Drugs & the Demise of the Rice Diet

Drugs & the Demise of the Rice Diet
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What is the contemporary relevance of Dr. Kempner’s rice and fruit protocol for the reversal of chronic disease?

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During his career at Duke, Dr. Kempner treated more than 18,000 patients with his rice diet, which was originally designed as a treatment for kidney failure and out-of-control high blood pressure at a time when those diagnoses were like a death sentence. Patients who at that time would have died in all other hospitals had a reasonable chance of survival if they came under Kempner's care.

The results were so dramatic that many experienced physicians suspected him of falsifying data, because he was reversing terminal diseases with rice and fruit–diseases understood to be incurable by the best of modern medicine at the time. Intensive investigations into his clinic vindicated his work, which other researchers were then able to replicate.

Kempner was criticized for his lack of controls, meaning that when patients came to him, he didn’t randomly allocate half to his rice treatment and put the other half on conventional therapy to see which group did better. Kempner argued that the patients each acted as their own controls. For example, here’s a patient before the rice diet. The medical profession threw everything they had at him, and his blood pressure was still as high as 220 over 160, whereas normal is considered more like around 120 over 80, which is where the rice diet took him. Had he not been given the rice diet, it’s true his pressure might have been even lower: zero over zero, because he’d likely be dead. The “control group” in Kempner’s day had a survival expectancy estimated at six months. To randomize patients to conventional care would be to randomize them to their deaths.

One can compare those who stuck to the diet, though, to those who didn’t. Here’s a chart showing the survival of the 70 sickest of the sick who showed up in their clinic. Of those who started the rice diet but then stopped it within a year, five lived and 19 ended up dead. For those who made it a year but then gave up the diet, instead of a 80% chance of dying, they had more like 50/50, a flip of the coin. But of those who stuck with the program, 90% lived to tell the tale.

Beginning in the late 1950s, drugs became available that effectively reduced blood pressure and hypertension, leading to a decreased demand for the rice diet. What conclusions can we draw from this all but forgotten therapy for hypertension? Not only was it the first effective therapy for high blood pressure; it may be equal to or more effective than our current multi-drug treatments.

This causes one to speculate on the current practice of placing patients on one drug, then another, and perhaps a third, until the blood pressure is controlled, with lip service advocacy of a moderate reduction in dietary sodium, fat, and protein intake, while the impressive effectiveness of the rice–fruit diet, which is able to quickly stop the leakage from our arteries, and lower increased intracranial pressure, reduce heart size, reverse the EKG changes, reverse heart failure, reduce weight, and markedly improve diabetes is ignored!

So should we return to the Kempner protocol of starting with the most effective therapy, saving drugs for patients who fail to respond, or who are unable or unwilling to restrict their diet? Look, today many people follow a vegetarian diet as a choice, which is similar to what Kempner was often able to transition people to. After their high blood pressure was cured by the rice diet, patients were often able to gradually transition to a less strenuous dietary regime without added medications and with no return of the elevated blood pressure.

So if the Kempner sequence of a strictest of strict plant-based diets to a more sane plant-based type diet offers the quickest and best approach to effective therapy, why isn’t it still in greater use? The powerful role of the pharmaceutical industry in steering medical care away from dietary treatment to medications should be noted. Who profits from dietary treatment? Who provides the support for investigation, and the funds for clinical trials? There is more to overcome than just the patients' reluctance to change their diet.

What Kempner wrote to a patient in 1954 is as true then as it is now 60 years later: "drugs can be very useful if properly employed and used in conjunction with intensive dietary treatment." However, high blood pressure with all its possible complications of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and blindness, "is still treated very casually, a striking contrast to the attitude towards cancer." Since patients, physicians, and the chemical industry prefer the taking, prescribing, and selling of drugs to a dietary treatment inconvenient to patient and physician, and of no benefit to the pharmaceutical industry, the mortality figures for these diseases still remain rather appalling. Despite hundreds of drugs on the market now, high blood pressure remains the #1 cause of death and disability in the world, killing off nine million people a year, and diet treats the underlying cause. As Dr. Kempner explained to a patient, "If you should find a heap of manure on your living room floor, I do not recommend that you go buy some Air-Wick and perfume. I recommend that you get a bucket and shovel and a strong scrubbing brush. Then, when your living room floor is clean again," then fine, feel free to freshen things up once the underlying cause has been removed.

As the great physician Maimonides said about 800 years ago, any illness that can be treated by diet alone should be treated by no other means.

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 Chris Potter via Flickr.

During his career at Duke, Dr. Kempner treated more than 18,000 patients with his rice diet, which was originally designed as a treatment for kidney failure and out-of-control high blood pressure at a time when those diagnoses were like a death sentence. Patients who at that time would have died in all other hospitals had a reasonable chance of survival if they came under Kempner's care.

The results were so dramatic that many experienced physicians suspected him of falsifying data, because he was reversing terminal diseases with rice and fruit–diseases understood to be incurable by the best of modern medicine at the time. Intensive investigations into his clinic vindicated his work, which other researchers were then able to replicate.

Kempner was criticized for his lack of controls, meaning that when patients came to him, he didn’t randomly allocate half to his rice treatment and put the other half on conventional therapy to see which group did better. Kempner argued that the patients each acted as their own controls. For example, here’s a patient before the rice diet. The medical profession threw everything they had at him, and his blood pressure was still as high as 220 over 160, whereas normal is considered more like around 120 over 80, which is where the rice diet took him. Had he not been given the rice diet, it’s true his pressure might have been even lower: zero over zero, because he’d likely be dead. The “control group” in Kempner’s day had a survival expectancy estimated at six months. To randomize patients to conventional care would be to randomize them to their deaths.

One can compare those who stuck to the diet, though, to those who didn’t. Here’s a chart showing the survival of the 70 sickest of the sick who showed up in their clinic. Of those who started the rice diet but then stopped it within a year, five lived and 19 ended up dead. For those who made it a year but then gave up the diet, instead of a 80% chance of dying, they had more like 50/50, a flip of the coin. But of those who stuck with the program, 90% lived to tell the tale.

Beginning in the late 1950s, drugs became available that effectively reduced blood pressure and hypertension, leading to a decreased demand for the rice diet. What conclusions can we draw from this all but forgotten therapy for hypertension? Not only was it the first effective therapy for high blood pressure; it may be equal to or more effective than our current multi-drug treatments.

This causes one to speculate on the current practice of placing patients on one drug, then another, and perhaps a third, until the blood pressure is controlled, with lip service advocacy of a moderate reduction in dietary sodium, fat, and protein intake, while the impressive effectiveness of the rice–fruit diet, which is able to quickly stop the leakage from our arteries, and lower increased intracranial pressure, reduce heart size, reverse the EKG changes, reverse heart failure, reduce weight, and markedly improve diabetes is ignored!

So should we return to the Kempner protocol of starting with the most effective therapy, saving drugs for patients who fail to respond, or who are unable or unwilling to restrict their diet? Look, today many people follow a vegetarian diet as a choice, which is similar to what Kempner was often able to transition people to. After their high blood pressure was cured by the rice diet, patients were often able to gradually transition to a less strenuous dietary regime without added medications and with no return of the elevated blood pressure.

So if the Kempner sequence of a strictest of strict plant-based diets to a more sane plant-based type diet offers the quickest and best approach to effective therapy, why isn’t it still in greater use? The powerful role of the pharmaceutical industry in steering medical care away from dietary treatment to medications should be noted. Who profits from dietary treatment? Who provides the support for investigation, and the funds for clinical trials? There is more to overcome than just the patients' reluctance to change their diet.

What Kempner wrote to a patient in 1954 is as true then as it is now 60 years later: "drugs can be very useful if properly employed and used in conjunction with intensive dietary treatment." However, high blood pressure with all its possible complications of heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and blindness, "is still treated very casually, a striking contrast to the attitude towards cancer." Since patients, physicians, and the chemical industry prefer the taking, prescribing, and selling of drugs to a dietary treatment inconvenient to patient and physician, and of no benefit to the pharmaceutical industry, the mortality figures for these diseases still remain rather appalling. Despite hundreds of drugs on the market now, high blood pressure remains the #1 cause of death and disability in the world, killing off nine million people a year, and diet treats the underlying cause. As Dr. Kempner explained to a patient, "If you should find a heap of manure on your living room floor, I do not recommend that you go buy some Air-Wick and perfume. I recommend that you get a bucket and shovel and a strong scrubbing brush. Then, when your living room floor is clean again," then fine, feel free to freshen things up once the underlying cause has been removed.

As the great physician Maimonides said about 800 years ago, any illness that can be treated by diet alone should be treated by no other means.

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 Chris Potter via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

For background on this amazing story, see Kempner Rice Diet: Whipping Us Into Shape.

Kempner would be proud that there is now a whole field: Lifestyle Medicine: Treating the Causes of Disease

This reminds me of the role statin cholesterol-lowering drugs have played in seducing people into the magic bullet approach, but as with all magic it appears to mostly be misdirection:

So in this day and age What Diet Should Physicians Recommend?

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97 responses to “Drugs & the Demise of the Rice Diet

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  1. Bam!

    How ’bout them apples?

    And just for the record, I haven’t forgotten. Don’t ever stop your extraordinary work!




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    1. I am already on Dr. McDougall’s way of eating. But with COPD, and its attendant medications, I can’t get my blood pressure down. Should I try the rice diet?




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      1. Dr. Greger warns people here that Vegans will still need to supplement their diet with D3 vitamins. Have you considered having your blood levels of D3 checked? Some people with Asthma and other lung disorders have been much improved on D3 therapy. The RDA is rather minimalist and many people aren’t getting that. This site makes food recommendations for hypertension.

        beets
        hibiscus tea
        seaweed
        grapefruit
        beans
        brazil nuts
        whole grains
        vegan diet
        flax seed meal

        The rice diet was very helpful to people with high blood pressure. Coffee can really raise your blood pressure. Are you already a vegetarian? I don’t know that the rice diet offers too many more advantages and is a real austere program to get heart disease under control. It can lead to at least some deficiencies.




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        1. >> Dr. Greger warns people here that Vegans will still need to supplement their diet with D3 vitamins.

          That is not exactly what he said … right? He said if you do not get enough sun. What area of expertise are you speaking from MS?




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          1. Somewhere in the videos he mentions both B12 supplementation and vitamin D supplementation.

            Right? I am under the impression vitamin D production by sunlight is too variable to rely on.




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            1. Thank you. He mentions the need to supplement with these two elements in several places. Do you worship the nether beast?




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          2. In the winter, apparently the sun is not intense enough.

            I am a botanist and a librarian and agree with everything on this site except I find it hard to hear that white meat is so fattening and I am a big believer in orthomolecular medicine (the supplementation of the diet with vitamins, often in mega doses). Did you know that 60 million women have a phosphorous deficiency? Did you know that the chemical atoms Boron, Silicon, and Phosphorus might have more to do with Osteoporosis than Calcium? Did you know that 60 percent of the people who have dementia might have an Iron deficiency and that this may lead to Alzheimer’s? Wouldn’t you try taking some non-organic (mined) Iron for Alzheimer’s or dementia? Dr. Greger has a video about a drug company that tried to make a drug to raise HDL. There is already a vitamin like that! Niacin. One to three grams a day for improvement of blood lipids, all three. It can cause nausea and takes some getting use to because of the flush, but it can really add to longevity based on any length of use. I am extremely interested in long life and there is a magazine that I would like to read. http://www.lifeextension.com. I read Jeff Bowles’ book on vitamin D3 and have begun taking 25,000 I.U.s a day, sort of as he describes. It’s a very interesting read and discusses how in the 1920s there were many fewer people in hospitals when D3 was discovered and people went crazy over. After they started adding Niacin to milled products many people left the hospitals as well in the 1900s. The first element used to treat people, Iodine, was used as a drug by a culture of people in France. Iodine deficiency is probably creeping back in the form of chronic pain and pain killer abuse. I secretly think tendonitis and some chronic back pain is goiters. I have seen deficiencies in an botany experiment where we grew hydroponic plants. It is easy to see that plants need a full complement of atoms to grow well. It is not so easy to see that humans need clean new elements daily as well.




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        2. I do drink coffee but I gave it up for tea (per Dr. Greger) and it didn’t matter. Is two weeks not long enough to see a difference? Yes I am vegan.




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          1. Hello, pleased to meet you. My name is Matthew Smith. I am trained as a botanist (I have a master’s degree). I am very interested in taking part in these discussions and being active in the vegan community (you’ve convinced me to take up your cause, I am trying to be vegan) because I would like to be friends with people such as yourself as this is part of the recommendation of books like the Blue Zone solution, to be in a large social group of people like vegans who will live so much longer than average. Being active in this community will probably help me live longer.

            Two weeks should make a difference, Dr. Greger has said so in a video I can’t find. Stick with it.

            The Life Extension Magazine has some articles on blood pressure:

            http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2010/3/Reduce-Blood-Pressure-Naturally/Page-01

            http://www.lifeextension.com/protocols/heart-circulatory/high-blood-pressure/Page-01

            http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2012/3/olive-leaf-safely-modulates-blood-pressure/page-01

            http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2007/1/atd/Page-01

            If you ever need a drug they recommend:

            Telmisartan

            which you can read about here:

            http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2015/3/Best-Drug-To-Treat-Hypertension/Page-01

            I found this article life affirming.

            I am sure Dr. Greger would be surprised to here that you are a Vegan and have high blood pressure. Do you mind sharing your number?

            If you are looking for immediate fixes, you could consider someone you admire (maybe of the opposite gender). Now imagine them with tourettes. Try thinking the same things they are saying to your self. You could try making the things they say more obscene and thinking them outloud. Try visualizing the person. Does this make you feel less stressful? Does this put your blood pressure under control? Some solders and athletes use a similar technique to focus their chi. Some Zen monks can fake death. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet, but if we could learn it it would very much improve life span.

            If you can feel or hear your heartbeat you might have hyperthyrodism. I could hear and feel my heartbeat. I ate a teaspoon of tablesalt and now I can’t feel or hear my heartbeat. It’s really weird. I think some people here have done the same thing (knowing that they might have an Iodine deficiency), I am so proud of them. It is so scary not having a heartbeat at first. I suggest you watch your belly or your shirt because yes, it’s still there.

            Hearing your heart beat is hyperthyrodism and is an Iodine deficiency. Good luck with what you with this information.

            One half teaspoon of table salt a day is not fatal.

            Good luck,

            Matthew




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          2. If your blood pressure is too high, you could turn to garlic and foods rich in sulfur like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnips, bok choy and kohlrabi.

            http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=60

            Sulfur or foods rich in sulfur can help regulate blood pressure.

            There is a hormone that is a gas, nitrous oxide, laughing gas. Hydrogen Sulfide, H2S, while not a hormone quite yet, works very quickly in the mind to lower blood pressure and helps control blood vessel dilation.

            There is a supplement called MSM which is a very clean source of sulfur and can be good for you, unless you are allergic to sulfa drugs. MSM abounds in very fresh vegetables, but it quickly turns into a form less useable by the body. Very fresh vegetables like sulfur, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnips, bok choy, and kohlrabi could lower your blood pressure very quickly.




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      2. That’s a hard question to answer and I would have to know your personal medical history to try and discover the cause of your elevated BP. I would try to find a doctor that can take your questions and support you in your fight to lower your BP.

        That said, some patients have hormonal disorders such as hyperaldosteronism, hyperthyroidism or pheochromocytoma that elevate BP. Medications such as albuterol or decongestants elevate BP, Congental abnormalities such as hypoplastic kidneys or renal artery stenosis can cause elevated BP. Too much salt can elevate BP. Alcohol can elevate BP. Allergic reactions to medications can elevate BP.
        Exercise, Healthy eating and weight loss lowers blood pressure.

        But first you should remember the new American Guidelines (JNC 8) for BP control state People over 60 treatment goal of BP is <150/90 and under sixty years of age <140/90.

        Do your best at lifestyle changes as it sounds like you have and find a doctor who will support you in your goal.
        I hope this helps.




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      3. You could try fasting.

        A water fast from 3 to 10 days. Or, a 3 day fast and then a 10 day fast. (Paul Bragg The Miracle of Fasting)

        A juice fast from 30 to 90 days. Popular among the raw foodist.

        Whichever one you choose, you have to change your diet as well (that you’ve already done!).

        You could also try something like in 80/10/10 for a while.

        You can think of a fast as a physical reboot.

        I hope that that helps you and that you find some relief.

        God bless,




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      4. Dr. McDougall’s way of eating is a great way to go. With COPD you should review Dr. Greger’s video… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/treating-copd-with-diet/. A caution re: appropriate blood pressure is that many physicians are setting goals that are too low or not adequately informing patients of the benefits of taking anti hypertensive medications aka the Number Needed to Treat as well as the harms aka the Number Needed to Harm. You should read Dr. McDougall’s November 2009 newsletter article. Starches that grow below ground such as potatoes and sweet potatoes are complete foods but starches that grow above ground need a bit of vitamin c and a added. Eating a variety of fruits and veggies should provide plenty of the essential amino acids that you need. One of the advantages of the Kempner diet is it is very low in protein. Protein especially animal protein has been shown to increase the decline of kidney function see… http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-kidney-failure-through-diet/. Given adequate calories with a whole food plant based diet you will get plenty of the essential amino acids that you need. I will assume that you have stopped smoking. Good luck.




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      1. @HemoDynamic:disqus How long do your patients stick with the strictest version before adding vegetables and other minimally-processed plant-based foods? How much weight do they lose (and how rapidly), if any? Finally, can you share any characteristics of your patients who opt to try this diet? I would like to keep this in my toolkit to recommend to appropriately selected patients.




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        1. How long do your patients stick with the strictest version before adding vegetables and other minimally-processed plant-based foods?
          People do not tend to stick with the strictest version for very long but still get benefit from a whole food, low fat plant based diet.

          People who stick with a whole food, very low fat (eg. no animal products, minimal avocados, olives and nuts and seeds) plant based diet tend to lose weight about one pound per week and that is assuming they are about 100 pounds overweight. Right? Patients who are already thin will not have this weight loss.

          You Never know who is going to do this diet. I have had both rich and poor, fat and thin, educated and lack of, and young and old make lifestyle changes. My point is I always try to show patients the benefits of lifestyle changes and how it helps them regardless if I think they are going to do the change. That’s our job isn’t it? To inform patients of all their options (RBA’s: Risks, Benefits and Alternatives to treatment) of treating their disease.

          I have a booklet of handouts I give my patients with articles, diet guides, food suggestions etc. A good source is PCRM’s Vegetarian Starter Kit. And I ALWAYS inform patients of http://www.NutritionFacts.org! Why? All the work (Videos and Blogs) Dr. Greger does on his site are research papers–He always has his sources listed and I can click on them and read the research myself which I encourage my patients to do do. Also his site is the easiest to peruse. PCRM’s (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) site is cumbersome to get around and Dr. McDougall’s (www.DrMcDougall.com) is very good as well (and getting better all the time) but nothing tops NutritionFacts.org for the quick access to info, searchability, and 4-6 minutes snipets of nutritional information that is usually entertaining to watch for my patients.




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          1. Thank you for taking time to share your detailed and very helpful response. I’ve started referring folks to NutritionFacts.org for the same reasons you cite. Wish the videos/text would fit on a laptop screen since the new site design, but at least the audio and part of the video can be viewed.

            I will look at Dr. McDougall’s site as it has been a long while since I’ve been there. Dr. Garth diet recommended the PCRM 21-day kickstart so I thought I might share those recipes with patients. I will work on compiling handouts. I have been veg so long that it’s sometimes hard for me to relate to eating a standard american diet. I don’t want to overwhelm folks and possibly turn them off to making initial simple changes.

            Thanks again for sharing your approach. Would you be willing to share some of your canned EMR statements? I could modify to avoid stealing your thunder, but I’d be very interested in using something like that without having to generate all from scratch. My e-mail is pgyx at outlook dot com.




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        1. I don’t know the answer to that but I will look into it. Maybe Dr. Greger knows that one. Maybe back then (1939) they thought something in dates could be potentially bad. In today’s world I haven’t heard anything that could be potentially damaging to the body, it’s the opposite in fact-they’re beneficial, so I would recommend dates as part of a whole food plant based diet.




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    1. I think this diet might reverse disease by giving the body a chance to do clean up (autogaphy).
      To activate it, low protein consumption is crucial. Fasting maybe even better.
      Vegetables provide considerable nutrition including protein.




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  2. My only concern about a rice diet would be the amount of arsenic that’s been found in rice. The recommendations I was reading were for very small amounts of rice, particularly brown rice, due to arsenic.




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    1. Then tell the rice farmers to stop using dead chicken parts as fertilizer. That’s where the Arsenic comes from. I think there is a video on this website about it. Use the search engine and type in arsenic and see what comes up




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    2. Hi Alice. Good question. A guest member supplied us with a link, below, that looked at rice from different countries. I’ll post it here. It is important to note that the levels of arsenic in rice may not be as high when compared with other foods. Dr. Greger has some great resources on food and arsenic. ​He also compared arsenic levels of wild rice to brown rice in this Ask the Doctor Q&A.​ ​I think it’s valuable to note when reports like these are published that perhaps many other foods containing arsenic were not tested? I am not saying arsenic in rice is not concerning, but perhaps other foods also deserve awareness. Thanks for your note.




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  3. Dr. Greger: The last sentence you said should be the first sentence a medical student should hear on the first day of medical school – and the last sentence on the last day.

    question: Did Dr. Kemper use whole-grain rice or white rice?




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    1. White rice. The diet was actually white rice, juice, fruit and sugar that’s it!
      Dr McDougall, my mentor of many years has a great synopsis of kempner and his diet. Type in Walter kempner rice diet into Google and look for the page that says drmcdougall.com.




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  4. Kempner would be proud that there is not a whole field: Lifestyle Medicine: Treating the Causes of Disease

    I believe there’s a typo: instead of “not” it should be “now.”




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  5. Where I can earn more information to the Kempner’s diet. But Michael Greger you are just thinking wrong with you statement patients take one, two, three oder four drugs to attempt treatments. More and more older person in Germany have an intake of eight or nine different drugs every day… and they still trust their doctors. I speak to my own parents since 3 years to give up this doctors and more listening to me… no chance. Like sheaps they follow there slaughter….it’s realy pity (even for my bad English, I’m sorry).




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    1. Hi Steffen. The “Doctor’s Note” under each of Dr. Greger’s videos will always suggest related links. Check out the first one, as it gives information about the Kempner Diet. Thanks for your note. PS: your English is fine :) Trust me you don’t want to read my response in German.

      Best,
      Joseph




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  6. What happened to the image post link in the posting bar? Was it taken out because of too many inappropriate images? ;-(




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      1. Oh what sad time are these. . .when passing ruffians say “Ni” at will to old ladies. Couldn’t resist the ‘Holy Grail’ of references. Pun intended. Thanks for the reply! Keep up the great work!




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  7. Another very interesting video that highlights how the pharmaco-medical complex consistently trumps effective low-cost lifestyle
    changes with pharmaceutical approaches that pad their bottom line.

    One minor correction: While it’s remotely possible that Mary Lasker (to whom Kempner wrote the 1954 letter excerpted at 4:39) was indeed one of his patients, I’d be willing to bet he wrote her in her capacity as one of that era’s leading health care activists & philanthropists. In addition to her tireless promotion of federal funding for cancer research (nicely summarized in “The Emperor of All Maladies”), she directed the organization that eventually became the Planned Parenthood Federation, and together with her husband, Albert, established the Lasker Foundation, which continues to recognize and promote medical research. (Though not clinical trials on the comparative benefits of beets, broccoli, kale & garlic, as far as I know.)




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      1. Dr. Greger cites the China Study, but that is not the same as proving it to be scientifically valid.

        I think Dr. Greger cites that study fair frequently. This concerns me, a little, because I have seen that study come under some fairly harsh criticism. Including criticism from physicians and scientists.




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    1. Dr. Campbell’s book is really only controversial to those whose sacred cow is badly gored by the massive amounts of data presented in the China Study and the logical conclusions that can be drawn from those, namely those who have a financial or deeply emotional stake in that status quo. Those with a financial stake in the China Study being wrong would include the flesh, dairy, egg, refined sugar, and refined oil industries who need people to not realize their products are the root cause of nearly all chronic illnesses; the perpetual and eternal diet industry who need the overweight and unhealthy to think that there is some great mystery why people are so overweight and unwell so they can sell books revealing the secret to losing 20 pounds by summer; the medical services industry (doctors, hospitals, pharmacies) who can’t make nearly as much money if there isn’t a steady supply of chronically ill people (the most profitable kind since they are never cured and so need chronic care); and last, but not least the pharmaceutical industry and the supplements industry which makes so many billions of dollars selling drugs and supplements that treat symptoms and not root causes and so at best slow the progression of disease.

      These folks have taken a page right out of Big Tobacco’s playbook and work hard to focus in issues where understanding isn’t yet complete or where a small study “shows” the opposite and blow them out of proportion to the main body of results so that the entire idea gets labeled “controversial”.




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      1. Jim: re: “…gored by the massive amounts of data presented in the China Study…”
        I second that. Some time ago, I studied someone’s blog, self-advertised as coming from a scientific perspective, that had a long set of criticisms of the China Study. Those criticisms were so lame. The first one was something like, “The first thing I did was throw away all the giant volume of data. I don’t have time to go through all that.” I can’t remember the exact wording, but the blogger seemed to me to be implying that the large amount of data was actually a flow in the study in and of itself. He wasn’t disputing the data. He just didn’t like how much of it there was. I kid you not. And not one commenter under that study called the blogger on it. Sad, sad, sad. The rest of the criticisms were just as bad. After reading that page, I stopped worrying about criticisms of the China Study.




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        1. I think there may be some fair criticisms of that study. For example, this article by Harriet Hall, MD:

          https://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-china-study-revisited/

          It 2013 there was another study, published in JAMA called:

          Vegetarian Dietary Patterns and Mortality in Adventist Health Study 2
          http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleID=1710093

          This study seems to largely support the China Study:
          > “In conclusion, in a large American cohort, we found that vegetarian dietary patterns were associated with lower mortality. The evidence that vegetarian diets, or similar diets with reduced meat consumption, may be associated with a lower risk of death should be considered carefully by individuals as they make dietary choices and by those offering dietary guidance.”

          However, the study seems to say that pesco-vegetarians had a lower hazard rate (HR) than vegans.

          > “The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for all-cause mortality in all vegetarians combined vs nonvegetarians was 0.88 (95% CI, 0.80-0.97). The adjusted HR for all-cause mortality in vegans was 0.85 (95% CI, 0.73-1.01); in lacto-ovo–vegetarians, 0.91 (95% CI, 0.82-1.00); in pesco-vegetarians, 0.81 (95% CI, 0.69-0.94); and in semi-vegetarians, 0.92 (95% CI, 0.75-1.13) compared with nonvegetarians.”

          I am not a scientist, maybe I am misunderstanding something?




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          1. Walter, I’m surprised no one has responded to you yet, so let me quickly jump in.

            Harriet Hall cites the blogger Denise Minger who had no formal background in nutrition or even science. T. Colin Campbell responds to her here:

            http://www.vegsource.com/news/2010/07/china-study-author-colin-campbell-slaps-down-critic-denise-minger.html

            Also note the Adventist 2 study is interesting in itself, but does not look specifically at the whole-food plant-based diet that is commonly advocated on sites like this one. Many vegan diets are unhealthy (high in refined oils and sugars and possibly B12 deficient). And while there may be health benefits from the omega 3 fatty acids in fish, there are safer sources such as algae-based omega 3 supplements (which are free of saturated fats, cholesterol, mercury and other fish contaminants – search the site for more videos).




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          2. Walterbyrd: I think Colin gave a very good reply. I also have some thoughts for you.

            I’m not a scientist either, but lots of people way smarter than me have looked at both the China Study and the criticisms and found that the China Study is valid. It may not be perfect, but *NO* study is perfect.

            And it is never about one study. If memory serves, you expressed some concern in another post about Dr. Greger basing his information on the China Study. I disagree. Dr. Greger uses many, many, many studies in all of these pages on NutritionFacts. And he looks at even more studies. Even if the China Study went away tomorrow, we would still have a giant mountain of evidence from a bazillion and one backing up the supremacy of Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) eating. Those studies form a pretty convincing big picture.

            So, I turn the arguments around in my head. If the China Study were really invalid, then it would be a very odd coincidence that Campbell just happened to hit on the one diet through incompetence that has since been proven (to my standards anyway) to be the healthiest diet out there. In other words, it seems far more likely that the China Study is actually valid.

            One more thought for you: Colin address this point one way. I’ll address it another. You can definitely find studies that seem to knock down the validity of WFPB eating. But it is never about one study. It is about the body of evidence. There are over 100 studies that say that smoking is neutral or even healthy for you. But the body of evidence tells us that smoking is bad for us. So, even if that study you quoted above is valid and shows exactly what it seems to show, it doesn’t take away all the many, many other studies showing the superiority of the WFPB eating.

            A final thought for you. Colin also addressed this, but I want to address it further. A big part of Hariet Hall’s information comes from relying on Denise Minger’s work. That says a lot about Hariet Hall right there. To understand why this is such a problem, I will refer you to Plant Positive (if you are interested) who has explained in great detail the problems with Denise Minger’s “work”. The objection is not with Minger’s background, but her actual data and thinking is seriously flawed. (And if you like Plant Positive, I highly recommend a look at other parts of his work. He is really great and thorough. He can put a lot of concerns to rest for those people who are willing to take the time and thought.)
            http://plantpositive.com/display/Search?moduleId=19496100&searchQuery=Denise+Minger

            Note, the above page includes a lot of videos, but not in order. So, read the titles/dates to see if you can watch them in order. Also note that Plant Positive addresses the China Study in the page above. That video may also be of interest to you.

            ——————
            I fully understand why you are confused/doubting. The sheer volume of mixed messages and misinformation from authoritative sources is easily overwhelming. Because some people are so entrenched in pushing meat, dairy and eggs, there is nothing I can say that will likely help you eliminate that confusion 100%. But I hope I gave you some food for thought that will help you come to your an opinion you are comfortable with. Good luck.




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            1. Thea I agree, plant positive is a fantastic resource that has put conflicting nutritional advise into perspective for me. I recommend his science based, detailed and insightful videos highly to anyone who is confused and trying to decide between low carb vs whole foods plant based diets.




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  8. We just wanted to share with this community, of which we are a part (subscribers to NF.org for years, and contributors), that we have started posting a video series showcasing recipes based on Dr. Greger’s advice. Please visit Whirled Peas Kitchen. Here is a link to our most recent post Vegan Lasagna: https://youtu.be/V9TqcUx37cw (There’s turmeric in the veggie cheese).
    DC Veggie Chefs




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    1. Allan: I just can’t say enough good things about your video! This has to be one of the highest quality youtube cooking shows I have seen. I was impressed with the intro that talked about calorie density and that you covered some basics (for cooking newbies like me) that included how to chop and how to put together a springform pan. I’ve been using springform pans (mostly for desserts) for years and years now – and I think I’ve been putting the bottom in wrong all these years. If nothing else, watching that video was worth it just for that tip.

      The pace of the video was perfect – not too slow so that I got bored, but also not too fast so that you skipped too many steps. Whoever does your editing is really good at it.

      I’m very intrigued by the cashew cheese recipe. I’ve seen and tasted many cashew cheese recipes over the years, but I don’t remember seeing one with the ingredients you included, including raisins and pickle juice. Very interesting and something I’m definitely going to try.

      I hope others will take a look at your video. I’m going to check out some of your other videos too. Thanks for sharing with us here on NutritionFacts!




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        1. Now I’ve seen the Chana Aloo Gobi video too. It’s just as good as the video you linked to above. And I have to add that I really like the over all tone/approach, “You could do it this way to save time. No problem. That’s just not how we do it here…” And I liked the humor. I was smiling a couple times. Great job.




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  9. Not to the point of needing the rice diet, but am interested in other strategies to lower blood pressure. So far I know a plant based diet including foods like ground flaxseeds, beets, watermellon, and hibiscus tea will help. Anyone have any other ideas?




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  10. So, how come I’ve never even heard of this rice diet, and where can I find out more about it?

    Do the recent studies about arsenic (is it?) in rice change any suggestions about diet and this rice diet?




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      1. Thanks Joseph. Do you have any speculations on why this rice diet would only work for 2/3’s of the people who tried it? That seems odd if they all have the same disease. Could it be too hard to stick to, or some had very advances disease? Stuff like this in the dim and distant past seems to somehow carry more weigh than studies done today … I don’t know how to decide what studies are good, bad, right or wrong. It does seem odd that there is not one diet that works for all the people for whom diet can be healing? Anyway, thanks for the link, I am going to read more.




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  11. By the way, in case anyone is interested, there is a movie that just came out on Amazon Prime called “The Widowmaker” about sudden cardiac death I guess it is called and the calcium scan. Apparently this calcium scan could predict fatal heart attacks very accurately when none of the other tests could predict them at all. The stent supporters and open heart surgery bypass supporters lobbied to kill this tool. However NASA and other agencies on their own began to use this test because being more result and scientifically driven they actually wanted to determine for example an astronaut’s health prognosis – ever since a man walking on the moon had a “heart event”. The story is very interesting and now this test is being used, but it took a very long time and I am not really sure it is common yet. A story that shows how politics overrides science when it comes to medicine. The insurance industry said this was a “long term” treatment, and that paying for these tests would only benefit their competitors because their average patient is only with them for a few years. This is the kind of thinking that really alarms me, that most Americans have no idea about.




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    1. Thank you very much for sharing this link. Have you heard of Vitamin K2? It is in Natto. This vitamin is apparently very good at removing Calcium deposits. Vitamin K is critical in removing Calcium that gets placed in the wrong part of the body. What do you think would go in those places instead? Iron, Fe 2+? Another double positive molecule? I secretly believe the body regularly uses your bones, which are made of Calcium Phosphorus, as a lending library of atoms in its making of energy and all the Calcium that is salvaged in exchange for the phosphorus used in ATP by the mitochondria, some of which can get damaged, is placed in the body because we can’t find anything better or have a deficiency. Do you know of any studies of the effect of Phosphorus supplementation on lifespan? I think it can make people live a lot longer but don’t have the research or a way to do it. Is the scan available at your HMO or go-pay?




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    1. I had to laugh at Dr. Ratliff’s description of the Esselstyn diet as “pretty unpalatable”. I would imagine that the good doctor is a hearty meat eater who if he actually tried a low fat WFPB diet only did so for a period of time much too short for his comatose taste buds to awaken from the heavy sedation coming from the loads of fatty meats and hyper-palatable processed food loaded with more fat, salt and sugar.

      But this article also makes me very sad. Ratliff’s whole point is that people will never be self-motivated to improve their nutrition, that it takes the equivalent of a religious zealot constantly hovering over patients in order to get any level of compliance. This type of article plays right into the biases and prejudices of the majority of the medical community and absolves them of having to make the effort to get their patients to radically change their diet. After all most doctors reading this article in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine could never imagine themselves eating an Esselstyn diet, nor taking the time and effort to get their patients to change to and then maintain a truly healthy diet. So the article gives doctors permission to continue to hand out the useless pablum of “eat a healthier diet, lose weight and get more exercise” while they get out their prescription pad and right standing prescription for statin, BP meds, blood thinners, diuretics, and a host of other band-aid measures that do nothing to address the root causes.

      The sad truth is that patients are looking to the medical profession as a whole to gauge the importance to assign to all the confusing jumble of medical and nutritional advice they are bombarded with dailty. The half-hearted “eat-better” instructions are therefore given little weight by patients since obviously their doctor as well as those on TV in the news and on the web don’t really seem to give it much weight compared to taking drugs and getting surgical procedures. Adding to this is the fact that patients are usually told at the same time that they have an incurable illness that changing their diet (to the extremely minimal extent that doctors think they will ) won’t actually eliminate their illness. Instead they will be required to take medications for the rest of their lives. Is it any wonder that most people don’t do more than token changes to their diet.

      But if doctors used evidence based medicine and told themselves as well as their patients as well as the public as a whole the truth regardless of how unpalatable it might seem and say it with some conviction, then I think that folks like Dr. Ratliff might be surprised at the percentage of patients that will change their diet. But until then Dr. Ratliff might be right, it takes someone with real passion and maybe even zeal to swim against the current created by the indifference of all their peers in the medical profession.




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  12. How tragic that people are using drugs instead of lifestyle intervention! How horrible that there is a pharmaceutical driven race to newer and more expensive hypertension drugs when medicines that worked very well are being forgotten. How horrible that diuretics (pills that make you pee, a great way to control blood pressure) are being ignored for more nebulous medicine. Blood pressure is one of the single most important measures or diagnostics of health and indicators of future longevity. How horrible that we know how to control the blood pressure with diet and exercise but the best of the newest medicines only have a slight effect. How sad that normal blood pressure might actually be high blood pressure for most people who have the test done.




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  13. Alright, Here’s an “Ask the Doctor” Question. I am a testicular cancer survivor with a newly diagnosed testosterone level of 180. After reading all the side effects linked to a usage of Prescrip. Testosterone, I’d rather not go that route.

    So, here’s my question, after reviewing the website.

    How does one go about boosting their testosterone level naturally? Any particular foods that have demonstrated that ability? Also tied to that, I understand that a plant based diet is able to help along with exercise but what if someone is struggling with fatigue and isn’t able to exercise as effectively?

    Any thoughts would be welcome.




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    1. There are several published researches that points a correlation between Vitamin D levels and testosterone:

      http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Stefan_Pilz/publication/49679775_Effect_of_vitamin_D_supplementation_on_testosterone_levels_in_men/links/0c96052f7e9b2ca8d8000000.pdf

      Of course a well balanced plant-based diet is very important to support the metabolism necessary for this to happen, but keeping vitamin D levels are crucial. Researchers says that we need 15 to 20 minutes under the sun, with no sunscreen with minimum clothes in order for our bodies to produce 10.000 UI of vitamin D per day. So in average these researches and some associations already promotes that if sun exposure is not an option, we need to supplement:

      https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/blog/why-does-the-vitamin-d-council-recommend-5000-iuday/#

      and not just testosterone and bones health, vitamin D is very important to enhance our immune system.




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    2. Boron can do that. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21129941 I am about to start supplementing my diet with Boron. So can Fenugreek, which also has anticancer properties. Lots of Vitamin C and maybe Niacin can keep your cancer from coming back, and this site has the best anticancer foods all worked out

      Amla, Fenugreek
      White button mushrooms
      Nori
      Walnuts, pecans
      Tumeric, ginger, rosemary,
      garlic, broccalli, beets, carrots,
      cranberries, lemons, apples,
      cocoa, beans, whole grain
      hibiscus tea, white tea with lemon, matcha

      Good luck!




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  14. Thanks, and shared.

    Now, on a related subject and the thought that crossed my mind today as I surfed info on grilling portabellas and found nutritional “info” from an article and it quoted sources, and I didn’t want to spend all day running down which sources were likely to biased by their funding.

    Has the good doctor, or anyone else thoroughly familiar with these likely-to-be-quoted sources, compiled a list of such sources so that we might quickly gauge the veracity of “research” and articles we run across? Anyone follow? I’m getting lost in my own thoughts a bit. Thanks wp




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    1. Wade: I’m not sure what you are looking for, but I get the sense that you are looking for a reliable source for nutrition information of various foods. If so, the think the following site might be what you are looking for. To use the site, you put the food you are looking for in the search box at the top and then see what comes up. They don’t have every food included, but they do have a lot of foods, including some entire dishes you can find in restaurants.

      Here’s the home page:
      http://nutritiondata.self.com/

      Here’s a detail page for grilled portabellas:
      http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/9170/2

      Does that help?




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  15. In addition to diet, meditation/mindfulness, exercise, good sleep hygiene & workup/treatment for sleep apnea, keeping salt to < 1,500 mg/day, and comprehensive workup for unresponsive hypertension may be warranted.




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    1. >> keeping salt to < 1,500 mg/day,

      Did you know that 1 cup of rice has 571mg in it … meaning that 3 cups of rice puts you over that limit before you eat or drink anything else ?




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  16. Kempner’s program was covered also in the Whipping us up video and their referred to drastically improving eye health by reducing the blood in the back of the retna. Family just diagnosed with AMD which could soon be Wet AMD which is blood seepage into the RPE layer. Does anyone have comments on the Kempner diet, or any diet, on this situation?




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    1. The general flow around here it to eat WFPB, supplement with b12, exercise AND get on with life. Diets and special food items/supplements are generally not necessary for all the benefits of a Whole-Food Plant-Based diet. No tricks no gimmicks no counting no measuring, just works. If you need to search up any given topic, there are 8 years of videos and articles all cross-linked and referenced here. It’s much easier to just eat well and be well.




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  17. I bought the “Rice Diet” book by Rosati: it’s a joke and has no resemblance to the original diet!! They talk about meat, fish etc… How is that possible?




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    1. It is possible because copyrights expire and folks rehash diets over and over again with their own twists or none. Possible because consumers are largely ignorant despite “reviews” and constant media exposure (because of constant media exposure!). See http://www.atkinsexposed.org/ where we learn that high-protein/low-carb (oh the ignorance) has been recycled over and over since the 1800’s. Atkin’s is the one who really made the cash on it. No one really benefits long term except the one selling the program and program support goodies-and that’s not healthy benefits, only $$$. Support this site if you like, but there’s no requirement to purchase anything at all to live healthier and happier. Just read and learn and let Michael do the “heavy lifting”.




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    2. I think it is possible because no one is going to buy a book where every recipe is one plain cup of white rice with a few veggies! ;-)

      That book, I think, is from the Kempner or rice clinic, so I am sure they are following the guidelines of the diet, since they are the guidelines.

      Seriously, I looked at the Nutrition Facts label for white rice and there is 571 milligrams in a one-cup serving of rice. How is that low-sodium? 3 cups of white rice puts you right away over the 1500 milligram limit from the Heart Association for sodium? I really do not get this.




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  18. You quoted Maimonides? That quack is the reason that most, not all, Jewish boys’ rights are violated via genital mutilation. Maimonides specifically had the intent of diminishing male sexuality via this practice. What was once a minimal pin stick suddenly became the extreme excisions of penile derma that we see today, which can also lead to death, especially when a Mohel puts his mouth on the penis to draw blood in a ritual called metzitzah b’peh. I’m not sure exactly his influence on that perverted part of the ritual. Interestingly, notice how the word “maim” is in “Maimonides.” Hmmm. Oh yeah, he was really great/sarcasm.




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  19. Love the manure analogy from Dr. K . Wish doctors would trust many patients want to treat the underlying cause and are willing to make changes-even drastic ones. At the very least, doctors need to give them the full disclosure of how diet will clear up the problem or they can choose a prescription alone that will bandaid or perfume the problem, and be a means for doctor not to get sued for not “treating” the illness.




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    1. That is an interesting claim.

      If this diet works, and what I read said it works for around 2/3 or people.

      So, what does that really mean?

      For 2/3 of people heart disease is diet related, and not just chronic diet over time, or at least for these 2/3, but something they are eating concurrently sustains and increases the problem. When you stop eating, whatever that is, and just eat rice, or whatever is in rice, you get better.

      That is a fantastic finding, though I am not sure how to factor it into everything else on this website of that one can read about health.
      So, it would seems that roughly 66% of people are harming themselves daily by what they eat, and I suppose the amount of exercise they do, or don’t do.

      I am curious though, is it just rice that will work for this. What about just eating potatoes, or pasta, or oatmeal, or any bland starchy food? Did anyone do any studies where they used different foods to see what the results would be …. OR … is it just that a rice diet forces most people to just eat less, and maybe just eating less is good for you when you are in a toxic eating regime?

      I don’t understand why we do not understand this better, especially since this Kempner thing was so long ago? However time and time again we hear of industry, including the health industry creating their own reality to bolster their own profits. What underlies all of this is an attitude that some “professionals” can just do or tell people whatever they want to, and if they believe it, follow it, and get into health problems it is their own fault. They get sucked into a world where all of a sudden all their money is up for grabs.

      I do not dislike capitalism, but the big pattern within all of this kind of behavior is that profit, power, authority, fame, etc causes people to behave in ways that counterproductive for them and others and the way we do capitalism is different and more harmful than how the rest of the world does it. We can see the trends that as these things have happened, the corporate world has fastened a grip over everyone’s life and seized the government and pushed us into an Orwellian type of culture.




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    2. The sodium levels in rice are not trivial or extremely low by any means?

      Get online and look up the Nutrition Facts for rice … and it turns out that 1 cup cooked white rice has 570 milligrams in it. That is over 1/2 gram, 25% of a regular person’s salt intake per the Nutrition Facts chart … so if you ate 4 cups of rice on an all-rice diet, you are getting over what a heart/blood pressure patient would be recommended to eat I think?

      The American Heart Association recommends that Americans consume less than 1,500 mg/day sodium, which is the level with the greatest effect on blood pressure … that is less than 3 cups of rice a day.




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  20. What is the best book on Dr. Kempners “original” Rice Diet…I see about a half dozen Rice Diet books on Amazon and I do not know if they are all just “similar” and not the real deal to Dr. Kempners diet




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  21. Given the extremely low level of sodium in the rice diet, is there a danger that it is so low that it could cause medical problems?




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    1. The sodium levels in rice are not trivial by any means …

      I got online and looked up the Nutrition Facts for rice … and it turns out that regular white rice has over half a gram of sodium in it. About 570 milligrams per 1 cup cooked rice to be more exact.

      Isn’t this a problem if you eat rice all day. The serving size to get 570 milligrams of rice was 1 cup of cooked rice. So, if you ate 4 cups of rice in a day, which, it seems like you might if that is all you are eating, you would be eating over 2 grams of sodium just in rice?

      Can someone address this please? It makes Kempner’s claims sound a bit difficult to believe? Is there a more low sodium rice or some other grain that can be eaten in its place that might have less sodium … not to mention arsenic?




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  22. I never paid much attention to the Nutrition Facts labels on things, but since I heard about Kempner’s rice diet I have been thinking about it and thinking about trying it a lot.

    So then I got online and looked up the Nutrition Facts for rice … and it turns out that regular white rice has over half a gram of sodium in it. About 570 milligrams to be more exact.

    Isn’t this a problem if you eat rice all day. The serving size to get 570 milligrams of rice was 1 cup of cooked rice. So, if you ate 4 cups of rice in a day, which, it seems like you might if that is all you are eating, you would be eating over 2 grams of sodium just in rice?

    Can someone address this please? It makes Kempner’s claims sound a bit difficult to believe? Is there a more low sodium rice or some other grain that can be eaten in its place that might have less sodium … not to mention arsenic?




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    1. OK, I am a little confused … and I am starting to think that the Nutrition Facts labels that we see on our food are taken as a joke to those who write them or put them online.

      I looked up a bunch of different types of rice and in generate they have almost 580mg or sodium listed.

      Then I looked up short grain white rice and it is listed as having 0, ZERO, i.e. NO SODIUM AT ALL.

      Can someone please tell me where all this sodium is or is not coming from in rice and why some rices have so much and some apparently do not have any … and can we trust the labels to tell us ?




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  23. I had a high blood pressure, low heart rate (34) and a ekg that showed I was skipping beats. They wanted to send me to a hospital via ambulance. I declined as I have no insurance. (I have felt my heart pound and skip beats for some time) I have hypothyroid and high cholestrol.
    I have been watching the NutritionFacts.org for the better part of a year. I also follow, Dr McDouggal, Dr Barnard and others. I follow a whole food plant based diet ( I am pretty compliant but not perfect) Anyway, I tried a modified rice diet. I ate brown rice or potatoes with green veggies for breakfast lunch and dinner for fifteen days.
    I went to see a physician who ran a new ekg. She said it was still skipping some beats but not an emergency. My bp was normal, my heart rate was 61. Not perfect but certainly much improved. I have been very strict with the rice/potatoe diet. No oil at all. I don’t know how to get my cholestrol down lower. diet alone does not seem to do it. Anyway, I thought maybe someone out there can use this information.
    Ps. Thank you Dr Greger for all the wonderful information.




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