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

4.45  ·  Rating details ·  35,246 ratings  ·  3,561 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 d…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)

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David Rubenstein
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
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
Sean Barrs
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, drive
Mario the lone bookwolf
It´s tragic funny that humans are unable to associate the things they eat with the fatal problems the consumption causes up and down the whole spectrum, from immediate, small damage that accumulates over years to terminal illnesses. I´ve been one of those until realization and insight kicked in and I did a 180 to a kind of extreme permanent clean eating, natural, organic, no sugar, fat, etc. lifestyle.

Certain foods are no nourishments, they are drugs and the similarities are evident. A short hig
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health-nutrition
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
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
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
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, audios
This book is one I have re-read and referenced time and time again. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I learned. I wish the title were different, but at the same time, it completely fits the contents. I have also listened to the audio narrated by Dr. Greger and love his passion for this topic.

Now to start walking the walk myself... and following this, again!
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an important book and has a lot of information I wish I had come across earlier. Other than the fact that the book is based on evidence and has good nutrition advice, it is also brave – challenging the politics which prevents most people knowing the full facts. Also, much of the medical profession is focused on diagnosis and cure of diseases, with limited understanding of the role of nutrition.

The first and biggest section of the book deals with various serious ailments and how they can
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
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
Wanda Pedersen
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 control
Nov 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
I have so many problems with this book I hardly know where to start.

Although careful to toe an each-to-their-own path, this is Greger’s clarion call for veganism. ‘Plant food good, animal food bad’ is writ large on every page and he uses slight-of-hand statistics to support this controversial claim.

Nutrition is a complex subject. Many factions beat the drum for their particular interpretation of several well-known studies, even though many of their conclusions are contradictory. Each faction cli
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
Heidi The Reader
Dec 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 thin
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
2020 reread: After reading this book, I've been following dr Greger's tips and noticed several health benefits. Less headaches, quicker healing from my runs, so I decided to revisit this book to freshen up the knowledge. I now listened to this as an audiobook read by the author. He has a quirky reading style, may not be for everyone, but I really liked it.

I was really intrigued when I saw this book. Ofcourse most people know how to eat so that they can be the healthiest version of themselves, b
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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
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
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
Feb 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately, I just couldn't bear to finish this book. It's filled with so much weak and poor science that it disturbs me that this was written by a physician. Of course, I didn't have time to look up every study cited here, but when I did, I found that either the study was extremely small (e.g., 10-30 participants, and usually unblinded) or, in the case of larger studies, it was easy to find studies just as large and similarly constructed with contradictory results. In some cases, a study wou ...more
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
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.
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
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
debbicat *made of stardust*
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
Dec 23, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If there is strong medical evidence for a vegan diet, I don't get why some of its proponents keep trying to support it by citing rubbish. If people support veganism for non-medical reasons, I think they should just say so. Blah-blah like this book undermines the good arguments for eating more vegetables and less meat.
The author relies on a mix of anecdotes, laboratory studies, distorted epidemiology studies, and small clinical studies with irrelevant outcomes. He does a lot of blaming the victi
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
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
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Fort Wayne Wellne...: First sections of the book - Part 1 1 3 Apr 02, 2020 06:15AM  
Fort Wayne Wellne...: Our First Book - How Not To Die 1 4 Mar 26, 2020 01:54PM  
Nutrition Facts 1 17 Aug 20, 2018 12:21AM  
How Not to Die 1 8 May 09, 2018 03:54PM  
Life Off the Label: Change Agents 3 28 Oct 07, 2016 02:16PM  
Can't wait! 2 33 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

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