Flashback Friday: Coconut Oil and Abdominal Fat

Flashback Friday: Coconut Oil and Abdominal Fat
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What does a review of the evidence on the effects of coconut oil on weight loss and belly fat find?

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

I was surprised to see, in this popular infographic, that there was evidently promising evidence that coconut oil could help with obesity. Well, if you pump the stomachs of rats with purified medium-chain fatty acids—one component of coconut oil—they end up eating less food. But, you don’t know if there’s any relevance to humans until you put it to the test.

Researchers compared breakfasts with the same amount of dairy fat, coconut-oil fat, or tallow (beef fat), and “no…effect…[on] hunger, fullness, satisfaction,” or how much they then went on to eat at lunchtime. So, where did this whole idea that coconut fat was somehow different come from? Well, six years ago, an “open-label pilot study” was published. They asked 20 men and women to eat two tablespoons of coconut oil a day for a month, and the men appeared to lose about an inch off their waist. Now, “open-label” means that the participants knew what they were eating; there wasn’t like some placebo control. In fact, there was no control group at all. So, you don’t know if the effects would have just happened anyway, without the coconut oil. There’s a well-recognized effect in dietary studies, where just being in a dietary study under observation tends to lead to a reduction in caloric intake—because you know they’re going to weigh you, and looking over your shoulder. But, there had never been a controlled study of coconut oil and waistlines in men and women until 2015.

About a hundred men and women were given about a tablespoon of coconut oil a day for three months, and lost nearly an inch off their waist after three months, compared to control. What did the control group get instead? Nothing. There was no placebo. And so, they were comparing doing something with doing nothing. And, when one does that, there’s often a placebo effect, regardless of the true efficacy of the treatment. And, they also suggested the coconut-oil group may want to take their dose with fruit. And, if they did end up eating more fruit, that, in and of itself, may help—as, despite its sugar content, fruit consumption tends to be associated with “anti-obesity effects.”

What we need to see, if coconut oil has some special effect, is to give people a spoonful of coconut oil versus some other oil, and see if there’s any difference. And, when you do that—two tablespoons of coconut oil a day, versus two tablespoons of soybean oil a day—no significant difference in waistlines. But, what did happen was a significant increase in insulin resistance in the coconut-oil group, which is what eventually causes type 2 diabetes—despite being told to increase fruits and vegetables, cut down on sugars and animal fat, and despite an exercise program of walking 50 minutes a day, four days a week.

The only other placebo-controlled study of coconut oil and waistlines was published in 2017, and no significant changes in weight or waist or hip measurements, total fat, belly fat, nor butt fat. No benefit to coconut oil for obesity over placebo shown in any study to date.

So, how can coconut oil proponents get away with saying otherwise? Well, they like to talk about studies like this, showing that Pacific islanders who ate more traditional coconut-based diets were slimmer than those eating more modern diets with fewer coconut products. But, guess what they were eating instead? “The modern[ized] dietary pattern [was] primarily characterized by high intake[s] of sausage [and] eggs and processed foods.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: greekfood-tamystika via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

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

I was surprised to see, in this popular infographic, that there was evidently promising evidence that coconut oil could help with obesity. Well, if you pump the stomachs of rats with purified medium-chain fatty acids—one component of coconut oil—they end up eating less food. But, you don’t know if there’s any relevance to humans until you put it to the test.

Researchers compared breakfasts with the same amount of dairy fat, coconut-oil fat, or tallow (beef fat), and “no…effect…[on] hunger, fullness, satisfaction,” or how much they then went on to eat at lunchtime. So, where did this whole idea that coconut fat was somehow different come from? Well, six years ago, an “open-label pilot study” was published. They asked 20 men and women to eat two tablespoons of coconut oil a day for a month, and the men appeared to lose about an inch off their waist. Now, “open-label” means that the participants knew what they were eating; there wasn’t like some placebo control. In fact, there was no control group at all. So, you don’t know if the effects would have just happened anyway, without the coconut oil. There’s a well-recognized effect in dietary studies, where just being in a dietary study under observation tends to lead to a reduction in caloric intake—because you know they’re going to weigh you, and looking over your shoulder. But, there had never been a controlled study of coconut oil and waistlines in men and women until 2015.

About a hundred men and women were given about a tablespoon of coconut oil a day for three months, and lost nearly an inch off their waist after three months, compared to control. What did the control group get instead? Nothing. There was no placebo. And so, they were comparing doing something with doing nothing. And, when one does that, there’s often a placebo effect, regardless of the true efficacy of the treatment. And, they also suggested the coconut-oil group may want to take their dose with fruit. And, if they did end up eating more fruit, that, in and of itself, may help—as, despite its sugar content, fruit consumption tends to be associated with “anti-obesity effects.”

What we need to see, if coconut oil has some special effect, is to give people a spoonful of coconut oil versus some other oil, and see if there’s any difference. And, when you do that—two tablespoons of coconut oil a day, versus two tablespoons of soybean oil a day—no significant difference in waistlines. But, what did happen was a significant increase in insulin resistance in the coconut-oil group, which is what eventually causes type 2 diabetes—despite being told to increase fruits and vegetables, cut down on sugars and animal fat, and despite an exercise program of walking 50 minutes a day, four days a week.

The only other placebo-controlled study of coconut oil and waistlines was published in 2017, and no significant changes in weight or waist or hip measurements, total fat, belly fat, nor butt fat. No benefit to coconut oil for obesity over placebo shown in any study to date.

So, how can coconut oil proponents get away with saying otherwise? Well, they like to talk about studies like this, showing that Pacific islanders who ate more traditional coconut-based diets were slimmer than those eating more modern diets with fewer coconut products. But, guess what they were eating instead? “The modern[ized] dietary pattern [was] primarily characterized by high intake[s] of sausage [and] eggs and processed foods.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: greekfood-tamystika via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

Have you heard there is something special about those medium-chain fatty acids? Check out What About Coconuts, Coconut Milk, and Coconut Oil MCTs? for more.

And a bump in good cholesterol? I’ve got a video on that, too. See Coconut Oil and the Boost in HDL “Good” Cholesterol.

My other videos on coconut oil include:

What can really help with weight loss?

Weight loss is also the subject of my book, How Not to Diet (all proceeds from my books are donataed to charity).

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and to my audio podcast here and clicking on your mobile device’s icon.

The original video aired on January 15th 2018.

124 responses to “Flashback Friday: Coconut Oil and Abdominal Fat

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  1. This topic is a good example of how people could go to PubMed and see 2 studies and think they understand a topic but miss something major like insulin resistance.

  2. Thanks for this.

    Does anyone have a view on home-made coconut yogurt? The last thing I want to have is increased insulin resistance but I have just starting making home-made coconut yogurt with probiotics, made from coconut milk not oil of course.

    1. Isabelle,

      How do you make coconut yogurt? Do you use additives? Because good yogurt needs protein in the milk in order to form a creamy thick yogurt (the acid secreted by the lactobacteria during fermentation causes the proteins to denature and form a mesh-like gel), and coconut milk has very little protein — it’s mostly fat. 1 T of coconut milk has 3.2 grams of fat, 0.3 grams of protein, and not much else (besides water, of course).

      I make yogurt from soy milk: it has about the same amount of protein as dairy milk, about half the fat content, and about 1/10th the amount of sugar. I add only a yogurt starter culture and nothing else, and get very thick, creamy yogurt. Similar to the dairy yogurt I made before I transitioned from vegetarian to eating whole plant foods. (I often add a small amount of maple syrup along with the starter culture, because I like the resulting flavor, but it’s not necessary.)

      1. Hi Dr J,

        I do not use any additives. I used a can of organic coconut milk and a can of organic coconut cream, powder from probiotic capsules, maple syrup, inulin powder. I made it in the instant pot. I did not add any agar agar or gelatin. It was not very thick or creamy but I read that over time it would get thicker and creamer (with new batches). It was pretty rich and yes, high in fat. I just made my second batch last night and have just decided, after tasting it and reading your email, that I will not make it again. So thank you for your response – I will perhaps try the soy.

        1. And just to add… my biggest health concern is low bone density (runs in the family) and I was using the coconut yogurt method to get a certain probiotic into my system (a probiotic that is sold in the US and unfortunately not in France where I live). This particular strain was shown to have positive impacts on bone density.

          1. Hi Isabelle,

            I have osteoporosis, which probably also runs in my family (slender women).

            There are several videos about nutrition and osteoporosis on this site, which you can find by searching for “osteoporosis” (type it in the search bar).

            That said, I’m mostly of the opinion that osteoporosis is a made-up “disease” for several reasons. One is that once there was a drug developed to “treat“ it (and I think the first one was an accidental discovery), bone scanning devices suddenly appeared in doctor’s offices everywhere. But do these drugs reduce fractures? The evidence tends to say no, not significantly, not of the serious type, and not without serious adverse effects. Also, lots of older women (and men) have it; but they also have wrinkles and gray hair. Bone density is compared to that of 30 year old women; is there any reason to think that our bones should remain as dense at age 60 or more as they were at 30? Finally, bone density may be a measure of compressive strength, but not of tensile strength, which is more important to fractures, and I don’t think that osteoporosis necessarily means decreased tensile strength.

            Osteoporosis may be a risk factor for fractures (but people get fragility fractures without osteoporosis), but if so, it accounts for only about 1/6 of the risk; the other risk factors include poor muscle tone, poor balance, poor eyesight, poor lighting, slip hazards on the floor, etc. Surprisingly, my doctors never discuss these other 5/6 of the risk factors for a fracture; instead, they push pills. Now, I wonder: why is that? Because these other factors can be more easily and safely addressed. But they don’t earn doctors a lot of profit. OK, any profit.

            So my approach is to try to eat a healthy whole plant diet, taking into consideration the foods mentioned in the videos about osteoporosis, and To exercise, and to work to mitigate the other risk factors I listed.

            1. just wanted to chime in. I am a senior vegan and was taking an algae calcium supplement that included Vit K etc but stopped taking it when I recently started following Dr Esselstyns recommendations for my clogged carotid artery on one side of neck. Not sure whether I should take it or not, I have read calcium can clog arteries btw. I was vegetarian until recently so of course was including dairy in my diet but have stopped all that now vegan

              1. brit,

                That question has not been resolved within the WFPB community. But there are studies where there are warnings about it.

                I don’t supplement calcium. I look at the list of foods with calcium and I like leafy greens and oranges and chickpeas and beans of any type and soy products, so I feel covered. Almonds and figs were also on the list but I don’t eat those. I do eat the rest and those are probably the most of what I eat year in and out, except for my recent processed food spree.

                Almonds, Oranges, Dried figs, Soybeans, Garbanzo, white and pinto beans, Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach

                1. Yum – Almonds, Oranges, Dried figs, Soybeans, Garbanzo, white and pinto beans, Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach

                  There are all delicious foods in my opinion

                  And as for the vitamin K, (key to get the calcium into the bones) I think I might just walk over to the little Japanese grocery and pick up some natto. I tried it once and it was the worst thing I ever ate but I am thinking that I might just try it again (bone density test results are motivating me).

              2. Brit, this website says that the red algae supplement is virtually the same as any calcium carbonate supplement. https://nwhn.org/have-you-ever-heard-of-algaecal-im-being-deluged-with-ads-saying-any-nutrient-supplied-in-natural-form-such-as-from-plants-is-better-absorbed-than-nutrients-supplied-from-rocks/

                I would be concerned about taking any supplement, since your body cannot regulate absorption as it does with all food sources except heme iron. After I read what plaque is composed of, I stopped taking calcium supplements. Most doctors still do suggest it though for preventing bone loss in their female patients. I would suppose that combining a diet of mineral rich plant foods with exercise is a better solution. From research I did earlier, I recall that your first step should be taking steps to minimize loss of calcium from your body. “Excessive calcium loss in the urine can be due to factors like high intake of salt, caffeine, soda, or sugar, low levels of nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K, and even prolonged stress. These factors all promote an acidic pH (which promotes calcium loss).”

                I had been a vegetarian for 50 years and loved dairy, as I come from a long line of dairy farmers in the US and before that southern England and South Holland. Like you, I recently gave up dairy on the recommendation from Dr. Esselstyn. You can track your progress with the diet by taking the calcium score test. My cardiologist said to do this every two years, but a video I watched from Joel Kahn said to retest annually. He said that the radiation is similar to the amount in a mammogram, which many people take once a year. I do have minor calcium buildup and hope to reverse it with the Esselstyn program. Heart disease runs in my family, and I have gene variants that promote clotting.

                1. As far as I am concerned, a vegetarian is someone who eats a diet of vegetables (ie edible plants) just like a fruitarian is someone who eats a fruit diet. That’s what the word meant when it was first devised and used.

                  The bizarre notion that a vegetarian is just someone who doesn’t meat is something that I have never been able to understand.

                  And a vegan is someone who doesn’t use any animal products at all from leather shoes to woollen sweaters. As part of their lifestyle they obviously do not consume animal foods.

                  https://www.internationalvegan.org/about/

                2. I listen to Joel Kahn’s podcast and heard his recommendations on the Calcium Score test differently than Caroline. I heard him say to take it once not repeatedly. Yes, I heard him say the radiation is like a mammogram. But beware of any doctors who have you repeatedy take this test.

            2. Not medical advice. Merely informational. For medical advice, go with the wisdom of your locally licensed Physician.

              Information below is not universally accepted – reasonable people will disagree.

              The material below merely reflects my experience.

              Overall, Dr. J’s approach strikes me as being very sound.

              I will add my own impressions.

              Dr. J writes:

              “That said, I’m mostly of the opinion that osteoporosis is a made-up “disease” for several reasons.”

              Osteoporosis. Is. Real.

              Osteoporosis has been around long before all the current diagnostic materials and treatments came into vogue.

              Most pronounced in slim Caucasian females with a family history, increasing with age.

              But it hits others, too. Consider reductions in height with aging – both sexes – check out your own. Measure your current height, compare it with what you recollect that you used to be. As much as four inches of lost height is not uncommon in people by their nineties. Some of that is disc degeneration, but some of that may be vertebral body compression secondary to trauma and/or osteoporosis, as well.

              For example – I am off ~1/8 inch from my younger height. Probably just minimal diffuse disc narrowing.

              My brother reports that he is off 1 inch from his younger height. Hmmm . . .

              Why the difference?

              Possibly – because of differences in knowledge and lifestyle (see below).

              Possibly – dumb luck.

              There is no way to know with certainty.

              —————————-

              Dr. J.’s other points are well laid out and are well taken:

              “Surprisingly, my doctors never discuss these other 5/6 of the risk factors for a fracture; instead, they push pills.”

              Yup.

              I certainly understand skepticism in regards to current diagnostic and treatment regimens.

              I am as concerned about the pill mentality as Dr.J.

              Motives? I will keep my own counsel.

              I offer some additional lifestyle suggestions which may be efficacious – just take care to avoid physical strain beyond your capabilities:

              (1) Weight-bearing exercise. Walking, dancing, minimal weight training. Not bicycling. Not swimming. I try to get people off their bicycles or bicycle machines and onto (lightly) pounding the pavement or getting out onto the dance floor (dancing – avoid non-slip shoe soles if your balance can handle it – non-slip rubber shoe soles rip up dancing ankles, knees and hips). If your body cannot handle weight-bearing exercise, non-weight-bearing exercise is certainly better than nothing.

              (2) Instead of focusing primarily on increasing calcium intake – focus instead very clearly on reducing calcium outflow (primarily renal excretion). With increased intake, you will still absorb perhaps only 1/3 of the ingested calcium (less as intake increases or need decreases). If you reduce outflow, on the other hand, every mg of retained calcium counts – so your efforts of reducing outflow can be thought of as being very roughly 3X more effective than increasing intake. Things that tend to increase calcium excretion (to be avoided): inactivity, smoking, dietary sodium, dietary acid (soft drinks – and likely vinegar and acid fruit, such as citrus and cranberries and such). Why acid intake? Acid intake causes bone calcium to be used as an acid/alkali buffer, which is then excreted via the kidneys, promoting bone loss. Note all the added acid in processed foods: added citric acid everywhere (used as a preservative), Vitamin C, phosphoric acid, etc. If your eat processed foods, read those product labels.

              Increased alkali foods = which is what you want = most vegetables.

              Careful about a lot of information out there on acid/base diets. A lot of what they are selling appears to be intentionally counterintuitive. If they can get you believing the opposite of reality – then they’ve got you! When you find writers trying to convince you that vinegar and lemons are not acidic – typical of these acid/base diet guides – set all the information in that book or website aside as of questionable reliability, no matter what their poor tortured rationale may be. And I have seen some bizarre rationales.

              The simple test: acids are sour. If you taste sour – you are ingesting acid. If someone tries to convince you otherwise – discard that source.

              Note that many drinks are sweet/sour – these all demonstrate physiologic acidity. Sugar does not neutralize acid – sugar makes acid palatable. Examples: Colas – phosphoric acid plus sweetener. 7-up – citric acid plus sweetener. Real lemonade / limeade – citrus plus sweetener. Margarita. Whisky sour. Tom Collins. Gimlet. Daiquiri. Mojito. Etc. Etc. Etc.

              Non-sour foods may be mildly acidic (whole grains – which is OK) or may be neutral or alkaline.

              Veggies tend to be alkaline.

              (3) Increase Vitamin D as appropriate – preferably from sunlight as appropriate.

              (4) Increase Vitamin K as appropriate – from food. Vitamin K is not only about blood coagulation – it is also about bone health. The usual cautions in regards to blood thinners apply.

              (5) It used to be thought that ingested amino acids in proteins are acids which increase calcium excretion leading to osteoporosis secondary to buffering bone calcium. It turns out that ingested amino acids do increase calcium excretion – but they also increase calcium absorption. The result tends to be a wash – or even a net gain in body calcium.

              (6) Pills for the treatment of osteoporosis?

              I am most happy to leave that discussion to others.

              All the best –

              Vivamus

              1. Vivamus,

                Thanks very much for this detailed advice/recommendations. It is so wonderful to be discussing this with plant-based focused people rather than those pushing very heavy animal protein diets.

                I do not plan to be taking any medication and am not taking any now. Am lifting weights and exercising as much as I can. I love vegetables and eat a lot of them. Number 2 and number 5 of your points are particularly interesting. Do you have a view on plant proteins such as pea protein, hemp protein, etc…? Or do you think that we should get it all from beans, quinoa, soy, etc.. ? Many thanks

                Oh and just a cautionary tale for others – my bone density situation is a result of past smoking (with lots of black coffee and diet soda); serious competitive swimming (2 hours a day training for years); low vitamin D; genetics; desk-bound job. However on top of that, I kicked my body into temporary hyperthyroidism which lasted six months and resulted in lots of weight loss (and accompanying bone loss). I have no antibodies and it was temporary – it was caused by iodine supplements and apparently a small thyroid gland.

                1. Not medical advice. Merely informational. For medical advice, go with the wisdom of your locally licensed Physician.

                  Isabelle,

                  You are welcome.

                  You wrote:

                  “Do you have a view on plant proteins such as pea protein, hemp protein, etc…? Or do you think that we should get it all from beans, quinoa, soy, etc.. ?”

                  A question for you – and please feel free not to answer in the name of privacy –

                  Do you have any reason to believe that you are protein deficient?

                  Has a Board Certified M.D. recently diagnosed you with kwashiorkor?

                  Or given you any other reason to be concerned about protein deficiency?

                  ——————————

                  In general, I advocate a Whole Foods Plant Based diet – food unprocessed to the extent possible, except for your preparing and cooking it yourself – legumes, grains (preferably unground), vegetables, fruit – minimal oils with each food intake if you do not have a current significant cardiovascular diagnosis: avocado, nuts, seeds, 100% cooking chocolate, minimal extra virgin olive oil if needed – herbs and spices – plus a minimal or no naughty irresistables. Preferably organic if affordrable/available/in good condition. Low salt (500-1200 mg), low fat (10-20% by calories), low or zero added sugar (< 90 calories daily).

                  Look with great skepticism on all nutrition fads: all supplements (except B12 – and possibly Vitamin D); multivitamin and mineral concoctions; megadose vitamins; newly declared "superfoods"; oat bran; Atkins style high protein diets; Paleo diets; keto diets; protein-enhanced concoctions; calcium-enhanced concoctions; gluten-free diets for the masses; fish oil; flaxseed; etc., etc., etc.

                  The simplest – and most accurate – measure of nutrition faddism is to consider if currently living traditionally long lived people partake in that particular food. If the traditional long lived people of Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece); and the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California – are not partaking – and they are the healthiest people on the planet – you probably do not need to be partaking, either.

                  So consider – are traditional Okinawans, et.al., eating hemp protein?

                  No.

                  Are traditional Okinawans, et.al., suffering from an acute or chronic hemp protein deficiency?

                  No.

                  Do the traditional Okinawans produce the healthiest and longest lived ladies on the planet?

                  Yes.

                  Would you like to be the one of the healthiest and longest lived ladies on the planet?

                  Fill in the blank: __________.

                  Do you need hemp protein?

                  No.

                  This is a pretty simple yardstick – applicable to all nutrition faddism.

                  It is the most accurate yardstick we have.

                  More accurate, certainly, that the oft-quoted "gold standard" of reviews of massive double-blind controlled studies. Such reviews and studies are often contradictory and inaccurate and even biased in design, depending on the study's funding sponsors.

                  Always consider such studies – yes, they do get the thought processes flowing – in conjunction with the Okinawan et. al. populations as a reality check.

                  Reality check wins out 'most every time.

                  ——————————-

                  Proteins.

                  All foods contain proteins. The concept of dividing foods into protein groups and other groups is problematic.

                  In more-or-less descending order – depending on how you count things up (total calories vs. nutrient density, etc.) – beans, grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts – in a diet based on variety and moderation – will together provide sufficient protein with no need for a whole lot of thinkn' and adustin' – if a person is maintaining a steady-state weight. If undertaking weight loss, a little more focus on beans, grains and vegetables may be appropriate.

                  Protein is water soluble, with limited body stores. I suggest similar intake on a daily basis. Greatest effect may be seen with making maximum protein intake at morning (breakfast) and evening (dinner) meals instead of the typical American lunch and dinner meals. Protein metabolism is improved by as much as 30% by taking beans and grains within six hours of one another – optimally at the same meal. Probably not strictly necessary – but why not? Of the grains, rice runs the lowest in protein ~5%. I believe that barley tends to run the highest (15%), but memory is imperfect. Beans, off the top of my head, run 20-24% protein by calorie. Specifics – lotsa information in books and on the Internet.

                  If you are out to be a perfectionist on protein nutrition – say, your kidneys are limping along and you want to get the maximum years out of them that you can – hey, they're your kidneys, and you are very fond of them – or you and your dependents are living off your limited stored post-apocalyptic food supply and are each beginning to eye the others as possible sources of nutrition – to the extent that you are now sleeping with one eye open – go ahead and match the protein percentage on beans and grains with mathematical precision and eat them together in one meal – you only have to do the math once, and there you are. For casual everyday use, however, one serving of beans with two servings of most grains (four servings of rice) – along with lots of other foods – will likely get you in the right ball park.

                  The body needs sufficient protein – and not more. We used to believe that excess protein was simply excreted out of sight and out of mind, and of no consequence. Since that innocent, carefree earlier era, we have learned that excess protein strains kidneys – particularly excess animal protein. Whey protein is animal protein.

                  When I encounter someone with renal compromise – the first thing I do is get them off their protein drinks and their protein bars and any other protein nutrition fad "food-like substance" – and, of course, their high protein diets – as they may be ingesting. Alternatively – when I encounter people who advocate their protein-added foods or high protein diets – I toss in a question about renal function, and sometimes get unlucky – "How did you know?" – this can result in helpful conversations.

                  In the U.S., it is assumed that renal deterioration is a normal aspect of aging – eGFR charts are actually divided into age ranges. I have found myself – from my own experience – questioning this matter.

                  Is renal deterioration really an inevitable consequence of aging?

                  This was just a question in the back of my mind, until last year . . .

                  Last year my wise and thoughtful Physician ran a renal profile on me. I would not have thought to do so – but I try not to interfere. Just for fun – I ran some calculations on the eGFR. Results: acceptable to someone in the 20-30 y/o range, which is younger than my chronological age. Whaddya know! Maybe significant, maybe not. Thinkin' 'bout it – I have intentionally been running toward the lower healthy end of appropriate protein intake – and of salt intake – and running a healthier than average diet since my late 20s. Could the "inevitable" deterioration of renal function associated with age have been halted since that time? Maybe – maybe not. Can't say for sure. Alternatively – one could question my interpretation of the test (I certainly do) – or everything could have turned out this way anyway. We are not talking a double blind controlled large population study here. Still – it's mine and I'll take what I've got.

                  A long term lower end protein, low end salt, and a better than average nutrition diet – for this sample of one – don't seem to have hurt anything anyway.

                  Your mileage may vary.

                  What are reasonable protein targets?

                  Kempner ran 4% for limited times under carefully controlled conditions. Don't mess with this. Too low.

                  Fruitarians may run in the 5% range. The fruitarians that I have observed – this appears to be too low to me.

                  Mother's milk – 5%. (Cow's milk – 20%; mouse's milk, 50% – try it, you'll like it). Great for little tykes. Not applicable to adults. Too low.

                  Traditional Okinawans – 9%. And theirs is a low calorie diet,as well. Among the longest lived people on the planet. Now this is beginning to look interesting . . . but it is just one study in one relatively isolated population, so proceed with caution.

                  Recent USDA guidelines – 11%. Interesting – typical prior guidelines (from memory) were 13% (but that may have been ADA or other guidelines – I do not recollect with certainty). The USDA guidelines always include a significant "fudge factor" – often in the range of 30% above and beyond considering the health needs of 97% or so of the population – so, when you think about it, this 11% guideline is not really that far off the 9% Okinawan experience.

                  Lotsa recent stuff out there in the past few years about older people needing more protein. This did not make intuitive sense to me – but intuition can be in error. So I looked at the what all the excitement was about – the actual original studies.

                  The study that I particularly remember was one that showed that elderly men on an exercise program gained strength more quickly on a higher protein diet than on a more typical protein diet.

                  I pondered. If you are 70 years old and someone puts you on a exercise program, does it really matter all that much if you gain the same amount of strength in 3 1/2 months instead of 3 months?

                  Is that worth potentially messing around with your already age-decreased renal function – and possibly your longevity ? Neither of which was addressed in the study.

                  And from this sort of science we get the newspapers stating that older people need to intake additional protein "for their health."

                  Beware of nutritional studies out of the field of exercise physiology. Exercise physiologists prefer to do short studies – for them, three months is a long study. They never seem to take overall health indices – or human longevity – into account.

                  ———————-

                  You wrote:

                  ". . . lots of black coffee and diet soda . . . "

                  After decades of encouragement, my brother finally cut out the Diet Pepsi.

                  After we discussed his one inch height loss. And what the future will bring . . .

                  Good for him!

                  He proudly showed me what he is drinking now – some sort of powdered "health" drink concoction.

                  I looked at the label: made with citric acid.

                  I explained to him once more.

                  No apparent effect.

                  You be careful.

                  Myself? I have finally – after all these years – focused on foods that already contain plenty of water.

                  Whole fruits and vegetables.

                  With good ol' water to wash 'em down.

                  ———————————————

                  You wrote:

                  "Am lifting weights and exercising as much as I can"

                  I encourage weight bearing exercise over bicycling or swimming.

                  ———————————————

                  Isabelle.

                  There's work to be done.

                  You be well –

                  Vivamus

                  1. Thanks, Vivamus and “how did you know?”

                    Hello Vivamus,

                    I haven’t had sugar or diet soda or cigarettes in 18 years. I eat a whole food plant based diet with lots of vegetables, lots of beans, some nuts, some seeds, more olive oil than you would approve of and a small amount of Celtic sea salt (with the occasional glass of red wine). I have no reason to believe that I am protein deficient – I have huge amounts of energy (more so than any of my much-younger colleagues) and feel great. My recent focus on protein was related to certain studies showing strong associations with bone density and protein intake that got me thinking that maybe I should consume more. Also watching my mother fall a few weeks ago and get put on home hospice one month after her doctor told her that aside from her osteoporosis she was in excellent health (with outstanding blood test results). She is 92. As I said, it runs in the family – my sisters and I have low bone density, with a younger sister with severe osteoporosis.
                    But (and how did you know) I do have high créatinine – it is within range but at the very top of the range (which is high for a plant-based eater). And it may be due to past indiscretions, many years ago (or it may be related to the fact that I am fairly muscular for my age). Whatever.. I love my kidneys and need to do what is right for them which means no additional protein over what I am already consuming. I have really been grappling with this over the past few weeks but your comments have convinced me that I do not need to start downing lots of hemp and other plant based protein.

                    Thanks again !

                    Santé!

                    Isabelle

                    1. Isabelle,

                      You are welcome.

                      You wrote: “how did you know?”

                      Like shooting fish in a barrel . . .

                      ——————–

                      You wrote: “I eat a whole food plant based diet with lots of vegetables, lots of beans, some nuts, some seeds, more olive oil than you would approve of and a small amount of Celtic sea salt (with the occasional glass of red wine).”

                      I see no whole grains. Why that choice?

                      ——————–

                      “My recent focus on protein was related to certain studies showing strong associations with bone density and protein intake that got me thinking that maybe I should consume more.”

                      Could you post urls leading to the studies? I would like to learn.

                      Also – in your own analyses of the original studies – not just the abstracts and discussions, but the bodies of the works – how do you feel the studies speak to the evaluation of long-term consequences of increased protein intake? Renal and other consequences? Were these observational studies of existing populations, or were these interventional studies? How much protein intake? Animal, vegetable or mineral? Was the protein real whole food, or was it a manufactured “edible foodlike substance” (credit to Michael Pollan). Were these longer term studies by which one can evaluate long term health consequences, or were they shorter term studies by which we must infer health consequences by extrapolating from this data to that data to the other data? When you compare the data from the studies to actual current long-lived populations, do the conclusions of the studies match these populations’ actual behaviors? I.e. = do these studies pass the “sniff test?”

                      Are there any conflicts of interest with the authors? With the funders of the studies?

                      Where might the Law of Unintended Results be applied to these studies? What of Murphy’s Law?

                      And last but not least: would you stake your life – and other people’s lives in your charge – on your analysis of the conclusions of these studies?

                      Could you successfully defend those conclusions in the event of an Inquest? A Licensing Board Investigation? Twelve good men and true?

                      You know – the usual questions you always ask yourself when examining any health study.

                      ——————–

                      “Also watching my mother fall a few weeks ago and get put on home hospice one month after her doctor told her that aside from her osteoporosis she was in excellent health (with outstanding blood test results).”

                      Hospice care:

                      In the 1990’s – from what I could see – hospice was euhthanaia. Morphine was freely administered by hospice staff as the patient died of thirst. Death in five days or so. The nurses reminded me of the hostesses of the dystopian tale of Ethical Suicide Parlours: “ethical suicide, which consisted of going to the nearest Suicide Parlor and asking a Hostess to kill you painlessly while you lay on a Barcalounger.” Kurt Vonnegut, 1968. Best not to read past the first five or six pages, below – the full story is no more appropriate to today’s sensibilities than is Mark Twain’s unforgivable novel, “Huckleberry Finn.”

                      “All modern American literature,” Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “comes from one book by Mark Twain called ‘Huckleberry Finn.’

                      Welcome to the Monkey House – Vonnegut – 1968
                      https://www.vrdiscovery.com/scifimed/MonkStry.pdf

                      Current hospice care now – in 2020 – appears to have evolved into just being more intense home nursing care several times a week. So – not everything gets worse with time.

                      Some things may even get better.

                      I would like to hope.

                      ——————–

                      “She is 92.”

                      Mother is 96.

                      Gotcha!

                      One of my favorite hobbies has long been keeping Mother alive.

                      One of the most rewarding.

                      Mother is a Sweetheart. Always has been.

                      Butcha know – I have actually learned more about human longevity from Mother – and other elderly relatives – than they have from me.

                      I listen to what they have to say. I watch and learn.

                      There is a lot of health wisdom that is not written down in health literature. It is the wisdom of the everyday life of long-lived people.

                      And when I read health literature – on NutritionFacts or elsewhere – I compare it to what I see.

                      The “reality check.”

                      The “smell check.”

                      When it matches – it’s a keeper.

                      When it doesn’t – it may be best to toss it back in the water and let it swim away just as fast as it can go.

                      “But (and how did you know [elementary – Vivamus]) I do have high créatinine – it is within range but at the very top of the range (which is high for a plant-based eater). And it may be due to past indiscretions, many years ago (or it may be related to the fact that I am fairly muscular for my age). Whatever..”

                      Yup – playing Doctor is not quite as simple as it sounds.

                      I have knowledge.

                      Enough to be content to leave this to you and your locally licensed Physician.

                      ——————–

                      “I love my kidneys and need to do what is right for them which means no additional protein over what I am already consuming. I have really been grappling with this over the past few weeks but your comments have convinced me that I do not need to start downing lots of hemp and other plant based protein.”

                      Adding protein could make your bones last until you are 120 years old.

                      While killing your kidneys when you reach 80.

                      But the goal is always for everything to go all at once.

                      See a work by one of the more important doctors of the last few hundred years.

                      Consider that this poem is read by doctors to their children on their father’s knee – generation by generation. The concept is instilled in earliest childhood. It may be among the doctor’s first childhood memories. And you may begin to understand:

                      The Deacon’s Masterpiece – 1858
                      https://www.gutenberg.org/files/45280/45280-h/45280-h.htm

                      Isabelle.

                      If you would like to complete this discussion – probably best to segue to tomorrow’s comment section as this one is retired.

                      If not, no problem – I am accustomed to asking questions which are never answered.

                      That tells all we need to know.

                      To your health!

                      Vivamus

              2. Replying to Vivamus

                There seem to be a number of studies associated with bone health and protein. I have always been of the view that we all get enough protein without even trying and that many if not most people get in fact too much in the way of protein. However as it relates to “bone health” I am now questioning this.

                Here are a few excerpts from one report that is a consensus review of numerous studies.

                *Expert consensus finds that higher protein intake benefits adult bone health*

                A new expert consensus endorsed by the European Society for Clinical and Economical Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, and Musculoskeletal Diseases (ESCEO) and the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) has reviewed the benefits and safety of dietary protein for bone health, based on analyses of major research studies. The review, published in Osteoporosis International found that a protein-rich diet, provided there is adequate calcium intake, is in fact beneficial for adult bone health. It also found no evidence that acid load due to higher dietary protein intakes, whether of animal or vegetable origin, is damaging to bone health.
                Hip fracture risk is modestly decreased with higher dietary protein intakes, provided calcium intakes are adequate

                Bone mineral density (BMD), which is an important determinant of bone strength, appears to be positively associated with dietary protein intakes

                https://www.iofbonehealth.org/news/expert-consensus-finds-higher-protein-intake-benefits-adult-bone-health

                The above was from 2018. The below excerpts are from 2019

                Optimizing Dietary Protein for Lifelong Bone Health
                A Paradox Unraveled

                *At the very least, contrary to the longstanding hypothesis, fairly compelling evidence to date suggests that higher intakes of dietary protein do not have any detrimental effect on bone and likely pose a beneficial effect.*

                https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/fulltext/2019/05000/optimizing_dietary_protein_for_lifelong_bone.5.aspx

                I did not mention whole grains but I do eat and enjoy them (especially quinoa and 100% buckwheat soba noodles).

                Thanks for your other comments too, and the poem (I did not read it yet but for sure I will).

                Isabelle

          2. Just a thought. I think it was Dr. Will In Fiber Fueled, but other doctors as well say that taking probiotics is not very helpful in the long run. If you are eating lots of diverse plants and fiber sources, your gut will grow the right bugs itself. If you aren’t then the probiotics you take will die, because they don’t have the food they need to thrive. It’s really easier than you may think to get what we need…”It’s the food…” as Dr. Klapper would say.

            1. Yes and no, but the result is the same. You do need probiotics, but they come from things like lettuce and grapes that have quintillions of optimal bacteria growing all over them that you constantly inoculate your gut with.

          3. Isabelle, you’ll be happy to hear that soy consumption is associated with greater bone density! I believe I learned this from Dr. Greger’s podcast on soy a while ago. So trying out soy instead of coconut will be much more beneficial for your concern! Plants are awesome.

    2. I think even coconut milk has a high level of saturated fat, meaning a lot of what is oil is in the milk. The oil comes from refining the milk. Coconut milk very unhealthy. Probably more info on nutrition facts about the milk.

  3. If you use full fat coconut milk, you might as well use dairy. Reduced fat coconut is the same as using 2% milk or worse. It’s the saturated fat that is the problem. Using any other plant based milk solves the problem.

  4. I have been watching videos from the Univ of Calif for more than 10 years, especially the medical school for the public series. One of the doctors/lecturers that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to was Dr Daphne Miller
    https://www.drdaphne.com/dmmd
    Here is a link to one of her talks:
    https://www.uctv.tv/shows/Bringing-the-Wisdom-and-Science-of-Traditional-Diets-to-Our-Own-Plates-20220

    I remembered Dr Miller today because of her view on coconut oil. As I recall, she says something close to, ‘you may as well eat organic pork lard and save yourself half the saturated fat’ LOL Many people have bought into the marketing and just do not realise what they are consuming.

    I looked at a few brands of vegan cheese yesterday, though it isn’t something I use. Coconut oil was the second or third ingredient listed on the few brands I looked at. Yuck. Palm oil was used in one or two.
    https://daiyafoods.com/our-foods/shreds/cheddar-cutting-board-shreds/

    1. Barb,

      Thanks for sharing.

      The pork lard comment is such a good illustration.

      Speaking of illustrations, Mic the Vegan took on the “Oatly is the New Coke” concept where people had compared the sugar and glycemic index to Coke.

      I use Planet Oat which is slightly lower in sugars and is no oil but this helped me to understand how much it might or might not affect my blood sugar.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddWNVWmw_Cc&t=707s

        1. Consumer Reports shows these two oat milks tied with a score of 64. Their winner among plant based milks is Silk Organic Soymilk Unsweet, with a score of 80. That is also their “best buy” among plant milks. Almond and coconut milks scored lowest. The plant based milks were evaluated for nutrition, ingredients, and taste.

      1. I say it is worse based on the FFA’s video Mic the Vegan did. It was the worst oil for that.

        I think that means that you would achieve insulin resistance faster because of the FFA’s.

  5. There are 3 plant oils that I know of that are high in saturated fat: coconut oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil.

    So I avoid these, in the rare processed foods that I do sometimes eat. (I also avoid hydrogenated fats/oils which result in trans-fatty acids.).

    Oh, wait, except for cocoa fat, which is relatively high in saturated fatty acids, and present in the little servings of dark chocolate (85% cocoa) that I eat sometimes. And even this amount (36% – 43% saturated fat) is lower than that in the three oils I listed above.

    1. Those tropical oils also are terrible not only for your health, but also for the planet, since they contribute greatly to deforestation. Their popularity is a testament to the power of marketing. I was misled for a period of time….

    1. Barb,

      That comparison to lard is unbelievable!

      Keto is so in love with coconut oil and I know there are reasons that they choose that versus other oils and, obviously, they aren’t afraid of fat content. Nor are the afraid of insulin resistance because they go so low carb that their blood sugar isn’t spiking (and they didn’t watch Dr. Greger’s video on acetone.)

      One is that coconut oil increased the “good” HDL cholesterol when compared to butter and extra-virgin olive oil. So people who are going to eat high fat, tend to find it one of the best.

      My Keto friend knows that she is highly insulin resistant using it but she judged it the best of the choices and she might be right. If you are doing keto, it is olive oil or coconut oil. She isn’t going to leave Keto, so I would rather her choose the healthier of the oils.

      A lot of the vegan processed food products actually use worse oils than the Keto crowd use and I am not sure why. And, yes, I prefer no oil and some products do exist. It helps that there are sauces and dressings and hummus and milks and other processed foods without oil.

      1. The worst fat other than trans fat is saturated fat, so coconut oil is far worse than olive oil. All the docs say if you use oil, use olive oil, and they all say coconut is the worst; so I would seriously caution your keto friend against it.

    2. Barb,

      I looked up an article and they used obscure islands in the pacific as how they know coconut is good for you.

      It was hard to find the data but their first example was the Tokelauans who eat a lot of coconut who have a life expectancy of 69 years.

      They also used the example of the Kitavians but immediately that didn’t make ANY sense at all because the Kitavians are mostly Plant-Based and they use almost no oil is what I read about them. Their saturated fat is from eating coconut.

      Their life expectancy isn’t much different than ours. They don’t have the Okinawan or Adventist longevity.

      But they don’t have our medical care, so their living into their 70’s might be extraordinary.

      They are certainly not Keto. They are high carb, very little oil, higher fat but not from oil.

    3. The AHA advises against the use of coconut oil and, in its scientific report on dietary fats and cardiovascular disease, noted:

      ‘A recent survey reported that 72% of the American public rated coconut oil as a “healthy food” compared with 37% of nutritionists.94 This disconnect between lay and expert opinion can be attributed to the marketing of coconut oil in the popular press. The fatty acid profile of coconut oil is 82% saturated, about half lauric acid, and the rest myristic, palmitic, stearic, and short-chain fatty acids (Table). Lauric acid replacing carbohydrates increases LDL cholesterol but by about half as much as myristic and palmitic acids (Figure 5, right). Lauric acid increases HDL cholesterol about as much as myristic but more than palmitic acid. The net effect of increasing lauric acid and decreasing carbohydrates is a slight reduction in the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol. However, as discussed earlier in this report, changes in HDL cholesterol caused by diet or drug treatments can no longer be directly linked to changes in CVD, and therefore, the LDL cholesterol–raising effect should be considered on its own. Furthermore, with respect to CVD, the informative comparison is between coconut oil and vegetable oils high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. A carefully controlled experiment compared the effects of coconut oil, butter, and safflower oil supplying polyunsaturated linoleic acid.95 Both butter and coconut oil raised LDL cholesterol compared with safflower oil, butter more than coconut oil, as predicted by the meta-regression analysis of individual dietary saturated fatty acids (Figure 5, right). Another carefully controlled experiment found that coconut oil significantly increased LDL cholesterol compared with olive oil.96 A recent systematic review found 7 controlled trials, including the 2 just mentioned, that compared coconut oil with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils.97 Coconut oil raised LDL cholesterol in all 7 of these trials, significantly in 6 of them. The authors also noted that the 7 trials did not find a difference in raising LDL cholesterol between coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fat such as butter, beef fat, or palm oil. Clinical trials that compared direct effects on CVD of coconut oil and other dietary oils have not been reported. However, because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil.’
      https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510

    4. Coconut and palm oils are very shelf stable, unlike unsaturated vegetable oils. That is why all the processors use them for their products.

  6. I thought eating fruit may cause some weight gain. Not the case in some of the information in this video. Fruit is turning out to be a silver bullet, alloyed with gold and platinum. Good for the heart, good for weight loss, good for preventing stroke, good for being good and just goooooooooood. I think I will get some now.

    1. Dan,

      Depends whether you eat the fruit or juice it.

      Juicing it is likely to lead to weight gain. I say that from the calorie density study where there was a difference in calorie intake when people ate a bowl of lentil soup, but their satiety didn’t adjust when they drank juice. They ate the same calories on top of the juice. Eating a piece of fruit, they ate less. Juicing also spikes blood sugar more.

      High Carb Hannah DID gain weight on fruit but she was not eating whole fruit.

      1. Deb,
        I have a built in blender / juicer / food processor. They are called teeth. It’s good to know I can have better health using them instead of a mechanical device.

    2. Good thought, Dan. I would add that some recent advice given by the World Health Organization, after a lengthy study, said that if they could recommend one thing to improve health worldwide, it would be to eat more fruit. I believe that was their number one recommendation…:]

  7. I now live in the US but was born and grew up in a tropical country. I’m not writing to defend coconuts but to share an observation, and I do understand that observations are not research. When I was growing up, the only kind of cooking oil available was coconut oil. Either coconut oil or coconut milk was added to every rice dish, except plain rice, and every curry cooked. In addition, there were all kind of desserts and snacks in which the main ingredient was coconut flesh. Rice was the most commonly consumed food, coconuts the second. But, people were very healthy. Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer were rare and limited to the elderly. Then in the early nineties, two things happened 1) the so-called vegetable oils arrived, which was cheaper than coconut oil. 2) Western fast-food restaurants, like McDonald’s, KFC, and PizzaHut arrived. Now, overweight and obesity are very common. So are chronic degenerative diseases, even among young people. Many people are on drugs to control one or more chronic conditions. The most common surgery is bypass surgery, which was not known there at the time I left.

      1. Thanks George for your input.
        As you have lived in the tropics yourself …
        . people can eat a lot of CO if combined with natural traditional tropical region diet,
        Those people do not need any science, The scientists need to learn from them why CO is a good thing

        1. Yes, ignore the science – believe the marketing hype instead.

          Honestly, preferring stories and anecdotes to the results of well-conducted scientific trials makes us a food industry marketers’ dream target market.

            1. Just stating that ‘left is right’ or ‘up is down’ doesn’t make it true. All you are doing is making unsubstantiated assertions and deliberately ignoring the scientific evidence. Hmm, I’m guessing that you must be a low carber then.

              ‘A carefully controlled experiment compared the effects of coconut oil, butter, and safflower oil supplying polyunsaturated linoleic acid.95 Both butter and coconut oil raised LDL cholesterol compared with safflower oil, butter more than coconut oil, as predicted by the meta-regression analysis of individual dietary saturated fatty acids (Figure 5, right). Another carefully controlled experiment found that coconut oil significantly increased LDL cholesterol compared with olive oil.96 A recent systematic review found 7 controlled trials, including the 2 just mentioned, that compared coconut oil with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils.97 Coconut oil raised LDL cholesterol in all 7 of these trials, significantly in 6 of them. The authors also noted that the 7 trials did not find a difference in raising LDL cholesterol between coconut oil and other oils high in saturated fat such as butter, beef fat, or palm oil. Clinical trials that compared direct effects on CVD of coconut oil and other dietary oils have not been reported. However, because coconut oil increases LDL cholesterol, a cause of CVD, and has no known offsetting favorable effects, we advise against the use of coconut oil.’
              https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510

                1. It’s total bunk. There weren’t ‘Millions of healthy people …. with plenty CO’. People using small amounts of CO for cooking is one thing but using ‘plenty CO’ is another.

                  It’s worth noting too that George acknowledges that such people got heart disease and cancer as they got older (if they lived that long). And with all due respect to George, it’s probably better to discuss these issues using actual data rather than the fond remembrances of a
                  distant childhood.

                  Plant Positive has some information on this issue that analyses the claims made by saturated fat/coconut oil promoters about the relatively small numbers of Pacific Islanders that actually consume large amounts of coconut products

                  ‘So what about their rates of heart disease? The authors state that the numbers of people available for their study were too small to allow for definitive conclusions about their rates of heart disease. This is the paper that is the basis for claims that they did not have heart disease …………………………….

                  The only diagnostic tool used to evaluate the cardiovascular health of these people was electrocardiography.

                  Here is a prior study looking at their rates of heart disease. Electrocardiography was the means of testing. An ECG only measures the electrical activity of the heart. From this we can see that those tested had not experienced a prior heart attack, and that their heart function was normal. Modern methods of assessing their degree of atherosclerosis were not used. Assessments of their rates of heart disease were not based on mortality data. Again, this is really weak evidence. Moreover, cross-sectional assessments of their serum cholesterol levels showed patterns similar to those of high-cholesterol, high-heart disease cultures like those measured in the US. Do you see how their cholesterol kept increasing as they got older, and then fell sharply at the end of life?’

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfAOHWUD_TI&feature=emb_title

                  The AHA continues to advise against coconut oil because it raises LDL and thereby CVD risk. That sounds like ‘common sense’ to me.

    1. I believe that at least one of the studies finding coconut oil to be beneficial compared the traditional plant based diet (which included coconut oil) to the Standard American diet. So was the health benefit from the coconut oil vs other fats and oils, or from the plant-based diet vs. SAD with liberal amounts of animal fat and protein, sugar and processed foods?

      1. Caroline, yes.

        But I can point to Dr. Greger saying that if people were only going to eat broccoli with a drizzle of oil on it, then use it.

        George is talking about a little oil or coconut milk in cooking.

        That is different than the Keto group which genuinely are eating 2 tablespoons of oil on purpose thinking it helps them lose weight and helps their lipids and helps them with Diabetes. I do know people who have done that.

        I honestly did try coconut oil because of the anecdotal Alzheimer’s person, but I realize now that coconut oil could have saturated fat and be seriously bad for Alzheimer’s in general, but the brain of someone who is far off in Alzheimer’s could get some fuel and mentally be better, even if saturated fat is not good for the brain to prevent Alzheimer’s.

        I threw up every time and my experiment did not last long. I tried putting it in a few things like peanut butter thinking it would mask the oil, but I drove to work after and threw up for 5 minutes at the fence and was just happy that it wasn’t in my car.

    2. George,

      I will suggest that the rice and curry is so healthy that there are Blue Zones who live on those.

      One island which the Keto community pointed to where they ate a ridiculous amount of coconut only had a lifespan of 69 years.

    3. George, your traditional cuisine sounds lovely! Rich, flavorful and healthy! It makes me so sad to see these western food companies infiltrating every corner around the globe resulting in a rapid increase in health problems.

      I make ‘curries’, albeit without the coconut, and enjoy them as they are though I really envy you the fare you grew up with George!

    4. I live in the Philippines where coconuts are common. However, people usually buy other oils because they are cheaper than coconut oil. That said, the ubiquitous palm oil and palm kernel oil are also very high in saturated fat. The worst thing, though, is that the most commonly bought cooking oils are hydrogenated generic vegetable oils. In other words, they deliver trans fats rather than PUFAs and MUFAs. I think that everybody acknowledges that trans fats are worse for our health than saturated fats.

      The other point I would make is that is that the traditional diets using coconut oil/milk for cooking were usually low fat overall. The traditional Filipino dishes my wife makes for me are all completely vegetarian. Fish and meat weren’t everyday staples for most people back then, nor were the high fat snack foods currently sold everywhere, unlike today. They were most often eaten on feast days and other special occasions.

      In other words, using coconut oil/milk as a cooking oil in the context of an otherwise low fat WFPB traditional diet was unlikely to have posed the same problems that in does in the context of modern high fat Westernised diets.

      1. right on the money Mr F !, as you are saying, low fat veg. diet with CO is good
        When science is not a common sense , than common sense tells us to discard the “science”

        1. No, I am not saying it is ‘good’,

          I am saying that a low fat WFPB diet is good. Whether a low fat WFPB diet incorporating CO is better than one based on say fish fats or olive oil or no high fat foods at all is a different question.

          The evidence however seems to suggest that PUFA fats or MUFA fats are preferable to the saturated fats found in coconut oil.

          As for using ‘common sense’, that’s just an excuse for making up our own ‘facts; and ignoring the evidence we don’t like.

      2. Wow! Its amazing they have even a spec of tradition left after being the West’s colonial occupying playground since 1500’s. Here in the states Filipinos have largely adopted the American diet after having fallen in love with the most recent occupying force in another proxy war. Life goes on I guess.

        Anyway, whats a good dish from your wife, that an ambitious foodie can make?

        1. Boiled brown rice with a side dish of mung beans plus assorted vegetables (including green leafy vegetables).chilis etc to taste simmered in a water/coconut milk liquid. I just ladle the side dish over the rice and then eat. Adding some turmeric and black pepper is an option but that’s not part of the traditional recipe. Most people here now use milled white rice though.

          The modern standard Filipino diet is probably just as unhealthy as the SAD in many respects. The big differences are that white rice is eaten with every meal, cheap noodles are also common and so are fatty meats like pork and fried chicken. Considerably more fish is probably eaten here than in the US though.

          Actually, while the Spanish and American influences are strong here, the Chinese were here long before them. Many Filipinos have Chinese ancestry and the liking for pork must be a Chinese influence I think. Pork is the central feature of every feast here.

    5. Thank you for sharing your experience. I think it was probably an increase in animal products and processed food, as in Japan and elsewhere, that ruined your country’s natural diet. But that doesn’t mean using coconut oil or milk is healthy. In the whole food plant based world, eating a coconut is healthy…:]

  8. I can’t even believe that we are at Flashback Friday again.

    All last week, not having power, and not being able to get on the internet except for this site, felt like one long Flashback Friday.

    The power came on and my fallen trees have been carted away and I am almost finished with my generator research.

    I might get a Titan. Not to replace my gas generator, but to deal with the fact that I spent a few days with no generator at all waiting for the parts store to get a generator for themselves. How is it that the generator parts store didn’t have a generator?

    This was the third time I have had an extended enough power outage that it would unsafe in either the extreme cold or hot or if I ever need something like a cpap or oxygen.

    1. If there is someone who understands electricity I am thinking that I could power my ac in the Summer and Vornado in the winter with a Titan and pay for the monthly payments by not having the seasonal electric bills.

      It charges in 2 hours plugged into a wall and then would run a refrigerator 36 hours per stackable battery. I can stay at the same cost per month whether I get 1, 2 or 3 batteries and you can get as many as you want to stack because it is modular.

      I have to find a site where someone understands if I plugged it into a wall for 2 hours versus running an ac on it for hours, does it save me money or does it cancel out?

      1. Deb,
        I’m just being conversational. I do not know what a Titan is and don’t really understand the technical aspects of your considerations. It seems that part of what you are looking for is reliability at a good cost. So far, one of the underliers of going off grid is that you must conserve on energy consumption unless you can shell out the clams for an any and all energy consumption system.
        Where I live, electricity is so cheap that it undercuts any other setup. However, backup systems are common for limited emergency needs. The off grid market is morphing rapidly and batteries are getting better. Charging during off-peak hours is a savings. You’ve written that providing for emergency operations would be a consideration. You could do this with the battery modular system you referred to. You already have some equipment in place. Reliability seems to be an issue along with duration of power outtage. You may qualify for a credit.

      2. Deb, for some reason solar power is heavily marketed in the Northeast. Here in Texas, where sun is plentiful, few people use solar. For power failures some well-to-do people buy expensive wired-in natural gas generators (high upfront cost and maintenance) but most have portable gas generators, which I imagine is what you have now.

        You can google the pros and cons of solar generators, but here is a short summary:

        Are solar generators suitable for backup power for grid failures?
        No. Many appliances connected to the grid will be drawing much more power than what a solar generator could supply instantaneously.

        The three key disadvantages of solar generators are:
        1) Slow to charge their battery storage capacity (which is limited in the first place)
        2) Can only release energy in the form of AC output at a defined rate. Therefore, it’s not very practical to use electrical appliances that have large start up loads like air-conditioners.
        3) Expensive relative to a fuel-powered generator with the same power output.

        Most of the products being sold as solar generators are sold with energy storage capability of 0.1 kWh – 3.0 kWh. To put this in context according to the Energy Information Administration the average American household uses around 30 kWhs per day of electricity. Consider a unit containing 1,045 Wh (96.8Ah), or 1.05 kWh, of energy when fully charged. A modern refrigerator uses between 1-2 kWh per day. Therefore, this unit could run a full-sized fridge for almost a full day. However, applications like charging a phone or running lights use very small amounts of energy. These appliances could work for quite a long period of time with a solar generator.

        Because in most fixed locations, such as homes and businesses, people have access to grid power at a relatively affordable cost, and because the public grid supplies non-stop energy and battery storage is expensive, it has not been cost effective to have fixed solar generators (solar panels and battery storage) in most areas. However, there is an off-grid solar industry to supply the power needs of people who live in areas not served by the grid.

      3. Deb, I see, you are not talking about solar, but rather what is called portable power stations.

        Although a high-wattage portable power station can be a great backup in an emergency, even the best in breed have limitations compared with gas generators. These units can’t keep large appliances like refrigerators powered, and anything that generates heat will likely overload them or drain the battery too fast for them to be useful. You charge your portable power station overnight on a wall outlet, but charging most of them from empty to full takes 12 to 24 hours.

        Here Consumer Reports weighs in:

        Our experts share some pros and cons on using portable power stations.

        1. They Can’t Deliver Nearly as Much Power as Gas Generators
        As with their gasoline-fueled counterparts, portable power stations require a transfer switch should you wish to power things such as your furnace, overhead lights, or any thing else in your home that’s hardwired. But while a recreational inverter generator would probably keep the TV and a few lights on for 8 to 13 hours on one tank of gas, you’d see anywhere from 3 to 9 hours of power, under the same circumstances, with a portable power station. And you won’t be able to run, for instance, your power-guzzling well pump.

        2. They Take Hours to Charge
        In our tests, most of these models require hours of charging (typically overnight) to provide you with a full battery and max runtime.
        So—assuming you fully charged the battery before a predicted weather event—a portable power station could give you hours of electricity to run a refrigerator or another essential appliance. But Trezza notes that once the battery is dead, if you’re without power, there’s no way to recharge.

        3. They Don’t Come Cheap
        The portable power stations we tested cost between $1,500 and $3,500. And our best portable gas generator costs less than the worst portable power station. Before buying one of these power stations, consider if you might be better served by a portable generator. In the event of a outage, you can continue to add fuel, and portable generators typically provide enough power to keep larger appliances running.

    2. Deb,
      –So you’re keeping your gas generator,
      –And considering a battery back up.
      –I looked at the Titan inverter. Looks okay.
      –Seems like you would have a minimum load list of essentials, like a freezer (toss the frig contents in the freezer), and a charging station for phone, computer, etc.
      –Go without heat / air, like you just did and pretend like you are on a week +/- camping trip.
      –Identify a shelter station, in your area, for extreme situations.

        1. The numbers (from memory) on a Generac system:
          –This system can be reviewed on YouTube.
          –For my 1000+ ft. sq. house, I could fully power it with a $5000 Generac. May be more now.
          –The system powers on once a week for testing.
          –A preferred fuel is propane, because of a clean burn and less moisture problem.
          –A 500 gal propane tank may be purchased for $500 or more.
          –Propane fuel here averages $1 per gal maybe. Off season price is lower.

  9. Off topic:

    –Yesterday, I watched a NOVA program on how Cuba came up with a lung cancer vaccine. These are the folks who drive 1950’s cars and are big users of tobacco products.

    –Russia claims to have come up with a Covid-19 vaccine.

      1. Hi Tom, That’s a fascinating chart on life expectancies. Thanks for sharing that. But when I look at the US and Cuba, I’m seeing LE at birth as 78.5 and 79.0, respectively, about the same within margin of error, even if we trust the accuracy of the numbers. And I think a better measure is the LE at age 60 years, which for the US is 23.3 vs 22.7 for Cuba. What’s interesting about that chart is that Japan seems to top all countries with a LE at birth of 84.2 and LE at age 60 of 26.4!

        But the really important statistic about any country is whether or not the majority of the populace is happy. I have friends in the US Coast Guard who tell me they have rescued numerous Cubans from the waters between Florida and Cuba, where they have tried to escape on home-made rafts and immigrate to the US. Not a sign of a happy populace ;-)

          1. No problem, Fumbles. We all need to keep our sense of humor these days :-)

            BTW, We haven’t been hearing from YR and Lonie lately. Hope they are doing OK.

            1. Thanks Darwin. Yes I agree that we definitely needs a sense of humour.

              YR did say that she was going to take a rest from NF during COVID. She also seemed to have a very healthy lifestyle and diet which should afford her a lot of protection.

              I am worried about Lonie.though. It’s been a long silence and his supplement regime seemed a little too cutting edge for me.

              Let’s hope he is just recuperating somewhere and taking it easy.

        1. Yep that’s true. You cant argue with truth.

          US = Happy / Cuba = Sad

          There have been many studies and and they show: Americans to be the happiest populace every time. Especially happy are the entertainers on Fox or MSNBC I think. Have you ever seen a more satisfied bunch?

          Americans are the absolutely happiest people I have ever met. No competition, or greed, superiority or racism. Excellent health, compassion for people in other places and situations, well informed and well studied, almost no obesity here. Obesity would be a sign of an unhappy populace I think.

          AND there are NOT up to millions of American expats. (boats and planes mostly) They are just visiting and telling everyone how happy they are that they can afford to make the move – sorry..the “visit”.

  10. My friend was just diagnosed with Lyme Disease.

    Seems like she is Stage 2 of the process but her PC thinks she might also have hidden gall bladder problems so it is hard to know which symptoms are which.

    I have been out in the muck of Lyme disease articles and I do wish Dr Greger had a video or two on Lyme.

    I feel sorry for anybody who gets it.

    Immediately the arguments start of how many weeks of antibiotics to take and whether there really is a study of whether stevia works better than antibiotics.

    It will be an excellent brain plasticity exercise but it is as bad or worse than alternative cancer treatments.

    1. I did find some useful Lyme studies.

      One on cholesterol making it worse.

      My friend is going to try oat milk and maybe JUST egg and she is adding in rolled oats for breakfast. It will be interesting to see how much changes with just those changes.

  11. Frustratingly Gundry is the diet that came up for treating Lyme and she is already on that.

    It is avoid fruit and nightshades and anything that becomes sugar.

    She has such serious insulin resistance already.

  12. I am wondering if the Gundry/keto diet caused her Lyme to become so severe so quickly.

    I tried to look it up but only found pro-Keto and Gundry for healing Lyme but it has caused hers to get really bad really fast.

    I found a mouse study where they fed the mice high-fat diets to the point of obesity and they had a higher bacterial load.

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cmi.12689

    She is not obese. But she is high fat to the point of insulin resistance.

        1. ‘I have had someone die of Atkins’

          That’s a nice turn of phrase. Perhaps we should start a push to class all chronic disease deaths due to high fat, high protein, low carb diets as ‘deaths due to Atkins.’

          I remember one commentator on YouTube memorably quipping that Atkins was responsible for more deaths than WW2. Given the enormous amounts of money he made, and the hordes of people who have attempted to emulate his financial success with their look-alike diets, that might well be true.

  13. It is interesting when you compare what studies actually say and what Dr. Greger comments.

    For the study “Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity ” Dr. Greger’s comment was that VCO increased insulin resistance.

    In the abstract it says: “At T1 there were no differences in biochemical or anthropometric characteristics between the groups, whereas at T2 group C presented a higher level of HDL (48.7 +/- 2.4 vs. 45.00 +/- 5.6; P = 0.01) and a lower LDL:HDL ratio (2.41 +/- 0.8 vs. 3.1 +/- 0.8; P = 0.04). Reductions in BMI were observed in both groups at T2 (P < 0.05), but only group C exhibited a reduction in WC (P = 0.005). Group S presented an increase (P < 0.05) in total cholesterol, LDL and LDL:HDL ratio, whilst HDL diminished (P = 0.03). Such alterations were not observed in group C. It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity."

    Wouldn't it be actually fairer to also mention what the study actually said: "It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity." ? Also VCO increased HDL and the LDL/HDL ratio was reduced.

    I know that Dr. Greger has this catchy phrase "… so that busy folks don't have to do it (= reading the study)".

    I think if you really want to know what a study says, unfortunately you have to read yourself because Dr. Greger's comments seem to be selective.

    1. No it wouldn’t be fairer to say that since both the coconut oil and the soybean oil supplementation groups experienced a reduction in BMI

      Also, since ‘Energy intake and amount of carbohydrate ingested by both groups diminished over the trial,’ it could be argued that the 10% diminished energy offtake counterbalanced any dyslipidemic effect of coconut oil and of course resulted in diminished BMI and WC. We also don’t knows what effect, if any, the exercise regimen the study participants experienced had on this issue. In the article, the concluding section included the statement

      ‘On the other hand, the ingestion of coconut oil appeared to have induced an increase in peripheral insulin resistance.’

      For some reason, this didn’t make it into the abstract.

      It appears therefore that Dr Greger is less one-eyed than you are.on the subject of coconut oil.

      researchgate.net/publication/24422427_Effects_of_Dietary_Coconut_Oil_on_the_Biochemical_and_Anthropometric_Profiles_of_Women_Presenting_Abdominal_Obesity

      1. As a general rule of thumb, studies from major coconut (oil) producing countries tend to find benefits from coconut oil consumption.

        They need to be examined carefully for confounding variables like weight loss, increased exercise, increased consumption of beneficial dietary components like fibre or comparisons with.foodstuffs that are just as unhealthy or even more unhealthy than the product being investigated.

        Also, I am not clear if the comparison soy bean oil used in this study was hydrogenated or not. That would obviously favour coconut oil if it were.

    2. Michael Rudolph, Before reading your comment I made a similar comment, quoting the study abstract that waist circumference went down in the coconut oil group and the HDL:LDL ration was made worse on the soybean oil group, but not in the coconut oil group. I hope Dr. Greger chooses to reply to us about it so we can restore our faith in his videos because it certainly does suggest that he is not reporting what the study actually said for some reason. As I only had access to the abstract, I did not see anything there that indicated coconut oil caused insulin resistance, though it well may be in the full study…
      DR. GREGER – PLEASE COMMENT.

    3. I got access to the full article and below is what it says about insulin resistance (not statistically significant), which I admit not to completely understand once they add their qualifier about HOMA-S: “although not statistically significant (P = 0.09), was sufficient to increase the HOMA-S value of group C to a level significantly higher (P = 0.03) than that of group S.”

      The glucose levels of the S and C groups at T1 and T2
      were similar. There was no change in the release of insulin
      in group S, whereas in group C the increase in hormone
      release observed, although not statistically significant
      (P = 0.09), was sufficient to increase the HOMA-S value
      of group C to a level significantly higher (P = 0.03) than
      that of group S.

      1. Dani

        I have nothing to do with either Dr Greger or this website but here are my comments.

        First, the level of hormone release may not have been statistically significant as you say but it ‘was sufficient to increase the HOMA-S value
        of group C to a level significantly higher’. In other words, there was a statistically significant effect on insulin sensitivity.

        Secondly, Dr Greger’s interpretation of the study seems perfectly reasonable to me. The LDL/HDL ratio is a red herring and change due to medications or diet is effectively meaningless. Read the AHA scientific advisory on dietary fats and cardiovascular disease for more detail. So, of course, he would ignore that.

        Thirdly, since the study participants experienced a 10% reduction in total calorie intake and commenced an exercise regime, how can anyone know if reported benefits were due to coconut oil and not due to the BMI reduction, the reduced calorie intake, the increased exercise or the 50% increase in fibre consumption that the participants experienced? It’s simply impossible to say. So why would Dr Greger assume/claim that it was coconut oil that was responsible for any benefits?

        I can imagine why a Brazilian study would. Brazil is one of the major coconut producing countries. But why would Dr Greger? I mean I know that coconuts are vegan/vegetarian but that doesn’t mean he turns or should turn a blind eye to harmful vegetarian foodstuffs.

        Fourthly, I think we can be pretty sure that BMI reduction, reduced calorie intake, increased exercise and the 50% increase in fibre consumption would not have caused increased insulin secretion. If anything, such changes should have improved the situation not worsened it.

        Whether or not coconut oil is a better oil for cooking than soybean oil is another matter. Dr Greger does not recommend the use of any cooking oils but suggests that canola oil is the least bad choice.
        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/deep-frying-toxins/

    4. That’s a classic way for researchers to misuse stats and spin results. Please check out the paper “Common Scientific and Statistical Errors in Obesity Research” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4817356/pdf/nihms-743238.pdf): “In summary, a researcher should never use the nominal significance of a pre–post difference within a group to make inferences about differences between groups.” That’s why we have control groups!

  14. Dr. John Campbell was talking about NZ new spike of COVID and they have tested the genetics to compare it to their other spike and to compare it to people who have been quarantining at the border and it isn’t related to those. He said that the next concepts would be frozen animal products or they gave it to the animals during the last spike and the animals gave it back. But it looks maybe like imported frozen animal products. Obviously they are still investigating but it might become the first verified getting COVID from meats. Dr. Barnard had said that it could conceivably live on frozen meats for years so that can become important.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT-zWFnfhYI

      1. This just doesn’t make sense to me from a trade perspective : Brazil shipping chicken to China.

        Is Chinese middleclass growing at such a rate that there are no more workers, thereby creating the scenario that production is getting so expensive that Brazil + logistics = cheaper?

  15. I have been also thinking about the pre-study from COVID about women and estrogen being potentially protective and how men tend to get harder hit for a lot of viruses.

    I had read that before and I still wonder if soy might help males, the way it helps females with menopause?

    I am not sure if there are any studies on males except for the man boobs types of studies and maybe those would be the ones to look at.

    Does soy improve immune system issues in females and then, if so, does it work in males, or something like that?

  16. I know this comment doesn’t relate to coconut oil, but I don’t know where else to post it and am in need of some urgent help regarding my lack of menstrual cycle and digestive issues. I am 21 years-old, 5’7’’ and 115 lbs. I have been whole food plant based for almost 5 years (no oil/sugar/low salt), and have not had my period since October 2016. I got my first period when I was 15 and rarely got it after that (I have only had my period a total of about 5 times in my life).

    Last year, my endocrinologist said I have hypothalamic amenorrhea with generally normal hormone levels except that I have low levels of LH, FSH, and elevated DHEA levels. In 2018, I saw a gynecologist who suggested I take Medroxyprogesterone, but I have not taken it because I am determined to get to the root cause of my health issue and solve it in a natural way. Over the past 4 years my weight has averaged about 120 lbs (as much as 135 lbs & as low as 105 lbs), I cut back on exercise this past year (I just walk and do yoga), and eat well over 2,000 calories a day.

    I am happy to provide more details on my health and symptoms, but would love any advice, resources, or doctors you suggest to resolve my health issues (amenorrhea, bloating, gas, digestive pain, acne) and regain my period healthfully and naturally.
    Thank you so much in advance for your help!!!

    1. Chloe,

      Which type of WFPB are you eating?

      Are you doing raw? Fruitarian? The Starch Solution? Nutritarian? The Daily Dozen? Dr. Esselstyn’s 6 servings of greens a day very low fat? Dr. Barnard? Dr. Ornish?

      Or are you doing something on your own?

      Dr. Lisle said that a lot of people who do raw lose their periods.

      Have you had your labs checked? Are you low in iron or zinc or B12 or anything?

      1. Also, do you have stress?

        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10700723/

        Have you done fasting or intermittent fasting over this time?

        Are you restricting something in your diet that you might need?

        I have looked at articles over these past 2 years and they said that it is usually counting carbs or afraid of healthy fats or have too much stress that causes people to end up with problems.

        Sleep and Circadian rhythms may be involved

        https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17383933/

        There was one black soy powder study where people got their periods back. Women who had not had a period in six months were given 6 grams of black soybean powder daily. They ended up with higher rates of ovulation and menstrual cycles. I don’t know what black soy is or if it is equivalent to soy, but I will just mention it.

        You might need more than 2,000 calories. Maybe do a tracker, particularly if you have been exercising.

  17. I watched one woman who was eating enough calories but she was too low carb to switch on the part of the hypothalamus for producing things like Follicular Stimulating Hormones and Luteinizing Hormones.

    Listening to the woman, I suddenly had the thought that you could read or listen to Dr. Barnard’s book on hormones. That might be an excellent start.

    1. Hi Deb,
      I would say I follow the Daily Dozen (macros roughly 20% fat, 20% protein, 60% carbs) — I am definitely not raw (I have fruit in my oatmeal and salad often for lunch). Even when I gained 15 lbs and weighed 135 lbs for almost a year, I still did not get my period, but was also eating a lot of fiber (100g a day).

      Last year my endocrinologist had me get some lab work done: my iron is normal (109 mcg/dL) and my Vitamin D is a little low (29 ng/mL) but she did not check everything so I am not aware of my zinc or B12 levels.

      I have never fasted but most days I unintentionally intermittent fast (usually 14 hour period of not eating) because I am not hungry when I wake up.

      Stress is something I do not have. I also do not restrict my calories and the only thing I am “restricting” in my diet is oils and processed / vegan junk food. I don’t eat a ton of fat, just whole plant fats mostly as condiments, and I definitely do not restrict my carb intake.

      I hope this provides more insight, and I really appreciate the information you provided. I will definitely listen to Dr. Barnard’s book “Your Body in Balance” – thank you for the recommendation and help!

      1. Thanks, Chloe,

        That is helpful.

        You are doing most of the things that they tell people to do.

        Generally, the websites and online doctors say to eat 2,500 calories, make sure you have enough carbs. You left legumes and starches off of your list and you still might need some of those. That was what one woman found out that she did need to get her hypothalamus to work. Not sure if she needs it forever, but she needed it to start the process.

        But you need all of the nutrition to run your thyroid and brain. That means getting enough of all of it because you are trying to turn something back on.

        Do you eat a few Brazil nuts for selenium per month?

        Do you eat some seaweed for some iodine?

        The thing is, you need the nutrition to run your thyroid, for sure.

        Your thyroid can’t run without the B12 and selenium and D3, etc.

        (Yes, that is firsthand experience. I had not supplemented and got off whack with 10 years of caretaking and zero exposure to mid-day sun and I wasn’t getting enough of any nutrition because I wasn’t getting it in my diet.)

        Being low on something can throw everything off.

        Is your thyroid functioning?

        It is likely that it will be an expert who can walk you through it but it will be cheaper for you if you can use a free tracker and make sure you are getting all of your vitamins and minerals and enough calories and track your sleep and exercise because it will make it obvious whether you can get to the root of the problem before resorting to professional resources.

        There are TONS of women on YouTube who have walked out if it and they can be an encouragement.

        A lot of them use herbs, but most of them said that it was something they had to add to their diet that helped them, so, again, starting with a fearless food inventory where you really look at every bite and every nutrient would be where I would start.

        There are things like light therapy that can help a sluggish thyroid but if your thyroid isn’t working, too, you might need to find out and deal with that.

        Sleep and eating on your circadian rhythms and not intermittent fasting are ones they list.

        I am someone who doesn’t sleep and who doesn’t want to eat breakfast, but it means our bodies aren’t in the proper circadian rhythm and that can throw it off.

        You have said that you don’t have stress. There are other things like tumors on the pituitary or adrenals that can cause cortisol to rise.

        Looking at it holistically is probably a good idea just to make sure it isn’t anything else.

        Sounds like you are doing a lot of amazing things for your health.

        1. I went to a doctor’s site about amenorrhea to see what calories the doctor recommended and she said that the goal is to have about 15 calories per pound of bodyweight, PLUS enough calories to replace those burned during exercise. For example, if you are active and burn 1,000 calories, you then need to eat that 1,000 calories, PLUS you would need to eat calories for the 15 times 120.

          So that would be 2,800 calories if your daily activity burns 1,000 calories.

          Most sites said 2,500 as a typical active young woman.

          1. Chloe,

            I found a book that some of the people used to walk through and the site has a support group.

            https://www.noperiodnowwhat.com/

            I still recommend Dr. Barnard’s book most because he is WFPB and sometimes people recommend opposite things and WFPB is healthier than anything out there, so it is probably better to stick within it and build from there.

            Now my YouTube is loaded with videos of girls who got their periods back. There are so many of them. That must be good news.

            It is funny because YouTube doesn’t lie. It shows me what I am “eating” mentally. I have that and I have WFPB doctors and I have homeless people and I have gadgets and solar generators and I have Christian worship and I have COVID-19.

            I just watched the sweetest homeless person and the interviewer asked her what it is like being homeless and she said that there is a 1200 person waiting list to get in a shelter every night and that you get kicked out 30 or 90 days. And, then, once you are out, you get harassed and ticketed every single day by the police and by another group. If you move to the park, they ticket you and move you out. If you set up on the street, they ticket you again and move you again. People are getting 4 or 5 tickets per day. She had medical problems related to having been shot and I found a man who loves the homeless and who gave her a neck brace. All of the ones he interviews are so sweet. I can’t handle that people are trying to kill them and the police are harassing them so much that that is what they talk about more often.

          2. 4Also, your height matters for what your weight should be.

            You can look at the chart yourself.

            If you are taller, then your weight is probably low.

            If you are shorter, then it probably isn’t your weight.

        2. Deb, who says tobeat 2500 calories? Can you post it here ?

          That is just plain wrong… the daily dozen comes out to approximately 1450 calories which is perfect for me, but someone like Blair would have to double up the servings.

          Here is a calculator which is helpful to get into the ballpark with energy requirements. https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html?ctype=standard&cage=65&csex=f&cheightfeet=5&cheightinch=5&cpound=120&cheightmeter=180&ckg=65&cactivity=1.375&cmop=0&coutunit=c&cformula=m&cfatpct=20&printit=0&x=62&y=21

          I am 5’5″, 120 lbs at most, and never need more than 1500 cal…. even with walking each day. If I am training my requirements go up for that increase in activity.

          This may be why you are frustrated with achieving your goals Deb. With 2500 cal I would be gaining weight at a steady rate :(

            1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calorie-calculator/itt-20402304

              This calculator is easy to use.
              Having used these calculators for years, I find I have to underestimate the amount of exercise I do otherwise the calorie estimates suggested will be too high to maintain my weight at the current level.

              The calories I have required on a daily basis have changed little over my lifetime but with getting older I find I have even less tolerance for extra calories .

        3. Thank you so much for all of your insight and help. I think you are definitely right that I need to ensure I am getting enough nutrients and calories for my body to function properly, so it is able to produce a period (I feel like I am, but clearly by body is not operating as it should).

          I do indeed eat plenty of legumes and starches everyday. I also eat several brazil nuts each month, consume 1 tsp of dulse flakes a day, and supplement with an algae based DHA oil.

          I also believe last year my endocrinologist mentioned my thyroid is functioning properly (I even got an MRI). I am currently looking for a WFPB gynecologist / endocrinologist and am hoping they can provide me with more answers and solutions.

          Thank you again for all of your help!

  18. Chloe ,

    Wow! It looks like you are doing many things right.

    I do not have a solution for you. Just some thoughts.

    (1) Most of the lasses whom I have had the honor of dealing with with who had amenorrhea were clinically anorexic – amenorrhea was just one of many factors, certainly not the most important factor. Deal with the anorexia – the amenorrhea cleared. Fail – and the consequences were not so good.

    You weights would seem to put you well out of the anorexic category, however.

    So that is not it.

    (Our girls were 80-90 pounders – always with the goal of reaching 60 pounds, for some odd reason – but never living long after getting there. Never 70 pounds . Never 80 pounds. Always 60 pounds).

    It is important to have a goal in life.

    It gives a girl focus.

    You are obviously not in this category

    (2) I have seen one short lass who’s extraordinarily domineering father was determined to place her on growth hormone to begin the day after the end of her next period. She felt helpless to resist. He was the BOSS.

    So she stopped having periods.

    Instantly.

    No growth hormone.

    Such cases may be best handled by the Psychologist. Or by simply changing situations.

    In her case – leaving home seemed to fix things.

    Consider your own situation in this light.

    (3) When amenorrhea is the presenting symptom – without complexities that I can unearth – I must defer to the Endocrinologist. It may be time to for you to reassess the art of the possible and accept that this may be a situation which entirely natural approaches may not cure.

    Hey – you are alive, you are young, you have your whole life before you.

    Each of us has to come to terms with the fact that life is not perfect – but we can still get it to work.

    You might be best off in terms of learning to accept imperfection.

    In others . And in yourself.

    (4) Having said all the above – your very determined nutritional focus and your rejection of Medical treatment offered thus far are very reminiscent of the very focused and determined personalities of the anorexics I have encountered.

    Bless their hearts.

    So – let us look at the situation a little bit through that lens:

    “I have been whole food plant based for almost 5 years (no oil/sugar/low salt)”

    Could that be the key?

    Consider. Many the healthy diet oriented person has explored their way through various diets to find the one that works best for them.

    Everyone seems to be different in this regard.

    Let’s see – for myself, I have cycled through the Standard American Diet (“SAD”) to the SAD minus saturated fat and cholesterol to Vegetarian to Vegan to my current Pescatarian orientation over quite a few years – as each step brought different advantages or brought new problems.

    Others, here, note similar evolutions – but often in different directions.

    Strangers passing in the night.

    And, hey – you are just startin’ out on this lifelong quest.

    You clearly do have a significant problem on your current diet. Logically – it may time for a significant change.

    Perhaps a minor course correction. Perhaps fundamental change.

    If you are rigid about diet – it may be time for you to loosen up as much as you can.

    Or if you prefer rigidity – new goals.

    Perhaps getting fat calories to ~20-35%.

    Perhaps increasing Na to 1500 mg/day.

    Perhaps incorporating more animal products into your diet.

    If you can find a plant-based Physician who is accustomed to dealing with Vegetarians and Vegans and other Whole Food Plant Based types – that might be a good adjunct to what you are trying to accomplish.

    Such a Physician might refer you to a Dietitian who is in tune with his knowledge – i.e., not a Dietitian who is enraptured with keto, as our local dietitians seem to be.

    He might be more prone to look into serum B12, iron, zinc, copper than the next fellow – and lotsa other areas where Vegetarians and the fellow travellers get themselves into trouble.

    There are lists of such Physicians on the Internet – I am sorry, but I do not have an appropriate url handy.

    Perhaps someone else has a url at their fingertips?

    All this is adjunct .

    But note bene: the Endocrinologist and the Gynecologist – and your ability to accept their help – may hold the keys to your successfully dealing with this issue.

    (5) I just read your most recent reply to Deb:

    “20% fat, 20% protein, 60% carbs”

    Looks good.

    “Vitamin D is a little low (29 ng/mL)”

    I wouldn’t sweat it.

    “Stress is something I do not have.”

    Excellent.

    “I unintentionally intermittent fast (usually 14 hour period of not eating) because I am not hungry when I wake up.”

    I would cut the intermittent fasting.

    Head toward steady state.

    Overall – it looks like you are on top of things.

    Chloe.

    All the best –

    Vivamus

    1. Wow. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful response – I truly appreciate your thoughts and insight! I am working on upping my fat intake in addition to eating breakfast earlier. I am also looking for a Gynecologist / Endocrinologist who is more focused on the whole foods lifestyle. Thank you again!!!

  19. Well, I wrote too much again this weekend.

    But I have fallen in love with the homeless communities online, so maybe it will get better.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E5OFdl8wNI

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bue7D8xzPRc&t=583s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66BLCgeBLkc

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYShiXMGULE&t=113s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbquG1H0CXQ

    When my brain broke down, I thought for sure that I would end up homeless someday and I could have, but now I have a house.

    I think I came here because I could feel Dr. Greger’s passion to save people’s lives. I have that, too, but I am not a doctor or anything useful.

    I just plain care so much. I wish I lived near other people who cared.

    But the internet makes me happy.

  20. Hi Dr. Greger – I read the abstract that you said showed no significant difference in waist circumference between coconut oil and soybean oil groups, but the abstract seems to say the exact opposite: “It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.” Also, the soybean oil group’s HDL:LDL got worse while the coconut oil group’s HDL:LDL did not get worse. I didn’t have access to read the entire article, but it seems you presented it as the opposite result in your video. Please comment on this so I can have my faith in you restored. Thanks! (abstract below):
    Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity
    Abstract
    The effects of dietary supplementation with coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting waist circumferences (WC) >88 cm (abdominal obesity) were investigated. The randomised, double-blind, clinical trial involved 40 women aged 20-40 years. Groups received daily dietary supplements comprising 30 mL of either soy bean oil (group S; n = 20) or coconut oil (group C; n = 20) over a 12-week period, during which all subjects were instructed to follow a balanced hypocaloric diet and to walk for 50 min per day. Data were collected 1 week before (T1) and 1 week after (T2) dietary intervention. Energy intake and amount of carbohydrate ingested by both groups diminished over the trial, whereas the consumption of protein and fibre increased and lipid ingestion remained unchanged. At T1 there were no differences in biochemical or anthropometric characteristics between the groups, whereas at T2 group C presented a higher level of HDL (48.7 +/- 2.4 vs. 45.00 +/- 5.6; P = 0.01) and a lower LDL:HDL ratio (2.41 +/- 0.8 vs. 3.1 +/- 0.8; P = 0.04). Reductions in BMI were observed in both groups at T2 (P < 0.05), but only group C exhibited a reduction in WC (P = 0.005). Group S presented an increase (P < 0.05) in total cholesterol, LDL and LDL:HDL ratio, whilst HDL diminished (P = 0.03). Such alterations were not observed in group C. It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.

    1. Dani

      You are quite correct. He did state that there was no significant difference in waistline between the coconut and soybean oil groups. He too was also quite correct. Statistical significance is usually set at the 5% level, ie .05.

      If you look at the study, however, it stated that ‘only group C exhibited a reduction in WC (P = 0.005)’

      That finding, .005, is an order of magnitude below reaching statistical significance. Putting it in the abstract while choosing to omit a finding of genuine statistical significance (ie the increase insulin sensitivity) might suggest that the authors of this study had an agenda.

      I may be a cynic but studies on coconut oil from major coconut oil producing countries like this one always seem to put the best possible face on coconut oil consumption even when like here the benefits might equally well be explained by decreased calorie intake, increased exercise, a reduction in BMI and/or a 50% increase in fibre consumption.

      That’s why I value Dr G’s assessments and reports of scientific studies. He analyses them critically in detail and doesn’t just look at the abstract. Even when they are plant foods like coconut oil, he still gives us the straight facts. He’s not just a ‘animal foods bad, plant foods good’ kind of guy.

      Too many studies these days are designed to make particular foods look good. After all, if researchers don’t bring in grant funds from industry or government, the universities often don’t have the funds to pay for their salaries or research.labs. That’s why it doesn’t always do just to take these things at face value. Dr Greger delves deeply into the studies to sort the wheat from the chaff.

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