Slowing Our Metabolism with Nitrate-Rich Vegetables

Slowing Our Metabolism with Nitrate-Rich Vegetables
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The reason greens are associated with a significantly longer lifespan may be because, like caloric restriction, they improve our energy efficiency.

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Resting metabolic rate is the largest component of our daily energy budget. The direct effects of physical activity are relatively small, compared to how many calories we expend just living and breathing. Now during, like, special ops training, or climbing a four-mile high mountain, you may burn 4,000 calories a day. But for most people, the calories we burn just lying around existing exceeds normal physical activities. Thus, our metabolic rate can have implications for controlling our weight.

Remember how dietary nitrate, found in beets and green leafy vegetables, improves the efficiency of the little power plants within our cells, boosting athletic performance by extracting more energy from every breath? So, if we eat a lot of vegetables, might it slow our metabolism, since our body can function so much more efficiently with the calories we give it?

They gave people a dose of nitrate equivalent to a few servings of spinach or beets, and, indeed, their resting metabolic rates slowed on average about 4%. That’s nearly a hundred calories a day. If our bodies burned that many fewer calories a day, and we didn’t eat any less, we could put on some pounds. Of course, green leafy vegetables are like the healthiest things on the planet; so, we shouldn’t decrease our greens intake to try to control our weight. But they think maybe it was a way our body evolved to use vegetables to help preserve energy during lean times in our ancient past. But this isn’t just some quirky interest. Slowing our metabolism may have benefits for our longevity.

You know what else similarly slows your metabolism? Caloric restriction. Like eating every other day. That may be why caloric restriction is associated with a longer lifespan in many animals. Maybe like a candle, burning with a smaller flame allows us to last longer. It’s hard to walk around starving all the time, but easy to replicate that same metabolic effect by eating a big daily salad.

This may be why one of the six most powerful things we can do to live longer is to eat green leafy vegetables. Not smoking, not drinking heavily, walking at least an hour a day, getting a good seven hours of sleep, and eating greens at least almost every day, in addition to achieving an ideal weight. Doing even just one of those may cut our risk of premature death by 20 to 25%.

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 Wolffsfa via Pixabay

Resting metabolic rate is the largest component of our daily energy budget. The direct effects of physical activity are relatively small, compared to how many calories we expend just living and breathing. Now during, like, special ops training, or climbing a four-mile high mountain, you may burn 4,000 calories a day. But for most people, the calories we burn just lying around existing exceeds normal physical activities. Thus, our metabolic rate can have implications for controlling our weight.

Remember how dietary nitrate, found in beets and green leafy vegetables, improves the efficiency of the little power plants within our cells, boosting athletic performance by extracting more energy from every breath? So, if we eat a lot of vegetables, might it slow our metabolism, since our body can function so much more efficiently with the calories we give it?

They gave people a dose of nitrate equivalent to a few servings of spinach or beets, and, indeed, their resting metabolic rates slowed on average about 4%. That’s nearly a hundred calories a day. If our bodies burned that many fewer calories a day, and we didn’t eat any less, we could put on some pounds. Of course, green leafy vegetables are like the healthiest things on the planet; so, we shouldn’t decrease our greens intake to try to control our weight. But they think maybe it was a way our body evolved to use vegetables to help preserve energy during lean times in our ancient past. But this isn’t just some quirky interest. Slowing our metabolism may have benefits for our longevity.

You know what else similarly slows your metabolism? Caloric restriction. Like eating every other day. That may be why caloric restriction is associated with a longer lifespan in many animals. Maybe like a candle, burning with a smaller flame allows us to last longer. It’s hard to walk around starving all the time, but easy to replicate that same metabolic effect by eating a big daily salad.

This may be why one of the six most powerful things we can do to live longer is to eat green leafy vegetables. Not smoking, not drinking heavily, walking at least an hour a day, getting a good seven hours of sleep, and eating greens at least almost every day, in addition to achieving an ideal weight. Doing even just one of those may cut our risk of premature death by 20 to 25%.

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 Wolffsfa via Pixabay

Doctor's Note

What’s that about boosting athletic performance? See:

Don’t want to carry beets on the track with you? Try fennel seeds: Fennel Seeds to Improve Athletic Performance.

Want to know something else neat that greens can do? Check out How to Regenerate Coenzyme Q10 Naturally.

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

248 responses to “Slowing Our Metabolism with Nitrate-Rich Vegetables

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  1. If the goal is weight loss, then wouldn’t reducing leafy greens be the way t go? An extra 100 calories a day burned is a potential extra pound of fat loss per month, no?




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      1. @pooppatrol – I thought the same thing. Slowing your metabolism, while it does increase longevity, isn’t the goal in weight loss.
        @2tsaybow – can you please further explain the use of beans to counter the metabolic drop? How would adding beans improve the metabolic drop experienced?




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          1. Just watched it. Says nothing about beans increasing metabolic rate, just that beans and lentils improve insulin control (prolly the fiber, which would also slow down metabolism going by the rationale presented here).




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            1. I had the same thought as you. We are normally trying to speed up our metabolism for weight loss. My guess is it is too complicated to explain in a couple of minutes. I can say for sure though that most people who eat no oil, low fat, whole food, vegan do for whatever reason, lose weight. Beans and greens are part of that kind of diet.




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              1. I have to lose about 40 pounds. I have been a vegan for the last 22 years. No “luck”. I eat salad and beans for the last 6. I just got sick with heartburn today trying to eat TVP. No vegan Atkins for me. Any comments. Ready to join Weight Watchers so I can savor a wider selection of vegan food……. like vegetable egg rolls and dumplings….. (ethical vegan)




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                1. Susan, TVP does not fit into the no oil, low fat, WHOLE food, vegan description. If you eat that way, you will likely have no heartburn. TVP is highly processed, not whole. I follow the McDougall Starch Solution and there is so much variety it is head spinning. I have lost 60+ pounds eating rice, potatoes, corn, wheat and vegetables, fruits and nuts and seeds. I eat a faux chicken and dumpling, spaghetti and marinara sauce, enchilladas, mashed potatoes and gravy, egg rolls, biscuits, brownies, etc.

                  I am wondering what you put on top of that salad – is it oil free? I wish you the best and suggest you Google Dr. McDougall and The Starch Solution. The whole program is on his site and 100% FREE




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                    1. Not to the dozens of great vegan, no oil bloggers like Fat Free Vegan, Brand New Vegan, Klunker’s Kitchen, Cooking With Plants, etc.




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                    2. Isn’t it great having so many wonderful recipe resources on the net? When I want a specific recipe I just Google whatever I want, and add vegan to the request and voila! Multiple choices appear. Even if they call for oil I delete that ingredient and the recipe never seems to suffer.




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                    3. Rebecca Cody: re: “Even if they call for oil I delete that ingredient and the recipe never seems to suffer.” I do the same thing and used to find it surprising how often oil simply isn’t needed.

                      Other strategies I use as needed: replace oil with water or non-dairy milk. Or replace with a combination of water and some chia seeds. Sometimes in a blended sauce, the added chia seeds give the sauce a wonderful sheen and texture which is reminiscent of oil, but comes from a whole food source. It’s a neat trick I think.




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                    4. I do much the same. On the website happyhealtylonglife.com I found a recipe for making water the right thickness to replace salad oil using ground chia seeds (I think). I think I only made it once, though. I have also discovered that leaving the oil out of a vinaigrette or replacing it with water you get much more flavor from the vinegar or lemon juice.

                      Wouldn’t it be fun to have people who write in here regularly all get together for a potluck? Wow! I wish my friends ate like I do.




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                    5. Rebecca: re: Potluck. Oh yes! I’m all for that!!!

                      Concerning friends, you probably don’t want to ditch your current friends, but have you considered also picking up some new ones? The site, meetup.com, allows you to hook up with people of similar interests. There are vegan/vegetarian groups in just about every major city I believe. And they have potlucks! ;-)

                      FYI: The link you gave is missing an “h” in the word “healthy”. I was able to figure it out, but if you fix the link, that might help others. Thanks for sharing the site.




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                    6. I would never ditch my old friends, and most of them are pretty careful about diet, but they just don’t understand the value of WFPB…yet.

                      Apparently Olympia isn’t major enough for the vegetarian meetup groups. I need to look again, but it’s only been a month or so since I did. And the drive to Seattle has become such a traffic nightmare that we only do that when absolutely necessary. We’re getting too old to put up with the Ft Lewis mess, the Tacoma mess, and the Seattle mess…




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                2. What is your exact daily dietary intake, age, weight, physical activity level and are your hormones, thyroid, B12 and iodine all in normal range?




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                3. Did WW all my life…just yo-yo…and hungry…eat the starch solution and be “fed-up” lol and healthy and slim…




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                4. check your thyroid function and if TSH is more than 2,5 try to take small amount of hormones, smth like a 6-12 mkg. If it works- you actually just have low thyroid so anything you do for lose any pound doesn’t work really.
                  yea, I know that you doctor mostly say that TSH 2,5-5 is OK but it’s old information.




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              2. It’s usually not metabolism that increases but some for of increased energy expenditure/heat production, unconscious movement, thermogenesis, metabolically active tissue etc… metabolism is more closely linked to size and body surface area, usually decreasing with weight loss and hence body size…

                Of possible interest-

                http://hypothermics.com/2015/10/starvation-mode/

                http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/met.2014.0027

                I agree with you, and it has a lot to do with ‘species-specific diet’, absorption/fiber effect rather than calories (we don’t burn our food unlike a calorie counter), human microbiome, caloric density, hunger/satiety and many many more factors!




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                1. Thank you to the moderators for alerting me to the need for iodine,B12, etc. I thought digestion consumes the largest amount of calories and was happy chomping away. Food must be burned down but, greens make digestion more efficient therefore, it may consume a lot less calories. The Ayurvedic system of medicine (hindu) seems more and more clear. Metabolic types such as Vata, Pita and Kapha describe fast to slow metabolisms. The inclusion of nature’s elements like air, fire and water makes it more clear. A Kapha person has a very slow metabolism and is made of water while pita is fire and digestive juices are high. I will continue eating beans. They are the most balanced food around consisting of carbohydrates and protein. Their fiber content is high usually above 10 grams. Rice, on the other hand, has a very high carbohydrate content and a portion has only 4 grams of fiber. Brown rice to me seems white with a few specks of brown. There are also other methods of speeding up metabolism like exercise and strength training but requires readiness in every aspect of living. Walking for instance is not a good exercise since that’s what we do most of the time AND particularly when everything is going the way of gravity. I will continue following Dr. Fuhrmans advice. He makes the most sense to me.




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                  1. I did lose weight following Fuhrmans advice…then nothing…how could I not lose the weight I needed eating raw and cooked veggies with 1 cup beans?…I was hungry…found McDougall and looked at the populations that consume starch as the center of their diet…it works…I now eat my starches to satisfaction, enjoy vegetables alongside and a piece or two of fruit…NO MEAT, DAIRY, ADDED OILS, FISH, etc…I am thriving…I walk 1.5 miles per day (moderate pace) … (like a gazelle on my feet)… and do strength training and conditioning…lots of energy and feeling and looking good…




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                    1. That’s interesting. People are different, the Fuhrman is what works for me and the Mcdougall puts too much weight on. It’s good that we have both approaches out there.




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              3. I can attest to this as well…and good to point people to McDougall…working for me…down 38 lbs and lots of energy…




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        1. Curious Carrot – Sorry for the delay in answering you. I threw a smoothie on my laptop keyboard a few months ago and have been slowly losing characters so that I have to use an extra keyboard.

          Anyway, the consumption of beans gives you two forms of fiber, soluble and insoluble that helps pull fat out of your system. If you eat beans three times a day on a WFPB diet, you will lose weight. This should be a strong enough dietary factor that it will counteract the slowing metabolic rate you get when you consume foods that slow your metabolic rate.

          You can also speed up your metabolic rate by consuming certain foods. I think that Penn Jillette said that his wife would peel a bunch of oranges and leave a bowl of them in the fridge so he could pound those down when he got hungry. I think spicy food also raises your metabolic rate, so you could put some cayenne on those greens. You can probably run a search in google to find those foods.

          Another thing you could do is raise your metabolic rate by using other forces, like cold. Drink a cold glass of water or tea and your body has to warm it up which should raise your metabolic rate. Take a shower and vary the temperature from cold to warm for ten second intervals ten times and you will raise your metabolic rate. Don’t cover your entire body when you are cold and instead put on socks and gloves to make yourself feel warm. Sleep without covers and if you feel cold put on those socks and gloves instead of covering yourself. Ray Cronise is the person who is developing this line of thinking. He is a former NASA scientist who became interested in hypothermics several years ago. He was Penn Jillette’s trainer when he decided to lose weight a few years ago. Here’s his website: http://hypothermics.com/

          I haven’t resorted to many extreme measures for my weight loss though. I am trying to learn to be more cold tolerant, and I do use a cold bath to help relieve muscle pain. What I have used to lose weight is a WFPB diet and the consumption of beans. I don’t exercise much, and I am kind of naughty when it comes to eating nuts. But, I have still lost over 60 pounds. It has taken 20 months to do so, but my weight is still going down.




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        2. The metabolism thing is very poorly misunderstood. A slow metabolism is an indicator of good health. What is a fast metabolism? Well, a fast metabolism means your body needs more energy to maintain its resting metabolic processes. When you are overweight, or lack physical conditioning, your resting metabolic rate is higher because your body needs to use more energy to keep things operating smoothing. It is like driving with a flat tire on a pickup that is loaded to the max. It is harder to move, so more energy is required.

          When you exercise, you are conditioning your body to operate more efficiently. Yes, your metabolism is much higher when you exercise, but your resting metabolism becomes slower over time. This is why it is harder to lose weight at a consistent rate. You start off losing weight quickly, but then things slow down.

          An athletes goal in increasing performance to to develop their highest metabolic processes at full exertion, and decrease their resting metabolic process. The difference between these two is ones maximum performance.

          The way to increase your metabolism when losing weight is through increased activity. You certainly don’t want to do it through food, because that means making oneself unfit.




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          1. Metabolism is usually expressed as a rate. I don’t see how it’s meaningful to say a 400 pound man has a higher metabolism than a 100 pound woman, all things equal. Of course the man has a higher metabolism. That’s almost a given. Also, it’s possible that the woman has a higher metabolism than the man, and that only works when metabolism is expressed as a rate.




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            1. No, there are actually calculators that can give people a rough idea of their Basal Metabolic Rate.
              400 Pound man = 2,756 kcal/day. 100 Pound Woman = 1,134 kcal/day. This can go up by as much as 30% depending on fitness level, body composition, genetics, etc. By that still would never put a 100 pound woman above a 400 pound man.




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      1. Yep, taking out green leafys does not work because then that will just drive you to eat more because your body is not getting the nutrition it needs. I’ve tried it, doesn’t work.




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    1. People who are conventional eaters reduce the amount of protein in their diet, that is cut down on beef and chicken. Some overweight individuals do not touch carbo-hydrates claiming they gain weight. So what is it? a small dose of cholesterol we need to take to accomplish weight loss. There is protein in TVP and is pure. My belief is people are addicted to cholesterol since they cannot give it up and must be portioned like a bad drug yet they lose weight……




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        1. This is absolutely the best explanation of what protein is, how we use it, and why animal protein is not only unneeded, but dangerous, especially in the amounts most people eat it these days.

          She makes an important point about the increase of kidney disease and failure, one of the epidemics brought on by our SAD diet. It reminded me of a story my cousin told. He has always been entrepreneurial, and operates as a kind of business fixer upper. He buys small chains of businesses, improves them, then sells them for a profit. Probably 10-15 years ago he was looking at a chain of dialysis centers in the southern states. These centers were in small towns, so he asked the seller how he could know if a town was large enough to support a dialysis center. “Easy. Look to see if there is a water tower for the town. If there is, it has at least 3,500 people. Then drive around and look at fast food places. If there are three fried chicken places, the town will support a dialysis center!”




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          1. Rebecca Cody: Wow. That’s pretty powerful. And kind of funny in a sick way. Well, we pass the “dialysis test” in my town. :-O




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      1. I am not aware of any mechanism by which cholesterol may be addictive. I can’t imagine that feeding people pure cholesterol would help them go vegan or overcome any “addiction” to meat or dairy.




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    2. I would like to believe it’s more complicated than that! Caloric density at the least would suggest eating large amounts of greens would easily displace 100 calories from elsewhere…




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    3. No because greens are among the lowest-calorie foods available. Anything you replace them with will almost certainly add 100 calories. If just eating a plant-based diet doesn’t get you down to a healthy weight, I’d imagine you have problems that cannot be addressed with diet.




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    4. I think It’s like adding gas to a car in one instance and adding gas to a car with 5% water mixed in it. Since the water cannot be used as fuel by the car, it adds to the weight of the car and even though the car is heavier (with water left in the gas tank), it runs out of energy faster.




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  2. Food safety question:
    I accidentally left some washed, chopped romaine lettuce in the salad spinner on the counter over night. It is still crispy. Is it safe to eat if I just re-wash it?




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        1. I should mention one thing, that I seldom see addressed, your lettuce is still alive with enzymes, so even if its cut it should not take on any harmful bacteria .
          Now I see common mistakes with cooked food all the time, for example potatoes , they must be refrigerated or they go sour very quickly and its possible that its botulism , don,t want to try that…lol




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          1. In fact, Jo Robinson, who wrote the great book “Living on the Wild Side”, recommends cutting lettuce one day before eating it, because it greatly increases in antioxidants. Apparently, the lettuce is “defending itself” with antioxidants during that 24 hour period. Then eat.
            John




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          2. Not true at all, unless maybe they have animal products in them, which is a whole different story. Fermented mashed potatoes are actually a traditional way of eating them, and the microbes of fermentation prevent botulism from proliferating. it is improperly canned foods that are the most risky. People seem to forget our modern conveniences like refrigeration haven’t been around very long…but we have!




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            1. I can.t disagree with you until I know what you mean by fermented as it was I was not talking about fermented potatos , only leaving potatoes out to go sour is not fermented as they would be exposed to air, when you ferment sauerkraut you do so with salt and exclude air right, so as to get the lactic acid build up as your preservitive , which would make your ferment safe to eat.
              I really have no problem with fermented foods . Not to sure they are a benefit . I have found very similar benefits in eating coleslaw with a vinegar dressing to sauerkraut for example , also even cooked sweet n sour cabbage cheers!




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      1. Sauer kraut and kim chee are chopped cabbage that has been left out to ferment, with only the native lactic acid producing bacteria doing the work. My understanding is that, for the most part (I am sure there are exceptions), the bacteria that grow on leafy vegetables are not harmful or even beneficial. Also, if it appeals to the eye and the nose, it tends to be good for us. We have a powerful built-in ability to tell food from garbage.




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        1. Careful with this line of reasoning. The bacteria that are being cultured in kimchi and saerkraut are anaerobic, which is why when you make them, you submerge the vegetables in brine.

          If you’re not vigilant to do this, the top layer of kimchi that is exposed to air may build up aerobic organisms like yeasts and molds on the surface.

          So it’s not a good idea to assume that cabbage left out in the air is fermenting in the same way as in sauerkraut. I don’t think leaving it out for 24 hours is dangerous, but you definitely wouldn’t want to eat cabbage left out in the air for the same amount of time (weeks) that it takes to make sauerkraut. In some fruits there are enough sugars and liquid already to ensure fermentation even when the fruit is just left to rot (so animals are happy to eat it and get drunk). But in cabbage you’ll more likely just get a rotten cabbage as the sugars aren’t present in sufficient levels.




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          1. Actually the thin white film that first forms on sauerkraut is the probiotic kalm yeast. What you have to watch out for, is if you leave it longer and you get hairy blue and green mold. Then throw it out. It also starts to smell bad.
            John




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    1. lemonhead: Keep an eye on how many up-votes that esben is getting in the reply to your post.

      I can’t think of any reason that lettuce wouldn’t be perfectly safe to eat. Produce often lasts longer when refrigerated, but that practice is more about preserving the food longer than an attempt at preventing the kind of food poisoning that one can get from say meat and dairy left out on the counter. That’s my understanding anyway.




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        1. Renae: Your point is well taken! Thanks!

          Here are my thoughts: (Though that’s true of meat and dairy and egg too, I believe. Ie, I think it is understood that food poisoning is an issue of contamination?) To my knowledge, I have never personally had a problem nor heard of one “in the wild”. Ie, I haven’t heard of real people getting sick because some lettuce or other produce just because it was left out. (Produce gets contaminated and there are recalls. I just haven’t heard of people getting sick because someone left out some lettuce for a few hours. Then again, would anyone have reported that kind of problem?) As another point, I leave tomatoes and certain fruits on the counter. People are even advised to not refrigerate tomatoes for best tomato flavor and texture.

          To support your point: I think there might be a difference in lettuce safety if we are talking about bagged, pre-cut lettuce. I have heard that bagged lettuce was tested at one point and found to have e.coli in it, and more ecoli was found the closer it got to the expiration date–and this was true even when refrigerated the whole time. But I’m guessing that if someone was using bagged lettuce and left it out for a long time, the warmer temps would allow the e.coli to grow even faster.

          My bottom line is: In practice, it seems like leaving some greens out on the counter over night would not be a general health hazard, but my experience and knowledge is limited, so I’m glad you posted your post. Thanks.




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          1. Exactly, it’s largely faecal contamination leading to infection of things such as salmonella, E.coli and listeria. The actual infections/diseases that affect plants cannot infect humans (eg. tobacco mosaic virus). The issue is run-off, water and pesticides containing these getting into food crops.

            Yes exactly with regard to E.coli. The reason temperature is relevant is that these grow over about 40 degrees F. Pre-cut salads have increased risk due to increased handling and increased surface area for oxidation, contamination exposure and bacterial growth.

            I’d personally rather not risk potentially fatal infection for the sake of saving a few dollars on lettuce leaves!




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    2. With regard to food safety, if there is any question at all, throw it out.

      Wrong one time could be the last time, so with food, don’t take chances. You might be right but who wants to play this version of vegetable roulette?




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      1. For example salmonella grows between about 5-47 degrees C, E.coli grows between about 10-45 degrees C. The FDA suggests keeping salads below 41 degrees F/5 degrees C. So if your salad was in warmer weather than that… probably best to not consume it!




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          1. A dilute vinegar is the most effective for washing produce, but many bacteria form biofilms that cannot just be washed off, and some bacteria can penetrate into the produce as well.

            I’d personally rather not risk potentially fatal infection for the sake of saving a few dollars on lettuce leaves!




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            1. Ensuring that all your food is sterile is a way to decrease the population of your gut microbiome. That way you get less gut biodiversity, more auto immune conditions, more leaky gut, and more digestion problems overall. I think a balance is probably a healthier way to look at it overall. If you see every vegetable that is a couple of hours old as fatal, you aren’t going to help yourself.
              John




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              1. How did we ever survive before the refrigerator? lol I agree, my gramma used to eat stuff that would scare most people today, and not only didn’t she get poisoned, she was never sick even in her 80’s when her great grandkids were sneezing all over her! I’m all for good sense and limiting obvious risk, but seems we are just paranoid of “germs” in general…and I don’t see the payoff, people are certainly not healthier.




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              2. No food is sterile! And even if it was, the second you touch it, it no longer is! I do agree with you however in regard to microbiome and our over-sanitised nation however… it’s a catch 22 between food-bourne illness, water-bourne illness and our internal flora sometimes!




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          1. I’m definitely not perfect either, but for advice (along with the belief system of nutritionfacts)… research and evidence is better than n=1 studies :)




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  3. As of late, I have been wilting about 12 ounces of a spinach, swiss chard, kale mix into my pasta sauce made with a large onion, 6 oz can of tomato paste, 14.5 oz can of tomato and beans, minced extra firm tofu and spiced with some fennel seeds, garlic and jalapeños. It is pretty think by the time it is ready. The flavor of the fennel seeds and the texture of the tofu is reminiscent sausage. It is very hearty.

    I often times pass on the whole wheat pasta and just eat it like a stew and feel perfectly satisfied. Other times, I use it as a taco filling. In light of the data present today, it would seem that it is the inherent goodness of the greens go a long way to explain why my low calorically dense meal is so filling, and keeps me satisfied for a long time. I find that if I have it for lunch, I find that I will often times skip dinner.

    Greens are super nutrition and instead of making one hungrier like the empty calorie fabricated edible food like products that commonly populate grocery shelves, they fill you up, help you burn off excess body fat and bestow longevity in the process.
    To borrow and paraphrase an Ad campaign slogan from the Beef Industry Council:
    “Greens–Real Food for Really Healthy People!”




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      1. They are separate cans of no salt added tomatoes and beans. I rotate the variety beans that I use among, pinto, kidney, black, cannellini, great northerns, etc. etc. etc. I start by wilting the onions in hot water; add the paste; add the tomatoes; simmer; add the beans; simmer; add the spice and tofu; simmer briefly; wilt the greens, and server…
        Enjoy!




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        1. Hi Joe: I guess you use BPA-free cans; which brand do you use? Lately, I’ve been hearing, anecdotally, that BPA-substitute in cans is worse than BPA Any comments? (I do eat beans, but not a lot. The reason is the BPA issue.) Thanks joe




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          1. How about cooking it the old fashioned way: soak dried beans overnight and use fresh tomatoes. No matter how you cook it, I think this is a good meal!




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            1. Nancy: I agree with you; the safest, and probably cheapest, way is to cook bean from scratch. But it’s not practical for me to do that regularly. I work 40+ miles away from home and am a single parent. If I want to eat beans regularly, I have to use canned or frozen beans.




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              1. Have you looked at buying an instant pot? I used to use a lot of canned beans, but now I cook them all from scratch, 30 mins, no soaking and done, turn out so much better than cans.




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                1. Renae: Since we are talking about food safety, Harriet Sugar Miller has made a good point over the years about the dangers of slow cooking beans. Here is one of her posts on the topic: http://nutritionfacts.org/2015/12/24/which-works-better-adding-beans-or-portion-control/#comment-2444532409 I looked into it once, and while I initially “poo-pooed” the concern since lots of people slow/low cook beans, the idea has grown traction with me over time. One of the links Harriet supplied (link may or may not be in the post I found above) linked to a government article that talked about plenty of real people getting really sick after eating slow cooked beans, especially kidney beans. That gives me pause. Do you have some thoughts on the matter?




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                  1. Interesting… I would have to look into it. I cook my beans on high in the slow cooker, so they boil above 100 degrees C for multiple hours, which seems well above the minimum to ensure safety. I just use the slow cooker so I don’t have to watch/stir them!




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                  2. My first question is were those beans cooked with bacon, ham hocks, ham, or other meats? Not far fetched to think that the meat may have been the real culprit.




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                    1. Wilma: I can see why you would “go there”, but the answer is “no.” If you click on the links in Harriet’s post, you can see that the paper is talking about a component intrinsic to beans, that if not destroyed can make us very sick.
                      .
                      That component gets destroyed when the beans are cooked with high enough temperature. The problem with slow cookers is that by definition, the temperature is relatively low. Some beans are inherently more of a problem than others. It’s worth checking out the links if you are interested or you do any slow cooking of beans.




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                    2. I don’t think slow cooking is really a problem. The article said that the beans had to be cooked above 176 degrees F which is pretty low. Most slow cookers/crock pots are cooking above that unless they are just on the warm setting (which is not the setting you would cook on). Think about it, water boils at 212 and most crock pot cooking is done at a low simmer. You won’t get a low simmer at 176. If you open a crock pot at the end of cooking you’ll usually have steam. If you have steam you’re fine. It’s anecdotal, but I watched my mother cook dried beans in a crock pot for as long as I can remember and our family ate them my whole life growing up and never once have any of us gotten sick from them.




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                    3. payoung: re: “I watched my mother cook dried beans in a crock pot for as long as I can remember and our family ate them my whole life growing up and never once have any of us gotten sick from them.” That was my type of original thinking too.

                      But then I saw that clusters of people were getting sick from batches of beans high in a substance that breaks down with cooking above 176. And from what I can tell, slow cookers/crock pots come with various temperature settings, including low, medium and high. According to Wikipedia, the range in temperatures for a slow cooker starts at 174. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_cooker And I can imagine that some cookers may not be precise or may break down and not get as hot as they are supposed to over time. So, it’s easy to imagine a family cooking some beans in a slow cooker that does not make it to the required temperature.

                      My bottom line is: while I don’t think slow cooked beans is a major health problem to worry about, I personally would recommend slow cooking beans only if I also included a warning that it should be done on the higher temperature settings. With the raw movement going strong, I can totally see people thinking that the lower the setting the better… Such a warning would just prevent that kind of error.




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                    4. I should also add: I don’t know if it is true or not, but I have read that modern slow cookers get a lot hotter than older slow cookers. So, maybe this isn’t an issue to worry about any more…




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                    5. Point well taken, especially regarding the raw food enthusiasts. So does this apply to things like sprouted lentils or sprouted garbanzos or does the sprouting negate the danger. When I first went WFPB 15 years ago I went through a phase when I bantered with going raw and used to eat sprouted beans particularly lentils and garbanzos fairly often. I didn’t like them because they were so hard but I did eat them and they didn’t make me sick. I didn’t read the article you linked so perhaps it specified which beans were most harmful.




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                    6. payyoung: It’s been a long time since I read the article. Alas, the post that I linked to above was not the post that Harriet had once replied to me with long ago. I couldn’t find that post, and I think it had more links or at least one more link with a lot more detail. (I wish I could find that info again, but at the time I felt satisfied with what I had learned and did not save it.) I remember having to dig deep in at least one of them to get to the right spot. If I remember correctly, the bean with the highest __ (was it a lecithin or something?) was red kidney beans. One other bean may have come close, but of the beans tested, red kidney beans was the clear “winner” (if I remember correctly).
                      .
                      I don’t think they addressed sprouted beans. That’s a good question. My understanding is that the sprouting process often serves some of the same functionality as cooking in terms of removing “anti-nutrients”. But I really have no clue. Also, if I remember correctly, the problem really seemed to sprout up in groups which makes me think that the beans may have more or less of ___ depending on growing conditions. I think the paper which I Iooked at was all about people in England. If so, then maybe in America, beans might have less of this toxic component and be less of a concern???




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                    7. Thanks, I’m going to be on the lookout for more info on this, i eat a lot of beans and usually cook my own. i rarely slow cook them though and when i do it’s at a relatively high temperature (around 250) so I’m good. Just curious.




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                    8. I remember reading about that a couple of years ago, but the only beans I thought are problematic are kidney beans. And I think it said you could boil them 15 minutes and then slow cook them and they would be safe. Since my memory may be faulty it would probably be best to research this if you plan to slow cook beans.




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                    9. Thanks for the clarification. I did not know that, and luckily, never have used the slow cooker to cook beans.




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              2. Maybe this is too extreme for you but I can my own beans for the reason you gave and to save money as well but still have the convenience of ready to eat beans. It is really easy if you have the pressure cooker (not the instant pot. I would not trust the IP for canning vegetables because it is low pressure). If it came down to canned or no beans, I would definitely eat the canned beans. They are soo good for you I’m pretty sure the good would outweigh the bad.




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            2. Just don’t add the tomatoes until the beans are cooked. The acid in the tomatoes makes the bean skins really tough and extends the cooking time of the beans. In an early failure I added tomatoes at the start of slow cooking some pinto beans. 12 hours later and the beans were still hard. Ended up throughout it all out.




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              1. I just cooked a batch of old beans, which also seem to never soften, and ended up pureeing them before I froze them for soups, sauces whatever.




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            3. Just don’t add the tomatoes until the beans are cooked. The acid in the tomatoes makes the bean skins really tough and extends the cooking time of the beans. In an early failure I added tomatoes at the start of slow cooking some pinto beans. 12 hours later and the beans were still hard. Ended up throughout it all out.




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          2. After hearing bad things about BPA and it’s substitutes, especially for acidic foods like tomato paste, I found a brand of tomato paste at Whole foods that is packaged in glass jars. It’s imported from Italy and of course costs more. It’s puzzling why some U.S. company doesn’t use glass for these acidic foods, but I haven’t found one yet. It would certainly cost less for us consumers than those being imported from abroad.




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            1. HaltheVegan: I don’t know if you will be able to get it where you are or not, but Eden brand sells tomatos in glass jars as well as their canned line.




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                1. Which doesn’t help with the bean situation. ha ha Any entrepreneurs out there who want to can beans in glass?




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                    1. Renae: That’s way cool. That brand does not appear to be in my part of the country, but I may check to see if I can order some or something. I’ve never seen jarred beans before, but maybe I could get a local store to start stocking. Cooked beans stored in glass seems like a nice improvement. But if it’s not salt-free, then I would have another hard choice to make as I really like the Eden salt-free, preserved with good iodine containing seaweed… Choices, choices. Thanks.




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                    2. Hey Thea, which country are you in? I saw frozen ones at wholefoods yesterday too! And they were salt free :)




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                    3. Renae: I’m in the USA, Northwest area. I’ve seen frozen edamame and lima beans. I can’t remember if I’ve seen any others. I buy frozen edamama fairly often. I just thaw and eat. I think frozen is likely a great option! Though I hope they aren’t put into the bags while hot.




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              1. Unfortunately Eden sued to prevent their employee’s insurance from providing birth control because of the CEOs religious beliefs so I avoid them.




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                1. Seriously? Their moral stance about a personal issue and not the product quality is the determining factor? Wow, I’m in big trouble because apparently I’ve been drawing the line in all the wrong places…




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                2. Wegan: Oh bummer. I’m very sad to hear that. Thanks for sharing, though. I think that kind of information is important to know.




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            2. Also, the supermarket, Safeway, carries their own store brand “Organics” of organic tomato sauce with no artificial ingredients, additives or sugar added. And it is in glass jars and tastes great with all the spices that are in it like basil, etc.




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            3. We do have some brands of tomatoes in glass but what about pears and peaches, etc.? I have found them from China at Walmart. Seems sad to think I have to buy canned fruits from China to get it in glass with real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup.




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          3. If you make your own sauce from fresh tomatoes and cooked beans from dried (easy in a slow cooker!)- Problem solved :)




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        2. Joe, you and how many others eat all this at a single meal? In our house it would probably serve six! But there are only two of us and my husband will only eat leftovers once. It could all be frozen for future meals, of course.




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          1. Rebecca, The total energy content for the recipe is about 1,200 calories. If one eats it alone as a casserole, that’s about 2-3 servings depending on the appetite of those being fed. If one were to serve it with two oz. of whole wheat pasta which runs about 200 calories, it’s about 3-4 servings. I hope that helps…




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    1. Great recipe, but that’s a lot of canned food. Other than Eden, I think most of them are still lined with BPA, BPS, or other endocrine disruptors… just sayin’… if you’re goal is great health, don’t mess with cans any more than necessary.

      Oops, just saw the other commenters below. Yes, BPS is considered even worse than BPA. Manufactures are playing a shall game with toxic resins.




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      1. I have a pressure cooker, and often cook beans from scratch, but I alway keep a few cans of beans in the larder as well for the odd occasion when I haven’t sufficiently planned ahead.

        Tomatoes are a bit of a bother. I only source organic tomatoes because they are quite good at absorbing pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. They are not always in season, and it seems as there are precious few things more expensive than out of season organic tomatoes so I usually end up using canned organic tomatoes and tomato paste. You can source bottled tomatoes paste, but they are not as convenient and the caps are plasticized so one is still getting BPA’s or BPS’s in their food.

        Plasticizing cans was a way to avoid metals contamination. Plastics were thought to be neutral. They are not. It was just the next step on the technology trap. I suppose that if one’s goal is to do what they can to eliminate all BPA exposure, one would do one’s best to avoid food packaging which seems like a pretty tall order because even the food in the bulk bins have come in some sort of packaging, and those bulk bins are made of plastic. Eating as much fresh organic food as one can get seems the best one can do.




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        1. Yeah and apparently the bulk bins are also a good source of insect infestation because a couple of bags I’d put aside were full of some little black bugs and grain moths! I’d call it free protein…but could you consider it WFPB? lol




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    2. That is a great hearty meal thanks for sharing that. Have you tried rice vermiccili if you don’t like the wheat pasta? I use that sometimes in my hearty bean soup and is good .




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      1. Foroogh, I have, and do indeed like it. I have always been partial to Pho which has it in abundance. I occasionally find vegan Pho, although the last time I had it, it contained so much sodium that it was’t the joyful experience I remembered.

        My son is gluten intolerant so when he dines with me, I will serve food that conforms to his dietary requirements. My preference is to use whole brown rice pasta because it is made whole grain. Trader Joe’s has a good selection. It is a bit more spendy, but it is not gritty like other whole brown rice pastas I have tried. That also goes for their whole wheat pasta as well. It is pretty good stuff.




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        1. Joe Caner: I’m a huge fan of the brown rice pastas also! I’m totally pro-gluten, but that pasta has both the right texture and comes from a whole grain. Yumm and healthy.




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    3. I feel the same… the decreased caloric burn equation is likely to be more complicated and NOT a reason to decrease vegetable consumption for weight loss!




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    4. Every meal should have some (healthy) fat in it since some phytonutrients require it for absorption. Throw some nuts of your choice in there. And intact grains are better than processed grains so try to transition off the pasta to something like red rice, buckwheat, etc.




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        1. Would this also apply to berries? Should we eat a few seeds or nut along with our berries to increase phytonutrient absorption?




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            1. But veggies contain fat also, like everything, but studies show that your nutrient absoption goes way up when you have an overt fat source with your veggies or salad. We might also get a bit more absorption from our berries if we add a tiny bit of additional fat.




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              1. Ben, . . how bout you share those studies with us that you say show the nutrient absorption goes way up? Since this site is science based (which is why we like the information here) I think it appropriate for you to share the goods with us. . . Would love to see the studies you are referring to. Thanks!!




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                1. GEBrand: Here’s an old NutritionFacts video on the topic: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/forego-fat-free-dressings/ A quote: “This is how much we get from reduced fat dressing—with the open circles, and at the bottom—the triangles—is the amount of this nutrition you absorb from a fat-free salad. Same salad, but we absorb essentially nada, zero.”
                  .
                  Dr. Greger has since clarified, including in his new book How Not To Die, that he recommends eating that salad with whole plants containing lots of fat such as nuts (also perhaps referred to as an overt source of fat as Ben put it) over using extracted oils on a salad. But the point is, if you believe the above studies, then Ben is right that the fat in the veggies themselves is not enough if you are going for absorbing some of the important phytonutrients from greens. Which also begs the question of whether eating berries with some say seeds would improve phytonutrient absorption.
                  .
                  I’ll put this discussion further with this: I believe it is Jeff Novick who wrote an interesting perspective on this finding – which went something like this (if I remember correctly): Who cares. In the context of a whole plant food diet, one does not need to absorb every last nutrient. And while I can’t remember if it was part of his argument or not, but I would ask the further question of: How good is it to absorb those nutrients in quantities that might be “unnatural”? Over time, could it be akin to taking the single nutrient vitamins or other pills that we take and find to generally be harmful over time? It’s just a question, but one I think worth our researchers exploring at some point in far future.




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                  1. I would still, nonetheless, be interested to see the references when someone states “but studies show”. What are those studies and what do they show, exactly? Greger lists his studies so that we can all go look at them and see the whole background of his statements. When someone states “but studies show” I, as a neuroscientist, am instantly interested in just exactly what studies one might be referring to and like to see for myself just “what studies show”. And, given that this is a scientifically based website, ultimately, its a legitimate point to bring up.

                    There is also the perspective that the majority of plant-based grazing animals on this earth don’t worry about whether or not they are slathering sufficient oil on their dinner or consuming enough nuts to create enough micro nutrient absorption. Or increased micronutrient absorption (your point).
                    Many folks, still, do not realize that when they are eating plants that there is fat in a plant. Or protein either for that matter. You and I, Thea, go back and forth over these issues while the silverback gorilla simply eats his dinner night after night without worrying about the correct proportion of micronutrients and whether or not his ‘wife’ has served his salad with oil or nuts.
                    Here is the nutrient profile for kale, 16% protein, 72% complex carbohydrate, 12% fat with a complete essential amino acid profile and extremely high nutrient profile:
                    http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2 (Please note that I site my source for everyone to access).

                    Berries have their own seeds attached. So does winter squash (but we like to pull them out, roast them, and eat them separately as “pumpkin seeds” sprinkling them on our salads just to make sure we’re getting “enough fat” . . .when all we have to really do is eat the whole fruit. . which is what elephants do when they are given winter squash. As do other animals.

                    One very interesting point of observation for me is this: virtually all of the WFPB physicians (McDougall, Campbell, Esselstyn, et. al) advocate a very low fat diet. . . .approximately 10% for optimal health. It is not lost on me that kale has a 12% fat content. I don’t think Mother Nature made any mistake there. And I don’t think Mother Nature wanted us to overthink this and come to the conclusion that slathering extra fat on her brilliantly engineered kale was necessary. I have not done this, . . but I would make a hunch-type guess here that if one were to analyze the fat/protein/carbohydrate profile of a winter squash, . . .kobacha, let’s say, . . .that, in total, I would wager that when it is all said and done the entire squash would have a fat profile of, say, . . .somewhere around 10% or so. (Just a hunch)
                    But we humans are going to want to put avocado, olive, hazlenut, sesame, (ad infinitum) oil on it and serve it alongside sunflower seeds or cashews, or walnuts (you get the idea) because we think that Mother Nature has somehow made a big fat mistake. Pun only semi-intended.

                    I say eat the whole kobacha squash (seeds included), eat the whole kale, eat the whole horizon of plant foods that grow on this earth and stop worrying about whether or not you’ve slathered enough extra fat on everything.




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                    1. GEBrand: re: “What are those studies and what do they show, exactly? … its a legitimate point to bring up.” It’s legitimate to ask if you don’t know it. I jumped in only because the idea that salads/greens need some extra fat in order for human bodies to absorb some of the important phytonutrients is generally well understood in our society now, and I didn’t know if Ben knew of the NutritionFacts video and thus how easy it would be to find the actual scientific references. I was being helpful.
                      .
                      In general, I appreciated your ideas in your post. I was with you in general until you got to this statement: “Berries have their own seeds attached.” They do, but I think berry seeds are more likely to “pass through” the way that whole flaxseeds do than be absorbed by the human body. That’s just my guess, but I have a hard time believing that a seed which is smaller than a flaxseed and at least as hard as a flaxseed would be digested when a flaxseed is not.
                      .
                      Advocating for 10% fat is interesting to me, because I have recently researched that topic for another poster. As an FYI: I don’t think Dr. Greger promotes 10% fat. He doesn’t like to give percentages. I wonder what the percentages come out to when the Daily Dozen is eaten? I imagine that there is a wide range of percentages depending on the specific foods chosen by a person, but I suspect even so that the percentage would be above 10% since Dr. Greger recommends both 1 tablespoon of flaxseed and 1/4 cup nuts. (But I haven’t calculated it, so I’m just guessing.)
                      .
                      Brenda Davis is a well respected RD in the plant based community. Brenda Davis wrote a book along with Vesanto Melina MS, RD called Becoming Vegan. In the Becoming Vegan book, the authors advocate for WPFB diets to be between 15 to 30% fat, with people with obesity or chronic illnesses aiming for the lower part of the range. The authors consider 10% to be very low fat and give a list of bullet points explaining risks involved with diets that are that low in fat. I don’t fully agree that that bulleted list is largely applicable for the generic person, but I think they make some good points. Also, there have been people over time who have posted on the NutritionFacts forum who have reported having problems on McDougall/Esselstyn/etc type diets. Those problems went away when the people added more fat to the whole plant food diet. My point is that while I personally think that 30% fat is too high for most people, I guess that aiming for something closer to 15-20% (if someone is determined to eat by percentages) makes more sense than that 10% for the generally healthy average person. McDougall, etc. are generally dealing with the extra-sick population and diets appropriate for that population may not be as applicable for the general person.
                      .
                      Finally, as a counter-point to the type of argument, “elephants eat this way…”, the goal of NutritionFacts seems to me to be to figure out the optimal diet for humans, not necessarily the one that gets us by “naturally”, which is about all the elephants and gorillas would be able to manage. So, getting those extra phytonutrients may be really helpful. I think Dr. Greger also makes a good case (for adding those nuts to a salad) in general across lots of videos (which I’m not going to cite. It’s been a long day. :-) ).

                      .
                      I realize that I’m arguing all over the place. That’s because the issue is not settled for me, and I see both sides. I think the science is not settled yet either. So, when these types of discussions come up, I feel obligated to point out the other side (whichever that is) as I don’t think it’s a simple matter.




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                    2. For future reference- 1 TBLS ground flax (about 3g fat) + 1/4 cup nuts (about 15-20g fat) is roughly 20g total fat, so based on the ‘average 2000 calorie diet’.. depending what other foods are eaten (e.g. rice Vs oatmeal), this would be roughly 10% fat from Dr Greger’s daily dozen..




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                    3. Renea: Thanks for doing the math! So, the Daily Dozen would definitely be over 10% total since there would be fat in other foods too.




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                    4. No problem! I like doing things like that!
                      I actually did a sample once on MFP-
                      Using (following order of ap)-
                      1.5 cups kidney beans
                      0.5 cups blueberries
                      1 medium banana, 1 medium apple, 1 cup sliced strawberries
                      1/2 cup broccoli
                      2 cups raw spinach
                      1/2 cup mushrooms, 1/2 cup cooked tomatoes
                      1 TBLSP ground flax
                      1/4 cup walnuts
                      1/4 tsp Turmeric
                      1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, 1/2 cup cooked wild rice, 1/2 cup cooked millet

                      Totals-
                      1,086 calories, 28g fat (252 calories from fat) = 23%

                      So that’s to meet the minimums of the ap… but again depends what else you add, for example, if you eat 2,000 calories- what are you adding for the the extra 1,000! For example 10 bananas add 4 g of fat, making total fat 32g (14.4% of calories) or say from oatmeal (about 15g extra fat, making total fat 19.35% calories. I’d say following the guidelines would leave most in the range of 10-25%, if no added overt fats on top of the recommendations, depending on daily caloric intake…




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                    5. I also like to see the references when told studies say. I think you are right about a lot of things, perhaps a bit extreme. I wouldn’t eat the seeds and all of a winter squash. But in general, I agree. However as a follower of Dr. McDougall, his 10% fat is not for every individual food – it is for total calories in a day. Eating like animals is not optimum since we among all mammals can not make our own vitamin C. Perhaps there are other differences, also.




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              2. I see your point in some cases, but most people are struggling more from diseases of excess than from micronutrient deficiencies… The issue also with reductionist science as presented in most studies is it ‘may’ miss the big picture. Sure, fat soluble nutrient absorption will be increased… but will that maybe decrease the absorption of other components… what’s the overall net outcome? I’m open to be wrong but it seems hard to believe our most natural foods need some arbitrary combing to absorb the nutrients to a sufficient level…




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        2. Actually, the USDA considers soybeans a nut rather than a bean because they contain so much fat.
          Soy beans are a wonderful plant food to cook with, but they are high in fat and will keep you from losing weight if you eat too many of them. That is not true of other beans.




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          1. I don’t give a rat’s tail what the USDA calls a soybean, it is not a nut. A nut has only one seed in a hard shell that will not open by itself. A legume has multiple seeds in a pod that will start to open by itself. I agree that they are wonderful to cook with.




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            1. Okay, but they are still high in fat. Last year I ate soybeans for about three months and they did not have the same effect as other beans. I quit losing weight for those three months If I eat other beans three times a day, I lose weight.

              So, though they are a wonderful food to cook with, I consume the whole bean only a few times a month and I use other soy products like tofu in their place.




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              1. That doesn’t surprise me, 2tsaybow. Dr. McDougall calls them rich and suggests limited use. Three times a day is what I would call heavy use.




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                1. Wilma Laura Wiggins you stated, “I don’t give a rat’s tail what the USDA calls a soybean, it is not a nut. A nut has only one seed in a hard shell that will not open by itself.”
                  That was a response to my statement that the USDA says soybeans have as much fat as a nut. So, why when you know that is true because you agree with what Dr. McDougall says, do you disagree with the USDA stating that soybeans are high in fat.

                  Where is the contradiction? I am confused with your objection to the USDA saying that these creamy little legumes are high in fat. They can therefore be put in the category of a nut for consumption purposes.

                  I just didn’t want someone thinking they can eat soybeans three times a day to help lose weight. You can eat other beans three times a day and they will help you lose weight, but not soybeans.




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                  1. First, re-read your own post. You did NOT say that the USDA says soybeans have as much fat as a nut (which may be true, don’t know). You said, and I quote “Actually, the USDA considers soybeans a nut rather than a bean”. That is what I was replying to. To the rest of your post, we are in agreement and I said “That doesn’t surprise me, 2tsaybow. Dr. McDougall calls them rich and suggests limited use.”
                    If a person is trying to lose weight, soy beans even just a few times a month might be too much.




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                    1. Right, I was posting for a person who might use beans to lose weight as I have. Soybeans are not the same as other beans because they will not pull fat out of your system and they should be restricted in their consumption as you might restrict your consumption of nuts.
                      My goal here is to interact with people and give them support as they change to a WFPB diet.
                      Thanks for the botany lesson though.




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                1. The left over product from making tofu is called okara and you can cook with it as well. I believe since it is the fiber part of the product, that there is a good amount of fat in there.




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          2. I did not know that classification, though I’d disagree with that logic… I’d prefer to see foods grouped for what they are botanically! However I do agree with you, they are a high fat food, between 40-50% for most soy products (higher for processed soy nuggets and the like), and should be treated as a condiment for most people, not a health food :)




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      1. Thanks for the reminder. I often “forget” greens and I added them to my jar of spaghetti sauce this time and it was good. I find that beans, including tofu, do a lot to stave off hunger plus greens seem to also. I get almost as much “mileage” from oatmeal with soy milk. I use Westsoy brand because it has no funky ingredients like Silk – just beans and water and tastes great. Works well for homemade yogurt too. We should, imo, support companies who support our health and Westsoy does but they don’t have the megabucks of Silk to advertise. Silk has a murky background and imo do not deserve my business.




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        1. I’ve been making soy yogurt, too, and have bought the culture. Do you have another way, without having to buy cultures? The culture package (or website) says it won’t keep working from one batch to another, but I haven’t tried that yet.




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          1. If you get a wholebean soy milk with limited processing and other ingredients (such as Bonsoy brand), you can just open it, leave it in the refrigerator a few days and it congeals to yoghurt, no cultures needed :)




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            1. I buy the one with the fewest ingredients, but I’m not familiar with Bonsoy. What part of the country do you live in?




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                1. Yes, that’s what I use. I bought another brand one time and it didn’t culture very well. Reminds me…time to make a new batch of soy yogurt.




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              1. I wonder how much of this was real… I wonder how much of the iodine is destroyed with the processing. I’m sure Eden canned beans use kombu too…

                But yes, I believe it’s reformulated…




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          2. You can also usually just add a spoonful of your yoghurt to the next batch rather than using fresh cultures everytime…




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            1. Have any of you tried making it by putting the contents of a probiotic capsule in the milk? I don’t know if that would work or not.




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  4. I have been told that many Chinese people believe that warm food is better than cold food due to Chinese medicine principles regarding keeping body warm. I have met many Chinese people who avoid lettuce salad-eating for this reason and eat their greens liberally, but only after cooking. I would be quite interested in what individuals and
    the literature has to say about this.




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    1. Light cooking seems to make greens, especially tough greens like kale, more digestible, more palatable, and more nutritious. I wouldn’t kick a good salad out of bed, however.

      I am skeptical about some of the more esoteric traditional Chinese doctrine now. In the past, I was more likely to be uncritically accepting, based on the antiquity of these beliefs, which seemed to lend them substance. I am more likely now to require some proof or scientific corroboration. We humans have a superstitious side to us, as well as as a side that quests for clarity and truth.




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    2. Nan: i have no experience with Chinese traditional medicine but are very familiar with ayurveda, although not a professional. Ayurveda believes the same thing as what you’ve mentioned about the Chinese medicine. Every food has what is called the thermal nature. Some foods are warming to the body, some cooling, and the others more or less neutral. Warming foods are said to make it harder for the body to maintain body temperature during the hot season; cooling foods do the same during the cold season. So, in practical terms, what this means is that during summer, one should minimize warming foods and during winter cooling foods. How sensitive one is to the thermal nature of foods depend on one’s constitution (vata, pita, kappa) My personal experience is that there’s a lot of truth to this.




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      1. I think the ancient eastern systems may have a lot over us in terms of maintaining health and quality of life. We pride ourself on our scientific knowledge and advances yet we ignore so many foundational principles that have been practiced for ages. Living longer is not the same as dying slower!




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        1. Vege-tater, I’m going to put that in my page of quotes so I will always have quick reference: Living longer is not the same as dying slower! That sums up a lot of what Western, especially North American, medicine is about in these days of domination and dictation of medical training by Big Pharma.




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    3. There may very well be something to this. It seems like it would be an easy thing to test with a controlled study. I’ll check to see if anything like this has been done.

      I think when you talk about the “nature” of a food, you are talking about something different from the actual temperature of the food. Of course 100g of warm, cooked spinach contains maybe 10 Calories more heat than 100g of chilled spinach. But perhaps the “nature” of spinach changes when you cook it in some more fundamental way that affects metabolism, for example. I don’t know, but it seems worth looking into.




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      1. When I was treating cancer I ate a raw vegan diet, but when fall came I couldn’t stay warm. I started cooking again the day I realized that turning the heat up to 76 wasn’t helping!




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    4. I have found cold potatoes to be healthier then warm or hot. So I make potato salad and just make a nice mayanaise with tofu, vinegar, lemon, dijon mustard and a little erythritol.




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      1. And that is confirmed by the research: cold potatoes contain more resistant starch so they are healthier. For other veggies it may be not and it’s basically not about temperature but about the whole process of cooking which may or may not change the properties of a vegetable (e.g. cause some of the anticancer substances to break down).

        So my question is:
        Is spinach better served raw or boiled (in terms of nitrate content and in terms of anticancer anticancer substances content)?
        What about beets?

        Yes, you can eat both of these raw (spinach as a salad, beets as a juice) but for me it’s extremely unconvenient.

        Can ruccola be boiled?




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        1. Second day on spinach (which I basically never ate before too frequently).
          And I ate enough spinach to provide about 4 units of nitrates – as per scoring method described here:
          http://nutritionfacts.org/video/veg-Table-dietary-nitrate-scoring-method

          As the above video says we should be getting even 8 units.
          But the problem is that after 4 units I get headaches. Exactly same thing happens with beets. Too much beets and I end up with headache. Even 2 units may be a problem.

          What gives? I know, I know, I must overly sensitive, but that is strange.




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  5. Hi, what is your opinion on healing cancer with bone broth which seems to be highly touted these days. Especially based on your recent video on bone broth and lead contamination.




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    1. I would think that bone broth would be cancer promoting since you’re getting marrow from another mammal, and not even a human mammal at that. About six years ago I switched from a vegan to a paleo diet for one year to try to resolve some health issue (since properly diagnosed and treated). All that year did was ruin my health with horrible cholesterol and lab results showing my body didn’t like it. It was then that I found this site and realized something that could have saved me that year of hurting my health. What I realized what this: go with the proof. Paleo advocates come up with lots of theories but I have never seen one study to support any of their claims they have incorrectly interpreted some studies to support other claims.

      I was reading one such mis-conclusion in a Joel Fuhrman book last night. Fuhrman explains that many years ago there was a study that concluded that low cholesterol was associated with higher risk of death (something debunked in videos here too). But no subsequent studies found a credible link. What Fuhrman explains what might have been a correlation in the first study wasn’t a causation. He explains that when some forms of cancer are active in the body they can cause the liver to produce less cholesterol, even when the person hasn’t been diagnosed as having cancer. When there is no cancer in the body, there is no correlation. Paleos miss this part, for whatever reason.

      Paleos also believe that bone broth fix leaky gut. By what mechanism? And the paleo echochamber, like any group’s echochamber can make anything look like it’s credible. The only question you need to ask when considering any group’s claims is, “where’s the evidence?” Fortunately, you don’t have to ask that question here because Dr Greger always provides the evidence up front.

      Hope that helps.
      Mark G




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      1. Mark, I did the same thing years ago before the word “Paleo” was around. Followed Sally Falon’s work. I put on 30 lbs, cholesterol went through the roof, developed gout, osteopenia, pre-diabetes. Yikes! After switching to McDougall, Campbell, Esselstyn, Ornish, etc. 7 years ago, everything is now in order.




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    2. I highly doubt any food or beverage that increases animal protein consumption would be of any benefit to healing cancer when it is intrinsically linked to promoting cancer growth re: The China study…




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  6. I eat very little, rarely eat in the evening and I have noticed recently that despite the low calories I eat I am gaining weight. I can only surmise that the low calories means that my body has gone into calorie conservation mode, slowed my matabolism right down and now I am putting on weight despite eating the Gregor way. If I cut the calories any further I will suffer from malnutrition!




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    1. You need to eat about 2000 calories a day (give or take). As long as it’s all good WFPB stuff, you will lose weight. But you need to actually eat.




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      1. Not necessarily bro. In my late 40s I have become very sensitive to weight gain. I can eat the absolute healthiest possible diet and gain fat around my midsection. I eat a Fuhrman style diet 2 pounds of veggies a day, one pound raw, one pound cooked, and I put all the strategies I learn from nutritionfacts into practice, it’s still not enough to prevent the unwanted fat. What finally provided the solution to my problem was to combine intermittent fasting with the Fuhrman/Gregor diet, that allowed me to lose the fat around my waist and to keep it off. I stop eating 4 hours before bedtime and don’t eat again until at least 4 hours after awakening, this gives me 16 hours of fasting each day and it’s not hard since I am sleeping for 8 of the hours.




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        1. Ben, I am in the same situation as you. Very easy to gain weight being 62. Like you, I have found intermittent fasting to be helpful as well and also do it overnight as you do. It lets me burn off extra calories but also I feel very energized during the fasting period. Feels much better than the sluggishness of having eaten.




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    2. Even if you are a vegan eating vegan foods with no animal foods or dairy(high fat) but you are eating foods that are high in sodium, this could causes water retention and potentially weight gain. Canned foods, processed foods, breads, sauces like ketchup, barbecue sauce among many others have high sodium content. Also Oil in baked and processed vegan foods like salad dressings, imitation meats, vegan cheeses, vegan baked goods and desserts are high calorie condensed fatty foods that could cause weight gain. Add to those salty and sugary nut butters, seeds and other nuts, and now instead of being on a 5%-15% vegan fat diet, you are consuming 25%-30%-35%+ of your calories from fat.




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      1. Veganism is mostly considered an ethical choice and doesn’t include animals, but can be as unhealthy as the SAD, so water retention is surely not the only issue. Coke and french fries are vegan. Ideally a *whole food plant based diet* avoids the animals and any processed foods too, including oil, salt,etc., and what is recommended as a healthy diet.




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    3. My husband has been gaining since I started pushing greens on him and this video offers a good explanation of why. He’s pretty lean, so I don’t think it is a problem for him.

      You won’t suffer from malnutrition if you follow all Dr Greger’s guidelines. You might want look into Joel Fuhrman’s work if you want a slightly different approach.




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    4. mcdougall.com has a video of Chef AJ talking about her experiences with WFPB and weight loss and what changes she made within WFPB to get her weight where she wanted it.

      If you are eating a low number of calories, you might want to weigh and record everything you eat and then calculate whether you are meeting the minimum protein intake requirements (I believe 45-50g/day). There are health problems associated with significant protein deficiency. The solution to that is to up your activity level. If that is not an option, then increase the beans in your diet or maybe add gluten/seitan.




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    5. What is your exact daily diet, age, weight, physical activity level and are your hormones, thyroid, B12 and iodine all in normal range?




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    6. Me too! I have to be very careful not to eat very many starches, eat mostly green vegetables, and only light veggies (greens) as a big salad in the evening. I try to eat anything starchy (potatoes, pasta, beans, etc) in the morning so that I can burn off the calories. I gained 25lbs which I am working on taking off now. Half way there. I follow McDougall i.e. no added fats, etc. Interestingly, my cholesterol and triglycerides both went up when I made the switch to a WFPB diet 7 years ago. Anyone else have this situation?




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  7. I’m a little confused re. trying to combine the information in the weight loss effects of vinegar video with this one. Whether or not it’s the whole or part of the metabolism story, the proposed explanation here about humans evolving towards using leafy greens to lower metabolism and manage the energy budget sounds reasonable. But it also seems like the activation of AMPK via vinegar discussed in the vinegar for weight loss video is a metabolic effect, in fact in that case increasing metabolic rate (but I assume metabolism is pretty complicated and multifaceted – I’m not a biochemist). So does eating a diet rich in leafy greens mitigate the weight loss effects generated by vinegar consumption ?

    And the research reported in the vinegar video doesn’t seem to be much help re. thinking about this. It seemed that the researchers were trying to be careful to show that the weight loss effect occurred independent of diet details. But that could mean that any heavy leafy green eaters could have been in the negative tail (no effect) of the distribution.




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    1. I can see why it can be confusing. In previous video about vinegar, Dr G. is explaining that vinegar can help with stabilizing sugar as vinegar has acetic acid which inhibits the activity of several enzymes for example amylase, sucrase, maltase, and lactase that break down carbohydrates. As a result, when vinegar is present in the intestines, some sugars and starches temporarily pass through without being digested, so they have less of an impact on blood sugar and therefore there won’t be further calories being digested from sugar so that it would not get stored in body as fat. That way they help with weigh reduction.

      As with greens they are already low in calories and you won’t put on weight with a big salad and it does benefit your body in a way also by bringing RMR down therefore we don’t need to eat too much to maintain Resting metabolic rate. That way your body can function well with less fuel. However, Resting Metabolic Rate accounts for approximately 65-70% of your total daily calorie needs, but it is also dependent on age, physical activity, gender, environment temperature, genes, body composition (muscle to fat ratio), dieting, fasting. I hope that is helpful to you.




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      1. Thanks, that makes sense but also seems to imply that if one is eating a proper diet (e.g. including lots of leafy greens) that using vinegar would be irrelevant. It might be the case that one is eating a healthy vegan diet (predominantly leafy greens), but would nonetheless like to drop a couple of pounds. So, sorry for being dense, it doesn’t sound like you’d be eating much that the the vinegar would pass through. So I guess in that case the only solution is calorie reduction.




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    2. Metabolism is largely linked to body size… ‘fatter’ people usually have a faster metabolism than ‘thinner’ people. It’s usually other methods that reflect weight loss than an increased metabolism…




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        1. Thanks for the links – looks interesting (though maybe more than I need to know about the relationship between temperature and metabolism ! :-))




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      1. Thanks, So maybe the vinegar effect is due to something other than, or in addition to the rise in metabolism mentioned in the video ?




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    3. At least in the South it used to be the daily habit of just about everybody to serve cooked greens at least daily, maybe twice, and usually people doused them with vinegar, which was kept on the table!




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  8. Interesting video. I am one of the few on a WFPB diet who is interested in slowing my metabolism. Ever since starting the diet I lost 15 lbs., But I’m 6 ft. and used to weight 160. So you see my problem. I’m having trouble putting the weight back on because of 1) the diet and 2) my naturally high metabolism. I feel fantastic, I don’t underconsume ( I eat about 2000-2500 cal a day), but I need to figure out a way to put on the weight without eating 3 cans of beans a day, because I tried that an it’s …. well … problematic. Let’s just say uncomfortable. Yes, uncomfortable. ;)




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    1. I understand what you mean about the beans. When I changed to a WFPB diet and added beans to my diet on a regular basis, . .. let me just say that it was a really good thing I was single and lived alone at the time. And the WFPB myth seems to be that it takes about 2 weeks for your body to make the adjustment. Well, . . it took my body about two years before things settled down. But! There is good news! The ol’ bod finally did adjust and now I can eat beans with no problem. Yesterday I ate two 15 oz cans over the course of the day and had normal. . .. well, . . you know :-)
      Also, . though, . . try potatoes. Yum!




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    2. I do not understand why you feel that you need to gain the weight back if you feel so good. Do you have the strength and energy that you need? If so i would not concern myself with it.




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  9. Other ways you can lower metabolic rate is by lying still( wakeful restfulness) and taking naps, sleeping more, drinking room temperature water, instead of ice water, dressing warmly but not letting the body overheat(staying between 70-80 degrees F is ideal) , cuddling with loved ones including pets! Avoiding caffeine and reducing the resting heart rate and metabolism, taking certain medication may increase or decrease metabolism, eating high fiber foods like grains and oatmeal, eating less sugar and more starches and eating foods high in amino acid Arginine like a small portion of nuts and seeds every day.




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  10. Wondering about this ketogenic diet that seems to be popular now for losing weight. Seems a bit unhealthy to me to be in ketosis.




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    1. The popularity of the keto diet seems largely due to early pronounced weight loss (water loss from eliminating stored glycogen), it’s ease to follow for most (eg. burgers without bun, bacon and eggs etc…) and the decreased hunger (since when was a natural body signal hunger a bad thing?? Imagine if it was seen the same as decreased respiratory drive??)… However in terms of health and longevity its a state of survival, not thriving… it promises little more than a faster trip to a skinnier grave for most. It eliminates almost all of the foods consistently linked to good health- fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes…




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  11. I wish I could eat more fruits and vegetables in my diet. A daily salad can reduce your risk of death by 25 percent. Did you know salad and potatoes have a small amount of every vitamin? It is conceivable there is a vitamin in fruits that has not been discovered yet. Americans do not get enough fruits and vegetables.




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    1. I rarely see any discussion on smoothies. I started 3 years ago with a Nutribullet and prior I had very little spinach, mostly just iceberg of lettuce. Now I have a handful of either spinach or kale in my morning breakfast smoothie. The first year I lost about 20 pounds and it’s been steady since then. My BMI is 24, I’m 82 years old and getting healthier. I’m not sure I understand this subject discussion, but trying to learn. All my smoothies are also with frozen fruit, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, pineapple, flax or chia seeds, cinnamon, turmeric, cacao etc. almond or coconut milk, water, coconut water.




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  12. does anyone know if any testing has been done on tempeh for levels of contamination with things like BPA or phthalates since tempeh is commonly incubated in plastic bags. I have also heard that tofu is frequently packaged into its plastic bags and then pasteurized in the bag to lengthen the use by date. I feel that having food heated then sitting in plastic would be a recipe for leeching and contamination by chemicals in the plastic




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    1. Keryn: I don’t know the answer, but I definitely share your concern. I don’t think companies should be allowed to do such things until they can prove the leaching does not happen.




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  13. I have a question bother me for a long time ,and i never found an answer.

    We always hear about great fats(omega 3) good fat(unsaturated fats) bad fat ( saturated fat ) and worse fats (trans fats).

    I also heard not once,that nuts and seeds are healthful for the artery and heart. Well yeah, but not all of their fats is unsaturated,part of the fats of nuts and seeds is saturated fat,So

    why is it still considered healthful to the heart?




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    1. Fats are not bad in themselves. However, the total amount, balance and ratio of the different fats we consume need to be considered. Plus the accompanying nutrients and co-factors that are naturally found in whole foods have to be taken into account.

      We do not really understand all the factors in food and their effects, nor do we understand all the various biological processes, and their interactions, occurring in the human body. Consequently, the science on the role of fats in human health is constantly changing. Sometimes this appears to be because a mass of carefully designed industry funded research has skewed the results. Nevertheless, a good rule of thumb is simply to avoid concentrated fats and oils, and eat whole foods.

      Most foods contain a mix of fats, even broccoli has 9%of its calories coming from fat. Nuts normally have more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated than saturated fat. Rolled oats also contain saturated fat but, like nuts, they have more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Beef, on the other hand, contains as much or more saturated fat and trans fat as it does polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Of course, it also contains cholesterol, heme iron, IGF1 and animal protein. So, the entire package needs to be be taken into account. Studies have also shown health benefits from nut consumption while eg beef consumption is is associated with adverse health effects. There are many videos here on this site which go into these effects in detail.




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    1. Good question, Laura. Caffeine may reduce the absorption of some minerals, such as manganese, zinc, & copper, as well as vitamins such as vitamin A & B complex. In addition, caffeine causes an increase in calcium excretion in the urine. Probably best to drink your coffee/tea or other caffeinated beverages separate from meals.




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  14. speaking about raw veggies and fruits, is there something that could be done to prevent/reduce a chance of catching parasites when eating raw? is there a wash, aside from bleach, that is effective? hydrogen peroxide?




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      1. yeah, thank you, I saw this one. Would be interesting if anyone knows how to remove pathogenic germs and parasites from raw produce.




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  15. I’m a bit surprised at this video. Reading the referenced study shows that subjects were supposed to avoid eating high-nitrate foods, i.e. nitrates in their whole context, and not exercise for 36 hours before the tests were done. Both of these things, combined with the fact that the nitrate administered was straight nitrate and not the compound as it would be ingested/experienced naturally, make me wary of taking these findings to heart. Even more so that there were only 13 people in the trial. To me, it would seem to make more sense to study people who eat a lot of nitrate-rich veggies compared to those who don’t through a dietary intervention trial or a long-term study following diet and lifestyle habits so that other mechanisms can be controlled for.




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    1. Hi QuantumVegan,
      My interpretation is that they eliminated nitrate-containing foods from the diet and administered pure nitrate for that very reason — they were controlling for other potential mechanisms and wanted to verify that it is indeed the nitrate/nitrite and not some other factor that was responsible for the decreased RMR.




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      1. Which is a legitimate thing to do in terms of studying just the nitrate, but it seems like a bit of a stretch to then conclude that eating nitrate-rich vegetables — foods that contain a variety of other nutrients and phytochemicals — will have the same effect. I’d like to see a study on people who were switched from a low-nitrate to a high-nitrate diet (plant nitrates, of course) that looks for the same effect.

        I’m not discounting the findings in this study; I’m just concerned that making correlations like this only adds to the confusion surrounding nutrition and health that’s already prevalent in the mainstream media.




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        1. I’m not sure why it’s confusing. If nitrate is the main “active ingredient” that causes the effect, then why wouldn’t high-nitrate-containing plants do the same thing (unless there’s something else in the plant that counteracted the effect, and there’s no reason to believe this). Knowing it’s the nitrate allows us to shape dietary habits to choose whole foods that are higher in nitrates in order to maximally achieve a particular goal (increased blood flow, reduce risk of heart disease, etc). If we *didn’t* know that nitrate were so important, we’d be in the dark about which foods to choose for that particular benefit. Same concept goes for other functional foods with specific “active ingredients” such as the lignans in flax seed and the glucoraphanin in broccoli. It helps us to tailor our diets to our particular health problems/health goals, if we so choose.




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  16. I’m a bit confused here. My basal temperature never comes close to 98 degrees, and is often in the 96 range. I understand the value of both green veggies and calorie restriction, and that maybe my sluggish metabolism means I’ll live longer, as many of my ancestors have. But maybe it just seems longer because I’m cold much of the time and I have to really work at it to lose weight.




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