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

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  12,234 ratings  ·  1,390 reviews
From the physician behind the wildly popular website, How Not to Die reveals the groundbreaking scientific evidence behind the only diet that can prevent and reverse many of the causes of disease-related death.

The vast majority of premature deaths can be prevented through simple changes in diet and lifestyle. In How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, the in
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published December 8th 2015 by Flatiron Books
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Frank Please do reconsider-- a blurb is almost never written by an author, and if you knew anything about Dr. Greger himself, you'd know he didn't write it!…morePlease do reconsider-- a blurb is almost never written by an author, and if you knew anything about Dr. Greger himself, you'd know he didn't write it! Think of a blurb like a book's cover-- it's an ad written by the publisher.

My introduction to Dr. Greger was years back when I heard him speak at a local vegetarian expo. I'm not a vegetarian, but I was quite taken with his refreshing attitude on both medicine and well-being-- he's a straight talker who backs up everything he says with actual citations, and is never afraid to revise an earlier opinion based on new (and solid) information. I've been an avid reader of his website for some years now, and I'm glad to see his words getting out to more folks. If you're still undecided, visit his website and watch any of his short videos or articles, and if you like what you see, think of this book as a nifty way to show your support of his work. It's great stuff!(less)
Michael Look at the Harvard Nurses Study and the Harvard Health study and the 7th Day Adventist study and the China Study. Every large epidemiological study…moreLook at the Harvard Nurses Study and the Harvard Health study and the 7th Day Adventist study and the China Study. Every large epidemiological study done, and there are many, has shown a negative correlation with soy and all reproductive cancers. Simply, the more soy women eat the less likely they are to get: breast, uterine, cervical and ovarian cancer. The same holds true with heart attacks. The more soy one eats the less likely one is to have heart problems. The same is true with men and prostate cancer. (less)

Community Reviews

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4.53  · 
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 ·  12,234 ratings  ·  1,390 reviews

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Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 expl
Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
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
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health-longevity
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 m ...more
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 signi ...more
Dec 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: stopped-reading
A book written by the man that tells us one egg a week can give you diabetes. His webpage 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
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 con
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Rebecca Montemurro
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 m ...more
Mary Beth
Nov 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 al ...more
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to 7jane by: Diamond Cowboy
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 si
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 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 D ...more
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: healthy-eating, vegan
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 thi
Morgan Blackledge
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is an unflinching, fearless journey to the dark heart of one of our cultures most contentious and taboo subjects.


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 dea
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 brocc
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it
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 Cam
Yevgeniy Brikman
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it
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
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 th
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Que no te engañen: esto no es un libro de divulgación científica, es propaganda vegana disfrazada. Y me resulta sumamente irónico (e hipócrita) que el autor cargue contra la mala ciencia que en realidad busca manipular a la población, dado que al final él hace lo mismo.

Que nadie me entienda mal, no tengo nada en contra de la alimentación vegana, de hecho, considero el veganismo una opción admirable. Pero es eso: una opción personal. MENTIR para intentar vender que es la única dieta sana es delez
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: healthy, 2016
"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 foo
Dannii Elle
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 addi
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. (No
Used to be vegan 16 years ago, and this book reaffirmed for me why I was so much healthier during that period. I really appreciated reading about phytonutrients and learning why certain foods are so necessary to improving my health. Reading this book has really made a big difference over the last several weeks with me incorporating a lot more natural foods (legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables) into my diet again. I feel much better. I look forward to seeing how it impacts my labs in the future ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
Eat more fruit and vegetables. Stay away from processed food and avoid fast food. Common sense eating is the emphasis here.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks very much for selecting me as a winner in the giveaway.

I loved this book ! I also love Dr Greger and am a subscriber to his website. His warmth, care and concern for his patients and humanity is evident and he gives all proceeds from his book sales away to charity.

The book advocates for a whole food plant based diet, but it is not so dry and rigid that people should be turned away feeling turned off or defeated. His suggestions and advice has made a difference in my own life. Since going
Simon Wiskowski
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is very likely the most thorough, comprehensive, well rounded, honest, and impactful book ever written on the subject of human health. This book presents, as Dr. Greger states, evidence based nutrition guidelines. This book should be required reading for every single literate human being!!!
debbicat ☮~Traveling Sister
Took my time reading this. I have it on kindle, audible, and I bought the hard copy bc its that great! It's the holy grail on nutrition and wellness I think. Hopefully can do a real review soon. I highly recommend it for everyone.

Update because I never fully reviewed this and it should be reviewed. This is a big book! I takes a lot of time to get through it. But, it is well worth it. I had an acquaintance ask me today if I knew of a nutritionist. She is trying to feel better, and it looking at n
J.A. McLachlan
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well done and comprehensive. Maybe not as ground-breaking now as it would have been a couple decades ago, but well worth reading. It'll change the way you eat, even if you are still going to die eventually.
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HMSA Summer Reading: Spoilers: How Not To Die 1 2 Aug 20, 2018 12:28AM  
Nutrition Facts 1 7 Aug 20, 2018 12:21AM  
How Not to Die 1 8 May 09, 2018 03:54PM  
Life Off the Label: Change Agents 3 20 Oct 07, 2016 02:16PM  
Can't wait! 2 32 Oct 26, 2015 01:18PM  
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A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, MD, is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. He has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in the defense of Oprah Winfrey ...more
“The primary reason diseases tend to run in families may be that diets tend to run in families.” 16 likes
“With no serious downsides, a one-in-three potential benefit for end-stage cancer seems like it would spark further research, right? But who’s going to pay for a study of something that can’t be patented?” 8 likes
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