One of the problems – if it could be called a problem – in writing this blog and moderating the comments is most readers are pretty intelligent. Occasionally I have the angry vegetarian wander in, take me to task for my errant ways, and, after a comeback or two on my part, drift away to never be heard from again.  Thanks to the confirmation bias, this blog pretty much selects against the non-meat eater.  So, I tend to forget how many people there are out there who are pretty much clueless about basic nutrition, and how many people there are who bobble through life spouting cliches they’ve heard along the way as great nutritional truths.  Based on the comments I get on this blog, it seems to me that most people are pretty nutritionally sophisticated and reasonable.

But I have just recently been disabused of that notion.

My friend Tim Ferriss put up an excerpt of our new book The 6-Week Cure on his site a few days ago and asked me if I would mind answering a few of the commenters.  I told him I wouldn’t mind at all, but I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into.

Tim’s blog isn’t really a nutritional blog – it’s a lifestyle design blog (said term invented by Tim himself).  There is a little nutrition thrown in here and there, but mainly the blog is focused in other directions.  As a consequence, it attracts mainly youngish readers who enjoy following Tim’s adventures and want to learn how to model their lifestyles after his.  My blog is specifically directed to folks more interested in nutrition who are willing to put up with my digressions into other areas from time to time, so I expect them to be more nutritionally aware.

I wasn’t prepared for what I got in the comments on Tim’s post.  Surprisingly, there were a fair number of commenters – maybe even a majority – who would feel right at home on my blog.  But there were also a fair number who made me realize that nutritional sophistication is far from a universal phenomenon.  You can take a trip over to the comments section of his blog to see what I mean.  I pretty much answered only those who I thought were totally off track, so you’ll be able to read my comments, then track back to the comment I was responding to and see what I mean.

The experience made me realize just how much of a void there is in good info out there explaining why humans really are meat eaters at heart, so I’ve decided to do a couple of posts on the subject to be able to refer to in the future when this issue arises.  While I was mulling this idea over, I received a link to a piece of sheer idiocy that really pushed me over the edge.  It made me realize that if this kind of stuff is out there circulating, it’s no wonder these people have such bizarre notions of what constitutes a rational diet.

I’m going to start off this first part by examining some of this nonsense, and I’ll finish off in the second part by going through one of the classic papers of all time showing why we humans aren’t just meat eaters, but we are humans because we eat meat.

The link I had sent by a friend of mine is one I’ve seen referred to on a couple of other low-carb or Paleo sites.  I didn’t give it much thought until the Tim Ferriss blog experience (which, BTW, is still going on.  I just got binged on my email that Tim approved another 15 or so comments that I need to take a look at, so keep checking his blog) made me realize that there were really people out their buying into this nonsense.

The piece from AlterNet starts out with a big, bold headline:

Eating Meat Is Not Natural

No equivocating there.  A categorical statement if I’ve ever seen one.  Let’s see how the author of the piece – Kathy Freston – backs it up.  She starts out with a short introductory paragraph that ends with another categorical statement.  I’ve noticed that these folks love to write these things with such authority.  Same with the people on Tim’s blog.  There is no doubt in their minds that they’re correct.  But they are operating in an informational void.

Which brings to mind a great quote from Lierre Kieth’s book:

I was on the side of righteousness, and like any fundamentalist, I could only stay there by avoiding information.

Here is the intro paragraph to the AlterNet piece:

Going through the reader feedback on some of my recent articles, I noticed the frequently stated notion that eating meat was an essential step in human evolution. While this notion may comfort the meat industry, it’s simply not true, scientifically. [My italics]

No hesitance there.  “It’s simply not true, scientifically.”  Not even a smidgen of doubt.

How does our author prove it’s not true?  By referring to the writings of people who present themselves as scientists but who are ideological vegetarians.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus at Cornell University and author of The China Study (please check out the link), explains that in fact, we only recently (historically speaking) began eating meat, and that the inclusion of meat in our diet came well after we became who we are today. He explains that “the birth of agriculture only started about 10,000 years ago at a time when it became considerably more convenient to herd animals. This is not nearly as long as the time [that] fashioned our basic biochemical functionality (at least tens of millions of years) and which functionality depends on the nutrient composition of plant-based foods.”

Ah, our old friend Dr. T. Colin Campbell and the China study.  Many commenters on Tim’s blog referenced this study as if were gospel.  Before we get into The China Study, I’ve got a disclosure to make.  I’ve never read the thing.  So how can I talk about it intelligently?  Because I have appeared on the podium with Dr. Campbell.  A few years ago we both spoke at a symposium somewhere (I can’t even remember where now), and his talk preceded mine.  As I sat on the stage, I listened intently and made notes as I watched his slides.  What I realized right off the bat is that his whole shtick is nothing but an epidemiologic or observational study, which, as I’ve written about in these pages  before, proves no causality and serves only to derive hypotheses.  He spent his entire presentation trying to prove his thesis with studies that can’t he used to prove diddly.  Since I spent an hour listening, watching and then rebutting, I figure I’ve earned a pass from reading the book.

If you want to read more on The China Study, I suggest you take a look at two sources.  First, read Chris Masterjohn’s review, then you can read Dr. Campbell’s rebuttal, then Chris’s response to that.  And you can read my good friend Anthony Colpo’s review of the book.  The China Study is a pretty sorry piece of work and, since it is an observational study (the results of which are misrepresented in the pop science book available), it doesn’t prove squat.  I certainly wouldn’t rush out and become a vegetarian because of it.  Yet if you read some of the comments on Amazon, you would think this book is the Second Coming.  These poor people who have been so gulled simply don’t realize how worthless such studies are.

In the quote above, Dr. Campbell is obviously unaware that the birth of agriculture involved primarily the turn from a hunting/gathering subsistence to the growing of grain.  The agricultural revolution wasn’t a change from a herbivore existence to the herding of animals for food.  This kind of clap trap shows just how misguided these kind of folks are and how they twist the historical facts to suit their purposes.

[Note: I have since read The China Study and have posted about it here.]

The next ‘authority’ trotted out by our author is none other than Dr. Neal Barnard, the president of the inappropriately named Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine and himself a vegetarian.

That jibes with what Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine President Dr. Neal Barnard says in his book, The Power of Your Plate, in which he explains that “early humans had diets very much like other great apes, which is to say a largely plant-based diet, drawing on foods we can pick with our hands. Research suggests that meat-eating probably began by scavenging — eating the leftovers that carnivores had left behind. However, our bodies have never adapted to it. To this day, meat-eaters have a higher incidence of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other problems.”

This is the Dr. Barnhard of the much-ballyhooed (by him, at least) ‘study’ of the ill effects of low-carb diets that I rebutted a few years back.

He is correct in saying that the earliest of men probably begin to eat meat by scavenging.  The paleontological record seems to bear that out.  But the line about our bodies never adapting to it and the statement that meat-eaters have higher incidences of all the diseases mentioned is pure malarky.  If Dr. Barnhard were asked to come up with references for these statements, all he could possible produce would be a few observational studies, which, as we all know, don’t prove anything.  And for each one he could come up with, I could come up with just as many showing the opposite.

Now we get to the big gun: Richard Leakey.

There is no more authoritative source on anthropological issues than paleontologist Dr. Richard Leakey, who explains what anyone who has taken an introductory physiology course might have discerned intuitively — that humans are herbivores. Leakey notes that “[y]ou can’t tear flesh by hand, you can’t tear hide by hand … We wouldn’t have been able to deal with food source that required those large canines” (although we have teeth that are called “canines,” they bear little resemblance to the canines of carnivores).

Hmmm.  I wonder if Leakey has ever seen the canines of a gorilla?  They certainly have the appearance of the canines of a carnivore yet gorillas are pure vegetarians.  But let’s go on.

In fact, our hands are perfect for grabbing and picking fruits and vegetables. Similarly, like the intestines of other herbivores, ours are very long (carnivores have short intestines so they can quickly get rid of all that rotting flesh they eat).  We don’t have sharp claws to seize and hold down prey.  And most of us (hopefully) lack the instinct that would drive us to chase and then kill animals and devour their raw carcasses. Dr. Milton Mills builds on these points and offers dozens more in his essay, “A Comparative Anatomy of Eating.”

All this anatomical stuff is pure gibberish, yet many people not skilled in the art of critical thinking buy into it.  In part II of this post, I’ll address many of these anatomical issues, so we’ll leave it until then.  If you’re bored, you might want to take a look at the Comparative Anatomy of Eating, which is a not-very-successful attempt to push a square peg into a round hole.  Dr. Milton really has to stretch to get the anatomy to fit with his notions of what it is designed for.  I’ve seen so many variations on this theme – people showing minor anatomical differences to prove that humans are really herbivores – that I’ve lost count.

The author now turns to her last expert, a big time, mainstream doctor.

The point is this: Thousands of years ago when we were hunter-gatherers, we may have needed a bit of meat in our diets in times of scarcity, but we don’t need it now.  Says Dr. William C. Roberts, editor of the American Journal of Cardiology, “Although we think we are, and we act as if we are, human beings are not natural carnivores.  When we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us, because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores.”

This guy really goes off the rails.  He tells us that “when we kill animals to eat them, they end up killing us,…”  A strong statement that he has absolutely nothing but his own opinion to back it up with.  Then he really takes a leap.  These animals we kill to eat do us in “because their flesh, which contains cholesterol and saturated fat, was never intended for human beings, who are natural herbivores.”  Oh, really.  That cholesterol will do us in, eh?  Why is it that we have cholesterol ourselves and plants don’t?  Why is every cell in our bodies capable of making cholesterol?  Because we don’t need it?  The depth of his dumbth is unfathomable.  Realizing that this guy is the editor of a major cardiology journal lets you know really quickly why such journals publish such biased articles.

Our author goes on.

Sure, most of us are “behavioral omnivores” — that is, we eat meat, so that defines us as omnivorous. But our evolution and physiology are herbivorous, and ample science proves that when we choose to eat meat, that causes problems, from decreased energy and a need for more sleep up to increased risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Here again with the meat causes obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  Instead of the “ample science” she claims, there is no proof whatsoever.  She uses an interesting expression: she describes us humans as “behavioral omnivores,” which I think is a good definition, but she’s using it incorrectly.  She means that we are really herbivores, but we’ve learned to become omnivores, therefore we are behavioral omnivores, not real omnivores.  I agree with her, but with a twist.  I think we are designed as carnivores and have adapted to an omnivore existence, so we are behavioral omnivores, just not the way she thinks we are.  Gorillas are behavioral vegetarians.  They have the GI tracts from teeth to the other end of carnivores – and they do fine being fed meat in zoos – but they culturally are vegetarians or behavioral vegetarians.

Old habits die hard, and it’s convenient for people who like to eat meat to think that there is evidence to support their belief that eating meat is “natural” or the cause of our evolution. For many years, I too, clung to the idea that meat and dairy were good for me; I realize now that I was probably comforted to have justification for my continued attachment to the traditions I grew up with.

But in fact top nutritional and anthropological scientists from the most reputable institutions imaginable say categorically that humans are natural herbivores, and that we will be healthier today if we stick with our herbivorous roots. It may be inconvenient, but it alas, it is the truth.

She ends by summarizing all the twaddle she presented earlier.  And she relies on what others say to ‘prove’ her points – all the top scientists at all the most reputable institutions – which is a dead give away that she hasn’t gone to any original sources herself and is simply relying on hearsay.  But, hey, she’s a journalist, not a scientist, so she’s got to rely on the scientists to tell her what’s going on, right?  To a point, but she should also check with some other “top scientists” from other “reputable institutions” to perhaps provide counter opinions.

It almost defies belief that people can be so gullible as to put any credence whatsoever in an article such as this one, yet, after dealing with Tim’s blog, it’s apparent that many do.

One journalist who doesn’t, however, is my friend Amy Alkon, better known as The Advice Goddess who writes a syndicated column that I never miss.  In her latest, published in the Orange County Register, she gives advice to a vegan who has come a cropper in a burgeoning email romance with a non-vegetarian.  As you read the request for advice from the vegan, you can see her innate sense of moral authority start to bleed through.  Amy’s advice is priceless. (It was Amy, in fact, who emailed me the link (after some zealot had sent it to her) to the article above that I’ve just spent three pages dissecting.)

While you’re at it, read her advice to the next seeker after the vegan.  My favorite line:

People say the best things in life – love, friendship, moonlight – are free, but so are the worst things: lymphoma, a really big overbite, and road kill.

How true, how true.

The next post is going to be free, and I hope it will fall into the good kind of free category.  We’ll go over a famous paper from the anthropological literature making a virtually watertight case that it was eating meat that made us human.


  1. Confirmation bias comin’ atcha. A retired physician, lifelong family friend (whom I adore) suggested that vegan is now the corrrect way to eat-he’s Ornish all the way. He said I should read ‘The China Study’ in retort to me touting ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’, ‘Protein Power’, ‘Pure White and Deadly’, ‘Know Your Fats’, ‘Nourishing Traditions’, ‘Cereal Killer’, ‘Sugar Blues’, ‘Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me’, ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’, ‘The Vegetarian Myth’!!! Oy vay. I tried, but I couldn’t stomach TheChina Study so I read Chris Masterjohn’s review instead. I discovered that the actual ‘tests’ run in the china ‘study’ were blood tests over ONLY A THREE DAY PERIOD. Evolution took millions of years methinks.
    I think it’s the high fructose, wheat gluten toxins, Frankenstein fats and margarines that are doing these vegetarians IN…….

    You can buy them their books and send them to school, but you can’t make them learn.

  2. Hello, Dr Eades.
    What drives me nuts is when vegetarians misuse the whole colon length thing, saying that carnivores have short colons to get all that festering meat residue out of there before it gives them cancer or something. Herbivores need the long colon to give bacteria time to make short chain fatty acids from fiber. Carnivore colons are shorter because supporting longer ones makes no sense on an all meat diet, it’s metabolically expensive.
    David Jenkins did a study estimating the contribution of colonic-fermentation to the nutrition of the Western Lowland Gorilla, he came up with 57.3 percent short-chain fatty acids. He did another study of a very high fiber diet in humans, he had these people eating twelve pounds or so of food a day, it was pretty well a full eight hour day just eating. HDL went up, blood pressure went down. But he had to cheat, adding 700 calories of nuts to the diet, he just couldn’t get people to eat enough of that junk to keep weight stable. This study was given as evidence that humans were made for a pure plant diet, but could as easily be used as evidence that our colon, in spite of what vegetarian zealots like Jenkins might think, is not the colon of a pure herbivore.

    It is certainly not the colon of a pure herbivore.

  3. Hi Mike,

    I identify myself with your situation as I have had some conversations with vegetarians and vegans in the past. It takes no time to realize that we were not on the same page, at least with respect to information. At some point I remember saying, why don’t we put all our sources ‘on the table’, give them a good critical look and then discuss… that suggestion has never been taken seriously (I wonder why). Anyway, you recommended reading Monica Hughes’ blog a while ago and I found a link there to another blog by Stefan Guyenet that I thought might interest you as a reference:

    It is a very succinct, well structured and clear explanation on evolutionary basis of our diet explained in terms of our departure from chimps’ evolutionary tree, some 5 million years ago.


    Thanks. I had read this post, but I’m glad you linked to it for others.

  4. I used to be a professional scientist, and knew many “top scientists from reputable institutions”, and they generally don’t know squat beyond how to woo funding and shout done opposing ideas. I suspect most people outside of science would be shocked if they got to witness how science as a profession actually operates. It’s generally nasty and personal, because scientists largely have nothing to gain or lose beyond reputation. We often bring up the monetary conflict of interest between science and industry, but that money is really chickenfeed compared to what a scientist could make actually working in industry (think stock options in Pfizer pre-Lipitor). The trick of money in science is more about consolidating and maintaining power and position, which is all most “top scientists” really want.

    The unfortunate thing is that these people are actually intelligent and charismatic. They just use those gifts to advance their own private agenda, rather than engaging in the sort of rational discourse for the benefit of society.

  5. Great post: unfortunately in all walks of life ideology and emotion comes to forefront from the side of those who cannot argue based on fact, scientifc or otherwise. What was the old saying: Please don’t confuse me with the facts! For example diabetes is rampant in parts of India where vegetarian diets are prevalent. And a vegan might argue: ” Oh, that is because they do not consume whole grains” LOL,

    To me it boils down to this:

    sugar, sugar and sugar( and too much starch turns in to sugar)
    Omega 3 fatty acids
    best sources of protein

  6. Thanks for your work Dr. Eades. I found your site from Tim Ferris’s blog. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks. I’ll try. Welcome aboard.

  7. “He is correct in saying that the earliest of men probably begin to eat meat by scavenging. The paleontological record seems to bear that out.” This sentence illustrates why I trust what you write more than I trust some other authors. You qualify your statements. We’ll probably never really know what earliest man ate. We can just guess.

    BTW, no one has pointed out that gorillas, which are strict vegetarians, are fat and hairy and have harems. Does this mean that if humans become vegans they will become fat and hairy and live in harems?

    Hmmm. If true, it might be worth becoming a vegetarian, other than the fat and hairy part. 🙂

  8. If they want to be herbivores, let them. Just stay out of my pasture.

    Yum, big leafy mouthfuls of grass and clover. Hay, straw, leaves, stalks. That’s what herbivores eat. Not just fully ripened fruit, fully ripened vegetables, or fully developed and cooked grains.

    1. You could really only evolve as a herbivore in a climate where fruits, nuts and leaves were on the buffet all year round. Today we have sorts of stuff out of season.
      We evolved to eat meat if only because, where we lived, there was nothing else to eat for half the year.
      All the other primates are still stuck in the tropics, except for baboons, the most omnivorous.

  9. Dear Dr. Mike,

    I’m sending you a link to what I think is a very important bit to add to your impressive arsenal of knowledge. I’ve noticed you have referred previously, somewhere, to the digestive system of the gorilla. And in this post you refer to them as “behaviourally vegetarian”, but anatomically carnivorous. My take on this is that gorillas, chimps, and humans have a distant common ancestor who was possibly omnivore (I don’t know what the current theories are on that). But as we diverged, the gorillas went herbivore, chimps went (or stayed?) omnivore, leaning towards plants, and humans went mostly carnivore, or omnivore leaning heavily carnivore. This link shows that pure herbivores are divided between foregut digesters (cattle, goat, sheep, deer, gazelle), and hindgut digesters (horse, pig, rabbit, gorilla, monkey). So, while we do share the same basic digestive layout with the gorilla, as neither of us have the specialized four-stomach system of the ruminant, the gorilla is highly adapted to an herbivorous, high-volume, cellulosic diet. There are large, important differences in the caecum and colon. The most interesting twist is that when you look at what happens to the cellulose, the gorilla is actually on a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet. And the fats are saturated short-chain fatty acids. The ruminants turn out to be on an even lower-carb diet, in fact zero-carb. Who’d have thought?!
    The article is from Barry Groves, and is based partly on a study from 1997 in the Journal of Nutrition on the diet of the western lowland gorilla. You have to go on to part 2 for some of this. Here’s the link: I think is a very important bit to add to your impressive arsenal of knowledge

    I’ve discussed these ideas for years and have sent the 1997 study to a lot of people. It’s true that the gorillas are basically on low-carb diets because of the conversion of plant roughage into short-chain fatty acids. I still stand by the idea that gorillas are built like carnivores and adapt easily when in captivity. But it is clear that gorillas are also more adapted to a vegetarian diet than humans, all of which we’ll deal with in the next post.

  10. It’s nice to think of our ancient ancestors as peaceful, Adam and Eve-like, picking fruit and vegetables as their sole source of nutrition, but something doesn’t seem quite right.
    Why would humans have developed large, hungry brains capable of self-awareness, prediction, and social awareness if our food source was non-motile, and not cunning or generally dangerous?
    Anatomy aside, we have the intelligence of carnivores. Humans can singly out-wit an animal that may be faster/stronger than them, and we can certainly hunt in groups with great success. These abilities comes at a great metabolic cost.

    All will be discussed in the next post.

  11. Congrats on the book! Just got it and am enjoying it.

    A question about protein intake recommendations.

    Is the intake amount (grams) based on current body weight or desired body weight?


    I would start at current for the thermogenic properties of the protein, then start to reduce the amounts with weight loss.

  12. “Eating Meat Is Not Natural”

    I never cease yet to feel amazed that vegetarians can make this statement without feeling cognitive dissonance.

    If not natural, then what do you call the spontaneous consumption of meat? I thought “natural” meant “spontaneously occuring.”

    If man is a “natural herbivore” it is very difficult to explain why people go to great lengths to obtain meat. I would expect that under conditions of hunger and lack of appropriate vegetation, a true herbivore would starve to death, not go hunting.

    I haven’t seen any hungry cattle go hunting, or any hungry lions foraging for fruits and vegetables.

    It seems an ideological or nutritional vegetarian has to live in denial of reality to make such statements. Unfortunately vegetarians can find plenty of experts who also live in this fantasy, and try to make it reality. I for a time followed them myself in my youthful innocence. Seems we easily get led astray by “authorities” who start us young on lies like Santa Claus, God, and the like. We learn early to take falsehood as fact.

  13. I’d think that canines are not only for hunting. Baboons have great big ones. I saw a documentary where one put a great big gash on the snout of another baboon. But when they hunt, they seem to go after little monkeys and don’t need canines to hold onto large prey.

    Hey, come to think of it, in every video I’ve seen of apes hunting, they’re always after monkeys – or else they kill members of rival tribes in combat and eat them afterward.

  14. This is a great post, thanks Dr. Mike. I read the comment thread on Tim’s blog, and it certainly looks like you have your hands full over there. I am looking forward to your post on the human GI tract. I first read about the whole colon length argument years ago, but it seemed compelling to me at the time. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

  15. Is there any research on whether low-carb (or all meat) diets help alleviate general allergy symptoms? I’m not asking just in terms of food allergies, but also seasonal, mold, dust, etc. I started thinking about this because you had mentioned in passing the potential benefits of IF for those who suffer from allergies and that there’s a relationship between the physiological effects of IF and low-carbing. As I am allergic to a number of plants, some edible and some not, but no meat, I started thinking about correlations. 🙂

    I’m interested in trying IF, but i’m concerned about its safety, as your various writings on the subject seem like you’re unsure how heartily to recommend it.

    As more data has come in, I’m back in the camp of IF, so I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s been my experience that an all-meat diet will significantly reduce all kinds of allergies. Most food allergies arise from various plant antigens, so it makes sense that eliminating them from the diet should reduce the allergen load.

    1. Cutting milk out of the diet temporarily, getting adequate saturated fat and cholesterol, going gluten-free and maize-free permanently, high-dose vitamin D, and taking a probiotic; these things have cut out or reduced to insignificance all my airborne allergies.

      1. Fats are antigenically neutral; there are no antibodies to fats; so it stands to reason that the more calories you get from fats, the less you are exposed to antigenic proteins and carbohydrates. Also, dietary cholesterol and saturated fats protect against leaky gut, which is how antigens and complement activators enter the bloodstream in larger than usual amounts. Then there is the insulin factor, and the anti-inflammatory effects of saturated fats, DHA and vitamin D.

  16. I like to ask the people who claim we should be vegetarians by design why there are essential amino acids, essential fatty acids but no such thing as an essential carbohydrate.

    What answer do they give?

  17. Most people in the world are misguided by orthodoxy. Be it veganism, religion, or what ever, showing that most people need moral guidance instead of creating their own vision. So I guess it is part of the human condition.

    I think it has to do with the part of our brain we call the lizzard brain. When we have to make a choice about someting and a lot of uncertainty is involved AND the impact is severe, our rationality is taken over by the lizzard brain. And the lizzard brain reckons that the safest bet is to stay with the herd. A connection through the neocortex gives us the idea that we have just made a rational choice, when in fact it was emotional and subconscious.

    So it is the uncertainty that many people feel that makes them choose the safe mainstream. And you can’t blame them. The only way to reduce the uncertainty is to give them consistent information. And in this internet world that will be a long and hard struggle.

    I have a lizzard brain too. And boy have I been wrong in the past. I can only be gratefull for people like dr Eades, Gary Taubes, Art DeVany, and many others to have set me on the right path.

  18. I actually dated a vegan a while back. Scariest part (aside from what all that starch does to their digestive tracts : — ) is when they want to cook for you. You don’t want to refuse because they are trying to be nurturing but my God, have you seen some of the stuff they eat?? I think I decided to end the relationship when I was presented a plate full of overcooked noodles covered with a tofu-and-fake-“cheese” sauce. It was the nastiest thing I ever saw on a dinner plate.

    Sounds pretty wretched. I think I, too, would have made a run for the door.

  19. Oops, just realized today is 9/11. Like a reminder of how dangerous misguided, fanatical people can be. Best wishes to all you in the US and strength for the people that still suffer from that horrible day.

    Thanks very much for the thoughts.

  20. I love your blog, and receive it via e-mail in my Outlook; however, there’s an annoying bug that your blog is affected with. In your writing, all apostrophes are missing and show up as little white boxes, or multiple spaces throughout the text.

    I can’t fix it on my side, since it’s a problem with your distribution method. When you have time, could you possibly fix the problem? I’m sure I’m not the only one with this problem. The details for fixing it are here:

    I would have contacted you in some other manner, but there’s no contact method or e-mail address listed for you specifically on your websites.


    I don’t use Microsoft, so I’m afraid I can’t help you. I do everything on a Mac. It is picked up by Feedburner and sent out via email, and I have absolutely nothing to do with it.

  21. IMO, vegetarianism is some kind of anorexia – I was almost there when being unhealthy child. Lack of digestive enzymes??? It was easy to feed me some carbs, esp. sweets, but meat – no way!

    *waiting for ‘brown’ man to deliver my copy TODAY!*


    Long article from a vegetarian for “spiritual” reasons. Even he has to concede the role meat has played in the development of our brain, but his argument is more for diehard vegetarians/vegans to stop saying humans are biologically herbivores.

    Gorillas are not vegetarians and he has a few references ( ):

    FFH: Gorillas are total vegetarians.

    REPLY/COMMENTS: Both lowland and mountain gorillas consume insects, deliberately and indirectly, that is, on the vegetation they consume. The above quote from Hamilton and Busse [1978] cites Fossey (personal communication) regarding insect consumption by mountain gorillas. Tutin and Fernandez [1992] report consumption of insects by lowland gorillas in the Lope Reserve, Gabon: termites (whose remains were contained in 27.4% of gorilla feces) and weaver ants. Note that both insects mentioned are social insects; the consumption of social insects is efficient, as their concentration in nests allows easy harvesting of significant quantities. Of further interest here is the information that termites are known to contain significant quantities of vitamin B-12; see Wakayama et al. [1984] for details. Insectivory by mountain gorillas is discussed further later in this section.

    Moreover, gorillas have huge back muscles which are an evolutionary adaptation to ripping the bark off trees to get grubs found within. Humans evolved from insectivore, like most of the primates, to scavenger to hunter and the more meat we ate, the larger and bigger our brains and our bodies got. Neanderthals were top level carnivores and we outcompeted them for the same food.

    There is no such thing as a vegan animal as all animals eat insects. Ruminants are probably the only ones that could be considered strict vegetarians (they consume milk at birth, ergo not vegan) and they have an impressive gut that can convert grasses of very low nutritional value into high quality meat. All other animals are fairly opportunistic when it comes to meat and will consume it if available. Even a pseudoruminant like a horse will consume a dead mouse if they find it, which is why there are cases of trichinosis in horse meat.

  23. Gretchen, gorillas also pass loud gas bombs all day. Just what I want in a man, fat, hairy and farty. My dream of love.

  24. Great post Doc. Looking forward to reading Part 2. I made a hot-shot the bookstore last night and grabbed a copy of 6 Week Cure. So excited I almost cruised right by the checkout!! Read the Intro while preparing my carnovoric dinner. Thank you for another great source of information !! We’re fighting the good fight here in the midwest.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the book.

  25. Wow talk about running around! It seems like you were dropped right in the middle and had to hit the ground running. I hope you’re up for the task. It looks pretty daunting.

    Your book is coming today or tomorrow.


    Meeting myself coming and going.

  26. I just bought and read your new book. It’s a great read, and very inspiring. I’m a medical student, and to me your view of weight loss and sustainable good health just makes the most sense. One question though. I’m 26. Is “The Cure” for someone like me or should it be modified a bit? I’ve been trying to shed some pounds since college.

    Please do continue enlightening us with your sense.

    Thanks. The book is probably not as much for you now as it would be the you in 15 or 20 years, but following the steps as written would certainly help you shed a few pounds. You could modify it here and there, but you would probably lose more just following it the way it is.

  27. Dr. Eades, great post. I read your and Tim’s blog on a regular basis and was happy to see a preview of your new book. As a neutral party I had a hard time digesting some of those comments too – I can’t imagine the frustration this would present to you. At least Tim knows what the score is.
    What I’m struggling with now is why even need vegetables and fruits at all in our diet. I can’t help wonder what the First Nations people ate 9000 years ago. There is plenty of wild game and fish and wild seasonal fruit (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) but I’ve yet to see a wild carrot patch. Why are vegetables and fruits so sacred? What’s your take on this?

    My take is that we really don’t need them, but we eat them because they’re there and because they taste good. And they keep the diet from being so boring. I’m sure they add a few phytonutrients that are good for us, but I’m not sure we wouldn’t get the same nutrition in just a little different form from an all meat diet.

  28. Besides all the normal garbage that most of the commenters are catching, I’d like to add this –
    “He explains that “the birth of agriculture only started about 10,000 years ago at a time when it became considerably more convenient to herd animals. This is not nearly as long as the time [that] fashioned our basic biochemical functionality (at least tens of millions of years) and which functionality depends on the nutrient composition of plant-based foods.””
    I especially like that Campbell, who really ought to know better, makes a blatant false statement about the time it took to “fashion our basic biochemical functionality”. (Man, that’s a mouthful) According to him, it tens of millions of years. Now if he is talking about the process from primordial goo till now, that’s one thing, but then his statement is also misleading. He makes the “biochemical functionality” statement, which to a lay person, sounds like he’s talking about evolution. It also sounds like he talking about human evolution after we became our our subspecies. Correct me if I am wrong, but the range given by most paleontologists for humans being around is about 3 – 5 million years. Not to mention that in order to believe Campbell’s statement, we have to believe that biochemical functionality can only evolve once every ten million years.

    And to commenter seyont, ruminant herbivores eat grasses exclusively, herbivores that eat fruits and vegetables do not eat grasses (grain) at all. And they especially do not cook it 🙂

    Three to five million years ago we were just starting to walk upright, so we weren’t really humans by any stretch then. Lucy was estimated to have lived about 3.2 million years ago, and she was an Australopithicus afarensis, which long predates anything remotely human. We know from carbon isotope studies that Australopithicus africanus, who came not too long after Lucy, ate meat. And there has been a continuing increase in meat consumption since. So a lot has happened in 3.2 million years – so Campbell is way off base.

  29. Hey Dr. Mike,

    As a devout evolutionist and economist, I suggest an immediate stop to fighting the vegan myth in all forms, save ones that affect policy and law. Why? Well, you’re a libertarian of some sort. You can figure out the policy/law half. But really, we don’t have a moral imperative to save vegans from themselves. We have more of a moral imperative to save Homo sapiens sapiens from the weak minded Homo ovis aries (aka Sheeple) who buy into the vegan myth.

    Let’s put our money where our meat eating mouths are. We hold that a vegan diet is essentially unhealthy. This should lead to selection pressures over a number of generations. Either they can diverge from the main or they can be bred out of existence. Or they can wind up inbred, as many of them are insufferable towards meat eaters.

    If we believe in the core values of libertarianism (we do, just different aspects of them) we should ensure that big government will not put sin taxes on meats and fats, and not regulate diet. Really, we might want to keep the USDA out of the pyramid game entirely, or urge them to produce two different pyramids: one for the “carb sensible” and one for the “soon to be on statins.” We would like society to be free to choose their own demise (like smoking, riding a motorcycle without a helmet, and driving a car without a seat belt on). If you would like to opt out of the gene pool, I’m not gonna stand in your way, as long as you don’t hurt other people by doing so (the essential problem with the Vegan Mafia… they can’t be happy as islands of vegan wonderfulness, they have to spread the infection… it must be something in the saitan).

    Now, this doesn’t get in the way of blog posts or books, or even commentary on blog posts. You can still drop some knowledge. Just don’t bother refuting a vegan. It is simply not worth the effort.

    PS- had to share these ads, popping on your blog, right now:
    Vegan Protein Superfoods
    Read The Top Protein Superfoods & Learn What Works. Full Free Report


    TOMS Vegan Shoes
    Official TOMS Shoes Online Store. Vegetarian Shoes For Tomorrow!

    You can have their money, but it’s clearly money not well spent.

    First, I’m working with my web guy to get rid of these obnoxious ads. I make about a whopping fifty bucks a month from them, which is not nearly enough to make up for the clutter and confusion on the site. I’ve had people ask me if I work for Atkins because of the big Atkins ads that appear. Soon these ads will be a thing of the past.

    And, Max, I think your idea is brilliant. It is of the let’s-allow-the-herd-to-be-thinned variety, but brilliant, nonetheless. And, hey, there’s nothing wrong with thinning the herd. It works in the wild.

  30. Dr. Eades, great post and I can’t wait to read part II. I love reading the readers’ comments and yours as well, however a lot of the longer comments are not being fully displayed ever since your blog went to the new look and format. I can see about the first 6 lines then it drops into neverland. Is it me or my computer or is your comments section still needing some work? Cheers.

    I’m having my guy (who is getting very tired of my calls) trying to get this fixed.

  31. I read one of your responses mentioning grass fed vs. grain fed. How important do you think it is to eat mostly grass fed meat?

    Thanks for all the great info

    I think it’s preferable, but I certainly don’t eat all grass fed myself.

  32. What a great post Dr. Eades. I had a question after my rant.

    Unfortunately, now I think you are a crap.

    Despite writing a great book, my abs are cursing you for recommending that ‘evil’ exercise to slenderize my inner tube! I remember my father doing this when we were younger actually, when he used to practice yoga regularly.

    I hate you *lol*

    Loving the book and have learned alot, but the ab exercise from hell has me really sore this morning.

    One question: I just made some homemade ghee (yes, how Indian is that I know) this morning from 2.75 lbs of organic butter and Kerrygold butter (not organic, but I think it’s grassfed). Does ghee violate the ‘dairy’ principle? I am trying to minimize my dairy, just having one scoop of this pricey organic grassfed ‘raw’ whey that has 1 gram of carbs (I make a post-workout pudding out of 1 scoop plus 2 tbs of ghee) – the rest of the day I am just eating grassfed ground beef and ghee.

    Thanks again

    No, ghee doesn’t really violate the dairy principle because the making of ghee involves removing most of the dairy solids from the fat of the butter.

    I warned you about the exercise.

  33. >Does this mean that if humans become vegans they will become fat and hairy and live in harems?

    Yes, but the women in the harem will also be fat and hairy.

    I knew there had to be a catch.

  34. Just a picky note, in regards to Amy’s response, if I am reading the following sentence correctly from your article.

    ‘As you read the request for advice from the vegan, you can see her innate sense of moral authority start to bleed through. ‘

    The vegan was a he not a she.

    BTW thanks for all you do. Your nutritional information probably saved my son’s life and now our whole family are eating this way. Even me who had been a vegetarian for about 36 years.

    How do you know the vegan was a he instead of a she? There was not a personal pronoun in the vegan’s question. Since virtually all the vegans I know personally are female, I made the supposition that she was a she. Women do date, you know. But it could’ve been a he as well. For some reason, I just can’t see a male writing that he “concedes a belief that vegans are more evolved from a spiritual standpoint,” but, hey, maybe I run with the wrong crowd.

  35. This might be a comment for your part 2, but we have two eyes facing forward for a reason. To judge distance and make us better hunters. We dont have eyes on the side of our heads like prey. Actually, I have no scientific study to proove that, but it is a great conversation starter with vegetarians. 🙂

    I’ll bet it is.

  36. yeah……herbivores that are domestically raised eat those things like hay and straw…….eating “fully ripened” and “developed” grains hardly makes you less of an herbivore!…….and by the way, in case you didn’t notice “real” carnivores eat their meat raw!

  37. @Dave, as someone actively pursuing a career in academia (i.e. working on a PhD) I can confirm that all you say is completely accurate. Just don’t ask any of these “professionals” where the bodies are buried.

  38. There are a lot of facts in nutritional world that refutes vegetarianism but perception is reality and its impossible to change anyones’s mind unless that mind mind is expandable to allow change in. I have a dear of friend of mine who is both vegetarian and Jahova witness. I hope I spelled it correct. I have noticed that changing one’s mind about their vegetarian lifestyle is similar in changing their religious belief. And much like religion, vegetarainism is based more on faith rather than pure evidence based science. If you are vegetarian a simple fact that only meat is composed of all 12 essential amino acid means squat. And a simple fact that going low carb cures many of their allergies means nothing. It all means nothing if your mind is indoctrinated with moral superiority as they believe. While their intent might be noble, their relentless strive to give it a scintific base is silly. But if they simply admit to all their followers the reason of their ways is purely superior morality and nothing else, they will lose many members of their gangs. It is much more effective to inject nutritional superiority as well. Didnt Gebbels say that the bigger the lie, the faster people will believe in it? Dr Eades, I understand your passion for this subject, but I dont get why you are so driven to refute folks whos whole existence is based on being vegetarians. Are you seriously that passioante about changing the world, ONE VEGETARIAN AT A TIME?

    I studied nutrition extensively at one point, however I was still not convinced which way to lean. I tried many, many diets to no avail. I analized till I was paralized. And one day I simply let my body be the judge and it did! It judge in favor of your beliefs, Dr Eades and I thank you and my body for it. So unless these guys and girls are ready, willing and able to let their bodies do their talking for them and not their mind, your passion and solid scientific evidence means no more than men logic to a jeolous female while having period!

    I’m not trying to change the minds of any committed vegetarians. Those minds probably can’t be changed anyway. What I try to do is provide evidence to those who want to follow the correct path (or at least the correct path as I know it now – new evidence could arise tomorrow to change my mind) yet who have their faith shaken a little by the constant drum beat of the press and other no nothings, who, sadly, are in the vast majority.

  39. Mr Mike, is it ok to use Super Green Chocolate in your protein shakes while on first two weeks of 6 weeks cure? in case you have no clue what i am talking about, here is a link to the product. Amazing Grass Chocolate Green Superfood Powder, 8.5-Ounce Canister

    Super Greens claim to be totally organic and replenish 6 serving of vegetables simply by throwing one scoop into the protein shakes. Its only 4 carbs with 2 being fiber. But I still dont want to upset the delicate balance of your shake created by you and your lovely partner in crime.

    The two grams of net carbs aren’t all that bad, so if you want to add some grass to your shakes, go for it.

  40. Hi Dr Mike,

    Wow, I read through all your comments on Tim’s blog, you did great work but your fingers must be tired! Loved that blog post from the Advice Goddess, very funny. I think some of the vegans are more right brained than you and I are. They don’t really ‘get’ objective reality.

    I saw you mentioned you’re gearing up for part II of this subject. I just wanted to throw this into the mix. In addition to comparing digestive systems for clues to human evolution, another thing to look at is brain functions.

    Are you familiar with William H. Calvin? He’s a professor at U of Washington with a Ph D. in physiology. He’s written several popular science books on evolution.

    Here’s his homepage:

    He has a hypothesis that our human ancestors evolved throwing skills in order to hunt meat. He thinks that the brain circuitry required for accurate throwing was later co-opted to produce language abilities, since both activities require fine motor control, and brain circuitry that could move faster than our conscious awareness. Also as regarding the poster on Tim’s blog about no teeth or claws to rip hides, he discusses the invention of the hand axe as part of the hypothesis which takes care of that problem.

    An old paper of Calvin’s that I really like about the throwing skills is this one, he gets into it more in a couple of his books:

    Then later he had an article in Scientific American with a bigger picture:

    Some of his other work led him into the idea that natural climate change (ice ages and such) also had an impact on human evolution and meat eating.

    Hmmm. Interesting. I wasn’t aware of this guy. He and I certainly wouldn’t see eye to eye on the climate change debate, that’s for sure. But my next post should tie in a little with his ideas about evolution of the brain.

  41. Just thought I’d share my little laugh for the week. I had a conversation with a vegan who was very proudly showing off her vegan chocolate chip cookies, made with vegan “chocolate chips” and vegan “butter.” (all full of soybean oil and who knows what else, very little that could actually be considered real food) I commented that I follow a low-carb diet, and she said “Low-carb is such a fallacy. All you have to do is avoid processed foods.” Hmmmm…

  42. The vegetarians at make the commenters on Tim Ferriss’ blog pale in comparison of dumbth.

    I hope he doesn’t want to excerpt our new book. 🙂

  43. Thanks for the reply Dr. Mike. I’ve been following you quite regularly since your post on Tim’s blog about saturated fats. You’ve definitely sparked my interest in bariatrics as a career choice. What is it like, and do u know if there are any fellowship programs for internists or family practicioners?

    I’m still a final year med student, but intend on going into either internal medicine or family practice.

    Bariatrics is an interesting career choice because you end up taking care of not just obesity but diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and all the so-called diseases of civilization. And you try (at least I do) to take care of them by helping patients make better nutritional choices. Because the field is so new, it’s ever changing. When I went to my first ASBP (American Society of Bariatric Physicians) meeting back in the late 1980s, I would have been tarred and feathered had I mentioned I was using a low-carb diet to treat my patients. A couple of years ago, I gave the keynote speech to the group, and it was well received.

    As far as I know, there are no bariatric fellowships – it’s an OJT kind of thing. The ASBP gives a course and certification exam, but it’s not the same as getting board certified.

    If you are interested, you should attend an ASBP meeting (I would be you could get in inexpensively as a student) and attend an Obesity Society meeting. The Obesity Society, of which I’ve been a member forever, is the academic society of obesity researchers. The meetings are great, a lot of good information, but also a lot of narrow minded people. Their meeting is in late October and is in Washington, DC this year. You might also take a look at the Nutrition & Metabolism Society, which is composed of physicians and academicians who do a lot of low-carb research. They have a terrific online journal that his highly rated and a lot of top notch people.

    If you’re interested, you can go to the resources page of our website and access a number of the journals I read and get a sense of what’s going on in the field. Just one caveat, though. We are in the midst of a redo of our website, so things will be changing for a few weeks.

  44. I went to buy your book at B&N in a hipster area of Brooklyn. Its situated in the middle of Park Slope. I could barely locate your book. I finally found it on a small table next to the vegetarian book by some prettty girl, I believe Carol, gee forgot the last name. It was about raw diet. In any case I found it ironic they would put it there. I guess those smart vegans know hot to hide your book, lol. In any case those of us who know your work would find it anyway, but I was mostly concerned about people who have never read your work. I asked the manager why in the world they would put your book where it was and he replied that it was temporary position until they reorganize other shelves. I shall see, would be intresting to follow up.

    Here is a joke I once heard about vegans and thought it was funny. How many vegans does it take to change a lightbulb?
    -Two, one to change it and one to check for animal ingredients.

  45. Amazon just informed me that the book has been delivered. I’ll pick it up on Monday when I get back home. I don’t really expect anything new but I do enjoy reading your books – they are well written, well researched and – well – entertaining! And there is certainly no need to convince me to eat meat – on the contrary, I have been readily absorbing all the information about “meat is man’s natural diet and good for you” and still do. Old dogmas die hard and after 30 years of indoctrination the old beast called “Meat is bad and causes cancer” still raises its ugly head. Occasionally.

    “I don’t really expect anything new…” AAARRRGGGHHHH. Oh, how sharper than a serpent’s tooth…

    You may be surprised at how much new stuff you will find.

  46. Dear Dr Eades,

    Regarding meat eating and osteoporosis – I have osteoporosis and would like to know a bit more about the correlation between high protein and calcium loss hypothesis from bones. I know paleolithic man had stronger bones and ate more meat, but he also did lots more exercise from youth and got a lot more vitamin D from the sun, so that may have balanced any calcium losses ? I worry because whenever I have had blood tests since going Paleo my urea levels are always above normal but there’s nothing wrong with my kidneys and it’s all to do with my high protein diet. I wish I could find out more. Can you recommend a study please ?

    I’m middle aged but I haven’t a middle age middle so I never considered buying your latest book, but after reading all those comments on that other blog, I’m now so intrigued I’m considering buying it just for the extra information I might get from it. I have your book Protein Power Lifeplan and have been following your blog and a low carb Paleo diet for a few years now.

    with thanks for all the invaluable information you constantly give,

    I get asked this question so often that I should simply do a post on it and be done with it. It’s a little much for a didactic in the comments section, but the short version is as follows. Theoretically, certain foods – meats, hard cheeses, grains – cause a slight acidity in the blood. This acid has to be buffered. The body leaches calcium from the bones to buffer the acid. Less calcium in the bones, means osteoporosis. Theoretically. It would all seem to work this way, but in the real world, most of the studies show that people who eat the most animal protein have the strongest bones. So, it kind of shows the difference between theory and reality.

    If you’re urea is high – and I’m sure you’re talking about the BUN test on your blood – you probably need to drink more fluids.

  47. Did you read Wrangams new book about Fire ? Have not but am about to.If yee did wondered what you thought please ?

    I thought it was excellent, but methinks he had to stretch a little to prove his thesis and fill up a full sized book. A lot of good information, though. Especially about dietary induced thermogenesis. I wasn’t expecting that.

  48. A little while ago I read a couple of books on philosophy, and they were written in a a very clear and lucid style, the arguments very rational and nuanced. I began to realise how much I’d relied on hearsay. What did I really know, anyway?

    Quite possibly that helped me become a bit more open minded, and so when I read PP and The Paleo Diet, I was happy to try it as an experiment. After only a few weeks on a low-carb diet, I found something quite surprising (and which I hadn’t been expecting), namely, my depression disappeared. And a year later, I continue to enjoy a good feeling on life. I still have the same problems, but they don’t bother me in the way they did before, back when I always felt like there was something wrong with my life. I had spent a couple of years seeing psychotherapists, but got quite frustrated because it never seemed to relieve me of the depression, and had given up on it. So now, just maybe, what was “wrong” with my life, was my diet. Maybe the body felt bad because it was being fed bad. Once my depression lifted, I felt motivated and confident enough to reconcile with my wife whom I’d been separated from for two years. I think that counts as a result.

    Now I don’t know which particular detail of any theory on nutrition is the correct one, and there’s lots of possibilities, but I look for two things. When I read an article, even if it is just an “opinion” piece, I listen for clear thinking, and I’m wary of muddled smoky arguments and empty assertions. Second, I look for something that I can verify or test for myself.

    Dr Eades, people like yourself who emphasise critical thinking–simple questions like, “ask yourself, how would they know that?”, do a great service to the world. I’m eagerly looking forward to reading The 6-Week Cure.

    Interesting comment. A few years ago (actually longer ago than a few) when we got started in this biz, bookstore shelves were groaning under the weight of all the low-fat diet books out there. At the same time, in a different section of the bookstore other shelves were groaning under the weight of countless books on depression. I don’t think this was a coincidence.

    We once did a study (in fact, our clinic had the largest number of subjects in this study of any center in the world) on a fat blocking agent that ultimately passed the FDA and is now available. Subjects in this study could be on no medications. We had a terrible time keeping patients in the study because these subjects – on an artificial low-fat diet because the drug blocked fat uptake – got depressed, went to their regular doctors and got put on antidepressants. It was a common, common occurrence. It’s shouldn’t be a surprise, though, when you consider that the brain is primarily fat and contains an enormous amount of cholesterol. One would think – if one thought rationally – that depriving the brain of these substances would have consequences.

  49. Dear Mike,I’m a retired family physician and a proponent of the low carb diet for the last 35 years.As I get older I find that I have to keep carbs very low to prevent weight gain.However eating a high meat diet I find predisposes to constipation.How do you avoid that?I eat a handful of almonds daily with no fear of weight gain–however nut butters are fatal!What’s your take on prevention of constipation on a low carb/low fiber diet? Tim Whitehead.

    Strangely enough, increasing the fat usually helps. A lot of people who follow a low-carb diet try to remove as much fat as possible from their meat and eat only the muscle part. Increasing fat intake doesn’t really contribute to weight gain if carbs are kept low, but it really does improve bowel function. It would seem to work by sending more fat down the GI tract to kind of grease things up, but it’s strange because most studies show that the amount of fat making its way down the GI tract is about the same irrespective of how much fat goes in the mouth. I don’t know mechanistically why this works, but I do know from a lot of experience that it does.

  50. Man the omnivore suffers the diseases of civilization including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Man the carnivore doesn’t.

    Good point.

  51. Dr. Mike,
    I noticed that my protein powder says it has 2615 Leucine per scoop- just wanted to make sure that is all I need since I know you talked about how important leucine is. I also notice I am rather “loose” in my bowels is this typical or anything to be concerned about.
    Thanks Pat

    The leucine dosage sounds about right. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the bowel situation.

  52. It doesn’t seem so quite like the good guys vs. the bad guys to me, since Ornish has been telling people for 30 years to stop eating sugar and flour, and Pritikin before him. It might turn out that the points of agreement between you and them affect health a lot more than the disagreements. That you don’t agree with Ornish, Pritikin, etc about steak might be trivial compared to your total agreement about Oreos.

    We’re both in agreement about not eating oreos, but we’re not in agreement about much else.

  53. Ah, your right again in regards to not knowing if the vegan in Amy’s article was a male or female. I fell into the trap of assuming it was a male dating a female. Stupid me. Most vegans I come across are female as well.

    Which brings to mind something I have been curious about. I realize this is just observational but most females I have had conversations with about food, state that they not all that interested in meat even though they eat it. On the other hand, men seem to LOVE meat. Why do you think this is? Some evolutionary thing? I realize men, in general have more muscle mass and need more protein but it seems more than that. I have often wondered if this is one reason females are more interested in or convinced to become vegan or vegetarian.

    Any thoughts on this or can you direct me to any info written about this? Or maybe you address this in your next post?

    I can address it right now. I’ve noticed the same phenomenon, and I don’t have a clue as to why it occurs.

  54. This isn’t original to me- it’s from SPark of Reason blog comment and the title is ‘The Children of the Wheat’. ‘The USDA food pyramid is making our kids sick, fat, deformed and crazy.’ Grains and wheat are deadly for human consumption. I’m so angry that this information was tamped down in the rush to hawk and push Froot Loops and AHA seal of approval on us all.
    I found that quote because I was doing a search for ‘ gluten induced psychosis.’ Well, it was easy to find, plausible and if you have not entertained this idea YET, I highly recommend you search for yourself. Wheat and its gluten is NOT suitable-for-human consumption— it has opioid-like properties which make it addictive (thank you Lierre Keith’s pointing me to PubMed articles about it) and it can apparently pass through the blood-brain barrier where it wrecks havoc on the MIND. I’m stunned but I’m beginning to discover these additional negative things. So that is the ‘crazy’ part in the above quote. The sick and fat are from the recommendations to eat sugar and grains and get on the highway to obesity and diabetes. The deformed part is from Weston Price’s studies. Traditionalists’ offsprings’ facial structure changes in as short as one generation when a Western (USDA food pyramid) diet is adopted. I wish I was making this up. Sadly, I’m convinced I’m not. I’m just fortunate to be inquisitive, a voracious reader, and that I live in the time of the world wide web. All the increased poor health outcomes are blamed on foods like meat and fat that helped us evolve into modern humans. Why can’t we even entertain the idea that modern ‘foods’ might just be the culprit?

  55. There’s one thing I have to say in defense of vegans. They don’t “cheat” on their eating plans. I’ve always felt that if I could muster the same kind of single-mindedness that a vegan has and apply it to my low-carb regimen, I’d never have to worry about indulging in that occasional slice of bread or sugary dessert and having the mindset that it’s a “treat.”

    After all, how many vegans do you know who decide to be “bad” on a Friday night and sneak in a steak?

    “I was so BAD last night. I ate a whole pork chop!”
    “Oh! You think THAT’s bad, we went to Applebee’s and I had buffalo wings and then a side of ribs!!!”

    In a weird sense you have to admire their total dedication to their ideals. We can actually learn something from that. Instead of looking at a sugary dessert as a “treat,” we should look at it as what it is … a substance that is detrimental to our health.

  56. Dr. Eades – Regarding the complaint from some of your readers that the longer comments on the blog are not being fully displayed, I have a suggestion. I run several different browsers. When I view your blog on Internet Explorer version 6, I have the same problem with longer comments dropping off. However, on Internet Explorer version 8, the comments are displayed correctly. I also have no problem viewing the comments with Firefox version 3.5. So, if people who are reporting the problem are running IE 6, the solution may be to upgrade their browser.

    I think you’re right. Based on the feedback I’ve gotten, it seems that IE 6 is the problem. It’s free to upgrade to IE 7, but many people are clueless as to how to do it.

  57. quick question, if you can possibly manage the time: my standing up belly diameter measurement is about 1 inch more than my lying down measurement – 11.5 to 10.5 inches… is that a lot?

    It’s kind of at the margin.

  58. Dr. Eades – sorry for the OT, but is there somewhere most appropriate to ask my annoying little questions about the 6week cure? The DH and I are starting on Sunday (I gave myself a few days to wean off caffeine – ouch!). And we have a few questions like about the egg in the shake thing. If this is so great an idea, should we be putting one in every shake? And did you only leave that off the basic shake recipe because many people will be taking shakes with them?
    I’m also wondering, now that I’ve gone through the tiredness and pain of giving up caffeine, why I should start again later? You’ve mentioned here and in the book a few times that there are some benefits to consuming caffeine – is there a specific blog post on this?
    I have more, but I suspect you have already answered them somewhere. Sorry for the OT!
    Love the blog, and I am very happy you’re posting more about why we’re meat eaters.
    Thanks for all the work you do,

    The egg-n-the-shake deal is about cholesterol. You need some dietary cholesterol, and eggs supply a good amount. If you are eating plenty of meat, you don’t really need the egg. If you are skimping on the meat, then you should add an egg to one shake, not all of them. The reason it’s not in the basic shake is because it’s optional. So, if you feel you’re not getting enough cholesterol in your one meal, add the egg. If you are, ditch it.

    There are a host of studies out there showing the benefits of coffee. About the only downside is the mild effect on blood pressure and maybe the caffeine jitters if you drink too much.

  59. Received “The Cure” yesterday (yes, I ordered it on Amazon via your blog link!). Am up to Chapter 5, and yes, it IS a lot of new information from PPLP.

    Thank you for all the hard work that you & MD put into it, and for keeping the good low-carb fight going!

  60. Good post, good book. But I do have a question. Should I be wary of getting too much of any particular nutrient? The protein powder I am using has has a lot of BCAAs in it. Each scoop has 1762 mg of Leucine for example. So one shake would contain 5286 mg, double your recommendation. Similarly, my multivitmin has a lot more Thiamin and Riboflavin than you suggest.

    Your regimen sounds fine. The L-leucine your getting is not all that much, so don’t worry about it.

    The supplement guidelines we’ve provided are just that: guidelines. They are not precise recommendations. Just get somewhere in the ball park.

  61. The best thing that came out of the Tim Ferris blog

    the BBC being financed by government rather than advertising makes it unlikely that such a programme would be produced today, and even more unlikely for the commercial stations. It was interesting to see where Eric Westman came from, I regard his work highly.

    Like Lierre Keith but less extreme, when young I swallowed the veggie myth hook line and sinker. Living in the mountains made me reconsider some of the economic arguments: you can get crops of sheep, goats, cows and grouse with almost no inputs where you can’t possibly grow arable – and though you can achieve massive grain yields elsewhere on suitable soils they require huge inputs of fertiliser, sprays and diesel. Other vegetables need cheap human labour.

    An old film by Oxford Scentific Films, “Moving Still”, and a later David Attenborough series called “The Secret Life Of Plants”, both featuring time lapse photography, are eye-opening as to the fact that plants *behave*, just more slowly than animals.

    The vegetarian life taught me to eat a lot of different foods, to which I added back meat, but my blood glucose was still all over the map, followed by my lipids and blood pressure, until I wised up and eliminated most starches, especially grains and particularly wheat.

    Now my numbers are better than most other 56 year olds,let alone most other aspects of my life. I wonder how many vegans can claim that?

    Eating the way my distant ancestors evidently did satisfies my ancient genes in a way that a modern diet never managed, and talking to the (many) elderly folks around these parts suggests much the same: lots of fresh meat, fish and vegetables and avoidance of processed pseudofoods.

    Meanwhile farmers are getting about £50/tonne less than it cost to produce for wheat, and rapeseed is going the same way, so I predict further adverts for Healthy Whole Grains and Canola margarines. Following the money rather than looking at health is making the whole diet thang a lot clearer, low fat is insanely profitable for all the companies who back all our (and your) health “Authorities” recommendations, and I’m seriously coming to consider that their endgame is to eliminate the carbohydrate intolerant from the population as cheaply as possible, The vegetarians/vegans haven’t yet sussed this also applies to them.

  62. Dr. Mike
    Thanks for this post. Can’t wait to read part two! I started my six weeks of THE CURE today, and am very excited to watch my results unfold over the next six weeks.
    I do have a question, though. I notice that there are a few carbs, a little fruit and veg, in the meal plans. You even allow some grains during weeks 1-2, like a small low carb tortilla. Is it OK to skip the carbs, and go more-nearly all-meat right from the start? I’d rather not eat any grains, and usually I’d rather skip the extra tomato slices and berries as well. But, I can make it a point to eat these if there is some real benefit to it. (I don’t see any benefit to eating grain) thanks again!

    There are very few veg/fruit/grain carbs in the first two weeks. You’ve picked out the one recipe of all of them that has the small tortilla. If you would prefer, you can skip the carbs the first week. The only benefit is the variety they provide.

  63. Dr. Eades I read your latest book and once again you explained the science very well and I learned a lot. Since I’m already all meat, I won’t be using the program, but I still learned a lot. Thank you. Regarding dairy slowing down weight loss, I’ve seen statements that dairy causes a higher insulin response than its glycimic index would predict. I don’t know if there is any validity to those statements, but if its true that would affect weight loss wouldn’t it.

    One of the posters on Tim’s site (Jim Swayze) asked a two part question about how your views differ from Loren Cordain’s and Roy Rosedale’s. I’m interested in the second part. I’ve read Roy Rosedale’s book and he contends that your body gets better at making sugar from protein and therefore makes too much. Seems to me that since blood sugar is tightly regulated that even if your body got good at making it from protein it would not over produce it and then have to release insulin to remove it, but honestly I don’t know. I thought about asking this question about 2 months ago when I reread Roy’s book. Since you didn’t answer the poster on Tim’s site, I thought I’d ask.

    I’m not sure about the glycemic response to dairy. I don’t remember reading that it engenders a higher insulin response than predicted, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t written somewhere that it does.

    I don’t believe that increasing protein intake drives the production of sugar, unless you need the sugar. You require about 200 g of sugar per day. Protein converts to sugar at the rate of about 0.8g sugar per g of protein, so you would need to get 100 g of protein per day to make 80 g of sugar, which would still leave you short of the 200 g you need. Plus you need some protein just to replace the wear and tear on the tissues. By the time you add it all up, it’s difficult to get enough protein to make sugar and replace wear and tear and produce excess blood sugar. And that’s even if excess protein result in excess sugar, and I don’t think it does.

  64. Dr Eades said “You may be surprised at how much new stuff you will find.” and with that, I am off this very moment to buy “The 6 Week Cure for the Middle Aged Middle”. And at 41, I’d like to think I’ll out distance 82, but, eh, statistically I’m pretty much middle aged! At least I don’t have much of a middle after reading that 25 cent thrift store copy of “Protein Power” a couple years ago (and dropping 65lbs). I think I’ll gladly pay full pop for the new book.

    Thanks. Now after having said that about the new, I hope you find some new stuff in there.

  65. Dr. Eades:

    Thanks for the post. I’ll have to make some friends aware of it. Not that they are vegetarian, they just have misguided, ill-informed (OK…just plain stupid!!!) ideas about nutrition and diet. Annoys the hell out of me, since they are friends — you know…people I care about.

    I was going to pass on my grammar/spelling correction thing — I don’t like to do that too much; besides, I ain’t no English or lit professor — but some of the mistakes started adding up and bothering me. (Good for the “other” sites; I expect it there!!) But I make those mistakes, too. On my blog I know I said “their” one time instead of “they’re,” but I can’t recall where I did it!!

    1. “It made me realize that if this kind of stuff is out there circulating, it’s no wonder these people have such bizarre notions of what constitutes a rationale diet.” Rational, not “rationale,” i.e., ‘reason for being.’

    2. I just got binged on my email that Tim approved another 15 or so comments that I need to take a look at, so keep checking his blog) made me realize that there were really people out their buying into this nonsense.’ –> What’s the apostrophe doing there?

    3. “The depth of his dumbth is unfathomable. Realizing that this guy is the editor of a major cardiology journal lets you know real quickly why such journals publish such biased articles.” Real modifies quickly, so it should be the adverb “really.”

    4. “In her latest, published in the Orange County Register, she gives advice to a vegan who has come a cropper in a burgeoning email romance with a non-vegetarian.” What’s “come a cropper”? Not that it’s wrong; I just don’t know it.


    A Carnivore Who Eats Some Nuts, Berries, and Veggies. And Bacon (it’s a fruit, right?)
    (But unlike some mice, fat and meat do not make me lazy or ruin my memory.)

    Thanks for the heads up on the corrections. I made all three, but there were only two that I consider errors. #1 and #2, both of which were typos.

    #3 is an error by the standards of perfect grammar, but the way I used ‘real’ is more of a stylistic thing. I wouldn’t use it that way on a grammar test, but I think it falls nicer on the ear than ‘really quickly.’

    #4 Come a cropper means to fail at something or to fall. Or, in general, to come to a bad end.

  66. Dr. Eades,

    As always, this post was another fantastic learning opportuntity to me. In fact, I am trying to link what I learned from you into my own homework (Contemporary Sociology) but am struggling with finding one crucial piece of information – what year did Dr. Barnard become a vegetarian? I’m actually not suprised this key piece of information is missing from the mulitple biographies I’ve read this morning.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    I wish I could help you, but, unfortunately, I don’t have a clue as to when Dr. Barnard became a vegetarian.

  67. Only slightly off-topic…I was having difficulty viewing the complete comments as were some of the other readers. In a nutshell, the user may need to upgrade his/her browser. I was using Internet Explorer 6 and viewed only partial comments, but after upgrading to Internet Explorer 7, all are now completely visible.

    By the way…just got my copy of the new book! I can’t wait to try–but must due to breastfeeding. My husband was diagnosed with ‘fatty liver disease’ and I’m tickled pink that he has agreed to join me–probably around February–when baby is eating solids. His liver has improved anyway since he started eating lower-carb after he met me…thank you Drs Eades!

    Enjoying the blog and comments, as ever! Keep up the good work!

  68. Hi Dr. Eades,

    You posted a link to the Nutrition & Metabolism Society. I went there and found this about scrambled eggs…

    I eat a lot of eggs! Should I really be concerned about the inflammation factor? Or, is this an example of the researches, USDA food bias?

    Thank you,


    Are you sure you found the above link at the Nutrition & Metabolism site? I semi sort of navigated through and couldn’t find it. The answer is, No, eggs don’t cause inflammation. In fact, the reverse is the case. Eggs reduce inflammation. Here is a paper from the NM journal showing the data.

  69. Just finished “gobbling up” The Cure but I missed nary a morsel and savored every bite! Apropo “mezzovoice’s” comment: I was delightfully surprised to read intriguing new strategies, new research, and new “twists” for the low carb life. Absolutely fabulous!

    And it’s so timely for me: I’ve finally located a LNP who is an advocate for, and well-versed in, bio-identical hormone therapies – and who successfully BILLS INSURANCE for it! In my little backwater of Des Moines, Iowa! (Anyone else out there near Des Moines? I could use a low-carb, no-grain buddy!)

    I have a few questions, if you’d be so kind:

    At one point – can’t find it again – I think you said white tea is OK?

    Ketchup without sweeteners is available at my health food store (to which I would add a bit of Splenda). Would it be OK?

    Cheese and cream in small amounts are OK in Wks 1& 2 but not in Wks 3 & 4??!! OMG, it makes me realize how much I rely on them, and to fear two long weeks without them. But it also seems counterintuitive; I’d imagine the timing reversed. I’ll soldier through, but what’s the reason?

    Supplements! To quote the master, above,”AAARRRGGGHHHH.” Your very own “Daily Regimen” formula is insufficient in no less than TEN items! I do augment three of them already, but must I buy eight more (including silymarin) to make up the difference between the “Daily Regimen” formula and The Cure’s recomendations?

    Many thanks, and yours in spirit – CAVE CARBUM!

    Glad to hear you enjoyed the book.

    Yep, white tea is fine.

    And, yep, the ketchup without sweeteners with the added Splenda or stevia is fine, too.

    The key words are ‘in small amounts.’ The removal of dairy in the 2nd two weeks is not a command, but a suggestion. Many people report having difficulty losing when they use a fair amount of dairy. I don’t know what the possible cause of this is, but I’ve seen it in action many times and have heard countless patients tell me of the phenomenon. Plus, I’ve heard other doctors mention it. So I listen and learn. Whatever the cause, it doesn’t seem to affect everyone the same. In your case, you’re attached to dairy and, I assume, you have a problem with excess weight (otherwise you wouldn’t be following the book), so, who knows, a part of the problem may be the dairy. Were I you, I might soldier on through the 2nd two weeks without just to see what happens. Anyone can do just about anything for two weeks.

    The supplement recommendations were merely a guide, not an exact blueprint of what one should take. A little less here, a little more there, it doesn’t really matter.

    Cave Carbum, indeed!

  70. Hmmm…I’m curious…Do you think that The Cure would be OK to start while breastfeeding a 6-month old? My initial hesitation was that I thought the carbs would be too low and the calorie count would also be too low.

    But, I was checking out Mike’s progress of The Cure at and was noticing that his calorie count was pretty healthy for the first two weeks, and the carbs were just a little below maintenance level. I’m 41 and think that I was just beginning to enter perimenopause when I got pregnant.

    Should I just be content to wait another few months before starting The Cure, or do you think it would be OK to start now?

    My concern would be with the reduced calories. Just to play it safe, I would hold off for a few months until you’re no longer breast feeding.

  71. My husband says that large numbers of people must be on the 6-week cure. Today all of the cream was gone from the grocery store. In a week and a half, it’s coconut milk that will be in short supply.

    re: female vegans, I read somewhere that women crave carbs and men, protein. Also, when the male brain wastes, it wastes protein and the female brain wastes fat. It was on MedPageToday or LiveScience somewhere, but I can’t find it now. Could explain the female vegan business.

  72. I just watched your podcast with Jimmy Moore and got the answer to two of my questions: White tea is OK, and giving up cheese and cream is a kind of within-subject design (s=1) to assess one’s weight-loss reaction to them, as well as to “shake things up”. Right? I’m still interested to know about ketchup and the supplements, however.

    Another question: should one discontinue Metabosol during the first four weeks? (BTW What the heck are Balance and Boost? Am I finally going to find out about them on Monday?)

    Thanks again.

    Nah, you can keep on with the Metabosol if you like. It should speed things along a little more quickly.

  73. Those of us who are captive of corporate IT cannot upgrade from IE 6. The comments are fine on my private computer, but on my work computer, where I am forbidden to upgrade and run IE 6, the comments are cut off.

    Corporate IT departments are required, by management decisions, to cripple the browsers so that corporate cubicle dwellers cannot view things like YouTube, porn, and Facebook.

    This makes them reluctant to upgrade, since a great deal of effort is required to properly cripple the software that it can be used, but not misused.

    I finally got your book from Amazon, and will be starting the cure as soon as I can (I have a lot of travel coming up). I have been low carb for a year, lost 60 pounds, but not able to shake those last 20 pounds. I am sure this will work (especially if I can keep away from the wine).

    Your spam detector is as almost crippled as a corporate browser, to call this spam.

    I resubmitted this using IE 8 instead of Firefox. Let’s see if it gets tagged as spam.

    Seperate suggestion: Put a generic Amazon link on your website. I have to click on your books, get to amazon to be reminded that “you have purchased this book blah, blah,… ” when I want to buy an mp3 player.

    Bye, OldeDog

    I have a generic Amazon link in the works. My spam filter is really good. It shows what it catches, and only rarely do I find a legit post in there wiggling around. When I do find them, I pull them out and put them in the correct place. Are you telling me that you get some kind of message telling you that your comment has been rejected as spam?

  74. hi doc. like the pic. my daughter attacks ribs in the same manner.

    wanted to give you a heads up on an article in the most recent issue of the ajcn. looks like there some evidence here supporting the metabolic advantage of no-carb, high-protein (30%), high-fat (70%) diets over the sad. worth a look if you haven’t read it yet.

    was going to email this to you, but couldn’t find your email address on this site. wasn’t it here before?

    Read this piece in AJCN when it came out a week or so ago. I would like to post on it, but I’ve got a ton of other stuff stacked in front of it.

  75. Dr Mike,

    Regarding my last post, I agree you and I won’t see eye to eye with William Calvin on the climate debate. It’s an interesting study of peer pressure, or maybe ‘culture’ is a better word. His education is in physiology and evolution and that’s what most of his books were about. Then he struck on the idea that ice ages/climate change drove evolution to some degree, which makes sense. But then being at U of W he somehow went to the dark side out of his field to AGW.

    Anyway on another subject. I’m still a big skeptic about the exercise / weight loss hypothesis that you and Gary Taubes have discussed. I’m getting through your new book and found that part on page 60 again that people ‘unconsciously’ eat more after exercise. My skepticism is only based on my own experience, so maybe I’m an outlier.

    Let’s put it this way. If I have exactly 3 shakes and one meat meal per day, and I have discipline and have that and only that, will I not lose weight more quickly by exercising? It seems to me if someone has enough discipline to stop alcohol and caffeine, they can not eat any more after exercise. I think the people who unconsciously eat more after exercise are not that dedicated.

    Wouldn’t hunter / gatherers be getting much more exercise that we do, and couldn’t that make a difference in the puzzle?

    Exercise also has all kinds of mood improving effects that tend to make sticking to the diet more likely. I guess you could say I’m a zealot as I lost so much weight on Protein Power with lots of exercise and still walk 40 miles a week at a brisk pace. I think there’s something more to it.

    Everyone seems to get hung up on this exercise thing. If you rigidly adhere to your diet and exercise, you will lose more weight. Not as much as you would think, but you will lose because you’ll adapt to the exercise. But you aren’t just exercising; you are dieting as well. The point that Gary and I are making is that it’s difficult for people to lose weight by exercise alone. Overweight people are advised to ‘get out and move’ and to walk or do other light exercise to help them lose weight. Without a diet added in, that advice won’t work.

  76. “I can address it right now. I’ve noticed the same phenomenon, and I don’t have a clue as to why it occurs.”

    This was regarding the fact that lots of women don’t crave a big hunk of red meat like men do.

    Could it be cultural? Reminded me of the white wine thing. Seems like more people in general are drinking red wine…

    I’m a woman who loves a glass of red wine and filet mignon!

  77. Hello Dr. Eades, i know that a diet high in protein and low in carbs is more expensive. And that’s why i am also in politics. Because like Aristolte (That Radical dangerous thinker like Noam Chomsky calls him) said that we are political-animals. And i think that we need a better economic system than the one we have today where foods high in protein like whey protein powders, red-meat, chicken, fish, would be a lot lower in price to the consumer than it is today. Because i’ve noticed that there is a lot of stimulation in the US economic system to provide foods high in carbohydrates at a real cheap low price like pancake, white-flour, breads, cereals etc. But there is little subsidizing and stimulation by US economic model to lower the price of red-meat, chicken breast, etc. to the consumer.

    We need a diet and food revolution indeed so that the buying power of the average citizen would be able to follow a diet high in protein, low in carbs. So economics and politics do impact the prices of food.




  78. I love the picture you chose for this post. My baby is nine months old and her favorite foods are basically all meat. She can spend a good 10 minutes sucking a fatty peice of bacon to death, loves a chicken drumstick bone, and a thick peice of medium-rare ribeye is no match for her! Grandma thinks I am crazy but I know that my child’s instincts to want meat are right on.

  79. Is there any way to combine the Cure with IF? I discovered IF from your blog a month ago. I’ve since been combining it with very low-carb and in the last four weeks, with a glitch here and there, I’ve never felt better. I’m starting the Cure tomorrow, and I consume your blog and posts like I used to eat wheat and other carbs. I eat LOW-carb at 6-7 hour daily window and nothing at other times. I’m not hungry during the fasts and I’m not particularly hungry during the eating window either. I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven. Up until I discovered Taubes’ GCBC and you, my entire life was centered around eating and because I was eating carbs and was ALWAYS hungry and also did a reasonable job keeping my weight down, I was not truly happy…….until recently that is.
    One explanation I read from you about IF and possible mechanism for its usefulness was about inflammation. Just as breathing is required to maintain life, it has a harmful component in that the oxygen is an oxidizing agent (detrimental ‘poison’ really). Eating is also necessary to sustain life, but it basically promotes inflammation- bad yet again. Maybe this is why a constant grazing eating pattern is awful. So giving the body periodic and frequent breaks from digesting, and thus setting up a mostly post-absorptive rather than a constant post-prandial situation- might be helpful…..and I’ve found that to be so. I almost dread the recommendation to eat on the Cure on a more 3 squares and snack traditional fashion. ANyway, thank you for everything- your ideas, books and cures and all the blogs about inflammation, IF and physiology and mechanisms (I’m a biochemist). I am a happy, LOW-carb, no-frankenstein ‘foods’, intermittent eating convert. Good luck today on the grueling radio tour.

    Thanks. You can probably figure your own version of the IF Cure. We didn’t fiddle with the IF as a part of The Cure when we put it together, so don’t have the data on that that I can report.

  80. I just finished week 3 of the plan and have an observation and question. Does meat move more slowly through the digestive system? I seem to be, well, less-regular than I’d expect. When should I be concerned, and would adding some magnesium oxide help?

    A couple of things. When you are on an all-meat diet, you need to make sure you get plenty of fat with your meat. Don’t just eat lean meats. The fat helps with regularity. Also, you’ve got to remember that, unlike plant foods that contain a lot of stuff we don’t use, meat is pretty much fully digested, so you don’t have as much bulk going through. That’s not necessarily a bad thing since the so-called good that fiber does comes from the damage it does to the GI tract. Meat doesn’t do that.

  81. @Chris Wallace,
    The “inflammation factor” is pretty hand-waving, an automatically generated score based on assumptions surrounding nutrient composition of foods. Amongst them is the idea that saturated fat is inflammatory. is a great resource as long as you stick to the “data” part.

  82. Fallon sez: “in case you didn’t notice “real” carnivores eat their meat raw!”

    That would explain why I much prefer my meat cooked very rare, and completely raw when I trust the source.

  83. This stuff makes your blood boil, doesn’t it? And mine. The nutritional correctness is rampant. I over heard someone at work on Friday going on about how bad coconut is for you. The depth of HIS dumpth is truly unfathomable too. I almost chirped up about its benefits, notably lauric acid, but figured “what the hell….” You and MD were the first ones to inform me, and at the same time correct me, about coconut. I think it was on LowCarb CookWorx. There are numerous citations. For some reason, people just have it wrong about food and nutrition and the human body and digestive system. The really bizarre thing is that they have such a fierce commitment to the wrongness. Don’t get me wrong (no pun intended), I enjoy eating fruits and vegetables. There’s nothing better than a perfectly ripe nectarine; or garden fresh tomatoes, especially on top of a great burger with some cheese…. I don’t think anyone could live on nectarines, though. The thing that really gets me, though, is that the nutritional correctness (along with the political correctness) seems to be getting worse. Correct me if I’m wrong. Anyway, keep up the good work. I’m waiting for Part II.

    I ordered T6WC through this portal, along with Gary Taubes’ book. I had pre-ordered The 6 week cure some time ago but Amazon cancelled it for some reason. Anyway, it’s been shipped and I await its arrival eagerly.

    A quick, brief question, Mike. A bit of a digression…. is there a directory or web site of physicians who employ and/or recommend low-carb? I seem to remember a link on your blog a while ago but won’t swear to it. Any info is appreciated. Thanks, as always. Keep on Truckin’.


    I don’t have such a site. You can try the American Society of Bariatric Physicians and ask specifically for a doc who does low-carb. Unlike in years gone by, many now do practice this way.

  84. That pic of the kid with the t-bone (pork chop?) makes me laugh. I wish I had taken a picture a couple of months back when I made a NY strip for myself and my 18 month old daughter (wife doesn’t eat red meat, don’t ask, I’ve tried). I had the medium rare steak on the table and had to go back into the kitchen for something and in the six seconds it took me to get in there and back, my two year old daughter decided to start without me.

    She grabbed the steak off my plate with both hands, put it to her mouth and took a big bite. This was completely unprompted behavior and we just laughed at that little savage attacking that steak. I’ve never seen her get that crazy for ANY food (except breast milk) and it was purely instinctual for her.

  85. Enjoy the comments and your responses, Dr. Eades.

    Found these two comments of yours interesting:

    “the brain…contains an enormous amount of cholesterol. ”

    “You require about 200 g of sugar per day. Protein converts to sugar at the rate of about 0.8g sugar per g of protein, so you would need to get 100 g of protein per day to make 80 g of sugar, which would still leave you short of the 200 g you need. Plus you need some protein just to replace the wear and tear on the tissues.”

    Glad to learn a new phrase, “come a cropper”, too!


  86. God, someone mentioned Steve Pavlina. I think I’ve mentioned my experience with him before here, haven’t I? I thought his blog was interesting, so I followed along for a bit. He did a 30-day experiment eating raw, low-fat, and vegan. Yes, all three at once. By the end of the thirty days the skin on his hands was cracked and bleeding. He decided he was “detoxing” through his hands. I’m like, “Dude, who transplanted your liver to the ends of your arms? Please, sue them for malpractice. That sucker’s gonna dry out and you’ll keel over.”

    Know something? I’ve never been big on plant foods, with the exception of grain foods. There are a few veggies and an even fewer fruits I’ll tolerate but there’s just something about them, I have an aversion to them, almost. They’re messy, they take time to render fully edible (even when raw–if nothing else you have to wash them), etc. When I started finding people like you who were saying, “Guess what? You can live on meat alone if you want to, and you’ll be healthier than you’ve ever been in your life,” I was *relieved.* Unlike (apparently) most people, too, I had honors biology in high school and so I was vaguely familiar with glucose metabolism and could grasp why Atkins’s and your works were important.

    It’s just… that d?!n grain. That’s it. I’m not as hooked on it as I used to be but I’m terrible at meal planning, so I often prepare something at the last minute, and nearly everything fit to prepare at the last minute is wheat- or corn-based, even the stuff with meat in it. Argh. Even pulses (legumes prepared like grains)… I like those too, and they’re also part of my downfall.

    I’m thrilled to hear about your new book. I don’t get over here often enough. (I get miffed about the political stuff sometimes–we have *some* similar ideas about individual liberty but I’m trying to be something of a compassionate pragmatist, which is probably an oxymoron, and then I’m afraid to come back for a while.) I didn’t even know the book was about to come out. My library system doesn’t have it yet–it’s one of the best in the country but as with every other government system, its funding has been cut. So I may just look for it at the bookstore. I’m 35, going on 36, but man do I have a lot of belly fat. Gained most of it in 2005 and later. It needs to go away.

    About those gorillas–I heard something about these orangutans that had been in a zoo or similar, and then were released into the wild. Either they’d been born in the zoo or they’d been there so long they’d forgotten how to live wild. So instead they had their own little culture going, their own way of doing things that was different from the wild orangs. So it’s obvious that at least one great ape is capable of changing the way it does things, and can survive the experience. So I’m wondering whether some gorilla thousands of years ago got hit on the head or something and had a vegetarian conversion experience, and the fad caught on in the rest of the group, and here we are.

    I will say that the disconnect we as a culture perceive between insectivores and carnivores comes from an outdated notion of what constitutes meat, one that allows Catholics to eat fish on Fridays during Lent–but bugs are meat, as far as I’m concerned, and most if not all primates started out as bug-eaters, as everyone’s in agreement here who’s already said so.

    I’ll also chime in as someone else who’s noticed better regularity with increased fat intake. I don’t know what it is. Things go a bit too fast for me if I eat too much grain, but it feels different speeding things up on high-fat/low-carb… like it’s less of a scourge on my system. Weird.

    Jumping around a bit–I should send your book to my dad. He’s diabetic, type 2, diagnosed in late 2005… and he’s had two episodes of blood loss now that were so slow he didn’t know it was a problem until he went in for a routine exam. I’m afraid for his sake about kidney function decline, and he needs to eat better if he wants any hope of reversing whatever it is. I guess I will know more soon if he keeps his word about telling me and my brother how this latest round of tests has gone. He’d be weirded out to hear that he can keep many of the foods he already likes in his diet. Don’t know if he’d want to give up rice, though. Cajun, you know.

  87. Hoyt G, Hickey MS, Cordain L. Dissociation of the glycaemic and insulinaemic responses to whole and skimmed milk. Br J Nutr 2005;93:175-177

    available as a PDF from Cordains research page. Discusses the insulinotropic effects of milk protein. Cordain in many of his newsletters has written more on this.
    Perhaps that is the reason that dairy may trigger stalls in low carb weight loss?

    Maybe so.

  88. @Michael Gold

    That was good news about the 200g sugar, and I think I’ve found a source for it without impacting my protein intake requirement – Coors Light has 5g carbs per 12oz longneck 😉

  89. noodle, I’m with you! Eight ounces of filet mignon, a full bodied cabernet sauvignon, and a bit of salad drenched in bleu cheese equals heaven!

  90. That photo looks like an Eades grandchild. Am I right?

    No, he’s the friend of a grandchild. But he is eating a rib that MD cooked.

  91. I’ve confused about the quote mentioned above – “You require about 200 g of sugar per day. Protein converts to sugar at the rate of about 0.8g sugar per g of protein, so you would need to get 100 g of protein per day to make 80 g of sugar, which would still leave you short of the 200 g you need. Plus you need some protein just to replace the wear and tear on the tissues.”

    Doesn;t some glycerol convert to glucose too (or is that only minute quantities?).
    And does this mean if one is consuming zero carbs, they have to eat over 200g extra protein just to maintain blood glucose levels without breaking down lean tissue?!

    No. Some glycerol converts to sugar and ketones replace much of the sugar requirement. And the Cori cycle kicks in to reconvert lactose. But some of the sugar does come from protein. That’s why protein is so important in a low-carb diet.

  92. mmmm.. i understand the desire to spare the lives of animals and hence vegetarianism from that standpoint, but frankly, I feel as though choosing to buy well raised meat is more helpful to those animals. I have opted to choose to make a demand/market for naturally raised and pastured animals (healthy animals) with my dollars and I then eat them. I tried vegetarianism for a year and gained weight and craved meat all the time. Now I opt to help animals by ensuring people who treat them well have a market for doing so. I feel, while more expensive, that my money does a lot more good for animals then turning a blind eye to factory farming or giving up meat altogether.

    Incidentally, I was raised eating steak tartare and never liked cooked meat much at all. I can see the idea that overcooked meat is much more difficult on the digestive tract being a source of confusion for some people and possibly the source of confusion in misguided studies. Its so hard to gague the legitimacy of a given study since different cooking methods could be used (for example, meat that is breaded and fried in vegetable oil until well done is certainly not healthy!) that would result in confusing results.

    geez…. now i want some salami.

    From my reading of them, the studies seem to show that lightly cooked meat is the easiest to digest of all. Raw actually doesn’t digest very well unless cut into small pieces, as in steak tartare. Large chunks of raw meat take quite a while to digest, and are never really digested fully.

  93. To answer your query, Yes. If I I post an comment with Firefox 3.5.2, I get a spam error message. If I use IE 8.0, I do not get a spam message.

    I just tried to post the message immediately above, and got the following from your site:

    Spam detected.
    Hiddy! for WordPress by Enrico Zogno and Merlinox

    What do you think, is Firefox infected?

    I don’t know. I posted a comment on a friend’s computer using Firefox 3.5.3 (the latest version available), and had no problems at all. (Friend’s computer was a Mac).

  94. I didn’t know whether to be flattered or offended when my husband commented to me recently “you may be a woman but you eat meat like a man” Is there a dainty way to eat a lamb chop?

    I definitely can’t relate to the men prefer meat to women observation even though it does seem to be true. Not only do I often eat the same-sized serving of meat that he does and the fat from his steak, he always leaves me the bone from a lamb roast to pick over.

  95. Is it true that meat-eaters cause more habitat and land destruction that environmentalists ?

    I had a guy arguing the destruction of habitat caused by the extra acerage needed due to the fact that meat cannot feed as many people per square mile as vegetables can.

    He then touted soya beans are better – because they feed peoples hunger without destroying as much of the natural environment.

    “The same cannot be said for the beef farms eating up the Amazon rainforest”

    I don’t think so. I would be willing to bet that there has been much more devastation caused by soy, wheat and corn than by all the cattle the world over. The next time some bozo says this to you, ask for his/her primary source material.

  96. Thanks so much for your work. I found you through Tim’s blog, ordered the book pronto, and am on day one of the cure today.

    I’m so glad these nutritional issues are getting a brighter spotlight. I work in the holistic health field (I’m a bodyworker, not a nutritionist) and this field is particularly addicted to the idea of vegetarianism or veganism as good health choices. As a longtime fan of Weston A. Price’s work, it makes me slightly insane. My feeling is that if you make those choices for political or environmental reasons (and even this can be argued)- so be it- but they certainly can’t be waved around as healthy!

    I loved your video post from 1920’s Manhattan. A perfect example- these people were not staying trim on rice cakes and granola bars…

    Welcome aboard. Hope you enjoy the book.

  97. I’m a vegetarian (lacto-ovo vegetarian to be precise) and also folow a low-carb lifestyle.

    I think the people on both sides of this debate are spouting nonsense. Everything we see from existing hunter-gatherers (in the Kalahari and Papua New Guinea) suggests that humans are omnivores. There are seeming exceptions to this, such as the Inuit, but even Eskimos greedily consume what little greenstuff comes their way. That doesn’t mean that they prefer it to meat; it simply reflects the fact that people tend to value rarities. Meat tends to be highly valued to people where it is hard to come by.

    Human diet seems to be highly adaptable and, above all, opportunistic. The world in which humans evolved wasn’t a supermarket where people could select from a huge array of foods. Early humans had to eat what was available to them, which varied from place to place and season to season and even year to year. In diverse ecosystems, the diet was no doubt diverse (as in New Guinea today, where the hunter-gatherers consume about 70 varieties of plants and nearly as many species of animals); in colder latitudes, where biodiversity falls, the diversity of the diet no doubt fell as well, especially in the winter.

    I think the only things that are unequivocally clear is that the huge jump in the role of starches in the diet following the agricultural revolution, and the jump in the consumption of sugars following the industrial revolution, are both major changes from any previous dietary pattern.

    I’m tired of idiot vegetarians making unsubstantiated and improbable claims about the prehistoric diet of humans. But I’m equally tired of being insulted because I’m a vegetarian. I think both sides are drastically overstating their cases. As a species, humans aren’t herbivores, and we aren’t carnivores. We’re omnivores, with general-purpose digestive systems and general-purpose teeth.

    I’m not completely certain about your statement that humans are omnivores, but I’m more than happy to let you give your opinion.

  98. About two and a half years ago you wrote that broccoli sprouts contain sulforaphane which greatly stimulates the production of antioxidants within the mithocondrias. That sounds like a great thing. So vegetables must be good. Are there any animal foods that contain sulforaphane or any other substances that increases the production of antioxidants within the mithocondria?

    Looking forward to part two.

    Meat provides the substrate for the endogenous antioxidants made in the mitochondria.

  99. Hello, Dr. Eades. I found your site through MDA, and have been enjoying checking in to read your posts. I bought a copy of your book, Protein Power, for a friend who is borderline diabetic and whose doctor wanted to put her on medication right away. I suggested trying diet first. I recently picked up your new book for myself!

    I am almost finished reading Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade. in it, he outlines the general arguement that humans became human by eating meat. He often quotes the author of Catching Fire regarding primate behavior and goes into lengthy detail about the debate between scavenging and hunting for our early protein gains. What struck me was how his next section gave a clear answer to the question, though Wade never actually voiced it.

    Cannibalism. We might not hot have had the ability to take down large game with hands and teeth, but we have always been very, very adept at killing ourselves. Chimps, our closest relatives, patrol their territory and attack other chimps often to gain more territory. There is no reason to suspect our ancestors did anything differntly. More to the point, Wade states that every human population has the same version of the equivalent resistance to the human version of Mad Cow’s Disease (except for the Japanese IIRC, who have their own version of it). Since it is the same version, it has to be very ancient, older than the diaspora from Africa, and very prevalent.

    Here we have a ready source of meat that we can easily kill and whom we had a very good, biological and behavioral reason to kill. This kills two birds with one stone. Hunting, and easy meat. We are, right from the very beginnings of our becoming human, meat eaters. I know, not a very likeable idea, but there it was, staring me in the face. I am curious as to your viewpoint.

    Right now I’m taking time out from writing a post dealing with this very issue to deal with the growing stack of comments. I agree with your view precisely.

  100. I know you wont post this because it seems that only ‘pro meat eating’ posts appear on this page, but show me where, anywhere, on the World Health Organisation website it tells me to ‘EAT MORE MEAT’ ! and i will believe you that an omnivorous diet is better than a herbivore diet for humans. It’s common sense to me that if i cannot naturally, with my god given instruments, without help, kill and eat an animal, then maybe i aren’t meant to? Sure, we have developed the ability to hunt using instruments, and this is why humans have been so successful evolutionary speaking, but that does not mean that this is our ‘natural’ or should i say ideal diet. Why do we get heart disease, bowel cancer etc. if it is, when natural carnivores don’t?

    Show me any article, anywhere, by anybody, that says eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, CAUSE YOU TO DEVELOP HEART DISEASE AND CANCER.

    And don’t get me started on dairy. You are nuts if you think we are MEANT to suckle from cows.

    Grow up.

    I could show you a list of studies as long as your arm, but you wouldn’t be persuaded. In fact, you wouldn’t even read them. From the tone of your comment, it is clear that you’re an ideologue and not a seeker of the truth.

    Thanks for writing.

  101. A wealth of information, Dr. Eades!

    You wrote (in the comments): “The egg-n-the-shake deal is about cholesterol. You need some dietary cholesterol, and eggs supply a good amount.”

    I’ve tried to research a particular question: Is the cholesterol in eggs good cholesterol? I strongly suspect the answer is yes–especially for organic eggs, versus soy/corn fed eggs. In other words, even if eggs have relatively high cholesterol, it doesn’t matter because it’s all the desired kind (I assume). (And yes, I know humans only use a small percentage of consumed cholesterol.) Also, I consider HDL and LDL good cholesterol–except for VLDL and LP(a).

    While I’m here, are you aware if grains, in particular, raise Lp(a). This appears to be the finding of Dr. Davis (Heart Scan blog) in his practice — especially wheat. He’s reported numerous times that Lp(a) plummets when patients stop eating wheat.

    The cholesterol in eggs is simply cholesterol. There really isn’t any good or bad cholesterol. Cholesterol is a molecule with a specific chemical structure – anything else isn’t cholesterol. The LDL and HDL and VLDL are proteins. LDL, for example, is called low-density lipoprotein. It’s not cholesterol. It is a protein that attaches to cholesterol so that cholesterol is soluble in the blood. Cholesterol is a waxy fat, and fat and water don’t mix. The blood is basically an aqueous (watery) medium, so cholesterol won’t dissolve in blood. It connects to a lipoprotein, which makes the cholesterol dissolve and allows it to be transported. LDL carries cholesterol to the tissues. HDL carries it from the tissues. Everyone calls these good and bad cholesterol, but they’re really proteins attached to cholesterol. The cholesterol in egg yolks is pure cholesterol.

    I’ve read Dr. Davis’s post about wheat and Lp(a). I’ve never read this anywhere else, but I doubt that anyone else has ever looked for it. Dr. Davis has the data, so I have no reason to disagree with him. And it would seem to make sense.

  102. Dear Dr.,
    My Mom’s not well tonight, so I am awake at a rather unusual hour.
    I am 43, soon, and weigh over 300lbs. 6 years ago, I lost 50 or 60 lbs following Atkins, and started to gain back what I had lost, and much more, a few years ago. Stress, probably. Divorce. Mom at 77 needed to be with me, she got breast cancer, then my company closed, then the next two jobs laid me off. They took my home, then my truck, cars. Now I have cancer I cannot treat. You know the story-its tough out here right now.
    Anyway, so in the beginning of the year, I convinced my best friend and her husband to try low carb. They had always been adamantly opposed to it, but when the husband was informed that he could have creme brulee, he hopped right on board. Unfortunately, my best friend doesn’t so much like to cook, so I cooked, because I love to cook, and because they are my best friends. Substitutes for comfort foods was tough for me conceive, as I had gone hardcore myself all those years ago, and didn’t really try to replace the carb dishes with anything. Since Atkins is gone, I feel like a stranger at the site, so after discarding the few carb plan people I don’t feel right about, there was you, and one other I’m tossing around in my head to try and lose some weight again. again.
    It was your comfort food cookbook that has brought me to you, tonight. The recipes, or largely my modifications of the recipes in that book, allowed my friends to enjoy 20lb weight losses (30 lbs for him), until the beginning of summer, when they decided life was too short to not enjoy Rainier cherries and peaches.
    I’m about to put them back on track, and return them to a more strict version of low carb so they can tackle some more weight loss.
    So loved are my contributions to their diet, that when I advised them that my little stand mixer had died , they purchased a brand new Kitchen Aid stand mixer for me within the week! This would not have been so exciting a couple of years ago, but as I now have unemployment to support Mom and I in a 760 square foot mobile home, well, it was the best and most shiny gift I have ever received, and all because of what I created for them, from the ideas in that little cookbook.
    The husband is 72 years of age, and though he is an international respected coach, and has lived all over the world, it would have been game-over for him if I couldn’t create some familar carb food imitations for him to have occasionally.
    I’m quite a fast reader, but the above comments, with links took me ages to get through tonight, and it was the last comment that made me determined that I had to speak out.
    I’m not anybody, really. I’m huge, I won’t leave the single wide that my best friends put the down payment on for Mom and I last year when we lost everything. Cancer is eating away at my face, and I don’t even think I’d be able to interview in my field of network operations as I am so terribly aware of how an obese woman is perceived, especially in a field dominated by men, as weak and unreliable.
    I just wanted to preface my thoughts with that, so you know that I know that I can only be a regular person, and do not posses the knowledge or education to evaluate information in a truly effective manner.
    However, that being said..I am smart enough to stick up for Carol Ridley, and tell you what a stuck up jerk you sounded like in your response. Carol’s sentence structure is enough to tell us that she’s not had some opportunities that you and I have had-no more needs to be said on that, it’s obvious.
    What a jerk you are for telling her what she will or will not do, just because she expressed herself in a combative way. Oh, and nice use of a big word you know she won’t know, too, Doc.

    At least she’s HERE for Christ’s sake, even though she bought into some other ideas, she came HERE and said so, and you would have been a better man if you had seen that curiosity, rare, by the way, these days, in my opinion, and gently led her to some material that may offer her a different view. Are you so far out of touch that you don’t recognize a keen mind under that blabbering confrontation? She wanted you to engage with her, and do we ever know how much impact on people’s lives our words can have? Do you even know, can you know, what that missed opportunity means to her kids, or her family, or maybe her friends..maybe she’s very very obese, and you could have bothered a little bit more, and made a massive impact? You get my point.
    I’m really quite upset with you for crushing her as you did-very hurtful, that kind of superior tone you employed,,”seeker of the truth”…
    Seriously, Doc.
    Let’s talk about “Seekers of Truth”, because I happen to be one, maybe even more tennaciously dedicated to it then even you.
    Because here’s what I see, Sir, superficially, granted, as I haven’t properly studied your whole site, but here’s for starters.
    Quite a number of those who have posted on your site are every bit the followers that other sites, say, vegan sites, often attract.
    And while we’re on that topic that you, and your posters seem to find fascinating objects of ridicule and scorn, just because somebody does not eat meat, does not mean they are idiots, nor do they deserve the degrading insults you and your posters freely sling at them. I live outside of Seattle, the land of the Earth Muffins, and I happen to know an awful lot of very decent people, who make major contributions to society, that with the same limitations most of us are burdened with, have instead, thoughtfully and carefully believed the other camp.
    Your posters are no different. They are feeding back to you what you have told them to think. This mindless following only seems to bother you when it is employed by the non-meat eaters, and not when the numerous people who support you, are doing the exact same thing.
    That’s inconsistent, and that is unfair. That does not say “seeker of the truth”, Doc, that says, “Seeker of the truth, unless you agree with what I tell you to think”. Yes, I know it’s radical, but I’m throwing it out at you to think about, even if you’re initial impulse involves bad words.

    I, unfortunately, cannot afford the new book, because god do I need help. I’ve fallen into an impossibly dark hole, and it sounds quite interesting, so that’s too bad, dammit. I’ll try to save for it, though.

    I’m still very upset by how you treated Carol, and discarded her with such certainty and arrogance. You have a public forum, and it matters what you say and how you treat people. The one person, albeit a difficult one, that didn’t sound like a paid disciple sitting at your last supper, and you crushed her. That’s very disappointing. You should expect more from yourself, shouldn’t you?
    I think we may be safe in saying that a few countries are facing a rather severe financial crisis if obesity rates keep climbing. I won’t pretend to be able to accurately quantify that, but it seems logical that there is going to be so trouble.
    Will you consider that we can’t afford to throw people away that are showing some interest, even if they only have the ability to do so by challenging you with what they think they understand?
    I have some experience in this, because I turned my best friend and her husband around, and had you spoken with them a year earlier, you would not have believed it possible.
    Thanks for the work you have done, I think its clear you’ve been well intended, and the work by you is needed even more now that Atkins is gone.
    Oh, and just to clarify;
    I know as many male vegans as female, and out of the hundreds of vegetarians I have known and cooked for, the vast majority are pretty private about it, and NOT out raising hell and acting like loud mouth ill formed fools. I’ve known a huge gaggle of Seventh Day Adventists, nice people, by the way, and they rarely discussed this personal choice..another sterotype that is hard to conceive as a citizen of the West Coast..It was only when I lived in Princeton, NJ that I realized you guys on the other side sometimes have some weird ideas of us on the other side-vegetarian or not.
    I guess it works as well in revealing some truth as what I always believed growing up in San Franciso- that Southerners are narrow-minded racist relics that need to remain confined to their States until they die off, so the rest of us who judge humanity a bit more fairly can be in charge..dangerous and stupid, those sterotypes…
    Thanks again for the good work through the years,
    Most Warmly,
    J. Emery

  103. Your newest book and technique is genius. I thank you. I love the Laplace in place exercises and the shakes are terrific. I have to remind myself to eat the dinner meal and I can only consume one small plateful. It’s only been two days and my energy and optimism are up, up, up and my hunger and cravings for carbs are absent. Because of ‘The Vegetarian Myth’ and this blog and the comments, I have developed a new paradigm to rival the pro-vegan proselytizers. I am becoming a RABID anit-soy, anti-wheat, anti-vegetable oil convert. I also stopped eating concentrated sucrose a while ago, but I didn’t get it about wheat and soy until recently. I can’t thank you and your lovely bride and Ms Keith ENOUGH. I don’t like CAFO’s and feeding cows un-natural to their diets-grain either. But this is a process.
    The current US health care crisis could be mostly averted with a dose of preventative nutrition through information, thoughfulness and knowledge.

    Thanks for the very nice comment. I’m happy you’ve done so well on the program.

  104. Thank you so much for your blog, I have greatly enjoyed reading your posts since I discovered it in July. While I have never had a weight problem or a blood sugar problem, I nonetheless follow a low-carb diet these days, and have found your blog to be one of the best, most informative, most well-written on the subject. I decided to try a ketogenic diet last summer to see if it might help ease my intractable migraines. It has worked better than I ever hoped it might (though as soon as my intake of fat drops below 50%, the headaches return–I try to keep my fat consumption around 60%).

    My own background is in anthropology and paleo-oestology. I almost posted in response to your blog that was accompanied by the picture of mighty Paleolithic hunters bringing down a mammoth (an iconic image to be sure, but one very unlikely to have ever happened in the real world, considering that effective hunting of their much smaller cousins, the elephant, was only achieved in the 20th century with the advent of motorized vehicles, high-powered rifles, and specially designed “elephant cartridges”–and even then, you had better be very far from the target because it won’t die immediately and it is guaranteed to charge you and take you with it if it reaches you before it dies) (and while the pygmies do successfully trap and kill forest elephants in the dense jungle occasionally, mammoths lived on the open plains…).

    The only points I wanted to make were (1) that gorillas, like most apes, are omnivores, not herbivores–while they have never been witnessed to hunt small mammals, as chimps have, they do routinely eat bugs and grubs; (2) the size of canines in primates has nothing to do with diet and everything to do with sexual selection (this is actually true of almost all species with over-sized canines). In fact, several primate species have pronounced sexual dimorphism of the canines; (3) we humans have very old teeth–our y-5 pattern dates all the way back to the Miocene–long before anything approximating us ever existed. Evolution makes do with what it has available, far more often than it reinvents the wheel. At best, the shape of our teeth can say how we ate–by chewing and grinding our food–and what we did not use our mouths for (e.g. strangling prey)–more than they can say what we ate (enamel analysis, though, can say what we ate to a certain degree); and (4) isotope analysis of bones shows quite clearly that before the Neolithic, humans ate a primarily marine diet; which shifted almost instantly and completely to a terrestrial diet after the Mesolithic.

    I am glad that you noted in one of your responses above that, as a species, we have a difficult time digesting raw terrestrial meat; I would only add that we also have a difficult time digesting unaged meat raw or cooked (“aged” of course being the polite term for “rotten”). However, we do not seem to have nearly as much difficulty digesting fresh and/or raw aquatic meat. For me, this is a crucial factor weighing against our having ever been pure carnivores–like most anthropologists and primatologists, I am firmly in the “humans are jack of all trades, omnivores, and always have been” camp–though without a doubt both culture and circumstance have, at different times, weighted the pendulum more one way or the other. Had we evolved to be pure carnivores, we would have no more difficulty digesting raw, unaged terrestrial meat than our house cats do.

    Also, omnivorousness in general is more common across the species spectrum than is either pure carnivorisness or pure herbivorisness–and it makes sense evolutionarily why this would be so–species that are flexible in what they can, and will eat, stand a better chance of surviving than those that are specialized.

    Hunting big game is very hard for humans on foot, without modern weapons—the plains Indians did not even exist until the arrival of the horse with the Spanish, before that they were all sedentary farmers. Following and hunting the bison without the horse was just not feasible. And without the dog, I seriously doubt we hunted anything much larger than rabbits successfully—the dog was domesticated about 18,000 years ago, the horse about 8,000 years ago. The date we switched from mollusks to beef begins about 8,000 years ago. Coincidence?

    Personally, I believe that we evolved primarily in tidewater areas, eating easily collected mollusks, fruits, and vegetables, and spearing fish—not by hunting big game flesh; and that we supplemented our diets with the scavenging of the animal fat, bone marrow, and desiccated flesh left after the prime carnivores had gorged themselves (and vacated the corpse). (Before you scoff, you should remember that east Africa was not an arid savanna when Lucy was there…).

    I know you put a lot of store in the traditional Inuit diet, but you should keep in mind that the Inuit did not choose to live in such a marginal environment—they, like all remaining foragers, were forced there by the agriculturalists—and they ate what was available, because it was available, not because it was healthy or because they evolved to eat it. And as omnivores they got away with it. BTW: The bulk of the Inuit diet was from blubber, not flesh; they had dogs to facilitate hunting (without the dog, it is unlikely they would have survived in such a climate at all in fact); based on their short stature, I would argue their diet was far from maximally nutritious; and no forager group that has had access to fruits and vegetables has opt-ed not to eat them.

    Our taste buds can be hijacked by modern foods, but the fact that we find fruits and vegetables tasty, and can in fact digest them, pretty much solves the question for me as to whether we “evolved” to eat them or not. As for dairy—the answer is very clear—a small percentage of humans (myself included) have evolved to be able to consume milk as adults—but as a species we have not evolved to be able to consume —and most adult humans cannot in fact consume –milk. Finally, as for grains, we evolved them to be able to eat them; not vice versa—personally I think we are paying a heavy price for this, but then again, it does seem that some people have an easier time with grains than others, just like milk–so perhaps some humans have evolved–or are evolving–the ability to eat grains.

    Thanks again for the great blog!

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a long and thoughtful comment. I appreciate it. It provides much food for thought.

  105. Carol – try “Good Calories Bad Calories”, “The Paleo Diet”, or best of all, “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Kieth. It’s an old narrative – cancer, CVD, stroke, diabetes, etc, follows in the path of agriculture, not vice versa. If the hunter-gatherers ate meat and live with out chronic disease, but the agriculturalists consistently develop these diseases of civilization, perhaps you could explain how that would be related to meat consumption?

    As for milk consumption – you can have that point.

    Have you really never been exposed to a thoughful article describing this progression and the models which explain it? That must have taken some work – Ms. Keith’s book will be very enlightening for you.

  106. @Kelly.
    Like Dr Mike I want to thank you for the views of the primatologist/anthroplogist community. It sets out the case for an omnivorous eating strategy as between the specializations of herbivore/carnivore, and makes the point that other species as well as some primates are adapted to it.

    @ Dr Mike
    Sorry for the multiple comments on this post. I do not know how that happened.

    I did post the same comment (with an addendum) to the “6 Week Blog” post when I noted that the comment was still in moderation, but the date of the comment was after the date of closure for comments. With respect the closure date, it seems that when this date is one day different from the current date that comments are not prevented. As well, it seems the closure date is automatically updated as current time advances. It is slightly confusing! Perhaps your site administrators have not quite correctly set up how you wish it to work.

    Yes, sorry about the comment closure deal. That’s one of the things I’m trying to get fixed with the new blog look.

    I was glad to post the primatologist/anthropologist comment, but that didn’t mean I agreed with it completely. I don’t think that just because early man ate a particular food means he was adapted to it. Modern man loves the taste of fructose, but that certainly doesn’t mean (at least to me) that he’s adapted to it.

  107. Dr Eades – Let me apologise for my rant. I guess i am the “angry vegetarian wandering in to take you to task” (except i’m not a vegetarian!). Let me explain. Contrary to what you said in your response to my rant, i am most definitely a seeker of the truth. I do want to know what is best nutrionally speaking for my body and i am interested in different points of view, especially when they are backed up with scientific evidence. I have not yet explored your site fully, but will certainly do so. My rant was prompted by some of the “anti-vegan” comments readers have posted on your site and i am afraid this made me lash out. I am not a vegan nor a vegetarian although i do go several weeks at a time sometimes without eating any animal products. Most vegans that i know are ethical vegans who are trying to do what they perceive to be best for animals, for the planet and for their health. If their perceptions are wrong, that does not give people the right to abuse or insult them for it, rather they should try to educate. I am on the side of the ‘ethical meat brigade’ i guess. As i said, some of the borderline abusive comments made me lash out, for which i apologise.

    J. Emery – Talk about “damning with faint praise”. Thank you for sticking up for me, but please, do i really sound that stupid? That hurt, Mr Eades response did not. I was very angry when i wrote it (as i think is fairly obvious). I do understand big words and i am not obese. As i said, i am interested in what is good for my health, not necessarily what will make me lose the most weight. I hope things turn around for you, sounds like you are having a very difficult time. Thanks again for sticking up for me.

    Apolloswabbie – Thanks for the book recommendation, i will certainly look out for “The Vegetarian Myth” on Amazon. And yes, unfortunately i have never before been exposed to a thoughtful article describing why agriculture is the cause of the so-called “modern” diseases. It is not a popular POV obviously! Thanks for looking past the rant and giving a helpful constructive response.

    No problem. I was probably a little harsh in my response, but I can blame that on the few redneck genes that I have.

    I truly can provide you with a long list of studies showing that plant foods cause disease, but the problem is, these studies are no more valid than the studies showing eating meat to be the cause of disease. All of these kinds of studies are observational studies, which don’t prove causality. It would be extremely difficult – if not impossible – to do a long-term, randomized, controlled study on dietary intake, which is the only way that it could be ‘proven’ that this or that food causes cancer, heart disease, etc.

    I think you will profit – as I did – from reading The Vegetarian Myth because it addresses the very concerns your vegan friends have. In my opinion a vegan diet is not a healthful one. Many people seem to do well on such diets, but that’s not the point. The point is is such a diet the optimal one, and I think the answer is a resounding, No. The author of The Vegetarian Myth almost destroyed her health by following such a diet for about 20 years. My thinking has always been that if people want to go on vegan or vegetarian diets for ideological reasons, I don’t have a problem with that, but if they’re going on them because they think such diets are more healthful, I do have a problem. The Vegetarian Myth helps show why it isn’t even all that ethical to follow a vegan diet.



  108. @Kelly,

    Like the others, I want to thank you for your reply. It was quite a bit of food for thought. I have a few questions, though, and perhaps both you and/or Dr. Eades can answer them as time permits.

    You stated that it would be easy for us to eat aged flesh, which would be the very type of thing we would get from scavenging. Richard Wrangham proposed that we started cooking very early on in our evolution toward humanity. This, it seems, would render the meat just as easily digestible as aged flesh. We would not have had a need to evolve to eat raw meat, if this is the case. Thoughts?

    In reading Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade, he made the case for humanity having stuck to the coastlines, and for our early capacity for sea travel. It makes sense that seafood would be heavily available during the beginnings of the diaspora from Africa, but it might also be possible that we managed to hunt larger fish if we were as capable of boat building and sea travel as Wade suggests?

    I found your comments regarding big game hunting to be quite interesting. Many people make the assumption that man was the reason for the extinction of the giant land mammals, but I believe climate change was a far more likely culprit, so your post made much sense to me in this regard. Too, Native Americans flatly deny being the cause of such destruction, stating that had they been so, they would also have wiped out many of the following large game species that Europeans found so plentiful upon their arrival to the “New World”. Bison, elk and caribou. Being of Native American descent myself, I am more likely to believe my ancestor’s wisdom in this regard, so your confirmation was refreshing.

  109. Hello Dr. Eades,

    I have never before posted to any blog but feel compelled to do so due to the gross misrepresentation of Richard Leakey’s work in the AlterNet piece. I became familiar with Leakey’s work due to my own interest in evolutionary nutrition and have never seen Leakey make the assertion that “humans are herbivores.” Quite the contrary, actually, Leakey views the shift towards the consumption of meat as one of the fundamentally important steps in the evolution of Homo sapiens, as it allowed for the sustained inclusion of a nutritionally-dense form of sustenance in the diet (something that he clearly states was not happening with a vegetarian diet).

    The quote that is presented from Leakey, “[y]ou can’t tear flesh by hand, you can’t tear hide by hand … We wouldn’t have been able to deal with food source that required those large canines,” is typical of the arguments that he has made for the use of tools in hominids that he argues occasionally ate meat. Additionally, as we move further along the evolutionary timeline to a period roughly two and a half million years ago, Leakey even notes that he believes a shift towards an omnivorous diet coincided with the evolution of smaller teeth (and a larger brain). This is exactly the opposite of what the author of the AlterNet piece would have us believe that Leakey’s research indicates.

    From pg. 120 of Origins Reconsidered: “By two million years ago… Some bipedal apes had become small-brain, large-cheek-teeth, specialist plant eaters; others, large-brain, small-cheek-teeth omnivores… By 1.7 million years- the time of Homo erectus- the large-brain, small-cheek-teeth adaptation began to dominate; eventually, it was the only occupied bipedal ape niche”

    While addressing the evolution of the enlarged brain in early Homo (from 500 to more than 700cc), Leakey writes on pg. 163 of Origins Reconsidered, “An almost 50 percent expansion in brain size in creatures of roughly the same body size is a biological signal about as dramatic as can be imagined. As significant to me is the concomitant shift in the life history… there was also an important change in subsistence. Here, the new constituent is meat, not as a rare item in the diet, but for the first time as a substantial component. Is it a coincidence that we see stone tools enter the archeological record at about the same time as we judge Homo to have evolved, some 2.5 million or more years ago? I think not. I think we are seeing here the elements of an evolutionary package that in time led to Homo sapiens.”

    From pg. 165 of Origins Reconsidered: “Although some anthropologists argue that regular meat eating was a late development in human history, I believe they are wrong. I see evidence for the expansion of the basic omnivorous hominid diet in the fossil record, in the archeological record, and, incidentally, in theoretical biology.”

    Leakey also notes on pg. 166 of Origins Reconsidered that the “thesis about a species’ ability to afford a large brain is that it must have a stable environment, stable in terms of food supply. Stable and nutritionally rich. The robust australopithecines managed to stabilize their food supply in the new prevailing environment 2.5 million years ago, but their tough plant foods were not rich nutritionally. By broadening the diet to include meat, early Homo achieved both stability and rich nutrition. Meat represents high concentrations of calories, fat, and protein.”

    These are very clearly not the words of someone who feels that man was specifically designed to eat a vegetarian diet. That the author of the AlterNet attempted to draw from Leakey’s work for evidence that humans should be vegetarians demonstrates either a complete lack of familiarity with Leakey’s writing or a knowing attempt to misrepresent Leakey’s true position in order to substantiate his own claims. Neither is acceptable.

    Many thanks for the books and the blog. They are all significant and insightful sources of information for those of us interested in an honest look at nutrition.

    Thanks for the comment. I knew Richard Leakey didn’t buy into that nonsense, but didn’t have time to address that issue in the post. I’m glad you have.

  110. Just another former vegetarian chiming in here (seems there are more and more of us these days) to say thanks for your thorough explanations and addressing comments when you can, even the ones that reveal your “redneck genes!” 🙂

  111. How do you resolve that meat causes cancer though?


    AGEs from cooking and “browning” food

    And Methionine content (pg 118)

    Sigh. These are all observational studies, and as such, don’t really mean squat. There are no studies that prove meat consumption causes cancer. There are observational studies showing it might even protect against cancer, but, again, observational studies don’t prove anything.

  112. I know they eat the penises of bulls and other animals in some countries and there is nothing wrong with it. But maybe it is not a good idea to post a picture of a young child having it in his mouth on a site that is primarily viewed by people in western civilized countries.

    I understand that it is just protein and an edible animal part like everything else, all I’m trying to say is some people might take it the wrong way.

    Uh, the kid in the picture has a big pork rib in his mouth. Last time I checked, there were no bones in penises.

  113. @ Elizabeth,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I’d be happy to try to answer your questions, if I can. But first off, I have to state that there is very little that we can say with certainty about what pre-agricultural humans ate or did not eat, and what evolutionary food-ways we followed on our path to becoming human.

    This is why things like isotope analysis of bones is so important—but the farther back in time we go, the less bone we have to work with (both because we have to rely on fossils—which are really rock “casts” of bones, not actual bones–and because there just weren’t that many humans on the planet before 6000 years ago, so finding anything at all is like winning the lottery. What I can say without a doubt is that if people can put something in their mouths and not die from it instantly, chances are someone, somewhere, at sometime, has considered it “food,” and someone else shivered in horror at the thought of it!

    I didn’t mean to say that it is easy for us to eat aged flesh, if I did I apologize. What I meant to say is that it is easier for us to eat aged flesh (raw or cooked) than is for us to eat unaged flesh (raw or cooked). But I should have clarified this too—the type of flesh makes big difference: Fresh, raw beef is one of the most difficult for us and usually requires both aging and cooking, whereas poultry usually only requires cooking, yet finfish can even be eaten raw.

    We have been cooking for a very long time, long before we were homo sapiens sapiens, so you are right that it wasn’t necessary for us to adapt biologically to fresh, raw meat consumption because we adapted to it technologically. But that doesn’t answer the question about whether we should eat it or not; whether it is “good” for us or not. We have “adapted” to many things technologically, many of which are clearly not “good” for us—also, consider that cows clearly did not evolve to eat meat or corn, but modern agriculture has proven they can eat both (they shouldn’t eat either and both eventually kills them, but as long as they were able to breed quickly before they died, it’s plausible that they might even “choose” to eat it themselves and live very short lives). As long a species can reproduce, evolution could care less if they die of a heart attack afterwards–so it is likely that evolution does not really pose the answers to these questions.

    And even if we had a time-machine, I am not sure that our questions would be answered. For as long as we have been modern humans, which means for all of the past 200,000 years, our diets have been determined by our minds via our cultures, not our evolutionary “instincts.” Every Paleolithic forager group you might come across with your time-machine would probably eat different things from all the others you came across—and some undoubtedly would not eat “animals” for “moral” reasons (they would literally be just like us after all). Maybe that’s what happened at the end of the Mesolithic: Maybe one group decided that it was immoral to eat animals and started trying to cultivate grains (maybe even to mimic animals)…and then they spread their new “religion” at the point of spear (and with a whole host of new epidemic diseases heretofore unknown to the foragers to assist them), since all of a sudden having a large, permanent, ever expanding territory became a necessity for agriculturalists…or maybe not!

    I do predict that in 50 years the idea that humans were responsible for the American megafaunal extinction event will seem laughable. But even if it is proven conclusively, your direct ancestors could not have been responsible—the Clovis people went extinct with the megafauna.

    Thanks again for your kind words!

    @ Desmondo–Thanks! I’m glad I could contribute–I am a doctoral candidate in Anthropology and Paleo-osteology (my area of specialization is the Mesolithic Transition). I’m not not a Primatologist per se, but I do try to keep up to date on trends in Primatology.

    @ Dr. Eades–Thank you for posting my comments. I’m cannot agree with you that humans would find fruit palatable if we didn’t evolve to eat it; we are primates first, after all (felines for instance cannot taste “sweet” at all). My understanding of palatability is that the things we find the most palatable are those which nature wanted to make sure we ate when we came across them.

    Even after the advent of agriculture, for most of our existence, fruits were not available in the constant binge-worthy quantities they are now (and many were very different in their natural states than they are in their present cultivated states). But as I said above, I doubt that evolution will help us much to solve this question after the age of 40. Evolution doesn’t care about the post-breeders of any given species.

    Are there any studies you know of linking raw fruit consumption to diabetes, which controlled for consumption of refined starches, carbohydrates, and high-fructose corn syrup?

    Thanks again to all!

    I just can’t buy into the notion that if it tastes good, we are evolved to eat it. As I mentioned before, fructose tastes very good, but I don’t think that means we are therefore fructose-ivores.

    I agree that fruits as we know them today bear any resemblance to fruits our primitive ancestors would have encountered. Fruits today have been Luther Burbank-ized to the point that they are nothing but attractive forms of a sugar delivery system.

    I don’t know of any studies showing that fruit or meat or starch or any other food stuff causes anything because the only studies that look at such relationships are observational studies, and observational studies are worthless for proving causality. It would be virtually impossible to do the kinds of definitive, long-term studies required for ‘proof’ that any specific food causes disease.

  114. I think the writer says we don’t need dietary cholesterol. That is a big distinction. Dogs and cats do need vitamin C. They just don’t need it dietarily because they canst produce it, yeah? And we can’t, so we need to eat it in our diet. It’s an essential nutrient. Cholesterol is NOT an essential nutritent, yeah?

    Second, even non essential nutrients are to be consumed, because they are ideal sources of things such as fuel. Even though carbohydrates are not essential, due to the nature of the body having backup mechanisms to produce glucose from fat and protein in gluconeogenesis, it is a dirty and inefficient process and the ‘non essential nutrient’ is the better cleaner burning source of fuel for our cells. Am I right or wrong? My point is that nutritional terminology can be misleading.. but also that truth is eternal and absolute. Language should make it easier to grasp, but sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe because certain people don’t want it to.

  115. Have you read Robert Ardrey’s book The Hunting Hypothesis? It makes a strong case from an anthropological standpoint for humans having evolved as carnivores and is an overall enjoyable read. It’s been out of print for a while, but used copies are easy to find online.

    I have it, and I read it a long, long time ago.

  116. I have to say a couple more things to make thinking rational. I am sorry if I get emotional, or pedantic, for we are all human. Me being carb based vegetarian, the complete flip flop of those here.

    I won’t try to prove or convince anything. However,

    The kid in the picture could have been me, years ago. That is one reason I judge not. But it could not be me now and I doubt would have been me back then if I had the rational mind of a thinking and knowing adult. I became veg at 24, the first time I put my mind to the thought of nutrition, and only after reading and studying material, all sides of the debate. My point is that for me, only in thoughtlessness did I consume. If I had the thought as a 15 year old, would I have been veg then?

    I see people so committed to meat eating, others so committed to veg, and those in between. I can’t help wondering why people are so committed to opposite paths so obstinately.

    In spite of our dietary differences, I could be friends with anyone here who shares other interests with me, and lay aside our dietary differences, and this is what I want people to remember when they read what I write.

    ‘Vegetarianism’ remember is not something that is good or bad, that you tried once, or to argue for or against, and here’s why. Health and nutrition is a puzzle with many pieces we have to fit together. Vegetarianism is not a piece in itself but a category of pieces, some good and some bad. One can be low carb veg, in fact and even vegan. Salt is a poison, but it vegetarian. Vegetarian westerners still eat and live like westerners generally, sans meat. They are not renunciates, unless they are part of a subgroup like me with natural hygiene, and that’s why there are nice fancy goumet restaurants and fake tofu turkeys and all. We must evaluate each piece of the puzzle individually, like Gandhi with his relentless pursuit of truth and experiments with dietetics, each piece on it’s own merits, some being more important pieces than others. ‘meatlessness’ or not is it’s own piece to weigh on it’s merits do not lump not eating meat with health or ill health, without looking at the whole board, the forest, not the trees.

    There are many vegetables I don’t eat or like, including onions and cabbage and garlic and hot peppers and others.

    I don’t consider myself a dictator, or a dogmatist or guilt tripper. I consider myself a witness to what I believe is the light, a seeker who has found things he likes, certainly no one’s judge. I will continue reading all sides with an open mind but my doubts remain unanswered, my questions unsuccessfully overcome. I am also becoming interested in defending animals, but these are my motives, not as a dictator. I don’t care what people do unless it affects me and the helpless who I consider deserving of protecion. I am not selling any supplement or making anyone dependent on me for health.

    Regarding taxing meats as a sin tax, let’s first consider that they are already heavily subsidized. I will agree to never tax them provided the government stops subsidizing them and let them reach their natural costs.

    I think fruit is our most natural food, but starches with vegetables approximate that, as starches give carbs and vegetables give the alkalizing minerals and the vitamins. But yeah in starches there are things that aren’t completely natural, gluten, phytic acid, but at least there’s no saturated fat, cholesterol, horomones, etc. which I think are worse.

    I think whether to eat meat or not is so important as it’s at the root of so many things, and that’s why I make it a huge issue in my life. It touches on so much besides just health. Diet and meat eating is at the root of health, as well as economics, as well as ecology, as well as culture as well as war, if only due to need for land and resources. Wars were fought over grazing rights in biblical times, which just doesn’t happen when people eat bloodless fare. I’m sorry, this is what I believe to be the light and truth. But since it’s at the root of so many things, I make it one of my huge issues

    I have done some personal observation studies, of people who have been long term vegans, vegetarians and even low fat raw vegans, and they virtually all look the part of health to me at least and themselves as well, and they have been for many years. That proves nothing more than that some show seemingly good health on vegan diet. It proves that it is not as dangerous as the mainstream would have us believe. And they look the part of quite good health.. but the point is the fear that one falls apart completely is totally unfounded, based on my observations and is an outrage. They even reproduce well and seem to have healthy children.

    I like to agree with what Yahshau said- do not fuss so much over what you will eat or wear. It’s not so hard to meet our needs, especially when we are in keeping with nature. Though I might never eat meat again, a little meat won’t kill anybody or destroy the environment as much as meat gluttony which we have in the west.

    People that think vegetarianism is a western privelege have it backwards. In fact isn’t meat eating what is the privelege of the wealthy societies. Not only have I read this but I have travelled and seen. Of course there are exceptions to every rule.. those who live by the see who can’t farm the land much due to lack of water or good soil.. but exceptions aside… what is the general rule? If you lie, make it a big one. that way you can fool vegetarians into thinking they are priveleged for having access to potatoes and persimmons and that meat just grows on trees.

    I think universally, vegans and ominvores eat way too much fat and oil. only those who strive to eat low fat and keep their rivers of blood running fast and smooth can unload the sugars and other nutrients thus dealing with criticisms of high blood sugar.

    anyway, friends, let us agree that health is important, and let us each go his own way after sharing our separate truths. Let us all maintain open minds. I am forumulating a list of questions that, if they are all answered successfully would cause me to consider switching to eating meat. I just doubt they will be answered successfully as I already think I’ve studied all sides fairly comprehensively and there are so many, but I will write out these questions someday. they touch on comparative anatomy, general as well as digestive physiology, as well as general nutrition, as well as economics, ecology, and other areas as well. People in this blog have touched on some but I could offer intelligent responses from the vegetarian side that they might say. Like two good lawyers having perfect responses to each argument, it’s hard to know what to accept, but I think I do know and have got close to the bottom. As humans we are not required to know about the krebs cycle to know how to live. I do not mean I know everything. Know what is in front of my face and what is hidden will be revealed to you. I think I know most things in front of my face regarding diet.

    peace and light

    I have friends who are vegetarian and I have many friends who are of a totally alien political persuasion compared to my own. I’ve never understood why people let politics, religion and/or nutrition get in the way of friendship.

  117. So, odd request here, but does anyone have any well-referenced blogs / articles that take the opposing view–supporting vegetarian and/or high carb? I’ve been looking around, but I haven’t found any. I know there are plenty of studies out there; I’d like to see them analyzed in a manner similar to the way in which paleo blogs dissect related research. Could it be that researchers/doctors/scientists do not feel compelled to support the mainstream views on nutrition unlike those opposing it?

    I’m not just making a point here, I have an interest in learning about the opposing views, but I refuse to read emotional claims without at least a tiny bit of supporting research or scientific perspective.

    If you’re looking for studies showing the scientific support of vegetarianism, you’ll have to look hard because there really aren’t a lot. In fact, I don’t know of one. There are a number of observational studies here and there indicating that vegetarians live longer, but these are offset by others that don’t confirm that. The medical literature contains many papers discussing how to treat vegetarian patients for diverse nutritional inadequacies and how to make vegetarian diets more complete by supplementing, but no real articles showing a true benefit to vegetarian eating.

    Vegetarian diets are not particularly healthful, and the sad thing is that if you asked the average man on the street whether a vegetarian diet is more healthful than a diet containing meat, I’ll bet 90 percent of them would answer that it was. They recognize it as more healthful but don’t think they could stay on one themselves or wouldn’t be willing to make the sacrifice to obtain the purported benefits. Truly sad since the truth is the opposite. Shows how much better the vegetarian propaganda machine is.

    If someone knows of such a study, I would love to see it. Please don’t pepper me with observational studies, as those are worthless for proving causation.

  118. To: SesameB (August, 2009)
    From: L Keith

    Thanks for all your kind words about my book. I’m so glad it has resonated with you.

    Best, Lierre

    And, to add to this post:

    One Pebble, There is so much we still do not know about health, longevity and true happiness.

    True again, cars’ auto exhaustion, mercury fillings, heavy metals, air pollution, etc. all of this plays a roll.

    Subject: Fw: Exhibit spotlights local golf legend

    Some of you may recall the article we printed in one of the M2M’s onlong term vegetarian Frank Stranahan, legendary in Toledo as a nationally famous golfer and bodybuilder from a wealthy local family.

    He retired to Florida and under the influence of Dr. Zovluck, became a near raw vegan, with the exception of cooked fish and various nutritional supplements. In the article, he claimed that he expected to live to 120.

    Well, now, according to the article below, he suffers from “mild Azlheimer’s,” which Bernarr says isn’t so mild. His son is taking care of him.

    You may recall that Alzheimer’s did in Dr. Benesh and his wife both.

    What I think I know about Alzheimer’s is that it can be triggered by vitamin B-12 deficiency and reversed by massive doses of B-12 if caught in its early stages. Environmental influences that deplete B-12 are mercury (from dental fillings or seafood); auto exhaust and other air pollution; dietary excitotoxins like MSG, aspartame, caffeine; the chlorine/fluorine combo found in drinking water; and other heavy metal overloads, like aluminum, nickel, and cadmium. Naturally, these should be removed.

    The average Japanese has much higher levels of B-12 in his body than the average American and also a much lower rate of Alzheimer’s.

    Perhaps Frank was done in by too much fish or mercury dental fillings (if he still had them). One never knows.

    Bob Avery

  119. Dr. Eades, keep up the great work you are doing. I love it!!!!
    I now eat meat!!!!! Thermal waters, sunlight, rest/sleep, and car free for life.
    All the best to you. We need more people such as yourself. I have corresponded with
    Ms. Lierre – THE VEGETARIAN MYTH, (2009) on cars and having children pg.266

    Book: The Vegetarian Myth (2009) by L. Keith – Personally, I found this author to be smart, compassionate, knowledgeable, and true like ice, like fire. If this book doesn’t change the world – we’re all screwed.
    One Pebble-

    Kendall of Texas wrote in his email to me: I did refrain from having children, but the car is a necessity, unfortunately. I do not enjoy the automobile culture we have created. I would like to grow my own food, but don’t have time.

    One Pebble, a former long term raw vegan

    I’m glad you came over from the dark side.

  120. to the Good doctors and readers of this blog:

    (August 2009) Ms. Keith,
    You wrote: “Thank you for taking the time to write me so many emails and to express such deep agreement with my book.” THE VEGETARIAN MYTH, (2009)

    When I started reading your book while lying in my hammock, it seemed as though it was all surreal. There was an immediate psychic connection between what was being written and what I had been silently thinking for the last 25 years or so as well as having experienced what was being written. I am not trying to be “New Agey” here. Vegetarianism was not adding up in terms of real health and longevity. For example, over the last several decades I witnessed a continuing body count of vegans/vegetarians raw and cooked foods. A few I knew very, very well for many years, are the following: Freda Kirkland Ireland of Tallahassee, Florida, who was a well know Natural Hygiene speaker and writer, YOUKTA, 30 year raw vegan wife of Victor Kulvinskas, M.S., who died a few years ago in Costa Rica of colon cancer associated with other emotional problems. And the late Helen Jean Story of California, who created one of the first raw foods newsletter via snail mail before the Internet. She worked hard in her later life publishing this newsletter and arranging gatherings and trips. She died after having a stroke a few years ago. (Back to long term vegan Elder Victor Kulvinskas, M.S., who is now reported to be the father of the modern raw food movement, he had two car accidents in the state of Arkansas prior to moving to Costa Rica. The last car accident, he totaled his wife’s Limina van in Mt. Ida, Arkansas. Youkta, took the keys and during the last 2 years of their stay in Arkansas, she was the driver. The last accident affected their car insurance because he ran a stop sign an caused the accident. Victor K. has also had cataract eye surgery in Little Rock, AR. A few years ago. Also, he was hospitalized for a hernia operation in 2006, which took place in Little Rock AR. Also to my surprise.

    On to Mrs. Davison, 88 year old, who lived in Tilley, Arkansas with her husband, on a farm where they raised 5 children. Mrs. Davison was a 40 year raw eater, and resort director. Mrs. Davison has died at this time. According to her husband she developed heart disease, even though she was a raw vegan, and was forced to close the resort for 30 years in 2005. Prior to her death, she had a one car accident in rural Arkansas, where the suffered broken ribs and injured her collar bone badly. Mr. Davison said he tried to keep her from driving after retirement, because she had become weak in body. She would not hear it, nor even from her oldest son. A year after the car accident, she died.

    I was told by Bob Avery, former raw vegan, who now includes some organic meat in his diet, last month that V.V. Vetrano, M.D. of Texas, has retired and is being sued by a patient’s family. According to Bob, this patient was under the care of raw vegan Dr. Vetrano, M.D. when he/she got ill and died. Dr. J. Fielder also told me Dr. Vetrano was forced to retire.

    Susan Smith Jones, PhD, I read about her over 15 years ago. She was hit by a car and almost died. She turned to vegetarianism. And remember the South African, 30 year raw fruit eater, Morris Krok, author, died of cancer. His leg was even amputated as per Dave Klein, PhD.

    Another stunning example is the late vegetarian Helen Nearing. She and her husband and co-author Scott made history with their modern experiments in self-sufficiency. Together they wrote the bestselling book Living the Good Life,as well as Continuing the Good Life and The Maple Sugar Book. She died as a result of a one car accident many years ago in Maine. Speaking of car accidents where vegetarians/vegans are involved , Dr. Ruth Heidrich, who received her Ph.D in Health Management in 1993, is the author of “A Race For Life “and ” The Race For Life Cookbook.” She too was hit by a car on her bicycle years ago. She still actively competes in marathons and triathlons, having won more than 800 trophies and medals since her diagnosis of breast cancer in 1982 at the age of 47. Ruth is also a Councillor for the Vegetarian Union of North America.
    TLC’s Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes dies in wreck

    LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) – Vegetarian, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, member of hip-hop R&B group TLC, was killed in a car accident Thursday in Honduras, her record label reported early Friday. She was 30. The head-on collision on a treacherous two-lane country road occurred shortly before 6 p.m. outside La Ceiba, a town on the Atlantic coast, said Carlos Bakota, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy. Lopes, who was driving, died instantly, he said. The singer was one of eight people in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Three members of Egypt, a new band, were taken to Dantoni Hospital in La Ceiba. She would have turned 31 next month, according to her Web site.

    Wow! I didn’t realize so many famous vegetarians/vegans had died in car wrecks. It is, of course, anecdotal information that we can’t really draw conclusions from, but…

    There is a body of research showing that people who consume low-fat diets have increased reaction times (slower, i.e., takes more time to react) as compared to those who eat more fat and cholesterol, which makes sense since the nervous system is primarily fat and cholesterol. Maybe if we could do a randomized-control trial of people on low-fat or vegan diets we would find that more had accidents of one kind or another and could lay it at the doorstep of slower reaction times. If so, I don’t want any low-fatters flying the planes I ride on.

  121. Kelly and Dr. Eades, perhaps you can collectively shed some light on the issue of dairy consumption. Specifically, i’m interested in where the disconnect is between the approach of the Paleolithic diet regime and the approach of the WAPF. The former, of course, restricts dairy entirely (in my understanding), whereas the latter vehemently champions the incorporation of raw dairy only into the diet, claiming that whole raw milk is a “perfect food”. If memory serves, some nomadic herding groups have consumed milk as a staple and many have consumed various raw, fermented dairy foods (Dr. Eades, I believe you referenced Mongol usage of yogurt at one time…).

    It’s my understanding that for most low-carb dieters, this issue is moot, as even whole milk is a problem because of the quantity of carbs. I’ve read some conflicting ideas on the carb count for yogurt and kefir, but it appears these forms of milk may have a diminished carb count and thus would be acceptable (and probably more digestible)?

  122. What an interesting comment about B12 deficiency being linked to Alzheimers. My nan is suffering with dementia, not caused by Alzheimers, but vascular related dementia. I have read that as we get older our ability to absorb B12 from food decreases if we do not have a plentiful supply of something called the intrinsic factor, so even if we are consuming a plentiful supply of B12 our bodies may not absorb it. This is particularly worrying for vegans as the intrinsic factor is protein-based and therefore your body needs a plentiful supply of all the amino acids to produce it. A double whammy for vegans then: getting enough B12 from supplements and ensuring they eat a wide enough variety of foods to get all their amino acids. I have been toying with becoming vegan for ethical reasons for a long time. This one thing is enough to put me off. I would not like to take the risk of ending up like my nan.

    Slightly off topic, i was reading the other day about so-called “Flexitarians” – vegetarians who eat meat occasionally. This idea appeals to me. It was suggested that this is probably the closest diet to the one our ancient ancestors had. I am sure readers here will have something to say about that!

    I haven’t read “The Vegetarian Myth” yet as it has not been released in the UK yet, so apologies if this is on the wrong tack. Surely though, if agriculture is the cause of the earth’s destruction, then becoming vegetarian is a good thing, at least in the current political climate, as currently most of the world’s grain is fed to animals rather than to humans, or so i have read? I understand that in the terms outlined in principal by Lierre Keith (which i wholeheartedly endorse), the ideal would be for everyone to eat locally sourced food only, but how is that anti-vegetarian particularly, given that ‘fact’?

    Apologies for the multiple topics for discussion, my mind goes off on these tangents.

    Please inform and educate me!

    Intrinsic factor falls not only with inadequate protein diets but with aging itself. So older people who skimp on protein really get a double whammy, which is why they are often vitamin B12 deficient.

    The Vegetarian Myth deals with precisely the situation you discuss. Agriculture is not necessarily a good thing. I will be eager to see what you think once you’ve read the book. A suggestion, if you’re really interested in reading it. You can order it through (click here for link) here and have it shipped to the UK. I order many books from that I can’t get here. It costs a little more for shipping, but it’s worth it to me to get the books I want when I want them. There is no guarantee that The Vegetarian Myth will be picked up by a UK publisher and published there.

  123. Dr Eades, thanks for that. It seems slightly amazing to me now that the elderly aren’t routinely screened for deficiency in B12 (and other deficiencies) given the high profile dementia seems to have in the media at the moment and the projections as to it’s increase here in the UK in the future.

    I took your advice, thank you, and ordered the book from It cost me about £16 including delivery. Ordering from would have cost me almost £35 from a UK supplier who has already shipped the book over. itself did not have the book in stock but was allowing me to pre-order for £12.74, with no release date given. I look forward to reading it.

    Can you also please recommend a book that will educate me as to how/why a high protein/low carb diet is the most healthful diet for humans? If this is one of your own books, that’s fine. I have noticed (!) that you have a high disregard for observational studies, so am very interested to learn what scientific studies your convictions are grounded on. I am very much the average lay person, as you can tell, but very interested in nutrition and the science behind it.


    I’m glad you got the book. I’ll be curious to learn what you think of it.

    Here is a post I wrote on observational studies that will let you know why they can’t be used to prove causality. The only studies that really can prove causality are prospective, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials.

  124. According to John Robbins, we are 28th (The USA) in health and longevity on the list of the world. That is not good!

    To remind you and the readers, while living in “Cars R Us America“, just a few years ago, I read in the magazine, VegsNews, reported a fatal car accident of a young 20 year old, vegan female, animal rights activist, who died in California.

    Several years ago, in one of his first issues of the Living Nutrition magazine, Dave Klein, PhD, wrote a lengthy story about a young raw vegan, young male, musician, who died while riding as a passenger in a car, also in California.

    He and his father, Taro Gold, lifelong vegetarian and well known international author was involved in a bad car accident years ago, and broke his neck. His father later died. I started collecting this information decades ago for personal reasons.

  125. Hi Good Dr. and readers of this blog, the “raw gurus” rarely tell us why the vegan/vegetarian diet does not work for everyone. When a vegan/vegetarian dies, they “the raw gurus” are silent. They keep on writing and selling books and speaking (for a fee) to the masses.

    This one example of ill vegans/vegetarians:

    Glimpses of Single, Vegan, Daniel DeNardo Dies
    Posted by adn_jomalley Posted: July 16, 2009 – 12:05 pm

    He was a strict vegetarian.

    (This is a follow-up to my column about the lonely death of Daniel DeNardo, a perennial fringe candidate, that ran this morning.)
    I found a friend of Daniel DeNardo’s. Her name is Pat Thompson, and she is 83. She met him decades ago through Holy Family Cathedral. He was a very devout Catholic, she told me, and sometimes helped with communion at the Providence hospital chapel.
    She saw him frequently over several decades.
    “He was like a son to me,” she said.
    She cooked for him and shared with him vegetables from her garden.

    He was a strict vegetarian.
    Last time she saw him, months ago, he was very thin. He told her he had leukemia, and suspected it was from his Vietnam exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange. She told him he should get his affairs in order. He told her he was certain he wasn’t going to die.
    I also had an interesting call from Cliff Groh, a local lawyer who dealt with DeNardo in one of his suits. Groh told me he’d researched DeNardo’s other legal filings and discovered that DeNardo sued his brother over their mother’s estate in Delaware after their mother was killed in an automobile accident. That was 10 years ago.
    Thompson said that now all of his family is dead. There are still no services planned, but Thompson said she was going to talk to her church, St. Nicholas of Myrna Byzantine Catholic, about raising money for his burial.
    For those who wanted to contribute, he is at Witzleben Funeral Home.
    I had a lot of email from people, includind a number of people he sued, who remembered him and said they’d like to attend his funeral.

  126. I’m not too sure about all these “scientific studies” I see and read about. Everyone has evidence to back up their own claims. What I do know is that I tried a 100%raw food diet (fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds) for a period of 30 Days and I felt pretty amazing and happy. That diet came with a lot of positives.

    I can’t say the same of when I ate meat (even if it was grass fed). I currently eat around 90% raw and feel fantastic. Way better than I’ve ever felt before. If that’s a sign that I’m dying or that I’m nutritionally devoid, well, I just don’t buy. I don’t need as much sleep, I don’t get hungry as often as my meat eater friends, and I have an inner peace that’s priceless.

    The 30 days of raw was documented on my website. You can read about it here. I know it’s my own experience, but I trust that over a “study” any day.

  127. Teodor,

    While people with differing opinions may all be able to cite studies or evidence for their claims, not all studies are designed, conducted or interpreted equally well, and not all evidence is equal or interpreted equally well. Where there are two or more different theories about something, only one can be correct, and in this case, the overwhelming majority of credible research does not favor high carb, low protein diets for health or fat loss.

    The fact that you experienced a particular result with one approach is not proof that the same or better results could not have been achieved by other means, and in my experience working with hundreds of people, as opposed to your individual experience, the diet you describe is not optimal, and is far less effective for improving body composition or health than the guidelines the Eades recommend in their books.

    As for comparing your experience with your “meat eater” friends, simply eating meat does not mean their overall diet is correct – you can’t generalize all diets which include meat as there is a world of difference between someone who eats based on the Eades’s recommendations and someone who gets their meat from a cheeseburger along with a large fries, sugar-filled ketchup, and even more sugar filled large soda.

  128. Jeez, I’ve been a vegan for a year and I never thought the diet was natural. What a load of nonsense that would be. My vegan experiment has been quite useful. During the transition, I learned that I have milk allergies, curing many years of problems dating all the way back to childhood. (Can’t believe all those tests when I was a child and no one ever thought of that.) I also learned that I had depleted my B12 stores over the years because I never ate meat products frequently. (Semi-vegetarian can be dangerous, I think, because you’re not paying enough attention to getting what you really need.)

    Next month, I’m adding eggs back to my diet. Fish and shellfish the next month. I’ll probably stop there. I don’t care much for fowl and I haven’t liked or eaten the other stuff since the 90’s. (And I’m not about to eat factory farmed animal products of any variety.)

    The China Study: Thanks for the review link. It’s really hard to find reviews of the book that are not venomous pro-vegetarian or venomous pro-meat. So much venom gets spewed on the web, along with misinformation on all sides. Just adds to people’s confusion on diet. Unfortunately, when a review is titled “More Vegan Nonsense!” it gets limited to preaching to the choir. No open-minded vegan will read it. Ever. I didn’t the first time I saw it but did this time since you gave it a rec. I’ll pull out some of the data and commit it to memory for discussion with others.

    Campbell wrote the book along with his son, and you can tell. There are clearly two different authors in the book and they aren’t always on the same page. One makes bold-faced, absolute claims. The other says he’s making the best guess based on the evidence he sees but doesn’t sound 100% on it. For instance, one claims that up to 10% animal calories seems safe.

    Beyond that, it reads like 3 or 4 different books. There’s the China Study part, the mice having cancer turned on and off by casein part, a part that touts getting plenty of Vitamin D which made a lot of sense, and a large part that Masterjohn agreed with about funding for studies and corporate/government interference. This kind of creates a fog where you don’t question the data because it’s jumping around. Like most folks, he seems to mean well.

    Lierre Keith doesn’t move me. I just wasn’t impressed with the book. She comes across as an eternally naive idealist who’s moved from one side to another, and it sounds like she was a chips and salad vegan. Maybe the book will help some people. I don’t know. But then, I’m a self-experiment nutritional vegan who watches his diet very carefully and never planned for the long-haul.

    Anyway, I love this blog. Lots of good information. You seem open-minded and willing to explain things which means I can learn a lot here even if I don’t always agree (or agree until I’ve studied things some more). I mostly agree so far, though.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.

    I would disagree with you about one thing, though. You wrote:

    Unfortunately, when a review is titled “More Vegan Nonsense!” it gets limited to preaching to the choir. No open-minded vegan will read it. Ever.

    I would say that no closed-minded vegan will ever read it. One with an open mind would welcome the challenge. I firmly believe that eating meat is both the natural state of nutrition for humans and is healthful. We’re I to encounter am article title “More Meat-Eating Nonsense,” I would read it in a heartbeat. I would want to see if there was any kind of valid reason not to eat meat. When I do come across these, they never present anything new. It’s always the same old stuff that’s been refuted a thousand times. But I still read them.

  129. Also, I just discovered that Good Carb, Bad Carb (which I’ve seen recommended here) and Good Carbs, Bad Carbs are two very, very different books. Which is sort of ironic. Glad I noticed before ordering a copy.

    You mean “Good Calories, Bad Calories,” which is the book by Gary Taubes recommended here.

  130. As a serial dieter of decades, there is an “observational study” that I would like to contribute. It doesn’t matter what diet one starts with, meat or vegetarian. It’s the fact that on either diet, the dieter has stopped eating processed foods. Just the act of getting rid of the preservatives and other chemicals that were never meant for human consumption has a salutary effect. We’ve all seen this effect on the newbie dieter. He cooks for himself and eats better quality food, so the benefits are obvious for several weeks at least.

    It is over the long run that the carnivorous diet proves itself. There will always be people like Teodor who can be vegetarian and feel great for years. In her book Keith describes that painful symptoms started quite soon after she became a vegetarian, which symptoms she ignored for the sake of ideology.

    Like Teodor, my diet makes me feel fantastic and I am never hungry–for me that means a meat diet. When I tried vegetarianism, I was always hungry and irritable. I have come to the realization that the reason I am a serial dieter is that I must be even more restrictive of carbs in order to curb cravings and stop cheating. I’m finishing the second week of the 6week, and have had no cravings, so I’m successful so far and feeling fantastic.

  131. Dr Eades: You’re right. I was very confused about the books indeed. Probably the lack of saturated fats in my diet. 🙂 (I actually eat a rather high fat diet.)

    As for the article names, I guess I’m more moderate than you. At a glance, I would avoid both.

  132. One Pebble – i have to take issue with your last post:

    “He was a strict vegetarian.
    Last time she saw him, months ago, he was very thin. He told her he had leukemia, and suspected it was from his Vietnam exposure to the defoliant Agent Orange. She told him he should get his affairs in order. He told her he was certain he wasn’t going to die.”

    Are you suggesting that he would not have got leukaemia if he was not a vegetarian? If not, what’s your point exactly? That vegetarians get ill the same as the rest of us? Come on, this is the kind of vegan/vegetarian bashing that i have to take issue with.

  133. I have a question regarding this Meat versus Vegetable centered diet debate. I have read that Acid/Alkaline balance is important so that conditions like cancer that thrive in an acid environment are less likely to occur. Proponents of this approach recommend eating 75% fruit and vegetables and 25% meat, grain, dairy.

    If the Protein Power approach allows for meat (acid) to make up more than 25% of the diet would one become too acid? Or does the reduction of grains and refined carbs off-set this increase in acid forming food?

    I guess what I am asking is which approach, Protein Power versus Ph Health Solution, has more science behind it? Which one is true?

  134. Hi Dr Eades,

    Campbell, you and Cordain were on the same panel at Boulderfest 2004.

    do you have any plans to write on the topic of meat diets and increased glycotoxins from high temp cooking? wondering how important you think cooking temperatures and food preparation methods are for long-term paleo/low-carb “adherers”?

    Thank you for all your great writing; especially like your twitter page

  135. Evolution? na
    God created man then created animals (and plants) for us to eat – easy!
    He knew what he was doing!

  136. Speaking of wacky comments, I heard one this morning that takes it all and I wish you’d do a comment on cancer treatment and low carb. My understanding from my reading in this area is that sugar feeds cancer. We now have a co-worker who has been diagnosed with cancer. According to her oncologist, she needs to eat a low fat diet because fat feeds cancer. Some of us are volunteering to prepare some meals during her treatment and this is making me crazy. If there is any time to get it right, this would be it. I can’t, by any stretch of my imagination, see a way that dietary fat would impact cancer, particularly when it is shoved out to make room for more carbs.

  137. I see some of the other commenters (like Adam and Kelly) have already noted that gorillas aren’t strict vegetarians. The only point I’d like to add to theirs is that they aren’t fed “meat” in zoos. Unless it’s a really bad zoo without accreditation or nutritionists. I was a gorilla keeper at a zoo for three years, and I’ve visited a number of other gorilla keepers in their various zoos… No one feeds them “meat” other than the occasional mealworm (of which our silly gorillas would flick back at us when they started moving around).

  138. While I find the arguments that human beings evolved eating meat — and because of eating meat — to be convincing, insightful, and interesting, our historical diets are not the final word on what our modern diets should be. This article’s title wrongly suggests the content will answer the question of what we “are” when it actually answers the question of what we evolved from. Clearly human beings “are” examples of both.

    The subtext of the article seems to be an implicit suggestion that what we evolved from is how we should be.

    To answer that question though, much more interesting and challenging evidence would need to be considered. Why do we have vegan athletes participating in the Iron Man, such as Brendan Brazier, Dave Scott winning the Iron Man while vegetarian (six times, tied for the all-time record), and very long-lived and healthful vegetarian populations, such as the Seventh Day Adventists? This all suggests that vegetarian diets can be very healthy.

    As a vegetarian you can run the Iron Man and live to be 100. As a meat eater you can run the Iron Man and live to be 100. Clearly the nutrition must be much more nuanced. Is either diet unhealthy for specific individuals due to the presence or absence of enzymes as a result of genetic or environmental factors? Do some people need meat, and others do better without it? If so, what are the individual differences that determine this? My friend’s kids were raised vegetarian and had vegetarian nutrition in-utero yet one of them was 6’4″ and about 230lbs at 17 — the biggest and strongest kid in his grade by far, in the cattle country of Southern Alberta where every other kid would have been eating meat their whole lives. Now 19 he just finished climbing Aconcagua. The other is about 6′ and 190 and a great athlete.

    You tackled some nutritionally unsophisticated arguments — what about the nutritionally sophisticated ones? Vegetarians could also write posts (and I’m sure some do, though who would want to follow their example?) about the weakest arguments of meat-eaters, and we would learn little from it. Why not elevate the debate and respectuflly consider the strongest positions of our opposition?

    Similarly, for some people there is more to life and to nutrition than “optimal” performance, or “optimal” health. What motivates many vegetarians is an interest in the humane treatment of animals. Although this blog seems to be about nutrition, I would be interested to learn more about your take on the ethics of our modern meat supply, and perhaps on the relative nutritional value of range fed meat, versus confined animal feeding operations. Perhaps this could go under the “anything else that strikes my fancy” category.

    For myself, I would like to see animals’ interests and well-being be given more consideration. The archaeological record and anthropological evidence suggests that such reverence and compassion typified our ancestors as well (see Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth for instance), although their killing methods often produced great suffering due to lack of technological sophistication (persistence hunting, poisoning, etc). If we can avoid such suffering, even if eating meat, should we not do so? Is it more noble to aspire to shaving milliseconds from a sprint, or protecting the weak under our dominion? Do we want to learn from the past, keep the good and get rid of the bad? What is good and what is bad? These are value questions of course, but also where the true heart of this debate lies.

  139. MT, have you been reading this blog? The Eades have had some 10,000 patients in some twenty years of practice, almost all who did better with animal protein. The doctors did try to oblige vegetarian patients, but as they have written, getting the proper nutrients together is difficult for vegetarians, let alone vegans.

    There are at least five nutrients in beef and other red meats that have no substitutes in plant food. Taurine, creatine, carnitine, vitamin B12 and alpha-lipoic acid. The list doesn’t end with these. Please don’t tell me you can get B12 in fermented soy products like miso soup. What that contains is a B12 analogue that creates a deficiency of the real vitamin. Not to mention that soy products have other anti-nutrients that wreak havoc with the human endocrine system.

    I just found out that Dave Scott eats fish–that’s meat. The sons of your friend, do they eat fish and maybe eggs? Eggs are meat and are nearly a perfect food–they also contain nutrients that can’t be found in plant food.

    I’m with you for the ethical treatment of the animals we eat. Corporate farming needs a complete ethical makeover like many, many corporate entities do.

  140. LCforevah, how are you defining vegetarian? I am new to this blog, so if Dr. Eades includes eggs as “meat” and means that people need eggs in their diet, but not animal muscle or organs, I don’t think he has much disagreement with vegetarians. Typically though, particularly in this context, meat refers to the flesh (muscle and fat) of animals, and organs, and vegetarian refers to people who don’t eat the body parts of animals, but do eat animal products including milk and eggs. There are different types of vegetarians, and other variety in the choices vegetarians may make. Vegan refers to people who, in varying degrees, eschew all animal products, including eggs and milk.

    By this definition, vegetarian diets are healthful and provide all the nutrients you mention through eggs and milk. Vegan diets would require supplementation. On the other hand though, it may be worth looking at whether it is worthwhile for short term performance enhancement. Carl Lewis used a vegan diet for the eight months prior to, and during, the 1991 World Championships, which he describes as the peak performance of his entire career. On the other hand, if you’re not interested in breaking world records, or in need of the type of power it takes to dominate power sports like sprinting, it may not be worth the trouble.

    Similarly, Dave Scott was only vegetarian when he was redefining the sport of triathlon with his record-setting six victories between 1980 and 1987, and resumed eating meat, as you mention, in 1992, at which point I think his athletic career was over.

    This is reminding me of how the Lipid Hypothesis proponents like to call the healthful, high fat diet of the French a “paradox.” And the high fat Mediterranean diet “paradox.” I’m curious how we can explain the High Performance Athlete Paradox — vegan and vegetarian diets followed by not just elite athletes, but the record-setting elite within the elite. Then there is the “Long-living Vegetarian Populations Paradox” of Seventh Day Adventists outliving the American average by nearly a decade.

    The sons of my friend do not eat fish, or meat (in the conventional sense). They do eat dairy and eggs.

    The broader point here is simply that nutrition cannot be as specifically prescribed as “experts” like to suggest. There is incredible variation in needs between people, and it remains plausible that diets excluding meat (conventionally defined) can be healthful and fuel high performance athletics.

    I agree with you that the need for corporate farming to be overhauled extends to other corporations. Those in the pharmaceutical and banking industries come to mind.

  141. Mike B, would you please present research on the Seventh Day Adventists? I work with a former adventist who grew up in a small town in the South where most everybody was an adventist, and he has plenty of stories of infants and toddlers experiencing “failure to thrive” and adults experiencing malnutrition. I’ll take his years of observation over an entire town any day. He was very active in the church, so would visit families in the course of his church work who were experiencing nutritional problems. His own mother had recipes to make protein from various flours which would take three days to do. If this is a normal way to eat, why is it so difficult to produce? I can’t imagine our ancestors doing anything similar before the invention of agriculture–it would be impossible in the wild.

    Having said all that, there are is a small number of people who very obviously do better as vegetarians, the problem is that the majority of the world population must have meat. They can’t follow the advice of healthy vegetarians as it would not work for them.

    Dave Scott, Carl Lewis, and Michael Phelps the Olympic swimmer, are all genetic outliers. Go google Phelps 10,000 calorie daily diet–it’s a doozy! There is plenty of junk food involved–it didn’t hurt him any. As an ordinary person with little athletic ability and average reflexes, I would not take dietary advice from any of the three.

  142. LCforevah, I know about Phelps’ 12,000 calorie a day diet — including two pizzas, a pound of pasta, and lots of bread daily — and while he is surely an outlier I think he belongs in the High Performance Athlete Paradox column too. The wide variation we see in high performance athletes’ nutritonal needs likely parallels the wide variety of nutritional needs in the general population, they simply have additional gifts and qualities that cause them to excel. The long life and health of the Seventh Day Adventists’ would support the idea that there is variation in human nutritional needs.

    From the Archives of Internal Medicine, 2001:

    While your former Adventist friends’ observations of children and infants failing to thrive are interesting, there are several important pieces missing from his comments — 1. were the SDA’s he observed failing to thrive vegetarian or non-vegetarian (there are both), 2. were the numbers of SDA children and infants failing to thrive greater than or less than the number failing to thrive on other diets, 3. for myself, I would like to know whether whatever caused him to leave the community — presumably something negative — is colouring his recollections. The fact that his observations are contradicted by the largest scale health study of SDAs conducted in the United States lends me to think his analysis is lacking. Particularly since the study was controlled.

    Involving 34,192 men and women from the SDA population and distinguishing between vegetarian and non-vegetarian portions of the population, the researchers comment: “Adventist vegetarian men and women have expected ages at death of 83.3 and 85.7 years, respectively. These are 9.5 and 6.1 years, respectively, greater than those of the 1985 California population in a univariate analysis. ”

    And further state that “To our knowledge, the life expectancies of California Adventist men and women are higher than those of any other well-described natural population.”

    Dr. Eades might point out that correlation of long lives with vegetarian diets does not prove vegetarianism caused the long life. I’m not trying to prove that however, I’m just showing that vegetarian diets are not “unhealthy.” If they were, we would have seen earlier death, and instead we see a population living longer than even the renowned Japanese.

    Lierre Keith cites this study in The Vegetarian Myth, but in one of the book’s weakest moments claims to “refute” it by referencing a study showing Mormons live a year longer than the SDAs. I can’t find that study, but if we assume it is valid and has statistically significant results, it ignores the fact Mormon scripture discourages eating meat. And even if the Mormons had all meat diets, the better conclusion from the one year difference is that the diets produce such similar results that it would seem like a flip of the coin as to which you preferred.

    Would a fair conclusion from the large SDA vegetarian study, and from the diets of high performance athletes most reasonably be something like “vegetarian diets are not unhealthy from the perspective of longevity and reduced disease for large populations of people, and do not seem to significantly impair the high level of athletic performance of some elite athletes.” I think on that basis that ordinary people like you or I, with average abilities, should experiment to see what diets are optimal for us as individuals, using experts like Dr. Eades for guidance, but keeping an open mind, trying new things, and acknowledging that the complexity in nutrition and values means others will advance different viewpoints.

    Equally important, to the extent that experts like Dr. Eades feel vegetarians have done a better job with their “propaganda”, I would suggest that to promote his perspective he is better off being magnanimous and understanding, because villification sounds shrill and off-putting, and will leave people who want to promote meat as healthful in the margins on this debate. If it is an important message, frame it well and with dispassionate, generous reason. That’s just good public relations.

  143. Thanks for the entertaining and educating blog!

    I have to start with asking something I have heard others ask vegans/vegetarians countless times before: There are essential amino-acids, there are essential fatty acids, so where are the essential carbohydrates? Right, they don’t exist. Vegetables are mostly carbohydrates and what little protein and fats they contain come nowhere close to “covering all the bases” in terms of essential nutrients. Sure, a vegan can get close to the recommended daily serving of protein if he/she is dedicated to self-education with regards to what they eat, but proteins are a macro-nutrient and as such you could eat 1,5-2g of protein per kg of bodyweight per day (and no one but a delusional vegan would claim you need less!) and still not get all the micro-nutrients (amino-acids) the body needs. Same thing with fats, cholesterol and I-don’t-know-what else. You might get the macro-nutrients you need but even if you get enough protein it doesn’t matter worth squat if you lack essential amino-acids! (You know.. there’s a reason it’s “essential”, e.g. “essential to health/survival”)

    Also, as a Type 1 diabetic I know all too well the ways carbohydrates wreak havoc on the body. In a healthy person, intake of protein induces a small release of insulin needed to transport amino-acids and other nutrients into the cells, be it energy for muscle or fat storage. It’s all the same to the insulin. To avoid death by hypoglycemia (because insulin also stimulates uptake of glucose from the blood), glucagon is released at the same time, which makes the liver release glucose and stimulates breakdown of stored fat. Carbohydrates however stimulate a (comparatively) HUGE release of the fat-storing insulin and NO release of the insulin-countering glucagon. Dietary fat doesn’t cause either, as it is metabolized in a way that doesn’t introduce glucose into the blood, and thus negates the need for insulin. (I think, at least eating fat and protein without taking insulin doesn’t noticeably raise my blood sugar level).

    Get why at roughly the same time governments and researchers started recommending high-carb/low-fat diets, obesity and cardiac disease virtually exploded..? “Why are they recommending this if it’s dangerous?” I hear you ask? Simple: decades ago, researchers saw that cardiac and vascular disease was linked to abdominal fat, overweight and fat in the veins, ergo dietary fat must be the culprit! (Dangers of observational studies, anyone..?) The simple, proven fact is that the body cannot store fat without insulin, and carbohydrates = huge, fast insulin release. Combined with a high calorie intake this results in overweight (especially adipose tissue, i.e. abdominal fat) which can in no way be said to be healthy!

    That being said though, I firmly believe we are omnivores. Meat, eggs, fish and fowl are all needed (whatever your idealogical vegan friend tells you) to get good quality essential nutrients. The same can obviously be said regarding low-starch (starch=carbs=insulin), fresh or lightly cooked vegetables and berries. I am only “self-educated” in nutrition and so my voice might not carry any weight, but I will still readily claim that a diet with lots of whatever meat you feel like, eggs and fish, combined with root vegetables and berries will give you the best of both worlds, namely all the essential proteins and fats you need to keep your body from tearing itself apart, and all the delicious and equally essential vitamins and minerals you get from those slightly “malformed”, sun-ripened celeries, tomatoes, berries, salads as well as root vegetables, nuts and seeds.

    A little side-tracking at the butt-end of my post..
    I’d love to see an observational study where a few thousand rigorously dedicated (meaning: they claim to have reason and science behind their eating) long-term vegans, “carnivores” and omnivores were randomly selected from a database of people so huge there was no selection bias going on (i.e. selecting fitter individuals from whichever category you root for). Full physical work-ups for everyone, in addition to thorough tests of physical and (culturally independent) mental strength and aptitude.

    The most likely outcome is that even though all three groups would have fit and unfit memgers, both the extremes (herbivores and carnivores) would come out behind the omnivores, with the herbivores finishing so far behind that the competition is already over by the time they cross the finish line.

    There are always exceptions, but the herbivores among us have a tendency to fit the “skinny and pale”-clique all too well, while those who eat loads of protein and fat from meat, nuts, eggs and stay away from starchy, sugary fruits and vegetables tend to do so because they want muscles, strength and a low body fat percentage.

  144. So you’re comfortable eating animals. That’s cool, but I’m not. I won’t teach my son it’s alright to kill things either. Go round about all you want how natural it is, how tasty it is, how stupid vegetarians are and so on. Really doesn’t matter. In the end you are only justifying killing something. No matter how you look at it you are in the wrong.

    In a moral society we do not cage, torture and slaughter animals to satisfy our carnal nature. Vegetarianism is the evolution of a society. There’s a good reason the more intelligent you are the more likely it is you are a vegetarian, it just makes sense.

    There’s no proving you people wrong though. It’s like an inmate on death row, he’s proud of his barbaric ways. You can write a book of reasons why you have to eat animals. Write this book, why it’s ok to kill anything weaker that yourself. This is what it comes down to.

    Take away the guns and see what happens to the food chain. All of sudden eating meat being natural isn’t so much fun, as we will be the ones getting eaten!

    1. Your last two sentences show that even you believe meat eating to be the natural state of affairs.

    2. Patrick: I eat a very carefully-constructed vegan diet, and I enjoy reading articles on this site. I wish I lived in a society advanced enough to accept differing opinions.

      Cause being civil is part of being civilized. Not sure why you’re so angry, unless the article made you question your beliefs. There probably isn’t any proving you wrong either, though, is there?

      I may be wrong here, but I think Dr Eades would himself become a vegetarian if there were evidence to convince him.

      I also assume that you’re a total vegan. Surely you don’t consume milk and eat eggs. I know a lot of well-meaning vegetarians do, and believe me, the animals that get killed are much better off than those. (Battery cages and such.) Unless you eat only farm raised eggs and drink only milk from a grass-fed, well-treated cow.

      I also hope you remember to sponsor causes that save people too, not just animals.

      Finally, you might want to take a macro look at life and death, animals and people, and not just a micro-individualistic look at it.

  145. @Patrick,

    If “there’s no proving you people wrong”, then why bother posting?

    If “that’s cool”, then why bother posting?

    Take away the tractors and petroleum-based fertilizers and see what happens to the food chain. All of the sudden subsisting solely on vegetation isn’t so much fun, as you will be the ones getting eaten – by scavengers, after you starve to death.

  146. Patrick:
    I respect your view as a moral vegetarian. If you choose to not eat meat because of your own personal reasons, then I can’t really argue.

    However, ignoring the facts the way you do makes me absolutely sick, considering you have a son. Refusing your child the nutrients he/she needs is a punishable offense, and labeling it “vegetarianism” doesn’t change that fact.

    All your vegan/vegetarian propaganda is worth less than the paper I wipe my backside with in the face of science and fact. One does *not* get all the essential fatty acids and amino acids one needs unless one eats animal products. If you make sure your kid eats a lot of eggs, cheese and other dairy products he might not end up worse for wear, but I’m guessing your “morale” stops you (and by proxy, your son) from eating that too because the animals aren’t meant to be “used” that way.

    While I do agree that animals should be treated better and that the perfect future would be one where meat could be grown without the need for growing an entire animal, the facts remain:
    – We need animals and animal products in our diets for our bodies to function optimally.
    – Lesser animals are there to feed those higher in the food chain. You come of as quite unintelligent and unbelievably arrogant if you claim we are somehow not animal; not a part of nature.

    Lastly, I don’t appreciate being compared to a murderer or a barbarian. If I could afford it, I’d buy all free roaming, ecological etc. As it stands, I live in a country where animals are in general treated well. Yes, they are killed for food production but who cares? We have the tools to do so ergo we are at the top of the food chain. If we had strength and speed instead of intelligence, we’d still be killing to eat but according to you and your ilk, it’d somehow be ok because killing with teeth and claws, poison, neuro-toxins or constriction is somehow more “natural”.

  147. Dear Dr Eades,
    I landed on your blog via Art Ayer’s one, interested, wanting to buy your book. After reading your replies to comments, I changed my mind. What transpires from your unedited writing is a fundamental superficiality: the most macroscopic sign is your insistence on observational studies not being able to prove anything, while at the same time praising a book that is based, as far as i understand based on reviews, on a personal narrative! You said it yourself: the author’s personal experience shows… Well, i am a statistician with a PhD, and when it comes to my health i do rely on my personal experience, but i do not go around catechising people based on other people’s personal experience as opposed to statistical studies, observational or not. Most of all, i do not at the same time make fun of those who see it differently. And your comment “oh, yes, i knew dr XXX did not mean what was written in, but i did not have time to write it”. What?? you have time to make jokes, to insult the only vegetarian who dares honestly discuss with you, but you do not have time to set the record straight on a colleague’s scientific oponion?
    And to set your record straight: you did take the time to write:
    ” Now we get to the big gun: Richard Leakey.
    [citation from]
    Hmmm. I wonder if Leakey has ever seen the canines of a gorilla? They certainly have the appearance of the canines of a carnivore yet gorillas are pure vegetarians. But let’s go on.”
    So if you knew he was being misrepresented, why did you make fun of him? Because he is a big gun and you have a small one?
    And the stupidity of your counterexample on humans being omnivores and fructose: knowing perfectly well that semi-pure fructose is extremely hard to come by in a primitive society (ever tried to get your hands on some wild honey? I have: not fun). Fructose comes mixed with lots of fibre, slowing down its absorption, making it impossible to absorb a large quantity of it without a juicer or whatever other industrial extraction method. And you want to undermine the statement, made in scientific terms, that we are evolutionally suited to eat fruit, by saying “aha, but look at what fructose is doing to us! it cannot be true”. Excuse me. Have you ever eaten a wild apple? A wild strawberry? I have. Sour. Not that much fructose there. Just enough to signal: “yo, i am edible!”. I wonder if you really do not understand it, or if it just suits you to pretend that you don’t and hope for your readers to be ignorant enough to not pick up the contradiction. Whichever it is, i am appalled.
    And all of your replies (to non-engaging commenters: the others, you insult) are “maybe”, “i read it somewhere”, “that is my experience”. You are not a scientist: you are a salesman. There are so many good or great blogs on low-carb diets around: Mark Sisson’s, Art Ayer’s. Serious divulgators. Respectful. Not you. If i sound disrespectful myself, it’s because after reading your replies, I have no respect for you. And i am also angry, because i think that carrying those two letters: MD, after one’s name, comes with great responsibility. And you have displayed none in your posts in this thread.
    Excuse my English: it is not my mother tongue.

    1. @Huma:

      First of all, Dr. Eades has helped (and saved) hundreds, if not thousands of people in his career. If he doesn’t feel like explaining every single detail of why vegetarians are wrong every time someone starts shouting government funded “truths”, well, the good Doctor is free to reply in whatever manner he wants.

      If the people you speak of were actually interested in science and nutrition, they’d read, study and learn just like Dr. Eades has spent his life doing. Being a fount of information does not mean you are required to share this knowledge with every layman who might for some weird reason think he/she knows better than you. Especially when said people are the extremists. The people who blatantly ignore anything resembling scientific and historical fact. The people on whom any amount of deliberation and explanation would be a complete waste.

      If someone like Dean Ornish posted here, ranting fervently about the glooorious ways of veganism, do you honestly feel Dr. Eades should spend even 10 minutes of his life replying, knowing full-well that the reply would do absolutely nothing to lessen the persons delusion?

      I say NAY! Help those who are willing to get help. Educate those who are willing to learn. Continue spending your time saving lives, not arguing with lost causes.

  148. I saw a very disturbing video a couple of years ago of chimps going on a “monkey hunt”. They organized and attacked a monkey, ripping it apart with their bare hands. The entire band feasted on the assorted parts in a very happy manner.

    And they did just fine ripping that monkey to bits with their human-like hands. They managed to catch that very quick monkey with careful group organization and a demonstration of merciless intelligence. They bashed the head on the rocks to expose and feast on the brain matter and easily stripped the flesh from the bones with their teeth.

    No. Our ancestors were perfectly capable hunters.

  149. I would point out that there are only two species of large ape that are in danger of becoming extinct — the gorilla and the orangutan. I’d further point out that of all the large apes, these are the only two species that are mostly or entirely vegetarian — which limits their ability to adapt. Do you sense a theme??

  150. Do I sense a theme? Yes. The theme seems to be distortion of the facts.

    The way you write this implies that there are many species of great apes, and “only two” are largely vegetarian.

    There are four genera of great apes, of which two are largely vegetarian. Two out of four.

    In terms of species, the great apes are made up of two species of gorillas, two species of orangutans, two species of chimpanzees, and humans. Seven species, of which four are largely vegetarian.

    All of the species other than humans are endangered.

    Chimpanzees are slightly less endangered because they are smaller, but there is little sign that they are “adapting” as their habitat disappears.

  151. Dr. Eades, you are my hero. So many people complain at actual evidence then try to refute it with a site that is obviously pro-veg(an or etarian). I usually like to counter with: a talk from Dr. McArdle, who is a vegetarian and says that humans are natural omnivores, and is even on a pro-vegetarian site (I usually get something along the lines of ‘those doctors are pro ‘some random conspiracy that is going on because their information has so many counters to it.’ The worst part is I’m not even kidding).

    I am usually at a loss when I see someone say that humans are herbivores and lists the arguments for it. Even worse is that I’m a Pre-Med student who has taken Human Anatomy and Physiology courses and I think, that’s not how the the digestive system works…

    Thanks for being amazing, keep on rocking.

  152. Apparently it has never occurred to Dr. Leakey that before humankind developed weapons, they, I dunno, grabbed lizards and turtles, maybe small, slowish mammals, raided nests for eggs and baby birds, ate insects and insect eggs. All sorts of animal food out there that doesn’t require tearing flesh or hide by hand.

  153. people of euro descent,are at least 90 percent evolved 2 be pure flesh eaters.this is because for most of the last 50 thousand years europe was 30 degrees or less,for a minumum of 9 months out of a year.all they had 2 eat was meat.u dont have carbs available in a frozen ground type environment.ty chris in n.c.u.s.a.

    1. Of all the arguments I’ve seen on this topic, that’s, um, well…the dumbest.

      First of all, the whole Paleo community argues that the last 10,000 years of agriculture isn’t enough for substantial genetic evolution to take place. But now suddenly 50,000 years is enough for “90 percent” evolution to occur?

      And where do you come up with “90 percent” based on the temperature 9 months out of the year? The last time I checked, there were 12 months in the year, and 9/12 = 75 percent. Not that it matters, because the argument is spurious in the first place,

      Humans are highly opportunistic omnivores. Given free choice, we seem to prefer high-protein, high-fat diets with something sweet as a chaser.

      Our guts and our teeth make it clear that we are neither carnivores nor herbivores, and I wish that both vegans, and whatever the opposite of a vegan is, would stop ignoring the science. As Konrad Lorenz pointed out, humans, like rats and bears, are generalists in pretty much everything.

      1. @David:

        Aaah.. a voice of reason and common sense is always welcome respite! I get your point, humans can survive on almost any diet. Still though, a diet high in protein and fat will be better for you than a diet low in either and high in carbohydrates. Science is not a democracy, and the facts are all there.

        Your comment about bears is spot-on. When bears eat mostly fatty fish, they lose bodyfat. When -during the very limited time where this is possible- they eat berries and such, they gain truly massive amounts of fat; fat that lets them survive winter. The importance of these fat stores is probably why “sweet” tends to out-compete “salty” and “fat” when it comes to taste preferences.

        So, sweet makes us store fat. Sweet thusly has a high food-reward prodding us to eat, because in the wild, having a decent paunch is a good survival tool.

        Now try putting that bear of yours in a temperate environment with easy access to grains, soy, fruit and berries (marinated in Omega-6 rich margarins and plant oils) all year long and see wether diabetes, heart disease, stroke or cancer kills it first.

  154. You know I thought of something.

    You know the “humans have 20 times less acidic pH then carnivores” argument that is suppose to mean we are herbivores?

    Well since pH is logarithmic, that would mean that if the carnivore has pH of 1 the human would have pH of 2.### (not sure what the digit is). A pH of 3 would be 100 times less acidic. A cow has about neutral, but lets call it a 6.

    That would mean that the difference between a cow and a carnivore would be 100,000. Makes 20 seem like nothing huh?

    1. i should feel ashamed of not thinking of that, even though i’ve had plenty of health classes and anatomy/physiology yadda yadda yadda

      totally forgot that’s how pH worked…

  155. Regardless of whether we are meant to be meat eaters or not, perhaps for some eating meat works well for their diet, perhaps for others it doesn’t.

    Why really is there so much argument about eating meat, when there is so much suffering for the animals, it should be easy for any normal human being to realise is that although meat might be ok to eat, it should not be eaten to the extent it is eaten in today’s society when animals are suffering and tortured as much as they are.

    Does every second tv commercial really need to be about the newest fast food “burger”, or the newest “leanest steak” out there, or the newest “low fat/low cholesterol” milk…plus the medication we then have to take to lower the cholesterol that was caused by eating these meat products in the first place. If people want to be fooled into eating so much meat, and are ok with the fact that they kill hundreds and thousands of animals over their lifetime, then let them do it. I wonder who would do it if it was left to them to kill their own meat, if really we are “meant” to eat meat then why do we let people do the killing for us. Because we know it is horrible and sick, and we could never do what those slaughterers do. But as long as it’s handed to us on a plate, without knowing what happened to that animal before it ended up on our plate, then it’s all ok.

    What is your reasoning about why we drink cows milk? Out of all the animal species out there, why are we the only ones that should need to drink milk from another animal?

    I find your blog interesting, however i’m not sure why you need to prove to people that eating meet is the right thing. Why do we need to go to these extremes to ensure that animals will continue to suffer always and forever.

    I don’t eat meat, have never liked it anyway, and am always healthy, I don’t need to find scientific facts about why or why not I should or should not be eating it, I just know I am happy with this lifestyle and i’m preventing at least some animals from a torturous horrendous life.

    For those that will insist on eating meat, then so be it, I believe we are all fooled into believing it is right to eat it, but if you were to have a live animal placed infront of you and a big bowl of fruit and veg/nuts etc….I doubt you would chose to kill the animal yourself rather than have the fruit and veg. So I find the argument a bit of a joke. Yes we are meat eaters – as long as someone does the dirty work for us.

    1. The argument that we shouldn’t eat meat because the animals suffer is completely denatured–that is, it does not take into account our evolutionary heredity, or how we are part of nature. It’s just another completely invented morality. Factory farming is horrible and cruel, so help to change it, but don’t tell me to give up my natural way of eating because of completely artificial sentiment.

      1. Also, not eating any animal product at all always struck me as an odd way of saving animals. Why not do something that actually has an impact, like buying the foods you need from a responsible local farmer? Yes, it costs more but for your health and for the animals well being, there really isn’t anything better you can do!

        If you’re still having moral quails with the idea of animals dying to feed you, at least buy eggs, milk and cheese from a responsible farmer. Animals don’t need to suffer to produce these things, but the price will reflect the extra work and lower yield. Still, you can keep your health AND make an impact by voting with your wallet.

    2. That is flat out the dumbest thing I have read. EVER! I would kill the cow and eat it. Why do we hunt and have in the past and still continue to do? I kill Bears, Cows, Pigs, Deer, elk. I have eaten snake and aligator as well. I would go for a jucy stake before a bowl of barries. You continue to live in your bubble. because I have seen the affects of malnutrition in people, because they believe that all of their nutrition is in their veggis and fruit. Good luck with life.

  156. @Kimberley Gifford: First off, people get problems because they eat too much for too long. People can die if they drink too much water or have a heart attack from running mile after mile over a long period of time (essentially resulting in the same effect as if you had high BP) but is not a reason to not drink water or not exercise.

    Per the animal part, numbers were never something that bothered me. I do not feel bad because I have to eat daily regardless of if I am eating meat or a plant. Now the state of many of our farms needs improvements, but this is a reason to not buy factory farmed meat, not go on a meatless diet. In his book, “Eating Animals” Foer says that you shouldn’t eat humanely raised meat because the demand will go up and there will be more demand for meat, citing salmon farms, but it seems to me if the product people wanted was HUMANE MEAT there would be more humane meat. Also any good PETA has done is usually because omnivores were going to boycott the restaurant. I’m sorry, but to me, if someone was never going to buy your product for moral reasons, why listen to them?

    People not use to killing their food might have a problem with it, but this is more our society’s avoidance of death. 50 years ago, more or less, most people raised and killed their own animals. That argument does not really hold up to reality, we are simply removed from reality.

    Actually other species drink milk from other animals. Now this is getting into a naturalistic fallacy, after all, how many animals use computers or create medicines? Only humans. Does that make it unnatural? As a contrast, rape occurs in nature, should we allow that? Good proof of other species drinking milk from another can be found with a quick Google search or a view of the ANIMAL LIBERATION FRONT’S forum. Ain’t that some cow pie?

    If you do not like meat and can choose not to eat it, by all means don’t. I only have problems with people thinking they are better because of a diet choice. But you are not preventing any animals from a torturous life. If anything, eating humane meat does this. But think about it, does a factory farm free animals that are not being bought? No, the produce and sale. It is better for the food to spoil on the self. The most you can hope for is that you will case fewer animals to be born, if that works, then if I don’t have kids I likely could eat all the meat I want and cause less harm then a vegan with kids, even if all the descendants stayed vegan.

    Could I kill the animals myself and then use it along with the veggies to make food? I believe that meat and veggies create a synergistic effect.

  157. Wow. It is just amazing how none of you actually left all the anthropological bullshit and thought for just one second that by eating meat, you are taking a life. It is as simple as that. And taking a life is just WRONG. Doesn’t matter how “humanely” you do it, because taking a life just isn’t humane, even if you sing the chicken a goddamn lullaby as you kill it, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s murder. We don’t have the right to take a life, any life. So all you meat eaters out there, just remember this: that “yummy” thing on your plate is a life, a soul, that you have killed.

    1. Actually I have. Though I can’t really argue that I am ending a life, just that I do not mind that I do. In order for life to exist for a consumer organism, another life must be sacrificed, usually at least per meal, but you can get more out of a cow and less out of a shrimp.

      So again, this part doesn’t bother me. Neither does the number of animals killed. I fee worse when I feed an insect to my carnivorous plants than I do when eating a cow or chicken. This is because I accept death as a needed part of life.

      “And taking a life is just WRONG.”

      That phrase has a few asterisks attached to it. Because if it doesn’t, then I could say that when you take the life of a plant it is “just WRONG.” Of course this is all subjective morality. If I thought it was wrong to eat carrots wouldn’t make it wrong factually, not matter how much I insisted upon it. Kind of like saying that red is the best favorite color.

      Philosophers and even common people have been searching for a universalizable set of moral guidelines that fits in every situation and tells us what is right and wrong for almost as long as humanity has existed.

      While I can understand your feelings about eating meat, it doesn’t persuade me because I don’t think it is wrong to eat an animal, fungi, plant, protists, bacteria, or virus.

      “We don’t have the right to take a life, any life.”
      I agree with you on that point, but for a different reason. Saying we have a right to it, means we are guaranteed the ability. I think we can have the means to take a life and that taking a life isn’t immoral, but not that we have a right to do it. We simply have our personal ability and the ability that society gives us, no more and no less. We really aren’t entitled to anything special just because we are human or alive. Now you can say we should make freedom a right LEGALLY, and I would agree that we should have certain legal rights, but that is as far as it goes.

      Also, that comment goes back to what I was saying about plants. They are alive and an individual. They are killed, or at least harmed, with most harvesting. The best we can do is to kidnap their offspring to eat alive (see what weighted language can do?).


      So all you plant eaters out there, just remember this: that “yummy” thing of your plate is a life, seriously, it is likely still partially alive unless you have killed it by cooking it or if it is just a harvested part that can grow back (like milk) or stolen potential offspring (like eggs) and you have killed it, or will kill it, or prevented it from living, which ever applies.


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