Set of natural food high in protein on grey background, top view

Top 8 Foods High in Selenium

Selenium is an important mineral in food that most people haven’t heard of. Foods high in selenium support numerous bodily functions, including a healthy immune system, cognition, and fertility, among many others. 

Additionally, these top 8 high selenium foods are abundant in various other vital nutrients–in fact they’re among the most nutrient-dense foods on earth.

In this article, we’ll explore why selenium foods are important and provide a rundown of the best foods rich in selenium. 

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What is Selenium, and Why is it Important? 

Selenium is a mineral that is an essential part of various enzymes and proteins called selenoproteins. 

Selenoproteins are an important component of many important physiological processes, including

  • Maintaining healthy thyroid function
  • Supporting proper immune function, including the ability to fight infection
  • Protecting cells from damage
  • Supports reproductive health and the creation of DNA
  • Reducing oxidative stress by combatting free radicals
  • Increasing concentrations of the potent antioxidant called glutathione
  • Protection against various cancers
  • Neuroprotective properties–patients with Alzheimer’s disease have low levels of selenium
  • Supports lung health

Selenium Supports Reproductive Health

It’s worth highlighting the role that selenium plays in fertility. Studies have shown selenium deficiency to be a factor in miscarriage and poor semen quality.

Other studies have shown that selenium supports the quality of follicular fluid surrounding a women’s eggs, and improves semen quality when combined with vitamin E.

Significantly Associated with Reduced Risk of Cancers

A large-scale review of 69 studies with over 350,000 participants found that high blood levels of selenium were associated with a lower risk of lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancers.

Selenium in Animal vs. Plant Foods

Though selenium is available from both plant and animal food sources, the high selenium foods on this list are all from animal sources. 

We’ve selected only animal products because the amount of selenium in plant foods comes from the soil, which is affected by many factors including rain, evaporation, region, pesticides, and pH levels. Soil selenium in many agricultural areas has been gravely depleted and is predicted to drop even further.

Low soil selenium levels have even been linked to life-threatening reactions to COVID-19.  

Additionally, plant foods that contain some selenium, like wheat and other grains, also expose people to various plant toxins and antinutrients

On the other hand, animal products high in selenium provide a steady and abundant source of various nutrients without harmful toxins and pesticides. 

How Much Selenium Per Day? 

According to the National Institute of Health, how much selenium we need per day increases from childhood into adolescence and adulthood. Men require moderately more selenium per day than women. The exception is for pregnant women who require 65 mcg per day.

AgeRecommended amount of selenium per day
Pregnant females65 mcg per day
Adult and teenage females45 to 55 mcg per day
Adult and teenage males55-70 mcg per day
9 to 13 years40 mcg
4 to 8 years30 mcg
7 months to 3 years20 mcg
Newborn to 6 months15 mcg

Groups that may have difficulty absorbing sufficient selenium include: 

  • People on dialysis 
  • Those living with HIV
  • People with GI issues like leaky gut, IBS, and Chrone’s disease

1 Organ Meats

Organ meats are among the most nutrients dense and healthiest foods on earth. So it’s no surprise that they provide an abundance of minerals, including selenium. 

If you have a hard time finding quality fresh organ meats or just can’t imagine cooking and eating them, organ meat supplements are a tasteless and effective alternative. 

The top 7 high selenium organ meats leading the way are:

TypeMCG selenium per 100 gram serving
Pork kidney312 mcg
Lamb kidney219 mcg
Beef kidney168 mcg
Lamb liver116 mcg
Beef spleen91 mcg
Chicken liver88 mcg
Turkey liver83 mcg

2 Mollusks 

Raw seafood mollusks on wooden table

Mollusks like oysters and mussels are bonafide superfoods with famously high levels of minerals. 

In addition to selenium, many mollusks are also remarkably potent sources of zinc, copper, and vitamin B12

TypeMCG selenium per 100 gram serving
Pacific oyster154 mcg
Mussels90 mcg
Octopus90 mcg
Whelk90 mcg
Clams64 mcg
Abalone 52 mcg
Squid52 mcg

3 Fish and Crustaceans

Fish and seafood overhead panoramic shot. Sea bream, scallop, crab, squid, clams and prawns

Like their fellow sea-dwelling mollusks, fish and crustaceans are also remarkably high in selenium. 

Fatty fish like mackerel, anchovy, and salmon provide the additional benefit of omega-3 fatty acids. Boosting omega-3s helps reduce the omega-6 omega-3 imbalance implicit in a Western diet high in vegetable oils

Fatty fish can also play a supporting role in high-fat low-carb diets like keto and carnivore. And, of course, they are the main course for the pescatarian version of the ketogenic diet. 

TypeMCG selenium per 100 gram serving
Salted cod148 mcg
Yellowfin tuna92 mcg
Orange roughy88 mcg
Caned tuna80 mcg
Sockeye salmon76 mcg
Mackeral 73 mcg
Anchovy68 mcg
Swordfish62 mcg
Spiny lobster59 mcg
Herring59 mcg
Salmon 57 mcg
Crab48 mcg
Shrimp47 mcg

lowest mercury fish and seafood

4 Pork 

Raw meat. Different kinds of pork and beef meat. On a black rustic background.

Pork is an abundant and inexpensive source of selenium that comes naturally packaged along with healthy fats, proteins, energizing B vitamins, and choline. 

Many health-conscious eaters avoid ham due to its high salt content. However, it provides about 42 mcg of selenium per 3 oz serving, or 60 percent of the recommended daily intake for adults.

TypeMCG selenium per 100 gram serving
Bacon66 mcg
Ham shank52 mcg
Pork chops52 mcg
Pork tenderloin52 mcg
Pork ribs47 mcg

5 Beef

Variety of raw cuts of meat, dry aged beef steaks and hamburger patties for grilling with seasoning and utensils on dark rustic board

Though other foods may provide more selenium than beef, the significant selenium in steak comes naturally packaged with an unbeatable abundance of macro and micronutrients. 

Steak is high in healthy saturated and monounsaturated fats, a variety of essential B vitamins, and vital minerals like zinc, heme iron, and copper. 

Additionally, beef products are loaded with meat-specific nutrients like carnitine, carnosine, creatine, and taurine. Those these don’t show up on nutrition labels, they provide powerful benefits to cognition, energy, heart health, and even provide anti-aging properties. 

In fact, fatty cuts of steak like ribeye are so nutritious that it is entirely possible to thrive on steak, water, and salt alone. This approach to an elimination diet was popularized by psychologist Jordan Peterson, and has come to be knowns as the lion diet. 

diagram showing nutrients in ribeye steak

TypeMCG selenium per 100 gram serving
Bottom round steak45 mcg
Center cut steak41 mcg
Beef liver40 mcg
Top serloin39 mcg
Ribs38 mcg
Eye of round roast37 mcg
Tenderloin37 mcg
Ribeye steak29 mcg
Ground beef (70/30)21 mcg

6 Poultry

Poultry is often more processed, handled, and exposed to contaminants than other fresh meats, but high-quality poultry is still a fantastic source of selenium. 

TypeMCG selenium per 100 gram serving
Chicken wing51 mcg
Smoked turkey 43 mcg
Turkey leg41 mcg
Chicken drumstick38 mcg
Ostrich38 mcg

7 Cheese

many cheeses

Cheese is a high selenium food that has been unfairly maligned for its fat content. Yet studies show that eating cheese can, in fact, lower your body mass index and reduce your risk of obesity.

Contrary to mainstream nutritional dogma, the saturated fat in cheese is not only harmless but may reduce your risk of heart disease. 

A  2017 analysis of 29 studies looking at data from over 938,465 subjects found that people who ate 10 grams of cheese (⅓ ounce) per day had a moderately lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who did not.

TypeMCG selenium per 100 gram serving
Parmesan 43 mcg
Cottage cheese20 mcg
Mozzarella 19 mcg
Swiss cheese 18 mcg
Ricotta 17 mcg
Blue cheese15 mcg

8 Eggs

Are Eggs Good for You?

Eggs are one of the healthiest and most nutritionally-replete foods on earth. This makes sense when considering that eggs have everything needed to grow an entire animal. 

One thing to keep in mind is that the selenium in eggs is found in the yolk. 

In fact, 100 grams of egg yolk alien provides 56 mcg of selenium. And a single egg yolk provides 15.3 mcg or 28% of your RDV. 

Top 8 Selenium Foods: The Takeaway

Selenium is a mineral found in food, and it plays an essential role in many important bodily functions, like immune health, thyroid function, cognitive health, and fertility. 

Selenium is found in both plant and animal foods. However, because selenium in plants comes from the soil, and soil is often depleted, animal food sources are far more reliable. 

The best high selenium foods include organ meats, seafood like mollusks and fish, pork, beef, poultry, cheese, and eggs. 

Juicy duck breast steak sliced on a wooden board

Is Duck Red Meat? And Does it Matter?

Duck is a type of poultry, yet duck meat, especially duck breast, has a darker color, more like steak than chicken. This may cause you to wonder, is duck red meat? 

Perhaps, more importantly is the fact that by asking this question, you likely have some preconceptions about the benefits or dangers of red meat.

In this article, we’ll definitively answer the question, is duck red meat? And we’ll briefly address health concerns around consuming red or white meat. 

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Red Meat vs. White Meat: What’s the Difference? 

Assortment of raw meats on grey background. Top view, flat lay

The main difference between red meat and white meat is that red meat generally has more myoglobin than white meat.

Myoglobin is a protein in the muscles of mammals that binds with oxygen. It’s this oxygen binding that is responsible for the red color.

Meats like beef, lamb, and bison, have high levels of myoglobin and are therefore red meat. 

Additionally, cuts of meat from muscles that use more oxygen may also be redder in color. This is why duck breast, chicken thigh and leg meats are darker than chicken breasts.

And when it comes to pork and duck, the distinction gets even more muddled. Most duck breast is darker than most pork, which is considered a red meat. So what’s going on here? 

As we’ll see below, the classification of meats as red or white is relatively arbitrary. 

Classification of Duck Meat According to the USDA

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), duck is officially considered “white” meat.

This classification simply lumps duck in with all poultry refined by birds of flight like chicken, goose, and turkey. 

The redness of duck meat is due to the fact that ducks fly more than these other types of poultry. Since their breast muscles do more work, more oxygen is delivered to these muscles by red blood cells. The oxygen is then stored in the muscle by myoglobin. 

The redness of duck meat is shared by other game birds who spend a lot of time flying. 

Culinary Classification of Duck Meat 

Contrary to the USDA classification of duck as red meat, culinary traditions consider duck a red meat. 

This is because it stays dark when cooked and has a higher fat content similar to red meats from four legged land animals. 

The designation of duck as a culinary red meat is apparent in the fact that duck is most often paired with red wines like common red meats. While other poultry is most often paired with white wine. 5

Additionally, like steak and lamb, duck is most often cooked to medium rare and served slightly pink on the interior. 

It’s worth noting that the USDA recommends cooking duck to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), the same as chicken.

You may find some people in the culinary professions referring to duck as white meat since, after all, that is its “scientific” designation. 

In any case, duck is a highly nutritious meat that deserves a place on your table. 

In fact, duck liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, providing over 1000% of vitamin A (retinol), and over 2000% of your RDV of vitamin B12

 Below you’ll find the nutrient lists for both duck breast and liver. 

Nutrients in Duck Meat

Nutrients per 100 grams of duck breast 

NutrientAmount per 100 grams%RDV
Calories202
Fat10.8 g
Saturated Fat2.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat5.4 g
Protein 24.5 g
Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamin C2.8 mg5%
Niacin7.0 mg39%
Selenium 26.4 mcg38%
Iron3.3 mg18%

duck liver pate

Nutrients in duck liver (not foie gras) per 100 grams

NutrientAmount per 100 grams% RDV
Calories136
Cholesterol515 mg
Fat5 g
Saturated Fat1 g
Monounsaturated Fat.7 g
Protein 19 g
Carbohydrates4 g
Vitamins
Vitamin C4.5 mg5%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)6.5 mg41%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)0.6 mg47%
Vitamin B60.8 mg58%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.9 mg69%
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)6.2 mg124%
Vitamin A 39907 IU1330%
Vitamin B1254 mg2240%
Minerals
Manganese0.3 mg11%
Zinc3.1 mg22%
Phosphorus269 mg27%
Selenium67 mg122%
Iron30.5 mg170%
Copper6 mg662%

What Do Duck and Steak Have in Common?

Cut duck steak on the wooden board with a knife in the background

Duck meat and steak have a lot more in common than chicken and duck. Let’s look at these commonalities and what they mean for cooking and nutrition. 

Cook duck like a steak

Since duck breast is, culinarily speaking, a fatty red meat, it is best cooked like red meat. 

This often entails an initial sear, then a gradual increase in temperature by cooking in the oven for a few minutes. 

Make Duck Part of a High-Fat, Low-Carb Diet

Ducks are one of the fatties cuts of poultry meat. The fat around their muscles and beneath the skin is there to keep them warm when swimming in cold water. 

The relatively fat content of ducks make them a great addition to a low-fat high-carb diet like the ketogenic and carnivore diets

About 50% of duck fat comes in anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fatty acids that have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Since duck fat is not as marbled as steak, it is easily rendered into tallow

When Dr. Kiltz enjoys a “treat day” once in a while, he’ll fry french fries in duck fat. 

Should You be Afraid of Red Meat? 

Scientifically a white meat, but culinarily a red meat, duck is in fact a gray area. But even if duck were a bonafide red meat, there would not be any reason to stay away from it. 

Despite the numerous anti-meat headlines, the reality is that there are exactly zero studies showing that fresh red meat is responsible for any negative health consequences. 

The protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol found in red meat are not just harmless but healthy. 

Here’s a brief rundown of the modern science on red meat and health: 

  • Numerous modern studies, including data from millions of participants, show that for the average person, saturated fat is not associated with heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and death from heart attack.

 

  • The major 2019 NutriRECS study was conducted to be a rigorous review of all the studies on meat consumption and health. The study looked at data from 48 studies, including over 5.7 million participants. Researchers found that reducing fresh (unprocessed) red meat had no statistically significant impact on incidences of prostate cancer mortality and the incidence of overall breast, colorectal, esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, and prostate cancer.

 

  • Studies comparing incidences of colorectal cancer (that meat is often blamed for) between vegetarians and meat eaters have found no differences.     If red meat were a carcinogen, you’d expect that not eating meat would have some effect on reducing cancer rates compared with meat eaters.  

 

  • Not only does the evidence show that red meat does not cause cancer or heart disease, numerous studies have found that total meat consumption correlates with greater life expectancy. This finding is independent of total caloric intake, economic status, urban advantages, and even obesity

Is Duck Red Meat? The Bottom Line

According to the USDA, duck is classified as a white meat. 

However, the myoglobin in duck meat causes it to be much redder than other white meat poultry. Duck is also higher in fat than other poultry. 

For these reasons, duck in most culinary traditions duck is considered a red meat. 

Regardless of its classification, duck, like other red meats, is remarkably healthy, loaded with healthy fats, and protein, and offers significant amounts of B vitamins. 

Duck liver is even healthier than muscle meat. In fact, it’s one of the world’s most abundant sources of vitamin A and B12. 

 

Cow and a sheep on the mountain pathway (Keswick, Lake District,

Top 5 CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) Foods and Benefits

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fatty acid we can get either from the foods we eat or from supplements. 

The top CLA foods are grass-fed dairy and meat products. CLA from food sources has been shown to reduce the risk of various diseases. 

However, the CLA in supplements is derived from the linoleic acid found in seed oils. CLA supplements have been shown to have various negative side effects. 

In this article, we’ll explore the top CLA foods and their health benefits. 

What is CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a fatty acid. It is mainly produced in the digestive tract of ruminant animals by the action of microbial metabolism.

The CLA produced by ruminant digestion then accumulates in dairy products, including :

CLA in Supplements vs. CLA in Whole Foods

There are 28 forms of CLA based on small variations to their molecular structure. However, these tiny differences have a major effect of how they affect our bodies. 

The CLA in supplements is made by altering the chemical structure of linoleic acid from toxic vegetable “seed” oils. The CLA in supplements does not naturally occur in large amounts in natural sources.

Because supplemental CLA is a different molecule, it does not offer the benefits of CLA from whole food sources. 

Chemical free, no additives linear icon

Negative Consequences of Plant-Based CLA Supplements

In fact, CLA from supplements can result in negative health consequences, including: 

  • Increased liver fat
  • Increased inflammation and oxidative stress
  • Insulin resistance
  • Decrease in “good” HDL cholesterol
  • Diarrhea

Health Benefits of CLA Foods

The CLA found in whole dairy and meat provides numerous powerful health benefits. Let’s explore. 

According to the Linus Pauling Institute, to get the benefits of CLA foods you’ll need to consume at least 3 mcg of CLA per day. 

CLA Can Significantly Reduce the Risk of Various Cancers

title of study looking at effects of CLA on prevention of cancer

This 2005 review of numerous studies found that consuming CLA foods can significantly inhibit the growth of cancer and tumors in the stomach, prostate, breast, and liver. ”/]  

abstract from study looking at effects of CLA on colorectal cancer

Another 2005 study looking at the effects of CLA found in high-fat dairy found that women who consumed at least four servings of high-fat dairy per day had a 34% lower risk of colon cancer.

A smaller study with 23 young men consuming 5.6 grams of CLA daily resulted in decreased cancer markers, including tumor necrosis factor and C-reactive protein.  

abstract from study showing the effects of CLA on the prevention of breast cancer

In 2016 a Finnish study,  found that women with adequate CLA levels from food had a 60% lower incidence of breast cancer than women who consumed lower levels of CLA.

CLA Reduces Risk of Various Metabolic Diseases

Various studies of CLA from foods in humans and animals show that it may lower the risk of various metabolic diseases, including type 2, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.

Studies also show that CLA can reduce cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and improve insulin sensitivity in young, sedentary adults.

Other studies show that in countries where cows eat mostly grass, as opposed to grain, the people with the highest levels of CLA in their bodies demonstrate a lower risk of heart disease.

It’s worth noting that grass-fed animal products also have other cardioprotective nutrients, especially vitamin K2.

Anti-Inflammatory and Immune Boosting Properties

Research done on mice found that consuming red meat with high concentrations of CLA “exerts profound anti-inflammatory effects”.

Research also suggests that CLA intake can support the health of the immune system by reducing inflammation.

One study on 23 young men who received 5.6 grams of CLA daily showed decreased inflammatory markers including tumor necrosis factor and C-reactive protein.  

Foods High in CLA

Grass fed new zealand beef

The foods highest in CLA are grass-fed animal products that are high in fat.

Studies show that grass-fed meat and dairy provide 300-500% more CLAs than grain-fed varieties.

Top 5 CLA Foods

The top 5 CLA foods are all grass-fed and/or pasture-raised whole foods animal products. 

Not surprisingly, these are foods that high-fat, low-carb diets like carnivore, keto, and BEBBIIS revolve around. 

1 Lamb

Raw fresh lamb ribs on dark background

Lamb contains the highest levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) of any food.    

Typically you’ll get from 4 – 19.0 mg CLA per gram of fat content.  

Since CLA is a component of fat, you will get the most CLA from the fattiest cuts of lamb which include: 

  • Lamb chops
  • Loin chop
  • Leg
  • Shank

Lamb is also an abundant source of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamin B12, and glutatione, known as  the “master antioxidant.”  

Lamb Chop Rib Nutrition

2 Butter 

top view of butter and knife on white plate on blue background

Grass-fed butter contains up to 110 mg per 1 tablespoon or 12 mg/gram of fat. 

Butter is also a good source of vitamin A (retinol). This important fat-soluble vitamin supports many physiological processes, including healthy vision, thyroid function, immune function, and endocrine function.  

The anti-inflammatory effects of the CLA found in butter is likely responsible for its benefits to fertility. 

A 2020 study found that adding one daily serving of a CLA-rich full-fat dairy to your diet can reduce the risk of infertility by over 50%. 2

diagram showing nutrients in butter

3 Beef

Fatty cuts of grass fed steak are an excellent source of CLA. 

A four-ounce serving of grass-fed ribeye steak contains up to 430 mcg of  CLA.

Like other CLA foods on this list, fatty cuts of grass-fed steak are also high in anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fatty acids and beneficial saturated fats

For example, the stearic acid in steak has been shown to improve body fat ratio and support the function of the energy centers of your cells called mitochondrial.  

Steak is also an excellent source of meat-specific nutrients like carnitine, taurine, creatine, and vitamin B12. 

diagram showing nutrients in ribeye steak

4 Cheese

many cheeses

Fatty, ripened cheeses are fantastic and highly satiating sources of CLA. 

Studies show that the CLA content of cheeses ranges from 3.59 to 7.96 mg/g of fat. 

Blue, Brie, Edam, and Swiss cheeses have been shown to contain significantly higher CLA concentrations than the other cheeses.

Blue cheese is a particularly healthy option thanks to the added benefit of between 2900 and 4700 different bioactive peptides created when dairy proteins are broken down by special enzymes.

For example, the blue-cheese peptide called spermidine has been shown to provide anti-aging properties while reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

5 Ice Cream

Ice Cream has been shown to contain 3.6 mg of CLA per gram of fat. And this abundance can increase when choosing high-quality grass-fed cream. 

The healthiest way to enjoy ice cream is to make it at home with very little sugar. 

Doctor Kiltz’s guilt-free keto ice cream provides 167 mcg of CLA per serving along with other beneficial nutrients, including B vitamins and vitamin D. 

Dr. Kiltz Making Keto Ice Cream

Top CLA Foods: The Takeaway

The top CLA foods are all high-fat grass-fed animal products. 

Lamb, butter, beef, cheese, and ice cream are the most abundant sources of this highly beneficial fatty acid. 

Studies show that consuming foods high in conjugated linoleic acid can significantly reduce the risk of various cancers, support cardiovascular health, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation.

Fresh turkey liver on a wooden cutting board. Gray background

Turkey Liver: Superfood Nutrition and Benefits

Turkey liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth, yet it flies under the radar of most modern eaters.

It’s time to return turkey liver to its rightful place as a worthy addition to our modern diets. 

In this article, we’ll explore the nutritional properties that make turkey liver a bonafide superfood. We’ll also look at turkey liver’s health benefits, and offer two recipes that are as easy as they are delicious. 

What most people don’t realize is that goose liver is one of the healthiest foods on earth and offers numerous health benefits. 

Let’s explore the nutrition and benefits of this under-the-radar superfood. 

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Turkey Liver Nutrition

Turkey liver is a nutrient powerhouse. In fact, it’s the food with the highest concentration of vitamin A (retinol) with over 2400% of your RDV per 100 grams. 

Turkey liver is also among the highest vitamin B12 foods on earth with 2416% RDV  per 100 grams. 

These two nutreints alone make turkey liver remarkably healthy without even considering the abundance of various B vitamins, selenium, heme iron, complete proteins, and nourishing animal fat

About 30% of the fat in turkey liver is anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat. 

Many of these nutrients are only found in meat. 

Nutrients Per 100 grams of Turky Liver

NUTRIENTAMOUNT%DV
Calories27314%
Total Fat20.5 g
Saturated Fat6.9 g
Monounsaturated Fat9.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat2.0 g
Protein20 g
Carbohydrates1.2 g
SIGNIFICANT VITAMINS
Vitamin A21698 mcg 2410%
Vitamin C4.5 mg8%
Riboflavin2.8 mg162%
Niacin10.2 mg51%
Vitamin B61.0 mg52%
Folate691 mcg173%
Vitamin B1258 mcg2416%
Pantothenic Acid4.3 mg43%
Choline220 mg50%
SIGNIFICANT MINERALS
Iron10.7 mg59%
Magnesium17 mg4%
Phosphorus294 mg29%
Potassium211 mg6%
Zinc2.6 mg17%
Copper.3 mg17%
Selenium82.5 mch118%

Turkey Liver Nutritional Benefits

The remarkable nutrient abundance in turkey liver means that it can provide numerous health benefits.

Let’s explore these health benefits one nutrient at a time. 

Vitamin A (Retinol) in Turkey Liver

Turkey liver is the king of vitamin A foods providing 2410% of your RDV per serving. 

The vitamin A retinol measuring device. Sign tachometer, speedometer, indicator. 3D rendering

In fact, turkey liver is so loaded with this essential fat-soluble nutrient that you can’t eat full servings of turkey liver more than a few times a week. Otherwise, you run the risk of vitamin A toxification. 

It’s also important to note that vitamin A in turkey liver is in a form called provitamin A retinol. This type of vitamin A is far more absorbable and useful in the body than the beta-carotene that some plant foods like carrots are famous for.[11

In fact, high-vitamin A vegetables provide only 1/26 of their listed vitamin A. For example, sweet potatoes are listed as containing 204% of your RDV in vitamin A, but actually only supply 8% of useable vitamin A.

And even then, 45% of people cannot absorb any vitamin A from plants. 5  

On the other hand, 75-100 percent of the high-quality vitamin A in goose liver is absorbable but everybody.[7]

So why does this matter? Because vitamin A plays a vital role in numerous important physiological processes, including [12] [13][4]: 

  • Cellular regeneration of the eyes and skin 
  • Retinol is a precursor (building block) for important eye pigments like rhodopsin
  • thymus gland support–critical to a healthy immune system
  • Protects the dopamanergic neurons in the brain, reduces neuroinflammation, and supports circadian rhythms and hormonal balance–all of which protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • Supports the inner linings of the body, including the intestines–reduces risk of leaky gut

Vitamin B12 in Turkey Liver

With a whopping 2416% of your RDV of Vitamin B12, turkey liver is one of the best sources of this essential vitamin on earth. 

There’s no reason to worry about getting too much B12 since your body stores some of the excess in your liver to be used when needed and expels the rest in urine.

Your body will also store some of it in your own liver for access when needed–even years later! 

Vitamin B12 plays an essential role in: 

  • maintaining a properly functioning nervous system
  • the production of DNA and red blood cells
  • Maintaining cognitive function
  • Supporting psychological health and protecting against depression

Studies have found that high doses of Vitamin B12 like you get from turkey liver offer significant relief from symptoms of depression [7].

When it comes to heart health, studies show that vitamin B12 can decrease homocysteine levels that are significantly associated with heart disease [9][10]. 

Since B12 is a nutrient found in significant quantities only in animal products, vegans and vegetarians are often deficient. [1] Symptoms of B12 deficiencies include:

  • Chronic fatigue [2]
  • Psychiatric problems [3]
  • Neurological problems [4]
  • Increased risks of Alzheimer’s disease [5]
  • Intergenerational neurological disorders [6]

Selenium

Turkey liver provides 118% per 100gram serving of this under-the-radar mineral called selenium. 

Selenium is crucial to numerous vital bodily processes, including: 

  • Maintaining thyroid health
  • Supporting the immune system
  • The creation of proteins called selenoproteins synthesized in your body. Selenoproteins are key to reproductive health and DNA synthesis [19]
  • Reducing oxidative stress by combatting free radicals [20]
  • Increases levels of the powerful antioxidant called glutathione [21]
  • Protection against various cancers: A review of 69 studies with over 350,000 participants found that high blood levels of selenium were associated with a lower risk of lung, breast, colon, and prostate cancers [22]
  • Neuroprotective properties–patients with Alzheimer’s disease have low levels of selenium [23][24]. 
  • Supports lung health [25]

Monounsaturated Fat

Turkey liver is one of the fattiest cuts of poultry, with 20 grams per 100-gram serving. This makes it an especially good addition to high-fat, low-carb diets, like carnivore and keto.  

Around ⅓ of the fat in turkey liver is monounsaturated fat. This is important because studies have shown that monounsaturated fat is anti-inflammatory and can reduce the risk of heart disease [26][27]. 

6.9 grams of turkey fat per 100-gram serving is saturated fat, which is not actually dangerous and is, in fact, an essential part of a healthy whole foods diet [28].

The fat in turkey liver makes it an extremely satiating food. Higher satiety reduces cravings and helps people going low-carb overcome carb addictions [29].

Heme Iron

A 100-gram serving of turkey liver provides 59% of your RDV of iron. Like other nutrients in turkey liver, its iron comes in a highly absorbable and useful form called heme iron. 

Heme iron is essential to [14]

  • Proper immune function
  • Cognitive health
  • Converting food into useable energy

Zinc 

As a relatively rare mineral, getting 17% of your zinc from a 100-gram serving of turkey liver is significant. 

The form of zinc we get from animal foods is 400% more bioavailable than the zinc we get from plant foods.[16]. 

It’s important to note, however, that when consuming high zinc foods with certain plant foods, the antinutrients in plant foods can block your body’s ability to absorb zinc along with other nutrients.   

Phytic Acid Reduced Absorption of Zinc

A key culprit in interfering with zinc absorption is phytic acid found in abundance in grains and legumes. 

Getting enough zinc is important for [17][18][19]: 

  • heart health
  • insulin formation, and glycemic control 
  • Immune function
  • Creation of DNA
  • Building cells
  • Building protein
  • Healing damaged tissues

Zinc deficiencies can affect motor development and cognitive development in children. 

Low zinc levels in men are associated with erectile dysfunction and lower sperm count in males. 

Easy Turkey Liver Recipe

The easiest way to prepare turkey liver is with a simple pan sear. 

If you’re practicing a carnivore diet and eliminating all plant foods, these techniques for cooking turkey liver are right up your alley. 

Frank Tufano has deservedly earned a reputation as an excellent culinary guide along the carnivore diet journey. In fact, he even started his own online butcher shop where you can purchase high-quality organ meats.

Pan Seared Turkey Liver Recipe

Pan seared turkey liver

Ingredients

Preparing the Turkey Liver

Since turkey liver isn’t bitter like chicken, beef, or pork liver, you can skip the soaking step. But it is important to clean it correctly. 

  • Trim off the tough membrane and be sure to carefully remove any green part. This is what will cause any bitter taste. 
  • Split the turkey liver into two lobes
  • Use a paper towel to pat dry

Directions

  • Heat butter or tallow in a skillet
  • When butter/fat begins to bubble add liver
  • Cook until browned on bottom side, flip and cook for 3 more minutes

An ideally cooked liver is creamy on the inside and crisp on the outside. 

Be sure not to overcook the liver, which will leave it rubbery and dried out. 

Turkey Liver: The Takeaway

Turkey liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on earth. 

A single serving of turkey liver is like a natural multivitamin.

Turkey liver is extremely high in essential and hard-to-get nutrients like vitamin A (retinol), and various B vitamins, including B12, selenium, iron, and zinc. The form of these vitamins in turkey liver is far more bioavailable than its counterparts in plant foods. 

Turkey liver is also high in anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fatty acids. 

This complex of highly-absorbable essential nutrients in turkey liver work synergistically in the body to provide extraordinarily potent health benefits, including: 

  • Supporting heart health
  • Boosting immune function
  • Supporting cognitive function and protecting the brain against cognitive decline
  • Reducing oxidative stress
  • Reducing inflammation

 

Leaky gut Syndrome concept. Comparison of healthy organ and inflamed tissue cells. Diseases of gastrointestinal tract. Toxins and viruses. Cartoon flat vector illustration isolated on white background

Foods That Cause Leaky Gut

“Leaky gut” refers to a syndrome in which gaps form in your intestinal wall. These gaps allow bacteria, sugar, and plant toxins to cross the intestinal barrier and enter your bloodstream. Though leaky gut is a relatively new area of study, many common foods have been found to contain compounds that cause leaky gut. 

Also known as “increased intestinal permeability,” leaky gut has been associated with various chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including arthritis, celiac disease, and diabetes. 

In this article, we’ll explore the foods that cause leaky gut. We’ll also offer an anti-leaky gut food list. 

[TOC]

What is Leaky Gut? 

Leaky gut is the colloquial name for increased intestinal permeability.

Our intestines comprise more than 4,000 square feet of surface area, all of which is protected by a mucosal membrane. When this membrane is healthy it controls what nutrients and compounds get absorbed into our bloodstream–allowing only those that are beneficial.1 2 

diagram of a healthy intestinal barrier

Source

Foods that damage the intestinal lining create gaps between mucosal membrane cells. These gaps allow plant toxins, antinutrients, bacteria, sugars, pesticides, and undigested food particles to enter your bloodstream. 3

diagram of leaky gut

Source

Once in the bloodstream, these particles are carried to various organs and tissues in the body, where they either cause direct damage or are detected as antigens by your body. Your body responds to antigens with an inflammation. 

If leaky gut goes unchecked, it can lead to chronic inflammation, autoimmune disorders, advanced aging of joints and organs, and mood disorders, among other issues. 

The good news is that the root of this syndrome is likely the foods we eat that cause leaky gut. 

Eliminating the foods that cause leaky gut and replacing them with foods that support your gut lining can restore your health from the gut up. 

Leaky gut is also implicated in numerous other disorders: 

IntestinalExtraintestinal
Gastric ulcersAllergies
Infectious diarrheaInfections (e.g., respiratory)
Irritable bowel syndrome; functional gastrointestinal diseasesAcute inflammation (sepsis, systemic inflammatory response syndrome, multiple organ failure)
Inflammatory bowel disease, Celiac diseaseChronic inflammation (e.g. arthritis)
Cancer (esophagus, colorectal)Obesity-associated metabolic diseases (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, diabetes type I and II, cardiovascular disease)

Source

What Causes Leaky Gut?

Though research on the causes of leaky gut is still emerging, numerous foods are shown to contain compounds that directly contribute to increased intestinal permeability. 

Let’s take a look at these gut-harming compounds and the foods that contain them. 

Toxins in Plant Foods that Harm Your Gut

Plants don’t have feet, fists, fangs, or other obvious ways of defending themselves. But like all other life forms, plants want to survive and replicate. To achieve goals, plants evolved an arsenal of chemical defenses known as plant toxins and antinutrients.

The human body’s first line of contact with these plant defense mechanisms is in our gut lining. 

It is no surprise then that plant toxins and antinutrients are key factors in intestinal permeability. Though most cultivated plant foods are not acutely poisonous, repeated low-dose exposure can result in leaky gut

Common plant compounds that cause leaky gut include:

Furthermore, a large proportion of grains, spices, and dried fruits, are contaminated with bacteria and mycotoxins (toxic molds) that are also implicated in intestinal permeability. 1 2

diagram of antigens attacking the gut lining

Let’s take a look at the specific toxin-laden foods that cause leaky gut.

Foods that Contain Gluten

Foods with gluten can cause leaky gut in various ways. 

Research has shown that high levels of a protein called zonulin increases intestinal permeability.6 7 

Two known factors stimulate high levels of zonulin–one is gluten, and the other is bacteria. 8

Studies consistently show that in people with and without celiac disease, gluten increases intestinal permeability and can result in various other digestive issues. 9 10

Furthermore, most glutenous products are high in carbs and lectins, both of which can cause leaky gut. 

How Gluten Affects Your Gut

When a part of the gluten molecule called gliadin enters your gut your body senses a threat and reacts with an inflammatory immune response. 

Gluten

The ensuing inflammation in your gut lining damages and flattens your intestinal villi. The villi are a protective hair-like structure lining your gut. Inflammation and damage to this structure can result in a leaky gut. [4]

diagram of intestinal permeability due to lectins

The damage from gluten can happen relatively quickly on a biological scale. 15 hours after consuming foods with gluten, fragments of gliadin enter the bloodstream, where they begin to cause inflammatory damage to other body tissues.

High Gluten Foods That Cause Leaky Gut

Wheat-based foods like bread, pasta, cereal, crackers etc. Raw wheat and wheat germ contain around 300 mcg of lectins per gram [15]. While whole wheat flour contains around 30 mcg of lectins per gram [16].

Other wheat derived high gluten foods include: 

  • wheatberries
  • durum
  • emmer
  • semolina
  • spelt
  • farina
  • farro
  • graham
  • KAMUT® khorasan wheat
  • einkorn wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Triticale
  • Malt in various forms including: malted barley flour, malted milk or milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar
  • Brewer’s Yeast

Foods High in Sugar 

Unhealthy products. food bad for figure, skin, heart and teeth. Assortment of fast carbohydrates food with fries and cola

Recent studies have shown that diets high in sugar, like the Standard American Diet, increase the relative abundance of bacteria that cause intestinal permeability called Proteobacteria. 

At the same high sugar diets decrease the abundance of gut-protective Bacteroidetes. These beneficial organisms have been shown to reinforce gut barrier function and defend against endotoxins. 1

Other studies have found that high sugar diets disrupt the integrity of the intestinal barrier leading to systemic autoimmune responses.2

Furthermore, low levels of healthy gut bacteria may have the same effect. This is called gut dysbiosis. 17

Foods high in sugar that cause leaky gut

To reduce the effects of sugar on leaky gut, eliminate added sugars and high carb foods, including: 

  • Candy 
  • Soda
  • Baked goods like cookies, cakes, pastries
  • Bread products–sandwich bread, bagels, pita bread etc. 
  • High-carb vegetables
  • High-carb fruit

Foods High in Lectins

Lectins are sticky proteins that bind to carbohydrates. 

Pea lectin protein. Carbohydrate binding protein isolated from Pisum sativum. Cartoon & stick representation with backbone gradient coloring.

In plants, these proteins defend against pests [1]. But when consumed by humans, they can bind to the lining of your gut, resulting in inflammation and contributing to leaky gut. [7] [8]

Studies show that when lectins bind to cells lining your gut they can disrupt the growth of healthy bacteria and inhibit hormone signaling. 7]

Additionally, lectins inhibit digestive enzymes needed for properly metabolizing food, and they bind to zinc, iron, and calcium. [2]

Studies also show that lectins increase inflammation associated with IBS and autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis [9].

If you already have IBS or leaky gut, you are more susceptible to the negative effects of lectins and can experience them immediately.[7]

Damage from lectins to the gut can reduce your ability to absorb protein, fat, and vitamin B12, which increases your risk of inflammatory bowel disease. [31]

With repeated exposure over time, lectins can attach to insulin receptors leading to insulin resistance, high blood pressure, inflammation, and type 2 diabetes [20][21][22]

High Lectin Foods That Cause Leaky Gut 

Foods high in lectins include: 

  • Legumes like kidney beans, soybeans, and peas. Legumes are also high in carbs and fiber, which can contribute to intestinal dysbiosis associated with leaky gut
  • Wheat-based products (gluten is a lectin) including bread, baked goods, pasta, cereals, wheat flour, couscous, etc.
  • Peanuts. Studies have found lectins in the bloodstream of groups of people ate both roasted and raw peanuts. [8] Lectins from peanuts have also been found to cross the intestinal barrier into the bloodstream.
  • Tomatoes: lectins in tomatoes are not eliminated by high heat processing [24]. Tomatoes also contain a plant toxin called tomatine that can accumulate in the body and become mobilized in times of stress.[14].
  • Corn:  Accounting  for around 60% of global food production, many people eat corn that is minimally cooked, allowing lectins to pass into the gut
  • Squashes including pumpkin, acorn squash, zucchini, and butternut. Lectins in squash are found mostly in the skins and seeds [35]
  • peppers (bell and hot peppers, including jalapenos)
  • eggplants
  • goji berries
  • potatoes

High Oxalates Foods

Oxalates are another class of naturally occurring plant compounds that help plants but can harm humans.[1]

calcium oxalate crystal in urine analysis.

In your gut, oxalate crystals act as microscopic spears that abrade your intestinal lining and are significantly associated with intestinal fungal infections. [9] [10] [11] [12]

In addition to their direct assault on the gut lining, oxalates have been found to suppress immune function, reduce mitochondrial activity, and lead to the formation of kidney stones.[3][6]

High Oxalate Foods That Harm Your Gut

High oxalate foods include many of the most popular fruits, veggies, and seeds: 

  • Spinach: Just 100-gram portion of spinach contains approximately 645 milligrams of oxalate
  • Cocoa
  • Beets
  • sesame seeds
  • Rhubarb
  • sweet potato
  • Coriander
  • Currants
  • spinach 

Potatoes

Due to their high lectin and glycoalkaloid content,  potatoes deserve their own category. 

Glycoalkaloids attack the energy centers (mitochondria) of your red blood cells. This process is known as “cell-rupturing.” Research has found that cell-rupturing is implicated in leaky gut.” [3][4]. 

Glycoalkaloid toxicity from potatoes can occur after consuming just 1 mg of glycoalkaloids per kg body weight. 

For the average 150 lbs person, toxicity can occur after eating only 68 mg of glycoalkaloid. Fatality can occur after consuming 302 mg. 

Due to these dangers, the maximum allowable level of glycoalkaloids is 20 mg of total glycoalkaloids per 100 g (fresh weight) of potatoes. [10]

Glycoalkaloid levels in common potato products [11]

FOOD TYPECHACONINESOLANINETOTAL GLYCOALKALOID CONCENTRATIONS
POTATO CHIPS (1 OZ BAG).36-.88 mg.29-1.4 mg 2.7 -12.4 mg/28-gram bag
FRIED POTATO SKINS (4 OZ)4.4-13.6 mg2.0-9.5 mg6.4- 23.1 mg/4 oz
Dr. Kiltz's Take
It’s fine to enjoy fresh potatoes fried in tallow once in a while. We can get into trouble when we make a habit of consuming this high-carb food all the time, especially when fried in toxic vegetable oils, and from sources where we don’t have a way of making sure the potatoes are in good condition. 

Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oils are highly processed industrial products that are bad for your gut. 

Most vegetable oils are made from GMO crops that are engineered to contain extra high levels of lectins in order to resist pests. 

Conventional seeds and legumes are also sprayed with the pesticide glyphosate (Roundup), which has been shown to have extremely negative effects on gut health. In fact it may be the main reason behind the dramatic rise in Celiac disease. 

Vegetable oils also contain high percentages of omega-6 fatty acids, which are linked to inflammation [28].

Common vegetable oils include: 

  • Corn oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Canola oil

Food Contaminated with Mycotoxins

electron microscope image of mycotoxin

Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that form when certain molds grow on plant foods. 

As the world warms and becomes more humid, mycotoxin exposure is a growing threat. [1] [2]

Studies show that mycotoxins cause leaky gut by attacking all four aspects of intestinal protection, including mucosal (physical), chemical, immunological, and microbial barriers. 3

Foods High In Mycotoxins That Cause Leaky Gut

The following foods often contain mycotoxins that cause leaky gut:

  • Grains: corn, wheat, barley, rye
  • Nuts: peanuts, pistachios, and Brazil nuts
  • Sugar: from cane and beets
  • Coffee beans 
  • Chocolate 
  • Dried fruit: apricot, figs, plums, dates, quince
  • Beer and wine
  • Spices

Food to Eat to Heal Your Gut

Now that we’ve identified that plant food, processed foods, and high sugar foods cause leaky gut, let’s turn to the foods that can nourish your gut. 

This leaves whole food animal products. These foods high in nourishing fats, proteins, and meat-specific micronutrients help resolve dysbiosis, and lift the toxicity burden.  [24] [25]

For people with leaky gut, IBS, and other gut issues, a carnivore elimination diet, AKA Lion Diet, can be an exceptionally effective approach.

A 2019 study by Dr. Sawn Baker’s Revero health program, surveying over 12,000 participants in carnivore diets, found that 95% reported improvements in gastrointestinal conditions. 

Gut-Healing Foods List

Carnivore diet concept. Raw ingredients for zero carb diet - meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, beef bones for bone broth and copy space in center on gray stone background. Top view or flat lay.

Below you can find a list of nutrient-dense foods, many of which are high in vitamin A (retinol)

Retinol has been shown to be inversely associated with intestinal permeability (7)

 

RuminantsPorkPoultryfishseafoodOrgan meatsWild meatsfatEggsDairyFruits and Veggies
Beef 

Bison

Goat

Lamb

All typesChicken

Duck

Goose

Game hen

Turkey

Qual

Pheasant

Salmon

Halibut

Mahi-mahi

Trout

Tuna

Cod

Arctic Char

Sardines

Anchovies

Mackerel

Herring

swordfish

Snapper

Walleye

Catfish

Oysters

Shrimp

Prawns

Lobster

Mussels

Scallops

Crab 

Clams

xElk

Venison

Antelope

Bear

Rabbit

Boar

Rattlesnake

Kangaroo

Tallow

Lard

Butter

Ghee

Chicken eggs

Duck eggs

Goose Eggs

Ostrich eggs

Quail Eggs

Butter

Ghee

Cream

Creme Fraiche

Cheese

Full-fat

yogurt

x

Foods That Cause Leaky Gut: The Bottom Line

The gut is the first physiological defense against food contaminants. 

Repeated exposure to contaminants can compromise the four aspects of intestinal protection, including mucosal (physical), chemical, immunological, and microbial barriers.

When this happens, gaps can form between the cell structures of your gut, allowing contaminants to pass into your bloodstream, where they can spread to every other part of your body. This syndrome is called leaky gut

The foods that cause leaky gut are high in various gut-harming compounds, including: 

  • Gluten
  • Oxalates
  • Lectins
  • Various other plant toxins and antinutrients
  • Sugar
  • Mycotoxins

Common foods that cause leaky gut include

  • Wheat products
  • Legumes
  • Processed foods
  • Foods high in sugar
  • Plant foods high in oxalates 
  • Plant foods high in lectins
  • Plant foods contaminated with mycotoxins

To avoid foods that cause leaky gut, limit your exposure to these foods, and replace them with nourishing foods free of contaminants, including fresh meat and unprocessed animal products. 

 

Dr. Kiltz Making Keto Ice Cream

Kiltz’s Keto Ice Cream

If you’re looking for a healthy yet undeniably delicious keto-friendly dessert, then you’ve come to the right place.

Dr. Kiltz’s keto vanilla ice cream recipes have 2-5 simple, pronounceable ingredients and will put any store-bought or boutique ice cream to shame.

Dr. Kiltz has put together two recipes, the original recipe which includes just a small bit of sugar which he recommends for weekly consumption and a 100% guilt free option if you’re looking for an every day ice cream meal replacement.

Original Kiltz ‘s Keto Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients for 1 pint (4 servings): 

  • 1 Pint of High-quality heavy cream (preferably grass-fed and locally sources)
  • 1 egg or 5 egg yolks (pasture raised is best)
  • 1-2 TBSP of granulated pure cane sugar (or honey, maple syrup, or alternative sweetener) – cane sugar has only 13 grams of sugar per tablespoon or as little as 3 grams per serving
  • 1 Vanilla Bean (or vanilla paste/extract)
  • Optional: Salt to taste – start with 1-3 pinches (1/16 to 1/4 tsp) of sea/Himalayan salt

nutritional information kiltz's ice cream original recipe

Instructions:

  • combine the egg, salt, sugar, and vanilla by whisking them together in a large bowl
  • combine and whisk the heavy cream into the egg, salt, sugar, and vanilla mixture
  • pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and follow instructions for your individual ice cream machine

Watch the video below for the full recipe and instructions:

Guilt Free Every Day Kiltz’s Keto Ice Cream Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pint of High-quality heavy cream (preferably grass-fed and locally sources)
  • 1 egg or 5 egg yolks (pasture raised is best)
  • optional: 1 Vanilla Bean (or vanilla extract)
  • optional: salt to taste – start with 1-3 pinches (1/16 to 1/4 tsp) of sea/Himalayan salt

nutritional information kiltz's ice cream with 5 yolks

Instructions:

  • combine the egg, salt, and optionally vanilla by whisking them together in a large bowl
  • combine and whisk the heavy cream into the egg, salt, sugar, and vanilla mixture
  • pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and follow instructions for your individual ice cream machine

Watch the video below for the full recipe and instructions:

Wonderful 3d rendering of primitive ancient art on a cave wall with figures of people with spears, arrows and bows hunting deer and elephants.

The Ancestral Diet: What it is, Benefits, and How to

Since the paleo diet became popular in the early 2000s, there has been a hot debate about what and what is not the true ancestral diet. 

Paleo refers to the paleolithic period that spanned from 3.3 million years ago to the dawn of agriculture around 10,000 year ago. 

During this period, human physiology evolved in close relationship with the foods our ancestors ate. 

The view follows that an ancestral diet can benefit our health by realigning our eating habits with our evolutionary physiology. 

Though there is no single ancestral diet–where, when, and which ancestors are we talking about?– there is an abundance of scientific evidence suggesting that early humans across the globe consumed a high-fat, low-carb, mostly carnivorous diet.

In this article, we’ll follow the evidence to reveal the common characteristics of an ancestral diet and explore how eating like our ancestors can benefit our health. 

[TOC]

Why Eat an Ancestral Diet? 

Diseases related to chronic inflammation are the leading cause of death across the globe and have reached epidemic levels in developed countries.  

60 percent of Americans have at least one chronic inflammatory disease, while four in 10 suffer from at least two chronic conditions, and 12% have 5 or more.

Across the globe, 3 out of 5 people die from chronic inflammatory diseases, including stroke, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, heart disorders, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and various autoimmune disorders.

Because these diseases were virtually non-existant for our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we call them “diseases of civilization.” 

The evidence suggests that the root cause of these inflammatory diseases is our modern diets and lifestyle.

The standard American/Western diet is high in: 

  • Ultra-processed foods like fast food and packaged foods
  • Grains
  • Added sugars
  • Excess fiber
  • Toxic industrial seed “vegetable” oils
  • Cultivated high-sugar fruit that would be unrecognizable to our ancestors
  • Cultivated vegetables that did not exist before the agricultural revolution

All of these modern “foods” fuel the fire of inflammation at the root of the diseases of civilization. While poor sleep, lack of movement, along with chronic stress, and anxiety add even more fuel to the flames. 

Eliminating these modern foods and focusing on the foods our ancestors evolved to thrive on realigns our diet with our ancestral physiology. 

What is the Ancestral Diet? 

Taking an ancestral diet approach to health isn’t just theoretical. It’s based on both archeological evidence and the examples of modern-day hunter-gatherers. 

The most common characteristic of modern-day hunter-gatherers is fatty and nutrient-dense animal foods. 

In a field study of 229 remaining hunter-gatherer groups, researchers found that animal foods provided over two-thirds of their calories on average, with a range of 26 to 99 percent.

However, even these diets do not represent a true ancestral diet. 

Our physiology, which derives from our hominid (human-like) ancestors, evolved over 3 million years before the dawn of the agricultural revolution, some 10,000 years ago. 

timeline of ancestral diet evolution

During this vast expanse of time, the earth was teeming with giant, fatty mammals known as megafauna. Picture 20 ft tall tree sloths, 2-ton armadillos, elephants that are twice as large as they are today, and many other giant versions of modern animals. 

With all these nutrients roaming around, humans evolved as hyper-carnivorous apex predators consuming an all-meat diet. There was no reason to expend energy on less calorically-dense food sources like nuts and fruits. 

As humans hunted megafauna into mass extinction around 10,000 years ago, humans consumed plant foods in significant quantities for the first time.

The Ancestral “Lipivore” Diet

Our ancestors relied so heavily on fatty animal foods for such a vast proportion of our evolution that our bodies are still genetically primed to thrive on fat. So much so that some researchers like Amber O’Hearn suggest that humans are most accurately classified as “lipivores,” or fat eaters. 

Ancestral Diet Foods

When we look at the evidence for what our ancestors ate over the longest period of our evolution, we arrive at a mostly all-meat, or carnivore diet. 

Though these days we don’t have giant tree sloths to hunt, we do have roughly equivalent foods from various animal sources. 

Animal Products

Our hominid (pre-human) ancestors have been eating animal products for at least 3.3 million years.

Animal foods are among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. They contain high amounts of essential and powerful nutrients that do not exist, or are insignificant in plant foods. 

Some of these nutrients specific to meat include:

  • Vitamin B12:liver, red meat, oysters, seafood. Essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system, the production of DNA and red blood cells, maintenance of cognitive function
  • Choline: eggs, organ meats (beef liver, kidney), red meat, salmon roe, fish. Especially important for fertility–supports neurological development, fetal growth, and reduces risk of chronic diseases later in life
  • Vitamin K2: Goose and beef liver, pork chops, eggs, chicken wings, cheese. Unlocks potential of all other fat soluble vitamins. Supports heart health, bone health, prevents cancer.
  • Preformed vitamin A (retinol): Duck liver, lamb liver, cheese, salmon roe. Essential for healthy immune function, vision, physical growth, and fertility.
  • Carnitine: Lamb, ribeye steak, pork.  Supports brain and heart health while reducing aging by directly boosting cellular energy
  • Heme iron: Red meat, liver. supports immune function, cognition, and energy metabolism  
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA): Fatty fish, lamb. Anti-inflammatory, supports male and female fertility, basis of hormones that regulate blood clotting and health of arterial walls  
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA): Lamb, beef, eggs. Supports immune function, strengthen bones, support heart health, improve excess fat loss, and significantly reduce the risk of various cancers
  • Taurine: beef, fish, and dairy. Supports eye health, nervous system function, immune regulation, provides antioxidant effects, and balanced electrolytes
  • Selenium: Eggs, liver, beef, fish. Supports thyroid health, immune function, DNA synthesis. Offer antioxidant, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective properties
  • High-quality protein: Meat, eggs, dairy. Metabolic health, cognition, muscle growth, brain function. 

As you can see from the list above, animal products mean more than just muscle meats. 

Our ancestor’s diet was truly nose-to-tail, meaning that they prized organs, fat, and eggs as much if not more than muscle meat. 

Not only are animal meats the most nutrient-dense foods on earthy, they also offer their nutrients in the most bioavailable form. 

Bioavailability means that our body can absorb and use nutrients in meat far more efficiently than plant sources of vitamin A, protein, zinc, and iron, among others.

list of animal foods high in nutrients

Ancestral Diet Food List

The list below, though not exhaustive, provides a foundation of nutrient-dense ancestrally-aligned foods.

RuminantsPorkPoultryfishseafoodOrgan meatsWild meatsFatEggsDairyFruits and Veggies
Beef 

Bison

Goat

Lamb

All typesChicken

Duck

Goose

Game hen

Turkey

Qual

Pheasant

Salmon

Halibut

Mahi mahi

Trout

Tuna

Cod

Arctic Char

Sardines

Anchovies

Mackerel

Herring

swordfish

Snapper

Walleye

Salmon Roe

Oysters

Shrimp

Prawns

Lobster

Mussels

Scallops

Crab 

Clams

Beef Liver

Chicken liver

Heart

Brain

Kidney

Sweet-

Breads

Pancreas

Tongue

Tripe

Bone Marrow

Testicals

Elk

Venison

Antelope

Bear

Rabbit

Boar

Rattlesnake

Kangaroo

Tallow

Lard

Butter

Ghee

Chicken eggs

Duck eggs

Goose Eggs

Ostrich eggs

Quail Eggs

Butter

Ghee

Cream

Creme Fraiche

Cheese

Full-fat

yogurt

x

food pyramid for carnivore diet
What About Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Seeds, Grains? 

Modern vegetables, fruit, and oils (even olive oil) did not exist in the paleolithic period.  

Edible nuts, fruits, and seeds were few and far between, required substantial processing to remove toxins and anti-nutrients, and provided much fewer calories than modern GMO plant foods. 

On basis of caloric return, it simply wasn’t worth the effort for our ancestors to spend time and energy seeking out these inferior foods when there was an abundance of large fatty animals roaming around. 

Furthermore, fire was needed to unlock the scant nutrients from tubers. Fire wasn’t invented until 300,000 years ago. Remember, we’re looking at eating patterns that are 3.3 million years old. 

Grains were not part of the human diet until around 10,000 years ago. We see that the transition to a grain-based diet shrunk our skeletons, muscles, and brains and resulted in widespread disease. 

If you insist on some vegetables, low toxin “roots and fruits” like unblemished sweet potatoes and raspberries are most aligned with ancient eating practices but should be consumed sparingly. 

What about Dairy? 

Fresh dairy products, milk, cottage cheese, eggs, yogurt, sour cream and butter on white background, top view

Though dairy didn’t emerge until we became pastoralists around 10,000 years ago, full-fat dairy is rich in many bioavailable animal-food nutrients that you can’t get from plant sources.

If you tolerate dairy, this is one “modern” food that supports our genetic inheritance. 

No Refined Sugar, Flour, or Seed Oils

An ancestral diet completely eliminates all refined sugar, grain flours, and seed “vegetable” oils. 

These foods did not exist for our ancestors, and they are likely the key contributor to our modern epidemic of inflammatory diseases.

Seed oils, grains, and sugar together comprise nearly 70% percent of daily calories on a standard American diet. 

Eliminating these inflammatory foods is a key to gaining the benefits of an ancestral diet. 

Ancestral Diet Eating Plans

You can incorporate an ancestral diet into your modern life by simply consuming foods from the list above, and eliminating all foods not on that list. 

If you’d like soome more guidance, here are a couple of popular approaches. 

Lion Elimination Diet

Popularized by the psychologist Jordan Peterson, the lion elimination diet calls for consuming only steak, water, and salt for at least a month. 

The philosophy behind this diet is that it completely eliminates irritating and inflammatory foods, while nourishing your body with bioavailable macro and micronutrients. 

This gives your digestive system a chance to reset and repair issues like chronic inflammation and leaky gut caused by modern foods.

Dr. Kiltz’s BEBBIIS Diet

BEBBIIS plan

The B.E.B.B.I.I.S. (pronounced “babies”) Diet is an approach to eating that focuses on consuming one to two meals of minimally processed, high-fat, animal-based foods per day.

The acronym stands for Bacon, Eggs, Butter, Beef, Ice cream (Kiltz’s homemade keto ice cream), Intermittent feasting (aka fasting), and Salt.  

In addition, the diet also welcomes other fatty cuts of meat from lamb, salmon, pork, bison, and chicken, along with other animal fats like lard and tallow and full-fat dairy like heavy cream and most cheeses.

Focusing your diet on these animal-based whole foods dramatically reduces inflammation, protects you from the ravages of carbohydrates, eliminates exposure to plant toxins, and nourishes every cell in your body with healthy fats and essential nutrients. 

Dr. Kiltz’s Take
I developed the BEBBIIS diet over the course of a decade of experimentation and research in my clinical practice as a fertility doctor as a way to naturally improve fertility and treatment outcomes.

Through countless hours of research and the treatment of thousands of individuals with this diet, I discovered that not only did this high-fat carnivore-based diet dramatically improve both male and female fertility but that many of my patients were coming off other medications and improving their lives in other ways.

Researched Benefits of an Ancestral Carnivore Diet

Most “ancestral diet” research has centered on the paleo diet–an early and incorrect interpretation of the foods that humans primarily evolved eating. 

However, in 2020, and 2021 large-scale studies looking specifically at the benefits of an the carnivore diet yielded remarkably positive results. 

A 2021 study by Harvard University researchers Dr. Belinda Lennerz and Dr. David Ludwig gathered data from  2,029 carnivore dieters over 6 months.  

infographic of harvard study on carnivore diet outcomes

The researchers concluded: “Contrary to common expectations, adults consuming a carnivore diet experienced few adverse effects and instead reported health benefits and high satisfaction.” [1]

Significant health improvements inlcuded:

  • 93% improved or resolved obesity and excess weight
  • 93% improved hypertension
  • 98% improved conditions related to diabetes
  • 97% improved gastrointestinal symptoms
  • 96% improved psychiatric symptoms

Revero Survey

Mirroring the Harvard study above, the Revero carnivore-based health program founded by Dr. Shawn Baker collected responses showing significant health improvements, symptom reversals, and medication terminations.

infographic showing outcomes from revero carnivore study

 

Close the Nutrient Gap with Organ Meat Supplements

For many people, a nose-to-tail diet with organ meats can feel like a bridge to far. 

Finding organ meats can be difficult, and many people find their flavors and textures just too foreign to enjoy. 

Fortunately, organ meat supplements are an efficient and tasteless way to incorporate meat-specific nutrients, and bioactive peptides only found in organ meats into your ancestral diet. 

The Bottom Line on the Ancestral Diet

Following an ancestral diet nourishes your body with nutrient-dense superfoods that your physiology is evolved to thrive on. 

Nearly as important is how an ancestral diet eliminates inflammatory sugars, seed oils, antinutrients, and plant toxins. 

The health benefits from adopting an ancestral diet that reduces inflammation and resets your gut microbiome center on reducing your risk of the diseases of civilization, including: 

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Neurological disorders
  • Various cancers
  • infertility
  • Mood disorders
  • Osteoporosis
  • Various autoimmune disorders

By combining an ancestral diet with aspects of ancestral living like healthy movement routines, meditation, and earthing/ground, you can extend your health span and enjoy a life free of modern disease. 

 

alarm clock on a toilet​ rolls​

Intermittent Fasting Bowel Movements: What it Does to Your Poop

Intermittent fasting is linked to numerous benefits like reduced inflammation, improved gut health, and anti-cancer properties. But for some people, this dramatic change in eating patterns also comes with equally dramatic changes in their bowel movements. 

In this article, we’ll explore intermittent fasting effects on poop and how to regain regularity and balance when it comes to bowel movements. 

[TOC]

How Intermittent Fasting Can Effects Your Bowel Movements

Man suffers from diarrhea hand hold tissue paper roll in front of toilet bowl. constipation in bathroom. Treatment stomach pain and Hygiene, health care

Any major change in your diet can result in constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and indigestion, and intermittent fasting is no exception.[12] [13]

Changes to your bowel movements while intermittent fasting is usually due to one of four factors. 

  1. Cutting off the constant influx of food
  2. Dehydration
  3. Dietary changes to higher protein and higher fat foods
  4. Adjustments in your gut microbiome resulting from starving sugar-loving bacteria

Eliminating Constant Influx of Food

On a standard American diet, most people are eating three meals a day with snacks in between. 

This constant influx of food pushes digesting food through your bowels. 

When you practice intermittent fasting, you are cutting off this conveyer belt of bowel movements. 

Dehydration

Intermittent fasting can stimulate your body to begin breaking down stored body fat into energy molecules called ketones. When your body enters ketosis, it flushes water and electrolytes. 

This flushing can cause dehydration, which is a leading factor in constipation. 

Flushing and dehydration can have more dramatic effects on your bowel movements when practicing more intense fasting protocols like OMAD, and 20-hour fasts

More Fat and Protein

japanese marbled fatty wagyu ribeye beef

Many people combine intermittent fasting with keto and the carnivore diet

These eating plans center on low-carb, high-fat foods. 

If you’re coming from a standard high-carb western diet, it can take your metabolism time to upregulate stomach acids, digestive enzymes, and bile needed to break down these complex foods efficiently. 

It’s also worth highlighting that when you cut fiber and replace it with nutrient-dense animal foods, you may simply poop less. 

In this case, pooping less doesn’t mean you’re constipated. Rather, having fewer bowel movements is likely a result of there simply being less fibrous waste for your body to expel. 

Changes to Gut Bacteria When Intermittent Fasting

Gut bacteria, microbiome. Bacteria inside the large intestine, concept, representation. 3D illustration.

Practicing intermittent fasting cuts off the chronic stream of sugar into your gastrointestinal tract, even if temporarily.

When you combine intermittent fasting with keto or carnivore, the carb-cutting is even more dramatic. 

Cutting off sugar to your gut starves bacteria that rely on sugar as a source of fuel. 

It can take some time for your gut microbiota to rebalance and to repopulate with bacteria specialized in digesting higher fat and protein intake.[3]

Studies show that the microbiota reset that occurs when you cut carbs can offer numerous health benefits like reduced inflammation and reduced symptoms of multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. 4 5 6

Just be prepared for changes to your bowel movements.

You can support your microbiome reset by consuming cultured foods like blue cheese low carb yogurt, and cultured cottage cheese

Solutions to Intermittent Fasting Bowel Movement Issues

Fortunately, for most people, intermittent fasting effects on poop are positive. 

The time spent fasting between meals allows your body to fully digest your food and allows your intestinal tract to repair any areas that may be damaged by plant toxins, antinutrients, and other inflammatory substances. 

For people experiencing negative intermittent fasting bowel movement issues, the good news is that they are usually temporary and easy to overcome. 

Time to drink water, staying hydrated and healthy concept.

Here are a few keys for supporting your bowel movements during IF:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Replace electrolytes
  • Liberally salt your food
  • If symptoms persist, consider eliminating commonly irritating food beginning with nuts,  fibrous legumes, vegetables, and grains

Intermittent Fasting Effects on Bowel Movements: The Takeaway

Intermittent fasting offers a dramatic departure from normal eating habits. 

When you’re not eating as often, and eating different foods than your body is used to, it is common to experience changes to your bowel movements. 

Though most changes are positive, some people encounter temporary side effects including constipation, diarrhea, and bloating. 

Be sure to drink plenty of water, and stick with it. It can take some time for your digestive symptom to make the transition, but the benefits are well worth it for most people.

 

useful vegetables lie on a plate

Intermittent Fasting Nausea: Causes and Remedies

Intermittent fasting–or feasting as Dr. Kiltz more accurately calls it–presents a radical change from the three meals a day with snacks in between that most people consume. Intermittent fasting nausea is one of the side effects that can occur during the transition to this new regimen. 

In this article, we’ll explore the common causes and effective remedies for intermittent fasting nausea.

[TOC]

What Causes Intermittent Fasting Nausea?

Intermittent fasting nausea is usually a result of one or a combination of the following factors: 

  • Hunger as your digestive system adapts to a new eating cadence
  • Hunger from not consuming enough nutritious foods or total nutrients during your eating windows
  • When combining intermittent fasting with a high-fat low-carb diet it can take time for your body to upregulate bile sufficient to digest the increase in fat
  • Protein poisoning from eating too much protein and not enough fat when carbs are reduced

Why Do People Practice Intermittent Feasting

People practice intermittent fasting/feasting to align their eating habits with their evolutionary physiology. Our ancestors evolved for millions of years on a cycle of fasting and feasting. 

Studies show that recreating this cycle in modern life has been shown to provide numerous benefits including [43] [44] [45] [46] [47] [48] [1]

  • Restoring gut health
  • Regulating blood sugar
  • Controlling cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood
  • Supports heart health
  • increased lean muscle mass
  • Stimulates human growth hormone
  • Stem cell production
  • supports mindful eating habits
  • Breaks cycles of emotional/stress eating

graph showing benefits of eating after sundown

Yet, for most modern people, intermittent fasting is a dramatic change. As with any dietary and metabolic change, there can be side effects, including nausea. 5

Let’s take a look at the most common causes of intermittent fasting nausea and their remedies. 

Nausea from Hunger

Keto side effects: woman with nausea

The most common cause of intermittent fasting nausea is hunger. 

Fasting means choosing windows where you don’t eat. Yet, for most people, not eating for even a few hours is a radical dietary change. 

Standard eating habits of many meals and snacks in between train your stomach to produce a constant supply of hydrochloric acid used to break down food. 

When you transition to fasting, that stomach acid can accumulate and lead to nausea and acid reflux. 

Another response that can happen during fasting when your stomach isn’t used to being empty is hunger pangs. These stomach contractions can also create feelings of nausea. 

The Remedy

Consume high-fat, low-carb whole foods

Nutrient-dense foods high in healthy fats, complete proteins and low in carbs take longer to break down in the stomach. In turn, they supply your body with a steady source of fuel while keeping you feeling fuller longer. 4

A well-formulated intermittent fasting meal plan centers on satiating high-fat foods, including: 

image of ribeye steak with nutrition data

Nausea While Transitioning to High-Fat Low-Carb Diet

Many people practicing intermittent fasting combine a restricted eating window with more nutritious protein and fat-rich foods. 

This is a fantastic approach, but it can take some time for your body to adjust to high fat and protein inputs. 

Stomach Acid

Consuming more meat will require your body to create more stomach acid to break down the proteins. [4] [5]

Since humans evolved as hyper-carnivorous apex predators for nearly 2 million years, we have naturally high stomach acid. If you’re coming from a high-carb diet, it may just 1-4 weeks for your digestive acids to adjust to your new food inputs. [6]  

Bile production

Bile is another digestive fluid that plays a key role of breaking down dietary fat. [7]  

It can take 1-4 weeks for your bile supply to catch up to the increased digestive demand of a high-fat or carnivore diet. [6

Gut Bacteria 

When you cut the constant supply of processed foods and sugar, the gut bacteria previously fed by carbs will die off. 

It can take some time for your gut bacteria to repopulate with bacteria that thrives on fat and protein. This transition can lead to digestive issues, including nausea. [3]

The reset in gut bacteria while intermittent fasting has been shown to offer positive benefits, including the reduction of obesity. 5

The Remedy 

The key to making a successful and sustainable transition to intermittent fasting is simply to stick with it while continuing to consume satiating whole foods, mostly from animal sources. 

Your stomach acid will catch up with the protein and fat load. 

For breaking down fat, you can help ease the transition by taking bile supplements. 

To support the rebalancing and repopulation of beneficial gut bacteria, you can add in yogurt and cultured cheeses like blue cheese and cottage cheese.

Dehydration

One sneaky but very common cause of intermittent fasting nausea is dehydration.  

Even mild dehydration can upset your stomach and lead to nausea. 

During intermittent fasting, your body begins breaking down stored fat into energy molecules called ketones. During this process, your body also metabolizes glycogen (backup energy) stored in your muscles and liver. [8

Glycogen is stored amidst lots of water, so to get to this energy source, your body ends up flushing lots of water. [9]

glycogen

 

It is also common for people to conflate not eating with not drinking water. 

It is crucial that while intermittent fasting you continue to drink water, while salting your food liberally. 

Here’s a list of what you can drink during intermittent fasting

  • Water
  • Mineral Water
  • Sparkling water
  • Coffee (no sugar, milk, or other additives)
  • Tea (green or black. No milk, or other additives) 

Nausea From Too Much Protein

Humans evolved by eating extremely fatty meat from giant animals knowns as megafauna–think 2-ton armadillos and 20ft tall ground sloths. 

In fact, we were so good at hunting and eating fatty meat that we drove these creatures to extinction. 

Not coincidentally, the decline in megafauna around 10,000 years ago corresponded with humans’ first foray into domesticating plant foods. 

The legacy of our dependence on fat shows up in how we are limited in our ability to get energy from protein. This is called the protein constraint. 

In other words, we can overdose on protein pretty quickly. 

Other carnivores like cats can get 70% of their energy needs from protein. Their bodies are evolved to synthesize it into glucose to feed their brains. 

But humans can only get 35%-50% of our calories from protein. More than that and our body gets overwhelmed. This is called protein poisoning.[3]

One of the first signs of protein poisoning is nausea. While other symptoms include[32]

  • Hyperaminoacidemia
  • Hyperammonemia
  • hyperinsulinemia 
  • Diarrhea
  • Death within 2-4 weeks of prolonged protein poisoning

The Remedy

The most effective remedy for nausea due to protein poisoning is to eat fatty meats and add like tallow and butter to leaner foods. 

Protein diet: raw products on the wooden background

Here’s a looks at some of the fattiest meats available from various food sources: 

Nutrition Based on 4 oz (112g) serving

RankingKeto MeatCalories FatProteinCarbs%Calories from fat% Calories from protein
#1Ribeye steak3102520o73%26%
#2Pork Belly5886010.4092%7%
#3Rack of lamb3302230063%37%
#4Sweetbreads35633.614.6082%18%
#5Chicken Wings3202230.4062%38%

 

Medications on an Empty Stomach

Many medications explicitly state that you should take them with food to avoid nausea. 

Furthermore, many medications list nausea as a common side effect. 

If you’re taking any of the following medications, make sure to take them during your feasting window:

  • antibiotics
  • blood pressure reducing drugs like beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics
  • chemotherapy drugs, including dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome), and mechlorethamine (Mustargen)
  • Antidepressants including fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft)

Supplements and Over-The-Counter Medications

In addition to prescription drugs, there are numerous supplements and OTC drugs that can cause nausea, especially on an empty stomach while intermittent fasting. 

These can include:

  • Tylenol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • zinc
  • vitamin E
  • vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Various other vitamin and nutritional supplements 

Intermittent Fasting Nausea: The Takeaway

For some people, nausea is a side effect of intermittent fasting. 

In most cases, intermittent fasting nausea is a temporary and easily remedied side effect.

Nausea most often occurs due to the build-up of stomach acid during the transitional period when the body hasn’t had a chance to adjust to a restricted eating schedule. 

The key to overcoming intermittent fasting nausea is to consume satiating well-salted whole foods like steak, eggs, butter, and cheese. It is also critical to drink plenty of water. 

Your body can take 1-4 weeks to comfortably transition to this new and beneficial way of eating. 

 

Vector illustration set of fresh meat icons, pieces of fresh tasty meat, steak, ribs in flat style. Gastronomic, cooking, BBQ, restaurant kitchen concept

Is Lamb Red Meat? Yes, And That’s a Good Thing!

Is lamb red meat? Yes, lamb is considered red meat because it contains myoglobin. Myoglobin is a protein that binds to iron, giving meat its red color. 

Red meats high in myoglobin include lamb, beef, veal, pork, bison, and venison. 

If you’re wondering if lamb is red meat, you probably have some preconceptions about whether or not red meat is healthy. 

In this article, we’ll explore why it’s a good thing that lamb is red meat, and not a bad thing. 

[TOC]

Lamb is a Healthy Red Meat

Raw fresh lamb ribs on dark background

Since the 1950s, red meat has been incorrectly maligned as an unhealthy food by some mainstream nutritional institutions. 

The reasons for the demonization of red meat have been both personal and political, but in no instance have they been scientific. 

Numerous studies have assessed for red meat as a cause of heart disease and colorectal cancer. After decades of both low and high-quality research, there is exactly zero scientific evidence that meat causes heart disease or cancer.  

Let’s take a brief look at the findings of some of the major studies before turning to the benefits of lamb. 

Saturated Fat is Not Bad for You

In the 1950s red meat was first targeted because it contains saturated animal fats

Nutritionists used to believe the false idea that consuming saturated fat increased your risk of heart disease.

This idea was first promoted by Ansel Keys, a charismatic and forceful personality who built his reputation on staking and defending this position. He even made the cover of TIME magazine for it. 

ancel keys cover of time magazine

It has taken decades to undo the faulty messaging of Ancel Keys.

Thankfully there are numerous modern studies that include data from millions of participants showing that for the average person, saturated fat is not associated with heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and death from heart attack.

abstract from study showing that meat is healthy

This 2020 study co-authored by a community of researchers from leading medical schools across the globe found that intake of unprocessed red meat is not associated with heart disease, “indicating that saturated fat content of meat is unlikely to be responsible for this association.”

The researchers conclude that “Whole-fat dairy, unprocessed meat, and dark chocolate are SFA-rich foods with a complex matrix (of nutrients) that are not associated with an increased risk of CVD. The totality of available evidence does not support further limiting the intake of such foods.”

chart showing ribeye steak and other whole foods high in saturated fat

Red Meat Does Not Cause Cancer

There have been numerous studies attempting to link red meat with cancer, especially colorectal cancer. 

Yet none of these studies show a causal link, and out of hundreds of studies, only a few show a very weak positive correlation with processed but not fresh red meat. 

You can see the findings from numerous studies on the questions of red meat and cancer here. 

To date, the most comprehensive review assessing the evidence for and against the link between red meat and cancer is the 2019 NutriRECS study. 

abstract from nutrirecs study

The purpose of the study is as follows: 

The researchers concluded that the recommendations against limiting meat consumption are based on low-quality observational studies–which can only make associations that point to areas for further controlled studies.

They cannot affirm causality, should only be used to suggest areas of further research, and are not meant to be used as a basis for dietary recommendations.

Furthermore, the organizations like the WHO that use observational studies for their recommendations do not issue rigorous reviews of the studies. 

The NutriRECS study stepped in to be the rigorous review that was missing. So what did it find from looking at the data from 48 studies that included over 5.7 million participants? 

  • Reducing fresh (unprocessed) red meat had no statistically significant impact on incidences of prostate cancer mortality and the incidence of overall, breast, colorectal, esophageal, gastric, pancreatic, and prostate cancer. 
  • “low-to very low-certainty of evidence that reducing intake of processed meat was associated with a very small absolute risk reduction in overall lifetime cancer mortality; prostate cancer mortality; and the incidence of esophageal, colorectal, and breast cancer (range, 1 fewer to 8 fewer events per 1000 persons with a decrease of 3 servings/wk), with no statistically significant differences in incidence or mortality for 12 additional cancer outcomes (colorectal, gastric, and pancreatic cancer mortality; overall, endometrial, gastric, hepatic, small intestinal, oral, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancer incidence)”
  • Final Recommendations: Contrary to the WHO, the researchers recommend continuing to eat both fresh red meat and processed meats. 

Though there are many other major studies with near identical findings, the 2018 study below comparing the incidence of colorectal cancer between vegetarians and red meat eaters is worth highlighting. 

abstract from study on red meat consumption

Not surprisingly, it found no difference in colorectal cancer rates between vegetarian and red meat eaters.   

If red meat were a carcinogen, you would expect that not eating meat would have some comparative effect on cancer rates.  

Lamb Provides Healthy Red Meat Fats

Fresh and raw sheep or lamb meat pieces for sale on wooden backgrounde

Not only are the fats in red meat like lamb not bad for you, they actually offer numerous powerful health benefits. 

Furthermore, following the outdated recommendations to replace animal fat with vegetable oil is likely the most deadly public health recommendation in history. 

Numerous studies show that consuming vegetable oil is behind the modern epidemic of inflammatory diseases, including heart, disease, type 2 diabetes, and numerous cancers. 

Read more about why vegetable oil is bad for you, here.  

Lamb is a fantastic red meat source of saturated and monounsaturated fats, along with specialized beneficial fatty acids, including omega-3s and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). 

Let’s look at how the fat in lamb can benefit your health:

  • monounsaturated fat has potent anti-inflammatory properties that studies have shown to reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Your body requires a balance of saturated and unsaturated fats to create and maintain your cell membranes
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has been shown to support immune function, strengthen bones, support heart health, improve excess fat loss, and significantly reduce the risk of various cancers
  • Meat from lamb provides around 500mcg per 100 grams of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. These levels are similar to levels of as some fish prized for their omega-3. Omega-3s play an important role in numerous physiological functions like male and female fertility and form the basis of hormones that regulate blood clotting and the health of your arterial walls

Lamb Provides Powerful Red Meat Nutrients

Lamb Chop Rib Nutrition

Lamb is not only one of the healthiest red meats, it’s also one of the healthiest foods on earth, period. 

Here’s a rundown of lamb’s nutritional highlights: 

  • Provides the “master antioxidant” glutathione. This compound has been shown to reduce insulin resistance, reduce the risk of autoimmune disease, reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, protect against oxidative damage in children with autism, and has been associated with a longer lifespan
  • Creatine in red meat like lamb supports muscle growth and maintenance while offering anti-depressant effects
  • Taurine in lamb is an antioxidant amino acid that reduces glycation, inflammation, and oxidative stress, while also acting as an antidepressant
  • Carnosine found in red meat like lamb can reduce fatigue and improve physical performance while providing cardiovascular protection, and protection against the shortening of telomeres associated with aging
  • Red meat like lamb is a prime source of essential vitamin B12. B12 helps convert food into energy, form red blood cells, boosts cognition, and is another natural antidepressant
  • Vitamin A (Retinol) is essential for proper immune function, physical growth, vision, and fertility.  Lamb liver has the second highest amount of vitamin A of all foods. The vitamin A in red meat is significantly more absorbable than the vitamin A precursors found in plant foods

These are only a small selection of the numerous micronutrients found in lamb and red meat. You can learn more about the benefits of eating red meat here

Is Lamb Red Meat?: The Bottom Line 

Yes, lamb is red meat. 

Like other red meats, lamb is exceptionally healthy food. 

Lamb provides healthy fats and beneficial micronutrients that you can only find in significant amounts red meat. 

Though in the past, red meat has been maligned by nutritionists, there is no scientific evidence suggesting that red meat is bad for your health. 

On the contrary, numerous studies show that red meat is a nutrient-dense whole food that does not need to be limited.

If you’re concerned about the effects of meat on the environment, you can learn how eating meat can actually be good for the environment here