Morning Sickness May Protect Mother and Child

Morning Sickness May Protect Mother and Child
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Why do those eating plant-based diets appear to suffer less from morning sickness?

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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.

“Since the beginning of time, pregnant women have been [known] to suffer…nausea and vomiting [during pregnancy].” “The term ‘morning sickness’ is [actually] misleading,” since women can feel sick all day long. And sometimes, it can get so serious women have to be hospitalized.

Researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that saturated fat seemed to be a primary dietary risk factor for severe sickness. Five times the odds for each 15 grams’ intake of saturated fat, like a quarter-pound cheeseburger’s worth. The reason saturated fat intake may be such a strong risk factor could be through its effect on estrogen, as “saturated fat has been shown to increase circulating levels of estrogen.”

Why would we evolve to have such a negative reaction to saturated fat? Why would we evolve to get sick at all? “Pregnancy sickness is a universal phenomenon, [with nausea and vomiting] affecting 70 to 85% of all pregnant women.” If you include food aversions in the definition, then the incidence is more like 100%. “Because pregnancy sickness is such a common phenomenon, one must question why this is so. Is there a purpose for such a potentially devastating condition?” Well, in the past, pregnancy sickness was dismissed as all just in women’s heads, but “recent…studies have reconsidered pregnancy sickness as an embryo-protective mechanism, an evolutionary adaptation to protect the baby.”

Protect the baby from what? Maybe from meat. “Meat is the principal source of pathogens for humans. Meat is also the most common type of food avoided by pregnant women.” So, the development of an aversion to meat during pregnancy could be protective, as “meat may have toxins that are mutagenic, carcinogenic, and teratogenic”—meaning birth defect-causing. Tainted meat may also be contaminated by pathogens, and “pregnancy is a time of relative immunosuppression.” Normally, we can fend off most meat pathogens; however, by design, pregnant women are immunosuppressed to not reject the developing embryo, since half the baby—from the father’s side—is foreign.

So, maybe morning sickness evolved as a way to get us to stay away from meat during this vulnerable time. This would be consistent with a “profound overrepresentation” of taboos against meat eating during pregnancy in sample societies around the world.

If this theory is true, then we should be able to make five predictions. If nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is there to be protective, then women who have it should have better pregnancy outcomes. And, indeed, women who experience nausea and vomiting are significantly less likely to miscarry, or suffer a stillbirth.

Prediction #2 would be that the triggering foods contain things that can be particularly harmful to the baby. And, indeed, “of all food types, animal protein (including meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood…) is the most dangerous. Meat is the source of a wide range of pathogens that pose a grave threat to pregnant women and their developing babies.”

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy should also coincide with when the embryo is most vulnerable. That’s between like, you know, weeks 5 and 15, when all the critical organ structures are being formed—which is right when nausea and vomiting is peaking, which is right when pregnant women find meat, fish, poultry, and eggs most aversive. 

And, finally, if this theory is true, one would expect a lower frequency of morning sickness among plant-based populations. And, yes, the few societies where you don’t see such morning sickness problems are the ones that tend to have only plants as dietary staples, rather than meat.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Kai Schreiber via flickr. Image was modified.

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.

“Since the beginning of time, pregnant women have been [known] to suffer…nausea and vomiting [during pregnancy].” “The term ‘morning sickness’ is [actually] misleading,” since women can feel sick all day long. And sometimes, it can get so serious women have to be hospitalized.

Researchers at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that saturated fat seemed to be a primary dietary risk factor for severe sickness. Five times the odds for each 15 grams’ intake of saturated fat, like a quarter-pound cheeseburger’s worth. The reason saturated fat intake may be such a strong risk factor could be through its effect on estrogen, as “saturated fat has been shown to increase circulating levels of estrogen.”

Why would we evolve to have such a negative reaction to saturated fat? Why would we evolve to get sick at all? “Pregnancy sickness is a universal phenomenon, [with nausea and vomiting] affecting 70 to 85% of all pregnant women.” If you include food aversions in the definition, then the incidence is more like 100%. “Because pregnancy sickness is such a common phenomenon, one must question why this is so. Is there a purpose for such a potentially devastating condition?” Well, in the past, pregnancy sickness was dismissed as all just in women’s heads, but “recent…studies have reconsidered pregnancy sickness as an embryo-protective mechanism, an evolutionary adaptation to protect the baby.”

Protect the baby from what? Maybe from meat. “Meat is the principal source of pathogens for humans. Meat is also the most common type of food avoided by pregnant women.” So, the development of an aversion to meat during pregnancy could be protective, as “meat may have toxins that are mutagenic, carcinogenic, and teratogenic”—meaning birth defect-causing. Tainted meat may also be contaminated by pathogens, and “pregnancy is a time of relative immunosuppression.” Normally, we can fend off most meat pathogens; however, by design, pregnant women are immunosuppressed to not reject the developing embryo, since half the baby—from the father’s side—is foreign.

So, maybe morning sickness evolved as a way to get us to stay away from meat during this vulnerable time. This would be consistent with a “profound overrepresentation” of taboos against meat eating during pregnancy in sample societies around the world.

If this theory is true, then we should be able to make five predictions. If nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is there to be protective, then women who have it should have better pregnancy outcomes. And, indeed, women who experience nausea and vomiting are significantly less likely to miscarry, or suffer a stillbirth.

Prediction #2 would be that the triggering foods contain things that can be particularly harmful to the baby. And, indeed, “of all food types, animal protein (including meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood…) is the most dangerous. Meat is the source of a wide range of pathogens that pose a grave threat to pregnant women and their developing babies.”

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy should also coincide with when the embryo is most vulnerable. That’s between like, you know, weeks 5 and 15, when all the critical organ structures are being formed—which is right when nausea and vomiting is peaking, which is right when pregnant women find meat, fish, poultry, and eggs most aversive. 

And, finally, if this theory is true, one would expect a lower frequency of morning sickness among plant-based populations. And, yes, the few societies where you don’t see such morning sickness problems are the ones that tend to have only plants as dietary staples, rather than meat.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Kai Schreiber via flickr. Image was modified.

114 responses to “Morning Sickness May Protect Mother and Child

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  1. So nice to have a video without pop-ins!! :)
    In early pregnancy my food aversion wasn’t to meat (which I didn’t eat anyway). However I did have a major aversion to peanut butter–couldn’t even take a whiff of the stuff! Maybe protection from aflatoxin? Secondary aversion was to oatmeal which had been my go-to breakfast for years. Didn’t touch either throughout pregnancy.

    1. Something that is also curious is I had morning sickness the minute I got up but was fine for the rest of the day. If meat was the culprit wouldn’t I have been sick when the food was still in my stomach? What good would vomiting up nothing do?

      1. Yeah, doesn’t make much sense, does it? I’ve never really thought there’s much rhyme or reason to the idiosyncrasies of pregnancy like morning sickness, food aversions and cravings.. Many of them don’t make much sense, although it would be interesting if they did.

      2. I wonder if our evolution is the culprit on things like this. Where we might have evolved the morning sickness as a reponse to toxins, when toxins were almost entirely from our diet. Today we wear make up, and touch chemicals among other things, who knows, maybe make up makes us throw up? It’d be interesting to see a more detailed breakdown of that.

        1. Yes, I think this is very interesting topic for further research. The bodies response to toxin to protect the fetus that his or her immune systems is not developed yet. Yes, our bodies are very complex system and we learn a lot from it.

    1. Symptoms often aren’t just messages. They are the body’s first line defences against infection and injury. Coughing expels noxious organisms, fevers kill pathogens etc etc. Suppressing symptoms may actually be counterproductive in some circumstances.

        1. …some diseases may be neither; measles, for example, evolved from cattle plague or rinderpest about 1000 to 1500 years ago. The only misbehaviors might be close association with cattle, which had been true for some time, plus city growth after the Roman Empire’s fall and the Dark Age episode.

            1. Thanks, Tom; in that case, fever (e.g.) is a constructive response to an ailment, but one that, if prolonged and high, may injure the brain. Over-reaction to fever seems common in the US.

              1. Yes, in Western societies we take an aspirin if we have a temperature, cough medicine for coughing and apply cold compresses to swellings. In many (but not all) cases this may be counterproductive. There is though an argument that some coughing is induced by viruses as a reproductive strategy (although, since it is also induced by toxic smoke etc it does seem to me to be primarily protective). But it is a fine clinical judgement about when these mechanisms (fever, coughing, swelling etc) may change from therapeautic to pathological, Here are some articles I found interesting:
                http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/410697_2
                https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3234184/
                http://www.drmirkin.com/fitness/why-ice-delays-recovery.html

    1. Yeah, I think the inflammatory response due to the saturated fat is creating an issue, but, Darryl, I am
      inclined to believe that this is when saturated fats are cooked. I do wonder if sashimi, in say Tuna or Salmon,
      and their saturated fat, would not cause the issues. Same goes for raw meat. What do you think? (and yeah, I know
      that there are lots of other problems related to raw fish, fish, and meat, but for now I’m just trying to tease this
      logic out as it pertains to the morning sickness.)

      1. Cold water fish like salmon actually have relatively little saturated fat (6% of calories), as saturated fat is too solid for cell membrane function. There are other issues with raw fish of course, from parasites to biogenic amines.

        Also saturated fat is already in a fully reduced form, its little changed by cooking temperatures compared to unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated ones.

        1. Are you saying that the cooking temperatures of unsaturated fats, especially the polyunsaturated ones, are problematic, bad, an issue? I try to eat my nuts and seeds raw, and don’t cook with any oils. Every once in a while some extra virgin cold pressed olive oil.

        2. Is it a good idea to also avoid saturated fat from whole coconut during pregnancy? Normally whole coconut in moderation is a green light food.

          1. HI Darryl – I’m a volunteer moderator helping Dr. G answer questions. I did a search on Pubmed to see if I could get an answer to your question but came up empty handed. This is new stuff. If your question is about trying to prevent pregnancy sickness, based on Dr. G’ s video above, it might be worth monitoring symptoms based on total saturated fat intake (from animal sources and coconut) and making adjustments from there. On the other hand, if a pregnant person were already plant based in their eating (no animal foods) then you could consider if the saturated fat from a plant source like coconut is an issue or not. To relate to the study cited in this video, risk for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy is increased 5x for every 15 g saturated fat intake. I looked it up and 1/2 cup shredded coconut provides about 12 g saturated fat. Hope this helps a bit.

  2. We had 4 children and my wife got morning sickness with each one. I am not a doc and of course can’t give medical advise. But we used B-6 and the morning sickness was gone. With all 4 children. Others tried my suggestion and it worked for them too. B-6 is supposed to work for sea sickness too.

    1. I’ve been having my wife do 25 mg of B6 every 8 hours, in accordance with the study Darryl cites below, but it hasn’t worked yet. We have been doing it for a week. We are also doing ginger as recommended in another Dr. Gregor video. Still no relief. Maybe it just takes time.

  3. At the time I became pregnant with my son, my diet consisted mainly of vegetables with very occasional meals of chicken or fish.
    I did not experience morning sickness.
    However, as the pregnancy progressed, i began to crave red meat.
    Since I had not had any for more than 15 years, it was difficult to contemplate following through on this need. Eventually, the craving became so powerful, I purchased and ate an entire steak.
    I was surprised that the need persisted for the remainder of the pregnancy.
    Once my son was born, I reverted to a predominantly vegetarian diet. But clearly my usual diet was lacking in something required for the pregnangy

    1. I was vegetarian before I became pregnant. Planned to have a really healthy pregnancy. Was juicing etc. But as soon as I was pregnant I got sick. Horribly sick, 24 hrs/day. And I got HUNGRY. I couldn’t believe it … my craving was for meat. I remember going to the supermarket to get groceries (feeling sick and hungry) and I actually bought a tray of meat and nearly ate it RAW in the car outside. My mother cooked up some veal cutlets and I ate 12 of them straight. So much for a healthy vegetarian diet!!!! Eventually the morning sickness lifted, I had a healthy pregnancy and my daughter was born very healthy and 10lb 8oz (4763g).

  4. I just love the pop-in images and the picture videos! what a nice way to change things up- thank you Nutritionfacts.

    This video is so interesting to me since I vomited for almost 7 months of my pregnancy and thus never had another child after my wonderfu Sebastian. I know this rationale is fact for me. It was always fried smells of any time and I literally lived on peanut butter and toast while fearing my son would then be allergic to peanuts after my high consumption, but he is 24 now and no signs of it. Our bodies are so wise!

  5. Sorry, meant to write, “smells of frying or cooking meat” that made me have to literally walk quickly past restaurants and decline dinner invitations. I think the reason it turned on early in the morning and stayed all day and night for me was because that is when it needed to alert me; when I was awake.

      1. oh thank you so much, it was very interesting and bring more ideas for thought. Ultimately every woman and her pregnancy is unique and the idea of the impact of animal protein on the nausea of protein is a worthy consideration.

  6. Oh my goodness- I love Dr. Gregor and my plant based diet but I get really upset at stuff like this… 6 weeks to the day (after eating pounds of asparagus and beans) I got debilitating nausea with my second pregnancy (that PS was quelled for awhile when I ate a high calorie/ high fat meal like…. meat. Which I wouldn’t touch until I was pregnant.) For all of you watching please don’t go around promising women they will not have morning sickness if they are plant based because it’s simply not true. I think it has more to do with changes in hormones (this is all from experience totally non scientific…). I am super sensitive to changes in hormones to the point where I get extremely nauseous at milk let down when I’m nursing (even after intercourse- which is a similar hormone “rush” if I’m not mistaken). I have searched all over for information about this but I feel like all of it is anecdotal. My biggest aversions during pregnancy were to rice, oatmeal, and whole beans (smashed was fine haha)- and it sounds stupid but I hated drinking water. I simply couldn’t eat enough calories to support myself because of the nausea.

    I didn’t try ginger or B6 but I just want to fix the cause of the nausea not put a bandaid on it….

    As a side note I totally avoided heartburn because of the PB Diet. It was amazing!!! Had it horrible with my first but not with my second! Oil, meat, and anything processed (even a little) gave me horrible heartburn- greens and fruit rock!

    1. I absolutely agree with you too maria!
      It really makes me cross hearing people piously say “I didn’t get any morning sickness because I ate xyz and was so healthy!”
      And all that other BS .
      For what it’s worth, I have been vegan since before I was pregnant with any of my children.
      With the first, i was following Dr McDougalls principles of a whole food, low fat starch based diet.
      Wasn’t even eating sugar!
      At 6 weeks exactly, the nausea and vomiting started and I was useless!
      I tired everything from B6 to ginger to sea sickness bands whatever- nothing helped!
      I couldn’t tolerate soymilk any longer, nor hommous and i certainly couldn’t keep down one bean let alone a bowl ful.
      I have had 4 live children so far, all the same deal, horrendously sick despite a healthy, plant based diet.
      It is completely down to the effect of the HCG Hormones, which is why it eases off by about 14-15 weeks!
      I couldn’t stop thinking about meat which was awful as i am vegan and totally not into eating animals, but the ONLY thing i kept down was when out of sheer depseration to eat something, as nothing stayed down, i made my husband go out and get beef and black bean from the chinese shop.
      i ate the whole thing and kept it down.

      With my daughter, in the 2nd trimester, it was Sirloin steak and salad.
      I couldn’t consume a leaf when preg with the first, but with the 2nd, couldn’t eat cooked vegetables.
      Other vegan/veg women i have known who have caved when pregnant also went for Sirloin steak!
      Don’t ask me why, as in my meat eating days I would have gone for Fillet not sirloin!
      It turns out at my bloods done at 28 weeks i was anaemic by that stage.
      My bloods were perfect at the 8 week test, but because of the massive blood volume expansion, my iron plummetted.

      I had Hyperemesis with the 3rd and couldn’t even keep down water.I believe the sickness was much worse in the house, as it had damp and mould, as whenever i go near anything mouldy when preg, I vomit.
      No 4, it was hot smoked salmon i wanted to eat and eggs.
      I tried to eat it as little as possible because I don’t like things being killed for food, but I was so sick and couldn’t stop thinking about it until i gave in, and I could eat it and it made me feel better for a while.

      I got pregnant with no5 and started to feel the waves of nausea around 6 weeks, but they never developed into anything.
      It made me concerned as all my other babies, i had been sick. Everyone reassured me every pregnancy was different, even for the same woman and it would be fine- but it was not!
      I had a scan at 11 weeks and the baby had died!
      I am pregnant once again and started morning sickness on th clock at 5wks 6 days and now am constantly nauseous and vomitting.
      I see that as A GOOD SIGN!
      Women who vomit in pregnancy as 3 times less likely to lose the pregnancy statistically!
      It is the HORMONES that make you ill and the hormones that protect the pregnancy if produced in large enough amounts.
      I am sick of people lecturing others on how their diet is making them have morning sickness!
      Paleo people claim doing that prevents it, everyone claims this and that!
      I couldn’t eat any healthier than i do and EVERY LIVE BABY I have had has produced morning sickness and vomitting in me regardless of what i tried, and the pregnancy where my baby died, i felt wonderful!
      Also, it seems so common that vegan / veg women seem to crave steak etc.

  7. I’ve had three pregnancies with severe morning sickness. The first pregnancy I was a vegetarian (for over a decade) and I threw up so much I lost weight for 7 months. The second pregnancy I was still a vegetarian and was also very sick, but threw up a little less. My third pregnancy I was vegan (for two years) and I couldn’t stand up without needing to puke, and I had issues with dehydration. I was having blood work done yearly because of my Hashimoto’s, and my nutrient levels were fine. All three times the sickness lasted the entire pregnancy and went away right after delivery. Maybe meat is one cause of morning sickness, but based on my experience I think there must be other causes as well.

  8. I am 17 weeks pregnant with twins. I have suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) throughout my pregnancy and have been hospitalized due to dehydration before. I also am a primarily plant-based eater. While I think this theory could hold some merit since so many pregnant women experience aversions to meat and poultry, it really doesn’t begin to explain the range of nausea triggers for those of us with HG. For example, a simple car ride or a whiff of certain vegetables (especially ones that I used to love!) can induce excessive vomiting, and neither of these examples appear harmful for the fetuses. My point is I think this theory is a bit oversimplified and dismissive of a condition that is much more complex and mysterious than this video would suggest.

    1. YES! I think pregnant women are just so widely misunderstood. It’s not JUST what you eat (maybe a factor)- maybe it’s even stress! I wonder if those other countries that are more plant based also see pregnancy as a normal part of life (not a disease like in the US) and have families who support the pregnant women (not have demanding work days and isolation from families as a normal part of the culture- not to mention a a negative view of pregnancy and children)

      1. Agreed. Really limiting stress has been key for me, in addition to medication and monitoring by my medical team. Also in developing countries (even plant based societies in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia), women can and do die of HG due to dehydration and inability to access health services. Removing meat from one’s diet is not a cure for severe morning sickness, the same way that meat is not the cause of morning sickness. It is much more complicated than that!

        1. Hi, I think this is great video and we can learn a lot from it and it is a subject for further research as I can understand from reading the comments different pregnancy has different issues associated with morning sickness.

          1. Yes. My wife is getting morning sickness and we have been strict daily dozen for YEARS. It can really hit ANYONE if it can hit my wife. We have had to scale back on our green intake and certain other daily dozen foods..

    2. The aversion to greens might be because in nature there are poisonous plants that can harm us. So maybe the aversion to certain vegetables springs from that part of our evolution.

  9. Interesting irony…though I never liked meat and liver gagged me, when I was pregnant I craved it nearly raw! Can make me gag now just thinking about it! I had wicked morning sickness early on and barely could hold anything down, but by the craving stage it was history. The following pregnancy was uneventful. Odd.

  10. Ok, this one is way off for me. I was ill enough to be hospitalized with my first pregnancy. I was kept in for 2weeks on I’ve fluids no food the entire time and when I was released, I couldn’t eat enough hamburgers to satisfy me…and I had been a vegetarian for the previous 5 or more years!! The smell of coffee or even the smell of boiling water made me ill, the taste of water, eating lettuce made me violently ill…I hated how my taste buds changed but there it is. With my second child, I was no lo get a vegetarian but felt just as sick but managed to stay out of the hospital. And for me, it was a 24/7 illness not just morning.

  11. Two pregnancies, two healthy sons, no morning sickness. I was vegan prior to my first, ate some chicken and fish at my Midwife’s advice during my first pregnancy, and are no meat my second.

  12. Hello Dr. Greger – I don’t mean to be nit-picky, but its quite unclear to me (and I would guess others as well by the nature of the comments we are seeing) whether you are speaking about this subject as a hypothesis or a theory. A couple of times you stated “If this theory is true . . . “.

    As a scientist, you know that a “theory” is generally regarded as accepted fact due to a plethora of information sufficient to fully support it. A “hypothesis” is still questioned as fact and is still in the “accepting information as to its validity” stage. So I’m a little unclear as to how you are representing this set of information: as hypothesis or as theory? I think it has added to some confusion in the discussions below.

    My sense of it is that this is a hypothesis at this point but you are using the word “theory” loosely as many of us do. I wouldn’t make a point of it except that this is a fact-based site and we are seeing lots of diverse perspectives and some confusion. So I’m wondering if you could clarify for us.
    Love your work however!

    1. Aug 26th, 2011, 07:31 PM #5
      veganprin
      Re: How was your vegan pregnancy?
      I’d been vegan 16 years’ when I got pregnant and I had terrible sickness all through pregnancy, I was even throwing up during labour! Hardly kept any food down during the whole 9 months’ but had a healthy baby girl who is now nearly 8 years’ old and left the hospital weighing less than I did before I got pregnant

      1. Greger didn’t say vegans didn’t get morning sickness. Take another look at the video and think about it. REad the transcript. You’re putting words in Gregers mouth.

    2. Dr. Greger never said or implied that meat eating was the ONLY reason for morning sickness or that vegetarian or vegan women didn’t experience morning sickness.

      1. Protect the baby from what? Maybe from meat. “Meat is the principal source of pathogens for humans. Meat is also the most common type of food avoided by pregnant women.” So, the development of an aversion to meat during pregnancy could be protective, as “meat may have toxins that are mutagenic, carcinogenic, and teratogenic”—meaning birth defect-causing. Tainted meat may also be contaminated by pathogens, and “[p]regnancy is a time of relative immunosuppression.” Normally, we can fend off most meat pathogens; however, by design, pregnant women are immunosuppressed to not reject the developing embryo, since half the baby—from the father’s side—is foreign.

        So, maybe morning sickness evolved as a way to get us to stay away from meat during this vulnerable time. This would be consistent with a “profound overrepresentation” of taboos against meat eating during pregnancy in sample societies around the world.

        And, finally, if this theory is true, one would expect a lower frequency of morning sickness among plant-based populations. And, yes, the few societies where you don’t see such morning sickness problems are the ones that tend to have only plants as dietary staples, rather than meat.

          1. Dr. Greger – if you paid attention – was putting forth a hypothesis. Those of us that have science background and education understand that concept. I think you don’t understand how science develops from hypothesis to theory and how this profession operates.

            1. “Guest,” with all of your “science background and education,” you sure didn’t listen or read very closely because Dr. G mistakenly conflates hypothesis and theory at two different points: “If this theory is true, then we should be able to make five predictions…” and “And, finally, if this theory is true, one would expect a lower frequency of morning sickness among plant-based populations.” In the future, your comments might be more productive for all of us if you actually read/listen to the video. As for Dr. G, he’s a very bright guy and I know he’ll do better next time around. No one is perfect. He’s pretty close though :)

  13. This is unscientific theory of morning sickness which may be a good thing,

    http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/morning-sickness-during-pregnancy/

    Morning sickness is not harmful to you or your baby, but if you experience excessive vomiting and cannot manage to keep your food down, you may have hyperemesis gravidarum.

    More than 50% of pregnant women experience morning sickness. Morning sickness refers to the nauseous feeling you may have during the first trimester of pregnancy, which is a result of the increased hormones in your body.

    Morning sickness can be accompanied with vomiting. Many doctors think morning sickness is a good sign because it means the placenta is developing well.

  14. I don’t know… I just can’t wrap my mind around throwing up for 10-40 weeks as something that is built into us to keep our babies healthy. I take supplements when I’m pregnant because I can’t eat enough calories to get all the nutrients the baby and I need.

    I feel like we should look at what is really causing the nausea and vomiting (maybe a hormone imbalance? A big release of hormones? Blood sugar fluctuations? Stress? Spine needing adjustment?? I don’t know!) and then figure out what things we can do to actually help. Not speculate about the evolution of humans- there are women who refuse to have more children because they were so sick- I can’t imagine that’s really that great for human evolution…. Honestly I feel like this site could have concentrated it’s efforts better on a different topic…

    Anecdotally, all I want to eat when I’m pregnant is big macs and whoppers. Just sayin.

    1. You should watch the video and follow up the references. If you do, you will see that Dr G is not speculating – he is merely reporting what well-respected studies have found.

      For example, the June 2000 Flaxman and Sherman paper observed that
      “(i) symptoms peak when embryonic organogenesis is most susceptible to chemical disruption (weeks 6-18), (ii) women who experience morning sickness are significantly less likely to miscarry than women who do not (9 of 9 studies), (iii) women who vomit suffer fewer miscarriages than those who experience nausea alone, and (iv) many pregnant women have aversions to alcoholic and nonalcoholic (mostly caffeinated) beverages and strong-tasting vegetables, especially during the first trimester. Surprisingly, however, the greatest aversions are to meats, fish, poultry, and eggs. A cross-cultural analysis using the Human Relations Area Files revealed 20 traditional societies in which morning sickness has been observed and seven in which it has never been observed. The latter were significantly less likely to have animal products as dietary staples and significantly more likely to have only plants (primarily corn) as staples than the 20 societies in which morning sickness occurred”

      Regarding your own speculations, it also noted
      “The alternative hypotheses that morning sickness is (i) an epiphenomenon of mother-offspring genetic conflict or hormones associated with viable pregnancies, or (ii) an indicator to potential sexual partners and kin that the woman is pregnant, resulting in reduced sexual behavior and increased nepotistic aid, were not well supported. Available data are most consistent with the hypothesis that morning sickness serves an adaptive, prophylactic function.”
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10858967

      This is not Dr G out on a limb with wild-out-there musing, it is pretty mainstream thinking. The US National Institutes of Health, for example, confirmed less than 2 months ago “that there is a protective association between nausea and vomiting and a lower risk of pregnancy loss.” and, like Dr G, referred to the Flaxman and Sherman June 2000 paper.
      https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-study-links-morning-sickness-lower-risk-pregnancy-loss

      1. HRAF societies can have problems of (pre-)historical association; if I had the time. I’d check those 27 societies against the 186-society World Cultures Standard Sample, to see how relatively independent they are. Takers?

  15. I think that morning sickness is very likely associated with too low magnesium, and that adequate mg intake might prevent morning sickness. This might be why plant-based food lessens morning sickness, but doesn’t completely eliminate it, because even those eating plant-based are likely not getting adequate Mg intake. Solution–take ReMag by Dr Carolyn Dean MD.

      1. Ishay: Outright advertisements are not allowed, but honest participants on this site are allowed to share links to products they actually use. The difference is usually obvious. In this case, I couldn’t decide if Patrice’s post was legitimate or not. So I did what I usually do in cases like this and let it be. I try to error on the side of not-deleting. Since you see enough problems with the post to take the
        time to write yourself, I’ll handle it this way:
        .
        Patrice: Please reply to this post and tell us something about yourself and what your connection to the company is. Otherwise, I will assume your post is SPAM. Thank you.
        .
        Ishay: FYI: You can ‘flag’ posts that you think break the rules by clicking the down arrow on the upper right of the post and choosing ‘flag.’

        1. Many thanks, Thea.

          At the moment I do feel Patrice’s comment looks inappropriate, because there is not even an attempt to explain how or why that particular brand is superior to others. In this comment, Patrice doesn’t say that it’s something that has helped her/him or a friend etc. but states that it is the solution.

          In my opinion, even if it’s honest and well meaning, it may give many readers the impression of an ad and mislead less experienced ones.

  16. Hey everyone,
    Here is a link to a video on Youtube,
    Which is actually nothing more than a Misleading Advertisement ,
    They claims that many Junk Food are healthful or beneficial for us,
    But we know very well they are poisons.
    I encourage everyone here to report these bastards to youtube.
    Because this is a crime!
    They actually murder people for their own profit.
    Also,Don’t forget to give this video thumb down!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qznhDyI2vJU

    1. RE: “report this to Youtube” — Instead of censorship and trying to squelch free speech and our 1st Amendment rights, why not just let Darwin’s theory take it’s course! The people who eat junk food like this won’t be with us very long and will have a difficult time reproducing if they can reproduce at all ;-)

      1. A reason not to depend on Darwinian weeding of the less fit, aside from its gross wastefulness, is its inability to show up in most short runs.
        So the Darwin Awards, well publicized, have yet to find fewer or less extreme cases of gross incompetence.
        And war, a recent human fad, remains so popular that hokum theories have evolved to justify its cultural value.
        1st Amendment rights are not recognized worldwide, yet, nor is ‘free’ speech, and those who value uncensored speech most take great care to censor or outlaw extreme speeches. (shout ‘Fire!’ in any crowded public space, to confirm what I say…unless you’re setting fires.

  17. According to real scientific FACTS, morning sickness is associated with lower rate of miscarriage and early birth.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3676933/

    Most studies have found NVP to be associated with a favorable outcome for the fetus. A meta-analysis of 11 studies by Weigel et al. found a strong significant association between nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and decreased risk of miscarriage (common odds ratio = 0.36, 95% CI 0.32 to 0.42), and no consistent associations with perinatal mortality [93]. Moreover, women without NVP have been found to deliver earlier compared to women with NVP [94].

    1. Since morning sickness is associated with a positive outcome for the fetus, and eating animal foods and saturated fat cause it according to the good doctor then the corollary is that meat eating is good for us, especially pregnant women,

      1. What fabulous logic. That is as sensible a justification for eating animal foods and animal fats as any I have seen on various keto/paleo/cholesterol sceptic etc websites! You clearly have a talent for satire.

        And it is not according to the good doctor, he is only reporting what the published research has found. And the NIH appear to share this view.

        1. I said tongue in cheek, don’t you see it? Using Dr Greger logic (or lack of) by association whenever that fits him then I can deduct the same thing about meat eating.

            1. There are thousands if not millions of research articles out there that may say completely opposite things. But picking one viewpoint without looking at the others is irresponsible. In particular, this video of Dr Greger seems to imply that vomiting by pregnant women is the body mechanism to throw out bad foods when it is not. So it puts guilt on the moms that they eat something bad. For all what I know, scientists still don’t know the reasons of morning sickness and it is likely not a bad thing.

              From the sciences:

              Researchers still don’t understand what mechanism is responsible for the protective association between feeling miserable and having a healthy pregnancy, though they have some ideas about what might cause the nausea in the first place. Scientists have suggested that pregnancy illness is a byproduct of rapid hormonal changes, especially the increase of human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. (The presence of hCG in a woman’s urine is what makes a home pregnancy test positive.) “Another possibility is that nausea and vomiting are markers for viable placental tissue,” Hinkle and her colleagues wrote in the NIH paper. “Thus, less nausea and vomiting may identify failing pregnancies.”

              1. There is still debate about this, yes but Dr G is simply reporting research findings eg

                “Surprisingly, however, the greatest aversions are to meats, fish, poultry, and eggs. A cross-cultural analysis using the Human Relations Area Files revealed 20 traditional societies in which morning sickness has been observed and seven in which it has never been observed. The latter were significantly less likely to have animal products as dietary staples and significantly more likely to have only plants (primarily corn) as staples than the 20 societies in which morning sickness occurred…………………
                The alternative hypotheses that morning sickness is (i) an epiphenomenon of mother-offspring genetic conflict or hormones associated with viable pregnancies, or (ii) an indicator to potential sexual partners and kin that the woman is pregnant, resulting in reduced sexual behavior and increased nepotistic aid, were not well supported. Available data are most consistent with the hypothesis that morning sickness serves an adaptive, prophylactic function.”
                https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10858967

                As for the Hinkle paper you refer to, the NIH media release about the paper explicitly stated
                “The cause of morning sickness is not known, but researchers have proposed that it protects the fetus against toxins and disease-causing organisms in foods and beverages.’
                https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-study-links-morning-sickness-lower-risk-pregnancy-loss

                I realise that you leap upon every opportunity to criticise Dr G but aren’t you guilty of trying to shoot the messenger here?

      2. I commented below at the bottom before reading the whole conversation. I came to the exact same conclusion that you did: The logic is flawed. And the fact that so many people on here allow someone else to do there thinking is disappointing. What’s more than disappointing is how folks immediately attack others who are critically examining the information. Without constant critical analysis, THERE IS NO SCIENCE. Dr. G is a great guy and this site has valuable aspects to it. However, folks here need to stop allowing one person to do all the heavy-thought lifting. Even if you think a hypothesis is true – or even if you want it to be true – you have to aggressively attempt to prove it wrong. This is called science, and it is why we are no longer in the Dark Ages.

        Let me be clear: I’m not saying the flawed logic here suggests that we should eat meat because that would also be an unfounded inference, but I am saying there’s seriously murky thinking going on here which happens when people people jump to self-affirming conclusions–which happens when folks combine values and science. When science too eagerly or quickly becomes prescriptive of human action, we’re talking the language of ideology and not science. There are way too many people on here who’s sense of self is wrapped up in a certain set of data points. That’s not a good place to start critical thinking and scientific inquiry.

        1. Dr. Veggie: In reading your post, I saw you repeat various ways of saying that the “logic is flawed” and accusations that the very educated people on this forum are just letting someone else think for them. Nowhere did I see a thoughtful analysis of how the logic is flawed combined with a list of scientific studies in peer reviewed journals to back up your claim. (Such as Dr. Greger provides.) How is your post contributing to the discussion?
          .
          You don’t have to do that of course. I’m just saying that we can’t get anything from your post, and you are not going to be educating anyone by just insulting them. If you have actual evidence to support your claims, feel free to provide it.

  18. I was a meat and cheese eating junk food crazy. Bought round steak and buttered it then broiled it so the fat became crispy, buttered and/or cheesed everything. Never had any morning sickness with either pregnancy which resulted in healthy babies after fast labor. Some of my sisters were the same. I know others that didn’t have morning sickness either. This science isn’t a one size fits all theory.

    1. Hi Peter, I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. I believe Dr. Greger is in the process of reviewing the studies on fasting and/or getting ready to create the video. In the next few weeks to months, you should expect to see some videos on fasting.

    1. During most of our evolutionary history, dairy was not available and eggs would have been only seasonally available (and difficult to obtain in any case). Dairy foods and a plentiful supply of eggs are evolutionarily pretty recent phenomena. Additionally, they appear to be far less problematic in this regard than meat even now.
      https://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/attribution-image.html#foodborne-illnesses

      Also, poorly cooked and handled meat and fish still have pathogens. Even today people become ill and die from pathogens acquired from animal foods. I suspect that heat treatment of meat and food handling hygiene would have been far less effective during most of our evolultionary history.

  19. I disagree with the article. I am currently 7 weeks pregnant and this morning when I went to drink my usual green smoothie of plant based goodness I felt like hurling and Ive felt nauseous all morning! My cravings have been for all bad things like toast and jam, pizza, chicken burgers etc, all things that I literally never touched before my pregnancy. Why the hell am I craving ‘these so called pathogens and poisons’.

    Ive been eating a decent amount of good quality organic grass fed meat and I feel fine after eating it. Currently the thought of steamed vegetables is making my stomach turn!

    Predictions proved wrong in my case.

    1. My Ex. Was exactly the same. She would order French fries, coke, sausage pizza, apple pie, 2ble bacon cheeseburger, etc…It may be that she craved calories – not animal fat or protein. Perhaps you may wish to try this little experiment : For a few days eat plant-based high calorie fatty foods (French fries, coke, salad with lots of olive oil, apple pie, candy, etc…) and then for a few days eat steak, with butter and bacon (animal based), fried chicken, etc. See which diet make you nauseated and want to vomit (symptoms of morning sickness).

  20. There is a greater incidence of excessive vomiting in twin pregnancies, and some other conditions where there is more of the HCG hormone, produced by the placenta. I accept that there is an association between morning sickness and healthier pregnancy, but personally I am not totally convinced by the line of reasoning in this video. Since we tend to assume that throughout most of the history of humanity, conditions of scarcity predominated and “any calorie was a good calorie”. So a mechanism which causes loss of calories does not immediately seem logical. I searched a bit and found that animals also seem to have some suggestion of similar symptoms, and chimps in captivity may vomit during pregnancy. In pregnancy sometimes there is also the phenomenon of pica, eating dirt, chalk etc, which has sometimes been assumed to be attributable to nutrient deficiencies. I think there are quite a lot of things that we still just don’t know!

  21. Must admit that I quite dig the image for this video. It’s edgy without being grotesque. Thanks to the parties responsible for the composition.

  22. My wife is vegan and pregnant with identical twins. She didn’t have a single incident of nausea or morning sickness. Her mother and aunts all had bad morning sickness. We’re part of a few vegan groups in the city and know other expecting vegan women through those groups and through yoga, not one had morning sickness. Here in our apartment building where many women are pregnant, as are the wives of two of our doormen, ALLLLL had morning sickness. Not one of that group is vegan. Definitely just a total coincidence, but just saying…

        1. Thanks! Congratulations to you as well… Hopefully the morning sickness stops after the first trimester. The cause in my wife’s case seems to be an abnormally high HCG level. It was high enough that the doctor suspected twins, but the ultrasound showed only one embryo.

    1. Jason, I have been a vegan 11 years.
      On a healthy vegan diet.
      I have had 4 live children- all awful morning sickness, one hyperemisis.
      The one pregnancy where i didn’t have morning sickness, I lost the baby at 11 wks!
      Having vomiting during pregnancy statistically makes you 3x less likely to lose your baby.
      That was my experience.
      Interestingly, i read a paper that was talking about the Placenta actually being made from part of the fathers DNA , o it is my husband fault I was sick as a dog, but neither my Omni mum or sister ever had to deal with it!

    2. Jason, I have been a vegan 11 years.
      On a healthy vegan diet.
      I have had 4 live children- all awful morning sickness, one hyperemisis.
      The one pregnancy where i didn’t have morning sickness, I lost the baby at 11 wks!
      Having vomiting during pregnancy statistically makes you 3x less likely to lose your baby.
      That was my experience.
      Interestingly, i read a paper that was talking about the Placenta actually being made from part of the fathers DNA , so it is my husband fault I was sick as a dog, but neither my Omni mum or sister ever had to deal with it!

  23. Am I missing something?:
    1. Meat eaters have more NVP because it protects against toxins (allegedly).
    2. BUT… More NVP yields positive pregnancy outcomes.
    3. Then by correlation eating meat is associated with positive pregnancy outcomes–which puts the the inference of the video (eating meat during pregnancy is bad) into question.

    In other words, how do we NOT conclude that eating meat is actually beneficial during pregnancy as…. Meat = NVP and NVP = Positive Outcomes?

    Furthermore, how do we NOT conclude that a plant-based diet would be detrimental as PLANTS = less NVP and less NVP = negative pregnancy outcomes.

    I’m NOT saying meat is beneficial because that would be yet another potentially unfounded inferential leap. However, I am saying there’s a lot of fuzzy thinking going on here that needs to be DEVELOPED and CLARIFIED before it is becomes prescriptive of dietary practices during pregnancy.

    Am I the only one seeing the logical inconsistencies here?

    1. Dr. Veggie: The videos on NutritionFacts can be so information packed, it can be hard to take it all in. I think you are missing the last point in the video: “And, finally, if this theory is true, one would expect a lower frequency of morning sickness among plant-based populations. And, yes, the few societies where you don’t see such morning sickness problems are the ones that tend to have only plants as dietary staples, rather than meat.”
      .
      To put the information in my own words: If meat is a problem, then it would make sense that women who eat meat *and* experience morning sickness more would do better than women who eat meat and don’t experience morning sickness. Your logic does not follow from this. Ie: saying that eating meat is protective because it inspires morning sickness does not follow from the information provided here. Not especially when we find out that whole societies (presumably with normal pregnancy outcomes) who do not eat animal products as staples do not experience much morning sickness. Does that make sense?

      1. Thea,

        My clinical findings regarding nausea during pregnancy have been inconsistent at best, with even the “ideal” diets not necessarily ensuring a smooth non-morning sickness process. Hence my agreement that the current findings are inconsistent, not the whole story and the logic needs to be addressed. Perhaps we need to have an expanded set of criteria including the BPA levels and a host of other inputs to really get a handle on the issues and not exclusively address meat input. Dr. Alan Kadish Moderator for Dr. Greger

        1. Yes, my wife is an interesting case. We have been eating an ideal diet for many years, following Fuhrman’s advice and now Gregor’s Daily Dozen but even she is experiencing morning sickness. But its not causing any vomiting, so its not in the severe case category. At least not yet after the 7th week.

      2. I’m sorry, but it seems like you are being condescending and presumptuous. I have written a PhD dissertation and conducted research for years. Consequently, I know how to watch a 4 minute video, and I think can handle the “information packed” videos on this site. I think it’s offensive to assume that when someone doesn’t agree with you that the point of contention rests in his/her inattentiveness to the information and not in his/her potentially valid perspective. Not a good – or welcoming – strategy for engagement as a moderator.

        First of all, a “theory” is something generally regarded as true and not speculative: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Hypothesis_vs_Theory. Dr. G mistakenly says “theory” and then proceeds with the “maybe” mantra. With the amount of us who watch these videos, that’s not very responsible.

        “If meat is a problem, then it would make sense that women who eat meat *and* experience morning sickness more would do better than women who eat meat and don’t experience morning sickness.” Where is this distinction explicitly made in the video/transcript?” What solid data points are there that vegan women have less morning sickness? Leave loose cultural/anthropological observations aside because that is not real data, e.g., “taboos against meat eating during pregnancy in sample societies around the world.”

        Furthermore, you’re totally missing the point as evidenced by your initial statement: “if meat is the problem…” The very point in contention is that we don’t know that meat is the problem–hence my comments above–and yet you are starting with that as your premise. This is called the “begging the question” fallacy in logic. It’s like St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument for God’s existence beginning with a premise that assumes the existence of God. This is not science as science begins with hypotheses and not value-laden assumptions.

        The problem with this is video is that Dr. G needs to more explicitly communicate that he is speculatively riffing off a HYPOTHESIS which is totally fine and can be pretty fun and interesting. I would be less likely to take him to task. But when this is not made clear, as is the case in this video, then people start to think that this is actual research, and given that this is NutritionFACTS, I say be more clear or stick to the areas with a more definitive body of research.

        1. Dr. Veggies: You started your post by asking if you were missing anything. I was trying to come up with as polite a way as possible to point out that yes, you are indeed missing something. I’m sorry the wording came across as offensive to you. Sometimes an effort to be especially diplomatic backfires terribly.
          .
          You wrote, “Where is this distinction explicitly made in the video/transcript? What solid data points are there that vegan women have less morning sickness?” Your question does not follow from the content of the sentence you quoted. In an effort to make up for my original offence, I’ll take the time to explain in more detail: From what I can tell, those studies were not about comparing meat eaters to vegan women. (Am I wrong?) Only about 1% (give or take depending on the poll) of the Amercian population is vegan. 3 to 4 % are vegetarian. So, a study that looks at pregnant women in general without regard to diet, is generally looking at women who eat animal products. In other words, the study in question is evaluating a) women who eat meat *and* experience morning sickness (try to expel the content of their tummies) and b) women who eat meat and don’t experience much morning sickness. And it turns out that women who eat meat and try to throw it up have better pregnancy outcomes in general compared to women who eat meat and don’t throw it up. That’s the starting place for the video. The starting place has nothing to do with vegan women.
          .
          While I was not talking about vegan women in the sentence you quoted, I later pointed out that societies which have a largely plant based diet (not 100% vegan, but close) have less morning sickness. From the video: “… the few societies where you don’t see such morning sickness problems are the ones that tend to have only plants as dietary staples, rather than meat.” It’s odd to me that you don’t even acknowledge this information and instead talk about taboos. I find this data to be compelling and good supporting information for the argument presented in the video.
          .
          It is the two bits of information together that makes your 3 point logic statement in your original post incorrect in terms of saying that your three points follow from the video. This video is pointing out that women who eat meat have better pregnancy outcomes when their bodies try to expel the meat compared to women whose bodies do not try to expel the meat. *And* women who live in societies who eat a largely plant based diet don’t get much morning sickness/expelling action to begin with. Those two bits of info, complete with studies, even without the rest of the video paints an interesting picture. You may not find the information compelling, but it is certainly a logical argument. And it is not an argument where you can say that it follows that eating meat is a good idea.
          .
          You can quibble over the word ‘theory.’ You can present alternative evidence/studies. You can say that you have seen alternate evidence in your practice. You can say that there is not enough evidence to say we have “proof.” (Which I might even agree with and I would guess that Dr. Greger would agree with also.) Any of that would make a fair post. What you can’t do (or haven’t done so far) is make a valid argument that the logic of the video is lacking, which was your original point. The video presented perfectly good logic with enough evidence for people to act on if they want to. Nothing wrong with that.

    2. Hi Dr. Veggie, I am a volunteer with Dr. Greger. Thank you for your question–it is a very interesting point that you bring up. My interpretation is that the entire reason why women undergo NVP is as a protective mechanism against meat. Therefore, if you do not ingest meat, your body figures that it needs to send out less of a warning, and undergoes less NVP. Keep in mind that most of the studies that show a correlation between NVP and pregnancy outcomes are likely on a majority of omnivorous subjects. Therefore, it can only conclude that for omnivorous people, pregnancy outcomes are beneficial by more NVP. I entirely understand where your logic comes from, and I thought the same thing, but I was forgetting that the premise of all of this is the hypothesis that NVP is actually a protective mechanism against the consumption of meat, which plant-based eaters do not have to worry about. I hope that helped!

  24. Hi! I have a couple of questions regarding saturated fat. Are there any doctors that could answer these questions?
    1. How is saturated fat from breast milk different from let’s say cow’s milk?
    2. Is saturated fat coming from plants as bad as saturated fat coming from animals? Yes or No and why?

    Everytime I say that let’s say cow’s milk or coconut oil is bad for you, people reply back saying that there’s saturated fat in breast milk and avocados. I don’t know what to say.

    Thank you!

    1. Hello Yulia, I am a volunteer moderator and I help Dr. Greger answer questions on this site. I am a plant based dietitian located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
      You are correct that breast milk has saturated fat. 50%, to be exact. It is also important to know that our bodies make saturated fat, as well as other substances like Cholesterol. Which means, if our bodies make what they need, we don’t have to eat more of either, and intake of excess saturated fats are associated with Cardiovascular disease, the #1 killer of Americans.
      One article on PubMed covering Saturated fats might be worth a read. You’ll see that we don’t fully understand scientifically how and why CVD is caused, but we know that there are both individual differences, as well as confounding factors with understanding this question. But saying that breast milk and cow’s milk is the same, and both are healthy, doesn’t make any sense. Plus, breast milk intake is designed for rapid infant development, with a perfect balance of nutrition to meet the needs of a human child. We don’t drink breast milk as adults (ick) so again, comparing breast milk and cow’s milk makes no sense.

      As for avocados, the fat content is 75% unsaturated. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is 95% saturated fat, higher than lard, butter, or any other solid form of fat. We know with avocados and all plant foods that other compounds may offset the effects of the fat, especially fiber.

      Why don’t you take a read of the article and note what we seem to know scientifically about saturated fats and unsaturated fats and let me know what you think?

      Thanks so much for your question!
      –Lisa

    2. Yulia, you have some fantastic questions. I will try to answer them, based on my search of articles on PubMed.
      Question #1: Here is a good recent article that discusses the fat composition of human breast milk. There is quite a variation in the percent of total fat that comes from saturated fat: 20-70%, mono-unsaturated fat 23-55%, poly-unsaturated fat 6-36%, and long chain poly-unsaturated fat: 0.3-8%. This depends, of course, on the mothers’ diet. Cow milk fat is generally about 70% saturated fat. (I just looked through about 20 articles to find that figure).

      There are numerous other reasons to avoid cow’s milk, though. Dr. G. did two recent videos on cow’s milk being linked to Type 1 diabetes (on Nov 28 and today). There are many studies linking cow milk consumption to Parkinson’s disease, acne, childhood obesity, bone loss, constipation, infant colic, and lots of other illnesses (just type “milk” into the Search box, above).

      Question #2: Saturated fat from coconut oil is not as bad as saturated fat from meat. See this article, which points out that the saturated fat in coconut oil is mostly medium chain fatty acids. But coconut oil is not as good for you as unsaturated plant oils. See this article, which shows that coconut oil raises total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels compared with unsaturated plant oils. So saturated fat from animals is worse than saturated fat from coconut, which is worse than saturated fat from avocados (I don’t have a reference for you on this), which is worse than mono- and poly-unsaturated plant fat.

      I hope this helps some.

  25. Hello there :) (Help!!)
    If anyone could answer this question I would be very gratefull! My sister is pregnant (again) and I think she would like to go vegan, but at one point my brother told her that it wasn´t apropriate to go vegan during pregnancy/breastfeeding because the body get´s rid of alot of toxins which would then go to the baby. Is there any truth to this? I don´t think it sounds fully logical, but I haven´t found any defenitive answer. Wouldn´t the baby get less exposure to toxins if she would adopt a cleaner diet?
    Thanks in advance!
    /Erik

  26. Erik,

    Your on the right track….. consider the multiple studies showing the reduction in toxins by people switching to an organic diet alone……. and if you look at the current videos on lead you can also see how one might minimize further uptake with some simple veggies. For a video/article see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/14/the-organic-effect_n_7244000.html or go to a university study at: https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2014/may/going-organic-for-a-week-cuts-pesticide-exposure

    On the other side of the coin if she is going to radically change her diet from that of the SAD/conventional approach, with a high ration of fats/salts/sugars and typical toxins, it might be prudent to slowly wean her off as indeed it has been shown that a higher initial load of toxic metals and pesticides will be liberated with a radical diet change. With all that said I was not able to find a head to head study where the question of when you could determine the best approach, as it’s so dependent on the persons metabolism, genetics, intake especially of either nutrients blocking reabsorption of the liberated toxins vs excretion……… you get the idea.

    In the simplest form of the conversation, would it not make sense to minimize the exposure of the fetus to an ongoing onslaught of known toxins as early as possible, especially prior to neurological formation ? Maintaining high levels of hydration and a high fiber intake ( read veggies/beans/grains) along with maximizing the nutrient rich load, gives the liver function optimal potential to detox the liberated toxins and the GI system to excrete at a high level, without the typical reabsorption levels. This might be the best approach for both the mom and fetus.

    Please recognize that I am not providing medical advise, but wanting to have you start an appropriate discussion with your brother. Also, I am in no way advocating for a drastic change in diet or any form of detox , while pregnant or lactating. Organic whole food is both scientifically more appropriate for pregnancy than other dietary approach in my opinion.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  27. I’m seven weeks in and I’m 100% on a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet, 90% organic. I have not experienced any morning sickness so far? This is safe for meaning there isn’t anything that my body is trying to get rid of to protect the baby?

    1. Hi Jmilosev89,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks so much for your question.

      I would not be worried if you have not experienced morning sickness symptoms. You may be right–since morning sickness is theorized to be a protective mechanism, your healthy lifestyle may not be providing any sensible threats to the baby. Seems like you’re doing great. Best of luck on your pregnancy! It is always great to hear about people providing the best possible internal (and soon to be external) environment for their children.

  28. Please do more videos on pregnancy if you guys have time.
    And videos on fertility, I have read that soy affects fertility. I assume that to be untrue based on what I have seen on here about soy, but I am in my early 20s and cannot figure out why I am having an issue in the luteal phase/with progesterone. I’ve done FAM for a year now, twins run in my family, & everyone on my side has had at least 3/4 kids (up to 7). We are going to start trying after the wedding next month but what I’ve seen shows a serious problem in my luteal phase/progesterone. I did take synthetic hormonal birth control basically since I was 15 up until a year ago. I know doctors say it is safe but idk you know? I had massive bleeding for months, intense cramps, and constant muscle tightening/ soreness in my left calf muscle, so I may just have had a bad experience. I eat WFPB, but oil salt and sugar are kinda hard to avoid though. I read about 1 drug that women used to take to get pregnant years ago, and the babies they had from it are now infertile. I do not really want to mess around with drugs that may not be proven safe, especially if I do not have to, or there are specific foods i could eat/eat more of/stuff to avoid. I have heard about estrogen being found in the water supply (from cows I assume) so Idk if that’s affecting it. There are books on fertility but idk what is trustworthy information

  29. Thank you for you comments and we will certainly pass on your request for more videos on fertility. This is clearly a very complicated topic and there will be internal factors specific to you and external factors, such as dietary and environmental exposures that will affect your fertility. There is no evidence that soy, in moderation (2-3 servings a day) has a detrimental affect on fertility and being a legume it is full of healthful properties.

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