The Best Diet for Colon Cancer Prevention

The Best Diet for Colon Cancer Prevention
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What would happen within just two weeks if you swapped the diets of Americans with that of healthier eaters?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Colon cancer is our second leading cancer killer, but some places, like rural Africa, have more than 10 times lower rates than we do. The reason we know it’s not genetic is that “[m]igrant studies, such as those in Japanese Hawaiians, have demonstrated that it only takes one generation for the immigrant population to assume the colon cancer incidence of the host Western population.” Now, “the change in diet is [considered] most probably responsible for this.” But there are all sorts of changes when you move from one culture to another—like smoking rates, different exposures to chemicals, infections, antibiotics. You don’t know if it’s the diet…until you put it to the test.

It’s rare I do a whole video on a single study, but I think you’ll agree this one is worth it. This international group of researchers were trying to find out why colon cancer rates were an order of magnitude higher here—in African-Americans and Caucasians—than in rural Africa. If you look at American colons, they’re a mess: polyps, diverticulosis—not to mention hemorrhoids— whereas the African colons were “remarkably pristine.” And more importantly, sevenfold lower colonic epithelial proliferation rates, a characteristic of precancerous conditions. They measured everything they were eating, and concluded that the higher colorectal cancer risk and proliferation rates were most closely “associated with higher dietary intakes of animal products,” which may have led to “higher colonic populations of these potentially toxic [acid] and bile-salt-producing bacteria.” But you don’t know… until you put it to the test. “The higher rates are associated with higher animal protein and animal fat, and lower fibre consumption,” more of those bad bile acids, less of those good short chain fatty acids like butyrate, and that “higher mucosal proliferation. But how do we know it’s the diet that’s mucking things up? You don’t know…until you perform an interventional study.

How about we just swap their diets? Feed the Americans a high-fiber African-style diet, and the poor Africans get the SAD, Standard American Diet—like sausage and white flour pancakes for breakfast, a burger and fries for lunch, and some meatloaf and white rice for supper. That was day one for the rural Africans in the experiment, whereas the Americans were forced to eat fruits and vegetables, corn and beans. To help with compliance, they threw in more familiar foods like veggie dogs, though note it was not a vegan diet, just generally plant-based.

And the food exchanges weren’t for years, but just two weeks. Could they see changes that fast? The dietary changes “resulted in remarkable reciprocal changes” in the lining of their colons in terms of cancer risk and their microbiome. Switching to plant-based boosted the fiber fermentation and “suppressed the [carcinogenic] bile acid synthesis.” Let’s look at some before-and-after pictures. They took biopsies, and this is the colon lining of an African-American under a microscope. Those brown dots mark dividing cells; their colon lining was in overdrive, the cells rapidly dividing, a sign of premalignancy, a risk factor for cancer. But just two weeks eating a healthier diet, and their colons calmed right down.

The African-Africans started out with some proliferation, but it got worse on the American diet. This is a different marker measuring inflammation. Each of the brown dots here represents an inflammatory cell; so, rife inflammation before calmed way down after just two weeks, and the opposite in those eating worse.

We know that when our friendly flora ferment fiber, they produce beneficial compounds like butyrate, which is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. Impressively, “Africanization” of the diet more than doubled butyrate production, whereas “westernization” cut it in half. And in terms of toxic metabolites, a significant drop on the healthier diet, whereas the meatloafy diet increased the levels of these carcinogens by 400 percent within just two weeks. So, bottom line (no pun intended): what they were able to show is that just by changing the food, you can remarkably change your risk. In fact, that’s how the lead investigator put it: “change your diet, change your cancer risk!” It may be “never too late to start” eating healthier.

Based on these kind of data, “adopting a whole-food vegan or [even just] near-vegan diet rich in fruits and vegetables,” along with other healthy lifestyle decisions, “could have a stunningly positive impact on the cancer risks not only of black Americans, but of all peoples.” “While it [might] be unrealistic to expect rapid and profound lifestyle changes in the general population, [hey]…at least we have sound, effective advice to offer to those who [make the choice] to take the steps needed to optimize their healthful longevity.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Colon cancer is our second leading cancer killer, but some places, like rural Africa, have more than 10 times lower rates than we do. The reason we know it’s not genetic is that “[m]igrant studies, such as those in Japanese Hawaiians, have demonstrated that it only takes one generation for the immigrant population to assume the colon cancer incidence of the host Western population.” Now, “the change in diet is [considered] most probably responsible for this.” But there are all sorts of changes when you move from one culture to another—like smoking rates, different exposures to chemicals, infections, antibiotics. You don’t know if it’s the diet…until you put it to the test.

It’s rare I do a whole video on a single study, but I think you’ll agree this one is worth it. This international group of researchers were trying to find out why colon cancer rates were an order of magnitude higher here—in African-Americans and Caucasians—than in rural Africa. If you look at American colons, they’re a mess: polyps, diverticulosis—not to mention hemorrhoids— whereas the African colons were “remarkably pristine.” And more importantly, sevenfold lower colonic epithelial proliferation rates, a characteristic of precancerous conditions. They measured everything they were eating, and concluded that the higher colorectal cancer risk and proliferation rates were most closely “associated with higher dietary intakes of animal products,” which may have led to “higher colonic populations of these potentially toxic [acid] and bile-salt-producing bacteria.” But you don’t know… until you put it to the test. “The higher rates are associated with higher animal protein and animal fat, and lower fibre consumption,” more of those bad bile acids, less of those good short chain fatty acids like butyrate, and that “higher mucosal proliferation. But how do we know it’s the diet that’s mucking things up? You don’t know…until you perform an interventional study.

How about we just swap their diets? Feed the Americans a high-fiber African-style diet, and the poor Africans get the SAD, Standard American Diet—like sausage and white flour pancakes for breakfast, a burger and fries for lunch, and some meatloaf and white rice for supper. That was day one for the rural Africans in the experiment, whereas the Americans were forced to eat fruits and vegetables, corn and beans. To help with compliance, they threw in more familiar foods like veggie dogs, though note it was not a vegan diet, just generally plant-based.

And the food exchanges weren’t for years, but just two weeks. Could they see changes that fast? The dietary changes “resulted in remarkable reciprocal changes” in the lining of their colons in terms of cancer risk and their microbiome. Switching to plant-based boosted the fiber fermentation and “suppressed the [carcinogenic] bile acid synthesis.” Let’s look at some before-and-after pictures. They took biopsies, and this is the colon lining of an African-American under a microscope. Those brown dots mark dividing cells; their colon lining was in overdrive, the cells rapidly dividing, a sign of premalignancy, a risk factor for cancer. But just two weeks eating a healthier diet, and their colons calmed right down.

The African-Africans started out with some proliferation, but it got worse on the American diet. This is a different marker measuring inflammation. Each of the brown dots here represents an inflammatory cell; so, rife inflammation before calmed way down after just two weeks, and the opposite in those eating worse.

We know that when our friendly flora ferment fiber, they produce beneficial compounds like butyrate, which is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. Impressively, “Africanization” of the diet more than doubled butyrate production, whereas “westernization” cut it in half. And in terms of toxic metabolites, a significant drop on the healthier diet, whereas the meatloafy diet increased the levels of these carcinogens by 400 percent within just two weeks. So, bottom line (no pun intended): what they were able to show is that just by changing the food, you can remarkably change your risk. In fact, that’s how the lead investigator put it: “change your diet, change your cancer risk!” It may be “never too late to start” eating healthier.

Based on these kind of data, “adopting a whole-food vegan or [even just] near-vegan diet rich in fruits and vegetables,” along with other healthy lifestyle decisions, “could have a stunningly positive impact on the cancer risks not only of black Americans, but of all peoples.” “While it [might] be unrealistic to expect rapid and profound lifestyle changes in the general population, [hey]…at least we have sound, effective advice to offer to those who [make the choice] to take the steps needed to optimize their healthful longevity.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Kristina DeMuth. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

This is the follow-up to Best Foods for Colon Cancer Prevention.

As I mentioned in the video, it’s rare I do a whole video on a single study, but I hope you’ll agree this one is worth it!

More on keeping our colonic colleagues thriving:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and to my audio podcast here (subscribe by clicking on your mobile device’s icon).

101 responses to “The Best Diet for Colon Cancer Prevention

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  1. Has Dr. Gregor addressed the current hot topic of meat substitute or “plant based” burgers such as the Impossible and Beyond burgers? There’s so much controversy I would like to get his opinion.

    1. He’s not likely to weigh in on a processed food unless there are scientific studies providing information. From following him for years however, I think I can safely say that his opinion would be, eat whole plant foods, skip the commercially processed foods.

      1. I agree with Roger Nehring.. having watched these vids for years we have a fairly good idea what Dr Greger’s reaction would be. https://www.cnet.com/news/beyond-meat-vs-impossible-burger-whats-the-difference/ Take a look at the ingredient list. Right off the bat, isolated soy protein or isolated pea protein. You can find his opinion of these ingredients on NF. Oils are the second ingredient ! wow, what garbage these things are. Information on oils and how they clog our arteries is also found at NF. There are some amazing recipes for delicious bean burgers out there, why buy this garbage?

    2. I might point out that what is most important isn’t Dr. Greger’s opinion but rather what the scientific evidence actually says.
      Dr. Greger transmits the science very well, which makes this website a great scientific resource, but this is not the same thing as an opinion.

    3. Me too!
      I’m not getting enough protein in my diet as I can’t usually eat as much food as listed on the Daily Dozen & I can’t afford more expensive, unusual items that sometimes come up in the videos.
      And I still don’t understand if a plant diet of mostly fruits & vegetables (not sauerkraut, kimchee or miso) provide all the prebiotics & probiotics I need to build a strong immune system.

      1. The optimal protein intake as clearly shown in may studies is 5% of calories from protein. A varied unprocessed plant based diet contains 5% protein. If in doubt, eat more beans which are 30-40% protein. Also a varied diet of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables has all the probiotics and prebiotics you need. Ever seen the white haze all over a grape? That’s all living microorganisms ready to colonize your gut to build and maintain your microbiome. Same on leafy green and anything else that doesn’t get peeled. And it can’t be washed off, so do wash these things before eating.

    1. “I would also like to see discussion of new plant based burgers.”

      Why…? This is NOT a website that caters to a ‘Processed Foods Plant-Bases Diet’.

      1. Why? Because Dr. Gregor is wise enough to know that not everyone who consults his website is a vegan, whole food convert. Following him for years I think he’s sensitive and concerned enough about people who are trying to make the right decisions about their diet and might only be transitioning.

  2. What about Yogurt?

    Yogurt may help to lower pre-cancerous bowel growth risk in men – https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-06-yogurt-pre-cancerous-bowel-growth-men.html

    “These data suggest that other characteristics of yogurt, such as its potential role in altering the natural bacteria in our guts, may have cancer-preventive properties,” said researcher Dr. Andrew Chan. He’s a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

    A meta-analysis of 61 studies including more than 1.9 million participants found that in the cohort studies, intake of fermented dairy significantly decreased the risk of cancer. Yogurt significantly decreased cancer risk in the cohort studies.

    1. To quote the post you posted,

      “While no obvious association was seen for men with a potentially more dangerous type of adenoma (serrated), a trend towards reduced risk was seen for those measuring 1 or more cm, which is considered to be large.

      No such associations between yogurt intake and the development of adenomas were evident among the women.”

      Yogurt might change the gut microbiome enough to be of some use if you aren’t going to eat high fiber, plant-based, but not for women and not for the more dangerous type of adenoma and that is the math you have to do for yourself.

    2. Only 2 weeks on the animal product diet increased the levels of these carcinogens by 400 percent within just two weeks and cut the butyrate production in half.

      Greg, that is what you have to figure out a way to make up for if you want to keep going with that diet and that is just for one type of cancer. The heart disease gap is likely even higher.

    3. Greg,

      I make soy yogurt at home, from soy milk that I buy (with only 2 ingredients: water and soybeans) and vegan starter culture (and a bit of maple syrup, not necessary, but I like the flavor). So this is a plant-based food, not dairy (not an animal product). I haven’t yet seen a comparison of the different bacteria present in dairy vs soy yogurt.

      However, I have read that yogurt bacteria do not seem to colonize the colon, but pass on through (intact or otherwise), but may exert beneficial effects on their way through. I would assume that the bacteria in soy yogurt would have similar positive effects.

    4. Greg

      As Deb has aleady mentioned, that study showed no such association in women, which sounds some warning bells.

      Secondly, it was only an observational study so we don’t know if the results were due to confounding by other factors. For example, could it be due to eg yogurt replacing sugary desserts in men’s diets? Or could it be due to, say, that men who consume yogurt are less likely to drink beer or eat hot dogs (both alcohol and processed meat are known carcinogens)?

      In any case, unlike whole plant foods, dairy foods are associated with higher rates of carsivascular disease risk

      ‘What did predict risk of cardiovascular disease was “fat swapping.” When dairy fat was replaced with the same number of calories from vegetable fat or polyunsaturated fat, the risk of cardiovascular disease dropped by 10% and 24%, respectively. Furthermore, replacing the same number of calories from dairy fat with healthful carbohydrates from whole grains was associated with a 28% lower risk of cardiovascular disease.’
      https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2016/10/25/dairy-fat-cardiovascular-disease-risk/

      So, consuming yogurt in the hope that it would reduce cancer risk, even if you are male, sounds like a self-defeating strategy if it significantly increases your risk of CVD.

        1. Fumbles, I doubt if anybody even noticed your little booboo. Am thinking our eyes swept right over it, so not to worry.

          Although, instead of Uranus, I like to blame the much-maligned Mercury. A few days ago, for instance, I had changed totebags and walked all the way down to the public library sans my billfold. No ID, no nuthin’. Mercy me, what if I’d been hit by a truck! *_^

          Anyway, remember when this made the internet rounds? https://www.livescience.com/18392-reading-jumbled-words.html

          1. I thought the ” Mercy me, what if I’d been hit by a truck!* concern related to clean underwear?

            In any case, I suspect that the only mercury people here care about is the type found in fish.

            Some people prefere to blame such lapses on biorhythms, numerology, walking under ladders, the menstrual cycle and diet etc. Or the fridaty effect or the Monday morning effect. There’s not much evidence for any of them is there? In your case, yhough, since you believe in it, could there be a nocebo effect in operation?

            1. Wow, Fumbles….your last paragraph was riddled with typos! Okay, being charitable — we’ll assume you were just having a few senior moments.

              Either that or you need a good laxative.

              1. YR,

                I bet Mr. Fumblefingers has flying fingers — hence the typos. Or his thoughts are outpacing even his speedy typing ability.

              2. There’s no reputable evidence that I’m really conversing with you either. Just because I see (strange-looking) words on a page isn’t enough to convince me.

                For all I know, “Fumbles” might be one of your clones. Or maybe somebody hijacked your photo and ID.

              3. I left my reading glasses at home.

                As for the laxative suggestion, I don’t have a problem in that department but I’d agree that at least one of us is full of it if that is what you are suggesting.. Given your apparent belief in astrology, though, the odds are that it is you.

        2. Tom,

          You are right that I had the same warning bell. Mostly, I would say that all of the women I know eat yogurt and almost none of the men I have ever known eat it, so I would think if there was something really protective, it would be women who would see the benefit.

          I am guessing that the women didn’t switch from something to yogurt. They just eat it.

          Men might be replacing something else with it.

          I guess I could be looking at it wrong, but I honestly can’t think of one male on either coast of America who were in my life who ate yogurt, except for frozen yogurt for a while.

      1. I would think that ‘yoghurt’ would also be a large contributor of IGF-1, because of it’s ‘casine’ content. As I remember T. Colin Campbell’s experiments with turning on and off cancer cell growth just by removing or adding casine.

    1. There are a few videos on this site. There is one on the best lentil and there are a few on bean versus bean.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-best-bean-2/

      It is interesting that the page Gengo posted, for instance, white beans have the most potassium, but black beans have the most phytonutrients.

      Other beans have studies, too, but black beans have the phytonutrient edge.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/pinto-beans-vs-black-beans-2/

      I don’t think the rest of it matters as long as they are not raw. Canned and boxed is okay and those you can eat cold.

      Raw or undercooked beans can get you sick.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/audio/beans-beans-the-truth-about-lectins/

      They are good for more than for just cancer, eating some lowers the blood sugar spikes even for the next meal.

      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/beans-and-the-second-meal-effect/

    2. Hi Marko Madrazo,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thank you so much for your question!

      All legumes are such excellent sources of fiber that I’d say to eat whichever type of legume will get you to eat the most of them. However, if you’re looking for a specific answer, black beans and kidney beans offer slightly more fiber than lentils, chickpeas, or pinto beans.

      I hope that helps answer your question!

  3. My father died at age 54 from eating Slovenian sausage and lunch meat (with white bread) his entire short life. So those two items are definitely on the colon cancer menu.

    1. Navy Corpsman,

      Sorry to hear about your father.

      My mother died at 53. She was the best friend I ever had.

      It is so hard to lose them so young.

    1. If Burger King, Dairy Queen, or GM (Greasy Macs) could smell enough profit to be made – anywhere in the world – they would surely build SAD diners there, including rural Africa. And SADly those populations would probably indulge.

      Unless they read this website regularly.

    2. Yes, it doesn’t seem like a fair trade.

      There was a show, which I saw a few times with bigger switches than that.

      It was like they had anorexics and binge-eaters swap meals and sometimes the anorexics meal was skipping lunch.

      I can’t remember what the show was called, but I was utterly fascinated that anybody thought it was a good idea.

  4. Hi, Dr. G… and all…

    Can someone send a link to the 2 week diets for both Africans and Americans?
    I looked at the study in Nature and did not find the actual diets.
    How can we get the recipes for the high fiber diets? Not interested in the burger and fries and meatloaf diets! Hahahahaha!

    Keep up the great work!
    mm

      1. Thanks, Barb.
        Finding the right combination of food for the age, weight and height is indeed a challenge.
        I was shocked to see chicken in the study… and so much sugar and coffee.
        Don’t know what to make of that.

      1. Thanks… Wish every meal had been there for the two weeks. I’m surprised that chicken was included and there is a lot of sugar. That was surprising.
        I will have to read up on samp!

        Thanks again so much, for helping!

  5. I am wondering suddenly if all the raw vegetables I am eating are messing with my thyroid.

    I am going to try adding iodine.

    I watched the OD’ing on greens. Video and realized that there are most days over this summer when I have focused Paleo vegan of getting so many greens and so much cruciferous.

    Some of my kale containers have been 16 oz. Today’s was. After the greens I am adding in so much cruciferous.

    I guess we shall see.

    1. I have been focusing greens and cruciferous in very high quantities but I am not good at supplementing at all.

      It is hard to figure out because some would take 50 cups and some only would take 3 and I am eating high doses of greens and cruciferous.

      1. It’s the dose that makes the poison, they say. Eating too much broccoli and kale is not likely to be good for you.

        1. Yes, and it is that I am enjoying my salads very much. If I was losing weight, I would be content and I laugh because did I move over from junk food and fast food and ice cream every night and pizza as often as possible and now I am unhealthy eating kale and broccoli every day and I am enjoying it so much, except for the not losing any weight.

            1. I looked at the no-oil dressing information and with both of those and the ounce and a half of nuts, I may have been eating close to 2000 to 2200 calories.

              So I guess that is too much.

              Gaining 8 tenths of a pound after I went off of the latte and the ounce and a half of nuts was the discouraging part.

              I am not going to go down lower than 1600 calories. I think I would fail if I did.

              If I got rid of the no-oil dressing, or cut it in half, I know I wouldn’t like the salads.

              I had hoped going off of the avocado or oil-free hummus was going to be enough to lose weight.

              Laughing, I gained 8 tenths of a pound eating kale and cruciferous and oil-free dressing with black beans, shredded carrots, cauliflower, grape tomatoes and an 8 oz unsweetened dairy-free yogurt with blueberries, blackberries and black grapes. 2 teaspoons of honey (Yes, I know I could get rid that.) 2 scoops of organic golden milk – which is 60 calories. 2 tablespoons of cacao.

              1. I didn’t list the package of sliced white mushrooms and pomegranate seeds and the oil-free dressing.

                And the oat-milk for my coffee and I am not even doing the 80% milk I used to do. I am doing less than 1/3 of the cup oat milk. And, yes, it is a no-oil kind and, yes, I can give up my coffee and go back to just water and herbal tea, but it has been a pleasure drinking it and I didn’t know it was good for me when I gave it up.

                Anyway, I feel like, mostly, neither what Dr. Fuhrman or Dr. McDougall said prepared me for not being able to lose weight on greens and cruciferous and beans and berries, and I think now it is wrestling with expectations.

                1. Liisa,

                  I looked at it.

                  The part that confuses me is that it looks like they put my 2 teaspoons of honey over as if it would be 1100 calories category.

                  I am using a very small spoon. Smaller than a teaspoon, and when I looked up how many calories if somehow my teaspoons were tablespoons and it was 128 calories.

                  My 6 Mary’s Gone Crackers should be 70 calories.

                  I don’t know if getting rid of those will help at all.

                  1. Deb, I think she would like you to understand why you shouldn’t eat over the red line. Did you happen to get that far in looking at her information? I think it’s worth it. Calories are not what needs to be watched according to Chef AJ. She was one of those overweight vegans and she now is not overweight at all so I think she knows what she’s talking about. Have a careful look….

                    Virus-free.
                    http://www.avast.com

                    Virus-free.
                    http://www.avast.com

  6. I have just been to see a gastroenterologist in Australia. He’s advice to me was to eat a keto diet. This went against everything I thought i needed for a healthy gut. Cutting out fruit, grains,legumes and alot of vegetables. Focusing mainly on high fats 70% protein 20% and 10% of carbs. I don’t generally eat high fat or meats and I have only been on the diet for 2 days and I am really struggling with the meat consumption. It just seems unhealthy and unsustainable.

    1. I second that.
      Easy does it on going against your intuition… These bodies are ours!
      Good luck down under. :-)

    2. Sharon,

      What did you go to him for?

      People who eat Whole Food Plant Based have healthier gut bacteria.

      Keto uses a totally different logic, but if you watch Dr Gregers gut microbiome videos you will see that you don’t need to go Keto to heal your gut.

        1. If you have Almost any condition, Whole Food Plant Based is better, but it takes a few weeks to heal the microbiome and to heal leaky gut.

          Do you have an autoimmune condition?

    3. Get a second opinion. Or check out your condition online and consider what national guidelines say about your condition and dietary manahement. I am not ware of keto diets being considered approved treatmments for anything other intractable paediatric epilepsy or intractable obesity.
      https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information
      https://gi.org/guidelines/

      Most doctors are untrained in nutrition and therefore just as vulnerable to pseudoscientific dietary baloney as most other people. It’s particulat bad in Aus becuase of the stranglehold that meat and dairy have on the political system and the part they played in Australia’s history. Puuting your cardiovascular health at risk because some gastroenterolgist has unconventional beliefs probably isn’t a wise course. What does your GP think?

      1. I can’t resist chiming in here, just to support what Mr. Fumblefingers says about doctors being poorly trained in nutrition,

        I am a family doctor with a private practice in lifestyle medicine, and also a volunteer for Dr. Greger on this website. I didn’t start learning about nutrition until 2014, and went completely to a WFPB diet almost 4 years ago, when I still was in a fairly standard family medicine practice. Here is a great video by Dr. G. about how the food industry actively tries to spread doubt about nutrition, to keep people — including doctors — confused: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-industry-funded-research-bias/

        I used to be very confused about nutrition, and felt like almost every year there were new studies published which contradicted what previous studies had shown (e.g. about eggs, fat), so I did like most people do: threw up my hands in confusion, and did not give much advice about nutrition, and the advice I did give was inaccurate — e.g. diabetics need to focus mainly on the “glycemic index” of foods and count carbohydrates, instead of cutting back on saturated fat.

        My city is home to a well-regarded professor of medicine at a major medical center who is a huge proponent of ketogenic diets and directs the university’s Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. He, of course, has lots of studies to support his views, and probably is well-funded by various powerful lobbies. So, you can call this Australian gastroenterologist “unconventional”, but the problem is that he is probably much closer to the standard of medical practice — both in Australia AND (unfortunately) in the US — than are Dr. Greger or I.

        It is very difficult, both for patients and for doctors, to sort out what is true. Hence the value of Dr. Greger and this website. So we keep on doing what we do……

        Dr.Jon
        PhysicianAssistedWellness.com
        Health Support Volunteer for NutritionFacts.org

  7. Okay, some of us need to know how to figure out how many calories people should be eating.

    I did a SparkPeople food journal and I think I am eating 1600.

    Is that why I am not losing weight?

    Sigh. I bought into the can just eat concept.

    I am going to try to add in iodine first and I can use less dressing, but that might bring me down closer to 1400 and not much lower than that.

    1. I feel like I am about to draw a line in the sand and I am not going to go lower in calories and if I ever see Dr. McDougall and he makes a fat vegan comment I will say, “I am sorry, but if I went lower in calories, I would fail because that is what I used to do when I dieted and then I gained back the weight, plus 10 pounds and after several times doing that, you end up with all the plus tens adding up and that is when I stopped entirely.

      I am not backing up on the whole foods, but I think I am going to never, ever even look at the calories or weigh myself and if I ever see a doctor and he gives me a hard time, my silly rebellious inner side, the immature Christian will say, “I am sorry, but I am not listening.”

      I feel like I gave up as much as I was willing and I am willing to get more iodine and maybe eat less kale and broccoli in the Fall, but I hate everybody is the lie I will say and it is such a great big lie, but it means, I am frustrated and I want to take my ball and go home. To quote Suzie after Calvin ball.

      1. Sounds to me like you need more than just TSH testing, but also thyroid antibody testing.

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  8. Hmm, don’t know Deb.. I asked my doc about taking iodine and he said Noooo! Maybe get your thyroid TSH tested first? I have heard other plant based peeps say they have no problem with crucifers, but you could try what Dr Greger suggests and eat 1 serving per day?

    1. He said no to getting iodine?

      Did he say why?

      I will do light therapy again and I am thinking if we are no salt that we need iodine.

      I am going to start with iodine and light therapy and maybe treat my thyroid with PEMF and then get tested in the Fall as I lower my raw vegetables.

      I don’t have other symptoms of it.

      I know that Russia got many of the people with it off the meds entirely with light therapy and also dropped how much meds everybody else needed.

      1. Sorry for being negative. Most of it was joking rather than real anger or frustration

        I have watched videos every single day and most nights for over a year and a half and I have been progressively cleaning up my diet for over a year before that. Maybe 2, and I was watching everybody else’s videos before that.

        I just maybe shouldn’t be watching all of these videos with people losing 100 to 250 pounds in one year or two.

          1. YR,

            You may be right, but I feel like I need to see if my thyroid is working first and I will only know if I don’t change anything other than the Iodine for the next few weeks.

            When I looked at my old Sparkpage entry, which was at the very beginning of doing this process, I have gained 1-1/2 inches on both my waist and hips in that year and a half+. I am still wearing the same clothing and it isn’t fitting poorly, but I honestly think I had lost more weight at the very bigging and gained since then.

            I am going to look up the Russia thyroid study and start that.

      2. Why take iodine when you can get it from food? Dr. G. has a video, I think, about getting all the iodine you need from eating Eden beans, which have kombu in them. Or why not eat some seaweed? I do seaweed, myself. Some of it is delicious!

        1. Liisa,

          Eden beans sounds like a brilliant concept!

          Seaweed, I only do in Miso soup and this Summer has been greens and cruciferous and berries oriented.

          I am so happy with myself for my berry intake. I have been having blackberries, blueberries and black grapes every day. I still haven’t tried strawberries or raspberries or any other berries, but I am eating berries.

            1. To quote Dr. Greger, ” *July 18 UPDATE: Eden’s tests are in, and preliminary results suggest the iodine content of their beans ranges from 36.3 mcg per ½ cup serving (Great Northern beans) to 71.2 mcg (Navy beans). That’s quite the Goldilocks sweet spot–a single can could fulfill one’s daily iodine requirement nicely, and it would take around 20 servings a day to hit the upper limit (and even I don’t like beans that much!* :)”

              Source: https://nutritionfacts.org/2012/07/05/do-eden-beans-have-too-much-iodine/

              Virus-free.
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              Virus-free.
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      3. Barb,

        I just realized that I do have symptoms of iodine deficiency and I also have been having calf pains and might be deficient in D3 and I realized that I am not taking my B12 again either.

    2. Barb,

      Do you eat seaweed or use iodized salt or the Eden Beans which are packed in seaweed?

      If your diet is high in raw cruciferous and leafy greens, it can increase your requirement.

      I looked up iodine deficiency and being sensitive to the cold suddenly flashed before my mind.

      The fact that I was wearing long sleeves and jackets still on June 21st, that suddenly seems like a symptom.

      I am supplementing now.

      I will let you know if I lose weight this week.

      1. Deb, I don’t eat eden beans except on rare occasion if they are on sale. I never eat seaweed, dried or otherwise. I average maybe a pinch of salt per week, tops. I don’t take iodine supplements, and I eat cruciferous veggies regularly, and about 1.5 cups of soy milk per day. If you have other autoimmune conditions or thyroid disease in your family history it might be something to mention to your doctor.

        I wouldn’t count on thyroid issues for weight loss though. A woman’s metabolism seems to get even slower after menopause. That, combined with no exercise or little activity would mean your caloric needs might be quite modest. (life isn’t fair). Guys who run, bicycle, swim, etc can eat a lot on wfpb, and some women can too. I can’t. A serving of beans and greens is ok, but beans with another starch like rice, potatoes or a flatbread is not. I am active but have to remain conscious of what I eat and how much. :(

  9. My WFPB diet is African. I make and eat Ethiopian fasting cuisine which is vegan (they do not eat any animal products when fasting), made from whole foods, contains lots of spices, and never leaves me feeling like something is missing from my diet like some vegan cuisines can.

    There is a good vegan cookbook called Teff Love that has many great recipes. I have only found literally 4 Ethiopian cookbooks to exist at this time and own them all. The teff injera flat bread that is used to eat with, great gluten free source of both fiber and iron. Many people on WFPB can become anemic. And get this, the bread contains, teff flour, water, yeast, and nothing else. Oil seasoned with spices is used in most of the veggie and bean based recipes but the average service only contains around 1/2 tb. I use avocado oil to make my Ye’qimem Zeyet and my doctor raves about me to other patients how my cholesterol went from horrible to ideal and my weight dropped 26 lbs right into the middle of the normal BMI range for my height. (Took 16 months)

    I am not a person of color and want to give credit where credit is due. Ethiopian people I have come across at markets and such are amazing people who love to share their culture with anyone interested. Most people are the same in my experience no matter what race or country, we all like to be appreciated. Other cultures enrich our lives, in the case of Ethiopian food….it saved my life.

    By the way, the woman who founded and runs Brundo Market in Oakland (Fetlework Tefferi) did so because when she came here she found American food to be ‘awful’ and unhealthy. She set up a market, restaurant, African store, cooking school, and sells spices and food made in Ethiopia that benefits the people of Ethiopia.
    I have no connection in any way other than being a customer and a fan of hers. I found Ethiopian fasting cuisine after looking for a world cuisine the closest to vegan to satisfy my foodie palate.

    1. Hi, Jimbo, I happen to have that book home from the library and am seriously thinking of buying it. It’s a WONDERFUL book! I got it because I had some fantastically delicious Ethiopian food at a local restaurant here.

      1. That is going to tempt me.

        Jimbo, I am going to be trying some Ethiopian recipes this Winter.

        You have mentioned Teff Love before and it is in the back of my mind.

  10. This 15 July 2019 ScienceDaily report appears to confirm the arguments set out in the video.

    ‘”We have observed an association between the risk of developing colorectal cancer and the inflammatory potential of the diet. That is, the participants who followed an inflammatory diet had almost twice the risk of developing colorectal cancer, which is the 4th most frequent cancer worldwide,” explains Dr. Mireia Obón
    …………………. An inflammatory diet is usually characterized by the consumption of refined carbohydrates, red and processed meat, and saturated or trans fats. In an antioxidant diet, the consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts predominates.’
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/07/190715094922.htm

    The study itself is here
    https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/6/1406/htm

  11. To the Dr. Gregor team: I would like to request that a video be done on the Lucky Iron Fish product. It has been touted as a life-saving dietary intervention of global proportions, but a 2017 randomized control study concluded it to be ineffective. There are studies that have confirmed positive efficacy, but there seemed to me to be heavy involvement by the company itself in those studies. I would really like to have the opinion of Dr. Gregor’s research team on the product, specifically whether Dr. Gregor would recommend it over supplements for plant-based women in developed countries who have high-iron needs.

  12. Do we have any predictions of the reduction in incidence or risk with the proposed dietary changes, beyond simply “stunningly positive impact”? Thanks!

    1. From your comment it appears you were looking for specific studies looking at incidence or risk when individuals go from a healthy whole food plant based diet to the Standard American diet. While Dr. Greger’s comment “stunningly positive impact” summarized these results, as always you can check out the research yourself by going to “Sources Cited’ There are four studies speaking to the effects of positive dietary changes. Hope that clarifies.

      1. Okay, thanks. Here’s what I have so far:

        “In the west, colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death. It afflicts approximately 150,000 Americans, 250,000 Europeans and 1 million people worldwide annually. Nearly one third will die. Colonoscopy has permitted early detection and recent studies have shown this to be associated with a reduction in mortality rates, but overall impact has been small, particularly among African Americans who shoulder the greatest burden of the disease in the USA.” (3)

        “The observation that colon cancer is extremely rare in native African (NA) populations,1 case per 100,000 population compared with 65 per 100,000 for African Americans (AAs), suggests that differences in environment influence carcinogenesis. This is consistent with Doll and Peto’s suggestion that over 90% of gastrointestinal cancers are determined by environmental influences such as diet.” (1)
        “Rates of colon cancer are much higher in African Americans (65:100,000) than in rural South Africans (<5:100,000)." (3)

        Statistics compiled by the National Cancer Institute indicate that, between 1935 and 1974, age-adjusted MORTALITY from colon cancer rose from 5.1 per 100,000 to 15.0 per 100,000 (2).
        "The fact that the cancer mortality of black males has risen 3-fold implies that it may be feasible for black men to cut their cancer risk by at least two thirds, if they are willing and able to make the requisite changes in their lifestyles." (2)

        "Their analysis showed that, after adjustment for total energy intake, animal fat was positively associated with cancer risk, and those who frequently ate beef, pork, and lamb were at a 2.5 times increased risk." (1)

        "In a systematic review of the 13 published prospective cohort studies published at that time, Sandhu et al. found that there was a significant 12–17% increased risk of colon cancer associated with an increased consumption of 100 g meat per day. Red meat may have a particularly strong effect because of its content of saturated fat, protein, heme, and iron, and browned meat may increase risk further because of the formation of heterocyclic amines." (1)

        "Whilst the change in diet is most likely responsible for this, migration changes many other aspects of the environment. For example, cigarettes, chemicals, infections, antibiotics, might be equally responsible for the change in colon cancer risk." (3)

        As I attempt to piece it together, it seems like the African American male risk is about 60-65 per 100,000 and 90% of this is likely environmental (thus modifiable) although from a significant number of factors. This risk may predominantly be nutrition, but also is highly linked with smoking, infections and antibiotics, chemicals, not exercising regularly, etc. The notes specifically about red meats say 2.5 times the risk and 12-17% increased risk. I don't know the base numbers for those increases, but if the high side of the native African's incidence of 5/100,000 was multiplied by 5, it would still only be at 25/100,000. Reducing the high incidence of African American's colon cancer by 2/3 from 60/100,000 would only get them to 20/100,000. Could it be a compounding/exponential effect when combining multiple of these risk factors?

        Same sources as above, in different order:
        (1) O'Keefe SJ, Chung D, Mahmoud N, et al. Why do African Americans get more colon cancer than Native Africans?. J Nutr. 2007;137(1 Suppl):175S-182S.
        (2) Mccarty MF. Mortality from Western cancers rose dramatically among African-Americans during the 20th century: are dietary animal products to blame?. Med Hypotheses. 2001;57(2):169-74.
        (3) O'Keefe SJ, Li JV, Lahti L, et al. Fat, fibre and cancer risk in African Americans and rural Africans. Nat Commun. 2015;6:6342.

  13. What can I do if I got small lumps on my eyelids, at the top, I think it’s chalazion.

    I have had them for more than a month and a half, I do not suffer from any symptoms and I have been eating a whole food plant based diet for more than 7 or 8 months. I am 21 years old and I am a man.

    I think the chalazion heals itself, but I would like to know if someone has information that they do not know.

    1. Are you sure they aren’t studs?

      I ask because they have different causes.
      Styes you want to be careful with lid care and wash your hands because it would be infection.

      Chalaziam they usually say warm compresses.

      I used to get them when I was young and by them I mean one or the other.

      They always went away.

      I looked up diet and they said anti inflammatory and improving the Omega 3 to 6 ratio. It was part of a Ubmed study on glands, but that study not directly mentioning that particular gland problem but a few other gland problems.

    2. Alvaro Mateu, thanks for your question. Have you seen your general practitioner regarding chalazion. It is thought to be due to the swelling of an oil gland. It’s more common in adults between ages 30 and 50 than in children.
      Some natural remedy is to put a clean compress of warm towel or tea bag being careful that it is not too hot to burn your eye lid. Good night rest and relaxation and repetition of warm compress helps.
      However, make sure you consult with your Dr as your GP will have more understanding of you. I wish you well.

  14. Hello,

    A couple of years ago my father had a tumor in the colon (7cm large), the tumor was removed along with the area surrounding it.
    Now he eats a 100% plant based diet and his health is much better. The problem is that since the piece of colon was removed he has a lot of bowel movements, up to 20 times a day. His physician only gives him medicines used for diarrhea, this reduces the number of bowel movements (but not enough) but we have fear that it can have long term consequences.
    Does anybody knows any similar case or solution?
    Does anybody knows any physician or other resource where I can make a consult?

    Thanks in advance

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