What Is the Optimal Diet?

What Is the Optimal Diet?
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The CHIP program has attempted to take the pioneering lifestyle medicine work of Pritikin and Ornish and spread it out into the community.

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

England has been keeping mortality statistics since 1665, when yes, one person fell down some stairs and died, but in that week, nearly 4,000 people died of the plague.

Today, the modern plague is heart disease, the #1 killer of men and women, but it wasn’t always this way. If you dig back into those old statistics, by the middle of last century, heart disease was already killing off 5 to 10% of the population. But it was practically unknown at the beginning of the 20th century. Check out “The Natural History of Coronary [heart] Disease” just in the 1920s and 30s, skyrocketing 10-fold in men, and the same in women. What was going on? A clue could be found if you split people up by socioeconomic class. (You can tell this paper was written about 1950, because it’s split up into Males and…”Wives.”) It was the richest folks who had up to triple the heart disease as the poorest. Maybe it had something to do with their rich diets. You don’t know, until you put it to the test, and in doing so, discover the natural cure of coronary heart disease—discovered decades ago by Pritikin, a plant-based diet and lifestyle program; followed by Dr. Dean Ornish, and then Esselstyn at the Cleveland Clinic. But how many know of the name Hans Diehl?

Dr. Diehl was the first Director of Research at the Pritikin Center back in 1976. He was “inspired” by the amazing results they were getting at the Pritikin Center, amazing results like that of a certain Grandmother Greger. But he “recognized the limitations of [live-in] residential programs,” including their cost…and the ‘artificial’ living environment that made sustaining the behaviors more difficult [when patients] returned [back home].” So, Diehl developed the “CHIP” program “as an affordable 30-day lifestyle intervention” to be delivered in a community setting.

Ten years in, Esselstyn encouraged Hans to publish their results in the American Journal of Cardiology. And, here it is: “Coronary Risk Reduction Through [a] Community-Based Lifestyle Intervention,” famously starting out with a quote from the pioneer of coronary bypass surgery, describing it as “only a palliative treatment.” The only way we’re going to stop the epidemic is through prevention.

We know “[v]igorous cholesterol lowering [can] slow, arrest, or even reverse atherosclerosis.” But, it only works if you do it. Live-in programs work because you can control people’s diets, but they’re expensive, and people may go back home to toxic food environments. So, how about instead of them coming to you, you go to them in the community?

The original program was 16 evening sessions over four weeks, “[t]he major focus [being] to encourage participants to adopt the ‘Optimal Diet.'” They also encouraged people to walk a half-hour a day. But, most importantly, center their diet around whole plant foods. Now, that was the optimal: whole food plant-based. But, the program isn’t dogmatic, just encouraging people “to move along the spectrum” towards incorporating more whole healthy plant foods into their diets. They didn’t provide meals, just advice and encouragement, and…four weeks, later got an average weight loss of about six pounds, blood pressures went down about six points, and their LDL, bad cholesterol, down between 16 and 32 points, and fasting blood sugars dropped as well.

“Often, participants were able to decrease or discontinue antidiabetic, [cholesterol-lowering, and blood pressure-lowering] medication,” making their findings even more extraordinary. Better numbers on fewer drugs.

Live-in programs, like Pritikin and McDougall, are great in that you can optimize the “clinical benefits.” But, they can cost thousands of dollars—in addition to missing work—whereas CHIP is cheap, and they’re living at home. So, it’s not like they’ve been spoonfed some perfect diet for a few weeks at some spa, and then go back to their cupboards of cookies. CHIP is a free-living program, teaching people how to eat and stay healthy within their home environments.

Well, at least, that’s the theory. These remarkable results were after just four weeks in the program. “The true test…will be to what extent people adhere to their new lifestyle and sustain their health benefits” weeks, months, or even more than a year later, which we’ll explore, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Monsruo Estudio via Unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

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

England has been keeping mortality statistics since 1665, when yes, one person fell down some stairs and died, but in that week, nearly 4,000 people died of the plague.

Today, the modern plague is heart disease, the #1 killer of men and women, but it wasn’t always this way. If you dig back into those old statistics, by the middle of last century, heart disease was already killing off 5 to 10% of the population. But it was practically unknown at the beginning of the 20th century. Check out “The Natural History of Coronary [heart] Disease” just in the 1920s and 30s, skyrocketing 10-fold in men, and the same in women. What was going on? A clue could be found if you split people up by socioeconomic class. (You can tell this paper was written about 1950, because it’s split up into Males and…”Wives.”) It was the richest folks who had up to triple the heart disease as the poorest. Maybe it had something to do with their rich diets. You don’t know, until you put it to the test, and in doing so, discover the natural cure of coronary heart disease—discovered decades ago by Pritikin, a plant-based diet and lifestyle program; followed by Dr. Dean Ornish, and then Esselstyn at the Cleveland Clinic. But how many know of the name Hans Diehl?

Dr. Diehl was the first Director of Research at the Pritikin Center back in 1976. He was “inspired” by the amazing results they were getting at the Pritikin Center, amazing results like that of a certain Grandmother Greger. But he “recognized the limitations of [live-in] residential programs,” including their cost…and the ‘artificial’ living environment that made sustaining the behaviors more difficult [when patients] returned [back home].” So, Diehl developed the “CHIP” program “as an affordable 30-day lifestyle intervention” to be delivered in a community setting.

Ten years in, Esselstyn encouraged Hans to publish their results in the American Journal of Cardiology. And, here it is: “Coronary Risk Reduction Through [a] Community-Based Lifestyle Intervention,” famously starting out with a quote from the pioneer of coronary bypass surgery, describing it as “only a palliative treatment.” The only way we’re going to stop the epidemic is through prevention.

We know “[v]igorous cholesterol lowering [can] slow, arrest, or even reverse atherosclerosis.” But, it only works if you do it. Live-in programs work because you can control people’s diets, but they’re expensive, and people may go back home to toxic food environments. So, how about instead of them coming to you, you go to them in the community?

The original program was 16 evening sessions over four weeks, “[t]he major focus [being] to encourage participants to adopt the ‘Optimal Diet.'” They also encouraged people to walk a half-hour a day. But, most importantly, center their diet around whole plant foods. Now, that was the optimal: whole food plant-based. But, the program isn’t dogmatic, just encouraging people “to move along the spectrum” towards incorporating more whole healthy plant foods into their diets. They didn’t provide meals, just advice and encouragement, and…four weeks, later got an average weight loss of about six pounds, blood pressures went down about six points, and their LDL, bad cholesterol, down between 16 and 32 points, and fasting blood sugars dropped as well.

“Often, participants were able to decrease or discontinue antidiabetic, [cholesterol-lowering, and blood pressure-lowering] medication,” making their findings even more extraordinary. Better numbers on fewer drugs.

Live-in programs, like Pritikin and McDougall, are great in that you can optimize the “clinical benefits.” But, they can cost thousands of dollars—in addition to missing work—whereas CHIP is cheap, and they’re living at home. So, it’s not like they’ve been spoonfed some perfect diet for a few weeks at some spa, and then go back to their cupboards of cookies. CHIP is a free-living program, teaching people how to eat and stay healthy within their home environments.

Well, at least, that’s the theory. These remarkable results were after just four weeks in the program. “The true test…will be to what extent people adhere to their new lifestyle and sustain their health benefits” weeks, months, or even more than a year later, which we’ll explore, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Monsruo Estudio via Unsplash. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

This is the first in a four-video series on CHIP, the Complete Health Improvement Program. Stay tuned for:

Get the whole story of Grandmother Greger in The Story of NutritionFacts.org.

More on the power of lifestyle medicine in videos such as:

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

105 responses to “What Is the Optimal Diet?

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  1. You usually credit Pritikin for discovering the cure for coronary heart disease. Only once or twice did you mention the groundbreaking work of Walter Kempner and the proven results he achieved with his Rice Diet program, decades before Pritikin came on the scene. I used the rice diet as originally created and my left bundle block heart problem disappeared; my cardiologist was dumbfounded. So please give Kemper and his associates like Barbara Newborg a nod of recognition occasionally.

    I start everyday by reading your posts. Thanks for your educating work.

  2. Hello joedr,
    You have a good point about Dr. Kempner doing groundbreaking work way before Pritikin. However, Dr. G. has mentioned Kempner in at least 8 videos between 7/30/14 and 7/15/16. To find these, you just need to use the “Search” feature — top bar of the NutritionFacts website. Type in the word “Kempner” and those eight videos all come up.

    I hope this helps.
    Dr. Jon
    PhysicianAssistedWellness.com (Sorry, website is temporarily down; hope to be back soon)
    Health Support Volunteer for NutritionFacts.org

  3. Let’s see…

    One hundred thirteen people died from “teeth” in 1664. Hmmm. I have some of those.
    And one died from lethargy.

    Dr. Greger, can you give us a simple explanation of P value? I see it in nearly every video on NF.

    I browsed a mess of videos on YouTube – looking for tutorials and lessons about statistics. I’ve got a feeble grip on the P-value concept. Seems it’s a measure of how unlikely a null hypothesis is… or something like that. Now I can sleep at night. Can you give us an example of how this works? Something that won’t unravel my brain? Thanks.

    I started feeling lethargic after my third page of videos.

    1. You’re a Dr? And you don’t know about P values? And you want Nutritionfacts to educate you about P values? If you’re an MD type of Dr how is it that you can read and understand published medical scientific articles without knowing something as simple as what is taught in a beginning stat course?

      1. Robert, I realize that one has to be mindful when reading text and emails, since they often appear more “hostile” than is intended. But I might also suggest to you that you should keep this in mind when writing them. Your response up there sounds a little snotty to me, probably not intended.

        I think anyone with average intelligence and sensitivity can distinguish between a title and a handle. Dr, cobalt is clearly a handle; has nothing to do with medicine. (See? Snotty sounding.) =]

        I did study math my first two years at college, but never took a stats class.

        For those who might be curious: I undertook an extra-curricular science project with a friend back in high school (in the last century). We built a helium neon laser from a circuit board kit (lasing tube purchased from a company in New Jersey). Our mission was to build the kit, modulate the beam with audio intelligence, and recover it at the other end. My friends, being typical teenagers, started calling me Dr. Cobalt.

        Why not Dr. Helium Neon? Not sure; maybe it was too hard to say.

        Have a nice day, Robert.

        1. I like Dr. Helium Neon.

          It sounds like the Goodyear Blimp or something.

          Laughing, I took statistics and I do not remember even one sentence of it. I hated every second of it.

          Funny though, because I used to be good at tutoring. Not sure why.

          I was not great at math, but when I tutored people who were getting “F’s” in math or were threatening to be held back grades, because of math, I could get them to get 98’s and 99’s.

          More than once, I had people who were going to stay back, suddenly ahead of the class, and the teacher asked them to fire me, because the teachers were afraid that the kids would get bored. I tutored for free, because I had to read the book chapter, while the pizza at the restaurant was cooking, then, figure it out for myself and then, explain it to them, but the one topic, which I wouldn’t tutor was statistics.

          I genuinely had one person who was going for their Master’s Degree and heading toward Christmas break, they told me that they had 4 F’s on 4 Tests and F’s on all of their papers and couldn’t get more than 1 C to stay in their major and all of their classes were things like science and statistics.

          Let’s just say that they are in their career now and didn’t get even one C, because all the rest of their tests and papers were up in that 98,99, A+ range, and no, I didn’t write papers for them. I did have them read them out loud at the pizza place.

          I honestly feel mentally retarded with every scientific topic, but I wasn’t going to let my friend fail.

          I don’t even know if a statistics for dummies would help me.

          1. Laughing, because that friend is making the big bucks in a medical career now and I could help them understand concepts, which I don’t understand at all, and I still don’t understand how that process works.

            It is a true story, and I just genuinely know that my brain was probably broken already back then.

      2. Robert,

        A while back, Dr. Greger did a series, where the MAJORITY of doctors weren’t even close with understanding the statistics in their own area of specialty.

        I can’t remember how many, but it was a strong majority of doctors who didn’t understand statistics.

        My mind can’t remember whether it was in the 80% or 90% range, but it was up there.

        I understand how that could be shocking to you, if you are a doctor who does understand statistics.

        That is one thing, I believe Dr. Greger is willing to teach doctors as part of this site.

        I would commend any doctor for trying to gain understanding of a topic, which they might not understand.

        And, yes, I know that Dr. Cobalt is a nickname.

        I am just saying it, because doctors don’t even have time to keep up with the research and I saw a doctor who highly valued computer assistance with medical topics said that we can’t expect doctors to be good in every topic. He said that even if a doctor was a straight A student in school. It is still likely that they will have forgotten much of the information they learned in school. It is hard to remember specific details from the Fall Semester by Spring break. It just is what it is.

      3. Please eat your vegetables and spare this community of individuals your hostility!
        “To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.”

    2. Dr. Cobalt:
      The p value is the probability of the result of a study being a fluke. Say the p value of a result of a study is 0.01. Multiply it by 100; you get 1%. The probability of this result being a fluke is 1%. Most investigators deem 5% as the upper limit. If the p value of the result is greater than 5%, the result has no predictive value.

      1. Thanks Barb and George. I will look at the 101 course on YouTube.

        I think the most difficult issue for my mind to grasp is the identity of the “null hypothesis” in a given research study.

        If you flip a coin 6 times and it comes up heads six times in a row, the probability of doing so is only 1.6%, much less than 5%. Is the null hypothesis that the coin is fair? I sort of understand that example. But when I see P values in studies referenced in NF.org videos… I can’t wrap my brain around exactly what the null hypothesis is in that study.

        Say the P value in a DB PC Randomized study about the efficacy of aloe juice used topically on a tumor is 0.001… What is the null hypothesis? That the study should have shown no difference between control group and the test group? That’s where I get lost.

        1. dr cobalt, you’re probably smart enough to have been a doctor, as evidenced by your astute ability to conceptualize what it is you are questioning—and also to know enough to have the question in the first place. Impressive!

        2. Hi Dr Cobalt,

          You’re right, and this is why sample size is very important. If we only have 6 participants (just as in tossing a coin), the chances of getting a fluke are high (we might have picked 6 people with an unusual quirk which makes them different to everyone else). If we have 100 participants, or 600, or 6000, then our chances of getting a fluke get less…
          But if we have a very large sample our chances of getting a ‘statistically significant’ result is higher, whereas it might not be meaningful (it might be a very small change but most people in the sample experience this small change)

          1. Thanks for the website, Barb. Yes, that’s exactly what I was looking for: some practical examples. =]

            I’ve seen P values in nearly every NF video, and knew enough to regard a small P value as more significant than a large one… but I didn’t know why. I understood that P value is what quantifies the “null hypothesis” – makes it more or less likely to be true. What I was missing were some examples of this mysterious null hypothesis. The thoughtco website helped a lot.

  4. I await with ‘bated breath the next video. Having been WFPB with no added oil for 18 months, I have slipped in the last week with low fat potato chips and vegan ice cream. I need a pep talk.

    1. Barbie: If you’re having health issues and/or finding it difficult to stick to the “diet” which you describe, I can almost guarantee that you are not getting enough healthy fat in your diet; including some healthier oils like XV olive oil, flax seed or coconut oil. Low-fat ANYTHING is not going to be satisfying – nor is it healthy. Also on the products you describe, you should be aware that they most likely contain additives and/or fillers that can be harmful to your body; especially over time.

      1. Sorry BChristine, you have been misinformed. All ESSENTIAL fats are contained naturally in the perfect package of WHOLE plant foods, not oils. Extracted oils, even EVOO, are basically a manufactured, empty, high calorie, waste product devoid of essential fiber and nutrition, read the labels on any of them. More than twice as caloric as white sugar, oil is added to everything these days, and along with their excess caloric load and unfavorable omega ratio, contribute to inflammation and the chronic diseases that are becoming progressively more ubiquitous. We evolved and are biologically wired to seek out high calorie (energy) foods in nature to assure survival, but in our current excessive, very artificial food environment, it is being used by industry to manipulate us for their profit but to our detriment. There is surely a need for essential fats in our diet, but they should come from whole foods. There is no “healthy” oil… some may be preferable to lard or butter, but that’s about equivalent to saying arrows are better than bullets. Why choose your poison when you can just avoid it altogether?

            1. Basically every if not most whole plant foods especially fruits and vegetables, melons, mangoes, strawberries and many more, use cron-o-meter to get details~

            2. Some Whole Foods have quite a bit of fats/oils. For instance avocados, olives, nuts and seeds, flaxseed.
              People who need more calories to keep from getting too thin can eat more of those.

        1. Very well said Vegetater!
          Just one thing to add to that. The primary thing that causes oil to be worse than just empty calories is the fact that they begin oxidizing as soon as they are removed from the whole plant.

          Now, given our epidemic of obesity, the empty calorie point is very significant as well but it is a different point. The oxidation is the factor that makes consuming even “healthy” olive oil an endothelial inflammatory phenomenon. These oxidized oils behave much like trans fats.

        2. Yup, she possibly lacked calories long term which is very common and represent the first cause of fail of this kind of diet change, we dont just need to eat random fat, we just need to eat the essential ones, few grams of omega 3(1-2gr) and few grams of omega 6(3-10gr) as long as we get enough calories in our diet, of course eating mroe fat will bring more calories which can help a lot if it was lacking~

        1. Should have stated that I was replying to BChristine. On the mobile platform, the threads here aren’t so clearly spelled out.

      2. Oils are toxic. If you’re binging on crappy foods, you aren’t eating enough starches. Potatoes, corn, beans, oats, barley, wheat, rye, etc. Read “The Starch Solution” by the great Dr. John McDougall. All of our nutrition doctors of today stand on the shoulders of Dr. John McDougall.

        1. I think that McDougall would be the first to acknowledge that he himself built on the works of generations of previous researchers, and not just Pritikin and Kempner

          Much of what is now known about the benefits of a completely or largely starch-based vegetarian diet was known a hundred years ago, and indeed a sort of less-systematic China Study was also published then. We all owe the Dutch, and astute European observers of the health effects of rationing during the two word wars, a considerable debt it seems.

          https://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(11)03212-7/fulltext

          A shorter and more digestible summary is here

          http://www.epi.umn.edu/cvdepi/history-gallery/medical-marco-polos/

          It also shows that not all US MDs are ignorant of or dismissive of the role nutrition in health.

    2. Hi Barbie! Good job on restricting oil intake! I’ve been trying the same for the last two months. Corn chips and salsa are always my downfall. If you’re interested, there’s a great weight loss/diet community called FatSecret.com. Everyone is really supportive (even though many are on keto diets). I would encourage you to join if you need some more community support. I also come here and rewatch old videos when I temptation becomes strong though. Good luck!

    3. Well done Barbie on your 18 months of wfpb oil free eating! I loved today’s video as well, and look forward to the next one in the series. Staying oil free is well worth it as we know thanks to Dr Greger’s videos like this one https://nutritionfacts.org/video/olive-oil-and-artery-function/ which talks about the deleterious effects of oils on endothelium function. Dr Greger has a collection of videos on the artery clogging tropical oils like coconut oil. https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/coconut-oil/

      I find Dr Hans Diehl’s talks very encouraging Barbie.. here is one I listen to occasionally https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9gabeW17c28

    4. Barbie, we’ve all ‘fallen off the wagon’, so to speak. As I recall, even Tom has confessed to eating ice cream on rare occasions. But I think Blair may be right. You may need a little whole food starch in your diet if you’re having cravings. And be sure to pat yourself on the back for all the good WFBP food you did eat. That’s why I still love the app. Seeing all those boxes ticked off is my way of patting myself on the back every night before going to sleep.

      1. Blair & Nancy,

        Is it carbs?

        For me, I genuinely didn’t have a single “sweets” craving when I was completely off starches and I am back to having them and have been pondering whether it was because I went on starches and genuinely stopped eating anywhere near the fruits and other vegetables.

        I genuinely have had sweet cravings this week, so I bought fruit and non-starchy vegetables.

        Is it that I need a different starch?

        I thought it might be some nutrient missing.

        I pretty much got down to eating steel cut oatmeal for breakfast without anything with it. For lunch, I often end up having a veggie burger, because I have a microwave and didn’t have the money to spend it on produce, except for my dog. Cancer is expensive business, even for pets.

        For dinner, I just have white rice sometimes or rice and beans.

        And snacks was generally a handful of nuts.

        I stopped craving junk food when I went on fruits and vegetables and stopped craving fruits and vegetables when I went on starches and grains.

        But, suddenly, the past two days, I wanted ice cream. I got dairy free, but had the thought, I haven’t had even one sweets craving in two years.

        I think I crave sweets when I go heavy on the starches. It seems like it has been that way my whole life and I think it is because starches are quite filling and fulfilling, so I don’t eat any other fruits or vegetables at all.

    5. Hai-yah Barbie! Don’t be hard on yourself for having the occasional food that isn’t WFPB no oil. First of all, you made it 18 months! That’s spectacular. Better than I’ve ever managed haha. Second of all, even Dr. Greger says that what you have on special occasions doesn’t matter- it’s the regular foods that you eat on a daily basis that determine your health.

      So get back on the wagon, keep your head up, and keep awesome home-girl!

      1. I refuse to be hard on myself too; life’s too short. (Off the subject, I’ve never had a flu/pneumonia vaccine and haven’t had so much as a bad cold since the winter of 2000.)

        The only time I have oil of any kind — EVOO – is at breakfast when I squirt three or four measly drops on my Ezechiel toast. I’m not fond of dry toast. Can’t win ’em all, can we now! :-)

  5. I was privileged to train a few days at one of these community interventions with Dr Diehl in the 1990’s..He is a trailblazer ! When I came home, I contacted a local university where I had previously been on faculty to get their involvement in setting this up ! They were willing to house the program but could not provide the resources to sustain it! Unfortunately I was not in a position to commit the time, but wish I had…could’ve reversed a lot of heart disease!

  6. Hans is the man. I love his sayings, which I call Diehlisms and include; “Stents are like Pringles ….you can never just have one”, “There’s a pill for every ill” and “From your lips to your hips” to name a few lol.

    He’s less known than Greger, Ornish or Esselstyn but is no less a WFPB giant… funniest and kindest of them all though! I also appreciate his coining of “whole foods, as-grown” to describe a healthy vegan diet in an uncomplicated way.

    1. Yes I do. It is part of the CHIP package you start the program with. It’s a great starter book but I don’t refer to it anymore now that I’ve been on WFPB lifestyle for many years.

        1. It was written many years ago before WFPB eating became popular. As a director of the CHIP program I used many of the recipes to feed our participants and give them the idea that meals could be terrific without meat and dairy. Now there are so many recipes out there that I just search for the ingredient I want to use and go from there. You can be as plain or fancy as you want.

      1. Esselstyn’s argument is

        ‘NO OIL! Not even olive oil, which goes against a lot of other advice out there about so-called good fats. The reality is that oils are extremely low in terms of nutritive value. They contain no fiber, no minerals and are 100% fat calories. Both the mono unsaturated and saturated fat contained in oils is harmful to the endothelium, the innermost lining of the artery, and that injury is the gateway to vascular disease. It doesn’t matter whether it’s olive oil, corn oil, coconut oil, canola oil, or any other kind. Avoid ALL oil.’
        http://www.dresselstyn.com/site/faq/

        1. Yes, Dr. E. is well-known for being VERY anti-oil; a lot of his patients have heart and other serious ailments. His son, Rip (as most of us know) has not been quite so vehement in the oil department. They’re rightly concerned that people will go hog-wild and sop up their bread or whatever in the stuff — the types who have trouble dealing with self control. As I posted earlier, I know how to squeeze out what boils down to no more than 1/4 of a teaspoon of olive oil on my morning toast. This tiny amount hasn’t killed me yet.

          http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/happy_healthy_long_life/2008/07/im-going-to-miss-my-olive-oil—who-knew-it-wasnt-so-healthy-after-all-drs-esselstyn-ornish-vogel-rudel-did.html

          1. In my own case, I’m certainly not worried about those despicable “empty calories.” Never had a weight problem, and at 5 ft. 5 inches, I continue to weigh around 112. Probably something to do with having a fast metabolism (?):

            https://www.livestrong.com/article/401289-what-is-the-difference-between-slow-fast-metabolism/

            Dr. Mark Hyman’s take on olive oil: (There are so many conflicting opinions among the diet gurus!)

            https://www.ecowatch.com/whats-the-verdict-on-olive-oil-is-it-good-or-bad-for-you-1882045884.html

            1. Dr. Hyman does not advocate for a completely WFPB diet (but then I see you aren’t on one either). He also is apparently of the camp that believes sugar is more a cause of cardiovascular disease than fat. It is therefore not too surprising that he differs from Dr. Greger, Dr. Esselstyn and many others on oil consumption.

                1. There are kooks in any camp, but are vegans taking over the Internet? Or did I misread that? There still seems to be quite a lot of staunch anti-veganism firmly in place from what I see. Not that I am especially pleased about that.

                  I am far from convinced that Dr. Hyman has the gift of reading between the lines of studies to get to the truth like he believes he does. Then again, I tend to process all information with discernment.

                  Do I consume oils? Small amounts, but I am hoping to drop them entirely.

                  1. AHso…”small amounts,” you say? How small is small? More than the few puny drops of EVOO that I squirt on my Ezechiel toast?

                    Yes, I obviously exaggerated regarding vegans taking over the internet — but there’s a helluva lot of them out there. There’s a huge fight going on between the veganites and the carnies. Sort of interesting to watch the debates. Or maybe it isn’t.

                    https://www.culinarynutrition.com/top-50-vegan-blogs/

                    Vegetable Police has a new video out today defending himself against the Happy Healthy Vegan and Footsoldier dudes. And so it goes. *sigh*

                    1. I probably consume a bit more oil than you do. So I’m not totally WFPB either, even though I currently consider it the ideal. I am totally plant based.

                      I sure wish the science of nutrition had more incontrovertible answers. Dr.
                      Hyman does get some credit from me for trying to reach a reasonable consensus.

                    2. “I probably consume a bit more oil than you do. So I’m not totally WFPB either,”

                      Your sins are forgiven, bro; go in peace. :-)

            2. The point is not whether you can survive that half a teaspoon of added free oil a day. The point is whether something is inherently healthy or not. We are building an evidence-based diet that is focussed on those foods that are healthy and we create tasty recipes based on them exclusively without compromise.

              There is no controversy about oil being a red light food, the entire plant around it has been processed away and only the fat is left.

              1. Right. But, in my case, I’m not worried about adding a little fat to my scrawny hide. :-)

                Although, come to think of it, I could probably substitute the dastardly oil with a mashed-up olive instead. Or maybe two olives. Hmm….I might check it out.

  7. This may interest some of you: https://autoimmunesecrets.com/

    A free series that began yesterday July 31st.

    So far, looks a lot it looks like has a lot in common with the WFPB approach Dr. Greger recommends. Not surprising as I learned about this conference through an email from Ocean Robbins.

    1. Haven’t checked it out, but I have s lot of respect for the Robbins and their Food Revolution Network. Joel Fuhrman MD has a lot of excellent information on autoimmune disorders too.

      1. I like Dr. Fuhrman’s emphasis on nutrients in food. As people get older, they may need less calories, but need at least as many nutrients.

    2. It is a sign-in to register to watch. I don’t watch things I have to register to watch. If it is really important and free why not just post it for people to watch easily!

      1. Jc, it’s because they want to market products for sale to you and probably also cross market to you. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I understand your concern. Food Revolution Network has a business model that very strongly relies on marketing partnerships. This series is apparently being done by one of those partners. I’ll have to admit that this sometimes irks the heck out of me too.

    3. Thanks.

      I must admit though that I automatically class any website purporting to reveal/sell secrets as an obvious money-making scheme, and any site /video claiming to reveal the ‘truth’ about this or that as obviously the work of opinionated cranks (who may or may not also be after my money).

      Yes, it’s very prejudiced of me but it has saved me wasting hours of my life on videos and websites by people who, shall we say, aren’t society’s brightest and best. Is this one an exception?

  8. If I were to roast vegetables (which I handle better than raw) and want to avoid using oil what would be the suggested way to “lubricate” them since I can’t imagine dry roasting?

    1. Lida, I use vegetable broth instead of oil as a replacement with much success. I also make my own veggie broth about once a week. I keep the peels from my weekly veggie food prep (carrot peels, onion peels, garlic bulb peels) and add a few others (some chopped herbs, celery leftovers, etc). The veggie broth is then used for roasted veggies (like roasted Brussels sprouts or peppers or zucchini) or as a base for a soup or the “water” for my brown rice…or I freeze it for another time or feed it to my plants. Scraps are soft and go in the composter.

      1. Gina,
        That was so helpful! Thanks so much.
        I am always grateful to those who take the time to reply. I would not have thought of vegetable broth without your reply.

        1. I dry roast veggies, especially veggie mixes of sweet potato, quartered scallions, garlic, chopped carrots, bell peppers, sometimes mushrooms. Many veggies will ‘sweat in the oven so moisture is not a problem. I dry roast potatoes and yams to get a crispy edge on them – yummy !

  9. Sorry to ask about something unrelated, but I’ve not found an acceptable answer for my problem online so far, because most of those who answer are Paleo people. I have been on the WFPBD for several years now, and probably owing to faulty diets or stress before this, I believe I have SIBO. I searched on NF for all references to Bacterial Overgrowth, but haven’t found anything that speaks to me about what I can do about it without giving up beans and other necessary foods. Can anyone help?

    1. Thanks for your replay.I hadn’t seen the website, https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11020/10-signs-you-have-small-intestinal-bacterial-overgrowth-sibo.html , until now.

      It really doesn’t say much that’s new to me. I have all the symptoms, the bloating, etc.,except constipation (thanks to eating a whole foods plant based diet), but yesterday I learned that it most likely won’t be until late September before I will be able to take the breath test to be sure, because of scheduling here. I don’t believe I have food allergies, though my body is intolerant to excess garlic.

      Meanwhile, I’ve lost more than 20 pounds — I was skinny to begin with–and without loperamide — 2mg twice daily — I wouldn’t be able to keep what I eat in my body.

      I don’t eat any sugars, except what’s contained in bananas, mangoes, blueberries, peaches, grapes, apricots, dates, and probably others: all the food I eat is organic, and I’m good at keeping to what is necessary to remain healthy. I use no sweeteners of any kind for anything, even the matcha tea I drink in the morning, and from what I understand, fruit sugars in the whole fruit are not a problem.

      I walk up and down the mountain where I live (4 miles) every morning, I meditate, and presently I’m learning how to retrain my breathing, which has made it possible to give up the CPAP machine for sleep apnea.

      If I learn that something is wrong for me to eat (I trust Dr. Greger, though I know that, like everyone else, he doesn’t have, nor claim to have all the answers), I can readily eliminate it.

      If I give up eating beans and other foods that are on the FODMAP or GAP diet protocol — and I will not eat any animal products again — I think that I may waste away . . .

      1. I don’t believe I’m allergic to beans, because I’ve been eating them all my life, and they don’t give me gas. I eat lots of Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and ground flax seeds and nothing added peanut butter. I sometimes eat all of them in the same day; I wonder if that’s a problem?

        As I think of it, I also love peanut butter, but sometimes I do feel a little heavy after a meal with peanut butter included. And lately, because of this problem, I’ve given up eating wheat or rye bread, made with a sourdough starter and nothing added, so I was eating the peanut butter on the side, until now — I’ve stopped it, to see if that will help.

        I’ve heard of people on a meat only diet, who claim great results. I am open to whatever makes other people healthy, but it’s not for me.

        1. i admit to being addicted to my (daily) one tablespoon of peanut butter — smeared on either a brown rice cake, a Wasa flax seed “crispbead,” or a warmed-up Ezekiel sprouted grain tortilla. Every bloody day! I should at least alternate with almond butter, but for some reason it tastes too sweet to me. It’s suggested we don’t eat the same stuff day after day, but…..:-(

          I should also try to find something other than the 72-85% dark chocolate squares I’ve been scarfing down for dessert every evening — for lo these many years. It’s not that I’m (totally) addicted, it’s just that I can’t find a decent substitute.

          BTW, the ingredients for the Wasa crackers (a product of Germany): whole grain rye flour, oat flakes, yellow flaxseed, brown flaxseed, sesame seeds, and salt

          1. I try to keep off the chocolate by having three figs every evening with my coffee. They have calcium in them which I need to boost. I soak them for a couple of minutes in hot water. Have been on WFPBNO for nearly three years after having a coronary artery scan and coming out as high risk. Would like another scan but they are so expensive in the UK and I cannot do more for my arteries than I am doing.

            1. “I try to keep off the chocolate by having three figs every evening with my coffee.”

              Sounds like a plan! One fig would be more than enuf for me though. They’re awfully sweet critters, aren’t they!

                  1. Very moist and soft, did once pick them off a tree in Spain but in the UK They can be grown if we have a good summer like this year

        2. you need an antibiotic to get rid of the overgrowth. there is a specific one Rifaximin which got rid of my SIBO like instantly..

  10. I wish there was a nutrition facts website for dogs. Everyone is told that meats and oils are good for them. I’ve put them on a vegan kibble diet but idk if the oils are good or bad. If anyone can direct me to a valid study looking at dogs’ health and oils I’d really appreciate it.

    1. Fuhrman is going to do a trial on “nutritarian dogs” to see if this improves their health. But even these dogs would not be vegan at all.

      I’m not sure about the specifics anymore but I think it was about 60% animal-based and 40% plant based or the other way around. So there’s that. No evidence yet because it hasn’t started as far as I know, he was still looking for volunteers…

  11. Dr. Greger. There are some people on Fiverr offering “full cooking video concepts”, basically, you send them the recipes and they do all the shopping, cooking and filming. Perhaps this is a good way to create some more recipe videos without too much hassle? Surely we can miss you in the kitchen but not in the research department, I would rather like to see your new book published a couple of months earlier.

  12. Any podcasts or videos or studies on the optimal balance of protein to carbs to fat on a vegan diet for muscle building or just maintaining muscle mass?

  13. Hello John, thanks for your comments.

    At the time, Dr. Greger doesn’t have any video regarding vegan diet and muscle building or sports nutrition, but I’ll take note of that as it surely would be an awesome topic.

    In the mean time, you can check these articles:

    Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers (open access)
    https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0192-9

    Vegetarian diets : nutritional considerations for athletes.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16573356?dopt=Abstract

    Fueling the vegetarian (vegan) athlete.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20622542?dopt=Abstract

    Nutrition guidelines for strength sports: sprinting, weightlifting, throwing events, and bodybuilding.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21660839?dopt=Abstract

    For those who are not open access you can read them through https://sci-hub.tw/

    Hope it helps

  14. Given the data-supported recommendations for diet by Dr. Greger, I have always wanted to get his comments on the Budwig diet protocol of Dr. Budwig for fighting cancer at he cellular level. PhilT

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