How Not to Die by Michael Greger MD
  • Title: How Not to Die
  • Subtitle: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
  • Author(s): Michael Greger MD, Gene Stone
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Year: 2016-02-11
  • ISBN-10: 1447282450
  • ISBN-13: 9781447282457


How Not to Die” by Michael Greger is a comprehensive guide to understanding and preventing the leading causes of death in today’s society. Dr. Greger, a renowned physician and founder of, presents evidence-based research on the benefits of a plant-based diet and lifestyle choices in combatting various diseases.

The book starts by examining the 15 leading causes of death, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and reveals the underlying factors contributing to these illnesses. Dr. Greger then provides readers with practical advice on how to adopt a plant-centric diet that is rich in whole foods, emphasizing the importance of consuming fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. With an engaging writing style and easy-to-follow suggestions, he breaks down complex scientific information into accessible language, making it suitable for readers of all backgrounds. “How Not to Die” is a comprehensive resource that empowers readers to take control of their health and make informed choices that may have long-lasting benefits for themselves and their loved ones.


Book Review

An Enlightening and Empowering Guide to Optimal Health - "How Not to Die" by Michael Greger

In “How Not to Die,” Michael Greger, MD, presents readers with a meticulously researched and compelling examination of the leading causes of death, offering practical advice and life-changing insights on how to prevent and reverse chronic diseases. Dr. Greger, a well-respected physician and advocate for a whole food, plant-based diet, delivers a thought-provoking and eye-opening exploration of the power of nutrition in combating debilitating illnesses.

The book begins by delving into the top 15 causes of death, including heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and certain cancers. Dr. Greger explores the root causes of these conditions through an extensive review of scientific studies, providing readers with a wealth of knowledge about how food choices can either contribute to or prevent these diseases. What sets this book apart is its emphasis on evidence-based research and the author’s commitment to presenting information that is supported by well-documented studies.

One of the notable aspects of “How Not to Die” is Dr. Greger’s ability to distill complex scientific information into accessible language without oversimplifying or sacrificing accuracy. For example, when discussing heart disease, he breaks down the physiological processes involved, highlighting the detrimental effects of a high-fat, animal-based diet. He then provides readers with practical dietary recommendations, emphasizing the importance of a plant-centered approach to optimize heart health.

Furthermore, Dr. Greger offers a wealth of nutritional insights that challenge conventional wisdom and shed light on the often detrimental effects of modern diets. He presents compelling evidence showcasing the significant benefits of whole, plant-based foods in preventing and even reversing chronic diseases. For instance, he highlights the immense impact of simple dietary changes, such as increasing fiber intake, on preventing and managing conditions like diabetes. The book also provides a variety of recipes that showcase how delicious and varied a plant-based diet can be, dispelling the myth that healthy eating is boring or restrictive.

Another strength of this book is Dr. Greger’s meticulous attention to detail. Each chapter is meticulously researched and includes extensive footnotes, allowing readers to investigate further or validate the information presented. This commitment to transparency and accuracy enhances the credibility of the author and the overall message of the book.

The real power of “How Not to Die” lies in its ability to empower readers with knowledge and actionable steps. Dr. Greger consistently reminds readers of the impact they can have on their own health through everyday choices. His book serves as a practical manual, providing readers with clear guidelines on how to incorporate more whole, plant-based foods into their diet. Whether it’s transitioning to a plant-based diet or making incremental changes towards healthier eating habits, Dr. Greger offers guidance and encouragement throughout.

A noteworthy aspect of the book is the inclusion of real-life testimonials. These personal accounts provide a compelling narrative, illustrating the potential for remarkable health improvements when individuals adopt a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. These stories add an emotional layer to the scientific evidence presented, making the benefits of the lifestyle change relatable and inspiring for readers.

In conclusion, “How Not to Die” by Michael Greger is an enlightening and empowering guide to achieving optimal health. Dr. Greger’s thorough research, evidence-based approach, and accessible writing style make this book a valuable resource for anyone seeking to understand and prevent chronic diseases. By presenting readers with a wealth of knowledge and practical advice, Dr. Greger equips them with the tools they need to make informed decisions and take control of their health. This book is a compelling call to action, encouraging readers to embrace a plant-centered lifestyle and unlocking the potential for improved well-being, vitality, and longevity.


Plant-powered plates aren't punishment, they're vibrant celebrations of life! Each bite becomes a vote for your health, fueling your body with nature's best disease-fighting weapons.

Key Ideas

In “How Not to Die” by Michael Greger, several key ideas are presented that are intended to empower readers to take control of their health and prevent chronic diseases.

  1. Nutrition as a Disease Prevention Tool The book emphasizes the significant impact that nutrition can have on preventing and even reversing chronic diseases. Greger explores the potential benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet, highlighting the importance of consuming fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. He discusses how these foods are rich in essential nutrients and antioxidants that can bolster the body’s natural defense mechanisms against disease.

  2. Importance of Evidence-Based Research Greger’s approach is grounded in scientific literature and he advocates for using evidence-based research to inform dietary choices. He delves into numerous studies, presenting the results and conclusions in an accessible manner. By relying on rigorous scientific evidence, he aims to dispel myths and provide credible information that can guide readers towards optimal health.

  3. Food as Medicine The book emphasizes the potency of food as a form of preventive medicine. Greger explores how certain foods and nutrients have been shown to have specific health benefits. For instance, he examines the role of turmeric in combating inflammation, berries in enhancing cognitive function, and cruciferous vegetables in reducing the risk of cancer. By incorporating these foods into our diet, we can harness their medicinal properties and promote overall well-being.

  4. The Power of Lifestyle Choices Beyond nutrition, Greger also discusses the impact of lifestyle choices on health. He emphasizes the importance of regular physical activity, stress management, and adequate sleep in conjunction with a nutritious diet. By adopting a holistic approach to health, readers are encouraged to make comprehensive lifestyle changes that can enhance their longevity and quality of life.

  5. Empowerment and Action Throughout the book, Greger provides practical advice on how to implement the outlined principles in day-to-day life. He suggests actionable steps such as transitioning to a plant-based diet gradually, setting up the kitchen for success, and incorporating exercise into the daily routine. By presenting tangible strategies, the book empowers readers to take charge of their health and make informed choices.

  6. Anecdotal Evidence In addition to scientific research, “How Not to Die” includes anecdotal stories of individuals who have experienced significant health improvements by adopting a whole food, plant-based lifestyle. These stories aim to inspire and motivate readers by demonstrating real-life examples of the transformative potential of dietary changes.

Overall, “How Not to Die” presents the key idea that through evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle choices, individuals can play an active role in preventing and reversing chronic diseases, leading to improved health and vitality. The book aims to inform, inspire, and empower readers to make informed decisions that support their well-being and longevity.


Target Audience

The book “How Not to Die” by Michael Greger is targeted at a diverse audience interested in improving their health and preventing chronic diseases. It is recommended reading for the following audiences:

  • Health Conscious Individuals Individuals who are keen on optimizing their health and well-being through evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle choices will find this book invaluable. It offers practical guidance on adopting a whole food, plant-based diet and provides insights into the power of nutrition in disease prevention.

  • Individuals with Chronic Diseases The book is also relevant for individuals who have already been diagnosed with chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. It offers empowering information on how dietary changes can potentially slow the progression of these conditions or even reverse them, backed by scientific evidence.

  • Those Seeking Non-Biased Health Information “How Not to Die” stands out in providing credible and evidence-based information. Readers who value transparency and evidence-driven research in health-related topics will appreciate the book’s thorough approach and reliance on scientific literature.

  • Nutrition Enthusiasts and Educators Nutritionists, dietitians, and educators in the field of health and wellness will find the book to be a valuable resource in expanding their understanding of the impact of nutrition on health outcomes. The book addresses various nutritional principles and highlights the importance of a plant-centric approach.

  • Caregivers and Health Professionals The book can be an essential resource for caregivers and health professionals who seek to provide evidence-based advice to patients or clients. It offers easily digestible information on how dietary choices can potentially prevent and manage chronic diseases, enabling them to better support the health journeys of those under their care.

In conclusion, “How Not to Die” is recommended reading for individuals who are interested in taking charge of their health, preventing chronic diseases, and adopting a science-backed approach to nutrition and lifestyle choices. It provides practical advice for a wide range of readers, empowering them to make informed decisions about their well-being and encouraging positive changes that can have lasting health benefits.

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This book review may contain excerpts and references from the reviewed work, used under the doctrine of fair use. The purpose is to provide a critical analysis, commentary, and evaluation of the book. The use of these excerpts is done for non-commercial and educational purposes, aimed at fostering discussion and understanding. The author acknowledges the original copyright holder's rights and asserts that the use of such material is transformative, adding value through the inclusion of informed opinions and insights. This review intends to comply with the principles of fair use under copyright law and does not seek to infringe upon the author's or publisher's rights.

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