Vegetarians and Stroke Risk Factors—Vegan Junk Food?

Vegetarians and Stroke Risk Factors—Vegan Junk Food?
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Just because you’re eating vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean you’re eating healthy.

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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.

Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, mortality, and dying from all causes put together. This study of a diverse sample of 12,000 Americans found that “progressively increasing the intake of plant foods by reducing the intake of animal foods may be associated with benefits on cardiovascular health and mortality…”, but when it comes to plant-based diets for cardiovascular disease prevention, all plant foods are not created equal. Were the vegetarians in the British study that found the higher stroke risk just eating a lot of vegan junk food?

Any diet devoid of certain animal food sources can be claimed to be a vegetarian or vegan diet; so, it’s important to see what they’re actually eating. One of the first things I look at when I’m trying to see how serious a population is about healthy eating is look at something undeniably, uncontroversially bad: soda, liquid candy. Anyone drinking straight sugar water obviously doesn’t have health, top of mind. In the big study of plant-based eaters in America, where people tend to cut down on meat for health reasons far more than ethics… flexitarians drink fewer sugary beverages than regular meat-eaters, as do pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans.

In the UK study, though, where the increased stroke risk was found, where folks are more likely to go veg or vegan for ethical reasons, the pescatarians are drinking less soda, but the vegetarians and vegans are drinking more. I’m not saying that’s why they had more strokes; it just might give us an idea of how healthy the people were eating. In the UK study, the vegetarian and vegan men and women were eating about the same amount of desserts, cookies and chocolate, and about the same total sugar. In the U.S. study, the average nonvegetarian is nearly obese, even the vegetarians are a little overweight, and the vegans were the only ideal weight group. In this analysis of the UK study, though, everyone was about the same weight—in fact the meat-eaters were skinnier than the vegans. The EPIC-oxford study seems to have attracted a particularly health conscious group of meat-eaters weighing substantially less than the general population.

Let’s look at some particular stroke-related nutrients. Dietary fiber appears beneficial for the prevention of cardiovascular disease including stroke, and it appears the more the better. Based on studies of nearly a half a million men and women there doesn’t seem to be any upper threshold of benefit; so, the more, the better. More than 25 grams of soluble fiber, 47 grams of insoluble dietary fiber and you can really start seeing a significant drop in associated stroke risk; so, one could consider these as the minimal recommendable daily intakes to prevent stroke at a population level. That’s what you see in people eating diets centered around minimally processed plant foods. Dean Ornish got up around there with his whole food plant-based diet. Maybe not as much as we were designed to eat, based on the analyses of fossilized feces, but that’s the kind of neighborhood where we might expect significantly lower stroke risk. How much were the UK vegetarians getting? 22.1. Now, in the UK they measure fiber a little differently; so, that may actually be closer to 30 grams, but not the optimal level for stroke prevention. So little fiber that the vegetarians and vegans only beat out the meat-eaters by about 1 or 2 bowel movements a week, suggesting they were eating lots of processed foods.

The vegetarians were only eating about a half serving more of fruits and vegetables, thought to reduce stroke risk in part because of their potassium content, yet the UK vegetarians at higher stroke risk were evidently eating so few greens and beans they couldn’t even match the meat-eaters, not even reaching the recommended minimum daily potassium intake of 4700 mg a day.

And what about sodium? The vast majority of the available evidence indicates that elevated salt intake is associated with higher stroke risk. There’s like a straight-line increase in the risk of dying from a stroke the more salt you eat. Even just lowering sodium intake by a tiny fraction every year could prevent tens of thousands of fatal strokes. Reducing sodium intake to prevent stroke: time for action, not hesitation, but the UK vegetarians and vegans appeared to be hesitating, as did the other dietary groups. All groups exceeded the advised less than 2400 mg daily sodium intake—and that doesn’t even account for salt added at the table, and the American Heart Association recommends under just 1500 a day; so, they were all eating lots of processed foods. So, no wonder the vegetarian blood pressures were only 1 or 2 points lower; high blood pressure is perhaps the single most important modifiable risk factor for stroke.

What evidence do I have that if the vegetarians and vegans ate better their stroke risk would go down? Well, in rural Africa where they were able to nail the fiber intake that our bodies were designed to get by eating so many whole healthy plant foods— fruits, vegetables, grains, greens and beans, their protein almost entirely from plant sources, not only was heart disease, our #1 killer, almost non-existent, so apparently, was stroke, surging up from out of nowhere with the introduction of salt and refined foods to their diet.

Stroke also appears to be virtually absent in Kitava, a quasi-vegan island culture near Australia whose diet was very low in salt and very rich in potassium, because it was a vegetable-based diet. They ate fish a few times a week, but the other 95% or so of their diet was lots of vegetables, fruits, corn and beans, and they had an apparent absence of stroke, even despite their ridiculous rates of smoking. After all, we evolved eating as little as like less than an 8th of a teaspoon a day of salt and our daily potassium consumption is thought to have been as high as like 10,000 mg. We went from an unsalted, whole-food diet to salty processed foods depleted of potassium whether we eat meat or not.

Caldwell Esselstyn at the Cleveland Clinic tried putting about 200 patients with established cardiovascular disease on a whole food plant-based diet. Of the 177 that stuck with the diet only one went on to have a stroke in the subsequent few years compared to a hundred-fold greater rate of adverse events—including multiple strokes and deaths in those that strayed from the diet. “This is not vegetarianism,” Esselstyn explains. Vegetarians can eat a lot of less-than-ideal foods. This new paradigm is exclusively whole food, plant-based nutrition.

Now this entire train of thought, that the reason typical vegetarians don’t have better stroke statistics is because they’re not eating particularly stellar diets, may explain why they don’t have significantly lower strokes rates, but that still doesn’t explain why they may have higher stroke rates. Even if they’re eating similarly crappy, salty, processed diets at least they’re not eating meat, which we know increases stroke risk; so, there must be something about vegetarian diets that so increases stroke risk that it offsets their inherent advantages? We’ll continue our hunt, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

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.

Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, mortality, and dying from all causes put together. This study of a diverse sample of 12,000 Americans found that “progressively increasing the intake of plant foods by reducing the intake of animal foods may be associated with benefits on cardiovascular health and mortality…”, but when it comes to plant-based diets for cardiovascular disease prevention, all plant foods are not created equal. Were the vegetarians in the British study that found the higher stroke risk just eating a lot of vegan junk food?

Any diet devoid of certain animal food sources can be claimed to be a vegetarian or vegan diet; so, it’s important to see what they’re actually eating. One of the first things I look at when I’m trying to see how serious a population is about healthy eating is look at something undeniably, uncontroversially bad: soda, liquid candy. Anyone drinking straight sugar water obviously doesn’t have health, top of mind. In the big study of plant-based eaters in America, where people tend to cut down on meat for health reasons far more than ethics… flexitarians drink fewer sugary beverages than regular meat-eaters, as do pescatarians, vegetarians, and vegans.

In the UK study, though, where the increased stroke risk was found, where folks are more likely to go veg or vegan for ethical reasons, the pescatarians are drinking less soda, but the vegetarians and vegans are drinking more. I’m not saying that’s why they had more strokes; it just might give us an idea of how healthy the people were eating. In the UK study, the vegetarian and vegan men and women were eating about the same amount of desserts, cookies and chocolate, and about the same total sugar. In the U.S. study, the average nonvegetarian is nearly obese, even the vegetarians are a little overweight, and the vegans were the only ideal weight group. In this analysis of the UK study, though, everyone was about the same weight—in fact the meat-eaters were skinnier than the vegans. The EPIC-oxford study seems to have attracted a particularly health conscious group of meat-eaters weighing substantially less than the general population.

Let’s look at some particular stroke-related nutrients. Dietary fiber appears beneficial for the prevention of cardiovascular disease including stroke, and it appears the more the better. Based on studies of nearly a half a million men and women there doesn’t seem to be any upper threshold of benefit; so, the more, the better. More than 25 grams of soluble fiber, 47 grams of insoluble dietary fiber and you can really start seeing a significant drop in associated stroke risk; so, one could consider these as the minimal recommendable daily intakes to prevent stroke at a population level. That’s what you see in people eating diets centered around minimally processed plant foods. Dean Ornish got up around there with his whole food plant-based diet. Maybe not as much as we were designed to eat, based on the analyses of fossilized feces, but that’s the kind of neighborhood where we might expect significantly lower stroke risk. How much were the UK vegetarians getting? 22.1. Now, in the UK they measure fiber a little differently; so, that may actually be closer to 30 grams, but not the optimal level for stroke prevention. So little fiber that the vegetarians and vegans only beat out the meat-eaters by about 1 or 2 bowel movements a week, suggesting they were eating lots of processed foods.

The vegetarians were only eating about a half serving more of fruits and vegetables, thought to reduce stroke risk in part because of their potassium content, yet the UK vegetarians at higher stroke risk were evidently eating so few greens and beans they couldn’t even match the meat-eaters, not even reaching the recommended minimum daily potassium intake of 4700 mg a day.

And what about sodium? The vast majority of the available evidence indicates that elevated salt intake is associated with higher stroke risk. There’s like a straight-line increase in the risk of dying from a stroke the more salt you eat. Even just lowering sodium intake by a tiny fraction every year could prevent tens of thousands of fatal strokes. Reducing sodium intake to prevent stroke: time for action, not hesitation, but the UK vegetarians and vegans appeared to be hesitating, as did the other dietary groups. All groups exceeded the advised less than 2400 mg daily sodium intake—and that doesn’t even account for salt added at the table, and the American Heart Association recommends under just 1500 a day; so, they were all eating lots of processed foods. So, no wonder the vegetarian blood pressures were only 1 or 2 points lower; high blood pressure is perhaps the single most important modifiable risk factor for stroke.

What evidence do I have that if the vegetarians and vegans ate better their stroke risk would go down? Well, in rural Africa where they were able to nail the fiber intake that our bodies were designed to get by eating so many whole healthy plant foods— fruits, vegetables, grains, greens and beans, their protein almost entirely from plant sources, not only was heart disease, our #1 killer, almost non-existent, so apparently, was stroke, surging up from out of nowhere with the introduction of salt and refined foods to their diet.

Stroke also appears to be virtually absent in Kitava, a quasi-vegan island culture near Australia whose diet was very low in salt and very rich in potassium, because it was a vegetable-based diet. They ate fish a few times a week, but the other 95% or so of their diet was lots of vegetables, fruits, corn and beans, and they had an apparent absence of stroke, even despite their ridiculous rates of smoking. After all, we evolved eating as little as like less than an 8th of a teaspoon a day of salt and our daily potassium consumption is thought to have been as high as like 10,000 mg. We went from an unsalted, whole-food diet to salty processed foods depleted of potassium whether we eat meat or not.

Caldwell Esselstyn at the Cleveland Clinic tried putting about 200 patients with established cardiovascular disease on a whole food plant-based diet. Of the 177 that stuck with the diet only one went on to have a stroke in the subsequent few years compared to a hundred-fold greater rate of adverse events—including multiple strokes and deaths in those that strayed from the diet. “This is not vegetarianism,” Esselstyn explains. Vegetarians can eat a lot of less-than-ideal foods. This new paradigm is exclusively whole food, plant-based nutrition.

Now this entire train of thought, that the reason typical vegetarians don’t have better stroke statistics is because they’re not eating particularly stellar diets, may explain why they don’t have significantly lower strokes rates, but that still doesn’t explain why they may have higher stroke rates. Even if they’re eating similarly crappy, salty, processed diets at least they’re not eating meat, which we know increases stroke risk; so, there must be something about vegetarian diets that so increases stroke risk that it offsets their inherent advantages? We’ll continue our hunt, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Video production by Glass Entertainment

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

From a medical standpoint, labels like vegan and vegetarian just tell me what you don’t eat. It’s like identifying yourself as a “No-Twinkie-atarian.” Uh, that’s great that you don’t eat Twinkies, but what’s the rest of your diet like?

OK, so what are the healthiest foods? Check out my daily dozen.

To catch up on the series so far, check out:

Stay tuned for:

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

139 responses to “Vegetarians and Stroke Risk Factors—Vegan Junk Food?

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    1. good call FF.

      What I’ve found is that _everyone_ thinks he/she is eating “better” than his neighbor or the average guy. Everyone likes to think -they- area “above average”.

      “Vegan” is a terribly troubling word for me because it can or can -not- be done healthily-as we here all well know.

      1. Wade TN,

        I like the way you phrased your observation, and I totally agree with it.

        I’ve met lots of people who tell me that they eat a “healthy diet,” or “lots of healthy food,” but when I ask them, what exactly do you eat? Can you give me an example of a typical day? They don’t answer.

        My answer is simple: I say that I eat whole plant foods, which means that I refrain from eating animal products, and that I avoid processed and prepared foods, as well as added oil, sugar, and salt.

        I often add that since not all plant foods are created equal, I try to follow the recommendations of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen (I tell them about the app), and generally what that means. It’s a simple, useful set of guidelines.

    2. While I agree with you that the adverb is healthily (or healthfully…plenty of references), I wouldn’t be surprised if the expression (or admonition) to “eat healthy” finds increasing acceptance. Of course we don’t say, “drive careful,” but we use the word “fair” (an adverb as well as an adjective), when we say, “play fair.” (Or, “he doesn’t play fair.”) “Eat healthily” feels awkward to me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it does to others.

      1. ‘Eating healthy’ sounds jarring to me. The sort of thing I’d expect to hear from some half-educated character on a bar stool sharing his opinions with the world. It’s not what I’d expect to hear from a well-credentialled and highly regarded researcher. Or should that be high regarded researcher?

        It’s probably just a cultural and generational thing. I was born in the UK and I’m 70. Things are different now and in the US. For example, we always used to think the only people who used terms like ‘outside of’ and ‘inside of’ when ‘outside’ and ‘ inside’ were required, were people who had had little or no schooling. Now everybody seems to do it. The language changes.

        1. And so many people now say eg ‘it’s not so big of a problem’

          Fifty years ago, people would have laughed if someone had said that instead of ”it’s not so big a problem”.

          Perhaps it’s just the ‘fool is cool’ principle applied to language.

        2. “…The sort of thing I’d expect to hear from some half-educated character on a bar stool sharing his opinions with the world. ”

          Anyone else catch the irony on this one?

          1. I suspect that you are no grammarian either.

            O f course, making personal jibes is always easier than refuting logical arguments. It does appear to be the coin of the realm in alternative health land though.

    3. Language is ever evolving, it’s how people talk and communicate. That’s a bit over the top, I think you were bored the day you made that comment.

  1. Dr. Greger,
    a very concerning study has been published, about microplastics contamination of fruit and vegetables.

    Here is the link:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935120305703

    On a plant based diet, great amounts of fruit and vegetables are eaten, and most of us also drink lots of water and healthy beverages (green tea, ecc.), which are contaminated with microplastics too.

    So, could you make a detailed video about the relation between microplastics ingestion and health?
    Should we be worried in regard to possible detrimental health effects of microplastics, and could we do anything to minimize exposure to these food’s contaminants?
    I hope you want to study this potential health hazard and report us your conclusions.
    Thanks a lot in advance.

    1. I’d not heard about this before, so thanks for sharing, Alessio. Interesting and worrying in equal measures.
      Due to the health benefits of whole plant foods, I would imagine that dietary recommendations would remain the same (micro-plastics being present in all foods, as well as in drinking water and in the air).
      If anything, it highlights the need to eat a variety of whole plant foods from different sources, especially for (fussy) children who might eat only one or 2 types of fruits+veg (apples+carrots).

  2. Great video pointing out the value of Population Studies in figuring out what is the healthiest diet. As is apparent the devil is in the details. Thanks to Dr. Greger and all the volunteers at NF.org for wading through and distilling the literature for us. It certainly helps to navigate both the “toxic food and information” environments. Keep subscribed and keep informed… the science just keeps coming.

  3. Excellent information!

    A very nice exposition on the differences in people who pursue Vegetarinaism (and it’s Fellow Travellers) primarily for health reasons versus those who pursue Vegetarinaism primarily for ideological reasons.

    One motivation, of course, does not exclude the other.

    I think that, over time, people coming form the different motivations tend to influence one another – to the good of both.

    As long as they do not foment conflict with one another.

    Along this vein – I recall a post elsewhere some years ago noting the the people at the central PETA office were adamant about being Vegetarian – but smoked like chimnies.

    I wonder about British ethical Vegetarians – and their stroke risk – in this regard.

    Smoking prevalence is probably in there somewhere – I just didn’t pick up on it.

    ————————————–

    Focusing on sodium (Na) intake – two points:

    (1) Note the graph at 4:30 – 4:32 showed a straight line decrease in stroke mortality down as far as the graph went. Down to ~ 1200 mg Na on the graph. Below that, the graph is blank.

    I wonder if they just did not have the population data points to go any lower.

    If one were to extrapolate lower Na intake – one might also extrapolate a lower stroke risk rate.

    But that kind of speculation without actual data can be downright reckless – e.g., though losing weight for most Americans is good, we should not extrapolate that concept to suggest that being anorexic is even better. No, no, no!

    The Precautionary Principle applies.

    —————————————————

    (2) Dr Greger notes that we apparently evolved on less that 1/8 tsp of salt daily.

    In mg of Na, that comes to 2300 / 8 = 287.5 mg of Na.

    Interesting.

    I have seen such material elsewhere – even considerably lower Na data points – which I register as interesting background data, though not as guides for healthy living.

    Based on all the material I have read, I remain comfortable with a daily Na target for myself of 500-1200 mg daily. (No Hx of Congestive Heart Failure).

    Which I often miss and go over, anyway.

    500 mg typically only on a completely from scratch food day.

    People recommending less than or equal to 1200 mg Na a day – or less than or equal to 1500 mg Na a day – less than or equal to 2300 mg Na a day – can all point to pretty solid data, as well.

    But they never seem to say what in the world the “less than” means.

    For myself – after years of research – and experience – I am comfortable with a “less than” of 500 mg.

    Your mileage may vary.

    ———————————

    Note bene that we are talking mg of Na – not mg of salt (NaCl).

    Now – where are those barbecued potato chips?

    I like dippin’ them in soy sauce.

    Before piling them with salsa.

    And singing salty ballads. ;-)

    To your health!

    Vivamus

    1. Vivamus,

      The vegetarian group wasn’t much different than the other groups in smoking or drinking.

      One thing I did see that stuck out what that almost 60% didn’t supplement and B12 /Homocysteine could be a major factor.

      Also, Vitamin D, since people in the UK probably need it, particularly when they get older.

      1. Them not supplementing could throw off all of the data.

        It frustrates me because it is the “best-case meat and fish eaters” versus the “worst-case vegans and vegetarians” and we can point to vegetable oil or sodium or sugar drinks or lack of potassium or high BMI, but Homocysteine being high and Vitamin D being low might throw off the dietary effects already.

        https://www.verywellhealth.com/vitamin-b12-deficiency-contributes-to-stroke-risk-4117475#:~:text=It%20turns%20out%20that%20not,involves%20a%20multi%2Dstep%20process.

        Even children who are low in B12 can have strokes.

        I guess the whole point is that Dr. Greger and his army of volunteer doctors have done the math and maybe sorted out how much was Homocysteine and how much was sodium and how much was palm oil, etc.

          1. “You can get B12 from fish, eggs and dairy.”

            Yes you can. But, alas, you would be eating fish, eggs and dairy – which causes cancer.

            1. True JB but the ‘vegetarians’ in these studies were eating dairy, eggs and fish so B12 deficiency may not necessarily have been an issue.

      2. Deb,

        Thank you. I am going to have to take a close look at that study. My mind is not concentrating on specifics, today – too many different things to do.

        Do you have any stats on Vegetarian / Vegan / Pescatarian smoking prevalence vs. the general population? (U.S.). I would have assumed it much lower than the general population if I had ever thought about it, just assuming a greater health orientation of Vegetarians – but with no interest in smoking (I hear it’s bad for you) I have never looked into it.

        Now – I wonder if differences in smoking prevalence, alone, could be behind a lot of the health assumptions of US vegetarians vs. meat eaters vs. British Vegetarians. I expect that such things are accounted for within formal studies – but uncorrected casual cross study comparisons may be confounded by this.

        I have never really thought about this, before.

        Hmmm . . .

        What are your thoughts?

        Deb.

        Thanks, again –

        Vivamus

    2. How can they prove how much salt all of our ancestors, throughout the many regions of the globe, lived on?

      I tried the no added salt thing and did not feel better for it, I was much weaker, I didn’t do good.

      “e.g., though losing weight for most Americans is good, we should not extrapolate that concept to suggest that being anorexic is even better. No, no, no!”

      Agreed. In one video Dr. Greger suggests perhaps a certain weight for a woman at a certain height should be much lower than previously believed and I took issue with this. The reason is because there are too many variables. We are not all created equal and weight has much more to do than body fat. Some people have bigger muscles, so people get more developed muscles, some people have greater bone density, etc. It just isn’t good science to say every so and so height person should way “this much.” I could definitely see that making a very healthy, thin, fit person (especially female) feel like they’re too fat when they’re not.
      Kind of a tangent, but on point… a little cousin of mine is PURE muscle, she is skinny, like very little body fat, and she’s very lean, she’s just naturally that way, she’s not a gymnast or anything. If you go to pick her up, she weighs like a ton of bricks, yet she’s tiny. If you went on pure weight and height, she would sound like she qualifies as obese.

        1. S,

          Can your cousin swim?

          I once tried a swimming outing with a girl who just floated across the water.

          The Human Hydrofoil.

          Conversely, I found myself at about a 40 degree angle in the water – feet down. I felt like I was using 70% of my energy trying to get horizontal, and only thirty percent on forward motion.

          But I could swim deep underwater – coming up here and there for air – just fine.

          We looked at the matter together and concluded that she likely had a higher percentage of lighter body fat, while I apparently had a higher percentage of heavier muscle.

          So – I took her out to dinner – and life was very good.

          Residual effect –

          Since that time – whenever I am on a ship, I always keep an eye out for the the most – um – generously nourished female on board.

          In case the ship goes down and there are not enough life preservers.

          Safety first!

          S.

          All the best –

          Vivamus

    3. yep, it makes total sense to me, years ago i read a complete paper about physiology and sodium, and they concluded the human minimal sodium need without sweating a lot was around 100-150mg of sodium a day long term, sadly i cant find this paper again…on a fruit and lettuce based diet i often get less than 500mg of sodium a day since years though melons and some lettuce are much higher in sodium.

        1. Mr Fumbelfingers,

          Neato!

          On second thought – I look at the wiggle word language:

          “the minimum intake level necessary for proper bodily function is not well defined”

          Yup.

          “it is estimated”

          Yup.

          And we are back where I have been for years.

          I’ll stick with 500 mg Na as a minimum for myself – I like goals and numbers – they help focus my actions – but I don’t know how well those numbers would play in court.

          Organizations and papers always seem to have wiggle words like those above when talking about minimum Na values.

          Nuthin’ changes.

          Thanks for the find –

          Vivamus

          1. Vivamus

            Oh yes, agreed. There may well be individual genetic variations that affect requirements also.

            I think you are wise to go with the higher figure. It’s not an issue for me since I eat whole meal bread everyday and that is high in sodium.

            Regarding numbers and targets, did you follow up that US dietary guidelines link I posted for you last week? Although the current guidelines emphasise dietary patterns rather than nutrient targets and ratios, they are still there …. albeit buried deeply. Of course, the sodium ‘goal’ there is a whopping 2,300 mg ….. but I suspect that is an error and it should be <2,300..
            https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/appendix-7/

            1. Mr. Fumblefingers,

              You wrote: “Regarding numbers and targets, did you follow up that US dietary guidelines link I posted for you last week?”

              I think I did – but time zooms past – lessee . . .

              As I look at it now, that 2300 mg Na seems to be listed in the “UL” (Upper Limit) row – not as a goal.

              But perhaps I’m missin’ somethin’.

              Mr Fumbelfingers.

              Keep ’em comin’ –

              Vivamus

              1. Yup, from my research, i concluded optimal intake is lower than 1500mg of sodium per day long term and upper limit 2000mg, thats almost impossible to not get enough sodium anyways unless we sweat a lot and/or drink way too much water which could lead to very dangerous hyponatremia.

    4. ‘If one were to extrapolate lower Na intake – one might also extrapolate a lower stroke risk rate.

      But that kind of speculation without actual data can be downright reckless’

      Good point. That, however, is exactly what Campbell did in The China Study. He wrote that as consumption of animal foods went down so did the rate of chronic diseases. While he never found a region/community where no animal foods at all were consumed, he considered it reasonable to extrapolate that zero consumption of animal foods is optimal.

      1. Mr Fumblefingers,

        You wrote:

        “That, however, is exactly what Campbell did in The China Study.”

        Yup.

        And I used to believe it – until running into problems with my long term Vegan diet in regard to iron and zinc.

        Now Campbell’s extrapolation appears to me to be reckless and destructive.

        For me, anyway.

        It is fine to extrapolate – that is great for a working hypothesis.

        As long as you confirm.

        It looks like Campbell didn’t confirm.

        Be careful –

        Vivamus

        1. @Viv, best sources for iron and zinc on WFPB with generally, minimum added fat sugar salt?

          Must admit its only been 9 months on this diet, but I am noticing differences – some good, some not so much.

          1. jazzBass,

            You wrote: “best sources for iron and zinc on WFPB with generally, minimum added fat sugar salt?”

            Long story. No time today – my apologies.

            Short answer for zinc: oysters.

            They blow ‘most anything else out of the water when it comes to zinc. Also plenty of iron and copper.

            Avoid raw – unless you want to face the health risks and get into the months that end with a “R” stuff.

            I avoid those packed in cottonseed oil. And sadly, I avoid smoked.

            A friend is looking into frozen from his fishmonger – for himself and myself – from northern climes – with an emphasis on lowest pollution – but has not come through, yet. He may have gotten stuck. We’ll see.

            If that fails – I may look into frozen from our local Asian groceries.

            I eat half a 5.5 oz can first meal of the day as a lightly toasted whole wheat bread sandwich with a minimal (15gm) serving of sweet pickle relish to make it a little less unpalatable – they are pretty foul on their own – rinsing in fresh water prior to serving to drain the juices makes them less unpalatable – plus an orange and organic tomatoes and an organic red bell pepper for maximal mineral absorption – washed down with water only. Oysters are very low in fat, so I include one-two tsp of extra virgin olive oil to dip the sandwich in – you need a small amount of fat in each meal unless you are looking down the barrel of significant cardiovascular disease – then you have to balance priorities. Avoid other food and drinks other than H2O for two-three hours.

            Repeat the next day – you don’t want opened seafood (lidded glass jar) sitting in the refrigerator for any longer than you have to. Keep on back top shelf before and after opening (coldest part of my refrigerator). Then none for another week.

            When ingesting 1/2 can daily, my zinc deficiency symptoms cleared up in a week. After that, reduced dose to maintenance.

            One 5.5 oz can a week, now.

            These are Pacific oysters. Atlantic oysters. of course, have higher zinc levels. Adjust dose appropriately.

            Six months later – serum labs – zinc, iron, and copper – all improved from original low zinc and low iron and low normal copper states.

            —————————————-

            You wrote:

            “I am noticing differences – some good, some not so much.”

            What’s up?

            jazzBass.

            Keep strummin’ –

            Vivamus

            1. Dr G noted a long time ago that vegetarians are at risk of zinc (and iron) deficiency. He advised

              ‘anyone eating plant-based diets—men or women—should make sure they eat whole grains, beans, and nuts every day. But some men might just require more than others.’
              https://nutritionfacts.org/video/vegetarian-zinc-requirements/

              Dr G’s videos on iron are worth watching too, eg
              https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-safety-of-heme-vs-non-heme-iron/

              Jack Norris’ site is also a useful source of well researched summaries of the scientific literature on individual nutrients

              https://veganhealth.org/zinc/
              https://veganhealth.org/iron/

            2. @viv, nothing big, maybe gastric / kidney stuff? I cant put my finger on it yet, neither the doc but its something. Vitamin D was low. very low. he gave me a big dose for over 8 weeks. 50,000!

              On good side, eyesight actually improved and numbers which were marginal are in the excellent category along with the others…

              Im not feeling as strong and recovered after resistance training too.

              Finally, I am not going to oysters, so thats a no go.

  4. The UK study is fascinating with the meat-eaters weighing less and eating lower sodium and drinking lower sweetened beverages and slightly lower total sugar and getting more potassium. With the vegetarians eating more polyunsaturated fats. And only a half serving more fruits and vegetables for the vegetarian group.

    Did the study designers do that on purpose?

    Meaning were they trying to compare healthy meat and fish diets versus unhealthy vegetarian and vegan diets?

    Meaning, did they choose ethical vegans, even though there might be health-oriented ones in culture and did they choose the absolute healthiest possible meat and fish eaters or are people eating meat like that common in the UK? If it isn’t common, then I do wonder about designer bias.

    This does help me because the Adventist women vegan ate a lot of processed food with sodium and they still had longevity, but the pescatarians bested them, but processed food would be lower fiber, higher sodium and might have the lower potassium.

    And yet, this time through, the EPIC-Oxford super-healthiest possible meat group still had way more heart attacks than the not trying very hard vegetarians.

    So, if the vegans tried even a little, they might be able to seriously pull so far ahead, just by stopping the sweet drinks and sodium or eating more vegetables or whatever.

    Does the average meat-eater in the UK really eat as many servings of fruits and vegetables as the vegans in the UK?

    Again, did they set it up intentionally for it to be biased?

    1. I guess it could be that they just couldn’t find any health-oriented vegans at all.

      But it is so skewed that it is helpful.

      It would be helpful for the people who don’t want to give up meat, but who are willing to do the rest of it.

      It would also be helpful for the people who are only going to go halfway. Maybe not give up the soda and not lower the sodium.

      I talked with my friend today and she is going to be doing plant milk and possibly JUST egg, but it is beans producing gas that is preventing her from trying WFPB.

      Is Beano bad for people?

      (I would think it could be excellent for people if it got them to switch from high fat to WFPB)

      She said that it is too painful and I think she is also afraid of white potatoes and maybe grains (from Paleo reading) but she said that she was in pain eating beans.

        1. “You can be very healthy on a whole food plant based diet without eating legumes, easy especially if you eat whole grains instead.”

          @Julot, you are suggesting one will get enough protein from whole grains alone?

          I dont feel this is accurate, but willing to learn.

          1. Sure, some humans eating a diet based on raw fruits and vegetables with or without low protein potatoes are getting enough long term, the important factor is eating enough calories long term which should give you enough unless you want to do some bodybuidlding or similar obviously, our minimal need for protein is between 0.6 and 0.8 gr per kg of lean body weight without the body fat (because having more fat doesnt increases protein need obviously).

            https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-great-protein-fiasco/

            https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/apr/protein.htm

            1. If one eats a ton of grains, calories isn’t the issue, and same is true for vegan ice cream. I’m not sure getting sufficient calories should be the focus unless one is in an area where food is scarce?

  5. Seems like for people who are going to hold onto meat and fish, this study and the Adventist study are “the best-case scenario”

    I am not doing that process, but I do have meat and fish-eater friends.

    My friend with the horribly bad labs had wild-caught salmon last night. Can she improve everything else so much that it her labs can improve even holding onto the daily fish intake? That is what I wonder about.

    Seems like these charts might help someone like her figure out how to lower her risk rates by getting everything else in line. Her numbers are so bad that it is hard for me to compute how much fish is safe.

    1. It’s not just adding fish to her diet – what is it that fish replacing in her diet?

      That may be just as important a factor as the addition of fish.

  6. Deb, Dr Mirkin and his wife eat a wfpb diet plus fish 2 x per week. He says there is no proven benefit to eating more. https://www.drmirkin.com/nutrition/eat-fish-twice-a-week.html

    I personally choose to eat the daily dozen, but within that framework, there are foods I do not include for various reasons. Some kinds of beans, veg, potatoes, tofu and any kind of faux meat/cheese/whatever. Your friend would eventually figure out what works for her and she need not hesitate because of the few things that don’t.

    1. Barb,

      Thanks! Yeah, I am trying to walk her through. She is in so much pain and is so out of control of her diabetes and her other conditions. She is very pro-fish and very pro-fat. Someone who she went to school with said that taking certain oils lowers stroke risk by 95% by emulsifying cholesterol.

      I am trying to not be pushy. If I could solve for bean gas, she might try something. I told her that I think the Starch Solution is less bean-oriented but I have said that before and I think potatoes don’t work for her mentally. Beans work for her taste buds but she gets severe gas pains.

      I guess I have to look up Beano.

      1. Deb,

        I find – sadly – that people are largely resistant to health knowledge until their health goes wrong. Then – you have a brief window of opportunity.

        It may be a new diagnosis of “prediabetes.” Or an increase in PSA. Or a prescription to begin taking statins.

        Whatever it it – that is the time to strike!

        For the diabetically inclined, two of Dr. Greger’s videos – taken together – may be life changing.

        The best he ever did. I have gotten extraordinary results with them.

        You might try sending the girl these two urls:

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/what-causes-insulin-resistance/

        https://nutritionfacts.org/video/cholesterol-crystals-may-tear-though-our-artery-lining/

        Best of luck –

        Vivamus

  7. Vegan junk food is amazing. Best junk food I ever had, quite possibly. But I’ve learned how to make health food into junk food! After going WFPB I wasn’t about to do with with sacrifice. It’s actually so easy to make extremely healthy, nutritious whole plant foods, into indulgent foods you’d think were bad for you. I do use some oil in moderation and salt in moderation but am extremely low sodium naturally, with no feeling of sacrifice. Used to have desserts with maple syrup a lot more, but since eating a lot more fruit, I started tolerating the taste of sweetened things less, so a tiny bit is satiating and rarely do I want it. My go to for junk food-y desserts right now is nice cream, nice cream milk shakes, and dried mango. But I find the secret to nice cream is to use either a nut butter with the banana base or a plant milk, the bananas alone just don’t have that creaminess, some say it’s just like ice cream but I don’t get it. With the nut butter or plant milk it absolutely is though, except better.

    My point is, you truly do not have to sacrifice to eat an extremely healthy, WFPB diet. You can still have foods that are soooo incredible to you, like the crap you used to eat. Except it’s much better because you not only get the REAL (as opposed to those annoying false ones) pleasure signals in your brain, but you get the amazing experience of knowing that your pleasure is actually doing incredible things for you, and like that’s enough, you get to feel and see these incredible things. Even for your mentality… what antioxidants do for brain chemistry is therapy in itself.

    1. S,

      Vegan junk food is amazing. So is vegan faux meat.

      But, I for one, actually can’t eat either without gaining weight. They feed into food addictions and the thing is I went for so long without any desserts at all, but if I start at all, I end up wanting more and it affects me not wanting fruit the same way non-vegan junk food does.

      It is interesting because Penn Jillette backslid a little bit with vegan peanut butter cups and so did Jessica from Krock’s in the Kitchen and just tasting Lara bars was too much for me. Now, I have a box. I don’t eat them every day but just tasting them caused me to want to go more toward junk food.

      I haven’t really lost all that much weight going WFPB and it has been processed food and vegan junk food sprees that are behind part of it. Hummus and Avocado are other factors. I have cut back on hummus and guacamole and vegan junk food but it is still so hard for me to see any results at all.

      I added in oatmeal this morning. But I have what I will call “endlessly shifting craving” where my brain knows that I want to cut back on hummus and will shift to craving peanut butter and I will get off peanut butter and it will say, “Wow, I haven’t had guacamole in almost a year.” and then, when I cut back on that, it will say, “I wonder what JUST egg tastes like?” or “I wonder if the cheese on the Amy’s pizza tastes good?” and I did well without any of those things for a very long time, but when I did, I used too much no-oil salad dressing.

      Yes, I struggle so ridiculously much with this whole process.

      I went back to Mamasezz this week and ordered a lentil dish and a bean dish and I ordered their Tuno and I have never had Tuno and I will be getting it but what I saw after I ordered it is that the small-ish container is supposed to be 6 servings and there is no way it will be 6 servings for me. 2, maybe. But if I hadn’t read 6, it might have been one.

      1. I can use the example that for a little while YouTube was giving me “faux meat” videos and I saw a taste test where someone couldn’t tell the difference between the Gardein fish sticks and the fish sticks from their youth and I went out and bought a package and bought some veganaise and relish and lemon juice and I loved it so much that I went out and bought another package the next day and maybe the next day and maybe the day after that. The same thing happened with the Amy’s vegan pizza. This was my COVID processed food spree.

        I gained almost 10 pounds and then lost it back down but I still would like to eat the pizza and fish sticks every single night.

        1. I don’t regret it. I haven’t had fish sticks since I was in my 20’s and I haven’t had tuna casserole or tuna fish since then either and I liked them. The problem is that I get “pizza brain” and I really could just eat any of those every single night. Same thing with the Amy’s nondairy burrito or the non-dairy enchiladas or Chickn patties.

          I worked so hard to get over to eating fruits and vegetables but I could easily and happily back up to transition food if I moved to England and switched to vegan for other reason.

          Hmmm, I like England, I wonder how much it costs to live there nowadays? Too much, I suspect.

      2. Deb, if you are healthy and you’re not obese, I would just not worry or think about it so much and instead just make sure everything you eat is healthy and nourishing. You learned about all the benefits of so many different whole plant foods, so you know what foods to incorporate. I don’t think worrying in such detail is healthy.

        1. Also I don’t know what you do for exercise, but the best way to lose weight and keep it off, apart from a healthy diet, is getting in shape. Exercising regularly, being active, and building muscle. Muscle increase your metabolism.

  8. So what is next, this was a cliff hanger, I want to hear the conclusion of what he is talking about. Which Vegetarian Foods are unhealthy? I am assuming they are more processed foods.

  9. I’ve been eating a whole food vegan diet for many years, but the only way I was able to give up dairy was to see how the cows are treated (tortured), and that’s the case for many vegans I know who are eating whole, healthy vegan diets. In my experience most people need to connect with the suffering of what’s on their plates as well as the health benefits, or they don’t stay vegan for long. Environmental factors are also useful to know about, but it’s the animals’ suffering that holds the power. In the end, it’s all connected so health, animal suffering, and the environment are three aspects of one issue, but it’s over simplistic to say that vegans who focus on their health eat more healthfully than other vegans.

    1. Fredricka,

      I think the American health-oriented group eats so much better than the English group that focuses on animal welfare that it might be like hang-gliding, the direction you look and focus on is where you end up and you don’t know that is why you are going to get there.

      1. One of the core principles of Seventh Day Adventism is

        ‘Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well. ‘
        https://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental-beliefs/living/christian-behavior/

        Whether however all North American vegetarians/vegans are like the Adventists is another matter. I’ve a sneaking suspicion that many US vegetarians are more like the Oxford group than they are the Adventists.

    2. It seems that if one is looking at the study mentioned in the video certainly it reflects that vegans who focus on health do eat more healthfully, but of course there could be exceptions. We do need to broaden our view of nutrition to include not only no animals but also avoidance of processed food, which seems to be the point this video is making. Does that seem to be less simplistic?

  10. Thinking about my loved ones….

    Is there a benefit to switch them to vegan processed foods and just get off the animal products.

    I think this study says some benefit for heart attack.

    I ask because Gardein has just paired up with Marie Callender’s for chickn and beef-ish pot pies and Birdseye for beef-ish lasagna.

    If I handed those to my sister-in-law or my father does it lower heart attack risk?

  11. I guess they call it Be’f.

    My brother has 1 kidney and his wife wants to major on animal proteins.

    I already know that there is too much sodium and it will lower the heart attack risk and raise the stroke risk over if he was eating clean with meat-orientation, but does the sodium harm the kidneys equally to the animal protein?

    Psychologically, switching off of animal products might help him the same way switching off dairy helped me psychologically even though I found out that I was accidentally still eating it.

    I was able to break free at that point because I thought I already had. It made it easier.

  12. Gardein also has be’f and chick’n soups.

    Boy, they are on the move. They look like a company to invest in.

    Even if I shouldn’t even taste these new products.

    If they get people off of meat by having Marie Callender spice things the way Americans already eat, that would be extraordinary.

    Plant-Based is getting fierce.

    1. I wish more markets carried those WFPB PlantPure meals found in Publix supermarkets. I have requested them locally with no avail. They are a bit pricey to order online.

  13. The funny thing is that I am more of a health-oriented pretty much dietary

    I haven’t even been having the quarterly birthday cakes because of COVID.

    But I am tempted to buy the be’f and chick’n out of wanting these companies to succeed to help more people stop eating animal products.

    I wonder if that is what the English vegans are doing?

  14. There are two types of vegans.

    1. Those that eat vegan for health.

    2. Those that eat vegan for ethical/environmental reasons.

    The second group tend to be younger and are the ones who eat all those fake meats and processed vegan glop. However, with age they tend to cross over to the first group if they pay attention to their health.

    1. Reality bites,

      I think that you may be right about that.

      I would think it would be the majority of people who start thinking about their health as they get older.

      The generation gap

      I look around me and most of the people 10 years older than me didn’t start having issues with health or having people die until age 65.

      My generation had some people die younger than that.

      The generation under me is having more health issues.

      That might be a factor in why the USA ends up vegan for health issues more often.

      Death is such a strong motivator.

      1. Deb,

        You wrote:

        “The generation under me is having more health issues.”

        Could you elaborate, please?

        This sounds interesting.

        Vivamus

        1. Vivamus,

          Technically, the generations before me had people die young, too, and they had lots of people living into their 90’s.

          I compare my cousin who they say is dying and if he dies this year, he will be dying 30 years younger than his mother and her siblings died.

          I don’t look around and see people who will have longevity anymore.

          It is diet and working too much and not centering around relationships.

          Heart attack and cancer are the main ones.

          But I watched a 90+year old aunt die and her 65 year old son died within a year and her daughters husband had already died before that.

          Four of my cousins in their 60’s have lost their spouses.

          Several times children have died within a year or two of their parent’s dying.

    2. “There are two types of vegans.

      1. Those that eat vegan for health.

      2. Those that eat vegan for ethical/environmental reasons.”

      There is an omitted 3rd group:

      3. Those that eat vegan for health and for ethical/environmental reasons.

      1. And then there are the feminist vegans.

        They’re all yours, jazzBass.

        I have other places to be.

        ———————————-

        And the fruitarians . . .

      2. jazzBass,

        to clarify, veganism is an ethical lifestyle which abstains from using animals for food, clothing, experimentation, entertainment and any form of expatiation and harm to animals. It’s really just about respecting the life of fellow sentient beings. When people say they’re vegan for health or a diet or whatever else, they’re misusing the term. So it’s a matter if someone eats a completely plant based diet for health reasons or eats a completely plant based diet because they are vegan. Veganism isn’t even an environmental movement, but it’s necessary for the environment and not even just diet, but take one example such as fur farming, it’s extremely toxic to the environment.

        It is amazing that people are learning that it’s not only unnecessary to eat animals for optimal health and survival, but it’s actually necessary to NOT eat animals for optimal health and survival. But the only downside is people falsely labeling themselves vegan and confusing an extremely important movement.

    3. Reality bites,

      veganism isn’t a diet, it is 100% ethics, that is why and how the term came to be and the only reason it’s a term at all. People are misusing it for diet.

      Therefore, if the second on your list started eating healthier, they wouldn’t be crossing over to no longer eating animals for the sake of their health, they’d be eating healthy for the sake of their health and continue not eating (or wearing, etc.) animals for the sake of the animals.

      I personally only learned about eating WFPB because I was a vegan first. I was amazed that my health improved just by giving up dairy and eggs and occasional fish, despite eating a diet of mostly processed vegan foods. But I knew that was a stepping point for me and I wanted to eat optimally, so it lead to my journey in learning what we’re really supposed to be eating and while I’m not loving Dr. Greger’s new style of video, I’m grateful for his work because it was through his work and presentations that I learned how to seek out the real science. Even in the animal rights/vegan community, I would hear things from some peers like beans are bad for us, etc. It’s crazy out there… in every regard.

  15. Tonight, I had a close friend share about when her mother died which was years before I met her and she went through the exact same end of life thing that I went through with my relatives. She had her mother saying that she wanted to be alive and had the medical people basically saying, “It is time to start dying now” and they were knocking her out with Morphine and it took a while, but they took her off of it and when off of it, her mother could speak again, but they kept giving it. She had the exact same sense of terror that her mother couldn’t speak while on it and that her mother was communicating that she didn’t want the process sped up but that she couldn’t stop the medical people. I went through that with 3 relatives, but I have at least 4 friends who have gone through that.

    My cousin is going to be screaming at them and threatening to throw things at them and they are going to say, “The poor man is psychotic” rather than “Wow, he looks frustrated and angry that we are doing this.”

    Oh well, I don’t even know what could be done to stop it.

    1. Take your lawyer along and threaten to sue them for assault if they give drugs without the patient’s explicit consent. And/or refuse to pay for treatments rejected by the patient but forcefully given anyway.

      The best thing of course is not to sign the patient consent forms on admission. Those are so unconscionably one-sided that you could go into hospital for an ingrowing toenail and they could harvest your entire body for organ transplants and still argue that you had given prior consent. Whether hospitals would admit you without your signing all your rights away to the hospital is another matter.

      1. I have advised my elderly relatives NOT to sign any Living Will when the living will ghoul’s come around all cheerful to sign them up – and to state very clearly “I WANT TO LIVE” to every Physician and every nurse who enters the room.

        This seems to chase the “death with dignity” folk out of the room.

        Nurses, particularly, are notorious.

        If an elderly person has a DNR (Do Not Resusitate) order, in my experience – care goes out the window.

        The attitude is – “but – that patient has a DNR order” – as in “why are you doing anything to keep that patient alive?”

        Mother is 96. Stepfather is 98.

        Mother kept me alive when I was but a wee tyke.

        Thank you, Mother.

        It gives me the greatest pleasure to do what I can to return the favor.

        <>

        You cannot take an attorney with you wherever you go. But –

        As you grow older, it may behoove you to contact an ELDER CARE ATTORNEY – BEFORE you need one.

        This is money well spent.

        They know the ropes and can guide you through – and help keep you out of the nursing home and/or the morgue – if you let them.

        Elder care law is a specialized area – attorneys should have specific certifications.

        Not any and every attorney does this well.

        The best I seen are independent eldercare attorneys.

        Everyday attorneys and law firm drones have been the worst.

        Be careful – it’s forest out there!

        Vivamus

        1. Vivamus,

          You have a way with words.

          I love hearing the longevity of your parents.

          I have met so many dynamic 90+-year-olds who are still the glue for their families.

          Even hearing the word 90-year-old in a sentence, my image is joy and emotional connection and good conversation and I guess sitting around a cup of coffee laughing. When I even think about when my grandmother needed to go to the ER, I remember she and I were given a private room and she and I laughed until we cried for about 3 hours in the ER.

          I couldn’t even understand that they had thoughts of wanting to basically put her out of her misery somehow and make her die faster. They said that I was selfish, but I wanted every drop of time with all of them. I remember my uncle. With his brain tumor and trigeminal neuralgia and the nurses would ask if he was in pain and he would make a joke and say none at all and he would tell everybody that my grandmother and I were his angels and all he wanted to do was sit and hold hands with us and eat chocolate pudding and just talk about how grateful he was to live in such prosperity. And, no, he wasn’t wealthy. He was poor when he was young. To him, wealth was having any leisure at all and shelter and food. Gravy was heat and air conditioning and indoor plumbing and a vehicle and a television.

          I have been watching all of these happy, amazing homeless people videos and crying my eyes out. So many of them aren’t addicts and aren’t mentally ill. So many of them are working. They can’t stay in shelters because there aren’t enough shelters. Thousands of people in just one city who can’t afford rent and there aren’t shelters. Some of them said that they are given 5 or 6 bags of McDonald’s per day. One said that he ended up 300 pounds from all the McDonald’s.

          Here is a video of homeless people dancing to the song Happy.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_QvZp0mEjo

    1. Tom,

      I have been watching the homeless people through the people poor enough to still be homeless while working and people give them hamburgers all day long.

      They said, “It would be really hard to starve out here.”

      Unless you are a vegan homeless person.

      The inner cities are knocking down the blighted buildings and welfare motels and thousands of people are ending up on the streets and the waiting lists for shelters is so long that they literally just rely on the kindness of strangers.

      I was reading about an autistic young man who got lost trying to get home and two women brought him food every day but then those two women lost their jobs and he didn’t eat for 2 days but one showed up and asked him, “What are you doing out here?” And he said, “I got lost and couldn’t find my way home.” She found his sibling and he isn’t homeless anymore but the inner cities don’t sell plant foods and neither do a lot of rural areas.

  16. Could the culprit be possibly what Dr. Greger spoke about years ago when he talked about the 40 Vegan who died from a heart attack. In that discussion, Dr. Greger talked about the Omega 3 and Omega 6 imbalance. I make my food from scratch, so I do not add oil and salt. I use Dulse to get the necessary iodine. My food is amazing, thanks to lots of trial and error! I make my own tahini and use that as a source of fat instead of oil in recipes. I found a delicious no oil hummus on the internet. Also, I use lots of spices and lemon juice. It is extra work, but worth the nutrition. My homemade sesame milk is loaded with calcium and sweetened with a few dates. I realize that everyone does not have the time to prepare food the way that I do, but it is worth it for me because I reversed heart disease and never have issues with weight gain. Dr. Greger and Dr. Esselstyn thanks so much.

    1. Eve, Dr Greger talked about omega 3s and stroke risk last week. Here’s the link. https://nutritionfacts.org/video/vegetarians-and-stroke-risk-factors-omega-3s/
      Just as an aside, you may be aware that neither Dr Esselstyn nor Dr Ornish allow for nut butters, nuts/seeds in their programs for heart disease. Dr Ornish has relented with his recent book The Spectrum in a very modest amout of nuts/seeds per day. Examples of serving sizes would be 6 peanuts, or 1 walnut, or 2 tsp ground flax. In recipes I will use apple sauce or a ‘flax egg’ in place of any fat. Flax is the only seed I use since it’s a great source of omega 3’s .
      That being said, Im happy for your success Eve, and that you have created a healthy menu you can enjoy… that’s important for long term success.

    2. @Eve, why go through the trouble of making your own tahini, yet buy hummous on the net? You already likely have the ingredients for the best trad hummous.

      Chick peas, Tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin. Thats it. Even ok drizzle lightly the most aromatic 1/4 teaspoon of extra extra virgin olive oil for taste, since it hardly impacts the overall fat intake of a large bowl of hummous, but provides so much flavor… oh yes, and sprinkle with some sumac. Lovely!

    1. Interesting, Fumbles! I will go look again today at Cochrane review. Years ago I checked some sources after a Dr G video about homocysteine and found that while vit pills of b12, b6 and folic acid did lower homocysteine, they did not impact end points ie were not resulting in fewer heart attacks etc.

      1. Fumbles, here is a current update from Cochrane on the report I had read previously https://www.cochrane.org/CD006612/VASC_homocysteine-lowering-interventions-b-complex-vitamin-therapy-preventing-cardiovascular-events

        The result is the same. Lowering of homocysteine through the vitamin pills do not result in fewer heart attacks or deaths.
        At one point in years past I did take the vitamin pills but stopped after reading that report. I keep running into the same thing ie that food and lifestyle is better.

        1. However, an updated Cochrane review in 2017 found that among 10 high-quality, clinical trials homocysteine-lowering treatment reduced the risk of stroke by 10% (75).

          A 2012 randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial studied the impact of vitamin B12 supplements on cardiovascular markers in vegetarians (mostly lacto-ovo) (1). The study was done in Hong Kong and there were 50 vegetarians, two of whom were vegan. Twelve subjects (24%) had serum vitamin B12 between 203-406 pg/ml and 35 subjects (70%) < 203 pg/ml. After 12-week periods of 500 µg of B12 per day, blood flow improved after vitamin B12 treatment but not after placebo. These positive effects appeared to be better correlated with the correction of vitamin B12 deficiency than with the lowering of homocysteine.

          1. A 2013 study from the University of Oxford found that B-vitamin treatment significantly reduced brain atrophy, in older subjects at risk for dementia with homocysteine levels above 11 µmol/l, over the course of 2 years (73). They believed that vitamin B12 supplementation (500 µg/day) was the main factor in preventing the atrophy. Some of the authors on this paper had a conflict of interest in that they hold patents to certain vitamin B therapies.

            1. Vitamin B-12 supplementation either alone or in combination with folic acid, improved arterial stiffness, endothelial function and carotid IMT in northern rural Chinese, suggesting a potentially novel and affordable atherosclerosis prevention strategy in subjects with subnormal vitamin B-12 status.

              Inadequate intake of vitamin B-12, is associated with a certain degree of metabolic B-12 deficiency. The impact of vitamin B-12 supplementation on vascular surrogates was reported by Kwok et al. [64]. For this, 50 healthy vegetarians with vitamin B-12 <150 pmol/L in 70%, were randomized in double-blind cross-over design to receive vitamin B-12 (500 μg/day) or placebo capsules for 12 weeks before cross-over. Vitamin B-12 supplementation showed significant improvement of brachial FMD p < 0.0001 and carotid IMT p <0.05. After continuing vitamin B-12 treatment for additional 24 weeks, there were further improvement in brachial FMD p <0.0001 and carotid IMT p <0.001

        2. Barb,

          I put all of those but there is still not proof that I know of that improving the structure and function of the heart actually affects mortality.

          But the study where they supplemented, crossed-over, and then added double the length of supplementation at the end, the longer they supplemented, the better the improvement in the markers and the better the p values.

          So, supplementing, the structure and function of my heart can improve but it is not proven that having that will keep me alive better.

          But it is also not proven that it won’t.

          1. What jumped out at me was that the short study length improved things but for the carotid IMT the p value was only p <0.05 and yet adding 24 more weeks and that p value for the carotid IMT improved to p <0.001.

            I wish they had done another 24 weeks or a whole year to see what happened after that.

        3. Thanks Barb.

          That suggests that homocysteine may be just a marker rather than a causal factor.

          However, there is possibly some indication that homocysteine may play an active role in one subclass of stroke – small vessel stroke. The same study found that there was no relation between genetically high levels of b12 and stroke risk.

          https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30785218/

          1. Thanks Fumbles! Interesting about the small vessel strokes.. I believe they were mentioned at stroke.org, and they have a genetic component as well.

            In my relative’s case, high blood pressure, alcohol, salt, and lack of exercise combined for the hemorrhagic stroke he suffered. High blood pressure comes up time and again as a significant cause in strokes. My own bp gives me worry at times and it’s something I have to keep track of.

  17. Thanks, Barb. Thankfully, my heart disease was not severe like Dr. Esselstyn’s patients, therefore, by following the Daily Dozen, I am totally fine. Dr. Esselstyn gave me direction, when I talked to him. His advice was to see a WFPB cardiologist to determine if I had an underlying condition. The WFPB cardiologist gave me a thorough evaluation and helped me greatly. I am so grateful to all of these lifestyle doctors who truly care about our health.

  18. ****
    General and off topic question, or rather a request:
    ***

    ALL:

    I saw these DV recommendations, which are the newest I found from the FDA, while I was researching zinc and iron, after being inspired by a Vivamus post.

    https://www.fda.gov/food/new-nutrition-facts-label/daily-value-new-nutrition-and-supplement-facts-labels#referenceguide

    Of note to me, was that they actually added a new category. I’m not kidding, and you may have already known this but I did not.

    The new category?……SUGAR… @ 50 grams per day! (I felt B12 and sodium were off as well, but I am sure much is off, regarding what we really need to be consuming.)

    But wow!! Actually adding plain sugar pissed me off since its obviously corporate K street lobbying pressure – tin foil hat idea for some of you.

    Anyway my request is for someone, with much appreciation in advance, to take a look at it and agree or debunk the data, OR provide a Dr. Greger sanctioned list of the real deal DV we should be getting on everything.

    *A tinfoil hat wearing side note is that this is precisely why so many people are starting to come around to the position that what we are told from “big anything” is likely in the interests of “big something”.

    Beloved George Carlin said it well: “Folks, its a big club…….[leaning in],… and you ain’t in it!”

    1. jazzBass,

      Somethings don’t make sense, do they?

      It frustrates me because of the obesity epidemic and because I have been watching so many homeless people who lost most of their teeth. Don’t give the homeless burgers and candy.

      I have still been watching the homeless people and it astounds me how articulate and polite they are. This woman took 10 years to raise the money to have a car to live in so that she can maybe get a job so that she maybe will be able to get a place to live. Her interview affected me because she talked about watching a dog enter a park and she said, “I couldn’t believe how much power the dog had to get people to notice him and I am so invisible.” I started tearing up. Society has been trained to make people invisible. These cities are making it illegal to even sleep in cars. I had a friend in California who came from murderous parents and she lived in a car because they stalked her but she was attending college for an MS to work with crack babies and she was going to be brilliant at it.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wjb0DA3cOpU

      I feel like that is the part of veganism that does appeal to me. People start noticing animals other than cute dogs and cats.

      Here are 5 dairy farmers who had to give it up because the animals stopped being invisible to them.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOGfMScPL8k

      1. When I was in California, I would attend a writing group as an audience of everybody else. But the concept of invisibility intrigued me and I had started writing a work with a concept that when people didn’t care about something, it would start to become invisible. For instance, socks. Homeless care a whole lot about socks. But in my story, things would disappear until the antidote of caring came along and that included people.

    2. Perhaps loosening the tinfoil hat and allowing blood to get to the brain would be a good idea.

      The Daily Value in the the case of sugar is a ‘not to exceed’ value not a target. And yes, it is a new value. That just means that there was no ‘not to exceed’ value for sugar before so setting a limit is actually a good thing (it would seem to me anyway). So perhaps we should be celebrating this , not complaining about it?

      I don’t want to pretend that Big Food isn’t constantly seeking to get the guidelines changed to its financial advantage. It is. Both directly and through its low carb and saturated fat/cholesterol sock puppets.

      However, lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Most of the Guidelines’ key recommendations are positive and given the constraints – the guidelines are actually issued jointly by the Department of Agriculture – I am constantly amazed at how relatively little corporate bias is in the Guidelines. I am not saying there is none. It’s just less than I would expect from a Department of Agriculture publication.
      https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/chapter-1/key-recommendations/

      1. Tom,

        That is an interesting thought but when I looked up how many teaspoons of sugar is in 50 grams 12.5 teaspoons was the answer.

        I don’t use sugar in my coffee or my tea.

        My 5-bean casserole has brown sugar and that is my only sugar and I don’t make it often. But when I do, I end up eating it every night for weeks.

        Now, I am going to have to measure out 12.5 teaspoons of brown sugar and see if I can make it.

        Laughing.

        Tonight, I looked at the grams of fat they call low-fat, medium-fat, and high-fat in a diet and by “they” I am not talking the WFPB doctors. I found a medical website and then I went to all of the processed foods that I have eaten and I decided that it is important to know the calories and fats. The Amy’s Enchilada, rice and bean meal isn’t horrible. But when I went to look up the nutrition, Amy’s is doing all sorts of new vegan dinners and they have a vegan chili mac and I used to love their non-vegan chili mac. It was my favorite as a vegetarian and I looked up the nutrition for that and it is not quite so good. Luckily, the places selling it right now are far away from me and they want to sell me a case of 12 of them and if the price wasn’t over $100, I probably would have bought it.

        After listening to a video where people don’t think NY is going to economically recover and that was a good “check” to keep me from buying the case of vegan chili mac.

        I have to keep watching videos on how to do it with $25 per week.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1qPgZFN24k

        1. Deb

          My understanding is that there are about 4 calories in every gramme of sugar. So 50 grammes would equal about 200 calories

          The current official US advice is that added sugars should constitute less than 10% of total calories. I understand that the latest draft 2020-25 dietary guidelines propose an even smaller amount. 7% I think.

          Anyway, those 200 calories are about 10% of the number of calories needed to meet the daily calories needs of adult Americans … about 2000 calories. More or less. On average. As a rough rule of thumb, therefore, a daily ‘not to exceed’ amount of 50 grammes seems to make sense.

    1. Matthew,

      I knew that about lentils and I knew that beans also had the same “second meal effect” but I never heard that soy beans were inversely associated with diabetes risk. I like edamame in my salads. Maybe I will have to remember to get some.

  19. We’ve adopted a plant-based diet, one which focuses on health alone. When people ask us how we differ from a vegan we try to explain it simply:

    Vegans can eat an Oreo biscuit
    Plant-based can also eat an Oreo biscuit but will choose not to

      1. Actually, I think it makes things clearer. Sometimes in the series, one video will focus on some groups of studies and the message seems clear or extremely promising, then in the next in the series it would show they weren’t able to be replicated, etc… then sometimes the NEXT video in a series will show that they DID in fact prove something, and I can see that making the bottom line really confusing. Not everyone watches every video that belong to a series, especially when it’s not a new video or it’s just something they’re coming across on youtube or posted on social media.

  20. I recently had a severe arterial ischemic stroke. I eat whole food plant based diet, have never smoked, do not have high blood pressure, eat almost no sugar or junk food (tomorrow is my birthday and we’re having watermelon, not cake for dessert), and exercise daily. After many tests, the cause of the stroke was unknown. So I had a loop heart monitor inserted and paroxysmal silent afib was discovered about four months later. The cause for the afib is unknown. I will say that my lifestyle probably, along with Tpa and my husband’s quick response) helped my recovery. I couldn’t walk or talk when I was wheeled into the hospital. When I left the hospital the next day, I walked to the car and chatted with my husband all the way home. I needed no therapy.

  21. I should add that I take vitamin B12, D3 and put 1/4 t of tumeric with black pepper in my green tea every day. An example of typical meal is organic rolled oats with blueberries, walnuts, a banana and unsweetened plant based milk for breakfast. I’d love to see research that shows what causes my type of afib. The only explanation I’ve read that fits is being over 60. Neither of my parents or older sibling had a stroke or heart attack, but maybe age is a stronger factor than lifestyle.

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