How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease Info

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New York Times
Bestseller


“This book may help those who are
susceptible to illnesses that can be prevented.”

―His Holiness
the Dalai Lama


“Absolutely the best book I’ve read
on nutrition and diet”

–Dan Buettner, author of The Blue
Zones Solution


From the physician behind the
wildly popular Nutrition Facts website, How Not to Die reveals
the groundbreaking scientific evidence behind the only diet that can
help prevent and reverse many of the causes of disease-related
death.


In How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, the
internationally-renowned nutrition expert, physician, and founder of
NutritionFacts.org, examines the fifteen top causes of premature death
in America--heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson's, high
blood pressure, and more--and explains how nutritional and lifestyle
interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other
pharmaceutical and surgical approaches to help prevent and reverse these
diseases, freeing us to live healthier lives.

The simple truth is
that most doctors are good at treating acute illnesses but bad at
preventing chronic disease. The fifteen leading causes of death claim
the lives of 1.6 million Americans annually. This doesn't have to be the
case. By following Dr. Greger's advice, all of it backed up by strong
scientific evidence, you will learn which foods to eat and which
lifestyle changes to make to live longer.

History of prostate
cancer in your family? Put down that glass of milk and add flaxseed to
your diet whenever you can. Have high blood pressure? Hibiscus tea can
work better than a leading hypertensive drug-and without the side
effects. Fighting off liver disease? Drinking coffee can reduce liver
inflammation. Battling breast cancer? Consuming soy is associated with
prolonged survival. Worried about heart disease (the number 1 killer in
the United States)? Switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet, which has
been repeatedly shown not just to prevent the disease but often stop it
in its tracks.

In addition to showing what to eat to help treat
the top fifteen causes of death, How Not to Die includes Dr.
Greger's Daily Dozen -a checklist of the twelve foods we should consume
every day.Full of practical, actionable advice and surprising, cutting
edge nutritional science, these doctor's orders are just what we need to
live longer, healthier lives.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease:

5

Feb 12, 2017

This is an amazing book. I am completely blown over by it. Let me explain.

This book is divided into three main parts. In the first part, there are 15 chapters, one for each of the major afflictions that cause people to die. In each of the chapters, Dr. Greger explains the disease or affliction, and then describes the foods that have been found to reduce the risk, prevent, reverse, or cure the disease.

The second part of the book devotes chapters to a number of healthy food groups. Dr. Greger This is an amazing book. I am completely blown over by it. Let me explain.

This book is divided into three main parts. In the first part, there are 15 chapters, one for each of the major afflictions that cause people to die. In each of the chapters, Dr. Greger explains the disease or affliction, and then describes the foods that have been found to reduce the risk, prevent, reverse, or cure the disease.

The second part of the book devotes chapters to a number of healthy food groups. Dr. Greger explains which chemicals, elements, enzymes, or anti-oxidants are particularly useful for preventing or curing a disease.

In each of the first two parts of the book, it seems like every other sentence has a reference to a scientific paper that describes the research and evidence for Dr. Greger's statements. The last third of the book is a listing of all of the references. You cannot fault Dr. Greger for his conclusions, since they are backed up by a tremendous amount of research.

Dr. Greger's nutrition recommendation is to eat only whole, plant-based foods. It reduces the risk of all of the top 15 causes of death in the U.S. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve his/her nutrition and health. This is the best book on nutrition that I have ever read (and I have read quite a few!).

If you want to stop reading my review here, I won't blame you. I took lots of notes. Here they are.

Doctors are not trained in nutrition, and they do not get paid for giving nutrition advice. The California Academy of Family Physicians opposed a California bill to mandate twelve hours of nutrition education for all doctors. In debate, it was whittled down to zero hours.

It is believed that the decrease in the length of telomeres in one's chromosomes causes aging. Dr. Greger presents evidence that a healthy lifestyle can increase telomerase activity, and actually grow telomeres in length. It is the quality of food that counts, not quantity. What is a healthy lifestyle? One that uses whole foods, not supplements or one that tries to emphasize a single chemical or nutrient. This book provides plenty of examples of individual nutrients that have proven health benefits--but only when eaten in a whole food, not when isolated in a pill. As an example, antioxidant supplements do not reduce the risk of cancer, but antioxidants found naturally in foods do reduce the risk.

Turmeric is an herb found in curry powder and in mustard. It may have remarkable anti-cancer properties. But double-blind studies have not been done; nobody wants to pay for something that cannot be patented. It is true, though, that India suffers much less colorectal cancer, kidney, lung, bladder, and prostate cancer, and melanoma. But the question is whether this is due to turmeric, or that only 7% of the population eats meat regularly?

I did not realize that in some respects, poultry is more unhealthy than meat. Eating poultry raises the risk of pancreatic cancer more than red meat!

Vegetarians get higher intakes of almost every nutrient calorie for calorie, than meat eaters. Also meat eaters gain more weight, even after adjusting for calories! All calories are not equal, perhaps because vegetarians have a higher resting metabolic rate.

Many diabetics can reverse their disease after eating a plant-based diet for sixteen days. They do not have to lose weight or reduce calorie consumption.

The difficile superbug infects 250,000 Americans yearly, killing thousands. It used to be thought that it was picked up in hospitals. However, only one third of cases are linked to infected patients. It might instead be due to infected meat. About 42% of meats sold in national chain grocery stores is infected. The U.S. has the highest levels in the world. It is also found in chicken, turkey, and beef, but the highest concentration is in pork. Usually, the difficile bug does not bother people; it lies in the gut without causing harm. But antibiotics can unleash it, and it is deadly. It can survive two hours of cooking at 71 degrees C (the recommended cooking temperature). Hand sanitizers do not help. Antibiotics are found in the urine of meat eaters, even when they have not been taking them. Agribusiness feeds enormous quantities of antibiotics to farm animals.

High blood pressure is one of the afflictions that Dr. Greger describes. The so-called DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was designed specifically to lower blood pressure. It is mostly vegetarian, but allows some meat, in order to make the diet more palatable to non-vegetarians. Dr. Greger mentions that eating a few tablespoons per day of flax seeds induces a very potent blood pressure lowering effect.

While moderate drinking can reduce the risk of heart disease, it can also increase the risk of cancer!

Dr. Greger has some interesting views on reducing the risk of breast cancer. One could put curtains on your windows to sleep in a dark room. This increases the production of melatonin. Also, he recommends eating more vegetables, cutting out meat, and exercising enough to work up a sweat at least five times per week.

Depression is one of the afflictions that are discussed. Coffee reduces depression, but artificial sweeteners increase it! Exercise reduces depression about as well as Zoloft! Some anti-oxidants like lycopene (red pigment found in tomatoes) reduce depression. But they only have this effect when eaten in whole foods, not in supplements.

Anti-depressant medicines often work due to a placebo effect. Unpublished studies released by the FDA show that only half of the trials show a benefit to anti-depressants. When published and unpublished studies are combined, there was no clinically significant advantage over placebo sugar pills. The FDA knew this, but shielded the public and physicians from this information. This does not mean that medicines do not work at all. They actually do help the 10% most severely depressed patients. The problem is for the 90% of patients who take pills that don't work, but can have bad side-effects.

"Natural antioxidants in food work synergistically; it's the combination of many different compounds working together that tends to protect you, not high doses of single antioxidants found in supplements." For example, a study found that pilots taking more than 500 mg of vitamin C a day causes more oxidative DNA damage due to radiation. Pilots who consumed the most vitamin C through fruits and vegetables were protected from radiation-caused DNA damage. Supplement and drug companies fall into the same reductionist trap. They believe that you can isolate a single active ingredient to get the same effect as a whole food. But there may be multiple active ingredients.

For example, turmeric may work better than the "active ingredient" curcumin. Research suggests that turmeric works better against a number of cancers than curcumin. By the way, a little black pepper helps you to absorb turmeric tremendously. Cooked turmeric helps protect DNA, while raw turmeric may have better anti-inflammatory effects. Dr. Greger recommends 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric daily.

An over-confidence in pills and procedures for disease prevention could be the reason why doctors and patients under-value lifestyle interventions. People rely on drugs to save them. But, studies show that most people would not take these drugs if they understood how little benefit comes from them.

In transforming one's lifestyle to a whole, plant-based diet, Dr. Greger urges patients not to go cold turkey permanently. Dr. Greger suggests that patients think of a three-week lifestyle experiment. This is exactly the approach recommended by Dr. Neil Barnard, in his excellent book, 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart: Boost Metabolism, Lower Cholesterol, and Dramatically Improve Your Health. This is another book that I highly recommend.

The largest-ever analysis of death and disease was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Hundreds of scientists concluded in 2010 that the leading cause of death and disability was the American diet, followed by smoking. The worst aspect of our diet, the study found, is not enough fruit. While fruits decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes, fruit juice increases the risk.

Sulfurophane, a compound found only in fresh cruciferous vegetables, has been found to help treat autism! An eighth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger mixed with water works as well as, and as fast as sumatripan (Imitrex) for relieving migraine headaches. Ginger also beats Dramamine for relieving nausea.

Smoked, fatty foods are carcinogeric (smoked ham, turkey, BBQ chicken, smoked fish).

The book has a very interesting discussion about gluten. Dr. Greger claims that non-celiac gluten sensitivity might actually be a wheat sensitivity for some people. Only 1% of the population has celiac disease, but another 1% has wheat sensitivity. The other 98% of the population are not affected by wheat. A gluten-free diet can actually worsen gut health for people without a sensitivity, due to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in their intestines. Gluten contains prebiotics that feed "good" bacteria, and may boost immune function.

Blueberries and cherries can reduce exercise-induced inflammation which may transfer into faster recovery time. Strenuous exercise leads to free radicals that cause DNA damage. Plant foods reduce the free radicals and counter exercise-induced oxidative stress. ...more
5

Aug 14, 2018

If you listen to but one book recommendation I give, then listen to this one: it could save your life.

I’m a vegan, it’s only natural that I would have a bias opinion towards books that promote a healthy vegan lifestyle and I can openly admit that. However, this book was not written by a vegan or vegetarian: it was written by a medical professional who has spent his life researching the benefits of a plant-based diet. And there are many, believe me.

And his story is an interesting one, driven If you listen to but one book recommendation I give, then listen to this one: it could save your life.

I’m a vegan, it’s only natural that I would have a bias opinion towards books that promote a healthy vegan lifestyle and I can openly admit that. However, this book was not written by a vegan or vegetarian: it was written by a medical professional who has spent his life researching the benefits of a plant-based diet. And there are many, believe me.

And his story is an interesting one, driven by personal experience and a will to prevent further failings of the medical system. At the age 65, Dr Gregor’s grandma was dealt the ineptness of medical practice first-hand. After several heart bypass operations, buckets of medicine and being confined to a wheel chair, she was sent home to die because there was nothing else doctors could do for her. She stumbled across some whack-miracle cure she saw on television, and out of desperation she tried it. It worked. She lived for another thirty-one years. That cure was a plant-based diet.

The majority of western doctors are inept at addressing the causes of disease.

“Most deaths in the united states are preventable, and they are related to what we eat. Our diet is the number-one cause of premature death and the number-one cause of disability. Surely, diet must also be the number-one thing taught in medical schools, right?”

Sure Doctors can treat the symptoms well enough, they’re good at delaying the inevitable, but what about the causes? Surely it would be more prudent to erase the causes of the diseases first rather than attempting to deal with the aftermath? They pump their patients full of pills and medicines year after year. They alleviate the immediate problems, though do absolutely nothing to treat the actual causes of the issue. So patients come wondering back for stronger doses and more extreme treatments, and continue to persist in the behaviour (their terrible diets) that caused their problems in the first place. And this goes on and on until they fall into an early grave.

So why aren’t Doctors advising patients about their lifestyle choices?

Because they don’t know. Most Doctors receive a minimum of ten hours tuition on nutrition during their training. That’s it. The treatments they prescribe treat the immediate problem but do not address the real causes. The majority of them don’t look at the research that promotes healthy living and ascribe such diseases to genetic factors which is very inaccurate. Some even ignore diet as a risk factor altogether. I mean think about, people say cancer and heart disease runs in families but don’t diets run in families too? People, generally speaking, eat what their parents ate because it was the way they were brought up on.

“We eat almost as if the future doesn’t matter”

And that’s the problem. Junk food tastes good. Process meat and dairy foods taste good, though they are quite literally destroying our bodies ever so slowly. It amazes me how shocked people are when their relatives get cancer (or they themselves do). Why has it happened to us, why has it happened to me? They might ask. Nine times out of ten people cause their own diseases and cancers because of the way in which they live. It’s a hard truth I know, but it’s also real. A lifetime of eating meat and dairy is more dangerous than smoking. Prostate cancer, bowl cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, stokes and diabetes: it all harkens back to what we eat. The more shit we put in our bodies, the more things go wrong. It’s simple really.

No doubt someone reading this might say, what about children who die of cancer? And what about that really healthy person I knew who got cancer and died anyway? The point is it’s all about risk. There is never no risk no matter how healthy you are, but there is such a thing as low risk. And eating a bad diet puts you firmly in the high risk category. It’s just how these things work. Why take chances? I want to live for a long time.

This book brings together decades worth of research to the table. And there is a huge wealth of it that is ignored by so many. I implore you to read. If you followed it, it may prevent yourself from having to seek treatment for a nasty disease you could have avoided. Life is precious: it’s all we have. Why risk years of it? ...more
5

Dec 20, 2015

This is the most comprehensive book on health and nutrition that I've read. Written in a way that's easy to understand for those new to the subject, but also substantive enough that those very familiar with health and nutrition will learn a great deal of new information. If you're still eating the standard American diet, or if you've been mislead by one of the many fad diets out there (or food industry obfuscation), read this book to learn how to eat healthy, avoid disease, feel your best, and This is the most comprehensive book on health and nutrition that I've read. Written in a way that's easy to understand for those new to the subject, but also substantive enough that those very familiar with health and nutrition will learn a great deal of new information. If you're still eating the standard American diet, or if you've been mislead by one of the many fad diets out there (or food industry obfuscation), read this book to learn how to eat healthy, avoid disease, feel your best, and maximize longevity. Highly recommended! ...more
5

Feb 07, 2016

I'm going to start off this review by qualifying the perspective from which I read the book.

I have a longstanding passion in all things health and fitness that started at the age of 10, when as a chunky child, I decided I wanted to be healthy.

Joining my first gym at 13, it wasn't long until I started teaching group fitness. A Bachelors in Nutritional Sciences seemed like the next logical step. But it didn't end there. While continuing to branch out by teaching every mode of group fitness I could I'm going to start off this review by qualifying the perspective from which I read the book.

I have a longstanding passion in all things health and fitness that started at the age of 10, when as a chunky child, I decided I wanted to be healthy.

Joining my first gym at 13, it wasn't long until I started teaching group fitness. A Bachelors in Nutritional Sciences seemed like the next logical step. But it didn't end there. While continuing to branch out by teaching every mode of group fitness I could find, I pursued and obtained a Professional Master in Physical Therapy. Since then I have completed over a half-dozen fitness certifications, taught every fitness class you can imagine, counseled tons of patients and clients, and earned hundreds if not approaching a thousand hours of professional continuing education that include anything from the therapeutic applications of yoga to vegan nutrition to the strengths and pitfalls of alternative medicine. I also teach a personal training certification course through our local community college and am currently pursuing an advanced certificate in sports nutrition. Most importantly I walk the walk. I exercise daily, eat clean, and continue to seek out knowledge with an open mind, always ready to adjust my views. I read, I study, I teach, I practice, I preach...I breath fitness and nutrition on a regular basis.

This being the case, I am always reluctant to read a nutrition book written by a MD, or better yet, a journalist who decides he's going to reveal the true secret to eating healthy. But How Not to Die was written by Dr. Michael Greger, who also happens to be the founder of a site that I have been following for a couple years-it's called nutritionfacts.org. Impressed by the site mainly because it generally offers a balanced message that uses research rather than emotion to support its message, I was interested in reading his book.

If I could recommend one book on nutrition, I seriously think this might be it, and here's why:

1. The book is basically about empowering people to take control of their health. The ole "Let Food Be Thy Medicine" philosophy. Dr. Greger does a decent job of acknowledging both the strengths and weakness of our current approach to disease. He makes a strong argument against prescribing drugs for lifestyle related diseases, at least as a first line of defense. Most importantly, he tries to use science as a basis for his views. His main emphasis is on eating more plant-based foods, particularly fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices...etc, while limiting quality (or whole) animal products, and avoiding processed or low quality animal products all together.

2. The book provides a comprehensive review of the scientific literature. I subscribe to several journals, but never have I seen so many studies put into a useful context. That said, his own biases toward a vegan (or animal-free diet) are hard to miss. Still, it's a pretty amazing feat, biases aside. And though I might feel he was a little hard on animal products (all animal products) as a group, I do think he makes some valid points about the food industry and their ability to influence policy and suppress research that doesn't jive with their bottom line. I wished he would have taken more time to make a distinction between different quality animal sources. I mean, there is a big difference between the venison I use in my favorite black bean chili and the industrially farm raised, often abused, overly medicated animals (anti-biotics) that provide meat at most local grocery store chains, or worse, our local fast food joint.

3. If he seems a little "radical" in the first half of the book, he makes up for it in part two, where he puts the "perfect" diet into context, by first acknowledging there is no one perfect diet. Foods aren't necessarily good or bad, though some are better for you than others. His recommendations are not only consistent with everything I've learned over years, they're reasonable and thus doable.

From organic vs non-organic, to gluten-free vs. non-gluten-free, to use supplements or not to use supplements, GMO vs. GMO-free...he touches on so many hot-button topics, and his ideas really are very practical and level-headed.

As someone who has been following (and experimenting successfully) with nutrition for decades, I have watched so many fads come and go and have seen too many scientific studies taken out of context and used to promote some extreme eating philosophy. It's nice to read a book where both the science and art of nutrition receive equal time.

I'm not a vegan, though I don't eat much meat. That said, I believe quality animal products can have a place in a healthy diet. However, I don't think there is anyone who can argue against the benefits of a plant-based diet. In fact, if you look at most popular diets, the one common thread is the emphasis on whole foods, but especially fruits and veggies. Ultimately, I think that is the message that Greger puts forward. Good stuff!


**A little interesting background. Greger started nutritionfacts.org with the support of two philanthropists. It is now a self-sustaining non-profit. The website and its content are free forever with no ads and no corporate sponsorships. He claims that sales from his DVDs go back to the site and proceeds from his books and speaking engagements go to charity. ...more
3

Mar 24, 2018

This book has me torn. It contains so much good... and yet, it has so many problems. It's an important read for everyone... but also misleading. Overall, I learned a lot from it... but also ended up more confused than ever.

Let me break it down.

The good:

* The general recommendation is spot on. Just about everyone should eat more veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and less processed foods and animal products. This isn't exactly a controversial claim. For the most part, this book does a This book has me torn. It contains so much good... and yet, it has so many problems. It's an important read for everyone... but also misleading. Overall, I learned a lot from it... but also ended up more confused than ever.

Let me break it down.

The good:

* The general recommendation is spot on. Just about everyone should eat more veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains and less processed foods and animal products. This isn't exactly a controversial claim. For the most part, this book does a good job of covering the vast amount of research backing the health benefits of fruits & veggies (though see below for some of the issues with the research).

* Many of the leading causes of death in the US are a choice. Most heart disease, lung disease, liver disease, kidney disease, cancers, and so on are due to lifestyle choices. You can dramatically reduce your chance of death from these diseases by choosing a different diet and lifestyle. One of my favorite lines from the book: "I don’t mind dying. But I don’t want it to be my fault."

* The author, Michael Greger, says all the proceed from the book will go to charity, his website (nutritionfacts.org) is a donation-driven nonprofit, and he doesn't offer any products (in fact, his main recommendation is to avoid any products and just eat whole, natural food!). Unlike many other authors of diet books, it doesn't seem like Greger is trying to sell anything here.

* Greger makes a strong case in the book that the contents of your fridge are far more important to your health than the contents of your medicine cabinet. Most supplements and magic pills don't work, are expensive, and have nasty side effects. Whole, natural foods have powerful beneficial effects, don't cost much, and have only positive side effects. If drug companies could create a pill that reduces your risk of death by 10% and only had positive side effects, they'd make billions; the good news is that fruits and veggies are just such a pill!

* I learned a lot of distressing health facts. Examples:
- Hospital care is one of the leading causes of death in the US (roughly ~3rd)! A huge number of people die every year from prescription side effects, infections, medical errors, and so on.
- It is legal (at least in the US) to inject chickens with lots of additives to increase the chicken's weight, and it turns out those additives (e.g., phosphates) can have serious negative health consequences.
- There is such a thing as "3rd hand smoke" (i.e., the smoke that stays in the walls, carpets, etc.) and it also has negative health consequences. Smoking in any indoor area is not safe.
- One theory of aging is that oxidation is damaging our DNA. We are literally rusting!

* Doctors in the US receive very little or no nutritional training. Worse yet, they are paid for performing more procedures and prescribing medication, but make no extra money for recommending diet and exercises. This creates a horrible conflict of interest.

* There are even bigger conflicts of interest with the governmental agencies in the US that make recommendations around food and health (e.g., the FDA). Many of these organizations take in huge amounts of money from corporations (e.g., from Coke and Pepsi) and ignore scientific findings when making recommendations. Greger's argument is that we should show people the science and let them decide, rather than making (biased) recommendations.

The bad:

* Although Greger tries to dance around it, his ultimate recommendation is that everyone should become a vegan. He says he doesn't subscribe to any diet "ism," and instead is merely recommending a "plant based diet." But let's be honest: in this book, he categorizes ALL meat and animal products as "red light" foods which should be *completely* avoided. Do the math, and you end up with veganism. Why is he avoiding that term? Perhaps it's because veganism has been studied quite a bit. Some of the findings are good and some are not. One of the downsides, for example, is that almost all vegans must take B12 supplements; some will also need vitamin D and iodine supplements. This is a critical point, as it shows a purely plant based diet is (a) lacking critical nutrients and (b) not "natural," as it would not have been possible in the wild until supplements were invented in the 20th century. Moreover, Greger spends much of the book talking about how supplements don't work, but the very diet he recommends doesn't work without supplements!

* Greger often praises "traditional diets" of Japan, India, China, etc and argues that those diets are responsible for the lower incidences of many diseases in those countries. However, most of the people in these countries are NOT vegans. Some eat meat; some eat fish; some eat animal products such as milk. Sure, those cultures probably eat more plant-based foods too, but their diets are still very different than what Greger recommends.

* Greger mentions frequently how the US gov should just "show us the science and let us decide." And yet, Greger himself doesn't do that. He shows us *some* of the science, but it turns out his data is VERY heavily cherry picked. In other words, it's not that he's lying (though the interpretation of some of the studies is definitely questionable), but omitting critical facts. For example, Greger comes down very hard on dietary fat and cholesterol, but many recent studies have shown compelling evidence that these are not as bad for you as we used to think. Greger's recommendations around Omega 3 fatty acids, fish, fat, impact of vegetarianism/veganism on health, soy, and many other topics are questionable, at best. There's a great overview of some of the cherry picking here: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/....

* The fact that the research was so cherry picked is what frustrates me the most about this book. Surely Greger and his team know of the MANY studies that contradict his claims. Why not show us this science and let us decide, as he advocates in the book? And if these contradictory studies are in some way invalid, why not say so? The book would've been so much stronger if he had taken on these counterpoints head on. Instead, they are completely missing, and I'm now left to try to figure out who to believe. I'm not a nutrition expert, so how should I know if Michael Greger (go vegan!), Gary Taubes (avoid carbs!), or Michael Pollan (eat traditional diets!) is right?

* Greger seems a little too eager to recommend things, even those with relatively little research about them, saying "why not try it?" Why not? Because (a) it could have unintended side effects (e.g., Americans who started eating less fat ended up eating more refined carbs, which may be worse) and (b) making lifestyle changes is hard and we shouldn't waste our time and energy on things that might not work.

Conclusion:

Overall, this book is worth reading. There's no doubt it'll make you reconsider some of your dietary habits. I'm already trying to get more veggies, berries, and beans into my diet. But if you take the time to research things yourself, you find that the story is not nearly as simple as Dr. Greger makes it out to be. In part, this is because the food industry intentionally funds bogus studies that confuse the issue. But in part, it's because the human body is complicated, and the state of food science and research today is still quite primitive.

At the end of the day, the most reasonable advice to me seems to be that of Michael Pollan: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. ...more
5

Jun 07, 2016

In the wake of my heart attack, my cardiologist told me that I could reverse my atherosclerosis with diet and exercise, specifically a plant-based diet. She recommended Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's book "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease", which prescribes a very stringent diet, that not only forbids meat and dairy products, but also precludes all oils ("not a drop"), as well as nuts, and avocados. I didn't know if I could follow such a diet. Besides, it's a diet that he gave to people who had In the wake of my heart attack, my cardiologist told me that I could reverse my atherosclerosis with diet and exercise, specifically a plant-based diet. She recommended Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn's book "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease", which prescribes a very stringent diet, that not only forbids meat and dairy products, but also precludes all oils ("not a drop"), as well as nuts, and avocados. I didn't know if I could follow such a diet. Besides, it's a diet that he gave to people who had significantly more advanced and severe coronary health issues than I did. So perhaps I didn't need to be on such a draconian regime.

Also, I wasn't entirely sold on the plant-based diet: before making such profound changes to my diet, I really wanted to see solid clinical evidence for it. I'd hate to give up BBQ ribs for nothing. And while Dr. Esselstyn reported striking results in his practice, it was an uncontrolled interventional study among a very small group of patients.

Finally, rather than being dictated a diet to follow (especially one that I didn't think I could keep to) I was looking for information about the costs and benefits of various foods so that I could make informed choices in order to create lifestyle changes that I could live with.

This was exactly what I found in "How Not to Die". It not only addresses my primary health concern, heart disease, but the other major health risks that most Americans face: diabetes, hypertension, a variety of common cancers (lung, colorectal, breast, prostate, leukemia), Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and even depression. And it covers what is known - based on the best research we have - about various foods that may be helpful or harmful with regard to them.

Dr. Greger assembles an impressive array of clinical evidence for the health claims he makes for particular foods to address particular diseases, but he manages to keep the material very readable and his style is conversational and personable. All of which means that it's possible to get through this book, benefit from the information, and enjoy the process.

The audiobook version is read by the author, who has a very quirky and winning narrative style: you can get an idea of it through any of a large number of videos at his web site: http://nutritionfacts.org . That site provides a mountain of information that expands and supplements this book. In fact, the book can be considered a collation and distillation of that web site, which provides much of the same information.

After listening to this book, the evidence for the health benefits of a plant-based diet is not only presented, but it's overwhelming. Even shocking.

While the audiobook is very listenable, you might prefer to get the print or electronic version. That makes it easier to dip in and out of particular sections that might be of specific interest to you. The book is divided into two parts: the first part describes the 15 top diseases which contribute to mortality… and you may not want to wade through all of them - which is harder to avoid in an audiobook, as entertaining as he makes it.

The second part consists of a review of different food groups, which Greger characterizes as his "Daily Dozen". He goes into their benefits and recommended portions. That section is useful as a reference, so having a text version may be desirable: I ended up getting one after listening to the book.

Ultimately, I did adopt a plant-based diet on the basis of the information presented in the book: a vegan and whole grain diet. And I still eat nuts (in fact, lots of 'em) and avocados. While I avoid certain oils, I allow others. You may make different choices based upon an understanding of the risks and benefits involved.

I highly recommend this book as an invaluable resource to anyone concerned about their health. For me it was literally life-changing. ...more
1

Dec 14, 2015

A book written by the man that tells us one egg a week can give you diabetes. His webpage nutritionfacts.org is interesting in that like his book and science this doctor has the answer and orders his facts along to meet with his preferred “answer”
Just a note to be wary if new to this man. Vegan facts are not facts as science views them. Vegan facts are religious like in their fervor promoting ONLY their cause. Everything the religion of veganism hates just happens to be “cancerous”. Funny that A book written by the man that tells us one egg a week can give you diabetes. His webpage nutritionfacts.org is interesting in that like his book and science this doctor has the answer and orders his facts along to meet with his preferred “answer”
Just a note to be wary if new to this man. Vegan facts are not facts as science views them. Vegan facts are religious like in their fervor promoting ONLY their cause. Everything the religion of veganism hates just happens to be “cancerous”. Funny that : ). I see the Christians saying the same thing about getting jesus or being tortured forever in burning fire. There is little difference between the two belief systems & nothing gained from arguing with the faithful, they are deaf to science.
If your God hates every single tiny thing you do chances are you invented your god yourself.
Veganism loves the terms of cure and reversal of major diseases. Seems to me a healthy diet and reducing body mass is the actual and only reason their fad diet works. But like every fad diet they love their marketing. Vegan science is NOT science, it is a cause wrapped in subterfuge/misdirection and a heck load of religious like belief.

Enough of the cons, let’s look at the pro’s
The vegan diet is healthy and I find it the laziest way I know to stay healthy (yes I am vegan). The diet is not magic, vegetables are not magical, and vegetables don’t cure cancer …. they are just healthy.
You can do exactly the same thing on any healthy diet, this one just happens to suit me.
SUMMARY .. take the book for what it is, don’t take it seriously because there is a MD in front of the authors name. look up QuackWatch pages. Or just believe because it’s easier.
Or just view it as a healthy diet.
...more
4

Jul 03, 2017

Well this was a very interesting read! Since I have been contemplating changes to my diet, it arrived on hold for me at the public library at an opportune moment. I went shopping yesterday for esoteric items like hibiscus tea and ground flax seed and some less unusual items like more walnuts, fruit & vegetables.

I’m a believer in evidence and Dr. Greger provides boat-loads of that. Now my task is to test these ideas with myself as guinea pig and see if they actually work for me. I’ve been Well this was a very interesting read! Since I have been contemplating changes to my diet, it arrived on hold for me at the public library at an opportune moment. I went shopping yesterday for esoteric items like hibiscus tea and ground flax seed and some less unusual items like more walnuts, fruit & vegetables.

I’m a believer in evidence and Dr. Greger provides boat-loads of that. Now my task is to test these ideas with myself as guinea pig and see if they actually work for me. I’ve been controlling my blood pressure with medication for many years now and just got the warning from my doc that my blood sugars are creeping upwards. The time for action is now!

However, there is a lot of repetition in this book. It got to the point where I wanted to skip entire chapters because I knew that I was just going to get more of the same. It gets almost to the point of being preachy, something that I detest. I also wish that he had dealt with the issue of the title at the beginning, rather than right at the end. Properly, the book should be called How Not To Die Prematurely and he admits this in the final paragraphs. It is not a prescription for immortality.

Meat-eaters (and I am one of them) will find this challenging. However, I keep my own notebook of recipes that I went through this weekend & I made notes. I certainly have enough vegetarian recipes that I enjoy to keep myself well fed while I try out this regime. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I will definitely be adding more fruits, vegetables, and nuts even while I try to wean myself off of too much meat. I don’t know whether I will ever be a vegan—I’m not sure I have enough self-righteousness for that—but a dietary improvement is in order.
...more
5

Dec 31, 2015

This book is an unflinching, fearless journey to the dark heart of one of our cultures most contentious and taboo subjects.

Food.

It's not commonly recognized as such. But in my experience, if you want to instigate a fractious argument amongst an otherwise civil group, about a topic that is is absolutely mired in superstition, opaqued by endless layers of literally centuries worth of misinformation, and of which people hold highly defended, deeply emotional, bizarrely irrational and literally This book is an unflinching, fearless journey to the dark heart of one of our cultures most contentious and taboo subjects.

Food.

It's not commonly recognized as such. But in my experience, if you want to instigate a fractious argument amongst an otherwise civil group, about a topic that is is absolutely mired in superstition, opaqued by endless layers of literally centuries worth of misinformation, and of which people hold highly defended, deeply emotional, bizarrely irrational and literally deadly serious opinions about, all you have to do is simply……

talk about which foods are healthy and which foods are not in mixed company.

Particularly whether or not one should eat meat including poultry and fish.

Then just sit back and watch the conversational blood sport begin.

Before it's all over, close friends may become bitter enemies.

In my opinion, the BIG 3 nuclear discussion topics are:

1. Politics
2. Religion
3. Food

And in Los Angeles, you can pretty much hyphenate those together into one big word.

politica-religio-nutrition.

Angelenos are religious about their kale smoothies and view consumption of certain foods as treason.

For this reason, I try to avoid the subject all together. Besides. I've already read a bunch of vegan terror tactic books like The Pleasure Trap (a classic) and I have already seen the vegan terror propaganda films e.g. Forks Over Knives (another classic).

I thought I already had all of the data.

I (for above stated reasons and more) was intensely resistant to reading the book and would have passed without second thought had it not been at the emphatic behest of my lovely and wise wife.

As usual, she was right and I was wrong.

So I understand if you're feeling resistant or on the fence about this book.

But if you are, all I have to say to you is.....

OMFG! do yourself a massive solid and read it.

If you've already read the book you may pick up on the fact that there's a pretty awesome (however unintentional) pun embedded in that sentence.

Seriously though, read this book.

Or better yet listen to the Audible version. It's narrated by the author, and he's the quintessential Nebbish.

For those of you unversed in Yiddish, that means lovable-nerdy-intellectual-good guy-dork.

His ridiculously vast knowledgebase is quite literally awesome. That combined with his over-the-top enthusiasm makes the audio version of this book absolutely infectious (in the good way).

Now for the kick in the teeth.

The good doctor presents literally reams of evidence against consuming meat (including fish and chicken) and for a eating a plant based, no processed food diet.

And his argument is overwhelmingly (terrifyingly) convincing.

As he puts it "this is not a vegetarian diet, or a vegan diet, it's an evidence based diet".

And how!

To say the evidence presented is "motivational" or even "coercive" is an understatement.

By the half way mark of the book he had me eating broccoli as if my life depended on it.

This is the perfect first book of the year.

Read it, turn over a new leaf and stuff it in your pre-diabetic pie hole.

Here's to a long healthy life!

Five stars***** ...more
5

Jan 19, 2016

This book could be a life changer. God knows I've tried every diet known to man but becoming vegan never occurred to me. I always thought it was more of a lifestyle choice having to do with an affinity for animals rather than health based. Read this and your eyes will be opened to a lot of things. I've long known the dangers of processed foods but always believed that meat and dairy were good for me. I'm going to try eating this way for a couple of weeks and see how I feel. As soon as I finished This book could be a life changer. God knows I've tried every diet known to man but becoming vegan never occurred to me. I always thought it was more of a lifestyle choice having to do with an affinity for animals rather than health based. Read this and your eyes will be opened to a lot of things. I've long known the dangers of processed foods but always believed that meat and dairy were good for me. I'm going to try eating this way for a couple of weeks and see how I feel. As soon as I finished this audiobook I started it again. ...more
5

Jun 11, 2016

This book changed my family's life. My husband and I read it while on holiday in Florida. Although not your typical beach read, we couldn't put it down! By the second chapter, we completely cut meat out of our diet (while on holiday!) and haven't looked back. I feel energized and inspired for change. The simple act of eliminating meat from your diet will reduce carbon emissions significantly, not to mention to health benefits. The most important impact for me is preventing animal cruelty. As a This book changed my family's life. My husband and I read it while on holiday in Florida. Although not your typical beach read, we couldn't put it down! By the second chapter, we completely cut meat out of our diet (while on holiday!) and haven't looked back. I feel energized and inspired for change. The simple act of eliminating meat from your diet will reduce carbon emissions significantly, not to mention to health benefits. The most important impact for me is preventing animal cruelty. As a mother, how can I teach my children kindness and respect while my meat purchasing power caters to the captivity and torture of innocent animals? And the outrage over a lion being beheaded or a gorilla being shot in a zoo is perplexing to me when most of the people showing anger eat meat on a daily basis. We must take a step back and prioritize our choices, and reading this book will make it easier to transition. In 2016, with knowledge and products at our fingertips, it is easier than ever to live a plant based way of life. The meal choices are endless and delicious! Every day brings a new opportunity to experiment and discover healthy foods and say goodbye to heart burn, clogged arteries, indigestion, and countless other maladies. It was a pleasure to work along side Dr.Greger at the St.Catharines, Ontario VegFest this June. I am so grateful for his hard work and research. This book is a must read. ...more
5

Aug 05, 2018

A great motivator to make me seriously consider vegetarian/vegan diet, this book. Thus five stars.

This book examines the top 15 causes of death (in US) in its first half, followed by food recommendations, a word on exercise, and an appendix on useful supplements. The point is to improve the quantity and the quality of one's life - everyone dies, but one should make the time before it better and longer. And perhaps need less visits to the doctor(s) and the hospital. Less medicine with possible A great motivator to make me seriously consider vegetarian/vegan diet, this book. Thus five stars.

This book examines the top 15 causes of death (in US) in its first half, followed by food recommendations, a word on exercise, and an appendix on useful supplements. The point is to improve the quantity and the quality of one's life - everyone dies, but one should make the time before it better and longer. And perhaps need less visits to the doctor(s) and the hospital. Less medicine with possible side effects too. (See the last chapter of the first part - iatrogenic causes.)

(The notes section makes about a third of this book, so the part for reading is a bit shorter than it looks like when you hold the book, if you read this in book form.)

Throughout reading the first part (the diseases), some of my reactions:
- The food industry, food safety and medical industry in the US sure is crazy! (same, to this reader familiar, things appear also when talk goes to butchering/slaughterhouse-work related illnesses)
- not the chicken too! X(
- guess I need to give up cola (except the little flavor in chewing gum) *awww*
- but I *like* my meat well-done! :(
- but I *like* egg-white the best! *boo*

But going on: as one reads through the diseases, some food-cures start repeating, and for a good reason - they work on so many of them. If only the doctors would recommend food changes for illness symptoms (but money talks so...). There is a couple of disturbing images of the end of some diseases, for example in the lung/liver chapters, that can both horrify and motivate.

The author clearly directs us towards more plant-based living, discouraging dairy, meat and fish use. That said, he doesn't do it aggressively, off-putting the reader. But one clearly needs to consider going off the Standard American Diet (SAD diet, indeed). Some examples of people who have done that through author's site - he mentions this site now and then, but not too often - give good examples.

Part two talks about building a better, plant-based diet, first generally, then how the author does it (and recommends). Firstly, he introduces a traffic-light system of classifying the foods: green for unprocessed plant food, yellow for processed plant food and unprocessed animal food, and red for extraprocessed plant food and processed animal food. He shows what 'whole food, plant-based' diet means, and points out that ultimately the reader chooses what suits them the best: the limits, the pace, the recipes. Healthier food becomes tastier over time (just like lower salt-use becomes normal over time).

Secondly comes how the author does it: he shows us his checklist of the 'daily dozen', which makes diet-building pretty manageable. Each food group lists the foods, the amount for each serving, and how many servings one should have. Deeper information follows, like the myth of 8 glasses of water, why one should avoid alfalfa sprouts always, why miso's saltiness is OK, and some good recipes too. He also talks about exercising, avoiding sitting too much, and then in the appendix sections about the supplements (B12, vitamin D, and such).

Five stars for being so waking! This book doesn't talk about the suffering of animals (there's enough talk about it found elsewhere already) but focuses on another reason for moving towards plant-based eating: our health. That can be the biggest motivator for some people. It certainly makes on think seriously about changing oneself, for sure.

And at the end: surprise (view spoiler)[Dr. Spock (hide spoiler)]!
...more
4

Nov 05, 2015

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. If you don't find something in this book to improve your life and health, then you are just not trying... A large and comprehensive catalog of healthful suggestions for changing your eating habits to enhance your life. Chapter by chapter approach to the main disease categories that affect our lives in modern America -- from heart disease to diabetes, digestive cancers to depression -- this book covers them all! Basically it is suggested that we need to I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. If you don't find something in this book to improve your life and health, then you are just not trying... A large and comprehensive catalog of healthful suggestions for changing your eating habits to enhance your life. Chapter by chapter approach to the main disease categories that affect our lives in modern America -- from heart disease to diabetes, digestive cancers to depression -- this book covers them all! Basically it is suggested that we need to alter our eating habits to a plant-based diet with the addition and emphasis of particular natural compounds depending upon our family history or personal disease process. All sound advice and easily enough followed. Was a little concerned that it was suggested that rather than avoid or counting carbs/sugars and/or calories, a type 2 diabetic is advised to ignore that ADA wisdom and concentrate on a low fat/high fiber diet instead. Numerous suggestions are made to improve overall health through more natural eating and additions of other herbs and foods used more prevalently in other cultures, i.e. turmeric. Overall a helpful book with easy-to-follow suggestions. Avoids being overly-preachy (can't avoid being a little preachy) while earnestly calling for a change in eating habits for greater health. ...more
5

Dec 03, 2019

I think everybody is aware that your diet has an enormous impact on your health. This book is another reminder that this is true.

Though everyone will one day die, Michael Greger gives some tips to help you live as long and as healthily as possible.

I'm not going to debate the merits of different diets which seem to change as quickly as fads. I think everybody should try to incorporate healthy habits that are right for them as they are able. How Not to Die is packed with ideas on that front.

I I think everybody is aware that your diet has an enormous impact on your health. This book is another reminder that this is true.

Though everyone will one day die, Michael Greger gives some tips to help you live as long and as healthily as possible.

I'm not going to debate the merits of different diets which seem to change as quickly as fads. I think everybody should try to incorporate healthy habits that are right for them as they are able. How Not to Die is packed with ideas on that front.

I think the most interesting part of this book are the effects that various foods have on the body. But you don't have to take Greger's word for it, experiment and see what works for you.

Happy eating :) ...more
5

Dec 16, 2015

Dr. Greger works tirelessly, with his team, to scour the nutrition based medical literature published throughout the year..."so you don't have to." Then he compiles these findings into informative videos that he makes available for free on NutritionFacts.org. This book is based on the facts that he and his team have uncovered over the several years that they have been canvasing the latest nutrition science. He has compiled it in an easy to read, and often humorous format. All of the money that Dr. Greger works tirelessly, with his team, to scour the nutrition based medical literature published throughout the year..."so you don't have to." Then he compiles these findings into informative videos that he makes available for free on NutritionFacts.org. This book is based on the facts that he and his team have uncovered over the several years that they have been canvasing the latest nutrition science. He has compiled it in an easy to read, and often humorous format. All of the money that Dr. Greger makes for this book is channeled directly into funding NutritionFacts.org, so that it can remain free to all. He is not the only doctor out there who promotes plant-based nutrition as the healthiest human diet, but he is the only one who is not making a cent off of promoting it. He will not take any money for it, because he doesn't want his message to be tainted by any commercial interests. This is Dr. Greger's Christmas gift to all of us--a gift of health for many, many years to come. Read this book and save your life, and the lives of your loved ones. ...more
0

Sep 21, 2016

Seriously, this is BS.
Ok, it’s not. He’s not wrong, per se, but this is the type of advice* that creates confusion and makes people sick, much like the Atkins Diet or whatever other faddish food advice comes along.

So here's the thing: Michael Greger wants everyone on a whole plant diet which is great. Plants are good for us and we should all eat more of them, especially if we eat hardly any at all, as Americans do, or don't, in this case. But turmeric does not cure cancer and neither does Seriously, this is BS.
Ok, it’s not. He’s not wrong, per se, but this is the type of advice* that creates confusion and makes people sick, much like the Atkins Diet or whatever other faddish food advice comes along.

So here's the thing: Michael Greger wants everyone on a whole plant diet which is great. Plants are good for us and we should all eat more of them, especially if we eat hardly any at all, as Americans do, or don't, in this case. But turmeric does not cure cancer and neither does broccoli and he needs to not imply they do.
This is one of those miracle nutrition books, full of antioxidants and unicorn dust in which everyone will magically live forever if they just eat as he prescribes. But he doesn’t account for personal dietary needs, for body types, for each person's individual chemistry. Some people will do fine on a vegan diet, others won’t. Not everyone works the same. Why doesn't he know this? That's why we have nutritionists who take all this stuff into consideration and then suggest a diet that best suits each body's needs.
I'm not saying this nutritional advice won't work for some people, probably for a lot of people, but you're still going to die, regardless of the title, and you might still get diseases, regardless of the assertion you probably won't if you just eat these miracle plants. Yes, eating raw, whole, local food is the best but no, it's not viable for everyone, especially not for low-income people in food deserts, but I'm not even going to get started on that.

Greger narrates the audiobook and he sounds smug and douchey. He does that thing where he lets his thoughts trail off so that readers can come to the correct conclusion -- you can sense the ellipses at the end of each sentence -- and feel smug about their ability to put 2 and 2 together OR he uses subtle guilt -- obese children: Who wouldn’t give anything to give their kids two more decades of life? -- to shame or induce further smugness. I hated it. I wanted to run my car off a cliff in order to shut the guy up, hoping he would not survive the incident regardless of his miracle diet. I didn't because the audiobook did not actually contain the guy's lifeforce.

I got halfway through and couldn’t renew it so took it as a sign to give up and let someone else deal with this nonsense. I'm done.

*EDIT: After reading this review, specifically Point 3, I realize that maybe the book is not what I thought. It sounds like many of the problems I so vehemently rant about above specifically pertain to the first half of the book and are addressed in the second half of the book. I didn't get to the second half so I will remove any and all stars since I don't have all the information needed to form a full rating opinion. However, my bitchy little tantrum still applies to the half I did listen to. ...more
3

Dec 31, 2015

This is a problematic book. I support the cause and the motivation, but a lot of it is simply misleading. The general tone of "how not to die" has so much western dualistic bias which supposes we are constantly at war with something (disease, war, cancer, death, obesity, you name it) while these things are equally part of life as their opposites. We all have to die eventually, but please, not in denial.
The second objective is the style, which is not only highly reductive (read Whole by Colin This is a problematic book. I support the cause and the motivation, but a lot of it is simply misleading. The general tone of "how not to die" has so much western dualistic bias which supposes we are constantly at war with something (disease, war, cancer, death, obesity, you name it) while these things are equally part of life as their opposites. We all have to die eventually, but please, not in denial.
The second objective is the style, which is not only highly reductive (read Whole by Colin Campbell to get the point), but also verbally very close to marketing language. It is written to sell, not just itself, but perhaps some seminars and workshops as well. Yes yes, perhaps the ends justify the means, but still... it leaves me with quite an aftertaste.

That being said, if one knows how to interpret all this mountain of data into a proper context, this book can serve as a good guiding book for nutrition. If you use it just as a reference or a starting point (much like a telephone directory is used just as a starting point for an actual conversation), you may get the best of it. But don't take it too literary, search for the context and search for the real content. ...more
5

Dec 05, 2015

Very interesting read. I read part one a month or so ago. The first part was filled with stories of bad health gotten better with diet changes, tests, studies and lies told to us by the media, publishers and officials.

There is almost a nagging about vegan/vegetarian life style. Every health issue comes down to eat veggies, fruit, nuts beans. Every chapter, ends this way. It felt drilled, maybe because I'm already a vegetarian it nagged me more than I needed to hear ? I did learn a lot of new Very interesting read. I read part one a month or so ago. The first part was filled with stories of bad health gotten better with diet changes, tests, studies and lies told to us by the media, publishers and officials.

There is almost a nagging about vegan/vegetarian life style. Every health issue comes down to eat veggies, fruit, nuts beans. Every chapter, ends this way. It felt drilled, maybe because I'm already a vegetarian it nagged me more than I needed to hear ? I did learn a lot of new things from part one, there is a huge wealth of information on diseases and prevention. I loved it even with the nagging issue.

Part two is short but a direct hit. Amazing food advice, a quick daily dozen checklist idea. Fast simple ways to ad these super foods into your daily diet. There are some recipes, I tried the Caesar salad variation and it was fabulous.

I have to give it a huge 5 stars plus. This is a book I would buy for my family and friends. ...more
5

Jan 23, 2016

This is the best, most comprehensive, and most reliably/extensively cited book on diet and health I have ever read. Rather than relying on just a few questionable studies the way most books on the topic do (often, I might add, while seemingly purposefully misinterpreting the data from said studies), Dr. Greger looks at the whole of nutrition studies published in English, explains typical and relevant ones thoroughly, and makes them understandable to anybody.

One great thing about this book is This is the best, most comprehensive, and most reliably/extensively cited book on diet and health I have ever read. Rather than relying on just a few questionable studies the way most books on the topic do (often, I might add, while seemingly purposefully misinterpreting the data from said studies), Dr. Greger looks at the whole of nutrition studies published in English, explains typical and relevant ones thoroughly, and makes them understandable to anybody.

One great thing about this book is that it can give you hope. You and your family members don't need to spend a lot of money on drugs, worrying about health insurance at every turn. You don't need to die from heart disease, you don't need to suffer early onset dementia, you don't need to have a stroke and spend years trying to recover, you don't have to just sit back waiting to get cancer. This book will teach you that it's not true that everything gives you cancer. Fruit and veggies don't! And How Not to Die will tell you specifically which fruits or veggies have been clinically shown to specifically help to prevent or reverse which types of cancer.

Yes, it's a bit overwhelming at times. While reading the book, I often thought to myself, "Oh, I should write down which thing will prevent throat cancer, which will lower blood pressure (my only actual health concern at this point), which will reduce my chances of dementia" and so on. But then I calm down and I remember that as long as I continue to eat unprocessed plant-based food and lots of it, I will be fine. That said, I really do appreciate knowing which plants are particularly health-promoting.

I've been a berry fanatic ever since I learned about antioxidants in my very first nutrition class, and I notice that Dr. Greger says to eat berries every day. Also in health class, I learned about beans helping reduce insulin resistance and Dr. Greger confirms it. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that I am studying nutrition in college with the intent to become a registered dietitian, and How Not to Die is the only book on nutrition I have ever read that doesn't have any information in it that is counter to what I've learned in those classes as being health promoting. It's also the only one that passes the test of reliability in its thoroughness of citing sources WITHIN the text, talking about both the good things and bad things about a particular study. Other books seem to treat any study that agrees with their central point as perfect. But Greger will outright say, "This study only looked at the cells in a petri dish to see if it will fight cancer" or "This study was only done on a dozen people," but, he'll add, since the study is suggesting you eat a veggie, fruit, legume, or whole grain, what's the harm of trying it anyway? It's not like it's suggesting you take a drug that's only been tested in a petri dish. It's suggesting you eat broccoli.

I learned a lot from this book and I think it could save a lot of people's lives. I want to send it to my parents, my aunts and uncles, give it to strangers on the train. I want to hang its green light foods on my fridge, I want to watch videos on nutritionfact.org, I want to see Dr. Greger debate with paleo nutcases. We could solve so many problems by changing our diets, and I'm happy to be one person living as an example of how not to die. ...more
5

Feb 22, 2018

One of the best books in the "Why you should switch to a plant based diet" group of books I have read!

Dr. Greger has scientific information sited throughout and has made the info and writing easy and enjoyable to read. At no time is he overly pushy or preachy. He gives you the info and hopes you make the choice to change your diet. He even sites incidents when he makes or has made choices that are not 100% perfect choices, but he would rather have you partially change than not at all.

This is the One of the best books in the "Why you should switch to a plant based diet" group of books I have read!

Dr. Greger has scientific information sited throughout and has made the info and writing easy and enjoyable to read. At no time is he overly pushy or preachy. He gives you the info and hopes you make the choice to change your diet. He even sites incidents when he makes or has made choices that are not 100% perfect choices, but he would rather have you partially change than not at all.

This is the book you want to read and follow if you want to start a plant based diet or are having trouble with other plant based diets that make you feel guilty for missteps. Many choices without the all or nothing attitude.

I highly recommend this book! ...more
2

Feb 09, 2016

I flipped through those sections that interested me and all I got was "eat veggies". Repeat.

I was hoping for something new and original... not that I didn't expect the "eat veggies" and already do... but original.
5

December 26, 2015

Excellent. Evidence based nutrition information without corporate influence or a money making scheme. This book can save you and your loved ones lives and without a doubt help them live a longer healthier life if you implement a plant-based whole foods diet. The book is written very well with a sense of humor that keeps it interesting. All proceeds from the book sales go to charity. Buy a copy for a friend.
5

Dec 14, 2015

"If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don't.” So says one source quoted in this amazing new bk.

I love this bk! Loved the doc’s practical writing style, often witty with straight forward advice. It was like sitting down and having a chat with the guy, and he’s even pretty funny at times. Easy reading and just so darn fascinating. I’m totally health obsessed so this was right up my alley. Sure we’re all going to die but let’s not purposely do it to ourselves with crappy "If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don't.” So says one source quoted in this amazing new bk.

I love this bk! Loved the doc’s practical writing style, often witty with straight forward advice. It was like sitting down and having a chat with the guy, and he’s even pretty funny at times. Easy reading and just so darn fascinating. I’m totally health obsessed so this was right up my alley. Sure we’re all going to die but let’s not purposely do it to ourselves with crappy food and inactivity.

It’s all about a whole food, plant based diet: fruits, veggies and greens, nuts, beans and healthy grains (what’s not to love? Yum!) and plenty of exercise (natch!). The docs website is a cool addition to this bk if you so care to check it out (Nutritionfacts.org…it’s like Wikipedia for nutrition). I especially like that this was from a doctor’s point of view and it being so practical without all the heavy academics that make one’s eyes glaze over. But that’s not to say there’s not plenty of evidence to support his approach. The bk is in two parts, the first part is a focus on 15 major diseases/ailments and how to prevent or reverse what ails you (his grandmother’s story was nothing short of amazing). The 2nd part is his “daily dozen” foods with evidenced based nutrition facts and how to implement what he’s teaching. There's even a handy app to help you keep track of your daily dozen.

Some very surprising info, especially his take on the coconut craze and the gluten free diet and there’s plenty of info about GMO’s. And though he’d rather see food be your medicine as opposed to a ton of supplements he does recommend a few for certain issues. This is a hefty 576 page bk, and it’s definitely well researched, the last 140 ish pages are references. Dr. Greger tells you what he eats and throws in some recipes of his favs. He walks his talk. I’m a self professed health freak and this doc has me wanting to step up my game. This is no fanatical bashing, radical, product pushing or a fear based bk, just practical info that will improve your daily living and save countless lives. This bk is going to be my new go to reference guide. Ready to take responsibility for your health? Here’s to living long and well enough to tell about it.
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4

Jun 08, 2018

As the title so directly suggests, this book is focused on maintaining your health. The first portion focuses on common and fatal diseases that inflict the human race, such as cancers and heart disease, and provides a realm of information on how one can help their body to deflect these specific ailments.

The later portion of this book centred around the foods touched on previously. An overview of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, lentils, nuts, and seeds was provided, with an As the title so directly suggests, this book is focused on maintaining your health. The first portion focuses on common and fatal diseases that inflict the human race, such as cancers and heart disease, and provides a realm of information on how one can help their body to deflect these specific ailments.

The later portion of this book centred around the foods touched on previously. An overview of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, lentils, nuts, and seeds was provided, with an additional explanation given as to the properties inside each one and just what made each an essential part of your daily nutritional intake. Easy recipes and inventive ways of adding these foods to your diet was an added bonus find, during this section.

I will disclaim that I only skimmed the first portion as it was the later that was of specific interest to me, at this time. I found much to take away from this, mainly being that it gave me a sound idea of just why each food focused on was so necessary. We all know broccoli is good for us, but does everyone know that you should wait 40 minutes between chopping and cooking fresh broccoli for the cancer-reducing enzyme inside it to be exposed? Or that adding another similar enzyme, such as mustard seed powder to cooked, frozen broccoli can also bring out the latent enzyme inside it? Because this was all certainly news to me!

This has already proven it will be a sound resource to refer back to and is a valuable asset to every individual. This seemed like information everyone should know and yet few rarely do. We take drugs to cure a whole host of ailments but this book has repetitiously proven that an outcome can be matched through the intake of fresh foods, at a fraction of the price and with no additional side-effects to be wary of.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the authors, Michael Gregor and Gene Stone, and the publisher, Flatiron Books, for this opportunity. ...more
4

Mar 14, 2016

5.5 stars -- I thought I should occasionally listen to something more intelligent than YouTube's endless collection of "scary stories," so I decided to check out this rather imposing book on audio CD--and I'm glad I did.

I already avoid meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs in my diet, but that doesn't mean that I don't stand room for improvement. I'll put it this way: I actually did a little dance in the grocery store aisle when I discovered that they were stocking the new vegan Ben & Jerry's. 5.5 stars -- I thought I should occasionally listen to something more intelligent than YouTube's endless collection of "scary stories," so I decided to check out this rather imposing book on audio CD--and I'm glad I did.

I already avoid meat, seafood, dairy, and eggs in my diet, but that doesn't mean that I don't stand room for improvement. I'll put it this way: I actually did a little dance in the grocery store aisle when I discovered that they were stocking the new vegan Ben & Jerry's. (Not my finest moment.)

Dr. Greger isn't like most writers on the subjects of diet and health. He has nothing to sell you but good health. He digs through reams of research data and distills it into layman's terms because he believes that everyone should have access to this information. And while he promotes a whole-food, plant-based diet, he isn't afraid to criticize animal-free foods that are unhealthy (let's face it, cola and Fritos are vegan, but far from health-promoting.) Dr. Greger simply gives you the information and lets you make up your own mind--and he's willing to meet you half way. Even if you're not ready to give up all of your bad habits, he shows you ways to incorporate healthier behaviors into your routine.

I know I'm not the only one surrounded by family, friends, and acquaintances who seem to be determined to commit suicide by fork and knife. It's sad and disheartening when people you care about don't seem to realize that their daily choices are what is contributing to their increasingly serious health complaints and ailments. They just don't seem to get it, and many medical professionals seem just too happy to keep them in the dark and write another prescription. The information contained in HOW NOT TO DIE specific to various conditions should be shared, even if a person isn't willing to read the entire book.

The only reason I'm docking Dr. Greger's book a half-star is because I don't like the title. Obviously, it's meant to capture attention, but the title makes it seem like some kind of woo-woo tome filled with wacky promises of everlasting life, rather than the serious science-based book it is.
And maybe it's because I live in a bad-health, poor-health-literacy part of the country, but I'm imagining people dismissing this important information with the line, "Oh well, gotta die sometime." However, most of us would choose not to die years before our time, suffering from long-term, degenerative diseases that we could have easily prevented. ...more

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