Q:  What Should I Eat?

The mother of all FAQ’s…

Human beings are omnivores with the ability to eat a wide variety of plants and animals.  For nearly 2 million years, our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate a whole foods diet of animals and plants, in various ratios and combinations, depending on season and geographical location.  Therefore, our bodies are probably well-adapted to a whole foods diet.  A whole foods diet consists of some combination of meat, poultry, and/or seafood, and whole fruits and vegetables (see Paleolithic Diets).  All available scientific evidence strongly supports the notion that a whole foods diet is the healthiest dietary pattern on the planet. 

Then, about 5,000 to 10,000 years ago, depending on location, most of our ancestors adopted the practice of agriculture, adding dairy products, grains, and legumes (beans) to their diets.  In evolutionary terms, this is not very long, so many of us have probably not adapted completely to these “newer” foods.  This is probably why dairy and grain intolerance are so common.  These foods are more difficult for us to digest and can even aggravate our immune systems.  Anthropological evidence tells us that our ancestors were healthier before agriculture than after agriculture.  Therefore, avoiding these foods (i.e. Paleolithic Diet) or minimizing these foods, or using traditional processing methods to improve their digestibility and nutritional quality (i.e. traditional diet), may be wise.

Sometime during the late 1800’s, about 150 years ago, refined carbohydrates entered the scene.  Foods like white sugar and refined flours became widely available for the first time.  There are many researchers and food writers who believe that the addition of significant amounts of refined carbohydrates is largely to blame for most “diseases of civilization”—such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.  There is plenty of evidence now to support this belief.  There is a growing consensus that these foods should be avoided as much as possible to minimize disease risk.

About 70 years ago food production became industrialized, adding artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives to our food supply.  Industrialization also led to the super-processing of whole foods into unnatural extracts and chemically-altered ingredients.  We do not yet fully understand what the effect of these chemicals has been on our health, but common sense tells us that it would be wise to avoid these as much as possible, even if they are “natural” in origin.

To download a helpful list of food guidelines to post on your fridge, please sign up for my “Top Ten Tips for Healthy Eating” document right over there → 

Q: Won’t meat, fat and cholesterol clog my arteries?

A: No. Cardiologists are discovering that refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and flour, are the most important dietary risk factors in coronary artery disease.

Numerous studies by cardiology researchers have finally disproved the myths that dietary fat, meat, and cholesterol cause heart disease. In fact, some of the healthiest diets in human history have been very high in meat and animal fat. We have been eating animal meats, animal fat, and cholesterol for two million years, but heart disease has only been a major problem for us for about 50 years. So what is the real culprit?

Cardiologists are discovering that “high glycemic index” carbohydrates (sweet and starchy foods that cause blood sugar to rise rapidly) are, by far, the most important dietary risk factors in coronary artery disease. The steady rise in the incidence of heart disease around the world over the past century closely parallels the rise in refined carbohydrates (sugars and flours) in the human diet. Diets high in refined carbohydrates, such as sugar and flour, raise “bad cholesterol”, lower “good cholesterol”, and raise triglycerides (fats in the blood), all of which are associated with heart attacks. In addition, refined carbohydrates set the stage in the blood vessels for inflammation, which allows dangerous artery-clogging plaques to form in the first place. A helpful way to think about it is to picture smooth, slippery, healthy, innocent cholesterol particles becoming “sticky” when sugars and starches are around. Cholesterol can only cause trouble and form plaques when it’s been corrupted by sugars. Sugars turn good cholesterol into bad cholesterol. So, to protect your heart, avoid sugar, flour, and other refined carbohydrates as much as you possibly can.

Q: Don’t I need fiber to prevent constipation, colon cancer, and other digestive diseases?

A: No. There is no evidence that fiber protects us from colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal polyps, chronic constipation, or hemorrhoids.

Despite hundreds and hundreds of studies looking at the role of fiber in digestive diseases, there is no convincing evidence that fiber protects people from intestinal polyps, colon cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, or hemorrhoids. In fact, there is no evidence that fiber is required in the human diet in the first place. Many cultures throughout human history have eaten very low-fiber diets and not suffered from these relatively modern gastrointestinal conditions. Eskimos of the past, for example, ate a diet almost completely free of fruits, vegetables, and grains, and historical writings tell us that they were virtually free of all cancers. The rise in the prevalence of all of these conditions parallels the arrival of modern and processed foods, such as refined carbohydrate, in the human diet.

In the late 1800’s, there were two major advances that significantly changed what modern people ate: 1) sugar became much more plentiful and affordable than ever before, and 2) modern milling equipment was invented that made it possible to remove the fiber and natural oils from grain and grind it into highly refined flour. Decades ago, doctors noticed that when people started eating more processed sugary and floury foods, their risk for digestive diseases increased dramatically. Some of these doctors then jumped to the conclusion that the reason why the so-called “Western” diet was constipating and irritating to the digestive tract was because the Western diet contained less fiber than traditional diets. The problem with that idea was that adding the fiber back in to the diet didn’t get rid of these Western diseases, so their theory turned out to be wrong.

When grains are refined by modern milling equipment, their fiber coats and natural oils are removed and their inner contents are ground into an ultra-fine powder.  This powder consists mainly of two types of carbohydrates–rapidly digestible starch, which breaks down easily into glucose (blood sugar), and resistant starch, which we cannot digest. Bacteria in the colon can digest resistant starch by fermenting it, which creates gases as a by-product.  These starches can therefore cause bloating, cramping, and constipation in some people.  Grain flours also contain plant proteins, the most infamous of which is gluten, a family of plant proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. Gluten is not only very difficult to digest; it can also damage the lining of the intestinal tract, causing gastrointestinal disease in susceptible individuals.  The flour milling process removes the protective fiber-rich coating around these starches and proteins, so we are much more exposed to them than if we eat the grains whole.

Now, some people do find that eating bran cereal or fruits and vegetables helps relieve the constipation that an unhealthy diet can cause, but this doesn’t solve the underlying problem, so it is unlikely to protect you from developing intestinal diseases. Adding fiber to a high-sugar, high-flour diet can’t save your body from the damage that the flour and sugar can cause; only removing the flour and sugar can do that.

Q: Don’t I need to eat dairy products to keep my bones strong and healthy?

A: No. Studies have shown that eating dairy products does not strengthen our bones.

We think of dairy products as good sources of calcium, and we are told that calcium is the key to strong and healthy bones. However, studies have not been able to show that eating dairy products or taking calcium supplements strengthens the bones of children and teens, or protects post-menopausal women from osteoporosis. Instead, the most important factors in building and maintaining healthy bones seem to be Vitamin D and dietary protein.

For most of human history, people did not drink the milk of other animals, and yet they had very healthy bones and teeth (much healthier than ours). Evidence of osteoporosis didn’t appear in human history until people turned away from hunter-gatherer lifestyles and began farming, and domesticating livestock, about 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. This agricultural revolution fundamentally changed the nature of our daily diet; grains, legumes, and dairy products became staple foods for many people for the very first time. Why did osteoporosis appear once agriculture was born? One reason may be that grains (as well as beans, nuts and seeds) contain a naturally-occurring chemical called “phytic acid”, which acts like a mineral magnet, and removes calcium from our bodies. People eating a typical Western diet absorb only about 40% of the calcium they consume. If you stop eating foods rich in phytic acid, your body should be able to hold onto more of the calcium that naturally exists in other foods.

Q: Aren’t whole grains good for me?

A: No. There is no evidence that whole grains are good for us; in fact, there are good reasons to believe that eating grains puts our health at risk.

There is no evidence that humans require grains in their diet at all. There are hundreds and hundreds of studies looking at the benefits of eating whole grains, but the problem is that these studies compare diets rich in whole grains to diets rich in refined grains and sugars. These studies do show that whole grains are healthier for us than refined grains (flour), but they do not prove that whole grains are healthy. In order to prove that, you’d have to compare a diet that contains grains to a diet that contains no grains. Pretty much any food is healthier for us than refined carbohydrates, so proving that whole grains beat refined carbohydrates is…well…a piece of cake. When you think about it, it doesn’t make sense to say that whole grains are essential but that powdered grains are dangerous…how can the same food be both incredibly good and incredibly evil?

What makes more sense is to think of it like this: the more refined a grain is, the worse it is for you. The reason for this is probably that pulverizing the grains into flour releases more of the carbohydrates and other potentially damaging contents from inside the kernel. If we eat grains whole, the tough outer coating, or hull, of the grain keeps more of these pesky particles inside the grain. If we remove the hull by “polishing” the grain (white rice is a good example), there is nothing left to protect our bodies from being exposed to everything inside. What is inside? Special plant proteins like gluten, which are potentially damaging to the intestinal tract, digestible starches (which break down into glucose and raise blood sugar), and resistant starches, which are very difficult to digest.

Q: Don’t I need to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to reduce my risk of cancer?

A: No. There are good examples of cultures around the world that ate very few fruits and vegetables and had extremely low rates of cancer.

Fruits and vegetables are probably much better for you than junk food (what isn’t?), but there have been no studies that prove that eating vegetables or fruits is necessary for human life or health, and no studies that prove that they can protect us from disease. Vegetables even contain naturally-occurring defensive toxins, to which some people are sensitive.

There have been numerous peoples throughout history who have eaten very few fruits and vegetables and have had very low rates of cancer. The Eskimos are the most striking example of this fact. For centuries, Eskimos lived on a diet of 90 to 100% animal foods—only meat and fat—no fruits or vegetables at all for the majority of the year, and, at most, about 10% fruits during the summer months. Early physician explorers noted that Eskimos seemed to be virtually cancer-free. Were the Eskimos somehow different from the rest of us? Did they have a different genetic makeup that allowed them to be healthy without colorful, high-fiber plant foods?

No—every non-agricultural society that has ever been studied, from primarily hunting cultures, like the Masai of Kenya or the Gauchos of Brazil, to the numerous traditional hunter-gatherer cultures around the world who ate meat and a small variety of locally, seasonally available wild plants, has been shown to be much healthier than we are. These native peoples had very low rates of cancer and virtually none of the “Western” diseases we take for granted, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity. This is changing now, of course, since nearly all civilizations around the world are leaving their traditional diets behind and adopting a more Westernized diet, complete with refined carbohydrates and chemicals. However, studies have shown that when these people return to their traditional ways of eating, they can quickly undo the damage that the Western diet has caused. The difference between these traditional diets and our diet is NOT that traditional diets contain more fruits and vegetables, because in many cases, they contain fewer of them than our diet does. It is far more likely that other factors, such as the high refined carbohydrate content of the Western diet, which triggers inflammation and oxidation throughout the body, is the most important difference.

So, why do we believe that fruits and vegetables are so good for us? There are many reasons, but one of the hottest new theories is that fruits and vegetables provide powerful antioxidants that protect our cells from internal damage that can lead to cancerous changes. However, the truth is that there are no studies that prove that plant antioxidants work as antioxidants in our non-plant bodies. After all, they were made for plants, and many of them are destroyed by digestion or transformed by the liver into completely different chemicals. Luckily, Nature, in its infinite wisdom, provided us with our own built-in antioxidants, designed especially for our animal bodies, such as cholesterol, melatonin, urea, and uric acid.

Q: Isn’t meat bad for me?

A: No. Humans and their ancestors have been eating meat for two million years; some cultures even ate a nearly 100% meat diet year-round and yet were much healthier than we are.

Fresh, unprocessed meats from animals raised on their ideal diet are very good for you. Meat is the only complete food—it contains all of the protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals we need, and is naturally extremely low in carbohydrate. During our long evolutionary history, it would have been the only food that was available just about everywhere on the planet, year-round. The best evidence available suggests that most of our Paleolithic ancestors ate high-meat diets, supplemented by locally-available wild plants. In fact, the addition of meat to our diet about 2 million years ago is thought by many experts to have been the key turning point in our evolution, allowing us to spend less time foraging, and less time chewing and digesting fibrous foods. Eating meat provided us with a more efficient way of fueling the growth of our brains. How could we have evolved so successfully for so long if the staple food we relied upon for two million years had been dangerous and carcinogenic? If meat is so carcinogenic, why was cancer so uncommon until the last century or so? We are not eating any more meat now than we did a hundred years ago, yet cancer incidence is skyrocketing.

One popular belief about how red meat might cause cancer is that it has too much saturated fat, but saturated fat has been found to be innocent when it comes to cancer. Another belief is that charred meats and wood-smoked meats contain dangerous levels of “PAHs” (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and “HCAs” (heterocyclic amines). These chemicals have been shown to cause cancer in lab animals. However, grilled and fried chicken also contain HCAs, and yet studies have shown no connection between poultry intake and cancer, and cereal products, not meats, are the major source of PAHs in the typical American diet. This doesn’t mean that PAHs and HCAs are safe to eat; it just means that grilled and smoked meats are not the most important sources of these chemicals.

The popular belief about how processed meats might cause cancer is that they contain nitrite and nitrate preservatives. . What’s interesting is that fruits and vegetables have much higher levels of nitrites than processed meats do. Spinach is so high in nitrites that pediatricians advise parents not to feed it to infants. A glass of pomegranate juice contains 100 times more nitrite than a hot dog.

Now, not all meats are created equal. Meat from naturally-raised animals is high in omega-3 fatty acids and often lower in calories than factory-farmed meats. Cows are healthiest when they eat grass, not corn and soy. Chickens are healthiest when they eat insects and grass, not corn. Fish are healthiest when they swim freely and choose their own food.
Unfortunately, most meats available come from factory farms, where animals are fed the wrong foods and given hormones and antibiotics. Many fish are now raised in fish farms and fed processed, grain-based diets. Some meats and fish then go through extensive processing, which may involve the addition of numerous artificial chemicals and “natural” additives, such as soy protein, or whey protein, sugar, and salt. These types of meats are probably not as healthy for us as naturally-raised meats, but one can say this about any whole food–once it’s been sufficiently processed, it is not as healthy as in its natural state. In a perfect world, we would all have access to unprocessed meat from naturally-raised animal sources.

Q: Don’t I need to eat carbohydrate to fuel my brain?

A: No. Your brain is capable of using a variety of other fuels, and even when it prefers to use glucose (blood sugar), your body can manufacture all the glucose it needs from dietary protein.

Your brain is capable of using a variety of fuels, and only one of them isglucose, which is a simple sugar found in the bloodstream. Even at times when your brain prefers to burn glucose for energy, you do not need to eat any carbohydrate to make that glucose. Your body can manufacture all the glucose it needs from fat and protein. In fact, eating carbohydrate is completely unnecessary for human life and health. The only exception to this is during infancy; babies drink breast milk, which contains naturally occurring sugars. Once weaned from breast milk, a human being can live an entire lifetime without eating a single carbohydrate. This is not true of protein or fat. Human beings must have access to both protein and fat throughout their lives in order to be healthy.

The brain is made almost entirely of fat (57%) and protein (38%), and contains very little carbohydrate (5%). Our modern brains grew up in a low glycemic index environment. For 2 million years of our evolution, we ate much less carbohydrate than we do now, and no refined or processed carbohydrates, and therefore, our systems are simply not designed to handle the big swings in blood sugar levels caused by the Western diet, which is very high in carbohydrates of all kinds. The brain needs blood sugar and insulin levels to be nice and even in order to keep brain chemistry stable. Refined carbohydrates (such as sugar and flour) are especially disturbing to the natural balance of chemicals in the brain. For example, unstable blood sugar levels interfere with the proper function of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that are critical to maintaining our mood and concentration. The reason why so many people feel as if they need to eat carbohydrate every few hours in order to feel calm, happy, and productive is because they are on this invisible blood sugar roller coaster.

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  • Des

    Are there any records of our ancestors eating leafy greens, or do you recon they supplemented with a few leaves when meat wasn’t available?

    • I could not find any evidence of Paleolithic people having eaten leafy greens, but this is probably because such evidence would not have survived long enough to have been discovered. There is evidence in the literature of starchy roots and seeds having been eaten as long as 30,000 yrs ago. It is assumed that fruits were eaten because our primate ancestors ate lots of fruit, and it is assumed that leaves and other plant parts were eaten because modern-day hunter-gatherers eat them.

      • Karl

        Dr. Ede: I am fascinated by your life and work, and the information on this web site, and admire you.

        Close relatives, sharing 98%+ of our genome, like chimpanzees and bonobos, have been known to take a small fraction of their calories from animal food sources (freshly killed organic monkeys, or ants), however, the they chose the vast majority of their diet as leaves and fruit and nuts and seeds, slightly more distant relatives like orangutans and gorillas area even more vegan. Would you speculate that the reason diets chosen by the great apes would be harmful to Homo sapiens due to genetic changes our species has accumulated since our common ancestors diverged from that of the apes? Thank you.

        • Dear Karl

          Thank you for your kind words and your excellent question. I am not an anthropologist but I attended a wonderful lecture at the Ancestral Health Symposium in August by Miki Ben-Dor, an anthropologist from Israel who made a compelling argument that our species is most similar to the wolf when it comes to digestion, lifestyle, and ideal diet. Once the AHS video presentations are posted I would encourage you to view his talk. He also has a website here: http://www.paleostyle.com/

          • qm

            How long did these ancestors live. It was my understanding that they usually did not live past 50.

          • Khay

            Yeah but that was not because of their diet but more because of a dangerous lifestyle (hunting, wild animals, harsh winters, injuries…).

      • jim

        Dr Ede,
        I am new on here and there is so much to read but fm what I gather so far…are you saying for folks like me with high cholestoral….its not the cholestoral type foods that I am eating that causes it but the BEANs and VEggies are not helping?
        For example: I have seen on many legit sites fm WedMD, Dr Oz, Medical trials
        says to eat BEANS/OATS/Berries/Steamed veggies…all things you say don’t eat.

        you say DO NOT eat Nuts, Do not EAT Beans, Do NOT eat any veggies

        So are you saying EAT all the fried chicken I want and all the meat cause you mentioned that even though these Cholestoral foods we eat..its okay…because our body will not take more then it needs…so just keep eating as much MEATs and never touch any veggies or beans and I should be good with my cholestoral level?

        I need your help to see what I should eat now if not what I thought was good for me all this time: dry asst beans/steel oats/kale/spinach/beets/carrots/….oranges/steamed veggies/

        protein powder which has veggies/seaweed and other stuffs….

        So you are saying eat all the meats I want and cut out all the veggies and my cholestoral will go down?

        OK. I will give it a try for a month or 2.

        • Hello, Jim

          I know it can seem confusing and overwhelming at first to think about these things, and it seems counterintuitive that high-cholesterol foods don’t cause high cholesterol. However, yes, foods that are high in sugars and starches, including foods like oatmeal, beans, and starchy root vegetables, are the prime suspects in cholesterol problems. Meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and saturated fat are not the problem. It’s fine to eat vegetables as long as you don’t eat too many starchy ones that can spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.

          It’s also important to know that having high total cholesterol or high LDL are not necessarily anything to worry about. What you want to pay attention to is your HDL and your triglycerides. So if your HDL and triglycerides are in the healthy range, you may not need to change your diet at all.

          There’s a lot more information in these posts:

          http://www.diagnosisdiet.com/how-to-diagnose-prevent-and-treat-insulin-resistance/ (includes list of blood tests with target values)


          I hope that helps?

  • Des

    I think you’ll find this article very interesting. It talks about how a diet of whole wheat, beer, fruits and vegetables contributed to obesity and neolithic diseases in ancient Egyptians. If you scroll down to the comment section, you’ll see many disgruntled people posting comments about how this MD’s article is unfounded, biased and in poor taste. People don’t like the idea that whole grains, fruits, low animal protein and fat, honey and vegetables could ever be responsible for sickness.


  • trebuchet1

    I am just starting to learn about ketogenic diets. Unfortunately, at the same time, I have a malfunctioning gallbladder that will soon be removed. Can you foresee any problems with this diet once the gallbladder is removed?

    • Hi Trebuchet

      Excellent question–according to Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt (http://www.dietdoctor.com/gallstones-and-low-carb) it’s usually not a problem, but theoretically I imagine that it could be. I looked into this question today and notice that many people who have had their gallbladders removed benefit from taking digestive enzymes that include bile salts. Without a gallbladder, there is nowhere to store or concentrate bile, so instead of having a big squirt of bile released after you eat fat to help you emulsify and digest fat, you have a steady trickle of bile from the liver directly into the intestines. So, you still produce bile, but if you eat a meal that contains a lot of fat, you may not have enough of it available at that moment to handle it all at once. If you are not digesting fat properly, you could experience diarrhea and/or fatty stools, so those would be clues to inadequate bile. This is where supplements may come in handy, and you may want to consult with your primary care physician or surgeon for recommendations about which supplements they might recommend. The good news is that a low-carbohydrate, adequate fat diet is healthy for the liver and gallbladder (for those of us who are lucky enough to still have our gallbladders). I hope this information is helpful and may your surgery go smoothly.

      • trebuchet1

        Thanks for the info! My surgery is complete, and once I heal, I will be experimenting with low carb. The way my surgeon put it was encouraging: the gallbladder was more necessary when our ancestors were eating mostly raw food, as uncooked fat is much harder to digest than cooked. Eating mostly fat calories, especially if total calories are not excessive, should be doable. Even if I end up needing supplements it will stil be worth it if it helps control carb craving.

  • flux1

    Hi Dr Ede.

    I am just about to start a ketogenic diet of mostly meat and meat fat. I weigh
    23lbs. I have Diverticular disease and the specialist have found a large number
    of them. Can you foresee any problems?


    • Hi flux1
      Are you an adult who weighs 23 pounds? Or is that a typo? While I can’t give personal medical advice, I can answer your question in a general sense. Given everything I’ve read about nutrition and human health, there should be no health problems associated with a mostly meat (or even an all-meat) diet, as long as you include enough fat and calories. if you are not eating any plant foods, it is important to eat some liver regularly, because muscle meat and fat is low in a few nutrients that are only found in liver (and plants), such as folic acid. My understanding of meat and digestion leads me to believe that animal protein and animal fat are the easiest foods to digest and the least likely to irritate the gastrointestinal tract, so I imagine it would be an excellent diet for diverticular disease, and potentially very healing. If you are underweight, you may want to start with an unrestricted mostly-meat or all-meat diet instead of a ketogenic diet, which limits protein, because I’m worried you may lose additional weight unless you can eat a LOT of fat.

      • flux1

        Hi Dr Ede.
        Yes it was a typo error sorry about that. It should say 231 pounds.
        Although I am overweight and not underweight I think I will go with the unrestricted all meat with fat and some liver diet and see how I get on.
        Thank you very much for your reply. I know how busy you are.

        • Good luck, and feel free to update us here about your progress and anything you learn along the way! I would be curious to hear how you feel and how your health is affected by your dietary changes.

  • Terri D

    Elimination and reintroduction of dairy multiple times over the last year has shown dairy to be a contributing cause of cough variant asthma, chronic sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, and severe, chronic constipation in our family. We shun dairy (and other food groups, too), but when we calculated calcium intake, the children were WAY short (even by Paleo standards). My husband is an orthopod, and although he’s satisfied with the dietary changes I’m pushing to implement, when my 9 year old daughter developed foot pain suspicious for a stress fracture, he went and bought the calcium supplement with D to make sure we were optimizing our kids’ bone health. Which, considering we live in SD with 7 months of winter (no vitamin D and little weight bearing activitiy) and my daughter picks at high calcium content foods, seems reasonable. I’m thinking the body has to have something to work with, and she wasn’t getting much of any of it (no sun, no play, no liver, no sardine bones, little kale). His reasonable argument is that it’s not worth playing around with in our kids until we know more information for sure. Since he’s the one shoving rods in osteoporotic 75 year old ladies, I’ll boost our kids calcium and D. He did want to know, in the cultures with no grains, what were the ages of the bones they were looking at to assess bone quality? Do you know off the top of your head? Sorry for the ramble. Just had to share our experiences and thoughts as my family works through these changes in food intake. Thanks for all. Terri Fites, MD

    • Sara A

      using an alkaline diet can help with bone loss as well since the body will use Ca++ as a buffer.
      If you need sources outside of greens, maybe coconut milk?

    • sc13

      Make sure you also supplement with Vitamin K2! Otherwise, the calcium may end up building up in the arteries. K2 is the only substance that activates the enzymes (osteocalcin, MGP) that move calcium into the bone; supplemented D and calcium but no K2 may actually be worse than not doing so since D helps release calcium for utilization, but that’s it, and unless there is K2 there to move it to bone tissue, it just gets built up in soft tissue where it doesn’t belong. K2 can even remove calcium buildup in plaques after the plaques have already become well-formed. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, ND, has written a book on the subject if you weren’t already aware! Dietary sources include cheese, egg yolks, animals eating green grass, liver (especially goose liver for some reason), butter, fermented soy, as well as a few more, but almost exclusively from animal foods luckily. The fermented cod liver/butter oil blend (cinnamon flavor is tastiest for sure!) by Green Pastures contains all of the fat-soluble vitamins (including K2) in a very bioavailable form (surrounded by butter/fish liver fat). That may actually be more useful than a standard calcium/D supplement! Good luck!

  • Margaret Cihocki


  • Pankaj Hande

    Hi Dr. Ede,

    Could you provide guidance or do you offer consultation on food selection for Vegetarian diet. How to monitor/measure the food that we eat to achieve ketogenic diet ratio for Fat/Protein/Carb? Are there tools to do that? It would be a great help if I could get to speak with you.

    • Hello, Pankaj
      I believe Elaine Cantin’s book “The Cantin Ketogenic Diet” would be your best resource. Best of luck!

  • Sara A

    How do you deal with the whining of “hypogylcemia” in IR or DM when you have them go grain/sugar free?

    • II explain that “hypoglycemia” is temporary and that they should feel better within 1-3 days of beginning a low-carbohydrate diet. I sometimes refer to the temporary discomfort as a type of withdrawal, as that concept seems to make sense to most people.

      • Sara A

        I prepare people for a herxheimer reaction when there’s candida, but I never feel comfortable addressing hypoglycemia and often it seems like it could be sugar addiction instead of actual hypoglycemia

  • Sara A

    Dr. Ede,
    I eat a lot of nuts (in place of sweets and to get good fats), so I’m worried now about phytic acid. My NutraEval wasn’t bad in the nutrient area. Any recommendations on how to monitor? Thank you.

    • Hi Sara
      The fats found in nuts are not necessary for health, so if that’s the only reason you are eating them, you can safely remove them (or reduce them) without negative health effects.

  • Keith Taylor

    I have a huge problem with the vegetarian and vegan proposition than our ancestors were mainly eaters of plant material, that being geographical location. We, today, have a varied selection from which to choose, but THEY DID NOT! Our fruits and veggies had widely different areas of origin, so that it was impossible for our forebears to have had access to most of them.
    Over and above that, the fruits and veggies available in early times looked nothing like those available to us today. They were small, often bitter, some are (still) toxic unless processed or cooked and a vast amount would have been required just to keep them alive. I also contend that our hunter-gatherer forebears included large quantities of insects in their diets.
    In many ancient societies vegetable matter was regarded as “women’s food”: men and young children ate meat and plenty of fat.
    The clincher, of course, is that much of the “cave art” depicts animals and hunting scenes: I have yet to find any devoted to, or glorifying, plants!

    • We are of similar minds about this, Keith!

      • Mike Cautillo

        Dr.Ede…I’m quite intrigued by your work. In a video I watched you mentioned you limit your protein intake because that works for you….do you have posted what your diet consist of to share. Would you say this is normally the case…..fat intake should be higher than protein.

    • Sara A

      We didn’t stay put long enough to cultivate for millennia, right?

      • Keith Taylor

        I’m not sure what you’re driving at, Sara A.

        Even if our forebears did “cultivate”, as you put it, they would not have had much variety in their crops. There is another problem: animal and bird populations were much greater then than they are now, so that keeping these creatures out of gardens and fields would have been a full-time job.

        However, the idea of cultivating a garden so that it lures animals and birds into carefully laid traps and ambushes, making THEM come to YOU – instead of YOU having to go chasing after THEM – would have been much more productive, don’t you think?

        • Sara A

          my point is that it took a long time for us to have much of a plant based diet. Nice thought on the luring.

    • Sean1978

      Good post, agreed. Our Fruits today are basically just sugar and hybridized garbage as opposed to what our ancestors ate. They are way bigger and modified which can’t be nearly as healtfhul, on top of that they lack the minerals because of our depleted soils. I might aim for Kelp and stuff to get minerals you can’t get on land and eat the way I have been eating without adding in more fruits (Moderation).

  • Keith Taylor

    A very salient fact that no-one appears to address is that nobody is congenitally allergic to red meat and animal fat. They are the “safest” foods to eat across the board and were the only consistently available foods to all our forbears, in every area and in every continent.
    Allergies to red meat HAVE been recorded, but only after people have been bitten by the Lone Star tick or certain harvest mites. It seems to be confined to America, as I can find no reports of the allergy occurring anywhere else in the world.
    The allergy is sparked by a cross-reactive CARBOHYDRATE component, known as alphagal (Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose), which appears to occur only in domestic animals, so that people who are affected can still eat venison with impunity.

    • Lisa

      Interesting. I know a woman allergic to dairy and beef. She’s not sure abou venison, so avoids it.

      • Keith Taylor

        That may be the best tactic for her, Lisa, as even venison contains a certain measure of alphagal. She can safely eat eggs and fish, though.

  • Diane meche

    I have a question? Should I get off of statins drugs? I’ve heard they fo more harm then good.

  • Gintare Selaru

    Dr. Ede I would like your input on all meat diet for children. Our family has started all meat diet about 2-3 weeks ago (we were paleo before) and I’m struggling to convince other people that what we are doing is not harmful: i need to convince my mum who is very vocal about it and thinks i’m harming my children, her grandchildren and also i need to provide some evidence for a childminder who is very concerned about my son she is looking 2 days a week and asked me for a written approval from our GP (we are in UK). I have 2 boys and the youngest don’t even show any adaptation symptoms whereas older one is very lethargic. Shall i continue animal kingdom diet for us, or shall i revise it? We are not overweight and doing it for optimal health. Thank you

  • Marky

    Hi Ede
    Love the site and the knowledge I have picked up here! Well, I am a practice what you preach sort of guy, so at 49, I have been on a Ketogenic diet for the last 4 months, took up Calisthenics( I previously trained in a gym) and I have lost 60 lbs! I feel incredible, I never feel Hungry, I am sharper, sleep better, my acne has completely cleared(first time in 30 years) and I know that a Ketodiet is right for my body! I am now trying to promote this way of life on to others as I know they will benefit! How wrong is eating carbs, oh and as a former Vegetarian for 3 years(yuck) I can absolutely tell you that Ketodieting rocks! I have also not had any illnesses in the last 4 months! I eat a large percentage of MCT Oil, protein 1g/lb of calculated lean body mass), very small amount of carbs mainly from carrot, Kale, sweet potato(20grams a day). I Supplement my diet with Vitamins and minerals. I look in my mid 30’s so now I am told!

    • Wow, Marky, incredible story! Thanks for sharing your experience here with us!

  • Jt

    Hi. I am bedbound with ME, that started 25 years ago. I have a lifelong dairy intolerance (thanks Mum!). In January I was diagnosed Coeliac (thanks Dad!) and that winter I added a tomato allergy to a pepper allergy. So I went auto-immune paleo with a ketogenic twist added by Dr Myhill (UK private doctor) so only 60g carb/day and high fat. My problem is that all my food reactions haven’t subsided and I added in diarrhea. What is interesting is that we control the diarrhea by taking out the newly introduce, daily kefir water and spinach, which is suggestive of Histamine Intolerance.

    So I am aiming to do the elimination diet and was thrilled to discover than Dr Ede has a similar history to me so would be glad to know what her menu for food looks like for each day to achieve ketogenic AND low histamine AND healthy eating.

    • Hi Jt

      So sorry to hear about these challenges! While I can’t of course officially recommend a diet for your health issues, I can tell you what I eat and what kind of a diet is theoretically least irritating to sensitive people suffering with inexplicable and debilitating symptoms. My belief is that fresh/frozen meat/fish/poultry are the foods least likely to irritate the body and that it is perfectly healthy to eat only animal foods.

      I eat mostly fresh/frozen meat, fish, and poultry. I eat a ketogenic diet, so max 30 carbs/day, max 60 g protein/day. I eat as much fat as possible. I eat a whole foods paleo diet but it contains very few vegetables, as most vegetables bother me. I don’t eat dairy, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, high-sugar fruits, crucifers, nightshades, artificial ingredients, most spices, or garlic. I occasionally eat small amounts of low-sugar berries. I eat certain low-carb “fruit-vegetables” like cucumbers, zucchini, and spaghetti squash. I avoid beef and some kinds of seafood (beef bothers me in similar ways to dairy, unfortunately) but most people can eat any animal comfortably.

      Hope that helps!

  • Claudio

    What about alkaline forming foods and their role in health? I know that the body maintains blood ph, but there are still nurtitionists that believe that the ash residue resulting by eating too many acid forming foods over a long period of time has an impact on health. Would eating low glyemic fruits and veggies that are more alkaline offer health benefits of some form?

    • Dear Claudio,

      Great question. Food does not change our blood pH unless we have kidney damage. Our kidneys tightly regulate blood pH regardless of what we eat, resulting in URINE of variable pH. AcidAlkalineDiet.net, which appears to be one of the official sources of information about this diet on the internet, provides a list of foods and their associated alkalinity/acidity scores: http://www.acidalkalinediet.net/acid-alkaline-food-chart.php. White sugar is considered neutral (hmmm). All animal foods (meats, fish, dairy products, eggs) and grains are considered acidic (and therefore bad). Most vegetables and fruits are considered alkaline and therefore good. Despite sugar being neutral, sugars are discouraged on this plan.

      This is essentially a plant-based, whole foods diet. It is impossible to know why some people feel better on this diet–is it because it is low in animal foods? High in plant foods? Low in sugar? Free of processed foods? Low in dairy? Low in grains? We have no way of knowing. But there is no evidence to suggest that the reason has anything to do with acid/base balance in the body.

      A couple of articles which may be useful:


  • Eileen

    I have been following the Atkins diet for 17 years. It has served me well. However, I believe that because I’ve been eating this way for so long, I’ve become hypersensitive to carbs. For example, on the rare occasion I treat myself and have a bagel, it will show as a 1 or 2 pound gain the next day. Is it possible that I’ve caused this hypersensitivity?

    • Dear Eileen

      That weight gain is almost certainly due to fluid retention. Carbohydrates trigger insulin spikes, which tell the body to hold on to water. This is also why people who first embark on a low-carbohydrate diet tend to lose a few pounds within the first 2 or 3 days of starting the diet.

  • sophi arianna

    I am raw vegan since birth, and have been in perfect health for the entirety of my life. also, when I eat “normal” food (aka the Standard American Diet) I don’t feel as well as I do when I maintain what I call a “clean diet”

    • Indeed! Any diet beats the Standard American Diet!

  • mike bothroyd

    Hi….thanks for some great articles on this website. I have tried a couple of times to go all meat however I just seem to get more fatigued the longer I do it & end up going back to some carbs unfortunately. However the reason I am posting this is more to do with Stefanssen & his extended period of not eating meat. If i remember correctly he stated that while the Eskimos ate little else but meat & fish & were very healthy he did also mention that their all protein diet was very “stimulating” & that they didn’t live very long lives because of this ! Any informed comments would be greatly appreciated…thanks

    • matty gyenis

      hey Mike I saw your post and wanted to comment …I am on day 8 of an all meat diet called Zero Carb Health. check out the group on facebook some of these people on my God have been eating this way for 7 years + I got quite fascinated about the whole concept. so I thought I am going to try it for 7 days…lol and now I am on day 8 and still going strong. lost 8 pounds so far…feeling fantastic. I found from that post if you are fatigued you are not eating enough. I was also told that you eat until you are 100% satisfied and then only eat when you are hungry. I always have meat with me so if I do get a bit of a hunger going on I eat a few bites of what ever I packed for that day. once I woke up at 1am feeling hungry I ate when back to bed and still lost 2lbs. check out that group ..lots of people will give you other advice to stick with it. wow if I can do this and I have no willpower I know anyone can.

    • Hi Mike (and thanks so much, Matty, for your inspiring reply!)

      If you are eating enough fat and calories, as Matty rightly points out below, and are including occasional liver (some people do better when they eat a variety of animal products) and are still tired, there are three possibilities that come to the top of my head:

      1. You may not have given the all-meat approach long enough for your body to adapt to lack of carbohydrate–for some people this can take a number of weeks.

      2. If you are including some processed or aged meats that you don’t typically eat in your usual diet, your tiredness may be due to amine sensitivities: http://www.diagnosisdiet.com/histamine-intolerance/

      3. You may be eating too much protein for your metabolism, which can cause higher blood sugar and insulin levels. To calculate your approximate protein requirements (grams per day), divide your body weight (in pounds) by 2.2.

      A fourth possibility comes to mind–you may have a sensitivity to a specific type of meat. I personally don’t tolerate beef well, so you never know…some don’t tolerate fish…you never know…

      I highly recommend Esmee LeFleur’s excellent website https://zerocarbzen.com/ for more information and support about this way of eating.

      Hope that helps!

  • Hari

    Arturas, you are the one who doesn’t know what you ‘re talking about. My husband and I adopted a low carb/high fat/moderate protein diet about a year and a half ago. He lost 40 lbs., his cholesterol is better than normal and his sleep movement disorder/sleep apnea (which he’s had since he was a baby) vanished two weeks into the diet. I lost less weight, but my lifelong chronic depression is gone and my cholesterol is excellent. Eggs (4 to six or more a day), avocados, coconut oil and meat, butter, heavy cream, unrefined oils and locally raised red meats are the cornerstone of our diet. Brains LOVE ketones!

    • Arturas

      Sleep apnea is highly correlated with diary products… In your current diet (from what you mentioned)- no diary.

      Another thing, cholesterol is in with in limit. How is your arterial blood flow? Low carb diets seem to impair it.

      Your results are great, congratulations. So are mine and my wife’s. But we are om a very high carb diet. So my issue is here you cannot find tigers eating raw meats and other tigers eating rice.

      There is diet that is made for all humans.

      Another thing, ketosis is a survival mechanism in nature, don’t see why you would want to be in a state of survival 24/7.

      • Chris Divito Rebecca Dhaliwal

        Hey Arturas, First, I was 420lbs at 18 years old trying every doctor, dietitian, government recommended diet and exercise program you could think of which is how I got to be 420lbs. I am now 220lbs, once I realized everything we have been told about food, nutrition and exercise by the so called authorities was backwards. I switched to a variety of Paleo/Keto type lifestyles with no exercise. My lab numbers are great, including ultra sounds of all my organs, despite the damage I did to my body over the years trying high carbage diets and just straight up stupid cardio workouts. Oh cholesterol; do some research and you will find out that the more the better. WHO study showed lower mortality for those people with the highest cholesterol in a 192 country study. From 50%-75% of the people admitted to hospital with heart attacks had normal or below normal cholesterol. Cholesterol is required to produce Vit D from sunlight, it is the master hormone to produce many other hormones, it removes toxins from your body and goes any where in your body with inflammation to help. Any studies that have tried to prove the connection between high cholesterol and poor health have now been dismissed and disproved and seen by any intelligent person as pure fraudulent quackery.

  • Catherine

    What type of foods would be best for ibs with chronic constipation? after reading the top 5 foods areas that are possible culprits it eliminates all foods. So where are the recommendations to prevent ibs cc?

  • Peter

    Great website Dr Ede, but I haven’t found a single mention about eggs. Although you write about dairy, and eggs for some reason were classified as such, they are not a milk product and I’d like to hear your opinion if there are any reasons not to eat, or limit their consumption.


Last Modified: Jun 14, 2016 at 5:59pm