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Epic Health, Interviews

Dr. Michael Greger MD on “How Not to Die”. Preventing and reversing our leading killer diseases with nutrition.

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Dr. Michael Greger is one of my nutrition super heroes. He is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. He is a founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and he currently serves as the public health director at the Humane Society of the United States.

Dr. Greger is also the founder of Nutritionfacts.org a strictly non-commercial, science-based public service website that provides free updates on the latest in nutrition research via bite-sized videos. There are hundreds of videos on more than a thousand health topics, with new videos and articles uploaded every day. It is an amazing resource.

And as of last week, Dr. Greger is now a New York Times Best-Selling author, thanks to his latest book, How Not to Die, which is my favorite health & nutrition book of 2015.

It’s also worth mentioning that 100% of the proceeds he receives from his books, DVDs,  and speaking engagements are donated to charity.

Dr. Greger is making a monumental impact on the health of millions of people around the world, by bringing evidence-based nutritional science to the masses. And as you will see, he is quite the character. This was a really fun one. Enjoy!

Or watch it right here!


Show Notes
-The detrimental health effects of sitting all day

-How he became interested in nutrition and lifestyle medicine

-How diet protects against environmental toxins

-Are beans and grains healthy or not?

-His research on the vast benefits of little known therapeutic: iloccor-B

-The one food he would choose to survive on

-His ideal breakfast, lunch, and dinner

-The diets of the longest-living populations on earth

-How much meat is too much?

-His opinion on oils, healthy or not?

If you want to understand what the healthiest diet looks like, I highly recommend you read Dr. Greger’s book How Not to Die. The amount of evidence-baxsed nutritional science referenced in this book is astounding. There are over 2,000 studies cited.

Selected links from the interview
The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner

Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, MD

Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer

Lung cancer risk for Japanese smokers vs American smokers

Nathan Pritikin

Dr. Dean Ornish, MD

After this interview I ordered the iCraze converter so I can work standing up more often. It’s an amazon bestseller with 800+ reviews, and it’s only $35!

If you need something bigger check out the Stand Steady Standing Desk converter.

(((c)))

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  • MT295

    Love the first show note as I sit at 2 full-time medical transcription jobs, 16 hours a day, but I just ate a raw green pepper for lunch break before I opened this up. I have a treadmill 1 foot away from my desk and it calls to me. I have to take this advice to heart!

    • Chris Wark

      Do it! :)

  • Arell

    Thanks for this great interview!! I just went and bought Dr. Gregor’s book.

    • Chris Wark

      You’re welcome Arell. You’ll love it.

  • Mary

    What kinds of meats is he talking about? Current practices are raising toxic meats polluted by GMO grains and antibiotics. In earlier days cancer and heart disease was almost absent from the US when we were eating lots of different animals, from wild to farm raised. What has changed in 2000-2016? Look at it from the broader picture.

    • Chris Wark

      Hi Mary. That’s just not true. Heart disease was the number two killer of Americans in 1900, second only to infectious disease. Our ancestors weren’t eating “toxic meat polluted by GMO grains and antibiotics”. They were just eating too much meat and dairy. Today, heart disease is still almost nonexistent in cultures that eat plant-based diets with little to no animal products (less than 5% of their diet), like the rural Africans, Indians, Chinese, South Americans, etc.

      • Halli620

        Even in your infographic, if accurate, 60+ fewer deaths per 100,000 people per year due to heart disease is a huge difference, and it’s unacceptable that this number has increased by nearly 50% since then, largely due to diet and lack of exercise. If we could go back to those numbers of heart disease and cancer deaths, and meanwhile keep the infectious disease deaths nearly minuscule as in the 2010 chart, we would be far better off, and there’s no need for you to make it sound like these heart disease numbers are even remotely similar.

    • earthwalker7

      Look at the China Study. Chinese consumed less than 0.5% of their calories from animal products and had virtually no incidence on cancer or heart disease. Now they have increased their meat consumption by 15x and they are world leaders in both diseases. I live in China and work in healthcare and can attest to this first hand.

  • Halli620

    He has a great message, but didn’t seem to come across terribly well in the interview. To begin with, if he’s doing the interview on the treadmill desk to make his point, at least position the camera further away to see more of his body; just seeing him from the shoulders up bobbing around was so dizzying I couldn’t even watch the screen, and just had to listen. His speaking style was also not very reassuring, with a lot of “you knows” and awkward repetition. I also expected, in response to the question to “blaming the victim,” that he of all people would address the faulty federal guidelines for the past decade, such as many servings of grains per day, and that many people WERE doing exactly what they were told was HEALTHY, but still became sickened due at least in part to their diet, while he didn’t address this at all.

    I also agree with the comment below about the supposed statistic about eating meat, which had NO specific amount of meat, only that it was “once a week or more,” which could have even been every day or multiple times a day, with no indication of the type of meat or whether it was grass-fed or grain-fed, nor of the remainder of the diet – which may have not included any vegetables for all we know. We have no reason to assume that just because the people in this study were once vegetarians, that they continued any sort of what we would term a “healthy diet” once they stopped being vegetarian (I know several vegetarians who eat nearly all grains and barely any vegetables). The study with meat once a week as opposed to none is more suggestive, but even this did not indicate the type of meat – was it grass-fed or wild meat, or was it something like a McDonald’s hamburger?? If these people started eating meat once a week, did NONE of the rest of their diet change? That seems unlikely if we aren’t told how their diet changed as a whole when and why they started eating meat, much less what type of meat/how it was raised. Maybe he goes into more detail in his book, but the information provided here on these studies was very lacking and inconclusive with these missing pieces, yet it was presented very sensationally and as though it was totally conclusive and all meat is the same.

    • Chris Wark

      Just read the book. It will blow your mind. :)

      • Halli620

        Are the above questions/issues addressed that were not in the interview?

  • W. R. Powell

    After 40 hours searching at PubMed I found four diet agents that slowed cancer cells growth and used all. The diet agents which are very hot red peppers, garlic, tomato sauce, in equal volumes plus a head of broccoli eaten raw per week.

    The capsaicin in Pimenta malaguetinha* which has Scoville scale > 60,000 (or at least 12 times hotter than a jalapeño) limited how much I could take. – Too much made body “think” it was being “cooked” – gave me “cold sweats” and nausea. So I backed off to about 80% of that dose.

    Because of excessive Aspirin use (treating swollen wrist) I got a bleeding ulcer and had to stop diet for 29 days while treating it. My PSA surrged up 38.9% during 28 days! – A very strong “dose effect.” added to two earlier with dose increases. I.e. I know my diet helps a lot, but is no cure. More in reply REPLY 6746456 at Us too (a prostate cancer site)

    * Brazilian name for a small, very hot pepper.

  • Lisa

    He never really answered your question about grains. He answered the legumes and oils question which was great!! But what about gluten, and other grains for autoimmune conditions (brain grain, brain maker, etc. etc) I wonder if he would follow up with an answer?? Thanks!

  • Chrysb

    super curious if those studies on meat were from grass fed cows/organic or CAFO meat. I thought he said study was from Taiwan but I am not familiar with their cattle treatment. Many nutritional docs also say that if the meat is clean & from grass fed cows then the omega’s are flip flop to what is healthy for human consumption. Hard to know who is correct these days.
    Also, all meat? As in chicken as well?

  • honeybee

    What about the paleo diet? That is suppose to be “the” healthy way to go now–and it proposes lots of meat. Really confusing as to what to eat and what is correct.

    • Chris Wark

      The high meat consumption is terrible for you and terrible for our environment. Check out the film Cowspiracy on Netflix.

  • Lynn Court

    I am concerned at his recommendation for eating beans 3x/day. That is excessive in my opinion. Additionally, many people have issues digesting beans. He fails to mention that all ancient cultures that consumed beans (and/or grains) took great care in preparing those foods prior to consumption in torder to make them more digestible and to remove the compounds in beans & grains that inhibit absorption of there nutrients. This included soaking, sprouting and/or fermenting. I think this needs to be made clear to your viewers. It did not include opening a can of pre-cooked beans. Check out the Weston A. Price foundation for more info on properly preparing beans & grains, and other elements of a healthy diet. I also echo what others have mentioned about theses meat studies mentioned. Way too vague. I agree vegetables should make up the bulk of one’s diet but pastured animals & wild fish are healthy. Humans are omnivores. We wouldn’t have evolved the way we did without eating animals. There are several nutrients that can only be obtained from animal foods. Just make sure you chose high quality pastured/grass-fed. Avoid CAFO meat/fish/eggs – those are very unhealthy.

    • earthwalker7

      Weston A. Price Foundation is not a valid source to cite. It is essentially a lobbying group for the meat and dairy industry. Look at their donations. It was set up for noble purposes but hijacked subsequently.

  • Karrie Loar

    I agree with the other viewers. His responses were vague and he did not clarify much of anything for me except “to eat a healthy diet”
    I have a daughter who is 9 with Neurofibromatosis ( NF1). This is a genetic disease that causes tumors to grow along the nerves. She has two brain gliomas and one plexiform Timor in her hip/spine. I too avoided chemo and moved to Colorado for cannabis oil and an all organic diet. MRI showed 6 months later, brain gliomas gone. Plexiform is still there.
    Here’s where this is all so confusing. I have to maintain some sort of healthy diet for her… So I have read books , watched videos, took classes, I even signed up for school to become a holistic nutritionist for her… Still not clear! Grain free? Meat free? Gluten free? Paleo? Vegan? Vegetarian? Blood type diet? Raw food? Anyone who is doing the research to prove their “truth” on what diet is the best , is always going to have biased claims or reports.
    I want pure proof. What nutrtion lifestyle is the best for my daughter? Doctors can tell me so much about the chemo drug I refused but nothing about how to alkalizer her body. I was hoping this interview would have given more guidance as I face the frustration of grain free or not?

    • Chris Wark

      Hi Karrie. You gotta read his book. It has precise nutrition advise.

      • Karrie Loar

        Thank you Chris for responding. His book is on my list to buy next week. Had to get through the others I bought first. Still no clarity after those. I hope his book will provide some.
        Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Wendy Clow

    I have bought and read most of the book. I jumped around a bit through select few of the diseases he talked about that have affected or are affecting me or my family. I’m now reading through part 2 where he lays out useful guidelines for eating.

    I love his “daily dozen”. It makes eating a healthy, plant-based diet seem easy.

    Like many of the respondents here already, I’m thoroughly confused on some of the topics, though. Soy, for example – I’ve seen so many authors with credentials and experience that match Dr. Greger talk against soy recently, for reasons that seem to conflict directly with Dr. Greger’s points. Dr. Greger cites tons of studies, but so do these other professionals. Could there be differences in the way the studies are interpreted? Or are some professionals picking studies that support their theories and not giving attention to others?

    Chris, what are your thoughts on the fact that there is SO much seemingly excellent nutrition advice available to us that conflicts with each other to such extremes?

    Also, is there a way to contact Dr. Greger to ask him a similar question?

  • Jeanne Newberry

    Are Dr. Greger and Dr. McDougall in general agreement? I bought Dr. McDougall’s book and cookbook and I have Dr. Greger’s book.

  • Mike

    I am wondering about the grains. He mentions whole wheat pasta. Is there any concern about gluten? And oatmeal, all grains and whole wheat pasta spike my blood glucose. Not that I am in the keto camp, not sure what to believe really, but insulin and insulin growth factor seem to not be what you want too much of when fighting cancer. And doesn’t high blood glucose high insulin cause inflammation? Also not good?

    • Ewa

      I have this problem as well – insulin resistance, and a autoimmune problems. I am a huge fan of vegan diets – have been on Gerson for 2 years. It helped, but I couldn’t get rid of hormonal problems and my autoimmune diseases for good. Also it was impossible for me not to lose to much weight.
      I learned recently that oils from grains are not good for you but surprisingly animal fats might, but it can’t be a burnt bacon, but eg. organic lard goose or the carefully prepared fat from the knuckle (not on the high temperature.)- skin is also good because of the collagen content.
      Also I believe that gluten is not good for you for the same reason that corn or soy is not to goog form you. Today it is all GMO and it makes it not good for you.
      There is no controversy over the dairy, but what about egg – I mean yolk? It is life itself, isn’t it?
      I wander what Chris things about those. What his practice says. I’m talking about long term diet, not the hard core first few months after cancer diagnosis life saving diet.
      I agree with other coments that there are many questions that noone realy knows the answer.
      Greetings form Poland!

  • Anke Wisniewski

    I have a problem with Lemons, oranges, gooseberries and citric acid and absorbic acid
    Now I would love to follow the advise of starting the day with a glass of water with added lemon. The problem is that this advise triggers a migraine with can last up to 3 days. So how can I follow the advise if it will make me ill? Any advise on this?

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