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Vinnie Tortorich Returns

By February 9, 2013June 14th, 202327 Comments

Buckle up! Back by popular demand,  the controversial and outspoken Vinnie Tortorich — “America’s Angriest Trainer” and my favorite guy to ride a bike with — returns to the podcast as my first repeat guest so we can throw down and get to the bottom — for the very first time — of what constitues the most ideal diet.  Is it “low carb” (Vinnie)? Or “plant-based” (Rich)?  Maybe something in between or alternatively something else entirely?

There can only be one winner in this argument, right?  Tune in to find out.  And we’ll let you be the judge.  Whether or not you end up with some greater conviction or just more confused, only you can say.  At a minimum, and wherever you come down on the debate, you will feel moved by Vinnie’s frankness about his past & continuing battle with leukemia.

At one point in the interview, Vinnie makes the very controversial statement that there is no correlation between dietary fat and cardiovascular disease.  Just so we are clear, I do not share this view.  Give me an opportunity to dig into the research a bit more thoroughly and I will return to the blog and/or podcast with my supported findings.

NOTE: Despite my admonishments after his last tour on the show about keeping it all family friendly, Vinnie couldn’t help himself and went off script with a few explicit lapses of the tongue.  Nothing crazy, but just a heads up if you’re blasting it at work or happen to be unusually squeamish.  Apologies, but give him a break — he is, after all, America’s Angriest Trainer and has a reputation to maintain.


Thanks for the support and enjoy the show!


Wikipedia: Saturated Fat & Cardiovascular Disease Controversy

The Angriest Trainer Podcast

Vinnie on Twitter @VinnieTortorich

Vinnie on Facebook

Ben Greenfield’s “Become Superhuman” Conference, March 8-9. 2013 Spokane, WA – use the code “RICHROLL” to get 50% off the $297 registration price.   Click HERE to learn more, see the list of speakers and sign up.


  • Richard (UK) says:

    Interesting show. When I read The China Study I’m sure they reported double blind tests involving mice (or rats) and varying quantities and sources of protein and discovered how to turn tumor growth on or off.

  • I’m a HUGE fan of you both. I’m less confused–surprised? I’m a newbie vegan that has been so happy because I’m not afraid of fat (thanks Vinnie!). I eat steel cut oats, quinoa, rice, etc (whole grains) but sparingly. Putting more coconut oil, coconut milk, olive oil, and avacados in my diet has improved my vegan life in so many ways. The world and it’s ‘low fat’ agenda has really done a disservice. The sugars and process grains are the killers. Of course the factory farming, antibiotics, pesticide, GMO’s, etc are also to blame. To me those points are moot since we universally agreed they are all awful. I think you could be in fine cardiovascular health and lose weight the way Vinnie does it. Reading ‘Good Calories Bad Calories’ is quite enlightening. But going beyond that and eliminating other potential health issues is where being a clean eating veggie fruit plant base diet comes in. I actually believe we were made to be omnivores. But in this day and age, I think we can get away with being plant based and take our health to the next level. Thanks again for another great podcast!

  • Paul Kim says:

    I was a little bothered when Mr. T stated that the cholesterol was not a cause of heart disease. It is a key component of atherosclerotic plaques. That link is very clear and unquestioned.

    However, I think that the skepticism he has may be regarding another aspect about how modern medicine deals with heart disease.

    This is an interesting talk called Sugar the Bitter Truth by a pediatric endocrinologist from UCSF. This is I think as valuable as Forks Over Knives.

    In it Robert Lustig MD states that the medical community has been wrong about the low fat diet (which usually means high carb diet) in preventing heart attacks. Through his explanation of the biochemical pathways, he shows how fructose (half of the sucrose molecule – the other half is glucose) goes to the liver and is only really processed in the liver. It is actually wrong for us to tell people to go high carb if they are trying to avoid heart attacks.

    As the liver gets bombarded with fructose, it actually converts the fructose (sugar) into fat which leads to worsening atherosclerosis. We know a major source of where the fructose comes from in our modern diet: processed foods that contain high fructose corn syrup.

    Even as a physician I get confused about these things and there are constantly new studies that bombard us.

    I think that the China Study is very very compelling. The study with the rats was a prospective study but I have not looked at the details of it so I cannot really state that it’s findings are gospel.

    Too much sugar has been shown to shorten life. Too much protein can also shorten life. I have never heard of vegetables being a cause of any heart disease or cancer. Maybe I am wrong. The answer of which is a better diet is intuitive to me, but it is definitely harder to follow.

    I like both me but I wonder if the main reason why both Mr. T and Rich are so fit is because they work out so damn much. Mr. T is literally eating stuff that is horrible for you according to conventional standards but he rides his bike for 8 hours at a time.

    I think that he could has his lips attached to a bottomless shake and still look great at that work rate.

    Just my two cents.

  • BYOL says:

    I’d love if you could get dr mcdougall to discuss grains.

  • Brian Mitchell says:

    I really enjoyed this podcast. I think the conversations between Rich and Vinnie are lights out. If we’re talking dietary guidance I’m absolutely in Rich’s camp (not to chose sides, but you get my meaning) but it is fascinating to hear a different perspective in more of a conversation than an argument. Its converted me to a Vinnie podcast subscriber as well.

    As a side note I think the other posters thought about discussing grains on a future podcast would be awesome. While I’ve been 90% plant based the past 4 months or so I can see the potential is limiting grains and would like to learn more via another discussion on the podcast.

  • Steve Parent says:

    The guy who puts a stick of butter in his coffee and says he is “a vegan at heart” and is giving nutritional advise? Who is following this crap? Come on people! Clearly Vinnie has used up his glycogen stores, and his brain is running on fumes. Some of what he says is accurate (think of the broken clock being right twice a day) but with all due respect, this is just more bad advice without any scientific backing. I love hearing these guys who make outlandish claims yet can’t cite any studies because they are just marketing nonsense. It’s no surprise that the general population is so confused. Rich, thankfully I didn’t listen to the first podcast with this guy, or you would owe me four hours of my life back instead of just two.

  • jrskis says:

    I loved having you discuss low carb vs. plant based in a conversational way. It could be even more enlightening if you could get someone with a stronger understanding of the science on – maybe Gary Taubes? or Voley vs. McDougall. I would love to hear a debate between folks on both sides who really know the science.

  • JT says:

    Here’s a good book for the show notes Gary Taubes “Why we get fat” and “The Art & Science of Low Carb Living” Dr Volek & Dr Phinney – great resources! Doctors Volek and Phinney share over 50 years of clinical experience using low carbohydrate diets, and together they have published more than 200 research papers and chapters on the topic. Particularly in the last decade, much has been learned about the risks associated with insulin resistance (including but not limited to metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and type-2 diabetes), and how this condition is far better controlled by carbohydrate restriction than with drugs.

  • Eric says:

    I found it very engaging to hear these opposing dietary viewpoints discussed by two fitness-oriented individuals. So often the different camps refuse to speak to each other and find any common ground. It’s clear that there’s not one clear answer (yet) on the ultimate diet, other than finding the one that works best for you as an individual. Nonetheless, it’s an exciting time to have all this information coming out, even if some of the studies seem to contradict each other. Thanks Rich and Vinnie, for this lively discussion.

  • Rich, another great podcast. I was taken aback at how little Vinnie seems to understand the science behind the diet he is espousing. Usually those paleo/LC folks have a better grasp of their pseudo-science conspiracy theories. I know because I was one of them for over two years. Unfortunately, when you take a hard look at the science, the LC approach doesn’t pan out. Can you lose weight eating like that? Yes you can. Is it healthy over the long term? I doubt it. Either way, the burden of proof is on the lipid hypothesis deniers, since the scientific evidence weighs heavily in favor of there being a link between dietary cholesterol and heart disease. Vinnie may get great results leaning out Hollywood actresses, but I think I’ll take my dietary advice from hard science.

  • CM3 says:

    I thought this session was very helpful in the fact that guests with differing opinions actually help support the plant based movement more than plant based guests. Super healthy vegans sitting around talking about the benefits of being vegan is sometimes circular. To berate Vinnie, is not productive either – as he is a walking accomplishment and took his time to participate. However, the absence of real analysis or presentation of critical data by Vinnie when pressed was enlightening to me who is “vegan curious”. Vinnie could provide us with conclusory statements that “cholesterol is not the problem, it’s the plaque build up” – but could not really explain the science behind it. Or could not completely explain his criticism of the China Study. Maybe he needed more time on the interview or further opportunity – but the absence of support is what caught my attention.

  • Jill says:

    Thanks for “debating” Mr. T on so many of these hot button issues. Its seems so clear to me Rich that your comments were solidly backed by good, sound evidence. Mr. T. seemed to not really know what he was talking about when it came to plant-based eating. His comments that well, he’d have to go back and re-read, or that he couldn’t “speak to that” are evidence that he does indeed not know very much about the healthy benefits of a plant-based way of eating. And I loved it that you called him on it (several times) about his comment “I’ve never met a healthy vegan”. He says he doesn’t remember saying that. I listened to his podcast and he did indeed make that comment. I think his artery-clogging/plaque forming way of eating has junked up his memory! I enjoy his podcast as well as yours as I do gleam useful bits of information even if I don’t agree with all his philosophy.

  • Kamil says:

    Great podcast. It was a pleasure to listen to two guys with different approach.

  • Bri Tri says:

    Great podcast Rich. I love the banter between you guys. But I really wish you guys would stop using the word “vegan”. Even if you would put plant-based in front of it, would be better.

  • Olivier Gasser says:

    Great podcast Rich, but to discuss that subject you really should have invited someone with a scientific background. I am a biomedical scientist, immunologist, have a PhD, got training at Harvard med School and have worked on HIV, cancer, transplantation, you name it. I am not saying this to impress, just to show that I as credible as a scientist can be, and I am on Vinnie’s side on most topics. But after that podcast my body was sore from all the cringing … each time he was not able to back his claims up with robust scientific evidence (not because it’s inexistent … just because since he’s not a scientist, he forgot exactly why he came to build up his belief system).
    Those you think that Vinnie is not credible should either go and get a proper scientific education before they talk ‘out of their A..’ (just borrowing the words from the podcast :)!) or, better, be more open and stop being haters. Rich, you’re doing a wonderful job to build a platform of discussion. I hope some listeners will follow your example …

  • Juliebooty says:

    I loved this podcast. In fact you guys should create a podcast with both of you hosting. Through the confusion it might have created, it also inspired a little investigation and research. To broaden the horizons on another take on dietary nutrition is mandatory unless you plan to be a sheep your whole life and just follow. I personally love to hear passion whether it be of my own beliefs or someone else’s. The beauty is to remain friends thereafter, shake hands and agree somewhere in the middle. You and Vinnie provide a great example of that! From the whole interview, the biggest thing I wanted to say was Vinnie, use your own voice to do the audio book. It’s such a an intimate way to give the message. I love your voice!

  • 14th Monkey says:

    Interesting discussions – you kept me company for a full 2 hour drive! I don’t go for Vinnies diet choice but I guess it works for him. I was a bit disapointed he did not make a bigger deal about the quality of the food he eats. Friends of mine who eat meat and are unlikely to change I encourage them to eat high quality meat and less of it. Do you know USA Bacon has 10-15ppm Paylean in it? Why would you want to eat that?

    Can someone explain to me – if I follow a vegan diet but include honey and have some leather shoes / belt – is there a term for that – other posters were not happy with the use of the word vegan?

  • Petar - Australia says:

    Rich asked Vinnie about wether he considering not eating meat because there is a body of evidence that proves the link between meat and cancer – seems unwise for him not to even consider it, considering his cancer is due to return..

  • Jim Newell says:

    Hey Rich,

    I really enjoy that you and Vinnie do so well agreeing to disagree. You are both tenacious and respectful at the same time, as rare trait these days. Thanks for standing your ground on the Plant-Based diet. Works really well for me, and I train pretty hard week in and week out.

    One thing though: You all brought up Quinoa in the part about grains, but I think you forgot to clarify or didn’t emphasize that Quinoa is not a grain. It is a seed. Huge difference. Quinoa is one of the best full-spectrum proteins in the plant-based world and can take the place of any grain on any plate.

  • Vinnie definitely needs to read his own audiobook! Come on, with that voice it’s a no-brainer!

  • Kelly Mahoney says:

    I dont share Vinnie’s lack of concern about cholesterol which is what lead me to the vegan diet. Colpo’s cholesterol con book has a lot of information about factors other than cholesterol that lead to the build up of plaque in the artery walls, but the fact remains that cholesterol filled particles are the “building blocks” of plaque. Why keep a bunch of gas in your garage if you know it’s a potential fire hazard? I also don’t share Vinnie’s fear of sugar. I use bananas and dates to fuel my activities. I don’t see a problem with that.

  • HappyHealthyVegan says:

    i doubt dr. lustig for many reasons, primarily the fact that he’s not exactly a fit lean looking person. shouldn’t he look great if he really follows such a great non-fattening diet?

  • Chris Padilla says:

    Rich, I could hear the love you have for Vinnie and he wouldn’t let you finish that… It really sounds to me like his Doctor has brainwashed him to believe that his goose is cooked and he won’t listen to why a plant based diet could break the possibility of him never having cancer come back.

  • Wayne says:

    Vinnie needs to read his own book. Rich make sure he does. Great podcast guys. Life is not about extremes it is about living in the middle.

  • Eric Umlauf says:

    I know Vinnie and Rich are friends, and I think it’s great that Vinnie is healthy again, but this was hard to listen to. The misinformation that Vinnie clings to is astounding and I really wish he would look into other diets that may be more beneficial for him instead of being so full of pride. Rich was kind of lightly nudging him in that direction as well.

  • Jason RH says:

    I can’t believe this guy has been on the podcast three times. I am a HUGE fan of the podcast in general and finding ultra. I have found RIch and his guests to be a big inspiration. I am not a vegan, but I do have a predominantly plant based diet and have lowered by consumption of animal products by a lot over the past year. However, I do see some merit in not completely removing certain foods – meat, eggs, chicken – from my diet just yet.

    That said, I find it hard to listen to Vinnie. Can you really engage in an intelligent discussion with a guy who makes some of the arguments that he does? Rich, if you want to go into the paleo v. vegan topic in more depth, have a guest who has done his homework. Many of your guests are super knowledgable, but not this guy. I respect that Rich attempts to debunk some of VInnie’s points in a respectful way, but man VInnie made points in this podcast that made me want to rip my skin off.

    But I still listened to this entire podcast and will listen to another one if he is on again. Probably because i am entertained by his insights.

  • Victor Dumitrescu says:

    I did a google search on Vinnie and after listening to this episode I can see why durianrider does not like him. I have to say that he’s facts are far away from being right. Why will someone try to bonk China study? this is one for the history and if one is so absurd to disregard this info should not try to deny it for others. I love your podcast and the fact that you can keep up a conversation with some one that does not agree with your POV.

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