Stockholders trying
to maximize quarterly profits, is that corrupt?
No, that’s how the system works, right? The system is set up
to incentivize the selling of junk. Is broccoli pure profit? No, it’s perishable produce,
it goes bad, it’s like if you want profit
it’s the worst thing, you want something shelf-stable, you want the Twinkie that sits
on the shelf for weeks, right? You can make money off of that. Last year was a massive year
for Team Greger, your book How Not to Die
was a New York Times top ten best seller, how does it feel to have helped
so many people? Yeah, and in fact, right now,
twenty months later, it’s a top ten New York Times best seller,
that’s extraordinary. But I knew it’d always appeal
to those who appreciate my work but the fact that it’s had such a kind of
a really mainstream impact, it’s become more of a cultural phenomena,
that’s really exciting and it just shows that people
are hungry for this information, people want to make
evidence-based decisions about the health of themselves
and their families, which of course makes sense. Why do you think there’s such an appetite
for this information? I think there’s such a corrupting
influence of commercialism within the field of nutrition
-medicine broadly- but it’s like who can you trust? You get conflicting messages all the time
and they always seem to be, you know, so the dairy industry will tell you
to eat dairy and the egg industry will tell you
to eat eggs and they would have their own studies
that they fund to put out and they pay up journalists and so that’s where nutritionfacts.org
came about but frankly, there should be twenty nutritionfacts.org so certainly there’s about
a hundred thousand papers published on nutrition peer-reviewed
medical literature over a year, we -our team- can read as many as we… I mean there’s just tremendous amount
of information out there, what about “fitnessfacts.org”, what about “sleepmedicinefacts.org”? You know someone says
some new fitness routine is good for you, is that because they’re selling it
or crediting people on it or is that because it’s really true
and the reason that they’re selling it is because they found it so useful,
you never know, that’s what’s so frustrating,
is it true or is it spin? That’s why I do what I do. Who do you think has more influence
over the medical industry? The pharmaceutical industries
or the animal agriculture industries? Big Pharma obviously,
this is their whole shtick right? I mean by definition, you can’t get
most of Big Pharma’s drugs, even though now they’re in
supplement industries and over-the-counter you can’t get most drugs unless
they’re prescribed by doctors so their whole economic model is to convince doctors to prescribe
-not just any drugs- but their particular drugs and there’s been lots of great books
and exposés written about the slimy things
many of these drug companies do so that’s the direct influence. Doctors aren’t getting
many nutrition messages at all either way but it’s interesting, you know
when people… I talk about the lack of nutrition
education in medical education Look, less than a quarter
of medical schools have a single dedicated course
in nutrition and so people are like, we’ve got to get more nutrition
in medicine. If it’s evidence-based nutrition
absolutely, but if they’re going to get
what the dietitians are getting, that’s all dietitians do, they go through years
of just nutrition education but they come out no more… They come out being able to mix TPN orders
which is like IV medications but they don’t know clinical nutrition,
disease reversal nutrition, why? Because their materials are written
by the dairy board and by the… You go to these conferences and they’re sponsored by MacDonald’s
and Coca Cola and that’s what’s influencing
their education so if by more medical education
for physicians, it means some Cocal Cola sponsored seminar
I’d rather have less nutrition education, what we need is more evidence-based
nutrition education in medicine and everywhere else. What is the most striking example
of biased research you’ve ever seen ? Probably the industry that has really
the worst track record, there’s a beef study, the BOLD study,
the beef study and the eggs, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
funded this so-called BOLD study and then the egg board continues
to fund this really slimy… you know they basically construct
the study design in a way to get the result they want
and it’s just obvious… Well, it’s not obvious to someone
just reading the paper, they’re like “oh, this isn’t a problem”
but then you see how they did the study and you recognize the biology and you realize “oh, that’s outrageous,
it should never be published”, I mean it was just this blatant attempt at trying to mislead
the scientific community. When we learn about some
of the misinformation and false research, do you agree that it makes us think
that the whole system is corrupt? Corrupt is the wrong word,
it’s just the way the system works. OK, stockholders trying to maximize
quarterly profits, is that corrupt? No, that’s how the system works, right? The president of Coca Cola
doesn’t have some secret villainous plans to make kids obese, they’re just not thinking
“how can we make kids sicker?” What they’re thinking is “how do I maximize
profits for my shareholders?” That’s the system and so,
how do you make a lot of profits? Well, dirt cheap ingredients, we subsidize the sugar industry
with our taxpayer dollars, dirt cheap ingredients,
sell it for a few buck a bottle, it’s like pure profit, right?
Is broccoli pure profit? No, it’s perishable produce,
it goes bad, it’s like if you want profit
it’s the worst thing, you want something shelf-stable, you want the Twinkie
that sits on the shelf for weeks, right? You can make money off of that. It has a brand name, even a broccoli grower is not going
to put an add on TV for broccoli because you might buy
their competitor’s broccoli, it doesn’t make any financial sense, the system is set up to incentivize
the selling of junk and of course we don’t just
subsidize sugar, we subsidize feed crops so we can have
dollar-menu burgers, right? The whole system is set up,
it’s not corrupt, it’s not like they’re slipping suitcases
full of money under something. No, it’s just how the system works, the system works by rewarding
making people sick. How do hospitals make money?
Healthy people? No, operations make… The whole system is set up,
how do doctors make money? The most common doctor visit
is called blood pressure check, easiest visit in the world, they come in,
they get their blood pressure checked and then you treat with medication. Oh my god, it’s like a dream visit
for doctors, you don’t have to think, you could be thinking about
your grocery list that night while doing it because there’s nothing to do,
you’re just… too high, increase the drug,
too low, decrease the drug, and that’s the money that’s rolling in, that’s where most of the money
is coming from. Now, if all of a sudden they don’t have
blood pressure anymore, Big Pharma loses, the doctor loses,
the hospitals lose, the whole system loses, no one is buying anything
that’s profiting shareholders, it’s not corruption,
it’s just how the system works but we can take personal responsibility
for our own health for our family’s health we don’t have to wait until the system
catches up to the science, we can change ourselves because look,
it’s a matter of life and death. What can the scientific community do? The scientific community,
I don’t see their role as persua- their role is to do science,
their role is to do good science and to minimize conflicts of interest, to perhaps not take money
from these corporate interests that are trying to skew the science,
put out misinformation and look, they continue to do the science
but you know, they can all retire tonight, there doesn’t have to be
another paper published, we already have the information,
in many cases, we’ve had it for decades, Doctor Dean Ornish published
his Lifestyle Heart Trial in 1990 in the most prestigious medical journal
in the world, proving that the number one killer
of men and women could be reversed, heart disease could be reversed
with a plant-based diet and other healthy lifestyle behaviors. Since then, no one should have died
of heart disease yet hundred of thousands of people
continue to die from this preventable, arrestable, reversible condition
while another person dies of a heart attack why do any more research? Like the number one killer,
we got the research we need. Look, you know me I love research,
I mean obviously, in fact if I wasn’t doing this,
I’d do research myself, I actually started out MD-PhD
because I love the research but toiling away in some laboratory,
studying some enzyme for forty years while people are dropping dead
by the millions from preventable diseases, I couldn’t justify that so I do this
to get the word out. What is the biggest misinformation
about health in the mainstream? The biggest misinformation
about health in the mainstream is that pills and procedures
are where it’s at for most diseases. We have, for acute conditions like breaking a leg, suffering
from infection or something, modern medicine is just amazing
thanks to antibiotics and other incredible advances
but when it comes to chronic diseases we fail measurably as a profession. When it comes to many common cancers,
heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease,
many of these things, what we have to offer may have little
or no benefit or even anti-benefits, we kill 106 000 Americans every year
through adverse drug reaction basically, from side effects from prescription drugs so doctors are in fact,
just from that stat alone, the sixth leading killer in the U.S.
is the medical profession and so, you’re hoping that the benefits
outweigh the risks so you say [inaudible] but not recognizing
that these diseases in large part are lifestyle diseases, are preventable
in the first place, people just don’t know that,
that’s really the biggest misconception, that it’s just inevitable, it’s inevitable
that I’m going to get x, y, z cancer or heart disease of COPD, no. In the vast majority of cases,
these diseases are lifestyle diseases and with lifestyle changes,
they can be prevented in the first place. So you’re saying the doctors in general
letting the pharmaceutical industries dictate their approach to cure disease? Most of it is ignorance, frankly. The reason people go into medicine
is not to make money, if you want to make money
you go to Wall Street or something, it’s an easier route to buy a BMW, people go into medicine at least initially
because they’re idealistic and young and want to help people,
to take care of sick people, that’s this wonderful empathetic drive
that I think drives most medical students. Now, some of that is kind of beaten out
of them throughout medical training and they come out on the other side
demanding reparations and give up their dreams
of starting some homeless clinic and end up doing plastic surgery
or something but I think at least early on doctors want to help people and the only reason they don’t have
these tools in their medical toolbox, they’re just not aware of the power
that diet can have on preventing, arresting and reversing about 80%
of the disease people see in primary care, 80% and these are lifestyle diseases so the treatment
is lifestyle behavior change, it’s not pills and procedures
and these aren’t drug deficiency diseases, these are diseases of lifestyle, we have actually tremendous power
over our health and longevity, the vast majority of premature death
and disability is preventable with a plant-based diet
and other healthy lifestyle behavior so this is tremendous good news
and when doctors figure it out, they’re enthusiastic about it,
how did they find out? That’s interesting so right now, we’re at an international clinical
nutrition conference for physicians and if you go out there and ask
how did they come to this, because they probably didn’t get it in
medical school because Big Pharma controls
much of medical education and practice, you can ask your doctor when’s the last time they were taken out
to dinner by Big Broccoli, it’s probably been a while,
it’s just how we get out information both in medical school, post-graduate
medical education, continued medical education,
most of it is drug industry-sponsored so of course we’re going to hear
about drugs, we’re not going to hear about nutrition, OK, so you ask them where did you…? I mean, obviously you didn’t learn
about it in school, why are you here, why did you change your entire practice
to do lifestyle medicine? And often, it’s actually a patient, so one of their patients watches
Forks Over Knives or What the Health or one of these documentaries
and takes it upon themselves to clean up their diet, just like getting a smoking
cessation message, they say “oh, I’m going to quit smoking” so they don’t tell the doctor
and all of a sudden they see the doctor six months later
for whatever, a blood pressure check or something,
and all of a sudden they’ve lost so much weight,
they feel better, their blood pressure is down, in fact their blood pressure
may be actually too low if they continue to take pills and all of a sudden
you’re treating the cause and not having high blood pressure
anymore, it could be dangerous to drop
their blood pressure too low so the doctor has to wean people
off these drugs, they go back to the doctor,
he says “Whoa, what’s happening? You don’t need these drugs anymore,
cholesterol is fine, let’s wean you off these drugs,
we’re not putting you on these drugs, we’ll cancel the surgery,
what did you do?” And the patient replies
“I saw this documentary, I read this book, I saw this website, I heard about this
and tried it and it worked for me” and that’s really the compre, it’s so ironic, so I talk to these doctors
and it’s like basically an anecdote, it’s like the lowest form of evidence
that we have yet that’s what does it because they have a personal relationship
we’re social creature and you know when someone you know,
someone in your family or your [inaudible], they’ve been obese
all their life, they’ve had all these chronic
health problem, they’re diabetic, whatever,
and all of a sudden they’re better and people with chronic disease
aren’t supposed to get better, it basically gets worse, worse, worse
and you die, it’s kind of a traditional trajectory
for most people with chronic disease and all of a sudden someone’s
getting better, what are they doing? I say wait a second,
there’s been this mountain of evidence published for decades, thousands studies
that support this but somehow this stack of studies doesn’t quite-
we aren’t rational creatures, people just aren’t thinking that way
and it’s that personal story that actually turns them,
it just so frustrates me because I’ve been telling you
about the science forever and it’s this one person
that all of a sudden comes along, what about a randomized controlled trial
where we have hundreds of people? That should be much more convincing
than one person, right? But on the page it’s numbers, it’s graphs,
what does it mean that X many percentage of people was able to stop
taking insulin for their type 2 diabetes or something like that? Each one of those is a human’s story, each one of those is someone
who’s not going to get their leg amputated not going to go blind, not going
to go on dialysis, that’s really… I don’t think people…People don’t read,
they don’t make that connection but when I read papers, that’s what I see, I see the human lives that are affected
by these remarkable interventions and I’m trying to get this information
out there as much as I can. Briefly, I want to talk about
the What the Health criticisms, what do you think of them? What criticism specifically? A couple of blogs for example
have written that the film provided a narrow view of the science
with cherry-picked studies, how do you, as a medical doctor
refute this? This charge that someone
is cherry-picking studies, for example like with heart disease,
number one killer here in the States, there’s only one diet ever been proven to reverse heart disease
in the majority of patients, so it’s not like we just picked
this one study, it’s hard to cherry-pick
when there’s only one cherry, it’s never been shown, the only diet that’s been shown
to improve mood in these randomized controlled trials
or reverse heart disease, it’s not like, oh we’re not showing
all the ones where the low-carb diet also reverses heart disease,
no they don’t exist, that’s what’s critical, right? So it’s not cherry-picking
if there’s only one cherry, I think that’s the most
critical point to make, look you have a study, you have this unicorn study
that supposedly shows that you put people on bacon and eggs
and in the majority, their heart disease disappears,
I will do a video about it that day, because people need to know that. It doesn’t exist, so it’s not
like I’m cherry-picking, yeah, I’m cherry-picking only the science
that exists in this universe. What do you say to people
like Ben Goldacre who say that it’s really, really hard
to get good nutrition data just because of the way- it’s not like with drugs
where you can do blinded studies where it’s one drug or the other drug
and they don’t know… Ideally, you’d want to put people
on just fruits and veg or meat and processed…
– No, no, there have been randomized controlled trials of diet, you put people on different diets
and see what happens, that’s what Ornish did
in Lifestyle Heart Trial, you can randomized people
to a plant-based diet and have their heart disease go away,
what else do you need? Well, that study for example included
exercise and certain people put on statins so what I’m trying to say is with diet
research it’s not as black and white… There were statins in both groups, but on one group they did lifestyle changes
and the other group, they didn’t do the lifestyle changes, the science is in,
I mean what else do you need, right? What is your take
on the mainstream narrative which says the Mediterranean diet
is optimal for health? Look, if you ask… So when I, you know when you go to one
of these big mainstream medical conferences like Tedmed
or something, [inaudible] they should know they’re smart people, right? Usually heads of departments and I say “what’s your take
on the Ornish body of work?” Which is decades old now
and no one questions the veracity, the rigor of those scientific trials, they says “oh, patients aren’t going
to do it, oh yeah I know yeah, we can reverse heart disease,
my patients won’t do it, I can’t even get my patients
to stop smoking, I’m not even going to bring it up.” What a patronizing attitude,
that’s not your decision to make, you’re making the decision
for your patients that they’re too weak, they’re too whatever,
they’re not going to do it so you’re not even going to give them
the option so I’m just going to tell them yeah, open-heart surgery whatever. Now I tell them well, yeah there’s also
this thing where you can eat yummy food and also reverse your disease
and part of it is because… Then the next question is “how do I do it?”
and in their state of ignorance, they may not know, they may not be able
to counsel patients but they know how to cancel patients
on surgery and drugs, so the studies aren’t questioned,
it’s the compliance, they don’t know
whether they’re going to do it, it’s easier to take a pill, yes it’s easier to take a pill
but the pills don’t work as well, so it’s not just safer and cheaper,
plant-based diets, but can work better than the best
mainstream medicine has to offer. What can we do to get people
in positions of power to take meaningful action? You just have to share the information, you just have to get this information
in front of people, that’s the most important thing,
ignorance. I think many of us in the movement
would be like, everybody knows that processed meat
causes cancer, right? Everybody knows,
the World Health Organization, who’s in my inbox for weeks
because everyone is sending me all this, no, I bet you did a study,
I bet you do a public survey: does bacon cause cancer? Does lunch meat, Deli slices,
turkey slices, sausage, does that cause cancer in human beings,
do we know that it causes cancer? What percentage do you think,
of people know? I bet it’s low, I bet it’s low. Look, even if it was 99%
and there’s only 1% that didn’t know, we’ve got to work it out for it
but I bet it’s 1.5%, something like that. The majority of people don’t know
that the IARC, the official body that determines
what is and is not carcinogenic, so what else do you need? The most prestigious medical body
in the world when it comes to cancer says processed meat,
category one carcinogen, we’re as certain that processed meat
causes cancer than we are that plutonium causes cancer
and asbestos causes cancer and cigarette smoke causes cancer, done. No scientific debate, that’s the consensus
so what do we do? We’ve got to get it to people,
why isn’t it on everybody’s website? Why aren’t we telling people about it? Why do we keep feeding it
to kids in school? A little carton of milk,
a little carton of cigarettes. What? What are we doing? It’s ignorance. Now, in our plant-based world,
it’s like everybody knows that and so why aren’t they doing it, right? No, go out into- kind of the mainstream
people don’t know this, they’re not on nutrition websites, they just don’t know that they could be
harming their children. But why have there not been any or many large randomized controlled trials,
Dr. Greger? It’s 2017 Dr. Greger. First of all, who’s going to fund them? The reason that drug companies
have these huge- I mean they can literally send billions,
billions with a B dollars to do studies because they’re going to recup their cost. The number one best selling drug
in human history, Lipitor, this cholesterol-lowering statin drug,
bringing in tens of billions of dollars, so you can spend a billion dollars
because you’re going to recup it, right? But you’re going to put a billion dollars
to get people to eat broccoli? Who’s going to pay for that study?
So there’s a problem with paying- Now my answer is we should
crowdfund studies, I think it would be great if someone comes
with a good study design and says look, I’m going to take
metastatic breast cancer patients and I want to randomize them,
one on a plant-based diet and the other some other kind of diet,
and just see who has improved survival, who has lower recurrence rates,
why hasn’t that study been done? Yes, it’s expensive
but who wouldn’t ship in ten bucks? Just because you want to help people, because you maybe know somebody
with breast cancer, in fact cancer charities,
chronic disease charities in general whether we’re talking about
the Lung Association, these are really wealthy organization. Why? Because people give to them because they have a family member
getting sick and they’re like, I want to help out other people
with this condition, here we go, why don’t we crowdfund science? I don’t think that it should be necessarily
an insurmountable barrier and we have the science we need, again,
we have the science we need. Now, do we have it
for metastatic breast cancer, no, that’s why I’d love to do that study
but what we do have is for early stage prostate cancer,
in fact even late stage prostate cancer, and it works for all these other things,
prevents the number one cause of death what else do you need? There’s only one diet ever been proven
to reverse heart disease in the majority of patients
and that’s a plant-based diet. Has anyone tried to sell you
once a new diet? Do me a favor, ask them a simple question and say has this new diet been proven
to reverse heart disease, number one and two reasons me
and all my loved ones will die? If the answer is no,
why would you even consider it? If that’s all a plant-based diet can do, reverse the number one killer
of men and women, shouldn’t that be the default diet
until proven otherwise? And the fact it can also prevent, arrest
and reverse other leading killers like type 2 diabetes
and high blood pressure, would seem to make the case
for plant-based eating simply overwhelming. What can’t a plant-based diet help? Tons of stuff that it can’t help. The amount of research we have,
how many disease are there? Thousands, how many diseases have been proven to be reversed
with a plant-based diet? A handful, right? We just don’t have science but it’s like
even if a plant-based diet, there’s no data to suggest
it works for disease X, you’d still eat a plant-based diet
because it’s bad enough you have X, you don’t want to have X
and ten other things, right? And look, it’s the leading cause of death, of course you’d be
on a healthy diet regardless, it’s like, does stopping smoking
help me with fibromyalgia? There probably is data on that
but let’s say there was no data, there just never been a study that looked
at smoking cessation and fibromyalgia, would you say “don’t worry
about stopping smoking?” You say look, it may help, it may not help but you stop smoking
because it’s not good for you, there’s other things,
how about fibromyalgia and lung cancer, how would you like that?
That’d be worse, so you don’t smoke whether or not it directly
helps the disease or not. Is there any evidence to show
that a plant-based diet can treat or help or even prevent
infectious disease? Well, infectious disease
has different causes and so certainly there are studies
for example showing that if you take older men and women, 50s, 60’s, 70s,
you randomize them into two groups, one you give them more fresh produce,
more fruits and vegetables, you can significantly boost
their protective antibody response to pneumonia vaccination
compared to those who don’t so you can improve their immune function,
now does that translate out into lower pneumonia rates
and disease endpoints, we don’t have that data, that’d be
more good studies to do . What do you want your legacy to be? My legacy is just putting…
is getting this out to people, seriously, as soon as people are exposed
to this information and understand it’s from a credible source
then it’s totally up to them and then I’m going to leave it
to other people, other people can be like “let me show you how to make good recipes” “let me show you how easy it is
to go out to eat,” “let me show you…
this is what to make at your potluck.” OK, as long as people have
this understanding, that’s as far as I… As soon as everybody in the world
knows the truth, -What is the truth? – I’m retiring, I’m going to be
on some desert isle, drinking kale smoothies on the beach. -What is the truth though,
for people tuning in and can only listen for thirty seconds?
-Thirty seconds. The number one cause of death,
the number one cause of disability, currently the Global Burden
of Disease Study, the biggest study of disease risk factors
in human history funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, number one cause of death,
number one cause of disability is our diet, here in the States, cigarette smoking now only kills
about half a million Americans every year whereas our diet kills hundreds
of thousands more.