Does Oil Pulling Help With Cancer?

Does Oil Pulling Help With Cancer?
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What evidence exists to suggest oil pulling can effectively treat serious diseases such as paralysis, meningitis, cancer, and AIDS?

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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.

I’ve done videos on how coconut oil is safe to put on your hair, or on your skin. But, you certainly don’t want to eat the stuff. You may not even want to be in the same kitchen when it’s being cooked with. I don’t know where people get the idea it’s safe to cook with. It’s got one of the lowest smoke points. At typical frying temperatures, it can release a variety of toxic compounds—in fact, even below the smoke point. So, you want there to be good ventilation.

You also don’t want to inject it into your privates, and even standing under a coconut tree is not completely without risk. But, what about swishing coconut oil around in your mouth? So-called “oil pulling” is evidently “a time-honored…folk remedy that involves swishing…oil in [your] mouth”—“pulling” it back and forth between your teeth “for [purported] oral and systemic health benefits.” You put a spoonful of oil in your mouth, swishing for up to 20 minutes. If that’s too much, you can go five or 10 minutes. Then, you spit it out, rinse out your mouth, and then, brush your teeth.

I could see how it might dislodge dental plaque or something, and have oral health benefits, but what’s this about systemic effects? Not only is it supposedly “absolutely harmless,” but “it effectively treats the most varied diseases, in some cases enabling one to avoid [drugs and surgery].” I was excited to check out this citation, until I realized the citation was to oilpulling.com, an e-book, where you can evidently get answers to questions like “oilforoilpulling, pulling oil and diseases cured, and the science behind oilpulling therpy and much more.”

The moral of the story is: always check your sources.

There is one source cited by oil-pulling proponents that seems legit, published in the British Dental Journal, but it’s just a letter from some guy saying that the literature has reported that oil pulling can “effectively treat” things like “paralysis,…meningitis,…and chronic diseases like [oh] cancer, AIDS etc.” But, absolutely no references are given. So, this literature of which he speaks is presumably the fairy-tale literature. The bottom line is that there is simply no scientific proof. Okay, but what about the “oral health” claims?

If you look at the list of purported “benifits” (I think oil pulling may adversely impact spell check), they go from blood clots to “stop[ping] the growth of malignant tumors.” And, you look at those citations purported to back such wild statements up, and you won’t be surprised at this point to see they have absolutely nothing to do with blood clots, cancer, or any of those other diseases, but instead are references to studies done on dental health. Okay, well, let’s not spit the baby out with the bathwater; let’s see what they say.

The studies started out like this: add oil pulling to some people’s regular oral hygiene regimens, and stand back and watch gingivitis get better, week after week, as the amount of plaque gets less and less. Conclusion: “Oil pulling [has] dental benefits.” This was with sunflower oil; same thing with coconut oil. Gingivitis; gum inflammation started to get better within a week, as the dental plaque went down. Looks pretty good, right? So, same conclusion: “Oil pulling…could be an effective [addition to one’s oral hygiene habits].”

Okay, so what’s wrong with these studies? Right, “no control group.” But, why am I always going on and on about needing control groups? I mean, didn’t they each act as their own control? Look, we know where they were at baseline, and then look at that: week after week, bam, bam, bam, bam, down to less than half the plaque, half the gingivitis. What? Are we supposed to imagine it’s all just one big coincidence that they all just happened to start getting better right after they started the coconut oil? Come on!

Let me tell you about the Hawthorne effect. “Patients frequently appear to improve merely from the effects of being placed in a clinical trial.” Why? “[B]ecause patients may improve oral hygiene…as a result of the special attention [or] frequent examinations” they get. That’s the Hawthorne effect, and why it’s so important to do controlled trials.

Think about it. You know how you may brush really good the morning of your dentist appointment? Well, imagine knowing that you’re going to be going back to the dentist for an exam every single week to see how your plaque and gingivitis is going? I mean, don’t you think you’d brush a little extra well, floss a few more times that month? And, that alone could get you these kinds of results. So, the only way to tell if the oil pulling had anything to do with it is to have a control group that didn’t do the oil pulling, but also knew they would be getting these weekly checkups. But, there was never any compilation of controlled studies—until now, which we’ll cover next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Vladimir Belochkin, Alessandro Suraci, Daniel Polshin, Hopkins and M. Turan Ercan from The Noun Project.

Image credit: Andreas Levers. 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.

I’ve done videos on how coconut oil is safe to put on your hair, or on your skin. But, you certainly don’t want to eat the stuff. You may not even want to be in the same kitchen when it’s being cooked with. I don’t know where people get the idea it’s safe to cook with. It’s got one of the lowest smoke points. At typical frying temperatures, it can release a variety of toxic compounds—in fact, even below the smoke point. So, you want there to be good ventilation.

You also don’t want to inject it into your privates, and even standing under a coconut tree is not completely without risk. But, what about swishing coconut oil around in your mouth? So-called “oil pulling” is evidently “a time-honored…folk remedy that involves swishing…oil in [your] mouth”—“pulling” it back and forth between your teeth “for [purported] oral and systemic health benefits.” You put a spoonful of oil in your mouth, swishing for up to 20 minutes. If that’s too much, you can go five or 10 minutes. Then, you spit it out, rinse out your mouth, and then, brush your teeth.

I could see how it might dislodge dental plaque or something, and have oral health benefits, but what’s this about systemic effects? Not only is it supposedly “absolutely harmless,” but “it effectively treats the most varied diseases, in some cases enabling one to avoid [drugs and surgery].” I was excited to check out this citation, until I realized the citation was to oilpulling.com, an e-book, where you can evidently get answers to questions like “oilforoilpulling, pulling oil and diseases cured, and the science behind oilpulling therpy and much more.”

The moral of the story is: always check your sources.

There is one source cited by oil-pulling proponents that seems legit, published in the British Dental Journal, but it’s just a letter from some guy saying that the literature has reported that oil pulling can “effectively treat” things like “paralysis,…meningitis,…and chronic diseases like [oh] cancer, AIDS etc.” But, absolutely no references are given. So, this literature of which he speaks is presumably the fairy-tale literature. The bottom line is that there is simply no scientific proof. Okay, but what about the “oral health” claims?

If you look at the list of purported “benifits” (I think oil pulling may adversely impact spell check), they go from blood clots to “stop[ping] the growth of malignant tumors.” And, you look at those citations purported to back such wild statements up, and you won’t be surprised at this point to see they have absolutely nothing to do with blood clots, cancer, or any of those other diseases, but instead are references to studies done on dental health. Okay, well, let’s not spit the baby out with the bathwater; let’s see what they say.

The studies started out like this: add oil pulling to some people’s regular oral hygiene regimens, and stand back and watch gingivitis get better, week after week, as the amount of plaque gets less and less. Conclusion: “Oil pulling [has] dental benefits.” This was with sunflower oil; same thing with coconut oil. Gingivitis; gum inflammation started to get better within a week, as the dental plaque went down. Looks pretty good, right? So, same conclusion: “Oil pulling…could be an effective [addition to one’s oral hygiene habits].”

Okay, so what’s wrong with these studies? Right, “no control group.” But, why am I always going on and on about needing control groups? I mean, didn’t they each act as their own control? Look, we know where they were at baseline, and then look at that: week after week, bam, bam, bam, bam, down to less than half the plaque, half the gingivitis. What? Are we supposed to imagine it’s all just one big coincidence that they all just happened to start getting better right after they started the coconut oil? Come on!

Let me tell you about the Hawthorne effect. “Patients frequently appear to improve merely from the effects of being placed in a clinical trial.” Why? “[B]ecause patients may improve oral hygiene…as a result of the special attention [or] frequent examinations” they get. That’s the Hawthorne effect, and why it’s so important to do controlled trials.

Think about it. You know how you may brush really good the morning of your dentist appointment? Well, imagine knowing that you’re going to be going back to the dentist for an exam every single week to see how your plaque and gingivitis is going? I mean, don’t you think you’d brush a little extra well, floss a few more times that month? And, that alone could get you these kinds of results. So, the only way to tell if the oil pulling had anything to do with it is to have a control group that didn’t do the oil pulling, but also knew they would be getting these weekly checkups. But, there was never any compilation of controlled studies—until now, which we’ll cover next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Icons created by Vladimir Belochkin, Alessandro Suraci, Daniel Polshin, Hopkins and M. Turan Ercan from The Noun Project.

Image credit: Andreas Levers. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

This is the first in a four-part series on oil pulling. Stay tuned for:

People kept asking me about oil pulling, and so I decided to delve into it. What other health topics, nutrition-related or not, do you want me to take on?

Why did I say not to swallow coconut oil? See:

What can one do for cancer? Check out my overview video How Not to Die from Cancer.

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

104 responses to “Does Oil Pulling Help With Cancer?

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  1. Finally! I was hoping that the good doctor would get to this oil pulling stuff at some stage.

    Looking forward to your next video revealing if there’s really something to it.




    5
  2. To be fair, the lack of controls is also one of the reasons cited by mainstream physicians and nutritionists for not taking Esselstyn’s results more seriously.




    8
    1. The best we have is Ornish’s longer-term followup on the Lifestyle Heart Trial, where the control group had 2.47 times the risk of cardiac events compared to the intervention group. Esselstyn’s and similar trials, which only compare compliant and non-compliant patients, are rarely cited but I think they do offer a sense of what sort of risk reduction is possible.




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      1. Yes, thanks Darryl.

        However, they often discount Ornish’s results also because the intervention was multifactorial – diet, stress reduction and other factors. Consequently, it is impossible to say how much of the benefit found was due to diet alone.

        This is why – I think – most mainstream physicians and nutritionists are still locked into the Mediterranean diet is best mindset. There is a lot of quality evidence available. Plus, you have an excuse on that diet to eat (small amounts of) meat, fish, dairy and eggs. I also think that most people who try to eat this diet include many more animal foods than the classic Mediterranean diet(s) did. But I have no evidence to hand for these beliefs.




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    2. Yes, I have seen that criticism of Dr Esselstyn’s work too. The primary distinction between the two is that Esselstyn’s patients are not going to be able to do much to improve, apart from what his program already prescribes, healthy eating and exercise. They can’t “brush and floss” more to improve the results. They are told to do everything they can, so far as we currently know, to improve their health. About all one can assume is that there may be a placebo effect.




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      1. Another thing I think helps with dental health is chewing ubiquinol gel caps…I use (2) 50 mg per day. Some research shows benefits from applying COQ10 and/or ubiquinol to gums. Since I already take 100 mg ubiquinol per day…I chew them to get any gum benefits.




        0
    1. To be honest, I have always considered oil pulling to be in the same league as urine therapy.

      So perhaps oil pulling should also be compared to gargling and swooshing urine for dental health.
      http://www.healingteethnaturally.com/urine-therapy-teeth-gum-problems.html

      Apparently this practice has a very long history. It was used in Ancient Rome as a tooth whitener for one thing
      https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/from-gunpowder-to-teeth-whitener-the-science-behind-historic-uses-of-urine-442390/

      It sounds even less appealing than oil pulling, IMHO. Green tea mouthwashes are much more to my taste.




      0
  3. I really appreciate the way Dr Greger checks out all the sources of information when reporting the results of various articles and studies. It’s a good reminder to all of us to do the same. There is so much biased info in the mass media these days. Everyone seems to have an agenda and are paid by someone to slant their reporting. This is such a refreshing website. We can’t thank Dr Greger and his staff of volunteers enough.




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  4. My comment is not related to pulling. I downloaded the 12 daily App. It is without a doubt the best app I have seen. EXTREMELY useful. God bless the people who have done it and God bless Dr. Greger!




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  5. I’m so glad Dr. G is covering this subject. I have a friend who does oil pulling & swears by it. Would be nice to see what the science says.

    And, BTW, love the unicorn to illustrate the fairy tale studies!




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    1. WHEN there are well done double blind studies that “prove” or “disprove” it is good. But good research is sparse and sometimes hard to find. I wouldn’t totally dismiss something because no one has ponied up the funds to do a study.

      There ARE legit clinical studies…which is probably where most “discoveries” start anyway. By this I mean a practitioner finds something that is effective for a series of patients…it’s new enough that no DB studies have been contemplated let alone been done.

      You may THINK you’ve killed the white whale…but be sure and look behind you……

      After all…what about Galileo?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_Galilei

      The church didn’t bother to sponsor double blind studies did it? The “church of established medicine” won’t bother either?




      0
    2. Nancy. The first 3 times I heard of oil pulling, I thought it must be the biggest bunch of hocus pocus quackery.
      2 years ago, I was in an accident breaking my upper jaw in two places and I had a laceration of my nose so deep it went through the nasal cavity. My jaw was wired up and the following months had 4 root canals of my front teeth. I was put on chlorhexadine. My gums were extremely inflamed. I had a knot on my gums between my front teeth, just under my nose. My gums just hurt all the time. chlorhexadine Turned my teeth blueish-black like in a zombie movie. Omg is was so horrible I think I literally cried a couple of times after looking at them. In talking with the dentist, he said he could clean them after treatment. But that was weeks away. I wouldn’t even go out in public for a couple weeks because of this.
      Long story is after cleaning the dentist wanted me to continue on the chlorhexadine. I started looking for alternative treatments. I remembered my wife talking about oil pulling. So I researched it and tried it. I found two things to happen by the second time about 3 days apart. One, was my teeth were whiter, even with using tumeric powder and coconut oil, and felt dramatically less inflamed. By the third use the coffee stains had been reduced and my gums felt better. The knot between my teeth became less noticeable to my toungue. Nope that’s not scientific, but it’s certainly worth looking into. Oh ya a 3rd thing happened. It made my teeth feel smoother too. But that’s not really measurable and could have been due to feeling better about how they looked.




      2
  6. Hey guys, I didn’t finish watching the video yet, I had to ask this right away as my world was shattered only within the first few seconds! I was lead to believe (thank you internet!) that coconut oil had a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil. I avoid cooking with oil but sometimes when I bake I do use a little and so I’ve been using coconut oil believing it was bette in that regard. I never exceed 350 for baking btw. So is this the chart I should be paying attention to? Has olive oil been the better choice all along?
    Please no lectures about oil, I will use it on occasion in baking, but if someone has alternative methods to omit the oil or butter (which I replace with oil or miyokos creamery vegan butter as it’s palm oil free among other things) most recipes call for, those tips are more than welcome!

    Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to answer!




    4
      1. On a recent Facebook live Q and A, Dr. Greger talked about ghee being unhealthy because the cooking process to make ghee, which he said is boiling butter, oxidizes the dairy and makes it even more unhealthy for your body when you eat it. Of course, we already know it is unhealthy just being a dairy product.




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        1. I considered avocado but the video on avocados here has me a bit paranoid, however I still eat avacados on occasion and don’t think the study was all that relevant as it was a petri dish study. I’m hoping more research is done on avacados to ease that paranoid part of my mind.




          2
      2. @scd: ghee is made by boiling butter. This oxidises the naturally occurring cholesterol. This is terrible for ones health.

        Dr Greger has a video coming soon about ghee, so stay tuned.




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      1. Two of my favorite sites for “no added fats” followers: fatfreevegan.com and veganricha.com
        I have found both to be sources of some really great recipes.




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      2. Thanks Bonnie! I will definitely check that out :) Yeah I’ve recently discovered the magic of parchment, amazing stuff and I also like that it can replace using aluminum foil.




        3
        1. For lining baking sheets & shallow baking pans, we’re big fans of the silicone mats. Food never sticks, clean-up is easy (can throw them in the dishwasher if you want), and they’re reusable. (We also really like our silicone muffin cups, loaf pans, & 8×8″ baking pan).‍ ❤️




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          1. I have always been leery of cooking with silicone. Is it not similar to plastics? I worry about the chemicals leaching into my food when heated. I wonder if any studies have been done on this topic?




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    1. I don’t know what you bake, or how often, but a quick Google search will offer suggestions for oil replacement in baked goods. The only one I recall now is apple sauce, which likely wouldn’t work for pastries, I would think. I make only bake bread and have not tried the applesauce sub, but you have given me inspiration to research and try it.




      3
      1. You don’t need oil in bread. I’ve been making whole grain bread for years now without adding any oil or fat. Just leave out the oil. Why do bread recipes call for added fat? I can only guess that people like the taste of fat. But it’s entirely unnecessary.




        12
    2. I had read somewhere in the past that coconut oil is indeed not recommended for cooking as it has a low smoke point. Was surprised when a few commented here that it was just the opposite.

      For any oil cooking I use peanut oil as it is recommended for those extreme cooks, I mean cookers, who oil fry whole turkeys.

      Coconut oil has a place on my cabinet as a hand coating when cutting onions or garlic that I don’t want to stay on my skin. I also use it to coat my hands and forearms when handling the chicken parts I cook for my cats to eat.

      I guess the coconut oil is my soap, as I don’t use soap and am confident the coconut oil acts as an anti-bacterial.

      As for using an oil for cooking, my personal preference is MCT oil (but I see in your comment you are opposed to using palm oil, an ingredient sometimes found in MCT oil.) Whenever I make up a batch of bakers chocolate melted and poured in a flat pan and scored with a pizza wheel after refrigerating to solidify, I have in the past used MCT oil and olive oil in the bitter chocolate.

      Now I mostly use MCT + Walnut oil as my oil additive. But if I were thinking of just the smoke point, I would go with the peanut oil.




      3
      1. Hi Lonie- I’m Dr Anderson, a cardiologist and volunteer with Dr Greger. Here is a helpful video on data about MCT oil. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/what-about-coconuts-coconut-milk-and-coconut-oil-mcts/

        Given the body of evidence regarding oil consumption and chronic illness, we advise eating a whole food, plant based diet with no added oil. Added dietary oil: worsens artery function, raises LDL cholesterol, raises weight, produces cancer-causing substances when frying, raises inflammatory markers. There is no health benefit to including oil in food, and many adverse health effects.

        The one exception would be considering a algae-derived omega 3 supplement, which may improve cognitive function compared to not taking in omega 3. We rec algae-derived omega 3s as fish oil can be contaminated with PCBs, mercury, dioxin, and other neurotoxic substances.

        Here’s another helpful video on the dangers of oil/fried foods: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/cancer-risk-from-french-fries/

        Best!




        0
        1. Hello Dr Anderson,

          I appreciate your response but it has put me in the position of defending my choices. A thousand pardons if I come across as adversarial… not my frame of mind, rather just a statement of my thinking.

          And my thinking is that you have no way of knowing that for me, the oil is the raw material for my intended outcome of creating ketones for fuel.
          Every doctor I’ve ever had has frenetically advised against this deviant behaviour. ‘-)

          I do understand and agree with you, presumably, that eating oil for the purpose of taste or fulfilling a recipe is possibly a bad thing? But in my estimation consuming fats (oil) for the purpose of providing the liver the means to create ketone bodies is a healthier way to fuel the body.

          Also, I believe there are oils whose benefits outweigh any suggested harms… i.e., walnut oil as a way to suppress IGF-1, krill oil to provide omega 3s, to name a few.

          And possibly most important of all is taking supplements (white willow bark, ashwagandha, astaxanthin and a host of others) to hold down inflammation.

          I’m not sure that combatting inflammation isn’t THE most important health regimen we can undertake.




          1
          1. Lonie, I agree with you. Vegans can get downright irritating and holier than thou and know it alls a lot of the time. When they are not being these negative things, they actually have some useful information. Greeks eat a lot of olive oil, and I believe they have one of the longest lifespans:)




            1
            1. Scd, vegans or plant based dieters? Both separate things but you shouldn’t generalize anyone.
              I am a vegan who also appreciates the immense health benefits that go along with a plant based diet, but personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with oil in moderation because as much as I like being as healthy as I can be, I want to enjoy life even more than that and as long as I’m not harming anyone to do so, that’s what I’ll do. Incidentally, I’m in extremely good health which was not always the case prior to going vegan and then soon after, adopting a WFPB diet.
              I have actually gotten a tad annoyed in the past when I’ve basically been yelled at for not thinking oil (in moderation) is horrible for us. I could understand that kind of response if I were reccomendimg people purposefully add oil to their diet, but it was nothing like that.

              The moral of my story is to just take a person for who they are individually and not judge entire groups of people over individual experiences.




              2
        2. “There is no benefit to adding oil to food” Well that’s not entirely true. On this website it’s been stated how oil based salad dressings help with absorption of antioxidants, how ingestion of hemp oil has been shown to improve a skin disorder (I can’t with certainty remember the one mentioned), and it’s noted somewhere here that women who consume olive oil show benefits to the quality of their skin (green tea and apples were also on that list).
          Those are literally mentioned benefits.
          However whole food is best and so eating hemp seeds is much better than consuming the oil, etc. So I’m not arguing that the whole food is ideal nor am I arguing that oil is necessary, of course it’s not. I just think that statement was a little too broad is all.

          I try to omit oil as much as possible while still enjoying myself and I no longer cook with it. But for me personally, I would not enjoy a diet void of any added salt ever or any oil used ever. So I just make sure to use very little when I do and enjoy anything good that comes along with the small amounts I consume on occasion and eat mostly whole foods. Not making suggestions to anyone, just sharing my personal preference.




          2
    3. i believe you can use any oil you like in baking since the internal temps of baked goods are not very high .it’s because of the liquid content of the baked item , it really never goes higher than the boiling point of water , bread never really goes higher than internal 190F i believe .
      for frying a mix of refined canola and safflower oil is most likely the healthiest , however the highest smoke point is avocado at 520




      3
    4. If you want to use oil, this piece by Harvard might help.
      https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/04/13/ask-the-expert-concerns-about-canola-oil/

      However,I understand that a lot of imported and/or supermarket extra virgin olive oils are in fact ordinary olive oil with a fancy label and high price. Try to buy from reputable suppliers.
      .https://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2016/09/30/its-extra-virgin-olive-oil-day-is-your-evoo-real-or-fake/#e73f3982a64b




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      1. Wow, thanks for the awesome responses guys! Love that I can come here and get informed information and sources. It’s hard sifting through all the opinion-based blogs on the internet.
        I learned a lot and will look through the links!




        7
      1. and cast iron :)

        I too use cast iron, but just for scrambling eggs or cooking oatmeal for cat food. The cast iron allows me to use one of those metal pie serving spatulas to scrape up the eggs.

        When cooking for myself I use a ceramic lined iron vessel and a wooden spoon to stir the contents.

        The reason I use all cast iron pots and pans is because they are magnetic and can be used on my induction hot plates.




        1
        1. I find that it’s easy enough to use water in place of oil in my stainless steal pans, so long as I monitor and add water as needed, nothing sticks for the most part. If something does stick it comes off pretty easy as long as I rinse it right away.




          1
          1. Yeah, stainless steel works too. I’ve got a few of those but don’t use them ordinarily when the ceramic lined ones are available. But for anything that sticks, I like to use the iron skillet. I can get hard with a steel wool type of scouring pad and may just need to re season the skillet if I scrub off some of the protection.

            One thing that has me a little leery of stainless steel is a warning I read some years ago about the dangers from cooking in stainless steel from either China or India. Something about the composition of the metal used.
            I’m sure it has been corrected by now, but still, it’s not an inconvenience to avoid using them.




            1
            1. I try to avoid as much as possible from China in general at this point. Pretty sure the ones I have are U.S made and I haven’t had any issues (I’ve gotten my blood checked for heavy metals). When I can afford it though, I’ll get ceramic cookware, I read that Xtreme Cookware (hope I’m getting their name right) is really pure and safe so I’d love stuff from them. Right now it’s an affordability thing.




              0
  7. I have no experience with oil pulling. But, being from south Asia, I’ve been eating coconut oil all my life. I’m 59, still alive, underweight by a wide margin, and doing well.




    7
    1. Glad to hear you’re well, George, but a sample of 1 is known as an anecdote. Scientifically, it proves nothing. We’ve all heard of people living to 100 while smoking, drinking,etc. Being a sample of 1, that doesn’t prove that etc. is good for you.




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      1. PJK: I completely agree with you. My goal was not to prove anything, but just to share my experience. Just as one person’s experience doesn’t apply to everybody, a million persons’ experiences don’t apply to everybody.




        5
        1. Right you are. There are usually biochemical differences in people and factors that they don’t account for statistically. But the overall stats…if legit…are probably the best we have?




          3
  8. On the topic of oils dr. michael greger’s talks, e.g. this video [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ibPqDPEF4U ] at minute 22:15-24:45 & 28:45-29:45, say that mono-unsaturated vegetable oils like canola and olive oil are okay and even good for you to have vs the other vegetable oil options and animal fat derived oils. Conversely in dr. john mcdougall talks, who is also a proponent of plant based nutrition and no-animal based products, says that all vegetable oils are bad for you, as in they contribute to causing cancer, and even worse in this video [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU16LHTXjrA ] at minute 19:45-20:20 says they are worse than animal fats for you in that regard. Any insights on rationalizing these conflicting statements by two major evidence based proponents of plant based nutrition?




    4
    1. Dr. Greger is an advocate of consuming whole (plant) foods. If you have or can get your hands on his book, “How Not to Die,” you can read what he says about oils on pages 298-299. He yellow-lights olive oil (yellow light = “its use should be curtailed“), citing its adverse effects on arterial function, and recommends eating olives instead. He says, “I think of oil as the table sugar of the fat kingdom,” and also, “Cooking without oil is surprisingly easy.” (I agree, we’ve been doing it for 9+ years). So while “no added fats” is a lynchpin of Dr. McDougall’s starch-based diet, I think it’s accurate to say that he and Dr. Greger both agree we need to get our (very small amount of necessary) fats from whole foods, and not from processed, nutritionally inferior, basically unhealthy oils. Hope that helps!




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      1. Hi @laloofah thanks for the detailed response that helps. I don’t cook with oils, or cook at all for that matter as I try to stick with the mostly raw whole plant based nutrition plan. Every night I dump tablespoon or so of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on my salad perhaps more out of habit than taste necessity. Sounds like I should try and drop at least the olive oil if not the balsamic vinegar as well just like I stopped using shaker sea salt on food after listening to a bunch of dr. greger’s videos on how we get enough salt from plant based nutrition.




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        1. My pleasure, glad you found it helpful. I was an olive oil fiend (my Italian heritage was a big part of it), but was convinced by my experience attending Dr. McDougall’s Live-In program and my own health experience there and afterward to leave it behind. I’m a fan of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a spritz from my spray bottle of reduced sodium tamari on my salads now. Sounds like you’re doing great! I find it’s always nice to learn new things & make tweaks accordingly. Keeps us on our toes and helps keep our culinary experiences varied!☺️




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        2. Myusrn, adding fat to salads is actually beneficial in that it helps you absorb some of the nutrients and antioxidants better. A little bit of extra virgin olive oil will do the trick (I’d use more like a teaspoon or half a tsp) but it can also be accomplished with the addition of nuts and/or seeds in or with your salad. Just a few or couple (can’t quite remember) walnuts is enough to get the job done.
          One of my favorite things to do is grind nuts (cashews) and/or seeds (I favor sunflower, pumpkin and hemp and use a coffee grinder) and mix that in your salad with the vinegar… makes this amazing creamy dressing! No oil needed.




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          1. Hi @S thanks for the additional insights on this matter. My evening salad always has a handful or so of cashews or walnuts and an avocado so it would seem the oils from those would cover what the goal of a small amount of extra virgin olive oil would. Today I bought a can of whole pitted olives so going to experiment with just throwing handful of them on salad in lieu of extra virgin olive oil which I might expect misses out on the benefits of the unprocessed whole olive option.




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        3. You could just eat actual olives with your salad – they contain plenty of fat plus lots of other additional benefits not found in olive oil.

          Or try a handful of nuts for variety – again they contain lots of fat. Or add some tempeh to the salad – it is also relatively high in fat.




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      2. Also if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight — that’s most of us! — then it’s good to know that oil is the most calorie-dense food on earth, at something like 4,000 calories per pound. By comparison, fruit and veggies are generally under 200/lb.




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        1. Hi @PJK that’s a good point to keep in mind and further incentive for cutting oils of any type from nutrition plan in lieu of consuming their raw source instead, e.g. using whole olives on evening salad instead of olive oil. I like to bounce around between the set of upsides I attribute with sticking to a mostly raw whole plant based nutrition plan as a way to stay motivated, e.g. 1) humane treatment of other sentient beings, 2) reducing impact on environment associated with food production, 3) improving your overall health including keeping body mass index [bmi] in check, 3) improving your statistical chance of not getting a chronic disease 4) simplicity & cost savings if you choose to eat just what you need to live and not living to eat. I’m finding the latter is something I’ve become more acutely aware of while also doing 16/8 intermittent fasting. Getting all your calories in a short window of time every day has made it clearer that we need to have work, hobbies, etc. that fill out our days with productivity and recreational activities in lieu of time one spends acquiring and eating food that isn’t required.




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      3. Mary McDougall came up with a fat substitute for baking which I use: Into a 2-cup glass measure put 1 cup pitted prunes. Add water to the 2 cup line. Purée in food processor. Freeze in ice cube tray. I can’t tell you exactly how much to use but I put 2 T. In a recipe for muffins or corn bread. I use it in my buckwheat pancakes. I noticed the difference. Using wine, water, veggie broth or vinegar has solved my problem in sautéing food. Keeping lots of oil-free salad dressing recipes at hand helps keep me away from oil on salads. In spite of all this effort, I occasionally succumb. Remembering Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s remarks in his book about the 95% rule, I give myself the 5% without guilt.




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  9. Thank you for posting this…I have often wondered is this something I should do…I know I hated it when I tried it, and it didn’t make sense to me. I am looking forward to the next video…




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    1. Dr. Michael Greger says in his video above that there is no good control group / double blind study associated with oil pumping as having curing disease or its affect on oral hygiene. Anything that does improve oral hygiene could arguable setup a correlation != causation result as it pertains to curing disease elsewhere in body.

      Rather than swooshing around an unpleasant oil in your mouth just spring for a waterpick water flosser [ https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFQQ0VU ]. I’d be willing to bet that if they ever did control group studies on use of this device over pita string flossing, or oil pumping, we’d find that this solution is king for keeping plaque buildup out of your mouth especially in areas you just at not going to reach with string flush or create enough fluid pressure to lift swishing oil around in your mouth.




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      1. You can buy a water flosser that screws into your tap (faucet?) and uses water pressure not elecricity to operate. It is also very cheap to purchase (but Waterpik is more portable). I found mine on ebay.




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          1. Thanks, yes, that is the same one I have. Same price as 5 years ago too. They work very well.

            The only problem is that if you accidentally turn on the hot water, it will damage the hose which is only spec’d to contain cold water. I
            had to buy a new one after doing that. Other than that, they are simple, reliable and effective. Not to mention “greener” and much cheaper than Waterpik.




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    1. Thanks for your great question. Dr. Greger does not recommend any oil. Always the whole, least processed form of food, which would be the flaxseeds- you wan them ground as whole flax seeds go right through you and are not absorbed. Dr. Greger recommends everyone get at least one tablespoon of ground flaxseed per day. It’s part of his daily dozen:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

      NurseKelly
      NF moderator




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  10. Not certain if this is more important as a commentary on oil pulling or on the proper use of the scientific method in clinical research. Superbly done!




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  11. I did some testing with oil pulling a couple years back, and continue the practice every week or two. I really liked the results early on, the results were more noticeable. The first week of pulling oil, felt a bit like cleaning a cluttered room that had not been deeply cleaned in years. So overall a clean feeling in the mouth and I noticed a big improvement in being able to breath out of my nose. Poor sinuses have severely limited nose breathing since childhood.

    Based on personal experience, I’d give it a thumbs up… it will be interesting to see part II.




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  12. I always had excessive plaque build-up and touches of gingivitis – regularly getting dental cleanings 3-4 times a year and I picked off plaque between cleanings. When I changed my diet to plant based my dental plaque literally disappeared. From needing a cleaning in September – by mid-October there was no plaque left on my teeth. When I finally went back to the Dentist (5 years later) he was stunned. Saw no sign of plaque and healthy gums…he called everyone in to the office to stare at my teeth. I’m wondering if others had this benefit from dietary change.




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    1. That’s awesome Jackie! I had a huge improvement in oral health after going WFPB vegan. One of the coolest things was that I had a cavity from before going vegan and WFPB that I couldn’t get to because of lack of insurance at the time. I was always meant to go back in and was told to “keep an eye on it” in the meantime. A few years later I was able to go in, I assumed I needed it taken care of but according to dental x-rays, the cavity was completely gone.
      I also notice how much more fresh my mouth feels all the time, even in the morning. It looks healthier imo and they never get sensitive to cold anymore.




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  13. Me too Alex! Finally! I’ve been trying to find this information for ages. Like Dr. G. found…crickets…untiiiiil now! Lol! You make my day Dr. Greger :)




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  14. Well, an anecdote. My brother came to visit and told me he had constant “geographic tongue”. As I recall sores move around…swollen taste buds? I had him swish and spit coconut oil, it got better, and he bought some when he got home. He’s not one to believe in the remedies I try.




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    1. I can’t stand the taste of coconut oil (especially since I use it on my hair sometimes) so I oil pull with olive oil, and it does leave your teeth feeling cleaner in the morning and something is definitely working because there is a difference in your breath when you don’t oil pull as opposed to when you do.




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      1. I’m thinking that oil pulling works some of its (purported) magic by killing or at least removing, germs. I would think using the coconut oil would therefore work the best since part of its makeup is of lauric acid, and lauric acid, IIRC, is one of the medium chain fatty acids within coconut oil that kills germs.

        Incidentally, from some of what I’ve read there are some MCT oils that have had the C-12 lauric acid removed and if so, they are not as germicidal.




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  15. Dr. Greger, thank you for your commitment to being evidence based and being open minded to search for these the facts when these remedies are put to the test. There is way too much believing in unsubstantiated assertions and “alternative facts” in our society. The return to truth and proof is refreshing.




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  16. For the love of plants! Why do educated scientists go through the trouble of creating studies and not make them thorough to begin with? Seems like a waste of time and resources.
    Thanks for the explanation on why the control group is so important! You really need to think from all angles when conducting studies. Fascinating stuff. I’m glad you’re making that knowledge available to the general public. It’s time we as a whole, start thinking more.




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  17. The Hawthorne effect is only one of the many systematic errors in nearly every study. Identifying and real calculating the systematic errors makes more than 90% of the studies in the food/pharma “science” worthless. The claimed evidence is nothing more than statistical evidence under specific conditions.




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  18. according to USA today there was a huge 15 ton fat blob as big as a city bus in the city sewers , that they had to remove , maybe oil swishing is popular in England ?




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  19. I will quickly share one more anecdote – a 1-person story about my personal experience with oils. I’ve been a plant based eater for 4 years. At the 2.5 year point, I heard Dr. Esselstyn speak about NO OIL… which he declares quite forcefully. The ONLY change I made to my food lifestyle in the weeks and months after his presentation was to eliminate the plant based oils in my life (olive, coconut). I had blood work done the day of his presentation and 11 days later (timing of personal appointments and corporate physicals was a coincidence) and my total cholesterol fell from 174 to 128 in just 11 days. WOW!!!




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    1. Kelly, thanks for sharing your experience. I love it when the science coincides with personal experiences. And I would say that yours is not the result of a placebo effect.




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  20. I will be happily amazed if oil pulling pulls anything. What I would really like to know is about iodine. Face it, seafood is polluted. How could it not be with thousands of tons of toxins dumped in THE ocean every day. So why would sea vegetables fair any better? I have read that toxins have been detected in even the most remote and frigid sea vegetables. So what about iodine supplements? I have friends who use Loguls solution in huge amounts (20 drops of 2% and more daily). Personally I hesitate to use such amounts, despite the reported beneficial effects, because I suspect it kills of the good as well as the bad gut bacteria. I have read proponent claims that it is an adaptagen and can distinguish between beneficial and harmful gut microbes. This sound like nonsense to me. But then, how in the world can one supplement with enough iodine to flush the bromide and other toxins: sublingual? trans-dermal? How?




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    1. JacFlasche, As on of the volunteer Moderators on this site, I agree with you regarding the caution of using too much iodine. If you haven’t view these NutritionFactsvideos: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/avoiding-iodine-deficiency-2/

      And https://nutritionfacts.org/video/too-much-iodine-can-be-as-bad-as-too-little// for some insights on iodine. Also remember that our bodies do a good job of flushing toxins from our body through our liver and kidneys so do rule out use of a WFPB diet to help flush out those toxins too. Best of health to you.




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  21. I oil pull with coconut oil. It has stopped the sensitivity to my teeth to hot and cold. It also has dramatically reduced the amount of dental cleaning needed by a hygenist. She was amazed when I told her what I was doing. There is no doubt a benefit to dental health.




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  22. Hello! I was surprised to hear that coconut oil is not healthy to consume. So, I watched all previous videos about the topic.
    However, I am a bit confused. What is then the best oil to cook with?
    I have a baby and I would like to prepare his meals as healthiest as possible.
    Are you going to launch a video regarding this topic?
    Thank you!




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    1. Hi Elena – It is quite possible to water steam/saute fruits and vegetables then blend with breastmilk for added fats as opposed to use of oils (which are not necessary). If you do choose to cook with oil, cold-pressed avocado and olive oils are best due to their higher smoke points.




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  23. First, thank you for your amazing information and videos every week you are making such a difference to my families health and I’m sure many many others. I have a question regarding canned coconut cream if you say you should not eat coconut oil but where does that leave the canned coconut cream? I have searched your site and couldn’t find an answer. Have a great day. Many Thanks in advance.




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