Flashback Friday: What Are the Healthiest Foods?

Flashback Friday: What Are the Healthiest Foods?
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Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which foods best supply shortfall nutrients while avoiding disease-promoting components?

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The latest dietary guidelines have a chapter on food components to reduce. But, when they say things like reduce intake of solid fats (major sources of saturated and trans fatty acids), what does that mean in terms of which foods to reduce?

Similarly, there’s a chapter on nutrients we should increase our intake of, so-called shortfall nutrients. But, when they say we need more magnesium, for example, what does that mean in terms of actual food? Let’s look at 20 different types of foods to see, based on the federal guideline criteria, which foods are the healthiest, and which foods are the least healthy.

To illustrate, I’ll use traffic light labeling, like the UK signpost system which assigns colors, like green meaning go, yellow or amber meaning caution, and red meaning stop and think before you put it in your mouth. Added sugars is easy; anyone could have guessed sweets and soda, but there’s often surprising levels even in savory snack foods, like Ritz crackers, which I’m using as my snack example. The top five offenders are basically soda, doughnuts, Kool-Aid, ice cream, and candy.

Next is caloric density, calories per serving, where oils join dessert and processed snack foods as the worst, though one cannot consider eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, poultry, other meat, or soda to be low-calorie foods. The top five sources of calories in the American diet are basically desserts, bread, chicken, soda, and pizza.

Can you guess where cholesterol is found? Desserts, dairy, eggs, fish, chicken, and other meat. #1 by far is eggs, but then chicken contributes more cholesterol to the American diet than beef, then cheese, and pork.

Here are the foods high in saturated fat: coming from dairy, dairy, doughnuts, dairy, chicken.

Salt levels: highest in lunch meat and snack foods.  But, Americans get most of their sodium from bread, chicken, and pizza.

About half of our food groups here have trans fats, either naturally or artificially added or created. Cakes, cookies, crackers, pies, and doughnuts number one, then animal products, margarine, French fries, chips, and microwave popcorn.

Now, to the nutrients. Green is a high source, pale green is a medium source, and white is a poor source for calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Ok, now let’s put it all together.

Now, this is nutrients per typically 100 grams, about three and a half ounces, but that’s not how our body keeps track of what we eat. The body’s food currency is in calories, not grams. Our body monitors how much energy we eat, not how much weight we eat. We only have about 2000 calories in the bank to spend every day; so, to maximize our nutrient purchase, we want to eat the most nutrient-dense foods. So, I just changed this from nutrients per weight to nutrients per calories.

The foods are just listed here in alphabetical order. To look for trends, we can now rank them based on these scores from best to worst.

So, the foods to emphasize in one’s diet are unprocessed, unrefined, plant-derived foods, which in general lack the disease-promoting components, and, as the Dietary Guidelines Committee put it, these foods contain not only the essential vitamins and minerals, but also hundreds of naturally-occurring phytonutrients that may protect against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other chronic health conditions. So, this chart actually extends far off to the right, hundreds of additional bright green columns capturing all the phytonutrients found in whole plant foods, but largely missing from processed and animal derived foods. There would just be hundreds more white columns here in the middle with the few green tiles way off at the end. And, the lack of disease-preventing compounds may be compounded by the presence of disease-promoting compounds.

So, that’s why people eating more plant-based tend to end up eating a more nutrient-dense dietary pattern, closer to the current federal dietary recommendations. And, the more plant-based we get, apparently, the better.

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.

The latest dietary guidelines have a chapter on food components to reduce. But, when they say things like reduce intake of solid fats (major sources of saturated and trans fatty acids), what does that mean in terms of which foods to reduce?

Similarly, there’s a chapter on nutrients we should increase our intake of, so-called shortfall nutrients. But, when they say we need more magnesium, for example, what does that mean in terms of actual food? Let’s look at 20 different types of foods to see, based on the federal guideline criteria, which foods are the healthiest, and which foods are the least healthy.

To illustrate, I’ll use traffic light labeling, like the UK signpost system which assigns colors, like green meaning go, yellow or amber meaning caution, and red meaning stop and think before you put it in your mouth. Added sugars is easy; anyone could have guessed sweets and soda, but there’s often surprising levels even in savory snack foods, like Ritz crackers, which I’m using as my snack example. The top five offenders are basically soda, doughnuts, Kool-Aid, ice cream, and candy.

Next is caloric density, calories per serving, where oils join dessert and processed snack foods as the worst, though one cannot consider eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, poultry, other meat, or soda to be low-calorie foods. The top five sources of calories in the American diet are basically desserts, bread, chicken, soda, and pizza.

Can you guess where cholesterol is found? Desserts, dairy, eggs, fish, chicken, and other meat. #1 by far is eggs, but then chicken contributes more cholesterol to the American diet than beef, then cheese, and pork.

Here are the foods high in saturated fat: coming from dairy, dairy, doughnuts, dairy, chicken.

Salt levels: highest in lunch meat and snack foods.  But, Americans get most of their sodium from bread, chicken, and pizza.

About half of our food groups here have trans fats, either naturally or artificially added or created. Cakes, cookies, crackers, pies, and doughnuts number one, then animal products, margarine, French fries, chips, and microwave popcorn.

Now, to the nutrients. Green is a high source, pale green is a medium source, and white is a poor source for calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Ok, now let’s put it all together.

Now, this is nutrients per typically 100 grams, about three and a half ounces, but that’s not how our body keeps track of what we eat. The body’s food currency is in calories, not grams. Our body monitors how much energy we eat, not how much weight we eat. We only have about 2000 calories in the bank to spend every day; so, to maximize our nutrient purchase, we want to eat the most nutrient-dense foods. So, I just changed this from nutrients per weight to nutrients per calories.

The foods are just listed here in alphabetical order. To look for trends, we can now rank them based on these scores from best to worst.

So, the foods to emphasize in one’s diet are unprocessed, unrefined, plant-derived foods, which in general lack the disease-promoting components, and, as the Dietary Guidelines Committee put it, these foods contain not only the essential vitamins and minerals, but also hundreds of naturally-occurring phytonutrients that may protect against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other chronic health conditions. So, this chart actually extends far off to the right, hundreds of additional bright green columns capturing all the phytonutrients found in whole plant foods, but largely missing from processed and animal derived foods. There would just be hundreds more white columns here in the middle with the few green tiles way off at the end. And, the lack of disease-preventing compounds may be compounded by the presence of disease-promoting compounds.

So, that’s why people eating more plant-based tend to end up eating a more nutrient-dense dietary pattern, closer to the current federal dietary recommendations. And, the more plant-based we get, apparently, the better.

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.

Doctor's Note

I feel like this should have been one of the first NutritionFacts.org videos. Sorry it’s taken me so long to just step back and offer some of the basics! I’ve always pictured my role more as providing the latest science, but you can’t understand all the new discoveries without a good foundation. Let me know if you think I should do more of these Nutrition 101 videos or leave that to others and continue to focus on the shiny and new.

How low should one try to push their intake of some of the food components to avoid? See Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of ZeroHow Much Added Sugar Is Too Much?, and, for sodium, High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice. Surprised that trans fats weren’t limited to partially hydrogenated junk? Check out Trans Fat in Meat and Dairy.

Here are some other videos on making practical grocery store-type decisions: Dining by Traffic Light: Green Is for Go, Red Is for Stop and Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist.

I’ve got a bunch of recipes in my How Not to Die Cookbook, of course (all proceeds I get from all my books go to charity).

Charts:
Foods to emphasize
Food to de-emphasize
Foods ranked
Foods ranked (colorblind friendly)

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

120 responses to “Flashback Friday: What Are the Healthiest Foods?

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  1. Good Stuff!

    This is the basic hows and whys messaging of NF in a nutshell.
    For optimal health:

    1) Maximize whole plant food consumption.
    2) Minimize processed, refined and animal foods.

    1. We are vegan – no oils, dairy, only plant based food. My husband who was close to dialysis was saved by a naturopath/homeopathic dr. Four kidney doctors basically told him to sit and wait for dialysis. His numbers have all gone down without meds. I do have one question, how much protein do we need in our diet?

      1. Ann – I think I have some more concrete information that you may (or may not :-) find helpful. If you read Dr. Valter Long’s book, The Longevity Diet, he will go into this into detail. Dr. Longo is the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of California – Davis and has been studying longevity and aging for his entire career. He also recommends a mostly plant based diet.
        But his information states that a human body requires about 0.31 – 0.36 mgs/protein per pound of body weight. So, for me for example, I weight 145lbs. If you multiply that out at the 0.31 level, I need about 45 mgs protein per day. Now, . . .if you go to this site:
        https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2816/2 you will see that I’ve pulled up broccoli as an example. You will see that broccoli is 27% protein (look at the box titled “Caloric Ratio Pyramid). Now, if you look up rice, you will see that the amount of protein in rice is about 8%. YOu will see that ALL whole plant based foods have protein in them – even lettuce which is about 18% protein. So the easy calculation is to multiply your daily caloric intake, which, for me, might be about 1700 calories per day, by the protein amount found in whole plant based foods, then you can see if you are getting enough protein in your food each day. But even at the very lowest amount of protein value found in rice – 8% – I am STILL getting enough protein. Here is my protein calculation if I eat only rice: 1700 calories/day X 0.08 grams of protein calories (in my food) = 136 grams/protein per day. This is more than enough protein for my body per day.
        Hope this is helpful.

        1. Sorry – minor correction. I wrote this:
          “human body requires about 0.31 – 0.36 mgs/protein per pound of body weight”

          It should read:
          “human body requires about 0.31 – 0.36 g (grams, not milligrams)/protein per pound of body weight per day”.

          Sorry for any confusion.

        2. Ruth, protein in plant foods isn’t by percent of calories. You have to see how much protein each food has by weight, and serving size.
          Example- rice has 4 grams of protein per cup. Which is about 200 calories.
          So if you only eat rice, 1700 calories worth, that is 8.5 times 4 grams, or 34 grams of protein.

          1. If you look at the macronutrient profile of rice, you can see that it is 85% carbohydrate, 7% fat, and 8% protein. You can see the profile of rice here:
            https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5707/2 (Look at the Caloric Ratio Pyramid chart). The ratio of fat, carb and protein in rice isn’t going to change whether you have 1Cup of rice at 200 calories, 3 Cups of rice at 600 calories or 6 cups at 1200 calories. The percent of the protein that one ingests is going to be 8% no matter how much weight of the food they eat or the volume or by calorie measure – it’s going to be 8% protein. If one eats sufficient rice to not be starving they will automatically be getting sufficient protein as they will be getting 8% protein.

        3. Hi Ruth
          I think your calculation is incorrect. 8% of the calories in rice comes from protein, not that 8% of rice is protein. You are confusing weight and calories. If you had 1700 calories of rice in one day, you are getting 136 calories from the protein portion found in rice, not 136 grams of protein. If rice had that much protein, there would be no need for anyone to eat meat. Marilyn is correct in that you have to go by weight. 1 cup of rice(200 calories) has 4 grams of protein so her calculation of 1700 calories worth of rice will provide only 34 grams.
          1 gram of protein contains 4 calories, so if a cup of rice is 200 calories, 8% of those calories (16 calories) comes from the protein found in rice. 16 divided by 4= 4(grams of protein) in about 1 cup of rice.

      2. Hi Ann, it is partially dependent on whether your husband is losing protein in his urine or not. For a healthy adult 0.7g per kg body weight is a good estimation. So an adult weighing 75kg would need 54g per day.
        Hope this helps

      3. Ann

        If your husband has chronic kidney disease, it is important to avoid taking in too much protein
        ‘When your body uses protein, it produces waste. Your kidneys remove this waste. Eating more protein than you need may make your kidneys work harder.’
        https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/eating-nutrition

        You can use this online calculator to determine your requireents for protein (and other macro and micro nutrients)
        https://fnic.nal.usda.gov/fnic/dri-calculator/

        Note that the US Government calculator states that saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol consumption should be kept ‘as low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet’. The only way of doing this is by consuming the ‘vegan’ (ie completely vegetarian) version of the healthful vegetarian eeating pattern identified in the US dietary guidelines None of the other ‘healthy eating patterns’ identified in the US dietary guidelines keep saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol consumption s low as this one.
        https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-5/

      4. Ann,

        Nicely done. You husband owes the doc a big thank you.

        I agree with Joe…. probably enough protein however as a kidney patient you do need to monitor a bit more to ensure ongoing great health. You can start with checking his weight regularly at the same time and looking for trends and/or significant changes. If this occurs please see your ND/NMD. I also ask CKD patients to note their overall activity and energy levels and yes keeping track of kidney function via lab testing is also essential.

        My experience with CKD patients has shown that most need additional evaluation of environmental factors affecting kidney function and addressing other nutritional needs, generally at high supplemental amounts, not just with foods.

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

  2. I liked it! For people who keep getting misled by food companies, this should help keep things in perspective. I have friends that hear they need omega 3, or zinc and think what supplement do I need, so I can continue to eat the same crap, instead of what FOOD I NEED to meet my dietary needs.

    Thanks for you video. I certainly wouldn’t mind you throwing in a few like this. We still like cutting edge stuff too, but new people coming across your site need to be able to find a foundation in which to build.

  3. I prefer the shiny and new and the science and studies, but I already know that the top 10 had more videos like this and this was chosen high up in the videos people wanted to see again. If I remember right, it was very, very near the top of what people voted for.

    What amazed me on Plant-Based Science London was that your oatmeal video is the one of yours which generated 2 million views.

    I am laughing because I still haven’t watched it.

    I have watched sooooooooooooooooo many of your videos. Multiple videos, sometimes all night, many of the science and studies ones I have watched a few times, and I have watched most of your interviews and most of your Plant-Based Science London videos, but I still haven’t watched oatmeal and that is the one the masses ran to and so is this video.

    You are so responsive to your audience and people wanting information like this will be coming more often after your book comes out, but, to me, videos like this are everywhere and the other ones are the ones which make you special.

    So, some of these, but don’t lose your razzle dazzle.

    1. Everybody out there can do the dietary stuff and they all are doing it and that clearly is the most popular, but not everybody can do the science and very, very, very, very few people can do the studies.

      If you jump over to the diet end, you will be more popular than ever and I won’t know where to go for the science and studies.

      1. Almost NOBODY else does science and studies with an ENTERTAINMENT edge. That is so valuable.

        Laughing.

        You asked for feedback, I know the silent masses are against me, but I am going to start singing, “They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot…”

  4. I was watching the video on watermelon for muscle soreness. It made me wonder if one has to take painkillers such as Ibruprofen and Naproxen then is there a way to reduce the gut leakyness such as taking them in suppository form?
    Also are there any studies on foods to prevent migraine pain?

    1. Hi E,
      Dr Greger points out that, many successful herbal treatments start like this: some doctor learns that some plant has been used in some ancient medical tradition—like ginger for headaches—and figures, hey, they have patients with headaches, and since it’s just some safe common spice, advises one of their migraine patients to give it a try. At the first sign of a migraine coming on, the patient mixes a quarter teaspoon of powdered ginger in some water, drinks it down, and poof, within a half hour, the migraine goes away. And, it works every time, no side effects.
      Ginger for Migraines

  5. Good stuff! This may be “nothing new” for those of us who watch your videos all the time.

    However, it is very useful in communicating the message to friends and family who do not watch the other videos yet.

    How about posting a downloadable and printable copy of the final Red-White-Green chart, so we can print and pass it around?

    Thanks.

  6. Ashok, the NF team already thought of that! the links to the charts in the video are given under “Doctor’s Notes” under the video.

    And, I agree, this is a wonderful introductory video and just in time for all those committing to New Year’s resolutions.

  7. Yes, you should not only do more of Nutrition 101 videos but expand the scope to Total Health and include wider health issues such as mental health based on 100% scientific evidence. Nutrition goes a long long way but not all the way in total health.

  8. I would love to see more basic nutrition videos we can share targeted to the unhealthy, unnerdy, average, SAD victim who is totally unaware that their pill and procedure centered doctor knows virtually nothing about the tremendous healing potential of proper nutrition. I get so frustrated at the absolute indifference/ignorance toward the huge influence nutrition plays on our health because doctors mostly continue to ignore it completely, or at best suggest something generic and unhelpful like “improve your diet”, “lose weight”, etc.. Surely if the nutritional approach were truly effective, their esteemed doctor would be the first to elucidate it, not some recovered sickie with an “agenda” preaching “internet dogma”! Aaaaaarrrrgghhhh!

    ,

    1. Vegetater,

      Did you get an opportunity to read this weeks Dr. Greger’s (Jan 1st) written piece on diabetic neuropathy ? I think the line from the researchers is on the mark, “Pain and ill health are strong motivating factors.”

      There will never be agreement on food issues due to the many millions of dollars involved in the industry so may I suggest that being a representative and showing people your healthy lifestyle is a really great start. Upset and frustration will not get you the extra mile, even if it’s warranted. And I do appreciate your concern.

      You might also consider looking into participation with two groups trying to teach nutrition to docs….. PAN, Physicians Association for Nutrition München Germany and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
      (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physicians_Committee_for_Responsible_Medicine) as two options for engagement.

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

  9. Without watching: vegetables. Our biggest challenge to increasing intake is people’s habitual patterns of eating.
    As an RD I emphasise the process of moving from goal to action to habit…
    When you set a goal to eat more plant based food, work on the HOW as much as the WHAT.

    1. hi Helen, not sure if you have read Dr Greger’s How Not to Die ? The second part of the book goes into the details of the Daily Dozen, and Dr Greger shares some of his favorite cooking and serving ideas. Same with the How Not to die Cookbook. And there is this older video which I thoroughly enjoy watching https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9nNa81dSoY For me it wasn’t complicated. I threw out the eggs and milk, made a list of needed veggies for the next few meals, fruit, and oatmeal.. and that was it!

    2. Helen,

      Can’t agree with you more and want to amplify Barbs comments. In practice we have a conversation inclusive of where you shop and what’s available along with cost concerns. They translate and start the substitution process coupled with what’s their fav flavor, as part of the focus. Even starting with perimeter shopping can make major impacts.

      Dr. Greger’s cookbook has been very helpful for a number of patients as the pictures have been enticing and the recipes generally hit a home run. I also use a number of substitutions approach and if there is significant resistance I simply offer a conventional approach but then ask, what would the RX cost them both in terms of dollars, health and ultimately function over time.

      With a bit of enthusiasm and their seeing the results in myself and staff the message gets some traction….

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

  10. I think that Flashback Friday is not a good idea. One year from now these FF videos will be “forgotten” like any other videos here. And for those who’ve been following Nutrition Facts for a long time or even from the beginning, or for those who watched all videos, fridays are now a wasted day. I think a better approach would be to prepare a set of entry-level videos like 15-20 or more, maybe order them by importance, and put a link on the front page, e.g. “New here? Check these basic videos!”.

    1. Banane,

      I like the concept of a new person’s section.

      I have been here a little over a year and I will say that it took a lot of time catching up and that the core material gets buried.

      I do appreciate that he is trying things out and that there is going to be a new format soon.

  11. Keep the FlashBack videos coming. It is a good way to manage content and creates exposure. Why create more videos about small stuff? Good things are scarce. Many people are exposed to diet entertainment through the internet. It is based on the principle novelty (oh!). But the internet (videos I mean) is the perfect breeding ground for lying as it is a one way dialog. And the diet literacy of the American population is below zero.

    1. Panchito

      You are right that the diet literacy of America is zero. Minus zero.

      It doesn’t matter to me whether Dr G does Flashback Friday or not as long as he doesn’t start having a Back To The Future 2 and 3 or Jaws 3-D or Fonzie jumps the shark moment.

    1. I looked it up and the current wisdom is that: Bitterness is being bred out of eggplants. The varieties we eat today are less bitter than they used to be. “But beyond any inherent bitterness in the plant, old age and size have a large effect on how unpalatable eggplant can be. Whether left on the plant to grow to enormous size or harvested and left to flounder under fluorescent lights, large, older eggplants are categorically more bitter than their freshly harvested, younger counterparts.” You can help reduce bitterness right away by choosing the right Eggplants. The bitterness is in the seeds and male ones have the fewest seeds. Yikes, I never learned how to determine the gender of my eggplant. This will be a process.

      But some sites said to still salt them because they steam instead of roast and are mushy if the moisture isn’t sucked out of them.

      So, is there a way to suck the moisture out of eggplant without salt?

      Hmmmmm, they say to steam blanch them before cooking them.

      Laughing.

      I went a whole year and didn’t learn to cook vegan and my brother gets sick and now I am cooking every single day.

      I don’t think I can get him to eat my superfood wraps.

      1. Hooray, I found a microwave moisture remover process!

        Here’s the process: Slice or cube the eggplant, place it on a plate with a couple of sheets of paper towels and cook in the microwave on high for five minutes.

      2. Deb, I never salt my eggplant. By the time I make a well flavored sauce for it, usually tomato based and spicy, couldn’t tell if there is any bitter in it.

  12. Some of us have to do lunches for someone else and I came up with Portabella mushroom burgers and falafel and eggplant and grain bowls.

    Working on it.

    I did one week and was already out of ideas.

    1. Spanish rice with lentils is what I will be making on Sunday night for Monday. Does cooking rice a day ahead do the same resistant starch process?

      1. Deb – if you want some easy-peazy vegan food ideas go to this very fun website:
        https://www.thecheaplazyvegan.com/

        It’s called Cheap Lazy Vegan – For people who don’t know what they’re doing.” She very fun as cooks fairly healthy although she does use a little bit of oil. But she’s got great easy ideas and also a video on how to eat vegan-healthy for $20/week.

        Have fun!!

        1. Thanks Ruth!

          Yes I am trying to do as no SOS as possible.

          Harder to figure out with things like eggplant and falafel, but I am getting there.

  13. So according to the chart, if you are going to eat animal meat, better to eat red meat than chicken or fish? Does Dr. Greger have a video on medical marijuana?

  14. 8% of men are color blind. Might it be possible to use English words in those little boxes instead of the colors, so that everyone can understand?

      1. Nuts also help with things like blood sugar and have other positive health and nutritional benefits, including Cancer killing propertirs in some of them.

        I recommend the video on whether nuts cause weight gain highly.

        (Though you will lose weight faster probably without them if that is a weight loss oriented question.)

      2. You have to do what works for “you” and not follow a textbook recipe. Here is something you won’t find anywhere else here. I did a no-oil diet (with nuts) for years. But my skin was very dry on winter and I also had some things going with the gums. After I added olive oil (on salads), all my problems went away. I also got better endurance and performance. The olive oil “seals” everything and has a huge overall impact (skin looks better and younger too). But if you are Ok where you are, then there is no need to add olive oil. I am saying my personal experience just in case someone experience those symptoms above. This is my experienced conclusion in a nutshell: do a WFPB as a base diet but add olive oil on salads as a special exception to improve it.

        1. I forgot. Some people prefer olives to olive oil and show some arguments. But olives (the fruit) are no good. In the making process, the good stuff is leached with lye and the ripen ones don’t have the good stuff either. EVOO is way better than the olives. As far as the leaves go, the leaves don’t do much either except for immune system.

          1. See above. I wrote the second part as the same time as you ;)

            Let me clarify: If you are 100% satisfied, then what I said makes no sense. Just consider what I say only in terms of your current status not being OK. Or make your own changes like I did. I did not follow any guru or anything. Just make little adjustments if you think it works better for you long term.

                  1. Panchito, YR,

                    Whatever floats your boat.

                    I am not a perfectionist about any of it.

                    I am doing the no oil because I stalled in weight loss until I got rid of oil and dairy.

                    I also am doing it because my brother has a mass in his kidney and oils are things which can make it grow unless you are all the way over to extreme keto. As demonstrated by Keto Pet Sanctuary, 90 to 95% oil and the rest veggies can make it shrink and Dr. Berg has people succeeding with a lot of oil and 10 servings of non-starchy veggies, as long as they limit animal products to less than 5% and that works, too, but adding some oil with high carb can be dangerous and keep it growing, per Dr. McDougall.

                    Anyway, my brother had WFPB choose him because his two cooks are doing that whether he wants it or not and his having cancer makes no SOS a priority in my mind.

                    I have 2 SAD diet people and one Keto person eating WFPB as long as I keep thinking of what to make every single day and that is what I am not so good at. Working on it.

                    1. “Whatever floats your boat.”
                      – – – –

                      Or tickles your pickle. :-)

                      Deb, you say you didn’t lose weight until you gave up oils and dairy. Dunno how much of either you were taking in, massive amounts? Makes a big difference, right? Panchito says he/she adds it to salads, and I put only a few drops in my mine — and that’s only when I don’t have a ripe avocado on hand. So it’s either a small bit of avocado OR oil. Same with the toast; just a few drops. As that doesn’t add up to a huge amount, I could call myself a semi-no-oil person.

                      Speaking of avocados, I don’t understand how people can polish off a whole one (or even a half or fourth) at one meal. Maybe they want to tackle the thing before it turns brown on them. Just a tiny bit is more than enuf for me — a couple of teaspoons or so.

                  2. I am not shy. I put ~ 2 table spoons. But I don’t sell my diet ideology as it could only make sense after several solar cycles. Imagine you were inside a maze and that you only saw the walls in front of you. What you see is true but partially true. You also have a map but you have not tested the map.

                    1. How do you imagine your future condition to be like?

                      Only when you are at B you can see C. Imagine you are in point A and want to go to point B. What would things look like one you are at B? What are the new things you did not anticipate with your map? Could there be a point C that you did not see from point A?

                    2. Wow, Panchito, you’re deep; you think outside the box.

                      Fumbles, however, might accuse you of being a woo-woo wackadoodle.

                  3. I used to use EVOO (mainly in place of butter/spreads) until I looked at the effects of oil consumption on eg the endothelium
                    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/olive-oil-and-artery-function/

                    However I don’t suppose that a few drops will be either here or there That said, I find salad dressings of any kind to be unpleasant though I still do use olive oil as I do coconut oil ….. but I put them directly on the skin/hair. Panchito’s experience is interesting but doesn’t prove anything – there’s anecdotal evidence for pretty much everything so I tend to discount it. To my knowledge there is no good evidence that dietary EVOO iproves skin function – whereas there is reasonable evidence that it ipairs artery function.

  15. I am already vegan, but have actually gained weight since becoming vegan. I want to know the best vegan items to eat with highest nutritional value and lowest calories. So many vegan recipes have high carbs and oils.

    1. hi Kelley Holiday, this isn’t a vegan website. What Dr Greger espouses is a whole foods plant based diet (wfpb) no added oil. (some say no SOS, ie no salt, oil, sugar)). These videos will help to answer your questions and explain further:

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/do-the-dozen/

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

      For the daily dozen, please note the servings sizes are small so no need to feel overwhelmed. I personally avoid nuts and avocado (except 1 tbsp ground flax) because they are calorie dense, but many people do include small servings in their diet. The website is searchable for topics of interest. Hope this helps.

    2. Kelley Holiday, I hope you avoid processed vegan foods — these are generally no healthier than processed non-vegan foods, as they often contain a lot of added sugar, oil, and salt, as well as lots of refined carbohydrates, and other additives.

      I don’t know what you mean by “high carbs” — plants are basically built from carbohydrates. There is a difference between processed carbohydrates (such as sugars and refined flours), which are not a healthy sources of carbohydrates, and unprocessed carbohydrates, which exist in all plant foods, from veggies and fruits, legumes (beans and lentils) and whole grains, nuts and seeds (and nuts and seeds should be eaten in moderation, as these foods are very calorie dense). The bulk of these unprocessed carbohydrates are fibers, which are good for you and your gut bacteria — they are actually required by your gut bacteria which use them as a source of food, releasing healthy compounds needed by your intestinal wall cells as food as well as by the rest of your body.

      My husband and I were ovo-lacto-vegetarian for years, practicing portion control and making healthy choices, which allowed each of us to lose weight and maintain our new weights. (We’d gained it originally by eating too much processed food.) But we did eat dairy and eggs; when we transitioned to plant based whole foods eating, we each lost more weight without even trying! I lost about 5 pounds, and he lost about 15. I even started to worry, but our weights have stabilized. We eat most of our meals at home, cooking “from scratch” from whole foods. The food is great!

    3. Kelly, try salads and veggie soups. At night, especially in winter, I find a bean soup satisfying. I start with vegetable broth, add canned or stewed tomatoes, onions, carrots, any kind of beans, lots of other veggies and spices including garlic and turmeric.
      I steam a lot of veggies when I have time so I generally have quite a variety to add.

    4. Hi Kelley. I’ve been vegan for 3 years and I have also gained weight. I have between 35-40 grams of fibre in my daily diet. I have oil in my diet once in a blue moon and I do include processed vegan foods but you can purchase “smart” processed vegan foods that are not high in fat or sugar or salt but high in fibre. I exercise daily but still managed to put on weight. The weight gain was slow but it was still weight gain. You do have to watch out for calorie dense foods and if your diet is tilting towards this, you will gain the weight. You may be going over the recommended daily caloric intake by having too much of, for example, nuts/seeds which are high in calories– good source of protein but with higher amounts of fat. Those extra calories, which I suspect are coming from fat, will be stored as fat. For myself, I found that I have trouble with raw foods so I cook the majority of my vegetables, and I also bake my apples and pears. For me, preparation of my vegan diet is very time consuming and I have to constantly keep on top of having variety otherwise the diet becomes expedient and I end up having too much of one thing for convenience sake and the calories skyrocket.
      I re introduced egg whites and some fish into my diet. Here is the test I performed for myself. I ran 7 miles a day for 1 month on a vegan diet and there was hardly any weight loss. I did the same thing for the following month but included the eggs/fish and I lost 11lbs. This is pure empirical and anecdotal data. I suspect that I replaced the calorie dense foods and simple carbs with the egg whites and fish. You might ask why I didn’t cut down on those calorie dense foods in the first place. Because they taste so good and provide satiety. And I get the same satiety being ovo-pescatarian and controlling the calories. I don’t know how many times I would have nuts/seeds as a snack thinking it was a smart snack yet I couldn’t get the satiety from a small handful. I know that Dr. Greger mentioned that you could possibly eat a larger mass of wfpb foods because they are not as high in calories, but for me, I rarely reached satiety with my vegan meals. How much leafy green vegetables can you eat at one meal. I was always hungry. I’ve been trying wfpb recipes galore for 3 years and it took me 3 years to realize I don’t really like being vegan. So I have become ovo-pescatarian but vegetables still make up the majority of my diet. It works for me.

    5. Hello Kelley,
      You’re correct in stating that many vegan recipes you find will have lots of added oil and refined carbohydrates that don’t have the fiber to fill you up. There are plenty of resources available with recipes for you to try that are strictly whole foods. One fantastic resource is Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. There is a free app for android and iphone that you can download and it highlights the foods that you should try to include in your diet everyday. If you can check all those boxes, you’re doing very well!
      If you’d like recipe suggestions, pcrm.org/kickstart has a 21-day vegan kickstarter, which focuses on whole foods and provides multiple healthy recipes for each meal for you to choose from. They also have an app for android and iphone called “21-day vegan kickstart,” so I would check that out as well.
      And lastly there are plenty of recipe books such as: Dr. Greger’s “How Not To Die Cookbook”, “Engine 2 Diet” and “Forks Over Knives.”
      I think these are some good places to start your journey to healthier eating patterns. I hope this helps!

      Matt

      Daily Dozen: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/dr-gregers-daily-dozen-checklist/

  16. Kelly Holliday – I went through the same thing. I was eating too much rice and NOT ENOUGH VEGETABLES as it turned out. But watch this very informative video by Jeff Novick, who works with Dr. McDougall, Dr. Greger, and all the other plant-based physicians. He is a WFPB nutritionist who will explain to you the concept of calorie density. Hopefully this is helpful to you.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CdwWliv7Hg

    1. Dr Lisle also has a video on YouTube

      How to lose weight without losing your mind.

      He does $75 sessions on the phone if you want to talk things through with him, but watch the videos first.

    2. I doubt it was the rice.

      Watch the Rice Diet videos.

      People lost a hundred pounds eating white rice and fruit and had to add sugar for calories.

      It is what you eat with the rice maybe or butter added to it or something.

      1. It is probably the boxed rice where they tell you to add oil or butter.

        Rice cooker helps.

        I am doing the white rice versus black rice versus mixed-color rice logic right now for my brother’s lunch on Monday.

        The thing is, Dr. Kempner chose white rice because he wanted people who were transitioning from SAD diet to comply and he got his results on a white rice diet. My brother liking the food is so important right now. I feel like starting with the white basmati is more likely to have him enjoy it more. I feel like the transition from white to other colors can happen after he has been off the meat and oil and salt for a while.

        The other side of the logic is that he is letting me cook and if I go straight over to black rice or mixed brown, red and black rice, he may get used to it and just be all the way over there already when he takes over his own food.

        I don’t know which logic is better right now.

        I am trying to make everything vegan comfort food. Hearty and rich and filling.

        So far, he has liked everything. I feel like I need to stick with that for a while.

      2. I eat rice/grains cooked in water and nothing else. The key operative word for me was TOO MUCH. I was stuffing myself with rice and beans. I was over eating and taking in too many calories and not enough exercise. Even Kempner’s rice diet plan had some rules and overstuffing yourself was not in it. If you actually get the details on Kempner’s rice diet (which I have done) eating limitless amounts of food was not ok and they were not allowed to eat all day long.

        It’s a little off-putting to have someone tell me what “my problem” is or is not when the whole of the fact are not known by that person – Deb.

        1. Sorry Ruth,

          I feel like there is a misunderstanding. I am not trying to tell you your problem.

          I am trying to say that most of these doctors allow rice and other starches because they are filling and most people do lose weight as long as they aren’t using butter or oil because they are high satiety.

          I didn’t want you to turn people away from things which people use highly successfully.

          It wasn’t meant to be about you. I do have so many people who are using boxed rice and are using oil and butter and that is different.

          1. Listening to all of these doctors many of them eat beans and rice every week and people like Dr McDougall use white potatoes and beans most meals. Dr Greger uses beans and lentils every meal and uses sweet potatoes and other starches.

            Dr McDougall considers starch the solution for people trying to lose weight. Dr Fuhrman uses less starch and more greens.

            Either way oils and fats and processed foods and junk food are the highest calorie density and those really tend to be a problem.

            1. You are right that people who invlude more vegetables do tend to eat fewer calories, but that is its own principle.

              People like Dr Fuhrman do it instead of starch

              People like Dr McDougall warns that you might be quite hungry and fail if you don’t have starches be the center of your meals and points out that the Asians who eat rice nearly every meal are generally quite slender.

              1. Again, Ruth, I am sorry if I worded it insensitively. I wasn’t thinking about you at all. You have figured your eating out. I am aware that some people just eat lettuce and end up failing miserably because there is a culture which is afraid of starches and carbs when they usually are not the real problem.

                1. I think I am responding because rice was a solution to all of the people I the Kempner diet and Ruth, I can hear you that you researched it but you are talking to someone who is already afraid of carbs and has communicated that.

                  High carb Hannah and The Happy Healthy Vegan and other sites have thin people who eat a lot of carbs including white potatoes and rice.

                  Satiety is the other principle along with Calorie Density.

                  1. And it might be that I misunderstood you because I felt like you were telling someone who is afraid of carbs to be afraid of rice when many of the thinnest nations in the world eat rice nearly every meal.

                    Happy Healthy vegsns switched from all fruit to being carb eaters on a camping trip and found out they didn’t gain weight. High carb Hannah and others found the same thing. Yes, eat your vegetables too but there are a multitude of nations of thin people who found rice as their solution

                    1. Anyway, I tried to cook the rice and lentils all in one pot and it tasted really good but for the first time ever I got sticky rice.

                      Might be too many colors in my mix?

                      So I soaked them and rinsed it off and cooked the lenyils and rice in separate instapots and put black beans in a third pot.

                      I know that I am succeeding better when I separate everything.

                    2. I ended up taking the rice and lentils which were cooked wrong and I made glop with it. Similar to sloop but more refried beans texture. Then I added in black beans and other veggies for texture. You couldn’t tell that there was rice or lentils in it, but it tastes pretty good.

  17. I was pondering the woman who has been in a coma for 14 years who just had a baby.

    They found out she was pregnant because she was groaning with the pain near labor.

    Her brain still responds to things like pain.

    I am curious if this will cause her to wake up.

    People have woken up even 15 and 19 years after a coma.

    Brains slowly heal. I wonder if there is proper nutrition for that purpose.

    One guy woke up after a zap of electricity. If it was my relative, I would have to learn electric acupuncture or show up with all of my gadgets.

    Either way, this is a horrifying story. Care for people who are vulnerable needs better monitoring.

      1. Boy, if I was wealthy, I would do things like making educational and inspirational videos for coma patients because television is so bad that it would have to be traumatizing. I wonder what would have happened if they accidentally put people like this woman in front of the Kill Bill series instead of Barney.

    1. Hello Archana,

      That’s a very common question, so I’m glad you asked it. There is some data out there suggesting that those with thyroid concerns should avoid goitrogenic foods, such as soy; however, that only applies if you are not consuming an adequate amount of iodine. As long as you are averaging 150mcg/day, soy consumption should not have any negative effect on your thyroid. If you’re wondering which foods to get your iodine from, there is a fantastic video I’ve linked below discussing different types of seaweed. My personal favorites are dulse and nori.

      I hope this helps,
      Matt

      Iodine vid: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/avoiding-iodine-deficiency-2/

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