How not to Die

Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease

Michael Greger

Summary: A scientific approach for choosing what to eat. It turns out you should eat plant-based, non-processed, whole food.

Score: 85 / 100

I read this in 2020-12 as a blink, I started to read it properly (an unabridged version) in 2020-02.

After reading this book, my wife convinced me to switch from vegetarian to plant-based diet.

And we did. In February, 2020.


A heart-healthy diet is a brain-healthy diet is a lung-healthy diet.

A whole-food, plant-based diet, defined as an eating pattern that encourages the consumption of unrefined plant foods and discourages meats, dairy products, eggs, and processed foods.

The primary reason diseases tend to run in families may be that diets tend to run in families.

The only critical risk factor for atherosclerotic plaque buildup is cholesterol, specifically elevated LDL cholesterol in your blood.

In a society where it’s normal to die of heart disease, having a “normal” cholesterol level is probably not a good thing.

Within about fifteen years of stopping smoking, your lung-cancer risk approaches that of a lifelong nonsmoker.

Brazil nuts are so high in the mineral selenium that eating four every day may actually bump you up against the tolerable daily limit for selenium.

It’s never too early to start eating healthier.

The food category that averages the most antioxidants is herbs and spices.

Low-antioxidant fruits and veggies, such as bananas and lettuce.

The closest correlation researchers found between diet and dementia was animal fat consumption.

People who work in poultry slaughtering and processing plants have increased risk of dying from certain cancers.

The most consistent association with cancer was the consumption of meat and high-fat meals.

Nearly three-quarters of all emerging and reemerging human diseases arise from the animal kingdom.

Even if you just had a garlic enema, you’d still get garlic breath.

The application of manure to crops has been found to increase the odds of E. coli contamination by more than fiftyfold.

A zoonosis: an animal-to-human disease.

The prevention, treatment, and reversal of type 2 diabetes therefore depends on diet and lifestyle.

Mono-unsaturated fats, […], are more likely to be detoxified by the body or safely stored away.

Plant-based diets are great for people who like to eat, since you can basically eat as much as you want without worrying about counting calories.

In a supermarket survey of a variety of foods, canned sardines were found to be the most heavily tainted with hexachlorobenzene, though salmon was found to be the most contaminated food overall.

If you had two people eating the same number of calories, it appears the person eating more meat would, on average, gain significantly more weight.

Instead of changing the quantity of food you eat, it’s possible to reverse diabetes by changing the quality of that food.

EPIC-PANACEA study, which found that meat consumption is associated with weight gain even independent of calories […].

There’s little money to be made from prescribing plants instead of pills.

Humans are genetically programmed to eat ten times less sodium than we do now.

Instead of simply telling you what the science shows and then letting you make up your own mind, experts patronize the population by advocating what they think is practical rather than ideal.

Removing all meat from a standard Western diet appears to reduce the risk of uric acid crystallization by more than 90 percent within as few as five days.

A meat preparation “paradox”: Cooking meat thoroughly reduces the risk of contracting foodborne infections […], but cooking meat too thoroughly may increase the risk of foodborne carcinogens.

Arachidonic acid resembles cholesterol, another essential component that the body makes all on its own.

A prostate-healthy diet is a breast-healthy diet is a heart-healthy diet is a body-healthy diet.

The number-one food source of arsenic was poultry among preschoolers and, for their parents, tuna.

The top source for lead? Dairy. For mercury? Seafood.

Those concerned about exposing their children to mercury-containing vaccines should know that eating just a single serving of fish each week during pregnancy can lead to more mercury in their infant’s body than injecting them directly with about a dozen mercury-containing vaccines.

The levels of mercury in the hair of those eating plant-based diets were found to be up to ten times lower than of those who ate fish.

Pesticides are so good at killing these neurons that scientists often use pesticides in the laboratory to try to re-create Parkinson’s in animals to test new treatments.

In modern agribusiness, there are essentially no more herbivores.

Egg whites contain up to twenty times more mercury than do yolks.

Iatrogenic causes = from the Ancient Greek iatrós, meaning “doctor”.

Every time you put something in your mouth, it’s a lost opportunity to put something even healthier in there.

On a cost-per-nutrition basis, vegetables offer six times more nutrition per dollar compared to highly processed foods.

“Avoid processed meat.” Period. Why? Because “data do not show any level of intake that can confidently be shown not to be associated with risk.”

Michael Pollan, bestselling author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, has said, “If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.”

Tomato juice appears to be the one common juice that may actually be healthier than the whole fruit.

Cocoa butter is one of the rare saturated plant fats (along with coconut and palm kernel oils) that can raise your cholesterol.

Most American families tend to rotate through the same eight or nine meals.

Healthy eating can be so effective that it undermines its own studies of effectiveness!

Over the long term, the more you eat healthfully, the better healthy foods taste.

Greens are the healthiest vegetables, and berries are the healthiest fruits—in

“The intake of fruit should not be restricted in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

Most of the polyphenol phytonutrients […] in fruits and vegetables appear to be bound to the fiber and are only liberated for absorption by the friendly flora in your gut.

Nuts are high in calories, but through a combination of dietary compensation mechanisms, your body’s failure to absorb some of the fat, and increased fat-burning metabolism,

Oats contain a unique class of anti-inflammatory compounds called avenanthramides.

Five-to-One Rule.

When buying healthier, whole-grain products, look at the Nutrition Facts label on the package and see if the ratio of grams of carbohydrates to grams of dietary fiber is five or less.

Coffee does seem to induce significant acid reflux, whereas tea does not.

Hip fractures are associated with a shortened life span more than other types of bone fractures.

Drinking a dozen highly caffeinated energy drinks within a few hours could cause a lethal caffeine overdose.

Eating a whole-food, plant-based diet and returning your brain’s dopamine sensitivity to its healthy, normal levels can help you live life to the fullest and allow you to experience greater joy, satisfaction, and pleasure from all the things you do—not just what you eat.

published: 2021-10-01
last modified: 2023-09-19