The Benefits of Caloric Restriction without the Actual Restricting

The Benefits of Caloric Restriction without the Actual Restricting
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One mechanism by which caloric restriction may extend one’s lifespan is by upregulating dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), the most abundant steroid hormone in the human body. DHEA supplements are discouraged, but there may be a natural way to conserve levels as we age.

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Why can’t we live forever? Some animals do. And I’m not talking about some 200-year-old whale, or even a thousand-year-old tree. I’m talking about immortal. There are actually species that apparently don’t age, and could technically go on forever. And why not? In a sense, humans are immortal, in that a few of our cells live on—sperm or egg cells lucky enough to find each other. Each of our kids grow out of one of our cells, and that alone—I mean, the fact that a single cell can grow into a person—should make, in comparison, the notion of keeping our bodies going indefinitely seem biologically trivial.

Well, it’s certainly a hot research topic. Much has focused on the role of DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone, the most abundant steroid hormone in the human body, whose levels drop significantly as we age. It is a cortisol antagonist, meaning that it helps counteract the effects of stress. It appears to rejuvenate female fertility, and most importantly, appears to be a strong predictor of longevity. In fact, one of the ways caloric restriction appears to extend the lifespan of many animals may be the upregulation of DHEA.

So, no surprise, it is sold as a “fountain of youth” over-the-counter supplement, raising all sorts of concerns about safety, side effects, “and the lack of quality control in this increasingly financially rewarding business.” For example, some supplements just totally lie and have no DHEA in them, and others have significantly more than the claimed dose. And so, for this and other reasons, taking DHEA supplements is recommended against.

But are there natural ways to boost levels of this hormone? Well we’ve known a number of individual dietary components, like fiber intake, are associated with better levels, so why not just put all the dietary components together: “Short-Term Impact of a Lactovegetarian Diet.” After just five days on an egg-free vegetarian diet, blood levels of DHEA rose about 20% compared to the meat-eaters’ diet, and it’s interesting why.

It wasn’t necessarily because they were producing more of it, but instead they were losing less. The bodies of those eating vegetarian appear to hold onto it, which is normally something you only see in fasting. But these were all isocaloric diets—meaning, same calories in both diets. So, by eating vegetarian, one may be able to mimic the effects of caloric restriction, but without walking around starving all the time.

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 Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Risk BlogJ.Smith via Wikimedia Commons; and Lunar Caustic via flickr

Why can’t we live forever? Some animals do. And I’m not talking about some 200-year-old whale, or even a thousand-year-old tree. I’m talking about immortal. There are actually species that apparently don’t age, and could technically go on forever. And why not? In a sense, humans are immortal, in that a few of our cells live on—sperm or egg cells lucky enough to find each other. Each of our kids grow out of one of our cells, and that alone—I mean, the fact that a single cell can grow into a person—should make, in comparison, the notion of keeping our bodies going indefinitely seem biologically trivial.

Well, it’s certainly a hot research topic. Much has focused on the role of DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone, the most abundant steroid hormone in the human body, whose levels drop significantly as we age. It is a cortisol antagonist, meaning that it helps counteract the effects of stress. It appears to rejuvenate female fertility, and most importantly, appears to be a strong predictor of longevity. In fact, one of the ways caloric restriction appears to extend the lifespan of many animals may be the upregulation of DHEA.

So, no surprise, it is sold as a “fountain of youth” over-the-counter supplement, raising all sorts of concerns about safety, side effects, “and the lack of quality control in this increasingly financially rewarding business.” For example, some supplements just totally lie and have no DHEA in them, and others have significantly more than the claimed dose. And so, for this and other reasons, taking DHEA supplements is recommended against.

But are there natural ways to boost levels of this hormone? Well we’ve known a number of individual dietary components, like fiber intake, are associated with better levels, so why not just put all the dietary components together: “Short-Term Impact of a Lactovegetarian Diet.” After just five days on an egg-free vegetarian diet, blood levels of DHEA rose about 20% compared to the meat-eaters’ diet, and it’s interesting why.

It wasn’t necessarily because they were producing more of it, but instead they were losing less. The bodies of those eating vegetarian appear to hold onto it, which is normally something you only see in fasting. But these were all isocaloric diets—meaning, same calories in both diets. So, by eating vegetarian, one may be able to mimic the effects of caloric restriction, but without walking around starving all the time.

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 Serena.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Risk BlogJ.Smith via Wikimedia Commons; and Lunar Caustic via flickr

Doctor's Note

Foods can also cause undesirable hormone imbalances. See, for example, Dairy Hormonal InterferenceMeat Hormones & Female InfertilityThe Acne-Promoting Effects of MilkAnabolic Steroids in MeatDairy & Sexual Precocity; and Xenoestrogens & Early Puberty. Other videos on stress reduction include Antioxidant Level Dynamics, and Improving Mood Through Diet. Plant-based diets are one of my most popular topics, spanning dozens of videos.

For further context, check out my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer RiskEating To Extend Our Lifespan; and Top 10 Most Popular Videos of the Year.

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

78 responses to “The Benefits of Caloric Restriction without the Actual Restricting

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  1. Foods can also cause undesirable hormone imbalances. See for example Dairy Hormonal Interference, Meat Hormones & Female Infertility, Acne-Promoting Effects of Milk, Anabolic Steroids in Meat, Dairy & Sexual Precocity, and Xenoestrogens & Early Puberty. Other videos on stress reduction include Antioxidant Level Dynamics and Improving Mood Through Diet. Plant-based diets are one of my most popular topics, spanning more than 100 videos, but I also cover another thousand nutrition subjects.

    1. Interesting!  Maybe DHEA stands for Don’t Help Egg Advocates.

      Did you think about sending a copy to Sophie who couldn’t believe what you posted about eggs a few days ago:  “Eating an egg a day the same risk as smocking 5 cigarettes??? Hello!!! The debate on cholesterol has been really challenged and debated a lot the last few years so you should know better.” 

      On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t ‘Egg’ her on.  ;-}

      1. I think Toxins closed the egg-debate several days ago !

        BTW: Very odd debate the other day. (Alleged) vegans getting very angry, because of a total legitimate comparison between two riskfactors, arguing that eggs/meat is not harmful (or something like that).

        1. Yeah it was interesting!  Nothing like “Stirrin’ the Beans!” Or should I say “Scrambling the Eggs.”
          ;-)

          Talking about nutrition is like talking about religion or politics–No matter what you say, it will make someone mad.

          1. Don`t mention the eggs! :-)

            You are probably right, one of my best friends is a paediatrician, and he got quite excited when I told him my view (the truth! ;-) ) of milk. 

          2. Haha HemoDynamic can I quote you on this???? I LOVE it!!!! We make people mad all of the time because we try to just eat well. :)

    2. Very interesting video again, dr G.

      To buy DHEA (with or without active ingredients) is not a good idea – lets face it – there are no shortcuts.

      It is established that CR extend lifespan in different species, no doubt about that, but a full biochemical explanation remains elusive. For sure it can not be reduced to one single factor. DHEA could be a indicator of slowing the rate of aging, or just one part of the puzzle. Very interesting that a vegan diet has this effect.

      Multiple mechanism of action has been proposed: Reduction in oxidative stress, alteration in hormone expression from the pituitary gland, reduction in body temperature, stimulation of repair systems, reduction of IGF-1, changes in mitochondrial function, reduced inflammation etc.

      Studies on lower animals have repeatly shown that CR can prolong life up to 50% Probably a lot less in humans.

      1.  Another mechanism of action is likely to be autophagy, the scavenging of proteins to make up for their deficit, starting with the defective proteins which may otherwise accumulate and result in neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s or various other conditions. I feel that those who practice CR look too emaciated and so, I started practicing  Alternate Day Dieting (500 calories or less 3-4 days a week and eating as much as desired the rest of the time- healthy plant based food in my case.). It is said to have nearly the same results as CR, and I did loses some weight; after dropping to my high school weight, it stabilized there. Dieting or fasting for such a short time seems to prevent the body from lowering the metabolism very much and the benefits, including the activation of the Sirtuin genes which promotes these mechanisms of action,seem to begin in as little as 16 hours.After the first week on this program and quite a bit of discomfort, I now find it rather easy to do with only minimal hunger pains.  

        1. Very interesting – do you have a link to further information on ADD?

          If I rember correct late dr Roy L. Walford also combined his regime with a one day fast pr. week

          1.  Hi  SJ:
            I  combine advice mainly from two sources:

            1) Ron Mignery PhD.’s Protein Cycling Diet found at http://proteincyclingdiet.wordpress.com/article/protein-cycling-diet-2s3nmvrwklbxs-1/
            along with his occasional updates at his blog linked to that site and

            2) James Johnson MD ‘s advice in both his book, The Alternate Day Diet- your local library probably has it- and his website at http://www.johnsonupdaydowndaydiet.com/

            Also, Naturalpathic doctor, Michael T. Murray, indicated in one of his books (which I can’t find at the moment)  that excluding virtually all protein each day until the evening meal is an effective way of managing Parkinson’s disease- in keeping with Dr. Mignery’s ideas.

            Some people also fast a few times a week for almost 24 hours, by not eating except for the evening meal.This may also have merit.

            By the way, in response to your advice against taking DHEA, let me share my own experience with it. About five years ago I realized that upon waking, I hadn’t been experiencing spontaneous morning erections for some time (I’m now 61). So in a successful self-study I started taking DHEA along with pregnenolone, stinging nettle root, which  is claimed to release free testosterone by binding to sex hormone-binding globulin more tightly than does testosterone, and DIM, an anti-amoratase. Not only did my morning erections return, along with improved libido, but my general mood and optimism also improved. I later dropped the pregenolone without any negative results. The result of the placebo effect? I doubt it, and in any case, the results are what I wanted.

      1. What does your diet consist of? Do you consume whole plant foods or do you add oils? Do you consume refined products and added sweeterners? Vegan is not enough as one can be eating chips, oreos, olive oil and french fries but still be considered vegan.

      2. I was overweight too. I recommend using the guidance in Dr.
        Joel Fuhrman’s book “Eat To Live”. It will help with losing body fat on a vegan diet.

        1. I don’t think that”s at all a helpful comment. In fact, it may be a bit insulting. We need to look into lisacox’s habits instead of making a disparaging offhanded remark. Perhaps she eats too many avocados, nuts seeds, or olives. Perhaps there’s too much oil or processed food in her diet or she doesn’t get sufficient exercise. Basically it’s still a matter of calories in v.s. calories out. A vegan diet isn’t always healthy. It’s the whole foods plant based diet that when done right results in greater satiety and less overeating.

          1. It’s not disparaging at all. I am a vegetarian with a healthy diet, and I was also overweight, particularly as I couldn’t exercise due to illness. The only solution was to eat less. As you say, it’s calories in vs calories out. The diet is irrelevent, whether it’s meat based or vegetable and grain based – if you eat too much, you will gain weight. Of course if you fry everything in loads of oil, eat cakes by the dozen, and drink a lot of sodas and alcohol, you will consume far too many calories without eating huge amounts, but generally speaking people who are overweight eat too much (as I used to, for my sedentary lifestyle) and it’s naive to think you can carry on overeating just because you don’t eat animal products.

      3. It’s easy to eat too many nuts and nut butters when you are vegan. If you cut those back and increase the green veggie you should lose some.

    3. I was a vegetarian for 20 years and ended up with severe estrogen dominance resulting in uterine fibroids- most likely for eating soy and other estrogen dominant plants. Just something to think about.

  2. Is this the stuff Suzanne Somers hawks? She seems to be successful with her supplements for now anyway. She makes me nervous about all the claims she makes;  I keep thinking something is going to happen to her. I wish  her the best, though.

     Did dairy affect the results in any way, I wonder.

  3. Michael, I LOVE your videos. I have posted many of them on my facebook page! As for this topic, what about a vegan diet? Is that better or worse for boosting DHEA levels? If it’s better, will you make a video about that?

    1.  Stay tuned! This is a short video series discussing DHEA levels between vegans, omnivores and those with caloric restriction!

      1. Thanks.  Are you in Thailand?  So called ‘high speed internet’ is decent here but below world average speeds.  I’m wondering if there’s a bottle neck in data coming across the Pacific.

    1.  I’m so sorry! Which browser and version of it are you using?  Is your browser version up to date? You can upgrade any browser version here: http://browsehappy.com/

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  4. Thanks again for the great info. I generally agree that it is better to obtain (or preserve) nutrients or hormones through diet. I do however feel that it is overly conservative to rule out supplementation on the basis of quality control as there are manufacturers that have great quality control and even have their supplements tested by an independent lab after production. Life Extension is one such brand that I trust and I believe there are others. That being said, a vegan diet is definitely the best medicine as viewer of this site are undoubtedly aware. I understand the emphasis of Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Greger on dietary solutions. It is important that people understand that supplementation is almost never (vitamin d, b12) a good substitute for a healthy diet but I believe it can be beneficial  IN ADDITION to a healthy diet provided that the supplements are properly manufactured and tested.

    1.  Safety and side effects of DHEA supplementation is essentially unknown. Interactions with other body chemistry must be accounted for.

    1. Why lactovegetarian and not just vegetarian?
      This study is 14 years old. Why was it dragged out of the old closet?
      There has been plenty of time to test whether egg exclusion is a necessary  part of this interesting and important DHEA link with longevity.
      At every chance eggs seem to get implicated in bad health without decent evidence. Certainly, sometimes they are bad.
      The egg debate is not closed as implicated by some vocal disciples here. 
      There are lots of papers extolling their virtues and most large medical institutions don’t warn people off them unless they have cholesterol problems. At the same time, the egg lobby cherry picks positive findings on them.
      Why can’t we just have some balanced science without ideological or profit motivated selectivity?

      1. r Lan Flett, I have consistenly seen you post about the ‘benifits” and “health” of eggs while lacking any scientific evidence to make such claims. Wherei s your evidence? I have posted my response to you regarding eggs several times now but you eem to compeltely ignore the evidence.

          1. Eggs are considered good sources of lutein and omega 3 and an excellent source of protein. For these reasons, they are considered health foods. Firstly, chickens only have lutein due to the fact that they have a varietized feed, these nutrients are not inherent of eggs. A spoonful of spinach has as much lutein as 9 eggs. We cannot really consider eggs an appropriate source of this nutrient. As for protein, all whole foods are complete sources of protein so this statement to its benefits is insignificant. Energy needs satisfy energy expenditures which is equivalent to protein needs. As long as you eat whole plant foods when your hungry till your full, then your getting enough protein.

            Regarding Omega 3, current levels of omega 3 in eggs are highly inadequate and one must consume around 30 eggs to reach an acceptable level of omega 3 for the day. A male needs around 1.6 grams of omega 3 per day, a female needs around 1.1 grams a day. Omega 3 processes to EPA which is also processed to DHA, which is highly anti inflammatory. Omega 6 processes down to arachadonic acid which is highly inflammatory. The fact that eggs are the top source of arachadonic acid nulls and voids benefits received from the omega 3 in the egg itself. High intake of arachadonic acid is linked to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, as well as a clear link with cancer development.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=20950616%5Buid%5D
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18774339
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21139128

            The Harvard physicians study followed 20,000 doctors for 20 years and those that ate just one egg a day had significant increase in all cause mortality.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18400720

            In fact, David Spence, director of stroke prevention/atherosclerosis research center and one of the worlds leading stroke experts, said that based on the latest research, you can eat all the eggs you want IF your dying of a terminal illness. Eggs are not considered health promoting nutritionally speaking.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18400699

            Eggs have been linked with heart failure
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18954578

            As well as type 2 diabetes.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628696/?tool=pubmed

            Furthermore,in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, David Spence, David Jenkins (the inventor of the glycemic index) and Jean Davignon (director of atherosclerosis research group) posted a review on eggs claiming that the egg industry has been downplaying the health risks of eggs through misleading advertisements. As soon as you eat one egg, you expose your body to several hours worth of oxidative stress, inflammation of ones arteries, endothelieum impairment (what keeps you blood running smoothly) and increases the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidize (beginning stages of heart disease).
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21076725
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9001684

            Theegg industry has claimed that cholesterol from eggs is negligible and does not raise cholesterol levels. The major flaw in the study the egg industry has used to make this claim is that they measured FASTING lipid levels at night and not levels through out the day after egg consumption. “Diet is not all about fasting lipids; it is mainly about the three-quarters of the day that we are in the nonfasting state. Fasting lipids can be thought of as a baseline; they show what the endothelium was exposed to for the last few hours of the night.”
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2989358/?tool=pubmed

            A single egg yolk contains approximately 215 to 275 mg of cholesterol. A safe upper limit can be capped at 200 mg if one is looking to prevent heart disease. One egg far exceeds this daily upper limit.

            In regards to egg whites, although true they are a good source of protein, this is possibly the only positive statement that can be made of it. Here is some evidence of a major component of egg whites, Methionine, possibly causing human harm.

            1. Egg whites are high in the amino Acid Methionine. Rice has 14 times less of this amino acid and beans 7 time less. When one consumes Methionine in a large quantity
            (like that found in egg whites), it is broken down into sulfuric compounds. these sulfuric compounds are buffered by the calcium of the bones. the result, over time, is osteoporosis and kidney stones.
            http://www.vivalis.si/literatura/6a00.pdf

            2.Cancer cell metabolism is dependent upon methionine being present in the diet; whereas normal cells can grow on a methionine-free
            diet feeding off other sulfur-containing amino acids.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14585259
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12416254

            3. Insulin like growth factor is raised significantly by high levels of Methionine. raised levels of IGF-1 = accelerated aging/tumor promotion.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12176673
            http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/92/18/1472.abstract

            4.Sulfur from Methionine is known to be toxic to the tissues of the intestine, and to have harmful effects on the human colon, even at low levels, possibly causing ulcerative colitis.
            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9448181
            http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/82/11/950.abstract

            The balance of evidence is clearly against even moderate consumption of eggs, and I fail to understand how one can consider this food “healthy” once it is understood what we expose our body to when we eat eggs.

            1. Fantastic! Still, I would like to see all these results broken down a bit further, parsed by: organically vs non-organically (but non-GMO) feed-raised chickens, organically vs GMO exclusive feed-raised chickens and CAFO vs free-ranged chickens. Also by method of preparation. For example, soft-boiled cooking in the shell oxidizes the egg less than other methods of broken-shell preparation.

  5. An easy way to raise your DHEA is to skip breakfast or eat it late. DHEA levels follow your biological clock, being highest in the morning, and are suppressed by the first meal of the day.

  6. Dr. Greger, I believe there’s a video, maybe a series of them, on the topic of methionine restriction, which also seems to parallel, and even account for many of the benefits of caloric restriction.

    It’s not a new avenue of research, the key early animal study (PMID: 8429371) is nearing its 20th anniversary. Its been used as an adjunct to chemotherapy for a decade now. And another article (PMID: 18789600) ties methionine restriction explicitly to vegan diets.

    Methionine reduction doesn’t appear to be on your radar (given your 2010 “prize CD” of research articles) yet, though you kind of touched on some of the mechanisms in your series on excess complete proteins, IGF-1, and cancer.

    1. See also
      “Dietary glycine supplementation mimics lifespan extension by dietary methionine restriction in Fisher 344 rats”

      http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/25/1_MeetingAbstracts/528.2

      Glycine also has many other health benefits including that it promotes good sleep. Glycine powder is not only inexpensive, but it tastes a lot like sugar. I find it very easy to add a tablespoon of it to my diet rather than trying to restrict methionine which is nearly impossible.

      1. Good find, Allen. What’s interesting about this study is the ratio of methionine to glycine that was used in the supplemented rats — 0.43% met/2.3% gly — a ratio in which there was a little over 5 times as much glycine as methionine. If you check some common legumes. You can find some similar ratios. For example, split peas and lentils have more than 4 times as much glycine as methionine as well as a fairly low amount of methionine, whereas in animal products, the ratio is much lower — less than 2 times as much glycine as methionine with a much higher amount of methionine. So you can take methionine supplements if you want, or you can simply follow a diet in which the amount of methionine is relatively low, such as in split peas or lentils, along with a higher amount of glycine to methionine — the best of both worlds without the added supplementation.

  7. When I go on a vegan diet, my triglycerides go through the roof (>400) and my HDL drops like a rock (<30). I'd like to be a vegan, but for some reason it doesn't work for me.

    1. Some people react this way to excessive sugar. Fruit juice might be the problem and I suspect that pure fruit smoothies might contribute. Fat added to the same meal slows down sugar absorption- which is why I add flax seeds to my smoothie.

    2. What comprises your diet? Eating white bread with candy fits the definition of vegan so the emphasis really needs to be on whole unprocessed plant foods.

    3. This is a reply so long after Tom Davis’ post (and the two insulting responses) that I imagine no one will see it. Still, I must say that what Tom describes is identical to my experience on a WFPDB. Allen and Rami, I do not eat excessive or any other sugar (other than what comes in 2 fruit servings per day), nor do I drink fruit juice or smoothies. Any grains I eat are whole. I eat no candy. Gee, maybe well-meaning (but closed-minded) respondents here might–just might!–consider that not everyone’s metabolism reacts *exactly the same* as the ideals disseminated on the wonderful & informative site. I find it rude that if honest & sincere different experiences are shared, the oh-what-are-you-doing-wrong guns start blazing.

      1. Hi Thorn324. Forgive my delay. I looked at the comments and I don’t think they were insulting. I think they were just trying to offer some help and learn more about the construct of Tom’s diet, as he did not provide too much information on dietary specifics. Sure, it could be he is eating very well and the triglycerides (TAGs) still rise. I have seen TAGs increase from too much carbohydrate, even whole forms. However, this is rarely the case. Many folks seem to reduce their TAGs from a strict plant-based diet. For severe diabetics, our research teams have had to limit consumption of grains and add more beans and greens because it seems no matter the reason, sugars would rise. Again, very rare. We saw this in Marshallese populations. Other studies on diabetic Americans didn’t seem to matter as much. Interestingly, TAGs went up by 9 points, but it was not significant and could have been due to chance.

        I totally agree with you as everyone is different. I want to make sure members can freely post their thoughts and experiences. if you have any concerns or changes you feel need to be made in our Comment Etiquette section (top left button at the beginning of each thread) don’t hesitate to let us know!

        Thanks again for your note,
        Joseph

      2. Dr. Greger’s statement that you are “mimicking” caloric restriction without walking around starving is a rather ingenious obfuscation of what is happening when you eat a diet higher in plants. You’re not mimicking anything, you actually ARE restricting calories. 

        Plants are harder to digest, the fiber that Dr. Greger mentions being associated with higher DHEA levels is practically (not totally) calorie free. Soluble fiber traps a portion of calories in a gelatinous mass. Most health professionals and researchers acknowledge that calorie counts in plant foods are significantly over-estimated. It’s easy enough to look at the constituents of a food and estimate its caloric CONTENT Atwater-style, it’s much harder to estimate how many of those calories are available for absorption. What form did the food take? Was it whole? Cracked? Ground? Pureed? Juiced? Was it cooked? How much was it cooked? Did you discard the cooking liquid or consume it? WHEN was it cooked? Did you cool it after you cooked it?  Did you reheat it? Starchy foods like potatoes and rice may lose more than half of their digestible calories to resistant starch after cooling and reheating. 

          

        Some people achieve calorie restriction by counting calories and consciously restricting intake. Some achieve it with diets high in fat and protein which are highly satiating, so that spontaneous restriction occurs. Some eat WFPB diets which fills your stomach with a large ratio of water and fiber to energy, affording a larger volume of food, while potentially limiting a significant portion of its energy as calories you can’t extract and absorb, thus achieving another version of calorie restriction.

        Bottom line, whether you mean to restrict calories or not, these diets all restrict calories anyway, and your body doesn’t treat calories any differently simply because you didn’t intend to restrict them. 

        Whether you believe that plant-based diets are better for other reasons or not, the typical person trading animal foods for plant foods that “contain” the same energy density are almost guaranteed a significantly lower caloric load. To reiterate my original point, this means that you are not mimicking caloric restriction with a plant-based diet, you are achieving caloric restriction with a plant-based diet. 

    4. Exactly as Rami said. What were you eating? An alcoholic is vegan too aren’t they haha! Chips, Oil & Oreos can mean you’re a vegan too but no one is going to say you’re healthy.. “I’d like to be a vegan, but for some reason it doesn’t work for me.” -> sounds like someone being paid to say this haha on here to drum up controversy no offence.. Please provide more info on yourself otherwise no one knows whether you’re a real person or just meat/dairy marketing money/damage control at work haha.. Take care :)

  8. Dear Doc I am 60 and use DHEA for vaginal thinning (for me it helps prevent vaginal rips and tears). So in addition to its potential to extend lifespan I use it for the estrogen boost. What are the risks associated with taking it on a regular basis (25mg 2-3 times a week)? One of your stoplight ratings would be helpful. thanks for all you do!

  9. I was sick for twenty years eating lacto-vegetarian. If that was my path to longevity, then I am happy to trade a few years of total lifespan for the extra years of glowingly good health I have enjoyed since rediscovering organic eggs and meats.

    1. Umm, you probably had a dairy issue. There’s nothing glowing about a person eating an unnaturally omnivorous diet laden with cholesterol and transfats. Check out the science, read “How Not To Die,” watch “Forks Over Knives,” “Vegucated,” etc. and perhaps more importantly “Cowspiracy” and most importantly “Earthlings.”

  10. Obviously eating any kind of restrictive diet will have the effect of reducing overall caloric intake, because you are reducing the foods available to eat and so you will naturally eat less. This is true of any restrictive diet, whether it restricts dairy/meat or restricts carbs, or the all cabbage diet or whatever. Look up the junk food diet – turns out calorie restricting and only eating junk food also has positive health effects.

    1. LOL Realist, you need to meet more WFPB eaters if you think that eating this way means eating LESS. For one thing, Dr. Greger points out in his study that both groups had EQUAL calorie intake! Did you not watch the entire video? I actually eat far more as a vegan WFBP eater than I ever did because I enjoy eating more, my metabolism is SO fast, and calories do not have an impact on my weight. Most WFPB eaters/vegans that I know, do not worry about nor believe in worrying about calories. Freelee the Banana Girl recommends well over 2,000 calories a day as a rule. A WFPB diet is actually not restrictive at all. I used to eat the same types of food all the time, now it’s an endless sea of variety to choose from. What I notice in those eating a SAD diet or even a “health-concious” omnivorous diet, is that they cook and consume the same types of foods over and over, it seems more restrictive to me because they haven’t been introduced to so many types of foods and abundant healthy recipes. And that junk food theory is simply untrue. I almost died when I was EXTREMELY calorie restrictive and when I was eating, I was eating chips and things like that and thought I was being healthy because I also drank herbal tea. I became so sick and my immune system was so compromised that I went septic.

  11. Dr. Greger, I was wondering what you thought of intermittent fasting. I follow a plant based diet, but recently became interested in intermittent fasting and am hesitant to try it. Thanks so much!!

    1. I’m plant-based and I’ve tried both types of intermittent fasting. First I restricted myself to 600 calories a day, three times a week. I did this for a bit more than a year but I quit it when I lost too much weight and started becoming weak. next I tried just eating during an 8-hour window each day. I regained my normal weight and find it to be sustainable. I don’t know if it has helped me, but it certainly hasn’t hurt, and if what I read is true, I’m aging more slowly and protecting my brain. I recently read that fasting is also good for the immune system, that a lack of protein occasionally causes old ineffective white blood cells to be recycled for their protein and then they’re replaced with new cells, so occasionally I’ll fast for a week-end as well. So, go ahead and experiment; if you’re experience is anything like mine, it can’t do you any harm.

  12. Another way to increase DHEA…per Dr Carolyn Dean, MD, ND in her book “The Magnesium Miracle” is to apply MgCl to your skin…..not only does this give you much-needed Mg, it increases DHEA too. Not sure why. Perhaps DHEA requires Mg and we’re all becoming more and more Mg deficient due to poor diet and lack of minerals in our soils/plants, so as Mg levels go down, our DHEA levels are also? Great topic for Dr Greger.

    I am so enthused with my recent findings about Mg through both Dr Dean, MD, ND, and Dr Mark Sircus, ND. I have found the majority of my long-sought answers for health issues such as ICS, irritability, joint problems, cataracts, premature wrinkling, constipation (and all the results of that per Dr Greger, such as high blood pressure, Hiatal hernia, hemorrhoids, etc), migraines, skin problems, preterm labor and morning sickness, hot flashes and night sweats, and a host of other issues. Through their books I now know of correlation between low magnesium and stroke, sudden cardiac arrest, cancer, MS, Parkinsons, Alzheimers, SIDS, asthma, fatigue, diabetes and insulin resistance, and more. Magnesium deficiency seems to be one of the common threads through most illness, which makes sense given how incredibly important magnesium is to our body.

    I think one of the best things Dr Greger can do for all of us who read his articles and listen to his videos daily is find the magnesium connection wherever and whenever he can and stress it in each of his articles/videos……..until all of us know for sure that low magnesium (and incorrect supplementation with it resulting in not enough Mg though you thought you were taking it…..) is one of our major causes of illness, and until the medical community knows it too, millions of people will continue to suffer needlessly and die needlessly when for pennies they can start reversing their illnesses. Dr Sircus talks about how some MDs have finally seen that injecting IV Mg when someone is in AFIB will stop it in seconds. Some MDs are using Mg, such as for preterm labor, but not enough. Dr Greger…please help pass the word on!

  13. Hi there! I couldn’t find any videos on health effects of Intermittent Fasting. Is it healthy? I feel better when I leave 6 hours between meals..

  14. How beneficial are fasting protocols like intermittent fasting such as fasting for 24-30 hours twice a week or 40-48 hours once a week? I have read that fasting regularly helps kick start a process called autophagy which basically gets rid of damaged cells and whatnot. I personally am a vegan who uses these fasting protocols and have not seen any adverse effects. I’m also into powerlifting and my strength has not gone down at all. However when watching this video I get the sense that fasting is not so good. Which confuses me since throughout history food has not always been available everyday nor for three meals.

  15. I eat a totally plant-based and healthy (low glycemic, high nutrient) diet and I have for several years. Recently we tested a bunch of hormones (perimenopausal issues we were trying to narrow down) and discovered that I am both high in cortisol (in morning salivary readings, but fine in those later in the day) and low in DHEAS and testosterone (revealed in both serum and saliva testing). All others tested were in really good ranges (estrogen, progesterone, thyroid). So I’m now taking DHEA, only about 2.5 mg/day (5 mg pill that I slice in half, from a reputable company that I researched on ConsumerLabs). I am hoping that it counters the cortisol (which has all kinds of negative effects on the body) and helps me sleep longer (these days I wake up at 4 or 5 and can’t get back to sleep) and helps me to build bone (another important effect of DHEA — and yes, I also do resistance training). From what I’ve read by Sara Gottfried and Marcelle Pick, this is a reasonable way to go. Women should NEVER take 25 mg of DHEA (the levels sold in most OTC brands), and hormone levels should be monitored, as well as any sign of too much testosterone getting produced from the DHEA (like greasy hair or skin, hair falling out, etc.) or too much estrogen (weight gain, heavier periods, tender breasts, etc.). Also, apparently you don’t have to take it forever. If you get levels up to where they should be, the body will start maintaining them there on its own. My doctor and I plan to retest again a little down the road and see where things are at that point and go from there. But I do think it’s worth doing a supplement if you definitely know you’re low and you’re already eating right.

  16. F 46 ESRD
    DHEA test result : 1.3 L
    (Normal for my age around 3-10)
    I have been eating vegetarian for about a year except for two months where my dietician INSISTED I eat 150g of protein from egg white/meat/protein bars to improve albumin but it DIDN’T
    AND recently last two months VEGAN no diary, no meat, low to zero salt, cooking from home whole foods, no boxed, no canned, mostly raw and ALMOST no oil.
    So why is my dhea so low?
    I’m female 46, have always had super high c reactive protein, inflammation, occasionally anhydrosis, tremors, fatigue, insulin resistance, diabetes 2 etc.
    Could dhea be removed during dialysis? I’m also in esrd.

  17. Yay! I love eating!! Lol, that’s awesome. So imagine then how well someone’s DHEA must be on a whole foods vegan diet! I feel gleeful.

  18. And what if I have too much DHEA? I’ve been diagnosed with Adrenal Hyperplasia and have to take Dexamethasone.
    I started taking that when I was a teenager together with an antiandrogen. After more than 15 years taking pills, I decided to quit them all and become plant based also.
    It has been a couple of years without that and my levels of DHEA are super high again and another doctor told me I need to take the dexamethasone.
    I don’t want to,,,, but I don’t know if I should.

  19. It might just be the brand of supplement that I’m using, but now that I’m on the WFPB (almost 2 months), I find my DHEA supplements cause fatigue, make my uterine fibroid ache (I’m menopausal, btw), and give me hot flashes. Didn’t have a problem with it pre-WFPB. Although, on WFPB, I’m finding that a LOT of things (supplements, food additives) are causing me a bunch of grief, where they didn’t before. Almost hit the floor after eating a minuscule amount of msg (it was hidden under the “natural flavors” crap they use all the time, apparently) in a commercial seasoning mixture I had used. Jerks. If it has ms-bloody-g in it, put it on the freaking label!

    I asked my doctor, why it is that the healthier your diet is, the less additives you are able to consume without getting sick. He told me that nobody knows. Perhaps a video on the subject?

  20. I’m concerned. I had bloodwork done recently and my DHEA was low. My D was low too, 19.4L. I’m taking a D3 supplement though, 5,000 IU’s. What should I do about my DHEA? I’ve been vegan since 2010, 7 years now. However, I’ve only recently been eating healthy, on a whole-food, plant based diet since the last couple of months. I feel way better now following the daily dozen the best I can. My cholesterol was great. Pre-vegan in 2010 my total cholesterol was 168 with LDL of 107. Now my total is 121 with LDL of 60 :) But my DHEA was really low. I’ll get the numbers when I can later. Please let me know if there’s any update on this I can check out or if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

  21. Hi, Vegan Walk. This video has not been updated, but I am sure it will be if there is significant new information. If your DHEA is low, it may be caused by stress. You state that, although you have been vegan for 7 years, you have only been eating healthy WFPB for a few months. Without knowing more about your diet and lifestyle, it is difficult to say what is going on. If you are getting enough sleep, following the Daily Dozen, and have good stress management, your DHEA levels should improve. I would be interested to know how things go for you. Please report here on your progress. I hope that helps!

  22. I can find nothing on actual fasting. I know all about nutritionfacts.org and have been following for years. Fasting is becoming more popular on the Net for various reasons. Nutrition junkies, nutritionists and even Doctors on the web say Cancer feeds on Glucose and starves on Ketones. Searching ketones or ketosis on nutritionfacts.org returns zero(0) results. Cultures have fasted intermittently or for days or weeks for millenia. So where is any science? Even Doctors and Cancer researchers giving Ted Talks speak of Cancer’s need for Glucose, and inability to metabolize ketones. Please cover or comment! Starve Cancer?

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