Why You Should Care About Nutrition

Why You Should Care About Nutrition
4.65 (92.97%) 91 votes

Most deaths in the United States are preventable, and related to nutrition.


Does it really matter what we eat? Well, the good news is, we have tremendous power over our health destiny and longevity. The majority of premature death and disability is preventable, with a healthy enough diet. It’s…the…food.

Most deaths in the United States are preventable, and related to nutrition. According to the most rigorous analysis of risk factors ever published—the Global Burden of Disease Study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—the number one cause of death in the United States, and the number one cause of disability, is our diet, which has bumped tobacco smoking to number two. Smoking now only kills a half million Americans every year, whereas our diet kills hundreds of thousands more.

What we eat is the number one determinant of how long we live. What we eat is what determines most whether we’ll die prematurely. What we eat is what determines most whether we become disabled or not.

So, if our diet is the number one cause of death and disability, if most deaths in the United States are preventable, and related to nutrition, then, obviously, nutrition is the number one thing taught in medical school. Right? Obviously, it’s the number one thing your doctor talks to you about at every visit. Right?

Unfortunately, doctors suffer from a severe nutrition deficiency—in education. Most doctors are just never taught about the impact healthy nutrition can have on the course of illness, and so, they graduate without this powerful tool in their medical toolbox.

Now, there are also institutional barriers—such as time constraints, and lack of reimbursement. In general, doctors aren’t paid for counseling people on how to take better care of themselves. Of course, the drug companies also play a role in influencing medical education and practice. Ask your doctor when’s the last time they were taken out to dinner by Big Broccoli—it’s probably been a while.

That’s why I started NutritionFacts.org. It’s the tool I wish I had in medical training. NutritionFacts.org is a free, nonprofit, science-based public service, providing daily updates on the latest in nutrition research via bite-sized videos. There are videos on more than 2,000 health and nutrition topics—all free—with new videos and articles uploaded every day on the latest in evidence-based nutrition.  What a concept.

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.

Videography courtesy of Grant Peacock

Does it really matter what we eat? Well, the good news is, we have tremendous power over our health destiny and longevity. The majority of premature death and disability is preventable, with a healthy enough diet. It’s…the…food.

Most deaths in the United States are preventable, and related to nutrition. According to the most rigorous analysis of risk factors ever published—the Global Burden of Disease Study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—the number one cause of death in the United States, and the number one cause of disability, is our diet, which has bumped tobacco smoking to number two. Smoking now only kills a half million Americans every year, whereas our diet kills hundreds of thousands more.

What we eat is the number one determinant of how long we live. What we eat is what determines most whether we’ll die prematurely. What we eat is what determines most whether we become disabled or not.

So, if our diet is the number one cause of death and disability, if most deaths in the United States are preventable, and related to nutrition, then, obviously, nutrition is the number one thing taught in medical school. Right? Obviously, it’s the number one thing your doctor talks to you about at every visit. Right?

Unfortunately, doctors suffer from a severe nutrition deficiency—in education. Most doctors are just never taught about the impact healthy nutrition can have on the course of illness, and so, they graduate without this powerful tool in their medical toolbox.

Now, there are also institutional barriers—such as time constraints, and lack of reimbursement. In general, doctors aren’t paid for counseling people on how to take better care of themselves. Of course, the drug companies also play a role in influencing medical education and practice. Ask your doctor when’s the last time they were taken out to dinner by Big Broccoli—it’s probably been a while.

That’s why I started NutritionFacts.org. It’s the tool I wish I had in medical training. NutritionFacts.org is a free, nonprofit, science-based public service, providing daily updates on the latest in nutrition research via bite-sized videos. There are videos on more than 2,000 health and nutrition topics—all free—with new videos and articles uploaded every day on the latest in evidence-based nutrition.  What a concept.

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.

Videography courtesy of Grant Peacock

Doctor's Note

This video is part of an experiment to find ways to appeal to those new to the site. So much of what I do is targeted towards those who already know the basics. But, in the user survey about a thousand of you filled out a few weeks ago, many of you asked for me to take a step back, and do some videos targeted more towards those new to evidence-based nutrition.

So, with the volunteer help of videographer Grant Peacock, I came up with ten introduction- and overview-type videos for both new users to orient themselves, and for long-time users to use to introduce people to the site. If you missed The Story of NutritionFacts.org, check that out, and stay tuned for:

What we’re going to do is alternate between these broader overview-type videos, and the regularly scheduled content—so as not to bore those who just crave the latest science.

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

260 responses to “Why You Should Care About Nutrition

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    1. Agree! Dr G is the best!

      “obviously, nutrition is the number one thing taught in medical school; right? Obviously, it’s the number one thing your doctor talks to you about at every visit; right?” LOL! The only reason I became aware of nutrition and health is because of Michael Greger, John Mcdougall, Dean Ornish, Michael Klaper, T. Colin Campbell, Caldwell Esselstyn, Joel Fuhrman, John Robbins and Roy L Walford. I dont remember anything about nutrition and health from medschool.

      1. One of the things I get frustrated with as my medical degree had a TON of nutritional teaching, to the point we actually had an hour lecture about why humans should never eat bacon and processed meats… followed by a barbecue lunch :/ We are taught it, but not many seem to listen…

        1. Hello NF moderator Renae – . . . so I just HAVE to ask you . . . . given your comments above, . . . what do you tell/advise your patients. Do you “talk-nutrition” to them and encourage better nutrition? I am asking because I understand how hard it is to get this topic into the doctor-patient dialogue. So please, . . share with all of us what you do with this very large subject and how you handle it with your patients. Do you tell them that plant-based is the way to go? Do you evade the subject? Tell us, please, how you handle it.
          Thank you so much.

            1. why not have your medical clinic contact its patients for a 10 sessions class on nutrition..for eg. with a minimal charge to cover the expenses and a maximum of patients attending. .. I once went to a 20 session – 2 hr ea insomnia class program subsidized by the provincial government based on a book written by dr. Charles M. Morin.. ..it was excellent!! .. informative, interactive and helpful.

              The same can be done on nutrition.

              1. Yes! I thought of doing that as a dental hygienist, and I sure do regret letting someone talk me out of it. That’s what’s needed. Excellent idea.

          1. Hey guest! I still have 5 weeks remaining of medical school, so I am not an MD yet, but very soon!! I work as a nutritionist/exercise physiologist where I talk a lot about nutrition, but I assume this question refers to being an MD? I plan to work in preventative medicine, so it will be easier, however throughout my degree and clinical practice I have always been open and honest with my opinion and referring them to websites like this for further information. I always bring it up as it is so important for health and start from a ‘just eat more plants’ approach, with the ideal goal being WFPB/SOS free, however every step in the right direction is encouraged and supported. I hope to have more experience and advice soon! I would never evade the subject like I would not evade if they were overweight or a smoker, it’s almost negligence if you do imo! Hope this helps!

          2. Hello Guest, I work as a pharmacist and many people come to the pharmacy for a free blood pressure reading as part of our service. All you need to do after you do the reading is ask “Would you like to know what YOU can do to lower your blood pressure?” Sometimes they say “Well I go to my cardiologist every 3 months…” , “Well I take XYZ pills…” Then you wait a second and say it again, emphasizing NO WHAT YOU CAN DO…. Now they may start to look perplexed and say “Well I KNOW I should lose weight…” I KNOW I should exercise”… Then you say “Forget that” (for now!!! ) Now you are not the enemy. Now you can tell them we need 4700 mg of potassium per day and good luck getting that on the american diet. As long as they don’t have kidney disease or need to restrict potassium intake they can incorporate potatoes, (sweet potatoes best if an AIC not known), kiwis, oatmeal, dried fruits, etc. Then you can tell them they will get even BETTER results if they lower the meats. Remember to mention to lower the chicken, tuna , and salmon also because people don’t think of this as meat anymore. Also, since you may need to mention a creeping up AIC you can explain lowering the meat will bring down the AIC also. They will need to take vitamin B12 1000 mcg twice a week and have that checked once yearly. They should take that on top of their multivitamin since you may not know how compliant they are with taking that and how important proper Vitamin b12 levels are to the body. Hope this helps. Invariably during this conversation they start mentioning their arthritis, back pain, bad knees, their weight, which you can tie in to being helped by a whole food plant based diet. It should not take too long to have this conversation and it sets the tone/topics for future visits.

            1. Dara,

              Love the approach…. I would encourage you to consider not testing the b12 levels but rather the MMA as it’s reflective of the tissue contents, not the serum exclusively. Another method to consider is having a chart handy for the nutrient interaction of the medication/s they are taking. By having a chart vs your rap you can immediately redirect their thinking in terms of the all mighty cardiology suggestions, obviously missing some pieces. I’ve found it sets a modicum of doubt into play and opens the door to your caring, in a scientific manner and offering additional value. Get’s some attention and opens the door to the diet discussion and reduced cost if they need less meds, etc. Dr. Alan Kadish Moderator for Dr. Greger

        2. “an hour lecture about why humans should never eat bacon and processed meats..” Never heard that. What year was that, who gave the lecture, and where?

                1. “Disappointing” would be an understatement. But, we live in optimistic times. The “healthy food revolution” is out of the gate, gaining momentum, and there’s no stopping it now. Our children will face many challenges, many of which we’ve never seen. Hopefully, having access to, and knowledge of what’s healthy and what isn’t, won’t be one of them.

                  Thanks to sites like this, and access to information, we’ll all in position to make better, healthier choices. Forget waiting around for government. We, the consumer, have no choice but to drive change ourselves. Sorry Emerald, pork fat doesn’t rule.

    2. Agreed!

      I love my new family doctor here in Vancouver. A young doctor, close to my age, originally from South Africa. During my annual physical, her only suggestion was that I continue to eat more leafy green vegetables, spinach, fruit, grains etc… So maybe things are changing in med schools.

  1. I really like the overview videos describing the basics. Will these videos be on a separate page with a link for those new users. It is great to have a “Nutritionfacts 101” for people to absorb before going on to the more technical videos. Just when you think this website can’t get any better……it does! THANK YOU!!!!

      1. I think it’s great that you make comments here in the comments section, Dr G. It really adds a “personal touch”, to what is already a fantastic website!!!

      2. Just a suggestion, Dr Greger. You may want to concentrate on the eating a lot of WFPB before talking too much about avoiding animal foods in general because it will “turn off” a few people. After all, your message is about eating better and getting more healthy rather than trying to get everybody to the best health because this varies a lot depending on each person’s belief.

        And last but not least, if you can stop the overzealous staff in your team to stop deleting all of my posts no matter what I say, this will be great. Otherwise this post will disappear in minutes if not seconds.

      3. Dr Greger, do you think that a post as followed should be censored? I was replying to some post above asking about fasting before a colonoscopy.

        “Not true. Because your stool may be mistaken as a tumor, or a tumor may not be visible because of the stool.”

        Last week somebody asked about how to fix ADHD and I suggested to take some zinc supplement and he did and it worked. That post was also deleted.

      4. Just one thing I’d have added to your vid – not just death/disability, but energy, focus, productivity, zest… quality of life. How about adding one more intro-level vid, maybe calling it Nutrition’s Frosting on the Cake?

  2. This is a bit off topic, but it’s a question I’ve been wondering about and I’m hoping some of the doctor moderators, or others who have the answer, can fill me in.

    My husband is having a problem that requires he have a colonoscopy. We’re in the five day countdown where he’s not to have any raw fruits or veggies or high fiber foods. Then, of course, comes clear liquids and blasto drink the day before. So my question is, WHY do doctors want to make the patient constipated before blasting everything out of the colon? This makes absolutely no sense to me, so what am I missing?

    1. To be blunt, would you want to look thru a pipe clogged with brown stuff or clean as a whistle? The “prep” cleans out the colon so when the doc is in there with the scope nothing blocks his view of the walls of the colon..

      1. Mitch,

        I understand the need for the clean-out. What I don’t understand is why they want him on a constipating diet for four days before they do it.

    2. I don’t get that either, maybe it’s just another example of how doctors (even gastroenterologists) don’t know much about nutrition and plant-based diets. And I don’t think Mitch read your query carefully enough.

      1. It’s all about the residual left in the colon before the blasto drink (great term btw) A high protein meal leaves very little residual material in the colon. Fiber has lots of bulk.. Yes you could eat a high veggie/fruit/fiber diet before the blasto drink, but you might not get all the poo out. The the doctor has to deal with the residual in the colon… Is a polyp or a lump of poop?? I”ve seen this happen and it drives the GI guys nuts. They then chalk it up to poor patient prep for the undiagnostic exam..
        Basically the GI doc is hedging his bets… Use all methods to clean out the colon to get the best diagnosis for the patient….
        Hope this helps.

        1. After my colonoscopy they gave me several pictures from my pipes, and things really were pink and clean. Give it a try, and if he gets tied up, then when they want another one later, you would challenge them on it then.

          1. PS there was a little brown slurry in there (oh such a fun subject) but they merely rolled me a little to look under it. Never got any diet instructions.

      1. Thank you, Blair. That was interesting. I knew McDougall didn’t favor colonoscopies, and I don’t either. If this were just a routine screening we would ask for a sigmoidoscopy. However, the problem is at the proximal end, near the ileocecal valve – that doorway between small and large intestines – so that wouldn’t work. I do wonder, however, if the CT scan they already did, which found a hernia, could be all he needs. It’s hard to know what to ask the doctor. And it’s easy to get caught in the vortex of treatment they almost all subscribe to.

        1. In Dr G’s book, he makes it sound like these are very dangerous procedures. And I guess the Canadian government now advises against them. It’s awfully hard to find a WFPB physician, so who knows for any specific case. I assume, since you’re on this website, that you’re both already on a WFPB diet. Good luck.

    3. Hey Rebecca!

      The point is not the make people constipated, it’s to help with the prep to empty the colon to increase visualisation. They want the colon completely free of solid matter where possible. High fiber foods (especially insoluble fiber) is seen as ‘hard to digest’, and in many adults transit time can be very slow, taking many days for these foods to be eliminated. With people that have diverticula disease (pockets in the colon) sometimes nuts and seeds (including those from fruits) and grainy high fiber foods can get stuck in these and make them less noticeable. In addition, the colonoscope itself can also easily get clogged with seeds/fibrous residues/fruit and vegetable skins, as well making it difficult to use the camera. So the theory is by eliminating these foods five or so days prior, there should be minimal residue left in the colon.

      In addition, as the prep (glycoprep/macrogol/miralax etc) induces diarrhoea, the idea is the less bulk in the colon before this, the more comfortable for the patient, for example 3-4lbs veggie matter with tough seeds/nuts being evacuated by the bowel faster than normal, vs a small portion of non-fibrous foods. It is believed foods with less fibre cause less cramping and abdominal pain on evacuation, and less ‘anal distress’ as much less has to be passed. The laxatives are also often osmotic laxatives, which draw water into the bowel, and as fiber binds water, this could create very large stools in some people that are ill, causing blockages, especially if the bowel is already constricted, such as from a cancer.

      Keep in mind most of these guidelines aren’t 100% and are usually based on the very sick, the ‘worst case scenario’, and typical transit times/digestive speeds, not necessarily plant-based eaters who are otherwise healthy. In saying that, I usually recommend people do follow the diet and prep, because if you do have residues in the colon and it can’t be visualised you usually have to go through the whole process again!

      As a guide (always check with your doctor!) for a plant based prep, you can usually include-
      All white flour products- bread, low fiber cereals (puffed rice, cornflakes, cream of rice), pasta, noodles (no multigrain/wholegrains) and white rice.

      Tender cooked/canned vegetables without seeds or skin- carrots, asparagus, pumpkin, spinach, peeled potatoes.

      Fruit juices without pulp (not prune or dark coloured ones like beetroot), canned fruit (peaches, pears, applesauce), very ripe bananas

      Soy or coconut milk/yoghurt (plain), silken tofu

      Hope this helps!

      This may also interest you!

      1. Moderator Renae: This is *super* helpful to me. I hope to never need a colonoscopy, but if I do, I plan on keeping your post for explanations and tips. GREAT post!

      2. Thank you Renae. I knew I could get a good explanation from this group. The people who are regular commenters here represent quite a knowledge base and many curious minds.

        I’ve been feeling at a bit of a loss, not remembering how to prepare food with little fiber any more. But that’s a good thing.

        1. Harriet Sugar Miller: I wasn’t familiar with “colonic irrigation” before. Thank you for mentioning it. I looked it up and learned something. I think I will keep this idea in my back pocket for possible future use (while recognizing, as you say, that there are risks).

      1. Maybe. Only one more day and he goes on clear liquids for a day ahead of the procedure. I think if I had to do a colonoscopy I’d just go on a juice fast for the four days.

        1. Of course, not red juice…
          Praying for your husband’s procedure. That the problem would be correctly diagnosed and fully remedied. Please let me know how else I can pray about it for him.

  3. Excellent video! I think it’s great that Dr G is making these “Introductory” videos for people new to real nutrition science vs what they are usually exposed to: Mainstream Media fad diet hype. I do have one suggestion for this one particular video, though. On first watching this video, my first thought was “This will be a great video to send to my SAD diet friends”. But then I’m afraid they would come back to me with a comment such as: “I already know that diet affects health and I’m already eating a good diet. So why should I bother with this website.” In other words, I think the one thing that is missing in this particular video is a statement at the end saying something like ” … and all the evidence points to a diet consisting of Whole Foods and Based on Plants, not based on animal products.” I’m sure Dr G will cover this in his followup videos, so maybe I’ll just wait and send my SAD diet friends the whole set of links to these introductory videos.

    1. HaltheVegan: Whatever happens to this video, you have an excellent point. Almost everyone I know thinks their own diet is healthy or at least way over estimates the healthfulness of their own diet. NutritionFacts has a video about mothers overestimating the quality of their kids’ diets. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/mothers-overestimate-dietary-quality/ It’s a short video and really worth a peak if you haven’t seen it.

      So, I totally agree with your belief about what people’s reactions will be. If this video stays as-is, then it will definitely have to be watched in combination with other videos. :-)

      1. I get extreme push back when I talk about eating healthy. I guess people don’t like change especially with food.. I can spout all the articles and science and the eyes glaze over… Then they bitch about being too fat, diabetic and feeling old..
        And so it goes..

        1. mitch: I totally get it. Glazed eyes. Here’s how I describe it sometimes: quiet denial. Some people might listen to me politely the way one would do with a not-so-bright, misguided child and then they go on with their life quickly forgetting and ignoring everything said. And this reaction will be from people who are all the time telling me how smart I am in other conversations. It’s a really interesting phenomenon. And yes, they go on with their problems…

          BUT. Every once in a while, someone gets it. That’s why I continue to be an open role model. I don’t push my diet on anyone, but I’m not in the closet either. If anyone want’s to talk, I’m there to talk. Every once in a while, something gets through. The more that happens, the more impact we have as the ripples spread.

          I added the last part, because I think it is important to remember the successes as much as the failures. Good things happen when there is hope. Only focusing on the failures kills hope. So, I added that last bit. If you think about it, this set of videos that Dr. Greger is doing is based on the same principal. There is hope that people can be reached. So, introductory videos are in order…

          1. Hi, I agree with you Thea. These videos by Dr. G. are great and very helpful tools for us all to want to empower ourselves with knowledge about nutrition and life style to improve our health.

  4. This is terrific. I’ve been trying to drill this into the heads of my family in the midwest who honestly believe there’s no link between what you eat and your health and that it’s all set in your genes when you’re born.

    1. Early in my plant-based journey I had a lawyer-friend get upset with me because I was making suggestions re nutrition. His wife has rheumatoid arthritis and he has heart disease. He was very frustrated with my suggesting that it might help them to make some food habit changes. I still can hear him (almost yelling) saying “We both have medically diagnosed conditions you know” as if my silly discussions about food had anything to do with that! It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so closed and believe so unquestioningly in the medical model of health. Lucky for me I grew up with 2 MD’s for parents and chose to study Nutrition at university because I was interested in prevention and hated hospitals after a bad experience as a 6-year-old.

    2. Good job Jason, we are not the victims of our genetic. There is a good paper that explains we are more influenced by epigenetic( above gene). It is now clear that development is plastic, and that it allows the organism to respond to the surrounding environment, especially during early development when cells are differentiating and tissues are developing.
      Developmental origins of non-communicable disease: Implications for research and public health

  5. Just a minor critique…please don’t look off camera when you’re speaking. This is a new but annoying technique I see being used in various video presentations. The only time this should happen is if you are being interviewed by someone sitting across from you. But if you are only talking to the audience and the camera takes a side shot you look like Michelle Bachman in her response to the SOTU address when she didn’t even know what camera was on. And I’m sure you certainly don’t want to ever be compared to THAT lunatic! :)

    1. Yeah I would further suggest staying pretty steady and consistent on camera. Anything that makes these easier for new viewers. Being animated looks best IMO with a full figure or mostly full figure view. Possibly Entering camera view is best with full or partial view, but without an audience, probably best to face the camera whenever speaking.

    2. Gonna second that, I find it kind of disconcerting too, kinda like having a conversation with someone whose attention is elsewhere. Love the topics though!

      1. That’s what they make teleprompters for. Can you imagine what your reaction would be if you were watching the Nightly News and the anchor was delivering the news while looking at the cameraman to his left?

  6. I like the idea of overview videos. The stay tuned for links are a bit of a problem though and shouldn’t be added to the video until they actually go somewhere. Like most people I didn’t read the text above them until I clicked on them and found empty pages.

      1. Long distance runner Jim Fixx comes to mind.. Slim, looked good, ate bad, died on the side of the road whilst on a run… sad.
        I believe you have to do it all.. Follow the current science and try to weed out the lure of money and ego.. I like the ancient idea of paying a doctor to keep you healthy.. When you get sick, the payment stops till you get healthy again.

        1. Well…if MDs didn’t discuss getting off cigarettes because they smoked. Or nutrition because they are fat and pasty what makes you think they would discuss exercise with their patients? They know less about that than nutrition! Oh my! I didn’t just say that!!!!!

          I just got off work talking about nutrition and exercise all day!

          1. The MD smoking thing just reminded me of a scene years ago in the ER… A cardiologist smoking a cigarette telling his patient to stop smoking cause it will exacerbate his cardiac problems ! Yes that was when you could smoke in hospitals.. Sadly that cardiologist died of a heart attack at 49..

        2. Let’s just hope that isn’t true…an exercise pill! looking at figure 2 “Changes induced upon decreasing physical activity from high to low levels” we could replace that with “What happens when you eat a crappy diet.”

    1. No. Not in my “case study” of me. The weight started falling off so quickly after I adopted WFPB eating that I INTENTIONALLY did not do any proper exercise. Granted that I am very active in my life and job-but I didn’t do any of the 10-20-60 mile bike rides (2-4x week) that are my normal workouts. I lost 30 pounds in three months, without turning a pedal.

      YES, I would have likely lost it faster with workouts, but working out was clearly not a necessity. And yes, I’ll be healthier when I return to normal workouts, but the weather has to break just a little bit.

      So yeah, “anecdotal” as my case may be to others, I cannot find a better test subject for how things affect me than my own experience.

      I ride Fall, Winter, Spring and skip the Heat of the South each Summer.

      1. I live on SoCal, where it has been too hot to do much moving around most days. My solution is to work out, including running, as the sun rises – the coolest part of the day.

    2. Exercise is also important for getting proper nutrition. If you run for an hour a day as I do, then you’ll burn something of the order of 1000 Kcal depending on your weight. Your basal metabolic rate will also be higher compared to someone who is not fit enough to exercise at this level. So, you may be eating 1500 Kcal more than someone who does not exercise at that level. If you then only eat healthy foods, you’re going to get far more vitamins and minerals from your diet compared to someone of average fitness.

  7. It is so blatantly clear that nutrition and diet is at the root of most all diseases/disability and death … yet so many people just don’t get it. I feel this is mostly due to exactly what Dr. G was talking about: nutrition is barely covered in medical schools, and therefore Doctors don’t talk to their patients about it. It amazes me how many Drs. I come in contact with are so ignorant when it comes to nutrition. What we eat MATTERS; always has, always will.

  8. There should be a very large mansion in Heaven waiting for you as a reward for all the good you are doing. May God bless you and may your tribe increase. Thank you.

  9. Big Broccoli has been wining and dining all week long!
    I’m definitely going to be prescribing more of their products.

    It’s in season, and I’ve been eating it every day. Yum!

  10. Off Topic:

    My new favorite thing to put in a smoothie is frozen watermelon rind; it tastes good in both sweet and savory varieties. It has a ton of vitamin B6, some vitamin C and a respectable amount of niacin. Then there’s the whole waste not, want not thing it’s got going for it.

    What I wonder about is the calorie content. According to Cronometer, it has about 1 calorie per gram, whereas cucumber (which tastes very similar and seems to have similar water content) has only 0.2 calories per gram, same as zucchini, which seems denser. Seems odd.

    1. lemonhead: That is odd. Thanks for sharing. I think folks are often looking for new smoothie ideas.
      Since we are off topic and sharing: While I don’t eat the watermellon rind, my dog considers it a big delicacy. So, still nothing goes to waste at my house. :-)

      1. Dogs are smart, aren’t they?
        I always get jealous of my mother-in-law’s dog when I visit she gets the romaine lettuce base (at my house, it’s all mine).

      2. I decided I don’t like mixing kale with sweet stuff (berries) so now I make myself two smoothies a day. The kale smoothie is something inspired by chimichurri. My GERD seems to be well under control (gone, dare I say?) since I put raw garlic, onion and jalapeno sauce in it, along with avocado, a cilantro cube ,a whole lime wedge, and today in went the watermelon rind. My next step is to try adding in some parsley.

        1. Thule: Sorry it took me so long to reply. I lost track of your post.
          I have a 13 year old Great Dane. Great Danes usually live to about 8-10 so he is doing amazing. I don’t know if he’s done so well because of or inspite of his diet, but I like to mention that he’s been vegan since he was 6.
          Do you have a dog or two at the moment?

          1. Those are as big as are lovable. :)

            Not right now, years back had old English sheepdog and shih tzu. Hard for me to see dogs of those races even now, I see a glimpse of them in other dogs.

    2. 100 grams of watermelon has about twice the calories of cucumber and 1/3 more than zucchini according to the USDA nutrient database. Higher carbohydrate content.

    3. Cronometer doesn’t seem to be working for me today so I cannot look, however if watermelon is only about 0.3 calories per gram, I find it hard to believe the rind is up there with the calorie level of bananas. Then again orange rind is about 1 calorie per gram but that seems a lot denser…

        1. Vege-tater: I’ve seen several of Dr. Lisle’s on-line talks, but I don’t know if I’ve seen that page or any of those talks or not. Thanks for the link! I’ll definitely check it out.

  11. This study was sponsored by Bill Gates Foundation. I recall Gates suggesting that it’s possible to produce enough meat for everyone in the world. Maybe he doesn’t get it. See GatesNotes.com Should we eat meat?

  12. Having two coronary bypasses at age 54 motivated me to change to a whole food plant based diet. Having seen great results, including reversal of the heart disease, I couldn’t agree more. However, to the unmotivated, to say “What we eat is what determines most whether we’ll die prematurely.” without addressing the role of genetics undermines the strength of your message. Too many people do not take nutrition seriously because they see examples or older people eating poorly who do not suffer the consequences. Many of the people I know stubbornly believe that it won’t happen to them in order to feel justified eating the unhealthy foods that they find extremely pleasurable. For them, your logic doesn’t hold up.

    1. Congratulations of making the change and reversing your heart disease! A true LIVING example of the power of plants!

      Most people way way way overestimate the power of genetics. I like Dr Neal Barnard’s quote- ‘Genetics make suggestions, but lifestyle pulls the trigger’.

      Some people are healthy in spite of what they do, but it’s sad that is seen as the majority, when the scientific evidence suggests otherwise…

      What do you see as a motivator for them? It’s hard I agree, most need an adverse life event (such as yourself) to realise they are not invincible and don’t have to be a slave to their ‘genes’…

      1. And to a huge extent the environment (food) controls your gene expression. Thinking that genes will kill or save you, is very naive.

        1. Yes, exactly. The naivete is not being addressed. That’s why I think that a frank discussion about the role of genetics should be part of the message.

      2. Of course, the motivation is that they will suffer from poor health. But they have to decide that for themselves.

        We need to do a better job opening up the discussion. By saying to them “Yes, you CAN live a long healthy life and eat whatever you want.” we validate what all of us know to be true. That is, there are people who eat the SAD and live to be old. By doing so, we open the door to further discussion, and educate about their chances of being one of these rare people. If they think they are, then so be it. They should know the facts before making a choice.

  13. I would like to point out that the cited study is missing the category that many say is the number one cause of death; medical/pharmaceutical malpractice. I’ve heard estimates from 750,000 to 1.25 million on the number of people who die every year from bad medical advice, unneeded surgeries, hospital infections and side effects from pharmaceuticals. Please do an article about this. Thanks for all the other good info!

    1. johnfromojai: Dr. Greger addresses this in the 2nd Summary video I believe. (I can get you the link if you need it.) When Dr. Greger adds up the various numbers, he comes up with going to the doctors or a hospital (I’m not sure how it was worded) as the number 3 cause. It may not be malpractice per say, it can be honest mistakes and infections, etc.

      The point is not to avoid going to the doctor when you need to, but to avoid getting sick in the first place if possible. So then the rest of the talk explains how we can best keep ourselves from getting sick.

  14. Great job Dr. Greger! Very appreciative,hope other Drs.are learning from your work!
    Had a renal transplant 15 years ago,it’s awesome,but high cholesterol points me in the direction of a lot more plant based meals.
    Thankyou for easy,down to earth short videos/vlogs,just need meal planning for that & weight loss!

  15. Thank you Dr. Greger you have helped me so much, your book, the website and the app are wonderful and informative (that is where I spend most of my spare time). Will you please do a video on low cholesterol. My cholesterol is 99 42 HDL and 47 LDL, I do not feel well at all and I would like to get it back up to a healthy level without animal products. My natural doctor wants me to eat dairy and oil (coconut oil, flax seed oil) by the spoon full, and ox bile because I am not digesting my food well. I am a personal trainer and I have been vegetarian for 12 years mostly vegan for the last year and eat a plant based diet, just last week I found your app and I am trying to follow it, the daily dozen :). How do I increase my cholesterol without oil and animal products? Thank you again Dr. Greger you are fantastic!

    1. What side effects do you have of it?

      In almost all cases cholesterol cannot be too low, unless there are issues with the liver or other endogenous production…

      1. I am having problems digesting food my stomach hurts when I eat, I am having problems fighting a nasal infection (and I never get sick), I am having trouble studying I have to reread my work over and over again and I have to leave sticky notes everywhere to remind myself to do things. I am cold all of the time (and it is summer). I feel like I am living in the twilight zone. I am sad and I just do not feel well.

        1. Naturopaths are not good sources of information on health issues. The claim about cholesterol is an example. It can be dangerous to rely on their advice.

          The symptoms you report may be indicators of possible medical issues. Very low cholesterol is also symptomatic of some diseases. You should consult a licensed physician.

        2. You have a complex situation, where I feel the target is perhaps more simple than low cholesterol. Let’s look at cholesterol-

          Cholesterol functions-
          Cell membrane fluidity and integrity
          Intracellular transport, endocytosis, cell signalling and nerve conduction (myelin)
          Synthesis of vitamin D and steroid hormones (cortisol, aldosterone and sex hormones)
          Bile content to solubilise fats and increase absorption

          There are numerous reasons why cholesterol drops in those following a WFPB diet. Foods containing phytoseterols (such as avocados and flax seeds) may compete with cholesterol for absorption, so you could try decreasing these. Same with high fiber foods, and their subsequent bacterial production of short chain fatty acids, which can lower cholesterol levels. Trans fats can decrease HDL and increase LDL, so if you aren’t already avoiding them, it’s a good idea.

          In short the production of cholesterol is a complex process with many steps, any of which you may have a slight polymorphism or deficiency in which gives you lower cholesterol. Due to it’s large number of functions in the body, if you do have a deficiency, you could end up with a series of vague symptoms, almost all that could be due to the low cholesterol level, or completely unrelated!

          I’m open to be wrong but I’m yet to see convincing research that naturally low cholesterol can harm the body in an otherwise healthy individual. Most of the studies that say too low is bad includes populations driving down their cholesterol with statins and other drugs, whilst in poor health and continuing to eat a SAD and be sedentary OR it is a cause of another disease process, such as liver failure, hyperthyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, malabsorption, Marfan syndrome, cancer or rare diseases.

          Here’s more information-

          I would work on optimising your digestion (maybe a leaky gut protocol), ensuring you are otherwise healthy and well and not deficient in any of B12, iodine, EFAs, stick with following the daily dozen, get plenty of sleep, eat enough calories (especially warming foods), don’t overexercise, destress and in general try and get as healthy as you can, so your body can produce the cholesterol level you need (which yours is completely fine when compared with rural health populations, such as the China Study, whereby 150 is more the norm than the crazy levels we see in Western diets), and you can hopefully heal the symptoms your are experiencing… which could be cholesterol maybe… but more likely other contributors in my opinion!

          Hope this helps!

    2. This low cholesterol is going to cause Alzheimer down the line. Eat some healthy fat from seed, nut… Too high of a cholesterol can cause heart disease but too low will cause brain diseases and give you no energy.

      1. Thank you for responding Brain. I have recently read what you saying Brain and I do not like this data, but I think it is true. I feel like a zombie and my memory has been awful. I am trying to eat nuts and seeds but they hurt my stomach when I eat them, you have to have cholesterol to brake down fats unfortunately. I do not feel well when I eat raw fruits and veggies or fatty foods like nuts and seeds. So I have been eating more cooked foods and simple fats like coconut milk and it is easier to digest. I think I went to extreme on the raw foods, not enough nuts, seeds and grains.

    3. Hi Kim, It sounds like your problems are complex and are also causing you a lot of worry and distress. I think you really should try to find a doctor who also knows about nutrition. You could start by contacting True North Health, or Dr John MacDougall (California)or Dr Fuhrman (New Jersey) and if you don’t live nearby they may be able to help you find someone in your area. Hope this is helpful!

  16. I was pleasantly surprised doing a Quantia MD presentation on nutrition when the presenter, a cardiologist, discussed the inconsistency in the USA nutritional guidelines that suggest cholesterol intake should be minimized as low as possible, that saturated and trans fats be lowered while still incorporating red meat in the guidelines. Sustainability of our food sources was also discussed. I hope this becomes a trend in mainstream medicine if we really want to prevent disease.

  17. Dr. Grenger, you are a awesome man, really!!! I would like to become a doctor like you, Now i am studying medicine here in Chile, I will spread your message!! Regards from Chile!!

  18. Thanks for this, Dr. Greger! You often mention in your videos how much nutrition education a medical doctor receives. Do you know how much actual nutrition education a Naturopathic Doctor receives? Is it about the same? Just curious.

  19. Here is an interesting observation on the importance of nutrition from a leading researcher on ageing and lifespan ………………..

    “Nutrition has profound effects on ageing and lifespan. Caloric restriction is the major nutritional intervention that historically has been shown to influence lifespan and/or healthspan in many animal models. Studies have suggested that a reduction in protein intake can also increase lifespan, albeit not as dramatically as caloric restriction. More recent research based on nutritional geometry has attempted to define the effects of nutrition on ageing over a broad landscape of dietary macronutrients and energy content. Such studies in insects and mice indicate that animals with ad libitum access to low-protein, high-carbohydrate diets have longest lifespans. Remarkably, the optimum content and ratio of dietary protein to carbohydrates for ageing in experimental animals are almost identical to those in the traditional diets of the long-lived people on the island of Okinawa.”

    The traditional Okinawan diet was reportedly 85% carbs (mainly from sweet potatoes), 9% protein and 6% fat (2% saturated).

      1. Hi Jimmy and thanks again.

        I would not be too trusting of sites like those. They have little credibility and often seem to firmly grasp the wrong end of the stick, whether deliberately in pursuit of an agenda or a simple lack of understanding.

        For example, regarding cholesterol, they seem to have a very blinkered and simplistic view. First, association is not proof of causation especially when there is no credible mechanism to action to explain a possible causative relationship.

        Secondly, outside the USA and other developed countries, average levels of cholesterol are lower yet there is no evidence that such populations have higher levels of hemorrhagic stroke.

        Thirdly, as the ATPIII report commented upon LDL cholesterol:

        ” In contrast, low LDL-cholesterol levels are well tolerated. LDL cholesterol as low as 25–60 mg/dL is physiologically sufficient.8 Animal species that do not develop atherosclerosis generally have LDL-cholesterol levels below 80 mg/dL. The LDL-cholesterol concentration in the newborn infant is approximately 30 mg/dL, indicating that such low levels are safe. Moreover, persons who have extremely low levels of LDL throughout life due to familial hypobetalipoproteinemia have documented longevity.9″

        Fourthly, there is no evidence that I am aware of that suggests that people in the US and other Westernised countries who have stable low cholesterol throughout life have higher levels of haemorrhagic stroke. Even Cordain once opined:

        “Evidence from hunter-gatherer populations while they were still following their indigenous lifestyles showed no evidence for atherosclerosis, even in individuals living into the seventh and eighth decades of life (15,16). These populations had total cholesterol levels of 100 to 150 mg/dl with estimated LDL cholesterol levels of about 50 to 75 mg/dl. The LDL levels of healthy neonates are even today in the 30 to 70 mg/dl range. Healthy, wild, adult primates show LDL levels of approximately 40 to 80 mg/dl (17). In fact, modern humans are the only adult mammals, excluding some domesticated animals, with a mean LDL level over 80 mg/dl and a total cholesterol over 160 mg/dl (15,16) (Fig. 1). Thus, although an LDL level of 50 to 70 mg/dl seems excessively low by modern American standards, it is precisely the normal range for individuals living the lifestyle and eating the diet for which we are genetically adapted.”

        Fifthly, lowering cholesterol levels with statins does not usually result in increased levels of haemorrhagic stroke. In fact, it results in lower total mortality and fewer adverse events.

        While this is a complex subject, I suspect that there may be at least one other variable at play. For example, declining cholesterol levels may be preclinical symptoms of disease that results in haemorrhagic stroke. Certain cancers and viruses are known to cause cholesterol to decline. This includes liver cancers and hepatitis infections eg

        “The viral effect on patient serum lipid profile has recently been confirmed in a large scale study in China including 11,000 patients that reported HCV viremia statistically associating with lower serum cholesterol and TG levels [47]”

        ” Risks for stroke and MI were similar between HBsAg-seronegative and HBsAg-seropositive men in the absence of liver dysfunction, whereas men with both HBsAg seropositivity and liver dysfunction had a higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke…..”

        And hepatitic c virus (HCV) for one is known to be associated with increased risk of stroke.

        This seems like a much more likely explanation of the association than some mysterious unknown causal mechanism that only seems to belong to the cholesterol of people living in wealthy developed countries.

        1. Tom Goff: It’s a beautiful post. Sadly, the post is in response to a person who has been banned from this site. Jimmy is getting around the ban by changing his e-mail and IP address with every post.
          It is extremely rare that anyone is banned from this forum. Furthermore, the decision to ban someone is never made by one person. In this case, it was made by many people. Please do not encourage Jimmy by replying. Just ignore his posts while we work this out. Thank you very much. – Moderator

          1. OK Thea, understood…still as you noted it is a response by Tom worth the read for the sincere student…well you didnt note it that way but i do, heh

        2. Hi Tom, you can answer me or not answer me. It’s OK for me either way. And I still post whether people reply to my posts or not or even if Dictator Thea will delete all of my posts.

          Having said so, I hope that you seriously look at the following info. They are from reliable sources and based on facts. I don’t want to see a nice fella like you getting Alzheimer’s when you try to eat well for your health.

          And I don’t think the brain of mature men and women can be compared to that of baby or animal. Remember that people get Alzheimer’s much later in life and so the brain of an adult requires more maintenance than that of a baby.

          Granted, you don’t want a high cholesterol for your heart health but you don’t want it too low either because it will cause all kind of other diseases.

          The links to the data will be in my next post because I try to get it fit in the email from Disqus to you because I know that this post will be deleted by the dictator in a few minutes or even seconds.

  20. What topic do you think that these videos will be indexed under for the purpose of searching on the site? Any idea yet? Under “Introduction”? “Overview”? If they are going to be scattered about, (only using title keywords), I will make my own personal folder so I can easily find them in order to send links to my “newbies” …thanks

  21. Great videos for introduction. :)

    I know that this is a bit off topic, but wanted to bring up what I found a couple of days ago. The important topic of B12.

    Saw this is wikipedia, with a citation:

    “Methylcobalamin is not sufficient as a singular source of vitamin B12. Hydroxocobalamin and cyanocobalamin can both be split by the body into methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin on the other hand is not converted into adenosylcobalamin. Deficiency of adenosylcobalamin disturbs carbohydrate, fat and amino-acid metabolism, and hence interferes with the formation of myelin.[3]”

    So I went to find out more, check this:

    Vitamin B12 (cyancobalamin, Cbl) has two active co-enzyme forms,
    methylcobalamin (MeCbl) and adenosylcobalamin (AdCbl). There has been a
    paradigm shift in the treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency such that
    MeCbl is being extensively used and promoted. This is despite the fact
    that both MeCbl and AdCbl are essential and have distinct metabolic
    fates and functions. MeCbl is primarily involved along with folate in
    hematopiesis and development of the brain during childhood. Whereas
    deficiency of AdCbl disturbs the carbohydrate, fat and amino-acid
    metabolism, and hence interferes with the formation of myelin. Thereby,
    it is important to treat vitamin B12 deficiency with a combination of
    MeCbl and AdCbl or hydroxocobalamin or Cbl. Regarding the route, it has
    been proved that the oral route is comparable to the intramuscular route
    for rectifying vitamin B12 deficiency.


    I imagine some of you will have access to the full article. If you do, please comment. Of course Dr. Greger is recommending cyancobalamin, but so many people is assuming that the already converted form, methylcobalamin would be the way to go, and you avoid the cyanide. Many assumed Dr. Greger wanted to be in the completely 100% sure option, and also because cyancobalamin is cheaper… but looks like we were doing little. I was among them.

    Funnily enough, if you check amazon for B12, you’ll see customers that are mad when they find out that they didn’t get methylcobalamin, being sure that cyancobalamin is the inferior form. I saw them when I went there looking for cyancobalamin. Many are even sending it back for reimbursement, most everyone is thinking these days, that the only good B12 is methylcobalamin. :S

    Looks like this needs to be clarified, seems that most people are just taking methylcobalamin, doing little, but I even read that the already converted forms might not even be used right by the body. Please comment if you have more info about this.

    1. Very good post.

      I check my B12 supplement that I buy from Costco and it’s cyancobalamin. It looks like I need to find a supplement with the other type too (methylcobalamin). Do you know of any good brand?

    2. Thule: There’re four forms (vitamers) of vitamin B12 available commercially: adenosylcobalamin (1), cyanocobalamin (2), hydroxycobalamin (3), and methylcobalamin (4). Only 1 and 4 are physiologically active in humans and in the body they interconvert, so it doesn’t matter which of the two you take, you get both. 3 is made by bacteria, whereas 2 is man made. In the body both 2 and 3 are converted to 1 and 4. So it doesn’t matter which vitamer of B12 you take, the body’s B12 needs are met. Of the four compounds, 2 is the cheapest, probably due to its stability. The complaint about 2 is that it generates the cyanide ion in the body, which is true, but at sensible doses the amount of the cyanide ions formed from 2 is insignificant. There’re many plant foods containing cyanogenic glycosides people eat that create a lot more cyanide ions. 2, therefore, is the most cost effective way to get B12. (All this is assuming that there’re no genetical factors that interfere with B12 metabolism.)

  22. Considering that this is such a vast topic, and new potential subscribers might get put-off a bit by the more esoteric videos of late, I think this is a great move! I hope it attracts many new subscribers.

  23. I went in for my physical yesterday. My nurse practitioner had actually typed in my file how I should be getting my B12 from a quote from Dr. Esslestyn’s book. When I had my blood work done in March, she had mentioned the vegan challenge that was going on in their office. And it is a large office. I had mentioned Dr. Gregor so was shocked to see used Dr. Esslestyn as the quote. I forgot to ask her if she has checked out nutritionfacts.org. But I see her again March so will have to remember to ask her then. She did the challenge twice.

  24. Changing a persons’ eating habits is harder than changing their religion, so you chose a tough road but little bye little it’s helped me. Thanks

    1. Actually the animal torture videos proved to me that religion is a man-made crap and cause of most evil in the world. Many vegans including myself were blind religious meat eaters like the “Moral Majority” zombies. But once you remove the vail, it all comes to light. I not only changed my diet to Vegan, but also my religion to “Atheist”. Did god create man or man create god to distinguish itself from other animal species ?

  25. Thanks Dr. Gregor. However deaths are not preventable. Everyone is going to die someday. Early death from today’s major painful diseases may be preventable though.

    1. He said immediately before that
      “The majority of premature death and disability is preventable, with a healthy enough diet. It’s…the…food.”
      So iI understood that he means most deaths in the US are premature and therefore preventable.

  26. Dr. Greger

    Can you comment on why 30 peer review studies that the life extension foundation looked at indicated vegans on average only live 3.24 years longer than meet eaters and the effect of AGE on aging and disease, including homocysteine, mylation and the use of L-Carnosine by Vegans to extend life and prevent disease being as important as B12.

    1. Timothy Vanular/Wholefoods: You have three posts on this page asking the same thing. I’m not sure why. Please note that all three posts are on the site and available for someone to answer if they want. If you are having trouble finding your posts, you can look on your disqus profile page. Good luck.

      1. I have proof that only Thea the Dictator is deleting my posts and she is watching this forum 24/7 like a hawk. She does not want any discussions outside of the “party line”.

  27. Dr. Greger, why did 30 peer review studies that the life extension foundation reviewed indicate that vegans in general only live 3.24 years on average more than meat eaters? Can you comment on homocysteine, methlylation and why taking L- carnosine for vegans maybe just as important as B-12 to fight disease and extend longevity.

    1. You have to remember that LEF gets most of its income from selling supplements like carnosine.

      Also their study did show that “vegetarians” did actually live longer. As for “only’ 3-odd years, that still seems pretty worthwhile to me. And, who knows, it might even have been the lower levels of carnosine that – indirectly – accounted for the extra years of life found in vegetarians!

      More seriously, not too much is known about this currently. Also, focusing on a single nutrient or biochemical pathway may obscure the bigger picture especially since food is a package deal – its effects are not confined to those of a single substance Studies seem to show that meat eating is unhealthy carnosine or no carnosine.

      We need particularly to remember that carnosine is not the only way of addressing AGE. In fact the foods that contain carrnosine are also those that contain the most AGEs. So, those foods actually have a net negative effect. Dr G has produced a number of videos on the best ways to counter AGE eg

      As for taking carnosine supplements, Jck Norris has, as usual, some sage comments on this:

      Dr G also has a number of videos that address the subject of homocysteine

      1. Hi Tom:

        Thanks for you reply. I have copied the life extensions bio for you below. They are a not for profit organization. Anyway, it’s not the organization that I care about, it’s the 30 peer review studies they looked at in determining the longevity of vegans and meat eaters. I have also seen this on other sites so I highly doubt it can be discredited. According to Dr Gregars link you sent me Vegans have the highest homocysteine level around 16. He indicates that if you supplement with vitamin b12 you can get it down to 5. For every 5 unit increase in your homocysteine level you have a 47% increase in all disease mortality and for every 10% increase a 104%. Homocysteine levels are the true marker of disease in your body and according to Dr. Gregar Vegans have the worst! According to British intervention studies by Dr. Patrick Holofiord in his book the Nutrition Bible B12 by itself does not reduce same to a safe level which is under 6. Vegans need a combination through diet or supplements of Bvitamins(b2,b6,b12), zinc, folate, and TMG (tri-methlyl glycine) to get it to safe levels. The fact is vegans are not living much longer than meat eaters.Are they taking B12 regularly, I don’t know. I expect so given all the warning out their on all sites-yet they are still dying and aren’t living much longer. The studies are irrefutable. I think we all need to take note of them and truly look for the answer, whether it is carnosine, homocysteine, or TMG.

        Life Extension Foundation Bio

        Established in 1980, the Life Extension Foundation is a nonprofit organization, whose long-range goal is to radically extend the healthy human lifespan by discovering scientific methods to control aging and eradicate disease. One of the largest organizations of its kind in the world, the Life Extension Foundation has always been at the forefront of discovering new scientific breakthroughs for use in developing novel disease prevention and treatment protocols to improve the quality and length of human life. Through its private funding of research programs aimed at identifying and developing new therapies to slow and even reverse the aging process, the Life Extension Foundation seeks to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, such age-related killers as heart disease, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

        1. Hi. Thanks, yes, I have been a member of LEF for a long time – over 5 years now. Unfortunately, non-profits seem to be just as focused on their money as any other organisation. LEF is no different.

          Anyway the point is that their study shows vegetarians do live longer whatever one thinks about homocysteine. Its role is still debated – ” Whether this denominator is homocysteine itself or homocysteine is merely a marker, remains to be determined.”

          I think that it is also important to remember that Dr G does not advocate vegetarianism or “veganism” as such. He advocates a whole food plant-based diet – preferably a vegetarian one with appropriate supplementation. In fact he has long pointed out the problems with poorly planned vegetarian and so-called ‘vegan” diets. This presentation of his from 2003 is a good example.

          Given the number of vegetarians etc who eat junk food diets and dairy and eggs, it is in some ways surprising that the LEF studies do show a significant mortality advantage for vegetarians.

          Also, I think that looking for a single magic bullet whether it is homocysteine, TMG, carnosine or whatever is probably misplaced. There are many important nutrients which play a role in health and longevity. And trials using supplements to lower homocysteine have apparently proved disappointing
          “As far as early atherosclerosis, some clinical trials demonstrated that folates and B6-12 vitamins supplementation is unable to reduce atherosclerotic lesions and cardiovascular events, even if it lowers HHcy levels. Thus, for atherosclerosis and its acute events (IMA, stroke, PVD) HHcy acts as a powerful biomarker rather than a risk factor.”

  28. Can can you comment on the life extension foundation study of 30 peer review papers on why vegans only have a 3.24 year extension in their life span over meat eaters.?Could you also comment on advanced glycation end products, metthylation, homocysteine and the effect of L-carnosine on vegans and extending their life span and why L-car ozone maybe just as important as b12 for vegans in fighting all cause mortality.

    1. Wasn’t “vegans”, the article was, “Do Vegetarians Live Longer?” If you follow his work, the good doc would say there’s a huge difference.

  29. Maybe I am jaded, but I think one reason diet is not reinforced more here in the states is financial. A study of the financial impact of caring for healthy elderly in scandanavia showed over their retired lifetime, the cost was much greater than for those who dropped dead of heart attacks at 65, even including end of life care for those unhealthy 65 year olds.

    Quite simply, big business makes money making us sick and then shuffling us off this mortal coil makes them even more money. Caring for elderly folks into their 90s and 100s is expensive for society.

    As a society we need to change the fundamental way we subsidize big agribusiness and healthcare. Just doing what makes rational, evidence based sense won’t win out.

    1. On omnivore diet I used to spend 4 times more than I do now on plant based diet. The meat, dairy and egg and restaurant industries are worst than foreign terrorists. Looking back, I feel like a rape victim, because that’s what these industries did (they stole my youth, health and happiness).

  30. I care deeply about this subject and am very thankful for this site and How Not To Die. Both are treasured resources, especially the alphabetical list of Health Topics that makes finding answers to specific questions so easy.

    One topic, though, has no mention and i would love to know more about it. The topic is malabsorption. It is axiomatic that if one switches to a plant-based diet or even moves significantly in that direction many digestion issues either get much better or even disappear. However, for some of us, there is a vanishing return that I’ve not found an explanation for as yet. The situation is this: I reduce meat consumption to zero and within a month I experience health issues such as lower energy, feeling tired, dental pain, skin problems, and several others. Though the plusses are my arthritis pain is gone and I feel lighter and generally sleep better. When I reintroduce a little meat (3oz or so) once or twice a week, I feel my best & don’t have any of the meatless problems.

    So according to nutrition science, there are things my body seems able to absorb from a little meat but not a meat-free diet. What could be the cause of this? There are a myriad of web-based theories from “leaky gut” to genetic predispositions and everything in between. But I would love to hear Dr. Greger’s take on this problem and especially if any good studies have been done on malabsorption and what they show.

    1. Probably lack of Vitamin B12 and/or zinc. Those things come automatically from meat but if you are a vegan then you have to get from supplement.

    2. Your body is telling you it needs a little more fat and maybe a bit of meat! Nobody here will tell you that.

      I had a similar experience when I went on a very low fat plant only diet. I had wrinkled skin, lower energy, felt weak during weight lifting exercise, and the worst was my testosterone levels dropped to a unhealthy level.

      All I had to do was add more “fat” and a bit of meat once a week and everything came back. I’m 60 and I can pinch the skin under my eye and the skin will bounce right back rather than just stay a wrinkle.

      1. Hello Gary: You describe my situation pretty well before I added a little animal protein back into my diet. This is why I think Dr. Klaper’s explanation in the video is very plausible but I am not sure that after a lifetime of meat consumption (although for me not anywhere near the levels he describes) that my genes, telomeres and other biological systems can “unlearn” this since I was a vegan for six years and as far as I know my body didn’t unlearn that early habit. Whether that habit came solely from this lifetime or also includes family generations past seems to be an interesting question. —- It is interesting that you note in your own life it wasn’t just the protein from animals that made you feel different but also the fat. I tried several very low-fat diets (no oils at all) & I have never felt worse. Interestingly during that time my bloodwork lab values also got strangely worse, including elevated cholesterol.

        I appreciate what Dr. Ornish has done with his Spectrum of eating & it seems to me there is no One True Diet for all people but rather we fall on a spectrum where many thrive on vegan diets while others do not. That being said I am open to hearing about new ideas and explanations like Dr. Klaper’s and am happy to try out new things.

    3. Teatime: Have you seen Dr. Klaper’s talk: Are Failed Vegans Addicts? Dr. Klaper gives a plausible biological mechanism/explanation for why some people start to feel bad when they completely cut out animal products. And he has a solution. Following is a short excerpt from the talk. If you want to give his solution a try, let me know and I will explain the process to you (I saw the full talk live): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tJyb1wTxg4
      Bottom line is that eating meat for a lifetime can cause your body to rely on eating meat and stop producing a nutrient that your body would normally produce on its own. This is not a natural state. Happily you can fix it.
      Another option is that you may have a congenital defect where you may have to get a certain nutrient from diet that other people’s bodies can create on their own. Dr. Greger has a video on it. And even if you have this defect, you can get by without eating meat. The video explains how. I can try to find that video if you want.

      1. Thank you for your reply and posting the video. I’ve been familiar with Dr. Klaper’s work since I first read his Vegan Nutrition in the late 80’s but had not seen this video. It is indeed a very plausible explanation though I would classify your assertion that “needing” meat is “not a natural state” is wrong. It is a natural state, one of a natural adaptive response to food present in the “food stream” (I love that phrase!) Though I think I get what you mean in that it takes a society eating SAD to make something like that natural. I would be interested to see more of the solution you mention to see if it is something I’ve not yet tried. I was a vegan for six years & never found anything to work except eating 2-3oz of meat per week back into my diet. (Six years seems like long enough for the body to adapt.) I was also under the care of a vegan dietician and know that I was getting more than adequate calories, etc. —- I also reached out to practitioners of Chinese medicine, Ayurveda and Tibetan medicine. They all mentioned that it wasn’t only what I ate as a child that would influence my life but also what the past four family generations ate as well, setting my DNA up for certain things. I’m pleased I’ve reduced animal protein consumption to a relatively low level but would be happy to reduce it to zero if that is possible for me. So yes, any more info you have will be most appreciated. :-)

        1. Teatime: Dr. Klaper says that he has had great success weaning people off meat using this method: Step 1 is to figure out the minimum amount and frequency of meat you have to eat in order to feel perfectly healthy and stabilize on that amount. It sounds like you have this step already done. So, you know how much meat you have to eat once every 7 days in order to feel good.
          The second step is to *verrrrrrry* slowly extent the time. So, say you have some meat today. Instead of eating meat again in 7 days, see if you can go 8 days. If so, stay at 8 days for a while. If 8 works at first, but then doesn’t work. Try 8 days one span and then 7 days for the next span and alternate for a while. Then see if you can go 8 days every span. And then keep pushing it out that like.
          Part of this method is to treat meat as medicinal. So, keep track of what you eat and schedule your consumption accordingly. Be disciplined about it and keep records of you meat intake as well as how you feel. so that you can evaluate progress and adjust as needed.
          Dr. Klapper says that it may take a long time before you are completely off meat. But he eventually talks to patients who are eating some meat every 4 or 5 months or so. Then eventually they realize that they don’t need it any more.
          If you give it a try, good luck!
          If you are interested, I found that NutritionFacts video I first mentioned: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/when-meat-can-be-a-lifesaver/

          1. Thank you! Of all the things I’ve tried, the very slow taper method isn’t one of them. I already treat meat as a condiment so moving to the medicinal stage seems appropriate. I’ll also have a look at the video. Again, thank you for taking the time here to write back to me. Hope springs eternal! :-)

  31. Dear Dr Greger,
    I just got in the Hebrew Edition of “How Not to Die” here at the Hebrew University main library:

    איך לא למות /
    by גרגר, מייקל, Published 2016
    Summary/Content: “… / סרטן השד / דיכאון אובדני / סרטן הערמונית / פרקינסון ד”ר מייקל גרגר, רופא מומחה לתזונה קלינית, בוחן את…”

    Call Number: RA 784 G758413 2016
    Located: Mt. Scopus

    Looks pretty good, I’ll get cataloged and on the shelf ASAP!
    Thanks so much for making your amazing book available in Hebrew.

  32. I love veganism and the scientific principles behind it, but please, you don’t have to look like a starved skeleton when going plant based. Just raise your daily caloric intake a little, add some vegan protein powder, it’s not the end of the world, and start lifting some weigths. There are numerous studies confirming that having a higher percentage of lean body mass (having more muscles) has numerous additional health benefits. My hearth breaks when looking at the skinny frail bodies and sagging facial skin that is so typical when you niggarly feed your body. We are living in the 21st century, you don’t have to keep your body at the miserly minimal BMI. Just eat a healthy plant based diet but eat enough calories and while you’re at it, add some vegan protein and grow more muscle mass and reap all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, inside and out. Stay plant based but : “more calories, more protein, more muscles”.

    1. Well, in a fat world, they look skinny, but that may be the normal and optimal human weight. Granted there are exception of course, but most vegans (including myself) are normal and physically active. I was almost 200 LBs, overweight, suffered from severe back aches, and dieted almost through all my 20s and 30s while gaining weight on omnivore diet. I have lost 50 LBs eating plant based (mostly raw) without dieting. I feel great, jog, swim, walk etc. Regarding protein, I love raw in shell peanuts and eat a lot of peanuts whenever I feel protein deficient (mostly psychological, because the need for protein is a myth). I googled it long time ago. Peanuts by weight have as much protein as fillet mignon steak.

    2. Netgeo: What you describe sounds like an alternate reality, not anything here on Earth. Following is a link of to a page of “vegan faces”. These faces are typical of the vegans I know across many states. No heart break here. Just beautiful faces and largely healthy people. http://www.driftwoodmag.com/vegan-faces So, rest easy! No more calories are needed.
      Definitely no more protein. Did you know that one of the longest, healthiest populations on earth ate only 9% of their calories from protein? If you want a basic education on protein, here is a great starting place: http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/protein.html

    3. My apologies if I am wrong, but my sense from your concern about inadequate protein and frail, sallow unhealthy vegans is that you writing from a stereotype of a “vegan” than from any personal knowledge. So I suggest you gather more real information. Then you might come to understand that the image you have in your head does not match reality.

      Vegans and especially those following a whole-food, plant-based diet are indeed thinner than the average population, but research shows that those eating plant-based are the only group at the ideal body weight. Only a few, and I would speculate mostly those with mental and emotional issues independent of diet, would count as dangerously underweight. The majority of plant-based eaters that I know are also motivated by the increased energy and vitality they find eating this way to be very physically active as well and so tend to be quite fit as well as lean.

  33. There is conflict of interest with Doctors, nurses, hospitals and drug companies and patience. They make profit from illness, sickness and disability (that’s their livelihood). However there is no conflict of interest with Health Insurance companies and their biggest customer (the Federal Government “Obama Care”). They should actively embrace and push veganism, plant-foods & other natural healthy foods on roof tops. Any such advertising will pay them back in savings and profits. And the government is suppose to care for people’s health (at least that was the original purpose of Obama care, not to enrich drug companies).

  34. Love the content, but having links that don’t go anywhere is a big turn off.
    For example these links:
    Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health
    The Philosophy of NutritionFacts.org
    Behind the Scenes at NutritionFacts.org
    How Not to Die from Heart Disease
    How Not to Die from Cancer
    How Not to Die from Diabetes
    How Not to Die from Kidney Disease
    How Not to Die from High Blood Pressure

    Don’t link until you have the video. Thanks.

      1. Jimmy I am not sure you are enjoying this website as it was meant to be enjoyed. Isn’t there anything you can get out of it? Nothing you are interested in?

        1. Yes I got out a lot of stuff and there are a lot of smart people whom I exchange discussions with. But then there are people who want to police this forum and dictate what people can discuss. A lot of my “heated exchanges” with people have to do with some people including yourself harassing me after I disclosed that I am a reduced meat eater, and after this, I am portrayed as someone who wants to “do harm” to this web site. I have a lot of respect for Dr Greger and you know that, but I have some differences or more like subjects to think about because I am not the kind of person who takes everything that I read like gospel.

        2. Funny, she would delete one of my posts but leave the other post to make me look bad like I am the trouble maker. Here is the content of the post she deleted.

          Yes I got out a lot of stuff and there are a lot of smart people whom I exchange discussions with. But then there are people who want to police this forum and dictate what people can discuss. A lot of my “heated exchanges” with people have to do with some people including yourself harassing me after I disclosed that I am a reduced meat eater, and after this, I am portrayed as someone who wants to “do harm” to this web site. I have a lot of respect for Dr Greger and you know that, but I have some differences or more like subjects to think about because I am not the kind of person who takes everything that I read like gospel.

  35. So …….. what are the chances of making the “How not to Die” presentation in medical schools? Or perhaps sending the video and book to all medical schools ? Would this nutritional focus not fit in to some part of the Hippocratic Oath ??

  36. Dr. Greger, are you a Seventh-Day Adventist? You are virtually preaching and teaching our health message. From some of your other presentations it sounds as though you may as well be reading from “The Ministry of Healing” by E.G. White.

  37. I like these new introductory videos! That said from a video production POV Dr Greger’s glasses are quite reflective. Consider using anti-reflection coated glasses and/or changing the lighting when recording the videos. I mean this only as constructive, friendly advice – I’m a huge fan of Nutrition Facts.

  38. Ask your doc “when was the last time you when out to dinner with ‘big broccoli’? ” Love it!!!! I’m going to steal that line for a workshop I’m going to do on “optimal aging” – with full credit to Dr. Greger of course. Plus a link to the 10 videos. Your content is great Doctor!

  39. Until nutrition is seen as a therapy like drugs and surgery, it will not be taught in medical schools. And even if it were, I think that students would be educated to advise patients to eat a “variety of meats and dairy products” in “moderation”, along with plenty of vegetables and small to no portions of grains and potatoes. Oh, and keep fruit to a minimum, I mean, all that SUGAR. In other words, teaching nutrition to med students would probably promote an omnivore diet rather than a plant based diet.

    This is the power of the animal agriculture industry, and that is the narrow focus of medical education. The propaganda we are fed by the meat, egg and dairy industries has a long and wide reach. I am trained as a naturopathic doctor, and in our four years we study nutrition in depth. However, vegan diets are seen as lacking by the ND schools. It’s believed that without animal foods we would have nutritional deficiencies of protein, B12, iron, and zinc. I know this isn’t true, but this is the belief pushed on us. This results in NDs who focus on treating diabetes with low carb diets, for example, further perpetuating the belief that you can’t be truly healthy without eating animals.

    1. Thanks for your question Susan.

      According to Harvard Health Publications & I quote the important take-away messages:

      – “Diet alone probably isn’t the driving force behind the multiple behavioral and cognitive symptoms that plague children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But several studies have renewed interest in whether certain foods and additives might affect particular symptoms in a subset of children with ADHD.”

      – “encourage children with ADHD to consume levels of omega-3 fatty acids recommended as part of a healthy diet”: Healthy sources of omega-3 are chia seeds, flaxseed, walnuts, hempseed and microalgae oil.

      – “Megadoses of vitamins, which can be toxic, must be avoided.”

      – “Eat a diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthful unsaturated fats, and good sources of protein (legumes, nuts, seeds, soy, tofu, seitan, tempeh, greens, etc.); go easy on unhealthy saturated and trans fats, rapidly digested carbohydrates, and fast food; and balance healthy eating with plenty of physical activity. A healthful diet may reduce symptoms of ADHD by reducing exposure to artificial colors and additives and improving intake of omega-3 fats and micronutrients. But it certainly will improve overall health and nutrition, and set the stage for a lifetime of good health.”

      Hope this answer helps.


    Dr. Greg never went to broadcaster’s school, and probably never will. Nonetheless, his basically good voice needs some help– particularly with breath support, as he drops all too frequently to half-whispered final syllables. When we turn up the volume in slight irritation– “what did he say, then?”– and repeat the passage, we finally understand the words, and can proceed.

    Only to find, seconds later, we are suddenly blown across the room as our elevated volume level encounters a new passage and/or recording session, when Dr. Greg’s voice comes across exuberantly, but abnormally loud (and certainly clear).

    Not to mention the times when Dr. Greger’s flurries of jumbled words (as he summarizes prior research) defy understanding, and are lost to history until we back up the video/audio, once again, and repeat the exercise– sometimes more than twice, simply to understand. YouTube’s “Subtitles/Closed Captions” feature sometimes helps, but not that often with really difficult verbal flurries. Perhaps a mnemonic to help Dr. Greger make his delivery is to imagine we are patients in his office, and our nutritional health hangs on his every (clearly understood) syllable.

    For my part, I consider Dr. Greger’s work immensely rich and rewarding, and well worth my occasional struggle with the audio (yes, my own hearing is excellent, which is why I am sensitized to the problem). But new visitors may not find it so beneficial– particularly with what they cannot hear, in the first place. They will move along to a site they can hear more clearly. This last point is especially relevant in “nutrition evangelism”– if Dr. Greger cannot be clearly understood, his message always will have an unnecessarily high mortality with those he tries to help. With all the justified managerial concern about those new to the NutritionFacts.org website, standardizing the audio level for consistency across the website (if only to match the excellent video) should be a priority.

    * And when I actually retire (in word, if not deed), I plan to contribute more transcriptions than I already have.

  41. I think it’s interesting my a1c was 7 and I asked to be scheduled to talk to a nutritionist in May when I was diagnosed with diabetes and I refused medicine. I didn’t want medicine, so I couldn’t see a nutritionist. He said eat less sugar and exercise, so I did my own research that helped me fine some great doctors educated and this website I love. He’s in it to really help but some of the other smart doctors want to help if you pay. But 3 months later on a vegetarian diet 5 days per week and my typical diet 2 days per week my a1c was 5.6 in July. That is considered high but normal range. My doctor finally agrees to let me talk to a nutritionist and that’s scheduled in late October, but that’s after I did my own research and got my numbers normal without help. It doesn’t seem fair that your own your own if you refuse medicine. Oh and now that I am high normal my doctor is sending me to some diabetic education at a hospital. It seems a day late and dollar short but I’ll go for help. Now he has ordered more blood test this year than I’ve ever had in my entire life. So I am being extreme saying I was left on my own. I’ll share my results. And the blood work goes down in things like triglycorides, glucose, cholesterol and something called risk factor. Everything else was normal and no significant changes either way. And I get my third a1c test in mid October. I’ve been told I’m getting excellent care because my doctor checked all my blood test a1c and cholesterol and vitamins and a bunch other sense I changed my diet. He was amazed my cholesterol could go down more. My bad cholesterol was 75 and now it’s 60, but my good cholesterol also dropped from 50 to 40. I think my doctor is sending me to a nutritionist more about curious how all my numbers could change. He thought everything was good except vitamin D, but now everything is great except vitamin D and calcium. Some of my results changed a little; calcium went down a little from 8.8 to 8.4 and protein only went down a little from 7.2 to 6.9. I’ve never been a big meat eater, so I can eat 1 piece of chicken breast for 3 days. I usually add very little meat, so I’ve always had low cholesterol with every lab done on me. I complained about diary and meat my whole life, so I’m probably a bad example of how your cholesterol can go down. So you can get everything you need from a plant based diet. My vitamins are higher or the same in most areas. And keep in mind that my vitamin d was low to begin and protein and calcium drops are not significant drops. I just wanted to share cus this doctor is amazing and I wish there were more like him. He has helped me like no one else and if it wasn’t for him I would still be eating salad and regular salad dressing wondering why I’m not seeing results. I would still be running on a treadmill with my high blood pressure medicine preventing me from seeing results instead of getting healthier to get off that medicine and see results at the gym. On the medicine I couldn’t get my heart rate over 80 cus as soon as it was 80 the medicine started to work to get it down. Now no high blood pressure medicine and I see weight loss and healthy heart rate and blood pressure. I am 118/78 usually and I was 145/90. So he has saved my life with his videos. Listen to him!!!

    1. Oh yeah if your on medications… Make sure you tell your doctor so he can adjust any as needed. I was on high blood pressure and on my vegetarian/vegan type food days my blood pressure was 90/70. I’m not kidding you, so he lowered me 2x before he had to take me off medication. I also noticed carrots and apples only raised my blood sugar a couple points…. and I went down really fast in like 5 days I went from 140 to 110 and then I played around 110 for 2 weeks before I went down to 70. And I used rice and oatmeal to raise it cus carrots and apples no matter how many you eat will bring you from 70 to 73 after 2 bags of carrots or 2 apples. So you have to work with your doctor and tell him you really want to go plant based. Otherwise you will flip out when your number change so fast. That’s my best advise to a newbie but I still consider myself a newbie.

      1. Melissa, I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger, and you are ABSOLUTELY correct that anyone should communicate with their doctor before beginning a whole food, plant-based diet IF they are on a medication or have any other health concerns. It can actually be incredibly dangerous to continue taking a blood pressure-lowering drug while eating a whole food, plant-based diet for long-term without reducing the blood pressure lowering drug. Among other dangers, it can cause blood pressure to go to low that one may feel nauseous or even faint. Thanks for the advice to others who may not be aware!

    2. Melissa: That’s a really great story. *Thank you* for taking the time to share it with us!
      re: things happening fast. That’s one of the cautions that several doctors around here make. If you are going to take your health into your hands and start eating a healthy diet, and if you are on blood pressure and/or diabetes medications, you need to work with a doctor because your body could heal itself very fast, requiring the need to adjust medications quickly.
      You are an inspiration for us all. Thank you.

  42. Hi, can you please provide some insight into what I can do to help my very pettite daughter with her height. she is quite a small girl and isn’t growing, we are being assessed with an endochronologist however I was interested in finding out if there are any natural products/foods/remedies that I could also try.

    1. Hello Renae, thanks for your question. I am a family physician in private practice and also a volunteer moderator for this website. I will try to answer your question. First, I recommend that you learn more about “growth delay” in children. This link will take you to a very helpful set of questions and answers by doctors at the world-famous Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).

      Seeing an endocrinologist, or pediatrician with expertise in growth delay, is very important so that you can be sure to rule out any treatable medical condition which could cause growth delay, such as hypothyroidism, intestinal malabsorption, or a food allergy. Having said that, the most common cause of growth delay is “constitutional growth delay”, which essentially means someone who is a “late bloomer”, and will eventually grow to normal size.

      In terms of dietary influences, as long as your daughter is eating a balanced diet composed mainly of whole foods (i.e. not processed foods), she is probably getting adequate nutrition. On this website, we emphasize plant-based nutrition. There are a couple of good guides for plant-based diets for children published by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:
      http://www.pcrm.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/health/info_children.pdf and
      (You can copy each of these links and paste into your web browser).

      If you do put her on a vegetarian or vegan diet, you probably will need to give her supplemental vitamin B-12, and possibly also some Vitamin D, and iodine. You can use the “Search” box on this website to look for videos Dr. G. has done on these supplements. Generally speaking, though, most nutritional supplements are not necessary if your daughter is eating a healthy diet. I hope this helps.

  43. Absolutely love your website. As a dietitian, I plan to use in classes. Slightly heavy on the statistics which lay person may struggle with. THANKS, everyone.

  44. Just purchased the book How Not To Die, excellent book!!!!

    can you please tell me how much protein a woman or man needs and how would I get the protein I need during the day from plant sources? can you give me a typical day for protein servings, thank you so much,.

    1. So long as your caloric needs are sufficient, your protein needs will be met, especially if you follow Dr Greger’s daily dozen including the 3 serves of legumes.

      Typical estimates are approximately 0.8-1g per kg lean body weight, or about 5-15% calories, and these are considered generous recommendations.

      Consuming a wide variety of wholegrains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds and eat enough calories and you will not have issues meeting your protein requirements.

  45. I’d love to see you address the research studies reviewing overall (all-cause) mortality in populations by diet, please.
    I really enjoy your videos and the information you present is very helpful. However, every time I have reviewed the research on overall mortality rate of vegetarians vs meat-eaters, the publications conclude there is no difference. Another recent one here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4691673/
    I’d really like to hear your take on this please. This is the main argument my husband has for not changing his diet. Thank you.

    1. Hey Charlotte, thanks for writing. I’ve looked at those studies too, and they can be confusing. The BLUE ZONES books are a good clue as well for how we should be eating (and living!) The diet-mortality links are more evident when we look at all the people who are eating plant-based diets and not dying from diet-related diseases (CHD, DM, certain cancers) but less evident after people get to a certain age and they’ve been free of these diseases. It may be that after a certain age, other determinants of a healthy lifestyle (activity, social relationships) turn out to be just as protective as a healthy diet, thereby reducing the statistical impact of a vegan vs. a healthy omnivorous diet.

  46. I think many doctors do talk about nutrition and health. The first problem(?) is that doctors preach moderation, not avoidance. But most people don’t understand what that means or the implications. The second problem is people aren’t willing to listen. The real question to me is where is the line with moderation? How can most of the people get most of the benefit of healthier diets? Life is fatal and that’s okay but why not try and get the most out of it?

  47. I agree with everything Dr Greger says, but after finding out that Dr Pritikin committed suicide due to cancer, when he ate a healthy plant based diet, I can’t help to wonder if he lacked something in his diet. Has Dr Greger done any research into this? I have cancer and suicide in my family and worry about this.
    Thank you in advance

  48. hello,

    could anyone please kindly explain why I am losing my hair and when/if i could expect it to come back. I started my journey of better nutrition 5 months ago (no meat, cut cheese intake significantly but still struggle with this and hidden dairy). month 4 is when I noticed the thinning of my hair to the point I can no longer wear the same hairstyle. my eyelashes and eyebrows have also been affected. I contacted my primary care physician who stated to give it more time.

  49. Amber,

    Please have your physician not wait and start by checking your thyroid levels with a comprehensive screening including these tests: FT3/FT4/TSH/TA/TPO and nothing less….. you might also consider a hormone panel. If you prefer, you many not realize that as a consumer you can order your own testing.

    These are two of the many pathways that could be the issue. Recognize that having a good history taken and evaluating any and all changes would be an ideal approach, then followed by appropriate testing.

    Dr. Alan Kadish Health Support Volunteer
    for Dr. Greger

    1. Sir,
      I appreciate your timely response. I will call my physician again in the morning and if he refuses I will look into ordering my own testing. Prior to my journey we did blood work which came back normal. I don’t remember if a hormone panel was included. TSH was but I don’t think the others you mentioned were. In the meantime is there specific foods I should increase? I try to follow Dr. Gregers daily dozen. Thank you again.

  50. This is resonating long existing traditional Chinese medicine principles. Welcome to the origin of medicine where only herbs are used and foods are cautiously selected for a good health. Furthermore, west medicine is dissecting human bodies and treating each piece of organ as an isolated and disconnected part, whose view is violating a fundamental law in physical existence: things are universally inter-connected to one another!

  51. What is Dr G’s opinion on the upcoming clean or lab grown meats? Are they considered the same as non processed meat? Or better? They have saturated fat and cholesterol, but no added hormones, antibiotics or other medications, not fed GMO’s, etc.

  52. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication to this hugely important field of study, it’s so important for people to know about this.

  53. I’m looking at that Dean Ornish study from July 1990 and unfortunately it states this diet was not the only thing they changed. You do say this was the only change in your videos however apparently they stopped people smoking too.

    This is a shame as this would skew the data. How can we reliably say it was the diet that was rssponsible when everyone knows smoking causes heart disease.

    Do you know how many of the test subjects smoked and then gave it up after they joined the experimental group?

    Thanks for the fantastic videos!


    1. Hello Lewi,

      You’re absolutely right that in Dr. Ornish’s study there were multiple factors at play. Dr. Greger always states “plant based diet and other healthy lifestyle changes” when referencing that research. We know that diet was the main player because of Dr. Esselstyn’s research where he showed reversal of heart disease in patients with ONLY diet changes. In the group that remained on the plant-based diet there was a 99.6% success rate in preventing further cardiovascular events in people who already had a previous heart attack! Those results are phenomenal.

      I hope this clears it up for you,

      Dr. Esselstyn’s research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25198208

  54. Thank you very much for that. I’ll need to read that study in detail – where only the diet changed.

    It would be interesting to know exactly what dairy products the volunteers were eating before they tried a vegan approach.

    I’m not convinced that eating well reared lean meat and eggs for instance alongside lots of raw organic vegetables and some ripe organic fruit would be a problem.

    So were the animal products they gave up for instance containing refined carbohydrates as many products do these days (contain both).

    Also were they eating processed red meat or factory reared obese chicken or for instance grass fed free range cattle (I mean real free range).

    I’ll will have a proper look but I doubt this kind of detail is included and it’s almosf impossible to discount these other dietary factors.

    Also If you combine raw veg with say meat surely the protective attributes of the veg would more than make up for anything wrong with meat?

    And what about the gut bacteria of people consuming the animal products? Again your gut health can dramatically impact how this food is processed by your body.

    This is an extremely complicated area and I am very skeptical in some aspects of these studies while agreeing whole heartedly that eating more raw plant based food is a good idea for everyone.

  55. Do you have any recommended programs for nutritional certification outside of the traditional RD route? I am currently a bachelor’s prepared RN who has been practicing in the field of oncology for 6 years and want to switch my focus to nutrition and chronic disease without going back and obtaining my RD which would teach me contradictory information to evidence based nutrition. Thank you for your time!

    1. I just want to state that I live in Wisconsin – if there’s any institutions close by or if there are online plant-based or wholistic nutrition programs you would recommend. Thanks!

    2. Yes, there are several options.

      Dr Greger carries board certification in Lifestyle Medicine (as do I). The American Board of Lifestyle Medicine offers several membership categories with associated education programs. https://www.lifestylemedicine.org

      The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies offers a certificate program through eCornell. https://nutritionstudies.org

      These are the two I’d look into. Best luck!

  56. Can anyone recommend their favorite nutrition analysis software or app?
    I am a registered dietitian; this would be for professional use, but nothing too complex is needed, so I’d rather save on costs if possible.

    Mainly wanting to key in recipes or ingredients and get a good clean analysis. Thanks for any tips or suggestions from professionals.

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