Flashback Friday: How to Treat High Blood Pressure with Diet

Flashback Friday: How to Treat High Blood Pressure with Diet
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The first-line treatment for hypertension is lifestyle modification, which often includes the DASH diet. What is it and how can it be improved?

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High blood pressure ranks as the #1 risk factor for death and disability in the world. Previously, I showed how a plant-based diet may prevent high blood pressure. But what if we already have it?

The American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend, as the first-line treatment, lifestyle modification. If that doesn’t work, you start the patient on a thiazide diuretic, or water pill, and then you keep piling on the meds until you get their blood pressure down. Commonly people will end up on three drugs, though researchers are experimenting with four at a time, and some people end up on five.

Why not just jump straight to the drugs? Well, they don’t treat the underlying cause, and they can cause side effects. Less than half of patients stick with even the first-line drugs, perhaps due to the adverse effects such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and muscle cramps. So, what are these recommended lifestyle changes? They recommend to control one’s weight, salt, and alcohol intake, engage in regular exercise, and adopt a DASH eating plan.

The DASH diet has been described as a lactovegetarian diet, but it’s not. It emphasizes fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy, but just a reduction in meat. Why not vegetarian? We’ve known for decades that food of animal origin is highly significantly associated with blood pressure. In fact, you can take vegetarians, give them meat, and watch their blood pressures go right up.

I’ve talked about how there are benefits to getting blood pressure down as low as 110 over 70, but who can get that low? Populations eating traditional whole food plant-based diets. Like in rural China, about 110 over 70 their whole lives, with meat eaten only on special occasions. Or rural Africa, where the elderly have perfect blood pressure as opposed to hypertension.

In the Western world, as the American Heart Association has pointed out, the only folks really getting down that low are the strict vegetarians, coming out about 110 over 65. So, when they created the DASH diet, were they just not aware of this landmark research, done by Harvard’s Frank Sacks? No, they were aware. The Chair of the Design Committee who came up with the DASH diet was Dr. Sacks. In fact, the DASH diet was explicitly designed with the #1 goal of capturing the blood pressure-lowering benefits of a vegetarian diet, yet containing enough animal products to make it palatable to the general public. In fact, Sacks found that the more dairy the lactovegetarians ate, the higher their blood pressures. But they had to make the diet acceptable. Research has since shown that it’s the added plant foods, not the changes in oil, sweets, or dairy that appear to be the critical component, so why not eat plant-based?

A recent meta-analysis showed vegetarian diets are good, but strictly plant-based diets may be better. Vegetarian diets in general confer protection against cardiovascular diseases, some cancers and death, but completely plant-based diets, vegan diets, seem to offer additional protection for obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease mortality. Based on a study of 89,000 people, those eating meat-free diets appeared to cut their risk of high blood pressure 55%, but those eating meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free had 75% lower risk.

If, however, you’re already eating a whole food plant-based diet, no processed foods, no table salt, and you’re still not hitting 110 over 70, there are a few foods recently found to offer additional protection. Ground flaxseeds, a few tablespoons a day, induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects ever achieved by a dietary intervention, two to three times more powerful than instituting an aerobic endurance exercise program.

Watermelon also appears to be extraordinary, but you’d have to eat like two pounds a day. Sounds like my kind of medicine, but it’s hard to get year-round. Red wine may help, but only if the alcohol has been taken out. Raw vegetables or cooked? And the answer is both, though raw may work better. Beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils may help a little. Kiwifruits don’t seem to work at all, even though the study was funded by a kiwifruit company. Maybe they should have taken direction from the California Raisin Marketing Board, which came out with this study showing raisins can reduce blood pressure–but only, apparently, compared to fudge cookies, Cheez-Its, and Chips Ahoy!

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

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

High blood pressure ranks as the #1 risk factor for death and disability in the world. Previously, I showed how a plant-based diet may prevent high blood pressure. But what if we already have it?

The American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend, as the first-line treatment, lifestyle modification. If that doesn’t work, you start the patient on a thiazide diuretic, or water pill, and then you keep piling on the meds until you get their blood pressure down. Commonly people will end up on three drugs, though researchers are experimenting with four at a time, and some people end up on five.

Why not just jump straight to the drugs? Well, they don’t treat the underlying cause, and they can cause side effects. Less than half of patients stick with even the first-line drugs, perhaps due to the adverse effects such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and muscle cramps. So, what are these recommended lifestyle changes? They recommend to control one’s weight, salt, and alcohol intake, engage in regular exercise, and adopt a DASH eating plan.

The DASH diet has been described as a lactovegetarian diet, but it’s not. It emphasizes fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy, but just a reduction in meat. Why not vegetarian? We’ve known for decades that food of animal origin is highly significantly associated with blood pressure. In fact, you can take vegetarians, give them meat, and watch their blood pressures go right up.

I’ve talked about how there are benefits to getting blood pressure down as low as 110 over 70, but who can get that low? Populations eating traditional whole food plant-based diets. Like in rural China, about 110 over 70 their whole lives, with meat eaten only on special occasions. Or rural Africa, where the elderly have perfect blood pressure as opposed to hypertension.

In the Western world, as the American Heart Association has pointed out, the only folks really getting down that low are the strict vegetarians, coming out about 110 over 65. So, when they created the DASH diet, were they just not aware of this landmark research, done by Harvard’s Frank Sacks? No, they were aware. The Chair of the Design Committee who came up with the DASH diet was Dr. Sacks. In fact, the DASH diet was explicitly designed with the #1 goal of capturing the blood pressure-lowering benefits of a vegetarian diet, yet containing enough animal products to make it palatable to the general public. In fact, Sacks found that the more dairy the lactovegetarians ate, the higher their blood pressures. But they had to make the diet acceptable. Research has since shown that it’s the added plant foods, not the changes in oil, sweets, or dairy that appear to be the critical component, so why not eat plant-based?

A recent meta-analysis showed vegetarian diets are good, but strictly plant-based diets may be better. Vegetarian diets in general confer protection against cardiovascular diseases, some cancers and death, but completely plant-based diets, vegan diets, seem to offer additional protection for obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease mortality. Based on a study of 89,000 people, those eating meat-free diets appeared to cut their risk of high blood pressure 55%, but those eating meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free had 75% lower risk.

If, however, you’re already eating a whole food plant-based diet, no processed foods, no table salt, and you’re still not hitting 110 over 70, there are a few foods recently found to offer additional protection. Ground flaxseeds, a few tablespoons a day, induced one of the most potent antihypertensive effects ever achieved by a dietary intervention, two to three times more powerful than instituting an aerobic endurance exercise program.

Watermelon also appears to be extraordinary, but you’d have to eat like two pounds a day. Sounds like my kind of medicine, but it’s hard to get year-round. Red wine may help, but only if the alcohol has been taken out. Raw vegetables or cooked? And the answer is both, though raw may work better. Beans, split peas, chickpeas, and lentils may help a little. Kiwifruits don’t seem to work at all, even though the study was funded by a kiwifruit company. Maybe they should have taken direction from the California Raisin Marketing Board, which came out with this study showing raisins can reduce blood pressure–but only, apparently, compared to fudge cookies, Cheez-Its, and Chips Ahoy!

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

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Mikalai Maminau.

Doctor's Note

This is the companion video to How to Prevent High Blood Pressure with Diet.

The DASH diet is one of the best studied, and consistently ranks as US News & World Report’s #1 diet. It’s one of the few diets that medical students are taught about in medical school. I was so fascinated to learn of its origins as a compromise between practicality and efficacy.

I’ve talked about the patronizing attitude many doctors have–that patients can’t handle the truth–in:

What would hearing the truth from your physician sound like? See Fully Consensual Heart Disease Treatment and The Actual Benefit of Diet vs. Drugs.

For more on what plants can do for high blood pressure see:

Since this video originally came out, I’ve got a few more on blood pressure:

And my overview video How Not to Die from High Blood Pressure.

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

107 responses to “Flashback Friday: How to Treat High Blood Pressure with Diet

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  1. My overweight, salt-loving, alcohol-drinking, meat-eating brother has always had low to normal blood pressure, which my whole family has had, but after his appendix was removed, for the first time in his life, he has high blood pressure and they had to put him on meds after his surgery.

    He went in 110 over something, had surgery and now is in the 140’s over something.

    Wondering if the appendix has a function in blood pressure or if pain raised it. Either way, suddenly he is on blood pressure meds.

    1. We must have good genetics in that area because none of us are thin.

      My brother genuinely used to pour salt on his hands and lick his hands growing up and he eats meat as the center of every meal.

      He was really bummed that surgery raised his BP.

    2. Deb, how long has it been since the appendix surgery? Maybe the BP will go back down on it’s own after a longer time period.

      1. Hal,

        Yes, I read an article that pain and swelling after surgery could be what drove it up.

        Unfortunately, today is the official day they are saying, “Nope, it doesn’t look like it is coming back down.”

    3. One wonders if your brother’s intestinal microbiome was affected! Gut bacteria in fact regulate (or help regulate) most of the body’s chemical processes after all.

      The appendix is a reservoir of beneficial bacteria, like an emergency seed package in case the crop fails. The antibiotics given to your brother after surgery decimated his bacterial “crop,” and his gut had no way to re-colonize itself.

  2. My blood pressure benefited from a plant-based diet from 140/85 to as low as 110/70. Took a while but it worked. No animal products. No added SOS. When I was transitioning from the SAD diet to a healthy diet, one doctor said I should go on blood pressure meds. I told him to go check out Nutritionfacts.org and start offering his patients a cure of a diet diet change as a first line defense instead of meds. I threw his prescription in the garbage and never went back. Thank goodness! Of course, I also enjoyed the typical weight loss, lower resting heart rate, overall mood improvement, better stamina, etc., etc., etc. Recent blood tests show superb cholesterol levels, great organ functions, in range blood panels, and good vitamin/mineral levels. I’m getting healthier with age and that’s the best thing in the world.

    1. HikingViking, Congratulations! Your story is similar to mine and many other people that I have talked to going WPF. Wish I had learned about this way of eating sooner, but like most of the “herd”, believed the narrative that we were fed from the government, advertising, and media reporting :-(

      1. WFPB-Hal – congratulations to you, too. I also learned later in life. But I told myself, let’s try this and see what happens. After all, the science is clear that it should help if not reverse certain conditions. It has been nothing but good news for me for the last few years. Dr Greger, staff, and volunteers have saved yet another life. Thank you!

      1. It means no added salt. oil, sugar hence the SOS. I added the SOS component to my whole food plant based diet last year and don’t miss a thing!

    2. I did that 3 yrs ago, same thing happened. It’s a miracle and a laugh. The Egyptians did it 6000 years ago when they sent sick people to live, eat, and work with peasants who only could afford whole food plant diets. Today we send them to Pritikin or Ornish, where they charge 7000 a week to eat rabbit food and walk around the hotel all day. And Medicare does pay for it, too.

  3. If you eat one pound of raw cabbage a day ,your blood pressure will drop like a rock , no matter what else you eat .
    starting blood pressure was 165,90 and that was on a good day , sometimes in the 180.s
    3 days later 141/85
    7days later 126/77
    that was 7 years ago , today I don,t need to eat as much as I am 85% wfpb and blood pressure is fine

    1. That is a cool life hack.

      I do eat cabbage every day, but it is more a half cup to a cup of it.

      The concept of a pound of cabbage is one I will have to wrap my head around.

      4 cups shredded cabbage? A little over a bag’s worth. (For those of us who just grab a bag of organic coleslaw mix or cabbage in a salad mix) A whole head of cabbage – medium to large – for those who shred their own.

      That is a lot of cabbage.

      I was just watching a video and halfway through, they started talking about how medical technology is so old versus what has happened to technology in general. The ex-NASA scientist guy said that the government is up to 50 years more advanced in technology than society is, but that when his high tech science people have gotten sick, they all get angry that medical technology is so old in comparison.

      My cousin was an MIT medical science guy. Seems like they are trying, but maybe it is just harder to get things approved and it takes so much money for the things to get the studies and so much time for the studies to be advanced enough to become usable and then, they have insurance and almost bankrupt hospitals. Anyway, I think it might be the way things are being done are so inefficient. I was thinking that yesterday when I was looking at the Vitamin D studies and I really thought it when I was caretaking and the Visiting Nurses offered me free supplies, but I already had better things than they use and free is not always a bargain. My grandmother ended up with bed sores and skin tears from using their products even once. I had better creams and better everything. I had better therapy devices. Same with the vet and my dog. He isn’t up to understanding the studies on dogs and didn’t offer anything helpful. Nope, I take it back, steroids and fluids and antibiotics were helpful, but he still won’t acknowledge Turkey Tail Mushrooms and didn’t know Yunnan Baiyao and doesn’t know the exercise studies and didn’t tell me the plant food improving the risk for cancer by 90%.

      There is something in medical model where they won’t admit anything even conceptually.

      That process is not how advances are made. It is how they are stifled.

      1. The real problem is the system of food production and medicine in “civilized” countries was intentionally designed to make people sick and keep them that way till an early death. They made it against the law for non-conventional medicine practice, so “quacks” who were getting people well could be prosecuted and get put out of business quickly. I know of people who were locked up for using real healing methods. They don’t want real science, MONEY and to reduce the “over-population” of the world.

        1. I would say that is partly true. Red tape is partly true. Money and liability are partly true. The scientific process taking a long time is partly true. Con men in alternative meds definitely happens and it also happens in medical and in government and in organizations like the FDA.

          The man left NASA because he was upset with how they were handling their studies. How tempting it has to be to fudge studies a little bit.

          Anyway, I found out that he had a few good videos.

          This is one, which really shows me that we handle stroke so poorly. We understand the timing of the first few hours, but we don’t understand that people could already start recovering in the ER.

          https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=421297658438267

        2. Honestly, that sounds like the typical tinfoil hat conspiracy theory that quacks and cranks use to try and push their dangerous or useless ‘cures’ on the sick and the dying.

          I doubt if anybody has been locked up for using ‘real healing methods’. People have been locked up though for making false/fraudulent health claims, manslaughter and practising medicine without a licence. However, even there, it’s amazing what ‘alternative health’ people can get away with …..

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

      2. Deb
        Your way off on your estimates on how much a cabbage weighs , a large cabbage weighs almost 6 lbs a medium about 4 .
        One pound of cabbage would provide 120 calories and about 12 grams of fiber with them being about 80 % water .
        What would be extreme is a 16 oz steak or the 1 lb hamburger a fast food joint advertises in their flyer.
        Cabbage not extreme at all . In order to avoid dressings I would grate a sweet apple into the grated cabbage or the juice
        of one orange seems good too .
        Anyways I was following the advice of Dr Greger who has said stuff yourself with plant foods and Dr Fruhman who
        has said a good goal is one pound cooked and one pound raw veggies a day.

      3. Deb – Part of the problem is the built-in continuation of the status quo. I remember when reading Esselstyn’s Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease that he asked a peer cardiologist, who knew WFPB could help his patients, why he didn’t make these recommendations to his patients. The answer was, “Have you seen my billables?”. The answer is money of course. But also, . . . think about this, . .. if you are young, idealistic and want to be a physician (which is how many doctors begin) and work your tail off to get into school and then run up a $250K debt, you’ve got to get that paid for. Add a house and kids and you are loaded with debt. You are not going to tell patients how to take care of their health which the insurance companies will not pay you to do. Physicians get paid when they “DO” something (it’s called FFS or Fee For Service). FFS means performing an action that can then be billed for – a shot, a scope, a surgery, a bandage, an x-ray, etc. FFS does not have a Billable Code for education or consulting so a physician will not be paid for the time it takes to tell you to go WFPB. They’ve got their education (or their boat) to pay for.
        In France or England (I forget which, . . .or perhaps it’s both) they pay their physicians medical education so that they do not graduation with mind-numbing debt. As a result, their salaries as physicians are controlled by the State which gives them a livable – and very nice – salary without all the worry that our physicians have in the US. This is one of the reasons why our costs are so astronomically high in this country. (And don’t forget that Big Pharma basically controls what gets taught in Med Schools).
        There is a small ray of hope – New York U just made tuition for their medical school free. It was on 60 Minutes recently. I didn’t watch the whole thing but I think you can google it if you’re interested. Also, The Cleveland Clinic, one of the premier heart hospitals, years ago put their physicians on salary. In exchange for that the institution took over all of the payment and billing for physicians services. That freed up physicians to only worry about taking care of patients, not the money part. It isn’t a total solution but it’s a part of a possibly better way.
        We have a long way to go. The fact that health care is a For-profit business is immoral as far as i’m concerned. It always pits the medical need of the patient against the for-profit-initiative of the provider (doctor, hospital, clinic, etc).
        I worked in Health Care for a while. . . . it was despicable. I now call it Disease Care because that is what our system is really about I’m sad to say. If I have an accident and I’m bleeding to death, get me to a hospital. But if I’m needing Health care – take me to NutritionFacts.org. And I MEAN that!! :-)

      1. So it’s the potassium in cabbage that’s helpful. Seems to me it would be far wiser to get more potassium from a variety of vegetables high in it e.g. sweet potatoes, spinach.

      2. Thanks for posting this.

        So cabbage is special because of high potassium.

        Soy was another which had enough potassium to help with sodium.

        Is cabbage better?

        I eat have cabbage slaw and half broccoli slaw just about every day. It is part of my wraps. I am still doing kale and beet chips and matcha and cauliflower, tricolor peppers, onions, tomatoes, sprouted crunchy lentils, edamame and chickpeas or hummus and avocado or guacamole with nutritional yeast and flaxseed when I remember it.

        Hard to know what to shift around.

        Eventually, I will switch back to chili and beans and rice, but right now, I had salad for lunch and vegetable wraps for dinner.

        It has been such a relief not having to cook.

      3. Mr. Fmblfngrs, . . .Thank you for the cabbage link. And yes, it’s potassium that really helps blood pressure. Potatoes have a gigantic amount. . . remember the old boiled cabbage and potato dinner? It’s still wonderful! But who eats that anymore? Anyway, . . . .here is a useful link to vegetables with the most potassium. You have to scroll down the page a bit to find the chart but you’ll see that the #1 highest potassium vegg is beet greens followed by swiss chard, bok choy, then brussels sprouts and eventually cabbage. I think I could make quite a few very nice meals with those greens and some baked or boiled potatoes :-). http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=90
        Nonetheless, . . I just love munching on cabbage in the evening when I’m wanting something to just nosh on – sweet and crunchy. Given that a head of cabbage weights 3-5 lbs, a pound of cabbage just isn’t that much.

  4. You might need to check the YouTube subtitles while here the German subtitles are right the German subtitles on YouTube where I’ve seen the video at first don’t match and seem to belong to a video on kidney stones.

  5. METHIONINE QUESTION:

    I read two abstracts about Methionine restriction and cancer therapy.

    Clearly Methionine is essential, even critical. But HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

    Bear in mind that my diet of fruits and vegetables is quite low in Methionine.

    If it weren’t for a small amount of beef/lanb each day, I would probably be deficient.

    Also:

    If the reason for not eating beef/lamb is too much Methionine causes cancer,

    And If I am deficient in Methionine due to diet of fruits and vegetables,

    then wouldn’t a small amount of beef/lamb each day be not only safe,
    but actually desirable?

    1. Sydney,

      They believe that methionine-restriction is an effective life-extension strategy.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18789600

      Do you eat oats, beans, seeds, and nuts? Because those are the best vegan sources.

      I found this sentence and say that even though Methionine is part of cancer development, they still believe the IGF-1 from the animal products is what really causes the problems.

      Restricting Methionine intake from diet is a strategy for healing from Cancer, but when it comes to being deficient, it isn’t as clear-cut.

      The interesting part is that “Despite the low intake among vegetarians, other research has shown that they actually have higher blood concentrations of methionine than those who eat meat and fish (25).”

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4705437/

      1. As I understand it, the benefits come from restricting dietary methionine intake. This doesn’t necessarily mean that low circulating blood levels of methionine are healthful..

        For one thing, there is also the question of tissue methionine levels. For example, in this small study of amino acid upotake and colon cancer:

        ‘Methionine was 11.55% in cancer tissue but -0.13% in normal tissue’
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4622769/

        That opens the possibility that the lower average circulating levels of methionine in meat/fish eaters could even reflect higher average cancer risk, although the full picture is probably much more complex.

    2. Sydney,
      Why so low? If you eat beans, whole grains and nuts/seeds you should get plenty of methionine. I get the RDA easily on my vegan WPF diet (true for all the essential AAs).

      1. Sydney,
        Individual essential amino acids aside, here is what the longevity researcher Dr. Longo says about protein in his new book The Longevity Diet:
        “Consume low but sufficient proteins. Consume 0.31 to 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. If you weigh 130 pounds, that comes to about 40 to 47 grams of protein per day, of which 30 grams should be consumed in a single meal to maximize muscle synthesis. If you weigh 200 to 220 pounds and have 35 percent body fat or higher, 60 to 70 grams of protein per day is sufficient, since fat cells require lower levels of protein than muscles. Since this minimum requirement can change from person to person, it is preferable to occasionally consult a dietitian, to make sure that a healthy, lean body mass is maintained.
        Protein intake should be increased slightly after age sixty-five in individuals who are losing weight and muscle. For most people, a 10 to 20 percent increase (5 to 10 grams more per day) is sufficient. Finally, the diet should be free of animal proteins (red meat, white meat, cheese) with the exception of proteins from fish, but relatively high in vegetable proteins (legumes, nuts, etc.) to minimize the former’s negative effects on diseases and maximize the latter’s nourishing effects.”

        Note the part about protein needs changing a bit for those over 65 — 10-20% — and the strong recommendation to rid yourself of animal proteins (but he does recommend fish).

        I think you are too hung up on specific amino acids.

        1. Gengo,

          The hung up on specific amino acids part depends on whether Sydney is testing deficient or assuming it.

          Some of us were junk food vegetarians out of allergies both to meat and to chemicals like RoundUP and MSG and chemicals for shipping things like grapes for decades. I really wasn’t eating fruits or vegetables. I was junk food and pizza and mac and cheese.

          Other people only eat fruit or only eat low glycemic index vegetables or only eat potatoes with nothing on them. I have seen it all online.

          1. Deb, If he tested deficient, which I doubt, all he has to do is increase his intake of beans, soy or nuts/seeds by a reasonable amount. I seriously doubt even junk food vegans test deficient for methionine but admit to not knowing for sure. If all you eat is chips and drink soda, you’d be deficient in just about everything and methionine would be the least of your problems.

            1. Just saying that Sydney is trying to make sense of complicated issues and the fact that vegetarians tested higher for Methionine in their bloodstream, even though plant food has less Methionine is another one of those complicated mysteries and what I see is that Sydney is serious enough about this process to show up every day and keep trying to learn and that Sydney also is trying to make sense of the data from more than one direction, which is an intellectually honest enough process. I have certainly looked at Keto information and do try to reconcile things one topic at a time.

              Looking at the vegetarians testing higher in bloodstream Methionine, that makes me wonder about Methionine restriction as a concept for Cancer. I wonder now whether it is all about the IGF-1?

            2. I think that Sydney is just looking for a part-way plausible reason to continue eating beef and lamb every day.to set against all the evidence that it is jn fact an unhealthful practice.

              1. Tom,

                That may well be.

                When I started down this path, I didn’t want to give up dairy.

                Emotional connections to food are hard to change.

        2. I agree that the protein obsession is ridiculous. What Dr. Longo says is not what Dr. Greger, Dr. McDougall, Dr. Esselstyn, Dr, Ornish, Dr. Campbell etc say. They all say do not eat fish. Fish is saturated fat, cholesterol, PCB’s, dioxins and mercury. Swordfish was banned for the decade of the 1970’s for mercury contamination. After intense lobbying by the fishing industry, the Reagan administration changed the acceptable levels of mercury in swordfish and it came back on the market. Has been there ever since.

          1. Yes, I realize there is that disconnect. Longo is it alone in this assessment.

            As a vegan, I don’t eat fish. My wife, who is Japanese, eats a small amount of small fish (sardines) twice per week. As much as I would like to be able to, I don’t think the science definitely says she’s making a (big) mistake even given the risks of contaminants. At least she does not have to worry about DHA/EPA (which some like McDougall seem overly confident in thinking it is irrelevant).,

            1. “Is it alone” ==> “is not alone”

              Also, Longo like extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil.

              I don’t agree with everything he says but he does have his reasons for saying what he does. He is a world class longevity researcher and not some ignoramus or tool of the fish industry, so I think it worthwhile to at least be familiar with his views, for which I recommend reading his new book.

              1. Gengo,

                I agree with you. It is good to have exposure to the viewpoints of many doctors.

                I gain weight even looking at oil for too long. It isn’t a good match for me.

                I lost weight. Gained 10 pounds back with products with oil in it, some of which I didn’t know about because of my vision. Plant milk should not have oil in it.

                I went off the oil and lost it back.

                The ex-NASA researcher who I am using his gadgets had a stroke and used Intermittent fasting and ended up with superpowers instead of deficiencies. Well, maybe not superpowers, but suddenly he was able to go ambidextrous and developed a love of writing books and was able to balance, etc. I had looked it up before he said it and Intermittent fasting increases neuroplasticity and he is proof of it to me. The studies were already proof, but he gained function ridiculously after a stroke. He gained back speech, walking and other things by the end of the first day because his science community friends told him how to do it and he was upset that the doctors and nurses and physical therapists gave him the opposite advice. He was interviewed by Dr. Mercola, who I know Tom might have comments about. I am more open to listening and, yes, I already know the risks of intermittent fasting, but if I ever have a stroke, I will be doing water fasting for the first few days in the hospital and might well do intermittent fasting after that. I just don’t want to give myself insulin resistance or fatty liver from the process.

                Topics are complicated.

                I watch the friendship between Dr. Fuhrman and the vegans and know that these men are doing a better process than most of their audience does. Dr. McDougall can stand against supplements and Dr. Greger can say “Take D3” and both men have learned to stay in the relationship. Most people feel threatened and start attacking whether subtley or vigorously.

              2. Gengo, I agree, also take Dr. Longo seriously. Had one of my patients with uncontrolled ulcerative colitis do his 5 day fasting mimicking diet. The UC is now under control. That diet btw, is very low protein, 9-10%, only plant protein.
                I also take Dr. Bredesen (alzheimer’s protocol), seriously. He recommends a mildly keto plant based diet, but allows a small amount of fish, meat, or eggs if the patient chooses that. No dairy.

                People keep contrasting plant based and keto diets, but it is certainly possible to do keto without animal foods.
                Patients need to be aware that it is an option for various diseases.

                1. Marilyn,
                  I have been meaning to thank you for your comments on diabetics and high fat vegan diets. Turns out my wife was recently diagnosed as prediabetic, although her fasting glucose levels are always very normal. She is also very skinny and physically active. Measuring her BSG after meals revealed the starchy and whole grain rich vegan diet (lots of sweet potatoes, whole grains, fair amount of fruit like wild blueberries) she was on would drive her postprandial BSG above 140, into the 150-170s. Your posts led me to read Dr. Bergstein’s book and to look into the risks of sharp, short lived BSG spikes after meals. She shifted to a Fuhrman-sequel diet (The End of Diabetes, great book) using beans/legumes as her primary carb, very limited whole grains, more limited fruit, and lots of nuts/seeds to keep her calories up for a ~40% fat, ~50% carb, ~10% protein diet. This coupled with intervals on an exercise bike 30 minutes after meals has kept her BSG well within normal bounds at all times. My impression is that she does not have enough phase 1 insulin but can produce enough insulin in phase 2 to return her BSG to fairly quickly to normal, hence the normal fasting levels. We are hoping this regimen will allow her pancreas to improve its insulin function over time.

                  She is an example that one should not overgeneralize. People differ significantly in their responses to food.

                  Thanks again for your comments.

                  1. Gengo, Yes, actually only a small percentage of diabetics present with high fasting sugars. For the reason you state. By the time their fasting numbers go up, they have usually been diabetic for long enough to have done organ damage. There is evidence that caught early, and not stressed by high post-prandial sugars, the pancreas can heal.
                    A book you may be interested in is ‘Blood Sugar 101’, author Jenny Ruhl. Even Dr. Bernstein quipped he learned a few things about type 2’s from her book.
                    I’m just happy your wife is doing well. She is fortunate indeed to have your knowledge and expertise to help her.

      2. DEB & gengo-gekuska:

        I do NOT eat legumes (green beans. kidney beans, peas, peanuts) because any time I do, I get tears in my cuticles (and, I suspect, elsewhere inside my body). I no longer eat oats because they seem to interfere with ability of Tomatidine and apple skin to block the bad effects of ATF4 (age related muscle atrophy).

        I DO eat Hazel Nut butter and Tahini in sandwiches wWhole rye bread and blueberries 2-5x a day. The sandwiches seem to perk why brain up a little.

        But if I do NOT eat any beef/lamb (I no longer eat any other animal food) all day, I am a mess by sleep time. The only way I can relax is 2 – 4 oz 100% grass fed cooked on low heat beef/lamb.

        1. Sydney, You clearly have some special considerations. I had never heard of tomatidine or ATF4, although I am familiar with sarcopenia.

          Going back to your original question, according to Kaiser Permanente https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/kbase/topic.jhtml?docId=hn-2884008#hn-2884008-how-it-works

          “Amino acid requirements vary according to body weight. However, average-size adults require approximately 800–1,000 mg of methionine per day—an amount easily obtained or even exceeded by most Western diets.”

          Have you ever used an app like chronometer.com’s to determine how much methionine you get? I use that app every so often so know pretty well how much protein and each EAA I typically get.

        2. Sydney, Regarding tomatidine, I see from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24719321 that there has not been much safety testing on humans. Also the study pointed out that tomatidine raises mTORC1 and IGF1. That’s at least part of the reason it helps build skeletal muscle.

          This makes me wonder about the safety of supplementation as far as the risk of raising mTORC1 or IGF1 too high. But then in some older people, IGF1 is too low and needs to be dealt with.

          I am wondering if you have had your IGF1 tested.

          Dr. Longo has mentioned that higher levels of protein in the diet does not significantly raise IGF1 in older people. In other words, it could be you do not need to worry much about getting too much methionine from food. And if you are concerned, perhaps you should also be concerned about the effects of tomatidine.

          It seems to me you should be consulting an informed professional.

        3. Sydney,

          We all do the mental gymnastics and make choices between the information.

          It sounds like you have made a lot of choices and it is okay to pause where you are and see how you feel.

          A little bit of meat fits within the category of WFPB. Closer to Dr Fuhrman or Dr Hyman, but many of the people here do eat a little meat or fish.

          It is okay to just pause and not overthink it and, yes, that advice comes from a master of overthinking.

          Dr Fuhrman eats a little meat because he likes eating a little meat. He doesn’t even try to justify it.

    3. The evidence shows that strict vegetarians meet or exceed the RDAs for methionine.
      https://veganhealth.org/protein-part-2/#amino-intakes-vegans

      Also, given that meat eaters (called ‘non-vegetarians’) and occasional meat eaters (called ‘semi vegearians’) in the Adventist mortality study all displayed higher mortality than non meat eaters, the evidence seems to suggest that eating beef/lamb each day is neither safe nor desirable.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4191896/

    4. Sydney, . . here’s how I look at it. I look to Nature to give me an idea about how to think about diet. The largest animals on our planet graze the plains: elephants, giraffe’s, deer, elk, etc. and they get plenty of nutrition for their needs – and don’t seem to worry about it like humans do (!). Our next of kin, the Chimpanzees, with whom we share 98% of our DNA, also eat what could be called a whole food plant based diet. They consume mostly plants. Jane Goodall has studied them for decades. The Chimps do have a little meat in their diets. . . about 2% of calories. This comes from insects, termite mounds, and occasionally a murderous episode of another monkey. So if you would like to add a little meat to your diet and if you feel comfortable doing that I don’t think there is a person on this site who would attempt to talk you out of it. Have at it! Enjoy it! Have a great time! But let me also suggest that you stop trying to convince others on this site to join you in your perspective. Each person here is doing what’s right for them. Do what works for you – but let the rest of us do the same, ok?

      1. Ruth, I’m a WPF vegan and so inclined to be sympathetic to your point of view, but I am also a bit of a stickler for factual accuracy. According to Jane Goodall Canada https://janegoodall.ca/our-stories/10-things-chimpanzees-eat/ the our chimpanee cousins’ diet includes ~5-8% meat and eggs, and ~4% insects, so the animal food total is ~9-12%.

        “4. Meat and Eggs One of the earliest and most significant discoveries made by Jane Goodall was that chimpanzees hunt for and eat meat. Prior to this, chimpanzees were believed to be vegetarians. However, meat and other animal products only account for 5%-8% of a chimpanzee’s diet.”
        “6. Insects Insects (ants, termites) account for approximately 4% of a wild chimpanzee’s diet. In fact, one of Dr. Goodall’s most important discoveries was made while observing chimpanzees foraging for termites”
        ____

        I have seen this 2% figure cited before (on this forum and then found it on some vegan website); it really bothers me because it does not really help the vegan or WFPB cause. I hope you take my remarks in the spirit intended.

        1. gengogakusha – “it really bothers me because it does not really help the vegan or WFPB cause.” – I really have no idea what that statement is referring to or why my mentioning that chimpanzees have a percentage of meat in their diet is bothersome to you and does not help the cause. What are you referring to?
          The 2% mean-in-the-diet comment is just a statement of observation by Dr. Goodall. I got the 2% figure from a paper authored by Dr. Goodall that I read many, many years ago. I now search her site (your reference is a site in Canada authored by someone named Dani Sarusi) and the percentage-of-diet for meat-eating is now not mentioned. Here is Dr. Goodall’s site that she authors: https://www.janegoodall.org.uk/chimpanzees/chimpanzee-central/15-chimpanzees/chimpanzee-central/21-chimp-facts Here is another quote about meat in the diet from Wikepedia: ” Despite the fact that common chimpanzees are known to hunt, and to collect insects and other invertebrates, such food actually makes up a tiny portion of their diet, from as little as 2% yearly to as much as 65 grams of animal flesh per day for each adult chimpanzee in peak hunting seasons. This also varies from troop to troop and year to year. However, in all cases, the majority of their diet consists of fruits, leaves, roots, and other plant matter.” Here is the source of that quote: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chimpanzee

          Whether the chimp diet is about 2%, as I read from Dr. Goodall’s report years ago, or is more like 10% as your reference suggests, I am not particularly bothered by the difference in the numbers. Neither do I feel a need to be rigidly accurate about the number as they are both rather small percentages of meat in the diet overall. So, . . .for me, . . I say, who cares? I certainly don’t. The reason I brought up what chimpanzees eat is because is helps us to separate what our next of kin in nature eat naturally as opposed to what the meat and dairy industries market to the public with their “Meat and diary at every meal” position.

          If one goes on to read Dr. Goodall’s work, she mentions that chimpanzees, while omniverous, have a broader diet that the other great apes who are apparently completely vegetarian.

          I don’t mind at all that you found some variety in the figures reported as to chimpanzee meat-eating. Perhaps the breadth of information has evolved on that topic since I read Dr. Goodall’s paper. But I am somewhat flamboozled as to how the percentage of meat eating in chimpanzees diet is somehow detrimental to “the cause” of the WFPB eater (which I adhere to as well :-).

          1. Ruth,
            Thanks for your reply. It made me wonder about the accuracy of the article I linked to and what more recent research has revealed, so I sent a note to Hanna Smit (Coordinator, Communications and Public Awareness) and she very kindly sent the inquiry along to a consultant, who provided the following reply. I think you’ll find it interesting, as I did:

            “In the “World Atlas of Great Apes and their Conservation”, page 60, find the the following statement about chimpanzees: “In most study populations, chimpanzees have been observed hunting various prey species, and meat eating accounts for about 3
            percent of time spent feeding. There is considerable variation among populations, however, and the percentage of fecal samples to contain animal remains ranges tenfold, from 0.6 percent at Kasakati to nearly 6 percent at Gombe National Park.”
            Our consultant also added, that the chimpanzee diet varies according to season and geographic location. Aware of this variability, we included a range on our website, but may clarify the statistic to include this wording in the near future.”

            The reason I think this sort of thing is important is that people who wish to criticize 100% whole-food plant diets jump on statements downplaying chimpanzee animal-food eating habits to support their contrary views. But it’s true that the difference in your original figure and the newer, higher estimates is not that large, and on reflection, I feel I owe you an apology for being overly confrontational in my reply to. So, please accept my apologies (it’s a character flaw of mine, often pointed out to me by my wife, who said “who cares if it’s 2% or 6%, it doesn’t make much difference”).

            Cheers.

  6. I’ve always wondered if it was the animal products that are the problem, or the antibiotics and chemicals used to fatten up the animals…

    Think about it… antibiotics are used to fatten up animals, and then we eat those animals, along with the chemicals…

    Has anyone done any studies using only organic animal products? If so, did it make any difference?

    I can eat organically raised pork, but absolutely cannot eat mass produced pork. I get violently ill!

    1. Laurie,

      There is some difference between organic animal products and conventional animal products, but there were still problems.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/organic-foods/

      “All foods of animal origin—organic or not—naturally contain sex steroid hormones, though, such as estrogen, but the hormones naturally found even in organic cow’s milk may play a role in acne, diminished male reproductive potential, and premature puberty. And, in a comparison between meat from animals raised conventionally versus organically, all conventional chicken samples were contaminated with multidrug-resistant bacteria, but the majority of organic samples were, too.”

    2. Hi Laurie, thanks for your question and thank you Deb for your explanation. Dr Greger in this video explains that Persistent organic pollutants like dioxins, PCBs, can persist for years in our bodies. But, other dietary contaminants—like antibiotic residues, and some of the plastic compounds—may be more of a matter of constantly re-exposing ourselves on a day-to-day basis, as suggested by this study recently that measured changes in the levels of antibiotic and phthalate metabolites, before and after a five-day meat-free stay at a Buddhist temple.

      They tested participants’ urine for the presence of a number of important antibiotics, such as Bactrim, enrofloxacin, Cipro. And, although none of the participants were actually on antibiotics, the drugs were all found flowing through their bodies. But, within five days eating vegetarian: “The [present] study demonstrated clearly that even short-term dietary changes could reduce the frequency of detection and levels of major antibiotics. Antibiotics detected in the urine assumed to be mostly originated from dietary intake, since participants with recent medication histories were excluded from the study.”
      I shall send you the reference.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/lowering-dietary-antibiotic-intake/

    3. Laurie

      All the beef in Uruguay is grass-fed, no added hormones etc but the more beef people eat there, the higher their risk of cancer

      http://www.uruguayanmeats.us/

      ‘Results: In themultivariable model there was a significant increase in the odds of cancers of the oral cavity and pharynx(OR=3.65, 95% CI: 2.21-6.01), esophagus (OR=3.36, 95% CI: 1.97-5.72), larynx (OR=2.91, 95% CI: 1.80-4.68),stomach (OR=2.19, 95% CI: 1.31-3.65), colorectum (OR=3.83, 95% CI: 2.37-6.20), lung (OR=2.17, 95% CI:1.52-3.10), breast (OR=1.97, 95% CI: 1.04-3.75), prostate (OR=1.87, 95% CI: 1.08-3.21), bladder (OR=2.11,95% CI: 1.20-3.72) and kidney (OR=2.72, 95% CI: 1.22-6.07) with high intake of red meat and similar findingswere found for total meat. In addition, intake of beef and lamb were also associated with increased risk ofseveral cancer sites.’
      http://journal.waocp.org/?sid=Entrez:PubMed&id=pmid:19640186&key=2009.10.3.429

      1. Tom – I’d like to add to your information on “grass-fed beef” and a common misunderstanding about how beef is raised and produced for the public. I lived on a cattle ranch for numbers of years in Colorado. The beef was indeed grass fed all season in the high grass fields of our Federal lands (which the owners paid grazing right for). After the babies are born in early Spring (March-ish), and when they are strong enough, they are led up to the high pastures to graze all summer on grass, hence the term “grass fed”. In the Fall they are brought back down, separated, and shipped off to the feed lots provided they meet weight requirements. The purpose of the feed lot is to put as much weight on the animals as possible before slaughter. The combination of a high grain diet and a contained space (the animals cannot exercise off the calories) is to increase the animals size via increased muscle and fat. The increased fat develops within the muscle of the animals and creates marbling which is highly desirable in certain cuts of meat, . . rib eye steak for example. This diet also raises the Ph of the stomach in the animals which may then require antibiotics for disease prevention or cure. Antibiotics are also known to increase weight so some feedlots routinely give animals destined for slaughter copious amounts. This whole process of having the animals in the feedlots is called “finishing”. So you may see the term “grain finished”, “corn finished”, etc. which means that the animals have had its muscle fat-marbelized (and therefore more tender). But this is also what makes a steak more unhealthy – by adding fat and calories.
        So the point I am trying to illustrate here is that the term “grass fed” doesn’t give the consumer the entire picture. And Uruguay may have grass fed cows but I see they don’t mention how the meat is finished. If the animals have been grass fed (which most are in the US) and then fattened at the feedlot before slaughter, you still have the same ‘ol “unhealthy” meat that everyone is concerned about. The one animal that does not get fattened in a feed lot before slaughter is lamb. And that is because they are slaughtered as babies when their meat is tender so they do not have to go to a feedlot to get their meat tenderized. The whole purpose of a feedlot is to 1) add lots of weight and 2) tenderize the meat by adding fat to the muscle. The antibiotics keep disease down in a close-quarters area. One can read more about feedlots here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feedlot
        Grass fed beef that is not finished in a feedlot is notoriously tough – and this is why fattening in a feedlot got started in the first place – to tenderize the meat. Deer and elk, consumed by hunters, is also notoriously tough. They, however, let the meat hang in a cool shed to “age”. What this means is the enzymes in the muscle itself begin to break down the muscle (i.e. decay it) over time. When the muscle has sufficiently aged to desired tenderness the meat is then cut up and frozen. This takes time however (read $$$) so grain or corn finished beef from feedlots is a much quicker way to make the meat palatable to the public.
        The term “grass fed” is not the entire picture. Thanks!!

  7. Well i eat meat everyday and just a bit more salt then i should but how i lowered it was from exercise. Hit routine. High intensity training.

  8. Is there a danger for someone who is taking 2 high blood pressure pills to go on a BP lowering diet? Would the diet drop the BP too low? My mom takes 2 BP meds and I would like to get her on this diet. Thanks.

    1. Jack,

      When people with health issues do WFPB all of the doctors say to walk closely with your doctor because you may need to lower meds soon.

    2. A diet change is not going to instantly drop the blood pressure. It may take months to a year for your body to adjust. You are quite safe. Do of course tell your doctor what you are doing always. As you are checked at each doctor visit they will notice the gradual changes and adjust meds if warranted. I would safety bet they will be happy to hear that you are taking control of your own health and paying attention to what you are doing to your body, and probably tell you that they wish they has more patients like you. Kudos

        1. Another Wow!

          Many people drop their blood pressure within 3 days on Pritikin!

          Within 3 weeks!

          Way to go, Pritikiin!

          I expect that a vegan one would work even better, but 3 days is hard to beat!

    3. Ignore what Jimbo said. If you start eating an unprocessed plant based diet, your BP can drop through the floor rapidly…like within 24 to 48 hours. Its all about the sodium which is ZERO in fruit. For $60 you can buy an accurate BP monitor (check online for which brands/models have been tested as accurate). Test yourself, often, like 3 times per day. Then don’t forget that normal BP is 110/70. Then follow Deb’s advice and do this under docs supervision so that he/she can advise what to do. You should never go on or go off prescribed medication without doctor supervision.

    4. Hi, Jack McEwan! Yes, it is possible for blood pressure to be too low, if a person is taking medications he or she may no longer need due to changes in lifestyle. If you are able to get your mom to make lifestyle changes, her blood pressure should be monitored, and she should ask her doctor about changing or discontinuing medications if it gets too low. If you haven’t already, you might want to look for a doctor who knows about the power of plants and can be supportive of these changes. Good places to look include the American College of Lifestyle Medicine https://www.lifestylemedicine.org/ and https://www.plantbaseddoctors.org/find I wish you and your mom the best, and I hope that helps!

  9. Using omron series 7 wrist blood pressure monitor [ https://www.amazon.com/Omron-Pressure-Monitor-Reading-Memory/dp/B004D9P1A8 ] I just took two readings that were appx 140-130/90 with pulse of 60. I’m a long time wfpb eater with no added salt-oil-sugar [sos] with the exception of what i get from a the olive oil used in the pre-baked with currey or garlic seasoning potatoes i’ll toss in my evening bowl of greens/vegetables/beans/nuts and a few vegan cookies every week.

    I typically do 2-3 mile trail walks at the end of every day.

    What might i be overlooking that is causing me to be way off the 110/70 blood pressure reading discussed in video and these comments as being typical among folks using wfpb nutrition?

      1. @gengo-gakusha perhaps that is the case as i just look at my yearly physical doctors office readings from the past two years and i’m seeing 2018 was 120/74 & 72bpm and 2017 was 112/74 & 60bpm compared to the 140/90 & 60bpm i’m getting at home. Nothing worse than taking a measurement than taking one with equipment that gives you inaccurate readings! I’d also be concerned about how accurate a doctors office reading is or if it is accurate how affected it can be to white coat syndrom that drives up numbers for some people when reading being taken by a medical professional in an office environment.

        1. I have also found that wrist monitors are not very accurate. Unfortunately, they are now being used in most doctor’s offices.
          Note that BP should be taken after at least 5 minutes sitting still, both feet on floor.

        2. I don’t take BP measurements in a doctor’s office seriously. Besides white coat syndrome, which I have, they never take it correctly and the person doing it is usually in a hurry. I trust my home monitor more.

    1. Hi, myusrn! Those little exceptions could be enough to keep your blood pressure elevated. Some people are genetically predisposed to have elevated blood pressure, and are very sensitive to even small deviations from an ideal SOS-free diet. There are a few people who will have higher blood pressure even if they do everything right, but that does not mean that they are not benefitting from healthy lifestyle changes. Try eliminating the olive oil, switching the cookies for homemade ones without sugar, oil, or salt (there are good recipes to be found in the How Not to Die cookbook and the free Forks Over Knives app), and any salt you that may be in your seasonings. If you are overweight, losing weight may lower blood pressure, as well. I hope that helps!

  10. I have some patients who eat really well, still BP not optimal. As in the video, there are that pesky 25% of people who will still be too high on a good diet.
    Exercise, and weight loss can also lower BP. Have one patient who is about 115/60 when her weight is midrange for her height. But her BP jumps to 130-140 systolic when even 5 pounds over that.
    A relative’s BP was high even in his 20’s, was never overweight, but when he lost some weight to low to mid numbers for his height, it suddenly dropped to normal.
    Dr. Mosley mentioned that he found that true of him also. Maybe some people’s bodies just want to be relatively thin?

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15107009

    1. The unfortunate thing about most patients and lifestyle change recommendations is a medical professional can count of many of the patients SAYING they are following what they are told when they spend most of the time ‘cheating’ and only occasionally is at all making any effort.

      1. Jimbo,

        There probably is some truth to that and it may not even be that they are intentionally cheating.

        I bought a tube of garlic and plant milk, not understanding that I was getting oil and animal products by doing that.

        I wouldn’t have thought that was enough to do anything, but I gained weight back and didn’t really know that I was cheating.

        Except that I did know that I wasn’t making my own plant milk and I was trying to do an easier process at the time because I was overwhelmed with cooking.

        1. I’d like to throw in the conversation that the number 1 contribution of salt to the diet is bread! No kidding! It is hidden and when you eat bread you don’t think “this is salty” like you do with chips, etc. And bread is not a whole food. I just finished taking off 12lbs from Nov 2018 to present (5 months) by eliminating bread and making my foundation out of whole food starches (1/3 of my plate) winter squash, potatoes, whole cooked grains, beans. Two thirds of my plate is filled with green and yellow vegetables: zucchini, yellow sqash, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, etc. And a salad.With an olive or two. No olive oil. (it takes approx. 44 olives to make 1 Tbs of oil).
          Bread (with only a few exceptions) and cookies – even if they are vegan – are not whole foods. My “WFPB” friend regularly brings out a bowl of vegan cookies for snacking and wonders why he has put on 10 lbs. He thinks they’re ok because there are no animal products – you should read the ingredient list – it would make your heart stop!! :-)
          Best food for dessert and if you are still hungry? a ripe pear. You’d be surprised how it fills you up and satisfies the sweet tooth. Heavenly!! :-)

  11. White coat syndrome continues to keep my blood pressure up. I only have to think about having the damn thing on my arm and I freak out. It started only being higher in the doctor’s surgery. Now it’s the same at home. I have to work really hard to lower it a home (I have to think it lower). It’s hard work.

    Now I’ve been following a strict WFPB diet for quite a while. All other blood tests are typical for someone on such a diet – probably because I can’t affect their result by ‘thinking’ them higher.

    Any ideas for solving my white coat blood pressure dilemma?
    Greg

    1. vk2gho, same thing happens to me. At the doctor’s office they left the machine on to take multiple readings after which the doc advised ‘forget about it, your blood pressure is good. If you do take it (at a store for example), take it several times and ignore the first 2 readings.”

      A note to myusrn, … If you are in hospital hooked up to a blood pressure machine you will notice that your bp varies. It goes up and down like a wave. Your reading could have been totally accurate, and nothing to worry about. It depends on many factors. Try take it at the same time of day, seated comfortably, feet on the floor, arm supported on a table. Also, with me it isn’t salt but sugar that raises bp. If you eat your cookies semi-often you could see a rise in bp. Just sayin’

      1. Barb,

        Never discard the first reading, as it’s the most accurate.

        Once the B/P is taken the arm has been constricted and it will not give an accurate subsequent reading for some time. You should always get a lower reading by doing the multiple same arm use, assuming you’re not hurting the arm with high pressures to start the readings, but not from accuracy rather from the physiological change……. so don’t follow this poor advise.

        To break the white coat syndrome, try getting your own cuff and start with a wrist based device. Make sure to check it multiple different times of the day and you’ll find it becomes an easy non-stressful and probably more accurate approach to your overall real blood pressure.

        Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

        1. Thanks Dr Kadish, but just going by what my cardiologist told me. In the end he said to just not take it anymore because it’s making white coat worse, and my blood pressure is good (like when hooked up for days).

    2. vk2gho

      Take a few weeks off.

      I say that because I have been doing brain testing with a scientific gadget and my scores for that slowly, but steadily dropped every single time I took the test. I was eating more antioxidants trying to see if I could raise my brain function, but I had such a performance anxiety that I genuinely would be focused on worrying that I would score lower and I would score lower again. The last test I took was the lowest yet. I went from a near-perfect score in 2 areas the first time I took the test, but I was low in areas which do point to my brain problems, but now, after a whole bunch of tests, I am testing low in every single area and that doesn’t surprise me at all.

      The harder I try and the more I focus on trying to do better, I genuinely got a 5% function on one down from a 100% the first test. The thing is the device is not messing up. It isn’t like a blood pressure cuff. It is like I have to push the right button to give the right answer over and over again and that is so stressful that I am now using relaxation music from YouTube and meditation and prayer.

      I am laughing about it because my coworker described me as a mix between Rain Man and the Daleks from Dr. Who. He said. “You can look down at the floor and know how many toothpicks fell out of the box and can’t figure out how to use a crosswalk.” “You have the intelligence to invent the technology to destroy the whole universe, but you can’t figure out how to get up and down the stairs.”

      He is a little bit right.

  12. What about your pulse? You should pay attention to it, even taking/feeling it yourself and especially for longer then 10 seconds. We have caught normal(?) BP readings on someone who was in atrial fib/flutter that had to be Converted. The electric digital cuffs help with this as they have both both BP and pulse. Also feeling your pulse allows you to feel irregular beats. Some medical assistant personnel are unable to discern irregularities even using a stethoscope, mostly due to lack of specific training. Just a thought.

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