The Effect of Animal Protein on Stress Hormones, Testosterone, & Pregnancy

The Effect of Animal Protein on Stress Hormones, Testosterone, & Pregnancy
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What happened to women who were randomized to eat more meat and dairy during pregnancy, and what effect does animal protein consumption have on cortisol and testosterone levels in men?

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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.

“High-protein diets during pregnancy: healthful or harmful?” A question answered about forty years ago, in the infamous Harlem Trial of 1976: a “randomized controlled trial of nutritional supplementation in pregnancy, in a poor black urban population.” The “study…was begun at a time when protein was [just] assumed to be deficient in the diet[s] of the poor…” Had they actually analyzed their diets before they started, they would have realized that wasn’t true. But, why let facts get in the way of assumptions?

So, they split poor black pregnant women into three groups, and gave them an extra 40 grams of animal protein a day—basically a couple cans of Ensure, versus about six extra grams of animal protein, or no extra protein, and sat back, and watched what happened. The high-protein group suffered “an excess of very early premature births and associated [infant] deaths,” as well as “significant growth retardation” in the babies that survived. More protein meant more prematurity, more deaths, and more growth retardation.

And, when kids grow up, animal protein intake during pregnancy has been associated with children becoming overweight later in life, and getting high blood pressure. The “offspring of mothers who reported eating more meat and fish” had higher blood pressure in adulthood. This was part of another failed dietary intervention trial, in which mothers were advised to eat a pound of meat a day. The increased weight gain and high blood pressure may be due to the obesity-causing chemical pollutants in the meat supply, as I’ve talked about before, or the animal protein-induced rise in the growth hormone IGF-1. Or, it could be due to a steroid stress hormone, called cortisol.

A single meal high in animal protein can nearly double the level of stress hormone in the blood within a half hour of consumption—much more than a meal closer to the recommended level of protein. Give someone a meal of crabmeat, tuna fish, cottage cheese, and the stress hormone levels shoots up. But, instead, give someone some barley soup, and a vegetable stir-fry on rice, and the stress hormone level goes down after the meal.

And, imagine if you did the meat, fish, dairy meal-after-meal, day-after-day. You could chronically stimulate your stress response axis, and increase the release of vasoactive hormones that can increase your blood pressure. And, all that extra cortisol release has been linked to increased risk for elevated blood levels of insulin, triglycerides, and cholesterol.

If you take men on a high-protein diet—”meat, fish, poultry, egg white[s]”—and switch them to a high-carb diet of “bread, vegetables, fruit, and [sugary junk,]” their cortisol levels drop about a quarter within ten days. At the same time, their testosterone levels shoot up by about the same amount. High-protein diets suppress testosterone. That’s why if you take men eating plant-based diets, and have them start eating meat every day, their testosterone levels go down, and actually some estrogens go up.

That’s why bodybuilders can get such low testosterone levels. It’s not the steroids they’re taking. If you look at natural bodybuilders, who don’t use steroids, 75% drop in testosterone levels in the months leading up to a competition. Testosterone levels cut by more than half; enough to drop a guy into an abnormally low range. It’s ironic that they’re eating protein to look manly on the outside, but it makes them less and less manly on the inside. And, from an obesity standpoint, in general, a drop in testosterone levels may increase the risk of gaining weight—gaining body fat.

What does cortisol have to do with weight? Well, there’s actually a disease caused by having too much cortisol, called Cushing’s syndrome. And, this is kind of a before-and-after in terms of abdominal obesity, which is most of that white. Even in normal women, though, chronic stress—chronic high cortisol levels—can contribute to obesity. And, if they’re pregnant, high-meat, low-carb diets may increase cortisol levels in the mom—which can lead to inappropriate fetal exposure to cortisol, which, in turn, can affect the developing fetus, resetting their whole stress-response thermostat, leading to higher cortisol levels their whole life, which can have serious health consequences that can stick with them their whole lives.

And indeed, that’s what they found. Every maternal daily portion of meat and fish was associated with 5% higher cortisol levels in their children as much as thirty years later—though green vegetable consumption was found to be protective. Higher meat and fish consumption—like three servings a day, compared to one or two—was associated with significantly higher cortisol levels. But, eating greens every day appeared to blunt some of that excess stress response.

And, the adult children of mothers who ate a lot of meat during pregnancy don’t just walk around with higher stress hormone levels, but also appear to react more negatively to whatever life throws at them. If you put them through the Trier Test—which involves public speaking in front of a panel of judges, followed by a live math exercise, here’s the stress hormone responses in those moms who ate less than two servings of meat per day, versus about two a day, versus about two to three servings a day. Note before the test started, the two lower-mother meat groups started out about the same, just walking around, but their exaggerated cortisol responses was laid bare when exposed to a stressful situation.

Now, the real-world effects of this is that after that sort of test, if you give people their own private snack buffet, with fruits and veggies versus fatty, sugary, comfort foods like chocolate cake, guess who eats less fruits and veggies? Those who have these high chronic stress levels. Cortisol has been implicated as a factor in motivating food intake, even when you’re not really hungry.

So, no surprise that animal protein intake during pregnancy may lead to larger weight gain for her children later in life, and maybe even her grandchildren. That’s how much the stress axis can get mucked around. Recent evidence suggests that the long-term adverse consequences “may not be limited to one generation;…the diet of a pregnant mother may affect the development and disease risk of her children and even her grandchildren… Ultimately, these findings [may] shed light on [our rapidly expanding epidemics] of diabetes, obesity, and [heart disease].”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Carolyn Sewell via flickr. Image has been modified.

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.

“High-protein diets during pregnancy: healthful or harmful?” A question answered about forty years ago, in the infamous Harlem Trial of 1976: a “randomized controlled trial of nutritional supplementation in pregnancy, in a poor black urban population.” The “study…was begun at a time when protein was [just] assumed to be deficient in the diet[s] of the poor…” Had they actually analyzed their diets before they started, they would have realized that wasn’t true. But, why let facts get in the way of assumptions?

So, they split poor black pregnant women into three groups, and gave them an extra 40 grams of animal protein a day—basically a couple cans of Ensure, versus about six extra grams of animal protein, or no extra protein, and sat back, and watched what happened. The high-protein group suffered “an excess of very early premature births and associated [infant] deaths,” as well as “significant growth retardation” in the babies that survived. More protein meant more prematurity, more deaths, and more growth retardation.

And, when kids grow up, animal protein intake during pregnancy has been associated with children becoming overweight later in life, and getting high blood pressure. The “offspring of mothers who reported eating more meat and fish” had higher blood pressure in adulthood. This was part of another failed dietary intervention trial, in which mothers were advised to eat a pound of meat a day. The increased weight gain and high blood pressure may be due to the obesity-causing chemical pollutants in the meat supply, as I’ve talked about before, or the animal protein-induced rise in the growth hormone IGF-1. Or, it could be due to a steroid stress hormone, called cortisol.

A single meal high in animal protein can nearly double the level of stress hormone in the blood within a half hour of consumption—much more than a meal closer to the recommended level of protein. Give someone a meal of crabmeat, tuna fish, cottage cheese, and the stress hormone levels shoots up. But, instead, give someone some barley soup, and a vegetable stir-fry on rice, and the stress hormone level goes down after the meal.

And, imagine if you did the meat, fish, dairy meal-after-meal, day-after-day. You could chronically stimulate your stress response axis, and increase the release of vasoactive hormones that can increase your blood pressure. And, all that extra cortisol release has been linked to increased risk for elevated blood levels of insulin, triglycerides, and cholesterol.

If you take men on a high-protein diet—”meat, fish, poultry, egg white[s]”—and switch them to a high-carb diet of “bread, vegetables, fruit, and [sugary junk,]” their cortisol levels drop about a quarter within ten days. At the same time, their testosterone levels shoot up by about the same amount. High-protein diets suppress testosterone. That’s why if you take men eating plant-based diets, and have them start eating meat every day, their testosterone levels go down, and actually some estrogens go up.

That’s why bodybuilders can get such low testosterone levels. It’s not the steroids they’re taking. If you look at natural bodybuilders, who don’t use steroids, 75% drop in testosterone levels in the months leading up to a competition. Testosterone levels cut by more than half; enough to drop a guy into an abnormally low range. It’s ironic that they’re eating protein to look manly on the outside, but it makes them less and less manly on the inside. And, from an obesity standpoint, in general, a drop in testosterone levels may increase the risk of gaining weight—gaining body fat.

What does cortisol have to do with weight? Well, there’s actually a disease caused by having too much cortisol, called Cushing’s syndrome. And, this is kind of a before-and-after in terms of abdominal obesity, which is most of that white. Even in normal women, though, chronic stress—chronic high cortisol levels—can contribute to obesity. And, if they’re pregnant, high-meat, low-carb diets may increase cortisol levels in the mom—which can lead to inappropriate fetal exposure to cortisol, which, in turn, can affect the developing fetus, resetting their whole stress-response thermostat, leading to higher cortisol levels their whole life, which can have serious health consequences that can stick with them their whole lives.

And indeed, that’s what they found. Every maternal daily portion of meat and fish was associated with 5% higher cortisol levels in their children as much as thirty years later—though green vegetable consumption was found to be protective. Higher meat and fish consumption—like three servings a day, compared to one or two—was associated with significantly higher cortisol levels. But, eating greens every day appeared to blunt some of that excess stress response.

And, the adult children of mothers who ate a lot of meat during pregnancy don’t just walk around with higher stress hormone levels, but also appear to react more negatively to whatever life throws at them. If you put them through the Trier Test—which involves public speaking in front of a panel of judges, followed by a live math exercise, here’s the stress hormone responses in those moms who ate less than two servings of meat per day, versus about two a day, versus about two to three servings a day. Note before the test started, the two lower-mother meat groups started out about the same, just walking around, but their exaggerated cortisol responses was laid bare when exposed to a stressful situation.

Now, the real-world effects of this is that after that sort of test, if you give people their own private snack buffet, with fruits and veggies versus fatty, sugary, comfort foods like chocolate cake, guess who eats less fruits and veggies? Those who have these high chronic stress levels. Cortisol has been implicated as a factor in motivating food intake, even when you’re not really hungry.

So, no surprise that animal protein intake during pregnancy may lead to larger weight gain for her children later in life, and maybe even her grandchildren. That’s how much the stress axis can get mucked around. Recent evidence suggests that the long-term adverse consequences “may not be limited to one generation;…the diet of a pregnant mother may affect the development and disease risk of her children and even her grandchildren… Ultimately, these findings [may] shed light on [our rapidly expanding epidemics] of diabetes, obesity, and [heart disease].”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Carolyn Sewell via flickr. Image has been modified.

Doctor's Note

Whoa. There was a lot to unpack in that video. It’s like five videos in one. Normally, I might break it up, but as you can see, so much of it was all tied together. You may want to try watching it again to absorb it all.

For more on how diet during pregnancy can affect stress for their children, see Maternal Diet May Affect Stress Responses in Children.

For more on protein—what a misunderstood nutrient!—check out:

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

141 responses to “The Effect of Animal Protein on Stress Hormones, Testosterone, & Pregnancy

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  1. I have a comment/question regarding the low testosterone in natural bodybuilder. As I’m interested in the topic of bodybuilding, I don’t quiet understand the correlation between high protein and low testosterone in the study about natural bodybuilders. It sure is a factor for low testosterone, but as the study describes the low testosterone was found in bodybuilders near a competition. Bodybuilders have to restrict calorie intake quiet a lot to achieve such low body fat precentage. So for me the extremly low calorie intake seems like the bigger factor in this situation (causing low testosterone). My question: Is high protein comsumption really responsible for this big of a drop in testosterone? or may other factors play a roll in this specific situation?
    Just curious, looking forward to your reply :)

    Ps: Big fan of your videos and book!




    2
    1. Maurice: Great question! Dr. G. doesn’t really spell out that during those months leading up to a competition, bodybuilders are doing lots of “protein-loading”, not just restricting calories. If you look up Dr. G’s videos on “caloric restriction”, you’ll find this one, which notes the importance of DHEA, which is a precursor to testosterone: caloric restriction and plant based diets both lead to increases in DHEA, and this in turn counteracts cortisol and is associated with longer life. This video shows that caloric restriction decreases the levels of cancer-promoting IGF-1, but not if you also eat meat.




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        1. Hi sunshine99 do you know Patrick Barbouiam, one of the world strongest man? May you look this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyBqDbrNqxc. Ok, Patrick is not a bodybuilder, he’s only strong ;-) but maybe he can give you some answer about protein on vegan diet. He also has a degree as a physican.
          Despite I’m not a bodybuilder my thoughts are, by reading your words “Bodybuilders have to restrict calorie intake quiet a lot to achieve such low body fat precentage.”, WHY? Surely, if you take your protein mainly from meat, you get a lots of fat by every load of meat you consume – satured fat. Maybe this is what archiev the bodyfat.




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      1. Also a big fan here. In the video it is said that a diet high in protein leads to a low level of testosterone. This might not be entirely true, it is not protein per se which is to blame but above all the fact that they come from animal origin; meat, fish, eggs. A diet high in vegetable proteins will not, for example, lead to the same adverse effects in testosterone levels.




        2
        1. Thanks, that was the point I wanted to make. I see ‘high protein’ intakes blamed for various things, when it seems they really mean high animal protein. There have been a few good studies that have made that point, but the issue still seems to get lost way to frequently elsewhere.




          1
      2. Are DHEA supplements safe? Are they of any merit? I am wondering if this is a viable over the counter health food store (whole foods market, etc.,) product. Yeah, I know, why not just eat the vegan proteins, greens, fruits, beans, etc., but simply curious about DHEA supplements, from what you may know or Dr. Gr. has to say. Thank you.




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        1. Does anyone know if vegan protein powders also increases cortisol levels and lowers testosterone?

          Please help out, I am trying to stop eatig meat.




          0
          1. Im trying to get over my constant feeling of fatigue after meals and through out the day. I figured its adrenal fatigue thats to blame.

            Im figuring if I cut animal products it will cause less stress on my adrenal. Im just wondering if I can have protein powder to substitute for the animal protein since I am trying to build muscle/ an athlete.




            0
            1. My advice from experience…Eat more real (whole) food for protein and supplement only with protein powder. Eat smaller portions more often. Are you hydrating enough?




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          2. Hi, this is Daniela, a Nutritionfacts moderator. If I may divert your question for a moment, rather than: do truly vegan protein powders have a lesser negative impact on cortisol and testosterone as animal protein, I would like to ask: does one really need a protein powder, even vegan? Just like any extract from a natural source, even the vegan protein powder will leave behind powerful health protective plant compounds, while holding the risk of contaminants and toxins.
            Why not concentrate on using the powerful arsenal of whole plant foods instead, in order to supply the daily needs of protein, such as legumes, beans, nuts and seeds, which in combination with raw vegetables were shown to curb hunger and boost athletic performance, not to mention a myriad of other health benefits. Could you please check out a couple of articles on the topic: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/heavy-metals-in-protein-powder-supplements/, also https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/protein/.
            I hope this helps, have a great day, Daniela




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    2. Take a look again at the section just preceding the bodybuilder segment… in that section the research showed that testosterone declined and cortisol levels increased when the subjects were put on a high protein diet. So that would suggest that it’s the high protein that’s the cause, and not any calorie restriction with the weight lifters.




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    3. Here are his two sources I saw referencing testosterone levels.

      One of the sources is following a single 16 year old….

      Woodhill I, Cooper C, Zacharin M, Cukier K, Vuillermin P. Low testosterone in a male adolescent bodybuilder: Which diagnosis holds more weight? J Paediatr Child Health. 2014 Sep;50(9):739-41.

      The natural bodybuilder study tracked one male bodybuilder (age 26-27)…

      Rossow LM, Fukuda DH, Fahs CA, Loenneke JP, Stout JR. Natural bodybuilding competition preparation and recovery: a 12-month case study. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2013 Sep;8(5):582-92.

      It is much more likely that other factors caused the significant drop in T levels than protein as you suggested. Here is a study done on 24+ men covering several years that showed long term caloric restriction with adequate protein and micro-nutrient intake is associated with low serum total and free testosterone, independent of body fat mass, while SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) was elevated in the calorie restricted group:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3569090/

      I like Dr G’s videos and bought his book but this information is deceiving.




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      1. I agree. World renowned researchers on Cancer, anti-aging, longevity, nutrition, nutrigenomics, etc. almost universally eat SOME meat or fish. These folks are looking to extend their OWN lives and educate the public. Most of them are self-preservationist so if from their research they found that a 100% plant based diet was best, they ABSOLUTELY would eat that diet. I have no doubt.




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        1. Just the toxin streams from meat and fish today are especially troublesome. For the rest of the scary story search for Dr. Greger’s fish and meat videos in the search box at the top of the page …




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    4. Maurice I agree that reduced calories for extended periods can lower testosterone levels; BUT I think even more important is the extreme low levels of body fat that body builders get to leading up to their competition. Anything below 10% body fat will reduce testosterone levels and many body builders get down to dangerous body fat levels below 5 %.




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    5. Maurice – Leading up to a competition, bodybuilders will do what is called cutting. This means that they greatly reduce their consumption of carbohydrates in order to achieve a leaner (ripped) looking body. This carb cutting is what results in their low testosterone levels. Every bodybuilder knows that in order to have optimal testosterone levels and energy levels you need to consume a lot of carbs. Paleo diet bodybuilders don’t get the same positive results from weight training due to their low carb consumption, they tend to remain “skinny-fat”. Low carbs = low testosterone.




      0
      1. Same thing. Not that I have anything against crabs. They’re wonderful creatures. I just prefer to leave them in oceans and freshwater where they belong.




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  2. I’d like to share this video with my weight-lifting friend who swears that he needs lots of meat to build his muscles. But I’m sure that he wouldn’t believe it. The idea that meat promotes muscles among weight lifters is just too widespread.




    0
    1. It’s been well established that body builders need more protein. As to what source is optimal is not discussed. Even vegan body builders and power lifters are pounding down protein shakes, or at least the majority of those who are successful in gaining muscle and strength.




      0
          1. WFPBRunner: Great find! I like that the article includes tips/examples of what she eats. There’s a lot of athletes on this site who don’t want examples, they want how-to. Thanks!




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      1. Underneath the main heading it says “They’re huge ,They’re vegan , they are probably immortal”
        That is so funny, these stroid users are well know to live very short lives .




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    2. Thanks for comment John.

      I’d suggest sharing this review done by Dr Joel Fuhrman, which published on the Current Sports Medicine Reports (see here). It discusses how athletes or those wanting to build muscle do not require animal products and can actually take advantage of such dietary pattern.

      Hope this helps.




      1
    3. Have your friend go look at a bull in the stockyard (an average bovine, not some freaky freak show). They are massive, muscular, and vegan. All those muscles came from grass and hay and other plants made into feedstocks, plus–testosterone.

      So when your friend eats meat, he’s reducing his testosterone. I mentioned the “bull in the field” to a friend of mine in response to his “but what about protein” comment the other night. I think we had a “break through” moment, it blew his mind.

      Folks have NO IDEA that there is protein in plants. HOW did we get so ignorant?




      1
      1. Are there any other studies that someone can reference and share on the links between animal protein and testosterone levels in men ? I’m a big fan and supporter of Dr. Greger but I am somewhat confused by the presentation on this issue here. If a man suffers from Low t, should he ramp up the animal protein ? Thanks




        0
        1. Drew,

          The male testosterone levels are determined by a number of hormonal effects including the cortisol, conversion to estrogens and higher sex hormone binding globulins (SHBG) among others, that ultimately cause multiple health issues.

          The best approach is to find the modulation of the hormones which…..not surprisingly is the use of a higher intake of greens and a lower intake of animal proteins…..Basically if you’re suffering from a low T it’s equally as important to address the underlying causes as well as considering the supplemental use of testosterone. A proper evaluation of low T males includes an extensive panel and inevitably the necessary diet evaluation.

          Don’t go to a practitioner who is solely focused on the estrogen/testosterone results. It’s no different than changing one of two flat tires…… ineffective and dangerous.

          Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger




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          1. Thank you Doctor. I’m definitely enjoying greens (and beans) but concerned that levels have declined significantly, due to almost entirely stopping animal protein consumption for all of the good reasons pointed out by Dr. Greger. I will search for someone who looks at more than the blood test results.




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        2. I simply do not understand how folks get this wrong after any study of the subject at all. The answer is,

          NO. Eating animal products can CUT YOUR “T” by HALF. Please see the video.

          An animal FREE diet will BOOST your TESTOSTERONE! (assuming you eat parts and pieces or excretions of animals now.) Forget the hype.

          Animal foods are negative for the human species and should only be considered in the case of survival or occasional traditional eating.




          1
  3. Beginning in my early 20’s, I eliminated red meat from my diet,. although I occasionally still ate chicken and fish (as well as eggs and dairy ) After over a decade of this practice, I became pregnant with my son.
    Around 5 or 6 months into the pregnancy, I developed an irresistible urge for steak. Since the thought and appearance of red meat was so repugnant to me, several times, I left the supermarket empty handed.
    Eventually, this need became so powerful that I finally had to accede . I finally bought and ate the steak with such relish, not only that once, but nearly every day until my son was born- on his due date, weighing 7 lbs 5 oz .
    Based upon this experience, I disbelieve in a carte blanche edict against red meat during pregnancy and go with the wisdom of the body




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    1. Check the video again , at 5.49 they are comparing three groups ,first group less than 2 meat meals a day , next group 2 to 3 meat meals a day and next 3 or more meat meals a day , that is a lot of meat in all three if you ask me , I eat maybe 2 meat meals a week . That is just to keep peace in this household , as far as I can tell I would have no problems with none or maybe one meat meal a month.
      The other examples they give are just so extreme , who eats meat ,chicken, dairy and egg whites? Meat might be a little similiar to salt, no salt at all causes problems but a little seems to offer some benefits . Of course that would never go over on this site .




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      1. I agree a little meat, 10% or less of total calories, will not do any harm in the context of a healthy diet. But I disagree that no meat at all would cause problems. There is nothing in meat that cannot be found from better plant based sources.




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      2. “The other examples they give are just so extreme, who eats meat ,chicken, dairy and egg whites?”
        Change the egg whites to eggs, and everyone I know! Most at breakfast alone…bacon, egg, sausage and cheese, with a big fat greasy biscuit smothered in sausage gravy! Lunch can be a nice greasy double bacon cheeseburger (hold the lettuce and tomato of course) with large fries and a big shake, and dinner is a double pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, or a huge steak on the grill, with a big fat potato loaded with sour cream and butter. Don’t forget the big bowl of ice cream for dessert. I gave myself indigestion just writing this, but it’s sadly true.




        0
        1. Now, to be fair, a lot of people will substitute a red meat meal for a dry, throat choking chicken breast based meal… for health…. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!




          0
          1. I yet eat meat, but very minimally and on occasion. And knowing how unhealthful ALL meat is, I only partake of my favorite animals/cuts/parts.
            WHITE chicken meat—NOT ON THE LIST!!! Legs and thighs yo! Even with the Thanksgiving turkey.




            0
            1. Ditto here. I found ways to get the effect of some old favorite foods, but I decided since I’m po’ and only go out to eat like 2-3 times a year, I’ll allow myself some of my personal favorite, seafood. I was a coastal New Englander all of my life, and mussels, clams, fish, crabs, oyster, periwinkle, whelk, (scungili) and even lobster when we had traps, were staples we collected ourselves. I guess there is just too much history connected to forget about it entirely in my old age. The guys would go dig the clams and the moms and kids would go gather the mussels, periwinkle, seaweed, whatever, then forage for whatever edible flora was in season, it felt so “primal”, and tons of great memories! We used to go camping and haul the bounty with us for an old fashioned clam bake…seaweed, corn, potatoes, and whatever was in the hold, quite a party! Some regret involved now, but it was what it was…and you can teach an old dog new tricks. Meat is no great loss to me, never could stand the feel in my mouth nor fond of the taste, but I did like the dark meat of poultry too. Thankfully, that is easiest to mimic with plant based ingredients, but I rarely think of it anymore. I eat simply and cheaply and grow what I can, and it really annoys me when I hear people use the excuse it costs too much to eat healthy! It certainly can if you get exotic with the produce and eat a lot raw, but it sure doesn’t have to be! When all else fails, a couple jars of sprouts can be grown by anyone, anywhere, anytime. A bag of lentils from the grocery store is less than a buck and can supply you with gallons of sprouts… ditto sunflower seeds, brown rice, quinoa, chia, even popcorn. Where there’s a will there’s a way!




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    2. I had a different experience. During my first pregnancy, my husband would cook bacon for his breakfast. The smell alone nearly made me throw up and I abstained from eating any of it. And the baby? Healthy and now a very successful engineer….




      0
      1. My wife is having the same experience. We have been vegan for 13 years but if there is any meat close by or in a supermarket, she can get really nauseous fast. Raw garlic is also a big trigger. I have to cook it down.




        0
    3. I can echo your experience, even though I was never fond of meat at all, during both pregnancies with my boys had intense desires to consume red meat, and specifically, liver, which I hated! And the worst part is I wanted it raw! I didn’t, but compromised with rare, still, normally I would have spewed at the thought, and it makes me queasy still, and I’m 64! It wasn’t a regular thing, just that once early on, but strange! In fact, at the time there was an informal “prediction” method going around that if you craved meat while pregnant, it would be a boy, and dairy, a girl. Guess it was a given I had sons because milk was even more disgusting! lol In retrospect, my body must have been trying to communicate it’s aversion to animal products early on because they either made me outright ill, (milk and eggs) or had more subtle effects that caused me to reject them. Back then though, you ate what was on your plate and didn’t have options because it was “good for you”!




      0
      1. Yes! Also to Joyce: I craved blood as a child; licked scraped knees and ate my steaks rare.
        Once I quit dairy and was no longer borderline anemic, guess what craving went away?




        0
    4. I would be curious to know if there was some nutrient that you were lacking, that compels you to increase dietary variety, divergent to what you were typically eating. Bear in mind that there are people who feel an insatiable desire to eat dirt (Pica), they are lacking adequate foods in their diet, probably not dirt. Perhaps you were short of something that vegetarians can lack, such as Vitamin D, B12, Calcium, Protein or Omega 3 Fatty Acids, or any of many other nutrients. I found that I needed magnesium. Of course, just because you crave steak doesn’t mean that’s the best thing for you. There are people who crave ice cream, maybe they’d be healthier with greens, fruit and/or DHA from golden algae, but those foods aren’t ones they would think of to eat. I know several adults who were raised vegan from conception, some on The Farm in Tennessee, where the 500 or so children raised vegan in the 70s and 80s were tracked by researchers and found to be healthy.. Everyone I personally have met who was raised vegan is healthy, beautiful and brilliant. So, you certainly don’t need meat to have a healthy baby. We know so much more about diet now than we did then. It is simply put a well-recognized scientific fact that a vegan diet can be nutritious and healthy for pregnant and nursing mothers. It’s my understanding that omnivores are more likely to have nutritional deficiencies than vegetarians.




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    5. n=1, anecdote. If anything, since so many of Dr. Greger’s video say that meat CAUSES diabetes, it would appear this would also result in gestational diabetes –> which would result in macrosomia (ie. a too large newborn). Lets be consistent, if we’re gonna blame meat on everything ;)




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  4. I get most of my protein from Beans, Vetg, etc. Does this means that my testosterone will eventually go to zero? I eat very little red meat and chicken.




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    1. Thanks for your question John,

      Usually we find that men eating a plant based diet have higher levels of testosterone (see here).

      The other point is that the NIH classifies normal levels of testosterone in men as (see here):

      “300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) or 10.41 to 34.70 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L)”

      Hope this answer helps.




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    2. Hi John – Congrats on making the moves towards a plant-based diet that you have done already.
      And great question – I find this to be a common concern based on cultural myths around diet similar to concerns around bone health when dropping dairy.
      See this write-up by Dr. Greger – Vegan Men: More Testosterone But Less Cancer

      To health!




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  5. Mind blowing (scary) data regarding pregnancy and protein intake. Great video that would deserve a little more time and details because it seems Cortisol affects so many areas of our health. Maybe splitting the presentation to discuss pregnancy, bodybuilding (there seems to be some enthusiasm about that) and the link between Cortisol and diet habits. I “loved” the vicious circle of diet related Cortisol which stresses people into eating more junk.. it seems this is a logic worth explaining in more detail because it resembles closely the vicious circle of Nicotine.. you smoke to “relax” because the very drop in nicotine since the last cigarette increases the stress level – perceived or real – and the process begins again… but in the end, most smokers think they NEED cigarettes to relax, they RELY on cigarettes to relax!! The psychology of junk food addiction, when explained through the Cortisol perspective can be quite persuasive for junk food addicts (I was a smoker and relied on my smokes to relax until I was explained the mechanism.. and realized I stressed myself by smoking, not the opposite). By the way, Dr. Greger, I am so incredibly grateful to you for your incredible work! I am a vegan (WFPB) since I read the China Study but you, sir, are the reason I am still vegan today.




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  6. When I was a gym rat, I would read a lot of muscle magazines.. I distinctly remember reading an article about how competitive body builders looked good but were very sick inside. The article was written by a MD who competed and said the blood chemistries of these guys was all over the map.. Trying to loose body fat, dehydrated to look “shredded” was not a good thing!!! Heart, Kidney disease and high cholesterol being many of the problems later on in life.
    On a different note I read that Gladiators who NEEDED to be strong were called barley men.. Thats what they ate back then to get big and strong, beans for protein and barley for carbs…..
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12I8GzS28h4.. From the Smurf-sonian channel.. good part at 1:55
    m




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    1. This video would not seem accurate since beans would not have been available at that time. Facts getting in the way of assumptions no doubt.




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      1. Lentils and chickpeas have been consumed since Neanderthal times, and have been staples of staples of agricultural diets around the Mediterranean since the early Neolithic. However, the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) only arrived with the Columbian exchange.




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          1. Ignatius and Darryl:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicia_faba
            ” Fava beans have been found in the earliest human settlements. They
            probably originated in the Near East during the Neolithic Age and by the
            Bronze Age had spread to Northern Italy. They have been found in
            lakeside settlements in Switzerland and in Britain at Glastonbury.
            Remains are reported to have been found in Egyptian tombs.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicia_faba#Culinary_uses
            “Broad beans were a major food of old Mediterranean civilizations, particularly for the Romans and Ancient Greeks.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bean#History
            “They were deposited with the dead in ancient Egypt.
            Not until the second millennium BCE did cultivated, large-seeded broad
            beans appear in the Aegean, Iberia and transalpine Europe.[6] In the Iliad (8th century BCE) is a passing mention of beans and chickpeas cast on the threshing floor.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoreanism#Vegetarianism
            ” It has been suggested that the prohibition of beans was to avoid favism; susceptible people may develop hemolytic anemia as a result of eating beans, or even of walking through a field where bean plants are in flower.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falafel#Preparation_and_variations

            “Falafel is made from fava beans or chickpeas, or a combination of the two. The use of chickpeas is predominant in most Middle Eastern countries.[46] The dish is usually made with chickpeas in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine.[20][47][48] This version is the most popular in the West.[20] The Egyptian variety uses only fava beans”




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    2. Mind-blowing, you talk about social engineering for eating animal protein, well there it is at its best!!!The irony of the whole thing is just baffling!!!So after all…clark kent IS a vegan!!!
      ;-)




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    3. Unfortunately, mortality for bodybuilders is seriously confounded by the drug regimes required to be competitive, but it doesn’t take much googling to find lists of professionals who have died in their 40s, 30s, and even 20s from cardiovascular disease and aggressive cancers. Natural bodybuilders would provide an excellent model of protein intake in the high range, but unfortunately any prospective studies on such a small population may take decades to show effects.

      In the scientific community, there’s been a remarkable interest in the hazards of high protein diets of late. Some papers on humans from the last few years:

      Virtanen et al, 2006. High dietary methionine intake increases the risk of acute coronary events in middle-aged men. Nutrition, metabolism and cardiovascular diseases, 16(2), pp.113-120.
      Halbesma et al, 2009. High protein intake associates with cardiovascular events but not with loss of renal function. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 20(8), pp.1797-1804.
      Sluijs et al, 2010. Dietary intake of total, animal, and vegetable protein and risk of type 2 diabetes in the EPIC-NL study. Diabetes care, 33(1), pp.43-48.
      Vinknes et al, 2011. Dietary intake of protein is positively associated with percent body fat in middle-aged and older adults. The Journal of nutrition, 141(3), pp.440-446.
      Noto et al, 2013. Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. PLoS One, 8(1), p.e55030.
      Hernández-Alonso et al, 2016. High dietary protein intake is associated with an increased body weight and total death risk. Clinical Nutrition, 35(2), pp.496-506.
      Shang et al, 2016. Dietary protein from different food sources, incident metabolic syndrome and changes in its components: An 11-year longitudinal study in healthy community-dwelling adults. Clinical Nutrition.
      Smith et al, 2016. High-protein intake during weight loss therapy eliminates the weight-loss-induced improvement in insulin action in obese postmenopausal women. Cell Reports, 17(3), pp.849-861.

      Conversely, there’s also been significant interest in benefits from protein restriction:

      Fontana et al, 2006. Long-term low-protein, low-calorie diet and endurance exercise modulate metabolic factors associated with cancer risk. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 84(6), pp.1456-1462.
      Fontana et al, 2007. Long-term low-calorie low-protein vegan diet and endurance exercise are associated with low cardiometabolic risk. Rejuvenation research, 10(2), pp.225-234.
      Mirzaei et al, 2014. Protein and amino acid restriction, aging and disease: from yeast to humans. Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, 25(11), pp.558-566.
      Levine et al, 2014. Low protein intake is associated with a major reduction in IGF-1, cancer, and overall mortality in the 65 and younger but not older population. Cell metabolism, 19(3), pp.407-417.
      Fontana et al, 2016. Decreased consumption of branched-chain amino acids improves metabolic health. Cell reports, 16(2), pp.520-530.
      Le Couteur et al, 2016. New Horizons: Dietary protein, ageing and the Okinawan ratio. Age and ageing, p.afw069.
      Le Couteur et al, 2016. The impact of low-protein high-carbohydrate diets on aging and lifespan. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, 73(6), pp.1237-1252.




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    4. I didn’t watch the video, but just looking at the title, it should be said that if you studied history, you’d know gladiators were slaves. Therefore it’s no surprise they didn’t eat meat.




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  7. What about this study?
    “Remission of Pre­Diabetes to Normal Glucose Tolerance in Obese Adults With High Protein Versus High Carbohydrate Diet” Randomized Control Trial. Frankie B Stentz; Amy Brewer; Jim Wan; Channing Garber; Blake Daniels; Chris Sands; Abbas E Kitabchi BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2016;4(1)

    Triglyceride Change from Baseline (mg/dL)

    High Carb: -11.4 | High Protein -69.4

    LDL Change from Baseline (mg/dL)

    High Carb: -4.3 | High Protein 23.0

    Blood Pressure Change from Baseline (systolic/diastolic)

    High Carb: -8/-7 | High Protein -14/-9

    TNF alpha Change from Baseline (pg/mL) – Marker of inflammation

    High Carb: -2.9 | High Protein -8.0

    IL-6 Change from Baseline (pg/mL) – Marker of inflammation

    High Carb -1.63 | High Protein: -4.02

    Reactive Oxygen Species Change From Baseline (umol/L) – Marker of oxidative stress

    High Carb -0.4 | High Protein: -1.3




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    1. You would need to give us more information, like macros (percentage of calories from fat/carbs/protein) and also overall total calories of the two diets for a start. Also fibre consumption could be helpful to see if they were eating whole foods or not. Plus the fact it is for obese adults means that the high protein diet may have brought about a greater initial weight loss than the high carb… that doesn’t mean it’s healthy long term or sustainable.




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      1. You kind of nailed it. If you search for the study you’ll see the high carb group was eating.. the SAD. Fibre wasn’t measured, typical.
        They were fed frozen meals/dinners, but specifics aren’t given.




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  8. I have a question that is similar to the one Maurice posted below me, but slightly different. I am wondering if the science on intermittent fasting and hgh production is legitimate. Intermittent fasting (IF) is the “en vogue” topic in nutrition and fitness “bro science” circles. I have done a little research and the claims seem to be warranted. I would love to see a video or blog post about how IF and high intensity exercise during IF may or may lead to increased lean muscle while decreasing body fat. Thanks Dr. G and all other contributers! This site and Dr. G’s book has been changing my life since I first discovered them.




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    1. I think it is well established that variations of IMF and even eating every other day works. In the sense that it leads to fat loss without any notable muscle loss.




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  9. I think sometimes Dr. Greger overstates the conclusions of the studies he references. I wish he would be more strict in his intrepretation, It simply is not good science and does not serve to further a plant based diet, it feels like cherry picking.

    e.g. Maslova E, Rytter D, Bech BH, Henriksen TB, Rasmussen MA, Olsen SF, Halldorsson TI. Maternal protein intake during pregnancy and offspring overweight 20 y later. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Oct;100(4):1139-48.

    The authors conclude: “Because of the lack of information on postnatal exposure in this cohort, these results are hypothesis-generating and need to be replicated in other cohorts” This study shows a correlation, not necessarily a causation. And the authors admit the research in other human and animal cohorts is conflicting/contradictory. they also say “We showed no indication that protein intake was associated with adverse cardiometabolic risk factors in a reduced set of study participants.”

    Also they only looked at BMI, which is not very accurate….ie, people of the same BMI can have very different lean muscle to fat ratios. The authors also admit this is a limitation to the study.




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  10. I find it so ironic that people who either want to lose weight to look good, (healthy) or pump themselves up to look good, go about it in the least healthy way and destroy themselves. How shallow are we that appearance is more important than actual health?




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    1. No one gets how effing EASY it can be. Never ever ever thought I’d be on this “side of the fence”, but results came TOO fast to ignore and the overall feeling/thinking better thing is too desirable to ever “throw away” again. I do “indulge” now and then and I’ll usually feel it in some negative way in a short while. But it passes and I know why/what made the difference, so I eat WFPB, most of the danged time.

      I get fat and achy and funky when I eat non-plant foods and sugary junk now. So I rarely crave such anymore. It has been just under 2 years now, and I wish I’d started 25 years ago. There’s no going back to the way I ate the first 48 years. Wonder I made it this far.




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      1. I totally get it Wade, my fat, hurting self was almost 60 before I put “yet one more” diet to the test. I gave it one month, but two weeks in, with normal blood sugars for the first time in many years, excruciating RA, fibromyalgia and IBS fading fast, among a myriad of other positive changes that just kept coming, I never looked back either. Yep, we are still lied to, but what I think peeves me the most is “willful ignorance”. Everyone I know will still ignore the proof, despite the results I had, my efforts to encourage, and despite their failing health and personal pharmacopoeias! Limbs lost, heart attacks, strokes, loss of vision, drastic surgeries, nothing deters them from the “reward” of the next cheeseburger or pepperoni pizza. SAD indeed.




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  11. Who cares about pregnant women, breast cancer and so on,
    these are all feminine topics.
    It’s start to be boring to hear every time, and every lecture about the same feminine boring subjects,
    like boobs cancer , vaginal cancer , pregnancy etc…
    I think health topic must be clean from any agenda or religion,
    including the Feminism religion,
    the new sickness of the modern world.




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  12. Does this mean we’re doomed because of how our mothers and grandmothers may have eaten? How much of it can be reversed through the Whole food plant based diet if at all ?




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  13. I have a question that’s about a topic that’s come up lately. I’ve been in the transition phase to becoming vegan, I’m currently in the vegetarian phase still as it’s been about a month since I’ve last eaten meat, and I have desire to transition my milk from dairy to plant. Reason being, I never really cared much for cheese or eggs or anything of the sort, so milk in my morning oats or Kashi is on a larger basis what’s keeping me from being vegan. I talked to my mother yesterday about buying the common plant milks to try with cereal being coconut, soy, & almond, and whenever I told her about what I’ve learned about the differential benefits between cow and plant milk, she told me the typical of “Cameron, cows need milked otherwise they’ll overproduce, implode, and die.” What I’ve seen about the real purpose of milk though in the case of cows is that simply they’re for calves and therefore would stop feeding after the young cow is fully grown. My question; is it true cows actually need to be drained by humans in order to survive, or no, and why? A strong answer to that could likely be exactly what sets me on a vegan path, and being that I’m 17 and can legally move out soon which I intend on performing, if I’m vegan for this entire year left it’ll be much easier to be consistent on my own. I appreciate any true responses, and thank you.




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    1. Hi Cameron, thanks so much for your question. I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. It’s absolutely incredible that somebody so young is thinking about making a change that can be so profound. And I thought I was young when I started moving towards a vegan diet (I was about 20). Cows do not need to be drained by humans to survive. They produce milk, as you said, for their calves. And they only become pregnant in the first place when we inject bull semen into their vaginas using a hand or a steel rod. When the mother cow gives birth, her baby is unfortunately taken away from her after some time, causing distress and depression to the mother, all to give us the milk that was intended for her calf. I encourage you to try the variety of plant milks out there if you have not already done so. Soy, almond, rice, and oat milks are my favorites! I wish you the best of luck on your journey towards health and ethical eating, and commend you for your awareness and maturity at such a young age.




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    2. Cameron Frye: “Cows—like all mammals—need to become pregnant in order to produce milk. “Dairy” cows are impregnated every year so that they will produce a steady supply of milk. Whereas in nature, the baby drinks the milk that the mother produces, humans take the calf away from the mother cow and drink the milk intended for her baby. Cows wouldn’t need to be milked if we didn’t take their calves away from them or impregnate them in the first place.” http://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/but-dont-cows-need-to-be-milked/
      .
      That’s just common sense. Dogs don’t need to be milked by humans, because the puppies drink the milk… Etc. I don’t know of any animal on the face of this planet that requires humans to milk them.
      .
      As I understand it, you are looking for a reason to ditch the diary. There are a ton of health reasons as shown on this site: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/dairy , As you so wisely have noticed, however, it’s the ethical reasons that can provide us with the most motivation. On the ethical front, one reason to ditch the diary is global climate change. The animal industry affects global climate change and planet depletion in general more than the transportation industry. If you can get ahold of a documentary called Cowspiracy, you would learn a ton of information on this topic. I think Cowspiracy is on Netflicks. Alternatively, here is a free talk on YouTube which has a lot of the same information (though less entertaining) as Cowspiracy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fws0f9s4Bas
      .
      Of course, the other ethical consideration is the cows themselves. The mothers literally cry (with verbal wailing and sometimes real tears) for days. It emotionally destroys them to have their babies taken from them. One mother once did a “Sophie’s Choice” She had had babies taken from her before. She was actually treated pretty well compared to others as she had a field in which to give birth. She brought the baby back to the barn just like the other mothers. The farmer took the baby away, but was not able to get enough milk from the cow. So, the farmer got an investigator. The investigator found that the cow had had twins and hid the other baby out in the field. The farmer took that baby away too. (I got this story from a book by Karen Pryor.)
      .
      Here’s another ethical issue: Eating dairy is generally ethically equivalent to eating veal. Impregnating all those cows every year means that there are a ton of unwanted babies who often end up getting sold for veal or killed within months. “Dairy is liquid meat” is true both ethically as well as the health front.
      .
      It would not take much research on the web to learn more about the horrors endured by cows in the dairy industry. Here’s a set of articles from PETA’s site: http://www.peta.org/?s=cows+milking to get you started. That type of education should give you plenty of motivation to make healthy choices when you go on your own and are able to make your own diet decisions.
      .
      Hope this helped. Good luck.




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    3. Dairy cows have been selectively breed to produce more milk for sure, and if during their milking phase the farmer suddenly stopped milking them, then there would be a problem; even if her baby was given back to her. But no issues would occur if she was able to feed her baby as nature intended; about every 30mins afaik.

      This might help enlighten you https://youtu.be/UcN7SGGoCNI




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  14. I’ve been following a plant based diet since coming across Dr Greger and have experiences some improvements in digestion and weight loss. However I have been feeling very low, anxious and fatigue and most recent blood tests however have confirmed that I am suffering from autoimmune thyroidits and now I have been researching the best diet to reduce my antibodies and improve my symptoms. Everything points towards the AIP diet and the importance of consuming Fish and Meat Protein. I can not find any research on thyroid autoimmune disease on this website and was wondering whether you please could provide me with any knowledge or advice. Thank you so much!




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    1. The AIP diet looks horrible and dare I say worse than the Paleo diet. I don’t think you’ll find anyone here supporting such a diet wrt specifically the consumption of animal flesh. There’s some good information on here about Paleo diets and why they are a poor choice for optimum health.

      Obviously you are experiencing some health issues but it would seem disadvantageous to introduce foods that bring their own negative health consequences.

      Good luck




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  15. Hi. I would say without doubt that the low testosterone was linked more specifically to a likely scenario of pre-competition burnout, we see the same situation with endurance athletes. I have seen the exact opposite with elite Olympic weightlifters and throwers, large consumers of protein (though nowhere near that of top bodybuilders). This may be because their training load is far more accurately calculated and based in fact.




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    1. I was under the impression that low IGF levels in adults was desirable esp with regards to lower cancer risk. Do you have a link to a study showing this increased stroke level Brian?




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      1. Hi Scott. As a researcher, I’ve seen several such studies, this is just one, -https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24728374

        There are also studies (Boirie et al) that show high protein/high IGF-1 in later life may be a smart idea to avert sarcopenia, with evidence indicating the reverse whilst young. What I can say is that in my past capacity as National Coach to a national powerlifting team (15 years), I saw a lot of information. If you removed athletes with a history of steroid use (professionals, -untested), then there was absolutely no relationship between increased protein intake and decreased testosterone, -zero. This is an absolutely perfect demographic, a lot of information was recorded over extended periods of a lifters career, -I consulted to many. However, I would today absolutely concur that animal proteins have an adverse effect on human health in general.




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  16. I’m 4 months pregnant and I’ve been vegan/plant based for 5 yrs. My husband, has been vegan for the past 2 yrs. We care a lot about our bodies and what goes into them. He wonders though if I should try wild game like venison, during my pregancy (just to cover what he fears, I could be missing nutritionally)–like once a week. What are your thoughts to put my husband at ease? Thanks as always Dr. Gregar for all your hard work and devotion.




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    1. I just personally don’t know of any vegan pregant mothers and post pregnant mothers. It would be nice to not be the first in my circle of friends and family to do this just for support. I also fear if something wrong does occur, everyone who eats the western diet will blame it on the fact I am vegan.




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      1. Hi Merissa. Thanks for asking your question/sharing your concern. There is no reason that a properly planned vegan diet cannot meet your needs during pregnancy, comparable to that of a non-vegetarian pregnant person. The Vegetarian Resource Group has written an excellent summary on this topic that I encourage you to check out: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/veganpregnancy.php
        I understand why people might think that including meat is a good idea since pregnancy demands extra protein and iron, which meat is a good source of. However, as in the article above, the extra protein needed (estimated around 70 g/d although the exact number is derived based on this formula, 0.8 – 1.0 g/kg pre-pregnant body weight + 25 g protein in the 2nd and 3rd trimester) is not much more than what many non-pregnant vegans are already eating. Iron is tricky during pregnancy whether you’re a meat eater or not. I trust that you are on a prenatal vitamin? You likely already know the rich sources of protein and iron in a plant based diet but …. keep the legumes and organic soy foods like tofu, edamame in your daily diet and when you eat them, be sure to also include a food that is rich in Vit C (citrus fruit, kiwi, strawberries, peppers, broccoli etc) to maximize your absorption of iron. Hope this helps!




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    2. i am certainly happy that i gave into my meat cravings during my first pregnancy, and during my second eating eggs stopped me throwing up.




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  17. At 2:38, it is mentioned that maintaining a high-protein diet can chronically stimulate a person’s stress response. How can I have that diagnosed? Also, is it reversible? Thanks.




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    1. Dan,

      Great news…. the high level of the stress hormone (cortisol) will be correctable following both a diet and lifestyle change. In terms of lab testing one of the most accurate methods is the use of a timed 4 sample salivary approach. An example is the adrenal testing by ZRT labs. https://store.zrtlab.com/index.php/adrenal-hormones can give you the specific information. As a note this test can be done without your physician however for treatment , should any be needed you should consult your doc. Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger




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      1. Thank you very much for the reply, I’ll be looking into those testing kits.

        Can you expand a bit on what dietary and lifestyle changes can reverse chronic stress, or point me to where I could learn more about this?




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  18. I was wondering whether cricket protein is the same as animal protein, is it as unhealthy or is it beneficial? People claim that it is naturally high in aminos, b12 and iron.

    The general question would be is eating crickets and other bugs that are sold as edable healthy




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  19. My Close Friend is intolerant to Dairy Products milk, Eggs, Chicken, Cheese now for nearly 25 years. He is not suffering from Gluten Sensitivity as her Serm Antigen IgA coeliac antibody Test for Gluten. He is avoiding. these foods. Is there any Spice one can add to Diary products which can ease Transient of these foods through once Elementary Canal to without Causing Dyspepsia. He tried Bitter Ginger which was a bit effective.




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  20. Hello,
    I have a debate about raw meat consumption – is a human able or unable to consume raw meat.
    I would appreciate a link to a medical or otherwise scientific research that proof we are unable…
    Thank you very much,
    Tal




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  21. Hello,
    I have a debate about raw meat consumption – is a human able or unable to consume raw meat.
    I would appreciate a link (or an email with a pdf) to a medical or otherwise scientific research that proof we are unable…
    Thank you very much,
    Tal




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    1. Hi Tal, I am one of the site’s moderators. Humans can, of course consume raw meat and there are some people in the raw food movement that will only consume raw animal flesh. The primary question is whether it is safe. The most compelling reason to cook animal products is because the animals that provide these foods often harbor dangerous bacteria and viruses that can be transmitted to humans. This is why when you see meat cooking temperatures the temps correspond to the degree at which most of the pathogens one might find in that particular meat would be killed off to the point that it couldn’t reproduce in a human. Although the government does do inspections of processing plants they can only check a small percentage of operations each years. This is one of the reasons why there are outbreaks of e. coli, salmonella, listeria and many other food born pathogens every year. The other problems with animal proteins that you have learned on this site still apply since whether meat is cooked or not it still contains the same amount of saturated fats. There are not the carcinogens that are associated with the high heats of cooking so that is a benefit of raw but it seems to me to be greatly outweighed by the other problems previously delineated.




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      1. Hello Anne,

        I am fully aware of the problems with meat (of any kind), i am a vegan myself.
        I just need a scientific article of sort, that proves that our digestive system, does not fit for eating raw meat, after all, if it was, we would not have been affected by the different pathogens, just like real carnivores are not affected by them, as their digestive system is shorter, more acidic and faster than ours…
        Thank you for your help, please let me know or share a link to such study or article (must be valid science source).




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  22. I have a question that I can’t find reference to anywhere on your website. Perhaps you could dedicate a video to the topic?
    My (step)father (who eats a standard American diet)…lots of cheese, fats in cookies etc. recently underwent triple bypass surgery and replacement of one heart valve.
    Upon discharge, the nutritionist recommended he be eating animal proteins with the handwritten note added that ‘plant proteins do not have the required micronutrients for wound and bone healing’. (I am a healthy vegan for 4 years now and the only thing that I know of that plants don’t have are B12, when bought from te store washed etc. I know that B12 is a soil bacteria and essential for us). This is counterintuitive to all that I have read and seen about vegan nutrition. Can you please point me to a source of info or study that I can show him and his daughters. His current diet of meat , eggs and dairy have landed him where he is today and he also has prostate cancer to boot. ( I am aware of the connection between eggs, heart disease (high cholesterol ) and prostate cancer as well). Thank you.




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    1. Karin Nelson: That is a really crazy statement for a professional to write. If nothing else, some big red flags are raised when she/he writes “plant proteins” and a concern for micronutrients in the same sentence. Protein is a macronutrient. Plant foods contain protein, but “plant proteins” are proteins – a *macro*nutrient. And as for the rest of your post, you are right on. As a group, plant foods contain waaaaay more micronutrients than animal foods. Where’s the nutritionist’s science backing up her statement?

      I realize that what you need to help your step father is some science to back up your claims. I have forwarded your post/question to our volunteer medical moderators. We do not have enough volunteers to answer every question, but at least your question is in the pile.

      I did find one video on recovery from surgery. It’s not full answer you need, but I thought you might be interested: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/speeding-recovery-from-surgery-with-turmeric/

      Good luck!




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  23. I read an article today, which said:

    “I think purchasing superfoods is a wise investment into our health. When we place importance on consuming superfoods, naturally nutrient dense and full of health-boosting phytochemicals, we are really investing well into our health and prevention of diseases! If I could pick one in particular, I’d have to say collagen powder.”

    Now I’ve read a lot about the benefits of collagen protein powder and I wonder if there are any differences to whey protein or other animal protein powders? Is it really recommendable?




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  24. Luki89-I’m glad you didn’t just accept those wild claims on the benefits of collagen protein powder and are wisely asking questions before investing in a very successfully marketed product which may not have benefits for you. The effectiveness of collagen supplements has been reviewed and there is not strong evidence for use.
    A review of MedLinePlus data base unearthed articles reviewing safety of collagen supplements (as used to treat osteoarthritis- NOt for general public!) and the evidence concluded:Per this review: Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2012 Aug;20(8):809-21. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2012.04.008. Epub 2012 Apr 17″ There is insufficient evidence to recommend the generalized use of CHs in daily practice for the treatment of patients with OA. More independent high-quality studies are needed to confirm the therapeutic effects of collagen derivatives on OA complaints.”

    Because there is concern about the safety of gelatin, I’d question why you’re considering taking any extra animal protein. Check out this NutritionFacts.org video that may help put things in perspective:http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-great-protein-fiasco/
    I hope that’s helpful.




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    1. I feel using Great Lakes collagen made me have symptomatic fibroids. Even if they were there before they were small and of no consequence until I used protein powders.




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  25. I have a question about pregnancy and vegan lifestyle. I used to juice -carrot juice in particular -but was told that it contains too much vitamin A which is connected with fetal defects? I also put a bit of oil in the juice to release the vitamins and that apparently makes it even worse. I had a late loss recently and want to try eating vegan during this pregnancy. Any replies are appreaciated.




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    1. Sorry to hear about your pregnancy loss. I’m not sure where you “learned” about carrots causing fetal defects. I have never heard/read of such a thing. Maybe this is a possibility if taking Vitamin A supplements, but not when eating carrots in their whole form? (Personally, I ate plenty of carrots and hummus while pregnant, maintained a WFPB vegan diet while pregnant, and everything turned out fine.)

      Pat on the back for doing a vegan diet during this pregnancy. The video on this page gives good reasons to do so. NutritionFacts has 79 videos related to pregnancy: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/pregnancy/ Enjoy in good health and I hope this pregnancy goes well for you.




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  26. i have a question that is linked to increased male testestorne – has there been any research on male infertility linked to a diet with fish, eggs, dairy, sugar etc? Or more specifically has there been any research on male infertility showing that a plant based diet can reverse male infertility?




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  27. Hello, I have a question regarding the Whole Foods vegan way of eating. I’ve been doing this for a bit and I LOVE eating this way. I feel better, hunk better, I’m losing weight easily. That said, I’ve had weight loss surgery (vertical sleeve) and I’m concerned about getting the right nutrients on a daily basis. I find it hard to get the things in a day that are on the daily 12. Ive been told that he rightnway to go is a high protein meat diet but I don’t want to do that at all. What do you suggest? Maybe get what I can one day, and make up what I did,t get in the next day and so on?




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  28. Hi Amy, I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks so much for your question!

    Most individuals that undergo this procedure are recommended to take a vitamin and mineral supplement for the remainder of your life. This is not only because of the smaller food intake, but also because of decreased nutrient absorption. The use of a supplement should be discussed with your physician or a dietitian. However, if you are concerned about nutrient intake from diet, make sure to eat the most nutrient dense foods available, including lots of green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, etc.), broccoli, beans, nuts, seeds, and a variety of fruits. These may be easier to consume in the form of smoothies to ensure adequate nutritional intake.

    If you are specifically worried about protein, daily consumption of beans and lentils, as well as grains nuts, and seeds, can help increase protein intake.

    Best of luck on your health journey!




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  29. Hello, I have a question about isolated plant protein in the form of powders. Are they healthy or rather harmful? I’m doing a lot of sports, especially weight lifting and eat approximately 1g of protein/body weight. Best regards




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    1. Hi, Dennis. We here at NutritionFacts find that the evidence supports a whole food, plant-based diet as healthiest, and adequate for athletes and bodybuilders. The more you exercise, the more calories you need, but you do not necessarily need a greater proportion of those calories to come from protein. If you follow the Daily Dozen https://nutritionfacts.org/app/themes/sage/dist/images/book/daily-dozen_6c40d3eb.jpg, and adjust the serving sizes to meet your caloric needs, you should get enough protein. Isolated plant protein powders are highly processed, and not whole plant foods. For that reason, I would not generally recommend them. There are many vegan bodybuilders who compete on whole food, plant-based diets. You might want to check these out, if they are not already familiar to you:
      http://www.veganbodybuilding.com/
      http://www.veganmuscleandfitness.com/
      https://www.torrewashington.com/
      I hope that helps!




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  30. I have a friend who is trying to transition to a plant based diet. She is in the first trimester of her third pregnancy and is experiencing meat cravings for the first time in awhile. She had similar cravings with her previous pregnancies and she’s wondering what she can eat that is plant based to satisfy the cravings and leave her feeling full. Although she’s focusing on PB and tofu, she ate yogurt in an attempt to feel full and it made her feel worse than before she ate it. Any suggestions?




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    1. What about wheat gluten based ‘veggie meat’…jack fruit made into veggie pulled ‘pork’? Both have textural properties of flesh meat and are filling.




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  31. This is clearly about the social divide, not the effects of meat vs plant based. If you can find women eating animal proteins once a day, then your talking about poverty vs affluence. There is a bigger statement about lifestyles that’s being missed. We see exactly the same with vitamin D intake between social divisions.




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  32. Great article! I’m also interested in articles about fertility on a vegan diet. Also, someone had mentioned the name of a doctor who has conducted many studies on nutrition and child development. I’ve seen his name mentioned on this website but can’t seem to find it now that I’m actively looking. Please pass along if you can. Thanks!




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  33. As one of the moderators on NutritionFacts.org, I wanted you to know fibroids have been mentioned in two videos by Dr. Greger: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/avoiding-other-banned-pesticides/ (mentioning how pollutants such as DDT and dieldren are linked with more fibrosis) and https://nutritionfacts.org/video/pollutants-in-californian-breast-tissue/ (mentioning how fibroids have been shown to contain pollutants). While treatment of fibroids has traditionally focused on surgery and medications, research is now focusing on nutrition. See Medical Treatment of Uterine Leiomyoma
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3343067/ (Scroll down to :”In the Pipeline” Use of vitamin D and green tea”) Also check out:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22071705/ Intake of fruit, vegetables, and carotenoids in relation to risk of uterine leiomyomata.and
    Epidemiology of Uterine Fibroids – From Menarche to Menopause https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4733579/ Check out “Dietary Factors” which references several studies that found “ higher intakes of fruits and vegetables was associated with a reduced risk of UL
    I hope this is helpful to you.




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  34. I have a question regarding T levels. I recently completed 100+ days of whole food, plant based diet and have been working hard to follow Dr g’s Daily Dozen guide. I recently had my blood drawn to compare results from months back. As expected my cholesterol was down to a healthy ratio (wasn’t high to begin with), blood pressure down, but my T levels and free testosterone levels dropped as well. My Dr. wonders if this is due to lower cholesterol levels. I also saw some of the comments regarding cortisol levels, and estrogen levels having a part in the equation.
    Is there something I am missing to help raise T levels or maintain healthy levels while eating vegan? More weight training?
    Thanks!




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    1. Thanks for your great question and congratulations on 100 days of eating healthy!
      What I would make sure you are doing first and foremost is getting enough calories. You may want to increase your caloric intake some. You may also want to increase your carbohydrate intake some. You could also try adding some healthy whole food plant sources of fat- nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocados, coconuts. Don’t add oils like olive oil or vegetable oils.

      Best of luck to you.
      NurseKelly
      NutritionFacts Moderator.




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  35. Hi there,

    I don’t know where to post this but what is the position Dr. Greger has on soy based formula during infancy? I have read some conflicting sides and would assume this is the same as you position on soy in general, that it is beneficial for health and growth. Thank you in advance.




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    1. Hi Nick, while there isn’t a specific video or post about soy based infant formula, but you are correct about soy in general! But I will pass this along so there will hopefully be more information on it in the future!




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