Flashback Friday: Can Oatmeal Reverse Heart Disease?

Flashback Friday: Can Oatmeal Reverse Heart Disease?
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Less than 3% of Americans meet the daily recommended fiber intake, despite research suggesting high-fiber foods such as whole grains can affect the progression of coronary heart disease.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Caro Wallis via Flickr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Caro Wallis via Flickr.

Doctor's Note

Oatmeal offers a lot more than fiber, though. See my other oat videos: Oatmeal Lotion for Chemotherapy-Induced Rash, Can Oatmeal Help Fatty Liver Disease?, Which Is a Better Breakfast: Cereal or Oatmeal?

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

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

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

96 responses to “Flashback Friday: Can Oatmeal Reverse Heart Disease?

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  1. I like Flashback Fridays.

    Another nice feature of this website is the Random Video button under Video Library. You can watch five or six random videos (about a half hour or so) while eating your morning oatmeal and review something you haven’t seen in a while or discover something new you haven’t seen before. This morning I found this one from 2013 about the balance between free radicals and anti-oxidants. Kinda fits nicely with today’s video.

    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/minimum-recommended-daily-allowance-of-antioxidants/

  2. I’ve been cooking steel cut oats in my electric pressure cooker (mine is an Instant Pot), with water, soy milk, chopped apple, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg: Delicious!! I serve it topped with stuff like chopped nuts, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed, dried fruit, etc. And I save left-overs for up to 5 days. When I eat some for breakfast, I reheat it with more liquid. But I sometimes eat it cold as a pudding for a “dessert” after a meal, maybe with a bit of maple syrup drizzled on top. So versatile. And so good, and good for my health!

    1. Sounds so good. Can you please send the proportions of steel cut oatmeal to liquid? How long do you let it sit in the refrigerator before it is ready to eat?

      Thanks

      1. Sandy,

        I cook 1 cup of steel cut oats in 1 cup soy milk and 2 cups water (with 1 chopped apple, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg — my nutmeg is old) in my Instant Pot, for 3 min at High Pressure, Natural Pressure Release. I eat one serving freshly cooked from the IP, then store the left-overs in the fridge for up to 5 days. I heat the left-overs before I eat them for breakfast in my microwave; I first add a little more liquid.

        Note that steel cut oats are not rolled oats; they are whole oat grains (called oat groats) cut into smaller pieces with steel blades. What I call oatmeal is made from rolled oats, which are oats which are first steamed, then rolled flat into flakes, and eventually dried.

        1. Dr. J., I can see why so many people like to cook a batch of something to last them for a week or whatever. I’ve noticed they are often busy homemakers with kids who also work outside the home.

          In my case, however, I love to cook in the kitchen (but dislike cleaning and dusting in the other rooms) and know exactly how much to measure for a meal and what do do (yoga, etc.) while, say, hot whole grains are cooking for breakfast cereal. (I don’t mind doing dishes either; IMO dishwashers are more bother than they’re worth.) So there are never any leftovers at my place.

          Oh, other than (previously dried) beans. Whenever I cook them — who’s in a rush? I give them a good four hours or so on an electric stove burner — there’s always a lot to put in glass jars and stick up in the refrigerator freezer. Some of it I keep down below, and knock off within a week or so.

          Anyway, there’s never any room in my refrig. for leftovers. Just various items waiting for their turn to shine. :-)

        2. “1 cup of steel cut oats in 1 cup soy milk and 2 cups water (with 1 chopped apple, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg”
          – – – – —

          Dr. J., I’m curious to know if you eat blueberries sometime during the day. As we know, Dr. G. has done a ton of videos about their many health benefits.

          I always add 1/3 cup (previously frozen) blueberries and a (previously frozen) banana to my morning gruel. Definitely resembles a dessert, especially with all the other goodies I add along with this.

          1. YR,

            I do add dried blueberries to my oatmeal, after I cook it or after I re-heat it. I also add dried tart cherries, ground flaxseed, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds, and some coconut shreds. Not too much of any one thing. Nice flavor and texture.

            I was just talking with my husband about adding blueberries to his morning granola (he won’t even try my steel cut oats :-( ), And we eat blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries (fresh when in season locally, otherwise thawed from frozen) once a week on Sunday brunch sourdough whole einkorn grain flour (which I grind at home) waffles. And we add frozen blueberries to soy yogurt (when I make it; sometimes, I go for periods when I don’t. Though it’s really very easy.)

            But my husband doesn’t like most fruit — what??! How is that even possible? And he definitely doesn’t like bananas. But I do. So, I buy them for me. He does eat grapes, apples, and raisins. Progress, of sorts.

            1. Okay, Dr. J., so you DO do blueberries. :-)

              But I can understand why your hub might not like bananas. Neither do I, if they’re overripe; too damn sweet. I still maintain the best-tasting banana is a previously frozen, ripe — but not too ripe — on my morning hot gruel. Plus a lot of other stuff, of course.

              On Mon/Wed/Fri it’s half steel-cut oats and Kasha (buckwheat groats). Tues/Thursday/Saturday it’s half organic brown rice and millet. And then on Sunday it’s half barley, half quinoa.

              Talk about routine, huh? :-)

              1. Talk about routine, huh? :-)
                ——————————————–
                One person’s routine is another person’s RoUTine. ‘-)

                (Not judging… just saw the letters pop out and couldn’t resist posting. ‘-)

              2. YR,

                Talk about routine! I eat oats as either steel cut oats in the winter or muesli in the summer M,Tu, Th, F, and beans with toast W and Sa. On Sunday, I make sourdough whole grain einkorn waffles (I grind my own flour).

                And after reading some of the suggestions here, I’m thinking of trying savory oats, which I hadn’t heard of before. They sound…different…and from the comments, really good. I like your idea of adding other whole grains to oats. I’ve added cooked quinoa to my oats…mildly adventurous. How does the Kasha in your oats taste?

                My hubby doesn’t like most fruit. He claims bananas have too many “seeds;” it’s a joke. Luckily, he eats everything else that I buy or cook. He even switched to vegetarianism after he met me almost 12 years ago, and then to whole plant food eating a few years ago. I listen to NF videos while he sits nearby, and he must be listening, because later I’ll hear him recounting some of what he heard in a video to someone else.

  3. I prefer oatbran lately since it has a little more fiber for the calories. Oatmeal (1/2 cup, dry) is approx 160 cal and 4 grams fiber. Oatbran (1/3 cup) is 150 cal and 6 grams fiber. Boost that with 1 tbsp ground flax, 4 gr fiber, and a cup of blackberries/raspberries with almost 8 grams fiber, and we’re good.

    1. That is interesting. Our local newspaper had a great food column years ago about eating oatmeal the Italian way: savory style: with parmesan, wilted greens, pine nuts and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. My friend from tuscany says that is how they ate it….they raised pigs on acorns and chestnuts. Oats were people food. Anyhow, never a big fan of sickly sweet oatmeal my mom serve us growing up, I only eat savory oats for breakfast. My favorite now is with wilted greens (kale, chard, or spinach) with kimchi, a few cubes tofu, sauteed mushrooms and sesame seeds. So many variations. And ghe freshly groudn peper a must. It is a breakfast twist on the grain/bean/green/mushroom that Dr. greger eats for lunch. I highly recommend.

      1. Perhaps the Italian Americans referenced in the film were from areas of Italy where oat meal was not considered a people food. I’ve never tried a savory version of oat meal. I’m so used to eating it with fruit, nuts and seeds. I now add roasted chicory root which I like a lot.

      2. Mims – great information! Thanks!
        I also eat my oats whole as oat groats. They cook up just like rice but much quicker and are chewy to eat. I’m with you and like the savory flavors best. So I cook the oats with vegg broth or mushroom broth and other savory flavors. Here’s a tip: if I am trying to make a nice WFPB meal and want a good hearty flavor but don’t want to think too much, I grab Costco’s Steak Seasoning. It’s great for hearty meals and especially when making gravy. And of course no animal products :-)
        https://www.amazon.com/Kirkland-Signature-Steak-Seasoning-ounce/dp/B01BG7DAW0

  4. Dr. J and Barb – Love you comments!
    Barb – how do you prepare the bran? I’ve never done that and would love to know.
    And Dr. J, I love that oatmeal-as-dessert-with-syrup-drizzle idea. Perfect!
    Thank you!

    1. hi Ruth, I replied earlier but my post got ‘lost in the mail’ or something. It never appeared! So, I use 1/3 cup oatbran plus 1 tbsp ground flax, bit of cinnamon, and 1 cup water in a saucepan, bring to bubbling and cook 3 or 4 minutes. Put it to one side in a bowl, add the berries alongside with splash of soy milk.. 355 cal for 18 gm fiber.

  5. I am Diabetic type 2 is oatmeal safe for me
    After eating steel cut oatmeal my blood sugar spikes at 200 and still at 150 after 2hours

    1. I am pre-diabetic, and I see if I add a scoop of pea protein to my steel cut oats, plus some pecans or walnuts and veggies ( I love savory oats), the extra fiber, protein and healthy fats makes for a more favorable response. everyone different, your mileage may vary. But play around with serving size and what you eat with it. Oats (esp with maple syrup, apples, bananas, etc.) might be too many carbs, even healthy one.

    2. Ken D – I am not diabetic but I was interested in your comment. So I checked what the ADA (American Diabetes ASsociation) had to say about it: “What levels are too high after a meal? Experts vary on what the number should be, but the ADA says a general goal is a blood sugar level under 180 mg/dL, 1 to 2 hours after a meal. ” So it appears to me that if you have a 150 blood sugar reading at 2 hrs you’re within the guidelines.
      They also said this: “The ideal morning meal? It might just be one that’s packed with protein. A small study shows that when people ate a 500-calorie breakfast that was 35% protein, their post-meal blood sugar levels were lower than those who started their day with high-carb food.” So Mim’s suggestion at adding some pea protein and/or nuts might help. Another thought is to eat lentils for breakfast – they are about 25% protein and have lots of fiber. It might be an interesting experiment to see how lentils affect your blood sugars.
      If you learn anything interesting or useful I hope you will let us all know!

      1. Ruth, the ADA is wrong. Just like they are wrong when they tell diabetics that a HgA1c of 7 is ok. Risk for heart disease, kidney damage, blindness, neuropathy etc. starts to go up steeply at an A1c of 6.
        Blood glucose levels of over 125 routinely cause even more insulin resistance which makes numbers even harder to control. This has been known for years. But since most diabetics are not willing to eat anything but a standard diet. And most doctors are not willing to take the time to work with patients. So the ADA thinks this is the best they can do.
        Realize that normal numbers are an A1c of 5.7 or less. Why would a diabetic want to be less than normal?
        The goal of their diet should be to have totally normal blood sugars to avoid all the horrible effects of high sugars.

        1. Marilyn Kaye, sometimes the ADA seems to make being wrong a habit. My endocrinologist recently told me that according to ADA guidelines I should have an A1c of 7 because of my advanced age (70). I pointed to the fact that side effects begin with an A1c of about 5.3 (according to Hans Diehl at Loma Linda University). Well you can get too many lows she said and that will give you Alzheimer’s. I ask her to cite the research on that and she became very agitated and said “well it’s not proven!” I’ve looked and must say that I haven;t even seen any evidence to that effect. At all. (I did find one study showing cognitive enhancement in rats with repeated low. Contrary to the opinion of some, I’m not a rat though)

          In any case when evaluating just what the risk level is with a given A1c, we need to understand A1c as a precursor to advanced glycation end products aka AGEs. These AGEs are a prime factor in causing the side effects you mentioned and I think you are spot on in suggesting 6 is a much less dangerous level. (Notice I didn’t say safe level) (I’m T1 and usually around 6.5) However, and this is crucial, the level of AGEs in our system comes both endogenously (from A1c converting to AGEs) and exogenously, i.e. dietary AGEs.. And that is another monumental advantage that we plants only diabetics have. Even at a level of 6.5 our total AGEs are going to be much lower that my neighbors eating buckets of chicken wings. All animal sources are very high in AGEs and fried chicken wings are the highest. But that lightly grilled hamburger will still provide more than any diabetic in their right mind would want in their system.

          So we diabetics have a very great imperative to eat strictly plant based to help keep glycosylated hemoglobin as low as possible and to keep the dietary AGEs as low as possible as well.

        2. Marilyn – Thank you very much for setting straight my comments and those of the ADA. I really hate advancing inaccurate information by mistake. You clearly have much better information and I should have known not to trust the ADA messaging. Thanks!

        3. Thank you, Marilyn,
          I have read so many things on what blood sugars should be and the ADA adds to the confusion. Don’t get me started on doctors and friends who listen to their doctors. I’m posting your numbers on my bathroom mirror for my goals.

          Also, Ken, everyone is different, but my diabetes type 2, and now blood pressure respond rapidly to the plant based diet. My numbers may be higher in the first week, but after a couple of weeks, they settle down after oatmeal. I love it savory also, with walnuts to replace the butter and ground flax seeds. Lately, I’ve been adding 1/2 c blueberries since Dr. Gregor’s video on them says they help insulin resistance.

          I tend to stay on the plant-based diet until I lose so much of my hair that the only thing that helps is to begin eating meat again, which I hate because it makes me crave incessantly and I always gain weight. How do you all keep from losing your hair? I’ve tried increasing protein but can’t seem to eat enough to stop the hair loss. And this is a LOT of hair. I mean I begin to develop bald spots.

            1. YR, good article. Thanks. Yes, just any old vegan diet is not healthy. It does take planning for some people at least. The point about needing iodine and lysine is often forgotten.

          1. Carol, you might want to make sure you are getting enough protein when eating plants only. I find that soy is very helpful as it has a protein like meats. I know many here scoff at that idea of not enough protein, but I’ve seen many patients who fail on a WFPB diet for that reason.
            Would also have a Ferritin level done, as what you may be missing is iron, low iron is known to cause hair loss.
            There are people with certain genetics that need preformed vitamin A, (they cannot convert beta-carotene). Also some that need DHA and EPA. Had one child with constant vomiting made totally healthy on pharmaceutical cod liver oil.
            Studies show what is best for most people, but you need to find what your body requires.
            I probably get the outliers because they are the ones the standard care and meds don’t work on. But my experience is that people aren’t all the same.

            1. Marilyn, thanks for your comments. I too have difficulty with hair loss and fatigue. I started on synthroid in the summer, and hair loss slowed until fairly recently. I am often anemic, but bounce back and forth to ok. I will try your suggestions to Carol and see if I can improve my situation.

                1. YR, about a month ago I bought a fish thinking I would try it and see. But I unwrapped it and suddenly became very allergic! Eyes watering , sneezing non-stop lol, I wrapped it in foil and threw it in the oven for the family to eat. I will try again in case it was coincidence. Thanks for the link! I won’t give up on trying to do better.., just thought small servings of fish might help with choline, taurine, iodine too.

                    1. YR, it was salmon! But I see what you are saying- I could try scallops or shrimp or oysters and see what happens. In the last 10 or 12 years, my allergies have gotten much worse, and maybe that is connected to menopause, idk. Strange though because I ate fish about twice a month before I started wfpb eating with no problems.

                  1. BARB: about a month ago I bought a fish thinking I would try it and see. But I unwrapped it and suddenly became very allergic! Eyes watering , sneezing non-stop lol, I wrapped it in foil and threw it in the oven for the family to eat.

                    INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU: Zoh, Mme Barub, You admit to pretend to have ze allergies to feesh. Zen you also admit to wrapping ze feesh in aluminium foil and throwing eet in ze oVEN for the cooking before feeding it to ze famili’.

                    I see you are nodding “Yes.” In zat case, I arrest you for attempted murder of your famili’ by aluminium foil poisoning!

                    1. lol Lonie! I rarely had allergies until about 10 years ago except for some antibiotics! And the family, including pets, survived the fish fiasco just fine.

          2. Carol P Puzz,

            I hope that you are able to solve the puzzle of hair loss eating whole plant foods.

            My brother and I both eat whole plant foods, and he has a full head of hair, and so do I. But mine started out really thick, so I might not notice some loss. My other brother is fairly bald; he eats a standard diet. Probably just coincidence. My maternal grandfather was bald though, and hair loss in males is supposed to be similar to what their maternal grandfather had. So, curiously not in my family. Very small data set, though.

            I agree with the other comments that it’s necessary to eat a balanced diet. Veggies and fruit, legumes and whole grains, and in moderation nuts and seeds. I use Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen for guidance. Also, the image of 1/4 of the plate legumes, 1/4 whole grains, 1/2 veggies, with a hefty side of fruit. Maybe a few nuts and seeds. And eat a variety. Though maybe you already do this. We also take vitamins B12 and D3.

    3. Ken, part of my job is to work with diabetics to help them keep their blood sugar at healthy levels.
      Mims is right in that it’s the entire meal that affects your blood sugar level. You may be having too much oatmeal without other protein and fats to slow absorption. Adding nuts etc. may help.
      Another thing to try if you really love oatmeal is make it the night before, refrigerate. Reheat in the morning. For some people this allows them to eat it.
      But, bottom line, you don’t want your blood sugar to go higher than 125 after a meal. If tweaking the amount, adding other foods etc. sends your sugars higher than that, oatmeal is not for you. There are lots of other foods with healthy fiber.
      Having high blood sugars is a big risk factor for heart disease.
      My experience is that each diabetic is different in how they metabolize food and what foods are healthy for THEM. It varies a lot from person to person.
      Good that you are actually testing to see what works for you! So many get into trouble because they fail to do that.

    4. Ken,

      I asked my brother, who was diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes more than 15 years ago, if he eats oatmeal, and he replied that yes, he does. He cooks old fashioned oats, and doesn’t add sugar.

      The reason I asked him is that when he was diagnosed, my brother was overweight and out of shape. I think his diagnosis was a wake-up call, because he changed his diet to plant based (eventually whole plant food based) and started exercising. Eventually, he lost 70 pounds and went off all his meds, including for metformin. (I think he told me that his a1c protein level was high — around 11? Now it’s down to 5.7)

      He also told me that he’s still considered diabetic, but that his diabetes is under control. But he doesn’t eat any animal products at all, avoids processed food, and tries to avoid added oil, sugar, and salt. A few years ago, he took a course with https://chiphealth.com/, where he learned what and how to eat (whole plant food), how to shop, how to cook, and how to exercise. I think that really changed his life.

      But every person is different. So I hope you find a breakfast that works for you. I wish you all the best, including good health.

      1. Ken,

        My brother told me that he adds brewers yeast to his morning oatmeal: about one level teaspoon per about 1/3 cup dry oat flakes. Here’s the rest of his breakfast bowl: “I mix oats with pumpkin seeds, nuts, chias, cinnamon, fruits (mostly blueberries) brewer’s yeast, water & soy milk. sometime sunflower seeds.“

        And there is at least one video about the positive benefits of brewers yeast on diabetes on this website: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/benefits-of-brewers-yeast-for-diabetes/

        You can type in “brewers yeast” in the search bar above, to see if there are more videos.

        1. I would challenge everyone to check the effects of oats on your AM post breakfast blood sugar levels. For me Beans on toast gives me 95, eggs on taost 90 but porridge with water and berries an unwelcome 115

          1. Mark,

            Since I’m not diabetic, I don’t routinely check my blood sugar levels. Though I do have non-fasting routine blood tests.

            But my brother told me: “My a1c level remains 5.6 without diabetic medication for almost three years.“ And he said that he hasn’t skipped eating brewers yeast for breakfast for the past 3 years. (Though I don’t think that he routinely checks his blood sugar levels, either.) He even makes up an oatmeal mixture, with all the ingredients I quoted above, to take with him when he travels.

            And neither one of us eats animal products.

            Finally, the only bread I eat is the sourdough whole grain bread I make at home (I grind my own grains), and even then I eat only a slice or two a day. But one of my favorite breakfasts is beans WITH toast — and I cook my beans in my Instant Pot, with chopped onion, garlic, thyme, broth, and bay leaves — so good!! I often top them with salsa and avocado.

    5. Hi Ken Domeraski – Thanks for your question! Oatmeal is absolutely safe to eat with Type 2 diabetes. Here are a few tips that may help promote more stable blood sugar levels after eating oats:
      1) Continue choosing steel cut oats or even oat grouts, which are a more intact grain.
      2) Stick to the 1/2 cooked oats serving size.
      3) Include a source of protein such as nuts, nut butter, seeds, or even beans! (see recipe link below)
      4) Top your oatmeal with 1/2 cup berries, which help to improve blood sugar control and slow the uptake of sugar into the bloodstream

      Here is a recipe to check out: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/recipe-morning-grain-bowls/

      I hope this helps!
      -Janelle RD (Registered Dietitian & NutritionFacts.org Health Support Volunteer)

  6. I liked this podcast and love oatmeal groats in particular. My reading suggests that I need to find a source that is glyphosate free. Can you help me. Many thanks.

  7. I just LOVE your videos and blogs! I’ve been WFPB for years. But sometimes I feel I could go off the track due to special occasions, temptation, or social pressure. Just one Flashback Friday per week empowers my plant fueled self. Thank you.

    1. 2:10 in the above video:
      “These visionaries were not entrapped by the ‘simple-minded’ focus on dietary fiber and insisted that whole foods should receive the emphasis.”

      1. spring03,

        I love the flavor and texture of coconut shreds, but I just checked the nutrient table, and 1/4 cup contains 8 g of fat — and 8 g of saturated fat. And it contains 3 g fiber. Since 1/4 cup weighs 15 grams, that means that it’s more than 50% fat by weight. And only 20% fiber by weight. That doesn’t sound like a healthy option.

        Is there something I don’t know?

  8. [Apologies for these off-topic queries, but I’m a newbie on a budget pulling my hair out a bit.) I’ve been scouring the site trying to find out what the good Doctor G means by serving of cooked beans (1/2 cup) in grams.

    Also for ground flaxseed there seems to be differences in grams that equate to a tablespoon/15ml. And is there a difference in weight per portion for flax I have ground myself in contrast to the cold milled flax that I can buy in the shop?

    I’d appreciate a response as it is difficult to translate some of the imperial volumes into grams, and this is important for calculating how much to buy in bulk as well as how much to serve per day.

    Cheers

      1. Kate, I have an off-topic question for someone at NF.org too. I’m seeing more and more stores carrying walnut oil in their baking/oil shelves. Is this a good substitute for vegetable oils, or are oils in general more of a distraction to good nutrition and should be avoided? I’m making a vegan zucchini bread this weekend and thought I’d try some WO.

        1. dr cobalt,

          It’s possible to bake and cook without any added oil at all. I’m no expert, but there are recipes on https://www.forksoverknives.com/ without oil. Also, you can search online. Also, Dr. Greger may have some guidelines in his cookbook for cooking and baking without oil.

          I was thrilled when I found a good recipe for sourdough waffles without added oil or eggs or sugar — just einkorn flour (I grind my own, but that’s not necessary), water, soy milk, sourdough starter culture, ground flaxseed, and baking soda and salt. It makes the best waffles I’ve ever eaten!

    1. @Andrew2020
      Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen that Kate Porigow mentioned gives the weight of 1/2 cup of beans as 130 g. However, the DD version 1.0 app has a mistake for flaxseeds. It gives 1 tablespoon for Imperial and for metric units. That should be fixed. I weighed 1 Tbsp of ground flax seeds (finely ground by me) on an accurate lab balance. 1 Tbsp weighed almost exactly 7 g.

  9. I get more fiber for breakfast than most folks get all day. Starts with dry rolled oats, add 3-5 different fruits, plus flaxseed meal, plus spices, plus chopped greens. Jane and Ann Esselstyn showed me this trick, they make great kitchen videos of healthy foods.

    Nearly every single thing I eat contains fiber, naturally. It’s wonderful.

  10. This is more a testimonial rather than a comment.

    Full background… I’m not really WFPB (that is, not vegetable based) in the true sense of the word. After coming to this site I eventually gave up all meat rather than just the beef and pork I had cut out a couple of years ago. Well, except for the tins of herring filets. I recently cut those down to about one every 10 days.

    I have taken to eating nut butters along with my long time practice of eating peanut butter, and many different fruits… especially a big bowl of frozen cherries and blue berries either nightly or every other night. I spike every thing I eat or drink. With soups or even cacao powder concoctions I add powders like dried mult-fruit, moringa oleifera, powdered kale, and many other herbs and spices, and hemp seed protein powder.

    Even though I don’t qualify as WFPB in the true sense of the word, I consider my diet to be healthy, especially with the inclusion of double hands full of supplements I take regularly… some of which are cutting edge science.

    The problem with the above program is energy. For much of the summer and fall I have spent indoors ’cause when I go outside to do work, I quickly tire and have about half the strength I am used to. I just have no get up and go and spend my time in front of my computer for the most part.

    But recently I bought some turkey chili with no beans and a can of vegetarian chili with beans, to mix together and eat during cold weather. I finally became ambitious enough to heat those up a few days ago. The second day of eating that same meal, I looked at a bunch of heavy machinery (drill press, table saw, stationary planer, cut-off saw and the tables they were sitting on) and with the thought still in my head I would not be able to lift, much less carry these objects, tested my ability to do so.

    Lo and behold I was able to lift them and instead of sitting the first thing down (the planer) I started carrying it to the new place. Then, I did the table saw, the cut-off saw until I only had the drlll press left. I just knew there was no way to carry that thing but if I could lift it and set it on a carry cart, I could at least get it moved. And I did lift it up, and decided I could carry it and did.

    You have no idea how my spirits lifted knowing I can do these things for myself again. It was like I had opened a can of Popeye’s spinach

    Of course what I’ve described is not evidence but it is sufficient for me to accept. So going forward I will return to eating things like turkey or chicken breast. I lived on meat for almost all my life and it is just possible my body adapted to having some meat in my system. And by staying away from beef and pork I think I can eat meat occasionally without suffering the red meat molecule that causes inflammation.

    To be clear, this is not about trying to undo the work D R Greger is doing here. I’ve learned many things here that I will continue to practice, and if you are satisfied with the WFPB lifestyle I agree you should continue down that path.

    But if, like me, there is something that’s just not right, this is my experience and maybe a tweak off the one true way may be all you need to be your better self.

    1. Lonie, sounds like you may not have been getting enough protein. Nuts and nut butters don’t have all that much. That is one reason many people have problems with WFPB. But there is a reason Dr, Greger stresses beans and whole grains, that’s where the protein is.

      1. Hi Marilyn Kaye,

        I understand how you could draw that conclusion, but being very conscious of the need for protein, I actually made certain a lack thereof would be a problem. One example, I add Hemp seed protein to just about everything… including the herring filets. That is, I would sprinkle a coating all over the top of them while still in the tin. I even add it to beans and the dish I described above. And the cacao drink I mentioned above? Not only hemp protein but goat whey as well.

        I’ve just come in from outside using a chain saw to trim some dead limbs and dragging them to a burn site. Yeah, I’m a little out of shape but can finish the job now.

        Makes me wonder if it’s the type of protein.

      2. Actually about 30-35% of the calories in mushrooms are protein. And greens might range from 25-25%. The American protein fetish is not shared with my gorilla cousin. In fact he tells me he gets plenty of protein from his greens. The bull at the end of my street probably never touches anything but grains and greens and he’s got a lot more muscle tissue that I do. And by golly he never sweats the protein.

        We do know that too much protein along with fat can contribute tremendously to insulin resistance. Now it is true that it is the branch chain amino acids and saturated fatty acids that are most problematic in this and most regards. However, this is still suggestive of the problems with our protein fetish. Indeed, In the US, it is unlikely that a doctor has seen a single case of Kwashiorkor in anyone getting adequate calories.

        1. Stewart, may be true that 30% of mushroom and 25% of green’s calories are protein. But since they are extremely low calorie foods that is hardly any protein at all. Protein needs are approximately 45 grams for women, and 55-60 for men. And on a vegan diet you may need a bit more to allow for less absorption. Also depends on how active you are. If you are doing a lot of physical work, or are an athlete, you are replacing muscle more frequently.
          Dr. Longo thinks older people may also need more. Too much isn’t healthy, there has to be a balance.

  11. “I add powders like dried mult-fruit, moringa oleifera, powdered kale, and many other herbs and spices, and hemp seed protein powder.”
    – – – – – – –

    They call him The Concoction Kid. :-)

    “I just have no get up and go and spend my time in front of my computer for the most part.”
    – – – – – –

    I know what y’mean. I glare at the floor of my apartment and tell it “I’ll get to you one of these days.” It knows I’m lying through my teeth; I hate to clean…there are always more interesting things to do.

    “But if, like me, there is something that’s just not right, this is my experience and maybe a tweak off the one true way may be all you need to be your better self.”
    – – – –
    Agree, Lonie. I figured out long ago what works for me. In addition to lots of the so-called healthy stuff, my daily diet also includes a bit of animal foods.

    1. They call him The Concoction Kid. :-)
      ——————————————————
      Heavy on the “Kid.” ‘-)
      ______________________________________
      I know what y’mean. I glare at the floor of my apartment and tell it “I’ll get to you one of these days.” It knows I’m lying through my teeth; I hate to clean…there are always more interesting things to do.
      ———————————————————
      I hear ya… I hate doing things more than once, so I wait until Spring. ‘-)

      1. Read all the way to the bottom of the comments and your floor comment fits in with my Christmas present to self.

        I just bought a robotic vacuum after binge-watching Vacuum Wars site on YouTube after being snowed in and seeing one on QVC.

        If you have wifi, they have ones that vacuum and ones that mop and ones that vacuum and mop. They have ones that are as quiet as a fan. The price range goes from $150 to over $1000, but the cheaper ones actually still vacuum pretty well.

  12. For breakfast, I use 50 grams oat meal , 200 grams almond or soy Milk , microwave it for 3 minutes and then add 50 grams each of blue berries, raspberries, black Berries , 75 grams of strawberries and 26 grams of walnuts. I am good to go till mid day.

  13. I used to eat oatmeal till I couldn’t eat it anymore as it and all grains made me terribly sick. Its not the grains in themselves its the nasty roundup they use to spray on our food supply that’s making millions ill. Even the organic oatmeal is contaminated so I eat 100% home grown organic veggies for my fiber intake. My cholestral is low and I don’t puke anymore. Let the buyer beware…

  14. I hate oatmeal, for its consistency (child’s trauma) which nowadays includes risittos, mild rice, anything that reminds me of porridge! The smell already makes me want to vomit! What can I substitute it em with?

  15. How does ‘cholesterol stick to the artery wall’ there are no cholesterol receptors on the wall and the endothelial is so tightly packed that cholesterol could not possibly get in between any segments of the wall. What is the mechanism by which cholesterol attaches to the artrery wall and blocks it

    1. It helps form arterial plaque which over time may block arteries. Arterial plaque itself is a mixture of fat, cholesterol and calcium.
      https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/atherosclerosis

      Also relevant is this consensus statement by the European Atherosclerosis Society about atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

      ‘We assessed whether the association between LDL and ASCVD fulfils the criteria for causality by evaluating the totality of evidence from genetic studies, prospective epidemiologic cohort studies, Mendelian randomization studies, and randomized trials of LDL-lowering therapies. In clinical studies, plasma LDL burden is usually estimated by determination of plasma LDL cholesterol level (LDL-C). Rare genetic mutations that cause reduced LDL receptor function lead to markedly higher LDL-C and a dose-dependent increase in the risk of ASCVD, whereas rare variants leading to lower LDL-C are associated with a correspondingly lower risk of ASCVD. Separate meta-analyses of over 200 prospective cohort studies, Mendelian randomization studies, and randomized trials including more than 2 million participants with over 20 million person-years of follow-up and over 150 000 cardiovascular events demonstrate a remarkably consistent dose-dependent log-linear association between the absolute magnitude of exposure of the vasculature to LDL-C and the risk of ASCVD; and this effect appears to increase with increasing duration of exposure to LDL-C. Both the naturally randomized genetic studies and the randomized intervention trials consistently demonstrate that any mechanism of lowering plasma LDL particle concentration should reduce the risk of ASCVD events proportional to the absolute reduction in LDL-C and the cumulative duration of exposure to lower LDL-C, provided that the achieved reduction in LDL-C is concordant with the reduction in LDL particle number and that there are no competing deleterious off-target effects.

      Conclusion
      Consistent evidence from numerous and multiple different types of clinical and genetic studies unequivocally establishes that LDL causes ASCVD.’
      https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/38/32/2459/3745109

        1. Mark

          Nobody knows precisely. If you read the NIH link I provided, you will see that they note further research is needed on this matter.

          However, the point is that it does (in the form of arterial plaque) as demonstrated by countless autopsies.

          1. Sorry but it doesn’t, all autopsies demonstrate is that plaque contains cholesterol that is not proof that cholesterol causes plaque, for example if cholesterol is an agent of repair then clearly lowering it would be dangerous

  16. Arnold, You might try rolled oats with just enough hot water added. No need to cook them into porridge. Rolled oats have already been steamed. I also use organic hull-less oats which I run through an oat roller and soak in hot water as well.

    1. As I understand it, the more processed the oats are, the more quickly they are digested ….. and the faster blood sugar can increase.

      For people with diabetes or prediabetes, then, instant and quick cooking oats should best be avoided

      ‘Although the nutritional content between steel-cut and instant oats is relatively similar, their effects on blood sugar are not. The least processed oats, like groats or steel-cut, generally take longer to digest so they have a lower glycemic index than rolled or instant oats.’
      https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/oats/

  17. Not a fan of over cooking oats. An over night soak in the frig does it, or a minute in the micro. Even my dog likes oatmeal, but not oatmeal mush. I prep a big canister of oats, throw in a box of barley, unsweetened cocoa powder, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruits, maybe more. After cooking, I will add blueberries, banana, apple and grapefruit. I wash it down with chai tea.

    1. “After cooking, I will add blueberries, banana, apple and grapefruit. I wash it down with chai tea”
      – – – – –

      Sounds good, Dan. ( I imagine they call you Dan the Man.)

      All except for the grapefruit. Somehow I can’t see it meshing well with the other fruits, but that’s just me.

  18. Steel cut oats made with water and nothing else came in at 102.6 blood sugar reading post breakfast thats less than 115 for regular oats but still above the 100 I aim for post breakfast. I maintain that oats are not the ideal breakfast although clearly steel cut are better than refined. The problem is most people are not going to entertain the grule like appearance and taste of steel cut oats. For me beans are a better insulin managing breakfast choice.

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