Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health

Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health
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If that’s all a healthy plant-based diet could do—reverse the #1 killer of men and women—shouldn’t that be the default diet, until proven otherwise?

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There’s only one diet that’s ever been proven to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients—a diet centered around whole plant foods.  So, anytime anyone tries to sell you on some new diet, do me a favor. Ask them one simple question: “Has it been proven to reverse heart disease—you know, the number one reason you, and all your loved ones, will die?”  If the answer is “No,” why would you even consider it, right?  Only one diet has ever been proven to do that.  That’s not cherry-picking—there’s only one cherry.

In fact, if that’s all a plant-based diet could do—reverse the number one killer of men and women, shouldn’t that be the default diet, until proven otherwise?  And, the fact that it can also be effective in preventing, arresting, or reversing other leading killers—like type 2 diabetes, and hypertension—would seem to make the case for plant-based eating simply overwhelming.

So, why don’t more doctors prescribe it?  How could there be such a disconnect between the science, and mainstream medical practice?  Well, look; it took 25 years before the first Surgeon General’s report against smoking came out. It took more than 7,000 studies, and the deaths of countless smokers, before the powers-that-be officially recognized the link. You’d think after the first 6,000 studies they could have given people a little heads up, or something? Powerful industry, right?

In fact, even after the Surgeon General’s report came out, the medical community still dragged their feet. The American Medical Association actually went on record refusing to endorse the Surgeon General’s report. Why? Could it have been because they had just been handed a ten million dollar check from the tobacco industry? Maybe.

So, we know why the AMA may have been sucking up to the tobacco industry—but why weren’t individual doctors speaking out? Well, there were a few gallant souls ahead of their time writing in, as there are today, standing up against industries killing millions. But, why not more?  Maybe, it’s because the majority of physicians themselves smoked cigarettes—just like the majority of physicians today continue to eat foods that are contributing to our epidemics of dietary disease.

What was the AMA’s rallying cry back then? Everything in moderation. “Extensive scientific studies have proven that smoking in moderation…” Oh, that’s fine. Sound familiar?

Consumption of animal foods and processed foods may cause at least 14 million deaths around the world every year. 14 million people dead. Those of us involved in this evidence-based nutrition revolution are part of a movement with 14 million lives in the balance, every year.

Plant-based diets may now be considered “the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.” How many more people have to die, though, before the CDC encourages people not to wait for open heart surgery to start eating healthy, as well?

Until the system changes, we have to take personal responsibility for our own health, for our family’s health. We can’t wait until society catches up to the science again, because it’s a matter of life and death.

Last year, Dr. Kim Williams became President of the American College of Cardiology. He was asked, in an interview, why he follows his own advice to eat a plant-based diet. “I don’t mind dying,” Dr. Williams replied, “I just don’t want it to be my [own] fault.”

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.

Videography courtesy of Grant Peacock

There’s only one diet that’s ever been proven to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients—a diet centered around whole plant foods.  So, anytime anyone tries to sell you on some new diet, do me a favor. Ask them one simple question: “Has it been proven to reverse heart disease—you know, the number one reason you, and all your loved ones, will die?”  If the answer is “No,” why would you even consider it, right?  Only one diet has ever been proven to do that.  That’s not cherry-picking—there’s only one cherry.

In fact, if that’s all a plant-based diet could do—reverse the number one killer of men and women, shouldn’t that be the default diet, until proven otherwise?  And, the fact that it can also be effective in preventing, arresting, or reversing other leading killers—like type 2 diabetes, and hypertension—would seem to make the case for plant-based eating simply overwhelming.

So, why don’t more doctors prescribe it?  How could there be such a disconnect between the science, and mainstream medical practice?  Well, look; it took 25 years before the first Surgeon General’s report against smoking came out. It took more than 7,000 studies, and the deaths of countless smokers, before the powers-that-be officially recognized the link. You’d think after the first 6,000 studies they could have given people a little heads up, or something? Powerful industry, right?

In fact, even after the Surgeon General’s report came out, the medical community still dragged their feet. The American Medical Association actually went on record refusing to endorse the Surgeon General’s report. Why? Could it have been because they had just been handed a ten million dollar check from the tobacco industry? Maybe.

So, we know why the AMA may have been sucking up to the tobacco industry—but why weren’t individual doctors speaking out? Well, there were a few gallant souls ahead of their time writing in, as there are today, standing up against industries killing millions. But, why not more?  Maybe, it’s because the majority of physicians themselves smoked cigarettes—just like the majority of physicians today continue to eat foods that are contributing to our epidemics of dietary disease.

What was the AMA’s rallying cry back then? Everything in moderation. “Extensive scientific studies have proven that smoking in moderation…” Oh, that’s fine. Sound familiar?

Consumption of animal foods and processed foods may cause at least 14 million deaths around the world every year. 14 million people dead. Those of us involved in this evidence-based nutrition revolution are part of a movement with 14 million lives in the balance, every year.

Plant-based diets may now be considered “the nutritional equivalent of quitting smoking.” How many more people have to die, though, before the CDC encourages people not to wait for open heart surgery to start eating healthy, as well?

Until the system changes, we have to take personal responsibility for our own health, for our family’s health. We can’t wait until society catches up to the science again, because it’s a matter of life and death.

Last year, Dr. Kim Williams became President of the American College of Cardiology. He was asked, in an interview, why he follows his own advice to eat a plant-based diet. “I don’t mind dying,” Dr. Williams replied, “I just don’t want it to be my [own] fault.”

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.

Videography courtesy of Grant Peacock

Doctor's Note

This video is part of an experiment to find ways to appeal to those new to the site. So much of what I do is targeted towards those who already know the basics, but in the user survey about a thousand of you filled out a few weeks ago, many of you asked for me to take a step back, and do some videos targeted more towards those new to evidence-based nutrition.

So, with the volunteer help of videographer Grant Peacock, I came up with ten introductory and overview-type videos for both new users to orient themselves, and, for long-time users to introduce people to the site. If you missed The Story of NutritionFacts.org and Why You Should Care About Nutrition, check those out, and stay tuned for:

What we’re going to do is alternate between these broader overview-type videos, and the regularly scheduled content, so as not to bore those who just crave the latest science.

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

194 responses to “Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health

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  1. Just did a google search on how to reverse heart disease . First up on the page was Dr.Oz with 28 day program by Dean Ornish , which uses no fat cheese and no fat butter type of spread , Prevention was next with a 24 day plan that includes fish , then Chris Kresser who says that eggs and fat are ok . Then Harvard suggests a oil free diet ,but they show a plate full of bbq salmon. Number 6 was the only guy who has proven heart disease reversal Dr Esselstyns website . Oh yes I kept scrolling and nutrition facts were number 37. Who can blame anyone for feeling confused?




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    1. The best is just to make a step back, what foods were available a 100 000 years ago? Fruits, veggies, greens, few nuts, tubbers, some game meat (very lean). that’s it. No oil, butter, cheese, avocado, overfat pigs, grain fed animals and so on.




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          1. Benjamin, yes meat is still meat and raises inflamation. I just wanted to say that avocado is man selected and usually not available year-round. You are right! Kangaroos do eat grass right? So even lean, low omega 6, “grassfed” meat is bad, very interesting, gotta throw that to some paleo fans!




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            1. According to SciShow, avocados co-evolved with Pleistocene megafauna. They were kept from extinction by people, who may have done some selective breeding, but then most of our vegetables have undergone a lot of selective breeding, e.g., broccoli.




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              1. And if someone watched that video and came to the conclusion that, “Nature is trying to eliminate avocados, therefore we shouldn’t eat them, they must not be good for us.” That would be an example of the naturalistic fallacy. We know avocados are good for us thanks to science.




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                1. I put avocado in my kale smoothie… but not too much; I’m trying to watch my fat intake :) I used to avoid them since I’m the only one in my family who eats them and lemon juice wasn’t keeping the cut avocado from turning brown. Then I found out about putting them away with some sliced onion – it really works. And the onion goes in the kale smoothie, too.




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                    1. I put the piece of avocado with the skin still on it in a small container along with some sliced up red onion; it seems as though it works better with the onion cut up into smaller pieces. It isn’t really covered, but it is surrounded by onion. It works really well but the avocado does wind up tasting of onion.




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                1. I have recently discovered that there is actually quite a lot of good content on Youtube. For a long time I thought it was all just cute cats and people hurting themselves doing ‘extreme’ stuff. Interesting channels: CGP Gray, Vsauce, Kurzgesagt, CrashCourse, LabRoots and NIHvcast (and of course, NutritionFacts).




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                  1. I know, so much great stuff. When I was a kid I loved Mr. Wizard’s World, I would have never left the house if YouTube was around back then! Probably good it wasn’t. I hadn’t heard of Vsauce or LabRoots, so thank you for mentioning them!




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                  2. When my son was here a couple of months ago he pulled up the entire old movie, The Music Man, from the 1960s on Youtube and cast it onto TV with the Chromecast, an inexpensive device. Then he found a newer version, which we watched parts of for comparison. It was fun and free entertainment.




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        1. The dose makes the poison. The biological effects of animal protein on elevating IGF-1 and TOR look pretty clear. Animal fat, even lean game meat, is still mostly saturated fat, even if the O3/O6 ratio is better, and so likely doesn’t push health in a positive direction either. And animal foods as a class have a low nutrient density (nutrients/calorie) than plant foods as a class, so any calories coming from an animal source means more nutrient dense plant foods will have to be pushed out of your diet to make caloric room. So adding animal foods to ones diet will take it in a negative direction.

          But adding tiny amounts only puts a small negative force on your health. If the rest of you diet is whole plant foods, then the push in the positive direction is massive and so the net force on your health is still overwhelming positive. Of course the higher the dose of animal foods (and processed plant foods) the more of the benefits of a WFPB diet start to disappear. So the closer to purely plant based is likely the best, but imperfection isn’t catastrophe.

          So I am definitely a cup half full type and if somebody will simply not go 100%, then 90% is far better than whatever diet they are likely eating. I know several people that are probably 99+% plant based, but they give themselves permission to still eat animal foods if they really want to. Without this emotional “lifeline” they have told me that they would have likely backed away from even trying a WFPB diet. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good.




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          1. Great post!
            The traditional Okinawan diet was “only” 96% plantbased. There are not sufficient data to claim that 100% plantbased is better than 96% For some people it is probably easier to go all the way to avoid a slippery slope.




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            1. I’m am not 100% myself, but I draw a bright line in that I don’t make animal food part of my meal planning or bring it into the house exactly because of the slippery slope concerns. So the only way animal foods get into our diet is when we eat out, and we try to not eat out much. Even when we do eat out we do our best to avoid it. But if we end up with a little bit we don’t make a big deal of it. So if the soup at the restaurant is made with chicken stock rather than vegetable, we mention that we would be happier with vegetable in the future so they know that it is something their customers ask for, and then eat the soup.




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          2. Animal foods have a low nutrient density? The two foods with the highest nutrient density in the world are: molluscks and liver (both animal foods). I am talking about density with WEIGHT of food eaten: you know the weight/mass that is already in the equation of DENSITY, not talking about eating 50 pounds of watercress per day (density per calorie), which is prohibitive to humans. I am 90% plant based myself, but lets stick to the facts (albeit it may be hard to admit on this website) ;)




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            1. Andrey Yusopov, M.D.: As a living creature, I have a biological requirement to eat X calories a day. I don’t have a biological requirement to eat heavy foods or foods that weigh a certain number of pounds. I have no problem getting enough calories. So, as a lay person, I want to know, for each calorie I am eating, how many nutrients am I getting? In other words, your definition of nutrient density makes no sense to me in terms of practical information that I can use to apply to my daily life to choose nutritious foods.

              Also note that Jim Felder was talking about “classes” of food. I’m sure you can find some random animal product that has some relatively high nutrient density. But as a *class*, it’s my understanding that plants win by far over animals.

              Joel Fuhrman, M.D, is famous for investigating and explaining nutrient density. On page 97 of his book Eat To Live, he gives a good example that explains why a calculation of a food’s nutrient per weight just hides the situation.

              “…it is meaningless to compare foods by weight or portion size. let me provide an example to explain why this is the case. Take one teaspoon of melted butter, which gets 100 percent of its calories from fat. If I take that teaspoon of butter and mix it in a glass of hot water, I can now say that it is 98% fat-free by weight. One hundred percent of its calories are still from fat. It doesn’t matter how much water or weight is added, does it?

              In fact, if a food’s weight were important, it would be easy to lose weight; we would just have to drink more water. The water would trigger the weight receptors in the digestive track and our appetite would diminish. … ”

              Calculating nutrients per weight is one of the ways that the animal industries have gotten away with hiding the health impacts of their products. For example, 2% milk is 2% fat by weight. By calorie, skim milk is 35% fat, and that 35% number is what we care about if we are trying to cut back on say fat.

              I hope this makes sense and shows that we are “sticking to the facts”.




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              1. I never thought of it that way. Thanks for sharing this insight into weight versus calorie versus nutrient density. But, why do I still feel hungry after about 1 hour of consuming a huge salad full of 20 different items from the salad bar at Jason’s Deli?




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                1. John Axsom: Getting satiated/feeling full and nutrient density are related but different topics. I’m not an expert and don’t know what your salad actually looks like nor what your situation is in terms of weight, activity level, etc. So, I can’t really answer your question. But like most times, I do have a theory or two… ;-) For what it is worth:
                  .
                  There is something of a hierarchy in terms of what makes us feel full and stop eating while consuming a particular meal. You need all of these in place eventually, but they kind of trigger in order if I remember correctly. Jeff Novick covers this in one of his talks, but I saw it so long ago, I don’t remember all 3 parts. Argh! What I do remember is that “bulk” is the number one thing / at the top of the list.
                  .
                  Bulk? Your stomach has stretch receptors. When you eat bulky food, foods with lots of water and fiber, your stomach stretches out and when it reaches a certain point, you feel full. (There are more details to this. This is what fits in a post.) Applying this to your salad, you eat a big salad and you will feel full at the end of the salad.
                  .
                  HOWEVER, note that another property of bulky food like salad is that it is low calorie density. For example, if you took 1/2 cup of a whole grain, say barley and compared it to 1/2 cup of a green, say broccoli, the barley would have a lot more calories than the broccoli because the barley is more calorie dense.
                  .
                  Here’s the key/point: Depending on the calorie density of your food, you may not be getting enough calories in that meal to meet your calorie needs. You may not be able to squeeze in another bit while you are sitting there eating your salad. But an hour later, after your body has processed the salad, it may start telling you, “Hey buddy, need some more food here. Based on straight calories, that was so not enough.” Put another way: You will have fed your body a wonderful amount and variety of micronutrients and the all-important fiber, but you may not have supplied enough macronutrients (the stuff that are calories).
                  .
                  If this is the case, what is the fix? Two options: 1) eat more often. 2) mix up your meal so that it contains only half of the super-low calorie dense foods and half of the higher whole plant food calorie dense foods. Think of the PCRM Power Plate which is half beans and intact grains (which will take longer to digest in your stomach too). Also, look at the big picture of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen. If you take out the exercise, beverage, seed and nut categories for a moment, and if you group together the remaining categories into the larger categories of veggies, fruit, legumes, and grains, you will see that you have something very similar to the PCRM Power Plate – which is to aim to have about half your food be of the higher calorie density foods (the starchy foods) be beans and intact grains. So, either add a ton of beans to your salad or have your meal consist of 1/2 salad and 1/2 another more calorie-dense dish. If your calorie needs are very high, you might skip the raw salad and eat cooked greens instead, which would allow you to consume more of those wonderful foods in one sitting.
                  .
                  Reminder: this is just a theory. You may have something else going on specifically with your situation. But I hope this helps.




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                2. Because you didn’t eat enough calories. Like @disqus_EXJURIXKLQ:disqus said, your stretch receptors were activated by the large salad, your leptin level rose and so you felt full and not hungry. But your ghrelin level did not rise much because the ghrelinergic cells in your stomach weren’t sensing very many calories in the bolus and so didn’t pump out much ghrelin to keep you from feeling hungry. The ghrelinergic cells in the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) also aren’t sensing many calories so they don’t produce much ghrelin after the food leaves the stomach to keep your hunger suppressed as the salad is digested and absorbed.

                  Thus when the salad starts to leave your stomach after about an hour your stretch receptors aren’t stimulated anymore and leptin level start to drops and you stop feeling full. But without the ghrelin to suppress hunger, you start to feel hungry again immediately.

                  And that is as it should be. If you were a primitive forager and you had come across a large field of edible greens, you would start stuffing your face until you were stuffed and then go back to a safe place to digest. But those greens don’t have many calories and so you are going to need to eat as much of them as possible to get enough calories from them. So you need a way to know when your stomach is empty, but that you are still short on calories so you are prompted to head back over to the paleo salad bar and stuff yourself full of greens again, and likely again and again. On the flip side the next day you find a nut tree with ripe nuts, then you need ways to know that a volume of food far smaller than the bushel of greens you ate the day before is giving all the calories you could possibly use so that you don’t sit in that tree all day and eat nuts like you did in the field of greens. The ghrelin

                  An interesting side note, ghrelin and its related metabolites have a stimulating effect on the cholinergic–dopaminergic systems in the brain that are responsible for hedonic feedback (in English ghrelin pushes the happy buttons in your brain to tell you you just did a good thing and should do it again as soon as possible). Thus the low ghrelin response to eating just a big salad explains why it doesn’t elicit the same pleasurable response as say eating a high calorie dense food like nuts, coconut, oils or fatty animal foods like cream or butter. And why adding these high calorie density foods like blue cheese dressing to low calorie density foods like greens make them taste “better”.




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              2. I’m sorry, I have heard the “nutrient per calorie” argument enough times and it just does not hold up, practically, and in the real world.
                As humans, the way we live and evolved is that we don’t have the luxury to chew and eat food all day. This is precisely where the nutrient density of kale and watercress falls flat on its head. I do not have the desire or time to eat these massive amounts to get the requisite calories.

                Your water and butter argument only solidifies my point eveb further. What you described are hypothetical laboratory conditions (in this case replacing the test tube with your cup).

                I have patients to treat, value to add, starving children to feed, family to spend time with, countries to travel to, etc. this is yet another ding and minus for the nutrient per calorie argument. Its a good basis for studying things in a controlled test environment, but not in the real world where people have other goals other than to eat, digest, and poop.

                Animal liver and oysters are the two most nutrient dense foods there are, period. A plate of food (ideally 600-800kcal) for me (and most sane individuals) is about 2-3 handfuls, not 6 giant bowls.




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                1. Andrey Yusupov, M.D.: All your arguments amount to a concern for getting enough calories. You are talking about calorie density and only give example like raw kale as reasons why looking at nutrient density (nutrients per calorie) makes no sense. You ignore that cooked greens are more calorie-dense. Also, beans and other starchy foods are more calorie dense. Except for the raw foodists, no on this site is arguing that people eat raw greens all day. So, your arguments do not make sense.
                  .
                  I do not know what country you live in. The country I live in has an obesity epidemic. Getting enough calories is not a problem. At the same time, people are suffering from a lack of nutrition/proper nutrients. Looking for calorie-dense foods as you would have them do would just kill them faster.
                  .
                  You are also ignoring that food is package deal. You don’t just get calories with your animal liver. You get a ton of bad things like cholesterol, animal protein, contaminants, etc. You and your patients can get safe amounts of higher calorie-dense foods by choosing whole plant foods that are high calorie-density–if getting enough calories is a concern. Also, since food is a package deal, you get a ton of nutrients with your plant foods (phytonutrients and fiber) that are completely or mostly missing from animal foods.
                  .
                  Check This Out:
                  >>> Turkey liver has a calorie density of 1216 calories per pound. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/817/2
                  >>> Oysters have a calorie density of 304 calories per pound. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4189/2
                  >>> Pinto beans have a calorie density of 640 calories per pound. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4312/2
                  >>> Barley has a calorie density of 1584 calories per pound http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5678/2
                  >>> Brown rice has 496 calories per pound http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5707/2
                  .
                  Since calorie density seems to be your only concern, you might want to use the site I linked to so that you don’t accidentally recommend such low calorie-dense foods as oysters. You should be telling everyone to eat hulled barley instead. ;-)




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                  1. Thea, you are great at making up things then claiming I am talking about it. Read my posts, when did I ever talk about “calorie density”? You bring up some bs while addressing none of the points I made. So, try again.
                    I am talking about “nutrient density”, per gram instead of calorie. Please, don’t fill your post with extraneous information and address the at least two reasons I brought up for looking at NUTRIENT DENSITY the way I describe. Thanks.




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                    1. Andrey Yusupov, M.D.: I read your post very carefully multiple times before responding before. For example, you wrote, “As humans, … we don’t have the luxury to chew and eat food all day. This is precisely where the nutrient density of kale and watercress falls flat on its head. I do not have the desire or time to eat these massive amounts to get the requisite calories.” Clearly, you are looking for calories. You think it takes a long time to eat enough calories from nutrient-dense foods like kale and watercress. But as I explained in my post above, no one is saying you should eat only kale. Beans and whole grains are also good nutrient-dense foods, as well as calorie dense so that you can eat relatively quickly and have time to do what you want.
                      .
                      You wrote, “I have patients to treat, value to add, starving children to feed, family to spend time with, countries to travel to, etc. this is yet another ding and minus for the nutrient per calorie argument.” As near as I can tell, in the context of the above statement, you are saying that you have to have time to feed your starving children (really?), patients to see, etc. In order to have time to do the activities you want, you can’t be eating all day. Hells bells, it would take you all day eat kale and get all the calories you need! (translation: It would take too long to eat low calorie-dense foods like kale.) So, you need to eat liver and oysters to get the calories you need in a smaller food portion (ie, higher calorie-dense foods). Again calories. Again ignoring that there are safe calorie-dense foods while your preferred choices are unsafe. See above.
                      .
                      You wrote, “Animal liver and oysters are the two most nutrient dense foods there are, period. A plate of food (ideally 600-800kcal) for me…” *Again* calories. :-) Immediately after claiming that liver and oysters are “the two most nutrient dense food there are”, the only proof you offer is how many calories they have.
                      .
                      The only nutrients you mentioned or hinted at in your post are calories, and I responded to what you wanted to talk about accordingly. Fine, talk “calories per gram” if you prefer that to calories per pounds. As near as I could tell, calorie density is the only concern you have. You don’t call it calorie density, but that is what your text is actually talking about. As an answer, even if you prefer calories per gram as opposed to calories per pound, I would refer you to my above post which addressed the flaws of your argument. If you are concerned about anything other than calories (ie, if you care about something in addition to fat, protein and carbs) then it is not clear from your post.




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                    2. :) I will give you an example.

                      NOTE: Even on nutritiondata.com (a beloved website among vegans by the way), all NUTRITIONAL PROFILES (macros, vitamins, minerals, etc.) are measured for a ie. 100g or 1oz. (that’s weight by the way) sample. NOT PER CALORIE – take note Thea.

                      Liver: A 100 gram portion of beef liver contains:
                      1176% of the RDA for Vitamin B12.
                      Over 50% of the RDA for Vitamins B6, B5, Niacin and Folate.
                      201% of the RDA for Vitamin B2.
                      634% of the RDA for Vitamin A.
                      714% of the RDA for Copper.
                      Over 30% of the RDA for Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc and Selenium.

                      Canned oysters (100 grams): http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/finfish-and-shellfish-products/4192/2
                      319% Vitamin B12
                      606% Zinc
                      223% Copper
                      526mg Omega 3

                      There is no SINGLE SERVING of any plant food that has this nutritional profile. Period. Please look until the cows come home.

                      You can bring up the “toxicity — heavy metal” argument. Again, not proven by science or clinical practice. “Old age”, prostate cancer, sudden cardiac death, and whatever else kills humans (including vegans) around age 80 will KILL YOU BEFORE ANY LOW LEVEL HEAVY METALS IN SHELLFISH, even if you live to 200 years old. There is no research to suggest that any of these “toxins” have ever resulted in morbidity or mortality in typical minute quantities. That is all :)




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                    3. Andrey Yusupov, MD: Now we come full circle.
                      .
                      1) From my original post: “I’m sure you can find some random animal product that has some relatively high nutrient density. But as a *class*, it’s my understanding that plants win by far over animals.” There’s a video here on NutritionFacts which puts some animals brain at the top of some good-for-you list. I don’t remember which video or list. But that was the exception, not the rule. As a rule, the animal products were at the bottom of the list. And I don’t know anyone who eats brains. For that matter, few people I know eat liver or oysters, certainly not with any regularity.
                      .
                      2) Several people have explained to you why calculating nutrient density per weight makes no sense. I did so in my original post to you, but you did not seem to understand the point behind the example I gave. I find that example self evident, so there really is no place to go from here. All I can say is that looking at how NutritionData presents data is hardly evidence of how best to calculate nutrient density. As you saw in my post to you, I use that site all the time (though I use the site mostly to calculate calorie density). My use of the site has nothing to do with the advisability of calculating nutrient density by weight.
                      .
                      3) You have brought up one of the negatives of eating animal products – the contaminants. You dismiss the contaminants issue way too easily in my opinion. But lets argue for a moment that you are right. You still fail to acknowledge all the other problems with animal products that I mentioned above.
                      .
                      Here’s a related point: You could probably eat a tiny amount of animal products and be OK even with the negatives that animal products bring to the table. As you know, eating 2-5% *of your calories* from animal products is likely OK for many people (though no better than 0% as shown on this site). That’s irrelevant to the topic of defining nutrient density. Whatever amounts of animal products you eat, when you look at what is in the animal products, either you count the negatives in your evaluation of the healthfulness of a food or you do not. If you are eating any significant amount of that food, the negatives need to be counted. If you are eating an insignificant amount of the food, then you are eating an insignificant amount of the food…
                      .
                      4) And now something new in response to your latest post: Your list of nutrients in the above presentation for liver and oysters is frighteningly small. Plants have tens of thousands of different nutrients not mentioned above. These nutrients are proving to be important for optimal health and need to be included in any nutrient density calculation, because the whole point of defining nutrient density is to pick out which foods are healthier to eat. http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/phytonutrients-faq#1




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                    4. I wrote a long post, but the tab has crashed. Summary:

                      1. You are just skirting around the argument by bringing up phytonutrients. Those are in infancy of study, most may not be that useful. Cachetins: no one drinks more green tea than me. Reservatrol has been debunked by Dr Gregor.

                      2. WebMD is a joke. I am disappointed that you would include it in any intelligent discourse.

                      3. i gave you two foods with so many vitamins and minerals, you could eat one serving and get enough for one week or more!
                      I will make it even easier. Give me any plant food where up to THREE servings will give you such an impressive nutrient density.

                      Like I said, I am very vegan leaning, but whats right is right. Gotta go pick wild potatoes at a big farm in Delta Junction, AK :) A food with a impressive nutrient density, but would have to eat my entire box of potateos to pack a similar punch as a can of oysters.

                      Plenty of people eat canned shellfish, just look at the amazon purchases. Bivalves are vegan too! :D




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                    5. Wow. I find it disconcerting that you may really be a doctor with that
                      kind of confusion? Even IF what you are trying to posit was true,
                      animal products totally lack critical fiber and are loaded with enough
                      negatives to avoid them anyway…if you truly are a sane individual
                      There are plenty of nutrient dense plant foods that aren’t salad!




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                2. Wow. You’re really a doctor? Even if what you are trying to posit was true, animal products are loaded with enough negatives to avoid them anyway if you truly are a sane individual.




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            2. I’m not talking about nutrients per pound. That is a useless measure. The useful measure is nutrients per CALORIE. I need about 2300 calories a day and I need a certain amount of a large number of different micro nutrients a day. The goal of any eating pattern is that by the time you have consumed all the calories for the day, you have also consumed all the micro-nutrients you need as well. A measure of nutrients per calorie gives me a measure of how well a given food is pulling its weight with respect to micro-nutrient.

              There are different nutrient scoring systems for aggregating all the different micro-nutrients into a single value which can then be divided by calories to get a numerical measure. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, as Thea @disqus_EXJURIXKLQ:disqus mentioned in her comment, has developed an objective algorithm based nutrient density scoring system he calls the ANDI score that is being fairly widely adopted, including by the Centers for Disease Control.

              When viewed by this measure animal foods are way way down the list. The best way to get the micro-nutrients that you do need is, not surprisingly, to eat your greens with the reference top value of 1000, followed by all the colorful vegetables.

              My issue with using the ANDI score as some single measure of “goodness” is that it doesn’t takes into account the “anti-nutrient” aspect of animal foods such as high levels of saturated fat, cholesterol and particular amino acids like methionine and leucine that are very clearly involved in a cancer and other disease processes. The result is that the ANDI score for shrimp, very high in cholesterol and saturated fat as well as methionine and leucine, is higher than brown rice and white potatoes. And the ANDI score for 1% milk and walnuts is essentially the same.

              But even with this shortcoming, the more calorie dense foods that we need to get sufficient calories basically start with sweet potato at 181. Fresh soy (edamame) is at 98, tofu is at 82 and most of the other starchy plant foods run down to white potatoes at 28. Animal foods start with shrimp at 36 and cheese at 11. So while there is some overlap, the two different groups of calorie dense foods are still quite distinct.

              Still I think it would be better if the disease promoting aspects of specific components of the whole food could be included in the score as negative values to allow the total balance good and bad health impacts of a given food to be captured in a single number.




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              1. Jim Felder: I love that idea of incorporating negative aspects of food into the ranking system as well. GREAT idea! Maybe you could send a note to Dr. Furhman. :-)




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                  1. nc54: Great point. I agree that fiber should definitely be included in the equation! (And for all I know is. I don’t know the details of the formula that Jim Felder referred to.)
                    .
                    Here’s how I would include it, though: I would include fiber as an important/positive nutrient. So, rather than having the formula count a negative against animal products which by definition lack fiber, the formula would just add that much more extra positives for plants based on fiber content, thereby increasing the difference between nutrient density numbers for plants over animals.




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                1. The problem would be of course coming up with a clear and objective algorithm to use to assign an “anti-nutrient” score. It would be very hard for example to determine how many points to take off for each percent of calories coming from saturated fat for example. And it is true that not all saturated fats behave the same effect in the body, so do we split out the different saturated fats (some of which like the short chain FA butyrate seem to have positive effects) and take different numbers of points off per percent of calories for each specific saturated fat. And the very biggest and hardest issue would be who gets to set the value.

                  And the other hurdle in a points-off is that the dose/response curve for many things that damage health is anything but linear. As @disqus_PhKM1GHehI:disqus has pointed out there is the principle (can’t recall the actual name at the moment) that in small (but measurable, unlike homeopathy) amounts some substances can improve health by challenging the body and the positive effects of the body’s response is greater than the small negative impact of the substance, but at larger amounts the negative effects swamp the positives from the body’s response, or even suppresses a positive response. Also there threshold levels in the response curve where below the threshold is one level of response and then the response dramatically changes when the dose crosses the threshold. And lastly saturation which is when the response flattens out as the dose goes above a given level.

                  So while I would love to be able to add the negative effects as decrements to the ANDI score, I don’t see a clear path to determining how to do that quantitatively.

                  Instead the only hope I see is a qualitative assessment of negative health impacts that could be expressed in some parallel way to the ANDI score. Perhaps we could use Dr. Greger’s “stop light” system that he used in a lot of his early videos to determine if a given food is helpful, neutral or harmful to present in conjunction with the numerical ANDI score. BTW, I miss those old stop light videos, I thought they were very informative and had the advantage of being pretty clear to people who aren’t really scientifically oriented.




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                  1. Jim Felder: I totally get it would be difficult. (You did a good job of explaining why.) But it seems to me like maybe someone could give it a go? After all, you could probably make some similar arguments about trying to quantify the positive benefits of phytonutrients. But if it really is too hard, I like your alternate plan also.

                    re: red light, green light. I miss the quiz videos. But if I remember correctly, Dr. Greger got some early feedback that people didn’t like them for some reason, so he stopped doing that format.

                    But I also have mixed feelings about those videos. I also think it is kind of good not to say highlight which food X has the most impact on limiting say brain cancer. Because the food that comes out lowest in that study might be the highest veggie for fighting say colon cancer or whatever. If someone is battling a specific disease, knowing that level of detail can be important. But if someone comes here looking for general health/nutrition information and sees only one of those videos, he/she might come away thinking that one veggie is all around healthier than another. I’m not saying those videos are bad. Just that I have mixed feelings. Just sharing.




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                    1. Maybe we could get the WFPB glitterati to put their big plant powered brains together and come up with anti nutrient scores and present it as a fait accompli, take it or leave it, and see who agrees and starts using it.




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              2. Where are the fruits in it?! :o they are very nutrients dense per calories also and easier to digest than greens and vegetables that are rich in cellulose(and humans dont have cellulase enzyme to break them fully) especially raw and ripe, its easier to eat a lot of fruits than a lot of raw green and vegetables especially most of them taste much better, dont forget we are a frugivore specy also as the NF paleopoo video confirmed it one more time.




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              3. I gotta say that I really appreciate this discussion. Thea’s exegesis of the nutrient density v calorie density position was nearly impeccable. Loved it.

                Jim, your point about the negative factoring is, I think, critical in the discussion and relates back to the “wfpbd v vegan” nomenclature. Vegan is ideological and opposed to hurting animals of any sort or consuming their products. WFPBD tends to be science based and looks as what is not consumed because of the negative health factors and what is consumed because of the positives. A vegan might well eat lots o fried food and gain weight and still maintain high cholesterol. So both the positives and negatives on classes are essential.




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            3. Well, it is mass/volume rather than weight/volume but yes you may be technically correct. Certainly, the same claim is found all over the internet although I am not sure if it is one accepted by credible health authorities

              Surely, though, what is important is the nutrient balance we obtain from foods and his is best measured by the calorie method isn’t it? After all, most of us seem to eat a given number of calories a day rather than a specific weight of food. Who eats a pound of watercress anyway? In terms of calories consumed, high nutrient plant foods just deliver more.bang for the buck so to speak.

              Not least because the traditional comparisons used to claim that eg liver/molluscs are the most nutrient dense foods simply ignore the existence of phytonutrients/phytochemicals. In fact, the existence of these substances is an effective argument against the claim that molluscs and liver are the most nutrient dense foods.

              As for liver,for example, it comes with downsides as well as specific nutrients. Like all meats, it contains cholesterol, saturated fat, trans fat, heme iron etc. It is also thought to concentarte toxins. It is, though, high in some nutrients. But this can in fact be a problem. Liver is very popular in the UK and when I lived there I used to prefer it to steak. But in the UK they are recognising it now as a problem food.
              https://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/jan/16/medicineandhealth.food




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              1. You are sort of proving my point. Most people don’t shoot for a exact calorie goal per day actually, unless you are bodybuilding. How many people that there new years resolution was to lose 20 pounds, actually sat down for the next year and tracked macros and calories? I’d say about zero.
                As Thea failed to address, I don’t see a real world argument for using the nutrient density per calorie argument. I’ll restate it yet another way.
                I am currently 90% plant based. When I ate totally vegan, i found myself consumed with sourcing, prepping, and eating food for way to many hours per day. This is because the WEIGHT of the plant foods was actually too hard to achieve. The fiber and water content. This is well known. So my other life aspirations had to take a backseat to simply being vegan.
                I am still not sold with folks promoting a 100% vegan diet. The inevitably high omega6:3 ratio of veganism, worries me, even if you take 6-9 algae capsules, this pales in comparison to just eating fish.
                People incorrectly assume that the minute quantities of toxins in fish will have a real world effect on people. They wouldnt. There is simply no proof that the very low levels of toxics in fish and seafood will have any affect on one’s morbidity and mortality.
                Vegans who are not toxicologists or physicians just love to say “oh toxins so bad metals oh my” but they have no training in the subject matter, or even if they did, there is just no evidence. Its not a conspiracy. Most healthy populations in history ate a small amount of fish/seafood. I know of one that didn’t (loma linda) and its a bit inconclusive, and not a long enough period in history.
                There is no evidence that eating 100% plant based is any better than 95-98%, if fact I find more evidence of the contrary :)




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                1. Thanks for your response.

                  I tend to agree with your last points Dr G and other leading WFPB researchers and physicians might also – to a degree, anyway – given that they all recommend supplements for people eating completely vegetarians diets. And I do remember the video of his 2003 presentation where he described the mediocre heath statistics for vegetarians/vegans at that time. One of the reasons for that situation, he said, was the omega 3 and 6 story. Jack Norris also has a good page on this.
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7KeRwdIH04
                  http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/omega3

                  As for Loma Linda, it is interesting that the most recent 7th Day Adventist studies found that pescatarians had the lowest mortality risk. Of course, those figures were for all North American 7th Day Adventists not just those living in Loma Linda. However, if you break those figures down by sex and look at men alone, there the lowest mortality risk was shown by “vegans”. It would be interesting to speculate on the reasons for the sex differences in those findings.
                  http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1710093

                  As for your other points, well I spend very little time preparing plant foods. I never spend longer than 10 minutes preparing any meal. Oatmeal porridge and fruit in the morning, salad and wholegrain bread for lunch, and rice and beans for dinner for example. They really don’t take long. I just pour boiling water on the oats. Sure cooking brown rice takes longer than 10 minutes (if you don’t have a pressure cooker) but at that point I am sitting down to enjoy a cup of tea while the rice/beans are cooking

                  You may be right, though, about toxin levels in most fish at low levels of human consumption. However, it is a fact that there are regular government advisories issued to consumers to avoid fish from certain regions at certain times. I think Swordfish were also banned in the US by the FDA in the 1970s because of mercury toxicity concerns..So I don’t think that the concern about fish contamination is completely misplaced.

                  Just before I went completely vegetarian, the only animal food I was eating was fish and some low fat dairy. It was ethical and environmental concerns that finally tipped me into eating a completely vegetarian diet rathr than rock solid nutritional evidence.

                  That said, I’d probably respond to your final point by saying that there is no evidence that a 95-98% WFPB diet is better than an appropriately planned and appropriately supplemented 100% WFPB diet. And there is some evidence, largely discussed here on this site, that it may be inferior.

                  Anyway, I think the point is that you are eating a WFPB diet. Like most other people here. We are just arguing about the fine print.




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                  1. ank you for you’re detailed post. We are largely in agreement it seems.

                    I think if someone prepares most or all of their own meals, I think its definitely possible to spend a similar time with a vegan as an omnivorous diet.

                    – Having lived in Hawaii the last 5 years, it costs roughly the same to eat out vs. cook your own meals, all told. The spent time in the grocery store and cooking food added about 3-4X to my daily time I spent with food, when I tried times where I was 100% vegan. Not even counting the 3-4X more bowel movements :)
                    – Not only did I lose weight too fast, I had spent way too much time on on food and myself, because when you peel back the layers and really think about it, being vegan is quite selfish. I had to opt out of many social, dating, and business gatherings only because I was strict vegan. Quite isolating.
                    – For me to think, I may lose out on the next important business contact or my future wife, this is sort of disturbing but a very real possibility when 100% vegan.
                    – Since the evidence in my opinion is pretty strong in favor of fish and shellfish, I think it is very reasonable to include them. Also the rare meat when in a social setting and you don’t want to be “that guy”. I did lose the need to eat meat every day or even every week.
                    – Since there is so much you need to get right as a vegan, is yet another reason. The omega 3:6 issue is a BIG PROBLEM. I was never big on taking pills (can you tell, I went into radiology) :) And I am not about to take 6-9 algae omega 3 capsules, without evidence as of yet they will be as effective as eating salmon.

                    As you can see there is just WAAAYY to many drawbacks and not enough benefits to a 100% vs. 95-98% vegan diet (I’m pretty convinced the latter may actually be healthier and definitely more practical).

                    I do have some ethical concerns, as you do. But the extra time, inconvenience, and miss opportunity (this is not a joke!) with going full vegan, as a physician and entrepreneur I can do MORE good in this world when I have those extra full hours and opportunity every week, than the alternative. Cheers.




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                    1. Before you continue supporting consuming fish I think you should do more research on the current state of affairs in our waters, ocean and fresh. Aside from the toxins going directly into the water the amount of plastic has to be considered. Studies have demonstrated that at least one out of four wild fish have microplastics.
                      If consuming plastic is not enough to concern you, there have been many toxins found in that microplastics in the fish and in the blood of people consuming fish.
                      The omega 3 to 6 can be well balanced at even 1:1 without consuming fish by consuming flax and chia on a regular basis while avoding the foods that are high in 6. Studies indicate that vegans even have a better conversion rate of ALA possibly due to the lower consumption of 6.
                      I wish I could tell you that the above will provide you the EPA/DHA you need for a healthy brain and body but I do not know that, I do however know that fish is not the answer. The world is going to soon deplete the wild fish and there are many current problems with farm fish. I wish I could tell you that vegan will serve you well as you age but I do not know that either. Maybe as you age you need more IGF-1 and some meat is better. The traditional diet in Okinawa that results in the largest ratio of people over 100 includes 5 oz of pork per week, no olive oil and over 90% of a lower amount of calories from whole plant-based products. The result in Okinawa is not only many old people but blood pressure that does not increase with age and a BMI that is under-weight by Western standards.




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          3. “but they give themselves permission to still eat animal foods if they really want to.”

            they are forgetting about someone then-the non-human victims whom they
            are eating. it is always better to do less harm than more harm but that
            in no way justifies choosing to do harm in the first place, especially
            not in the name of a momentary taste sensation.

            ” Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good”

            most rational people demand “perfection” when it comes to harming other humans or cats and dogs in the name of personal gratification, why then is it acceptable to exclude farmed animals from one’s sphere of concern?

            the exploitation and murder of farmed animals is a matter of a rejection of violence and the property status of other sentient beings and not just a mere dietary choice. every time some one purchases an animal product, it contributes to the suffering and death of someone else who feared death and wanted desperately to live.




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            1. Yes we demand perfect with respect to human life. But this is a situation where what the carnists are doing now is the norm in society, so there is no repercussions if they just walk away and never change if you harangue them and demand instant conformance to what I agree is better ethics. So do want to feel like you held the moral high ground with no concession to half measures, or do you want people to eventually stop eating animals. Sometimes you have to meet people where they live if you are going to be able to effect real change. After all a 90% plant based eater kills 90% fewer animals than if they were eating meat, eggs and dairy three times a day and dessert too. And maybe once they stop mindlessly eating meat they will pause and reflect on what it is they are actually doing and drop the last 10%.




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              1. just because something is socially acceptable in no way makes it any less of an atrocity. it is in no way a matter of moral high ground any more than choosing not to support any other form of violence. if non-human animals matter morally, the LEAST we can do is not to exploit and murder them in the name of pleasure and profit. this is the difference between considering veganism as a moral obligation as opposed to a mere dietary choice. EVERYTIME one consumes an animal product, someone else suffers horribly and dies.

                in the case of the 90% you mentioned, it is much easier for them to start living their beliefs 100% of the time just as they would if their victims were humans, puppies or kittens instead of cows, pigs, chickens & fishes.




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                1. Mark, I’m not arguing against you. All I am trying to do is say what is the most efficient method to reduce the number of animals that are killed for food. My contention is that insisting people adopt an ethical vegan attitude and stop completely eating any animal product is doomed to failure. Nobody likes to be told they are committing atrocities three times a day and often for dessert. The rest of society is telling them that they are doing just fine and please pass the bacon. Shoot even after eating 99% plant based (100% at home and 95% while eating away from home) I was still turned off the what I felt was a very strident message of the ethical vegans at the first VegFest that I attended.

                  So lets be generous and say that with that message we can triple the number of vegans with an ethical argument. And lets also be generous and say that with a more gradual, do it for your physical and economic health approach that we could get 50% of the people to just cut down from the current 40% of calories from animal products to 10%. So these folks will still be eating meat, eggs and dairy several meals a week, but just consuming quarter of what they used to. Which is more effective in the end goal of reducing animal suffering?

                  Moving 5% of the people to eliminate all animal foods reduces the nations percentage of calories from animals by the same 5%. Getting half of the people to go from 40% to 10% will reduce the nations percentage of calories from animals by 37.5% (1 – (0.5 * 0.10) +(0.5 * 0.40))/ (1.0 * 0.4) = 0.375). So in this scenario just getting half the people to reduce their animal consumption by 75% is 12 1/2 times as effective as tripling the number of vegans.

                  Shoot, if we could just get the large majority (say 90%) of the population to just cut the amount the animal food they eat by half, which is pretty close to what most of the health guidelines recommend, the number of animals killed or held in bondage would be reduced by 45%!

                  And once you have people eating just 10% -20% of their calories from animal foods, which means more meals without any animal products in them and the meals that still do, the animal food is now a side dish rather than the main course. After the huge piece of dead animal stops being the main focus, it is much easier for people to let it slip quietly off the plate entirely. Also in there restaurants will start having a large portion of their menu with items that either don’t have any meat to start with or where the meat is an extra cost add on. This will be another step to normalizing a diet without animal products.

                  But I firmly believe that none of that will happen if we just club people over the head with animal suffering. Sure some will recoil in horror and go vegan. But I am afraid that the much larger percentage will just recoil from the messenger rather than the content of the message and continue to remain numb and willfully ignorant to the suffering and sacrifice that is on their plate.




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                  1. Jim,

                    i think focusing on “reducing suffering” is a major problem. the real issue is the property status of non-human animals. until humans stop considering other sentient beings as resources and economic commodities, barring a global environmental or heath based crisis, it is extremely doubtful that things will significantly improve. even those who eat plant based 50% or 90% of the time still consider farmed animals as existing for their own pleasure and convenience.

                    btw, i do not think that it is a coincidence that the 2 countries where veganism has really taken off in the past few years are Germany and Israel. the very sad part is how difficult it is to get those who have been exploited themselves to recognize their own prejudices and the exploitation which they choose to so willingly support.




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            2. The only solution is not to stop consuming animal products. An alternative solution is consuming far less animal products and treating the animals well.




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      1. Science and I agree….what foods existed 100,000 years ago are not relative to what you should be consuming today.

        Various foods existed by locations and seasons. The food today does not resemble those due to several factors, including agricultural practices and toxins modifying or added to the soil over the years. Meat today is not even the same as it was fifty years ago. For example, chicken has 9X fat and given the salt solution being pumped in I have no idea about the amount of salt except way too much.

        Dr Greger has it exactly right. The only safe avenue today is focusing on whole plant-based products. If the videos on this site has not convinced you of that fact then do as you please and good luck!




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    2. Hi Esben. Both Dr Esselstyn and Dr Ornish demonstrated reversal of coronary artery disease in their clinical research. If you check their own websites you can see the original papers. In the beginning Dr Ornish’s diet did contain some low or not fat dairy, but he changed that later (some decades ago I believe). But absolutely I agree with you, the information overload is very confusing, and not all of what appears on the internet is “information”, it can just be someone’s opinion, can be gossip, can be advertising disguised as information. But if there are these two valid researches (Ornish and Esselstyn) which have shown reversal, in a way, what else do you need? It shows that it is possible, something that had not been demonstrated before. I often use the analogy of sending a rocket to the moon–we know it’s been done and if we want to go to the moon and we use the same method, we ought to get there, never mind other ways that might or might not work. I hope this is helpful!




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      1. There is no resolution of the fine details. Dr. Ornish does allow very limited non-fat dairy and some nuts/seeds and avocado. Dr Esselstyn does not allow any nuts, seeds,avocado or dairy.
        Other studies show that the consumption of nuts/seeds extends years of life and benefits health.

        Dr Greger has it right, till proven otherwise focus on whole plant-based products.




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    3. esben andersen: I totally agree that confusion is quite understandable.

      On the other hand, there continue to be more and more glimmers of hope that things are staring to change and the message becoming more clear. I was on the webmd site the other day and was pleasantly surprised to see a link on their home page to a video titled “Benefits Of A Vegan Diet”. They ruin it somewhat with their subtitle of “How to get the nutrients you need on this strict diet” (strict?). However, this is a mainstream website that people go to in order to get medical information. That they would have a video at all that even mentions that a vegan diet has benefits seems like a note-worth step in the right direction.

      Disclaimer: I did not actually listen to the video. For all I know, it is full of misleading information and false insinuations. Either way, the title is there! I took note of it as a sign of hope.




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      1. WebMd is not an acceptable source of nutritional information. Just the owner of that site should make you wonder but I have more than ample experience with the misinformation on the site to stop going there.




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  2. I think these introductory videos really do help with introducing new readers to this site. And the mix of introductory videos with the more detailed nutrition facts type should do well to accommodate the needs of the regular viewers, too.

    This particular video keys in on a way to get more people to eat a good WFPB diet. Those of us who take personal responsibility for our health by reading this website and modifying our diets according to the evidence must set an example for our friends and relatives who don’t bother to take personal responsibility! I think eventually more people will follow our lead. I remember the quote, “It is better to light one candle, than curse the darkness” (forgot the author).




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    1. Yes, and although it can often be frustrating, it is really important to remain positive, not push people too much and revel in small improvements. Rarely are you going to get someone to go from SAD to WFPB overnight. Even small changes are excellent as they are going in the right direction.

      I liked this video. Even though we’ve heard all the information before in previous videos, I really like how Dr. Greger puts it all together in this one.




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      1. Yes, . .I agree,. . it can be difficult to remember to keep your mouth closed and not push people ! :-) When people ask about it, or if it’s appropriate to the conversation at the time, I just tell people that I was at the point where I was going to be required to take medications the rest of my life. And I didn’t want to do that. And that I would do whatever it took to not be on meds. And then I list for them all the reversals of conditions I experienced. Here’s the list: 30lbs,gone and back to normal weight, cholesterol normalized, LDL normalized, gout gone, pre-diabetes gone, beginning osteopenia reversed. Lots of energy. No medications required.
        But I do notice that one has to be sick and tired of being sick and tired before they’re going to make a change. The younger generations, however, understand before hand, however, the advantages of taking care of one’s health. The information is more readily available than it was way back when. Thank goodness and thank Dr. Greger!!!




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    2. “It is better to light one candle, than curse the darkness”

      I like this! The nice thing is that everybody has one candle to light, themselves. And with enough lit candles, there will be no more darkness. Sort of like another saying that I have seen “a river is simply millions of raindrops all flowing in one direction” testifying to the strength of numbers.




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        1. lemonhead: Tom Goff may have a better link. But just to be helpful, I went to the NutritionFacts video on Okinawa and found a link to this study, which I’m pretty sure is the study (if you can get into the guts of it) that has the macronutrient ratios. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17986602

          If you can’t get into the study, Rami had posted the details from that study several years ago, and I can copy and past them here if you want.




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        2. lemonhead: part 3 (sorry for all the posts): the footer of table 1 says, “Data derived from analysis of U.S. National Archives, archived food records, 1949 and based on survey of 2279 persons.” So, the raw data can be found elsewhere somewhere.




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  3. Sorry to say it’s all about the Benjamin’s.. Big money lobbies protected the tobacco industry for years knowing full well it was killing people… why? because tobacco was making them bucket loads of money. Same with big Pharma/big meat/dairy/sugar.. Old adage “follow the money for the answers”.. sad to say.. If we could find out a way to make WFPB eating a money making adventure the big money would be all over it and the epidemic would slow down… How to do it?? I don’t know..
    If “big broccoli” could make their product taste better than a double mc cheese for less money, that would be a start.. Yes??




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    1. I don’t think a whole plant food diet is ever going to go mainstream in modern civilization which is ruled by money hungry tyrants. Processed food is very addictive. Plus, people do not have the knowledge of how to “put” foods together in a whole plant food arena in order to make them taste good or to feel satisfied. It takes a special skill set to cook vegan style and to make it taste good. As long as the electrical grid is up and the gasoline flows freely, we whole plant food enthusiasts are going to be on the fringes of society. But, if civilization fails and we are thrown back into the dark ages, then yes….eventually we will return to the whole plant food diets of primitive tribes that have been studied in Africa who have no heart disease, cancer, or even dental problems. But, before that happens in a failed breakdown of civilization, there will be a lot of cannibalism going on…..in other words……meat eating will increase until there are just a few people left who will be able to till the ground in relative peace and security. But, give it another 3000 years and we will be right back to where we are now.




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    2. It would help push things in the right direction if our tax dollars were no longer used to subsidize the meat industry though cheap subsidized corn and soybeans, mostly GMO. Then, if animal foods actually cost what they should, more people would forego them or at least cut back.




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  4. A plant based diet is good but not good enough to reverse most atherosclerosis. Why? Because the foods we eat don’t have the nutrition they had 150 years ago. Why? Because industrial farming techniques have depleted the soil of vital nutrients. Less nutrients in the soil equals less nutrients in our food. Going Organic isn’t the solution either. Why? Because most organic food is grown in the same soil as conventional food. In fact, most organic food is grown on the same farms as conventional food; they just section off the organic plots and don’t use the nasty chemicals there, but it’s still the same nutrient-depleted soil. The long-term solution to this fiasco is a drastic overhaul of our unnatural agricultural system to a more natural system. I don’t suggest you hold your breath waiting for that to happen! You could, or course, grow all your own food. Not practical, you say! Fortunately, there is alternative. Stop America’s #1 Killer!, is a book written by Dr. Thomas E. Levy (MD). Dr. Levy has been a practicing cardiologist for 30 years. In his book he references over 650 studies published in medical and scientific journals that prove conclusively that coronary heart disease is caused by multiple nutritional deficiencies. On page 253 he lists 33 dietary supplements, available at any health food store, “… for optimizing the ability of the artery to regenerate itself and reverse any existing atherosclerosis” … “the typical diet does not even come close to supplying enough of these essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients.” As someone with a family history of heart disease, I have been taking this list of supplements since 2008. I am now 62 years old and recently had an MRI. The doctor declared, “Ray, your arteries are as clean as a whistle!” Needless to say, I am a big fan of Dr. Levy and am dedicated to disseminating this important information. So, I give away free paperback copies of his book (this book is not available as an e-book). If you want a free copy of Dr. Levy’s book, just email me at rayellis@saveyourheart.com, leave your name and address and I will ship you a copy right away. Be Well!




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      1. Benjamin Dowell: Please review the rules for posting on this site. You can find them by clicking the green ‘Comment Etiquette’ button at the top of the comments area.




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    1. Can you give references about plant foods commonly available today not have the same nutrient profile that they did 150 years ago. Do you have references showing just what the soil composition was in the 19th century? Has there been studies of the nutrient profile of food grown in soil that is as close as possible to what it was before industrial farming with comparison of food grown in today’s soil. Shouldn’t be too hard to do. Take one small field and amend the soil as needed to bring it back to our best estimate of the state of minerals, organics and microbiota that the average agricultural land had way back then. Then plant a range of crops in it. In the immediately adjacent field of unmodified soil plant the same foods. Harvest and compare. So has this study been done and can you give me the reference.

      As for Dr. Levy and recommending 33 dietary supplements, that raises a red flag for me. I am with Dr. Campbell and think that we are best served by a wholistic approach to nutrition rather than the highly reductive approach used by most researchers. Reduction is all about taking things out of context (mostly because context is messy and introduces any number of confounders). There is nothing more reductive than supplements.

      Oh, and the 81% of the subjects in Dr. Esselstyn’s follow up study that reversed their heart disease on a low fat whole food plant based diet with today’s plant foods say that you are not correct in your initial assertion that a plant based diet is not sufficient to reverse CVD.




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      1. Regarding soils , most farmers now are on the lookout for deficiencies , and regardless if they are organic or not will amend soils according to tests . Often times produce gardeners will apply foliar spray and even some hay farmers who supply hay for horses apply that way too. Just a real good way to supply micro nutrients.




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        1. Dr. Gregor has a video on soil depletion. Basically we have lost 15% from our peak. So the solution is pretty easy and simple, just eat 7 broccoli florets instead of 6.




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    2. Grow your own food and build up your own soil. Throw in a lot of worms, and dress up the soil. I have a huge garden full of vegetable areas and many fruit trees. Gardening gives you great exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. Plus, it is psychological invigorating. That’s the answer to your “depleted soil” problem. Glad to hear that your arteries are clear of plaque. But, how do we know if it was the vitamins or the fact that maybe you eat a whole plant food diet, and that it was your diet that cleared out your arteries? Also, do you have a before and after arteriogram? Did you actually have plaque in your arteries before you started the Dr. Levy protocol? You see, Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. Dean Ornish have many patients with before and after arteriograms that prove that there was plaque build up in the beginning and that the whole plant food therapy reversed the plaque build up.




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  5. So more than two months have gone by since I convinced my dad to try a plant-based diet. He’s done it quite poorly (no green veggies, almost no fruit), but he’s done it. And remarkably, it still worked. His blood pressure dropped, as did his blood glucose. Yet he still refuses to stop taking his meds. Even refuses to ask his doctor if he can start reducing his meds. His BP already wasn’t that high while he was taking the meds; in fact, he often passed out (sometimes while driving) from it being too low. Yet his doctor never adjusted his BP meds, and he never asked him to. His BG, while technically diabetic, wasn’t that high; without meds, his fasting BG would be in 6.0-8.0 mmol/L range. Now after two months on the diet, he still refuses to stop taking his meds, nor ask his doctor if he can cut down on them, despite his fasting BG dropping into the lower end of the normal range (4.0-5.0 mmol/L).

    Point is, the problem is too many people have blind faith in the drugs and the doctors who push them. Even if they not only have the research to show that it works, but the actual results after trying a plant-based diet, it seems the addiction to conventional drugs is almost as powerful as that of the illicit variety.




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    1. it is great that your dad has improved his health. If he has lost weight surely in his next visit to the dr they will readjust his medications. Perhaps you can encourage him by saying that he can inspire the dr in his next visit because the dr will see his health improvement and would like to know how he did it.




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      1. Error of omission: My parents in fact visit their GP almost weekly, and no less than at least once ever two weeks. They’re in a really bad way health-wise. So his doctor has in fact had numerous opportunities to evaluate him and cut back his meds. He’s not done so voluntarily, nor even remarked the noticeable improvement in his BP and BG numbers. I suspect it’s not even malpractice, as he could always fall back on, “hey, an excess of caution – I didn’t want to cut the meds back in an old guy like that, cuz who knows what could happen”. It would be interesting if Dr. G could chime in on this. Curious how common this sort of physician behaviour is.




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        1. It’s common. Why don’t you talk to a pharmacist for guidance? I find that sometimes, you need to go over the doctor’s head. If he’s having hypotension…why in the world would he be prescribed BP meds?!?!? Sounds like you need a second opinion.




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  6. Fi if you open the videos you are referring to there is a list of research articles Dr. Greger has used to make the video. It is under sources cited.




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    1. Funny, my post got deleted within seconds by the police who would rather revenge on me than to let someone getting some tips to save herself from breast cancer. Karma will catch up with her.




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    1. George: That’s a well done, really helpful article. Thanks for the link!
      .
      I read some of the article and skimmed the rest, so I may have missed something. But here’s what I think is interesting: They talk about studies presenting conflicting information about whether lignan intake is associated with breast cancer risk or not. When I first saw that part, and especially in light of the post you were replying to, I thought it meant that there was conflicting studies where some showed protection and some showed increased risk.
      .
      But when I read the details, I walked away with the understanding that there are some studies showing no association and some studies showing a protective effect from lignans. It does not appear that there are studies (that they cover anyway) showing harm.
      .
      If that’s the data, then I don’t see a downside to eating foods high in lignans. At most, it does nothing. That’s what the original poster needs to know I think.




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  7. RE: THE EXPERIMENT:

    If you were to ask me “What is the #1 thing that made you decide to switch to eating plants only?”

    My answer would be very clearly “Finally Realizing, BELIEVING, and accepting how we as consumers are being completely misled and lied to by the food industry.”

    (note: the very moment this happened for me was right after watching “Forks Over Knives” for the second time…..so much info to absorb.)

    I would encourage more “smoking gun” or “gotcha” videos similar to the one about the egg marketing communications.




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  8. I have some sad news to report.

    Your beer may not be vegetarian.
    “It is unlikely the swim bladder of fish would be on the list, but isinglass – a gelatine made using the organ – is in fact very likely to be in your average pint.
    Used since the 19th Century as a fining agent to make beer clear, bright and more attractive to drinkers, the odourless added extra is used widely by brewers, from mass-produced brands to small microbreweries.”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-37350233




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    1. Tom Goff: Good for people to know. Thanks for the post.
      .
      FYI: On the plus side, there *are* vegan beers. There are even Vegan Beer and Food Festivals in various places in the USA. So, it’s not *all* sad news. One just has to show discriminating taste. ;-)




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      1. Thanks Thea. That is interesting to know not having seen vegan beer in either Australia or the the Philippines.

        To be honest, I haven’t really drunk beer for 30 years. I used to drink real ale in the UK but that is very difficult to find in Australia or the Philippines. So I gave up beer once I moved to Australia – it’s a desert if you know what I mean. Mostly,all you can find is the carbonated, chilled stuff which is served so cold that it numbs the taste buds. Just as well, though. Once the chill wears off and your taste buds start working again, you are in for a pretty unpleasant experience.

        Actually, that reminds me. John Axsom is interested in alternative cancer “cures” so he might like to try the “drinking camel urine cure”. Or drinking Australian or US beer – I am told the taste is the same. The beer cure might be marginally cheaper though.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22922085
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15953717




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        1. Tom Goff: Well, I’m not much of a beer fan either. But I would like to go to the closest festival some day. If nothing else, because it says, “…and Food…” Sign me up!




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        2. Tom,

          I mean to answer to the post by Tangled Web above about the Perfect Day milk but since my post will be deleted pretty soon by the police, I send to you guys so that you guys can analyze for everyone.

          So Perfect Day milk is totally vegan but it contains a kind of DNA modified yeast that the inventor claims that it produces the same amount of protein as cow’s milk. Granted, adults don’t want to drink cow’s milk or Perfect Day milk because it contains the growth factor which can cause cancer, but babies need growth and so it’s OK.

          Ethics putting aside, babies ideally should drink mother milk but when it is not available then babies have to drink cow milk at least for the first year in life until they grow teeth and can eat solid foods. I don’t know what is missing but definitively babies cannot survive on nut milk. We adults can because we also eat other foods.

          So assuming that all the claims of Perfect Day milk are correct, that it is as nutritious as cow’s milk, can this be an ethical and sustainable kind of milk?

          http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Manufacturers/Perfect-Day-vegan-animal-free-milk-a-gamechanger

          http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/R-D/Will-consumers-embrace-animal-free-milk-Perfect-Day




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  9. CONFUSION is a tactic used by militaries around the world. Those involved in gathering and sending out military intelligence call it FOGGING. And this is exactly what the FDA, AMA, and the rest of the upper level information officers do at other world wide medical establishments do when confronted by health ideas that will reduce their profits. Just as Dr. Greger pointed out the “fogging” that the AMA did back in the 1950’s in regards to cigarette smoking by promoting conflicting studies, statements, and advertisements so we see the same tactic being used today in regards to diet, vitamins, herbs, and various food items. You can pick out any vitamin, and you will find conflicting theories, and statements coming from “authorities”. Same thing with food. For example, there are people who will tell you that coconut oil is good for you, then there are studies that tell you that consuming any kind of oil including coconut oil will impair the arterial epithelium. There are studies indicating that apricot kernals impair the growth of cancer, then there are people who will tell you that no such studies even exist. Yes, so it is up to the individual to take responsibility for their own diet and not swallow hook line and sinker what so called authorities try to ram down your throat. Do your own research. But, also talk to various people around the world about issues. And, this is pretty easy to do with the internet. I have talked about various health issues with people in Russia using skype. I have communicated with people on FaceBook, with people in this particular forum, and many other forums. I was even able to get a telephone call from Dr. Esselstyn a few months ago about a health question I had. With the internet you can accumulate a lot of ideas and debate them with others and come to grips with what is the best health plan for you.




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        1. True but the Soviets had an entire department working full-time and exclusively on disinformation strategies. Of course, you could argue that this is exactly what organisations like the Egg Nutrition Center, the Dairy Research Institute etc are




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    1. John, I think a lot of the confusion is not deliberate. Rather it comes from trying to use a highly reductive approach researching nutrition. The gold standard is the randomized double blind cross-over trial where one and only one thing is changed so that any changes in hard or soft markers of health can be attributed to that one change. But that isn’t how nutrition works.

      First of all if you add or remove a non-caloric nutrient without changing the levels of any of the other related/cooperating/antagonistic nutrients, then you can’t tell if any observed change was because you changed the one thing or because you didn’t change any of the others around it in a natural way. The result is that you have no way of knowing if wild humans making changes at the level of food and diet whether the same result would be seen for the same changes in level of the nutrient in question because of the simultaneous change in related co-factors.

      With whole foods it is even worse since if you are trying to be iso-caloric (which most studies are) and add one calorie containing food you are forced to remove some amount of the other caloric foods in the diet. So is any change due to the addition or subtraction of the food being studied or the food(s) subtracted or added to compensate. You see this all the time. A study reduces the percentage of fat in one arm of a study to supposedly levels that represent a “low-fat” diet and then increase the percentage of fat in the other to represent a “low-carb” diet. When the “high-fat/low-carb” group loses a little more weight and sees trivially more improvement in a couple of biomarkers, the “low-carb” diet is declared the winner and Time magazine declares the death of the low-fat “craze”.

      Seems simple enough until you look at the data and see that the low-fat group replaced any fat they removed with highly refined carbohydrates and added sugar (as seen by the fact that carbohydrates went up but fiber never changes). So was the lower weight loss and slightly lower improvements in bio-markers than the low-carb group do to the fact that a high-fat diet is indeed better for your health or because the low-fat group just changed from one bad food to another. Oh, and just to pile confounder on top of confounder, both groups drastically slashed their calories so much that even in the high-fat group the absolute number of grams of fat went down. So was any of the changes seen do to “increasing” the fat or was it all due two groups eating a crappy diet switch to a much lower calorie version of that same crappy diet just with minor tweaks in the percentages of fat with the tiny difference between the two groups being completely incidental.

      So a good portion of the confusion in the results from nutritional studies is baked into the design. But you are right in that those with a financial interest in creating all the FUD they can deliberately use this basic flaw to try to pass off bad science by stamping it with the “randomized control” label, such that it seems to carry more weight and validity than it actually does.

      I highly recommend the book “Whole” by T. Colin Campbell to everyone. Dr. Campbell rips the cover off the entire confused feted mess, shows where it went wrong and shows how it is being abused by those with an agenda.




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    1. That was a very loosely controlled study. They failed to account for too many variables and therefore, I would conclude that the study is fatally flawed and warrants a better, larger study. So for now, the preponderance of evidence says, that (no matter what your cholesterol numbers are) a whole-food-plant-based diet is best for human health. And like Greger says, “Shouldn’t that be the default diet until proven otherwise?”

      Perhaps, this study has just uncovered something sinister in our medicine cabinets. I’m talking about statins. They lower LDL, and since people with lower LDL’s in this study had higher mortality, it raises the question, could this result be explained by the widespread use of statins? Maybe they are killing us, instead of helping us. That’s just my hypothesis.




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      1. Also there is the possibility of reverse causation. People that are sick and that have elevated cholesterol take action either voluntarily by taking drugs or modifying their diet, or involuntarily as sick people often eat less of their current diet and so lower cholesterol. But the key is that illness came first and then came lower cholesterol, not the other way around.

        But where is the notoriety and fame from concluding that being ill causes an increase in mortality when you can, when the data is viewed from the just the right angle, say that reducing cholesterol increases mortality. This is even more appealing when you can find nearly unlimited funding from the animal food industries, whose financial success depends on their consumers never really getting a clear picture of just how damaging to their health eating animal products really is.

        @mgw2a




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  10. I have a question on HDL cholesterol. I have been plant based eating for over a year. I got a biometric screening to test my glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol etc. My HDL came up half of the minimum range 31. Should I be worried about getting it up. My total cholesterol is 134 and my LDL is 80. If I need to get the HDL up, what are ways I can do that?




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    1. HDL serves to transport cholesterol back to the liver where it can be properly disposed of. You need high levels of HDL when you have lots of LDL transporting lots of cholesterol out into the body. If you have excellent levels of LDL like you do, then you don’t need very much HDL. WebMD reviewed a study that looked at people that reduced their LDL to very low levels (55 on average, but due to high doses of the statin Crestor, not because of lifestyle changes) to see if the varying HDL levels seen in this population had any correlation to the risk of cardiac events, that while greatly reduced in frequency, still did happen in this populsation. The goal was to see if additional drugs should be added to increase HDL to eliminate the remaining risk. They did not find any correlation with HDL level and the risk of cardiac event for people with low to very low LDL.

      Also the researchers involved in the multi-generational Framingham heart study and other researchers like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn report that they simply don’t see heart disease in patients with a total cholesterol under 150 with the split between LDL and HDL making no difference once the total level is low enough.

      My feeling is that, given the studies that looked at populations where 90+% of their calories came from whole plant foods and find essentially zero heart disease, the continuing risk of cardiac events in the population taking statins is due to the fact it was achieved artificially rather than wholistically with diet and lifestyle changes and that reducing LDL to very low levels doesn’t remove all cardiac risk resulting from continuing to eat unhealthfully.

      Thus I would have to say that with a total cholesterol under 150 and LDL well under 100, you are as close to heart attack proof regardless of your HDL level. Thus I wouldn’t worry about your HDL level. Keep up the good work!




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  11. Good Morning! Gradually i’m changing my diet and and I’m taking off all animal products of my life, will make me have a better quality.

    Today reading the comments of some publications on the internet I came across three perfectly valid questions:

    1 – As an ancient diet (meat, eggs and dairy products) can cause a current disease? (cancer)

    2 – As old people (for example, i have relatives over 80 who still have diet carnista) but they are still alive (and they still consider themselves healthy)? Emma Morano, 116 year-old said eating up raw ground beef and eggs.

    3 – Steve Jobs was vegan and died of cancer in the pancreas. A curious fact was that I remember that I saw a news that Ashton Kutcher when he was studying his character for the film ‘Jobs” did the same diet that Steve and days later went to the hospital, just to problems in the pancreas.

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for the work they do. If you can answer me and take my doubts I will be forever grateful. Hugs and have a good day! :)




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    1. #1 This video should answer this question.

      #2 Not really sure of the question, but I know of somebody who smoked cigarettes and lived to be 90. This is known as anecdotal evidence and can not tell us anything about whether something is healthy or not. To know whether something is healthy or not, you need hundreds and even better thousands of subjects that eat differing amounts of a food or group of foods that you want to investigate. It is best of the range of consumption is from zero to a lot. Then either you look back and see what diseases different people have had and see if there is any relationship to the amount of this food you are investigating. Or you follow this group for a (usually) long period of time and see who develops different diseases and if their consumption of the given food was correlated to different disease rates. And you can’t just look at the data directly. You have to match up people based on their other habits and behaviors. So you looking at the health effect of meat you compare meat eating smokers to non-meat eating smokers, meat eating runners to non-meat eating runners, etc so that you can be more certain that if the meat eaters had higher rates of disease than non-meat eaters, that the difference in disease rates wasn’t due to smoking or exercise.

      There have been many many of these types of studies and they show clearly that the more animal foods (meat, milk and eggs) a group of people eats the more cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and many others diseases they will develop.

      #3 Dr. McDougall has answered this question very well.




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      1. I do not understand English perfectly but further research and found the answer he wanted so badly, I appreciate your text, and really has no basis these anecdotal evidence, on the text of Dr. McDougall, I was surprised and found it very interesting, thanks for help me this walk, have a great day! :)




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    2. eoluca: Congratulations on making your transition!

      I think Jim Felder gave you an excellent answer. The only bit I would add is to your first question. Despite what you read on-line, cancer is not a current/new/modern disease. We have looked at old mummies from Alaska (meat eating population) and seen examples of cancer. Humans have been eating some bits of animal products for a long time, but the longest and healthiest lived humans only eat a tiny amount of animal products (and who knows, they may have done even better without that). http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/

      Good luck. I highly recommend the talk about Steve Jobs that Jim linked you to. It is really great.




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    3. Regarding point two , I believe Mercola was once or maybe still is a believer in eating raw meat , I think he almost died from some raw lamb.
      Was just listening to Toronto radio station and they had a guy on who was 103 . just passed his drivers test and swore his longevity was due to his drinking vodka every day . Yet my experience is any one I know who were drinkers are long gone , only a few drinkers made it to old age in people I have known .
      Your at the right place though keep watching Dr Greger Videos.




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  12. The health insurance system has a role to play here. Once you have a health insurance system that covers everyone and will pay for all medical expenses, the government has to control the costs of such a system (even if health care premiums cover all costs, the more people have to pay for insurance the less money they have available to spend which is bad for the economy). This means not just cutting costs on unnecessary expenses in the system, but also taking measures to improve the general health of the population.




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  13. Great facts. It is mind boggling that so many things that are clearly harmful to our health continue to be condoned by the powers that be. All we can do is keep sharing information and questioning the “so-called” authorities who are mostly in some sort of denial or have vested interests in perpetuating the status quo.




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  14. A question: Dr. G claims that only a whole food plant-based diet has been proven to reverse heart disease. The proof would be the studies done by Ornish and Esselstyn, right? But their diets are not just WFPB, they are also very low-fat. As a general thing Dr. Greger doesn’t limit plant-based fat from whole foods to the extent that Ornish and Esselstyn do. It seems, in the interest of accuracy, that the only diet proven to reverse heart disease is WFPBLF, which is not the way of eating generally supported by Dr. G. Am I mistaken?




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  15. Dr. Greger. My mom is in renal failure at about 14% function on dialysis and has almost died twice within the past 2 years. The Dr’s (which I don’t trust) have her on this special diet including animals products still. I’m a vegan and know a plant based diet would help her so much but not sure what to do. Could you offer anything to help me figure this out? She’s open to veganism but my dad has her following the strict diet her Dr’s recommended including fish, chicken, beef, egg whites. I’m at such a lose for her. Please, I know this will be so helpful to her health and opening eyes to veganism.




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  16. I really appreciate all of the factual information that is contained in this website and the work of dr. Greger but I’m looking for information on a daily meal plan that will allow me to get all of the nutrients and supplements that I need in order to live an optimal life. Is there something like a dr. Greger diet plan on eating plan that will help with weight loss and Optimum Health?




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    1. djchitown: Happy you asked, because yes, absolutely there is. Dr. Greger’s plan is called the Daily Dozen. You can download a free phone app for the Daily Dozen. I recommend reading part 2 of Dr. Greger’s book, How Not To Die which is all about how to apply the Daily Dozen. There is also a quick screen shot of the Daily Dozen in the book trailer which you can pause on and investigate.

      For a less detailed/less guided overview of Dr. Greger’s overall nutrition recommendations, check out this blog post: http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/09/12/dr-gregers-2011-optimum-nutrition-recommendations/

      As for losing weight, you might also want to learn about the concept of calorie density and how to apply it. I included my stock answer for weight loss below in case you are interested.

      Good luck!
      *************************************
      The nice thing about your situation is that you already understand half the battle. I’m guessing from your post that you already understand about the importance of a whole plant food diet and have at least a sense of how to implement it. That’s half the learning curve. The other half is understanding the concept of calorie density and how to apply it to weight loss so that you don’t get hungry and you still get all the nutrients you need.
      .
      Dr. Greger covers calorie density, but not in enough detail in my opinion for someone who wants to apply it for the first time. I believe that Doug Lisle is one of the experts in the Forks Over Knives documentary, and he gives a great ‘calorie density 101’ talk officially called: How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I have watched the following talk from Doug Lisle several times and think very highly of it. And it’s free!!! And it’s entertaining! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
      .
      As good as Doug Lisle’s talk is, it pretty much just gives you a solid understanding of the concept, but not enough practical information in my opinion. For starting to get the practical information, I recommend a talk from Jeff Novick,Calorie Density: “How to Eat More, Weigh Less, and Live Longer,” which is no longer for sale. Argh! (I mention it just in case you can get your hands on a copy.) Happily, there is a very good second best source for that information: an article that Jeff wrote that you can get here: http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2012/5/20_A_Common_Sense_Approach_To_Sound_Nutrition.html
      Be sure to pay attention to the charts.
      .
      Chef AJ tells people who want to lose weight to eat “left of the red line”, where I believe the red line is on a diagram of hers representing is 700 calories per pound. And “left of the red line” is all the whole plant foods which are below 700 calories per pound. The above article from Jeff Novick gives you a good sense of which foods are “left of the red line” by food category. But if you want to look up the calorie density of specific foods, you can find many foods on the following site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Most foods on that site have the option of choose an ‘ounce’ as a size. Then you can multiply by 16 to get the calories per pound.
      .
      It would be perfectly respectable if you are one of those people who are just not interested in the theory. You just want to dive right in and want straight how-to information. If you would rather not think about any of that (or start with the theory and then move onto this step), I have one more suggestion that Dr. Greger also recommends in his book, How Not To Die. Consider going through the free program from PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) called 21 Day Kickstart. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions.
      http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/
      (Click the green “Register Now” button.)
      At the end of the program, you will have a very good practical knowledge about how to eat with healthy and “low” (normal for most people) calorie density.
      .
      Another recommendation that Dr. Greger and I share is to get Jeff Novick’s Fast Food videos for tasty, affordable, fast and healthy calorie density recipes. Also, on-line and free is a YouTube series of recipes/cooking shows called something like Chef AJ and The Dietician. I know that Chef AJ will not steer you wrong in terms of weight loss and providing accurate nutrition information.
      .
      How’s that for some tips? If you give these ideas a try, please report back and let us know how it went.




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  17. Question, hoping someone here can help… We became vegetarian 1.5 years ago and are transitioning to vegan. My daughter who’s nearly 3 is not a big eater, she’s not picky, just eats very little. She’s not as rosy cheeked as she once used to be and has little circles under her eyes. I offer a really good variety of nutrient dense food but am worried something is up. I’ve had her iron levels checked and she’s fine. Pediatrician says not to worry but… She doesn’t look right to me. Thoughts? Anyone? Thanks in advance!




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    1. Jen: I can understand why you are concerned and I have no idea whether that concern is worth having or not. But I do have some excellent resources about feeding vegan children that may have some answers for you. In the hope that the following will help:

      First, note the following quote from a position paper from the ADA: “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”
      .
      Also note this quote from Dr. Greger’s book, How Not To Die, page 411-412: “Vitamin B12-fortified plant-based diets can offer health benefits for all stages of the life cycle. [When] Dr. Benjamin Spock, the most esteemed pediatrician of all time,…died at ninety-four, he advocated children be raised on a plant-based diet with no exposure to meat or dairy products. … ‘Children who grow up getting their nutrition from plant foods have a tremendous health advantage and are much less likely to develop health problems as the years go by.’ ”
      .
      But having said that, there are some ‘gotchas’ when it comes to young children and whole plant food diets (just like there are gotchas with children and any diet). Because you mentioned the need to feed “nutrient dense” food, it sounds to me like you have already educated yourself white a bit. But just in case you could pick up another tip, it might be worth spending some time reviewing some of the following information:
      .
      One great resource is Vegetarian Resource Group, VRG.
      Their articles are usually very well researched and Dr. Greger has
      mentioned VRG favorably at least once. VRG has a whole section on kids
      on their website.
      Here’s the main page. Scroll down to the Nutrition section:
      http://www.vrg.org/family/kidsindex.htm
      This is one of my favorite articles on that page. which starts with babies and goes on up:
      http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php
      .
      PCRM is the Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine, headed up by Dr. Barnard. Dr. Greger has mentioned Dr. Barnard and PCRM favorably in posts and his book. Here are two articles for starters, but they may have additional information that may also be helpful on their website:
      http://www.pcrm.org/pdfs/health/info_children.pdf
      http://www.pcrm.org/pdfs/health/info_advchild.pdf
      .
      Finally, I highly recommend getting a book called, Becoming Vegan, Express Edition. That book is a great over-all reference book for the whole family. It also has an entire chapter on children and what to feed. The authors of that book have been guest bloggers here on NutritionFacts. They are very well respected and extremely knowledgeable about nutrition science and how it applies to all ages.
      .
      I know several 3 year olds who have been vegan since being weaned from their vegan mothers. These kids are healthy and smart and a joy to be around. I share this in the hopes of providing some inspiration/moral support to know that it is really possible to do. Best of luck to you and your daughter!




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  18. Dr. Greger cites health of poor populations on meat-free diets as proof of longer life spans and health, but weren’t life expectancies much lower as recently as 50 years ago around the world? Please explain. Thanks.




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    1. Its my understanding that life expectancy was lower over the last hundred years mainly due due infectious disease, infection and infant mortality.




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      1. Certainly. That has lengthened life but dr greger claims that plant based populations show superior longevity. These populations mainly existed in pre industrial china India etc. what data showed their longer lives?




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  19. Hi Dr Greger,
    I’ve been vegan or the last four years, have read your book and eat mostly whole foods. I avoid oil, processed sugar and flour, and very rarely drink alcohol. I love vegetables, fruit and legumes and cook a lot at home, but also travel a lot for work – and it is harder to eat whole foods on the road.

    I’ve been seeing a hormone specialist for the last year or so. I sought out help because I had low energy, had insomnia, and an irregular menstrual cycle, After some testing, I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, vitamin D and B12 deficiencies, and borderline anemia. All of my hormones were out of balance: estrogen high, testosterone high, progesterone low and cortisol high (and high at the wrong times of day). I was told to reduce my stress, eat more vegetables, legumes, fat, probiotic foods, and omit grains and all processed foods (including smoothies), caffeine and alcohol, in addition to taking a bunch of supplements.

    I recently had a follow up after retesting and there is some improvement. The D is in normal range, the hormones are better but still need to improve. I have a bit more energy than I’ve had over the past couple years. I am able to fall asleep much easier but I wake up throughout the night. The specialist is saying I may have non-diabetic hypoglycemia, that am waking up throughout the night because my blood sugar is crashing when I’m asleep. This condition is apparently related to my hormones being off. She suggested many small meals throughout the day.

    After switching to smaller ,more frequent meals I’m feeling a little better, but I am gaining weight. I don’t have the energy for intense physical activity, or time for the 90 minutes of low-intensity you prescribe in your book. I walk a lot and do an hour of yoga somewhat consistently. I’m trying to eat as many legumes as possible because you’ve discussed how they help control blood sugar. The specialist is suggesting to eat a lot of fat, protein, and not a lot of carbs, and don’t want to follow this advice because it doesn’t sound right to me. She is telling me to avoid grains all together, and minimize fruit. She is basally telling me to do paleo vegan.

    Any recommendations? Please help!




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    1. Hi Megan, I’m one of the site moderators. This is always tough when you get conflicting information in hopes of feeling betters. It seems like you are moving in the right direction as far as feeling better but no one wants the improvement of one problem to create another one. Without having lab values it is difficult to know if it is your blood glucose causing you to wake up in the night vs. cortisol which could also cause abnormal sleep wake cycles or if you are drinking too much water before bed. It seems like if it’s the glucose dropping you would need something that will stay with you all night long. She is suggesting fat since it takes a long time to digest but you could have a complex carbohydrate that’s not a grain like a sweet potato. If having a little fat would help by decreasing the speed of absorption you could have a tablespoon of hummus or guacamole that should stay with you until the morning.




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      1. Hi DocBeccy, thanks for the reply. My cortisol is high in the middle of the night, but I haven’t taken any tests to check my glucose. I have started eating something small before bed and that has been helping me sleep better. I use melatonin and some herbal supplements which are helpful sometimes. Overall though I really need to have better quality sleep.

        I am still wondering if I should avoid grains all together like my doctor recommended? I think eating whole food plant based is challenging enough as it is – i travel a lot – and removing grains makes this even more so. My doctor also recommended adding oil to my food to make sure I get enough calories. Per her recommended I started eating a lot more nuts and seeds about 8 months ago and have gained 10 lbs since. I was not underweight to begin with. Now I have a bmi of 25.1. A certain amount of oil is unavoidable considering how much I travel, but adding it to the food I prepare at home is counter to what I’ve learned from nutritionfacts.org
        I am really discouraged by the weight gain and I would like to avoid gaining more.

        Are there any articles or videos addressing adrenal fatigue / disregulation? I’m not confident my doctor understands plant based nutrition to really help me.




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  20. The good doctor should have made it clear he was talking about Dr. Dean Ornish’s diet plan. Taking the right supplements in the required doses helps to close those inevitable gaps in our eating habits. See SaveYourHeart.com for those.




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  21. Hi, first wish to express my gratitude to Dr. Greger. I have been vegan for just about 6 months after reading “How not to Die” I lost 50 pounds, my blood sugar was 138 and now is 97, my cholesterol was 320 and now 120 and I feel 20 years younger! I feel with all my heart you have saved my life and may have saved the lives of some of my loved ones (the ones who listened) So thank you.
    Recently I cut out all foods containing lectins from my diet because of something I read and honestly wished to experiment with what was right for my body but I am finding it harder and harder to keep up this type of life style. What are Dr. Greger’s thoughts on lectins? Is my plant based life style combatting the lectins that I was eating? Did I just answer my own question? I have seen a weight drop since I stopped eating them, I still have about 20 to go. Please help and thank you again for all that you have done for me and many many others.




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    1. Anthonydimino: Congrats on your successes so far! It’s breathtaking.
      .
      I think it would be nice for NutritionFacts to cover lectins in more detail as this question comes up a lot. Below is the information I typically share when this question comes up. I hope it helps you in the meantime. I also have some great resources for Dr.Greger-consistent resources on losing weight. Let me know if you would like some links and other fantastic information on that topic.
      *************************

      I found one blog post on NutritionFacts which talks about lectins. Here is a quote:
      .
      “Modern paleo advocates claim that these foods weren’t part of Paleolithic-era diets, but new research challenges that assumption.5 They also argue that lectins naturally present in these starchy foods are harmful to human health. Consuming too many lectins can cause significant gastrointestinal distress. However, because legumes and grains are almost always consumed in a cooked form—and lectins are destroyed during cooking—eating beans and grains doesn’t result in lectin overload. Sprouting also reduces lectin levels in plants, although not as effectively as cooking. Generally, pea sprouts, lentil sprouts, and mung bean sprouts are safe to consume, as are sprouted grains, which are naturally low in lectins. Most larger legumes contain higher amounts and should be cooked.” from: http://nutritionfacts.org/2014/09/23/will-the-real-paleo-diet-please-stand-up/
      .
      Since I eat my grains and legumes cooked, I consider the lectin brouhaha to be much ado about nothing.
      .
      In the past, Tom Goff has posted some additional helpful takes on the subject. Here are some quotes from Tom Goff’s previous posts.
      .
      “…problem with such claims is that people in the past ate huge amounts of (whole) grains (compared to modern-day Americans). Some people still do. There is no record of such people suffering abnormally high rates of toxicity or inflammation-related diseases. If anything, the exact opposite is the case eg
      .
      “This meta-analysis provides further evidence that whole grain intake is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and total cancer, and mortality from all causes, respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, diabetes, and all non-cardiovascular, non-cancer causes. These findings support dietary guidelines that recommend increased intake of whole grain to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and premature mortality.”
      http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2716
      .
      Further, reviews of the health effects of grain lectins do not support the wild claims found on the internet or sensational mass market “health ” books
      .
      “We conclude that there are many unsubstantiated assumptions made. Current data about health effects of dietary lectins, as consumed in cooked, baked, or extruded foods do not support negative health effects in humans. In contrast, consumption of WGA containing foods, such as cereals and whole grain products, has been shown to be associated with significantly reduced risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, as well as a more favourable long-term weight management.”
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0733521014000228
      .
      Sure, it is possible to find toxic effects from grain lectins in the laboratory or in rat studies. You can find toxic effects from virtually anything if you design the study appropriately. Even water is toxic in high doses and specific circumstances. And you can turn such findings into sensational claims that garner a lot of publicity (and sales) – if you leave out all the evidence that does not suit your argument or book sales.”
      .
      And from another post:
      “The Paleo community attitude is certainly strange because there is evidence to show that humans in the Paleolithic period actually did eat legumes – and significant amounts at that – at least in certain locations and in the relevant season eg
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440304001694
      .
      However, it seems that once an idea becomes established in the Paleo canon it becomes sacrosanct and no mere inconvenient fact is powerfu l enough to overturn it.
      .
      On lectins and health specifically, blogger has summarised the (Paleo) argument like this:
      “There is evidence that legumes provide health benefits. There is speculation that lectins cause diseases. Unfortunately, the autoimmune diseases some speculate are caused by legume lectins appear to occur more frequently in nations like the U.S., where legume consumption is rather low, than in Asian nations, where legume consumption is higher.”
      http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2011/08/legumes-neolithic-or-not.html

      Does this help?




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      1. Yes, thank you so much…
        One more question… i just recently started tracking my Nutrient intake and i have been 100% plant based with practically NO lectins… based on a 1600 calorie a day intake Im at 124g of carbs, 46g healthy fats & 32g protein (from nuts and greens and such… does the carbs seem high? healthy to lose weight? Im slightly taken back…its been the average this past week… thoughts? and thank you in advance for your help!




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        1. Anthonydimino: I’m going to break my answer into two posts: one on the topic of macro percentages and one on the topic of healthy weight loss. Even though I’m giving two post, these topics are intimately/inter related. I think if you take some time to explore the talks I provide on losing weight along with the information in this post and the information about not worrying about lectins, you might decide to tweak your diet.
          .
          Let’s start with macronutrient (fat, carbs, protein) percentages. What is healthy? Oh boy is this a controversial topic! While I don’t speak for any experts, including Dr. Greger, my interpretation of the answers I have seen from Dr. Greger and others is that worrying about macronutrient percentages is not helpful. If you eat the right set of whole plant foods, the macronutrients just work out. So, what is the right set of foods? Dr. Greger recommends the Daily Dozen. I recommend you take a look at the Daily Dozen. Avoiding lectins might mean that you are avoiding important foods/food groups.
          .
          Even though the above really is the general recommendation, I can say more that will help you get a better sense of where you stand with things. First, what are your current percents? *If* carbs are 4 calories per gram, protein is 5 calories per gram, and fat is 9 calories per gram, then your percentages are: 46% carbs, 15% protein, 39% fat.
          .
          There have been a couple of people who have entered their Daily Dozen food into cronometer.com to figure out their macro nutrient percentages. Jim Felder is a forum participant who is well researched and knows his healthy eating (ie, that concept of: eat whole plant foods in generally recommended proportions I explained above). Jim Felder did a great post here with an example from his own daily diet: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/caramel-coloring-carcinogens-coke-pepsi/#comment-2736766586 Using my own % of calories calculation, Jim ate approximately 69% carbs, 19% protein, 12% fat. Moderator Renae, an expert we enjoy here on NutritionFacts, did a sample entry (based on Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen idea) into cronometer and came up with 23% fat, though an alternate scenario went as low as 19% fat. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/slowing-metabolism-nitrate-rich-vegetables/#comment-2699082846
          .
          Now, compare those numbers to what the traditional Okinawans ate. That population is one of the healthiest and long-lived people (lots of strong, 100+ people!) on the planet. And a survey of their diet found these percentages: 85% carbs, 9% protein, 6% fat, . And FYI, that diet included about 70% sweet potatoes. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-okinawa-diet-living-to-100/
          .
          I think all these numbers help to give you a proper sense that a) we don’t know *exact* percentages which are needed, and indeed those percentages may differ some for different people/needs, AND b) there is a range of percentages that is likely healthy. Going outside that range may be unhealthy. For example, for most people, eating 40% fat would likely be too much. While protein is vital, 30% is likely too much (and if a person is eating animal protein, they really, REALLY need to watch out, keeping it less than 10% if The China Study is to be believed). And we can see that no matter what model you use to base your diet on, the majority of your macronutrients should come from healthy carbohydrates, which means eating a Whole Plant Food Based diet with lots of intact grains, legumes, (sweet) potatoes, veggies, fruit, and mushrooms. with a small amount of nuts/seeds and a B12 supplement.
          .
          With all this in mind, you might ask yourself, are you getting enough carbs? Are you getting too much fat? I’m no expert, though. So, take all this for what it’s worth.




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        2. Anthonydimino: This is part 2 of your answer. How could you tweak your diet so that you get enough calories, but not too much, and lose weight in healthy way – all without going hungry? Sound like a tall order? Maybe not! Below is in the information that I typically share with people when they ask about losing weight. The talks are especially helpful in my opinion. I hope it helps you!
          ******************
          .
          The nice thing about your situation is that you already understand half the battle. I’m guessing from your post that you already understand about the importance of a whole plant food diet and have at least a sense of how to implement it. That’s half the learning curve. The other half is understanding the concept of calorie density and how to apply it to weight loss so that you don’t get hungry and you still get all the nutrients you need.
          .
          Dr. Greger covers calorie density (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eating-more-to-weigh-less/ ), but not in enough detail in my opinion for someone who wants to apply it for the first time. Doug Lisle, one of the experts in the Forks Over Knives documentary, gives a great ‘calorie density 101’ talk officially called: How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. I have watched the following talk from Doug Lisle several times and think very highly of it. And it’s free!!! And it’s entertaining! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
          .
          As good as Doug Lisle’s talk is, it pretty much just gives you a solid understanding of the concept, but not enough practical information in my opinion. For starting to get the practical information, I recommend a talk from Jeff Novick,Calorie Density: “How to Eat More, Weigh Less, and Live Longer,” http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Calorie_Density.html If talks aren’t your thing, the following article from Jeff covers a lot of the same information: http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2012/5/20_A_Common_Sense_Approach_To_Sound_Nutrition.html
          Be sure to pay attention to the charts.
          .
          Chef AJ tells people who want to lose weight to eat “left of the red line”, where I believe the red line is on a diagram of hers representing is about 650 (or so) calories per pound. And “left of the red line” is all the whole plant foods which are below 650 calories per pound. The above article from Jeff Novick gives you a good sense of which foods are “left of the red line” by food category. But if you want to look up the calorie density of specific foods, you can find many foods on the following site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Most foods on that site have the option of choose an ‘ounce’ as a size. Then you can multiply by 16 to get the calories per pound.
          .
          It would be perfectly respectable if you are one of those people who are just not interested in the theory. You just want to dive right in and want straight how-to information. If you would rather not think about any of that (or start with the theory and then move onto this step), I have one more suggestion that Dr. Greger also recommends in his book, How Not To Die. Consider going through the free program from PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) called 21 Day Kickstart. The program will “hold your hand” for 21 days, including meal plans, recipes, videos, inspirational messages, and a forum (moderated by a very respected RD) where you can ask questions.
          http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome/
          (Click the green “Register Now” button.)
          At the end of the program, you will have a very good practical knowledge about how to eat with healthy and “low” (normal for most people) calorie density.
          .
          Another recommendation that Dr. Greger and I share is to get Jeff Novick’s Fast Food videos for tasty, affordable, fast and healthy calorie density recipes. Also, on-line and free is a YouTube series of recipes/cooking shows called something like Chef AJ and The Dietician. I know that Chef AJ will not steer you wrong in terms of weight loss and providing accurate nutrition information.
          .
          How’s that for some tips? If you give these ideas a try, please report back and let us know how it went.




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  22. I read your book and I thought it was great. I have been tryixxxng to follow the daily dozen you recommended but I am finding it difficult to eat that much food in one day. I ate a healthy breakfast and lunch, I haven’t snacked or cheated and it’s time for dinner and I’m not the least bit hungry. I still need 1/2 serving of berries, 3 servings of beans (I had planned curried lentil soup for dinner) 1 serving of fruit, 1 serving of greens, flaxseed and nuts. How does anybody eat so much? Am I the only one struggling with this problem?




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    1. Elizabeth Ord: You are not alone! My understanding is Dr. Greger generally based the Daily Dozen on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. If your calorie needs are less, you can use the Daily Dozen to get a general understanding the types of foods and ratios to generally try to get into each day. But adjust portion sizes down as needed. Make sense? You definitely do not want to eat if you are not hungry.
      .
      PS: Congrats on your diet. It sounds very healthy. :-)




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  23. Hello,
    I have been an healthy person my whole life. I have been vegan for two years out of idealistic reasons (not health). The first 7 months was great, had lots of energy, lost weight, and truly believed that this was the correct way of living. Because I am very responsible I read a lot about what and how to eat in order to keep a balanced nutritional diet. I ate lots of fruit, vegetable, legumes, nuts- a great verity of everything. My blood tests were great. after about 7 months it felt like my body started going out of balance. I was diagnosed with Lichen Planus which affected my whole body and was unbearable, I was constantly dizzy, and something very weird was happening with my ears. Of course I didn’t think for a minute it had something to do with my new dietary life style. This went on and on and kept on deteriorating. I tried so many alternative treatments- Acupuncture, herbal treatments.
    It seemed as though my immune system got out of hand and hyperactive. This went on and on and was very frustrating and literally nothing helped. after more than a year the doubts started rising- and I got scared of loosing my fingernails and hair for good. I was so sure of my choice being vegan, But I decided to just check the possibility that my vegan diet is maybe what could be causing all this. So I tried eating animal products and sadly, EVERYTHING DISAPPEARED, and then I stopped again – and a flair up immediately arrived. I’m so frustrated. I know all people are different but why cant I make it work for me? Why did my immune system react this way? Please don’t say something about that my body was cleansing himself or something like that… My Body suffered from multiple immune diseases for some reason for over a year… So now i’m sadly back on a diet that contains animal products once in a while… Its the only thing that relieved my symptoms…
    Are there any studies addressing this case? autoimmune diseases in vegans?
    Please help me find the right way!
    Thank you.




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  24. Hello Hagit,

    I am a volunteer medical moderator who helps Dr. Greger answer questions on Nutritionfacts.org. I am also a whole foods plant based dietitian nutritionist located in Scottsdale, Arizona. I appreciate your writing to us. Your condition sounds terrible, and it can be very difficult when diagnosed with something for which there is no treatment.

    Dr. Greger has addressed autoimmune diseases in general on the site. Here is a link that will take you to a listing of the previous videos on autoimmune disease.
    When I do a search of the medical literature to see if there have been any studies addressing autoimmune diseases in vegans, I actually find a huge body of scientific literature that shows vegan diets as helpful with autoimmune diseases.

    There does seem to be a connection with your condition and Hepatitis C; have you been tested for that?

    Finally, you mention that you resumed eating meat and your condition went away, so you are thinking that your condition is related to being a vegan. When you went back to meat, did you stop eating ALL plant based foods? Do you just eat meat? Is there one food that you were eating when vegan that you eliminated when you went back to eating meat? In other words, have you worked with a dietitian to see if you can isolate the foods that might be causing you difficulty?

    Good luck with your journey. It is not likely that your ‘vegan’ eating led you to your condition, or that returning to eating meat made it go away.

    Lisa Schmidt
    THE Mindful Nutritionist




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    1. Thank you so much for your reply!
      I have been checked for Hepatitis C and was negative. Of course most of my diet is still based on plants… this is the way it has been most of my life. Even before becoming vegan most of my diet was plant base- this was why the transition was so easy for me. But if I don’t eat meat for a while… I’d say, once a month, The lesions start coming back. The only thing I ate more of when I became a vegan were nuts. I was thinking, maybe it had something to do with the ratio of the fatty acids.. maybe too much Omega 6? It is known that skin is very susceptible to a fat metabolism imbalance…
      Its not that I think that the meat is the cure… but something, perhaps a certain amino acid or something, is somehow moderating my immune system… Its just so difficult because no one really knows too much about the etiology of these diseases, so it all stays just speculations… and I keep eating meat and hating it.
      But it wasn’t just the Lichen Planus…at the time, It felt like my whole body was overreacting… I cant write this all down cause it will take forever, but trust me… you just feel it when your body is going crazy on you.
      Any way, Ill keep investigating.
      Thank you,
      Hagit




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  25. Funny, i habe just signed up and wrote the first comment and receive the message that I habe already written this, the following, comment……

    By the way, we all will die!!!
    But I want to live healthily until it is time ‘to go’…..




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  26. Dr. Gregor,

    I have a concern — NOT a criticism, mind you — that has arisen late into enthusiastically watching and learning from your website and book. Thinking that I might not be the only reader to whom this applies, I decided to share it with you and your team.

    Let me start by saying that your website is the most informative, easy-to-understand, user-friendly resource I have ever seen. The same goes for your book; I’m currently reading it and can hardly put it down. Your message about the importance of a plant-based diet for better health is hitting the mark. Nothing “fad” about it. And your enthusiasm is contagious. (In fact, I now start every day with a few of your video segments to hone my understanding of what is known and yet to be explored in human nutritional health.) Feeling so enthusiastic and motivated — because you have cut to the chase so I can quickly understand — I have already made changes in our family menu, which I thought was already pretty healthy compared to the “average American diet”: we don’t eat fast food or processed/pre-packaged meals, no soda, very little refined sugar, 3-5 organic vegetables/fruits/day, olive-oil instead of butter. And, we try to watch the salt. However, we DO eat dairy most days (low fat milk, cheese, plain kefir and yogurt, occasionally eggs), as well as chicken and fish 3-4 times/week and red meat three times/month. This last bit is what has given me pause, in light of your passionate, effective message about plant-based eating. As the primary cook and grocery shopper in our family, I have always felt the responsibility to put healthy food on the table, and model good nutritional habits for my kids as they were growing up. I’m not sure now, what that REALLY means.

    After watching so many videos on your website about the measurable, immediate and often long-term, negative health impacts of eating animal proteins — especially chicken and fish (which I always thought were the “good ones”, along with low-fat dairy and eggs now and then), I’m getting the sense that we should be eating a completely vegan diet. I realize that you do not overtly advocate specifically named diets, like vegetarian or vegan, but rather emphasize and demonstrate the data-driven benefits of whole plant-based choices. Yet, still, I’m left feeling that no meat of any kind (or eggs, or dairy) is the only way to go. I’m not seeing a middle-ground, or an acceptable compromise. Maybe I’ve missed something in my endeavor to soak up the plant-based diet message. Your “Daily Dozen” list of plant-based foods/servings in your book is great and being put to use in our kitchen; the omission of animal proteins is understandable, of course, but it also leaves me wondering again about that “middle ground”. So, I have a few questions, and comments to share.

    Question # 1: If some amount of animal protein is, in fact or theory, okay, what, how much and how often? I’m willing to keep making positive changes to what we eat in our household, but switching from what I thought was a healthy omnivore approach to a vegan diet is an undertaking; I’ll have to be both master cook of a whole new repertoire, and amateur teacher of nutrition (unless I can assign your website as homework for the family).

    Comment: With a vegan diet, there is the question of vitamin B12 — which, I admit, I didn’t know about. As much as I thought I understood basic good nutrition, I didn’t really comprehend the risk of B12 deficiency; perhaps from a lifetime of “fortified with vitamins” on so many product labels I’ve become complacent in that area of awareness. I only accidentally came across your videos about how critical B12 is for a vegan diet. Next, I looked it up in How Not To Die, and it’s there too, of course — but in the appendix, under Supplements, which I had not yet read. It would have been helpful to have encountered this information earlier in the book and more often in the videos, or at least featured more prominently in some way on the website. Going back to the enthusiasm factor, I got hooked on the data-driven plant-based message and was excited to start making changes while I was still learning. Because animal proteins and fish were looking pretty scary, that left only plants — and a need to know about taking vitamin B12, which I almost missed.

    Question #2: Further refining Question #1, if animal proteins ARE consumed as part of a plant-based diet, how much, how often and which ones would ensure adequate vitamin B12 sufficiency? (If, for example, we maintain our omnivore family diet, but reduce animal proteins, is there any guideline for consumption, i.e., how many times/week can meat be on the menu, or eggs, or dairy?).

    Thank you for taking the time to read my comments and consider my questions. In the meantime, I’ll keep watching and reading, and we’ll work on our Daily Dozen.




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  27. I am not confused at all. No idea what kind of doctor Oz is but a short look around the site and you will read enough misinformation to not be interested in returning.

    Same thing with the quake recommending eggs. He is a fad diet guy and that site is full of misinformation. He recommend living like they did 100,000 years ago. You should know by now that is impossible. Diets varied by location and season. Almost none of the food during that period exist today, certainly not in any sustainable quantity. There are studies indicating the quake is wrong about dairy and eggs.




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  28. I have been living as close as possible to a WFPB diet as I can for about 5 years or so. I have since married, and my husband is INCREDIBLY skeptical, although he did promise to let me feed him anything I wanted to for 40 days as an experiment. He complained and suffered throughout his ordeal and insisted that his medical issues, including fibromyalgia, WORSENED! How can this be possible? Is it at all possible that a person with a delicate constitution and digestive issues along with fibro be feeling so sick? How can I talk him into doing this again? Can I find ways to lessen his discomfort? Was he going through withdrawal of some kind? Detox? Please help me. His meat-based diet is competely scarey to me.




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  29. Jocelyn,

    First what great efforts to help your husband…..nice work, even if it did not prove to be adequate. My clinical experience with FM (30+yrs) has shown that there are a number of factors to consider, in addition to diet. Physical and emotional issues along with a really deep dive into the metabolic issues, including infections, mitochondrial dysfunction and other medical considerations need to be addressed.

    The WFPB diet may have indeed have been a trigger or … he may be allergic to one or more of the foods or… he may have experienced a higher oxalate level irritating his joints or…..the increase in nightshades were to blame and the list goes on…..

    To tease out the cause see someone knowledgeable in doing good medical detective work…. not going to prescriptions, but seeking the cause of the disorder.

    I’d challenge him to eliminate the nightshades while on the WFPB diet and see if there is a difference. Be a bit patient as it might take a few days to a week to get any changes noticed….. If your inclined check his allergies with a blood based test such as an Elisa test.

    Good luck and know that your probably putting years into your mates life….even if he’s screaming and kicking…..and with a bit of perseverance can indeed figure out his pain triggers.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger




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  30. A friend of mine recently told me that her doctor advised her to go on a “plant-based diet” because she is obese and has signs of heart disease (in addition to countless other health problems). She is 58 years old. Her response was, no way in hell! I was happy to know that a doctor in our little neck of the woods in SW Washington State knew the term plant-based diet. I would consider this some evidence that the word is getting out.

    Question: How about the insurance companies and Medicare? When will they, and can they, penalize people who are advised but refuse to change their behaviors while giving people who do change behaviors a financial incentive. Money is a powerful communicator. My husband and I get a non-smoker discount but I’d love to get a Plant-Based-Eater discount too! Could be based on an algorithm of our age, blood work, weight, lifestyle, etc. Ever heard of such a thing?




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  31. Does anyone have any information about CRPS or Reflective Sympathetic Disorder that could be related to diet. I have had this disorder since I was 7, and i am now 21. I have almost absolutely no feeling in my left arm but especially my wrist and fingers. I have had multiple surgeries and nerve blocks but the pain seems to get worse as i age. I follow a plant based diet directly as Dr Mcdougall recommends. I am stuck and feel helpless.




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    1. Hi Emily. I am a Nutrition Moderator with NutritionFacts.org and I’ll do my best to answer your question. CRPS would fall under the autoimmune diseases category.

      Dr Greger has a lot of awesome videos about the benefits of plant-based diets for autoimmune diseases. Plant-based diets are anti-inflammatory and may help with symptoms of CRPS. Here are a couple of videos you might find helpful:
      1. Potassium & autoimmune disease
      2. Which Spices Fight Inflammation?
      3. Inflammatory Remarks about Arachidonic Acid




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  32. Good podcast. Had to smile… When I told my consultant that I was on a plant based diet he advised me to get a good steak after the consultation. He has had similar heart attacks – but why else was he prescribing statins if it wasn’t to enjoy life?




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