What Are the Healthiest Foods?

What Are the Healthiest Foods?
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Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which foods best supply shortfall nutrients while avoiding disease-promoting components?


The latest dietary guidelines have a chapter on food components to reduce. But, when they say things like reduce intake of solid fats (major sources of saturated and trans fatty acids), what does that mean in terms of which foods to reduce?

Similarly, there’s a chapter on nutrients we should increase our intake of, so-called shortfall nutrients. But, when they say we need more magnesium, for example, what does that mean in terms of actual food? Let’s look at 20 different types of foods to see, based on the federal guideline criteria, which foods are the healthiest, and which foods are the least healthy.

To illustrate, I’ll use traffic light labeling, like the UK signpost system which assigns colors, like green meaning go, yellow or amber meaning caution, and red meaning stop and think before you put it in your mouth. Added sugars is easy; anyone could have guessed sweets and soda, but there’s often surprising levels even in savory snack foods, like Ritz crackers, which I’m using as my snack example. The top five offenders are basically soda, doughnuts, Kool-Aid, ice cream, and candy.

Next is caloric density, calories per serving, where oils join dessert and processed snack foods as the worst, though one cannot consider eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, poultry, other meat, or soda to be low-calorie foods. The top five sources of calories in the American diet are basically desserts, bread, chicken, soda, and pizza.

Can you guess where cholesterol is found? Desserts, dairy, eggs, fish, chicken, and other meat. #1 by far is eggs, but then chicken contributes more cholesterol to the American diet than beef, then cheese, and pork.

Here are the foods high in saturated fat: coming from dairy, dairy, doughnuts, dairy, chicken.

Salt levels: highest in lunch meat and snack foods.  But, Americans get most of their sodium from bread, chicken, and pizza.

About half of our food groups here have trans fats, either naturally or artificially added or created. Cakes, cookies, crackers, pies, and doughnuts number one, then animal products, margarine, French fries, chips, and microwave popcorn.

Now, to the nutrients. Green is a high source, pale green is a medium source, and white is a poor source for calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Ok, now let’s put it all together.

Now, this is nutrients per typically 100 grams, about three and a half ounces, but that’s not how our body keeps track of what we eat. The body’s food currency is in calories, not grams. Our body monitors how much energy we eat, not how much weight we eat. We only have about 2000 calories in the bank to spend every day; so, to maximize our nutrient purchase, we want to eat the most nutrient-dense foods. So, I just changed this from nutrients per weight to nutrients per calories.

The foods are just listed here in alphabetical order. To look for trends, we can now rank them based on these scores from best to worst.

So, the foods to emphasize in one’s diet are unprocessed, unrefined, plant-derived foods, which in general lack the disease-promoting components, and, as the Dietary Guidelines Committee put it, these foods contain not only the essential vitamins and minerals, but also hundreds of naturally-occurring phytonutrients that may protect against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other chronic health conditions. So, this chart actually extends far off to the right, hundreds of additional bright green columns capturing all the phytonutrients found in whole plant foods, but largely missing from processed and animal derived foods. There would just be hundreds more white columns here in the middle with the few green tiles way off at the end. And, the lack of disease-preventing compounds may be compounded by the presence of disease-promoting compounds.

So, that’s why people eating more plant-based tend to end up eating a more nutrient-dense dietary pattern, closer to the current federal dietary recommendations. And, the more plant-based we get, apparently, the better.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

The latest dietary guidelines have a chapter on food components to reduce. But, when they say things like reduce intake of solid fats (major sources of saturated and trans fatty acids), what does that mean in terms of which foods to reduce?

Similarly, there’s a chapter on nutrients we should increase our intake of, so-called shortfall nutrients. But, when they say we need more magnesium, for example, what does that mean in terms of actual food? Let’s look at 20 different types of foods to see, based on the federal guideline criteria, which foods are the healthiest, and which foods are the least healthy.

To illustrate, I’ll use traffic light labeling, like the UK signpost system which assigns colors, like green meaning go, yellow or amber meaning caution, and red meaning stop and think before you put it in your mouth. Added sugars is easy; anyone could have guessed sweets and soda, but there’s often surprising levels even in savory snack foods, like Ritz crackers, which I’m using as my snack example. The top five offenders are basically soda, doughnuts, Kool-Aid, ice cream, and candy.

Next is caloric density, calories per serving, where oils join dessert and processed snack foods as the worst, though one cannot consider eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, poultry, other meat, or soda to be low-calorie foods. The top five sources of calories in the American diet are basically desserts, bread, chicken, soda, and pizza.

Can you guess where cholesterol is found? Desserts, dairy, eggs, fish, chicken, and other meat. #1 by far is eggs, but then chicken contributes more cholesterol to the American diet than beef, then cheese, and pork.

Here are the foods high in saturated fat: coming from dairy, dairy, doughnuts, dairy, chicken.

Salt levels: highest in lunch meat and snack foods.  But, Americans get most of their sodium from bread, chicken, and pizza.

About half of our food groups here have trans fats, either naturally or artificially added or created. Cakes, cookies, crackers, pies, and doughnuts number one, then animal products, margarine, French fries, chips, and microwave popcorn.

Now, to the nutrients. Green is a high source, pale green is a medium source, and white is a poor source for calcium, fiber, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

Ok, now let’s put it all together.

Now, this is nutrients per typically 100 grams, about three and a half ounces, but that’s not how our body keeps track of what we eat. The body’s food currency is in calories, not grams. Our body monitors how much energy we eat, not how much weight we eat. We only have about 2000 calories in the bank to spend every day; so, to maximize our nutrient purchase, we want to eat the most nutrient-dense foods. So, I just changed this from nutrients per weight to nutrients per calories.

The foods are just listed here in alphabetical order. To look for trends, we can now rank them based on these scores from best to worst.

So, the foods to emphasize in one’s diet are unprocessed, unrefined, plant-derived foods, which in general lack the disease-promoting components, and, as the Dietary Guidelines Committee put it, these foods contain not only the essential vitamins and minerals, but also hundreds of naturally-occurring phytonutrients that may protect against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other chronic health conditions. So, this chart actually extends far off to the right, hundreds of additional bright green columns capturing all the phytonutrients found in whole plant foods, but largely missing from processed and animal derived foods. There would just be hundreds more white columns here in the middle with the few green tiles way off at the end. And, the lack of disease-preventing compounds may be compounded by the presence of disease-promoting compounds.

So, that’s why people eating more plant-based tend to end up eating a more nutrient-dense dietary pattern, closer to the current federal dietary recommendations. And, the more plant-based we get, apparently, the better.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

I feel like this should have been one of the first NutritionFacts.org videos. Sorry it’s taken me so long to just step back and offer some of the basics! I’ve always pictured my role more as providing the latest science, but you can’t understand all the new discoveries without a good foundation. Let me know if you think I should do more of these Nutrition 101 videos or leave that to others and continue to focus on the shiny and new.

How low should one try to push their intake of some of the food components to avoid? See Trans Fat, Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol: Tolerable Upper Intake of Zero, How Much Added Sugar Is Too Much?, and, for sodium, High Blood Pressure May Be a Choice. Surprised that trans fats weren’t limited to partially hydrogenated junk? Check out Trans Fat in Meat and Dairy.

Here are some other videos on making practical grocery store-type decisions: Dining by Traffic Light: Green Is for Go, Red Is for Stop and Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist.

I’ve got a bunch of recipes in my How Not to Die Cookbook, of course (all proceeds I get from all my books go to charity).

Foods to emphasize
Food to de-emphasize
Foods ranked
Foods ranked (colorblind friendly)

And check out my newer video What Are the Best Foods?  

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

270 responses to “What Are the Healthiest Foods?

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  1. I think these types of videos are more relevant to share on social media where the majority of our friends are not already subscribing to plant based nutrition.

    1. I agree. I often send one of Dr. Greger’s videos in response to a question, and very few people think to ask some of the more “shiny and new” topics. While they’re fun and certainly valuable, hitting the basics in data packed, short videos that the general public will actually watch may have an even more profound impact on public health.

    1. Broccoli (43 mg calcium/cup), collard greens (84 mg calcium/cup) and kale (100 mg calcium/cup) are all loaded with calcium and other nutrients/phytonutrients. Depending on the variety and conditions they take approximately 60 days or a little more from transplanting to harvest. Make sure to purchase from an organic supplier like FedCo seeds.

        1. Hi rob. Depends on what’s available in your stores. Look for any of these green vegetables, frozen or fresh as they are all extremely nutritious and high in calcium: bok choy, mustard greens, turnip greens, okra, collards, kale, broccoli.

          1. Has anyone frozen greens to later use in smoothies, and if so, how did that work out?

            BTW, I had no luck freezing bok choy – they turned into a complete mess – couldn’t even use them for soups. :(
            Fortunately I live near a Korean market that has baby bok choy for a dollar or so per pound year round.

            1. If you use your blender to process the fresh picked greens to a liquid and freeze the liquid as ice cubes you can use the cubes in green smoothies and soups at your leisure. They taste ok but there’s no telling how much nutrient value is lost (if any, I don’t know). Also you can buy frozen spinach usually less expensively than fresh greens and blend that into soups, etc. Just check the amount of salt in the package.

              1. Wanted to get back to you on this. After some Internet sleuthing I learned how some people freeze intact greens for smoothies, so I tried it. Used a quart Ziploc bag for the greens and fruit. Then froze it fairly flat. This morning I gently broke it in half to fit it in my Vitamix, added a little almond milk plus some water and Voila! I’m here to tell you that it tasted GREAT!

                I put all the spinach, kale and power greens that are in danger of getting slimy and distributed them in freezer bags along with fruit. Am so glad to have tried this. :)

                1. Very Cool. My only thought is that the green ice cubes take up less space in the freezer. I often have over-runs of NZ spinach in the garden, so I can cut and blend them up to have something to eat later rather than composting them. All the best.

            2. I think that kale, chard or even spinach might hold up better. We get broccoli leaves where we live, and they do very well in the freezer.

    2. Kale, collards, mustard greens (red giant big fave) and similar Brassicas. Very easy to grow and very prolific. Usually they provide you with a lot of seeds for re-planting so very economical on an ongoing basis. They also withstand wide swings in temperature, though too much warm weather leaves them wilted. In summer weather plant some New Zealand spinach, also very prolific and easy to grow, even invasive, but killed by frost Take care.

      1. I can back Slim055 up re. kale. As totally inexperienced gardeners my wife and I were able to get a ton of kale last year in our first attempt at a garden. Our broccoli was OK but didn’t have very dense florets. So as far as nutrients/calorie/(unit of effort) I’d vote for kale for budding gardeners.

    3. with Kale I found that sowing them indoors in pots at the end of winter and planting out in early spring worked better than sowing mid-late spring, as there are no white butterflies about yet (the caterpillars !) during the cooler seasons & no need to spray.
      Rub the Kale leaves with lemon juice and a little salt to make it softer if you prefer, some people don’t like the toughness of Kale. Beets are not too bad (28mg per 126g of beets), grows easily & fast.
      When buying seeds I try to get the purple colored varieties (of most veges including carrots) for their high concentration of antioxidants.

      1. Have you tried fencing out the white butterflies? Use a nonwoven white fabric sold for the purpose, labelled ‘floating row cover’ for sale. Blanket over your plants with it, they still get the sun and rain, and it’s reusable. Only with this have I been able to grow any brassicas.

        1. Hi Kim, yes my fabric probably needs to be finer. I was also contemplating using a used meshed curtain fabric (the synthetic ones) , propped up with some bent irrigation tubes which I saw online.
          With Kale it seems that once the bugs get in, the plants are doomed even if you remove the bugs, perhaps because their eggs are so tiny it’s difficult to control the problem without chemicals.
          Grown in the cooler season this time, there was no problem at all, but it would be great to have Kale during the summer ! Brussels sprouts and broccoli on the other-hand was very easy to maintain.

          1. Getting back to the Calcium rich plant based food , the Site below for physicians has a great list , a sample menu , and a downloadable guide . Collards ( 266mg calcium per cup !) which Slim055 mentioned is very easy to grow .
            Rice milk and Orange juice contained a lot of calcium (300mg per cup).
            If you have an orange tree it’s probably better than packaged OJs, although you might have to dilute it for some people since it’s much more concentrated than the bought oranges and likely to cause stomach pain, but you get used to it after a while.


          2. Oh, good then, you know the technique. Meanwhile, I’m going to use your technique, because this year’s kale got decimated by a lice-sized tiny aphid sort of thing. Can’t figure how to fence that stuff out. Like overnight there were thousands, and my kale got skeletonized. So I’m enjoying some farmers’ market kale tonight. Should have bought lots more, the market closes next week.

            1. That’s the one ! Mine got skeletonised overnight as well, along with the Basil. In the morning the culprits are nowhere to be seen , which can drive you nuts. I was new to growing Kale so the butterflies got to it before me.

              I found this link which might help both of us, it lists some organic prevention/solutions. The other method I saw somewhere was to cover your Kale with a nylon stocking which is tied at the base, then remove it when it’s ready for harvest.

  2. Hm, I’m not a fan of meats but the colour coding seems a little biased to me. It shows major voids in nutrition in something like Potassium, but you still would get 75%ish of your RDA if you ate only meat.. which is probably better than most people do. And while hes pointing out that there are hundreds of other nutrients that vegetables could be better in that aren’t shown, what about the basics like copper, iron, phosphorus?

    1. More like 58% (2000 kcal of 85% lean hamburger has 2744 mg K). The potassium requirement is a major hint we should eat more tubers, really.

      This listing only considered nutrients that are in short supply. According to Fulgoni et al 2012, around 6.5% of Americans are iron-deficient, 4.3% copper deficient, and 5.5% phosphorus deficient, before supplementation. Compare this to the 93.3% who are vitamin D deficient, 90.7% vitamin E deficient, 54.5% magnesium deficient, 48.9% calcium deficient, 45.1% vitamin A deficient, 37.0% vitamin C deficient, and 31.1% vitamin K deficient, before supplementation.

      1. Yes, different meats have diffrent amounts of Potassium, chicken is low, I think pork was higher than beef. I just did a cronometer check. I’m not promoting meat, just lets be open and fairly compare it both sides.

      2. I take you point, Darryl, that meat eaters have more deficiencies that those who are plant based. Many websites say that Iron deficiency is the number one most serious cause of preventable injury world wide. Anemia abounds. Phosphorus is used as a membrane by every cell in your body, is the energy molecule in ATP, is the basis of bone with Calcium, and is the main component of DNA. It is conceivable that Phosphorus is in far greater demand by the body than science recognizes. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of phosphorus. It is possible that the Phosphorus in meat is chemically bound in such a way that it is less bioavailable to people. A very great man once said to me that there is one vitamin in control of everything. Given that D3 is associated in some way with a great majority of diseases, (almost all non genetic diseases), it is possible that vitamin D is the one vitamin. If these researchers say that 93.3 percent of Americans are Vitamin D deficient, than we might have a very sick country indeed. I think that Americans need far more vitamin D than they are getting. That Vitamin D could reduce our health care costs by the same as the deficiency cited, 93 percent. The federal supplementation programs, of B12, D3, Niacin, and Iodine are not reaching Americans in the way the government wants. The vitamins listed on the nutrition label by law, C, A, Iron, and Calcium are also not being reached daily by many Americans. Do you feel taking the micronutrients you mention would reduce disability in this country? Thank you.

          1. In addition to the write up by Darryl, please see the video at http://nutritionfacts.org/video/omnivore-vs-vegan-nutrient-deficiencies-2/ Where Vegans are found to be deficient in Calcium, B12, and Iodine, while omnivores were deficient in Calcium, fiber, folate, Iodine, Magnesium, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C. Omnivores, ironically, only have more B12 among nutrients than vegans. Is this ironic? I think nutrition found in meat might be less bioavailable or be damaged. This site recommends Whole Food Plant Based dieters supplement with Iodine, Selenium, Iron (if female), D3, B12, and vegan DHA-EPA. I think this is a robust supplementation program. Dr. Greger many times states out you can be vegan or embrace a Whole Foods Plant Based diet without a great deal of supplementation. I personally found embarking on this diet that I was deficient in a great many nutrients.

          2. Eye Bicycle: Mathew Smith gave you some pretty good evidence to back up his claim. (Check out the video.) Do you have any evidence to back up your claim? What studies or set of studies looking at multiple types of deficiencies found that meat eaters were doing better?

          3. Eye, then why do you think that vegetarians are healthier and live longer, especially good disease free years?
            That is a fact that all the longevity studies have shown is true!

  3. how can soda can have Green colours??!!! for me its a problem with the coloring here…
    the benefits of soda …good for cholesterol?, sodium , trans fats and saturated fat? i would put it in whitecolour since soda don’t make good to these things just don’t make it worse.. i wonder if Coca cola have any roll in leveling soda in the Dietary Guidelines?

    1. and poultry good for sodium? if i understand wrong .Chickens are injected and have eat a lot of salt to retain liquid and have higher weight..
      For my grand mother was a clear example with here blood pressure.. every time she have eaten chicken with no salt her BP have gone up..
      and good for sugar? not good for blood sugar at least.. if one look carefully the graph as michael say the green list is much wider.. and the red list too..

  4. As Vince Lombardi said, after a frustrating loss, in the locker room: “Gentlemen, THIS is a football!” Whether in Sales/Medicine/Nutrition/Fitness……the basics must and need to be revisited regularly/like reviewing your goals. New Years resolutions et.al./are not a sometime thing/a one time thing/just an annual thing to be effective. Make, review, adjust. Like this wonderful/not easily found – truly wonderful video/that may be given some adjustments by Dr. Greger if he redid it today (it is over a decade old/but still VERY relevant), is very much needed by at least 95% of the population here and across the globe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9nNa81dSoY
    Ithink it/or something very much like it, should be posted on the main page along with the Annual Overview videos.
    Thank you Dr. Greger, YOU are my morning coffee: 7 AM every weekday without fail for the past several years.
    My father initiated my interest in nutrition, and exercise/running/50 years ago. I have never been in better condition than I am now/and my microbiome/et.al. are a big part of that.
    Enjoy the video

  5. Witch changes have the new guidelines in comparison with the last version of it? i wonder if we are walking forward or backward.. eve some evidence is irrefutable..
    because this guidelines in the hospitals the food still meat, dairy… how can people recover that way?? people with heart disease eating meat for lunch (of course white meat.. ) and dairy.. at least here in Spain seems no forward steps in preventive medicine from institutions..

    1. If you look at the 2010, 2005, and 2000 guidelines I think as a whole we’re heading in the right direction. This year the USDA almost added a section about sustainability. It was a mistake to leave it out I feel. Especially because we know without a doubt that what we eat impacts our environment. This is nicely displayed in Dr. Greger’s video on Diet and Climate Change.

    1. Great info about how much red and processed meat we’re really eating! Thanks for sharing. I find it interesting the discrepancy between recommendations for cancer prevention. For example, the American Cancer Society says cut back on processed meat, but the American Institute for Cancer Research (if you’ll recall from this video is Dr. G’s favorite non-profit cancer research charity) says avoid processed meats. It seems the link is so strong between processed meat and colorectal cancer that eating any is considered unsafe. The astonishing thing is schools have not banned processed meat from their lunch line. Where is the government mandating the removal of these cancer-causing crap foods? What would happen it everyone really knew what’s really in a hotdog? My hope is things will change, but until then, we’re in good hands learning about these problems with a website like NutritionFacts! I am thankful to Dr. Greger, just like everyone who utilizes the site, because without his knowledge and daily videos we’d be less informed.

      1. I know this may sound like a stupid question but does poultry fall into the category of processed meat? I’m getting confused by it because it seems Dr.Greger sometimes lumps poultry with processed meats and I always thought meats such as chicken and turkey were considered white meats. I may just be mishearing things though since he does talk a little fast at times, especially in the year-in reviews.

        1. Poultry is not considered processed meat. Chicken nuggets, however, are. This video goes into depth on chicken processing. The data Dr. G mentions is actually my research on chicken contamination! I didn’t even know he mentioned this. It just goes to show even I learn something new everyday on the website! Anyway, chicken goes thru a mechanical process of killing, bleeding, defeathering and evisceration until it’s dunked in a cold icy bath known as “fecal soup” (not my words) until ready for packaging and transport. In the United States, we eat 9 billion chickens every year, that’s like 1 million per hour. This may explain why chicken is linked to obesity .

    2. The comments below that article are overwhelmingly negative and disbelieving. The viciously angry resistance to this information is actually quite stunning.

      1. I didn’t even notice! haha who reads comments at the end of websites anyway? ;-) Of course, unless it’s here!

        I agree that folks tend to get angry and defensive when they hear about the links between meat and cancer. Maybe that’s a good thing though? It may be the first step to a real change.

        1. Here’s some more evidence today http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34615621
          “Processed meats – such as bacon, sausages and ham – do cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
          Its report said 50g of processed meat a day – less than two slices of bacon – increased the chance of developing colorectal cancer by 18%.
          Meanwhile, it said red meats were “probably carcinogenic” “

        2. Hello, can someone tell me if plain yogurt is healthy? I know that Dr Gregor states that milk is not healthy, however, I would like to know about yogurt. Have there been studies done to show the benefits of yogurt?

      2. It is amazing to read the comments! The vitriol expressed goes in every direction, it’s Muslims, or Big Government, or some other group lying to get people to quit eating pork. Sometimes I wonder if it’s not the flora in their gut tickling the reptilian brain. I know very unscientific to think that bugs in our gut make us angry about the suggestion that we quit eating what they like. I’ve been told that I’m crazy to think such a thing, but I just wonder.

        1. You might be right, Joseph. I wonder if it isn’t a case of whistling past the graveyard. The level of hostility in their responses leads me to believe that they intellectually know the evidence is accurate, but are looking for a loophole – any loophole – to discredit the science and thereby justify eating these dreadfully unhealthy foods.

    3. People are not aware of the difference between cooked meat and raw meat. Cooked meat is altered and its chemical composition is different so as to make it humanly edible. Yet, people who eat cooked meat call themselves omnivores without realizing of the alteration. If they ever tried to eat a dead pig raw, they would earn the rank of omnivores, but they would have to pretend to enjoy the stink of the dead body with flies. People are living a fantasy.

    1. 10-4! I really like it too. It’s a great video to learn more about the Dietary Guidelines in an easy-to-understand kind of way. Have you seen Dr. Greger’s testimony? He’s done so much work to stick up for the science! These Guidelines are heavily influenced by Big Business, like the egg industry. It’s so important we have doctors like Dr. G to stick up for the health-promoting foods that receive less attention. For example, let’s just say the broccoli lobby pales in comparison to the dairy council.

  6. As a new member of the Nutrition Facts community, I greatly appreciate the information provided in this video. I also intend to share it with friends and family. Thank you, Dr. Greger.

  7. This video is based on consumption of the SAD. Not on a whole foods based diet which does not have to be plant based to be healthy.

    1. Yes! As always a HUGE thanks from the NF team for putting like all of our videos into Portuguese! You’re a hero Rodrigo :-)

      1. It’s a joy to read you celebrating this, Joseph! Really grateful! There is already a good bunch of videos in Portuguese where one can ‘get lost’ navigating through them. Now, while still translating, I’ll focus a bit more on making them reach nutrition and health institutions and circles of interest. This is going to be fun! ; )

      1. Absolutely. I am newer to WFPB eating, and although I have read “Eat to Live,” “Forks Over Knives,” and am looking forward to “How Not to Die,” I think basic instructional videos would be most helpful. My recommendations would be basics in: what to eat (practical), why you should eat it (science), and how to eat it (basic cooking tips and/or recipes).

        1. Cool ideas! Let me run them by him. We’re always looking for way to improve the site and I do know a recipe page is coming soon!

          1. Joseph: If adding a separate feature doesn’t make the first cut in priority, a good work-around would be to add something like, ‘Beginner Background’ Or ‘Nutrition Overview’ to the Health Topics page. That’s something that could be done right away until there is time/money to add a new sub section. Just an idea.

        2. Just a reminder .. .check out Youtube for all of the issues you mention above. There are videos by all of the WFPB guru’s (McDougall, Esselstyne, Campbell, etc.) and numerous cooking demos by these people (or their wives, family, etc) as well as others who eat WFPB diets. Lots of good info there from those we trust. All for free, . . just like here. Esselstyne’s book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease has recipes in it and Cambell’s have written recipe books as well. Your library stocks the books and most libraries now will let you download an ebook too! Good luck and welcome to the club.

      2. Is the page with Dr. G’s nutrition recommendations still around? I wanted to email the link to a couple of people who need the basic information. I couldn’t seem to search on the right terms to find it. That should be easily found, too. (Personally, I am more tuned to reading than to oral presentation, and always pull up the transcript first, then run through the videos to note charts or other illustrations. And I do read the comments!)

  8. I would like to know where to download the charts he references.

    My wife and I went plant based on 5.1.15. We found this site from Rich Roll (Rich and Julie are doing great work).

    We love getting these videos each day. This website has been extremely valuable for us.

    Many, many thanks.

    To answer his question, I would like to see more videos covering what foods to eat to get what we need each day.

    We use the Power Plate as a daily reference, here:

    It’s funny. We ate clean before. But now eating this way, I’ve found myself worrying if I’m getting all I need each day. Of course I never worried about that before, when I was eating a burger!

    I/we feel great. Most of what we eat we get from Rich and Julie’s book, The Plantpower Way. But we also get recipes from the Blue Zone Solution and this site. Our local grocery is now even sending us plant based recipes, because they know what we buy.

    Thanks again for this wonderful site.

    1. The PowerPlate rocks! Dr. Greger and I even helped hold a giant cut-off of that thing in front of the White House on a freezing cold day in early 2010! I want to say it’s from this citation. All citations are listed under “sources cited”

  9. yes, this is excellent information to share. i’m interested in the research, but then, just tell me what i should include in my diet everyday– in other words, what’s the bottom line?! hoping your book outlines that (which i preordered per your request!).
    thank you so much for your work.

    1. That’s the million dollar question! What to eat? I think his draft on plant-based diets is amazing. All of the many videos on foods like flax, soy, beans, fruits, vegetables (broccoli, beets, etc.), colorful potatoes, turmeric, oregano, the list is endless when searching the “Health Topics” icon on the top of each page.

      The book will outline what constitutes a heathy diet, and the best part may be the recipes he includes! Soon, our site will have a recipe page so stay tuned…

      Lastly, even though we don’t have set menu plans I can refer you to a few sites that do. Just let me know. In the meantime check out Dr. Greger’s Optimal Nutrition Recommendations.

      Thanks, anni m!

      1. Ah, that’s what I was searching for: Dr. Greger’s Optimal Nutrition Recommendations. Missed it on first reading of comments. Thanks!

    2. Yes, Anni, I can hardly wait to see the “Daily Dozen.” Sure wish Dr. Greger would send that to us in chart form as soon as we preorder “How Not to Die.” The wait is killing me :)

      1. Yes, I too can’t wait for the “Daily Dozen.” Do you have some guesses as to what is on it?

        These are my guesses:

        Blueberries/ strawberries,
        Matcha or Hibiscus tea
        flax seed meal
        White button mushrooms
        Black beans

        Maybe Cranberries, lemons, bell pepper, nori, and purple cabbage deserve to be recognized.

        Dr. Greger has a page which tests you on the best foods, would the Daily Dozen be drawn from that list? http://nutritionfacts.org/2011/11/06/the-best-foods-test-your-nutrition-knowledge/ Do you think eating his list of foods daily would add ten years to your life? I do. I have preordered his book.
        Do you think his list is about cancer prevention? I bet his idealized list is 100 percent about disease prevention. I am envious of well prepared diets that many people here use that include many of the healthiest berries and foods.

  10. “…but that’s not how our body keeps track of what we eat. The body’s food
    currency is in calories, not grams. Our body monitors how much energy
    we eat, not how much weight we eat.” Are you sure about that Dr. Greger? According to Dr. Barbara Rolls, Nutrition Professor at Penn State, we eat about the same weight of food each day, so she recommends that we eat foods with the lowest energy density (calories divided by grams). As it turns out however, with a few exceptions such as bread, plant foods have the lowest energy density.

    1. There are a couple of mechanisms that determine how much you eat. In the ‘now’, your stomach uses stretch receptors to determine how much you eat, which could be seen as a proxy for weight, but it’s really volume. Long term, your body uses leptin to regulate appetite. Leptin is generated by your fat cells, so the more fat cells you have, the less appetite you will have (if you’re not leptin deficient or leptin resistant).

  11. I was a bit concerned during the first part of the video as
    it took a rather reductionist view of nutrition. I began to feel better about
    it once phytonutrients were discussed.
    I hope the committee explains that nutrition involves the synergistic
    interactions of COUNTLESS nutrients and their effect on human health.

    Once people understand this, they can stop worrying so much
    about meeting the RDA for this nutrient and that nutrient. As T. Colin
    Campbell often says (I’m paraphrasing) – “Eat the right foods and
    your body will do the math.” His Book “Whole:
    Rethinking The Science of Nutrition “ is a great read. I believe it is a must-read for dietitians. Dietitians continue to confuse people with
    their reductionist approach to nutrition.
    I’m thankful to Dr. Campbell for helping this dietitian escape the
    reductionist rabbit hole.

    1. I think dr.greger has already posted plenty about the wholistic idea of plant based nutrition. I think it’s fine to dive deeper into reductionist research to support the wholistic findings. If someone were to ask me why and how a WFPB diet works at reversing diseases, I’d want to be able to explain some of the mechanisms and why this diet isn’t a deficient diet.

      1. Good point. I find that I overreact sometimes because it is very easy for me to get sucked back into that rabbit hole. Most dietitians are still trained to look at food as a good source of this or that nutrient. The best example of this is with cow’s milk and calcium. The dairy industry has successfully convinced parents and dietitians that it is almost impossible for children to meet their RDA for calcium without dairy products.

    1. It seems to me that in order to communicate thoughtfully you might have waited to post *anything* until you had time to post your “elaborate” post “later.” Otherwise this is akin to dropping a verbal stone and then running away. (And when you *do* find the time for a thoughtful post, I recommend you delete this brief one. That way, my reply here—which, with a full post from you, becomes irrelevant—will also be deleted.)

  12. I’ve noticed that this site is still supporting the cholesterol and saturated fats are a bad idea dogma. Evidence in recent years has disproved this old theory but it still accepted by many including, apparently, yourselves. I would ask that as an evidence based web site that you review the evidence. Many books over the years have proven the science was flawed that blamed saturated fat and cholesterol. Articles such as this prove that proper assay of the actual data conclude this part of our diet is absolutely fine http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/sarah-knapton/10703970/No-link-found-between-saturated-fat-and-heart-disease.html

    1. Hi,

      I’m glad that you’re trying to eat a healthy diet Daryl. Here is a link to a video that explains why those studies made the conclusions they did: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-saturated-fat-studies-set-up-to-fail/

      Also, please try to take the time to watch Dr. Greger’s lecture on the causes of many of our current diseases. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/from-table-to-able/

      Here are some other websites. All of them are run by medical professionals. http://Forksoverknives.com, http://PCRM.org, https://www.drmcdougall.com/

      Take care!

    2. No, you are wrong, Cholesterol and saturated fat from animal origin is BAD for you. If you think otherwise then you’ve been suckered in by such hucksters as Gary Taubes and Jimmy Moore who are peddling the same old Atkins turd polished up and re-branded as the new way to give yourself heart disease. You can pout and post your disapproval of Dr Gregers SCIENCE all you like but it still won’t change the fact that all that crappy meat, fat and cholesterol you put in your mouth is getting deposited in your arteries weather you like it or not.

    3. It is simply not true that the scientific findings regarding the roles of cholesterol and saturated fat have been disproved. No credible health authority anywhere in the world believes that.

      Sure there are books (and websites) peddling this story to people who want to hear that they can keep on eating high saturated fat foods and still be healthy. These books sell by the truckload. People just love the idea. There are even lots of industry-funded “research” studies which appear to show that these foods are harmless. Of course, if people replace saturated fat in their diet with equally unhealthy foods like refined carbohydrates and processed foods (often containing trans fats), then no harmful effects of saturated fat consumption will be found. And as the final lines of the Telegraph article you cited, said:
      “To suggest that the theory relating saturated fat to increased total cholesterol is flawed, is nonsense, and contradicts 50 years of evidence-based medicine”

      No wonder the saturated fat industries like these studies – they know what the results will be in advance. Dr Greger has a good video on this here

      The scientists working in this area, however, know that high cholesterol is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular and other disease, and that saturated fat raises cholesterol. The evidence is freely available but doesn’t get the media coverage that sensational too-good-to-be-true stories about how observational studies don’t find associations, do. The media thrives on shock stories and sensationalism – they sell newspapers and magazines.

      Try looking at the evidence instead eg

    4. How is it then that those who eat lots of cholesterol and sat fats tend to suffer and die more than those who don’t? I find that there are two kinds of science: that for sale and that for knowledge. WE have been completely inundated by that “for sale” and those doing the selling tend to suppress the “knowledge” side. Dr. G is human and fallible and biased in his own ways, but I trust him 10,000x more than any corporate entity or governing body. His advice has allowed me to turn my health around. Good day.

      1. No. I am Vit D deficient, despite living in the equatorial zone, but have to limit sun with a history of melanoma, and also having a history of severe mercury poisoning from fish, primarily tuna. In Dr Gregor’s graphs fish were marked in white suggesting low levels of Vit. D and Calcium, which I do not believe is true for oily fish especially those canned with bones( canned salmon). Dr Gregor usually advises against non natural supplements, i.e.. Vit. D, Ca++, Multivitamins, etc., but we must treat each person as an individual which may also be affected by location. I don’t know the real answer but I wonder if there would ever be a reason for deficient individuals to eat oily fish for calcium and Vit. D, especially if they must avoid the sun with a history of skin cancer or other sun related illnesses such as Lupus Erythematosus, and, if so, what fish would be best, especially considering toxins such as mercury in a person with a history of mercury poisoning? Or is there a vegan alternative. I should also note that I have severe lactose intolerance.

        1. Greger was pretty much fine with vitamin D supplementation last time I knew:


          You do of course have to consider different absorption rates and so forth, and you do need to recognize the difference between massive doses and those within the bounds of dietary recommendations for the general population, but there’s nothing magically worse about supplementing a nutrient that would be encountered in the course of a normal diet. Because what we consume as food is always a package deal, we would expect supplementation to be preferred when it avoids negative health baggage, is inexpensive, convenient, and so forth.

          I disagree somewhat with the basis for his 2000IU recommendation, but that’s really a different story.

        2. In response to your question about a vegan alternative in food, note first that much milk around the world contains supplemental vitamin D (A and D in the U.S.), and other dairy products can be comparatively low in the vitamin/prohormone. Vegan milks in a given country are often fortified like the real milk and have calcium added, in order to seem as nutritionally complete as milk.

          Ordinary button mushrooms synthesize D2 when exposed to ultraviolet light, and these fungi are one of the rare vegan foods that naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D:


  13. Very practical and helful video. One thing I am yet to figure out is why India is experiencing such a diabetes epidemic given that most people derive bulk of their calories from plant foods. Well that should be from a vegetarian diet because people do eat dairy products daily. Still.. Eating redmeatis rare and even chicken is a luxuy for many just due to the socioeonomic profile there. My mother and all her siblings (in their 70s) are insulin dependent and have been so for the past 15-20 years. They are all vegetarians, do not eat junk food. Eating out and processed foods is an occasional treat not an everyday affair whereas vegetables, legumes and lentins are an every day affair. Moreover, they all are physically active and exercise regularly. These people are not an exception and India is known as diabetes capital. Besides vegetables, spices like turmeric, use of ginger and garlic, mint, coriander etc are used daily, as also consumptin of amla on a regular basis.

    HAs anyone research in this area? I see the remarkable health status of people in rural Africa and wondered why Indians do not seem to benefit from a lary plant based diet.

    1. Well, I understand that dairy products are the biggest source of saturated fat in the US diet. Many Indians also consume lots of dairy products. Consuming foods high in saturated fat is a known risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes. It is not surprising then that the US and Indian populations share high rates of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Further, it is thought that many Indians consume high levels of trans fats from hydrogenated cooking oil and processed foods including bread. There are therefore important differences between traditional African diets and Indian diets.

      “There are differences between an Indian vegetarian and a Western vegetarian because there are three errors in the Indian vegetarian diet – high in fat (excessive consumption of dairy products); fried food (even vegetables are fried) and rich in sweets ( Indian sweets are high in sugar and soaked in syrup). This is compounded by the fact that only rice or roti is considered food in India while vegetables and fruits are always taken ‘on the side’.
      Most Indian breads are prepared with vanaspati, which is a source of fats, which increases LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol.”

      You might also find this article interesting:
      “Dietary factors that may contribute to a high IHD risk in India include low intakes of vitamin B-6 and folate (6) and high intakes of trans fatty acids, which have been associated with risk in studies conducted in the West (7-14). In parts of India, trans fats from hydrogenated vegetable oil in the form of vanaspati are consumed in greater quantity than in the United States (10, 15). In contrast, in North India, the most commonly used oil in cooking is mustard oil.

      And this also:
      “….accumulating evidence that a key component of the NCD risk attributable to a “nutrition transition” in India may be a decrease in the whole plant food content of the Indian vegetarian dietary pattern due to replacement with foods with known dietary risk factors (ie, processed foods, fried foods, unrefined carbohydrates). These data may explain why NCD rates are on the rise in a nation in which vegetarianism remains common despite urbanization.”

      There has also been research which suggests that Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are genetically more susceptible to diabetes than people of European descent:

    1. It’s pretty doggone simple (as I’ve gleaned from 100’s of videos found here and elsewhere, AND proven with my own personal health and weight since St. Patrick’s day this year). The more ones diet leans to the WFPB side the more likely one is to provide his/her body with what it needs to function at the highest order for the longest period of time.

      WFPB- whole food, plant-based. This translates to eating fruits, berries, veggies, leafy greens, nuts, and seeds in minimally-processed or un-processed/raw form MOST of the time, and only indulging in animal products rarely-if one chooses to do so (3 servings per week is about my limit). Oils and Sugars/sweeteners are NOT Whole foods (no matter how or from what they are derived), they are derivatives to be minimized. If one avoids animal foods entirely then vitamin B12 supplementation is necessary. Other supplementation is debatable

      No counting no mixing no mess.

    1. pdinges At the lower right of the video window, under YouTube, there’s a ‘broken’ square. Click on that and you will get the video full screen. If you have a reasonably large and high definition monitor, you will be able to read the charts, though not optimal. Nice if we can get a printable chart, even if in several parts to accommodate all the labels.

      1. Thank you, MarthaLA. I did try full screen. Currently using an old monitor though… However, Joseph Gonzales R.D. sent me the chart via email. :-)

  14. I always had this un-answered question: when comparing vegetables to other foods in terms of content of minerals and nutrients/phytonutrients, has any one scientist or nutritionists done some real research to test what is that vary in a broccoli floret or kale –even if organic–since the upper part of any vegetables is a reflection of what their root can absorb from the soil? When growing greens and tubers in the private garden I would expect the vegetables, legumes and seeds reflect what people put in their compost. good compost, good greens. Are plants able to create all these minerals and nutrient in any soil…even poor soil, or should be the SOIL USED TO GROW that needs to be the next important element to be tested in the equation before giving generalization of what is assumed to be in our vegetables, before making these nutritional charts? At the time of my grandmother yes, may be all vegetables had a way to be generalized in contents, but not today with contemporary farming practices. By the way I am Italian eating a mediterranean diet with very little meat/fish/eggs etc….but always have doubts on what I get from any store, including the health store and my store-bought organic veggies!!!!

  15. I enjoy this type of video as it provides a neat summary of the direction in which we should all be heading. If possible, I would love to have a copy of the final arrangement of the matrix to show others and to discuss.

  16. Yes please, more 101!
    How about pics of daily recommendations ala “what does 100% of your daily value of cholesterol look like?” that I found on Google Images.
    Would be great to see 2000Kcal of health promoting food

    1. Given how much it is cited by those in this community, I can’t help but agree. Talking about the potential hazards of vegan diets and where they are (un-)likely to be accounted for in research findings seems to me to be of broad benefit to everyone, and the sort of clear-eyed look at practical veganism that is a bit rare among professional advocates.

      Updating this sort of presentation would be in keeping with the practice-oriented turn in the site, but no doubt Greger and Gonzales would like to take some time to prepare this sort of extended presentation, with the idea in mind that low-quality information in it might still be disseminated widely, to the detriment of the movement.

      1. Agreed. On the other hand, giving a warts-and-all picture of vegetarians and vegetarianism makes it that much harder for the nutritional Luddites to claim that Dr Greger is simply a one-eyed zealot.

  17. I would like to see more of these nutrition 101 type videos. It helps when you are trying to explain to others what is different from what they learned about nutrition. I have been recently diagnosed with diabetes and the dietician was not impressed by my plant based diet and was encouraging me to eat meats and cheese and not to eat more than 2 small pieces of fruit in a day. It’s tough when the medical staff are telling you to eat in a way that you know is going to make you sicker. I need stuff I can take to them to prove that a plant based diet is backed by science. If you could make some info sheets that we could print off and take to our doctors, I would love that.

    1. Hey. I would recommend you to read these series of posts about diabetes: https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/category/diabetes/

      And these series about calorie restriction, insulin resitance, obesity and diabetes: https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/how-do-we-gain-weight-calories-part-1/

      Limiting refined carbs is a must. Our bodies are adapted to gaining weight from fruits (because they are usually ripe at the end of summer and we are used to gain weight before the winter), and our bodies induce insulin resistance and secrete insulin when we ingest fructose to store it as a fat, not to burn it to get energy. So there is some sense in restricting fruit intake when you have T2D, though they are absolutely fine when you have no diabetes. My absolutely non-scientific opinion is that T2D is a natural fat-storing mode that is just gone too far. Eating all day long (especially fruits) can induce that fat-storing mode, and if you don’t stop it, it becomes T2D.

      I strongly recommend you to research intermittent fasting and to try restricting the amount of time you are ‘fed’ daily. Plant-based diet is not a panacea, and combining it with other techniques like low-carb (still plant-based, just add more nuts and seeds) and intermittent fasting could be more effective. Add vinegar to your food too. Dr. Greger reviewed the effect of vinegar on lowering blood glucose here: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-vinegar-good-for-you/, and look at this study that was posted in the comments: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jdr/2015/175204/. Once you have reversed T2D, you may return to your more convenient diet.

      T2D is reversible, but you may have to make some effort besides following WFPB diet. Hope it helps, wish you the best.

      1. The first link in your post promotes a dangerous high-fat low-carb fad diet. Dr G has renounced this type of dangerous diet in several videos. High fat diets do more harm than good and have been proven to promote heart disease as discussed in the below link. We need to get the word out that people should avoid high-fat low-carb diets at all costs. The better and more effective way to reverse T2 diabetes is with a whole food plant based diet. I would strongly suggest you watch the below videos to pick up to speed on the dangers of fad ketogenic diets and the harm they cause the body in the long term.



        1. I’ve already watched all of these videos. I don’t support high-fat animal-based diet, though have nothing against high-fat plant-based diet. The thing is—there are people who can’t reverse their diabetes on a high-carb WFPB diet, and there are people who can’t reverse their diabetes on a low-carb animal-based diet. There are people who are sensitive to refined carbs and fructose, and there are people who are sensitive to saturated fats. If you avoid refined carbs, fructose and saturated fats, you can get the best of two worlds. Combine it with intermittent fasting and it will work for most people.

          I’ve linked this site because it overviews the causes of insulin resistance and ways to restore insulin sensitivity. If you linked other sources that do the same but without high-fat agenda, I’d appreciate it.

          1. Avoiding refined and processed foods is something I think we can all agree on. Sugar itself gets a bad wrap when it’s not the cause of T2 diabetes. Saturated fat is the real villain.
            Where I take issue is with confusing the readers here by posting links to high-fat/low-carb fad diet blog sites like the one in your first link. Athoritynutition is another fake science blog site many low-carbers link to as well. These sites need to be exposed and the truth told about dangerous ketogenic fad diets. A far better link might have been from one of the supporting plant-based Drs. such as Dr McDougall, Campbell, Caldwell B. Esselstyn, etc. Take a look at this video about sugar and diabetes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl2IX94GCI

            1. I know about Kempner’s Rice Diet. The takeaway is that it didn’t work for ~40% of participants. They haven’t reversed their diabetes. For ~15% of participants it became worse.

              There isn’t not a single ‘real villain’. There are people who tolerate sugar, but don’t tolerate saturated fats, they see the improvement on a low-fat diet. There are people who tolerate saturated fats, but don’t tolerate sugar, they won’t see the improvement.

              Refined carbs, sugar, fructose, saturated fats and constant snacking—all promote insulin resistance, but due to different mechanisms. Every individual has their own weak point. If you eliminate all of these risk factors, there is a higher probability that you have targeted their weak point.

              1. – “There are people who tolerate saturated fats, but don’t tolerate sugar”

                Don’t tolerate it? What does that even mean? Sounds like ambiguous double talk. I think that is a cop out statement and just an excuse to keep eating a fatty diet for those who want to keep eating fatty diets. You seem well researched at attempting to discredit Dr Kempner. Given the grave ill health of his patients in that study, many patients practically at deaths door, 40% is an amazing number of successes for what Dr Kempner was working with. These were not just slightly obese people but ones that were practically left to die. Funny you didn’t mention that when using 40% in the negative? I think that should be the take home message of how well the rice and fruit diet worked given how sick the patients were to begin with. What about Percible Helmsworths 1940 British medical journal data showing the same thing? Sugar actually increased insulin sensitivity in the absence of saturated fat.

                1. That means they get hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia after consumption of sugar and develop insulin resistance after regular consumption.

                  I’m not discrediting Dr. Kempner. I’m discrediting you. You are defending sugar and saying that limiting saturated fat is the only effective intervention. You are saying that these 40% of people are just doomed to have T2D, following health complications and death.

                  Are you sure they have got irreversible diabetes? If not, then what could help them? More sugar and fruits? Can we get along and agree that saturated fat isn’t a single factor in developing T2D, and that limiting saturated fat isn’t enough for some people?

                    1. I frankly don’t trust Minger to do a good reading of nutrition research. Have you actually looked at Minger’s source?

                    2. It isn’t available on PubMed. You can email her to get the text, as she says. I don’t think she messed up with numbers.

                      Even if she did, and this study actually showed that the higher percent of patients reversed their diabetes, should we say that a diet of rice, fruits and sugar is the best treatment for T2D? I don’t think it will prove that sugar is safe or even healthy in the absence of saturated fats.

                    3. It’s not the numbers that I’m concerned about so much as the context which gives the numbers meaning. For instance, how did they assess adherence to the diet over 2+ years after release from the clinic? What happened with BMI? How long had the T2 diabetics been diabetic prior to going to Kempner, with what kind of treatment? Going down that path without treatment exposes the pancreas to permanent damage, essentially compromising glucose metabolism for life.

                      Kempner’s diet was primarily intended to manage blood pressure in those with compromised kidney function. That it turned out to have other indications is both a reflection of the diet’s good features and the background of therapeutic diets available as an alternative in that era. When did anyone in this discussion propose that Kempner’s diet was optimal for T2D? I don’t get where you are coming from with that one.

                    4. > Going down that path without treatment exposes the pancreas to permanent damage, essentially compromising glucose metabolism for life
                      That’s a real concern. And that’s why, on the contrary, a low-carb diet can work for them. It’s not going to restore their glucose metabolism, but will sustain their lives.

                      > When did anyone in this discussion propose that Kempner’s diet is optimal for T2D?
                      Vegan Grains says that sugar and fruits can’t be the culprits for these folks. It’s saturated fat and only.

                    5. So you get your information from Denise Minger? That’s funny.

                      I’m not giving refined sugar a free pass, but it’s hilarious that you think fruit makes you fat. Humans evolved eating fruit. High fruit diets get you ripped and lean. I think you need a new source for your info besides anti-china study Minger.


                    6. That’s ad hominem, you know? I’m not a fan of Minger, I get info from various sources. That was the only article I’ve read from her blog.

                      A YouTube video about a fruitarian is a good source of information? I can find videos of people who eat junk food or follow a ketogenic diet, look ripped and lean and do sports. It’s not going to prove anything.

                    7. I apologize if a little strait talk offended you. Some times it’s needed to make a point. You act like you are some kind of expert on T2D and doleing out false information that might confuse people here looking for information on low-fat plant based diets. Here’s an example, you said in a previous post.

                      ” My absolutely non-scientific opinion is that T2D is a natural
                      fat-storing mode that is just gone too far. Eating all day long
                      (especially fruits) can induce that fat-storing mode, and if you don’t
                      stop it, it becomes T2D.”

                      The above statement is ridiculous. Sugar does not desensitize insulin like fat does. You are insinuating that too much fruit burns out some organ in the body or that over consumption of sugar or fruit causes T2D. That is a popular low-carber lie that needs to be addressed.


                      You are seriously misguided on the subject of fruit and sugars affect of 2TD. You are spreading bad info and promoting low carb diets like you are some kind of expert. You are not. The real take home message as you say is saturated fat impairs the bodies ability to let glucose into the muscles. High levels of sugar in the blood are a side effect of the fat clogged insulin receptors. low carb diets promote this dysfunction and cause insulin resistance. Let me say that again to be clear. Low carb diets promote and cause insulin resistance as Dr Greger shows in this video about Lipotoxicity.

                      The low-carb fat based diet fad has been proven unhealthy, unnatural and induces a state of sickness. Your misguided advice is going to end up harming peoples health and confusing others in the process.

                    8. 1. That was a double ad hominem (to me and to Minger), and the point is not in it being offensive. The point is in it being irrational and nonconstructive. You are ignoring the evidence just because it was brought by a person you don’t like.

                      2. Sugar (sucrose, which is made of glucose and fructose) does induce insulin resistance. Fructose does induce insulin resistance. Actually, fructose is converted into saturated fat—palmitic acid. So it does desensitize insulin like saturated fat does, because it is converted to saturated fat.


                      3. I’m not insinuating that eating too much fruit surely causes insulin resistance. I’m saying there is a probability of this. Eating fruits is different from ingesting pure fructose, but there isn’t enough evidence to tell that eating a lot of fruit is safe for all diabetics. There is a big difference (tenfold) in a fructose content of various fruits. Telling all fruits are absolutely safe based on a study on berries is wrong. This video also presents a study on an energy-restricted diet, and it’s wrong to assume that the effect of consuming fruits on an energy-unrestricted diet is the same.

                      All I’m saying is that if your diabetes aren’t getting better on a whole-food plant-based diet, try other approaches: reduce fruit intake and add nuts and seeds instead, try intermittent fasting.

                      4. So, eating a lot of nuts and seeds (that are high in poly- and monounsaturated fats) so you get 35–45% of calories from fat is proven unhealthy, unnatural and that it induces a state of sickness? It is surely bad for diabetics, isn’t it?

                      5. I haven’t even once promoted a diet high in saturated fat. Stop accusing me of doing it.

                      6. For your information, Dr. Greger never said that he supports a low-fat plant-based diet. He supports a whole food plant-based, that can be moderate-fat or high-fat too. There is evidence that a whole-food plant-based is superior to a low-fat plant-based diet in regards to lowering cholesterol.

                    9. Do you have anything to say about other points?

                      Once again, I do know that fruits don’t cause insuling resistance for most people and diabetics too (I get 300–500 calories from fruits a day, 30–40g of fructose). I didn’t recommend all diabetics to restrict their fruit intake. I elaborated why other people may recommend restricting fruits for diabetics. I said ‘there is some sense’, not that there is some evidence from trials. I said one can try it if nothing else works. I suggested that fruit intake can be a risk factor for some people, though I haven’t had any evidence of this.

                      I said ‘Our bodies are adapted to gaining weight from fruits (because they are usually ripe at the end of summer and we are used to gain weight before winter), and our bodies induce insulin resistance and secrete insulin when we ingest fructose to store it as a fat, not to burn it to get energy’. This speculation seems to be not true, because fructose from fruits doesn’t have the same effect as pure fructose. I admit I was wrong here.

  18. Dr. G and team: if you make a version of this vid for kids in schools, you could make the phytonutrient point visible by shrinking the whole chart (down to a thin line, if you have to) to show the hundreds more green squares. You could shorten the itemizing of nutrients and just say ‘vitamins’ (green squares appear), (minerals appear) and ‘plant nutrients’ (a zillion green squares appear). Also, I would have a gap between whole plant-based foods and everything else throughout the whole video. Did I say a gap? Maybe I meant more like an abyss! (are you making vids teachers can use?) Applause and gratitude, Kim

  19. I like both getting latest science and the foundation. I like the facts in the latest science; but it also means that Dr. Greger is really doing a good job of keeping track and that he is science based. I also like recommendations on what I should eat. I am looking forward to “How Not To Die” in part because Dr. Greger will tell what he eats … or so I’ve heard.

    1. Dr. Greger touches on How to Reach Antioxidant Recommendations and minimum amount of antioxidants to shoot for daily. Also, Dr. Greger’s Optimal Nutrition Recommendations.

      I am not sure the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has a set limit on antioxidants as a whole. They mention the major ones like vitamin C, E, etc. I can give you values on those if you want, but you can also visit the IOM website and find RDAs. Just let me know. Thanks, Maria.

  20. Does someone know where to find the actual conclusion charts? These might be very powerful alleviating people’s worry that by removing meat from their diet they suddenly have lost their ‘easy way to get all they need’.

    Many of my friends think that being vegetarian/vegan is healthy but only if done right, and doing it right is too hard. This might convince them (although I do find many anti-veg arguments are actually mostly anti-veg excuses…)

    1. Have you looked at the PCRM.org website. They have a lot of graphics and charts. I’ll hunt around and edit this post if I find a good one.

  21. By the way I must say it’s a missed opportunity not to include the common deficiency factors in here. Why is B12 missing from the vitamins mentioned? Where’s Iron? And hey you can include common meat eater’s deficiencies too..

    Surely you don’t want this chart to come off as misleading?

    1. He’s addressing the nutrients that are thought to be dangerously deficient or excessive in the current American population:

      “Similarly, there’s a chapter on nutrients we should increase our intake of, so-called shortfall nutrients. But, when they say we need more magnesium, for example, what does that mean in terms of actual food? Let’s look at 20 different types of foods to see, based on the federal guideline criteria…”

      These are all meat-and-junk-eaters deficiencies, in other words. That the USDA and other organizations often devise criteria based on perturbative changes changes in current dietery practice is a good idea to keep in mind, by the way.

  22. How many calories do all the vegans here get? I’ve been trying to be as WFPB as possible but have been finding it very difficult to meet the “official” calorie requirements (1800/day for men I believe).

    Between the flax oatmeal for breakfast, salads for lunch, and something like rice and beans or veggie burgers for supper, I feel like I’m not even hitting 1,000 calories. Subtract any calories burnt from walking ~2mi a day and what am I left with?

    1. I don’t count calories, or fat, or servings. I eat WFPB 6 days per week and goof off a little on weekends. 30 pounds lost in 3 months without working out, maintained for 4 months easy. When eating WFPB, your body tells you when it is full.

      1. Oh I’m not complaining about weight loss, I lost about 17 pounds so far in 2 – 3 months, even while not always keeping 100% WFPB. No complaints there.

        I just noticed that if I strictly follow the diet for a few consecutive days, along with exercise, I feel drained at the end of the week. Eating a big meal usually seems to help the “drained” feeling.

        Based on the general diet I described in my original post, I don’t see how I’m getting more than 1,000 calories a day, while the ‘official’ recommendation is something like 1,800. I was wondering if Dr. Gregor has an alternate ‘RDA’ for calories but have not found anything.

        If we should indeed be getting 1800 a day, I’d like to know how vegans do it. Even if I dump a whole cup of beans and an avocado into a salad, I’m still only looking at a 400-500 calorie salad. Lettuce/tomato/cucumber/pepper doesn’t really add much calorie wise. Have a 300 calorie breakfast and even another 500 calorie supper, and you’re still only at 1,300 calories.

        Burn 100-200 calories by just a 30minute brisk walk, and now you’re down to 1,100 calories. Is this enough for a male?

        I don’t snack during the day and usually drink unsweetened tea, so no calories there.

        1. I snack a lot, fruit/dried fruit and/or nuts. Lot of nuts. Try those for calorie and energy boosters. I only feel drained when I’m hungry, or have had extensive activity (like 14 miles of off-trail “hiking” last week).

    2. I get ~2000 a day according to cronometer.com: http://imgur.com/a/8AAOH

      I don’t know how can you eat so few calories and not be constantly hungry. Have you actually counted them? Don’t estimate, weigh your food.

      If you want to increase your calorie intake, add calorie-dense foods like nuts, seeds (nut butters, tahini) and dried fruits. Make smoothies.

      1. I kept hearing about cronometer – finally tried it. Very impressed! Going to try and keep a real log for a few days and see how many calories I am actually consuming.

        And yes – I DO feel hungry but also been drinking alot which probably gave me a false sense of fullness. Going to see what crono has to say!

  23. If there was ever a video that was too good, THE HEALTHIEST FOODS bagged it. Why isn’t the stop light table featured inside every shopping cart? Just when we are about to select, we need this reference table. Let’s see…, how do I stuff this into my smart phone.

  24. Nutrition 101 Playlist would be SO helpful, doc. I could just refer people to that who are plant-curious or wanting to transition to veganism.

  25. What does the science say about using sugar to make a probiotic drink, like a water kefir? What about the drink itself? Some people have anecdotes of it helping with clearing the skin, but I’m not sure about the repercussions of using sugar to make it (other ingredients are water and kefir grains)

    1. Probiotics are found in whole foods. Why don’t you soak a couple dates with with hibiscus and green tea if you want a bit of sweet. Maybe even add some sprouted wheat grains. Sugar isn’t very good particularly in water because of the spike it causes.

      1. You are confusing probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics aren’t found in whole foods. Fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh or natto are the source of probiotics.

        I’m not sure that benefit of probiotics is from microorganisms, it’s probably from their waste products like short-chain fatty acids (acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid) and vitamins. Sugar is going to be consumed by bacteria, but I don’t know how much will remain. It could be better to ferment grains than sugar water, but I have no sources about it.

        1. Amazingly the whole plant foods we consume still have microorganisms on and in them when we buy them in stores even though there would probably be more if we went outside and picked them fresh off a tree or out of our garden.
          You do not need to eat yogurt, sauerkraut, or tempeh to get a good selection of microorganisms in your gut. All you need is whole plant foods.

          1. There are absolutely different bacteria that plant food is contaminated with, that is present in fermented foods and that is present in our guts. Fortunately, most of foreign bacteria don’t survive stomach acid, and if it does, it doesn’t influence gut flora too much.

            As I already said, benefits of fermented foods are probably due to products of fermentation, not of bacteria. Though, bacteria in fermented foods are considered beneficial and some of that bacteria are present in our guts too.

            1. Leonard, Dr. Greger has stated in several videos that you don’t need these products if you eat a whole food plant based diet because you get all of the good microbes you need through this diet. Here’s a video on the subject: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/boosting-good-bacteria-in-the-colon-without-probiotics/

              Here is a video that states that the flora is found naturally on fruits and vegetables. You have to get to 4:53 to hear it. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/preventing-asthma-with-fruits-and-vegetables

              We bring lots of little beasties into us. This is not contamination, it’s a natural healthy process. You identified the product tempeh as being fermented. You make tempeh by growing mycelium on cooked soybeans. It’s a product created by microbial growth. Mushrooms are also a product of microbial growth as they are the blossoms of mycelium. It you drink water from a well, it will have microbes in it. If you forage for any foods, they will have microbes on them. These are good microbes, they are not contaminates.

              I live in the mountains. If I take brown rice flour, a bit of wheat flour and water and leave that mixture on my kitchen table, it will pick up wild yeasts and begin to ferment. That’s how I make my roti dough.

              The only microbe we may not get enough of is the yeast that produces B-12. Because of that, all people who eat a WFPB diet should take a B-12 supplement. I don’t think we need anything else to get good flora; we’re eating a diet that our flora loves.

              1. Hell, did you even read what I wrote?

                I haven’t said that you need fermented foods to keep your gut flora healthy. I haven’t said you need fermented foods for anything else. I said that bacteria that you ingest shouldn’t survive stomach acid.

                I said that fermented foods are beneficial (that doesn’t mean you need them, just like you don’t need flaxseed or beans, or whatever), but not because of bacteria, but because of products of fermentation—vitamins and short-chain fatty acids.

                When I said ‘contamination’, I implied something like cholera.

                1. And I thought you understood that I offered proof that the same benefits you gain from fermented food comes from plants and that the flora you ingest is not destroyed in your gut by stomach acid. It survives in the fiber and goes into your colon and joins the other trillions of microbes down there.

                2. Hell yes I did read what you wrote!
                  I was trying to be nice and I offered poof that you are wrong by linking to two videos that prove what I am saying.
                  The microbes you ingest when you eat whole plant foods do survive in your stomach. They are living in the undigested plant fiber and they go on to live in your colon. It’s a whole relationship we have with plants, microbes and our planet.
                  The foods you suggested do help, but they are not necessary on a WFPB diet.

                  1. Okay, okay. I agree with you, but not completely. My main point was that fermented foods are beneficial due to vitamins and short-chain fatty acids, not because of bacteria. That’s not the same as ingesting plant matter with bacteria, so not the same benefits. That’s like ingesting plant matter with vinegar, which is a product of fermentation.

                    1. Thank you for your response.
                      I do need to apologize to you about an earlier post. I realized that wrote you name incorrectly, and I am very embarrassed about that because I always try to check my spelling of doctor’s names and I always check to make sure I am addressing things correctly, but I have this terrible anomoly in my brain about names and I try to catch myself so I don’t make a mistake.
                      So, if that bugged you, which would be no surprise please accept my apology.

  26. I believe that Dr Gregor is a modern day saint and would like to thank him for his help. More of his ilk could help the people on this planet to survive. Remember we share it!

  27. I would like to be able to print the lists of foods of each group that was discussed in this particular video as a guideline for me to follow. Is this possible?? I know that some of this video is included into the ‘transcript’ section, but it would be great to get a copy of the charts, etc. Thanks for all this insightful information!

  28. May I please get the excel sheet that is used in this analysis?
    It would be great to share with the countries Ministry of Health I work with overseas. Cheers, Noreen

  29. I am surprised that protein and iron are not on this list for determining the best foods. If you eat only a plant based diet, you have to make sure you’re getting all your essential amino acids, which might not be present in some plants but easily found in meat. Meat is also an easy source of iron and a lot of people in the US are anemic. I would like to see a list of foods that are good sources of protein and iron.

    1. Hi there, before I came to this site I was just like you. I was old thinking and kind of ignorant about plant protein and plant iron. Now I learned so much about plant based diets and don’t worry anymore about getting all my essential nutrients, they are all found in plants! Yes even all the amino acids are found in abundance in plant food so there is no need to worry about protein requirements eating plant based diet. Also a surprise to you might be that plant protein is better quality than meat protein and has fiber and doe not cause cancer like meat does. Meat gives us high IGF-1 and that is bad. I saw that in this video. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/protein-intake-and-igf-1-production/

      As for meat iron, I leaned that plant based diets have the safe kind of iron that is good for you, but meat iron called Heme iron is toxic to humans. just one more way meat kills humans slowly. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-safety-of-heme-vs-non-heme-iron/

    2. I was severely anemic on a meat and dairy diet. I ate many varieties of fish, beef, ground turkey, and occasionally ribs and was still severely anemic. I’ve always eaten enough, to a fault also so amount wasn’t an issue. After changing to a vegan diet, my respiratory problems have all but ceased and I am no longer anemic! Quite remarkable actually. I even got blood tests done and I am proficient in every vitamin now!

  30. I really enjoy the new discovery videos. I also like to see an occasional recap / reminder of the importancee of good nutrition, namely the importance of a whole/ food plant based diet. Maybe even give some concrete examples of meals.

  31. I know Raw Vegan diets are optimal but what if your eat something such as a “Vegan Pizza” or Vegan Patty”. Are these products still preferred over meat? Although they may have many more chemicals in them? Anyone please share. Thanks.

    1. Killerchip: I think you are on the right track by recognizing that foods like store-bought veggies patties and frozen vegan pizzas are not the healthiest of foods. I’m not sure we have any strong evidence that such foods are healthier than their animal-based counterparts, but we have some hints that such is true. I say this for a variety of reasons, including that some people transitioning to a vegan diet use “fake meats” and other transition foods and seem to see health benefits even before going all the way to whole food plants.

      Or here is another example: When someone eats a meat pizza, the meat on it is generally going to be a processed meat, like pepperoni. If you have been watching the news, you will be familiar with the report that even a little processed meat increases cancer risk. (Here’s related information from a different source: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-much-cancer-does-lunch-meat-cause/)

      Here’s my 2 cents:
      1) You can make healthy, home-made versions of vegan pizza and veggie patties. So, those foods are not inherently unhealthy. They just tend to be when you buy them from the store pre-made.

      2) Having the occasional (once a month???) store-bought vegan pizza or veggie burger is not likely to be a problem health-wise in the context of an otherwise whole plant food diet. So, if eating those foods is a nice treat for you and helps you be healthy the rest of the time, I say go for it.

      3) Those foods have a good place in our society as “transition foods”. They can help someone move from a Standard American Diet to a more healthy whole plant food diet.

      What do you think?

      1. Absolutely, I agree 100%. We cant kid ourselves and label them as “healthy” but every now and then there a great treat. I appreciate your comment and hope to hear more from you in the future.

  32. i’d like someone to reconcile dr. wahl’s data. she cured herself of multiple sclerosis by ceasing her vegan diet in favor of an omnivorous diet that includes significant animal consumption, including organ meats, in order to increase her nutrient density, as she documents in her book. she advises against vegan diets as irrational, especially if you suffer from an autoimmune disease. of course, there are now several proponents of anti-grain diets, due to autoimmune diseases.

    1. I think that if Dr Wahl had any significant data or other evidence published in a reputable scientific journal, it might be worth considering her ideas. Instead what we appear to have is yet another person selling books, pills and potions based on a theory largely founded on personal testimony and a shaky study or two reported in an “alternative” journal.

      It’s far preferable to look at approaches which have at least been scientifically studied and the results reported in credible professional journals. The Swank Diet is such – it seems to have an underpinning of real evidence. Dr Wahl’s does not. Dr G provides a video summary of the Swank approach here, with references.

      The Reddit discussion below involving Dr Wahl is informative

      1. Tom, Dr. Wahls’ personal story is much too compelling to ignore. She has done an incredible service to humanity. And she is doing NIH funded trials to demonstrate it. In her description of the results, thus far, she says they are “breath taking”. Dr. Greger, et al, i.e. the vegan crowd are fantastic, but there is definitely a problem with grains, and, in some people, legumes. So the paleo crowd have made valuable contributions too.

        But in the interest of people suffering from autoimmunity, one can’t responsibly discount Dr. Wahls.

        1. Craig: Dr. Wahl’s personal anecdote tells us nothing about the overall healthfulness of grains or legumes. Even if you want to believe that Dr. Wahl’s results were caused by the way she interprets those experiences, that doesn’t tell us what grains and legumes mean to healthy people. To explain what I mean, take epileptic people. It has been shown that a ketogenic diet can help people with epilepsy. We also have overwhelming evidence that ketogenic diets are terribly unhealthy for the normal population, both short and long term. Sometimes someone who is sick will do better on a diet that is simply unhealthy (or in other cases unnecessary) for the general population.
          You may also notice that Dr. Wahls is selling her information for personal gain. Unlike Dr. Greger, Dr. Wahls is not donating all of those profits from her book or the “all NEW protocol membership site” to charity. If you find a chance to review the Reddit discussion that Tom pointed out, I think it is a good idea. Dr. Wahls represents herself in those discussions and it is, as Tom says, informative.
          To find out if beans and grains are healthy, you would have to consider the body of scientific evidence. I would consider the scientific information (ie, not what you get on the paleo sites) on grains and legumes to be too compelling to ignore. Here’s where I would get started learning about the evidence we have for grains and legumes:
          Sadly, you have to scroll around on those lists to find relevant videos, because there is no topic page. But it’s a good place to start.

          1. I also want to add that the paleo arguments I have seen are filled with a whole lot of fallacies and sometimes outright lies. A man who put together a site called PlantPositive.com goes through each of those issues. It’s fascinating and fun, though quite detailed. It’s not for everyone, but I’m thinking you may find it interesting and worth while. The table of contents is on the right side of the page. There are some big series that you can go through in order. But you can also look up particular topics, such as ‘grains’:

            1. I think it should be pointed-out that Dr. Wahls’ diet plan encourages people to eat nine servings of vegetables per day. So, did she have success *because* of the animal foods…or, *despite* them? Perhaps it was the vegetables that provided the main benefit. By the way, I do eat some animal products (no dairy), but in small portions and not every day.

        2. We are all suckers for a good story. That’s only human.
          But when it comes to my health, I’m a hard head – I want to see the evidence. Like Dr Wahl, Paleo’s a cool story but it doesn’t stack up. The fact is that people have been living on grains throughout recorded history and before (the earliest evidence I’ve seen shows humans were processing and eating grains at least 105,000 years ago). Rice in Asia, wheat oats, barley in Eurasia, maize in the Americas and sorghum, millet etc in Africa. Why are they supposedly a big problem especially when we know “that higher whole grain consumption is associated with lower total and CVD mortality in US men and women, independent of other dietary and lifestyle factors.”

          Sorry, but both Dr Wahl and Paleo are fails when it comes to hard evidence. And I’m not prepared to gamble my health on cool stories alone.

          1. If I was a person, living in the real world, with most data not of a double-blind, randomized, control trial manner, forced to live with imperfect knowledge, and having an autoimmune disease, that is never curable, i.e. progressive, secondary, multiple sclerosis, and offered the undesirable treatment of immune-suppresive drugs, which will surely, eventually cost me my health and/or life, I would do exactly as Dr. Wahls has done. Oh wait. I do live in that world.

            Tom, I understand your critical discipline, but you think you know too much for your own good.

            “Suckers for a good story”, is very demeaning. Of course, your right- it’s human nature. “Gamble your health”? You mean on immune suppressive drugs, right? Not dietary manipulation, without side-effects, right? I will look at the link you cited. Thanks, Craig.

            1. Dr Wahl’s story is just a story. She is also making money out of it. I think healthy scepticism is appropriate here.

              You have more choices than the ones you listed. The Swank diet for one.

              You think my description of human nature is “very demeaning”? To be equally frank, I think your response indicates that you are simply trying to justify a choice you are making that is based on faith not reason or evidence. I wish you well but I have grave reservations about Dr Wahl and her ideas.


  33. I know of one medical school, where the students gather after class and review-discuss Dr. Greger’s video’s :)

    What an awesome, independent addition to their curriculum-studies and medical-practice work :)

  34. Fantastic video. I sometimes hear people knock the Dietary Guidelines, but they do provide a good foundation for building a healthy diet: more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; less sugar, salt, and (saturated and trans) fat.

  35. I enjoyed the witty Harvard comment on the 2015 guidelines:
    “Clearly these Guidelines bear the hoof prints of the Cattleman’s Association and the sticky fingerprints of Big Soda. They fail to represent the best available scientific evidence and are a disservice to the American public.”

    1. Thanks for your comment Stephanie!

      You can find a short review on this topic here.

      From the study you have mentioned, although they found a lower risk of IHD with a higher intake of SFA, they do state that these results may have been due to “small SFA intake range (IQR: 13.2–16.6% of energy) at a high mean intake level (15.0% of energy)”. Plus they also acknowledge that “in populations with SFA intakes covering a wider range, the association may be different from our study.”

      In my opinion, saturated fat (SFA) is a controversial topic as there have been many inconsistencies in findings over the past decade. But as one recently published review states “the connections between high saturated fat intake and Coronary Heart Disease risk are real, supported by decades of mechanistic and epidemiological research”. This is particularly relevant as stated in another review: “The IOM did not set ULs for trans fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol because any intake level above 0% of energy increased LDL cholesterol concentration and these three food components are unavoidable in ordinary diets”.

      In addition, we should also take into account that “SFA are synthesised by the body and are not required in the diet” (1). Therefore, we can assume that there are no adverse effects to keep our dietary saturated fat intake at a minimum.

      Hope this helps!

  36. The videos and information on this site are very useful and informative. Thank you so much to all who contribute!

    Along with eating nutrient dense plant foods; I think it would be interesting to learn what nutrients I am getting enough of and which ones I might be lacking. What type of blood test would you recommend that will provide measurements of levels in my body currently? (i.e., What vitamins/nutrients should the test cover? Can this type of test be performed at most blood labs? How much does it typically cost? How abruptly do levels change day to day?).

    Thank you in advance!

    1. rmarci: re: ” I think it would be interesting to learn what nutrients I am getting enough of and which ones I might be lacking.” I know your follow up sentence made it clear that you are talking about blood tests, but I thought you might be interested to know that many people on this site seem to get a lot of value out of using the website cronometer.com. You can use it to track all the food you eat in detail and in return, you will find out lots of details about the nutrients you are eating. That would be a way to check to see if you are consuming enough of various nutrients. It won’t tell you what your body is absorbing (ie, info you might get from a blood test), but it might be a good place to start. Good luck.

      1. Hi Thea. Thanks so much for your reply and the suggestion. It’s a great one and I use cronometer.com; it’s a great resource. =)

    1. Marty Kendall: No, that never happened. It was proposed, but it never actually happened.
      If you want to learn more, I recommend you take a look at this article which explains how the FDA got to their initial conclusion (which later got reversed): http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2015/04/28/neal-d-barnard-and-angela-eakin-yes-cholesterol-matters/. Very important details. As they say, the devil is in the details.
      And, as it turns out, when it came to the final/actual guidelines that got released (as opposed to the preliminary floater ideas), the FDA did the very opposite of removing cholesterol limits form its dietary guidelines. The FDA got forced to actually acknowledge the science. In the end, the FDA strengthened their warning about cholesterol. You can read about it here: http://www.pcrm.org/USDA And here is a quote:
      The Guidelines state: “As recommended by the IOM, individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible … Strong evidence from mostly prospective cohort studies but also randomized controlled trials has shown that eating patterns that include lower intake of dietary cholesterol are associated with reduced risk of CVD, and moderate evidence indicates that these eating patterns are associated with reduced risk of obesity. … Dietary cholesterol is found only in animal foods such as egg yolk, dairy products, shellfish, meats, and poultry.”
      Sometimes the truth really does win. The problem is that many websites and the media didn’t bother to report what actually happened. Perhaps it is time to get some reliable sources of information!

  37. I’d really like to switch to a whole foods plant based diet but having a hard time trying to find the deitary recomendations. For instance, how much fruit, how much fat or Avacados per day. ect… I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for the last 2 months and have lost a lot of weight but honestly I dont feel like its very healthy. However it is easy to track macros like fat, carbs, fiber, calories ect.

    1. Jeff LaPorte: You are in luck. Dr. Greger has released a phone application called the Daily Dozen. It tells you exactly how much of each type of food to eat. For example: 3 servings whole grains, 3 servings ‘other fruits’, etc. The app lets you track your progress from day to day. The book, How Not To Die goes into great detail in what each of these recommendations means and easy ways and lots of ideas for how to do it. Note that Dr. Greger does not make any money off of the book. All the proceeds go to supporting this site. I do recommend checking it out. https://www.amazon.com/How-Not-Die-Discover-Scientifically/dp/1250066115/ref=sr_1_1_twi_har_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465677507&sr=8-1&keywords=how+not+to+die
      Another option is the PCRM (Physician’s Committee For Responsible Medicine) free, on-line 21 Day Kickstart program. Dr. Greger also recommends this program. That program is super great for beginners because they hold your hand for 21 days – including grocery lists, meal plans, recipes, cooking videos, inspirational e-mails, and a forum moderated by an RD where you can ask all sorts of questions. If you are interested, click the green button on the following page to register: http://www.pcrm.org/kickstartHome
      One thing to keep in mind is that some people can go “cold turkey” and change their diet in a day and be very successful. Other people need to transition over time, both to let their bodies and their minds adjust to the healthier diet. You are on an extreme diet and one that is unhealthy. You may need to take it slowly? (I don’t know.) I have heard PCRM’s director, Dr. Barnard, say that initially, people are not ready to make a change. There needs to be some planning and finding out what foods you like. Maybe try some new dishes mixed in with your regular ones until you are feeling confident/not overwhelmed about making a change. Here is a page from PCRM that talks about how to make a plan (if you don’t want to do either of the above ideas or you want to combine all of these ideas): http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vsk/vegetarian-starter-kit-three-step
      Hope these ideas are helpful to you.

      1. Thank you very much for the quick reply. I will order his book this weekend. Already on my wish list :).. I’ll also go to the pcrm site and get started there.
        No worries about going cold turkey. When I started the Keto diet it was rough for 3 days. Very hard switching to burning carbs to burning fats. Mixing coconut oil and butter with my coffee in the morning just doesn’t seem healthy though. I did lose 30 lbs in 6 weeks but I think I could have done the same on a whole food plant based diet so not going to wait any longer, just making the change.

        Thank you again.

  38. I have a question about vitamin A that I can’t find an answer too, and I know that coming to this website I’ll have the best possibility of finding one. I consume at least 3 cups of greens per day and recently started consuming a teaspoon of spirilina every other day and I noticed that I was in-taking a lot of vitamin A. I did research online and apparently if you intake a high amount of vitamin A for several months in a row, it harms your kiddneys, liver, and brain. My question is, if your intake of vitamin A solely comes from leafy greens and a teaspoon of spirilina every other day, why would that be harmful to the human body?

    1. BradenA was the research you did specifically say vit A from food or supplements? Supplements other than Vit b12 and D is not recommended.

  39. I am looking for a reliable source of vitamin K2. Should I take supplements or does fermented foods have enough K2 if eaten a few times a week?

  40. Hello, and thank you for so much great information.
    (couldn’t find a better place to ask this question)
    I was wondering… Can you use soy sauce as a source for vitamine K2 ?

    1. Hi Frank: I would be very cautious with using too much soy sauce – it can be very tasty, but even the “low salt” varieties are still super high in sodium. Have you ever tried natto? It’s a traditional Japanese dish made of fermented soybeans and it’s one of the richest sources of natural K2!

  41. What about algal oil? I’ve recently tried the Thrive brand of algae oil and really love it. Supposedly it’s really healthy and more stable for cooking at higher heat. Does anyone know about this oil?

  42. Thank you Nutrition Facts Support:

    I had looked in Cited Works and and actually clicked all over the place to see if the Presentation, the Charts or possibly the Spreadsheet that was developed might be available.

    The Cited items only contain the raw data or the basis for these charts and spreadsheet. Somebody put these over 15 x 20 or about 150 data points to put this matrix together and then stack rank sorted it. The screen shots are really poor and as well you can’t custom sort anything. I am going to post this on the Video and maybe Dr. Greger or one of his folks who generate content can respond??

    The three Screen shots where HERE:

    Here are the works Cited:

    • Clarys, P., Deliens, T., Huybrechts, I., Deriemaeker, P., Vanaelst, B., De Keyzer, W., Hebbelinck, M., & Mullie, P. 2014. “Comparison of Nutritional Quality of the Vegan, Vegetarian, Semi-Vegetarian, Pesco-Vegetarian and Omnivorous Diet.” Nutrients 6(3): 1318-1332.
    • NA. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Resources.
    • NA. Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Committee of Agricultural Service.
    • NA. Front-of-pack Traffic light signposting labeling Technical Guidance. Nov 2007 Issue 2.
    P Clarys, P Deriemaeker, I Huybrechts, M Hebbelinck, P Mullie. Dietary pattern analysis: a comparison between matched vegetarian and omnivorous subjects. Nutr J. 2013 Jun 13;12:82.

    1. Hi Elisha, if you go to the associated video page (linked in the blog), then scroll to just under the doctor’s note, you can click on Sources to find links to all of the citations. Some may not be accessible for free, unfortunately, but I hope this helps.

  43. Quick question. I’m plant based and diabetic, how do I get full enough and stay full without over doing carbs, which raise my glucose numbers quickly? Most serving sizes for rice, quinoa etc are only 1/4 cup. Veggies make me full but don’t last.

    1. Hi Bonnie – I’m Janelle, a Registered Dietitian and a Health Support Volunteer for NutritionFacts.org. Thanks for your question! If you are looking to watch your carb intake for blood glucose control while aiming to stay full, you can try a few things. Focus on choosing whole grains (over refined grains) like brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and whole wheat, which contain more fiber that helps to increase satiety, increase feelings of fullness, and allow for glucose to enter the bloodstream at a slower pace (preventing blood sugar spikes). Continue to incorporate veggies at meals as most are lower in carbs yet rich in fiber. And make sure to include protein at meals as well (such as legumes, or lower carb options include nuts, nut butters, seeds) which offers balance and increased satiety at a meal. I hope this helps!

  44. Jennifer,

    If you look up through the years of this thread there are over 30 references to the charts in the video. Including two reqeusts by me. I did get the “sources” of this information but I do not have the subscriptions that Dr. Greger must have and I really did not wanto get into the chart creation and database manipulation database game when all I wanted were these two charts?



    So to answer my own two questions and about 10 plus others and now yours……..they don’t have the charts available? They supposedly created the charts for the video and don’t have them now in PPT or DOC or PDF.

  45. Where can I get a copy of that table so that I can share this guide with others? People are more likely to believe tables than just words. I would like to show the whole thing, good and bad included so people can visualize exactly how nutritionally unnecessary meat and eggs are.

  46. Hi there,

    I haven’t been able to find much content on this (maybe you can point me in the right direction?)

    I am a vegetarian and have been for almost two years. More now than ever I feel that I am experiencing a lot of joint pain in my knees. I don’t know whether this can be attributed to the belief extended by some that says plant based protein is not digested as well as animal based protein (under the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS)) and that certain elements like soybean are said to have ‘antinutrients’ which interfere again with the digestibility.

    If you had any information on this, that would be greatly appreciated!

    1. The category “vegetarian” includes people that eat dairy and eggs which are both very inflammatory. You might want to consider this as possibly contributing to your symptoms if you eat these.

      Dr. Ben

  47. Hi, Rebecca!
    The idea that plant-derived protein is inferior to animal-derived protein is a myth, and not likely to be related to your joint pain. In fact, plant-derived protein may be superior to animal-derived protein in several ways. I will echo what my colleague, Dr. Ben, said above. If you are still consuming eggs and dairy, they could be contributing to your inflammation. A less inflammatory diet, such as a whole food, plant-based diet guided by the the Daily Dozen could ease your pain.
    You can find everything on this site about protein here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/protein/
    And everything on this site about joint health is here: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/joint-health/
    Here’s the Daily Dozen, in case you are not already familiar with it: https://nutritionfacts.org/app/themes/sage/dist/images/book/daily-dozen_6c40d3eb.jpg
    I hope that helps!

  48. Is the colored matrix available to download? Maybe as an excel spreadsheet? That would be very helpful. PDF would be a second choice.

    Also, I would like to see more of the science based “nutrition 101” content here. That simple matrix would save me many hours of combing through social media and attempting to validate the multiple sources’ credibility. Multiply those hours by the thousands of subscribers here and I see a huge benefit to the the cause.

  49. I would really like this Healthy Food Matrix as a downloadable PDF. (I would like it fixed to my fridge door)

    Thanks for what you do with all these fanatastic videos, they have completely changed my relationship with food.

    I do still eat meat, but, I would say that it is approx 5 -10% of my diet and decreasing.

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