Flashback Friday: Improving on the Mediterranean Diet & Do Flexitarians Live Longer?

Flashback Friday: Improving on the Mediterranean Diet & Do Flexitarians Live Longer?
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What are the four problematic nutritional aspects of even plant-based Mediterranean diets? Does just reducing one’s intake of meat, dairy, and eggs significantly reduce mortality?

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The traditional Mediterranean diet can be considered as a mainly, but not exclusively, plant-based diet, and certainly not a whole food plant-based diet, as olive oil and wine can be considered essentially fruit juices. Even if one is eating a vegiterranean diet, an entirely plant-based version, there are a number of potentially problematic nutritional aspects that are rarely talked about. For example, lots of white bread, white pasta, not a lot of whole grains. Alcohol can be a problem, the caloric density with all that oil can be high, as well as the salt intake. Let’s go over these one by one.

In this anatomy of the health effects of the Mediterranean diet, the single most important component was the high consumption of plant foods. In contrast, high cereal consumption, meaning high grain consumption, did not appear to help.

This may be because most grains modern Mediterranean dieters eat are refined, like white bread, whereas the traditional Mediterranean diet was characterized by unprocessed cereals—in other words, whole grains. And while whole grains have been associated with a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, refined grains may increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. For example, in the PREDIMED study, those who ate the most white bread–but not whole grain bread–gained significant weight.

Alcohol may also be a problem. As a plant-centered diet, no surprise, adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with lower cancer risk, but not with lower breast cancer risk. With all the fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and beans and low saturated fat, you’d assume there would be a lower breast cancer risk, but alcohol is a known breast cancer risk factor–even in moderate amounts. But if you create a special adapted version of the Mediterranean diet score that excludes alcohol, the diet does indeed appear to reduce breast cancer risk.

The wonderful grape phytonutrients in red wine can improve our arterial function such that if you drink de-alcoholized red wine, red wine with the alcohol removed, you get a significant boost in endothelial function–the ability of our arteries to relax and dilate normally, increasing blood flow. But if you drink the same red wine with the alcohol added back in, it abolishes the beneficial effect; it counteracts the benefit of the grape phytonutrients. So better just to eat grapes.

Similarly, there are components of extra virgin olive oil—the antioxidant phytonutrients–that may help endothelial function, but when consumed as oil, even extra virgin olive oil, it may impair arterial function. So even if white bread dipped in olive oil is the very symbol of the Mediterranean diet, we can modernize it by removing oils and refined grains.

Another important, albeit frequently ignored, issue in the modern Mediterranean diet is sodium intake. Despite evidence linking salt intake to high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes, dietary salt intake in the U.S. is on the rise. Right now we get about seven to ten grams a day, mostly from processed foods. If we were to decrease that just by three grams, which is about 1,000 mg of sodium, half a teaspoon of table salt, every year we could save tens of thousands of people from having a heart attack, prevent tens of thousands of strokes, and tens of thousands of deaths. There is a common misconception that only certain people should reduce their salt intake, and that for the vast majority of the population, salt reduction is unnecessary. But in reality, the opposite is true.

But there is much we can learn from the traditional Mediterranean diet. A defining characteristic of the Mediterranean diet is an abundance of plant foods, and one thing that seems to have fallen by the wayside. No real main Mediterranean meal is replete without lots of greens, a key part of not only a good Mediterranean diet, but of any good diet.

What accounts for the benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet? An anatomy of health effects was published and the single most important component was the high consumption of plant foods. In contrast, fish and seafood consumption, the only animal foods promoted in the Mediterranean diet, did not seem to help.

In fact, if you look at the four major dietary quality scoring systems, which have all been associated with extending lifespan and lowering heart disease and cancer mortality, they all share only four things in common: more fruit, more vegetables, more whole grains, and more nuts and beans. They are all built on a common core of a diet rich in plant foods, whereas opposite food patterns, rich in animal foods and poor in plant-based foods (in other words, the Western diet), are associated with higher risks. So we need to optimize the food environment to support whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and plant-based proteins.

That’s one of the things all the so-called Blue Zones have in common; the longest living populations not only have social support and engagement, and daily exercise, but nutritionally they all center their diets around plant foods, reserving meat mostly for special occasions. And the population with perhaps the highest life expectancy in the world doesn’t eat any meat at all–the California Adventist vegetarians.

So if the primary benefits of the Mediterranean diet are due to all the whole plant foods, what if you went back to the famous PREDIMED study and created a pro-vegetarian scoring system? We know vegetarians live longer, but because a pure vegetarian diet might not easily be embraced by many individuals, maybe it would be easier to swallow if we just tell people more plant-based foods, less animal-based foods. But would just moving along the spectrum towards more plants actually enable people to live longer? They thought of this food pattern as a “gentle approach” to vegetarianism, figuring that if it improved survival it would be an easily understandable message for health promotion: more plant foods, less animal foods.

So you get points for eating fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, beans, olive oil, and potatoes, but get docked points for any animal fats, eggs, fish, dairy, or any type of meat or meat products. Of course that means you get a higher score the more potato chips and French fries you eat. That’s why I prefer the term “whole food plant-based” diet since it’s defined by what you eat, not by what you don’t eat. When I taught at Cornell, I had “vegan” students who apparently were trying to live off French fries and beer; vegan does not necessarily mean health-promoting. But did it work? Regardless of healthy vs. unhealthy, if you give points to people for any kind of plant food, processed or not, and detract points for any kind of animal product consumption, do people with higher scores live longer? Yes. The maximum pro-vegetarian score is 60, but even just scoring 40 or more was associated with a 40% drop in mortality. In fact, there were so few deaths in the highest category of adherence to the pro-vegetarian diet, they had to merge the two upper categories for their analysis. This is evidence that simple advice to increase the consumption of plant-derived foods with reductions in the consumption of foods from animal sources confers a survival advantage, a live-a-longer-life advantage.

This modest change is realistic, affordable, and achievable because a sizable proportion of their population was already eating that way. So one can get a significant survival benefit without a radical shift to the exclusive consumption of plant foods–a more gradual and gentle approach more easily translatable into public policy. For example, a 41% drop in mortality rates in the United States would mean saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

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.

Image credit: alex9500 via Adobe Stock Images. This image has been modified.

The traditional Mediterranean diet can be considered as a mainly, but not exclusively, plant-based diet, and certainly not a whole food plant-based diet, as olive oil and wine can be considered essentially fruit juices. Even if one is eating a vegiterranean diet, an entirely plant-based version, there are a number of potentially problematic nutritional aspects that are rarely talked about. For example, lots of white bread, white pasta, not a lot of whole grains. Alcohol can be a problem, the caloric density with all that oil can be high, as well as the salt intake. Let’s go over these one by one.

In this anatomy of the health effects of the Mediterranean diet, the single most important component was the high consumption of plant foods. In contrast, high cereal consumption, meaning high grain consumption, did not appear to help.

This may be because most grains modern Mediterranean dieters eat are refined, like white bread, whereas the traditional Mediterranean diet was characterized by unprocessed cereals—in other words, whole grains. And while whole grains have been associated with a lower risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, refined grains may increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and other chronic diseases. For example, in the PREDIMED study, those who ate the most white bread–but not whole grain bread–gained significant weight.

Alcohol may also be a problem. As a plant-centered diet, no surprise, adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with lower cancer risk, but not with lower breast cancer risk. With all the fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and beans and low saturated fat, you’d assume there would be a lower breast cancer risk, but alcohol is a known breast cancer risk factor–even in moderate amounts. But if you create a special adapted version of the Mediterranean diet score that excludes alcohol, the diet does indeed appear to reduce breast cancer risk.

The wonderful grape phytonutrients in red wine can improve our arterial function such that if you drink de-alcoholized red wine, red wine with the alcohol removed, you get a significant boost in endothelial function–the ability of our arteries to relax and dilate normally, increasing blood flow. But if you drink the same red wine with the alcohol added back in, it abolishes the beneficial effect; it counteracts the benefit of the grape phytonutrients. So better just to eat grapes.

Similarly, there are components of extra virgin olive oil—the antioxidant phytonutrients–that may help endothelial function, but when consumed as oil, even extra virgin olive oil, it may impair arterial function. So even if white bread dipped in olive oil is the very symbol of the Mediterranean diet, we can modernize it by removing oils and refined grains.

Another important, albeit frequently ignored, issue in the modern Mediterranean diet is sodium intake. Despite evidence linking salt intake to high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes, dietary salt intake in the U.S. is on the rise. Right now we get about seven to ten grams a day, mostly from processed foods. If we were to decrease that just by three grams, which is about 1,000 mg of sodium, half a teaspoon of table salt, every year we could save tens of thousands of people from having a heart attack, prevent tens of thousands of strokes, and tens of thousands of deaths. There is a common misconception that only certain people should reduce their salt intake, and that for the vast majority of the population, salt reduction is unnecessary. But in reality, the opposite is true.

But there is much we can learn from the traditional Mediterranean diet. A defining characteristic of the Mediterranean diet is an abundance of plant foods, and one thing that seems to have fallen by the wayside. No real main Mediterranean meal is replete without lots of greens, a key part of not only a good Mediterranean diet, but of any good diet.

What accounts for the benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet? An anatomy of health effects was published and the single most important component was the high consumption of plant foods. In contrast, fish and seafood consumption, the only animal foods promoted in the Mediterranean diet, did not seem to help.

In fact, if you look at the four major dietary quality scoring systems, which have all been associated with extending lifespan and lowering heart disease and cancer mortality, they all share only four things in common: more fruit, more vegetables, more whole grains, and more nuts and beans. They are all built on a common core of a diet rich in plant foods, whereas opposite food patterns, rich in animal foods and poor in plant-based foods (in other words, the Western diet), are associated with higher risks. So we need to optimize the food environment to support whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and plant-based proteins.

That’s one of the things all the so-called Blue Zones have in common; the longest living populations not only have social support and engagement, and daily exercise, but nutritionally they all center their diets around plant foods, reserving meat mostly for special occasions. And the population with perhaps the highest life expectancy in the world doesn’t eat any meat at all–the California Adventist vegetarians.

So if the primary benefits of the Mediterranean diet are due to all the whole plant foods, what if you went back to the famous PREDIMED study and created a pro-vegetarian scoring system? We know vegetarians live longer, but because a pure vegetarian diet might not easily be embraced by many individuals, maybe it would be easier to swallow if we just tell people more plant-based foods, less animal-based foods. But would just moving along the spectrum towards more plants actually enable people to live longer? They thought of this food pattern as a “gentle approach” to vegetarianism, figuring that if it improved survival it would be an easily understandable message for health promotion: more plant foods, less animal foods.

So you get points for eating fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, beans, olive oil, and potatoes, but get docked points for any animal fats, eggs, fish, dairy, or any type of meat or meat products. Of course that means you get a higher score the more potato chips and French fries you eat. That’s why I prefer the term “whole food plant-based” diet since it’s defined by what you eat, not by what you don’t eat. When I taught at Cornell, I had “vegan” students who apparently were trying to live off French fries and beer; vegan does not necessarily mean health-promoting. But did it work? Regardless of healthy vs. unhealthy, if you give points to people for any kind of plant food, processed or not, and detract points for any kind of animal product consumption, do people with higher scores live longer? Yes. The maximum pro-vegetarian score is 60, but even just scoring 40 or more was associated with a 40% drop in mortality. In fact, there were so few deaths in the highest category of adherence to the pro-vegetarian diet, they had to merge the two upper categories for their analysis. This is evidence that simple advice to increase the consumption of plant-derived foods with reductions in the consumption of foods from animal sources confers a survival advantage, a live-a-longer-life advantage.

This modest change is realistic, affordable, and achievable because a sizable proportion of their population was already eating that way. So one can get a significant survival benefit without a radical shift to the exclusive consumption of plant foods–a more gradual and gentle approach more easily translatable into public policy. For example, a 41% drop in mortality rates in the United States would mean saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.

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.

Image credit: alex9500 via Adobe Stock Images. This image has been modified.

Doctor's Note

This is two videos combined from my Mediterranean diet series. The rest are:

For more on whole grains, see: 

More on breast cancer and alcohol in Breast Cancer and Alcohol: How Much Is Safe?Breast Cancer Risk: Red Wine v. White Wine, and Can Alcohol Cause Cancer?

I’ve touched on olive oil in the other videos in this Mediterranean diet series, but also have an older video Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs. Nuts.

I’ve done a few videos on the health of so-called semi-vegetarians or flexitarians (“flexible” vegetarians). See how they rate in:

The Provegetarian Score reminds me of the animal to vegetable protein ratio in Prostate Cancer Survival: The A/V Ratio. My favorite dietary quality index is the one in Calculate Your Healthy Eating Score. How do you rate? Even the healthiest among us may be able to continue to push the envelope. 

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

140 responses to “Flashback Friday: Improving on the Mediterranean Diet & Do Flexitarians Live Longer?

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    1. The last two paragraphs are about people who eat some animal products but mostly follow plant based diet…..aka flexitarian.

    2. Yes who needs evidence when we can use poetry to justify our dietary choices?

      Even eating a small amount of (red) meat daiiy (2 oz or less), though, appears to increase mortality risk
      https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/3/622

      So does eating meat occasionally (once a week or less frequently)
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4191896/

      I am occasionally ‘flexible’ and take the route less travelled but I am not convinced that these things are actually doing me any good

      In any case, in centuries gone by, wasn’t the route less travelled less travelled because it was infested by bandits, much more difficult or longer? There certainly seem to be a lot of bandits infesting the modern keto, low carb and paleo routes Neither our health nor our wealth ay be safe on those particular roads

        1. So it’s OK for you to correct the silly video and set us all right with your wisdom? But tiresome people like me who have the temerity to disagree with you are just, well, tiresome? Yes ma’am.

          On the other hand, some of us come here for the nutritional science and find the contrary New Age twaddle sigh-inducing.

          1. Fumbles dear,

            it’s just that we can always depend upon you to show up under nearly everybody’s posts. You and your many links, ready to pounce and correct.

            And so I more or less observed, “Oh there he is again!” :-)

            1. Actually, IMO, the site needs dedicated people like you.

              Dr. G. should be very grateful that you save him so much grunt work, and I’m thinking he should give you a salary I’ll bet he’s got some extra cash in the coffers and would be willing to hire you on. Become a member of his “family,” as it were. Dr. G., in case you’re reading this, how about it? (Fumbles, you can thank me later.) :-)

              1. Since the NF staff and moderators are uniformly polite, gracious and encouraging, I’m certain that I wouldn’t make the team.

                .

            2. I don’t really think that is the problem. In any case you post as often and probably more often than I do. But hey a little dose of double standards has never killed anyone,right? The problem seems to me to be people posting counterfactual or wishful thinking beliefs as undeniable facts.

              As I see it, you are always here posting some science-denying opinion or New Age tripe of some kind Or, perhaps, for a change of pace there is some poor soul posting fasehoods he or she found on the internet and presenting them as absolute facts. Since I don’t watch tv or play/watch sport, my hobby is checking out statements made in the videos and comments.

              Oh, and I provide all those tedious links to reports of scientific studies to support the claims made in my posts. Boring I know – the best people siply intuit the truth I suppose or at least find it in the writings of other people selling stuff

              1. Fumblefingers, . . . I just want to say this – you “get it”. And you stand up for that. And even though I don’t post enough in support of you and your willingness to stand up for science, etc., I would like to just like to encourage you to stay the course. YeahRight is often boringly inaccurate and off base. I SO APPRECIATE your willingness to stick to science and facts on this sight. And not poetry. (although I love poetry, it isn’t appropriate for this site).
                So thanks yet again for your willingness to stay the course.
                I wish NFacts.org would be as willing as you to do its job as well.
                But thanks again – you are so appreciated and I truly want you to know it.
                All the BEST!

      1. Actually, the Robert Frost quote could be interpreted a little differently. In a real sense, we WFPB eaters are currently taking the road less traveled, rather than following the masses who mistakenly eat carnivore food ;-) It’s as though these people don’t even realize they are of the primate family and not the carnivore family. And a human eating a cow’s mammary secretions … I don’t want to travel down that road!

        1. Since we have amazingly enough entered into the realm of poetry interpretation, I cannot resist pointing out that Frost gave no indication that his choice was the better one. The poem is completely vague on that point, part of what makes it poetry.

          1. “The poem is completely vague on that point, part of what makes it poetry.”

            Yes, and to quote Dylan Thomas on that point, “The best craftsmanship always leaves holes and gaps in the works of the poem so that something that is not in the poem can creep, crawl, flash or thunder in.”

        2. Yes, you could certainly consider yourself on a different road because you follow a WFPB diet, but then so could the carnies and those who eat NOTHING but animal flesh…some of whom like it raw and dripping with blood. Maybe they include some raw eggs and raw milk too. Most eaters of food do not follow that road, as we know — methinks most are omnivores who probably follow a SAD.

          I could say I’m taking the road less traveled because I have no interest in drinking alcohol, smoking ciggies; because I avoid prescription and other drugs; and because I bounce on my rebounder a couple of times a day & do yoga exercises every morning, yada yada.

          Nobody is expected to follow the same yellow brick road. Except maybe grammar school students.

          https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/89511/robert-frost-the-road-not-taken

          1. YR,
            >>> because I bounce on my rebounder a couple of times a day
            Ah, this could explain a few things about your comments, YR! :-)

          2. YR, Re: “I could say I’m taking the road less traveled because I have no interest in drinking alcohol, smoking ciggies; because I avoid prescription and other drugs; and because I bounce on my rebounder a couple of times a day …”

            I travel down that same road except for the rebounder thing! Just wanted to add that I have an old hydraulic stepper that has given me a good aerobic workout for many years. I like it because it’s very smooth. Got it when all my jogging friends started having knee replacements. (I think rebounding is safe!) Don’t have any scientific studies, but in my opinion, I don’t think primates are physiologically constructed to jog for many years on end. Too hard on the knee joints. Our primate family loved climbing in trees, which is fairly closely simulated by steppers, for the legs at least.

            1. Hal, if you ever consider investing in a rebounder, they’re well worth the expense.

              From: https://www.cancertutor.com/rebounding/

              “Does Rebounding Really Work?
              The short answer is yes, and that is backed up by a landmark study completed in 1980. This often-quoted research on the benefits of rebound exercise was completed by NASA scientists who concluded that rebounding on a trampoline is 68 percent more effective than jogging and yet requires less effort.”

                1. YR,

                  I quickly read through the article about Albert Carter and rebounding that you provided and found it very interesting. There’s a lot to absorb so I’ll definitely read it again. It seems as though he takes a “wholist” view of the body which agrees with all I’ve read elsewhere.

                  And his emphasis on the lymph system is fascinating. That’s a subsystem of the human body that one doesn’t hear much about. I need to do some research on that subject.

                  I also remember hearing that skin brushing helps stimulate the lymph system, but don’t know much about it.

                  Do you have a favorite brand of rebounder that you would recommend?

                  1. Hal, mine is nearly 20 years old, but it hasn’t caused me any grief so far. As I say, I just keep my feet on the thing and bounce…I don’t jump a foot in the air or do anything fancy.

                    Am ashamed to admit that a couple of years ago, I was thinking about other stuff while bouncing and found myself being flung to the floor. Ouch! The fall caused me to break my right big toe, but I didn’t go to the foot doc. It was during the night hours, anyway. It healed okay (sent it some healing energy). We must remember to concentrate, concentrate, concentrate at all times, in whatever we do. My rebounder has six pull-up legs, a carrying jacket, and calls itself ReboundAir. Maybe they’re no longer on the market.

                    Just one of the links you could check out:

                    https://bestreviews.com/best-mini-trampolines

                  2. Yes, I also brush my naked bod before my shower every morning. :-) Brush in the direction toward the heart, and etc.

                2. re the website itself

                  ‘Cancer Tutor is one of the more popular websites which promote a range of unproven and disproven alternative cancer treatments[1]: it allegedly has “more than 7 million visitors yearly”.[2][3]

                  Cancer Tutor is the website of an organisation called “Independent Cancer Research Foundation, Inc.(ICRF)”,[4] founded by Robert Webster Kehr.[5] Mr. Kehr is a fervent Christian of the Mormon variety[6] an evolution denialist,[7] and a conspiracy theorist.[8][9] He even denies the existence of photons,[10] (if that was the case, the LEDWikipedia’s W.svg technology generating the computer-display you are looking at now, would not exist). I.e., Webster Kehr is a classic-case of crank magnetism.’

                  https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Cancer_Tutor

                  1. Yes, I noticed the “cancer” link too, Fumbles. Was too lazy to look for the many other links regarding the benefits of rebounding. But thanks for your look further into things. Yes, am sure he’s a sleazy money-grubber. Nevertheless……

                    New Age? The yoga I practice has been around for thousands of years. I doubt if anybody even uses that term “New Age” anymore. Get with the program! :-)

                    BTW, I’ll bet you’re not too happy with most of the comments under the Wart Removal video. So many anecdotes!

          3. YR –
            Boring, boring, . . . boring, . . . . . . boring, . . . . . .. bo . . . r. . . in. . . .g. . . . . . . . b .. . .. . o . . . . . . . . . . .. . .r. . . . .. . . .. . .. i ……………………

            1. Thank you, Sweetie. :- )

              But I get the impression that you too are booorrrrring. Boring is what happens to old ladies like us, isn’t it.

  1. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.”

    —-Robert Frost

    If you see a fork in the road…… TAKE IT!!
    Yogi Berra..

    YR, your right being flexible is better than being ridged. Trees that move in the wind don’t get knocked down as much,
    they “go with the flow”…
    mitch

    1. I agree. In my opinion, if you get to the point where you are stressing over every single meal and constantly maintain a “War-Footing” against everything non-plant-based, then that stress is going to manifest against you which is contradictive to being healthy. A scoop of ice cream now and then or just enjoying a glass of wine is not going to make a huge difference. A small piece of wild caught salmon once a week is fine for me, but I would never eat a hot dog. A cold German beer once in a while is ok too, but I would never drink soda. Once in a while home baked chocolate chip cookies and a cup of peppermint tea tastes good, but I would never eat donuts, cheese cake, Devil dogs, Ring Dings, etc…I eat fairly clean, exercise, meditate, and indulge in a treat now and then. I don’t want to live in a diet “cult.” You can easily get to a point where you are so focused on a hard regimented diet, that you have no time to enjoy the present moment and just live. Eating healthy is very important, but don’t make it a contest or do it to try to impress people. If your whole life revolves around your diet and your daily trip to the Vitamin Shoppe, I’d say you are due for a scoop of ice cream. Low-fat of course…

      1. I don’t miss any of those processed or animal foods that you mentioned; and I don’t stress over them anymore. After just a few months of disciplining myself, I developed new eating habits and new tastes so that eating whole unprocessed plant foods became second nature. In fact, I enjoy the feeling when I eat, that I’m doing my body a favor and promoting its health.

        1. I would also say: “A few little drops of EVOO on your salad or Ezekiel toast in the morning ain’t gonna killya either.

  2. I read an article about the Med T diet and it’s origins. Turns out when the studies(Seven Countries Study,) were preformed it was right after WW2 Dr Ancel Keys. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancel_Keys
    The Island of Crete was used b/c the population was all in one place with very few outside influences. The Island was decimated after the war and people had to do with what they had on hand. Fruits, Veg, beans, nuts seeds they grew, olive oil and occasional fish they caught. Their health was monitored and compared to other countries. Even though a “survival diet” by modern standards, The Med T diet became the gold standard.
    Same was true of some northern countries. Norway was occupied by the Nazi’s during WW2. The common person of Norway was denied their meat and dairy b/c of the war effort. Information kept before, during and after the war showed the incidence of heart dz, stroke and diabetes went down during the war and rose again after the farming of animals started again… Interesting stats.. Just like the blue zones..
    https://www.spicesinc.com/p-6315-the-cretan-diet-the-original-mediterranean-diet.aspx
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3684452/

  3. Being ‘flexible’ is for people who are still stuck in their old habits of flavor being the sole factor when deciding what they eat. A great many of us who ate animal products have moved past cravings we used to have but no longer do. This does not mean we are ‘rigid’. It means we do not need to ‘cheat’ because it is a Tuesday for example as many psuedo vegetarians like to rationalize on a daily basis all so they can tell themselves they are still vegetarians when they clearly are not.

    1. Jimbo,

      Yes, we often want flexibility when we want to do things which are opposed to what we know is better for us or when other people want us to do things which are opposed to what we know is better for us.

      I no longer have any desire for animal products of any kind. I do have cake a few times per year.

      I could become more perfect at the process than I am and I might get serious health benefits if I was more careful about everything.

      Yes, I could try to be perfect and up to a point it would benefit me greatly and my behaviors might improve. I might lose weight better or improve my brain faster.

      After a certain point, it would become perfectionism and might add to the stress in my life.

      1. Deb,

        You are right: it is important not to let perfect be the enemy of good. Especially of good enough. Good enough with joie de vivre is wonderful! So, enjoy!

    2. “…..so they can tell themselves they are still vegetarians when they clearly are not.”
      – – – – –

      Whatever label they want to give themselves, it sounds to me like they’re the ones who are being……flexible.

    3. Those “flavors” are sugar and fat for the SAD diet. Even after being vegan for 16 years and then reading Dr. Greger’s book, I still had a westernized diet mentality and really still didn’t know how to eat. What made me understand the beauty and simplicity of healthy eating was reading “The Starch Solution” by Dr. John McDougall. Potatoes, corn, beans, rice (whole grains), oats, pumpkin. It’s that simple.

      1. Blair,

        A year and a half into this process and though I have moved much, much further away from the foods which I shouldn’t eat, I am still working on how to eat.

        I am about to bounce from my salads to maybe try the Starch Solution for a while. Produce has been sooooo expensive.

        I don’t think that I will ever just choose one doctor’s diet and follow it.

        I have been so happy with my wraps and salads up until today, but today, I felt the beginnings of burnt out and didn’t finish it. That is a good time to move to the next thing for a while.

        Also, I stopped losing weight many months ago.

        I did lose some. A clothes size and a half.

        But I watched “UnSupersize me” and that woman started much heavier than I am, but she lost 100 pounds in a year and I lost 15 to 20 and stopped.

        I know that I will try Dr. Greger’s way next January.

        This Summer, I am thinking to try the Starch Solution recipes.

        Yes, I am backward. I crave raw vegetables all Winter and move toward comfort food in the Summer.

        I noticed that last year, too.

        My sleep is backward and my eating is backward and I know Dr. Greger’s book will be dealing with that.

  4. The last three paragraphs were about the flexitarian diet idea. The survival benefit increases as the proportion of animal products decrease.

    1. What about them? This talks about a whole food diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts.

      There are always those people that prefer to argue versus becoming enloghtened.

  5. Wasn’t arguing – just asking a question if these products are healthier than the regular meat and dairy. What’s so wrong with plant based , non meat and dairy free?

      1. Gengo,

        That is the right answer. They are better than eating animal products, but getting past processed food is better still.

        The cheeses though have a lot of fat, so if you have Type 2 Diabetes or obesity, best to make your own.

    1. Tony,

      It depends on the list of ingredients.

      Some things can have salt and sugar. Some things like the cheeses and plant milks can have oil.

      Some things will have fiber processed out of them.

      I do eat things like Naked Beet chips and Mary’s Gone Crackers, but I look for oil and I look for salt and I look at how much sugar.

    2. Tony, that’s a legitimate question. Dr. Gregor in earlier videos did recommend transitioning from a typical meat and dairy diet using those types of products. And 7th Day Adventists do use them.
      The focus now is on the healthiest options which are least processed foods.

    3. Tony,

      I prefer not to eat processed food, even if it is veggies patties, links, etc. Sometimes I make my own veggie patties at home, using ingredients I cook myself. I think the problem with processed food, even vegan food, is the high amount of refined ingredients (eg, four, etc), oil, sugar, and salt, as well as additives such as emulsifiers, preservatives, flavor enhancers, etc.

      As Greger has noted, he has met college students who are vegan — and subsist on beer and French fries. Not all vegan food is healthy fare. A lot of vegan “food” is processed junk food. That’s what the “whole” of “whole foods” means — unprocessed. Whole food you buy (or even grow), and then prepare and cook at home.

    4. Tony, It’s not a whole food is a processed food, and thus should be avoided, but in life sometimes convenience wins over utility. We have just allowed it to dictate our lives and health.

      1. David and Dr. J.

        I would agree that not eating them is better if eating them replaces healthier foods.

        For Dr. Barnard’s group (and his parents) and for my brother and other people, eating them replaces eating a burger.

        For me, foods like that are at my work and replace fast food and restaurant food.

        I totally burnt out on cooking after a few months of trying to do both lunch and dinner myself and now I haven’t cooked at all in months.

  6. “. . . olive oil—the antioxidant phytonutrients– may help endothelial function, but when consumed as oil, even extra virgin olive oil, it may impair arterial function.”

    Hang on a minute there, Doctor. As you note in “How Not To Die,” oils and fats DO NOT impair arterial function unless the arteries are inflamed! And the source of inflammation is generally sugar (metabolized from processed grains) and TMAO (metabolized from meat.)

    And how “virgin” olive oil is is immaterial to whether or not it is beneficial or harmful. And there are no “extra virgins” in Italy at any rate.

    The value of phytolipids (plant fats) to the brain and nervous system is impossible to exaggerate.

    1. I disagree, Navy Corpsman. ‘Virgin’ here means cold pressed, and the extraction method can make a difference. Regular olive oil extraction methods can involve solvents or heat, both relevant factors.

    2. Navy, have been reading all the newest studies done on olive oil and brain function. So far there aren’t any easy answers. For people with heart disease the very low fat diet has been proven to be best. But we know nutrients in veggies are best absorbed with some fat in the meal. Nuts, seeds, avocados can be consumed with meals to facilitate that absorption.
      The current studies on olive oil and brain function have been done with rats and mice. Clearly they get neurological benefit but that doesn’t mean humans do as well. To me personally, having a Grandfather with Alzheimer’s, brain function is my most important health concern. Dr. Valter Longo advises using high quality olive oil, and eating some seafood, but then he is Italian.

      1. Read Dr. David Perlmutter’s three books if you are interested in the topic. His father (also a physician) slowly died of dementia; Permutter became obsessed with the topic in a similar way that Dr.Greger became interested in nutrition. Gregor’s grandmother was sent home to die of coronary heart disease, but diet kept her alive for thirty more years.

        ALL CELLS contain fats, whether they be animal or plant or bacteria or even fungus. Otherwise organelles could not be kept separate from protoplasm.

        1. Dr. Perlmutter misinterprets scientific studies e.g. conflating intact whole carbs with refined carbs. He is definitely not to be trusted as had been well documented in various places and discussed earlier but elsewhere on this forum. He’s another keto diet pusher. Long term keto diets are unhealthy. Even Dr. Longo, who thinks 5 days of fasting including 2 days of ketosis every so often, unless contraindicated, are the way to go to rejuvenate stem cells, is against keto.

          But yes sufficient essential fatty acids and conditionally essentially DHA are required. The debate is really over what is sufficient in general.

            1. * not worth the time to read the books I meant. Re: olive oil. Sometimes I throw in an olive or two into a salad. I would think that the whole olive contains phytonutrients in greater supply than the extracted oil.

              1. Barb,
                >>>would think that the whole olive contains phytonutrients in greater supply than the extracted oil

                No doubt there are helpful phytonutrients in the whole olive not in the oil but it’s my understanding that the phenolics so far identified as bioactive are concentrated in the oil. I don’t eat many olives as they are too salty.

        2. Navy, I read Perlmutter’s first book. (We have an excellent public library here.) I think his books have some things right, a lot wrong. Grains can be a problem for some people. And grains, particularly wheat, are not the same as they were 50 years ago. They were also not treated with glyphosate 50 years ago. But that doesn’t mean that all grains should be avoided.
          I read these types of books because I know my patients are reading them. I need to be able to answer their questions.
          And, even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. :)

      2. Marilyn,

        Have you listened to Drs. Dean & Ayesha Sherzai?

        They are the brain health end of the Loma Linda Adventist study.

        They don’t believe that increasing the fats is as important as other factors. They said that the focus on fats comes from a misunderstanding based on the structure of the brain having more fat, but that isn’t the thing you need to build up.

        I am not saying it clearly enough but they were interesting to listen to and they have so much experience clinically.

        1. No Deb, I’m not familiar with the Dean and Ayesha. Will have to look them up.
          I’m particularly interested in dietary fats as that was my original training and research field.

          1. Deb, found that Drs. Sherzai have a book called ‘The Alzheimer’s Solution. It’s in-processing, have already requested it from our library.
            Thank you again Deb.

      3. Marilyn,
        Have you seen this study? The question I have is whether EVOO really has any dvantages over just nuts,seeds and avocado because of the concentration of unique polyphenols in it. Many assume ‘no’, but I am unaware of any arguments I would consider persuasive.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352251/

        For the curious, here’s an overview of one the studies on mice:
        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170621103123.him

        1. Gengo, I did see the first study you posted. Given that the quality of the olive oil consumed probably varied, it is still interesting.
          Having a latex allergy, I don’t do well with avocados. So I do use a small amount of high quality evoo on salads or vegetables when adding nuts just doesn’t work. I stopped using it for a while, but my skin got too dry.
          As to the mice study you posted, I couldn’t bring it up. But I have read a number of those studies.
          Only time will tell if people who eat very low fat for long periods have more neurological problems.

          1. Marilyn

            The Okinawan centenarians weren’t noted for having neurological problems despite the traditional Okinawan diet containing only 6% of total calories from fat

            1. Of course we make most of the fatty acids we need anyway Only a few fatty acids are absolutely required from the diet

              1. Hi

                No actual studies on cognitive health although I think that people like Dan Buettner have remarked that the Okinawan centenarians are all spry and have their full faculties But that’s just anecdotal and may not be valid. The point I was trying to make was that if low fat diets cause neurological impairment, somone would surely have written about all those crazy old people in Okinawa? Or all those crazy old Japanese people who lived their entire lives on a traditional diet which provided just 8% of total calories from fat To my knowledge Japan has never been remarkable for neurological problems although Alzhheimers prevalence appears to be increasing in recent years [with the increasing Westernisation (incl increased fat) of the Japanese diet?]

                Yes the Okinawan diet now is about 27% fat but it was the centenarians who were eating the traditional diet for most if not all of their lives..As Wilcox observes ‘the Okinawan mortality advantage has all but disappeared except in older co-horts’ ………. they were the cohorts eating the traditional low fat diet And it was 1995 death rates that were used to estimate mortality
                https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5859391_Caloric_Restriction_the_Traditional_Okinawan_Diet_and_Healthy_Aging_The_Diet_of_the_World's_Longest-Lived_People_and_Its_Potential_Impact_on_Morbidity_and_Life_Span

                If low fat diets caused neurological problems sub Saharan Africa, Japan and China 50 years ago would have been severely affected There is no evidence that they were.

                1. Tom >>>he point I was trying to make was that if low fat diets cause neurological impairment, somone would surely have written about all those crazy old people in Okinawa?
                  Yes, I would think so.

                  Aside from total % fat in the diet, of note is that theirs was very low in sat fat, had some endogenous DHA from small amounts of fish and free-range pigs, and a good omega-6 : omega-3 balance.

                  While we’re speculation mode, it could well be that what’s important is the balance of various kind of fat, more than any particular percentage as healthful as long as the fat type balance is reasonable. This, of course, does not detract from your point that the traditional ultra-low fat Okinawan diet seems not to have resulted in unusually frequent or severe cognitive problems among the old.

                2. >>> If low fat diets caused neurological problems sub Saharan Africa, Japan and China 50 years ago would have been severely affected There is no evidence that they were.
                  Also, true but I am wonder how good the data on elderly cognitive function is from those locations 50 years ago. By the way, there is a difference between being considered cognitive normal at a very old age and being optimally cognitive sharp then. I’d like to avoid even sub-clinical cognitive deficits that presumably come from brain shrinkage, which is one reason I am so interested in this topic.

                  And then too there is more to keeping one’s brain sharp than fat. My view is the brain, like the rest of the body, seeks to minimize energy expenditure, which means “use it or lose it”.

                3. Tom,

                  Yes, that is an excellent argument for the very low-fat side.

                  I will say though that eating nuts, seeds, and avocado have anecdotally helped my brain function.

                  Could be placebo effect from having heard studies from that direction.

                  I feel like I will cycle between the 2 ways of eating without even trying. I get sick of one and go back to the other.

                  The good news is that I am not going back to things like cheese.

                  1. Seems like the debate is the early Okinawans living longer extreme low fat versus the Adventists living longer when they ate nuts.

                    I really hate though that it immediately becomes a war in the dysfunctional internet culture.

                    1. As far as the leadership of the Whole Food Plant-Based community. if Dr. Fuhrman is considered to be the highest fat recommendation, it is still only for the athletes.

                      He is an ounce to an ounce and a half nuts.

                      I think he said 15% as his average Joe recommendation. He goes higher for athletes who can’t eat enough calories to maintain their weights.

          2. Sorry. Here’s a link that works
            https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170621103123.htm
            “Summary:
            The Mediterranean diet is associated with a variety of health benefits, including a lower incidence of dementia. Now, researchers have identified a specific ingredient that protects against cognitive decline: extra-virgin olive oil. In a new study, the researchers show that consumption of extra-virgin olive oil protects memory and learning ability and reduces the formation of amyloid-beta plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain — classic markers of Alzheimer’s disease.”

            But note that it has already been soundly criticized (underscoring the point Sydney raised earlier about the importance of the details regarding the diet and EVOO being used):
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5634343/

            Original:
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553230/

        2. I can’t bring up the link to the mice study either

          However, whie I don’t share all of Jack’s views, I do share his scepticism about whether mice studies unsupported by human evidence should be considered as compelling evidence

          ‘ These data suggest that mouse models poorly reflect the physiologic responses seen in humans to systemic inflammatory challenges. In fact, similar conclusions were drawn in a 2007 article, in which the clinical outcomes (e.g., circulating cytokines, leukopenia, fever, changes in respiration) associated with sepsis in humans and the various “relevant” mouse models were compared (65). Researchers should therefore exercise caution when relying solely on mouse models for investigating the impact of dietary fats on inflammatory responses/status in humans.’

          https://academic.oup.com/advances/article/6/3/293S/4568626

      4. You would think that with all the evidence and lab tests of the past 100 years with the types of food additives, hormones, sugar, etc.., that cause cancer in rats, that exterminators would use these ingredients instead of the types of expensive poison that they currently use which doesn’t seem to reduce the rat population around the world. I would think that if exterminators used jelly donuts marinated in diet-soda, they would be wiped out in a few short years. The cancer would cause testicular cancer in the males and the females’ milk would cause cancer in the litter of pups. Or even a slice of salami wrapped in swiss cheese. Whatever food causes cancer in humans, should be fed to rats. Seems like the majority of Dr. Greger’s studies as to what is healthy and unhealthy is based on lab tests involving rats and mice.

        1. There are degrees of increased risk Obviously.

          But sure let’s be silly about this It’s a lot easier than coming up with a sensible criticism

          So is making a blanket asssertion that ‘the majority of Dr. Greger’s studies as to what is healthy and unhealthy is based on lab tests involving rats and mice.’ That seems an untrue claim to e but who can be bothered to count all the references/citations?

        2. Jack,

          Interesting that you refer to the rat extermination….and jelly doughnuts. Have you considered their natural diet and high fertility rates….. rat poisons need to be highly concentrated and quick acting to be effective and… “not associate the damage with their feeding habits”. They are smart resourceful critters so….. for more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodenticide… for a good read. And yes there is a natural product used against rats, vitamin D.

          There are significant limitations for human studies. Not just the economic but also the difficulty in recruitment and compliance and of course time to see change and that’s just barely enough to even start the conversation.

          It’s true that some of the inferences from the animal studies are less than applicable however, given the limitations and need to see what pathways are affected, even in another mammal model , this an essential point in the animal studies. Their high metabolic rates allow us to see changes fairly quickly that humans don’t display for years or decades.

          The good news is that there are human studies in most areas of dietetics and with some extrapolation their influence on disease. Also may I suggest that you consider the hundreds of years of observations. Not the gold standard of randomized controlled studies but absolutely essential for our understanding of results from various differences.

          Some of the newest work using human tissues for organ studies is a whole new area allowing for better extrapolation. https://magazine.brighamandwomens.org/departments/feature-sidebar/printing-artificial-tissues-organs and https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/tissue-engineering-and-regenerative-medicine

          Please stay with us and keep up to date via Dr. Greger’s reporting, as the science changes..

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

    3. Dr. Fuhrman in The End of Diabetes mentions a study showing replacing olive oil with pistachios in a Med diet improves endothelial function and elasticity and reduces inflammation:

      Sari I, Baltaci Y, Bagci C, et al. Effect of pistachio diet on lipid parameters, endothelial function, inflammation, and oxidative status: a prospective study. Nutrition 2010; 26( 4): 399–404.

      “While nuts and seeds have anti-inflammatory effects, oil has pro-inflammatory effects, so it is a horse of a different color. For example, a study compared an olive oil–containing Mediterranean diet with one which substituted pistachio nuts as a source of fat. The researchers documented improvement in endothelial function (health of the lining of the blood vessels). They noted reduced inflammation, increased youthful elasticity of the blood vessels, lowering of the cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as a lowering of blood glucose as a result of eating the nuts in place of oil. 12 Plus, as discussed earlier, whereas oil promotes weight gain, when nuts or seeds are substituted for oils or carbs without increasing the overall caloric load, the result is lower glucose, lower cholesterol, and lower body weight.”

      On the other hand, there are studies concluding EVOO has cancer fighting properties, according to Dr. Li, the “anti-angiogenesis doctor”, in his new book Eat to Beat Disease:
      “Scientists from Spain showed in the lab that olive oil secoiridoids could dramatically reduce the growth of breast cancer stem cells. 66 When mice were injected with breast cancer stem cells that were exposed to secoiridoids, as many as 20 percent of the mice did not develop tumors. In the 80 percent that did develop tumors, the tumors were fifteen times smaller and grew at a much slower rate than untreated breast cancer cells. This result is consistent with the suppression of breast cancer stem cells. The power of the olive oil secoiridoids on stem cells was evidenced at the genetic level: after the breast the activity of 160 genes involved with controlling stem cells. One gene was reduced in its activity fourfold, while the activity of another gene that antagonizes cancer stem cells was increased thirteenfold. The health-protective power of extra virgin olive oil now extends to targeting dangerous stem cells.“

        1. Krystin, You might check out https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/olive-oil/ “What about extra-virgin olive oil? This retains a fraction of the anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in the olive fruit and doesn’t appear to induce the spike in inflammatory markers caused by regular olive oil. It may have more of a neutral effect, compared to butter, which exerted a noxious effect that lasted for up to six hours.” … “Some studies, though, have shown that even extra-virgin olive oil may *impair *endothelial function.”

          In any event, EVOO seems clearly a better option than non-virgin OO.

        2. Some specific components of olive oil are anti-inflammatory. These are the ones that olive oil producers and retailers emphasise.

          Also, there are multiple possible markers/types of inflammation. Pick the right measure, and virtually anything can be argued to be pro or anti inflammatory. Especially if it is compared to a control diet high in saturatd fat or refined carbs EVOO is undoubtedly healthier than ordinary OO because it is less processed and retains more of the original fruit. Actual olives are even less processed of course

          Eating whole foods is probably the best anti-inflaatory approach

          ‘The most consistent inflammatory-mediating effects were found in intervention with whole diets, which suggests that many components of the diet reduce inflammation synergistically. Furthermore, interventions with weight reduction and different fatty acids did not clearly show beneficial effects on inflammatory markers.’
          https://nutritionfacts.org/video/flashback-friday-improving-on-the-mediterranean-diet-do-flexitarians-live-longer/

          This Pritikin article is interesting even if it is not about EVOO specifically

          https://www.pritikin.com/your-health/healthy-living/eating-right/1103-whats-wrong-with-olive-oil.html

          1. Apologies I provided an incorrect link:

            ‘The most consistent inflammatory-mediating effects were found in intervention with whole diets, which suggests that many components of the diet reduce inflammation synergistically. Furthermore, interventions with weight reduction and different fatty acids did not clearly show beneficial effects on inflammatory markers.’

            https://genesandnutrition.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12263-017-0580-4

      1. In the lab, the ethanol in booze kills cancer cells. So do bleach and hydrogen peroxide And human blood.

        None of these things though necessarily prove that EVOO, booze, bleach, hydrogen peroxide or hun blood are health foods.

        1. Quite true but then I did not imply otherwise. The point of the quotes was to indicate that well known experts differ in their opinions on the value of EVOO, implying the jury is out when it comes to the value of consuming it. It could be good in one way, bad in another. I’m on the fence, which I think is rational. Very little “necessarily proves” anything in science and especially in nutrition science, as I am sure you recognie.

  7. Love Dr. Gregor’s positive approach! Focus on what foods are healthiest to eat. Other people get turned off by those who proudly proclaim what they don’t eat.
    His daily dozen is a great help to people who want to start eating better.

    1. I recently asked for Mexican Omelette with no meat and the waitress replied “Nothing on it that has ever walked then?”

  8. OLIVE OIL:

    A lot of olive oil is adulterated;
    also the chemicals in olive oil change as the olive oil ages,

    So, one has to ask on which olive oil was the study done?

    1. Sydney, thank you for posting. Of course, the study may be a bit suspect since done in California. But very useful none the less.
      I am not surprised at the test results on those 5 popular brands. I am wondering what grade of Lucini oil they tested.
      Lucini sells oils bottled in Italy, but not produced there. They also have a better grade that is produced from Italian grown olives.
      Good olive oil should have a peppery taste, and be green in color.

  9. Well, my brother had a Boca burger at our recent cookout. It was because he had to open the package for me, so he ate the other one.

    When I said it, my sister-in-law said that he eats them now.

    That is new.

    I am not cooking for him anymore and he found a transition food he will eat.

  10. I don’t believe it’s correct that the California Adventists have the longest life expectancy in the world, which is what Dr. Greger says in this video. It’s correct that Loma Linda is one of the five Blue Zones, but they live about 10 years longer than the average American (into their 90s) whereas people in the other four Blue Zones may live into their 100s.

    1. Andrea , That was my thought too.

      I’ve seen it reported that the non-meat eating live longer, of the Adventist group, but I thought other blue zones had longer living people. Such as the Okinowans, who may have recently started dying sooner due more to westernization and they ate some meat and seafood.

    2. Andrea, Dr. Gregor is comparing -average- longevity, not how many people live into the 100’s. Obviously people in any group vary in how long they live.

    3. Hi, Andrea Posner! There is a difference between average life expectancy and individual longevity. At the time this video was made, I believe the Adventists in the studies had a longer average life expectancy than the Okinawans, even if some individual Okinawans may have lived longer than some individual Adventists. There is a wide variety of dietary practice among Adventists, from omnivores to vegans, which is why they make such excellent study subjects. You can find everything on this site related to the Adventist Health Studies here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/adventist-health-studies/ I hope that helps to clear up any confusion.

  11. Is there a substitute salad dressing I can use instead of EVOO? One that is easy make or available to buy that would be a better alternative to using oil and vinegar on a salad?

    1. Matthew,

      There was a recent set of comments with lots of suggestions for salad dressings. My favorite oil-free and easy one at the moment is 2 T balsamic vinegar, 2 T lime or lemon juice, and 1/2 T vinegar, plus powdered garlic and black pepper; whisk together. I don’t know if you are looking for oil-free, vinegar-free, or free of both dressings. I like vinegar.

      1. I like to make a dressing in the blender with a number of those ingredients, but also with light colored beans. It makes it thicker.

      2. Dr. J, Thank you for your message. Am looking to remove EVOO. Know from previous videos that balsamic is better than red wine. Does T stand for teaspoon or tablespoon? And does mustard refer to ground mustard spice?

    2. Try lemon juice and shaved parmigiano!! It’s lovely… also orange juice could be used.. for a different “flavour”. Enjoy your new salad!

      1. Krystin, there are many reasons to pass up the dairy and oil products, but Advanced Glycation Endproducts in parmesan cheese and other foods like oils, is just one of them. You can read up about their deleterious effects here, (also shows a table with AGE levels of common foods).

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3704564/?report=classic

        Dr Greger has done videos about AGEs, and the damaging inflammation they cause, here:

        https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/advanced-glycation-end-products/

          1. Yes Marilyn, there are a number of plant foods that can have a high amount of AGE’s. If I remember correctly, it was after this series of videos that Dr Greger no longer roasted walnuts at home to sprinkle on salads…. just served ’em up as is, plain. Grilled tofu came in quite high too which disappointed many a wfpb fan. There are great recipes for it out there! :( Overall though, if we are eating a wfpb diet, and NOT lining up for daily deli fare, deep fried stuff or french fries etc, then our AGE consumption will be remarkably low.. which is what we want.

  12. I thank you so much for the knowledge and info you share. Thank you also that your videos are short and not an hour or more long as some health videos are. Most people don’t have time to sit and watch 60 or 90 minutes worth of anything at one time.
    Blessings for all you do.

  13. I live in the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean diet as proposed in the medical literature is an invention that has little relationship to the different traditional diets consumed by the citizens of the 23 countries that are sited here. France, with a diet high in red meat, saturated fat and alcohol has one of the lowest levels of heart disease (probably due to high intake of magnesium from the local geology and high vitamin D3 from working in the Sun) as does Spain where they have a high salt intake from the salted fish they consume and so on. The claims made in the Blue Zone for longevity and by Ancel Keys for heart disease have more to do with lifestyle than diet except the beneficial impact of local seasonal food consumption on the microbiome that determines all metabolic disorders and a low intake of processed foods high in fructose. A common feature is eating patterns that limit blood glucose via control of glycogen level prevents insulin resistance and in the past involuntary or religion based periods of fasting etc.

  14. I have some olive trees that i am about ready to remove because they’re too hard to look after. Also, when I transplanted them I hadn’t been concerned about the salt content of foods. This was years before I discovered this website. I have a question about preparing the olives. Can you ferment olives in honey like you can with garlic? Also, what’s the easiest way to cure olives? Washing the olives multiple times until the bitterness was gone defeated the purpose of preparing black olives and still keeping the anthocyanins.

    1. Hi, Arthur! As far as I know, olives cannot be cured in honey. They can be cured in salt, lye, or fresh water, and then stored in something like vinegar to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Even if some of the color is lost in water, some anthocyanins are retained, so you have not defeated the purpose of preparing black olives. You might be interested in this: https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8267.pdf I hope that helps!

      1. Great resource, thank you. That about convinces me that it’s time to remove them. I figured that since garlic can be fermented in honey someone would have tried to do it with olives too. Would have been nice to turn olives into dates. More wishful thinking on my part.

  15. Hey Doc;
    Seems to me you missed a couple key things:
    (1) the Predimed study has been retracted because there were errors in randomization of the group’s
    https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2018/06/22/predimed-retraction-republication/
    (2) Even if you still believe the study is valid (which it isn’t due to this error) When you look at the data in terms of actual percentage change instead of relative change; there is not much to talk about; like 0.5% total difference in rates of strokes.

    1. Leslie Kasanoff,
      Yes, but the link you posted states the data was reanalyzed and the results published with no significant change in conclusions.

      “What Didn’t Change?

      Despite these revelations, there was no significant change in the results of the trial when researchers reanalyzed the data:
      In both the original and republished study, the incidence of cardiovascular disease in the Mediterranean diet groups was lowered by approximately 30% when compared to the control diet. [1,2]
      The overall conclusion remains largely unchanged: “In this study involving persons at high cardiovascular risk, the incidence of major cardiovascular events was lower among those assigned to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil or nuts than among those assigned to a reduced-fat diet.” [2]
      To date, PREDIMED remains the largest dietary intervention trial to assess the effects of the Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular disease prevention.”

  16. There are some olive trees growing in the suburbs of Melbourne. Is there anywhere to take olives to press them for oil? Since the fruit water of ripe olives has that deep dark colour, it seems odd that no one has tried to make a product out of it. It might be possible to use it as an ingredient in vinegar.

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