Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal for Weight Loss?

Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal for Weight Loss?
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Is the link between breakfast skipping and obesity cause-and-effect?

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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.

Breakfast is widely touted as not only the most important meal of the day in general, but specifically in relation to weight loss. This is not just a pop culture prescription from checkout aisle magazines, but an idea put forward by prestigious institutions such as Johns Hopkins, NYU, and the Mayo Clinic. Even the United States Surgeon General. “Want to trim your waist?” read a headline from the American Dietetic Association. “Try eating breakfast!”—referring to breakfast as perhaps the “best kept waist-trimming secret.” But is it true? The Duke School of Medicine’s health newsletter was skeptical: “It’s always been billed as the most important meal of the day—until now.”

While it is widely presumed that eating breakfast protects against obesity, the belief is held up as a poster child of biased distortion of the scientific record. No one can argue that there isn’t an association between body weight and breakfast. Studies have shown that obesity and breakfast skipping tend to go together beyond a shadow of a doubt, in fact, gratuitously so.

By 1998, we already had what might be considered strong evidence of an association between breakfast skipping and obesity, but researchers continued to repeat such studies to the point of ridiculousness. This meta-analysis found that by 2011, the combined P value had reached 10-42. Okay, what does that mean? Why is that ridiculous? In science, “P value” refers to the chance of getting a result that extreme if in fact there really was no such effect. How small a chance is 10-42? This is how small that number is.

In other words, the probability that the association found between obesity and breakfast skipping was just a fluke is less than the chances of winning the lottery not once, but five times in a row, and then, subsequently getting struck and killed by lightning. Okay, so the association between breakfast skipping and obesity is indeed beyond question. We know that that association is true. People who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight—that’s true beyond a shadow of a doubt. The question, though, is whether that iron-clad relationship between breakfast skipping and obesity is actually cause-and-effect.

To illustrate the difference between correlation and causation, let me share an example of the manipulation of science by the candy industry. The National Confectioner’s Association had the gall to warn parents that restricting candy may make their children fat. They justify this outlandish claim with this study (that they funded, of course) that showed that candy-consuming children and adolescents were significantly less likely to be overweight and obese. The industry-funded researchers go on to imply that this exonerates candy. But what’s more likely? That cutting down on candy led to obesity, or rather that obesity led to cutting down on candy? In other words, the lower candy consumption may reflect the consequences of obesity, not the cause, as parents of obese children try to restrict treats.

Similarly, the finding that those who skip breakfast tend to be heavier is equivalent to saying those who are heavier tend to skip breakfast. Doesn’t it seem more likely that overweight individuals might just be skipping breakfast in an effort to eat less, rather than eating fewer meals somehow leading to weight gain? Now it’s possible that skipping breakfast could slow your metabolism or cause you to overeat so much later in the day that you’d gain weight, but you can’t know for sure until you put it to the test.

Sometimes, randomized controlled trials are infeasible, impossible, or unethical. To test to see if parachutes save lives, you can’t exactly boot half the people off a plane without them. But you could easily randomize people to eat breakfast or not, to see what happens. And, it turns out eating breakfast does not seem to affect your metabolic rate or sufficiently suppress your appetite. Most studies—95 percent—found that eating breakfast leads to the same or greater calorie intake over the day. Even when people ate more at lunch after skipping breakfast, they didn’t tend to eat an entire breakfast worth of calories more, and so ended up eating fewer calories overall. For example, feed people about a 500-calorie breakfast, and at lunch they may eat about 150 calories less than those randomized to skip breakfast, but they would still end up with about a 350-calorie surplus over the breakfast skippers. Does this then translate into weight gain over time?

Researchers at Brigham Young University randomized 49 women who habitually skipped breakfast to either start eating breakfast or continue skipping. If breakfast somehow magically leads to weight loss, then the newly eating breakfast group should benefit. But no, compared to those who continued to skip breakfast, adding the extra meal led to hundreds more daily calories consumed, and nearly a half pound of weight gain a week.

If you already eat breakfast and start skipping it, will you lose weight? We’ll find out, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video production by Glass Entertainment.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

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

Breakfast is widely touted as not only the most important meal of the day in general, but specifically in relation to weight loss. This is not just a pop culture prescription from checkout aisle magazines, but an idea put forward by prestigious institutions such as Johns Hopkins, NYU, and the Mayo Clinic. Even the United States Surgeon General. “Want to trim your waist?” read a headline from the American Dietetic Association. “Try eating breakfast!”—referring to breakfast as perhaps the “best kept waist-trimming secret.” But is it true? The Duke School of Medicine’s health newsletter was skeptical: “It’s always been billed as the most important meal of the day—until now.”

While it is widely presumed that eating breakfast protects against obesity, the belief is held up as a poster child of biased distortion of the scientific record. No one can argue that there isn’t an association between body weight and breakfast. Studies have shown that obesity and breakfast skipping tend to go together beyond a shadow of a doubt, in fact, gratuitously so.

By 1998, we already had what might be considered strong evidence of an association between breakfast skipping and obesity, but researchers continued to repeat such studies to the point of ridiculousness. This meta-analysis found that by 2011, the combined P value had reached 10-42. Okay, what does that mean? Why is that ridiculous? In science, “P value” refers to the chance of getting a result that extreme if in fact there really was no such effect. How small a chance is 10-42? This is how small that number is.

In other words, the probability that the association found between obesity and breakfast skipping was just a fluke is less than the chances of winning the lottery not once, but five times in a row, and then, subsequently getting struck and killed by lightning. Okay, so the association between breakfast skipping and obesity is indeed beyond question. We know that that association is true. People who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight—that’s true beyond a shadow of a doubt. The question, though, is whether that iron-clad relationship between breakfast skipping and obesity is actually cause-and-effect.

To illustrate the difference between correlation and causation, let me share an example of the manipulation of science by the candy industry. The National Confectioner’s Association had the gall to warn parents that restricting candy may make their children fat. They justify this outlandish claim with this study (that they funded, of course) that showed that candy-consuming children and adolescents were significantly less likely to be overweight and obese. The industry-funded researchers go on to imply that this exonerates candy. But what’s more likely? That cutting down on candy led to obesity, or rather that obesity led to cutting down on candy? In other words, the lower candy consumption may reflect the consequences of obesity, not the cause, as parents of obese children try to restrict treats.

Similarly, the finding that those who skip breakfast tend to be heavier is equivalent to saying those who are heavier tend to skip breakfast. Doesn’t it seem more likely that overweight individuals might just be skipping breakfast in an effort to eat less, rather than eating fewer meals somehow leading to weight gain? Now it’s possible that skipping breakfast could slow your metabolism or cause you to overeat so much later in the day that you’d gain weight, but you can’t know for sure until you put it to the test.

Sometimes, randomized controlled trials are infeasible, impossible, or unethical. To test to see if parachutes save lives, you can’t exactly boot half the people off a plane without them. But you could easily randomize people to eat breakfast or not, to see what happens. And, it turns out eating breakfast does not seem to affect your metabolic rate or sufficiently suppress your appetite. Most studies—95 percent—found that eating breakfast leads to the same or greater calorie intake over the day. Even when people ate more at lunch after skipping breakfast, they didn’t tend to eat an entire breakfast worth of calories more, and so ended up eating fewer calories overall. For example, feed people about a 500-calorie breakfast, and at lunch they may eat about 150 calories less than those randomized to skip breakfast, but they would still end up with about a 350-calorie surplus over the breakfast skippers. Does this then translate into weight gain over time?

Researchers at Brigham Young University randomized 49 women who habitually skipped breakfast to either start eating breakfast or continue skipping. If breakfast somehow magically leads to weight loss, then the newly eating breakfast group should benefit. But no, compared to those who continued to skip breakfast, adding the extra meal led to hundreds more daily calories consumed, and nearly a half pound of weight gain a week.

If you already eat breakfast and start skipping it, will you lose weight? We’ll find out, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Video production by Glass Entertainment.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

*Spoiler Alert* As you’ll see in my next video, Is Skipping Breakfast Better for Weight Loss?, ironically, breakfast may indeed be the most important meal for weight loss based on chronobiology, the effects of our circadian rhythms. Stay tuned for a fascinating deep dive over the coming weeks.

While we’re on the topic, Which Is a Better Breakfast: Cereal or Oatmeal? Find out by watching the video!

Check out all of the chronobiology videos on the topic page.

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

108 responses to “Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal for Weight Loss?

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  1. Are those five blueberries screaming “Don’t eat me! Don’t eat me!”? Did they fall outta the bowl or what? What is their fate?

    I don’t know about losing weight, but breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. :-)

    1. “….but breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. :-)”
      – – – –

      Truthfully, they are ALL my favorite.

      And I’m thankful I never have any digestion problems. Not in this lifetime! :-)

  2. I was kind of hoping that breakfast would be an effective strategy to consuming more calories. Is there anything that can be done that causes weight gain? Will something like that be covered in your next videos? I have trouble eating enough calories so any help would be appreciated.

    1. Kevin,

      When Dr. Greger recently answered that question in a Q&A, he pointed to the calorie density concept and you have to reverse it.

      You have to look at what you are starting at and if it is that you are eating a lot of greens and vegetables, you have to shift to the next categories. Maybe raising the starches. Also processing the foods as smoothies and juices and nut butter would be on the list, but it is more directionally changing categories from the principles of Calorie Density – there are videos on YouTube.

      There was a study where fruit juice between meals caused weight gain, but juice didn’t cause weight gain when it was eaten with the meal.

      You might be able to increase weight gain just by eating later.

    2. Kevin – you might have better luck Googling vegan body builders, and weight gain. Rather than putting garbage into your body to add weight, but of course nuts and avocado would be examples of plant sources of foods with extra fat. Sometimes guys have the desire for weight gain when we are younger, but not so much as we get older, hence the topic is often not covered in detail.

      Over time weight lifting will add body weight, you just want to make sure to balance the upper and lower body in your workouts. Arnold schwarzenegger wrote a book, with some interesting ideas for building the body type he desired. Some of this was related to attention. It’s well known the mind plays a big roll in health with the placebo effect, so it should not be a surprise when someone says it also effects weight gain/loss.

      1. I’d like to echo & say yes to the vegan bodybuilding books. I’m 67 & have been Whole Food Plant Based for 12 yrs. I recently tightened up my diet via Dr. Esseltyn’s Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease for my heart health, as well as Sherzai’s The Alzheimer’s Solution to help with memory after a decade of almost continuous traumatic losses that were taking their toll. This helped enormously & I’ve become very slim…5’10” & 150 lbs., but lost muscle mass because a few physical injuries made me cut back on the workouts & long mountain hikes I’d always done. So I got Robert Cheeke’s book Shred It!: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Burning Fat and Building Muscle on a Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet. I wanted to make sure I was eating & working out to build muscle efficiently. Also, despite the healthy weight loss, I still had some fat around my tummy that just wouldn’t go away! One really important thing I learned from Cheeke was to work out in the morning before eating anything! He says if you eat, then work out your body will burn the calories from the food you recently ate, not your body fat! I started working out in the morning before eating & later in the day several hours after eating a lite meal or snack…the belly fat quickly disappeared. I share this for others interested in weight loss, but also for you (to do the opposite) for weight gain. The book has a lot of info on healthy nutrient & calorie dense eating to “get bigger” even if you’re not into body building :)

  3. I watched Dr Greger’s video reviewing the contents of How Not To Diet; a calorie is not always just a calorie. I may be wrong, but I understood that Dr Greger said that a calorie at breakfast causes less weight gain than a calorie at night. Can you please explain? Thank you.

    1. It might be because you burn off the calories during the day by just being active. I never eat breakfast during the work week. I usually consume my meals between 2PM -10PM. I have maintained my 40 pound weight loss by fasting & eating a low carb diet since mid 2014. I’m a big fan of Dr. Jason Fung.

      1. Fung is a low carb guru. Consequently, in my opinion, his judgement and his advice must both be considered highly questionable

        ‘Summary: A large study suggests that low carbohydrate diets are unsafe and should be avoided, say researchers who found that people who consumed a low carbohydrate diet were at greater risk of premature death. … Risks were also increased for individual causes of death including coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer.Aug 28, 2018’
        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180828085922.htm

        For good reason, no dietary guidelines by international or national health authorities anywhere in the world recommend low carb diets for general health. At best, they smay tate that low carb diets may deliver weight loss in obese people but usually also counsel that the long term health effects of low carb diets are uncertain and caution is warranted, Judging by the above study, ‘caution’ may be an understatement.

        https://nutritionfacts.org/?s=low+carb

        As for meal timing and weight loss, various studies suggest that circadian rhythms affect weight. Also, high fat diets may interrupt circadian rhythms while there is additionally an interplay between the microbiota, circadian patterns and diet making the whole issue even more complex.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4013188/

        1.  There are also many low carb diet studies that show they are beneficial. There are currently hundreds of new low carb diet studies that are taking place looking at the potential benefit for cancer, inflammation, mental health disorders, fatty liver disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and more.

          1. Low Carb (Ketones) enhance memory in mild cognitive impairment – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0197458010004392

          2. Low-carb breakfast may increase your metabolism -The low-carb eaters burned off 209 more calories a day than the carb-centric eaters – https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4583

          3. Tulane University School of Public Health found low-carb eating helped maintain levels of the fullness hormone peptide YY better than low-fat dieting -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4873405/

          4. Low-carb eating can boost endurance. A study in the Journal of Human Kinetics found endurance athletes who stuck with low-carb/high-fat diets enjoyed performance improvements. Specifically, their muscles seemed to store energy and burn fat more efficiently than the muscles of athletes consuming high-carb/low-fat diets – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384055/

          5. Low-carb eating helps you lose visceral fat – https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/dietary-carbohydrate-intake-visceral-adipose-tissue-and-associated-markers-of-cardiometabolic-risk/FEE195E0DECAA1430FF6368C1AE34021

          6. Keto diet and cancer – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6375425/

          1. Greg

            None of those papers address the mortality issue.

            Also, I am sure that there are some benefits for eg smoking
            https://www.tampabay.com/news/health/study-finds-nicotine-safe-helps-in-alzheimers-parkinsons/2175396/

            drinking alcohol
            https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/drinks-to-consume-in-moderation/alcohol-full-story/

            and using cocaine (it can help people to lose weight. It’s also useful in fighting eg cancer pain)

            That doesn’t prove thst those things are healthy choices any more than your papers show that kow carb diets are a healthy choice

            As that ScienceDaily quote pointed out

            ‘ “Low carbohydrate diets might be useful in the short term to lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve blood glucose control, but our study suggests that in the long-term they are linked with an increased risk of death from any cause, and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer.”

            And when we talk of ‘long term’, we mean decades rather than the few months or few years examined in favourable low carb studies. Even the toxic SAD takes decades to wreak most of its damage. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree of you argued that low carb diets are healthier than the SAD (although I’d like to see the evidence), but no international or national health authority that has examined the scientific evidence recommends low carb diets for general health.

          2. And as Mirkin points out, it is not just one or two studies that find increased mortality occurring with low carb diets

            ‘Many older studies show that severely restricting all carbohydrates is associated with increased risk for premature death (Eur J Clin Nutr, 2012, 66: 694-700; Ann Intern Med, 2010, 153: 289-298; J Intern Med, 2007, 261: 366-374; Eur J Clin Nutr, 2007, 61: 575-581; PLoS One, 2013, 8:e55030).’

            Dr Mirkin suggests that if you are personally committed to low carb diets then the Mediterranean low carb diet is probably the least harmful

            https://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/lowcarbohydrate-diets-can-harm.html

            1. Not all Low Carb diet studies have negative results though. If they are so bad, wouldn’t one expect all the studies to show harm and negative outcomes?

              A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials of low-carb diets (which tend to be high in saturated fat) have shown that they have beneficial impacts on several cardiovascular disease risk markers, including body weight, triglycerides, fasting glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, abdominal circumference, plasma insulin, HDL cholesterol, and C-reactive protein.
              https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22905670

              Meta-analysis of RCT’s has shown that low-carb diets are more effective than high-carb diets for patients with type 2 diabetes – https://drc.bmj.com/content/bmjdrc/5/1/e000354.full.pdf

              Another showed that low-carb diets lead to improvement of several cardiovascular risk markers – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22905670

              Also, a review of studies involving more than 600,000 participants concluded that “Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.”
              https://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/1846638/association-dietary-circulating-supplement-fatty-acids-coronary-risk-systematic-review?doi=10.7326%2fM13-1788

    2. It has to do with how your body heats up in the morning and not so much at night. I think it’s called the thermogenic effect. He explains it in his book, but he explained so many things that I can’t remember the details.

  4. Well, YR, the question is, how many people do the “five-second rule”?

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2016/09/20/science-debunks-five-second-rule-for-fallen-food/#18a219023961

    And did you rinse the blueberries to begin with? Actually, blueberries were one of the low bacteria foods in Dr. Annies’ tests.

    http://www.dranniesexperiments.com/fruit-and-vegetable-testing/berries

    I have been having fun at Dr Annie’s site.

    She verified what Consumer Reports had said that there are washing machines where even using bleach and hot water the underwear still doesn’t get clean. You either need to go old school like Speed Queen or one that lets you sanitize and do high water level and extra rinse for the germy clothes or a sanitizing dryer.

    http://www.dranniesexperiments.com/laundry-product-testing/do-germs-die-in-the-washer-and-dryer

    The cool thing is that if you have a new fangled machine with a sanitize and heavy soil and extra rinse cycle, even though you waste more water for your germy clothes, you could wash without detergent or bleach and get it clean. Hot enough water and enough agitation long enough does the work.

    I like my Speed Queen though.

    Youngs Thieves bested doTerra would be fighting words around here though, but I may not tell people. Laughing.

    1. Deb, I wasn’t even thinking about bacteria on the wayward blueberries. They’re too precious to just throw out. I’d certainly just rise them again. Anyway, it looks like these berries bolted to a countertop — which might be fairly clean — and not to the floor.

      As for doing laundry, I found an easy way to do it in my own apartment. (Mail me an SASE and a coupla dollars and I’ll let you know how. :-) It’s cheaper and probably a lot safer than at a public laundromat. Articles like this have scared me for life.

      https://thestir.cafemom.com/home_garden/162207/5_horrific_things_you_really

  5. Do I misremember the recent series on fasting, specifically that eating more calories at breakfast and lunch and fewer calories at dinner plus an earlier dinner for a longer overnight fast results in weight-loss and benefits to heart health and blood glucose management? Skipping breakfast seems to be at odds with that.

    1. Steve,

      Yes, but these current videos are because most people who do intermittent fasting on-line are skipping breakfast.

      For people who don’t like breakfast, this is about whether they should add breakfast back in or not.

      I don’t tend to sleep at night and don’t tend to eat breakfast.

      The concept that I might work hard to add breakfast in and end up gaining weight is what is going through my head right now.

    2. Steve, I was thinking the same thing. I’m sticking with the research that shows that eating most of your calories earlier in the day is better. I don’t get around to breakfast until mid-morning, but I’m working on weighting my food on that and lunch and eating a light meal at dinner.

    3. Oh there is so much at odds, Steve. It’s not as though each study lays out a clear path, more often it’s all over the place. The research on fasting is not all that compelling to me, so far. But one body of evidence that is consistent is that a diet of whole plant foods is amazing for us.

  6. What impact does skipping breakfast have on the stability of one’s insulin response after (presumably) roughly 8 hours of fasting during sleep?

    If one has, in effect, “fasted” for 8 hours (sleep from 9pm – 6am) and another 6 waking hours for a total of 14 hours without food — every day — and then eats a substantial meal (the composition of which has its own variables that may impact health, of course — but for the sake of these questions, let’s assume the Standard American Diet), 1. What is the body’s insulin response to that meal; 2. Does the meal get largely stored as fat; 3. What does this pattern do for the body’s overall composition long term? After all, one can be of a so-called “healthy” BMI and/or body weight and still be internally unhealthy due to having a body composition that doesn’t support health (i.e., low bone density, low muscle mass, high body fat).

    1. “but for the sake of these questions, let’s assume the Standard American Diet),”

      Wrong website. This website is about Dr. Greger’s work promoting the benefits of a whole food plant based diet. For example, reversing type 2, etc,etc. Try the Atkin, low carb, or paleo websites.

    2. Hi, Jennifer Myers! What we eat certainly has an impact on body composition. Eating more fat and added sugars does tend to affect insulin response and result in a less favorable body composition, but meal timing can also play a role in metabolism. You might be interested in these videos, if you have not already seen them: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/time-restricted-eating-put-to-the-test/ https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-benefits-of-early-time-restricted-eating/ I hope that helps!

    3. ‘In humans, four pilot trials of TRF (4–10 hour feeding periods) have been conducted to date. Surprisingly, the results of TRF in humans appear to depend on the time of day of the eating window (Carlson et al., 2007; Gill and Panda, 2015; Moro et al., 2016; Stote et al., 2007; Tinsley et al., 2017). Restricting food intake to the middle of the day (mid-day TRF [mTRF]) reduced body weight or body fat, fasting glucose and insulin levels, insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, and inflammation (Gill and Panda, 2015; Moro et al., 2016). However, restricting food intake to the late afternoon or evening (after 16:00 h; late TRF [lTRF]) either produced mostly null results or worsened postprandial glucose levels, β cell responsiveness, blood pressure, and lipid levels (Carlson et al., 2007; Stote et al., 2007; Tinsley et al., 2017).’

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5990470/#__ffn_sectitle

  7. Did anyone see the comments on the last video about climate change? I’m curious about what got posted that made the whole comments section get closed.

    1. That is a mystery, to be honest it makes absolutely no sense and I don’t think comments should have been closed. I have no idea what was posted or how many posts might have violated the comment etiquette, but I have seen lots of trolling, heated arguments, even things slandering Dr. Greger himself and rarely have I ever seen anything taken down. But I have seen a conversation deleted. So it makes no sense that a conversation or individual posts just couldn’t have been deleted. I actually think that the commenters here deserve a response to that question because a lot are wondering. Maybe it really did get out of hand? Couldn’t someone from the team answer, though?

    2. .
      ON CLOSING A FORUM DISCUSSION
      .
      Many curious individuals like to read Dr. Greger, but they are likely to find information contradicting widespread, but unscientific presumptions. A small number of readers react– and “react” is appropriate, here– to the very idea someone could disagree with them.
      .
      A single forum visitor who believes he is more important than anyone else is likely to act as a self-centered child, attempting to interrupt a forum discussion among adults. Put another way, it is one thing to post a point of view which is both considered and considerate, and let it go at that– for whatever truth and value the comment may hold. It is another thing to attempt to disrupt the forum, itself.
      .
      That is why the forum must be actively monitored to repel extremists of all kinds– people who do not value community, and the information exchange it provides. However, the staff of NutritionFacts.org is limited in available time, because it also supports the fieldwork and website development which brings Dr. Greger’s insightful content to the rest of the world, including YouTube.

      So, for now, at least, the most practical response is simply to monitor and close discussion, if required.

    3. I saw the three comments. There didn’t seem to be anything particularly special or difficult about them.

      It was probably a technical problem of some kind, which wasn’t resolved because it occurred over the weekend. If it had been a policy decision to close the comments section, an explanatory statement would likely have been provided.

    4. In short, most users on the video weren’t communicating with each other respectfully, I think partly due to the sensitive nature of the topic right now. It’s one thing to respectfully disagree, but another to call names and insult. As a reminder, please refer to the Comment Etiquette button below each video, which includes the Community Guidelines.

      1. Hmm, no one seems to have seen anything that bad on that board which to me it seems if there were THAT many etiquette-breaking comments to where the comments would be closed, someone here would have noticed and said as much. I can understand if like every comment were under some ridiculously offensive original post, but apart from that, it makes no sense to have simply not removed the inappropriate pieces individually. Unless it really was like every other comment, but again, I think someone would have noticed. I would refer people back to the marijuana videos to see some pretty inappropriate comments and accusations and those discussion boards were never closed nor were the comments deleted from what I ever saw and likewise, there has been some other pretty bad stuff posted here and there that never was removed. I’m just saying it doesn’t make sense from what I’ve gathered. Did a volunteer get super pissed at some of the denialists of the situation? I can totally sympathize with that, but still not cool to close over it. That’s not an accusation, just simply a thought that had occurred to me.

  8. Deb,
    kind of off topic for this question: I’ve been reading the NEW book and a few of us were wondering about the Apple cider vinegar. Some brands are pasteurized. Some are clarified. Some are raw unfiltered. Does it matter which one uses? What about plain rice vinegar? I understand about the flavored apple cider vinegar. I use them all occasionally for salads and sprinkle on a few steamed veggies. Is ACV the only vinegar base acceptable? It can be made from several ingredients. Haven’t seen it mentioned specifically. Thanks. Be well!

    1. Ruthie,

      The studies have used various types of vinegar. One of the blood sugar spikes studies used balsamic vinegar. At least one of the weight loss studies used apple cider vinegar. One study on blood sugar used strawberry vinegar.

      If you scroll down, this explains a little bit about the differences between various kinds of vinegar.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1785201/

      As far as the ones with the Mother, that is what I get.

      Mostly that is where the bacteria and enzymes are and I am also basing my decision on the “apple juice” study where the cloudier apple juice the better.

      Removing the Mother makes apple cider look nice and clear, but I don’t see any studies saying clear is better.

      For me, it is a microbiome decision, but it is still that I look for organic with the Mother.

      The actual studies are scarce, but there is a microbiome difference organic versus conventional and removing the bacteria and enzymes seems likely to also have that effect.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27904401

      I looked for what Dr. Greger said and he suggested being playful with all of the types of vinegar out there.

      I would also suspect that my mind would choose red vinegars maybe versus white, but that is also not based on actual science, just the principles we have learned here.

      Maybe a moderator will have a better answer than I do.

      1. Ruthie,

        There are way more studies with apple cider vinegar.

        There are heart studies and diabetes studies and brain studies.

        But balsamic also has studies if that is what you like better.

        1. Unfortunately most balsamic vinegar has caramel coloring. You need to avoid that. Some of the better brands have grape musts instead. That is the kind you want.
          They tend to be more expensive, but, are also more flavorful and concentrated. So you use less. I really like this type of vinegar on lightly steamed kale and collards. Then add some slivered garlic and ground pepper.

          1. MAKING MY OWN SALAD DRESSING
            .
            Thanks for that, Marilyn Kaye. In search of a salad dressing which is GMO-free (if only to eliminate the GMO question, not answer it), I have spent hours in the grocery aisles, looking through ingredients lists.

            I also have called the major grocery chains, promoting the non-GMO alternative with any customer service representative available, and have followed my comments with emailed material. All that is not likely to change product formulation immediately, but change starts with small steps, such as providing information for review by others.

            With my strong preference for balsamic vinegar-based dressing, your comments and those of Deb are extremely helpful to my decision to make my own salad dressing, and be done with the frustration of finding the one or two products which come close to the desired ingredients. The economy of making one’s own salad dressing is not dramatic, but it is possible to produce a better dressing with even a limited ingredients list.

            At least we have control over the quality and type of ingredients, and that is worth the price of admission, in itself.

  9. I currently am eating plant based from noon with a 6 hour window giving me a fast time of 18 hrs. I find the videos and this one confusing and in conflict with recent others.
    The added wait for the “next” to clarify the point made in this breakfast or not Video also frustrating. Breakfast is your first meal of the day – you break your fast – so I eat breakfast, I just choose to eat it at noon. !!

    1. Diane, that is exactly how I eat. I don’t force myself to wait until noon, it just comes natural to have my first meal around noon, and having a good dinner prior to 6 pm. But then again, I’m usually asleep by 10 pm, and get up in the morning for a walk/jog or fitness room. Nothing I’ve seen or read has convinced me to change this routine, and I am fit, not overweight.

    2. Diane, I do this also. Being a night person by nature, I’m not ready to eat early. Actually prefer to at most have a few nuts and some fruit at ‘breakfast’. When I do eat early, like on a trip with others, I don’t digest it well.
      Some sleep studies have shown that genetic ‘owls’ do better on that type of schedule. (Apparently about 15% of the population).
      I also vary how many hours I eat in a day. Usually from 6-10 hours a day.
      I think you have to find out what works for your body type.

    3. Hi, Diane! If you can tell us more about what you find confusing and conflicting, then we can address it. Thanks for watching, and for your feedback. If what you are doing is working for you, then it may not be important for you. If not, then, as Barb pointed out, you might want to see this video for more on meal timing: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-benefits-of-early-time-restricted-eating/ I hope that helps!

  10. People skip breakfast because they are not hungry, they eat the evening before..
    Evenings calories arent used because you go to sleep after eating. That makes you fat, and makes you sleep worse

  11. I’ve found that skipping breakfast helps me accept that being a bit hungry is not horrible. It took me a week or so to adapt but now I prefer the feeling of not feeling full all the time.
    I’ve lost 5kg in a month, which included Christmas and New Year.

    1. I accomplished the same mental shift from just not eating past a certain time. I like not feeling full and even a bit hungry or “empty” before bed. I do horrible without breakfast. For me, it’s the easiest way to start your day with tons of good stuff via a berries and greens smoothie and getting your turmeric and such in. It’s the time where I have zero focus on worrying about taste and just appreciate getting all that goodness in me to start the day. I personally find it very important to get antioxidants in your system before starting the day, too. My bet would be that those who do, have greater DNA protection throughout the day.

  12. As a long time devotee of Dr Gregor’s advice and NutritionFacts.org , i feel prompted to give a little unsolicited input regarding the newer video format that includes Dr Gregor’s animated visual presentation.
    Although I love ya Dr Gregor, i find your video presence a little more than distracting. Plus, your presence adds nothing to the content at all.
    How about you poll your subscribers and fan base to determine a format preference. Please, let’s “ put it to the test.”

    Respectfully,
    BriccoliHead

    1. I liked it at first because it was surprising and cool to see him up there, but I actually do miss the old format. The new one is more distracting than I realized and the old one had a more thoroughly-about-the-science vibe.

      1. S,

        I really liked watching him in this one. Seeing him tell his own jokes is still fun.

        Seeing him slide in like he is Tom Cruise in Risky Business will make me laugh for another 12 weeks.

        I actually really liked all of the zeros and the parachutes coming in.

        But it is still almost like Las Vegas signs with too many competing graphics and it is still distracting, but this one was enjoyable for me.

        I am not one of the “hate his voice” see him as a “caricature” person. I see a funny, playful, entertaining personality, and want to say, “Excuse me, could you move out of the way so I could see that graph.”

        1. I found the analogy of winning the lottery 5 times in a row and then getting struck by lightning so useful and really enjoyed the graphics.

          I say that to the playful video people. I still like the playful.

          I just don’t like not being able to read the graphs and charts.

        2. I’ve never seen anyone comment negatively on Dr. Greger’s voice or style. I love it. Check out some of the very early videos. They are very different. The current style is sharp, entertaining, serious in a fun way. What’s not to like … except for Dr. Greger’s dynamic frame hogging half the real estate.

    2. T, I agree on all counts. Love the man and the work. But the new format is distracting and it makes the visual content less accessible.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

      1. Looks to me like we have about 24 more videos in this format. Maybe.

        So, 12 more weeks or so.

        He is open to the feedback, but it takes time to turn the ship around.

        1. He has already shown his face in the comment section and people have given the “distracting format” feedback and they are working on it.

          Pretty sure we won’t know what direction they go until April at the earliest.

    3. I really liked the comical parachute video/sound effects. I think the laugh one gets over this sort of thing will add viewers to the site. Kudos to that video artist!

  13. T, S and Stephen Billig,
    I could not agree more. I love Dr Gregor and his work and I love his live presentations but seeing his presence live is not the same as seeing it included in a video. This new style is a major negative. So distracting.

  14. I don’t skip breakfast or the meal, I just extend the fast until noon. Is that healthy? I feel good good when I fast. My only issue is I get hungry after eating.

      1. Hi Christine! Are you in the dark just as much as we are as to why the comments were closed in the climate change thread of last Friday? There has been no explanation whatsoever from any of “the higher ups.”

        Was this merely a fluke? Doesn’t Dr. G. himself know how it happened?

        Thanks for your reply.

        1. YR, Steven replied, above, in answer to that question. The discussion on the topic became disrespectful … seems people could not disagree without adding personal insult etc.

          1. Ahso, thanks Barb. He posted it after I posted this one.

            I saw all the comments. They were pretty mud-slinging ones, to be sure.

            1. I only saw the first three and the page actually suggests that just three were posted before it was closed . They didn’t seem particularly problematic to me.

              Perhaps the later ones were the problem and they were all individually deleted before the page itself was closed, which is why only three comments were recognised?

              1. Yes, the first three were indeed mundane, now that I think of it. It’s what developed from then on that led to “all hell breaking lose.”

                Fumbles, I’m wondering if it’s just on my screen: Your name and one or two others show(s) twice. You’re super special and all that, but why twice? The first one is fainter than the second, which is right next to it. (???)

  15. I don’t know how to find the next video you mentioned. At this moment I’m most ready to see it as it pertains to the video I just watched. Can anyone advise me?

    1. Mary,

      The next video comes on Wednesday.

      Mondays and Wednesdays are the new video days.

      Tuesdays and Thursdays are the new blog days and those blogs are topics covered in old videos.

      Thursday, I think, is the audio podcast day and that also corresponds to old videos.

      Friday is Flashback Friday and those are old videos on topics that people voted important enough to see again.

  16. I think it might make a big difference just WHAT a person ate for breakfast. Perhaps steel cut oats and blueberries and other fruits might lead to less weight gain than Danishes and Donuts.

    1. Laughing.

      Yes, Daniel.

      Historically, if I go through my life to when I ate breakfast it would have been: donuts, eclairs, sugared cereals, Pop Tarts, Cinnabon, Danish, Crumb cakes, Cinnamon toast, Egg McMuffin and hash browns, waffles and home fries at Denny’s or Friendly’s, chocolate chip pancakes at IHop. What I will notice is that oatmeal didn’t come until about 2 years ago and it didn’t stick. Oh, lets see, any variation of Slim Fast, Atkins drinks or bars or other shakes. Smoothies was probably the closest to health food. Peanut butter toast. Yup, I particularly didn’t like oatmeal and still have never really had any other types of grain bowls. Pumpkin loaf and Zucchini bread and Banana nut bread. I have had things with fruits or vegetables in the title.

      1. Those and years of nothing at all. And some years it would have been soda for breakfast, but other years it would have been coffee and other years it would have been a latte for breakfast.

      2. I left off croissants. Butter croissants. Almond croissants. Chocolate croissants.

        And Stella Doro Breakfast treats.

        Turns out there was a lot of breakfast food.

    2. That undoubtedly makes all the difference in the world, Daniel, totally agree.

      To me, studies like this only apply to those not eating WFPB, because you simply can’t compare any type of westernized diet outcomes to a proper diet or in other words, a WFPB diet.

  17. for the past 4 months I’ve been enjoying “intermittent fasting” not eating anything after 6:00 pm and having my first meal at around 11:00 am, with that my largest meal of the day. I have fruit and/or nuts around 3-4, and we normally have a light dinner around 5 or 6. I awaken at 3:00 am daily and work out for a few hours in the morning, never bothered by “weakness” or “hunger.” I’d like to lose a bit more weight and now I’m debating about the efficacy of moving my first meal in the morning to 8:00 am, after my morning workout, versus waiting until 11. Dr. Greger talks about how many more calories we burn in the morning and I don’t know how that window is defined. If I move my first meal to “morning” (around 8) then my fasting time will be cut shorter, as I do like to sit down at night and share a meal with my husband. So I’m wondering what is more important: keeping the longer fast or eating earlier in the day. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi, bonnieleek! I don’t know whether or not eating breakfast a little earlier would make a difference for you. It couldn’t hurt to try it and see what happens. You might be interested in these videos, if you have not already seen them: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-benefits-of-early-time-restricted-eating/ https://nutritionfacts.org/video/time-restricted-eating-put-to-the-test/ I think the really important thing is that you are not eating after 6pm. I hope that helps!

    2. One for Dr Gregor: Which is more important – eating breakfast earlier in the day or a longer fast?
      I too like to eat with my family so last meal time is fixed around 6:30pm. Should I fast until 12ish or eat breakfast before then?

  18. I’m on page 276 of How Not To Diet. And for some reason Dr Greger is using this really weak vegan annalogy that plant based diets need B12 supplemented because “in our modern world we chlorinate our water”.

    Come on, this is just rediculous right? We got our closest ancestors and primate relatives eating insects, meat or poo to reach sufficient B12 levels.

    No expert is going to believe that human beings could get enough cobalamin from unchlorinated water, and the whole “vegetables are too cleanly washed” excuse is equally rediculous. There would have to hang entire turds on your carrots for you to get enough.

    The chlorinated water thing is something you would expect from some random vegan parroting article not from Dr. Greger. You know, if Dr. Greger is not going to tell us like it is who will???

    1. “We got our closest ancestors and primate relatives eating insects, meat or poo to reach sufficient B12 levels.”

      How do you know that? That’s theoretical. You can’t just assume our ancestors needed to eat insects, etc. in order to achieve healthy B12 levels. And why do you think our ancestors ate feces? Never heard that theory… maybe you mean insect feces, incidentally, on foliage? I think humans actually eat more feces nowadays, unwittingly, in the meat they consume… a tangent.

      Anyways, all animals–except for carnivores who get it from other animals–get their B12 from microorganism. These microorganisms are found in the soil and water. That’s the only reason why insects would contain B12 or why any other animal would contain B12, because they got it from the microorganisms found throughout the earth and water.

          1. The US National Institutes of Health advise

            ‘Some people—particularly older adults, those with pernicious anemia, and those with reduced levels of stomach acidity (hypochlorhydria or achlorhydria) or intestinal disorders—have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from food and, in some cases, oral supplements [25,26]. As a result, vitamin B12 deficiency is common, affecting between 1.5% and 15% of the general population [27,28]. In many of these cases, the cause of the vitamin B12 deficiency is unknown [8].

            Evidence from the Framingham Offspring Study suggests that the prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in young adults might be greater than previously assumed [15]. This study found that the percentage of participants in three age groups (26–49 years, 50–64 years, and 65 years and older) with deficient blood levels of vitamin B12 was similar. The study also found that individuals who took a supplement containing vitamin B12 or consumed fortified cereal more than four times per week were much less likely to have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

            Individuals who have trouble absorbing vitamin B12 from foods, as well as vegetarians who consume no animal foods, might benefit from vitamin B12-fortified foods, oral vitamin B12 supplements, or vitamin B12 injections [29].’
            https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/#h6

            This is clearly not an issue confined to people eating plant (based) diets.

            1. You can’t get B12, in the necessary/healthy amount, from a vegan diet unless you supplement or eat fortified foods. B-12 is ONLY synthesized by microorganisms – thus it isn’t found in foods of plant origin.

              Researchers have observed stage 3 vitamin B12 deficiency in over 60% of vegetarians. – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0009898102003078 In a review of 18 studies into the vitamin B12 status of vegetarians and vegans, it was found that:

              1. Greg, this is known, hopefully by all at this point. But again, if we lived like wild animals and survived off of unwashed food from the ground and untreated water, we’d get our B12 the same way every single other herbivorous animal gets theirs. What’s ironic is that those who eat meat, unless solely consuming the flesh/secretions of animals who graze (which is very unlikely), not only supplement but actually second hand supplement. That’s because farmed animals are not allowed to graze naturally, so they have to be supplemented with B12 in order to obtain it. Therefore, people are mistaken who think they’re getting their B12 from animals when in fact, they’re getting a supplement that the animal they’re eating was supplemented with.

    2. Given that our ancestors would have eaten more unwashed plants than modern Westerners and drank (and cooked food with) untreated water from lakes and pools, it doesn’t seem an unreasonable assumption to me. Especially when we consider that many of those plants would have been accompanied by the small creatures that habitually feed on plants eg insects,insect eggs, worms etc. Ditto for lake and pool water.
      https://aslopubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.4319/lo.1969.14.2.0224

      Of course, our ancestors were not ‘vegan’ but largely opportunistic eaters. Whether they could have obtained optimal amounts from plants and water alone is another question but sufficient amounts to prevent gross deficiency symptoms is not beyond the bounds of possibility. If this is accompanied by seaweed, lake algae and mushroom consumption, so much the better.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4042564/

      This is clearly a contentious area though
      http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/comp-anat/comp-anat-7d.shtml

  19. Good replies S !

    Not sure if you have experienced any reactions from b12 supplements S, but I have. I never gave it a thought and kept taking large amounts of b12, but my skin was reacting. I tested it over a few times, and now I split a b12 into quarters to take daily… problem solved!

    For newcomers, here is a link to the topic thoroughly covered by Dr Greger
    https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/vitamin-b12/

    1. Thanks, Barb.

      No I haven’t experienced that but I actually take a methyl blend from VeganSafe presently because I’ve had a very difficult time finding a vegan cyano—they all seem to have either beeswax or gelatin. Did your reaction come from a cyanocobalamin supplement? I did read about others getting some skin issues, hopefully that’s one of the talking points in his new upcoming B12 video or videos. Glad the cut dose is doing good for you!

  20. I think that breakfast is an irrelevant concept in nutrition research without specifying when “break-fast” is eaten and how long the night fast has been. One important parameter in the effect-size of eating breakfast or not depends on yesterday dinner.

    A late dinner, such as 10 pm (22.00), excludes an early, high-calorie breakfast the next morning. You are not hungry. After an early dinner, e.g. At 5 pm (17.00) you are happy to eat a calorie rich breakfast the next morning.

  21. Hello. I hope your day is well. I have a couple of questions that I did not know where to post. If someone can point me in the right direction, I’d sure appreciate it. I’ve been ill for at least the last 20 years now, and disabled from it since 2011. I’ve finally been diagnosed with Biotoxicity, and Marcons. The MarCons has been taken care of, but in order to clear the toxicity, I’ve been put on Cholestyramine. So, first question, does a plant based diet remove toxins from the system (as this is what Cholestyramine is designed to do)? Second question (which has nothing to do with the first) – I see a lot of information on this site about preventing cancer, but haven’t found anything about reversing it on here. Am I not looking in the right places, or is cancer irreversible once obtained? Thank you kindly for any assistance. Take care. ♥

    1. Neither biotoxicity nor MarCons are currently recognised medical diagnoses.

      In fact, some proponents of mainstream medicine are pretty scathing about practitioners who choose to diagnose these conditions eg

      ‘MARCoNS is a diagnosis not recognized by medical science that is an abbreviation of Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci. Proponents of fake MARCoNS diagnoses claim it is a type of antibiotic resistant staph that can be found deep in the nose.

      Those who diagnose MARCoNS are typically incompetent quacks. These quacks may advertise themselves using terminology such as “integrative”, “functional”, “Lyme literate”, or “holistic”. Many quacks are well-meaning and sincerely believe in what they’re selling.’
      https://lymescience.org/marcons/

      And Cholestyramine is primarily intended to lower cholesterol
      https://www.drugs.com/pro/cholestyramine.html

      1. Please understand that I cannot type this and show that I am NOT intending malice, simply presenting my own thoughts… I do appreciate your opinion, but I actually LIVED this, and my “quack” doctor has been the first doctor (out of HUNDREDS) to get me up again in 20 years. We used to believe the universe rotated around the Earth. Makes no sense to me that just because someone else does not see it the same way (and their opinions are more important I guess), then no one else counts. From this point forward, I myself, will trust a “quack” long before I trust anyone else. For me, this has been VERY REAL.

      2. Please allow me to apologize also. I misspoke when I stated the primary use for Cholestyramine. I meant to say that removing toxins is why I’m on it, but I didn’t know it’s primary function. Thank you.

    2. Hello, Weresong.
      With a pragmatic view, there are different ”types” of cancer depending on the tissues/organs where the attack starts.

      If got cancer, my primary approach would aim to stop the proliferation (cell division), and my first step would be food: including eating raw cabbage an onion every day. Then reverse the cancer with a radical change of my lifestyle, including 80/20% = 80% raw living PBWF and 20% cooked PBWF. (Btw, the proportion 80:20 is the universal Pareto rule, an important insight in my life. See Wikipedia/Pareto principle.)

      Check out left upper corner:
      Video Library/Video by Topics/Health and Nutrition Topics/Cancer

      My favorite is this one:
      Flashback Friday 15 mars 2019:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42ovw76_pEs&feature=emb_title
      Have a look at position 7:40-8:40/9:15.

      ”Mirrored” from 2009:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/1-anticancer-vegetable/

      1. Thank you kindly for the information. I will look those things up. I am trying to get my father to look at other things that might help him, besides chemo. Much obliged.

  22. Hello Weresong,

    I am a family doctor and also a volunteer for Dr. Greger on this website. Just wanted to briefly respond about cholestyramine. As Mr. Fumblefingers said, it is used primarily to lower cholesterol. Per Wikipedia, “It works by binding to the body’s bile salts and removing them. The body then removes cholesterol from the blood to replace the removed bile salts, thus lowering the total amount of circulating cholesterol.”

    However, cholestyramine is used in various detoxification programs because it has been shown to bind and eliminate fat-soluble biotoxins via the gastrointestinal tract. For example, it is FDA-approved for the treatment of itching (pruritus).

    I hope this helps.
    Dr.Jon
    PhysicianAssistedWellness.com
    Health Support Volunteer for NutritionFacts.org

    1. Thank you kindly for your answer. Do you happen to know if this veggie diet will remove toxins from the body (sort of like Cholestyramine)? My husband and I started following this site after he read “How Not to Die”, but there were still some questions we didn’t know where to find answers for. It’s had some very nice results for me thus far, so were both very appreciative of everyone who works so hard to keep it a wonderful site. Thank you.

  23. I’m confused. I’d love some clarification.

    This video sums up by saying non breakfast eaters who started eating breakfast gained 0.5 pounds/week. However the next video sums up saying breakfast eaters burn more calories and/or the breakfast calories are less fattening. The videos seem to contradict each other.

  24. Hi, Josiah! I can see where this could be confusing. The way I understand it, if people who are in the habit of skipping breakfast begin eating breakfast without changing anything else, they consume more calories overall and gain weight. If, however, people eat the same number of calories, but eat most of them early in the day rather than later in the day, this appears to affect metabolic rate, so that the early eaters burn more of the calories they eat. I hope that helps!

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