Does Fiber Really Prevent Diverticulosis?

Does Fiber Really Prevent Diverticulosis?
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The parable of the tiny parachute explains the study that found no relationship between dietary fiber intake and diverticulosis.

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A study out of the University of North Carolina found no association between dietary fiber intake and diverticulosis in comparing the group that ate the highest amount, 25 grams—three times the amount of the lowest fiber intake group. They concluded that a low-fiber diet was not associated with diverticulosis. The university sent out a press release: "Diets high in fiber won’t protect against diverticulosis." The press picked it up. Study finds high-fiber diet may not protect against diverticulosis. Went all over the paleo blogs, and even medical journals; an important paper calling into question the fiber theory of the development of diverticulosis. Other editorials, though, caught the critical flaw. To understand this, let’s turn to another dietary deficiency disease: scurvy.

Medical experiments on prisoners at the Iowa State Penitentiary showed that clinical signs of scurvy start appearing after just 29 days without vitamin C. Experiments on pacifists during World War II showed the same thing—that it takes about 10mg of vitamin C a day to prevent scurvy. So, imagine going back in time a few centuries, when they were still trying to figure scurvy out. Dr. James Linde had this radical theory that citrus fruits could cure scurvy. What if an experiment were designed to test this crazy theory, in which sailors were given the juice of either one wedge of lemon, or three wedges of lemons a day? If a month later on the high seas there was no difference in scurvy rates, one might see headlines like this. The printing press pamphleteers would all be touting the study that found that a low-vitamin C diet is not associated with scurvy.

See, a wedge of lemon only yields about 2mg of vitamin C, and it takes 10mg to prevent scurvy. So, they would have been comparing 2mg a day to like 7mg a day—one vitamin C deficient dose to another vitamin C deficient dose. No wonder there would be no difference in scurvy rates. We evolved eating so many plants that we likely averaged around 600mg of vitamin C a day. That’s what our bodies are biologically used to getting. What about fiber? How much fiber are we used to getting? Over 100 grams a day. The highest fiber intake group in the North Carolina study was eating only 25 grams, which is less than the minimum recommended daily allowance, which is about 32 grams. They didn’t even make the minimum. So they compared one fiber-deficient diet to another fiber-deficient diet—no wonder there was no difference in diverticulosis rates.

The African populations, where they had essentially no diverticulosis, ate diets consisting in part of very large platefuls of leafy vegetables—similar, perhaps, to what we were eating a few million years ago. They were eating plant-based diets containing 70 to 90 grams of fiber a day.

Most vegetarians don’t even eat that many whole plant foods, though some do. At least they hit the minimum mark, and have less diverticulosis to show for it. This was a relatively small study, though. 35 years later, 47,000 people were studied, confirming that consuming a vegetarian diet and a high intake of dietary fiber were both associated with a lower risk of both hospitalization and death from diverticular disease. And they had enough people to tease it out. Compared to those eating a single serving of meat a day or more, those who ate less than half a serving appeared to have a 16% lower risk; pescetarians—no meat except fish—down 23%, though not in and of themselves statistically significant, but eating vegetarian was 35% lower risk, and those eating strictly plant-based appeared to be at 78% lower risk.

As with all lifestyle interventions, it only works if you do it. High-fiber diets only work if they’re actually high in fiber.

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 peace.love.quilt via Flickr.

A study out of the University of North Carolina found no association between dietary fiber intake and diverticulosis in comparing the group that ate the highest amount, 25 grams—three times the amount of the lowest fiber intake group. They concluded that a low-fiber diet was not associated with diverticulosis. The university sent out a press release: "Diets high in fiber won’t protect against diverticulosis." The press picked it up. Study finds high-fiber diet may not protect against diverticulosis. Went all over the paleo blogs, and even medical journals; an important paper calling into question the fiber theory of the development of diverticulosis. Other editorials, though, caught the critical flaw. To understand this, let’s turn to another dietary deficiency disease: scurvy.

Medical experiments on prisoners at the Iowa State Penitentiary showed that clinical signs of scurvy start appearing after just 29 days without vitamin C. Experiments on pacifists during World War II showed the same thing—that it takes about 10mg of vitamin C a day to prevent scurvy. So, imagine going back in time a few centuries, when they were still trying to figure scurvy out. Dr. James Linde had this radical theory that citrus fruits could cure scurvy. What if an experiment were designed to test this crazy theory, in which sailors were given the juice of either one wedge of lemon, or three wedges of lemons a day? If a month later on the high seas there was no difference in scurvy rates, one might see headlines like this. The printing press pamphleteers would all be touting the study that found that a low-vitamin C diet is not associated with scurvy.

See, a wedge of lemon only yields about 2mg of vitamin C, and it takes 10mg to prevent scurvy. So, they would have been comparing 2mg a day to like 7mg a day—one vitamin C deficient dose to another vitamin C deficient dose. No wonder there would be no difference in scurvy rates. We evolved eating so many plants that we likely averaged around 600mg of vitamin C a day. That’s what our bodies are biologically used to getting. What about fiber? How much fiber are we used to getting? Over 100 grams a day. The highest fiber intake group in the North Carolina study was eating only 25 grams, which is less than the minimum recommended daily allowance, which is about 32 grams. They didn’t even make the minimum. So they compared one fiber-deficient diet to another fiber-deficient diet—no wonder there was no difference in diverticulosis rates.

The African populations, where they had essentially no diverticulosis, ate diets consisting in part of very large platefuls of leafy vegetables—similar, perhaps, to what we were eating a few million years ago. They were eating plant-based diets containing 70 to 90 grams of fiber a day.

Most vegetarians don’t even eat that many whole plant foods, though some do. At least they hit the minimum mark, and have less diverticulosis to show for it. This was a relatively small study, though. 35 years later, 47,000 people were studied, confirming that consuming a vegetarian diet and a high intake of dietary fiber were both associated with a lower risk of both hospitalization and death from diverticular disease. And they had enough people to tease it out. Compared to those eating a single serving of meat a day or more, those who ate less than half a serving appeared to have a 16% lower risk; pescetarians—no meat except fish—down 23%, though not in and of themselves statistically significant, but eating vegetarian was 35% lower risk, and those eating strictly plant-based appeared to be at 78% lower risk.

As with all lifestyle interventions, it only works if you do it. High-fiber diets only work if they’re actually high in fiber.

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 peace.love.quilt via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

What the heck is the parable of which I speak? See Dr. Katz’s brilliant Lifestyle Medicine and the Parable of the Tiny Parachute.

This is a follow-up to my last video: Diverticulosis: When Our Most Common Gut Disorder Hardly Existed. Make sure you catch this “prequel.”

This reminds me of an ancient video I did: Flawed Study Interpretation.

People commonly ask, Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?—but maybe they should be more concerned where everyone else is getting their fiber. 97% of Americans don’t even reach the recommended daily minimum.

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

89 responses to “Does Fiber Really Prevent Diverticulosis?

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  1. Of course. We knew that. That’s why I read studies and also listen to doctors who devour studies with regularity rather than relying on any sort of commercialized media or extant medical paradigm to understand human nutrition.




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    1. More good work from Dr G, et al. This is a notorious tobacco-science trick often used by the Paleo crowd and others with perverted interests. They tried the same sort of thing a few years ago in Spain with a “high versus low” fat experiment. They tried to show that fat doesn’t really matter with respect to heart disease. However, the “low” fat group was really at 30% of calories, still much too high. They do the same thing with cholesterol, by pre-saturating the experimental group with cholesterol before the experiment begins, then showing that blood cholesterol drops during the trial period when eating an egg a day. It’s all crap. I agree with you completely, Wade, thank God for doctors with integrity like Dr G.




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      1. Exactly what I thought of when watching the video – this is why we constantly hear that eggs don’t raise blood cholesterol – of course there are no raise in blood cholesterol if you eat an egg a day when you at the same time eat bacon for breakfast, cheeseburger with french fries at lunch and a steak with gravy at dinner. Science is not science – there are good science, poor science and manipulative science – the latter hit the news – butter is a health food, saturated fat is not the villain and so on.




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      2. I guess you might be thinking of PREDIMED, in which the control group (which received “advice on a low-fat diet”) reduced their fat intake from 39% of calories (baseline) all the way down to 37%.




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  2. It si a nif diference between cience and cience divulgation… When something it is shared in “medical magazines” normally it is an interest behind to sell something or protect some interest.. That’s the great thing of this site. Pure science !!!! From the facts . Not opinions teories beliefs .. As we see even in medical journals ..




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  3. I was diagnosed with diverticulitis
    while on the SAD diet six years ago. I have been plant based for 5 years. Is this something that can be reversed being plant based.




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        1. Do you mind trying again? Mine works fine. Just hover over the word “here” as I inserted a hyperlink ;-) Let me know if it gives you problems.




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  4. Why are the government RDAs so low? I eat about 60g of fibre each day, but the government in my country (UK) recommends only 24g a day. If the science says humans should be eating 100g a day, why does the government ignore it and recommend less than a quarter?




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    1. I believe it is the same reasons that Dr. Greger has said in videos past. They recommend what they feel is possible for the public without significant lifestyle change. No one seems to believe they can get the public to change or has the political will to propose that change.




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      1. And that is so patronizing that “authorities” decide what the public can manage. I mean most of us on this site has probably made serious diet changes based on what we have learned from dr. G and others.




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        1. And what is so crazy is the whole health care reform in America was a claimed attempt to put the power of medical care in the hands of the public so that better choices could be made. Yet if they don’t share any of the knowledge, how can the public ever hope to make better choices?
          That said, my wife recently came back from a yearly checkup with rising cholesterol and high blood pressure and the doctors recommendations at this point? Get active, eat more vegetables and fruits, reduce pops and processed foods, and consider the Mediterranean diet and watch the movie Forks over Knives. My jaw dropped open when she told me what the doctor said. And this was a doctor in a clinic for a large health care system.
          It shocked me enough that I intend to follow up with the doctor or the system to see what has caused them to start making those recommendations. Is it getting impossible to ignore the studies now?




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          1. That is actually good news! Maybe the good doctor watched videos on NF :-) Of course we know that it takes more than the Mediterranean diet, but anyway…




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          2. Is your wife insured by Kaiser Permanente? Because Kaiser, the largest HMO in the US, which employs 17,000 physicians, is recommending vegan diets for all its patients. If you’re a health insurer, you have a profit incentive in knowledgeable doctors and healthy patients. Finally! Dr. Greger has a video about it, their brochure recommends NutritionFacts.org! if you want to see the brochure, google Kaiser Permanente Nutrition Brochure




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              1. Thanks for the relevant link. But for anyone who hasn’t seen Kaiser Permanente”s booklet, it’s a free download, and it’s called : The Plant-Based Diet, a Healthier Way to Eat. It’s really simple, straight forward and valuable, very few people are eating as healthy a diet as they describe. It doesn’t say you may include a small amount of animal products. The only thing it says, the very last 2 sentences is this: “If you find you cannot do a plant-based diet 100 percent of the time, then aim for 80 percent. Any movement towards more plants and fewer animal products can improve your health!” Then they recommend a dozen websites and a dozen books by John McDougall, Esselstyn, t. Colin Cambell, and the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. All Vegan! For Pete’s Sake, how can you discourage people from it? This is what people need to hear from their doctors and aren’t hearing! And I’ve turned a bunch of people vegan, including a girlfriend whose husband has diabetes. She has tried tand tried to find a doctor on her insurance plan who will even condone a vegan diet as okay, but with no luck. Her husband’s doctor has told him that the whole grains and vegan food she is feeding him is killing him, so now he’s out barbecuing every night. No, it’s not the booze and the ice cream, and the snacks he buys and feeds himself, it’s the vegan food she’s preparing that’s giving him diabetes! So, I think we should applaud this booklet, and paise it and show it to everyone we know who still eats animal products. People may not understand nutrition (BUT THIS WILL HELP!), but they may more easily understand economics, and may get it, that the medical insurance companies have a lot of incentive to really help you get healthy.




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        1. Maybe he is referring to Africans who have no diverticulitus having a diet with 100 plus grams of fiber a day, as noted by Dr. Greger. Also on another video, on cancer prevention maybe, the recommended amounts of fiber per day, soluble and insoluble, was a minimum of 85 grams. Since cronometer doesn’t separate soluble and insoluble fibers, 100 grams seems a good amount to aim for, in order to get enough of both types.




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        2. See: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/paleopoo-what-we-can-learn-from-fossilized-feces/
          From the transcript: “But in populations where many of our deadliest diseases are practically unknown, such as rural China and rural Africa, they’re eating huge amounts of whole plant foods, up to a 100 grams of fiber a day or more, which is what it’s estimated our Paleolithic ancestors were getting based on dietary analyses of modern-day primitive hunter-gatherer tribes and by analyzing coprolites, human fossilized feces. In other words, paleopoop.”

          “Why does it matter how much fiber we used to eat? Well, one theory for the rising levels of obesity in Western populations is that the body’s mechanisms for controlling appetite evolved to match how many plants we used to eat. Our ancestors ate so many plant foods we were getting like 100 grams of fiber a day; so, for millions of years, food equaled fiber. So, no surprise one of the physiological mechanisms our body evolved to suppress our appetite involved this fiber.”




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    2. My take is one of simple logic. If you eat 60 g of fibre, where would you find room to pack in enough beef, chicken, dairy etc to keep the atherosclerotic/oncological/arthritic/ pill Industry on parade? Every gram of fiber displaces who knows how much meat n cheese pizza? Best to play the moderation card if you are Big Gov.




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  5. Thanks for pointing out how tobacco science is alive, well, and works in those who ought to know better. That’s the problem with a lot of vested interests, especially paid-for-pharmaceutical-science, I offer. Thanks again for setting the bar higher on important issues.




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  6. Think Green. Soylent Green, that is. Global Corporate Capitalism has converted A World of Possibilities into A World of Externalities. Too little, too late? Absolutely g** d*** right! I applaud the collective efforts to turn the world’s health crisis around. I really do. But, I cannot help but feel like, if one steps back to take in the larger picture, one soon realizes that -even if these efforts were completely successful and the world’s waistline started shrinking rather than expanding – this is little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I’ll still hedge my bets by eating plant-based-silent protest in every bite. But, do a google search for ‘Arctic methane’ to see where we are all marching, pedometer or no pedometer.




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      1. Comic relief (sort of). Google ‘John Oliver: Food Waste.’ (a little language/adult themes, so no link, that’s my personal policy.)




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        1. A terrific expose by John O. on the massive amount of food waste in the U.S. Much is simply based on less-than-perfect shaped fruits and veggies. I live near Santa Cruz, CA where we have some active field gleaners, but there is undoubtedly still a lot of waste here, too.




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          1. One would think that, in this so-called ‘Christian Nation’ of ours, there would be a lot more emphasis placed on making it possible for these gleanings to be put into the hands of the neediest among us. I’m an atheist, but not because I am Biblically illiterate, and in my heart I am a better Christian than a whole lot of folks who go around advertising themselves as such including our holier-than-thou ‘lawmakers’ who very often shamelessly put profits before people.
            http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Gleaning




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    1. Possible motive, maybe even plausible. Dead we will be, but not before being placed on a virtual conveyor belt at our own expense and stripped of our assets at each and every Big Corporate Profit Center possible. Follow the ‘Yellow Brick Road.’




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    2. Hey, not sure if I have asked you before, but wondering what
      your daily meals look like.

      Would also be interested to know if you take any probiotics or coconut kefirs,
      any soy or grains,
      and if you mix fat and fruit. I understand you work out a lot, very active,
      and I think you seem to have something that really works for you.
      Thanks for any info.




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      1. Hi Elsie,
        it is too much for me to go into depth here. I list and explain my diet step by step in my book “The God-Awakening Diet.” The way I eat and cleanse my system works very well for me, and just plain works in general. I am back to actively amateur boxing at eh age of 47 and I just won a International Masters tournament in my weight class. I added a link to the book in my initial comment above. I also have information listed on my website if you rather check there.




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        1. Just looked over your website and info. Thanks.

          Interestingly i see no mention of sea salt. I’ll assume you do not use any salt,
          yet I hear it can be alkaline-forming.

          As a precautionary note, just my opinion, but I’d be real careful of wormwood.
          Not something I’d suggest anyone make a habit of ingesting. Maybe a bit
          here in there, but I’ve heard some toxic neuro-issues as a result of ingestion,




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  7. This is as much and indictment of the so-called Peer Review process as it is the ignorance (i’m being generous here) of the PI. Hey NIH! Let us peer review your peers’ review.




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  8. I think fiber is important for diverticulosis, and a high fiber diet helps a lot with weight control, as well as many other issues. However, this does remind of how many studies “prove” that exercise is of little help for weight loss. But when you look more closely, how much exercise were they actually doing in these studies to buttress this point? Only 1-3 hours a week. It takes about 7 hours a week and up of exercise to really help with weight control. Very few, if any, studies have the subjects doing this much exercise. No studies have persons doing as much exercise as they do on the “Biggest Loser,” and people seem to lose weight on the “Biggest Loser” from all their exercise. You can’t say that doing a lot of exercise doesn’t help the contestants lose weight on the basis of studies with much lower amounts of exercise, Personally, I exercise a lot by bicycling to work and elsewhere, but I also eat a very high fiber diet with as few animal products and processed foods as possible. Both strategies are very helpful in my maintaining a 105 pound weight loss for over 5 years now. Exercise helped me to lose a lot of weight and going plant based helped me lose even more weight. Both plants AND a high daily dose of exercise help with weight control. It is true that a Vegan might not have to exercise as much to lose weight, but adding exercise to a Vegan diet can add an additional benefit, as well as adding a plant based diet to an exercise regime.




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    1. Daniel: I believe I have seen posts from you about exercise before, but I don’t think I really understood your point until this post. Very interesting thought. Thanks for sharing again.

      My take-home message from your post is that we need to be more precise when talking about diet vs exercise in regards to weight loss. I mean something along the lines of, “Any exercise may be better than nothing for general health, but if you want exercise to contribute to weight lost alongside diet changes, it requires…” There are so many messages out there that tout say 20 minutes of exercise a day. Rarely do you see a message that an hour a day would be required to get X benefit.

      To be fair, I should mention that I believe that Dr. Greger does have one video where he talks about heavy exercisers and the benefits they get. And Jeff Novick’s video on Calorie Density has a great little segment that shows how exercise of X amount offsets greater calorie densities of Y amount. And as would be expected, there is a calorie density level above which no amount of exercise will prevent weight gain.

      Thanks again for your post.




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        1. Plantstrongdoc: Weeeeelllll. Not much change. :-( I did actually think about it a lot, though. And I really appreciated the support. In the end, my analysis was: I already get a good amount of fresh veggies just eating them whole at my desk during the work week. I don’t think I need more raw foods to be healthy. My big problem spots are eating too much processed and calorie-dense foods. I need to focus on getting rid of and/or restricting those foods first.

          Those ideas are not mutually exclusive. If I ate more salads, presumably that could crowd out the processed and calorie-dense foods. But in practice, I know I will be more successful if I don’t worry about the salads that I’m not so fond of and instead worry about restricting the less healthy foods for now: ie, allowing myself to eat those healthier foods that I already like as much as a I want rather than giving up a food I like for one that I don’t so much.

          Bottom line: more salads are an ideal I am keeping an open mind on for the future. But I’m not ready now.

          Thanks for your interest. Much appreciated.




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          1. Thea, I also do not care for salads AT ALL and have stopped trying to “fix” that about myself. I certainly gave it a go. I ate a big beautiful salad every day at lunch for probably about a year, treated myself to a brand new lunch cooler to fit the big ol container in, tried every type of green, dressings, storebought, homemade, different toppings, nuts, seeds, warm, cold, side, entree, and I just don’t like them! One day I was in the middle of eating my lunchtime salad and I just put my fork down, decided I did not want to eat one more bite, and that was it. I tell you that saying of Furhman’s, “the salad is the main dish” just makes me cringe inside.

            However I eat plain raw veggies everyday like you. For me the crunch and flavor of a plain carrot, bell pepper, cucumber, celery, tomato is delicious! I love it. I even love the smell of the fresh, plain veggies. So fresh, like being in a vegetable garden. We’ve had videos here on the power of aromatherapy and I think my plain veggies (especially the bell peppers) give me a little boost in that sense! Never felt that way about a salad. Don’t want to overpower the smell/taste with some zesty or sweet dressing, don’t want it to be a big to do with a dish and fork, I like that I can absentmindedly eat my clean little carrot stick without skipping a beat while working. I make sure to get the green leafies in some form of cooked meals or smoothies. In my opinion if it ain’t broke don’t fix it… if you’re eating your veggies, who cares what shape they’re in or whether they’re finger foods or eaten with a fork?

            When you say “But I’m not ready now” it gave me a chuckle. Sounds so serious! Anyway maybe we can start a club, the Vegan Veggie Loving Salad Haters. My name is b00mer, I’m a vegan, and I hate salads. I am me and I am okay.

            Take care! :)




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            1. :-) b00mer: Thank you for this post of solidarity! Well, I’m definitely smiling and not so serious now.

              And sign me up. My name is Thea and salads just don’t do it for me. I am me and I am okay too. Whew.




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      1. I guess the point is to lose weight by exercise, one has to do 2 or 3 times the amount necessary for good health. It is very important to eat plant based, but I do think it is better to exercise more than to drastically reduce calories, which is often necessary to do to lose weight without exercise. If one does a lot of exercise, one can lose weight without drastic calorie reduction, but of course, one cannot drastically increase one’s calorie intake. Be very careful about increasing calorie intake rather than decreasing calories. I have found that now that I am more and more plant based, that I don’t have to exercise quite as much to keep my weight under control. The high fiber inhibits the absorption of calories, which is helpful for weight control. An additional alternative to drastic calorie reduction is to drastically improve the quality of the calories one eats, which is plant based.




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  9. Off topic, but … I’m struggling to keep my BP below 140. Question: Is it ok to experiment with hibiscus tea WHILE taking 20 mg of Quinapril (ACE inhibitor) every AM? really don’t want more pharms, although Wiki says Hibiscus is also an Ace Inhibitor so is it like taking more Quinapril?

    I am 190 lb, 5’9″, 61 years, Also taking 90 mgs of b-blocker and 5 of calcium channel blocker. Ick.




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  10. Off topic but is there anything about decreasing heavy metals in your body through exercise? Someone brought this up and now I’m curious.




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  11. Hey, I’m not sure if this question is in the right place (kind of new at this…) I am wondering about a new study that just came out about Kale and people getting metal poisoning from consuming kale on a daily basis. It has me seriously concerned, I am wondering what Dr. Greger may know about this study. I have Kale daily in my smoothie. Do I need to stop with the results of this study? http://www.delish.com/food/a43162/kale-poison-thallium/
    Thanks!




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    1. And I saw/read/heard something about cilantro binding with a heavy metal and helping us rid ourselves of such. Was that here? I didn’t find it where I thought it might be…




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  12. When I was in Weight Watchers, they told us that blending a smoothie destroyed the fiber. I said: what if I only blend it as much as I would chew the fruit and nuts, because it’s not like we swallow fruit and nuts whole? So it seems to me the fiber would still be good, but just wondering if there is any official word on this? I do want to get as much fiber as possible from my food. Does blending destroy any of the desirable qualities of the nutritious food, it’s not like the food is completely liquified, or heated.




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    1. That’s bogus. Blend your smoothies. Most of my meals throughout the day consist of vegetable or fruit smoothies. I poop easily 3-5 times a day, soft, long poops. I am 47, and my body and energy reverted what they were in my twenties because of my plant based diet and all the smoothies I drink. Haven’t been sick going on 4 years now, and I am back to boxing at 47.




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        1. Thanks for the article elsie. :) I don’t think we need to eat all raw, but I think we should eat mostly raw and all or mostly all plant-based. During the day I eat raw but my evening meal I eat cooked quinoa, or green peas, or chickpeas. and may steam some veggies. Adding whole plant-based foods and minimizing or removing animal-based foods from the diet only helps, and helps a bunch.




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    2. I was a smoothie “freak” for nearly two years. And-I got a LOT of whole un-molested fiber. Even with a “mega-blender” I was always under the impression that the fiber we need is a rather fine structure, not a pillowcase weave. Hell, if you don’t blend it–it’s fruit salad, not a smoothie. Maybe they are afraid of Whole Nutrition upsetting their lop-sided system?




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      1. Yes, Wade, it is a lopsided system,. Their Weight Watcher brand commercial artificial ingrediant smoothie is assigned only 1 or 2 points, while a fruit smoothie you make yourself from fresh ingrediants is assigned 8 or 9 points (when unblended the same fresh ingrediants would be only 2) because they say you have made the food more fattening by destroying the fiber. You have a limited # of points to eat per day (29 or so), so the system encourages members to choose their very processed unhealthy foods over home-made fresh ones. Their processed smoothie is also not vegan, and has poor quality oils, so that is how members are encouraged to eat, so members have limited success with weight loss, therefore keeping thir customers paying for weight loss “support.”




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  13. Ha ha ha Dr G, whenever anyone asks where I get my “protein”, (depending on who it is and what I perceive their “agenda” to be) I often counter with the question, “where do YOU get your fiber and nutrients???”




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  14. Hi everyone I’d like your NF video and blog post suggestions.

    My 22 y.o. nephew and a few of his friends think that diet doesn’t matter until you get much older and want to address heart disease. I told them there are many reasons to go vegan and to start as early as possible. All they asked me too send them dinner videos to give them a good overview. So, over the next week I plan to send them 10 emails with a one or two NF videos or blog posts each day.

    Please give me your suggestion for the NF video or blog post that you think best makes a case for going vegan. I’ll pick a variety of them that, combined, will give them a broad overview.

    I know this is a challenge because there are so many great videos and do many topics, so thanks everyone, in advance for your suggestions.
    Mark




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      1. Hi Adrien. You’re right, those are great, but I promised them I’d send short videos. They’re not likely to watch that long unless they get hooked on the videos first. I’ve been watching the videos for years and came up with a list, but thought I’d get people’s ideas for their favorites to help give me different perspectives on the most imporTant or compelling. Thanks for the suggestion.




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    1. mbglife: I agree that the hour long videos are really powerful and only an hour. But if you can’t get your young friends to watch an hour video, then I was thinking of some videos on this site that stress the importance of starting young. For example, there is at least one video that talks about how most Americans now are getting early heart disease by the time they are 10. But that is not normal nor something seen in other countries. And waiting to eat healthy when they get older can just result in sudden death from a heart attack without any warning. See if you can find that video?

      NutritionFacts has another video that talks about how the best way to get breast cancer protection benefits from eating soy is if someone has been eating soy their whole lives, especially through puberty. The point is not to say that they will get breast cancer (though men get it too) or that they have to eat soy. The point is to point out a pattern where the younger you start, the more likely it is to help. It is easier to prevent a problem than to reverse it.

      With that thought in mind, you might try to find the videos where Dr. Greger says words to that effect: it is easier to prevent a problem than to reverse it. (Though I don’t know how you would find that video. I’m not sure a search would work?)

      My last thought (so far) is to focus on issues that young men are likely to care about. So, find videos that talk about erectile dysfunction, testosterone, building muscle, etc.

      Fun project. Thanks for asking. I hope my ideas help! If you are so inclined, please report back in the future with the list of videos you settled on an what the results were with your nephew and his friends.




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      1. Thanks, Thea. I think I’ve got my list now, so I can tell you what I’ve got. I won’t list the videos (too long), I’ll just say that I’m including two or three videos a day related to one of the following topics until all are addressed. Also, I compiled the list by browsing the topics listed under related NF topics list. Each NF topic provides a good written overview by Dr G before the list of videos. So I include the overview to put these selected videos in context.

        – Mediterranean Diet
        – Heart disease: causes & reversal
        – Fiber
        – Gut bacteria
        – Flax
        – Diabetes
        – Junk science meant to confuse consumers
        – Dementia
        – High antioxidant foods, not antioxidant supplements
        – Body builders: vegan vs omnivore & how much protein do we need
        – Hemed vs non-hemed iron
        – Telomeres
        – Prostate health

        I’m giving them a lot of topics because it’s hard to pick. Plus, each young man has a relative who has some disease or condition. I’m hoping that at the end the emails that they will sign up for NF videos on their own and that they’ll browse topics of interest for their loved one’s conditions.
        Thanks again!
        Mark G




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        1. Looks great! This is such a nice thing you are doing for them. Whatever happens, you will have done all that you can. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this information gets through a few young heads. Good luck!




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          1. Thanks Thea. I haven’t been pushing it, just sending videos they said they agreed to view. I was later supposed when, as I started, my nephew out of the blue told me he’ll try a vegan WFPB diet for 3 to 6 months to see what he thinks. He’s a fireman, so I plan to get him the Engine 2 diet books.




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  15. HOW does one eat 8 grams of fiber in a day????? I mean, I know the answer, refined carbohydrates and animal products, but still, as a vegan who effortlessly gets upwards of 70 g per day it is just so hard to imagine.

    And coupled with the fact that so many SAD eaters/non-vegans apparently think they are experiencing the norm for gastrointestinal function and apparently assume that I as a vegan must have to deal with some explosive, exaggerated, and abnormal digestive system. Was talking to someone the other day who brought this up. It just leaves me speechless, that people are so ignorant that they actually think that their digestion would be “worse” on a plant based diet.




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    1. b00mer: When you are faced with that level of ignorance, you can’t even know where to start. It’s pretty jaw dropping. I just dropped my jaw in your honor.




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  16. dr greger–

    Is it helpful or harmful or neutral to
    eat roughage like celery strings and other real cellulosic fiber?
    Gorillas eat plenty of roughage—such as the trunk of a banana tree.
    But then we are not gorillas….

    By the way how do apes and monkeys get
    their vitamin D, since they live in shady forests and are covered
    with fur? Or do they need sunshine to make it?




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  17. Somewhere I read that one can have excessive intake of food fiber, leading to all sorts of gut problems. Is this true and if so how much is too much? Is it perhaps a matter of the wrong kind of fiber?




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  18. So would a diet change help to treat a person who suffers from diverticulosis? I would think it would at least stop its progression.




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  19. Dr. G: thank you for these informative videos. I have a friend who has recently been diagnosed with diverticulitis (diverticulosis? Are they the same thing?). What can be done about it when one already has the disease? Can switching to a high fiber diet (surpassing the minimum) be good enough to reverse the disorder?




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  20. This was very helpful for me personally. I was diagnosed with Diverticulosis after a colonoscopy. Went plant-based 6 mos ago, I was only getting 6 grams a fiber a day (I track my calories and food intake now) before and now I strive for 55 grams. My doctor told me to increase exercises, fiber and change my diet to a plant based one. This is helpful. One thread thing I was told though, that this condition never really “goes away,” I am just wondering if that is true.




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    1. Hello Patricia,
      Good question. I am a family doctor in private practice and also a volunteer moderator for this website. Unfortunately, it is probably true that diverticulosis never really goes away. Here is a helpful article out of Harvard, with pictures, explaining diverticulosis, as well as possible complications: http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/diverticular-disease-of-the-colon.

      As you can see, a diverticulum is a place where the colon wall has been pushed out to form a little “bleb” or blind sac — just like what happens when you squeeze a balloon really hard, and it pooches out in one spot. (Not such a great analogy, though, because with a balloon, the “bleb” goes away when you release the pressure). But the good news is that with a high-fiber diet, you won’t get any MORE diverticuli, and therefore will have less risk of developing complications such as diverticulitis.

      It’s great that your doctor was wise enough to give you good dietary advice.




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  21. Dear Felicia, I am a moderator for NF.com and am sorry to hear that your husband is hospitalized and that you are not receiving helpful advice from his doctor.The good news is the doctor is recognizing the importance of fiber (and hopefully soon your husband will be back to a healthy full fiber diet), Meanwhile, the recommendations after an acute flare up is to let the tissues recover by not irritating, so your doctor’s guidance TEMPORARILY is standard care. Here is a link that will go over accepted http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/diverticular_disease_and_diet.
    However, if you go to NF.org you’re well aware that the evidence is clear regarding the connection of animal products and poor health outcomes, so skip the meat, eggs, and diary products, and swap with healthier alternatives.
    When your husband is better, gradually resume the fiber, remembering to keep meals small. You may then want to consult these NF.org videos if you haven’t already:
    Does Fiber Really Prevent Diverticulosis? | NutritionFacts.org
    Diverticulosis: When Our Most Common Gut Disorder Hardly Existed | NutritionFacts.org
    Joan-Nurse-Educator




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    1. Dear Felicia, I am a moderator for NF.com and am sorry to hear that your husband is hospitalized and that you are not receiving helpful advice from his doctor.The good news is the doctor is recognizing the importance of fiber (and hopefully soon your husband will be back to a healthy full fiber diet), Meanwhile, the recommendations after an acute flare up is to let the tissues recover by not irritating, so your doctor’s guidance TEMPORARILY is standard care. Here is a link that will go over accepted http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/d….
      However, if you go to NF.org you’re well aware that the evidence is clear regarding the connection of animal products and poor health outcomes, so skip the meat, eggs, and diary products, and swap with healthier alternatives.
      When your husband is better, gradually resume the fiber, remembering to keep meals small. You may then want to consult these NF.org videos if you haven’t already:
      Does Fiber Really Prevent Diverticulosis? | NutritionFacts.org
      Diverticulosis: When Our Most Common Gut Disorder Hardly Existed | NutritionFacts.org
      Joan-Nurse-Educator




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