Flashback Friday: The Best Kept Secret in Medicine

Flashback Friday: The Best Kept Secret in Medicine
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Lifestyle changes are often more effective in reducing the rates of heart disease, hypertension, heart failure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and premature death than almost any other medical intervention.

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

Even though the most widely accepted, well-established chronic disease practice guidelines uniformly call for lifestyle change as the first line of therapy, physicians often do not follow these guidelines. Yet lifestyle interventions are often more effective in reducing heart disease, hypertension, heart failure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and deaths from all causes than almost any other medical intervention.

“Some useful lessons come from the war on tobacco,” Dr. Neal Barnard wrote in the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics. When he stopped smoking in the 80s, the lung cancer death rate was peaking in the U.S., but has since dropped, with dropping smoking rates. No longer were doctors telling patients to give their throat a vacation by smoking a fresh cigarette. Doctors realized they were more effective at counseling patients to quit smoking if they no longer had tobacco stains on their own fingers. In other words, doctors went from being bystanders—or even enablers—to leading the fight against smoking. And today, he says, plant-based diets are the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.

If we were to gather the world’s top unbiased nutrition scientists and experts, there would be very little debate about the essential properties of good nutrition. Unfortunately, most doctors are nutritionally illiterate. And worse, they don’t know how to use the most powerful medicine available to them: food.

Physician advice matters. When doctors told patients to improve their diets, which was defined as cutting down on meat, dairy, and fried foods, patients were more likely to make dietary changes when their doctors advised them to.  And it may work even better if doctors practice what they preach. Researchers at Emory randomized patients to watch one of two videos. In one video, a physician briefly explained her personal health, dietary, and exercise practices, and had a bike helmet and an apple visible on her desk. And in the other, she did not discuss her personal practices, and the apple and bike helmet were missing. For example, in both videos the doctor advised the patients to cut down on meat, to not usually have meat for breakfast, and have no meat for lunch or dinner at least half the time, as a simple place to start improving their diets. But in the disclosure video, the physician related that she had successfully cut down on meat herself, and perhaps not surprisingly, patients rated that physician to be more believable and motivating. So physicians who walk the walk—literally—and have healthier eating habits may not only tend to counsel more about diet and exercise, but also appear more credible and motivating when they do so.

It may make them better doctors. A randomized controlled interventional trial to clean up doctors’ diets, called Promoting Health by Self Experience, found that healthcare providers’ personal lifestyles were directly correlated with their clinical performance. Healthcare providers’ own improved well-being and lifestyle cascaded to the patients and clinics, suggesting an additional strategy to achieve successful health promotion.

Are you ready for the best-kept secret in medicine? The best-kept secret in medicine is that, given the right conditions, the body heals itself. Treating cardiovascular disease, for example, with appropriate dietary changes is good medicine, reducing mortality without any adverse effects. Yes, we should keep doing research, but educating physicians and patients alike about the existing knowledge about the power of nutrition as medicine may be the best investment we can make.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to raedon via Pixabay.

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

Even though the most widely accepted, well-established chronic disease practice guidelines uniformly call for lifestyle change as the first line of therapy, physicians often do not follow these guidelines. Yet lifestyle interventions are often more effective in reducing heart disease, hypertension, heart failure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and deaths from all causes than almost any other medical intervention.

“Some useful lessons come from the war on tobacco,” Dr. Neal Barnard wrote in the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics. When he stopped smoking in the 80s, the lung cancer death rate was peaking in the U.S., but has since dropped, with dropping smoking rates. No longer were doctors telling patients to give their throat a vacation by smoking a fresh cigarette. Doctors realized they were more effective at counseling patients to quit smoking if they no longer had tobacco stains on their own fingers. In other words, doctors went from being bystanders—or even enablers—to leading the fight against smoking. And today, he says, plant-based diets are the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.

If we were to gather the world’s top unbiased nutrition scientists and experts, there would be very little debate about the essential properties of good nutrition. Unfortunately, most doctors are nutritionally illiterate. And worse, they don’t know how to use the most powerful medicine available to them: food.

Physician advice matters. When doctors told patients to improve their diets, which was defined as cutting down on meat, dairy, and fried foods, patients were more likely to make dietary changes when their doctors advised them to.  And it may work even better if doctors practice what they preach. Researchers at Emory randomized patients to watch one of two videos. In one video, a physician briefly explained her personal health, dietary, and exercise practices, and had a bike helmet and an apple visible on her desk. And in the other, she did not discuss her personal practices, and the apple and bike helmet were missing. For example, in both videos the doctor advised the patients to cut down on meat, to not usually have meat for breakfast, and have no meat for lunch or dinner at least half the time, as a simple place to start improving their diets. But in the disclosure video, the physician related that she had successfully cut down on meat herself, and perhaps not surprisingly, patients rated that physician to be more believable and motivating. So physicians who walk the walk—literally—and have healthier eating habits may not only tend to counsel more about diet and exercise, but also appear more credible and motivating when they do so.

It may make them better doctors. A randomized controlled interventional trial to clean up doctors’ diets, called Promoting Health by Self Experience, found that healthcare providers’ personal lifestyles were directly correlated with their clinical performance. Healthcare providers’ own improved well-being and lifestyle cascaded to the patients and clinics, suggesting an additional strategy to achieve successful health promotion.

Are you ready for the best-kept secret in medicine? The best-kept secret in medicine is that, given the right conditions, the body heals itself. Treating cardiovascular disease, for example, with appropriate dietary changes is good medicine, reducing mortality without any adverse effects. Yes, we should keep doing research, but educating physicians and patients alike about the existing knowledge about the power of nutrition as medicine may be the best investment we can make.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to raedon via Pixabay.

Doctor's Note

Of course, to advise patients about nutrition, doctors first have to educate themselves, as it is unlikely they received formal nutrition education in medical training:

For more on the power of healthy living, see:

If you want to take advantage of Dr. Barnard’s transformation, check out his amazing 21-Day Kickstart Program, a free public service that starts the first of every month on how to transition towards a healthier diet.

This lack of nutrition training in medical school is one of the reasons I started NutritionFacts.org—to bring this lifesaving information to both my colleagues and the masses. For the full story, check out my introductory series videos.

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

107 responses to “Flashback Friday: The Best Kept Secret in Medicine

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  1. I’m just posting this as a user case for eating a wfpd.

    The lasts months I had been getting irritation from eating high acidic foods like tomato sauce, lemon, and all acid things nice.
    Because at that time, my supplement of B12 methylcobalamin has lost it’s shelf life, my B12 status was starting to decline to deficient, I thought the blood blisters that were appearing in my oral cavity after eating things like spaghetti were being caused by this moderate to light B12 deficiency.

    But this didn’t turn out to be confirmed as the blood blisters got worse despite my B12 levels restoring. As I am older than 3 decades and unfamiliar with blood blisters up until this time, it had to have been something else in my biochemistry that was causing this apparent newfound pseudo “allergy” towards acidic foods.

    Looking at some user cases on the internet for any hints, I came across somebody who was claiming that a too high selenium could cause blood blisters. I found this interesting because I bought a container brazil nuts right at the time when I bought my new cobalamin bottle when the blisters started. I have been eating 3 brazil nuts every week, that is 3 nuts in one day and then again 3 nuts in one day in the second week. That results in about 12-13 brazil nuts a month.

    So I knew that selenium is very high in brazil nuts, that is exactly why I was eating some of them because I know European soil is low in this trace element.
    While high blood levels of selenium can result in selenosis, with gastrointestinal distress, hair loss, white spots on nails, fatigue, and irritability, I have none of these so I guess IF the brazil nuts are causing the blood blisters to show up after eating acidic foods, my selenium wouldn’t be raised very excessive and that the element can cause this condition even when slightly raised. (which is what the somewhat moderate amount of 12-13 brazil nuts can deliver).

    Because i just found out, there is no way to confirm this as of yet. I will stop consuming these particular nut species and see if the pseudo-allergy goes away as quickly as it came. It might be convenient if this also was what caused my biological end product to go down 1-2 ladders in the Bristol stool chart, but I’m guessing the latter is highly unlikely because selenium is just a simple trace element.

    1. I bet a physician examining you would yield better results that expecting free off topic health advice from strangers over the internet. My advice is to amputate.

          1. Netgogate,

            I do understand that you actually do go to doctors and that RB doesn’t understand that you are in the middle of a great mystery.

            Keep going, and, yes, listen to RB and don’t just do any crazy thing posted on the internet.

      1. >>>better results that expecting free off topic health advice
        that => than

        Other than that, a really well-said and informative post, for which we can all be thankful.

      2. RB

        That’s an amusing comment. You must be a surgeon by profession.

        However, Netgogate isn’t actually asking for anybody’s advice and just posted the information as a user case.

    2. Netgogate,

      Thank you for sharing. I am glad that your B-12 levels have improved. Interesting that your blood blisters got worse. Dr. Greger recommends 4 Brazil nuts a month and only 4. He particularly warned against eating too many because of Selenium.

      I am interested in what you are doing.

      I ended up with tiny lesions and leg spasms and having hallucinations come back when I was just taking Methyl B-12. Right now, I am trying an Adenosyl/Hydroxy combination just because I wanted to try those. The lesions and leg spasms went away very quickly. I will end up Cyano at the end because of cost, but I just like understanding things.

            1. lol it’s in the title, ” Four Nuts Once A Month” . And in that video Dr Greger gets right to it in the whole first paragraph. A single meal, once a month, 4 nuts.

        1. Hi Wegan – Thanks for your question! In Dr. Greger’s video here (https://nutritionfacts.org/video/four-nuts-once-a-month/) he states “four eaten every day may actually bump us up against the tolerable daily limit for selenium, but not something we have to worry about it we’re just eating four once a month”. The original research study that he is citing had participants eat just a single serving of 4 Brazil nuts on only one day of that month, and then cholesterol levels were tested during the rest of that same month.

          So I’d recommend that if you are going to incorporate Brazil nuts into your diet, avoid eating 4 every day to prevent selenium toxicity but a small serving a few times per month should be safe.

          I hope this helps answer your question!
          Janelle RD (Registered Dietitian & Health Support Volunteer)

  2. It’s amazing once you are “in the know” how your whole perspective on reversing heart disease, T2DM, et al changes. You release how simple it is by following when the simplist of PBDs.

    On another note, I’m big on FIBER. Try to get 70+ grams per day. Does anyone have specific scientific evidence that too much inhibits absorption of vitamins and minerals? I’ve been questioned about this and I think there’s a lot of nonsense floating around the net. I’m not buying it because along with all that Fiber comes boost of nutrients in general that many people don’t even get.

    Thanks so much if you could shed light!

    1. Well, I really can’t see how you would get less than 70 grams of fiber per day if you eat a WFPB diet. And eating a WFPB diet has been shown to prevent and reverse most of the chronic western diseases. And people who eat a WFPB diet, that aren’t trying to heal an existing disease, are very healthy. So how would it be that they would be deficient of vitamins and minerals because of fiber inhibiting their absorption?

      1. Hi Blair, thanks for your question as gengogakusha shared a reference with you to indicate that dietary fibers do not cause deficiency of mineral and vitamins. In fact many benefits of Dietary fibre are as follows Firstly,dietary fiber (DF) resists digestion in the small intestine, thereby allowing it to enter the large intestine where it is fermented to produce short chain fatty acids, which have anti-carcinogenic properties [8]. Secondly, since DF increases fecal bulking and viscosity, there is less contact time between potential carcinogens and mucosal cells. Thirdly, DF increases the binding between bile acids and carcinogens. Fourthly, increased intake of dietary fiber yield increased levels of antioxidants. Fifthly, DF may increase the amount of estrogen excreted in the feces due to an inhibition of estrogen absorption in the intestines [9].

        Effects of Dietary Fiber and Its Components on Metabolic Health

    1. Thanks gengogakusha!

      “Our study indicates that a moderately or even extremely high consumption of fiber for a long time does not by itself cause mineral or nutrient deficiencies in a western type population.”

  3. As I often say. when in doubt ask the Linus Pauling Institute, which provides references for their overviews:

    https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/fiber

    “Nutrient Interactions
    The addition of cereal fiber to meals has generally been found to decrease the absorption of iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium in the same meal, but this effect appears to be related to the phytate present in the cereal fiber rather than the fiber itself (177).
    ****In general, dietary fiber as part of a balanced diet has not been found to adversely affect the calcium, magnesium, iron, or zinc status of healthy people at recommended intake levels (4).****
    Evidence from animal studies and limited research in humans suggests that inulin and oligofructose may enhance calcium absorption (178, 179). The addition of pectin and guar gum to a meal significantly reduced the absorption of the carotenoids β-carotene, lycopene, and lutein from that meal (180, 181).”

    I love it when science squashes pseudo-science.

    1. That is interesting about the phytates.

      Wondering what type of cereal they were using to have that happen? So many cereals are fortified.

      So, if you eat fortified cereal, does it not absorb? For instance, infants have cereal with added iron, does that iron not get absorbed because of the cereal phytates?

      That is why the phytates police keep showing up.

      I do sprouted grains and soaked and/or sprouted legumes. I also take a zinc supplement (sometimes) because the copper/zinc ratio is one of the Alzheimer’s factors.

      “High-phytate foods, such as grains, nuts and legumes, can raise the risk of iron and zinc deficiency. As a countermeasure, strategies such as soaking, sprouting and fermentation are often employed.”

      1. Deb, why would any one eat a manufactured food product called a “fortified cereal?” I thought the objective was to eat whole foods, not processed ones — that need the addition of some nutrients stripped away. With so many wonderful whole plant foods to choose from (and who said that breakfast has to include cereal? Why not eat left-overs from the evening before? etc Think outside the box!!), why eat any fortified so-called “foods” at all?

          1. Seems like scare mongering to me. Sure, you should refrigerate food quickly, but not reheat rice? Give me a break! We reheat rice and even mushrooms often, especially when we bring home Indian food. On the other hand, we do try to limit how much food is heated up and the reheating, taking food from the freezer, including cooked rice, whenever practical.

            I’d say worry about the animal foods (or cut to the bottom line, and get rid of them altogether).

            1. “Give me a break!”
              – – – –

              Sure thing…where would you like this break? (I can have it arranged; I know people.) :-)

              A broken wrist would make it hard for you to type, and they also hurt like hell. Better a leg?

          2. YR, I LOVE leftovers!! I cook from necessity, though I’m learning to enjoy it more. And I stagger dishes that I prepare, so I can have a left-over and a freshly cooked dish at a meal, along with additional veggies. And I didn’t read your article, but I’ve never encountered any problems that I know of from re-heating my left-overs, usually in my microwave. Been cooking for over 40 years now, often for myself.

            OK, I just read the article; I don’t eat many of those foods, and I don’t leave the food that I cook at room temperature for very long — they go right into then fridge. And I rarely go out to eat — too few options. But when I do, my husband and I split a meal — too much food otherwise — and we don’t bring home left-overs. I was a research biochemist, and I practice clean (not sterile) kitchen techniques — starting with always washing my hands before starting any food prep. Seems to work pretty well.

            1. I’m sure you’ll live to be 102, Dr. J. You have it all worked out very well, it seems.

              Oh there’s lots of articles about reheating on the ‘net….just grabbed the first one I saw.

              I’ve been cookin’ a lot longer than 40 years. :-)

        1. Dr. J.

          I don’t eat fortified cereals, but I am looking at the study from the perspective of the phytates in cereals genuinely caused a decrease in the absorption of iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium and most of the cereals out there are fortified, and, to me, if that decrease in absorption happened in a fortified cereal, for one thing, it would say that fortified cereals might not work and it would say to not eat your nutrition in a meal with cereal and maybe other things.

          There are times when I probably should do fortified foods because there are times when I go way low on fruits and vegetables and I don’t drink plant-milk or eat any cereal at all. I don’t take many vitamins either. B-12 and D3 with K and sea-iodine.

          I guess I am pondering it because I see that I am tending to skip breakfast again and I just have my tea and I do ponder my own nutrition going down. Right now when it is cold, I tend to eat zero fruit and vegetables. I still eat beans and lentils. I just tend to eat the same thing every day for a whole week and if I really found it comforting, I end up eating it for a second week. I eat a lot of beans, but lately, I started leaving the onions and peppers and garlic out of the recipes. Partly, I started that when I was having my dog taste things, but I ended up still liking the food as long as the spices were there. I liked the preparation and clean-up process much better.

          1. Deb, it’s none of my beeswax, but I don’t think your diet is very healthy! :-(

            You’ve often posted that you don’t eat fruits and veggies, for instance. Those foods are VERY important (although aw meat eaters would disagree)! As the saying goes, “we are what we eat.” You need to take better care of YOU!

            1. That should be “raw,” of course. Although, maybe “aw” (as in “awww, the poor animals!) would work too.

              Why would the cold weather keep you from wanting to eat fruits and veggies? You wouldn’t be eating them outdoors, anyway, would you? As for just tea in the morning, yikes, talk about feeling cold later! A good hot breakfast is the best “fuel” on cold mornings. It’s not hard to cook a 1/2 cup or more of of rolled oats (not the instant kind). Oatmeal is good for us! I myself cook steel-cut oats, mixed with either brown rice, millet, buckwheat or quinoa. Keep meaning to get some amaranth…

          2. Deb, processed foods are fortified by adding nutrients back to them that are stripped out by the processing. You know with what nutrients they are fortified by reading the ingredient list: it’s usually vitamins. Other additives are added to preserve “freshness” and increase storage life, decrease off-taste, improve processing, etc. But these additives have nothing to do with the presence of phytates. Which have health benefits; you can search for them on this website; type in “phytates.”

            But why don’t you eat veggies and fruits? As you well know, they should make up half or more of your diet. And why the lack of variety in your diet? You should be eating both legumes (which includes beans and lentils) and whole grains.

      2. Deb, Infant cereal with added iron, ugh! I remember a doctor telling me that breast milk didn’t have enough iron, and my baby would be anemic and not reach his intelligence potential. I needed to give him cereal. That was at 4 months!
        As I eat really well, I ignored this doctor’s advice, Breastfed till he asked for table food, he now has a PhD in math.
        I suppose all past generations of babies totally breastfed were intellectually challenged?
        This added iron in cereal is wrong. Babies don’t need added iron. And synthetic iron can cause cancer.
        Non-heme iron is the only type to use for those who need it.

        1. Hi Marilyn,

          Yes, that is the thought I have when I look at the cereal, but, luckily, they probably don’t absorb it.

          When I took my dog off the water fasting, I fed him organic baby food, things like peas and green beans and sweet potatoes and spinach with lentils and quinoa or something, but when I looked at the cereals, every single one of them had iron.

      3. ““High-phytate foods, such as grains, nuts and legumes, can raise the risk of iron and zinc deficiency. As a countermeasure, strategies such as soaking, sprouting and fermentation are often employed.”

        Really? Those foods are actually high in iron and zinc in the first place.

        In any case, a high zinc diet can cause iron deficiency anaemia and a high iron diet can cause a zinc deficiency. Limiting the bioavailability of zinc and iron from foods high in these may be a good thing.

        Is there any evidence that such high phyatate foods actually cause iron or zinc deficiencies? They do limit bioavailability but do they cause deficiency?

  4. So…..

    Watching a doctor on the internet answer questions walking on a treadmill and cooking healthy food with a chef’s hat and bright apron and putting out a cookbook might affect our habits?!?!?!

    (I didn’t know that Dr. Barnard used to smoke. But he is an over-achieving athletic type? Did I listen to the wrong bio?)

    1. (Yes, according to the standards of this study, one Dr. Michael Greger might be an over-achiever at inspiring the patients of other doctors for them.)

  5. Thanks a lot Gengo for the specifics!!! Et al for the info. I will definitely read up this weekend and get more clarity. My natural hunch would be that 80g FIBER is fine and shouldn’t adversely affect us if eating a broad range of PBFs. Plus, Dr. G has mentioned our great ancestors in vids indicating their consumption of 100+ grams and with a positive tone.

    Again, thanks all!!

  6. I just laughed ironically as I read this article: It’s Time to Study Whether Eating Particular Diets Can Help Heal Us

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/magazine/its-time-to-study-whether-eating-particular-diets-can-help-heal-us.html?action=click&module=Discovery&pgtype=Homepage

    which included tidbits such as this:

    “Over my typical Monday-morning breakfast (a bar of chocolate, washed down with a cup of espresso), I began to look for advice about what I should be eating to feel better. “ Really?? You’re kidding me, right??

    “One website, from the Cleveland Clinic, advised five servings of grains, two servings of vegetables and limited fat to aid with wound-healing. Another article urged quite the opposite: a high-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Yet others suggested zinc, or vitamin D, or enough supplements to clean out the health-foods section of my local grocery.” What websites is he visiting? What kind of credibility do they have?

    “A careful scientific examination of diet as medicine is now long overdue in oncology, and in most fields of medicine. There’s an interaction of our diets with our gut microbes that remains to be examined, and the impact of diet on longevity, on neurological diseases or even on mental states.” OK, this I can agree with. But why does he seem so ignorant about any of the existing research in these areas?

    I actually admire and respect the author, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, but this article — or parts of it — surprised me.

    1. Dr. J.

      He is a typical SAD eater writing for typical SAD eaters.

      Honestly, you don’t stumble over the WFPB teachings and people’s Google and YouTube settings are programmed to give them what they are typing online whether in search engines, comments or emails. Your searches are what you type in that you eat and more and more people are using the internet. It does make it harder.

      I was trying to do this process for well over a year before I accidentally got a Dr. Greger video in my YouTube suggestions. Now, I get mostly Dr. Greger. Dr. Greger and friends, plus, Keto in every single ad.

      1. People don’t even know that they aren’t informed because they can use the search engine for hours and watch hundreds of videos and unless you search specifically for vegan or whole food plant based or a particular doctor, you won’t get even one suggestion for it. Not one.

        There are times I have watched videos and wanted to get back to them and typed things in 50 different ways and still got nothing at all.

        It is easy to lose the stream.

        I tried to re-look up dangers of supplements and soy from positive or negative directions, but when they are feeding you positive answers, you get tons of positive answers.

        It is like a whirlpool in a swimming pool. When you start off, you might have the entire whirlpool of the internet against where you want to go. You have to run at it over and over and over again before it changes.

        1. I laugh because I watched the one Dr. Greger video and didn’t come to this site, but a few weeks later, I tried to find him and remembered the “ger” at the end of his name, but could not remember the “Gre” at all. I think I typed in Berger and they gave me the chiropractor Bergman, because I had clicked on chiropractor videos. What I NEVER get offered is videos from “the establishment” and I suspect they have videos, but it has been over two years and I have never seen even one video from the medical model.

    2. Dr. J, i noted that article also. And we wonder why people are confused and think diet isn’t important. Two servings of vegetables, are they kidding? And I suppose that includes catsup and French fries?

      1. Marilyn,

        Yes, it includes French fries and catsup.

        People do not believe that illness is related to diet or can be changed by diet.

        They also do not believe that they have an illness at all until it is officially diagnosed by a doctor.

        They go to the doctor every year and every year they get a fairly clean bill of health without changing their diets and this lasts into the 50’s for most people. I know that from everybody around me. Then they “get Cancer” as if it were catching a cold or the flu.

    3. Dr J,

      Most of the human beings in the world have never heard the message even once. Not once.

      Don’t laugh at him.

      Send him a link to a Dr Greger video or Forks Over Knives.

      Most of the human beings in the world have never heard the message even once and it is obvious that something crossed his path and that he tried to research and found opposing sentences and got frustrated and wants someone to find the real answers.

      almost everybody around me heard the Keto message and they are passionate and would already be sending him the links to Dr Berg and Dr Fung and the other doctors in that movement and their movies sound pretty impressive.

      1. My cousins doctors and my dogs vet and the six figure professionals around me and the blue collar workers and my college educated friends and my church friends and my high school friends have all never heard of it. Not once. They have never heard of Dr Greger or Dr Barnard or Dr Esselstyn or T Colin Campbell or The China Study or The Blue Zones or The Adventist Studies.

        The phone workers and auto repairmen and police officers and truck drivers and environmental workers and occupational therapists and teachers and computer workers and insurance workers and reporters and radio announcers and film people and Starbucks workers and grocery store workers and hospital workers around me who I have spoken with personally have all never heard of almost any of it.

        Some have heard of Pritikin but they have that as a diet which they never really heard what it was all about and that was true for me. Some have heard of Dr Ornish, but he is not vegan or WFPB in their minds. Some have a vague notion of a ridiculous man who thinks potatoes are health foods and Keto people laugh at things like that.

        1. It isn’t just that they never heard the message, they have heard all these other messages.

          Dairy improves and negatively affects all-cause-mortality. Might be one they have heard back and forth.

          Fats are bad for you. Nope, fats are good for you. Nope, fats are bad for you. Nope, fats are good for you. Proteins are what are bad for you. what? How can that be? Proteins are what they always said was so important.

          What is really important is to take your vitamins every day. You need mega-doses. They don’t even put the ingredients in, so you better take more.

          Gluten and soy and grains are bad for you and so are phytates and so are nightshades.

          It turns out coffee is good for you.

          1. I don’t think most of the people who found the teachings easily even do understand how hard it really is to even find Whole Food Plant Based as a movement.

            Dr Ornish and Fuhrman and Pritikin all have animal products listed on their sites, would be an example.

            People go to Dr Ornish and don’t get the concept of Whole Food Plant Based.

            That is more a movie concept and those movies only play in one theater, one showing only in my entire State and it isn’t advertised so it is easy to miss it.

            1. People like Dr Greger and the documentary filmmakers are the glue making it a movement instead of just competing diets showcased on PBS. There aren’t vegan festivals anywhere at all near me.

              There is one restaurant in my town which has some vegan foods, but they say it with a photo of meat in the ad and they are cooking Keto and vegan on the same grills.

              1. If any of you entered by Dr Ornish, you would only have a concept of a diet program. Not putting it down.he has a good diet.

                I am just saying that you can go there and get a diet and not learn anything at all and it isn’t vegan.

                If you go to McDougall, you will learn a lot, but the focus is not Vegan or Whole Food Plant Based and you will be banned on your first comment if you try to make it that. Again, not putting it down. It just is The Starch Solution exclusive.

                If you looked on this page and found a John Robbins link, you will learn a whole lot, but he is “let your body tell you what to eat and each person has different needs” oriented and you will not necessarily learn about vegan or WFPB but you really will still learn a lot.

                I could keep going, because Dr Greger not doing a diet book until now and documentaries and conferences are probably why these people are tied together.

                  1. There is a researcher who had people do Dr Ornish’s diet versus Calorie Restriction versus either Atkins or Keto and maybe one more diet and the Atkins or Keto won for weight loss and thry said the Dr Ornish diet people dropped out and I am saying it because they didn’t give them all the teaching we have gotten, they just gave them a diet. The diets are not impressive without the science.

                    1. I i came through this site and the documentaries and have a pie-in-the-sky notion of the doctors all being close frriends and they probably are, but my grouping them together is why I got banned from the McDougall site the first time.

                    2. I think of WFPB as this team trying to save the world but there isn’t really a team.

                      There should be.

                    3. Deb

                      If you are talking about the A-Z study, they didn’t give people a diet. They merely asked people to follow a diet.
                      If I remember correctly, the one person who actually ate the Ornish diet had the greatest weight loss of all participants.

                  2. WFPB isn’t the same thing as vegan. Many people eat a WFPB diet that is completely vegetarian and that is commonly called a ‘vegan’ diet. And many WFPB promoters are vegans or at least call themselves vegans

                    However, in essence veganism really nothing to do with WFPB diets. Little wonder that people get confused when different concepts like these are considered synonymous.

                    1. Tom,

                      Yes, I understand that WFPB is the one I see as the way to go. I am allergic to meat at a high level so I gave up eggs and dairy with this site and became a nutritional and mostly moral vegan.

                      I hate that they abuse animals. I actually became mostly a moral vegan about most of it when I was young. I didn’t feel bad about honey or eggs or milk, but hearing bees dying and animals being kept pregnant bothers me.

                      So I am likely to end up either Vegan or Vegan/WFPB.

                      Or stop at almost Vegan or almost both.

                      It would be easy for me to become vegan right now. WFPB in the true spirit or a variety of whole foods is something which is harder for me.

                      Anyway, I just heard a TV ad that Parkinsons has delusions and hallucinations, too, and I had both, though I was suspicious of the delusions and hallucinations because I used to test perfect in logic and things didn’t make sense.

                      My grandmother on the other side of the family may have had Parkinson’s. Not sure, but she looked like she might. She didn’t speak English and I didn’t understand her. I just know that she had a lot of motion.

                    2. My friends tell me that their brains feel so much sharper with the fats, but I don’t trust the fat logic, but I do see that Dr Hyman healed his brain and mine is still off.

                      But I buy into getting over Diabetes with low fat and I throw up coconut oil, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

                      My brain still is so vulnerable and I know that people don’t understand how hard it is to follow the logic.

                      I have a 14 year old boy working for me who can’t write his name and address. He failed the filling out the forms and I had to re-write them and just have him sign his name. How is he ever going to understand the diet wars? None of them do understand.

                    3. I tutored an 8th grader who didn’t know how to read or write and who didn’t know that 7 X 0=0 and who didn’t recognize the word “father” at all.

                      In 6 months I was able to get him up to long division and reading Goosebumps, but he is morbidly obese and permanently unemployed. I didn’t get him up to a level where people would hire him. I am not in contact with him but someone who I know is and he would never be able to follow any of it, and, yes, wouldn’t want to.

                      I guess maybe the “wouldn’t want to” is evidence of denial. I am not sure. If you are fed a certain way all of your life, do you know at some level intuitively how to eat? I don’t think so.

                    4. When I say that the 14 year old failed at filling out the government forms, I didn’t ask him to fill any of it out except his name and address and he failed miserably at it.

  7. Mr Pill doctor thinks all problems are pill problems. This is the general pattern:

    1 You have a diet problem
    2 You go to a pill doctor
    3 You receive a pill solution

    Pills are scientific and he is licensed. So what is the purpose of the license?

    PS: some pills are good but not if you have a diet problem.

      1. And people genuinely think that they need more funding for research to get a better pill.

        The Pill invention on Search of a Problem.

        Millions of people were suffering because not enough funding for the next scientific breakthrough. The next scientific messiah was coming in a form of a pill to liberate them from the tyranny of disease. All problems were pill problems so they believed. Funding was crucial to their salvation. Save the most vulnerable with the most researched pill.

      2. Deb, you keep saying repeatedly that ‘people don’t know that ‘ re the impact of nutrition on health, but I tend to disagree. Do you not have health education in schools where you live, like starting in elementary school? Here, even in preschool and primary grades activities and education around food science is part of the curriculum. Little kids learn how to design their own healthy lunch boxes for example. Preschoolers learn the names of, and draw fruits and vegies, and sometimes create sampler plates. At home discussions are of course most valuable where food culture begins on a personal level. I think a great many people do live in denial about what kind of damage their eating habits are causing, but are not sufficiently motivated to change until a health crisis forces a decision.

        1. Barb,

          I vaguely remember doing the food pyramid a few years, but, even today, I watched Dr. Hyman making fun of people who think fats are bad for you and he said that the government has reversed their position on it and they reversed their position on cholesterol. Potatoes are what they don’t want to be allowed at schools.

          Our schools had grilled cheese and cheeseburgers and fries and a carton of milk and other things, but they were all centered around meat and the food pyramid taught was the SAD food pyramid. We didn’t learn almost anything other than that. Home ec, they taught baking and cooking eggs and things like pigs in a blanket. If you look at the Food Network, not one of their programs that I have ever seen has ANY of the concepts from this site. That might have changed since I got rid of cable, but I don’t know where you are, but I am in conversation with adults and teenagers and none of them have even one WFPB concept.

          Many of them have Keto and that is high fat as the goal and their doctors agree with that and so did Dr. Hyman. What impressed me about watching him today is that he wants people to get 75% of their calories from non-starchy vegetables. That is a lot of vegetables. His plan is only 2 servings of fruit and he warned against the carbs in beans, but said that some people can eat them occasionally.

          Again, I don’t see it that anybody I have ever talked to has ever heard the WFPB message. They haven’t even heard Dr. Ornish with egg whites or Dr. Fuhrman level with 5% animal products. They think that carbs and starch is what makes people fat and gives them Diabetes and so does Dr. Hyman.

          1. I am in conversation with people and it has finally become a “non-defensive” conversation and they are doing Keto, not Atkins, which they consider too animal protein oriented. They are drinking bullet-proof coffee and consider coconut oil and bone broth health foods. They are anti-grains, anti-rice, anti-potatoes, anti-soy, anti-gluten particularly, and pro-coconut oil.

            1. Dr. Hyman made a joke that people have been avoiding butter all this time because they think it is bad for them, and, yes, he compared it to vegetable oils and those really are bad for people, too, according to the wisdom from here, but I am not sure where you live that you aren’t hearing it all back and forth and mixed together.

              My sister-in-law would tell you that soy is bad for you and so would her niece and so would my high school friend and so would my church friends. They all think grass-fed beef is good for you. They all think fish is the best thing for you and bone broth and Dr. Axe is probably the source of that information. The doctors like The Doctors have started to soften toward vegan, but that is only recently. Dr. Oz and Dr. Hyman consider themselves to be Pegan – a mix of vegan plant foods and Paleo. Paleo is another big diet movement. People, like my friend with MS, have heard of that because the woman healed herself of MS, but she never heard of Dr. Swank or Dr. McDougall where 95% of the people are healed of MS. And Dr. McDougall and Dr. Greger vary about salt. Dr. McDougall sees salt as a scapegoat and Dr. Greger did a fabulous video on salt and autoimmune saying that the MS people on a high salt diet have 3 times the brain lesions.

              1. Pizza was another thing we had every week at school.

                Grilled Cheese on Mondays.
                Chicken McNugget type of thing on Tuesdays.
                Pizza on Wednesdays.
                Cheeseburgers and fries on Thursdays.
                Fish sticks on Fridays.

                Carton of milk with every lunch.

                1. Peanut Butter and Jelly or Peanut Butter and Fluff or bologna and cheese or Tuna Fish or chicken spread were on the days we brought lunch.

                  1. Pretty sure there were weeks where they had American Goulash or Shepherd’s pie, but the menu didn’t vary that much and I am watching kids eat pretty much the same things, except they use Wowbutter, because peanuts aren’t allowed in school anymore.

                    1. Lasagna was one.

                      Fried Chicken, Chicken Potpie.

                      Ham and cheese was another sandwich.

                      The meals didn’t change much in college.

                      Maybe they added in Chicken Cordon Bleu and some other fish.

                      Go to the restaurants and they all overlap.

                      Not one around here is WFPB oriented.

                      I went to the baby shower and exactly nothing was vegan. Not one thing.

                    2. Tacos and Quesadillas and Fajitas and Burritos and Chili and Chinese sweet and sour chicken and fried rice and chow mein and lo mein were added in at college in the cafeteria. So it became more multi-cultural, but not really healthier. The chef was a good cook and had more variety, but I still don’t remember many vegetables or fruit.

                  1. Barb,

                    LOL! Yes! It is amazing that we made it at all.

                    Kids nowadays aren’t making it.

                    That was a message Dr. Greger posted a link to.

                    Kids are having Heart attacks and Strokes and getting Cancer and Diabetes and are struggling with Obesity.

                    Young kids.

                    1. I have a friend whose daughter may have never had a home-cooked meal until about college.

                      She is probably close to 350 pounds. Maybe 400. Not sure.

                      They were poor and it won’t make sense, but double cheeseburgers are on the dollar menu at McDonald’s. I have a friend who wasn’t raised junk food or fast food, but when she was unemployed for a year the dollar menu was all she ate at. She said, “I couldn’t buy a roll for a dollar or the condiments or the meat or the cheese or almost anything.”

          2. I am never quite sure if Hyman is really that ignorant or if he is simply saying these things because that is how, in the end, he makes his money.

            Somebody once said that Atkins is responsible for more (premature) deaths than World War 2. Hyman seems to be following that great tradition. It’s a message that however false people love to hear and it continues to generate lots of media noise.

            1. Tom,

              Interesting quote about Atkins.

              In many ways, Atkins was easier to fight against because of how obese he was. Keto people looking extra trim makes them harder to argue with. It will be the heart attacks and strokes, which will make the point, but they will say that it is because they broke their Keto diet out of a sweet tooth and that was what Atkins people say.

              I looked up what the Cancer society says is healthy and they recommend: “fish, poultry, lean red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy products, nuts and nut butters, dried beans, peas and lentils, and soy foods. Mono and Polyunsaturated fats such as vegetable oils like olive, canola, and peanut oils. Polyunsaturated fats are found mainly in vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower, corn, and flaxseed. They are also the main fats found in seafood. Whole grains or foods made from them contain all the essential parts and naturally occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed. Whole grains are found in cereals, breads, and flours. Some whole grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, or barley, can be used as side dishes or part of an entrée…”

              I got to an interesting part from them: “Antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E; selenium and zinc; and some enzymes that absorb and attach to free radicals, preventing them from attacking normal cells. If you want to take in more antioxidants, health experts recommend eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, which are good sources of antioxidants. Taking large doses of antioxidant supplements or vitamin-enhanced foods or liquids is usually not recommended while getting chemo or radiation therapy.”

              That is their concept of healthy eating.

              The American Diabetes Association gives a list of types of diets which may help with Diabetes. I like theirs because you can jump to DASH or Mediterranean or Vegan or the other diets and research some more. I was pleasantly surprised by them. Things have changed since “What the Health” and I celebrate that.

              1. Dear Deb, thank you so much for your detailed reply! Your vivid descriptions of communities, both past and present, gave me a real feel for the food culture you have lived in – and, I couldn’t help but get reminded of people in my own life just as you have described. Yes, the streets are filled with people enticed by organic range fed carcasses, coconut oil, and vats of bone broth, while others reject soy, glutin, non organic anything, and still others push the toddler slurping a blue-coloured gatorade in a stroller home from the 7/11.
                I think maybe my point was more centered around the guy/gal standing in the line up at the fast food … yes the menu is bad, yes his choices may be bad, but I really think he knows that his choices are bad… ie, it isnt broccoli he is ordering! Just like when a jogger goes running by, he knows there is a good reason the jogger looks good, and healthy and full of vitality.
                This is the canadian food guide,.. it isnt a vegan program, but milk alternatives are suggested as are meat alternatives. Lots of “what do I eat” resources here, and “how to” info. I am no fan of national food guides but if people only came this far, what a difference it would make. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/canada-food-guide/choosing-foods/vegetables-fruit/many-food-guide-servings-fruits-vegetables-need-canada-food-guide.html

                We just have to do it ourselves and try to set an example.

                1. Barb,

                  Are you in Canada? I looked at the plate and they give a simple system. I like it.

                  Nothing to even think about except whether to eat meat or alternatives for 1/4 of your plate.

                  Dr. Hyman and Dr. Oz and the Keto doctors might argue about the grains, but I prefer the plate food model to the pyramid.

                  You might be right that people might know that they are eating fast food and aren’t eating broccoli, but people who have never eaten broccoli really aren’t doing the mental process you are. I am interacting with a 15-year-old girl who we hired last year, and she hates all fruits and vegetables passionately. Related, I think, to her father (who also didn’t like vegetables or fruits) dying at age 40 and he was replaced by an abusive step-father who was verbally abusing her to get her to eat them. Anyway, then, she had everybody else try to manipulate her and emotionally blackmail her into eating them. She has a stronger emotional repulsion to fruits and vegetables than I do. With her, it is wrapped up with how she stands up for her rights as a human being to be treated well. I know another man who is wrapped up in smoking with a type of passion because he was abandoned as a child and was thrown in an orphanage and the only father figure there put his hand on his shoulder and asked him if he wanted to go out for a smoke and that was the only moment of his life where he had a father figure. It is really hard to change emotional imprinting. My 8-year-old pal has zero healthy eating role models and with her, she is asked what she wants for dinner and she says, “Candy and Ice Cream and Cake” and she has gotten it every time. She runs around so much that she isn’t heavy yet, but she also has so little nutrition and gets her vitamins pretty much from cereal if it is in there.

                  It is so hard for people to change when they are broken in these ways and it is so hard for people who were raised eating healthily to even comprehend that people are more confused than ever. They really are.

                  Keto people dip their broccoli in coconut oil or slather butter on it so much so that you can’t see it because they want it to have more fat. How do you explain which way to think to the kids? They do not know who to listen to or who to trust.

                  1. A quote from 2016 about young people: “……rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in a generation, admissions to hospital as a result of self-harm have doubled in four years……”

                  2. “It’s so hard for people to change when they are broken in these ways…”

                    I agree, which is maybe why I arrived at a place where I realised people have one life to live, just like me, and it’s not my place to tell them how to do it. If someone comes up and asks me a question I will answer briefly. Otherwise, it’s more than enough of a challenge for me to negotiate a path of healthy eating through the food environments we describe, above. For me, researching great new recipes using a wide variety of veg and beans is essential to staying motivated. The food has to be good, really good.

                    1. Barb,

                      You are right.

                      The food has to be really good.

                      That is all that is really needed.

                      People want the flavors and textures they are used to.

                      They want comfort food.

                      They want something filling.

                      The McDougalls said that people don’t need to find 100 recipes.

                      If people can find 7 Really good recipes, they can succeed.

                      Dr Hyman had one resource which intrigued me. It was on cooking without recipes.

                      I am probably not going to get it, but I wonder what he wrote in a whole book and I wonder if there are photographs.

                      Photographs are a must for cookbooks nowadays.

                      i bought a lot of cookbooks, but only the ones with pictures. Visual learner.

              2. Deb

                I am not sure which cancer organisation you got those words on diet from but the American Institute for Cancer Research advises:

                “Basing our diets around plant foods (like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans), which contain fiber and other nutrients, can reduce our risk of cancer.
                For good health, AICR recommends that we base all of our meals on plant foods.”
                http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/recommendations-for-cancer-prevention/

                Sounds like a recommendation to eat a whole food plant based diet to me ………………….

                1. Fumbles,

                  From No. 5 of your link:

                  “The evidence that red meat (beef, pork and lamb) is a cause of colorectal cancer is convincing. Studies show, however, that we can consume modest amounts — 12 to 18 ounces (cooked) per week — without a measurable increase in colorectal cancer risk.

                  But when it comes to processed meat (ham, bacon, salami, hot dogs, sausages) the evidence is just as convincing, and cancer risk begins to increase with even very low consumption.”
                  – – – – —

                  They consider 12 to 18 ounces per week MODEST amounts? Yikes, I’d think that would be a huge amount! All these “moderate” words nutritionists like to toss out. One’s “moderate” would be another’s waaaaaay too much, IMO.

                  And they say this: “This is why the expert panel advises limiting red meat and avoiding processed meat.”
                  – – – — –

                  So what do they consider “limiting”? Six ounces or something? (Still, way too much in my book.)

                2. Tom,

                  I have never heard of the organization you are talking about, but that is cool. I just needed to add the word “research” to it.

            2. Tom,

              Watching his presentation, I am going to say that he is using the mentally dishonest studies, meaning the ones which group all the carbs together and separate the fats so that “trans fats” aren’t in the fat group.

              He comes out against starches and grains because he follows the studies where all of the carbs are linked together, but he isn’t against fats because he uses the study where the fats were separated from each other and trans fats he kicks out. Butter, he compares to vegetable oils, not to plant foods. Maybe it is because he wanted to differentiate his diet. He is anti-carbs, particularly sugars, grains and starches and that allows him to define Pegan as eats a lot of vegetables, but isn’t ‘greens and beans’ like Dr. Fuhrman and doesn’t like starches like Dr. McDougall. I am not sure what differentiates him from Paleo or Keto. Both of those eat a lot of non-starchy vegetables. He is probably higher fat than Paleo. Maybe lower fat than Keto? I am not sure. If so, I would think he just looked for a niche.

              1. Yes, a key piece of advice for internet marketers is to have a USP or unique selling point.

                Hyman has clearly learnt his internet marketing lessons and positioned himself very nicely in the market just as Atkins and Mercola did before him. You can see the same strategy at work with eg the grain brain, wheat belly and plant paradox type books. Great marketing but terrible heath and nutrition advice …. especially Hyman’s appalling opinions on saturated fat and cholesterol.

                `

              2. I would just add (regarding all those Hyman, keto, paleo type diet) that including heaps of fruit and vegetables [FV] to diets based around meat may not fully compensate for the health hazards they deliver:

                “RESULTS:
                Compared with participants in the lowest quintile of total red meat consumption, those in the highest quintile had a 21% increased risk of all-cause mortality (HR: 1.21; 95% CI: 1.13, 1.29), a 29% increased risk of CVD mortality (HR: 1.29; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.46), and no increase in the risk of cancer mortality (HR: 1.00; 95% CI: 0.88, 1.43). Results were remarkably similar across amounts of FV consumption, and no interaction between red meat and FV consumption was detected.

                CONCLUSION:
                High intakes of red meat were associated with a higher risk of all-cause and CVD mortality. The increased risks were consistently observed in participants with low, medium, and high FV consumption. The Swedish Mammography Cohort and the Cohort of Swedish Men were registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01127698 and NCT01127711, respectively.”
                https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27557655

                1. The thing is, they get people off of sugar and processed foods and they get people eating vegetables. Lots of vegetables. Not many fruits. No starches or grains. No flour at all.

                  They do lose weight and they do get more nutrition.

                  The whole stupid fat thing is the problem, but they do put healthy fats on the list first and by that, I mean nuts and seeds and avocados.

                  Trust me, I hate that olive oil and coconut oil have become “health foods” to so many people, but somehow getting off of sugar and refined flour is a start. It just is frustrating that the science is so convoluted.

    1. YR, Yes, it’s amazing how the science cycles around so much these days. I like the Ezekiel bread made with whole sprouted grains, but I imagine most whole grain breads are healthy, too. Of course, just the whole grains cooked by boiling would probably be the best option, but bread is much more convenient.

      1. Yes, Hal, I like Ezekiel bread, too, and that is what I eat, but I looked at the Norwegian study and thought, “I probably could have stayed with the breads I was eating.”

        I like crustier breads and am tempted by them.

        Someday.

    1. Mr. Fumblefingers: LOL!!! But these cancer drugs are so toxic! That’s what happens when you eat “processed food.” Or “processed plant material.” (That’s a joke) (sort of)

    2. Tom,

      Are they all genuinely Vegan?

      Or are those the newer drugs?

      They always talked about killing Cancer with acidity, for example. How do they make something vegan become so highly acidic that it could kill Cancer?

    3. I just read it and the concept that they are going to have rare plants go extinct and that they are talking about stockpiles of chemical waste, it has already lost its charm.

  8. My 87 year old worker is going to retire. I thought he was 85. He said, “You know I am going to die someday” and he is preparing for it. Is it tacky to give him “How Not To Die” ??? It might be false advertising for someone his age. Pretty sure that he will live into his hundreds. The fact that he is still driving and going to work makes me think he has years left in him. What do you give to people who retire nowadays? It used to be a nice watch. Is it a cell phone or a computer or a large screen tv or a BOSE product or Alexa or something? My brain hurts trying to figure it out. Life Alert? Or just as big a check as possible? I genuinely have trouble processing everything. I have looked at huge gift baskets full of ridiculously unhealthy food and champagne or wine and I have spent so many hours googling ideas and didn’t think a pocket drone would make him feel appreciated. He is old school and would never ever cook and never let his wife or daughters do men’s work. Maybe a robot lawn mower or something.

    1. I looked at all the fruit baskets and it is the wrong time of year to send one.

      The concept of spending $100 on basically pears and junk food is a holiday conundrum already.

    2. “My 87 year old worker is going to retire.”
      – – – – –

      Deb, you have said that 15-year-old kids, many of whom are autistic, work for you. You also hire folks up in their eighties? It would be interesting to know what field you are in.

      But I’m just being nosy; I’ve always had a curious nature. :-)

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