Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer with Diet: Part 1

Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer with Diet: Part 1
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Dr. Dean Ornish showed that a plant-based diet and lifestyle program could apparently reverse the progression of prostate cancer, but that was for early stage, localized, watch-and-wait cancer. What about for more advanced stage life-threatening disease?

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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.

Dr. Dean Ornish showed that a plant-based diet and lifestyle program could apparently reverse the progression of prostate cancer by making men’s bloodstreams nearly eight times better at suppressing cancer cell growth, But, this was for early-stage, localized, watch-and-wait prostate cancer. What about for more advanced stage life-threatening disease? There had been sporadic case reports in the literature suggestive of benefit. Man, for example, with extensive metastatic disease, given maybe three years to live, goes on a strict plant-based diet. Four years later, it appears the cancer has disappeared. Six years in, he gets a little cocky, and backslides a little bit on the diet. Cancer comes raging back, and he dies. But, that could have been a total coincidence. That’s the problem with case reports, which are kind of glorified anecdotes. You have no idea how representative the outcome is unless it’s formally studied. But throughout the 20th century, all we had were these kinds of case reports—until 2001.

So, we had all this “preliminary evidence,” based on all the case reports “that prostate cancer may be sensitive to diet even after [it metastasizes].” It may prolong survival, and even cause “remission of bone [metastases] in men with advanced disease.” So, researchers decided to put it to the test “in a 4-month [long] intervention.” They figured too much saturated fat, too little fiber, and too much meat may be the biggest players in “tumor promotion and progression.” So, they put people on a whole food plant-based diet of whole grains, beans, seeds, and fruit. Figuring this would be quite the “departure from their [regular] diet,” they included a stress-reduction component, in hopes of improving dietary compliance.

Okay. So, who were these ten men? They didn’t just have prostate cancer; they all had “underwent [a] radical prostatectomy” to remove their primary tumor, and then “subsequently had increasing PSA” levels, indicative of probable metastatic disease. PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen; it’s only made by prostate cells, and they just had their entire prostates removed. So, the level should be zero. The fact that they not only still had some PSA, but that it was rising, suggests that the surgery failed, and the cancer had spread and was making a comeback.

Here’s where they started out before the study began. This is a graph of the speed at which each of their PSAs was going up. So, if after four months of eating healthy, the graph looked like this, it would mean the diet had no effect. The cancer would presumably still be powering away, and spreading just as fast as before. Instead, this happened. In two men, it looks like the cancer accelerated—grew even faster. But in the other eight men, the intervention appeared to work, apparently slowing down cancer growth. And, in three, it didn’t just slow or stop, but appeared to reverse and shrink.

Why the different responses? Well, in the Ornish study, the more people complied with the diet and lifestyle recommendations, the better they did. Dietary changes only work if you actually do them. Just because you tell people to start eating a whole food plant-based diet doesn’t mean patients actually do it. One can use fiber intake as a proxy for dietary compliance, since all whole plant foods have fiber, and Ornish’s patients about doubled their fiber intake, from 31 to 59.

How did this group do? They started out even worse, averaging 14 grams a day, and only made it up to 19 grams a day. That’s not a whole food plant-based diet—that doesn’t even make it up to the recommended minimum daily intake. If you look closely, only four men increased their fiber intake at all. So, maybe that may explain the different responses. Like, how did patient 2 do? The man whose fiber improved the most had the best PSA result, and the man whose fiber intake dropped the most had the worst PSA result. Here’s the graph. And, indeed, it appears the more change they made to their diet, the better their results.

The researchers concluded that “a plant-based diet delivered in the context of [stress management]…may slow the rate of tumor progression,” and unlike other treatments, may give patients some control over their disease. And, as Ornish pointed out, “the only side effects are beneficial ones.”

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.

Dr. Dean Ornish showed that a plant-based diet and lifestyle program could apparently reverse the progression of prostate cancer by making men’s bloodstreams nearly eight times better at suppressing cancer cell growth, But, this was for early-stage, localized, watch-and-wait prostate cancer. What about for more advanced stage life-threatening disease? There had been sporadic case reports in the literature suggestive of benefit. Man, for example, with extensive metastatic disease, given maybe three years to live, goes on a strict plant-based diet. Four years later, it appears the cancer has disappeared. Six years in, he gets a little cocky, and backslides a little bit on the diet. Cancer comes raging back, and he dies. But, that could have been a total coincidence. That’s the problem with case reports, which are kind of glorified anecdotes. You have no idea how representative the outcome is unless it’s formally studied. But throughout the 20th century, all we had were these kinds of case reports—until 2001.

So, we had all this “preliminary evidence,” based on all the case reports “that prostate cancer may be sensitive to diet even after [it metastasizes].” It may prolong survival, and even cause “remission of bone [metastases] in men with advanced disease.” So, researchers decided to put it to the test “in a 4-month [long] intervention.” They figured too much saturated fat, too little fiber, and too much meat may be the biggest players in “tumor promotion and progression.” So, they put people on a whole food plant-based diet of whole grains, beans, seeds, and fruit. Figuring this would be quite the “departure from their [regular] diet,” they included a stress-reduction component, in hopes of improving dietary compliance.

Okay. So, who were these ten men? They didn’t just have prostate cancer; they all had “underwent [a] radical prostatectomy” to remove their primary tumor, and then “subsequently had increasing PSA” levels, indicative of probable metastatic disease. PSA stands for prostate-specific antigen; it’s only made by prostate cells, and they just had their entire prostates removed. So, the level should be zero. The fact that they not only still had some PSA, but that it was rising, suggests that the surgery failed, and the cancer had spread and was making a comeback.

Here’s where they started out before the study began. This is a graph of the speed at which each of their PSAs was going up. So, if after four months of eating healthy, the graph looked like this, it would mean the diet had no effect. The cancer would presumably still be powering away, and spreading just as fast as before. Instead, this happened. In two men, it looks like the cancer accelerated—grew even faster. But in the other eight men, the intervention appeared to work, apparently slowing down cancer growth. And, in three, it didn’t just slow or stop, but appeared to reverse and shrink.

Why the different responses? Well, in the Ornish study, the more people complied with the diet and lifestyle recommendations, the better they did. Dietary changes only work if you actually do them. Just because you tell people to start eating a whole food plant-based diet doesn’t mean patients actually do it. One can use fiber intake as a proxy for dietary compliance, since all whole plant foods have fiber, and Ornish’s patients about doubled their fiber intake, from 31 to 59.

How did this group do? They started out even worse, averaging 14 grams a day, and only made it up to 19 grams a day. That’s not a whole food plant-based diet—that doesn’t even make it up to the recommended minimum daily intake. If you look closely, only four men increased their fiber intake at all. So, maybe that may explain the different responses. Like, how did patient 2 do? The man whose fiber improved the most had the best PSA result, and the man whose fiber intake dropped the most had the worst PSA result. Here’s the graph. And, indeed, it appears the more change they made to their diet, the better their results.

The researchers concluded that “a plant-based diet delivered in the context of [stress management]…may slow the rate of tumor progression,” and unlike other treatments, may give patients some control over their disease. And, as Ornish pointed out, “the only side effects are beneficial ones.”

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

Wait, making men’s bloodstreams nearly eight times better at suppressing cancer cell growth? Check it out at How Not to Die from Cancer.

It’s not all-or-nothing, though. Any movement we make towards healthy eating may help. See Prostate Cancer Survival: The A/V Ratio.

What if you repeated this study in a new group of patients, but this time tried it for six months? Find out what happened when researchers attempted just that in my next video, Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer with Diet: Part 2.

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

82 responses to “Treating Advanced Prostate Cancer with Diet: Part 1

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  1. This was the last comment in the previous video so I thought I would just repost:
    Hello,
    It would be interesting to hear Dr. Greger’s view on this study that has just been published yesterday:
    Long-Term, Supplemental, One-Carbon Metabolism–Related Vitamin B Use in Relation to Lung Cancer Risk in the Vitamins and Lifestyle (VITAL) Cohort
    http://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/JCO.2017.72.7735
    The study reports that daily supplementation with Vitamin B12 ( > 55 ug/day) is correlated with increased lung cancer risk, particularly in men.
    It has not been adjusted to diet.. but still interesting (or worryingly considering the daily recommendations of 250 ug!).
    Thanks!




    9
    1. Well it was not associated with risk at all in women which sounds a trifle odd if there really is a causal relationship.

      Nor was there any relationship between B vitamin consumption from multivitamins and cancer risk. The only association was found with stand alone B vitamin supplements taken by male smokers.

      That seems a bit strange but even if there really is a causal relationship, the solution seems simple enough. Stop smoking if you do smoke and don’t start if you do not currently smoke.




      21
        1. Thanks Susan. Well spotted. I missed that.

          However, I’m personally still not inclined to do away with my B12 supplement. There are expected to be about twice as many new cases of Alzheimer’s in the US this year as new cases of lung cancer. 480,000 versus 222,500. Actually, there may well be even more Alzheimer’s cases since the 480,000 figure only refers to people aged 65 and older. So, from my point of view, the Alzheimer’s risk is greater than the lung cancer risk so its still worth the using the supplement. I am also still trying to think of a reason why no such increased risk was found in women. It suggests that there may be some other hidden variable at work here.

          https://www.alz.org/documents_custom/2017-facts-and-figures.pdf
          https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-small-cell-lung-cancer/about/key-statistics.html




          11
          1. TG, Susan, et. al., – I’d like to ad that the method used in this ‘research’ is of questionable value I think. What we see is that the researchers performed their information gathering of these cases for 2 years between years 2000 and 2002. But the time period for the consumption of the B-vitamins was for a ten year period. This means that their subjects were reporting their self-use for the time period of 10 years and calculations were extrapolated from that scenario. Just looking at that method allows one to see that there is lots of room for self-reporting error. Do you remember how much vitamin b you consumed 7 years ago?. . or can you just guesstimate that? From where I sit there is so much room for sloppy error in this “research” that I don’t feel it qualifies as research at all. It doesn’t even meet good standard for basic epidemiological baseline. I am not saying it isn’t a question worth looking at, but the foundational basis is lacking in my opinion.




            14
            1. Thank you TG and Rachel for your responses. I will continue taking the B12 of course, but by the same token, continue to look to whole foods for nutrition rather than supplements as I have been doing in general.




              7
            2. Rachel, perhaps worth pointing out that there over 20 scientific publications involving the VITAL cohort, most of them in good, reputable, journals. I am surprised that you felt you could judge it as “not qualifying as research” but if so, then at least the scientists using this cohort should be commended for fooling so many referees in so many studies :-)
              Jokes apart, it seems like they have addressed the validity of their data collection method in another publication:
              https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/157/10/944/290145/Reliability-and-Validity-of-Self-Report-of-Vitamin




              6
          2. I get tested every 6 mos because I eat a whole food plant-based (vegan) diet. I rarely pop a B12 because every time I am tested, I am way above the acceptable normal limit. I understand that humans are capable of making it themselves if they ingest enough bacteria. I’m thinking that maybe I’m not washing my veggies and fruit thoroughly but I can’t regret this side-effect.




            0
      1. Perhaps the reason why there is no correlation with multivitamins is that those usually provide a lower dose than standalone supplements? Multivitamins will usually provide 100-200% of the NRV, whereas individual supplements will often have doses of over 500%? The minimum daily dose of 250 ug suggested in this site for example is nearly 500%.

        When the hazard ratio is calculated based on the dose, their data actually suggests an increase in risk not only for men but also women, although much lower for the latter.




        5
        1. I wonder if there is a study looking at the transport of these supplements through the gut and then in the kidneys. Anecdotally, I notice a change in color in my urine when I take one of these B12 supplements. Some may be lost in the gut, and some in the kidneys? Effectively, that would require a super dose orally to get the small amount that is actually metabolized for controlling homocysteine levels? I apologize if these questions seem pedantic.




          1
  2. I love these videos yet I wish we had studies with a higher N value. I try to share these studies with public health professionals who will tell me that an n=10 or even n=180 is too small to recommend policy change. What are the plant based diet studies that have the highest N value? Do you think that an n=10 is enough to create a predictable result?




    6
    1. The way I look at these studies is this: When one asks the question: What is the best diet to prevent/cure this or that disease?, the answer always comes back the same: Eat a whole plant food diet with no added salt, oil, sugar. In other words, a diet that early humans evolved eating. So why wait for larger studies.

      Even if this is the correct answer though, I think that research still needs to proceed because different plant foods have different effects on different diseases … some foods fight cancer better than others, some fight heart disease better than others, etc. So research is needed to “tweak” a WPF diet, especially if one already has a particular disease or medical issue.

      Just my current view on nutrition :-)




      15
      1. WFPB-Hal . . . You have a scientists mind intuitively. Professional science works by conducting experiments, well-designed (a whole other topic), that contribute to the “greater preponderance of the evidence” that begins to lead in a direction that begins in hypothesis and moves towards theory. A theory is generally regarded as accepted information as a whole. A hypothesis is an idea or supposition that asks for further information to either support the hypothesis, disprove it, or change it. Science works by gathering information such that it begins to build concensus information that acts as a foundation from which to build and move on. When the ‘greater preponderance of the evidence’ points us in a direction we begin to see more reliable facts rise to the surface of a foundation that we can count on. So science moves slowly but deliberately and with great caution and discussion. So the idea that the n in these research topics is small is reflective – in my opinion – of the fewer number of people practicing WFPB eating. But as each piece of research gathers in number and begins to form more of a foundation, the n grows into numbers that become more reliable and have more weight. Definitive research on WFPB eating and its relation to health and disease is in process and marches along. So while numbers are still small, I predict we will begin to see larger numbers as people’s lives change for the better and word spreads – which it is already doing. And, as Tim Gamage said, . . when you are the n=1 and your health improves that is all the science you need. I, too, am an n=1 and have seen my health improve after going WFPB. I will continue to enjoy watching the science develop and prove what I already know to be true.




        14
        1. Rachel, That’s an excellent explanation/summary of the scientific method! I must add ,though, that you’re “preaching to the choir” so to speak. I’ve been doing mathematical and scientific research for over 40 years, albeit not in the field of nutrition! I guess that’s why I’m attracted to the NutritionFacts website and visit it daily. It’s one of the few nutrition websites where the scientific method reigns supreme.

          My philosophical view of science is that both the “reductionist ” approach and the “wholistic” approach are needed. Most current scientific thinking, especially, it seems in nutrition, is the reductionist approach. T. Colin Campbell is one of the few nutrition researchers who emphasize the wholistic approach. I think Dr Greger hits the happy medium :-) Stepping back and looking at human nutrition in the context of evolution and the biological and other sciences, it seems to me there is enough evidence already to recommend a WFPB diet for most people, hence my earlier statement. I find it fascinating that we humans are such creatures of habit and advertising indoctrination. We all, myself included, seem to find it difficult to give up those tasty foods even though we know they’re bad for us!

          And, yes, I look forward to the time when more people adopt the WFPB way of eating so it will be easy to find large sample sizes for research :-)




          11
          1. I am not sure that most current scientific thinking in nutrition is reductionist. The latest US dietary guidelies explicitly emphasise the importance of dietary patterns in contrast to the previous focus on individual nutients, for example. Here in Australia, Professor Le Couteur and his colleagues have produced a numberof interesting pspers on what they call nutritional geometry.




            0
    2. You could refer them to the second expert report of the World Cancer Research Fund which concluded, after reviewing all the evidence, that we should eat mainly foods of mainly plant origin to prevent cancer. And that these should be mainly unprocessed grains and pulses, fruits and vegetables with high fibre contents. That sounds like another way of saying a whole food, plnt based diet to me. See recommendation 4 (page 11) in this summary
      http://www.wcrf.org/sites/default/files/english.pdf




      19
    1. Ideally, one would get their nutritional requirements met by their diet as opposed to supplementation. Many use this to argue that meat consumption is better than a plant based diet because B12 is required and the most reliable source of B12 is meat. The problem with this argument is that the livestock industry is the largest users of B12 supplementation in the world because the heavy antibiotics usage destroys the B12 making microbes so by eating meat, you are in effect still talking B12 supplements, just once removed. Best to eliminate the middle animal, and take the supplements directly along with a healthier whole foods plant based diet…

      “Heavy antibiotic use kills B12 producing bacteria in the guts of farm animals. In order to maintain meat a source of B12 the meat industry now adds it to animal feed, 90% of B12 supplements produced in the world are fed to livestock.” http://baltimorepostexaminer.com/carnivores-need-vitamin-b12-supplements/2013/10/30




      17
    2. Heather – if you’ve got a minute, take a look at my post above. This article from USA is a good example of how someone who does not know what to look for when reading a piece of research can skew the message. There are numerous problems with the research in and of itself. But if you read the article you linked to from USA, you will see that the article states that the individuals were followed for ten years. If you read the research, you will see that this was not, in fact, the case. The individuals were NOT followed for ten years. The researchers only performed the information-gathering process for 2 years. The individuals reported their use of b vitamins for ten years. As we all know, self-reporting is more often than not far different from the actuality of the fact. Can you tell someone how much cough syrup (for example) you might have taken over a ten year period? I know I can’t. So lots of extrapolation was done in this research and the writer of the article did not know how to tease that information out or did not know how to look for it. This is why the media – who are not typically scientists – can do a disservice to its readers and worry people unnecessarily. This also why this site is such an excellent reference site. The operators of this site are scientists or have scientific background and know and understand how to interpret this type of ‘research’. Thanks for your post –




      6
      1. Rachel, these reporters of scientific research are the interpreters of scientific jargon into average Joe-lene speak.

        Thanks to them (and other purveyors of the meaning of the data like Dr Greger) I can understand and learn that naringin taken or eaten with regularity can work to remove a-beta and tau from my brain at night, especially if I sleep on my side.

        Had I been forced to wait until x amount of study data had been performed and peer reviewed before the medical establishment police allowed it to be published in plain language, I would likely be too dumb to learn what may save me from Alois’s dreaded disease.

        From my POV, the “do no harm” should be changed to “If you are dying, let’s try something.”




        1
          1. Hi Willis,

            The body posture research is found here.

            The Japanese research on GuBuiSu is found here

            Naringenin is the main ingredient in GuSuiBu, so the researchers substituted straight Nanringen in their process and it worked just as well as the GSB.

            Wikipedia lists this (copied and pasted) group of sources… Naringenin and its glycoside has been found in a variety of herbs and fruits, including grapefruit,[13] bergamot,[14] sour orange,[15] tart cherries,[16] tomatoes,[17][18] cocoa,[19] Greek oregano,[20] water mint,[21] drynaria[22] as well as in beans.[23] Ratios of naringenin to naringin vary among sources,[17] as do enantiomeric ratios.[7]

            I found it interesting that at the end of their paper the researchers seemed more excited about their newly developed research method than their potentially ground-breaking understanding of how to prevent or even ameliorate the disease with a simple easy to obtain source.




            2
            1. Thanks much. I will follow up my research in-depth. I had already done some digging, just not enough Re Willis willl.61107 at comcast dot net




              1
            2. Line 3… Nanringen should have been Naringenin.

              But while I’m here, I have bought Naringin capsules to take at night, which I understand are metabolized into Naringenin in the liver.

              I also take liquid grapefruit seed extract by adding a dropper into my tea, grapefruit seed capsules in the morning, and grapefruit seed extract nasal spray before I go to bed or if I get a stuffy nose, which I seldom do.

              To be clear, I’m not sure the grapeseed products contain Naringen or Naringenin, but seems to follow it would. But even if not, it’s a good supplement I think, unless it interferes with the metabolism of any drugs one is taking.




              1
  3. This is my father’s story in a nutshell. He had been through the surgical, chemo, radiation cycle, and there wasn’t anything left to try. His PSA levels still rising. He had been flirting with vegetarianism on and off, but after going completely plant based, his PSA levels plateaued, and began to retreat.

    Prior to going completely going plant based he was taking some rather strong pharmaceuticals for pain management, but he was able to replace these with curcumin and pipeline supplements and by liberally incorporating turmeric and black pepper into his diet. He tells me that he is feeling good and pain free.




    27
  4. yr mth psa
    12 08 4.96
    13 08 5.16
    15 08 5.51
    16 04 6.10
    16 06 Whole plant food intervention
    16 09 5.72
    17 02 5.00
    17 08 4.70

    SAFE – not one inch less




    26
  5. In 2009 I was 68 years old, PSA 10.5, PCa3 55, prostate size 120 cc, biopsy confirmed, MRI confirmed, sonogram confirmed with a 7 mm tumor in the right apex of my prostate. Started the Active Surveillance program at University of California San Francisco and the Ornish program. In 2015 the tumor was 1 mm. In 2006 it could not be found. My PSA is still 3 so I do have cancer cells. I discovered the Ornish program watching a Greger DVD the week I received my biopsy results. Thank you doctors Ornish and Greger, and also doctors Shinohara and Carroll who look after me and were part of the original Ornish study.




    40
      1. Mary Selzer: Here is information I often share with people when they ask about egg whites.

        There are two problems with eggs, the yolk and the white. (To paraphrase Dr. Barnard.) Egg whites are likely a big problem health-wise, just like the yolks. It is true that egg whites do not have cholesterol. But egg whites are essentially all animal protein. Here’s what we know about animal protein in general and egg whites in particular:
        .
        Dr. Barnard links potential kidney problems to animal protein (though I don’t have the details on that). And Dr. Greger talks about the problems of animal protein in general in his annual summary video, “Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet” http://nutritionfacts.org/video/food-as-medicine
        .
        Here on NutritionFacts, you can get a great education on how animal protein is linked to the body’s over-production of a growth hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 helps cancer to grow. To watch the series about IGF-1, click on the link below and then keep clicking the “next video” link on the button to the right until you get through the bodybuilding video. Then you will have seen the entire series.
        http://nutritionfacts.org/video/igf-1-as-one-stop-cancer-shop/
        .
        Here’s another great tidbit from NutritionFacts on another mechanism linking egg whites to cancer as well as increased virus infections: “why would animal protein and fat increase cancer risk? Well, as I noted in Bowel Wars, if you eat egg whites, for example, between 5 and 35% of the protein isn’t digested, isn’t absorbed, and ends up in the colon, where it undergoes a process called putrefaction. When animal protein putrefies in the gut, it can lead to the production of the rotten egg gas, hydrogen sulfide, which, over and above its objectionable odor, can produce changes that increase cancer risk. Putrefying protein also produces ammonia.”
        To learn more details about the process, check out:
        http://nutritionfacts.org/video/putrefying-protein-and-toxifying-enzymes/
        .
        Darryl at one point reminded me of the methionine issue. Egg whites have *the* highest concentration of methionine of any food:
        http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000084000000000000000.html?categories=1,18,9,0,13,14,5,4,42,16,17,15,6,3,2,11,7,19,21,12,10,8,22
        Dr. Greger did a nice video showing the link between methionine and cancer.
        http://nutritionfacts.org/video/starving-cancer-with-methionine-restriction/
        .
        Darryl also pointed out that, “…high methionine diets increase coronary risk in humans. In its associations with cardiovascular disease and other disorders, homocysteine may be functioning partly as a marker for the major culprit, excess methionine.”
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0939475305001092
        .
        Dr. Greger recently posted some videos on how animal protein can raise insulin levels. The first of the following videos even specifically addresses egg whites.
        http://nutritionfacts.org/video/paleo-diets-may-negate-benefits-of-exercise/#comment-1978464793
        http://nutritionfacts.org/video/if-white-rice-is-linked-to-diabetes-what-about-china/
        .
        In summary: there are at least three pathways potentially linking animal proteins, especially egg whites, to cancer: the IGF-1, methionine, and putrefaction. And there is some good evidence that egg white consumption contributes to heart disease and potential problems with T2 diabetes by raising insulin levels in a bad way. All of these reductionist-type studies lend support the bigger general population studies showing that the healthiest populations on earth are those which eat the least amount of animal protein.
        .
        With all of the information we have about the harmful effects of animal protein in general and egg white in particular, I think it’s best to stay away from egg white. Why not get your protein from safe sources? IE: Sources which are known to have lots of positive health effects and will naturally give you a balanced amount of protein? (ie: whole plant foods) Make sense?




        8
  6. It is difficult for me to understand why people struggle so hard with giving up animal products and sugar / processed food. No will power evidently, even when the outcome is literally life or death.

    “Let food be thy medicine.” We should eat to live, not live to eat.




    20
    1. I don’t think it’s a matter of will power in most cases. I think it’s a matter of conviction. Most people are not watching Dr Greger’s videos and reading about plant-based nutrition, and there’s a lot of conflicting information out there. It’s not like Dr Greger is the only MD or PhD on the Internet (or book author) with dietary advice. It’s easy to become frustrated and just go with what the urologist or oncologist says, and those doctors are unlikely to recommend WFPB diet, for reasons discussed by Dr Greger in another video. The result is that many people simply don’t believe that such a radical dietary change can really help them. There’s just too much noise.

      I think Dr Greger has made an important contribution by making all these short videos, because the chances of getting someone to watch 5 minutes or so of this kind of content is better than getting them to read a book or a long technical article.




      15
        1. Hi Mary Selzer!
          I’ve been mostly WFPB since March 2017, and before that I thought I was on a pretty healthy diet…and for me the hardest thing to give up mentally was eggs. I want to pose to you that you will miss out on one of the most important aspects of a whole food plant based diet: BEANS (chickpeas, lentils, etc). Switching to beans is one of the best things you can do for yourself: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/increased-lifespan-from-beans/ ; https://nutritionfacts.org/video/beans-and-the-second-meal-effect/
          If you are taking some of the first steps to healthier eating, not allowing eggs in your diet will also cut out many processed foods and baked goods. Dr. Gregor has MANY videos on why we shouldn’t eat eggs, if it were me and I allowed myself egg whites, I think this would 1) reduce my consumption of beans, by offering a high protein/low fiber, dense food, 2) provide a slippery slope in which I would allow myself one pastry a week…a day…every hour? Lol-I had a big sweet tooth back in March but food doesn’t control me anymore. Good luck on finding your answers!




          3
    2. Well Rick, it’s like anything else, rice/rice products, nuts and seeds, avocado, oils, coconut products, whatever it may be. People have their own reasons for insisting on including foods that may well have a detrimental effect . It may be deeply ingrained cultural influence or simply beloved family tradition, or merely a matter of misinformation. Thing is that we have a resource like NF that helps us make better decisions wherever we may be along the path.




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      1. Nuts, seeds, avocado, phytolipids, coconut etc do not have “detrimental effects” though.

        Sometimes the deeply ingrained cultural influence is to accept as ultimate truth the first thing one hears about a given topic.

        Education is a process by which we come to realize how little we know. The majority of posters on the topic of plant fats appear to begin with a conclusion, then work backwards to “prove” it.




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        1. For those following Drs Esselstyn and Ornish high fat plant foods are seen as deteimental, and certaily oils and coconut products with saturated fats. This forum has yet to see you post any evidence to the contrary Rick.. who’s stubborn ? I will gladly pass up the oils – my life IS on the line.




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    3. I tend to agree with your concern. I too have found that some people, especially friends and family, have little interest in changing lifestyle, Both my brothers have had heart surgeries already (one was only in his 50s). I’ve tried to share the wisdom of WFPB diets with them, but neither shows any interest in changing the protocol – a mystery to me.

      As a teenager I used to drool whenever I looked at Hostess cherry pies. These days the sight of them just makes my teeth itch.




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      1. dr cobalt. That’s my experience exactly. I’m 3 years into WFPB, made great improvements to my own health and have influenced many to try. I guess you can say I’m a big advocate. Several success stories among the converts with diseases such as prostate, MS, IBS, cholesterol, weight, diabetes, etc. Though my immediate family is 100% WFPB, my toughest customers are many in our extended family who could benefit enormously. They are normally very intelligent, but the culture/ lifestyle issue seems to be the biggest hurdle to convincing people to give it a try. Very frustrating.




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    4. @Rick You have to remember that other people have different perspectives and there is a LOT of misinformation out there. I don’t know many people that truly understand the impact diet has on health other than weight. I also know that many physicians, media outlets, and organizations such as the American Heart Association and American Diabetics Association all include meat as part of a healthy diet.

      With that much weight behind the wrong message it’s no wonder so many people are eating themselves into an early grave. Another thought is that will power isn’t going to help people very much when sugar is more rewarding than cocaine ( http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0000698 ). Food companies deliberately make their foods as addictive as possible. It’s not an easy detox or switch to healthy foods…

      I think our best course of action is to live long healthy lives and be great examples of the power of a healthy whole foods plant based diet. We can’t force people to eat well.




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  7. Fantastic reporting Dr. Greger…I love being convinced with all your compiled data, presented in a quick…one, two punch style video…that if we want to be healthy, we just have to eat a plant based diet….amazing to know how much we each control our own health…you are helping us more than we can ever thank you….before I found you, I had a gp, a cardiologist, a rt, a gs in my life every month, with their collective meds…I now have only my gp, who, in the beginning, didn’t think this would be sustainable with my collective conditions….lol…I finally got it, once I started watching all Dr. Greger’s videos, along with others…now…I only need a tylenol once in a blue moon…yeeehaaa!




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  8. wow. This is really encouraging. And the analysis of fiber in the diet to tease out the further linkage to diet is very impressive. Strong strong work! Wow Wow Wow.




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  9. Appreciate the studies re Prostrate cancer and PSA. But I can’t tell if the benefit comes from just fiber (as available from many refined sources) or from some other aspect of a plant-only diet. The graph uses only fiber to measure benefits. Is absence of saturated fat equally or more important, etc. ?




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    1. I don’t think we are yet in a position to know whether it is the fiber, some set of phytonutrients, or the absence of some particular component of animal foods, or a combination of the above, that is doing the work. For example, there’s some evidence that dietary choline can contribute to prostate cancer. Plant foods are not devoid of choline but the main dietary sources are eggs and meats. So switching to WFPB in itself drastically cuts choline intake, and that’s just one factor possibly associated with prostate cancer.




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      1. So, just curious. If men are eating the meat and eggs how come it has not been preventative? Shouldn’t they be experiencing less prostate cancer based on their choline intake?




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        1. Hi Bobbi. Based on the evidence, again WFPB diet with the typical high fiber consumption when following this way of eating can be effective in halting the progression of disease. Prevention is much more likely when following a diet high in protective plant phytochemicals.




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          1. I had severe urinary problems for many years until I stopped ice cream, a favorite, and other dairy products all high fat content. Once I stopped, I was able to sleep the entire night without getting up and my flow strengthen to about half of normal. Fat seems to be a major problem for my prostate.




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    2. Hi, Willis. As Dr. Greger explained in the video, fiber may be used as a proxy to measure actual intake of whole plant foods, since all whole plant foods have fiber. This does not necessarily mean that the fiber is responsible for all of the benefits. We know that fiber from whole plant foods has many benefits, but whole plant foods are complex, and have many constituents that often work together synergistically in the body, so that the effects of the whole are greater than the effects of the sum of its parts. Whole plant foods tend to be rich in antioxidants, which have been demonstrated to have anticancer properties. The absence of animal proteins and fats may also play a role here. I don’t know that it is possible, or even desirable to isolate “the one thing” in a whole food, plant-based diet that is beneficial, because I don’t know that such a thing exists. It is most likely a combination of factors acting together. I hope that helps!




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  10. I repost comments and my own observations and thoughts, experiences with whole food plant based diet in my life on Facebook.
    I find that men usually do not pay much attention. Women seem to follow it more often and are more logical than men on this subject, in this limited experience, it obviously could be wrong. FWIW, the ratio is about 3:1 or higher liking my posts.




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  11. I am trying to implement this for a loved one with Prostate Cancer. Any suggestions for how to follow closely ? Is following the Ornish diet good enough ? Should we work on the McDougall diet ? Thanks for any advice. I love Dr Greger’s video’s.




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    1. Since Dr Greger references Ornish’s work specifically, I would think Dr Ornish would be the one to look to for dietary guidance re: prostate cancer.




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  12. I am working respectfully and gently to assist my dear brothers to get preventative about prostate cancer by hinting at more fibre, fruits and veggies their diet. They struggle with the rationale but in the end they are trying to do a little bit at time. One other brother just had a bypass so he is listening much more.

    Ultimately, in Primary Care nursing, I was taught that everyone is the expert of their own health wellness and we can only offer information if and when they show any interest, and live it ourselves. I keep having to remind myself of that so that I don’t lose them in MY enthusiasm. ha ha

    A proud monthly supporter of Nutritionfacts.org




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  13. Love that Bhudda bowl picture, so wanted to eat that! Strange that once I started going WFPB, my eyes light up at the sight of colourful fruits and veggies and pass over beige coloured meals.

    Keep up the enticing images, Dr. Greger. Maybe one day this site could have a recipe exchange area for fun and community development?




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    1. Me too! I can feel the cells of my body give a big thumbs up when my eyes take in an image like this beautiful plate of food.




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      1. Wow, I thought it was just me! Can you imagine that our bodies may have a program to response strongly to the best foods for us in a whole body way that mine did not even to my old favorites. We are such unique and miraculous beings. Thanks for your feedback.




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      1. It would be so cool because I think we could have so much fun making recipes that optimize the some the strongest antioxidant foods Dr. Greger talks about, i.e. I am thinking of a dahl with tomatoes, alma and of course, turmeric. Yum and so healthy. I could eat that everyday. And we could encourage each other as community of kindred spirits.




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  14. I was researching diet alternatives for my daughter who has acne problems over the last 3 years, despite eating a healthy WFPB diet with B-12 supplementation. She has the acne under control after reducing fats and refined carbs and eliminating any form of sweeteners.

    During the review process, I came across a recommendation here: that indicated in “Footnote B” of the recommended dose table, “Large doses of B12 can trigger acne-like symptoms in a small percentage of people.” I then researched this further in Pubmed and found the studies linking acne in “rare” cases to B-12 supplementation. These studies were more of a survey nature and I haven’t seen any comments on this site from Dr. Greger suggesting this is a problem with large doses of B-12. I may have missed it.

    After reviewing the comments here related to the possible increase in lung cancer from B-12 supplementation in the recent UK study, it occurred to me that the research suggests acne sufferers are also at increased risk of various cancers. Further, acne can have connections to immune system issues caused by diet, among other factors. Diet is the key to controlling the disease without drugs, which we wanted to avoid. Since increased risk of acne and lung cancer with supplementation are separately alleged in different studies, I was wonder if excessive doses could somehow cause immune system malfunctions that trigger the acne and cancer in some people? I know this is a shot in the dark, but the acne and lung cancer connections to B-12 supplementation only recently came to light, for me anyway.

    I seriously doubt there is a definitive answer to this question, but I would like to see any comments from Dr. Greger or others on the possible connections since these studies on acne and cancer seem to have a possible common immunological connection with excessive B-12 supplementation.




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    1. I mentioned this in the comments of another (blog) discussion but I’ll repost here since I think it may be important.

      I’m particularly interested in getting B-12 as a shot. I suppose one could include folate in the shot and perhaps even B-6, but my experience has been with B-12.

      And that experience has been that I have a brother who has taken B-12 over the years in a shot and he would get a boost in energy (not excessive, just a noticeable boost) that would last a period of time… like a month or more, and he would get another shot when he felt he needed a boost. I don’t think he still does as the Vet he would get the B-12 from has long since died so I guess he just got out of the habit.

      Also, as he would race horses on Brush Tracks (where a race track would be fashioned out of pasture land) his trainer would give his horse a shot of B-12 and adrenaline before a race to get the most “run” out of the horse.

      I’m bringing this up because it would appear getting B-12 in the muscle (or even in the mainline as in the case of the racehorses… a major blood vessel) may not be as much of a concern in negative outcomes.

      If this be the case, then one would have to look at the digestive tract as being the reason for any bad outcome from taking B-12?




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      1. the reasons that B12 works for racehorse is it stimulates red blood cell production . if a horse works to hard RBC;s are destroyed and B12 will have a positive effect .mild exercise increases red blood cell production




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        1. Ignatius, thanks for that information.

          Starts me to thinking that indeed it would be beneficial to get a B-12 shot, especially if one has just given blood or otherwise lost a lot of blood.

          Years ago the practice of bleeding a sick patient was considered therapeutic. I’m thinking a healthy person could benefit from such a procedure, especially if they were given a shot of B-12 immediately after.

          Getting out a pint of the blood containing old stem cells and the proteins that enable them and replacing with new blood stem-cells from the bone marrow could instigate a whole body rejuvenation.

          One might have to do this type procedure on a monthly timetable to get really good results, but reconstituting ones organs just might make it worth the effort.




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  15. Thank you for giving us men with advanced prostate cancer hope, Dr. Greger! I was diagnosed with PC 6 years ago, had an RP, adjuvant radiation, and lymph radiation. I have been on a strict plant based diet for 7 years (I made the change to lower my cholesterol initially. I have recently had 2 MRI’s, countless ultrasounds, c-acetate PET scans all in the last 6 months. Although my PSA is not zero, they simply cannot find any cancer in my body……….yet. I know my WFPB diet is making a significant difference in my outcome and I am counting on it to keep me around for a very long time. I personally have never felt better.

    We need to get this information into the the hundreds of thousands of men and their families dealing with this dreaded diagnosis. I can tell you that we are still not making much of a dent into the prostate cancer industry. 95% of my medical team is still completely in the dark about this simple step men can take to improve their lives.

    Dr. Greger, I want to you to consider how we can create a much larger trail related to this subject. Let’s work with the Prostate Cancer Foundation to help fund it. I will personally dedicated as much time and effort needed to launch it.

    Here to help, Bruce Mylrea 59 years old.




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    1. Bruce, my first thoughts when reading your post was Wow! His plant based diet not only overcame his problem but all the extraneous non-treatment insults like the MRIs, the ultrasounds, and especially the PET scans… all within a 6 month period.

      I suppose the treatment centers needed the money those tests generate, and I guess knowing how you are progressing provides peace-of-mind if the results are favorable, but my fear would be that the powerful tests would put more stress on my system to overcome.

      But what do I know… I’ve never had a PET scan, MRI, or ultrasound.




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  16. I was diagnosed w PC nine years ago. I am now almost 79 y.o. My PSA has gone from 22 to 14 in the last few years mainly due to plant based diet w specific attention to foods tt fight cancer. I also have taken on occasion 1000 mg of Metformin twice a day, recently for a three month period.




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  17. Thanks for sharing this information. Dean Ornish and T. Colin Campbell are true pioneers when it comes to battling disease with diet. I am convinced that a plant based diet can make a big difference to those battling some many of the diseases that have become common in America.




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  18. The study cited in these two videos is for post RP subjects. I am pre-RP and wondering if the WFPB lifestyle will allow me to postpone my surgery. Are there any studies that support the slowing or reversing of PC in Pre-RP subjects.




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  19. Hello John,
    I’m a family doctor with a private practice in lifestyle medicine & also a volunteer moderator for this website. The quick answer to your question is YES, there are many such studies. (By the way, I’m assuming your abbreviation “RP” means radical prostatectomy). In fact, the first reference cited with this video is Dr. Ornish et al.’s 2005 study in J. Urology, which looks mainly at patients prior to prostatectomy, as I recall.

    If you type in “prostate cancer” in the Search box at the top of the NutritionFacts website, it brings up over 100 videos Dr. G. has done which address prostate cancer. Here is a link to the first one on the list: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-not-to-die-from-cancer/

    I hope this helps.
    Dr. Jon
    PhysicianAssistedWellness.com
    Volunteer moderator for NutritionFacts.org




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