The History of All-Meat Diets

Igloo licensedWe are taught that meat is an unhealthy, artery-clogging, fattening, cholesterol-raising, heart-attack inducing, constipating, tumor-producing food that should be avoided like the plague, and that a plant-based diet is the holy grail of health.



To the best of my knowledge, the world has yet to produce a civilization which has eaten a vegan diet from childhood through death, whereas there are numerous examples throughout recorded history of people from a variety of cultural, ethnic and geographical backgrounds who have lived on mainly-meat diets for decades, lifetimes, generations. What exactly did these carnivorous cultures eat, and how healthy or unhealthy were they?

To my mind, examples of real people eating mostly-meat diets for long periods of time gives us much more powerful information about meat and health than conventional scientific studies conducted over short periods of time in which one group of people eats a little more meat or a few extra servings of vegetables than another group of people.

Meet the Meat Mongers

  • The Inuit of the Canadian Arctic thrived on fish, seal, walrus and whale meat.
  • The Chukotka of the Russian Arctic lived on caribou meat, marine animals and fish.
  • The Masai, Samburu, and Rendille warriors of East Africa survived on diets consisting primarily of milk and meat.
  • The steppe nomads of Mongolia ate mostly meat and dairy products.
  • The Sioux of South Dakota enjoyed a diet of buffalo meat.
  • The Brazilian Gauchos nourished themselves with beef.

Dangerously Unbalanced?

How many servings of fruits and vegetables did most Arctic peoples eat most days of the year?  Zero. How much fiber is there in a seal, or a fish, or an Arctic bird?  None whatsoever. Physician Samuel Hutton, who treated Eskimos in the Canadian province of Labrador at the turn of the 20th century, wrote:

“I wonder are the Eskimos unique among the nations in their disregard of vegetable foods?  I sometimes saw them getting young willow shoots and one or two other little bits of green, and eating them as a relish to their meat; but they make absolutely no attempt to till what soil there is, and they do not even make the most of the plants that grow.  During the short weeks of summer the vegetation springs up in a perfectly marvelous manner… Surely among this wild scramble of plant life there must be some things that are good to eat!  I know that there are plenty of dandelion leaves, and I have tasted worse things in my time, but the people never touch them…” [Hutton SK 1912]

By all accounts, these people ate little to no plant foods for most of the year (summertime was an exception):

“But though gardening is entirely foreign to the Eskimo nature, they do not entirely scorn the good things of the earth…In most years the scrubby bushes that crawl upon the ground are loaded with succulent berries—a truly marvelous provision—and the people gather them not only by the handfuls and bucketfuls, but by barrelfuls.” [Hutton SK 1912]

Their diets were therefore extremely low in fiber most of the time, and very high in animal protein and animal fat. These traditional ways of eating would terrify the USDA, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, not to mention the Harvard School of Public Health, which remains a staunchly anti-meat, anti-saturated fat, anti-cholesterol institution.

How in the world did these uninformed fringe types manage to get all their vitamins and minerals without the heaping helpings of colorful fruits, vegetables, and whole grains without which we are told we shall surely perish?  Weren’t they cancer-riddled, heart-clenching, constipated, fat slobs who died young from scary deficiency diseases like rickets and scurvy?

Let’s look at the two groups of people for whom we have the most medical information available to see if we can begin to answer some of these very important questions. What follows is not meant to be a complete review; I wrote this article because I was excited to share some of the fascinating things I am learning as I research meat and human health.

A Tale of Two Cities

Well, cities is a bit of a stretch…in fact neither of these groups of people were city folk, but that is where the similarities end.  The only thing these people had in common was that they ate few if any plant foods.

You could not ask for two more different cultures than the Arctic “Eskimos” and the East African herdsmen:

  • North Pole vs. Equator
  • Asian vs. African
  • Non-dairy vs. Dairy
  • Surf vs. Turf 🙂

Arctic peoples studied were living in the northernmost “circumpolar” parts of Alaska, Canada, Russia and Greenland.  The diets of most Arctic people began changing in the late 1800’s as trade routes began providing access to European foods including sugar, flour, and dairy products, but prior to that their diet consisted primarily of animal protein and fat for most of the year.

Arctic map

East African herdsmen (Masai, Samburu and Rendille peoples) studied hailed from what are now Kenya and Tanzania, along the African equator. By tradition, males in these tribes ate only animal foods (meat and dairy products) from age 14 until at least age 28, when they completed their warrior years.  

Kenya and Tanzania

These unique groups of people were the subjects of intense medical investigation several decades ago, and there have been numerous scientific articles written about their diet and health.

Meat and Heart Disease

More than 40 years ago, the remote region of Point Hope, Alaska (where a mostly-meat diet was still being consumed due to its isolated location) was the subject of a research study published in 1972:

“The Point Hope inhabitants represent one of the few remnants of the Eskimo whale, sea, and walrus hunting cultures in the world…Average total daily caloric intake was approximately 3,000 kcal [calories] per person, ranging from 2,300 to 4,500 kcal. Approximately 50% of the calories were derived from fat and 30 to 35% from protein. Carbohydrate accounted for only 15 to 20% of their calories, largely in the form of glycogen [animal starch] from the meat they consumed. Grain products were scarce and although sucrose [table “” not found /]
was not unknown, the average adult ingested less than 3 g/day, primarily for sweetening tea or coffee.”  
[Ho KJ et al 1972]

Researchers found that the incidence of heart disease among Point Hope residents was ten times lower than in the general Caucasian population of the United States.  Not only that—their triglyceride levels (levels of fat in the bloodstream) averaged 85 mg/dL, whereas the average U.S. triglyceride levels at that time averaged over 100 mg/dL.

[To read more about why carbohydrates are not necessary in the diet and how carbohydrates cause the body to produce extra fat, please see my carbohydrates page.]

Lest you think that these Alaskans were special–that their triglyceride levels were low because of genetic differences, or because they had become adapted over centuries to their meaty diet, and that it wasn’t fair to compare their triglyceride levels to those of mainland Americans–you may want to think twice.

A much more recent study conducted in remote areas of southwestern Alaska compared native people who reported eating the highest percentage of traditional animal foods to native people who reported eating the lowest percentage of traditional animal foods.  Native Alaskans following a more traditional diet were eating much more animal protein and animal fat, yet had triglyceride levels on average 25 points lower than their more Westernized neighbors. [Bersamin 2007]

Even as recently as the 1980’s, only 3.5% of all deaths in Greenland Eskimos were due to heart disease, despite a life span of more than 60 years.

Now, some Arctic peoples did have some cholesterol buildup in their arteries, but this was apparently mild and primarily seen in those who were eating a mixture of modern and traditional foods:

 “The rarity of ischaemic heart disease has been repeatedly noted, with due allowance for the life-expectancy of Eskimos.  Rabinowitch, discussing the contention of others that arteriosclerosis was rare in Eskimos, stated that this was not the case in those he examined in the eastern Arctic of Canada where contact with white man had altered the diet, but in the most northerly parts there was no evidence of arteriosclerosis; total cholesterol in serum was low. 18 necropsies by Gottman between 1956 and 1958, and by Arthaud between 1959 and 1968, on Alaskan Eskimos partly on European diets, showed that atherosclerosis was mild and not a major cause of death.” [Lancet 1983]

Meanwhile, back in Africa…

As for our pastoral African nomad friends, heart attacks were essentially unknown among Masai males, despite living well into their 60’s.  Researchers examined 600 living Masai men, more than half of whom were over 40 years old, and found that only one of them had ever had a heart attack.  In fact, researchers went so far as to collect and examine the hearts of 50 Masai who had dropped dead, and found no evidence of a heart attack in a single one.  Just as with Eskimos, they did find “fatty streaks” and some cholesterol deposits inside of their arteries, but not enough to cause any blockages.

It was estimated that these men obtained 66% of their daily calories from pure animal fat, eating about 300 grams of fat and 600 milligrams of cholesterol per day.  Americans are advised to keep fat intake to 20 to 35% of calories and to keep cholesterol intake below 300 mg per day, therefore these men were eating twice as much cholesterol and 2 to 3 times as much fat as we are told to eat.

Meat and Blood Pressure

Once upon a time, there was a group of Inuit from Greenland who had been raised on a diet high in meat, fish, and animal fat, and very low in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.  In the 1980’s and 1990’s, some of them immigrated south to Denmark, and in the process, turned their diets upside-down. They started eating the way Danish people ate—adding lots more plant foods and dairy products to their menus, and eating fewer animal foods.  This is the advice we are given by public health officials if we want to improve our health. So, did these transplanted Greenlanders become healthier?  Researchers discovered that the Inuit who had moved to Denmark and changed their diets had blood pressures ten points higher than those who had stayed behind in Greenland. This was despite the fact that they weighed less, smoked less, drank less, and got the same amount of exercise as their Greenland brothers and sisters.

Unfortunately the researchers did not ask about junk food intake, so we don’t know if the Inuit were also eating more refined carbohydrates, salt, and chemicals after relocating to Denmark, although that would be a safe bet.  My point is that simply eating less meat and eating more fruits and vegetables, which is what we are told we should do to be healthier, did not improve or protect their health–at least not when it came to blood pressure.

While back in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro…

Blood pressures among the Masai of East Africa averaged 120/80 in males ranging in age from 14 to over 55; only 1% of Masai men had high blood pressure. Among the Samburu, as well, blood pressures were excellent, averaging 112/76, with systolic (upper) blood pressure values tending to rise only a few points after the age of 60.

Meat and Obesity

The problem of overweight and obesity did not exist among the Masai, Samburu, or Rendille people.  The average Masai male measured approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed 134 pounds. The average Samburu man was equally as tall and weighed 126 pounds. The typical Rendille man weighed only 121 pounds. Weights within all of these groups of people remained stable throughout their lifetimes.

Out of Africa…

I just adore these passages written in 1936 by noted Canadian anthropologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson:

“…Eskimos, when still on their native meats, are never corpulent – at least I have seen none. They may be well fleshed. Some especially women, are notably heavier in middle age than when young. But they are not corpulent in our sense.

When you see Eskimos in their native garments you do get the impression of fat round faces on fat round bodies, but the roundness of face is a racial peculiarity and the rest of the effect is produced by loose and puffy garments. See them stripped and you do not find the abdominal protuberances and folds which are numerous at Coney Island beaches and so persuasive in arguments against nudism.

There is no racial immunity among Eskimos to corpulence. You prove that by how quickly they get fat and how fat they grow on European diets.”

I can relate…ich bin ein Eskimo…

Unanswered Questions

If meat, saturated fat and cholesterol are supposed to cause heart disease, and if colorful, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables are supposed to protect us from heart disease, why didn’t these people, who were eating MUCH more meat and FAR less plant food than most of us ever will, suffer from heart disease and all of the health problems we associate with heart disease risk, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and high triglycerides?

This post was not designed to provide an airtight argument for meat and health, but I do hope that it has at least prompted those of you who remain skeptical about meat to rethink what you’ve been led to believe.

To read my detailed critique of the World Health Organization’s 2015 report claiming that red meat causes cancer: Who Says Meat Causes Cancer?

If you’ve got a hankerin’ for more information about meat and health, take a look at my meat page.

What about cholesterol levels in carnivorous cultures?  It turns out that cholesterol is the most complicated topic of all…as usual…but ask a silly question…In the meantime, if you are worried that eating a high-cholesterol diet will raise your “bad” cholesterol, you may want to read my cholesterol page to see why you don’t need to worry about this.

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Tagged with:


Among the Eskimos of Labrador: a record of five years’ close intercourse with the Eskimo tribes of Labrador.  Samuel King Hutton. Publisher Seeley, Service & co., limited, 1912

Berezovikova IP and Mamleeva FR. Traditional foods in the diet of Chukotka natives.  International Journal of Circumpolar Health 2001; 60: 138-142.

Biss K et al.  Some unique biologic characteristics of the Masai of East Africa.  New England Journal of Medicine 1971; 284: 694-699.

Eisma D. Agriculture on the Mongolian Steppe.  The Silk Road 2012; 10: 123–135.

DuBois EF. The control of protein in the diet. Journal of the American Dietetic AssocIation 1928; 4: 53-76.

Health Conditions and Disease Incidence among the Eskimos of Labrador. Hutton SK.  Publisher Wessex Press, London, 1925.

Adventures in Diet. Stefansson V. Harper’s Monthly Magazine. 1936. Chicago: Institute of American Meatpackers.

McClellan WS and DuBois EF.  Prolonged meat diets with a study of kidney function and ketosis.  Journal of Biological Chemistry 1930:  651-668.

Bjerregaard P et al.  Low incidence of cardiovascular disease among the Inuit–what is the evidence?  Atherosclerosis 2003; 166: 351-357.

Ho KJ et al. Alaskan Arctic Eskimo: responses to a customary high fat diet. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1972; 25: 737-745.

[No authors listed].  Eskimo Diets and Diseases.  Lancet 1983; 8334 (321): 1139-1141.

Bang HO et al. The composition of the Eskimo food in north western Greenland.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1980; 33: 2657-2661.

Mann GV et al.  Atherosclerosis in the Masai.  American Journal of Epidemiology 1972; 95 (1): 26-37.

Mann GV et al.  Physical fitness and immunity to heart-disease in Masai. Lancet 1965; 2(7426):1308-10.

Shaper AG. Cardiovascular studies in the Samburu tribe of Northern Kenya. American Heart Journal 1962; 63:437-42.

Bjerregaard P et al. Higher blood pressure among Inuit migrants in Denmark than among the Inuit in Greenland. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2002; 56:279–284.

Bersamin A et al.  Westernizing diets influence fat intake, red blood cell fatty acid composition, and health in remote Alaskan native communities in the Center for Alaska Native Health Study. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2008;108:266-273.

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  • Charles Grashow

    “The myth that the Masai eat nothing but milk, blood and meat is derived from the idealized diet of young warriors called moran, a diet that men only eat for 15 years of their life and that women never eat. Contrary to popular myth, women exist, and Masai women are just as Masai as Masai men. Indeed, it was the women who conducted most trade during that time, so ignoring the parts of the Masai diet obtained from foreign trade is particularly insulting to the memory of these women. Merker’s study, moreover, shows that even the supposed exclusivity of the warrior diet is a gross exaggeration and ignores their extensive use of herbs and tree barks, as well as the fact that necessity often drove them to consume honey, roots, tubers and fruit as sources of water and calories while on the march.”

    “Approximately every three to six days caravans of old women, accompanied by a few old men and laden with maize, bananas, batatas, etc., arrive in the Masai kraals. Then there begins an hours-long haggling and bargaining with the customary market-woman shouting. Each one tries to sell her goods as advantageously as possible, that is, exchange them for just the articles that she needs. Often the caravans come from a distance of four to five days march and then remain in the kraal for a couple of days before they set out for home.

    Yes, far from eating nothing but milk, blood, and meat at the turn of the twentieth century, Masai women were coming into the village with caravans full of bananas, corn, and sweet potatoes every three to six days!”

    “They cooked sweet potatoes (Ipomea batatas) in water with a little steppe salt, drained them, mashed them with a whisk, and stirred in fresh milk. They cooked unripe dried bananas (Musa paradisiaca) in water, drained them, and stirred in milk and butter. They cooked beans with salt, but corn without salt. They cooked yams (Discorea abyssinica) and taro in salted water, and cooked sorghum into a thick porridge and lightly salted it afterwards.”

    ” In sum, the Masai diet at the turn of the twentieth century was diverse, rich in both animal and plant foods.

    • Hi Charles

      Thank you for the additional information regarding the Masai diet. I did not mean to imply that all Masai ate a mostly-meat diet (I specified that only a subset of them did), but i was led to believe based on the references I was aware of that the warrior class restricted themselves to a mostly-meat diet, so I appreciate the correction. I see from reading the information in Chris Masterjohn’s article that warriors regularly supplemented their diet with herbs and bark. These do not strike me as particularly nutritious “vegetables”, as we are accustomed to thinking of them, but yes, they were plant foods! As for the honey, fruits, and roots on the march, these are very interesting and important exceptions, and I will be sure to note these exceptions whenever referring to the Masai diet in the future.

  • Both the Gauchos and the milk drinking nomads appear to have suffered from diseases that may have been in part due to diet, according to recent posts by Don Matez at Healthy Longevity (although a hard-riding life on horseback has its own consequences) . The Gauchos seem to have eaten only barbecued steak for much of the time. Theirs was not a traditional diet but an adaptation to their conditions of working with a food novel to the region, and they seem to have lacked the traditional customs or knowledge needed to make the best use of it. In the case of nomads, modern nomads such as reindeer herders (who perhaps rely less on milk than horse herding peoples do) seem to do OK. Their seasonal plant staple seems to be pine seeds.

    • Hi George
      I haven’t yet come across any articles about the health of the Gauchos in my research, so I would be very interested in more information–would you be willing to provide a link to his post, or any references I can read?

      • Don Matez mentions it here:

        I googled gaucho cooking and it seemed to be nothing but barbecued steak, kebab style.
        Matez (a vegan apologist, former all-meat paleo turncoat, seems to have become one-eyed as a result of his diet, but I respect his scholarship in finding these references and arguing the minority view) quotes a 1908 paper by Williams which finds a high rate of cancer in Gauchos compared to the rest of S. America. However, riding in the saddle for for long hours does increase cancer risk – just ask Lance Armstrong. There are many other non-diet factors, such as variations in infectious diseases and parasites, to explain cancer differences in a place like 1908 South America.

    • I hope I did not come across as saying that an all-meat diet is the ideal diet for everyone, or that the Masai, or Gauchos, or Eskimos did not have health problems. We don’t have enough information to know these things with any certainty. However, the following information comes from articles by Mann eta al: Among
      the Masai, the majority of deaths were due to combat-related injuries,
      infectious diseases, and accidents. The most common medical
      problems were malaria, sexually-transmitted diseases, skin infections,
      insect-related skin conditions, and infection with parasites such as
      worms. 3% of Masai were found to
      have abdominal masses, which may or may not have been cancerous. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis were
      unknown among the Masai.

      • TheTruthIsFreedom

        An all meat diet is not good for any human, you shill. Perhaps you can explain why the human parietal cells secrete bicarbonate immediately after ingestion of food to bring the PH back up to 3.0 – 4.5 with the food in the stomach, when there is no anatomical omnivore who does this? You obviously have little knowledge on endotoxin formation and the effects of animal products in the microbes, all creating inflammation. Wow,, the BS on this site is amazing

        • b

          Maybe you should recheck your knowledge… The parietal cell secretes bicarbonate back into the bloodstream via a chloride/bicarbonate exchanger in the basalateral membrane… not through the apical side into the stomach lumen. It’s called the alkaline tide.

          It’s obvious your eating strategy works so well for you, based on how you interact with others. Our behavior is often a reflection of our own self.

        • Sean1978

          Good lord we get it you don’t like the all meat diet but you stay in here posting so much against is, why waste your time? You sound very angry and immature, like a vegetarian who was yelling at me over something and yes like b said your attitude is a reflection of your health and obviously your diet is not working for you well by the way you are acting. You sound like a kid, honestly grow up and get off the site if you don’t like it but let others do as they will.

          BTW I tried an all meat diet, not a fan of it really and got very anxious over time and depression etc., it was a bad diet for me but I won’t down those who do it.

  • Des

    Hi Dr. Ede, interesting article! So research shows that only one man died of a heart attack amongst 600: why did this one person die from a heart attack at all? I thought heart attacks were caused by inflammation. Ideally, research should show nobody in these cultures dying from diseases..

    • Hi Des
      I have no way of knowing why one of them died of a heart attack, of course; we can only speculate. I do not know if an all-meat diet is 100% protective against heart disease; I don’t think anyone knows if that is true. Because the evidence linking mostly-meat diets with reduced risk for heart disease is epidemiological, we can’t even be 100% certain that diet was the reason their risk was lower, although it does seem that something about a diet very high in meat and very low in processed foods, refined carbs, and even low in plants, seems to have reduced risk for heart disease in both of these groups of people. If that is true, we don’t know what exactly it was about these diets that may have reduced their risk–was it the presence of certain kinds of fats, the presence of animal protein, the near absence of sugar, the low plant content? Also, the Masai only ate an all-meat or mostly-meat diet for a specific period of time. Prior to the age of 14 and in later adulthood, they ate many other foods in addition to animal foods. The Masai also ate dairy products, which can raise insulin levels.

    • Johannah Bushman

      You are questioning 1 in 600? Maybe this person was born with a heart defect or had an infection somewhere causing inflamation (i.e bad tooth) and the heart attack had nothing to do with diet. Or even if it did, I like those odds.

  • Melissa

    Calling these all-meat diets is a little bit of an misnomer. Even the very far north cultures here ate plants, even during times of the year that would surprise you. Steffanson was definitely not an anthropologist and was known to stretch the truth, so I rely more heavily on ethnographies written by anthropologists.

    Steffanson-based meat-only diets were fashionable for a time in the paleo community a few years ago and I brought up ethnographies that showed Arctic people eating a much wider variety than what the contemporary dieters who claimed to emulate were eating. It’s hard for me to link to these people because a lot of them (like Danny Roddy) did suffer health problems and no longer eat all-meat diets, but diets with much great variety or high-carb diets. Even the far northern tribes ate things like lichens found fermented in animal stomachs, mazru which are little roots stolen from mice dens, seabird intestines that contained a variety of plant matter, seaweed, and a much larger variety of animals in general. Also medicinals are often not classified as food in ethnographies, but lead to intake of plant matter.

    I would call their diets animal-based rather than all-meat, especially since a lot of the time seafood dominates arctic diets. In general it’s pretty hard to get a good picture of how healthy they were since most studies were done after the diet had been fairly Westernized, but there are a few arctic mummies that have been written about that were not in great condition (Horus study for example). It’s hard to say much about that since their lives were so strenuous.

    It’s hard to take much from legends, but the Inuit had a god called Matshishkapeu, who was said to cause constipation, but constipation can be triggered by famine conditions which based on the mummies and skeletal remains, arctic peoples faced a lot more than tropical foragers.

    There has also been a far bit of work recently on genetic variations in arctic people, particularly adaptations to cold and diet. William Leonard’s team’s studies of Siberians have shown that their elevated metabolic rates are pretty much independent of diet and are probably genetic.

    Chris Masterjohn has written extensively on the variety in Masaai diets.

    • I did try to make it clear in my article that Arctic peoples ate some plant foods, but as far as I can tell, as Rose points out more eloquently than I have, these were not a major source of calories or nutrients in the way that we are told they should be. I doubt that the Inuit of the mid-1800’s were filling half of every plate with fruits and veggies, as is the current recommendation. I addressed the Masai diet issue with Charles below. I apologize for occasionally using the term “all-meat” in the article, as it seems this has come across as provocative or misleading, which was not my intention.

      • Melissa

        Food isn’t just about nutrients or calories though. Other components of the diet play important roles in things like modulating gut flora even if they aren’t a major source of calories or nutrients. And on a marginal diet like the Inuit’s, marginal sources of nutrients are important enough that they were willing to eat uncleaned animal innards, which is even something I have trouble stomaching (hehe) though I sometimes eat whole fish that contain such things.

        I think zero carb can be quite therapeutic as it was for me, but I was able to feel a lot better and broaden my diet when I started thinking about plants less as an important “food” like you are rightfully questioning and more as medicinals. Particularly when I was having episodes of fatigue after eating all meat meals, something that started alarmingly after I had been doing well on that diet. A glass of red wine, green tea, marinating the meat in wine (if I want to avoid the booz 🙂 ), a small accompaniment of seaweed salad, etc. have solved that problem for me. Also when I started eating more offal and seafood.

        • Some great points here Melissa: “mazru which are little roots stolen from mice dens”. I saw this on TV and it explains how early man could have “gathered” starch conveniently, also nuts, grains, depending on the species they exploited. Thievery is in human DNA for a reason.

          “I started thinking about plants less as an important “food” like you are rightfully questioning and more as medicinals”. Yes indeed. The Inuit supplementing with willow can be seem as a specific targeting of salicylates, and they also used spruce leaves for scurvy and gathered berries in season. In the Andaman islanders diet, the gathered plant food is seem as an “antidote” to the pains caused the big feasts of pork and honey (though this may have an element of projection by the anthropologists).

          Restricting plant foods is an effective way to cull dysbiotic bacteria fed by the SAD, but there comes a time when it is more beneficial to cultivate the surviving good species by re-introducing the plants they like.

        • jay

          im about to try this all meat diet.i was just released from prison and i did 16months all they fed us was corn bresd rice turnips peas and fruit and of course a little proceessed meat/soy?patty at dinner.breakfast was always grits or oatmeal and for lunch(only on mon-thurs no weekends)was a sandwich or rice.i went in at 190lbs and i weigh 240lbs now .i was sold and convinced to the idea that carbs are bad along w/ veggies…some gonna try this diet the best i can i know it will be hard bcuz i come from a southern family in tradition of food full of veggies and fried meats and bar b que of course its covered with sauces lol ill keep posting my progress i start the all meat diet 7/27/2015 ill let yall know how ill feel and how much wieght if you guys have any tips on this for me thanks

          • Dear Jay

            I’m so sorry to hear about your ordeal but glad you finally have control over your food again so you can get healthy! If you base your new diet on animal foods: meat, seafood, poultry and eggs, and avoid sugars, starches, grains, beans, vegetable oils, processed foods, and artificial foods, you are going to do great! Make sure you get enough animal fat by choosing fattier cuts of meat and eating fattier parts of animals (like chicken skin, for example). Liver contains important nutrients (such as folic acid) that are not present in other animal foods so it’s important to include some liver from time to time if you are not eating veggies. If you eat some liver from time to time you probably won’t need to eat veggies if you don’t like them, but if you enjoy veggies or don’t like liver, it’s fine to eat vegetables, just be careful with the starchy root veggies like potatoes, yams, and beets. Good luck and keep us posted!

  • Charles Grashow

    “elevated metabolic rates of indigenous Siberians also have important physiological consequences for health. Siberian groups have relatively low total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, despite consuming diets that are high in energy and animal foods. Serum lipid levels are lowest in the groups that continue live more traditional lifestyles as hunters or herders. With acculturation, reductions in daily activity and energy expenditure and the shift to a Western diet contribute to increases in serum lipid levels and cardiovascular disease risk. However, it appears that the elevated rates of basal metabolism among indigenous Siberians may play a role in protecting against more dramatic increases in serum lipid levels with the initial changes in diet and lifestyle associated with urbanization.”

  • RoseNunezSmith

    While I appreciate the academic caution of some of the arguments posted in the comments here — one shouldn’t rely on a single source (say, Stefansson), nor make overly broad statements about a “culture” (in either direction) — most of the arguments strike me as being driven by the urge to nit-pick the main thesis, which is that a mostly or possibly even all-animal-foods diet is a perfectly good choice for a human being.

    Surely the berries of the Arctic, or the bark of the Kenya bush, are not so incredibly nutritionally powerful that minute amounts of them are the equivalent of the West’s “five a day” fruit-and-vegetable recommendation, but that is the implication of the protest.

    As a long-time ZCer, I’m biased, of course. After dropping most plant matter, my health improved spectacularly, and it remains stellar nearly four years in. But even when faced with a modern person with modern lab results, some people still struggle to accept the plain facts. I’ve been told that the herbs and spices on my meat are “nutritional powerhouses” that are probably responsible for my health, rather than the dropping of fruits and vegetables. The fear of an all- or mostly-meat diet is a strange thing, prompting otherwise smart people to make silly claims.

    • Charles Grashow

      Have you had blood work done? I’m curious as to what effect your ZC all meat diet has on your lipids?

      As for me I tried a VLC/ZC diet and felt like crap on it – I had to add back fruits, starch to feel normal

      • RoseNunezSmith

        Charles, I had blood work done in the summer of 2011, after a year and a half of ZC eating, and my triglycerides were 32. Total cholesterol 180; HDL 56.6, LDL 117. I don’t have my cholesterol numbers handy from back when I was obese, prior to eating ZC, but they were apparently “bad” enough that they caused my life insurance premiums to go way up. (“Bad” in quotes because so many people these days are questioning the utility of cholesterol numbers.)

        I also just had labs done two weeks ago in conjunction with a gynecological visit, and I haven’t seen the results in detail, but the follow-up phone call with the doctor’s office yielded the word “fabulous,” so I assume the lipids are still looking good. I should have real numbers next week when I visit in person.

        Regarding feeling like crap eating VLC/ZC — I didn’t experience that until I tried a hardcore ketogenic diet a la our hostess’s recent attempt. I restricted protein to under 80g/day (which is hard when all you eat is meat), and tried to get fat at over 80% of my caloric intake (also very hard when all you eat is meat). I used a lot of cream, and gained some weight, and felt horrible. I don’t know exactly what mechanism caused the horribleness — was I just now adapting to ketosis? Was I not eating enough? Is cream the spawn of Satan? (Well, “yes” to that last question, at least for me.)

        So quite possibly you and I suffer from going through keto-adaptation at different dietary intake levels. I was *shocked* at how restrictively I had to eat to get a blood ketone reading above trace, whereas the Jimmy Moores of the world seem to get ketones just through moderate protein and carb restriction. Anyway, that’s one possible explanation for the crappy experiences.

        And I know of people who didn’t experience miracles on ZC, but the only ones I know of who fared poorly did — pardon me — weird-ass versions of it in which they only ate a handful of pemmican every day, or they had severe issues going into ZC which simply didn’t clear up.

        • Sheila

          Could you post what you eat in a day? I’d like to know the details of your diet and maybe try it myself. Thank you.

          • Sheila

            Also, could you clarify what “severe issues” people had that did not clear up when on this diet?

      • Roy Walker

        Go to “blue zones” thes people live way past any other group

      • 54321Truth

        You felt like crap because you were going through carb/sugar withdrawal. My most severe withdrawal lasted 2 weeks while I was not completely through withdrawal for a total of 3 months.

    • Hi Rose
      You have found a way to say what I have not been able to express as well. As you know, I, too, have found that removing most plant foods from my diet restored my health, which is why I spend so much time trying to get to the bottom of these issues. Based on everything I’ve learned so far, in 5+ years of study, I cannot find any evidence supporting the necessity of plant foods in the human diet. That is not to say that some may feel better when they eat them, or that some may be better adapted to them or tolerate them without any difficulty. I would not say that everyone should eat an all-meat diet, because I don’t know enough to say such a thing. I would, however, say that it is probably a safe and reasonable diet for anyone to try, and therefore completely agree with you that it is a “perfectly good choice for a human being.”

      • RoseNunezSmith

        Dr. Ede, I know of many more stories like yours and mine than I do Charles Grashow’s, or Danny Roddy’s (who was mentioned somewhere in the comments). But that might be survivor bias at work — those who don’t do well simply drop off without announcing it to the world, so don’t leave much of a trace.

        Still, it’s clear enough that at least some humans do very well on an all-meat diet, and that’s a *truly* all-meat diet, no parenthetical, footnoted additions of bark, berries, or gut contents. I share your qualms about recommending an all-meat diet to everyone, for a number of reasons, but none of them arising from a fear that meat will kill them, lol.

        It would be great to find someone willing to study long-term modern ZCers. If vegans can pop up regularly in nutritional studies (and veganism *is* quite extreme and unusual in human history), why not ZCers?

        And when I indulge my most grandiose fantasies about ZC, I really wish someone would study the remission rates of XLC/ZCers with regard to the various ailments most of us arrived with (and most of us did arrive with serious ailments — not too many people swim against the overwhelming current of nutritional “wisdom” because they’re feeling just grand). I’d bet, all other things being equal, XLC/ZCers’ current health equals that of the healthiest standard-Western-diet-eaters’, and furthermore, I’d bet it far outstrips the health of anyone continuing to eat a standard Western diet who’s ever had any of the maladies we’ve suffered from. Maybe someday we’ll know.

        • Hi Rose
          Very well said. I agree with you entirely. My fantasy study involves comparing vegans to pure carnivores–ideally taking a group of people who eat a “normal” diet and randomizing them into an all-plant arm and an all animal food arm. Ideally both groups would be studied for a year, but I think even 3 mos would be useful. We would not only follow the standard cardiovascular parameters like BP, lipids, blood sugar, etc, but also general overall health and well-being–sleep, pain, mood, digestion, energy, skin health, etc. An interventional study would be best, but as you describe, having a naturalistic study of people who already eat in these opposite ways would be a wonderful start! Maybe someday:)

          • Angelisa Sapon

            I feel like we should already have this study done somewhere. I would really like to know the results if there was one actually done. I’ve heard so many different stories about how people go vegan and they feel worse or about how people thrive off of a vegan diet. I myself am vegan and I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I grew up only eating meat and can’t remember eating much vegetables and fruits. After eliminating all animal products, I have more energy throughout the day, I’m generally always in a better mood, and my digestive system has gotten better as well. The only problem I have is that not enough people have actually tried to go completely whole food plant based. I’m vegan for ethical reasons, but I was wondering if you have ever tried to go vegan yourself? It seems like you have found something that works for your body, but I also know someone who didn’t eat meat for 20+ years then she started eating meat again. She’s been continuing to consume meat for about 10 years after being vegetarian for 20+ years. Her stomach still acts up and she doesn’t feel good after eating meat even after continuously eating those products for years.

          • Hello, Angelisa

            While I’ve never eaten a pure vegan diet, I ate very little meat in my college years, and gravitated towards vegetarian foods during my 20’s and 30’s most of the time. Unfortunately I developed numerous mysterious health problems in my early 40’s that I was able to reverse by removing grains, legumes, nuts, dairy, and many vegetables. I tried numerous times to put these foods back into my diet (one at a time) but I no longer tolerate any of them, therefore a vegan diet is not an option for me at this point in my life. I can’t say whether or not a whole foods vegan diet would have protected me from health issues later in life.

          • karuna

            I have done the same: reversed many issues. I am not as old as you are at this point, but I now eat/consume two things: red meat (no pig/pork/porcine at all, but all other red meats) and unrefined sea salt, specifically grey Celtic and RealSalt. That is it. I eat nothing else. I use no shampoo/conditioner or soaps on my skin because of issues I had in the past. I have been doing this for awhile now, maybe two years and I can’t tell you much its changed my life. It has absorbed my life researching and trying to understand why this is. Every time I have tried/attempted to eat simply some lemon juice (even) or any plants at all, my body freaks out. Its not placebo or in my head. Because I eliminated it from my diet and added back, my body has said no. I believe that blood types do have something to do with what a persons diet should be, to some extent. I have found Dr. DAdamo’s work to be very intriguing. The one thing I can say is by only eating meat and salt now and not buying skin/hair products, I have been able to save a ton of money. The hard part is explaining this to people, which I don’t have to do, but any time I am asked to out to eat or someone sees what I eat, the cat is out of the bag. It gets very old having people look, ask and judge. Also, dating and finding compatibility has been extremely difficult. Its amazing how diet and nutrition is so engrained into cultures, especially in the US. If you eat a different way, people most certainly judge.

      • Roy Walker

        No-one in any of the “blue zones”, places where people live well into their 90’s even 100’s, lived on a “HIGH MEAT”, diet, but they did eat mainly a “HIGH PLANT BASED” diet, consisting of vegetables fruits grains, and cheeses and other soured dairy. We realise they also kept themselves busy, and drank a moderate to small amount of alcohol, and didn’t smoke tobacco. They kept good health into old age as well, I am not against, eating meat as I eat meat myself, just pointing to proven facts,no doubt there is other factors as well, but these people don’t suffer the ill health we see in our western countries. if you want to verify, what I have posted just google blue zones, it is all there. Cheers

        • Hi Roy
          Another reader, Tom Caruso, raised this same important issue in the comments section of my post

          I am copying and pasting my response below:

          There are many traditional cultures in the world in which people eat lots of plant foods and appear healthier than people who eat a Western diet. The problem with concluding from these observations that people who eat more plants are healthier than people who eat decent amounts of animal foods as well as plants, is that there are several other major differences between “Blue Zone” diets and the modern American diet, these being that Blue Zone diets are typically very low in refined carbohydrate, processed foods, and refined seed oils.

          We don’t need much animal protein per day to be healthy–on average about 6-12 oz of meat, poultry, or fish per day, depending on our body weight, age, medical status, activity level and what else we’re eating. We don’t know if people in the Blue Zones would be even healthier if they were to remove beans and fermented foods and eat more meat (a diet more closely resembling a whole foods pre-agricultural diet such as a Paleo dietary pattern), or if they’d be less healthy without those special plant foods, because that experiment, to my knowledge, hasn’t been done. I’m fond of saying “Any diet beats the Western Diet.”

          • whtitbelike yall

            Bahahaha “Dr.” Ede. Ahhh ya and Colonel Sanders was in the military.

          • edd anderson

            col sanders was in the military. i met him and his wife running their roadside restaurant in kentucky when i was in grade 7. she cooked an excellent meal which he served us. the subject discussed between the col. and my father,army also. was should he sell his business and franchise.

          • Mark Davis

            Ahhh ya and Grizzly Adams had a beard.

      • whtitbelike yall

        Cannot find ANY evidence supporting the necessity of plant foods in the human diet? Where are you getting enough fibre from? You actually think humans don’t need any plant foods in their diet to be healthy? Druggies shouldn’t be posting comments on human diets lady, so stop putting nonsense out here for vulnerable people to think is right.

        • Dear Mr. John Williams:

          I have edited your comment to remove disrespectful language. If future comments contain such language your comments will be blocked.

          For the reasoning behind my fiber philosophy, please see my article:

          For the reasoning behind my vegetable philosophy, please see my article:

          • whtitbelike yall

            edit the truth all you want lady, that’s what liars do when their nonsense gets exposed lol.

        • Bob grover

          Someone with a soda as a profile pic must surely be the poster boy of health.

        • you don’t need fiber and nope.

        • 54321Truth

          Why do you think you need fiber? I am 80% fat, 17% protein and 3% carbs…. I have a bowel movement every 2-3 days and it is beautiful, no longer am I having bowel movements 2-4 times A DAY! Do you really think humans are supposed to be bending over multiple times a day? LOL.

          Ketosis = Health
          Glycolysis = Disease (dental, cardiovascular, neurological, diabetes, cancers, irritable bowels, autoimmune etc..)

          Plant Addictions (sugar, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin)

          Our Sewer System requirements could be reduced by 75% if people would stop eating shitting plants/grains that they cannot even digest, while shitting most of the weight of their food out.

          *Nutrition is NOT about survival but obtaining OPTIMAL health. A dog and cat can survive for a while with non-meat but they will not have optimal health by eating plants/grains.

          The Agriculture Civilization is the enslavement of mind and body… By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food/till the soil; by the illusions of man, you shall worship an invisible/magical dictator in the sky.

    • MauiFlis

      They made pemmican….dried berries mashed w/ meat and sea salt. They ate it year round.
      And (I mentioned this above), it’s been found that animal organs actually store Vitamin C! They ate the organ meata as the most prized and nutritious parts of the animal, giving the leg muscle meat to their sled dogs. They ate everything, though, including marrow, boiling the bones for soup (gelatin from meat bones is excellent nutrition, as you know).

    • Sam Rinne Hooker

      Rose, in general it also depends on exercise. From what I know nutritionally…
      Balanced natural diet > meat diets (any but the most processed) > balanced processed diet > unbalanced processed diet (read: few veggies, lots of coke, potato and corn as main “vegetables” even though they are starch, and alot of meat and additives)

      A meat dominant diet is average on this scale mainly because most meat heavy diets do not have alot of fake fats or sugars added. But in terms of culture, most of those that support it are active (modern humans that sit like couch potatoes tend to gain weight if they do not turn protein into muscle). A balanced diet is still better than the American diet, although the average person isn’t as good as they think. That said, humans are omnivores, and if you are eating meats and fruits and nuts and whatever else, people in non-modern third world countries for instance have a similar mix and do okay (older sections of Japan for example).

      • 54321Truth

        Exercise has NOTHING to do with health. ZERO. Our human ancestors did not exercise but relaxed as much as possible. Expending energy is stupid. Does a Lion or Ape need to exercise in the wild? LOL. No. If you want to eat crappy sugar/carbs (like a slave is fed) then yes you need to use up all that crappy sugar by working/exercising and doing the works of your master.

  • RoseNunezSmith

    Charles (and Melissa by proxy), I’ve seen Jones’s book mentioned before in arguments against Stefansson. I can’t speak to Stefansson’s reliability (although in fairness it must be pointed out that neither can you speak to Jones’s), but I wonder how Jones’s experience in one relatively small region of the enormous inhabited Arctic can be construed to be representative of all or even most of the Arctic peoples.

    • Stefanson lived with Inuit who were helping him on his exploration of extreme regions. They were at home in these regions because they could live without plants – given where Stefanson actually went, there is no reason to think he was lying*. This doesn’t mean that Inuit ate exactly the same way when not in these extreme regions, but it does argue familiarity with plant-free diets. The word Eskimo was the Algonquin word for carnivore, and the Algonquin were big meat eaters themselves.

      * Stefanson’s version of the restricted diet of the Canadian Lord wasn’t quite matched by the facts in that Lord’s biography. He seems to have missed the consumption of oats and focused on the milk and eggs.

  • Meghann

    Thank you for pulling together an interesting article. As examples to question current dogma — they are spot on. These are good questions. My experience with anthropological accounts leads me to severely question observational bias their analyses.

    I spent nearly 3 years in a country called Vanuatu, working in Agriculture. As a female foreigner, I spent a good deal of time working with ni-Vanuatu women. As with a large number of traditional-type societies, “women’s work” revolves around daily activities of fire tending, meal preparation, gardening, small animal tending, vegetable harvesting, fruit harvesting, medicinal plant harvesting. “Men’s work” was more focused on things like cash cropping, fishing from boats or canoes, and cultivation of ceremonial yams and kava.

    I had occasion to listen to a Massey Lecture by a respected anthropologist – he’d spent approx. 1.5 years in Vanuatu, spread over some 20 calendar years. As a male, he would NOT have spent time with the women, NOR was that his interest. He was researching historical aspects of cannibalism in that society. (A practice that has been absent for many, many, many decades).

    I spent almost 3 continuous years working and traveling in Vanuatu and the South Pacific. In listening to his lecture I found he completely mis-identified the staple foods in his photos, and by his comments he clearly had NO idea of the daily nutrition habits of these people. He knew nothing of the daily food gatherings by the women & children, or the seasonal gardenings EXCEPT for ceremonial yams and kava. He did not for example realize that fish and pork were NOT the only protein sources in the diet — women harvested many small animals, for example fruit bats, and gathered many large chestnut-like nuts.

    So when I read historical exerpts observing traditional practices, I am never sure of the whole story. How many northern explorers speak of traditional peoples feeding them vile-tasting “teas” from needles & barks to address ailments that are clearly vitamin deficiencies? How many anthropologists note these things? (Hint: NOT MANY!) I strongly suspect that those accounts did not pay any attention to what the women would have done with stomach contents and organ meats from the animals for example.

    People often make similar leaps of logic from wild to domestic animals. I hear countless assertions by urban folk about dogs being carnivores and should be fed nothing but raw meat: Nobody made kibble for wolves. While the kibble part is true, it wasn’t until Farley Mowatt started writing observational materials about the actual full season in a wolf diet that science realized wolves eat a LOT of small rodents WHOLE. There’s a huge source of fibre (ie fur) along with everything else that entails a mouse.

    In any case, I enjoyed reading the article. Thank you.

    • Hi Meghann

      Your point is very well taken, and your perspective and valuable experiences are very interesting–thank you! Of course we only have the information we have, and it is full of holes and less than perfectly scientific, to say the least. And we have mainly epidemiological evidence about the health of these diets as compared to standard diets. I wish we could hop into a time capsule and explore these traditional diets ourselves! My only quibble is with the reference to fur as fiber—fur is not fiber–fiber is partially or completely indigestible carbohydrate matter which can be fermented, whereas fur is made of indigestible proteins . They may serve a similar purpose–i.e. indigestible bulk–but they have nothing else in common as far as I know.

    • Many northern people would have made good use of the stomach contents of animals such as cariboo. Organ meats, brain, and marrow was the mainstay of the traditional diet. Modern people are very uncomfortable about these food sources but traditional people valued them.

      I am not at all surprised — sad maybe — that a respected “male” anthropologist studying the same people you spent time with, had a completely different experience and ignored the very important contribution of women to the household economy.

      My understanding is that women and children gathered about half, and sometimes all, the daily food that the family enjoyed. Men hunted which was very important, but many days the men came back from the hunt empty handed and rely on the gathering of the women and children to not go hungry.

    • 54321Truth

      So funny! Rodents are meat (fat and protein with essentially zero carbs). Eating animals, insects and rodents is normal and healthy.

  • Johannah Bushman

    If my food is devoid of nutrients that my body needs like vitamins and minerals, wouldn’t they also be ill with malnutrition? People who ate the whole animal must have consumed whatever vitamins and minerals the animal contained like all those fat soluble vitamins that are stored in the fat tissue. Animal foods are not just protein and fat!

  • Charles Grashow

    Optimal low-density lipoprotein is 50 to 70 mg/dl
    Lower is better and physiologically normal

    James H O’Keefe, Jr, MD; Loren Cordain, PhD; William H Harris, PhD; Richard M Moe, MD, PhD; Robert Vogel, MD

    “We live in a world very different from that for which we are genetically adapted. Profound changes in our environment began with the introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry 10,000 years ago, too recent on an evolutionary time scale for the human genome to adjust. As a result of this ever-worsening discordance between our ancient genetically determined biology and the nutritional, cultural, and activity patterns in modern populations, many of the so-called diseases of civilization, including atherosclerosis, have emerged. Evidence from hunter-gatherer populations while they were still following their indigenous lifestyles showed no evidence for atherosclerosis, even in individuals living into the seventh and eighth decades of life (15- 16). These populations had total cholesterol levels of 100 to 150 mg/dl with estimated LDL cholesterol levels of about 50 to 75 mg/dl. The LDL levels of healthy neonates are even today in the 30 to 70 mg/dl range. Healthy, wild, adult primates show LDL levels of approximately 40 to 80 mg/dl (17). In fact, modern humans are the only adult mammals, excluding some domesticated animals, with a mean LDL level over 80 mg/dl and a total cholesterol over 160 mg/dl (15- 16) (Figure 1). Thus, although an LDL level of 50 to 70 mg/dl seems excessively low by modern American standards, it is precisely the normal range for individuals living the lifestyle and eating the diet for which we are genetically adapted.”

    Comment on this

    • Hi Charles

      The LDL topic is an enormously complicated giant bag o’ worms that I will not even pretend to understand well enough to be able to address your comments. If I ever feel as if I have a handle on it, I will write about it. As for atherosclerosis, you may have heard about the new studies that were just publicized about ancient peoples, including hunter-gatherers, having atherosclerosis (not to be confused with clinical disease).

      Even if healthy, natural levels of LDL in free-living, ideally-fed humans and related animals are supposed to be very low, my current level of understanding, such as it is, suggest to me that the most important questions to be asked are:

      Does LDL even matter? As far as I can tell, LDL is the weakest link in the lipid profile – heart disease connection. Some with very low LDL’s may have heart attacks and some with very high LDL’s may not.

      Which kind of LDL are we talking about?

      Has exposure to the Western diet somehow permanently damaged not only our carbohydrate metabolism (which used to allow all of us to safely eat a high carbohydrate diet–i.e. Kitavans) but also our lipid metabolism, so that we can no longer properly process fat and cholesterol? That is to say, even IF low LDL is our physiological ideal, perhaps we can’t reach it easily once our metabolism is “broken.”

      Just some musings here, no answers…

  • A Pelinor

    Dr. Ede,

    Have you come across Owsley Stanley, I posted a comment

    Have you heard about Owsley Stanley ( The Grateful Dead ) , I came across
    him in the obits, “Stanley believed that the natural human diet is a totally
    carnivorous one, thus making it a no-carbohydrate diet, and that all vegetables
    are toxic”. He came to that decision after reading many books in 1959, I wonder
    what the books where? He died in 2011 as a result of car accident.

    I had a reply from
    Ash Simmonds:-

    I LOVE Owsley Stanley and have read
    and re-read everything he wrote, such a great character. On the odd occasion he
    was a little off base, but for the most part some of his insights were amazing.

    It’s not technically public yet as
    I’m still compiling and organising it, but you can find some of his stuff here:

    His first awakening to the
    possibility that we can not only thrive on a carnivorous diet, but perhaps are
    meant to, was from the same source as mine – Vilhalmur Stefansson.

    Kind Regards,

    Paul Winter

    • Dear Paul
      Fascinating–wow–no I had not come across Owsley Stanley’s philosophy or writings before–I have started reading them just now through your links. Thank you very much for pointing me towards them!

    • RoseNunezSmith

      Paul, it was Owsley Stanley’s epic thread at ALC forum that got me trying zero-carb in the first place, out of desperation after seemingly endless tweaks of VLC failed again and again. Nice that you’re compiling his writings (and I love the name of your site! 😀 )

      Here’s that ALC thread — over 4,000 posts, and I couldn’t stop until I’d read every one of them, lol:

  • Hi Georgia,

    Great post, thanks. While I don’t personally discount the value of colorful berries & green veggies, they certainly aren’t necessarily for good health. I tend to think the intervention study on Stefansson & Andersen, regardless of what other articles on Stefansson have suggested, is particularly strong evidence (eg, Scurvy can be experimentally induced in a matter of months – those two ate animal-based diets for a full year and showed absolutely no symptoms. That’s saying something, right? (ie, I’m referring to the intervention study that happened after Stefansson’s ‘Life with the Eskimos.’)

    all best,

    • Hi Bill

      YES! I love that study and it’s one of the pieces of information that convinced me several years ago that my crazy diet was safe:) I thought of including it in the post but then decided to limit the focus to heart disease.

  • MikeS

    Breaking new about meat and CVD from the NY Times. A must read:

    Cleveland Clinic research suggest that the demon may not be fat, but a chemical formed in the gut upon eating meat. This (unamed) is coverveted by the liver in TMA0, which may be the culprit, they say.

    the timing of your topic couldn’t have been better.


    • Hi Mike

      Thanks for pointing out this article–I only wish it allowed for reader comments…

      I can see the abstract by clicking on the NYTimes link but I can’t locate the article on PubMed (?too new to be indexed yet?)

      • It’s published in Nature Medicine: Intestinal microbiota metabolism ofL-carnitine, a nutrient in red meat, promotes atherosclerosis

        • Hi Bill
          Yes, thank you–that link brings me to the abstract, but without a subscription I can’t access the full article. I have a Harvard account that gives me access to most journal articles through PubMed, but the article is not yet posted on PubMed, so I’m hoping it will show up on PubMed soon…

  • Mostly Fat, Some Protein

    Without seeing the full study on effects of TMAO…what do you see as an MD as the biggest potential holes as this article is getting a lot of attention.

    • Hi MFSP (great handle)

      I would need to research TMAO itself–about which I currently know absolutely nothing–I would want to know how the experiment was conducted, what the theory is behind the experiment, what the vegan subjects in the study were (and especially were not) eating, etc…I have a hunch that the TMAO theory may be based on epidemiological associations as opposed to clinical studies in humans (I know they’ve done mouse studies). So many questions…once the study becomes available I’ll read all about it. There has to be something wrong with the theory, because we know that peoples who ate lots of meat had extremely low rates of cancer. Cancer has skyrocketed in the past century despite the fact that we are not eating any more meat than we used to.

      • Trina

        Here’s Paul Jaminet’s take on the study (fwiw)

        • Thanks for this, Trina–I just got a copy of the full journal article, so I will post a blog article about it asap…

      • Christopher

        It’s misleading to say that meat consumption has gone down at the same time that cancer has skyrocketed in the past century. Meat consumption has dipped over the passed decade—back to numbers we might have found in the early 90’s. Even then, this level of consumption is a good deal higher than it was fifty years ago. I’d say even a hundred years ago, but those figures are not as reliable as the figures we have for the mid 20th century. Fifty years ago, the average person ate about 57 less pounds of meat a year. Yes, cancer levels have risen and risen over time, but the (overall) trajectory of meat consumption seems to indicate a fairly steady trend upwards within the context of the last hundred years. It could also be argued that these figures really only reflect an spike in poultry and fish consumption—true—but overall meat consumption nonetheless.

  • Mostly Fat, Some Protein

    Thank you, Dr. Ede.

    I am so grateful for your work and reporting on an area of nutrition where much is needed. It has helped me look at my health more closely. I was a vegan/vegetarian for 5 years and instead of getting healthier, I got worse. After going ZC, I have had no sinus problems after decades of suffering and my prior sports injuries no longer bother me…wasn’t expecting that. Best of all, I haven’t been sick once since ZC where I would have been on antibiotics at least two times by now. Had someone told me that any of this was possible a year ago, I would have thought them out of their mind 😉 Keep up the great work!

    • Hi MFSP
      What a fascinating story–no sinus problems, disappearance of musculoskeletal issues, overall improved resistance to infection–hard to argue with those results! Sounds like you figured this out long before I came along:) Congratulations!

  • MikeS

    Dr. Ede: I was happy to point this story out shortly after I saw it at the NYT site yesterday. I am Embarrassed by my poor typing skills (note to self: proofread). More relevantly, among the slew of stuff on the Web, this site…

    …has an excellent piece and a couple of links that are on PubMed. Most interesting was an earlier paper by R Koeth et al, including Hazen, speculating that metabolism of phosphatidylcholine promotes CVD:

    Is this the analog of the H pylori story? This is an Incredibly suggestive story, and there are lots of things to be answered.

    One interesting aspect is what role that fat might play in atherosclerosis? Gina Kolata, fat-phobic like all NYT reporters, led her story that TMOA amplifies the effects of fat. At a minimum that seems to be an overstatement. At worst, it may be wrong. I haven’t seen many other stories pitched that way.

    Maybe it’s possible that Campbell’s China study was on the mark. Maybe our intestinal biota (or those of animals we eat) has been changed by at least some of the industrialized processed foods we eat.

    At this point, it’s all speculation.

    Thanks again for an incredibly thoughful and informative blog You and your “contantes” (you know who I mean), have made Boston the medical/health blog capital of the U. S.

  • Hi SS
    A brand new study was just published that found atherosclerosis in a variety of ancient peoples, from hunter-gatherers to Egyptians, so some degree of atherosclerosis seems to be normal regardless of diet, including the Eskimo diet (as mentioned above). This is very different from clinical disease, of course.

    • Someone, Somewhere

      Hi Dr. Ede,

      Yes, I saw that study as well. I don’t know that it *completely* invalidates the study I linked to, but it certainly does complicate matters.

      I suppose that someone would have to find a meaningful group of cadavers *without* atherosclerosis—and analyze their diets—in order to start making any firm conclusions.

  • I just read your post on meat eaters. From the information I have read so called meat eaters actually ate more like +80% fat and the remainder in protein and some seasonal vegetable material, if any. It would be best to reverse the “standard” order and put fat before protein, otherwise modern people tend to overeat protein.

    • To the best of my knowledge, that’s true – when only lean meats were available, many became sick; they called it “rabbit starvation” and treated it by eating a lot of animal fat (pemmican?).

      • Hi William
        Yes, that’s right! Some people misinterpret this to mean that eating too much protein can make you sick, when the problem is eating protein in the absence of fat.

    • Hi Shaen–yes, I agree–we modern folk do tend to overeat protein–and just about everything else; ironically fat is the thing most of us eat the least of because we are taught to fear it.

  • Gregg Sheehan

    “so persuasive in arguments against nudism.” LOL!

  • dangrbitch

    I only eat meat, eggs, cheese, and sour cream. Occasionally I’ll have some chocolate and binge on donuts. I’ve never purchased a fruit or vegetable. I’m in perfect health, never run out of energy and have maintained pretty much world class athleticism at the age of 48. I look 30. I’ve studied this for many years and am convinced that while humans CAN eat a variety of diets. The optimum diet for humans is high fat, very low carb. Mostly fatty meats. That’s the best. You won’t ever get diabetes, coronary artery disease, cancer, all the major afflictions that are persistent today. Even in the u.s. Pathologists hardly ever used to see heart disease in the 19th century like they do now. It seems that ppls health was far better before we had all these experts and government agencies telling us what to eat.

    • Thank you for telling your story here! I agree with you that a diet composed primarily of fatty meats is probably the healthiest diet in the world:)

      • TheTruthIsFreedom

        You’re a joke. You’re either a pro meat industry shill, in which I would have to say you are a major asshole, or you are seriously uneducated to human physiology

        • Guest

          You are a vegan idiot.

        • Winkypoof

          What a fucking troll. You’re probably a PETA shill. I know all about the true agenda of the vegan cult: the extermination of the human race via poor nutrition. I’ve seen many of you, in a fit of rage, declare that humans deserve to die for being “animal murderers”. Veganism is, in a nutshell, the belief that self-deprivation (even to the detriment of one’s health) is a noble & ethical way of life. You genocidal cretins are impossible to debate with because, once you are all out of gas and your “science” is proven faulty, you fall back on the “ethics” argument. And the cherry on top is that this argument is being made from the comfort of a modern home, on a PC, smartphone, tablet, etc. Yeah, none of these luxuries involved any type of animal abuse, sweatshop labor, exploitation of indigenous people and/or their resources (smell the sarcasm, please). But if you call them out on this, they pull out their well-worn copy of 101 Generic Vegan Comebacks and respond with “It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being better”. Ooooh REALLY? Well, isn’t that convenient. Funny how, if it’s not about being perfect, that crazed, foaming vegans still attack people who are only light or moderate consumers of animal products. The person who eats a steak once a twice a week is the human embodiment of Satan, but the vegan who drives a car (crushing thousands of lifeforms under their wheels), uses modern tech devices (assembled in sweatshop factories) or rips a spinach plant up by it’s roots because it’s not a “sentient being” and “that’s different” (speciesism anyone?) is a virtual saint and the voice of compassionate living (while threatening non-vegans with bodily harm, mind you). Oh my, what an elaborate web of hypocrisy and contradictions you wackos have weaved.

        • 54321Truth

          The ONLY foods that can ROT your teeth are plants/grains. If food ROTS the first thing it touches on your body, imagine what it does to the rest of your body. In order to eat plants/grains you have to scrape all that crap off your teeth every 24 hours or your teeth will ROT. To bad you cant scrape all that plant crap off the insides of your body.

          • Alexander

            lol this guy is feisty

        • Alexander

          If you had a message, it was totally drowned out by acting like a jerk, thus resulting in nobody wanting to hear you.

    • TheTruthIsFreedom

      You’re seriously uneducated to human physiology, just as this doctor seems to be, if she’s really a doctor at all. You compare things from modern day disease to 19th century when they ate much less animal flesh and dairy. Carbs are absolutely essential for cellular health. They are not just the body’s main source of fuel, but they are easily used by the body for energy. All of the tissues and cells in our body can use glucose for energy. They’re needed for the central nervous system, the kidneys, the brain, the muscles (including the heart) to function properly. This page is either pro meat industry propaganda lies, or this doctor knows nothing about human physiology

      • Phy Patton

        Oooooh yeah?…

        So, I’m guessing you think that it’s only possible to get lipids in your diet from Carbohydrates, based on your (correct) statement that metabolized glucose is essential for cellular health? Because if you think that… You’d be demonstrably wrong. ^.^

        • HNZ

          I know, did he even read the article? How does he think all those cultures mentioned survived on their mainly animal diets? Has he heard of ketosis? Even the brain can run on ketones rather than glucose. How about all the recent research showing just how bad sugar and simple carbs are for our bodies? What proof does he have that 19th century people ate less animal flesh… I don’t think so! Maybe he’s pro-grain/sugar industry? Ha ha

      • Bob grover

        You are a moron plain and simple. I will not waste time trying to convince you of your ignorance since you wont be able to comprehend but I just wanted to take the opportunity to tell you that.

      • tkent26

        The brain and kidneys need glucose, but this doesn’t mean that we have to _eat_ glucose, because the liver can glucose from other substrates. The body needs hemoglobin, too, but we don’t have to _eat_ hemoglobin.

        Glucose is a useful nutrient, but not a strictly essential one.

  • Sarah

    I lived for many years in Kotzebue Alaska which is above the arctic circle on the coast of Alaska, not so far from Point Hope, actually. Most Eskimos I saw were not fat. You do need to take into account that the traditional Eskimo diet is not just about lots of meat and more fat and little carbohydrates. Actually, Eskimos do traditionally eat a lot of blueberries, cranberries, salmonberries, and some other berries. Eskimos do eat pretty much the whole animal and they eat a large variety of fish and animals. They eat meat frozen or dried or fermented. So, there is a lot more to their diet than macronutrients. I don’t have the link at the moment, but there is a site that details the Eskimo diet from around the area I used to live that shows all this.

    • Hi Sarah
      Thank you for the first-hand information!

  • Debby

    Just wondering if you ever looked at the existence of high rates of osteoporosis among the Innuit of North America as compared to that of the average North American? I’ve read that that’s an issue for the northern peoples and at alarming rates.

  • Max Kors

    I’ve been eating solely meat and fatty foods and eggs for 14 years. I’ve never purchased a vile vegetable or fruit. No grains. I’m in perfect health. lipids, sugars, blood pressure. All excellent. I never feel bad either.

    • TheTruthIsFreedom

      You’ll be dead soon, I’m sure. This article has so much lies in it, it’s comical

      • Max Kors

        gee thanks dr. shit for brains. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. There has NEVER been ANY adverse effects from eating a high fat low carb diet. I’m in perfect health and in world class athletic shape at nearly 50. I can keep up with the Miami Heat players that live in my building. No one can believe it. My resting heart rate is 39 bpm. 170 cholesterol. Everything’s pretty much perfect. My wife was a severe diabetic. She had severe triglyceride and lipid elevation. Everything the fucking doctors told her to do made her worse. She changed to basically all meat diet. Everything was perfect in a matter of weeks. It is YOU who are comical. Where is your proof and experience with such matter? The research that guides the popular narrative of the day is completely wrong. Factually, provably, 100 percent wrong. Physicians the world over have been treating patients with excellent results with basically all meat diets. Africans, Eskimos, Tibetans, and many others have never seen a fruit, never seen a vegetable. There’s a reason you have to force those vile things down. Because they’re not supposed to be eaten. They’re not food. They’re what food eats.

        • Auggiedoggy

          Good for you but your diet is the worst thing I could ever consider trying. In fact, I did follow such a diet many years ago for a period of 5 months or so and I felt terrible on it plus my cholesterol levels shot up to the highest levels I had ever experienced.

          • Max Kors

            yeah right. I doubt you did it properly. Fat has never raised anyones cholesterol. You likely were eating starches or sugars from somewhere. There could be many factors responsible for your lack of a positive result. Many physicians have treated ppl with serum lipid abnormalities with this diet with excellent results. High cholesterol isn’t a bad thing anyway by itself. There’s no link to elevated lipids to any disease. NONE. Those perpetrating such ideas should have their medical licenses revoked. NO one hardly ever had coronary artery disease, diabetes or obesity until these fucking LOSERS started telling ppl what to do. The state of the evidence IS NOT what is reported in the faggot press.

          • Auggiedoggy

            I did the diet properly. I was eating meats of all kinds and non-starchy vegetables. Your statement about fat never having raised cholesterol is ridiculous. Saturated fat raises cholesterol, this is well known to everyone but you apparently. As soon as I increase saturated fat my cholesterol goes up and I have the blood test results over the last 12 years to prove it. If I kept up with that unhealthy Atkins diet I would likely have had heart surgery by now. Fortunately I wised up and switched to a healthy diet of 80% plants and 20% animal foods.

          • Max Kors

            No fat doesn’t raise cholesterol. Cholesterol in the blood isn’t particularly bad anyway. Cholesterol isn’t the problem. It’s vital for good health. They’re lying and evidence shows that they’re lying. It’s inflammation that causes artery disease. Not elevated lipid counts. There isn’t any credible evidence in the scientific literature at all that links fat consumption with elevated lipids or coronary artery disease with all other relevant factors are considered. You are mistaken. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact. Saturated fat is the best kind of fat. Scientists are just like any other profession. There are a few at the top who are good at what they do. Then there’s everyone else that sucks. Which is almost all of them. They have poor track record, failed results, flawed methodology that any layperson can see. I don’t know how they’re even in the field. I was told there was no cure for rosacea. I cured in 2 weeks. I was told I would never recover from a severe brain injury I suffered and severe OCD. I completely recovered. I was so severe I was going to be hospitalized, probably for life. I cured all of it. I lost 110 pounds eating nothing but fat. I eat over a dozen eggs a day. Nothing but meat cheese eggs. My lipids are perfect. It’s very rare that someone doesn’t have positive results with a high fat diet. Cholesterol numbers are bogus just to sell lipid lowering medication. Much of the narrative that says that fat is bad was funded by the food industry and was completely worthless. Not necessarily because of the source of the funding, but it was completely contradictory and glaring omissions had to be made to “prove” the hypothesis. The medical field and “health and nutrition” is the most corrupt industry in the world. No doubt. Doctors were visibly angry with me when I told him I wasn’t on any medications. I had to twist arms to get a simple prescription that I suspected would treat my rosacea. No one would do it till I found a gastro doctor who had rosacea who gave it to me out of curiosity. $14 and 2 weeks later. It permanently cleared. Instead of life long $700 scripts for their worthless treatment. I’m glad ur experiencing good results with ur diet. But I know what I’m talking about backwards and forwards and to hear these little losers saying that this article is full of shit is wrong.

          • Yama Sharifi

            hey just read your info on this article, and i would like your help in your opinion on how to do all meat diet properly to eliminate symptoms.

          • Sheila

            I think you are both right – some people’s bodies are more adapted to plants and others’ to animals. I think the reason for this is that the other types of human ancestors everyone believes just became extinct actually intermingled with humans so that today there is more than one (interbred) species of human on the earth, each with a different dietary needs. I don’t believe there is currently only one species of human with a one-type diet for all.

          • 54321Truth

            I bet you are one of these Social Justice Warriors who thinks humans are all equal and the same, that race does not exist and you probably think gender does not exist! lol. Next you will say that different cows and different catfish need different foods. I know I know you are a special unique INDIVIDUAL with your own self created morals as well. LOL.

          • tkent26

            Heaven forbid that we allow humans equal rights. Only a “Social Justice Warrior” would think something crazy like that.

          • Kari

            Eating vegetables is not Zero Carb. Therefore, you did not eat an all meat diet. You ate a ketogenic diet possibly, but it is not reflective of an all meat diet. All the studies that said saturated fats back in the day where performed badly and are inaccurate. They included margerine in the studies, which is not natural, or they where correlation studies that did not account for simple carbohydrates consumed with saturated fat that could cause the same effect, i.e. Donuts and cakes. One important such study that compared health number among different countries just didn’t include numbers from countries that didn’t match the findings he wanted, like France which has lower heart disease despite consuming high amounts of saturated fat. If you believed that saturated fat was bad for you at the time and limited fat intake it definitely would have made you sick because you need fat to run on in a low carbohydrate diet.

          • Alice58

            Ugh, you’re just wrong about cholesterol — go look it up — there is NO correlation between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol… And when you said you did it for 5 months and your #s were messed up — that’s because it takes at least 6 months for your body to start healing itself and if you were doing Atkins no wonder with high fat and even moderate carbs, no wonder you failed. YOU FAILED, not the way of eating. The keto diet which is HF MP XLC would have fixed those things and you wouldn’t be online making a total ass of yourself.

          • johngibson083

            Irrespective of what you think about a keto or paleo diet, if they are right about a low fat, plant based diet, why is there a worldwide CVD, cancer, diabetes, mental health and obesity epidemic in westernised societies. De facto, they are wrong. Evolutionist or creationist, tell me what – that is anything – in the western ‘balanced’ diet, that our species ate going back 6k years, or more? Statements like the the one below about saturated fat raising cholesterol and everybody knows it are utterly banal. Don’t try to rrebuttal what I’ve said please? Just answer my question with a list of the foods.

          • Alexander

            This guy’s definitely froggy for 50 years old. Go on buddy, I like your fight!

        • Brooklin Ryon

          Hi, I completely agree with max kors. I am 21 years old and female, I weigh average weight for my height and am not fat at all. all my life I never eaten any veggies because they for some reason taste gross and I start to throw up if I do. my diet is probably the worst everyone I know is disgusted as everyday I either eat hot dogs, hamburger, sandwitches, or mc donalds and other fast food as for sides and stuff its almost always fries. not to mention I drink little to zero water every day I’m extremely addicted to pop which I absolutely love. I have gotten my self checked out before and the test came back perfect in fact the doctor said and better scores then the average person which actually surprised me. the only thing I notice, that might not even be from eating in healthy is that I’m tired through out the whole day and I cant wake up earlier then 8 am for the life of me and I sleep like 10+ hours every night.

  • whatever

    This is bullshit diet and nonsense

    • TheTruthIsFreedom

      This whole website is absolute garbage. The supposed doctor is probably a meat industry disinfo shill, or is a seriously uneducated doctor

      • Auggiedoggy

        In an interview Dr. Ede said her training was in psychology. That explains a lot.

  • Stu Jordan

    I say we keep this all a secret…we will remove the mentally inept through the diabetes pandemic. Plus keeping it under wraps curtails the demand, and by extension pollution resulting from animal food production, which results in lower meat prices. I’ll stand back and watch rest of society consume fruits and vegetables….plan on living a healthy life.

  • david

    “To the best of my knowledge, the world has yet to produce a civilization which has eaten a vegan diet from childhood through death,”

    Have you researched major ethnic groups of India ?

    • cookiee

      Hey there are few or NO vegans in India only vegetarians many of whom eat egg too. .Milk and yogurt was loved by our Lord Krishna and other gods and Indians have milk and milk products everyday and asking them to give up milk products is considered BHLASPHEMOUS to our religion..I’m only talking about indian Hindus and Jain though. ..Most of our christian and Muslim brethren in India are meat eaters just as almost half of the Hindus including myself. .i dunno why everyone keeps saying Indians are vegan

      • golooraam

        totally true, as a proud American of East Indian Hindu heritage – I don’t know of any Indian vegans until they moved/grew up here and decided to try it…

      • mik

        I agree. The only nation slowly moving towards veganism is the Jewish. Sadly for most humans they must feel the “you are of no value” themselves – before they are willing to “sacrifice” anything from their own lives to better the lives of others.
        Indians claim to see the cow as holy, but don’t give a shit about its quality of life – it’s still “just” an animal. So stealing and murdering a mother cows new baby is no problem to get milk.

  • Daniel

    I’m not educated on this matter as many of you seem to be. In my mind, I believe that every human being/body is different. On that note, I’d like to point out that people of different regions and locations around the world have evolved to survive in their environments over time, if one isn’t too hasty to discard evolution as a mere theory. Here in America, our culture, due to “cheapest bidder” rules, has been saturated through chemically manipulated food look-alike products, Most foods are processed, chemically altered in some fashion to create food addicts. In my opinion, whether human beings become Vegans, Vegetarians, meat eaters, or a little of both, I think environment has a lot to do with our evolution and diet. Unfortunately, as I mentioned just before though, most Americans live off chemical manipulations of food, taking away any of the nutritional value that food has. I believe whatever we choose for our sustenance, that as long as I buy my food from an organic farm, or from farms that raise their animals on grains and grass WITHOUT hormones and chemically charged radioactive, and sometimes even experimental substances, I’m golden. Yes, let’s nit-pick and say organic food costs more…. remember the capitalist saying, ladies and gents; “You get what you pay for.” Also on a quick note which will probably get me a ton of grief for writing this even though these douche bags have been caught repeatedly taking buy outs and bribes… food corporations get away with poisons and chemicals because the FDA allows it… pure and simple… at least here in America.

  • bortog

    Please note that the Masai and the pre-westernized did not cook their food. You have stated in your bio that you do not know any way to cure all disease. May I make two suggestions. I suggest that you familiarize yourself with the work of Sir Robert McGarrison and Francis M Pottinger, both of whom did decades of animal research and in the case of Sir Robert, human diet observations. Cooked food is always a degraded foodstuff. Cooking food denatures its fats and proteins caramelizes its sugars and adds nice helping of acrylamide besides. Worse, cooking at high temps produces heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and other carcinogenic byproducts. Like doctors back in the day that used to go from patient to patient between surgeries without washing their hands, the assumption that cooking is be nine and inconsequential is totally incorrect.
    Secondly they virtually sure sure

    • Dear bortog:

      Thank you for your contribution! It makes sense to me that raw meat would be nutritionally superior to cooked meat. I look forward to looking into this topic more and appreciate the references. We are the only animals who cook our meat so it certainly isn’t necessary to cook it. In addition, raw meat can be very delicious (sashimi, beef tartare, etc). The only potential health benefit I can think of to cooking meat is that it may destroy potential pathogens if the meat is contaminated or infected.

      • bortog

        As you can see I had difficulty with that previous post of mine and didn’t finish it! But what I meant to say is, that in addition to eating food that is not cooked, it is possible to cure almost every disease, even cancer and type 2 diabetes, by doing a water fast of sufficient duration followed by eating a species specific diet, which in the case of humans means fruits and fruity type vegetables (like cucumbers squashes tomatoes) and soft leafy greens. In other words, avoid all vegetables that raw are indigestible (like cauliflower and broccoli) or vegetables you could make a shoe out of, like full-grown kale (baby kale is okay), the raw cruciferous veggies, and all the rest. This should be easy since it is not our nature to to crave any of these if raw.
        Speaking for myself I also eat (raw!) free range organic eggs, milk, butter, sushi, and raw pre-frozen beef or lamb (I don’t eat chicken), but I don’t eat a lot of animal products because I don’t crave them that much.
        I know of only one man who supervises water fasting followed by a raw, species specific diet such as I have described (although he is a vegan and I am not). He has a clinic in Costa Rica. He has fasted thousands of people, he’s quite knowledgeable and I can certainly recommend him. The clinic is called Tanglewood Wellness Center and his name is Loren Lockman.
        There is also a water fasting clinic in Northern California called True North Health. Dr Alan Goldhamer is the head, I believe. He is a vegan but not a rawfooder. He is also very knowledgeable and experienced. Of the two, I prefer Tanglewood.
        If you know anyone facing chronic disease, including arthritis heart disease osteoporosis diabetes hypertension cancer and all the other Who’s Who of modern diseases, then I would seriously consider recommending a water fast of sufficient duration (3+ weeks). It will produce miraculous results. The person can also lose a lot of excess weight if that is also a goal, which it often is since cooked food tends to add a lot of weight as people age.

  • Timmy Tzeiranakis

    yea, which is better, red or white meat?

  • Travis Zuehls

    I believe
    the cows, poultry and other meat sources like farmed fish are fed diets that
    are not normal in the wild. Instead of grass, alfalfa or seafood these animals
    are fed GMO, pesticide tainted corn and soy. These foods destroy the health of
    our meat sources which in turn destroy our health from eating these foods. I
    believe you can live longer on a plant based diet but you can still be health
    on a meat based diet and won’t inevitably end up with heart disease or cancer
    on a meat based diet from organic/wild animals.

  • Pavel Radev

    Moderation and exercise. The hunters still needed the protein from the meet to be stronger and kill the animals. The average hunter would probably work all day to kill 2 or big animals. That is not much for a day. So a strict diet of only meat did not hurt them due to small amount and high exertion of energy. That is my point of view as a person studying nutrition.

    • Dear Pavel

      I agree that overeating meat, or any food for that matter, is not a good idea, and that regular exercise is good for the body and metabolism. Luckily, it’s a lot harder to overeat meat, which is nutritious, fatty, delicious and satisfying, than it is to overeat sweets and refined starches, which many people find are easy to binge on, even when they’ve had plenty of food for the day already. We don’t need much meat to run our bodies–on average, somewhere between 8 and 24 ounces per day, depending on our size, gender, age, activity level, etc. A little goes a long way:)

    • 54321Truth

      You really know nothing of hunting. Hunting, is all about patience and very little movement. I take it you have never hunted in your life.

  • Kunninglinguist

    My personal philosophy is live and let live. I have known people who both thrive and suffer on a balanced diet, a vegan or veginarian diet and a meat heavy diet which would seem to suggest that whilst we “can” survive on any of them each will suit some people better than others

    The problem as I see it though is that some people on both sides come across like fanatical evangelists. And rather than just seeing it as a personal choice seem to have some inate need to try and convert the entire population to copy their own personal choice.

    Only speaking from personal experience here obviously, but it does seem to be the vegan/vegitarians that are most likely to be like this. As though not being content with having that choice they need to shout it from the rooftops like there is some award up for grabs if you manage to convert the most people to the religion of anti meatology. The equally annoying meat eaters dont seem to be the primary cause of such heated arguements but from my own observation seem to mostly be reacting to the vegans/vegetarians in a similar tone rather than being the main antagonists on the subject

    On the veggies side they point to how we differ from carnivores to “prove” we are herbivores whilst conveniently ignoring any similarity to carnivores. Then on the other side they only point to how we differ from herbivores whilst ignoring how we also share some things with many herbivores making both very deliberately selective arguements.

    When as far as I am aware we are niether carnivores nor herbivores and as such we have both similarities and differences to both

    Even the raw meat analogy is nonsense as many cultures DO eat raw meat. American indians have this utterlgy gross thing where they kill some type of small bird, sew it in an animal skin then hide it in crevaces in rocks and leave it for either months or years then eat the rotting feathers and meat as a delicacy

    Even looking at ordinary meat, it isnt that we cant eat raw meat. The problem is the parasites and bacteria in the meat thats problematic, not the meat itself

    But I am also sure I have read that some apes can resort to cannibalism and last time I checked they dont have cookers or microwaves. But if anyone can correct that please do as its a vague recollection from something I skimmed many moons ago

  • whtitbelike yall

    This author is a retard. There are hundreds of millions of Hindus that are complete vegans for their whole lives and are perfectly healthy. That IS a civilization from birth to death, and btw has also produced amazing mathematics among other cultural gems that have been passed around the world and adopted. Fuck off with vegan is unhealthy shit. What vegans need is a huge variety in their diet which people don’t do in the west when they go vegan. Pure ignorance on this page plain and simple.

    • Heath

      Who told you Hindus are complete vegans? Many modern Hindus eat meat and many are what we would call lacto-vegetarian. Certainly not “complete vegan”.

      And to speak of tradition is moot as The Vedic texts are not clear either way
      with some passages suggesting against meat consumptions while others seem for it. While generally associated as a culture against harm the further you go back there is evidence of not just meat consumption but ritual slaughter.

      I have tried many nutritional philosophies in my quest for health, I have done the vegan thing, raw even, and it made me sick, the only thing worse was when I was eating lots of carbohydrates.

      These days I’m 100% carnivore… and a yoga teacher, so while I’m not Hindu
      have something of a passing knowledge of the culture…

    • Dear Mr John Williams:

      I have edited your comment to remove profanities and disrespectful language. I encourage debate and disagreements are welcome, so that we can all learn from one another, but if you use such language again your comments will be blocked.

      My understanding is that many (but not all) observant Hindus practice vegetarianism, including dairy foods, not veganism:

  • whtitbelike yall

    Americans are already consuming 3x more than needed a day,” Richard
    explains. “In addition, the saturated fat, sodium, antibiotics, hormones
    and carcinogens related to meat preparation can be dangerous for
    children, adults and anyone with multiple health conditions. The lack
    of antioxidants, micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), fiber,
    carbohydrates and phytochemicals can contribute to inflammation and
    nutrient deficiencies and the possibility of food-borne illness is also
    increased by the consumption of meat only.”

    • tkent26

      Food-borne illnesses are a problem with plant foods, too.

      Animal foods are _more dense_ in most micronutrients, compared to plant foods.

      Saturated fat in the diet has long been debunked as a cause of anything.

  • Steven Budden

    The lifespans are not very long for a traditional diet (before processed foods or chemical additives). You can compare it to Okinawans, many of whom lived into their 90’s, and a higher percentage of people than anywhere lived into their 100’s. Also, these cultures were rooted around a deep sense of place, family, and spirituality, one of the necessities of a healthy life. Even with all of that, they only lived into their 60’s. Okinawans traditionally ate 5%-8% protein, and their staples were starches; rice and purple sweet potatoes. And low salt / fat. So, yes, either is an option for a way of life, however one is more

    • 54321Truth

      To bad the Gerson’s spread the Holocaust Lies. A liar is a liar.

  • Bob grover

    I think the key here is meat is certainly good to eat as long as it is unmolested by chemicals and additives. Most store bought meat is bathed in preservatives, solutions, etc. and in my opinion is the sole reason red meat has received a bad rep.

  • I only eat animal products….zero carb: unsalted butter and meat. Both organic and no additives. And I can tell you, no health issues at all and actually I have cured myself of many health issues eating this way.

  • sophi arianna

    and where do you get the idea that the inuits (who by the way have a long history of heart problems, despite their incredible consump of n-3) live long?

    • Dear Sophi

      From the scientific references listed below the post.

    • tkent26

      Heart disease and other chronic diseases increased after the Inuit were exposed to modern processed food diets. Just like every other population.

      Hunter-gatherer groups had low _average_ life expectancies, due to infectious disease, not chronic diseases.

  • MauiFlis

    I read The Big Fat Lie, which provided much of this info. Did you use it? It was about 1/3 bibliography, which impressed me. I learned that the organ meats of whales, caribou, etc., actually store Vitamin C! That was a shocker. So without getting much at all in the way of fruits and veggies, their eating of livers, kidneys, brains, etc. provided them with what we consider a very delicate, water-soluble vitamin only found in fresh fruit and veggies. What an eye-opener!

    • MauiFlis

      The Eskimos also, as you mention, gathered vats full of berries in the summer, and knew how to make pemmican (dried berries and meat mashed together w/ salt as a preservative), which they could eat the rest of the year. Of course they got all the good sea salt they needed w/ no problem. As for all the grasses and other green things, one explorer quoted them as saying, (I must paraphrase) “We would never eat that stuff! That’s the food for the antelope and caribou. They eat that, and then we eat them!” They thought it sounded crazy to eat such awful food.

    • HiMauiFlis

      We are kindred spirits! The Big Fat Lie was written by Gary Taubes, who also wrote Good Calories, Bad Calories, which is one of my “bibles” when it comes to understanding food and health. I read GCBC several times and still refer to it often. It was a huge eye-opener for me too.

  • Sam Rinne Hooker

    This is not, btw, an endorsement of Atkins diets. This is a condemnation of modern diets period. If you fed Masai tribes Coca Cola and most of the junk food (even meat only junk food), they would become obese.

  • Angelisa Sapon

    I found this article very interesting, but I didn’t read the whole article so forgive me if I missed something. I would just like to point out that all those groups mentioned above who have lived on diets heavily enriched in meat based foods do not have as high life expectency rates as the groups of people from the Blue Zones. Those zones are Okinawa, Japan being number 1. Sardinia, Italy at number 2. Loma Linda, California at number 3. Nicoya, Costa Rica at number 4. Ikaria, Greece at number 5. Aside from living in a good region, what all these groups of people have in common is that they have a diet enriched with grains, vegetables, and fruits with very little to no meat consumption.

    I’ve done some research and it seems that those cultures that you mentioned above for the most part stray away from processed food and refined sugar much like those in the Blue Zones. I was reading one of your responses to another person who mentioned the Blue Zones and you compare it to an American diet. Everyone knows that a diet high in processed foods and refined sugars isn’t healthy for you, so to compare the Blue Zone diets to the American diet just doesn’t seem to make sense. If the Inuits, Chukotka’s, and other groups of people didn’t really consume processed junk either and you claim that eating a diet higher in animal food is healthier, then why do the areas that consume mostly plant based foods have higher rates in longevity? The Chukotka’s average lifespan is about 67 as opposed to Seventh day Adventist whose average lifespan is about 79. Seventh day Adventist sustain from eating animal products. Most follow a 100% plant based diet while a small few do add dairy products.

    The Okinawans have the highest life expectancy in the world. After 1949 they started eating less seaweed and sweet potatoes and started to add more meat and dairy products into their diets. Now they are starting to develop diseases that they never really had a problem with before.

    • Dear Angelisa,

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I agree that we need studies comparing whole food plant-based diets to whole food animal-based diets to see how they compare. The current science, as far as I’m aware, cannot tell us whether these diets are equally healthy or whether one is healthier than the other. Either way, I completely agree that eating a whole foods diet free of processed foods and very low in sugar is infinitely healthier than the standard Western diet.

  • David Linebarger

    The real devil here between vegan and a mostly meat diet in my opinion is processed carbs like sugar and refined carbs. You have to remember that lots of sugar is a totally new thing in our evolutionary/biological history. Just my two cents.

    • Dear David,

      I completely agree that the presence of significant amounts of refined carbohydrates will make any diet, whether meat-based or plant-based, unhealthy. I am not aware of any experiments comparing a whole foods plant-based diet to a whole foods meat-based diet. Such experiments would be illuminating in understanding the effects of meat and plants on human health.

  • Ryan Townsend

    Hi, Dr. Ede. I really enjoy and appreciate your site. Can you tell me what your thoughts on Vitamin E are for those following meat-based diets? With its amounts being so low in animal foods, do you think it’s something that needs to be addressed when eating this way?

    • Hi Ryan

      I am not entirely sure, but I tend to doubt it, since the only proved role of Vit E in the human body, as far as I can tell, is as an antioxidant, and since we have lots of other antioxidants in our bodies, it may be that we don’t even need Vit E…or that if we do, we only need small amounts of it. I know of no reports of symptoms of Vit E deficiency in people who eat unsupplemented all-meat diets.

      • Ryan Townsend

        Thanks for your response, Dr. Ede. It’s nice to get your expertise on the matter.

  • IMV

    same story as the Pima Indians in the US southwest & their DNA cousins in the Mexican highlands…

  • jack roberts

    Hey article . I Appreciate the points , Does anyone know where my assistant could locate a template Health Care Proxy Form example to type on ?

  • Stan

    Dr. Ede: I want to thank you for your article as you may have just saved my marriage!
    Our daughter and grandson (6yrs) are living in our home and I was angry when my wife supported her daughter in not requiring that he eat ANY vegetables and ONLY meat.
    I blew up, thinking that it would be extremely unhealthy and that he would probably suffer in the future for her lack of discipline.
    I read many articles that promoted vegetables as a necessity and was on the verge of leaving my own home because I could not stand seeing him deteriorate due to her “lack of discipline”.
    After reading your article I apologized and no longer feel obligated to stand my ground and boycott my own home.
    Hopefully, he WILL survive and I will feel much better knowing that he can still lead a healthy life.
    Thank you again,
    Stan Warthen

  • Hema Vaishnavi Ale

    Hi Dr. Ede,

    This was an interesting article, indeed. I’d like to know more, in detail, if you may, about the consumption of meat. How did they consume the meat? How often? 3 meals a day? I would really like to know how did they prepare their food, for it matters a great deal as to how they cooked it. And does it matter, the method of cooking, on their health, both physical and mental?

    Also, if you could throw more light on the kind of activities these people were involved in? They sure did not lead sedentary lifestyles. What kind of a lifestyle did they lead? And how did it help in digesting the food that they consumed?

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this.


  • whtitbelike yall

    love how these ancient native’s way of eating is being praised yet these people didn’t even have the wheel when the new world was discovered. Europeans were using wheeled vehicles literally over 5000 years ago. Talk about triglycerides all you want, what have these people ever done for human civilization? Great LDL levels, live like cavemen. Great argument lady Haha Get a job.

    • tkent26

      Your racism aside, the relevant question is “what are the impacts of meat and animal fats on heart disease?” The answer is “not much.”

      What have _you_ ever done for human civilization?

    • Northern_Lass

      Europeans? You mean, like the Germanic tribes which demolished the vast Roman empire and slayed entire Roman legions? Caesar wrote about their diet, as follows: “They subsist for the most part on milk and flesh… both promote their strength and render them men of vast stature of body…”.

  • Gerald

    There are many way to consume foods and live a long life; a high meat/fat protein diet when eaten raw and or cooked in low heat has all the nutrition you need from an animal that consumes an evolutionary diet. When you consume the same ratio of protein/fat from a corn fed animal, cooked in high heat and only eat the muscle, that saturated fat is not the same. Just like eating whole organic fruit vs. a bowl of refined sugar. You can find lots of evidence of people living a long lives consuming a plant based diet such as the 7th Day Adventist, its the over consumption of manmade meats that are causing the heat disease in this country and around the world, in addition to the grain and refined sugar. The answer to prevent and reverse this is a high mineral plant based diet. You could use a high protein diet but it must come from an animal that is wild which is not going to happen over a lifetime of a people consuming a western diet.

  • John

    In 2015 I was diagnosed with high cholesterol. I was obese and had a BAD acid reflux. I removed most carbs from my diet. Just an apple and a banana in the morning, then the rest of the day ONLY MEAT and cheese. Fatty steaks, burger patties with cheese, bacon and pork belly bbq any day, no restrictions. My wife and family thought I was crazy and I would die of a heart attack. As of today, I’ve lost around 40 pounds with no effort, no longer acid reflux and my cholesterol levels are really good now.

    My advise is, give a try for a couple of weeks. Do a CBC, check for your cholesterol and sugar levels just before and after and see if it works for you. It did for me.

  • Trevor Turton

    A fascinating review and a good resource, thank you.
    It’s Maasai, not Masai. The first syllable is long and stressed.

  • Sara Hunt

    Dr. Ede, great info and thank you. I know people who are happy and full of energy and seemingly as healthy as they could be, by all subjective and objective measures who are all meat, vegetarian, intermittent fasters, or the every 2 hour type eaters. I am curious, do you think there is a diet out there that is optimal for every one? And two, why do you think people of a certain diet so negative about the diets of people who don’t follow the same diet plan ( all – meat, vegetarian, vegan, etc)?

  • Kate Miller

    I have heard many in the low carb community discuss the Intuit and tha Masai but no one has answered the question of what did they die of? All cause mortality is what we need to know. If their meaty diet didn’t cause heart disease that’s great, but did it cause anything else?