Paleopoo: What We Can Learn from Fossilized Feces

Paleopoo: What We Can Learn from Fossilized Feces
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Ancient dietary practices based on analyzing the fiber content of fossilized human waste can give us insights for combating the modern obesity epidemic.


In the U.S., we tend to get less than 20 grams of fiber a day, only about half the minimum recommended intake. But in populations where many of our deadliest diseases are practically unknown, such as rural China and rural Africa, they’re eating huge amounts of whole plant foods, up to a 100 grams of fiber a day or more, which is what it’s estimated our Paleolithic ancestors were getting based on dietary analyses of modern-day primitive hunter-gatherer tribes and by analyzing coprolites, human fossilized feces. In other words, paleopoop.

 These most intimate of ancient human artifacts were often ignored or discarded during many previous archaeological excavations, but careful study of materials painstakingly recovered from human paleofeces says a lot about what ancient human dietary practices were like, given their incredibly high content of fiber, undigested plant remains. Such study strongly suggests that for over 99% of our existence as a distinct species, our gastrointestinal tract has been exposed to the selective pressures exerted by a fiber-filled diet of whole plant foods. So, for millions of years before the first stone tools and evidence of butchering, our ancestors were eating plants. But what kind of plants?

 One way you can tell if animals are natural folivores or frugivores is to map the area of absorptive mucosa in their gut versus their functional body size.  Folivores are those meant to eat mostly foliage—leaves, while frugivores are better designed to eat fruit. The faunivores, another name for carnivores, eat the fauna.

If you chart animals this way, they fall along distinctive lines. So, where do humans land? Here’s our functional body size, and here’s our absorptive area.  So, while eating our greens is important, it appears the natural dietary status of the human species is primarily that of a fruit-eater.

Why does it matter how much fiber we used to eat?  Well, one theory for the rising levels of obesity in Western populations is that the body’s mechanisms for controlling appetite evolved to match how many plants we used to eat. Our ancestors ate so many plant foods we were getting like 100 grams of fiber a day; so, for millions of years, food equaled fiber.  So, no surprise one of the physiological mechanisms our body evolved to suppress our appetite involved this fiber.

 For example, fiber is metabolized by our gut flora into short-chain fatty acids, which bind to and activate receptors on the surface of our cells that alter our metabolism, for example, activating receptors on fat cells to increase the expression of the weight-reducing hormone, leptin. Other hormones are affected as well.  Since until recently, food meant fiber, an increase in food intake meant an increase in fiber intake, which made our gut bacteria so happy they made lots of short chain fatty acids, which activated the cell-surface receptors that released a bunch of hormones that made us lose our appetite and down regulated hunger. So, we ate less. But if we ate less, there’s less fiber in our gut; so, less of those hormones were released,  boosting our appetite; we got hungry and wanted to eat. But what if food doesn’t equal fiber, like on the standard American diet? Then, we just keep getting these signals to eat, eat, and eat. We’re always hungry. If we haven’t eaten our 100 grams of fiber for the day, our body may be like, “What? Are we starving here?”

 Discovering this mechanism makes the food and pharmaceutical industries very excited. They figure they can now come up with new drugs in the fight against the current obesity onslaught. Or, we could just eat as nature intended.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to James St. John and Linda Spashett via Flickr, Eleifert via Wikimedia Commons, and Pixel-mixer and cegoh via Pixabay.

In the U.S., we tend to get less than 20 grams of fiber a day, only about half the minimum recommended intake. But in populations where many of our deadliest diseases are practically unknown, such as rural China and rural Africa, they’re eating huge amounts of whole plant foods, up to a 100 grams of fiber a day or more, which is what it’s estimated our Paleolithic ancestors were getting based on dietary analyses of modern-day primitive hunter-gatherer tribes and by analyzing coprolites, human fossilized feces. In other words, paleopoop.

 These most intimate of ancient human artifacts were often ignored or discarded during many previous archaeological excavations, but careful study of materials painstakingly recovered from human paleofeces says a lot about what ancient human dietary practices were like, given their incredibly high content of fiber, undigested plant remains. Such study strongly suggests that for over 99% of our existence as a distinct species, our gastrointestinal tract has been exposed to the selective pressures exerted by a fiber-filled diet of whole plant foods. So, for millions of years before the first stone tools and evidence of butchering, our ancestors were eating plants. But what kind of plants?

 One way you can tell if animals are natural folivores or frugivores is to map the area of absorptive mucosa in their gut versus their functional body size.  Folivores are those meant to eat mostly foliage—leaves, while frugivores are better designed to eat fruit. The faunivores, another name for carnivores, eat the fauna.

If you chart animals this way, they fall along distinctive lines. So, where do humans land? Here’s our functional body size, and here’s our absorptive area.  So, while eating our greens is important, it appears the natural dietary status of the human species is primarily that of a fruit-eater.

Why does it matter how much fiber we used to eat?  Well, one theory for the rising levels of obesity in Western populations is that the body’s mechanisms for controlling appetite evolved to match how many plants we used to eat. Our ancestors ate so many plant foods we were getting like 100 grams of fiber a day; so, for millions of years, food equaled fiber.  So, no surprise one of the physiological mechanisms our body evolved to suppress our appetite involved this fiber.

 For example, fiber is metabolized by our gut flora into short-chain fatty acids, which bind to and activate receptors on the surface of our cells that alter our metabolism, for example, activating receptors on fat cells to increase the expression of the weight-reducing hormone, leptin. Other hormones are affected as well.  Since until recently, food meant fiber, an increase in food intake meant an increase in fiber intake, which made our gut bacteria so happy they made lots of short chain fatty acids, which activated the cell-surface receptors that released a bunch of hormones that made us lose our appetite and down regulated hunger. So, we ate less. But if we ate less, there’s less fiber in our gut; so, less of those hormones were released,  boosting our appetite; we got hungry and wanted to eat. But what if food doesn’t equal fiber, like on the standard American diet? Then, we just keep getting these signals to eat, eat, and eat. We’re always hungry. If we haven’t eaten our 100 grams of fiber for the day, our body may be like, “What? Are we starving here?”

 Discovering this mechanism makes the food and pharmaceutical industries very excited. They figure they can now come up with new drugs in the fight against the current obesity onslaught. Or, we could just eat as nature intended.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to James St. John and Linda Spashett via Flickr, Eleifert via Wikimedia Commons, and Pixel-mixer and cegoh via Pixabay.

Doctor's Note

Isn’t that a really fascinating mechanism? All along I was thinking of fiber more from just an energy density perspective (as in my video Eating More to Weigh Less), but the appetite-suppressing hormones are a whole new frontier. That underscores the urgency of the fact that 96% of Americans don’t even reach the recommended minimum intake of fiber (see my video Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?)

Other paleo videos include:

For bowel function in the modern age, see, for example, How Many Bowel Movements Should You Have Every Day? and Should You Sit, Squat, or Lean During a Bowel Movement?

My latest on fiber:

And my latest on what your gut bacteria can do for you:

More paleo diet videos on the way—and more microbiome too!

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

324 responses to “Paleopoo: What We Can Learn from Fossilized Feces

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  1. Curious, if we were meant to be mostly fruit eaters, how does starch fit into this? We seem to be adapted to eating starch. I don’t think there are other starch eating animals out there to compare their digestive systems with.

    1. Yes, I’m curious too–what about grains, beans, nuts? I don’t think Paleo man ate legumes or grains. What other food clues were found in Paleopoo? So they ate lots of fruit, some foliage–anything else?

            1. The best way to get Disqus to take a link is to use it to tag some of the text.

              [a href=”Put URL here”]text to tag here[/a]

              And replace the square brackets “[” and “]” with angle brackets “” respectively. I had to do this with square brackets so Disqus didn’t try to actually use the angle brackets.

              The post you wanted to reference ends up like this.

        1. Lots of people resisting embracing lifestyle changes from contemporary non-science based habits / nutritions are infected with ability to listen or read of likely outcomes or meanings of things like high-processed foods and prescriptions, yet also the ability to ignore obvious evidence that surrounds / as well as likely outcomes applying to them personally. (In many places long ago, high processed foods and high derivative content pills frequently containing synthetic ingredients and or laced with biocide residues, alongside mass-husbandry-butchering was non-existent. The genuine strides people have made are being thwarted alongside increased likelihood of (self) extinction(s) by not paying respect to what life supporting importance healthy ecology provides ~ in terms of people’s activity, the quote seen hear on NutritionFacts, “It may not make anyone money, but what if our lives would profit?” says manyTerabytes of volumes about peoples’ generally accepting/accepted motives / approach to valuation frequently heard now within current players of “economic” empire & extra-national trade deals in billions and trillions.

        1. Tom, I see major flaw with that hypothesis. If we had continued on the same diet as the chimps, likely we would still be eat grains in the woodlands of Africa rather than sitting here typing on our computers discussing it. The evolutionary push we got from including more protein in our diet is what helped our brain to increase in size and allow us more complex mental processes to evolve. We just couldn’t have derived enough sustenance from grains to feed our growing brain – brains require a LOT of energy!

          So yes, while initially we started on the same (or similar) evolutionary path as chimps, who we are now was completely defined by our diet. We probably ended up eating the chimps roasted over a fire…

          1. No this is wrong, it was not the protein. It was the process of cooking our food that allowed humans to eat more calories which is what increased our brain size.

            1. Cooking of what? Protein of grains? Our brains started getting bigger hundreds of thousands of years before we implemented controlled fire for cooking our food.

                1. And when did this happen exactly? As I said, our brains started getting bigger hundreds of thousands of years before we implemented controlled fire for cooking our food.

                    1. He is wrong, spuds ate duds.. they are a domesticated plant like rice.. What that means is you wouldnt be interested in the real spud or rice plants.. People ate fruit. You know why? Energy conservation

            2. Cooked food has less natural value… If our brains are bigger why is 5th grade math from the 50s now collage course math? People have definitely gotten less smart since eating cooked dead, lifeless food.. RAW food has electronic connections still in tacked and it’s Bioactively more available for assimilation in the body

          2. I have frequently heard this claim before, that we owe our large brains to our ability to increase the amount of protein and specifically animal protein we consumed, but I don’t understand how higher protein intake allows for a larger brain. The brain like every other human tissue is made up of and utilizes protein, so we do have to eat enough protein while the brain is growing and a small amount for daily operation, but the major metabolic price of our larger brains is the large increase in the percentage of total calories used by our brains compared to animals with smaller brain to body weight ratio. Being that survival most often boils down to a creature’s ability to find sufficient calories, our metabolically expensive brains would only have been sustainable it they helped our ancestors be more successful at finding more calories than the additional calories required to support the larger brain.

            However, the preferred source of that energy for our brain is glucose. Now if we do consume excess protein then the extra is broken down and used as energy. The excess amino acids are decomposed by the liver into basically ammonia and sugar. The ammonia is very quickly detoxified to urea and the sugar is well used as sugar. So if we increased our protein beyond what is needed as protein, then early homonids could have used the extra to make more sugar to feed our growing brain. But how would eating protein just to turn it into sugar be superior or even necessary over simply eating more carbohydrates and getting the necessary glucose directly rather than indirectly.

            So I don’t see why those extra calories had to come from meat. All that would seem to be necessary is that a larger brain gave our ancestors improved ability to find more food and thus have better survival than those of its species with smaller brains.

            1. Oh, and how did we get a lot more protein, especially from meat prior to our ability to construct efficient cutting tools and to control fire that allowed us to use something other than our teeth to shear meat off a carcase and the cook that meat so it could be chewed by our grinding molars and digested by our relatively weak stomach acid?

              It would seem to me that we would have had to go through a considerable increase in brain size before hominids would have had the cognitive ability to make hand axes and knives and control fire that would be required for us to eat a substantial amount of meat. I think this presents a real chicken and the egg problem for the hypothesis that our larger brain is due to a substantial shift to carnivore on the part of proto-humans. And if meat wasn’t what supported the growth in brain size up to that necessary for stone tool making and control of fire, why is it needed to explain the growth in brains after those two abilities were developed?

              1. Well, we know that some apes and chimps have used sticks as weapons and tools, so the brain at that size is already able to make abstract connections – using this allows me to kill/eat that. But, I agree, it’s not as simple as availability of more protein = bigger brain. We know, also, the more stimulating an environment for a baby, the neuron connections it makes. This takes energy for the brain to grow, and energy for the baby to explore and understand. Is it not likely that as our ancestors environment changed, their minds made new connections, with that learning passed onto subsequent generations. As they learnt more, they grew more able to control their environment more, kill more animals more easily, etc, etc. Incremental changes allow for incremental growth – I don’t see this as an antithesis to “meat gave us bigger brains”.

            2. Hi Jim. It’s a misnomer to say that our the preferred source of energy for brains is glucose. In fact, our physiology is well adapted to use either glucose or ketone bodies. Remember, glucose from fruit was not available all year round (fruit is seasonal), so there is no way early hominids had access to glucose 365 days of the year.

              Protein from nuts also wasn’t available all year, but protein and fat from smaller animals was. More than likely early hominids were in a state of ketosis in the seasons when fruit was unavailable, and survived quite well – using stored fat for fuel and/or eating smaller animals. The brain works as well – if not better – on ketones.

              As we evolved, got stronger, bigger and started making implements to more efficiently kill animals, our opportunities for protein also grew – to larger animals.

              Also, don’t forget that we also derive energy from saturated fat, which many animals had in abundance. In fact, the fattier the animal, the better. Fat is much more calorie dense and sating, so we didn’t need to eat as much of it to stay alive.

              1. Paul, while our brains and bodies have adapted to run on ‘ketones’ during periods of time when food is not available, as water-only fasting reveals (up to roughly 30-40 days, sometimes longer), it is a ‘misnomer’ to suggest that glucose is not the ‘preferred’ source of energy for our brains and bodies. Humans have clearly adapted complex systems to deal with extended famine and different environments, but the body of evidence demonstrates that our digestive systems, physiology and physical traits are best designed to eat plants over the long-term, not animals. Eating animals and saturated fat as a ‘health’ strategy leads to multiple disease-states including several cancers, diabetes, heart disease, constipation, diverticulitis, arthritis and early death.

            3. My theory is that as humans moved northward, it would be harder to find plant foods during colder seasons, hence eating animals became a necessity. And as you said, our brains only function on glucose. Ancient humans, those targeted by the Paleo diet, grunted to communicate, didn’t live past 30 and knew nothing about nutrition. Why would anyone want to imitate them?

              1. The Paleo websites and books that I have read are mostly about guys idolizing some super masculine Paleolithic male ideal that didn’t have to live in the emasculating confines of modern society. They fantasize about living like “Grog” (no lie, one of the web sites often rhetorically asks “what would Grog do?” when confronting some conundrums about important stuff like whether they should care if grunt loudly when lifting heavy weights at the gym is offensive to those around them. BTW, Grog says grunt away). There are plenty of women that follow paleo as well, but my sense is that they too long for what they think of as a simpler more pure lifestyle than found in all the compromises of living in a modern society.

                Maybe I am not giving full credit to some of the folks who eat a Paleo diet, but given that the diet is based on the Appeal to Nature fallacy and this particular fallacy is common in those trying to justify a return to a older simpler times, I don’t think it is too wide of the mark.

          3. Possibly. The other (to my mind, more likely) theory is that it was starchy tubers (and fire) that actually gave us the energy to develop a big brain and intelligence. After all, you need a fairly big brain in the first place to even contemplate hunting big beasts and competing against lions, leopards and hyenas for your dinner. Starchy tubers and cooking are a comparatively low risk way of getting a lot energy …. and our dentition etc doesn’t really suggest we are well adapted to meat eating whereas we possess more enzymes to digest starch than other apes.

            1. As I understand it, the genes to manufacture the enzymes that are needed to digest grains only evolved with the neolithic when grain growing began to take off. Just as the genes to metabolise dairy products only evolved with pastural nomads. Archaeologists recognise grain growing because the teeth of farmers had huge amounts of dentine diseases compared with the hunter-gatherers. There was a massive loss of height with the coming of farming too. Finally, while I only eat small amounts of meat I do wonder several things: 1. Of the 4 “Blue Zones” only one is vegan. And that is American. Does their longevity owe something to the fact that they do not eat intensively farmed meat rather than grass-fed meat, and not to their veganism? 2. Intensively farmed meat is designed so that the animals grow more quickly and rapidly put on more weight. Eating this food may contribute to obesity and other diseases. Have there been any styudies of vegan vs. omnivore diets when the meat is actually wild meat?

          4. By that same reasoning then, why aren’t lions, tigers, wolves and other carnivores even smarter and more evolved than us? Apes are known to learn to eat flesh too, so why are they still apes? The answer lies in how we are different, what makes us unique, and there are dual primary factors that are glaringly obvious. UNLIKE the apes, we have extra copies of amylase to digest starches, and we utilize fire…cooking foods allows a concentration of energy that isn’t otherwise possible. Fortunately new DNA evidence is able to divulge the presence of grains and legumes in the diets of our forbears that hadn’t been as obvious as the preserved bones that gave rise to accepted theories in the past.

            1. excellent point ! I have wondered about the same question Jim asked too, do we really know that the
              animal protein intake = developing larger brains ?
              As for fibre rich plant based diet I did notice that my appetite(or hunger pangs) decreased considerably, as well as the lightheadedness which used to come on before meal times prior to starting the WFPB.
              My energy and concentration is far more consistent throughout the day, no extreme ups & downs.

        2. 100,000 years is not that long time ago. Only a few hundred thousand years ago did we discover (invent) how to start & use fire. We evolved for millions of years before that (~25 million years). I also don’t think Chimp’s diet is proof of anything. Chimps have 4 long sharp K9 teeth and eat termites.

            1. Sorry but that video is more than an hour long and I don’t have time. Have U ever tried starting a fire without matches or lighter or cheating by going on youtube and searching for instructions ? It’s not easy. Therefore our ancestors must have had already (97%) fully developed brain to be able to harness fire and pass their discovery-invention (of how to start and use fire) to other tribes and people. I am pretty sure for millions of years (before our acestors brain was evolved from chimp size brain, when they were dumb and could not start a fire (like me!) without lighter or matches, ate raw and the raw foods caused their brain to evolve and get smarter before they could invent-discover fire.

              1. Ray: This is interesting logic, but not one that I ascribe to. I’m very familiar with the brain power of non-human animals. From what I’ve seen, many animals could figure out how to make a fire. It doesn’t take brains so much as desire to make the effort and a perceived outcome.
                This conversation is not in my memory at the moment, but I think I already covered the problem with raw foods being a primary source of food for human brains to be able to evolve. You just can’t get enough calories from raw foods. I think that video you don’t want to watch (I’m not sure if it’s that one or another now) explains how you can get more calories from cooked food.

              2. Ray: I did some more thinking about your post and zeroed in on this part: “Have U ever tried starting a fire…” My other answer still holds, but I also wanted to point out that early humans would not have had to start a fire to use fire to cook. Fires are started naturally all the time. Humans would only have had to harvest an existing fire and keep it going. It’s my understanding that harvesting existing fires would have been how humans started cooking with fire, and that that method is a lot easier than starting fire from scratch. And quite possible to keep going a long time when one is part of a tribe and a person or people can be dedicated to keeping the fire going. Humans are naturally pack animals, so that part makes perfect sense to me.
                Of course, no one knows for sure exactly how humans started cooking with fire. My personal story that I made up is that natural fires would go through the savannas over root veggie plants and other veggies, cooking them. After the wreckage, humans would find those cooked foods and go, “yummmm”. And the whole thing took off from there.
                If you have any doubt about the brain power of non-human animals, check out some of the youtube videos on crows. Their ability to figure out a complex, multi-step puzzles just to get a single treat is amazing.

                1. “Fires are started naturally all the time.” Maybe near a volcano or forest fire. But those do not occur “all the time”. They occur “very rarely” in some remote areas and destroy most living beings in their path. Maybe millions of years ago they occurred everywhere all the time or may be they didn’t occur at all or same as now. There are lots of theories.

                  1. Ray: I was watching a special on public broadcasting channel the other day about how life got started. Just like we don’t know exactly when humans started cooking or how humans got our fires, we have some good ideas about how “it” all began. Just as now, back then there was plenty of lightening and that factors into scientific theories of how life began. Lightening fires are literally set off yearly and it seems likely were quite present at the birthplace of humanity–what is now known as Africa. And as I said, all it takes is one fire started by mother nature and then the will of humans to keep it going is all it takes. Your fire goes out? Just wait until the next lightening storm. Or barter from the family group over the next hill. And then after a while: maybe this is a good time to start learning how to create a fire from scratch.

                    1. Even if this theory is true, it still takes a lot of “Brain Power” to do that. To suppress the natural instinct to escape the forest fire and instead approach it to pickup a sample to cook meat with it. Or to go to neighbor and ask to borrow their burning branches, etc….

                    2. Ray: I would again invite you to learn about the powerful brain of the crow. If you see how even that tiny little brain can do amazing problem solving, you won’t have any trouble believing a primate can do something as simple as keep a fire going. I would find a video for you to watch, but the last one I found for you was rejected because it was too long. So, unless you are interested in learning what the non-human animal brain can do, we will simply have to disagree.

                    3. No, I agree ,it is possible, no doubt about your theory’s validity. It is also possible that they did not eat burnt meat at all. That millions of years ago there were lots of edible plant foods that they ate raw and thrived on. Human population was very low back then (may be only a few million). So the Earth was green, warm and humans thrived by eating lots of raw plant foods. According to China Study rural chinese (and most third world countries) lived on plant-based diet. Only recently (a few thousand years ago) did eating burnt meat become mainstream in the West and the East with proliferation of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Also humans have no K9 teeth (our teeth look more like horse and cow than dog & bear) and our digestive system is designed for plant foods (90% raw plant foods).

                    4. re; “burnt meat” – To clarify, I’m not saying that cooking meat allowed the human bran to evolve. I’m saying *cooking* allowed the human brain to evolve. A tiny part of that might have been meat. The majority would have been cooked plants. I’m not sure why you are talking about meat now since all of my posts have mentioned plants – such as cooked potatoes.

                  2. Lightening doesn’t always start forest fires. More often than not, it strikes a solitary tree and that one may burn without the fire spreading. And even if a forest fire was created, I imagine they were smart enough to return afterward and find all the hot embers they could carry.

          1. Yes, but the paleo claim is that people didn’t start processing and using grains until about 10,000-12,000 years ago. That is obviously false. Humans and chimps had a common ancestor about 7-8 million years ago and the implication is that our common ancestor, chimps and humans have been eating legumes for a v-e-r-y long time – contrary to the claims of the paleo advocates.

      1. I would think starch as potatoes and other root vegetables was part of their diet also. Potato chips and tortilla chips and bread would not have been in their diet. Both my son and I have a stomach issue (occasionally) where we feel like the food has gotten stuck somewhere on the way to our stomachs. It’s usually after eating something starchy. He recently had an endoscopy (no info yet) but I’d bet if we gave up starches, we’d be fine.

    2. Looks to me like the intercept area is between the lines for veggies and fruits, right where it should be for humans. So, we have yet more data that fit into, and support, the comparative anatomy studies. But has anyone tried to eat 100gm of fibre from today’s supermarkets? I’ve been recently experimenting on this in myself (I’m 70) and I find that I have to work really hard and exclusively emphasize high fibre foods (flax seeds, raspberries, beans, winter squash, steel cut oats, etc) just to make it to around 70 gm in a 100% low fat, whole food vegan diet with no added fibre (like oat bran, etc). Word of warning – don’t step it up too quick. Bump it up by 5 grams or so a week and let your body adjust. Is 70 gms good enough?

      1. Hi Dave – Several yrs back i kept up with my fiber intake. I was eating a wfpbd with no added fiber. I was getting between 75 – 100 grams of fiber a day and sometimes a little over 100. I do not remember if i was eating a lot of fruit or veggies or how much raw vs cooked. I have not tracked it since then, but i am sure it is still high, How high i do not know. I may try tracking it again just to see, although it is time consuming.

      2. When I was putting things into cronometer (I don’t normally now) I would generally hit 70g min and only rarely over 100, but 80-90 wasn’t uncommon. This depends on your calorie intake too, since I’m often pressed to eat 2000 calories a day, often near 1800, I could see someone who was very active getting much more could easily top that.

      3. Interesting points Dave, though I wonder if age is a relevant factor here. Re. our aging population, it’s my impression that Paleo types didn’t, on the average, reach anywhere near the ages that we’re reaching today. So it seems we may be in new territory re. recommended fibre intake. E.g. maybe as we age, less (or even more) fibre is necessary. I’m curious if there have been any studies on fibre requirements as a function of age.

      4. Hi Dave. I heard Brenda Davis say in a video that fruits and greens that were eaten in paleo times had a lot more fibre than fruits and greens today. I suppose it’s possible that our bodies might have adjusted to a bit less fiber as well. I don’t know if that would be an anatomical change or just a microbiome change that can or should be strived after to regain.

    3. Leaf eaters like the colobus monkey and gorillas have enormous large and small bowels so they can eat and process the huge volume of leaves necessary to get enough calories from these very low calorie density foods. Fruit and starch have similar energy density and so frugavore and starchavores don’t need the huge small and large bowel, but they do need more than carnivores which eat very high calorie density food. What might be confusing is that carnivores will often have very large and expandable stomachs so they can eat large amounts of meat in a single meal and use the large stomach as a way to carry it away from the kill. But the mucosal area I think is more a reference to how much area is in the bowel and carnivores don’t need a lot of area to absorb nutrients from the meat they eat.

      1. Jim, are you familiar Dr. Richard Wrangham work which is outlined in his book “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human?” He makes a rather persuasive case that it is cooking and not meat eating that accounts for the size difference in our gut capacity as compared to the great apes which you did allude to in another post which you made today. In the following lecture, Dr. Wrangham goes over his basic ideas:

        1. Joe, Thanks for the pointer. I put it in my watch list to watch while i am riding my exercise bike. I like to que up thought provoking videos to watch while exercising as a way to keep both mind and body healthy at the same time. BTW, right now I am working my way slowly through all the hours of videos published by Plant Positive. I watched them when they first came out, but after several more years of personal research, I am getting much more out of these videos on a second watching.

          1. You are welcome Jim. I’d be interested in hearing what you thought about it after you’ve had a chance to give it a viewing. Regards, jc

        2. Joe, I watched the video and found it to be tremendously interesting. The part that was really eye opening to me were the studies on measuring the number of calories actually absorbed versus present in an absolute sense based on whether the food was cooked or not. This has the potential to completely upend our understanding of food and calories.

    4. Dr McDougal talks about this at length. Some researchers in California have a theory that it was our adaptation to eating starches that provided enough calories for our big brains and enabled us to go out of Africa and out of the tropical fruit zone in which chimps are confined. Starches can be found over a much greater range of latitudes. I am just writing this from memory, so please see Dr. McDougal for a real explanation. I believe he has a video on YouTube.

    5. Only a few hundred thousand years ago did Humans discover (invent) how to start & use fire. Most starches (rice, potato, corn, bread) require processing and fire (heating) before digestion, so as human population exploded there were not enough fruits & vegetables. I personally love starch but if there is no fire it’s hard to eat it raw.

      1. The subject of fire and fire making is very important in the pre Europen Aboriginal culture of Tasmania. The first peoples here carried a fire stick, it was a very important job, held by men only. Only the initiated could be entrusted to it. This created the belief of the white invaders that the Tasmania Aboriginals did not know how to make fire. It is very wet and cold in most parts of Tasmania in winter so it made a lot of sense for nomadic people to carry fire along with them. On your suggestion that fire would be hard to harvest. I don’t think so. If you have ever been near a bush fire you will see little spot fires all over carried by the wind, quite easy to do. Especially over this past summer we have had :0

  2. The graph of Functional body Size vs Area of Absorptive Mucosa at the 2:20 mark in the video speaks volumes, in my opinion. It’s evidence like this that would seem to me to carry a lot of weight in support of the theory that humans are not adapted to eating meat. I looked at the research paper in the HAL archive from which this graph came and the whole research paper is fascinating.

    1. Breakfast for me is a smoothie

      Raw goat milk or kefir, frozen blueberries, cherries, flax seed, chia seed, hemp seed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, walnuts, almonds, 1/2 avocado, pastured egg yolk, grass fed whey protein powder, pomegranate juice (when arials aren’t available), tart cherry juice (if I use strawberries instead of cherries).

      Keeps me full for HOURS and it contains fat, protein, carbs and fiber

        1. Actually I read this website often. My problem is that the good doctor has a paradigm and so he cherry picks studies that agree with his POV.

            1. Seriously, if you look at the other doctors that have health websites, you might be surprised that they also have data and studies that back up higher fat than Dr. Greger would and some animal protein. Most will agree that the best fat is olives, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Dr. Fuhrman allows small amounts of animal protein. Dr. Greger admits that he is an animal lover and that affects his views. He also admits that cultured dairy has been shown to correlate with longer lifespans in the English study last year. There are very well educated, thoughtful research doctors who have minor disagreements about the amount of animal protein that is optimal. All the ones who I’ve seen that seem to take it seriously agree that we need to eat way more vegetables and fruit and fungi than meat, but some allow small amounts of pastured meat, eggs or cultured dairy.

                1. Yes, it’s in his book “How not to die”. ALso very famous referenced huge study. I’ve seen it in many places. Dairy other than cultured was related to a shorter life span.

                  1. I looked in the book and couldn’t find it but research isn’t particularly kind to dairy. Here are the videos from this website

                    Could it be the Dr. Ornish has done that allowed some dairy in the meal plan you are thinking about? That doesn’t specifically speak to the benefit of dairy. His was about a lowfat diet without animal.

                    1. WFPBRunner: Like John, I remember seeing the exception to fermented dairy, but like you, I could not find it in the book now. What I remember reading is that fermented dairy only got an exception in one category/concern. I think the exception is cancer related to the sugars/lactose(?) in milk being bad for us and that bad stuff getting eaten up by fermentation buggers. But all the other negatives associated with dairy would still apply, ex: saturated fat, cholesterol, animal protein, hormones, puss, etc. So, I don’t think this information means that fermented dairy is good for us over-all. Just that in one area, fermented dairy may not be as bad as other dairy. Dr. Greger was just being thorough/balanced in letting us know about the one exception to fermented dairy. That’s my take anyway.

                    2. Hi Thea.
                      Mystery. I can’t remember anything regarding yogurt. But I believe you. It wasn’t a “if the only way you are going to eat your greens is with bacon-bits” then have the bacon thing was it? My steal trap memory is failing me! Ha!

                    3. OK, I just took another look since some of the details had come back to me. I was able to find it this time. Assuming you have the printed version, look on page 215 in the How Not To Die From Prostate Cancer chapter. It would be easy to over look that once sentence, but it is there.

                    4. WFPBRunner: Re Why not eat diary yogurt? My answer for myself is: This is just one study. I might believe that one can mitigate harm from dairy by eating dairy yogurt, but not remove all the harm. Ie, I don’t believe that association found in that one study actually means that people eating dairy yogurt get an overall benefit. I think something else is going on. (I don’t know what, but one idea is that people who are health conscious eat yogurt, so maybe this is one of those cases where correlation doesn’t equal causation?) We still have all those other factors regarding dairy to deal with (saturated fat, etc). And that’s not counting the ethical and environmental issues. So, for me, there is still no reason for anyone to eat dairy yogurt. I would recommend to people to eat coconut or cashew or soy yogurt if yogurt is desired…

                      What do you think?

                    5. Agreed. Did you see the recent picture of those crates of calves all lined up from an Oregon dairy farm? So sad.

                    6. No. But I have seen similar pictures in the past. I live in Oregon, and that makes me very ashamed. I love cows. They are amazing creatures. And torturing babies of any species is just so barbaric/criminal.

                    7. I just finished reading Dr. Greger’s book. I was surprised to see it because he normally is never willing to say anything positive about anything from animals in any way. I have never read a book by Dean Ornish, but I am intrigued by him. The very famous study that Dr. Greger quoted wasn’t kind to all dairy, as I said. It only said that cultured dairy prolongs life. John S

              1. I know very few of such doctors that are not a scammers. They usually don’t back up their statements with proof. I don’t know really about Fuhrman. I heard from others that he’s ok. I know he favors a bit more fatty things, but I could not find him allowing the consumption of animal protein. Could you link me?

                Still, “allowing” is different from “recommending”. And if they “allow”, it is only because: (i) they are not aware of the bulk of scientific studies that discredit the consumption of meat, (ii) they do not want to be called extreme, (iii) they present the interests of others.

                I think the club of doctors/scientists that defend the whole food plant-based diet is very credible and their findings are back up by top science. 5 years of research have convinced me of this. I do not think I am biased. I started researching food and health becasue I became sick 5 years ago. I have tried everything, from eating livers, organic eggs from my parents’ chickens, bone broth, etc. I tried those things because I didn’t know better. Now I do. And animal products have not helped me. Increasing my consumption of fruit definitely has;

                I heard the cherry picking “argument” too many times. It is just too easy to say. Therefore my previous comment. But thank you for your serious reply.

                One last point: not all studies are equal. Some studies just suck, although it is difficult to know which ones. However, when 9 studies are not favourable to meat consumption, and one study is favourable nor unfavourable, I would think that last study is just poorly designed. I am researcher myself, although in a different field.

                1. Dr. Fuhrman says it is equally healthy to eat very small amounts of animal foods as to eat none.

                  I have also done research for many years and I also don’t think I’m biased.

                  I agree that not all studies are equal. Many have biases, are small, are sponsored by financially interested parties.

                  I appreciate the fact that you can have a minor disagreement with me and we can be respectful. I have been insulted enough times on this site for disagreeing. I prefer explaining to insulting. The politicians do enough of that. :)

                  1. “At least 90% of the daily diet should be comprised of whole plant foods”– this from the page you referred to. He also, interestingly, distinguishes two categories within that ‘under 10%’: relatively more of fish, fowl, oils, eggs and fat-free dairy; and least are beef, cheese, sweets, and processed foods. If he estimates optimal %s under 10, I haven’t seen that.
                    It’s difficult to rank degrees of harm, but oils stand out as perhaps in the wrong subcategory.

                    1. Yes, thanks for the details. There is some evidence that unheated, unadulterated 100% extra virgin olive oil has some positive benefits, although many have been tested and found cheap GMO soy oil in it.

              2. Your comment “Dr. Greger admits that he is an animal lover and that affects his views” seems to imply that his reporting on clinical studies is somehow misleading. Being “objective” in this case presumably means assessing health benefits ceteris paribus (i.e with all other factors remaining the same). So you may be right that micromanaging a diet that contains meat and dairy can be as healthy or even slightly more so than a vegan diet but is that assessment really ceteris paribus (i.e. free of any judgements about dietary sources) ?

                1. Unlike many other people, I am not saying that what I do is the only correct way. Even if CAFO meat was equally healthy for humans, it would still disgust me to treat animals so badly and destroy the earth so badly. Dr. Greger is my favorite source of nutrition information. I just think that he is a good human being rather than a saint, so I have minor disagreements with him and I continue to evolve toward what seems to be the best option as I see it.

                  1. Fair enough; wasn’t accusing you of promoting the true right way or trying to deify Dr. Gregor, nor claiming the true right view myself; just trying to point out in my typically unclear way that it seems to me that any position has a lot of built in assumptions, acknowledged or not. But I do think that Dr. Gregor does lay his cards on the table a little more honestly than some.

              3. I believe fuhrman “allows ” small amounts of animal products rarely, to appease people who cannot stand the thought of going entirely plant based. Why do I think this? Because fuhrman himself does not consume any animal products. And in his food pyramid, meat and dairy and eggs are in the point with sugar, oils, etc. it’s obviously an effective strategy, because people are more open to dietary suggestions that don’t entirely restrict animal products.

              4. “Dr. Greger admits that he is an animal lover and that affects his views.”

                I’ve read the book, and this is false. He goes where the evidence is, hence why he is not an advocate for a ‘vegan’ diet, but a whole foods, plant-based diet. He admits that in extremely small quantities, occasionally, animal foods won’t hurt you. But he never claims that they can be good for you. But the science is the science, he says, and no amount of animal foods are better than their equivalent in a balanced plant-based diet.

                1. “I’ve read the book, and this is false.”
                  That is a very harsh thing to say. Nothing I said was false. Please be careful before you make such negative claims about other people. Did you fail to see the part about cultured dairy? When you write that way, it looks like you’re looking to cause a fight rather than to develop a dialogue about nutrition. Please try to be cooperative and respectful.
                  John S

                  1. I’m not looking for a fight. I’m simply not going to hold back on the facts. You made a claim, and I responded to the claim. I believe it is false, and I am awaiting proof that it isn’t. I directly quoted you. If you want to discuss some other point you made, first address the one that I’ve criticized you for in the first place.

                    1. It sure looks like you’re seeking a fight. Saying I believe it is false is different than saying it is false. He said he’s an animal lover and it affects his views in the beginning of the book. Maybe you need to read it again. I don’t understand why you would attack someone for saying what Dr. Greger said. I am awaiting your proof that it isn’t true.

                    2. It looks like you’re not familiar with the concept of the burden of proof. When you make a claim about someone, the burden of proof lies on you to prove that the person said the statement. You did not quote him, so it is not up to me to copy paste the entire “beginning of the book” on this page to “prove you wrong”. It’s up to you to quote him if you are intent on being truthful rather than slanderous.

                      If I claim that I sleep with 12 elephants every night and I can’t prove it, then it’s understandable that people would doubt me and say that it is false. If I want to be taken seriously, it is up to me to provide a picture or video of it. The same applies here.

                      Your statement implies that Dr. Greger is biased in his nutrition advice because of his feelings towards animals. I have read the book and have never seen this statement, and I believe it goes against everything Dr. Greger stands for.

                    3. I said what Greger said. You called it false and slanderous. If you’re looking for a fight, you’re going to have to find someone else.

                    4. You said what you *claimed* Dr. Greger said, not what he has *actually said* since you provided no quotation. I can also claim that you are a pedophile and say that you have claimed to be one. But without proof, this is a slanderous accusation.

                  2. Hi John
                    Regarding Dr Furhman and his meat suggestion. I think you will get a better idea about his opinion if you read one of his books. And maybe you have. But in Eat For Heath he has people move through stages instead of going cold turkey. First add more veggies/greens Etc and by the end it is an understanding that you are doing better if you eliminate meat.

                    1. Hi WFPBRunner,
                      I have read many of Joel Fuhrman’s books. You and I have a disagreement about what it is an understanding of.

          1. Your problem is that you are addicted to those foods and you do not want to admit to yourself that they are suboptimal or harmful foods. You’d rather attack the doctor’s credibility instead.

            1. Etienne, that’s going a bit far, since our selves and motives are invisible online, and our choices of words may give impressions we don’t want to give.
              As I recall, not having Dr. Greger’s book with me, there was a discussion of galactose and its known harmful effects, which some yogurts and kefir would mitigate.
              Other areas mention lead in dairy, but I haven’t yet checked the reference.
              There was, perhaps online, discussion of possible harmful effects of casein. Anyone have that?

              1. So – no consensus


                The idea that dietary cholesterol increases blood cholesterol seems logical, however the evidence supporting this hypothesis is not strong. This has been known since as early as 1953. Dr. Ancel Keys was one of the first researchers to test this hypothesis, feeding subjects extremely high levels of dietary cholesterol and measuring their blood response. He found almost no effects, despite the absurd amounts of dietary cholesterol administered. Upon further research, Keys accepted that there is some relationship, and created a formula to predict it: blood cholesterol is proportional to the square root of the amount of dietary cholesterol added.

                Change in serum cholesterol between 2 diets = 1.5*(Z2 – Z1), where Z is the square root of the cholesterol content of each diet in mg/1000 kcal

                According to Keys’ equation above, if someone consuming a 2,000 calorie diet and 1200mg of cholesterol (4x the recommended level) per day reduced their total dietary cholesterol by 6-fold to 200 mg a day, their serum cholesterol would drop by 21.75 mg/dl. Going from 300 mg per 1000 calories eaten to 150 mg per 1000 calories eaten would drop serum cholesterol by a mere 3.75 mg. This is due to the liver’s unique ability to sense dietary cholesterol, and modulate subsequent cholesterol production.

                During the same time, other researchers believed there was a larger relationship. When they fed subjects cholesterol combined with egg yolk, their blood cholesterol increased. When they consumed much higher doses of pure cholesterol, the blood response was less pronounced. Possible explanations for this were increased bioavailability of the cholesterol when mixed with egg yolk, or the possibility that another ingredient besides the yolk’s cholesterol was increasing blood cholesterol levels. However, the amount of egg yolk required to make a significant difference is usually quite large.

                Other researchers have since confirmed Ancel Keys’ square root relationship, adding that dietary cholesterol has greatest effects on serum cholesterol if it is added to a low cholesterol, or cholesterol-free diet. At moderate cholesterol intakes, serum cholesterol changed very little with added cholesterol. A 1997 meta-analysis compiled 9 predictive equations since 1990, calculating that for a 2500 kcal diet, a 1.37-2.68 mg/dl decrease in serum cholesterol could be expected for every 100 mg/day decrease in dietary cholesterol. The prediction based on their meta-analysis was a 2.2 mg/dl decrease in serum cholesterol for every 100 mg/day decrease in dietary cholesterol.

                1. You are incorrigible Charles. Even the stuff you post, refers to studies that demonstrate added dietary cholesterol does have an effect on dietary cholesterol where baseline dietary cholesterol is nil or low. Yet you seem to want to imply that it doesn’t?

                  1. Charles is a true believer. Anything can be warped to support his belief. I don’t say that lightly. But I have to hand it to Charles, this is the first time I have seen a true believer ever use Ancel Keys to help support his point.

                    Most Paleo/HFLC/Weston Price types endlessly bang on about Keys and his “7 country” study and how he manipulated the data to show a trend in heart disease with fat when if he just used the data from all 22 countries that was available that the trend disappears. They must think that Keys placed a spell on the entire field of human nutritional research that kept anybody from doing any subsequent research on the subject, and so if they can just disprove Keys they can break his stranglehold on the field and everybody will wake up to the fact that bacon smells wonderful and should be eaten in large amounts.

                    1. Yes and the gullible “true believers” who parrot these absurd claims about the 7 countries study have never even looked at the study itself because if they had they would know it had nothing to with examining available data. It involved collaboration between research teams in different countries. In fact the study continues today and has had its own website for years. The amount of fact checking necessary to determine that the claim is a lie is minimal but the true believers either can’ be bothered or don’t care.

                    2. Actually Tom it is worse than that. They confuse the 7 country study, which as you said involved many collaborators and is a prospective study continue to the present day, with Keys 1953 presentation/paper that was a retrospective comparison of cardiac mortality rates in a 6 countries to the total fat per capita in those countries and found a significant positive association. Later two other researchers Yerushalmy and Hilleboe noted that cardiac mortality rate and fat consumption was actually available for 22 countries and when data for all are plotted the clean trend disappears. Y&H said that Keys gave no reason for not including these additional countries and so must have been picking only those countries that supported his preconceived conclusion that cardiac disease is related to fat intake.

                      At some point somebody in the Paleo or Low-carb community somebody picked the Y&H paper and used it to try to discredit the research of Keys and all subsequent research because it was all based on a fraud. This original blog however mistakenly referred to this 1953 paper as being Keys “7 country study” likely because they knew nothing about what they were actually writing about. The level of scholarship in the low-carb/paleo community is such that they simply continue to blindly quote the original post with its misattribution. So anytime you hear somebody saying that Keys mislead all of us with his “7-country” study because he should have included all 22 countries, you will know that you are dealing with a Paleo or low-carber parrot.

                      If you haven’t already I highly recommend you read both the 1953 paper and Y&H’s 1957 rebuttal. Very interesting comparison between a careful scholar (Keys) and hatchet men with an axe to grind (Y&H). Keys carefully and very carefully lays out why he chose the 6 countries he did and Y&H show that they couldn’t have read Key’s paper very clearly. Keys didn’t suffer fools gladly and ripped Y&H a new one in a subsequent letter to the editor. Plant Positive had a very entertaining and illuminating series of videos on the subject of Ancel Keys and how he became this boogie man for the low-carbers that was part of one of his larger series of videos.

                    3. Thanks, yes. I try and watch Plant Positive’s videos every year. The Keys and Y&H papers are notoriously difficult to find now, some of the links online are now broken. But as you say, they are well worth it.

            1. Drinking milk and eating eggs does not automatically mean you will get heart disease. It depends on your genes, your entire diet and your physical activity. My grandfather ate meat (swimming in fat), potatoes, eggs and milk almost every day. He also ate a lot of fruits, vegetables beans and peanuts. He lived to age 98, was sharp minded and athletic to the end, and never had a hint of heart disease or cancer. I do appreciate Dr. Gregor’s site, which has some very good information on it. However, he is an evangelist for veganism and cherry picks data to support his position. However, his central message, that fruits, whole grains nuts, legumes, beans and vegetables should make up the majority of our diet, is correct and very valuable.

              1. Those accusations from cherry picking come from people that do not want to abandon their lifestyle. There’s no such thing as cherry picking here. Please prove me wrong and enlighten us with studies that find milk / meat / etc. beneficial for health. I’ve been digging the literature for 5 years and have not found such studies.

                1. I’m not going to get into dueling studies with you. Go over to any paleo site and they will point out studies telling you how great milk and meat are for you. I will say again, it is your entire diet, your genes and the amount of exercise you get that matters. A mostly plant based diet is the best, but a little high quality animal protein will not hurt most people as long as their other habits are good.

                  1. BTW, I am not Paleo at all, but Paleo is anti dairy. The theory is that there was no dairy drinking during our cavepeople days; so it is not meant for humans.

                    1. Ah, well I’m not Paleo either, so I don’t really know what they bang on about. There are pro milk partisans out there that site studies about how healthy milk is.

                  2. “a little high quality animal protein will not hurt most people as long as their other habits are good.”
                    You are probably right. I they are lucky. But still, even tiny amounts of meat have been shown to be correlated to increased cancer risk (Campbell).

                    Honestly, I did go over to Paleo websites when I still didn’t know better. I could find no credible science backing up their arguments… I do not think I am biased. I started researching food and health becasue I became sick 5 years ago. I have tried everything, from eating livers, organic eggs from my parents’ chickens, bone broth, etc. I tried those things because I didn’t know better. Now I do. And animal products have not helped me. Increasing my consumption of fruit definitely has;

              2. My step-mother smoked 2 packs a day into her 90’s and I know a lot of people who are still alive and smoke, so smoking must be fine? Pretty obviously, exceptions are not the rule, and rationalizing won’t alter that. Some people think Russian roulette is a game. And some would rather err on the side of caution and not “play”.

                Dr Greger is an “evangelist for veganism” because he is smart enough to adapt his diet to what his own personal medical experience and the studies strongly demonstrate. I sincerely doubt that he just woke up one day and decided to banish his learned habits and cuisine on a whim, or because he felt a driving illogical need to adopt a “vegan agenda”! Seems it’s a whole lot easier for people to ignore the research and conveniently attach a label like “cherry picking” to self-validate and support their own biased, personal, opinion.

                1. Oh, dear, did someone insult your religion? Dr. Gregor hits the nail on the head with a lot of what he says, but it’s pretty obvious to anyone not as invested as you that he is extremely biased in his presentation of evidence. According to him, fish will kill you if you even take a sniff. According to almost every other nutrition expert and the experience of the entire Japanese nation, fish is good for you and will extend your life. Eating large quantities of high quality plant food is the most important part of a healthy diet. Adding some high quality meat, eggs, and yes, even milk, will not harm most people and will add nutrients that can’t be found in plant food. There is plenty of evidence for that, but you won’t find it on this site. Nice try with trying to equate cigarettes with animal protein, but it doesn’t fly. Cigarettes have no redeeming health value, food does. As I have said several times, it is your entire diet, your genes and the amount of exercise you get that determines your health outcome. By the way, I am a vegan, but I am one for moral reasons, not health reasons. I don’t think eating others is very nice. That doesn’t make me blind to all the evidence that contradicts the “vegan agenda”, as you put it.

                  1. isoldam: You consistently misrepresent Dr. Greger’s positions. re: “According to him, fish will kill you if you even take a sniff.” and similar statements about cherry picking, etc. Every video I can remember talks about increased (or decreased) risks of eating various foods. To my knowledge, Dr. Greger never says eating animal products is guaranteed to hurt. Dr. Greger even lists conditions in his new book, How Not To Die, when it makes sense to eat eggs or even bacon. That’s hardly the stance you are painting. It is perfectly fine to express your own personal opinions about a healthy diet. It is important, however, to be very careful when claiming to represent someone else’s views.

                    1. I’m not misrepresenting anything. I am going by what I see on his website. He implies heavily that eating animal products is guaranteed to hurt. In fact, he bangs on about it endlessly. The first, last, and only cause of disease is apparently animal products. At least that’s the impression you get by watching his videos about animal products. Go watch his fish videos. There is no mention of any of the voluminous evidence that fish are healthy to eat. He reports only negative evidence, although I know very well there is other positive evidence that most nutrition scientists will site. He has a lot of valuable advice, but I take what he says about animal protein with a grain of salt. However, what he says about eating large quantities of high quality high fiber plant food is exactly in line with a lot of other nutrition scientists, and I’m grateful for all of his information about plants. I have not read his book yet, but I intend to.

                    2. isoldam: I’ve watched every single video on this website at least once. To help you understand where your impression is misrepresenting Dr. Greger’s views, here are some quotes from the first three random fish videos I checked just for you:
                      [1] “Increased fish consumption of mothers before and during pregnancy leads to INCREASED EXPOSURE to both mercury and the long-chain omega 3 DHA.”
                      [2] “100,000 Japanese men and women were followed for up to 10 years, and they didn’t find evidence of a protective role of higher fish consumption or the long chain omega 3’s EPA and DHA against suicide. In fact, they found a significantly INCREASED RISK of suicide among male nondrinkers with high seafood omega 3 intake. This may have just been by chance, but a similar result was found in the Mediterranean. High baseline fish consumption together with an increase in consumption were associated with an INCREASED RISK of mental disorders.”
                      [3] “The whole point of a meta-analysis, though, is to compile together the best studies done to date and see what the overall balance of evidence shows. The fact that there are six different ones published recently highlights how open the question remains. One thread of consistency, though, was that fish consumers in the United States tended to be at GREATER RISK for diabetes.”
                      (My emphasis added.) Do you see how these quotes are about risk? Dr. Greger is very, very careful in his wording. He also uses words like *may* and *might* ALL the time. As in, “Eating this or that MAY help or hurt you.” It is one of the criticisms that many people have – ie, that Dr. Greger is not more definitive in how he describes the situation. Most people pick up on this careful language. If your impression is that Dr. Greger is saying that say eating fish will guarantee you will get say diabetes, you are incorrect.
                      You also make a separate, different point about cherry picking. Saying that someone should discuss positive evidence about fish is missing the point that these videos are about the balance of evidence. In other words, Dr. Greger is letting you know that the vast majority of evidence is against fish. Dr. Greger has several videos explaining how studies which purport to show positive effects of eating this or that animal product are either fatally flawed or fail to take into account that food is a package deal–meaning that the food may have some positive benefits, but the negative outweigh the positive-and here’s how… You can see that approach in one of the quotes above. In other words, it’s not cherry picking…
                      Again, it is perfectly fine to say, “I only accept evidence that is in line with what every other nutritionist recommends. I do not accept the evidence Dr. Greger has shown me that some foods are likely overall harmful, because I am more swayed by what other people say about those foods because majority wins with me.” (Dr. Greger has explained in these videos as well as his book why everyone can get on board with “eat more this”, but fail to report properly what should be avoided.) That’s fine. I may think your logic is flawed, but I don’t have a moral problem with that. But if you are going to represent someone else’s opinion (ie, “Dr. Greger says or thinks this or that…”), you need to be careful.

                  2. I tend to agree. Small amounts of low fat meat is not going to kill anyone. However, it’s too hard for most Americans to eat small amounts of anything, so I think for me personally, it’s better to avoid altogether.

                  3. “According to him, fish will kill you if you even take a sniff.”
                    Really, could you give me a link to that, I would love to see it?

                    Ya know, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but you know what they say about those. How do you think you rank coming to a free website a Dr busts his butt over for the benefit of all, to make false accusations, call names and sling insults? You didn’t insult my religion, you insult adult intellect with your annoying argumentive-mess. If we need your valuable opinion where can we (not) find your website? Bye!

                2. The truth is that we are all different! Different DNA and Blood Types and All. What works for one doesn’t always work for the other. That’s why some diets work for some and a different person go on the same diet and it have totally different results for them. People have different genes and different blood types. I am a type O and if I don’t eat some red meat every weak I fall into illness. I tried all these different diets because people said eat this or don’t eat that. This Dr says this or that Dr says that. The truth is you have to find what works for you and do your own research but not bash others while explaining your own theories or sharing research you have found. Just share what you have found and then let others make their own decisions for themselves. It looks so much more becoming that way and then there are no arguments. LOVE to ALL :)

              3. The truth is that Dr. Gregor doesn’t advocate a vegan diet, so if you think he is an evangelist, then he is a very poor one. He doesn’t because Veganism is a moral philosophy, and is not necessarily focused on nutritional health. What he does say is that the preponderance of independent research shows a whole food plant based diet is the healthiest diet for modern humans. And note that the description is “plant-based”, not “plant-exclusive”. The research shows that small amounts of animal foods and processed plant foods doesn’t substantially harm health, and he has said this in numerous videos. The research also shows that the damage is cumulative and so a small amount of animal and highly processed plant food very likely does a small amount of damage and a medium amount more and a lot, well all you have to do is look around you and see the damage that a lot of meat and processed plant foods does to human health.

                Now does Dr. Greger recommend eat a diet that would conform to the dietary aspect of veganism, I would say yes. But that is only coincidental. I am confident that if the research said that the healthiest human diet is one that obtained say 25% of its calories from animal sources, the Dr. Greger would be cautioning us to not get too carried away with all the research showing how healthy plants are and forget the need for some meat or eggs or dairy. But there is no independent research showing that we need to eat any animal foods and much to show that they harm our health. So since he bases his recommendation on what is and is not a healthy diet on what the research says, he does not recommend that anybody eat animal products.

                So before you issue slurs like “cherry picking” best to do your research so you don’t look like an idiot.

                1. Jim Felder: Speaking as a moderator for this site: I was all set to up-vote (with gusto!) your well worded, thoughtful and polite reply – right up until I got to the very last word. Sigh. Please note that name calling is not allowed on this site. You can review the posting rules on the FAQ page. There is a link at the bottom of this page. Please change your last sentence so that I don’t have to delete you otherwise excellent post. Thanks! (I positively hate to delete posts. Please don’t make me do it…)

                  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I intensely dislike ad hominem attacks. That being said…

                    WILDE: Your Majesty is like a big jam doughnut with cream on the top.
                    PRINCE: I beg your pardon?
                    WILDE: Um…It was one of Whistler’s.
                    WHISTLER: I never said that.
                    WILDE: You did, James, you did.
                    WHISTLER: Well, Your Highness, what I meant was that, like a doughnut, um, your arrival gives us pleasure…and your departure only makes us hungry for more.

                    Whistler didn’t actually say that his Majesty WAS a big jam doughnut with cream on top, just that he was LIKE one. A small technicality, but an important one none the less…

                    1. Joe Caner: I appreciate your point. I had given it some thought before replying, carefully considering the wording. In the end, I decided the post stepped over the line. A judgment call. The word “like” does not save that sentence in my opinion–not in this particular context. And such a shame too. I don’t normally give people a chance to fix a post. I hope Jim will take advantage soon.

                  2. Thea

                    Thank you for identifying yourself as the Censor (or, perhaps only one of many) of this website. It’s always nice to know whose opinion is superior to one’s own, when one’s comment is taken down. As annoying as many people can be while commenting, it’s preferable to censorship, absent slander or obscenities.

                    I’ve learned my lesson, ma’am.

              4. [Edited to remove an inappropriate coda]

                The truth is that Dr. Gregor doesn’t advocate a vegan diet, so if you think he is an evangelist, then he is a very poor one. He doesn’t because Veganism is a moral philosophy, and is not necessarily focused on nutritional health. What he does say is that the preponderance of independent research shows a whole food plant based diet is the healthiest diet for modern humans. And note that the description is “plant-based”, not “plant-exclusive”. The research shows that small amounts of animal foods and processed plant foods doesn’t substantially harm health, and he has said this in numerous videos. The research also shows that the damage is cumulative and so a small amount of animal and highly processed plant food very likely does a small amount of damage and a medium amount more and a lot, well all you have to do is look around you and see the damage that a lot of meat and processed plant foods does to human health.

                Now does Dr. Greger recommend eat a diet that would conform to the dietary aspect of veganism, I would say yes. But that is only coincidental. I am confident that if the research said that the healthiest human diet is one that obtained say 25% of its calories from animal sources, the Dr. Greger would be cautioning us to not get too carried away with all the research showing how healthy plants are and forget the need for some meat or eggs or dairy. But there is no independent research showing that we need to eat any animal foods and much to show that they harm our health. So since he bases his recommendation on what is and is not a healthy diet on what the research says, he does not recommend that anybody eat animal products.

      1. I used to drink 32oz smoothies every morning. No animals, no nuts, no seeds, just greens and fruit. Was lacking in “durability”. Would be hungry again in 2-3 hours. Kept me ultra-hydrated though. If I made them again, would add nuts and seeds.

        1. Same thing happened to me. And smoothies, with their uber high fiber content are really hard to get down quickly. Sometimes it would take me half to an hour to drink the whole thing. And I’d still be hungry again in a couple of hours. I can def see where healthy fats are important.

      1. I don’t agree with that narrow analysis. I agree that we may be “optimized” for fruit but that we are in fact able to sustain life as omnivores. Besides, I’ve been fruitarian–too much work, am much happier WFPB.

        1. Not to mention that before mass transportation and supermarkets it would have been impossible unless you live in the tropics! We have extra copies of amylase to digest starches, eating just fruit is okay if you can afford it and like it that much. Give me a tater! lol

  3. Besides maintaining healthy appetite signals via gut bacteria, fiber also fills us up and takes a long time to eat, making us more satisfied. For example: Eating a salad loaded with raw veggies vs eating 2 Oreos. Both have 100 calories. The salad takes about 15 minutes to eat, the Oreos take 15 seconds. The salad leaves us feeling satiated, the Oreos leave us hungry for more.

    1. Yes because salads volume relative to calories is very high. It fills the stomach and the person eating the salad feels full and loses appetite. But the person eating cookies is still hungry (his stomach is empty) and eats more cookies.

  4. “Or, we could just eat as nature intended.”

    Nature “intended” us to be eating bugs, insects etc. that were on the produce we eat, in my opinion.
    Cholesterol, B12, raw and alive creatures, feces and all. I am not being sarcastic, for what it is worth. And I think insects would have played a part in our macrobiome and, thus, poop. 100% vegan in 2016 does not seem to me “as nature intended.”

    1. Leslie the point to remember is the 100 grams of fiber. No doubt what you are saying is accurate but fiber is only found in plants. I don’t have a lot of room in my diet for bugs when I am getting 80-100 grams per day of plants.

          1. Ah Charles, I don’t believe anybody anywhere said that we need 100 grams of fiber a day. The video simply stated the observation that early humans ate a diet that contained up to 100 grams of fiber a day. The question for you is can you propose a diet for these humans where they were able to get more than a tiny fraction of their daily calories from meat, eggs or insects that don’t have fiber and still eat enough plant foods to get 100 grams a day

            As a personal reference point that even eating 100% unprocessed (for the most part) plant based I have a hard time getting much above 60 grams of fiber a day. Any high caloric density food like meat would require me to remove substantial amounts of plant foods from my daily diet in order to stay in caloric balance. The result of meat eating would be that my fiber intake would drop considerably.

            So if primitive humans were getting this much fiber a day, that is a very strong argument that they weren’t getting a substantial portion of their calories from zero fiber foods like meat or eggs.

      1. Thanks for the reply. The point I am trying to bring to light is that fiber eaters in nature have bugs on the fiber they are eating, and they chew and swallow the plant-matter and bugs (blood, complete protein, feces and all!) and I am inclined to believe (it is not that hard to figure out) that this is obviously what nature intended. 100 percent vegan does not seem natural.

        1. I think you are right that 100% plant based foods that are well washed is not a completely natural diet, but that doesn’t mean that it is not the healthiest diet in all aspects save for lack of B-12. So if we are interested in eating the healthiest diet, natural or not, and can accept the one small deviation from nature of a B-12 supplement to address our cleanliness fetish then there is every indication that a 100% plant based diet might be that diet. After all it was completely natural for our ancestors to all carry a pretty hefty load of intestinal parasites naturally resulting from their non-hygienic diet. And I doubt many people are too worried about whether nature intended us to carry a parasitic load or not.

    2. I have been Whole Food Plant Based for about three years now. I recently felt compelled to try insects. I bought some meal worms on Amazon and tried them. Very good and I felt satisfied after eating them. It was a good boost to my system.

        1. I got the dried meal worms. No mention if organically raised. Crunchy if you eat them out of the bag, but get soggy fast in a salad. No mention on the container about human consumption. I just went ahead and tried it. There are some sellers that market for people with all sorts of seasonings.

    3. Why? Insect consumption may show up on silly TV shows like “Man vs Wild”, but B12 is everywhere in nature so we didn’t need to eat bugs and we certainly didn’t need to eat them for protein.

      1. Eating insects with their colonic contents (because who has time to “devein” insects)would certainly seem like a reliable way to get substantial amounts of B12.

        1. B12 is everywhere in our environment. So drinking from a stream, foraging for food and eating it immediately after picking it, with all of the soil and other dross attached to it, would also provide B12. It is our super clean environment that has eliminated it from our modern diet hence providing the need for supplementation. At least this is how Dr. Greger has described the situation.

          1. Yes B12 is everywhere. I would be very interested to see how many liters of raw stream water or grams of soil would be necessary to provide the 3-5 ng of B12 needed per day. If that is within reasonable consumption, just general unhygenic food and water might have been sufficient to provide the B12 needed. Still if you really want to get a bunch of B-12 all at once, nothing beats termites.

            A study of Vitamin B12 level in selected insects determined that the termite Zootermopsis angusticollis contain 940 ng/mg dry weight of B12. That means to get the RDI of 4 ng of B12 would require eating 4/940 or 0.0082 mg of termites or 8.2e-6 grams or 2.9e-7 ounces. Now assuming the termites are about 80% water, that translates to 0.0000015 ounces of termites. The wonder that is the Internet even gives me the weight of a single termite. Workers average around 0.9 mg. So a single termite worker could potentially contain 850 ng of B12 or about 200 times the RDI.

            The 850 ng in a single termite is pretty close to Dr. Greger’s recommendation of taking a 1000 ng B12 supplement once a week. So if you find yourself abandoned in the wild with only plant food to eat and you can’t bring yourself eat without washing with boiled water, then maybe you could make sure you are getting your B12 by eating a single termite a week.

            And when you recall chimps fishing out termite after termite out of a nest with their fishing twigs and happily chomping them down, you understand why they probably aren’t B12 deficient with the most trivial amounts of non-plant food.

            1. Yes, yes I remember but I have had many crickets in my life due to the fact that I produced one child who always had some type of reptile and I know that those things stink. Knowing that I would never eat one, and I have always assumed this issue would be true of other insects.

              You may be correct that everyone was eating bugs at one time, but maybe not. Who can say.

              I will catch a spider in my shower and carry it to my greenhouse to let it live, but I don’t think I would every eat one.

    4. Humans are classic examples of omnivores in all relevant anatomical traits. There is no basis in anatomy or physiology for the assumption that humans are pre-adapted to the vegetarian diet. For that reason, the best arguments in support of a meat-free diet remain ecological, ethical, and health concerns.

        1. from the paper
          “In this paper we discuss the hypothesis, proposed by some authors, that man is a habitual meat-eater. ”

          I said OMNIVORE not habitual meat eater. Depends on the climate and food availability.

          1. I agree that humans can eat and digest meat and certainly had to in order to survive in certain locales. But as the graph in the paper shows, the anatomy of humans regarding digestive systems seems to indicate that we are best adapted to a Frugivore and Folivore diet as opposed to a carnivore diet. Just keying in on your “There is no basis in anatomy …” phrase.

              1. Here’s a counter article:

                In a complex subject matter such as the current discussion, each side can always find flaws in the other side’s point of view. That’s why it is important for each person to have the freedom to make their own decision based on how they interpret the evidence. I’ve looked at both sides and have come to the conclusion that the evidence for a WFPB diet is much more compelling than that for an omnivorous diet. Education is key. This site is trying to educate new readers in nutrition. I think I have shown earlier that there is evidence to counter your statement: “There is no basis in anatomy or physiology for the assumption that humans are pre-adapted to the vegetarian diet.” it’s just that you don’t believe the evidence, which is fine. But false statements such as this, misleads new readers of this website, so I consider it to be disingenuous to make them without some qualifications.

                1. This quote “There is no basis in anatomy or physiology for the assumption that humans are pre-adapted to the vegetarian diet.” comes from Dr. John McArdle. Not only is he a vegetarian himself, he is also an expert anatomist and primatologist who serves as an advisor to the Anti-Vivisection Society. You’d be hard-pressed to show he has any bias for meat-eating.

          2. Habitual, meaning by the influence of nature, as opposed to faculative… occurring optionally in response to circumstances…rather than by nature.

      1. Classic “omnivores”? How so? And no anatomical basis? Just off the top of my observational head, in order to BE an omnivore, you would need the physical attributes to not just effectively digest animals, (teeth for ripping off chunks to swallow, 10X more hydrochloric acid than we produce, and short intestines to digest flesh quickly before it rots,) but they must also have the native equipment to acquire them in nature. (The grocery store doesn’t count, and tools are a learned hack, not an adaptation.) The skunk and raccoon omnivores who dig up my yard with their sharp snout, teeth, and claws bear no resemblance to any person I know. Let’s see…bears, opossums, mice, rats, chipmunks, birds…nope, them neither. Here’s another observation…watch a cat, a real meat eater, go after a meal. It will spot an animal, start salivating, and with amazing focus, stealth, speed, and agility, moments later it’s chowing down on raw flesh, effectively ripping it away with teeth that are sharp and scissoring, and gulping big chunks down into it’s acid gut with nary any chewing. It is supremely adapted for the task, in every way, as is every animal who has to hunt, including omnivores. I find it hard to believe we are remotely similar, as even a small kitten will instinctively attempt to stalk and catch prey, but a baby human would try to coddle the same creature. That same baby could thrive on a diet minus the flesh a carnivore requires. (I understand some radical vegans even feed their carnivorous pets a non meat diet that nutritionally sustains them, an ethical rather than biological consideration that still speaks of nutritional flexibility, regardless.)

        I’ve been camping in the wilds, and that alone makes it quite obvious what we are naturally adapted for…gathering. That would include plants and their storage and reproductive organs, mushrooms, and when they aren’t plentiful, insects, snails, maybe eggs or clams or whatever is collectible and available in various settings. Ever try to catch a squirrel, bunny or even a chipmunk with your native apparatus…let alone eat it without tools for cutting, cooking and/or condiments? There is a huge difference between adaptation and habituation! You can feed a bunny or a cow cooked meat too, but that does not make them omnivores! Learning to fashion weapons to accomplish a task may speak of our intellect, but does not qualify as evolutionary adaptation. You learned to enjoy the taste of the foods you were provided with, but that doesn’t change your physiology. My cat will eat cantaloupe and tomato sauce, but I wouldn’t call him an omni. Our teeth are made for grinding, not tearing, we have extra copies of amylase to digest plant starches, our entire digestive tract is geared for plant absorption, and as this video highlights, excretion.

        We are obviously magnificently adaptable since we have become a plague of the earth, but because we CAN certainly does not mean we should. Nature only cares that we live to reproduce, beyond that it’s a lottery. I would prefer to err on the side of caution, especially since before I was even 50 my body was falling apart, and changing my diet by eliminating added fats and animal products and adding a lot more plants reversed that. To me, that alone speaks volumes. If a diet can *reverse* disease, than it would be very likely to help prevent it! We may all have varied tolerances, but we are still one species with the same basic physiology, like any other. You are so right, we can use our evolutionary gift of intellect to overcome our base impulses, spare the animals, the planet, and our health. I see no down side.

        1. “since we have become a plague of the earth”

          That statement precludes having a logical argument. Ever try gathering in the Canadian Northwest or any other cold climate?

          1. “That statement precludes having a logical argument”.
            How? And why the red herring? So I’m not Mr Spock, but the blatant evidence of our sheer numbers combined with our historic disregard and outright rape, abuse, and exploitation of about every natural system that exists, engendering ecological devastation and extinctions of other life forms in the wake, wantonly disregarding it’s effects even on ourselves… pretty much qualifies the plague statement, I think.

            As far as attempting to gather food in frigid climates, yep, I have. Now that DOES seem rather illogical for many reasons, and why I choose to live nearer the equator, instead of New England. Migrating away from the bountiful equatorial regions of our origins, where food was not seasonal, necessitated finding alternate sources of energy for survival. Survival however, does not equate health or longevity, despite what our learned preferences, or even necessity, dictate. That is what this site is about and why I appreciate it.

    5. There really is no way to eat a completely natural diet any longer. All the animals AND plants we use for food have undergone centuries of selective breeding and as a result bear little resemblance to their wild forebearers. Also we like to wash the dirt and bugs off our food before we eat it, which I don’t see ever changing. As a result all we can really do is eat a diet that has as many points of correspondence as possible to the diet of our paleolithic and earlier ancestors. Clearly their diet was very much dominated by plant foods with little room for significant amounts of meat. Without the insects with their high B-12 levels (especially I hear termites) we will have to add some meat or a small artificial supplement. Given what we now know all the other negative impacts of domesticated sources of meat (saturated fat, protein that stimulates production of IGF-1, endotoxins), it would seem much healthier over all to get the tiny amount of B-12 we need from a supplement.

      1. interestingly, it seems that the human body was constantly processing external cholesterol, that of bugs on the plants they ate. In 2016 a human vegan’s body processes 0 % external cholesterol. And THIS does not seem as nature intended . This in itself raises a red-flag as far as being 100 percent vegan (which I currently am but am considering changing).

        1. This discussion brings to mind The Blue Zones books. None of the healthy centenarians are total vegans, but they all thrive on whole food, most of which they grow, and mostly plants. However, they all eat some animal proteins on occasion. Many of them eat animal foods as often as several times weekly, and interestingly, fish didn’t feature prominently for many. However, in this country the only Blue Zones people were the Seventh Day Adventists, and among those, the ones who eat no animal foods at all were healthier than their vegetarian friends who eat some dairy and/or eggs. And those vegetarians were healthier and longer lived than those who eat meat, even just weekly.

          Another point, speaking of a real paleo diet, do you all remember the Ice Man? His naturally mummified paleo body was in good enough condition when he was found that they could examine the contents of his stomach. Here is a link to his last meal: I personally prefer not to eat animal protein, but it seems we have been eating some of it for a long, long time, along with our heavily plant-based diets.

        2. I really hate to break it to those of you who think everything is so sanitary, but we are still eating bugs, vegan or not. Maybe not quite as many and maybe not on purpose, but it’s happening. So you can pretty !much assume that the data we currently have on nutrition, from studies and whatnot, were gathered under conditions where people were regularly eating bugs, just as nature intended. My apologies to those who thought otherwise.

          What raises a red flag for me is when studies show over and over again that animal products are detrimental to human health and plant foods are beneficial.

          Also, just because something is natural doesn’t mean it is healthy or optimal. There are a lot of natural things that are very harmful to human health.

    6. These aren’t mutually exclusive ideas. When he said “as nature intended” in the video, he was referring to fiber intake, not to a vegan diet, so some small amount of bugs can still be included in a high fiber diet. However, even if our ancestors were eating some insects, we know slightly more about nutrition than they did, so we don’t have to blindly follow what they were doing.

    7. He meant/said instead of taking pills to get your fiber, you EAT your fiber AS NATURE INTENDED. We eat what we need instead of popping pills for every ailment. How on earth could you misinterpret THAT?

    1. Great question! My guess is that like all animals humans have scat that is unique and is identifiable by shape and volume. When I was much younger and did a lot of backpacking I studied a book to learned to identify different animals by their scat so I could get a fuller picture of the area I was hiking through. Without that knowledge it would often times seem like there were no animals at all basically because they could hear us coming a mile away and hid.

      1. Scat, huh? I learned me a new word. :-)

        A ditty I wrote back when we had cats: “You at, you spat, and then you shat. So now fat cat go chase a rat.”

    2. Is it ok for someone to attack someone with false and malicious claims on this site? Check Etienne’s comments in response to me , THea.

      1. John: I see many comments on this site, but not all comments. The rules for commenting on this site can be found on the FAQ page which is linked to at the bottom of this page. If I don’t see an inappropriate comment, hopefully one of the other volunteers has seen it and taken action if necessary. (Most of the time, the vast majority of comments are left alone.)
        If you feel that one or more comments does not meet the posting rules and specifically want me (as opposed to whatever volunteer is active at the time) to look at it, I would be happy to do so. Just post the links to the particular comments you are concerned about, and I’ll make my best judgment. Here’s how you can create the links for me to review: 1) right click on the hours/days information next to the person’s name, 2) chooseg ‘copy shortcut’ (or whatever similar option your browser supplies, 3) paste into a post/reply to this post.
        Please note that moderators face this difficulty: Personal attacks are not allowed, but sometimes it is hard to judge a conversation when participants are both getting riled up *and* in addition to promoting a welcoming environment on this site, we also have the (sometimes) competing value of encouraging rigorous discussion and disagreement. This makes for a tough judgment call for the *volunteer* moderators. Sometimes one person’s legitimate disagreement is another person’s personal attack. But sometimes it really is clear cut, and I would be happy to investigate any links/posts you want. If you want to know what happened, you can click those links later and if nothing pops up (the link doesn’t work), you will know that the offending post(s) got deleted.

  5. Are we assuming that our primal ancestors grew their own food and ate exclusively fruit? I have a hard time imagining trying to satisfy my caloric needs by eating exclusively fruit off of trees and bushes without having major nutrient deficiencies.

    1. The much larger number of copies of the gene responsible for making amylase which is able to break down starch to sugar argues that starch, likely in the form of tubers like wild yams that are widespread and abundant in central and eastern Africa, formed a significant portion of the human diet as well as fruits which for the most part contain simple sugars. Perhaps Dr. McDougall is correct to call humans starchivores. The key thing about tubers is that their underground location made it difficult for many animals to access this food source. The ability for early hominids to make and use simple digging implements might have opened up this food source. Plus the ability to spot the above ground growth of tubers amongst all the other growth is a intellectual challenge unlike spotting ripe fruit growing on a tree or bush. So perhaps the ability to tap into this high density calorie source allowed early humans access to an ecological niche not significantly occupied by other animals. The significant source of carbohydrates would have supported a larger brain which would have resulted in better tuber hunting skills while at the same time allowing reduced gut volume. At some point human cognition reached a point where fire could be controlled and used for cooking. Cooking tubers increase the absorbable calories by up to 50%. Also some of the wild yams are toxic raw, but can be detoxified by cooking, opening up another food source unavailable to other animals.

      A positive feedback cycle between a larger brain providing better skills to locate a high carbohydrate food source that in turn provides the energy source for yet a larger brain sounds a lot more plausible than one based on meat. Our dentation, jaw structure and facial musculature are very ill-equipped for eating raw meat and I can’t see how it is that we could have eaten significant quantities of raw meat. It is only after humans mastered fire and were able to cook meat enough to soften it enough to be chewable with our grinding rather than shearing teeth and improve its digestibility by our wimpy stomachs with their low acid levels that humans could have derived a significant portion of our calories from meat. So if this is indeed the case, what high density calorie source supported and required the evolution of a larger and larger brain prior to the mastery of fire?

      1. I totally agree with you! Even as a little kid I thought the whole meat theory was a bit far fetched, otherwise why wouldn’t true carnivores like lions and tigers and wolves be even “smarter” than us?
        Okay, I know this is a bit of a stretch, but I had to link to a pretty amazing and thought provoking quickie: !

    2. Fruits are seasonal, even in in the tropics, and fruits aren’t a good source of proteins, so your argument makes sense. But we’re looking at today’s fruits and making conclusions about the fruits that existed ages ago (kind of a survivor bias). Who knows, maybe the fruits of paleolithic era were very different from today’s.

  6. Perhaps it is the diet we were designed to eat. With all due respect, maybe stick to nutrition facts Dr. Gregor and stay away from spouting the religion of Pastor Darwin.

    1. Hi D Kidder – Good to see someone else knows that we were designed and given a diet for our best health !!! And our Designer or Creator says ” Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3rd John 1:2

      1. Not that I’m religious, but I sure have the background and brainwashing. (How is religion any more “factual” than studied observation and concrete physical evidence?) If you want to go that route however, after the creation of man and animals God instructed Adam saying, “I have given you every herb that
        yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose
        fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food” (Genesis 1:29).

        There is
        no record of God telling Adam and Eve that they could slaughter and devour his animals, but He did authorize them to eat the seeds and fruits of
        plants and trees.

        1. Hi Vege-tater. Sorry for the delay in my response. It is plain to see that the Bible is factual when the Bible is studied as God instructed us to through the prophet Isaiah – “Line upon line precept upon precept, here a little, there a little,” When the Old Testament prophecies are studied and compared with the history of the New Testament it is not only plain to see that the Bible is the true Word of God, but also that Jesus was the Messiah predicted, and that he came to earth at the time prophesied and even died at the exact time foretold.
          Also there is much evidence that the earth is only 6,000 yrs old, but is buried by the main media, scientists and teachers in our schools. It can be found and studied if a person has a desire to look at both sides of the evidence. Even the scientists that teach evolution have much contradicting evidence on how old the world is, how it was formed and when and from where human beings arrived.
          Have a good day !!!

          1. Alan, I HAVE been indoctrinated, thanks, and you are entitled to believe whatever you need to. From my perspective, religion, any religion, works the same way as parental supervision… here’s the rules, now…be good or else! Why has religion, and especially Christianity, been the cause of more killing, wars and suffering throughout history in the name of God than any other single factor, when Jesus or any other valued religious figure preached peace and forgiveness? It’s no wonder to me WHY man needs to believe in these things, we are a very conflicted species and often need a good role model and laws to keep us in check. It’s very similar to the way kids need to believe in Santa…if you are good, there’s a promise attached. But if you are bad, oooo, ut-oh! The God of the Bible was terribly incongruous to me as a child even, and no clarification was forthcoming by my “knowledgeable” teachers, only circuitous rhetoric, justifications and magical distractions. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe there is a higher power that keeps order in our universe, I just know as a mere mortal I can never hope to comprehend the extent of something so infinite and it would be arrogant and insolent of me to even assume I could.
            As far as “evidence” about the age of the earth, I collected rocks and fossils from the time I can remember, and I comprehend the geological forces and time frame involved in how rocks and fossils are laid down, so please, again, believe what you need to, but I find it insulting to the intelligence my creator endowed me with to resort to magical theories about them just appearing there a measly 6000 years ago! You are mistaken about not wanting to look at both sides of the evidence, I absolutely have, and it is glaringly obvious to me.

        1. The theory descent with variations, commonly called Darwinian evolution, as a means to explain the current and past life on earth is as settled a science as is the theory of gravity. In science when a hypothesis explains observed facts as well or better than the alternates, and that hypothesis makes predictions that can be and are verified, then that hypothesis becomes a theory. At first it can be rather provisional still as more and more evidence is gathered. If that evidence is incompatible with the new theory, either the theory is modified to address the new data or is rejected. After time so much data is gathered that corroborates the theory that it is considered a scientific fact. Evolution is considered by the scientific community to be a scientific fact. This however doesn’t mean that there are no gaps in the theory that still need to be addressed.

          In fact Evolution is probably better settled than the theory of gravity because we still have no real idea how general relativity, which is the theory explaining the observations that we call gravity, and quantum mechanics fit together. The single “theory of everything” that explains both gravity and quantum mechanics might look very different than general relativity.

          And understand this about the scientific method, if the current theory of evolution is overturned, the theory that replaces it has to explain everything that evolution currently explains in addition it has to explain things evolution currently can’t. But that theory must be based on physical processes. It can’t make appeals to a supernatural deity. Such theories can be wonderful poetry, but they are not science.

      1. Design…it is like a signature. Even the super-evo crusader Richard Dawkins’ best guess as to how life started here was that it was “seeded” by an extraterrestrial…hmmm…sounds plausible…almost familiar.
        Making preposterous statements like humans have been on earth millions of years is not appropriate and don’t get me started on what the majority of religious people believe…the truth is simple and logical.

          1. There are a lot of things that are still waaaaay beyond our knowledge…to put it in perspective we just found out smoking is not good for us, blood letting is not a sound medical practice and the earth is a sphere.
            My original point was Dr Gregor should stick to what he knows…nutrition facts, without postulating on evolution.

        1. The origin of life and descent with modification (commonly called Darwinian evolution) are two different and unrelated topics. So pick your favorite story about how life got started on earth, RNA world, metabolism first, even panspermia (which really just pushes the question back one level to how did it start somewhere else and so really isn’t an answer).

          My favorite is “I don’t know, yet”. But if you want to insert a deity into the equation be my guest. But understand that like panspermia, using a deity to explain abiogenesis only pushes the problem back a level to explaining why the deity could be uncreated when life on earth required a creator. Sure an entity as complex as some universe spawning and encompassing intelligence would have a much lower chance of just spontaneously happening that the tiny change from reacting chemicals to living chemicals. At which point a higher level deity can be invoked to explain how the first deity came into existence, and the regression then proceeds to infinity. Basically at that point it’s turtles all the way down. I much prefer to clip the regression problem at the first step and admit that at present we don’t really know for certain how life got started but we have a really really well tested idea of what happened after that and leave it there. Believe whatever you want about abiogenesis, but after that point descent with variation explains life on earth and so evolution is settled science.

          1. Jim, you seem like a very intelligent individual…and like me, you have put a great deal of faith in your beliefs. That’s what it takes to truly buy into evolution and take the Creator out of the equation, given our place in the universe, the diversity of flora and fauna, and our unique intellect on this planet etc. etc. etc….the odds alone are so astronomical you would be better off buying a ticket for last months Powerball…now…and try winning.
            The facts are Jim that scientist have unearthed and cataloged some 200 million large fossils not including the scores of small ones. This vast and detailed record shows that ALL the major groups of animals appeared suddenly and remained virtually unchanged, with many species disappearing as suddenly as they appeared.
            Jim, people beleive what they want to beleive…despite overwhelming evidence.
            Thanks for the discussion…I have to make supper for my family.
            Have a great weekend.

            1. you have put a great deal of faith in your beliefs. That’s what it takes to truly buy into evolution

              I see your mistake. You think I have belief/faith in evolution like you have belief in the supernatural and specifically a creator being. I have no belief/faith in evolution. I have provisional acceptance based on the ability of the theory to explain observed facts. If data comes to light that is completely incompatible with the current theory (say 200 million year old rabbit fossils), then I will happily abandon the current theory of Descent with Variation for a new scientific theory that not only explains all previous data that evolution explained but also the new data as well. What I won’t do is throw science out the window and use non-science to understand the way the physical world works.

              This scientific method is the same one that I use to evaluate advances in nutritional science. I only accept results from well structured scientific studies with no prejudicial agenda. My response to the question of “is this good to eat or bad to eat” is always the same, let’s see what the data says. The issue with nutrition is that there is a lot non-scientific agendas and actors with set belief structures at play in the field of human nutrition that makes arriving at a good scientific consensus of what is an optimal eating pattern to maximize long term health very difficult. We as consumers of the resulting science have to work very hard to winnow out the wheat from the chaff.

              That is why somebody like Dr. Gregor is so valuable in this effort. I have great confidence in Dr. Gregor’s impartiality and I am sure that if the best non-commercial science came to the firm and frequently repeated conclusion that human health is optimized by some inclusion of animal based foods, that Dr. Gregor would acknowledge this.

  7. But what about bacon grease coffee and Metamucil? That’s paleo right? I can see it now, Guntar and Lublub sitting around the fire 100,000 years ago drinking fibercon and roasting beans for their morning grease coffee and taking’ furious cuts’ fat burners, ya know, the way our paleo ancestors ate.

  8. I do well on a moderately high-fiber diet; say in the 40-55 grams a day range, but once I get over this amount my digestion is HORRIBLE. Constant bloating, and I actually feel more backed up then if I ate less fiber; no matter how much water I drink. Any advice? I eat a lot of high fiber foods like lentils and have done so for a long time, so I don’t think it has to do with my body not being used to it.

    1. No one’s going to be able to give you a perfect answer for you. If you have taken lots of antibiotics, you might not have a lot of gut bacteria to properly take care of the fiber for you. It’s just going to depend on the person. Try more fruit and greens, and less of the heavy fiber.

    2. Thats because you eat too much fibers from legumes that contains “hard fibers” and even raw vegetables, ripe fruits for exemple contains very soft fibers, thats why we have a frugivore digestive system and fruits are the best food that match it~

      1. Are skinless fruits better, in this hard fiber regard, than skin-fruits, like apples, grapes, dates, cherries, etc.? The internal fiber of melons, papayas, bananas, etc. seem more digestible to me.

      2. I can eat a lot of beans just as long as I balance them out with lots of vegetables such as greens, sweet potatoes, broccoli, onions etc at the same meal. From my experience, getting a good balance of soluble and insoluble fiber foods is key to keeping one’s digestive system happy. A diet too high in soluble fiber can slow things down. One needs goods sources of insoluble fiber to keep things moving along.

    3. Just speaking from personal experience, try slowly adding some fermented foods to your diet, sure helped me. I used to have a real hard time with oats for some reason, but once I started making cultured veggies and other ferments, that resolved. Don’t go overboard at first though, or you will have more issues! Be patient, once you get your gut functioning like is was meant to, you feel a lot better…getting there isn’t always easy though.

      1. “Don’t go overboard at first …” is good advice because fermented foods contain histamine, so if one has food sensitivities due to histamine intolerance, fermented food will do more harm than good.

        1. Yes, that could include sauerkraut and pickles… as long as they are NOT pasteurized or cooked and are fermented, which is not always the case. If you are buying them, any canned stuff and pickles in vinegar are NOT going to have LIVE cultures! It’s easy to make your own, but if you buy them you have to look in the *refrigerated section* for them and they have to specifically say “LIVE CULTURES” or something similar, to assure you the beneficial microbes haven’t been killed. Other cultured foods I enjoy and make are various and sundry veggie, bean, and fruit ferments; kombucha; ginger ale and assorted fizzy fruit and herbal drinks; wine; (plant based) yogurt, kefir, sour “cream”, butter”milk”, etc.; miso; tempeh; kimchi; natto; real (not distilled) vinegar (made out of fruit scraps like cores and peelings) ; and even though the cultures are killed when it’s baked, sourdough bread, which uses wild microbes in place of yeast to condition and raise the dough. Other traditional fermented foods that are usually no longer fermented over time in the age of shortcuts…chocolate, beer, wine, catsup, salsas, soy sauce, Tabasco sauce, sriracha, chutnies, and various other traditional ethnic sauces and condiments. Many cultures like India, Japan, and other Asian people have a huge and extensive list of fermented foods they regularly use. Fermenting not only helps preserve foods, but enhances the flavors and nutrients.
          I make my own because it is crazy economical, fun and easy, and I can control the salt content and length of fermentation. I think the crossover between pickled and fermented/cultured terminology is a big issue in a lot of studies because they aren’t differentiated. I can’t fathom that say, wine fermented traditionally from real fruit and pure water is going to have remotely the same effects on a person (or animal, as the birds love fermented berries too!) as some commercial concoction with fake flavors, added sulfites, other chemicals, and minus the happy microbes! Personally, I think that is the reason the studies about wine are so conflicted, they can be completely different things, as with most of the crap we find in stores. We really need to take back our food, and stop letting ourselves be manipulated by certain corporations who are making mad profits from our ignorance and sad state of health!

            1. Mike Quinoa: You are correct. Dr. Greger does not make a cent off of the book, this website, his speaking engagements, etc. It’s all a public service.

    4. All the advice I’ve seen is that, yes, you need to increase your intake of water but that you also need to increase your intake slowly to allow the body to adapt to an increased amount … like progressive resistance training.

      1. And what does one eat in the meantime? White rice v brown? white bread? I can’t get enough calories on a WFPB diet without overdosing on fiber, and it’s killin me

      1. I forage for morels and raspberries every year. Wild as anything! I eat a few weeds too: dandelion, stinging nettles, pokeweed, lambsquarter, honeysuckle (a vine yes).

  9. Wouldn’t the diet in various climates would vary as well as the intestines adaptation? Would the samples studied be uniform in information about humans anywhere, or more specific to a time and place?

    1. Its the same everywhere, a digestive system cant change that much especially the intestines, thats why ripe fruit is the best food for humans~

  10. Most everyone carries on as if our paleo ancestors had access to supermarkets, refrigerators, or stocked pantries. Only we today can indulge in the great variety of foods available to say I’m vegan, or paleo, or this or that. For most of our existence we lived in a starvation and opportunistic mode. We ate seasonally what was available; friuts, seeds, roots, legumes, leaves, nuts, insects, and occasionally game. I don’t think there were many nutritionist around just people trying to survive another day foraging, processing, eating, and when times were good lots of fiber was the by product.

    1. Absolutely right. So the question then becomes whether a high degree of food insecurity with intermittent involuntary fasts along with highly seasonal variation in foods consumed yields the best possible long term human health, or is there an modern artificial diet, be that “Paleo”, or WFPB, or HFLC, that results in the better long term human health than the diet actual paleolithic people ate (assuming that we could ever actually determine what that is).

      Frankly I don’t know if we have a definitive answer to that. There is some indication that intermittent fasting can improve health, especially when the person enters the fast in a state of poor health. Sort of like hitting the reset button on your PC when it has been running continuously for a long period of time and the memory is getting fragmented by programs that do a poor job of memory management.

      Maybe we could all be issued a pair of dietary dice that we roll each morning to determine how much we are going to be able to eat that day and a calendar that shows what is available to be eaten on a given day. Maybe rolling snake eyes means no food for you, and better luck tomorrow while boxcars means you hit the jackpot and you get to gorge on all the lean game meat you can possible eat before it rots, but any total less than 12 means that the mighty hunters came back empty handed, but we can eat the “tasty” weeds and sour wild berries that the women and children were able to gather.

      Or we can just not worry about just so stories about what paleolithic people did and didn’t eat and conduct experiments and observations on the actual subjects of interest, us, to see what foods and in what amounts produce better health results and which produce worse in order to figure out how we can take advantage of the modern inventions of supermarkets, refrigerators and varmint and pest proof storage containers to put together an artificial but maximally healthy diet for modern humans living in a modern society.

  11. Eat more fruit! I didn’t know we were fruit eaters. I think of fruit as a deep delicacy. Perhaps Eve has the right idea and Adam the wrong one. She has carried us well.

  12. All this reminds me of my grandparents. In my younger days back in the 1950’s they were telling us that it was important to eat our “greens” and get enough “roughage”. Advice that we all ignored. With their turn-of-the century diet they lived 9 years longer than my parents. My parents had adopted the mid to late 20th-century US diet for most of their adult life.

    1. Your body is able to lengthen the short chain omega 3 fatty acid ALA into EPA and DHA. As a result ALA is the only essential omega-3 fatty acid. There is some concern as to whether the amount that gets converted is enough. The same enzyme that lengthens ALA also lengthens the short chain omega-6 fatty acid LA, the only essential omega-6 fatty acid. So the two different fats compete for access to the same enzyme. Our diets tend to be too high in O-6 and so LA in essence might crowd out ALA and so not enough ALA gets converted.

      If you are still concerned and want to get DHA directly in your diet, you can go directly to the source and take algae oil capsules. Fish and krill oil is just second hand algae oil that they obtained from eating marine algae directly or eating something that ate algae. As a result there is no advantage to getting DHA or EPA from fish either as meat or extracted oil or krill and much to argue against it.

      1. JS Baker: This is interesting to me that only 3 were approved. Does that mean that other brands had something wrong with them? (either did not have the omega 3s or were contaminated in some way?) Or were only 3 brands tested?

        1. Just to be clear, only 3 Algal oil brands were tested and all were approved. The report also contains results for fish, krill, and calmari sources of EPA and DHA but I did not think those would be of interest here. For their study purchased 30 dietary supplement products sold in the U.S. claiming to contain EPA and/or DHA and tested them for their levels of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA and, if listed, ALA), mercury, lead, PCBs, and signs of spoilage (unless containing flavorings or deeply colored — issues which prevent accurate testing for spoilage, as noted above). Enteric-coated capsules were tested to see if they properly released their ingredients. Only 4 of the 30 were not approved, all due to discrepancies in printed levels of omega-3 fatty acids or other labeling discrepancy.

  13. Good Afternoon Dr. Greger,

    Will you please do a video on how our ancestors received their b12? I watched the “Paleopoo” video and was extremely pleased. I have been vegan for almost two years and have used supplements intermittently. My intention is to bridge the gap between the fact that our ancestors were frugivorous (without supplementation) and why we, in modern society as vegans, must supplement.

  14. This should change how one views diet and how the human body works! :-)

    Beyond mitochondria, what would be the energy source of the cell?


    Currently, cell biology is based on glucose as the main source of energy. Cellular bioenergetic pathways have become unnecessarily complex in their eagerness to explain that how the cell is able to generate and use energy from the oxidation of glucose, where mitochondria play an important role through oxidative phosphorylation. During a descriptive study about the three leading causes of blindness in the world, the ability of melanin to transform light energy into chemical energy through the dissociation of water molecule was unraveled. Initially, during 2 or 3 years; we tried to link together our findings with the widely accepted metabolic pathways already described in metabolic pathway databases, which have been developed to collect and organize the current knowledge on metabolism scattered across a multitude of scientific articles. However, firstly, the literature on metabolism is extensive but rarely conclusive evidence is available, and secondly, one would expect these databases to contain largely the same information, but the contrary is true. For the apparently well studied metabolic process Krebs cycle, which was described as early as 1937 and is found in nearly every biology and chemistry curriculum, there is a considerable disagreement between at least five databases. Of the nearly 7000 reactions contained jointly by these five databases, only 199 are described in the same way in all the five databases. Thus to try to integrate chemical energy from melanin with the supposedly well-known bioenergetic pathways is easier said than done; and the lack of consensus about metabolic network constitutes an insurmountable barrier. After years of unsuccessful results, we finally realized that the chemical energy released through the dissociation of water molecule by melanin represents over 90% of cell energy requirements. These findings reveal a new aspect of cell biology, as glucose and ATP have biological functions related mainly to biomass and not so much with energy. Our finding about the unexpected intrinsic property of melanin to transform photon energy into chemical energy through the dissociation of water molecule, a role performed supposedly only by chlorophyll in plants, seriously questions the sacrosanct role of glucose and thereby mitochondria as the primary source of energy and power for the cells.


    Groundbreaking Discovery: Animal Cells Powered by Sunlight/Chlorophyll

    An amazing study published in the Journal of Cell Science reveals an entirely new reason why it is essential that you ‘eat your greens,’ as mother always said, namely: it enables your body’s mitochondria to produce more ATP energy when exposed to sunlight.

    The study titled, “Light-harvesting chlorophyll pigments enable mammalian mitochondria to capture photonic energy and produce ATP”, indicates that by eating a chlorophyll-rich diet mammals (and by implication humans) can capture specific wavelengths of sunlight radiation that will translate into increased energy within the powerhouses of the cell known as the mitochondria.

    The researchers, working out of Columbia University Medical Center, conducted a number of experiments in order to ascertain whether animals as well as plants can use light-absorbing chlorophyll molecules to capture light energy for ATP synthesis.

    While it has been prevailing wisdom that only plants can use sunlight directly for producing energy (photosynthesis), it can not be denied that not only do many animals consume chlorophyll through their diet but that research has been performed showing chlorophyll metabolites “retain the ability to absorb light in the visible spectrum at wavelengths that can penetrate into animal tissues.” (Ferruzzi and Blakeslee, 2007; Ma and Dolphin, 1999). Given these facts, the authors of the new study “sought to elucidate the consequences of light absorption by these potential dietary metabolites.”

    What they discovered was simply remarkable:

    “We show that dietary metabolites of chlorophyll can enter the circulation, are present in tissues, and can be enriched in the mitochondria. When incubated with a light-capturing metabolite of chlorophyll, isolated mammalian mitochondria and animal-derived tissues, have higher concentrations of ATP when exposed to light, compared with animal tissues not mixed with the metabolite. We demonstrate that the same metabolite increases ATP concentrations, and extends the median life span of Caenorhabditis elegans [worm], upon light exposure; supporting the hypothesis that photonic energy capture through dietary-derived metabolites may be an important means of energy regulation in animals. The presented data are consistent with the hypothesis that metabolites of dietary chlorophyll modulate mitochondrial ATP stores by catalyzing the reduction of coenzyme Q. These findings have implications for our understanding of aging, normal cell function and life on earth.”


    Can Humans Harvest The Sun’s Energy Directly Like Plants?

    “Much like photosynthesis in plants, can human beings utilize light and water for their energy needs? New evidence suggests that it may be happening right now in each cell of your body.”


    Biophotons: The Human Body Emits, Communicates with, and is Made from Light

    “Increasingly science agrees with the poetry of direct human experience: we are more than the atoms and molecules that make up our bodies, but beings of light as well. Biophotons are emitted by the human body, can be released through mental intention, and may modulate fundamental processes within cell-to-cell communication and DNA.”


    What the American Dietetic Association say about vegetarian and vegan diets;

    Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets.


    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. An evidence- based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals. The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary modifications to meet their needs.


    and a nice collection that shows what meat does to the body;

    Relationship between meat intake and the development of acute coronary syndromes: the CARDIO2000 case–control study

    Conclusions: Increased red meat consumption showed a strong positive association with cardiac disease risk, whereas white meat consumption showed less prominent results, after controlling for several potential confounding factors.


    Cancer incidence in British vegetarians

    methods: We studied 61 566 British men and women, comprising 32 403 meat eaters, 8562 non-meat eaters who did eat fish (‘fish eaters’) and 20 601 vegetarians. After an average follow-up of 12.2 years, there were 3350 incident cancers of which 2204 were among meat eaters, 317 among fish eaters and 829 among vegetarians. Relative risks (RRs) were estimated by Cox regression, stratified by sex and recruitment protocol and adjusted for age, smoking, alcohol, body mass index, physical activity level and, for women only, parity and oral contraceptive use.


    A red meat-derived glycan promotes inflammation and cancer progression


    We present an unusual mechanism for the well-known association between red meat consumption and carcinoma risk involving the nonhuman sialic acid N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc). We first evaluate the Neu5Gc content of various foods to show that red meats are particularly rich in orally bioavailable Neu5Gc and then investigate human-like Neu5Gc-deficient mice fed this form of Neu5Gc. When such mice were challenged with anti-Neu5Gc antibodies, they developed evidence of systemic inflammation. Long-term exposure to this combination resulted in a significantly higher incidence of carcinomas (five-fold increase) and an association with Neu5Gc accumulation in the tumors. Similar mechanisms may contribute to the association of red meat consumption with other diseases, such as atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes, which are also exacerbated by inflammation.


    Red and processed meat consumption and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies


    Findings from this meta-analysis indicate that consumption of red and/or processed meat increase risk of stroke, in particular, ischemic stroke.


    Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat: What about environmental contaminants?


    In October 26, 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a press release informing of the recent evaluation of the carcinogenicity of red and processed meat consumption. The consumption of red meat and processed meat was classified as “probably carcinogenic to humans”, and as “carcinogenic to humans”, respectively. The substances responsible of this potential carcinogenicity would be generated during meat processing, such as curing and smoking, or when meat is heated at high temperatures (N-nitroso-compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heterocyclic aromatic amines). However, in its assessments, the IARC did not make any reference to the role that may pose some carcinogenic environmental pollutants, which are already present in raw or unprocessed meat. The potential role of a number of environmental chemical contaminants (toxic trace elements, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans, polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated naphthalenes and perfluoroalkyl substances) on the carcinogenicity of consumption of meat and meat products is discussed in this paper. A case-study, Catalonia (Spain), is specifically assessed, while the influence of cooking on the concentrations of environmental pollutants is also reviewed. It is concluded that although certain cooking processes could modify the levels of chemical contaminants in food, the influence of cooking on the pollutant concentrations depends not only on the particular cooking process, but even more on their original contents in each specific food item. As most of these environmental pollutants are organic, cooking procedures that release or remove fat from the meat should tend to reduce the total concentrations of these contaminants in the cooked meat.


    Science CONCLUSIVELY Verifies Humans Are PRIMARILY Fruit Eaters

    Published Feb 18, 2016

    This article could get VERY LENGTHY, VERY quickly, but I’ll keep it short and cite all the sources.

    Given the area of absorptive intestinal mucosa to body size ratio, what we are evolutionarily equipped to adequately 1. digest 2. absorb 3. utilize and 4. eliminate is primarily #fruit as an ideal food source.

    “In populations where many of our deadliest diseases are practically unknown, such as rural China and rural Africa, they’re eating huge amounts of whole plant foods, up to a 100 grams of fiber a day or more, which is what it’s estimated our Paleolithic ancestors were getting based on dietary analyses of modern-day primitive hunter-gatherer tribes and by analyzing coprolites, human fossilized feces. In other words, #paleo poop.

    These most intimate of ancient human artifacts were often ignored or discarded during many previous archaeological excavations, but careful study of materials painstakingly recovered from human paleofeces says a lot about what ancient human dietary practices were like, given their incredibly high content of fiber, undigested plant remains. Such study strongly suggests that for over 99% of our existence as a distinct species, our gastrointestinal tract has been exposed to the selective pressures exerted by a fiber-filled diet of whole plant foods. So, for millions of years before the alleged “first stone tools and evidence of butchering,” our ancestors were eating plants. But what kind of plants?

    One way you can tell if animals are natural folivores or #frugivores is to map the area of absorptive mucosa in their gut ( area that is capable of adequately absorbing and utilizing nutrients of our food) versus their functional body size. (refer to image above) Folivores are those meant to eat mostly foliage—leaves, while frugivores are better designed to eat fruit. The faunivores, another name for carnivores, eat the fauna.

    If you chart animals this way, they fall along distinctive lines. So, where do humans land? (refer to image above) Here’s our functional body size, and here’s our absorptive area. So, while eating our greens is important, it appears the natural dietary status of the human species is primarily that of a fruit-eater.” – Dr Michael Greger- physician and lead nutritionist at

    It must be made crystal clear that what people (tribes, cultures, ancestors) eat and ATE is ENTIRELY INDEPENDENT of what we’re designed (evolved, equipped ideally) to eat. For example, if tribes migrate(d) to a certain locale or are forced out of an ideal way of life due to cataclysm etc, (such as leaving fruit bearing tropical climates due to sea level rise in ancient prehistory as seen from underwater megalithic stone temples from around the world) then that doesnt mean their way of life currently is the most ideal that the body thrives on, such as “paleo” diet or atkins diet or other FAD BULLSHIT low carb, high fat diets that are EXTREMELY HARMFUL AS CITED CONCLUSIVELY. “Atkins Diet: Trouble Keeping It Up, discusses a case report of a man who went on a low carb diet, lost his ability to have an erection, and nearly lost his life. That was just one person, though. Researchers at Harvard recently looked at one hundred thousand people and concluded that low carb diets were “associated with higher all-cause mortality, higher cardiovascular disease mortality, and higher cancer mortality.

    Conclusion: “A low-carbohydrate diet based on animal sources was associated with higher all-cause mortality in both men and women, whereas a vegetable-based low-carbohydrate diet was associated with lower all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality rates.”

    High carb, low fat LIFESTYLES are associated with the LOWEST risk and actually REVERSE all cause mortality rates.

    “Food combining is a science unto itself. Many people don’t necessarily pay attention to how they combine their food. But believe it or not, how we eat is just as important, if not more important, as what we eat.

    When we look at our dinner plate, we rarely think about how the food will be broken down or how the body will utilize the food as energy and repair sources. Many times people defeat the purpose of eating “healthy” if they are wrongly combining the foods they eat. Poor food combination can have serious, dangerous and long-lasting negative affects on your GI tract as well as your body ecology. Poor food combination goes beyond uncomfortable bloating and gas. These are only the initial symptoms to a larger phenomena occurring.

    There are two most commonly recognized patterns of dysbiosis associated with poor food combining, putrefaction and fermentation. Dysbiosis refers to a condition with micro-bacterial imbalances on or within the body. Dysbiosis is mostly associated with the digestive tract. A number of inflammatory diseases within the bowel or involving skin and connective tissue have been reported in association with dysbiosis.”

    The further from fruit we get, the higher the risk and rate of mortality, and THAT is survival of “the fittest” (least risk for self induced mortality, most in tune, or SYMBIOTIC with our environment)……..

  15. Dr. Greger – if the key point that humans are meant to be primarily ‘fruit eaters’, it raises a question about Walter Kempner’s Rice Diet for hypertension, that also resolved diabetes, obesity and other chronic health issues. As you know, his approach was to give people enough calories with white rice, augmented with fruit, fruit juices and table sugar to meet the caloric needs of his patients.

    So, given the information in this video, it seems that eliminating all the disease-causing foods and eating only/as much fruit as possible (focus on fruit as the ‘primary’ source of calories), and ‘augmenting’ primarily with any benign (low protein) starch to meet one’s caloric needs would also resolve one’s health issues? This would ‘flip’ the rice diet’s emphasis. Fruit is naturally low in protein, has a good amount of fiber. Brings to mind ‘Freelee the Banana Girl’ and her 20 bananas / day (and other fruits/foods) protocol.

    Perhaps a diet of considerable fruit and berries, followed by green leafies, some cancer-fighting veggies, garlic, onions and herbs/spices could be the focus, adding in rice/potatoes/yams as necessary to meet one’s caloric needs. Wonder if there is caloric room for red wine and 85% dark chocolate…!

  16. Curiosity question: Do you all think that counting fiber grams only (as opposed to calories/fat/points/etc) would induce weight loss? After listening to this video a couple times I started to look up grams of fiber in fruits. I had just eaten an orange and was surprised that it was only 4.5 gr. fiber. A 100 grams of fiber/day OR MORE would be a lot of food!

    1. Well, a pound is just over 800 grams. And I am sure that I manage to shovel away 2 or 3 pounds of food a day, or more. This list of high fibre foods may help

      In answer to your question, though, “no”. I remember reading about a doctor trying to help an obese patient lose weight. The patient was eating a wholefood uncooked plant diet but still wasn’t losing weight. Upon investigation, the doctor found the patient was eating 40+ oranges a day! Fruit is high in natural sugar and consequently calories. Just counting fibre therefore won’t necessarily help unless you choose the right foods to begin with.

      Of course you could achieve weight loss by eating mainly oat bran or wheat bran or psyllium husk but that wouldn’t be a healthy diet. For more information about healthy diets and weight loss, try typing “weight loss” in the Nutrition Facts search box above.

    1. Grains are great as long as they are non-GMO!

      I eat sprouted 7 grain muffins every morning and my poops and health are fabulous! People who diss grains usually have some personal unfounded bias against them. We need to get the word out to eat your healthy whole grains! Sprouted is even better. try ‘Food For Life’ brand, it’s my all time fav.

        1. Probably safe, but I don’t like the bully boy ways that Monsanto and the other giants use on farmers to force them to continue to buy new seed every year at high prices rather than hold a portion of the previous years crop back. And I especially don’t like that they sue farmers who don’t even plant their seeds but because some pollen from another farmers field contaminated theirs Monsanto says that they are using the Monsanto IP without paying for it. Also it is these same companies that work to undermine and obfuscate nutrition and diet research showing the detrimental health effects of animal based foods (which are the prime consumers of the large majority of the crops grown with their GMO seeds).

          So I avoid GMO for principled rather than safety reasons.

          1. This is actually something of a myth, both that farmers are “bullied” into buying their seeds each year, or that they sue farmers due to cross pollination. Monsanto makes GMO seeds, conventional seeds, and organic seeds as well. Farmers actually have many choices in terms of whom they buy from–they will continue to buy from the company that gives them the best results. I used to believe as you did, and bought into the whole “Monsanto is eeeeevillll” mantra, but then, much like with nutrition research, the hype didn’t hold up to the facts.

            If you’re curious, here’s what an actual farmers have to say about 1) being a farmer and 2) buying seeds



            As to the now urban mythologized case of Monsanto suing a poor farmer who was just so unlucky as to have some seed blow into his field….if one reads the whole case…that wasn’t what happened at all. Even the wikipedia page can correct some of the assumptions.


            As to their role in undermining nutrition research, I can’t comment on that. There’s no question that big business interests will try and protect themselves, but that applies to Big Organic, too, which is the main funding source for the asinine anti-GMO movement. With truly great respect, both of the concerns you voiced are a direct result of misinformation being spread by some very well funded concerns. It’s just that most of us have been told that Organic only has simple down-to-earth interests at heart. But this simply isn’t true. It’s a 60billion/year business. Which, funnily, is more than Monsanto makes in a year.

            And no…I’m not paid by any Biotech company to say these things:)

            1. You either have to be a Monsanto mole or living in the wilds the past couple decades. Court cases re: these issues have been prominent in the news. Cross contamination has been well-established. Insult to injury, over 300,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide due to GMO seed “farming.” These seeds require serious additional amounts of water to grow…the land in many regions does not accommodate. After buying these expensive seeds, many lose the ability to take care of their families.

  17. I posted this elsewhere but could really use advice from the community, or any Dr. admin.

    I am an athlete who has recently made the switch to WFPB. Used to have 4-5 eggs a day sort of guy. I am currently trying to add mass and muscle, so my caloric intake is around 3500 calories a day. 45% carbs, and then roughly an even split %-wise for fats and protein. Around 200 g protein, 115 fat, 400 or so carbs.

    And, in the region of 100g of fiber everyday, which I think is pretty much killing me. There are times I’m afraid to leave the house from the foul flatulence I’m having. In the past I’ve tried to apply the principles of the FODMAP diet to some success, but that was when I was eating lots of animal protein, eggs, dairy (no sensitivity), and would have white pasta and bread with no issue.

    Reading this site and watching all the videos, I see clearly that the diet was not healthy. However, adding slowly in 5-10 grams of fibre to “adjust” just isn’t possible with the amount I need to eat, and the commitment to WFPB. Damn near everything has fiber. All the fruits, veggies, brown rice, whole wheat breads, ground flax seed, quinoa, steel cut oatmeal, tempeh, my vegetable protein powder, avocados, carrots, kale….it’s a LOT of fiber. But I seriously don’t think I can get my needed calories without overdosing on protein and fat, or going for white rice (described as not even better than nothing by Dr Greger), white bread (same), or pasta (not recommended either). I simply can’t eat enough calories otherwise.

    So here’s this “healthy” diet, wreaking havoc on my innards. I’m both flatulent and constipated. I take probiotics, drink plenty of water, exercise. I could really use advice.

    1. Well when you find out the secret to reducing gas production, would you please let me know. I have been plant based for about 5 years now and my gas production rate is still uncomfortably high. My wife eats exactly the same diet and has no problems at all. My working hypothesis is that it has to do with different gut bacteria and I was “gifted” with the gassy ones. Interestingly that while the quantity of gas has tapered off some from the initial amount, the malodorous portions of that gas have drastically reduced. Not that everything is rose scented, but I no longer clear the room (including of myself and the cats!)

      So if you made a sudden change over to a very high fiber WFPB diet from a high fat/high protein animal food based diet, then you might still have the intestinal fauna and flora of a meat eater and it will take a while for those that best suited to processing plant matter without overproducing gas and especially malodorous gasses to become dominant.

      But my question back to you is what is the purpose of the 200 g of protein a day? I have a couple of friends who insist that they have to eat this much protein if they are going to gain or even maintain muscle. But I can’t think of any way that the human body could convert that much protein into muscle. Assuming a base protein requirement of around 0.8 g/kg lean weight and a lean weight of 170 means about 60 g/day of protein is required in order to maintain current lean tissue and make hormones. That would mean you are eating a surplus of 140 g a day. To turn all that surplus protein into muscle you would have to be gaining muscle at the rate of around 9 pounds of muscle a month or 110 lbs a year! The articles I have read say that an enthusiast builder can expect to gain maybe 10%-15% of starting lean body mass in extra muscle a year. Assuming a starting lean mass of 170 lbs, that translates to 17-25 lbs a year. My friends are pounding down a gram/pound of total body weight, and so end up consuming about 200 g/day. They are gaining only a few pounds of muscle a year at best since they are both already pretty well built. Both still talk about gaining muscle, but I think it is more they fear reducing protein least all their hard won muscle just “waste” away.

      Since the body can’t just store protein like it can fat about 105 grams or half of that 200 g of protein, assuming it can even be absorbed, has to be broken down by removing the amino part (NH2) from the amino acid to leave the sugar backbone that make up the bulk of the amino acids. The amino is very toxic and is converted to mostly urea but also some ammonia. Elimination of a lot of urea and ammonia can be very hard on the kidneys and one of my friends is has already been told he is suffering from diminished renal function. The end result of excess protein intake is then just the same 4 calories per gram as carbohydrates plus some mildly toxic metabolic waste products. There seems to be easier ways to get an extra 400 calories a day.

      Oh, and a further thought on your gas issue related to protein. There is a maximum rate of protein absorption that for plant proteins is around 4 g/hour in the small intestine with a total transit time of about 1.5 hours. As a result if you consume more protein in a meal than your small intestine can absorb during its transit, then potentially significant unabsorbed protein is going into your large intestine where it is feeding the stinky bugs.

      1. Thanks for your thoughts!

        I am around 200lbs with a lean body mass of around 173 lbs. Bear in mind I’m not looking to maintain lean body mass but add to it. There’s a lot of different studies in terms of what constitutes the ideal amount of protein for mass building, but I agree the ratio is too high at this point. On average, of the 5-6 studies I looked at, the average of .75g per lb of lean body mass would yield around 130 grams of protein for me. I don’t disagree that the cult of “more protein is always better” is woefully inaccurate. The amount I eat is simply from the ratio of 45% carbs, 25-30% protein, 25-30% fat (it varies).

        That said, I simply can’t make up the calories in a 3500/d diet with carbs. I can’t do it, without ingesting more fiber than is in any way feasible for someone with my gut issues. In the past, I’ve eaten high protein diets and experienced no major issues, so I don’t consider the protein to be the problem. So what do I do? I need the calories I need, I can’t eat tons and tons of legumes and grains and fiber because of the FODMAP sensitivities and the general discomfort, and I’m supposed to, by Dr Greger rules, not eat as much fat. Should I reduce the protein and up the fats with nuts and Omega 3-6-9 oil? I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not. All I know is that while I’d love to just soldier through the adjustment period, I can’t have a life and do that at the same time. It was that bad.

        More thoughts welcome!

    2. Daniel,

      Gas can be caused by many things including resistant starch, soluble fiber and FODMAPs. Try getting the fiber from fibrous plants as opposed to legumes and grains. They contain more INsoluble fiber which is more likely what was being found in the coprolites, since soluble fiber is consumed by gut flora through fermentation (the cause of your gas). so there wouldn’t be much left to analyze in fossilized poo. If the gas is caused by soluble fiber, oligosaccharides (FODMAP) or resistant starch, it’ll improve. Nuts are a good source of insoluble fiber as well. A cup of almonds contains four times as much fiber as a cup of brown rice. Kale contains more fiber per calorie than black beans, and it’s mostly insoluble.

      And then maybe, eat some eggs. Plant-based does not mean vegan.

      1. Thanks, Sara. I’m making some shifts this week and seeing some improvement. Learning which foods have insoluble v soluble is key. Cutting out the brown rice, the avocado (sad), and then trying to make up the calories elsewhere. It’s a lot of food, 3500calories a day:) I used to eat 4-5 eggs a day and after seeing the videos here have been convinced they really shouldn’t be anything more than a “treat” for me, though they are deliiiicciioousssss.

  18. I think there is a fair bit of disinformation there. You have cited no sources for your remarks so I suspect you may have read this stuff on some “paleo” website. They are not reliable sources of information on anything.

    First, people were processing and eating grains at least 100,000 years ago so we clearly had the necessary enzymes long before the Neolithic. And our pre-human ancestors appear to have been eating them some 4 million years ago. Secondly, even our ape cousins have the enzymes for starch digestion (but they have fewer than modern humans). So it seems likely that the common ancestor of all apes had the necessary enzymes which takes us back many millions of years.

    This site does not recommend veganism as such and it recognises that some vegan diets are unhealthy. It recommends a wholefood plant based diet. As for meat wild game possibly being healthy, this is a fervent belief of the paleo etc crowd. There is no evidence for it however. That said, I am not aware of any studies of the sort you ask about. I suspect that it is less unhealthy than farmed meat but I think claiming more would be going beyond what the evidence shows.

  19. You don’t cite any source for your statements so I suspect that you may have picked them up on some “paleo” website. They are not reliable sources of information on anything.
    For example, we know that humans have been processing and consuming grains for at least 100,000 years. That is long before the Neolithic.

    And our pre-human ancestors were consuming grains some three and a half million years ago. So we have had the necessary enzymes for a very long time indeed. Claiming they only evolved in the Neolithic is not correct……………….. “these recent studies show that grasses and grains have been part of the human diet for millions of years.”

    1. Hi Abigail – Too much fiber could result in abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, or even constipation. However, GI distress may not be an issue for you if your body is used to consuming high amounts of fiber on a daily basis. Increasing dietary fiber should always be done gradually and with adequate water consumption. Hope this helps!

  20. My paleo friends say fossilized feces only contain non soluble fiber.. Only soluble fiber ferments and helps our gut biome so there is no way to know how much non-soluble fiber was in ancestral diets from looking at corprolites ..

  21. Hello,
    Wondering if anyone has read the new book The Plant Paradox by Dr. Steven Gundry. I heard a webinar and am skeptical about the negative views on leptin in beans, fruits, etc. Curious to hear what others think about this book/concept. Any comments or insight?

  22. Thank you for the very interesting citations Dom and Carina!
    These links show possible evidence that the human diet included meat in prehistoric times. Please lets not forget that there is no evidence that an omnivore type diet is optimal for human health. In fact, as Dr. Greger has pointed out in numerous videos, the overwhelming clinical evidence demonstrates that animal product ingestion is unequivocally associated with significantly increased rates of death and disease, including the number 1 killer in the western world: cardiovascular disease.

    1. Thank you so much for the reply. I too was thinkeing that what we have done is not evidence that it was good for us anatomically. The person who referred to the “evidence” I linked to was saying that our gut bacteria has adapted to meat eating, but I suppose it would be more correct to say it has responded to meat by adding some bacteria that we inherit but unfortunately aren’t the best bacteria to be carrying around? The question then would be if there is any evidence that this bacteria assist us in the digestion of meat, or does it basically just have a negative impact on our system?

  23. I just wanted to alert interested readers that “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human” by Richard Wrangham can contribute to our understanding of the evolution of human diet.

  24. Hello,
    can a chimpanzee digest cellulose? What are the difference or similarity between a human’s and a chimpanzee’s gut in terms of cellulose?
    Thank you!

  25. In reply to all the repetitious posts here:
    The only thing that would cause the adult brain size of an animal to be larger than both of its parents is a change in the genetic structure. How in the world can diet make that change? If there is no answer to that, then the arguments of both the vegans and the paleos are complete bull.
    Potatoes are a comparatively recent development: selective breeding of inedible tubers.
    Primates ate uncooked legumes? Really?

  26. I would hazard a guess that actual “cooking” started through recovery FROM a fire. People going through an area they remember having a particular food resource that had been damaged by fire and looking for anything salvageable to eat. Someone just liked what they found. Or maybe someone’s kid was eating near the fire and dropped food into the embers, and mom and dad were like ” too bad eat it anyway- that’s all there is” so poor starving kiddo ate it. They had possibly been using fire for warmth for awhile as they moved into colder climes. As for making fire.. They used a very similar technique for drilling holes in logs and such; but would add sand to help with drilling and prevent burning. But again- these are just flights of fancy.

  27. Taro roots, shoots and leaves are all very nutritious. An ancient human could search the fields and deserts and pull up whole taros/ coco yams and maybe some mushrooms, tree leaves and plantain and you’d have a feast.

  28. The frugavore theory that Dr. Greger’s video references is simply based on a comparitive ratio of body size to absorptive gut surface area across species (i.e. how long your intestines are). The fact that humans have spent the last 100K years eating starchy grains probably wouldn’t be enough evolutionary time compared to the prior 2.3M years of our development to make a difference. You have to go back even further in time to make sense of the frugavore theory, before pre-human primates climbed down from the trees. That’s when we developed color vision in order identify ripe fruit. That’s also when we also developed a healthy fear of our greatest arboreal predator: snakes. Human arboreal development is covered in excruciating detail by Lynnne A. Isbell in her book “The Fruit, The Tree, and The Serpent: Why We See So Well” Harvard University Press.

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