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  • [First, Dr. McDougall's introduction of Dr. Greger. Captions of Dr. Greger's talk start shortly.]

  • All right, welcome back.

  • We have what I consider the McDougall team, which is a group of associates,

  • actually friends that I've had for 20, 30 years.

  • And our next presenter

  • is one of those men who's worked with us, worked in conjunction

  • with the things that we've done, supported each other, had similar crowds.

  • And one thing really distinct about our next presenter is his ability to communicate.

  • I understand—I was just shocked that he's given over a thousand lectures,

  • and sometimes he's given four lectures a dayamazing, what a dedicated person.

  • So he also finally came out with his first book.

  • It's "How Not to Die"— what a title

  • and it has put him on the New York Times Best Selling list for the last seven weeks.

  • So because of our long-time friendship and my great respect for him,

  • he's been a speaker for at least one presentation every year

  • for who knows how far back it goes,

  • and I know you're going to enjoy Dr. Michael Greger.

  • "How Not To Die:

  • The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers"

  • I have taken so many great ideas from Dr. John McDougall

  • that it's only fair that he take my beard.

  • Allow me to begin on a personal note.

  • This is a picture of me,

  • right around the time that my grandma was diagnosed with end-stage heart disease

  • and sent home to die.

  • She had already had so many bypass operations

  • basically run out of plumbing at some point

  • confined to a wheelchair, crushing chest pain.

  • Nothing more they could do.

  • Her life was over at age 65.

  • But then she heard about this guy, Nathan Pritikin,

  • one of our early lifestyle medicine pioneers.

  • And what happened next is chronicled in Pritikin's biography.

  • My grandma was one of the "death's door" people.

  • Frances Greger arrived in one of Pritikin's early sessions

  • in a wheelchair.

  • "Mrs. Greger had heart disease, angina, claudication;

  • her condition was so bad she could no longer walk

  • without great pain in her chest and legs.

  • Within three weeks though, she was not only out of her wheelchair

  • but was walking ten miles a day."

  • This is my grandma at her grandson's wedding

  • 15 years after she was given her medical death sentence,

  • and thanks to a healthy diet, she was able to live another 31 years

  • on this earth until 96, to enjoy her six grandkids, including me.

  • That is why I went into medicine.

  • When Dr. Ornish published his Lifestyle Heart trial years later,

  • proving with quantitative angiography

  • that coronary heart disease could be reversed

  • arteries opened up without drugs, without surgery, just a plant-based diet

  • and other healthy lifestyle changes, I assumed it was going to be the game changer.

  • I mean, my family had seen it with their own eyes,

  • but here it was in black and white,

  • in some of the most prestigious medical journals on the planet.

  • But nothing happened, leaving me to wonder if effectively

  • the cure to our number 1 killer could get lost down some rabbit hole and ignored,

  • what else was there in the medical literature that could help my patients?

  • I've made it my life's mission to find out.

  • For those of you unfamiliar with my work, every year I read through every issue

  • of every English-language nutrition journal in the world,

  • so busy folks like you don't have to.

  • I then compile all the most interesting, the most groundbreaking,

  • the most practical findings,

  • new videos and articles I upload every day to my nonprofit site, NutritionFacts.org.

  • Everything on the website is free.

  • There are no ads, no corporate sponsorships.

  • It's strictly noncommercial, not selling anything.

  • Just put it up as a public service, as a labor of love.

  • New videos and articles every day on the latest in evidence-based nutrition.

  • What a concept!

  • Where did Pritikin get his evidence from?

  • Well, a network of missionary hospitals set up throughout Sub-Saharan Africa

  • uncovered what may be the most important advance in health, according to

  • one of the most famous medical figures of the 20th century, Dr. Denis Burkitt.

  • The fact that many of our most common and major Western diseases

  • were universally rare, like heart disease.

  • "In the African population of Uganda,

  • coronary heart disease is almost non-existent."

  • Wait a second.

  • Our number 1 cause of death almost nonexistent?

  • What were they eating?

  • They were eating a lot of starchy vegetables, starchy grains, and greens,

  • and their protein almost exclusively from plant sources,

  • and they had the cholesterol levels to prove it.

  • Actually very similar to what You see down here in the corner

  • of those eating modern-day plant-based diets.

  • I said, wait a second.

  • Maybe the Africans were just dying early from some other kind of disease,

  • never lived long enough to get heart disease.

  • No.

  • Here's age-matched heart attack rates in Uganda versus St. Louis.

  • Out of 632 autopsies in Uganda, only one myocardial infarction.

  • Out of 632 age and gender matched autopsies in Missouri, 136 myocardial infarctions:

  • more than 100 times the rate of our #1 killer.

  • They were so blown away they went back, did another 800 autopsies in Uganda,

  • and still just that one small healed infarct, meaning it wasn't even the cause of death,

  • out of 1,427 patientsless than 1 in a thousand

  • whereas here heart disease is an epidemic.

  • This is a list of diseases commonly found here in places

  • that eat and live like the US,

  • but were rare or even nonexistent in populations

  • centering their diets around whole plant foods.

  • These are among our most common diseases, like obesity, for example,

  • or hiatal hernia: one of the most common stomach problems.

  • Varicose veins and hemorrhoids, two of the most common venous problems,

  • colorectal cancer, a leading cause of cancer-related death,

  • diverticulitis, the #1 disease of the intestine,

  • appendicitis, the #1 cause of emergency abdominal surgery,

  • gallbladder disease, the #1 cause for non-emergency abdominal surgery,

  • as well as ischemic heart disease, our commonest cause of death here,

  • but a rarity among plant-based populations.

  • And so this suggests that heart disease may be a choice, like cavities.

  • If you look at the teeth of people who lived over 10,000 years before

  • the invention of the toothbrush, pretty much no cavities.

  • Didn't brush a day in their lives, no flossing, yet no cavities.

  • Why?

  • Because candy bars hadn't been invented yet.

  • So why do people continue to get cavities

  • when we know they're preventable through diet?

  • Easy.

  • Probably because, you know, the pleasure of dessert

  • basically outweighs the cost and discomfort of the dentist chair for many people.

  • Look, that's fine.

  • As long as people understand the consequences

  • of their actions, as a physician what more can I do?

  • If you think the benefits outweigh the risks for you and your family, then go for it.

  • I certainly enjoy the occasional indulgence.

  • I've got a good dental plan.

  • But what if instead of the plaque in our teeth,

  • we're talking about the plaque building up inside of our arteries?

  • All right, this is another disease that can be prevented by changing our diet.

  • Now what are the consequences for you and your family?

  • Now we're not just talking about scraping tarter anymore.

  • Now we're talking life and death.

  • The most likely reason that most of our loved ones will die is because of heart disease.

  • So being at a McDougall event is the best Valentine's Day present ever.

  • It's still up to each of us to make our own decisions as to what to eat and how to live,

  • but we should make these choices consciously,

  • educating ourselves about the predictable consequences of our actions.

  • Coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries

  • begins in childhood.

  • By age 10, the arteries of nearly all kids raised on the standard American diet

  • already have fatty streaks, the first stage of the disease.

  • And then these plaques start forming in our 20s, in our 30s,

  • and then can start killing us off.

  • In our hearts, it's called a heart attack;

  • in our brains, the same disease is called a stroke.

  • If there is anyone here in the room today older than age 10,

  • then the question isn't whether or not to eat healthy to prevent heart disease;

  • it's whether you want to reverse the heart disease that you already have.

  • Is that even possible?

  • When researchers took people with heart disease, put them on the kind of diet

  • followed by populations that did not get heart disease,

  • their hope was to slow the disease down, maybe even stop it,

  • but instead something miraculous happened.

  • The disease started to reverse, to get better.

  • As soon as patients stopped eating an artery-clogging diet,

  • their arteries started opening up.

  • Their bodies were able to start dissolving some of that plaque away,

  • without drugs, without surgery.

  • Even some cases severe triple-vessel heart disease, arteries opening up,

  • suggesting that their bodies wanted to be healthy all along,

  • but were just never given the chance.

  • This improvement in blood flow on the left you see up here, if you can see,

  • this is after just three weeks of eating healthy.

  • Let me share with you what's been called the best kept secret in medicine.

  • The best kept secret in medicine is that sometimes, given the right conditions,

  • our body can heal itself.

  • If you whack your shin really hard on a coffee table,

  • it can get all red, hot, swollen, inflamed, right?