing you as Dr. I thought it best to check with you.
                I agree with Nancy; let it stay as is.
                I enjoy your posts btw and find them valuable.

          1. [ …how long to see significant changes?] Based on my case, I’d say that if you are taking meds for hypertension you better keep a close watch on your B.P. Eight days after going cold turkey on an all-plant diet I almost passed out while on my bike. My B.P. had gone to 90/50! After 30 years on the meds I had to stop completely and now I’m pretty consistently 110/70. To see the big changes in reduced inflammation took longer — a few months, but has been just as dramatic. There’s no going back for me after living with these results.

              1. Hi there — re the inflammation, I am referring primarily to what happens in the recovery period post-exercise. I am a competitive cyclist and work out on my bike every day and in the gym 3x per week. After a few months on a vegan diet I noticed that my recovery times after very hard workouts were one half or less than previously. The morning after an extremely hard ride I feel loose and ready to go again. After a weight lifting session that results in soreness, I feel it the same day instead of the day after, and all the soreness goes away in about half the time.

                You might say, well, it’s just better circulation. But I don’t care what the mechanism is, just that I have better workouts and I ride faster than I did before going on this diet. And I just feel more loose in general.

                Otherwise I can cite three other things: (1) the pain in my thumb CMC joint where I have osteoarthritis is dramatically less than before, and (2) the redness of my face due to the constant wind blasting that I get from cycling and that I have had for decades is remarkably less, and finally (3) while I have always been prone to tendonitis, I’ve had none of it since becoming vegan.

                I’m interested in any comments or insights that you might have.

                1. Also, Lida, you’ll want to eliminate refined oils and high oil containing packaged food products for reducing high cholesterol. It’s my understanding that your liver can convert oil to cholesterol.. This video was about cancer which I’m so happy to see this come out finally, and refined oils are bad for that too, creating a state of cellular hypoxia – a state in which cancer likes to grow. Refined oils are damaging to the arterial lining and endothelial cells as well, (read Dr. Esselstyn for more on that). I’ve had clients cholesterol significantly drop within a month after eating a CLEAN whole-foods plant-based diet.

      3. I wish to this information was available in my twenties. I am now 64 years old. When I was 50 I was diagnosed with insulinomas. I had the operation in Connecticut. They screwed up so bad. lf it wasn’t for my surgeon at John Hopkins hospital and 4 months there I would be dead. I started reading about how your diet affected your health and was lucky to find doctor Greger. I’ve been following his diet for the last 2 years plus. Oh yes there have been times I’ve fallen off the wagon formula but for the most part I have stuck to it. I really like the new app that details what you should eat each day and it has been very helpful. With just a little pancreas left my A1c ranges between 5.1 to 5.4 without any insolent. My Fasting glucose is 102 I believe it’s because of this diet.I just hope it’s not too late for me.

        1. Tom,

          Sorry to hear about the botched operation in CT. That makes at least 3 of us who experienced bad medical care at a CT hospital. Wondering if yours will be the same hospital, but either way I hate hearing that.

    2. That research written by Colin Campbell was biased and flawed by Denise minger in fact he didn’t have a response to her criticisms.
      Educate yourself on the world renowned book nutrition and physical degeneration by dr price. Fats are essential to our diet. Cholesterol becomes oxidised in the presence of sugar – this biased presentation of the facts is fooling people to believe all animal fats are bad

      1. Miles Price, I’m glad you’ve found this site! I hope you enjoy yourself and see fit to hang around and learn with us. You might even come to the conclusion that Denise Minger is an amazing blogger and entertainer… and that’s mostly it. She’s only another source of good news about people’s bad habits. Hence her popularity.

      2. Miles,

        I suggest you take a look at the CV of T. Colin Campbell, PhD, Professor Emeritus at Cornell University, and compare it to this Denise person’s nutrition credentials earned over decades of professional study and research (zero?). Decide who you want to take your nutrition advice from.

      3. Dr Cambell definitely DID have a very comprehensive and detailed response to Ms Minger. Please review and don’t be mislead by those who seek publicity without the credentials and respect of T. Colin Campbell.Look at who is funding both Ms Minger and Dr. Price.

      4. Oh dear Wasn’t the unfortunately-named Minger an English Lit major who failed to complete her college degree? And now writes articles for, and sells books to, the alternative health/nutrition crowd? So we are supposed to think that because a world famous professor of nutrition doesn’t bother responding to her criticisms that must mean she is right?.

        If Campbell responded to every attack by the tinfoil hat brigade he would be occupied 24 hours a day 7 days a week The loons seem-+* to hate Campbell almost as –m–uch as they hate Ancel Keys.

        The key point is that he was writing about the China study project conducted by the Chinese national academy of preventive medicine, Oxford University and Cornell University. Yet none of those institutions have ever criticised Campbell’s description of the project’s findings That seems quite telling whatever the ‘let’s eat lots of saturated fat and cholesterol’ crew maintain.

        As for the Weston Price Foundation, they are simply crackpots

  2. I could give you a great big hug for every single cancer video!

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Some of us are learning as fast as we can.

    1. So….. my fruit theory from the fiber page is that fruit doesn’t have the type of fiber to lower cholesterol properly.

      Laughing. I didn’t sleep at all last night, but that is what I am thinking is a plausible theory as to why fruit didn’t increase survival, where whole grains, cereals did.

      Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.

      Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your LDL cholesterol.

      1. Okay….

        ” insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in water, so it passes through the digestive tract relatively unchanged. When it comes to your heart health, it
        appears that only soluble fiber is beneficial in lowering your cholesterol.”

        Hooray! Cholesterol being lowered by soluble fiber increases survival from colon cancer!

        Hooray! I understand something!

        1. ‘A meta‐analysis of 55 articles showed that statin use was significantly associated with decreased risk of all‐cause mortality (HR 0.70, 95% Cl 0.66 to 0.74) compared with nonusers. The observed pooled estimates were retained for cancer‐specific mortality (HR 0.60, 95% Cl 0.47 to 0.77), progression‐free survival (HR 0.67, 95% Cl 0.56 to 0.81), recurrence‐free survial (HR 0.74, 95% Cl 0.65 to 0.83) and disease‐free survival (HR 0.53, 95% Cl 0.40 to 0.72). These associations almost remained consistent across those outcomes when stratified by publication type, tumour location, study design, sample size, initiation of statins, disease stage, research country, follow‐up duration or research hospital involved. Subgroup analyses according to initiation of statins showed postdiagnosis statin users (HR 0.65, 95% Cl 0.54 to 0.79) gained significantly more recurrence‐free survival benefit than prediagnosis statin users (HR 0.86, 95% Cl 0.77 to 0.96) (p for interaction = 0.018). Statin therapy has potential survival benefit for patients with malignancy.’
          https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ijc.30526

          1. Thanks Tom!

            Okay, I am going to capture the fiber data and put it under your statin data.

            “Patients who increased their fiber intake after diagnosis from levels before diagnosis had a lower mortality, and each 5-g/d increase in intake was associated with 18% lower CRC-specific mortality (95% CI, 7%-28%; P = .002) and 14% lower all-cause mortality (95% CI, 8%-19%; P < .001). According to the source of fiber, cereal fiber was associated with lower CRC-specific mortality (HR per 5-g/d increment, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.50-0.90; P = .007) and all-cause mortality (HR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.68-0.90; P < .001); vegetable fiber was associated with lower all-cause mortality (HR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.72-0.96; P = .009) but not CRC-specific mortality (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.60-1.13; P = .22); no association was found for fruit fiber. Whole grain intake was associated with lower CRC-specific mortality (HR per 20-g/d increment, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.59-0.88; P = .002), and this beneficial association was attenuated after adjusting for fiber intake (HR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.62-0.96; P = .02)."

            1. Can someone help me understand the 5-g/d increment versus 20-g/d increment cereal versus whole grain?

              Does that mean it takes more whole grain than cereal to get the lower CRC-specific mortality?

              Does d mean day?

              I am going to have to figure out how to add cereal to the recipes if that is true.

                1. So, I looked up the fruits, which someone said lower cholesterol and they said: “Apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits. These fruits are rich in pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers LDL.”

                  Okay, so now back to the fruit not helping with cancer-related mortality.

                  I have to see if I can find if they have some sort of list of fruits eaten because if they assigned fruit based on fiber, then it would be fruit like this list. So, either they didn’t eat the right fruit or didn’t eat enough to affect cholesterol or fruit soluble fiber is different somehow or maybe it is a mix of soluble and insoluble, but either way, they should have used the fiber-rich fruits, right? And they should have done the same increment thing, right? So, somehow it comes down to did it lower cholesterol or is there something like Beta Glucans on top of lowering cholesterol or something, right?

                  1. There is the distinction between improved cancer-related mortality and all-cause mortality and vegetables have a split decision.

                    Same fiber helps cholesterol and heart disease maybe, but not cancer-related deaths?

                    1. I would need the grams per day, I guess.

                      With a theory of was it enough cholesterol reduction to help the heart and did it need more reduction to help cancer or is it not only about cholesterol?

                      I am keeping the Beta Glucan theory and since Pectin is in the fruit, I am putting Beta Glucan versus Pectin in a throw down and I am expecting Beta Glucan to win. Though, Modified Citrus Pectin – Pectin modified by an enzyme has been studied to slow tumor growth and prevent metastases, and that has to be small enough, so maybe there is some sort of size thing.

                    2. Wait, did they do resistant starch?

                      That should have also been in the veggie category.

                      Resistant starch prevents cancer is already known, but if it is from white potatoes, it doesn’t stop them from dying? Or they didn’t test resistant starch when they did the whole fiber test?

                      Did they forget to make it resist? Or not test the right veggies?

                    3. Okay, I found how much the fruit maybe could have expected to reduce the cholesterol and that orange pectin was a fail.

                      “Citrus and apple pectins with certain chemical characteristics and higher molecular weight were the most effective in lowering total- and LDL-cholesterol levels. These pectin types reduced cholesterol by 7 to 10% compared with the cellulose control. Both amounts—6 and 15 grams of pectin per day—lowered cholesterol levels significantly. Orange pulp fiber did not lower total and LDL cholesterol, but it lowered heart-healthy HDL cholesterol. “Generic claims for all pectin types to reduce cholesterol cannot be supported based on our data, and molecular characterization of pectin and dose should be considered for health claims,” concluded the researchers.”

                    4. I am going to have one theory that they forgot to modify the pectin and they forgot to make the starch resist.

                      Beans though.

                      Were beans not in a category?

                    5. Anyway, researchers, I am not sure if there is a part 2 and 3 in this video series, but it seems like the veggie and fruit group dying and the cereal and whole grain group living seems like it might help sort things out for people who can read the studies and understand all of the numbers.

            2. 4 or more cups of coffee increased survival rate by something like 52% in another study, but fruit and vegetables didn’t increase survival at all for colon cancer? The study summary I was reading didn’t give their food checklists so I can’t figure out whether they did Iceberg lettuce and oranges or all fruits and vegetables.

              Kidney cancer caffeinated coffee increased survival, but not decaf.

              1. Milk raises cholesterol but 4 cups of caffeinated coffee lowers cholesterol and increases Cancer survival 52%, even though most people use some sort of creamer?

                Acid increases Cancer but coffee is highly acidifying?

                Is is so acidifying that Cancer or some enzyme gets killed from that?

                But if it is caffeine or acid, why wouldn’t soda be on the list of survival increasers?

                Soda isn’t a Cancer survival booster in spite of caffeine or acid so it is something else in coffee, which is a more powerful force than milk or acid?

              2. Wondering if more cups of coffee decreases cholesterol more?

                Wondering if more cups of coffee improves survival more?

                Wondering if espresso causes the same boost?

                Wondering if espresso versus cappuccino would answer the milk helps versus hurts versus isn’t a factor for some reason, as long as there is coffee?

                Lifting my placebo effect soy green tea latte to a study which might suggest that coffee maybe has such a boost that wrecking the antioxidants with milk and adding a carcinogen doesn’t matter at all? Does it neutralize the caseine or something?

                Did the nurses study maybe not show effects from milk happen because adults pour it in coffee and tea rather than drink it straight much more often. (The adults I know only drink it in coffee and tea)

                1. Coffee decreases cholesterol while the milk in it raises cholesterol

                  Does soy milk or other plant milks not raise cholesterol?

                  Do any of them lower it further? Oats are in the survival list. Rice would be on the survival list. Soy would be the other survival list.

                  Do any of those increase survival if they replace milk or cream?

                  How about drinking it black?

                  1. I wonder if I can toss a message to T. Colin Campbell and say, could you test espresso, Americano and Cafe Au Lait versus a high caffeine solution and milk and see if some sort of enzyme switches off or on or something?

                    1. Should people be getting a double shot of espresso maybe? Is concentrated better? Or is it the beans and soils where the region the coffee survival study happened? Did Juan Valdez sponsor it? Was it a long time ago back when people used instant?

                    2. I would like to see T. Colin Campbell on a team looking at that because I know that people will just discount his science and I don’t discount it, but have a little question if the coffee study had 52% of the people drink it black or what?

                      And that is both the coffee and cholesterol and the coffee and Cancer studies.

                      I would like to not have him thrown under the bus.

                    3. What else is in coffee that you could add a fat / carcinogen which raises cholesterol and makes Cancer grow faster and sugar which is food for cancer and there is a 52% boost in survival rate?

                      Even the wildly popular dark roasting and chemicals didn’t stop the benefit? Cigarettes in the soil?

                      Water helps cholesterol. Isn’t coffee dehydrating?

                      Shoot, I had another good one, but lost it.

                    4. How many of the colors of sweetner packets are good for the gut microbiome?

                      Is coffee grown someplace far away from blowing around Roundup and seeping in arsenic?

                    5. 52% increased survival.

                      Should we start adding some coffee to our chili dishes or skin lotions or bathwater?

                      Some of us are going to ask is it the carrot juice or the coffee enemas?

                    6. The PH Miracle guy

                      Shrink tumors. Yes, he is in prison, but the tumor disappearing photos seem genuine.

                      Coffee would be one of the first thibgs people would tell you to get rid of for the Cancer doesn’t grow well in alkaline conditions, but coffee increased survival when fruits and veggies didn’t get an alkaline bump.

            3. Decaf coffee can raise cholesterol, particularly the cheap stuff where caffeinated can lower cholesterol if it is filtered, so that keeps the cholesterol theory.

              But don’t fruits and vegetables lower cholesterol?

              I am going to have a hypothesis that they weren’t eating enough fruits and vegetables even in the fruits and vegetables group to lower the cholesterol enough to change survival.

            4. For kidney cancer after diagnosis statins improved survival times the exact same 52% as 4 cups of caffeinated coffee. Those are 2 separate studies, but I thought that was interesting.

              1. Drinking enough water can lower cholesterol. Searched it on a hunch and it was there.

                It gave me a clue that having enough digestive enzymes might help because the liver produces more cholesterol to deal with undigested food.

                Okay, that makes me wonder if they weren’t eating pineapple or papaya or if taking enzymes would help, even if it wasn’t the mega-doses that Gonzales gave. Enough trypsin and chymotrypsin to digest proteins lowering cholesterol is my next hypothesis to research. Trypsin and chymotrypsin are already on my invisible cancer list for eating the 15 layers of fibrin, but they might digest the food so the liver doesn’t get confused, too.

              2. Okay, if cholesterol is the answer a little over half the time, is there a master list of ways to lower it divided by which ways work fastest or best?

                And is there a master list of the targets? Target is what they call it in PubMed titles.

                Things like heme oxygenase-1 would be a target.

                Seems like 48% is still left to solve and I guess I have to start searching PubMed soon, but overviews and summaries would be a few of my favorite things.

                1. Seems like a lot of the top videos were more overviews.

                  Overviews bested Marijuana.

                  Also, Cancer theories would be a wonderful thing and you probably have a lot of them, but cancer is one of the least straightforward of the top diseases.

                  The other categories may have confusion because of competing doctors, but cancer has so much confusion that it just is more complicated.

                  1. Okay, my thought about the 52% is that for the statin study and the coffee study, and for the vegetables, which helped all-cause mortality, but not Cancer, I think the next step might be to look at the ones who died to see whether they failed to lower their cholesterol.

                    If that group failed, then the 52% might be higher if people deal with more ways to lower cholesterol versus moving on to topics like viruses and fungi and bacteria.

                    1. Adding 1/4 cup vegetables 3 times per week decreased the Cancer rate in dogs by 90%.

                      Adding vegetables for fiber after a Cancer diagnoses improved all cause mortality, but not Cancer mortality? Butter and salt? But wouldn’t those affect heart and diabetes?

                      Calorie density says that increasing fruit and vegetables in their whole form should have decreased total calories and probably decreased animal products, but vegetables didn’t affect Cancer related mortality? No doubling time bump? No replacing bad food bump?

                    2. Wrong form?

                      It was a fiber study, did they forget to say don’t juice?

                      Juices? Gerson? I know people who have been healed with Gerson. More than one.

                      No enzymes digesting the fibrin boost?

                    3. Back to the Adventist women not beating the lacto ovo maybe because they are processed foods or didn’t hormone replace or didn’t have omega 3 or fell and broke bones (definitely broke wrists) might the veggie group also supplement or something else?

                    4. The prostAte Cancer synergy study genuinely affected the Cancer with a few superfoods dried and ground into a powder and put into a tiny capsule and there was no Cancer mortality bump for fruits or vegetables?

                    5. No bump from the fruit and veggies decreasing foods with IGF-1 (too much soy?) or methionine restriction? No bump from the broccoli receptor helping the immune system or the lung enzyme? None of them did WFPB? Or they ate frozen foods and cooked it all?

                      I will be the only one who comes back to this video and tries to solve for why vegetables and fruit didn’t have a survival bump.

                      While I try to figure out what the other 48% of the equation is.

                      Sorry to everybody else?

                      Some of us don’t sleep very much and riddles are hard for some of our brains to figure out.

                    6. Okay, I said all of that to have a place to come back to and ponder this, but I still buy into WFPB.

                      I just do have way more questions than I did 2 days ago.

                      Coffee improved survival 52%? Would it have been higher without creamer? Would it have been higher, but 48% of the people drank decaf and either increased their cholesterol or just blunted the effect too much?

                      If those were factors in play, coffee could be the most powerful thing out there. Does it affect heme oxygenase or something? Or is cholesterol really the main thing?

                      Coffee certainly didn’t alkalize! Is there a way to make it with Kangen water and improve it the rest of the way?

            5. Does Magnesium act like a statin? That is what some sites say.

              “A well-known magnesium proponent, Mildred Seeling, M.D., just before she died in 2004, wrote a fascinating paper with Andrea Rosanoff, Ph.D., showing that magnesium acts by the same mechanisms as statin drugs to lower cholesterol.1

              Every metabolic activity in the body depends on enzymes. Making cholesterol, for example, requires a specific enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. As it turns out, magnesium slows down this enzymatic reaction when it is present in sufficient quantities. HMG-CoA reductase is the same enzyme that statin drugs target and inhibit. The mechanisms are nearly the same; however, magnesium is the natural way that the body has evolved to control cholesterol when it reaches a certain level, whereas statin drugs are used to destroy the whole process.

              This means that if sufficient magnesium is present in the body, cholesterol will be limited to its necessary functions—the production of hormones and the maintenance of membranes—and will not be produced in excess.”

              1. I am also interested in the link between Homocysteine and cancer (It is also triangulated to the current blog because it affects arteries, so I am double and triple on-topic)

                http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/29/10/4131.full

                And if hypothyroid is linked to elevated cholesterol, if thyroid meds might help in some of these cancers.

                https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3766507/

                The way I figure it, cholesterol being dealt with only improves survival by 52%.

                I have to look for the rest of the 48%.

                My thought list goes immediately to:

                Thyroid?
                Homocysteine? (Folate, B6, B12 deficiencies?)
                Immune System?
                Vitamin D?
                Magnesium?
                Fungi, Viruses, Bad Bacteria?

                1. Okay, I am already immediately in over my head. Some of us never studied thyroid, except that light therapy helped 80% of the time in the Russian studies.

                  “Our data indicate a strong inverse association between risk of CRC and long-term use of levothyroxine. Although there are few reports relating thyroid hormones and CRC, thyroid dysregulation is reproducibly associated with risk of breast cancer (2–5), and its relationship to pancreatic (11) and gastric (10,25) cancers has been discussed.

                  Preclinical data (13) suggest that transactivation by the Bcat/tcf1 transcription factor of the Cyclin D promoter is negatively regulated by thyroid hormone. It also showed that the T3-bound receptor inhibits the transcription of cyclin D1through the Tcf/Lef-1 site, which is positively regulated by the Wnt-signaling pathway. Because the Wnt pathway is a central pathway in causation of sporadic CRC, as determined in humans (26), hormones that inhibit this pathway could potentially be considered as cancer prevention agents.”

                  1. I do like the name

                    Wnt-signaling pathway

                    It is as if we want something, but are afraid we won’t get it and want to be careful not to signal too strongly.

                    My friend’s daughter used to say, “I can’t want that” when she was 5 years old instead of “I don’t want that” and I always found that to be the most useful sentence in the universe. Acknowledging the intersection of want and don’t want.

                    1. I think I will remember it better if I pronounce it a “Went” signaling pathway and wondering where the “e” went.

          2. I had to look up what statins do.

            “Statins stop the production of cholesterol. First, statins block the enzyme HMG CoA Reductase that creates cholesterol. Reduced production lowers the total amount of cholesterol available in your bloodstream. Statins help reabsorb existing cholesterol…. If statins lower your cholesterol level, your body can’t get the cholesterol it needs from your circulating blood. Instead, your body needs to find other sources of cholesterol. It does this by reabsorbing cholesterol that has built up as plaques containing LDL in your arteries.”

            1. Okay, farsenoid X receptor and tumor suppression https://jcmtjournal.com/article/view/1265

              Two diterpenes found in high amounts in unfiltered coffee, cafestol, and kahweol, have been found to actually raise cholesterol levels. These studies examined different types of unfiltered coffee, as well as coffee oil. Most studies have indicated that individuals consuming roughly 60 milligrams of cafestol (equivalent to ten cups of unfiltered, French press coffee or two grams of coffee oil) may raise total cholesterol levels by an average of about 20%. This is largely due to an increase in low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels and triglyceride levels. High density lipoproteins (HDL) do not appear to be affected. It is thought that filtered coffee does not have this effect because the diterpenes are caught in the filter and not included in the coffee consumed.

              Although the mechanism by which cafestol and kahweol raised cholesterol were largely unknown, one study indicates that this compound may activate a protein called farsenoid X receptor (FXR) in the intestine, which affects a gene called fibroblast growth factor 15 (FGF15). When this gene is activated, it can reduce the effects of three genes in the liver involved in cholesterol regulation. In other words, cholesterol levels increase when cafestol and kahweol are present due to their ability to activate this gene.”

              “Besides its prominent role in bile acid synthesis, and lipoprotein and glucose metabolism, recent data indicate that FXR also plays a key role in regulating intestinal cell proliferation and carcinogenesis. Here, we review the role of FXR as a tumor suppressor in CRC, with particular emphasis on the molecular mechanisms underlying FXR-dependent tumorigenesis and its regulation, FXR-bile acid relationships”

          3. Mr. Fumble…and your summary is???? Yes, while statins might have decreased all cause mortality, how many of these people lost their memories? One of the horrible side effects possible from statins! (Read Power Foods for the Brain, by Dr. Neal Barnard). No thanks, I’ll eat my wfpb diet instead happily : )

            1. Vegcoach

              That quote was intended to illustrate the hypothesis that lowering cholesterol increases survival in cancer patients It was not intended to suggest that everybody should take statins – although if one had cancer it would be worth seriously considering based on the available evidence

              As for possible side effects of statins yes there are possible side effects of taking aspirin and drinking water too or eating whole grains But how likely are they?

              I personally can’t take statins because of liver side effects but that doesn’t apply to everybody Don’t just believe all the stories you read on the internet or in books What does the scientific evidence say about benefits and disadvantages for the bulk of people? Getting our beliefs via opinionated nuts on YouTube isn’t wise – what does the actual evidence show is a better question to ask than what do people on the internet say?

              Yes diet and lifestyle changes are a far better way of lowering cholesterol but even Esselstyn and NcDougall use statins to treat appropriate patients

          4. Okay, so there is a link between cholesterol and inflammation and the immune system.

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4669071/

            “During acute infections, there are pro-inflammatory changes in HDL that parallel decreases in the ability of HDL to mediate cholesterol efflux from macrophages. HDL is converted from an anti-inflammatory lipoprotein that suppresses monocyte adhesion to the endothelium into a pro-inflammatory form that does not suppress monocyte adhesion during the acute phase response, for example, during that induced by influenza virus infection in humans36,37. Furthermore, in patients with acute sepsis, cholesterol efflux from cultured macrophages to plasma or to HDL is greatly decreased38. Studies using HDL isolated from healthy individuals following low-dose LPS challenge have shown a decreased cholesterol efflux capacity associated with accumulation of serum amyloid A in HDL, decreased LCAT expression and a decrease in HDL phospholipid content, even without major changes in HDL cholesterol or APOA1 levels33,39. The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative activities of HDL are also impaired as a result of the loss of antioxidant proteins and the accumulation of oxidized phospholipids in HDL37.

            Reductions in HDL function through oxidation can also be mediated by macrophage myeloperoxidase (MPO), which is induced by inflammatory stimuli in atherosclerotic lesions40,41 (FI)”

            I have to rewatch some of my immune system music videos to see if I have all of the vocabulary words

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgFp_U3PLBw

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qds-rzWc4sY

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3M0vU3Dv8E

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeVtPDjJBPU

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIJK3dwCWCw

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DFN4IBZ3rI

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rd2cf5hValM

        2. My computer is still paused at several types of cancer. Kidney is on the list. I am already going to have to go back and watch the fiber videos again.

          1. I am so happy, I am already doing it.

            I am resisting the starches and adding black beans and butter beans and brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes and turnip and broccoli and pears and kidney beans and barley and oats and carrots and beta glucans and flaxseed.

            I went through the top 20 sources and my brother is loaded up on soluble fiber.

            I am on track and doing the exact right things right now. Hooray!

              1. Yes, I am eating my own food.

                I hadn’t been cooking all that much, but now I am cooking every single night.

                Tonight is a lentil loaf.

                The ingredients will depend upon where the research leaves off tonight.

                My father ended up calling. He saw something about immunotherapy on the television and was excited about it. Laughing. Yes, he hadn’t heard a sentence I have said, even after I talked about the cost, etc. I had talked about water fasting and he had politely listened and said he would help, but suddenly when I said it again, he just heard what it does and he is going to try to get my brother to do it. My brother’s personality is the most easy-going, calm, laugh pleasantly, do anything for anybody, stubborn-as-all-get-out, gonna do whatever he wants to do and not tell anybody what that will be ahead of time and won’t say why he chooses it, but he will have a reason.

                1. Deb, I’m glad to hear you are cooking. And it’s worth doing even for yourself, because who is more important to you than you?

                  I cooked for myself for years; as a vegetarian (48+ years), there were few to no other options. Easy, simple, quick meals are fine — in fact, they’re the best! And an electric pressure cooker is a wonderful help. I bought an Instant Pot a year and a half ago, and it’s changed the way I eat! Lots more legumes (beans and lentils), and whole grains. Soups, stews, etc. even veggies. I love it! I’m even going to use it to make some vegan dog food for my little old toothless mutt.

      2. Looked up fruit as preventative of cancer and in something like 23 out of 35 studies it was.

        Hmmmm, wondering if blueberries which are known for doubling NK cells weren’t included? Inquiring minds want to know.

        If blueberries were included, that gives a lot to ponder if these things prevent Cancer but don’t increase survival when fiber and cereals / whole grains do.

  3. Tom this is very interesting. I do think your citation argues interestingly for the reduction of dietary cholesterol. Yes statins do seem to reduce inflammation and cholesterol while having some nasty side effects. But having a toxic diet does necessitate taking other risks to counter the dietary risk.

    1. Statins are like taking a multivitamin because you choose to live on Little Debbie snack cakes. Might help SOME, but other things in those death cakes will kill you.

    2. There are quite a few people eating wfpb (even on the Esselstyn and Ornish programs) who fail to achieve low enough cholesterol levels which nessitates taking statins. And no, it is not be cause we are snacking on Little Debbie snack cakes as Reality Bites suggests, below. I think there is a lot more to this picture than we currently know.

    1. Hello Wegan,

      Dietary cholesterol is one aspect that effects your blood cholesterol levels, but an even bigger problem is saturated fat. Do you consume saturated fat in your diet (coconut oil, coconut milk)? If so, eliminating these products will likely drop your cholesterol levels. Now if you are already avoiding those foods as well as saturated fat containing animal products, then you may be one of the unlucky ones who have a genetically higher cholesterol level than the average person. When this is the case, to drop your levels further you need to increase the fiber in your diet, which lowers cholesterol levels, and it would be a good idea to make 1-2Tbsp ground flax a regular part of your daily routine. If you’d like further advice, there’s a fantastic article I’ve linked below that goes through all the different things you can add into your diet in hopes of reducing cholesterol levels before needing to rely on medications.

      I hope this helps,
      Matt

      Dropping cholesterol: https://nutritionfacts.org/questions/what-can-i-do-to-lower-my-cholesterol-it-seems-ive-tried-everything/

    1. Tennent,

      Statistically, as the intake of animal products rise, the incidence of disease rises.

      Nation after nation has demonstrated that.

  4. What about vegans and coconut oil ? Could plant based eaters who partake in coconut oil be at risk too ? If I remember correctly coconut oil is as bad for your cholesterol as butter. I used to use a yummy vegan creamer from Laird Superfoods.. but it has coconut oil.. about 3g of saturated fat in a Tablespoon serving. Trying to keep my family healthy is quite a challenge these days.. just when I think I find a healthy choice I need a replacement. I love Dr Greger’s videos and ones like this keep me on the vegan train.(Cheese is one of the things I miss the most)

    1. “Trying to keep my family healthy is quite a challenge these days.”

      Why? Why don’t you just eat a WFPB diet? What’s so challenging about that?

    2. The studies above did not discuss coconut oil specifically, but saturated fat intake and their link to cancer. Dr. Greger does mention at the end that cholesterol intake may just be a marker for poor diet, so it’s difficult to discern whether or not coconut oil would do the same. Coconut oil, will however raise your cholesterol levels increasing your risk of heart disease. Furthermore, Dr. Greger has discussed the negative impact of oils in general on artery function, further increasing risk of heart disease or other vascular conditions. All in all, oils are not recommended by nutritionfacts.org and are best avoided or at minimum greatly reduced. A great alternative for cooking is to use salt-free vegetable broth, which you should be able to find at your local supermarket. It adds great flavor without the added fat. And a recommendation for adding a cheesy flavor to your food is to sprinkle some nutritional yeast on it, so give that a try!

      I hope this helps,
      Matt

      Oils: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/olive-oil-and-artery-function/
      Coconut oil: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/does-coconut-oil-clog-arteries/

          1. YR, the dude on (our) the right is none other than Dr Greger himself. I would think then that Matt is the person on the left.

            Matt – great picture! So cool that you met with Dr Greger! Thanks for your voliunteer work at NF!

  5. I had been following a Paleo Diet for nearly 15 years (since 2005). I paid extra for grass-fed beef and eggs from pasture-raised hens. In 2010 my cholesterol was 300, though the LDL-HDL ratio was good—but each was at extreme levels. But I ignored it thinking my high cholesterol was familial (my mom’s was also high). Kept consuming my eggs (4 to 5 eggs per day average), my cream in the coffee, and my red meat.

    Last year, at 50 years old, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Had surgery—thankfully had not spread or broken through the colon wall. It was around this time I discovered NutritionFacts. After 10 months of being plant-based, my recent cholesterol test shows it is at 162. My CEA Test (market for tumor) is stable. I am cancer-free, and I intend to stay this way for the rest of my life.

    Oh, and I’ve lost the extra 5 pounds I’ve wanted to lose for 15 years… but that’s just cherry on top. Most importantly: I feel great.

    I am very sorry and deeply concerned for all those who enthusiastically adopt the Paleo diet.

  6. I used to worry about my Mother and her obsession with the Adkins diet. From sometime in the 70’s I think it was, until her death of Pancreatic cancer in 2012. I worried that she needed the nutrients of grains, fruit and vegetables, not to mention fiber, and far less of the steak she was always eating. So when a group of friends started Keto, I was even more concerned. Watching these friends for not quite 2 years, as their weight has dropped very quickly and then go right back on again, is like watching my Mother all over again and the yo-yo diet.
    Both my husband and I agree, we’d rather eat a whole plant food based diet and be healthy then to play Russian roulette with our health. We don’t consider this a diet,but rather a life style choice.
    I can only hope my friends wake up before it’s too late.

  7. Thanks for the great info. as always Dr. G.!
    Question: could you do a review of the nutrition safety and risks of the new Impossible Burger and others in this niche?

    Thanks.

      1. YR (Cool Kitty), we tried some Impossible Burger, which was used to make meat loaf, at a vegan restaurant, when we didn’t know anything about it. It was really salty! Then we went home and researched it online, especially the ingredients, and decided: never again. We mentioned our concerns to the restaurant, and were told that lots of people like it, that it’s a good transition to vegan eating. We responded that we love plant based dishes that don’t try to mimic animal products, and were pleased that the restaurant offered several.

        Actually, I read in a restaurant review in the New Yorker that vegan is all about making meat substitutes from plants, and I thought: “I’m not vegan.” So now I don’t even say that I am vegan as shorthand, I say I eat plant based whole foods, and then briefly summarize what that is: no animal products, no to minimal processed foods. Though a lot of folks don’t know what that means, either: Do you eat fish? Do you eat butter? Cream? Eggs?

    1. Jay,

      Look at Dr Gregers heme iron videos.

      There won’t be studies on The Impossible Burger yet, but heme has studies and it also high in sodium.

      It is better than meat theoretically, so if studires compare people using it to get off meat, there might be benefit, but compared to WFPB there will be risk.

  8. NF thanks for the great videos and info, but can somebody tone down the opening and closing jingle? It is too LOUD. I have to remember to turn down my volume every time I start to watch a NF video and again at the end! This has been going for years.

  9. NPR had a cool study the day this video was posted.

    It was how being told about having bad DNA from getting it checked caused negative changes to things like hormones inside your body.

    Knowing you have bad genes caused bad effects. Things like oxygen capacity changed, if I remember right. Hormone levels definitely changed.

    i tip my placebo effect soy green tea latte to the researchers.

        1. Egg whites are high in (animal) protein. High animal protein intake is associated with greater risk of early death among other things eg
          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5048552/

          NutritionFacts has a primer on animal protein here
          https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/animal-protein/

          I am not aware of any long term studies on the effects of egg white consumption on health but I can’t see any good reason to eat this stuff other than the current fashion for high protein diets

          1. “…..the current fashion for high protein diets.”
            – – – – –

            What baffles me is why so many claim they are switching to the carnivore diet. Mainly meat, meat, meat….preferably (“barf”) RAW! Are they crazy, or are they crazy?

            I think the keto diet emphasizes fat even more than protein.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX4fkXneRz0

            1. Yes even real carnivores don’t just eat meat, they consume hide,skin, cartilage, bone etc as well which provides roughage. People on these all-meat diets must have terrible constipation.

              The low carbers always refer to an experiment done back in the 1920s when they found that the all lean meat diet delivered some uncomfortable results and they had to add fat to the diet. After one year, they found no adverse effects although the journal article briefly notes the effects on blood lipids.including visible fat in the blood and very high cholesterol. That was presumably considered unimportant in those days (it still is by low most carbers)
              http://www.jbc.org/content/87/3/651.full.pdf+html

              The study was funded by the American Meat Institute so you’d perhaps expect any difficulties to be glossed over or ignored.

    1. Darren- It’s not just the cholesterol one needs to be concerned with regarding the egg health issues. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I’m shareing here what one of our best moderators wrote about egg whites which gives a very reasoned, comprehensive answer to your question.
      There are two problems with eggs, the yolk and the white. (To paraphrase Dr. Barnard.) Egg whites are likely a big
      problem health-wise, just like the yolks. It is true that egg whites do not have cholesterol. But egg whites are essentially
      all animal protein.
      Here’s what we know about animal protein in general and egg whites in particular: Dr. Barnard links potential kidney
      problems to animal protein (though I don’t have the details on that). And Dr. Greger talks about the problems of animal
      protein in general in his annual summary video, “Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases
      with Diet” http://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-as- medicine

      Here on NutritionFacts, you can get a great education on how animal protein is linked to the body’s over-production of a
      growth hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 helps cancer to grow. To watch the series about IGF-1, click on the link below and
      then keep clicking the “next video” link on the button to the right until you get through the bodybuilding video. Then
      you will have seen the entire series. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/igf-1- as-one- stop-cancer- shop/
      Here’s another great tidbit from NutritionFacts on another mechanism linking egg whites to cancer as well as increased
      virus infections: “Why would animal protein and fat increase cancer risk? Well, as I noted in Bowel Wars, if you eat egg
      whites, for example, between 5 and 35% of the protein isn’t digested, isn’t absorbed, and ends up in the colon, where it
      undergoes a process called putrefaction. When animal protein putrefies in the gut, it can lead to the production of the
      rotten egg gas, hydrogen sulfide, which, over and above its objectionable odor, can produce changes that increase
      cancer risk. Putrefying protein also produces ammonia.”

      To learn more details about the process, check out: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/putrefying-protein- and-toxifying-
      enzymes/ Dr. Greger did a nice video showing the link between methionine and cancer.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/starving-cancer- with-methionine- restriction/
      Dr. Greger recently posted some videos on how animal protein can raise insulin levels. The first of the following videos
      even specifically addresses egg whites. The last link is to a post on the topic with some really great info.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/paleo-diets- may-negate- benefits-of- exercise/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/if-white- rice-is- linked-to- diabetes-what- about-china/
      http://nutritionfacts.org/2016/09/06/paleo-diet- may-undermine- benefit-of- crossfit-exercise/

      In summary: there are at least three pathways potentially linking animal proteins, especially egg whites, to cancer: the
      IGF-1, methionine, and putrefaction. And there is some good evidence that egg white consumption contributes to heart
      disease and potential problems with T2 diabetes by raising insulin levels in a bad way. All of these reductionist-type
      studies lend support the bigger general population studies showing that the healthiest populations on earth are those
      which eat the least amount of animal protein. With all of the information we have about the harmful effects of animal
      protein in general and egg white in particular, I think it’s best to stay away from egg white. Why not get your protein
      from safe sources? IE: Sources which are known to have lots of positive health effects and will naturally give you a
      balanced amount of protein? (ie: whole plant foods)

  10. This is all nothing new – ie. “Forks over Knives” (or whatever that nicely made documentary is called). Remember that we’ve been lied to an told that the amount of cholesterol we eat directly relates to how much cholesterol is floating around in our blood. Also, that the amount of cholesterol floating around in our blood is directly related to heart disease. We now know that this is non-sense and that excessive amounts of refined carbohydrates is far more dangerous to your health than too much cholesterol in your diet. Is there a way to undo all those Fat Free ranch dressing products with extra carbohydrates that we all consumed? Not really. So, you’ll have to forgive me if you want to address how much fat we eat. Fat is a highly favorable macro nutrient and it keeps your blood sugar low. If you are burning carbs as your major fuel source and/or keeping carbs high on your list for caloric intake, perhaps eating MORE FATS is a good idea. Keep in mind, animal fat isn’t the best form of fats, but a little bit isn’t going to kill you – unless you think storing fat in your colon is something you are doing for prolonged periods of time. Also, fasting can reduce the growth of cancer. Does that mean eating causes cancer? -jk. Happy Days! ☺☺

    1. Greg

      This is the sort of stuff that you see floating round all over the internet. At best, it is a half truth. At worst it is a lie like this one

      ‘ Remember that we’ve been lied to an told that the amount of cholesterol we eat directly relates to how much cholesterol is floating around in our blood.’
      Nobody has ever said that – except the cholesterol denialists misrepresenting the facts. We have known that all sorts of things affect blood cholesterol levels like being overweight, smoking, eating saturated fat, trans fat, refined carbohydrates etc, lack of exercise and that the relationship between dietary cholesterol and cholesterol is moderated by a range of other variables. However, that is how those misrepresent the facts.

      Dietary cholesterol does raise blood cholesterol in most people. However, when baseline cholesterol is already high (as is the case for virtually all people in the US and other Western countries, it only has limited effects. This is why there have been seemingly countless studies in recent decades funded by the egg industries that show that feeding cholesterol/eggs to Westerners has little or no effect on blood cholesterol levels. It has now become the accepted wisdom even among most professionals. It’s a stunning victory for industry interests.

      I’d seriously suggest that you start reading reports on health and nutrition by credible health authorities instead of sensational claims made in media articles, on the internet or in best-selling popular ‘health’ books. These are a good place to start:
      https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/trs916/en/
      https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/
      https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/about

    2. ‘When modest amounts of cholesterol are added to the daily diet, the major predictor of change in serum cholesterol is baseline dietary cholesterol. Thus,
      when one or two eggs are added to a diet that is typical for the average American (containing 400 mg/d), little change would be expected. This is precisely the study design of a number of outpatient studies in which there is little or no control of the diet, either before or after addition of eggs (3 1-34, 38, 40, 41). Such experimental designs cannot prevent either deliberate or unconscious changes in the intake of other cholesterol-containingnfoods or other changes in the diet after the addition of eggs.’

      ‘the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico consume little cholesterol, but intakes are sufficiently different between individuals to result in a distinct relationship between dietary and serum cholesterol. Those who do consume cholesterol eat relatively small amounts because of the sparse supply of eggs and
      chicken (dietary cholesterol concentrations ranged from 0 to only 160 mg/d). The correlation between dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol was striking (r = 0.90, P 400-500 mg/d. People desiring maximal reduction of serum cholesterol by dietary means may have
      to reduce their dietary cholesterol to minimal levels (< 100-150 mg/d) to observe modest serum cholesterol reductions while persons eating a diet relatively rich in cholesterol would be expected to experience little change in serum cholesterol after adding even large amounts of cholesterol to their diet. Despite modest average effects of dietary cholesterol, there are some individuals who are much more responsive (and others who are not responsive). Individual degrees of response to dietary cholesterol may be mediated by differences in cholesterol absorption efficiency, neutral sterol excretion, conversion of hepatic cholesterol to bile acids, or modulation of HMG-CoA reductase or other key enzymes involved in intracellular cholesterol economy, each ultimately resulting in changes of plasma LDL cholesterol concentration mediated primarily by up- or down-regulation of LDL receptors.'
      http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.549.6029&rep=rep1&type=pdf

      This meta analysis published in 1992 provides all the information one need to design studies which appear to show that dietary cholesterol has no effect on plasma cholesterol. Little wonder that there have been enormous numbers of industry funded studies of the relationship between dietary cholesterol/eggs and plasma cholesterol since 1992 – all of which have been given lots of media coverage and have been touted endlessly by the saturated fat and cholesterol crowd.

      Let's remember that the US Institute of Medicine (now the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine) still advises us to keep dietary trans fat, saturated fat and cholesterol consumption as low as possible. They base their advice on all the evidence not just carefully designed industry funded trials.
      https://fnic.nal.usda.gov/fnic/dri-calculator/

  11. Hi Dr. Greger,
    I was surprised today to come across this statement on healthline’s website: “Research has shown that dietary cholesterol does not significantly impact cholesterol levels in your body.” It even goes as far as to list “7 Healthy Foods that are high in cholesterol.” I was wondering if you could comment on what they say on their website.
    Thanks for all you do; I’m eternally grateful!
    Dani

    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/high-cholesterol-foods#about-cholesterol

    Is Dietary Cholesterol Harmful?

    Research has shown that dietary cholesterol does not significantly impact cholesterol levels in your body, and data from population studies does not support an association between dietary cholesterol and heart disease in the general population (5, 6, 7).

    Though dietary cholesterol can slightly impact cholesterol levels, this isn’t an issue for most people.

    In fact, two-thirds of the world’s population experience little or no increase in cholesterol levels after eating cholesterol-rich foods — even in large amounts (8).

    A small number of people are considered cholesterol non-compensators or hyper-responders and appear to be more vulnerable to high-cholesterol foods.

    However, hyper-responders are thought to recycle extra cholesterol back to the liver for excretion (9).

    Dietary cholesterol has also been shown to beneficially affect the LDL-to-HDL ratio, which is considered the best indicator of heart disease risk (10).

    While research shows that it’s unnecessary for most people to avoid dietary cholesterol, keep in mind that not all cholesterol-containing foods are healthy.

    1. Hello Danielle,

      After quickly reviewing the article from Healthline, as well as the references for the cholesterol research, I believe I can answer your question. There is quite a lot of research out there stating that dietary cholesterol does not effect serum cholesterol levels; however, there are common design flaws that occur. This may be intentional in the case of industry funded research as Dr. Greger points out in the videos I have linked below, or unintentional. When you look at a population of people already consuming a high amount of cholesterol (eg. American population), eating more cholesterol has a very small effect on your serum cholesterol levels; however, in those with low, or physiologically normal, cholesterol levels, you do see a large increase. Furthermore, cholesterol seems to have a bigger impact on our cholesterol levels after we have eaten, but that level falls back down to baseline overnight so if you test your cholesterol levels in the morning after fasting all night, it will appear much lower. These are factors that are commonly issues with cholesterol research, whether intentional (potentially in the case of industry influence) or unintentional.
      One of the most compelling pieces of evidence showing that cholesterol causes heart disease is a genetic study where a population of people all leading similar lifestyles were studied. About 1/20 have a genetic mutation leading to very low cholesterol levels, and even though they were an unhealthy population (1/3 of them smoked), just a 28% reduction in LDL cholesterol levels lead to an 88% reduction in heart disease risk! That isn’t something that can happen by chance. The world of nutrition research can be very confusing, so Nutritionfacts.org is trying its best to lay the record straight. We have ample evidence that cholesterol does effect heart disease risk as well as increase risk for other diseases, which is why we recommend against it.

      I hope this helps,
      Matt

      Eggs, Cholesterol, Heart Disease: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/debunking-egg-industry-myths/
      Are Eggs Safe? https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flashback-friday-who-says-eggs-arent-healthy-or-safe/
      Cholesterol causes Heart Disease: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-do-we-know-that-cholesterol-causes-heart-disease/

      1. Hi Matt, Thanks for your thoughtful and detailed reply. I have one other question that’s puzzled me. My understanding used to be that only animal sources contain cholesterol, but in reading Dr. Greger’s recent articles, he mentions that coconut oil can increase your cholesterol. So assuming there is no cholesterol actually in the coconut oil (just saturated fat which makes it something to avoid anyway), does that mean that saturated fat’s function in the body somehow increases the cholesterol? Sorry if this is an ignorant question, but for decades my understanding has been that you could only obtain cholesterol from animal sources.
        Thanks!
        Danielle

        1. Great question Danielle!

          Funny enough, saturated fat actually has an even greater impact on our cholesterol levels than does eating cholesterol. It used to be believed that saturated fat is converted to cholesterol in the liver, but we now know that there’s even more to this story. When you eat saturated fat, the LDL receptors on your liver, which are responsible for taking LDL-cholesterol out of your blood, get downregulated (eg. they disappear). Because of this phenomenon, you actually have more cholesterol floating around in your blood, which can lead to issues that we’ve already talked about. This is one reason why Dr. Greger recommends against coconut oil. Do not fear eating whole coconut though because the fiber and phytonutrients in coconut actually combat the saturated fat so your cholesterol levels don’t go up or down when you eat it.

          I hope this answers your question and never hesitate to ask more!
          Matt

          Coconut oil and arteries: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/does-coconut-oil-clog-arteries/

  12. Hello Paul,

    Dr. Greger has made several videos on the topic of cholesterol and heart disease, some of which I will link below. I have also researched fairly in depth into this topic and will add anything I can of value while summarizing the research Dr. Greger has highlighted thus far.

    The study you linked above is looking at cholesterol lowering medications and whether or not they reduce risk of heart disease. To summarize the findings, there are many studies that show no improvement, some that reduce risk of heart attacks but not all-cause mortality, and there are a few that show benefits all around. The problem is that these studies only last a few years. You may think that sounds like a long time, but when heart disease develops over multiple decades, a few years isn’t going to make a large dent in your risk, and the fact that any improvement can be shown may indicate that lowering cholesterol is a good thing. But how we really know cholesterol increases heart disease risk is because those with lifelong low (physiologically normal) cholesterol levels due to genetics have virtually no signs of heart disease even when a large percentage of them smoke and lead unhealthy lifestyles. This is why it’s so important to begin eating healthy and lowering cholesterol levels as soon as possible. It’s never too late to start eating healthy, but the sooner the better! Furthermore, the participants in the studies were very likely consuming standard diets full of oils and processed foods, which are not good for our arteries either. Dr. Greger has also made videos on the artery crippling effects of oil and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn eliminates all oils and recommends eating greens with every meal to improve vascular function as much as possible. The participants in the drug study may have lowered their cholesterol, but are still damaging their arterial lining, which can lead to cardiovascular issues as well.

    All in all, the realm of nutrition research is very confusing and conflicting, so we do our best to sort through it and present only the most reliable information.
    I hope you have found this useful,
    Matt

    Cholesterol causes Heart Disease: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-do-we-know-that-cholesterol-causes-heart-disease/
    Oils and Arteries: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/olive-oil-and-artery-function/

  13. Is there an evidence-backed, research article that shows our body produces all the cholesterol it needs? I agree with Dr. Greger but I am not a biologist and cannot point to why we do not other than that I know the liver and intestines do produce it. But is that sufficient? Are we helped by modest amounts of dietary cholesterol? Many of my friends would say it is not sufficient. I am surrounded by dialogue partners who cite that we DO need to consume cholesterol. They have to produce evidence to back their position, but I need evidence to back mine too, that the body is sufficient to produce what we need for OPTIMAL health. I’m still a newbie at this and trying to understand.

      1. Tom Riddle, Thank YOU!!! I did see a similar comment on John Hopkins, but they didn’t have research to back it up. But I greatly appreciate it and its a start and a lead!

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