Beef Liver

Chicken Liver vs. Beef Liver

Both are Great, But which is Better?

Not since the 1950’s has liver been a standard on restaurant menus. But just because it’s out of fashion, doesn’t mean it should be out of your diet.

In fact, liver is making a comeback, with many nutritionists in the Paleo and Keto worlds resurrecting liver as a superfood. 

Before we get into our head-to-head comparison between chicken and beef liver, let’s get to know a bit more about this fantastic organ meat and its bountiful benefits. 

Liver is a Superfood

The title of superfood is well earned. Liver contains an abundance of the most highly prized and difficult to come by dietary nutrients. 

  • Liver is nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
  • An excellent source of high-quality protein
  • Contains an abundance of all the B vitamins, especially vitamin B12
  • One of nature’s best sources of folic acid
  • Contains a highly absorbable form of iron
  • Rich in trace elements including copper, zinc, and chromium; liver is nature’s best source of copper
  • An anti-fatigue factor
  • 3 times as much choline as one egg.
  • CoQ10, a nutrient crucial for cardio-vascular function
  • A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA

 

While we’ve been told that fruits and veggies are the superheroes of the Standard American Diet, organ meats far surpass plants in nutrient density. Organ meats also provide the added benefit not having any of the naturally occurring plant toxins and antigens that are harmful to humans. 

The abundance of nutrients in liver make it an instinctual favorite among predatory animals, including us humans. In fact, organ meats like liver contain 10-100 times more nutrients than muscle meat. 

For the vast majority of human history–we’re talking hundreds of thousands of years–our hunter gatherer ancestors prized organ meats, and often threw away or fed to their animals the lean muscle meat, the parts that today we would call the tenderloin.

 Does the Liver Store Toxins? 

The short answer is, not more than any other part of the body. 

The idea that the liver stores toxins is a common misconception due to the false understanding of the liver as a “filter”.

While the liver does neutralize various toxins (like alcohol and other chemicals), it is more accurate to think of the liver as a chemical processing plant. The liver neutralizes toxins, but does not store them. 

Laboratory analysis has shown that concentrations of toxins in the liver are no higher than the rest of the body. Toxins that the body cannot eliminate accumulate in fatty tissues and nervous systems before being stored in the liver.

If a liver contains large amounts of toxins, so does the entire animal. This is the same for you, as the animals you eat. The takeaway here is that the cleaner the animal, the cleaner your food will be.

Though not a filter, the liver does store the many important nutrients listed above. It’s no coincidence that these nutrients provide the body with many tools it needs to get rid of toxins. 

Now let’s compare two of the most common types of liver, and explore which is best for you.

Chicken LiverCalories and Macros

Chicken liver calories

Chicken liver is high in vitamin A, B vitamins, folate in particular, and a top-notch source of protein with little to no carbohydrates.  While it’s not a powerhouse of awesome fats, you can supplement chicken liver with butter, tallow, or lard to boost the overall macro profile and include liver in a complete ketogenic meal. 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays a role in immune function, reproduction, and cell communication. Vitamin A is also crucial to normal eyesight.

B Vitamins

Chicken liver is loaded with the full spectrum of B vitamins. You can look at liver as a natural  B-complex supplement. Vitamin B12 helps the formation of red blood cells and DNA. B2, B3, B5, B6, and B1 are all important for cell growth, DNA formation, energy production, and healthy brain function.

Folate

Folate, also known as B9,  plays a role in cell growth and development. Specifically, folate is required for building DNA and for proper cell division. Folate in adequate amounts is usually hard to come by through food sources alone.

Minerals

Minerals are nutrients found in our environment and the food we eat. Much of the minerals necessary for the human body to function can only be found in specific foods like liver. Chicken liver is rich in several essential minerals. 

Chicken liver minerals

Iron

Chicken liver is one of the best food sources for iron. The importance of Iron in your body falls under two critical categories. First, Iron is required for the production of hemoglobin, a protein component in red blood cells responsible for delivering oxygen to your entire body. Low iron hurts your body’s ability to breathe. Second, iron is used in the production of certain hormones which regulate body functions.

Selenium

Selenium is another mineral found in chicken liver that’s in short supply in most natural sources. One serving of chicken liver contains over 100% of the RDI. Selenium is vital to reproductive health, thyroid function, and DNA production, and protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals.

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a mineral found in every single cell of your body. Phosphorus is primarily utilized in energy production, and also plays a key role in DNA and RNA production and enzyme activation.

Beef Liver

Beef Liver

Calories and Macros

Beef Liver Calories

Beef liver is also a great source of high quality protein. It has a slightly higher fat content and calorie count than chicken liver. As with chicken liver, you can add butter, lard, and tallow to boost your macronutrient balance. 

B12

Beef liver is rich in several B vitamins.  A great source of vitamin B12,  beef liver contains 900% RDI, the equivalent of receiving a B12 shot! B12 is vital to healthy brain function and the health of nerve cells, and protects against cognitive impairment.

Riboflavin

Riboflavin (B2) is another hard to get vitamin that’s abundant in beef liver.  Riboflavin is an important factor in cell growth and production. It is also the vitamin responsible for turning the food you eat into energy. Beef liver gives you macronutrients and the minerals you need to turn those macronutrients into useful energy.  

Anti-Fatigue-Factor

Interestingly, liver also contains a not-yet identified anti-fatigue factor, first discovered in 1951 study by Dr. Benjamin K. Ershoff. Though 70 years later we still don’t know the exact reason why liver is anti-fatiguing, the effects have made liver a favorite with athletes and bodybuilders. 

Minerals

Beef liver minerals

Copper

Beef liver is the clear leader when it comes to copper. Beef liver supplies 100% of your RDI.  Copper plays an important role in nearly every body function. It is critical for creating energy, maintaining blood vessels, and creating connective tissue. Copper helps maintain the immune system, the nervous system, and activates genes. Most importantly it is critical for brain development.   

Choline

Beef liver also contains a significant amount of a little-known but important mineral called choline. Choline is required for brain and nervous system function, and aids in memory and mood regulation. It also helps with muscle control and movement, while aiding in the formation of membranes around cells.   The liver can make a small amount of choline on its own, but most of it comes from food sources–beef liver in particular. 

Magnesium

Beef liver is also a great way to get more magnesium in your diet. Most people are notoriously low in magnesium without knowing it. Plant-based and processed food diets do not contain enough magnesium for the body’s daily needs. Deficiency in magnesium leads to chronic health issues including sleep disruptions, depression, and higher insulin resistance. 

CoQ10 -Coenzyme Q

Also known as ubiquinone. In humans, the most common form is Coenzyme Q₁₀ or ubiquinone-10.  One of CoQ10’s important functions is to help generate energy in your cells by making adenosine triphosphate (ATP). CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant and there is evidence linking CoQ10 to cancer prevention.

CoQ10, may also be proven to be the anti-fatigue factor in liver, and has shown to increase sperm motility in men.

Chicken v. Beef, who wins?

Chicken Liver vs Beef Liver

Both sources of liver offer better specific attributes than the other, so you can’t go wrong with either. However, beef liver boasts the best all around nutrient profile. 

Chicken liver is higher in minerals like selenium and iron, but as a whole doesn’t reach the same level of superfood as beef liver. Beef liver is significantly more nutritionally dense and provides a variety of vitamins and minerals to cover all your micronutrient needs. 

The Verdict

Beef liver reigns supreme as a micronutrient powerhouse.

Beef and Chicken Liver vs. Other Superfoods

When pitting liver against other plant-based “superfoods” liver is a superior choice when looking at nutrient density and variety. When taking into account the abundance of harmful plant toxins that exist in fruits and vegetables, liver is stands head and shoulders above its plant-based counterparts. 

Beef Liver Chicken Liver comparaison

Risks to eating liver ?

When making liver part of your regular diet there is no need to supplement micronutrients, particularly vitamin A and copper. It’s recommended that you discontinue any vitamin A and copper supplementation to avoid vitamin toxicity which can be a potentially serious problem.

As always, consult your physician if you have questions or concerns before making changes to your diet.

The Takeaway

Liver is an abundant source of vital nutrients and a clean carb-free protein.

When it comes to Beef vs. Chicken liver, beef has the overall edge. But both offer more specific nutrients than the other.

You can’t go wrong by introducing beef or chicken liver to your diet. Why not try both? 

 

Oxalate: Everything You Need to Know About this Harmful Plant Toxin

For decades the mainstream medical establishment has been telling us that vegetables are the foundation of health.

They supposedly fight cancer, clean our digestive systems, and rescue us from heart disease. They’re the superheroes of the standard American diet.  

Yet recent research has revealed that vegetables have a darkside: They’re chock full of plant toxins, antinutrients, and phytochemicals.

These molecules harm our bodies on a cellular level. They elicit immune reactions that lead to chronic inflammation and disease. And oxalates are one of the most prevalent plant toxins in our diets. 

What are Plant Toxins? 

Plant toxins include naturally-occurring pesticides, mineral chelators, and antibiotics.

Like humans, plants are evolved to accomplish one goal, and that’s to reproduce.  Being a healthy food for humans is rarely in a plant’s best interest. 

Just as animals evolve camouflage and poisons for protection and perpetuation, plants are equipped with an arsenal of chemicals that protect them from pests and environmental factors like fungus.

Plants have been on earth for hundreds of millions of years. Humans have been on earth for a mere 500,000 years. Who do you think has the upper-hand when it comes to survival?

A single plant can contain an arsenal of chemical defenses including molecules that recognize invaders, attach to them, and kill them. Poisons that destroy cells and mitochondria by exploding their membranes. Enzyme inhibitors that interfere with vital metabolic reactions. And oxidative toxins that fracture strands of DNA.

What are Oxalates?

Calcium oxalate

 

Oxalates are corrosive compounds naturally occuring in plant foods.

Oxalates interfere with the absorption of vital nutrients including iron, calcium and magnesium.

Plants use oxalates to regulate their own internal mineral content and help defend against predators.

Foods rich in oxalates include many of the most common fruits and veggies: cocoa, beets, sesame seeds, rhubarb, sweet potato, coriander, currants, and spinach to name a few.

Oxalates are responsible for the fact that virtually none of the iron present in spinach makes it into your, or Popeye’s body.

Fast Facts About Oxalates

  • Oxalate crystals can suppress the immune system and reduce mitochondrial activity.
  • Oxalate crystals form from plant-based foods, some more than others.
  • Oxalates make up 80% of the dry weight of some plants. With oxalates occurring in over 200 plant families.
  • Oxalates can contribute to kidney stone formation.
  • Nutritional deficiencies can contribute to oxalate sensitivity and make it difficult to expel them once they are formed.
  • There are soluble and insoluble oxalates.
  • Soluble: potassium oxalate, sodium oxalate. 
  • Insoluble: calcium oxalate.
  • There is a significant connection between oxalate crystals and fungal infections in the intestine.
  • There is a connection between oxalate crystals and heavy metals in the body.
  • Oxalobacter formigenes is the only known bacteria besides some Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species to have the capacity to digest oxalate crystals.

How Do Oxalates Build up in the Body?

Oxalates build up in 2 ways: Endogenously, by metabolic processes in the body. And exogenously, by eating oxalate rich foods.  

Genetic factors such as carrying the LCN2 gene has been shown to contribute to endogenous oxalate production. 

Gastrointestinal microbes have also been shown to be major exogenous contributors. These microorganisms can use high oxalate foods to produce oxalate crystals by binding oxalic acid with various minerals.

How Do Oxalates Harm Humans

Mineral Deficiencies

Endogenous oxalate formation has been linked to deficiencies in B1 and B6, supporting the importance of consuming meat which is high in B vitamins.

Oxalate crystals have been shown to form from oxalic acid binding with important minerals including magnesium. This binding effect results in mineral deficiencies linked to a host of health issues. For instance, a deficiency in magnesium can cause high blood pressure, impair immunity, and is strongly associated with the calcification of arteries.

Renal Inflammation, Fibrosis, and Failure

Because oxalates are an end product of metabolism excreted via the kidney, excess urinary oxalate can lead to oxalate build-up in the kidney.

A common and excruciatingly painful result is kidney stones, and can lead to kidney failure.   Renal failure is often referred to as renal stone disease.

Autism 

Though the jury is still out on the exact relationship between oxalates and autism, a fascinating 2011 study found that children with autism had plasma oxalate levels that were 300% higher compared with a control group of non autism children, and 250%  greater urinary oxalate concentrations. There were no differences between the two groups when it came to urinary pH, citraturia, calciuria or adjusted CaOx crystallization rates. 

The study’s authors concluded that having too much oxalate in your urine  (hyperoxalemia and hyperoxaluria) may be involved in the development of autism in children.

Immune Deficiencies 

Monocytes in patients with kidney stones have decreased mitochondrial function compared to healthy subjects.

This is critical because monocytes are a type of white blood cell that fights infections while helping other white blood cells remove dead or damaged tissues, destroy cancer cells, and regulate immunity against foreign substances.

Joint Issues 

Oxalate presence in the body has been linked to joint issues. Though rare, a condition called oxalate arthropathy is connected to arthritis.

Low Oxalate Diet

A low oxalate diet consists of less than 100mg of oxalate-producing foods a day. With less than 50mg a day if you’re already compromised by high oxalate levels.

Avoiding oxalates can get a little tricky for those of you on a ketogenic diet, since many of the keto-friendly vegetables are high in oxalates.

Though Doctor Kiltz recommends eliminating all vegetables in order to reduce your intake of harmful plant toxins, we know that this can be difficult, especially when starting out on your keto journey. So here’s a list of low oxalate keto-friendlier veggies:

  • Cucumber
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli (moderate)
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Artichoke (moderate)
  • Mushrooms
  • Avocado
  • Peas
  • Asparagus (moderate)
  • Brussels sprouts (moderate)
  • Carrots
  • Celery

Probiotics for Eliminating Oxalates

Probiotic organisms including oxalobacter, formigenes, lactobacillus, and Bifidobacterium help to break down oxalate compounds in the intestine. This is important because we lack the enzymes to do so entirely on our own. These organisms can be found in probiotic supplements and foods. Interestingly,  oxalobacter formigenes bacteria aren’t as plentiful in modern civilization, and are more abundant among indigenous populations. 

Oxalate foods chart

 

How do I Eliminate Oxalates from the Body 

The simplest and most effective approach is to lower your intake of high oxalate foods. Natural metabolic processes will work to expel them through either the stool or urine. 

Oxalate Dumping

When slowing oxalate crystal formation in the body by consuming low-oxalate foods, we enable the body to expel the oxalates in a process called ‘oxalate dumping.

As with many forms of detoxification, there may be some uncomfortable side effects including:

  • Bodily pain such as joint, neck, back, stomach, headache, sore throat, burning tongue, and bladder pain.
  • Cloudy urine and frequent urination for the body to expel oxalates.
  • Mental and mood-related symptoms like depression, anxiety, brain fog, a tendency to panic, feeling overwhelmed, etc.

These symptoms are eerily similar to candida die-off known as the herxheimer reaction. This commonality suggests a conjunction with fungal infections and oxalate crystal formation.

The Zero Carb Diet for Reducing Oxalates

By adopting a keto or carnivore diet, we can significantly reduce oxalate compound content in our bodies. This is because animal products contain very little to no oxalic acid. 

An animal-based diet will also provide the essential vitamins and minerals that had been depleted through oxalate binding.  

The Bottom Line on Oxalate Plant Toxins

Oxalates are among the most common plant toxins.

When we eat plants high in oxalates, these toxins bind with important minerals, inhibiting the body’s ability to produce and absorb vitamins and minerals, and resulting in deficiencies.

Oxalate crystals that formed from this binding can congeal into kidney stones that, if unchecked, can lead to kidney failure. 

Zero-carb, meat-based, low oxalate diets aid your body in removing oxalates, while supplying your body with essential minerals that had been locked out by oxalate binding. 

Though oxalates can be harmful, for most people, a change in diet is all that is needed to reverse oxalate overload. 

Hunter Gatherers and the Keto Diet

Overview

Keto has been around as long as humans have walked the earth.

This is because keto is not really a diet, it’s a (metabolic) state. 

Humans evolved the ability to eat keto as we left behind the vegetarian diet of our primate ancestors and began hunting and eating meat. 

For the vast majority of human history—we’re talking hundreds of thousands of years—humans lived as hunter gatherers. Our diets consisted mostly of wild meats, and to a lesser degree on low nutrient plants.

By ‘meats’ we mean the whole animal–especially the mineral-rich fat, marrow, and organs. 

Humans are Carnivores

Modern eating habits are dramatically different from those of our ancestors. On one hand, we eat way more processed, calorie-dense junk food. On the other, we listen to an army of professional nutritionists admonishing us to replace junk food with a so-called “balanced diet” of grains, fruits, and vegetables.

What most nutritionists miss is the fact that  72% of what we consume today did not exist in the diets of our ancestors. This covers both processed foods and our various “natural” foods.  The diet humans evolved to eat looks radically different from what we’re “supposed” to eat today.  

Raymond Dart, the man who discovered the fossil of our first human ancestor in Africa, describes the earliest humans like this: “carnivorous creatures, that seized living quarries by violence, battered them to death … slaking their ravenous thirst with the hot blood of victims and greedily devouring livid writhing flesh.”

Though Dart’s description might ring a bit over-the-top, it captures the truth of our dietary origins: We came out of the trees not to eat the grass, but to eat the grass eaters! 

 

Our ancestors ate as other large meat-eating mammals do.

For example, our fellow kings of the jungle—lions and tigers—first devour the blood, and fatty organs including hearts, kidneys, livers, and brains, leaving much of the lean muscle to the vultures. Fat, as we will see, is, and has always been, the cornerstone of human dietary health.

Eating Meat and the Evolution of the Human Brain

A consensus of scientists believes that a diet centered on animal fat was crucial to the evolution of humans’ large brains.  

So the story goes, about two million years ago we evolved the hunting techniques mentioned above. Hunting allowed us to capture and eat calorie-dense animal fat, protein, organs, and marrow instead of the low-nutrient plant diet of apes. 

Homo Erectus could then take in a surplus of energy at each meal compared with our direct primate ancestors. This higher quality fuel allowed us to eat less plant fiber which is bulkier than meat, leading us to evolve smaller guts. 

With less energy going to our gut for digestion, more energy was free to fuel our brains.

The results of this evolutionary split are apparent in the fact that the human brain requires a whopping 20 percent of our energy when resting. While an ape’s brain requires only 8 percent.

The key takeaway is that the human body and brain has evolved to depend and run optimally on a diet of energy-dense food. There’s nothing that packs more energy than fatty meat.

Fat and the Evolution of the Human Brain

Challenging the theory that hunting first led to humans consuming animal flesh, a recent study by Anthropologist Jessica Thompson proposes a new theory about the transition to large animal consumption by our ancestors.  

The prevailing story, supported by fossil evidence from sites in Africa, is that the emergence of flaked tools for hunting and scraping meat led to the brain growth that rocketed human evolution more than 2 million years ago. 

Based on evidence of ancient animal bones, Thompson and her colleagues have a different take: Earlier hominins (pre-humans) first bashed bones to harvest fatty nutrients from marrow and brains. Sharpened stones for hunting and scraping meat from animals came much later. 

From this perspective, scavenging and consuming fat allowed proto-humans to evolve the brains that eventually made humans smart enough to take down much larger, faster, and stronger prey. 

How Ketosis Evolved in Early Humans

The early humans we descend from thrived on a narrow variety of foods, and only when their hunting and foraging was successful. When food wasn’t available, they fasted or ate very little until they found new food sources

Going without food and reduced carbohydrates, especially during winter months in northern regions, caused the body to release fatty acids from fat stores. These fatty acids were converted into ketone bodies, which like glucose, can be used to make ATP, the energy currency for the body. 

Compared with the Standard Western Diet of today, hunter-gatherer diets from the late Paleolithic Era likely exhibited the following nutritional characteristics:

  • Significantly higher fat
  • Higher protein
  • Much lower carbohydrates
  • Lower glycemic load
  • More vitamins, minerals, especially A, and D 
  • Higher potassium and lower sodium levels

Fascinatingly, fatty acids are more efficient than glucose for producing energy, especially in tissues with high-energy requirements like the heart where 50-70% of energy comes from fatty acids.

Over hundreds of thousands of years as hunter gatherers, humans evolved bodies that are optimized to run without carbohydrates, to go periods without eating, to thrive on a limited variety of foods, and to use fat for fuel. 

Ketosis Kept Early Humans Alive when Hunting Failed

The Hadza and Kung bushmen of Africa who hunt with bows and arrows are living examples of the fast and feast cycles that our early ancestors adapted to. These bushmen get meat on only half their excursions into the savanna in search of wild game. 

All humans, including adept hunters like these bushmen, are relatively slow, and much weaker than the large prey we once depended on for sustenance; think of Woolly Mammoths, other primates, bears, or powerful herd animals like wildebeests. 

What allowed humans to dominate these faster and stronger animals, and to multiply our species was our superior intelligence.  Like the bushmen of today, our ancestors made bows and arrows, set traps, and herded animals into optimal hunting zones by strategically setting fires. 

Trapping, skillfully wielding tools, and cooperating with other humans all require sharp focus and clear, sustained mental energy. It would have been impossible for a glucose-starved brain to take down a mammoth.

That’s where ketosis comes in. The early humans who couldn’t go into ketosis, whose brains and bodies were not able to use fat for fuel, had their genetics literally, and figuratively, stomped out.

Evidence for Meat-Centered Diets Among Hunter Gatherers

Contemporary research into the two hundred and twenty-nine remaining hunter gatherer tribes show that a low carbohydrate and high-fat diet is the most common. 

A 2011 study by Ströhle and Hahn, found that 9 out of 10 of the diets of hunter-gatherer groups had less than a third of calories coming from carbohydrates. These percentages reflect that most hunter-gatherer societies rely on an animal-based diet. 

The term “animal” is more accurate than “meat”.  Hunter gatherers favor certain parts of the carcass and often discard other edible parts. It is common for traditional peoples to discard the leanest muscle, what today we’d call the tenderloin–the part most modern humans think of as meat.

Fat and Organ Meats

An example of tribal peoples selecting for fat and organ meats is documented by Weston A. Price, a dentist who traveled the world on a quest to study the diets of non-Westernized populations. 

In his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Price observed the following practice among Indians living in the Northern Canadian Rockies:

“I found the Indians putting great emphasis upon the eating of the organs of the animals, including parts of the digestive tract. Much of the muscle meat of the animals was fed to the dogs. … The skeletal remains are found as piles of finely broken bone chips or splinters that have been cracked up to obtain as much as possible of the marrow and nutritive qualities of the bones.” Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 6th Edition, page 260.

The Indians Price observed threw away the lean muscle meats and ate only the organ meats and bones, which are higher in fatty -acids, essential minerals, and vitamins.  

Price took samples of these native animal foods back to his Cleveland laboratory for study. There he found that native diets contained at least four times the minerals as the American diet in the 1930s. With the soil depletion that’s occurred over the ensuing decades due to industrial agricultural practices along with the proliferation of more processed foods, this discrepancy is likely to be much higher today. 

Among the traditional people Price studied, he discovered that they prepared their supplementary grains and tubers with techniques of soaking, fermenting, sprouting, and sour leavening, increasing vitamin content and mineral availability. 

Animal Fat Helps the Body Absorb Vitamins and Minerals

The biggest health gap between native groups and modern western groups was revealed when Price analyzed the fat-soluble vitamins of both diets.

Price found that the diets of healthy native groups contained at least ten times more vitamin A and vitamin D than the standard American diet. Vitamins A and D are found only in animal fats including lard, butter, eggs, fish oils, and animal parts with fat-rich membranes, especially fish roe, shellfish, and organ meats like liver. 

Price found that these fat-soluble vitamins are catalysts upon which the absorption and metabolic use of all the other nutrients depended. protein, minerals, and vitamins.

Without the vitamins found only in animal fats, all our essential nutrients including protein, vitamins, and minerals, mostly go to waste.

Arctic Explorers Encounter the Ketogenic Diet

Similar observations about the meat-centered diet were made by another early twentieth-century scientist interested in the link between diet and health in hunter-gatherer populations. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, a Harvard-trained anthropologist, went to live with the Inuit in the Canadian arctic. He was the first white man the Mackenzie River band of Inuit had ever seen, and they taught him to hunt and fish with their traditional techniques. 

Living exactly as they did, Stefansson ate Caribou, salmon, seal, and eggs. 70-80% of his calories came from fat, and 99% of all his calories came from meat. 

Stefansson describes how when eating Caribou, the Inuit most prized the fat behind the eye and the fatty meat around the head, then the organs including the heart, and kidneys.

A caribou kidney is about 50% saturated fat. Just as Price had observed with the American Indians, the Inuit cast the tenderloin to their dogs. They also avoided hunting calves who were lean, selecting older caribou who packed significant fat that could be rendered from their back slabs.  

The Schwatka Expedition

A few decades earlier another arctic explorer, Lt. Frederick Schwatka, became similarly acquainted with the hunter-gatherer diet of the Inuit.  In 1878 Schwatka’s team headed deep into the arctic to investigate what had happened to a party of 129 men who had disappeared in 1849. The investigation lasted two years, during which Schwatka and his men lived with the Inuit.  

Over the first 3000 miles of their journey across tundra by foot and sled they subsisted on the “white man’s” food they brought along. This mean fruit cakes and whiskey. Eventually their supplies ran out. Like Stefansson, they hunted and ate as the Inuit, surviving on an all-meat diet of reindeer, seal, and bear.

An Account of “Keto Flu” from the Lost Journal of an Arctic Explorer

Schwatka’s journals from his expedition leave us with what is perhaps the earliest Western account of what today we commonly referred to as the “keto flu.”

This period of low energy takes place as the human body switches from using carbohydrates to producing ketones from fat for fuel. 

 “When first thrown wholly upon a diet of reindeer meat, it seems inadequate to properly nourish the system and there is an apparent weakness and inability to perform severe exertive, fatiguing journeys. But this soon passes away in the course of two or three weeks…However, seal meat which is far more disagreeable with its fishy odor, and bear meat with its strong flavor, seems to have no such temporary debilitating effect upon the economy.”

 Schwatka’s entry reveals the difference between a low-to-no carb diet and a keto or fat-centered diet.

When he and his men ate lean reindeer meat, the period of adaptation to ketosis was long and difficult. In fact, they were suffering from starvation. Their bodies were metabolizing depleted fat stores–they were essentially eating themselves.

But when they ate the much fattier bear and seal, their bodies were able to turn the ingested fat into ketones from the outset, making the transition much easier. 

Though Schwatka’s experiences of an arctic keto diet were hidden in his journal and not discovered until long after his death, Stefansson returned from his arctic adventure as a boisterous champion of an all meat, mostly fat, diet.

Introduction of Carnivore Diet to the West

In the early 1900’s there was already the stirring of what would become the mainstream American medical establishment’s recommendation against meat, and demonization of fat.

Vegetarians were numerous and raw vegetables, particularly celery, were seen as the key to health and beauty. As the saying goes, what’s old is new. 

When Stefansson promoted his carnivore diet he was met with hostile disbelief. Doctors feared that an all-meat diet could not provide vitamin C, since the vitamin doesn’t exist in cooked muscle meat. They assumed a vitamin C deficit would lead to scurvy as it had for many fur trappers and frontiersmen who relied on all-meat diets for extended periods.

To prove his detractors wrong, Stefansson and a friend vowed to eat nothing but meat and water for a year.

Protein Poisoning from Lack of Fat

Under the observation of experts from New York’s Bellevue hospital, Stefansson and his friend fell ill only once during the entire year, and only after experimenters encouraged them to eat only lean meat. 

Stefansson describes this low-fat experience as inflicting, “diarrhea and a feeling of general baffling discomfort.” This condition has since been dubbed ‘rabbit starvation.’ It occurs in diets low in fat and carbohydrates and high in protein. 

To this day, military survival manuals warn against eating rabbit if you find yourself in a situation where you have to subsist by hunting and gathering.

Rabbit starvation is better understood as protein poisoning, and it is due to the inability of the human liver to upregulate urea synthesis to process excessive loads of protein, leading to a whole host of problems including hyperaminoacidemia, hyperammonemia, hyperinsulinemia, nausea, diarrhea, and even death within two to three weeks.  

Not to fear, Stefansson and his friend were quickly cured by a single fat-loaded meal of sirloin steak and brains fried in bacon fat.

After the incident of ‘rabbit starvation’ experimenters found the ideal ratio to be 3 parts fat to 1 part lean meat, which is not surprisingly the foundation of a ketogenic diet. 

Interestingly, and in contradiction to fearful doctors, scurvy and other nutrient deficiencies never materialized. Stefansson and friend’s sterling bill of health is likely because the men ate the whole animal, bones, liver, and brains. This practice is consistent with the diet of the earliest humans and which, as we saw in Price’s studies, contains loads of vitamins and minerals.

Good Health and High Fat Diets among African Pastoral Tribes

Traditional Masai men eat nothing but meat—often three to five pounds each during celebratory meals—blood, and half a gallon of full-fat milk from their Zebu cattle—the equivalent of a half-pound of butterfat. 

Likewise, the Samburu people eat on average a pound of meat and drink almost two gallons of raw milk each day during most of the year—equivalent to one pound of butterfat per day! While shepherds in Somalia consume a gallon and a half of camel’s milk each day, also equivalent to a pound of butterfat. 

Each of these tribes gets more than sixty percent of their energy from animal fat, yet their mean cholesterol is only about 150 mg/dl (3.8 meq/l), far lower than the average Western person.

In the 1960’s prominent doctor and professor, George V. Mann studied the Masai as an example of a population that thrived on a high-fat, low carb, and no vegetable diet. Mann’s life work was aimed at confronting what he called the “heart mafia.” These were a group of influential figures and institutions in the American medical establishment who built their careers creating and defending erroneous links between the consumption of dietary fat, high cholesterol, and an increase in heart disease.

Mann found that despite the Masai’s high-fat diet, their blood pressure and weight were about 50% less than they were for Americans and that they experienced almost no heart disease, cancer, or diabetes—the so-called diseases of civilization.

The Masai’s Stellar Health Linked to High Fat Diet, not Genetics

Mann’s detractors asserted that African tribes like the Masai were genetically adapted to a high-fat diet. However, a study of Masai people who lived in the Nairobi metropolis showed this to be false. 

The Nairobi Masai ate considerably less fat, which would suggest to researchers taking the genetic inheritance perspective, that their cholesterol should be even lower than their brethren still living in the countryside. Yet the mean cholesterol of the Nairobi Masai was 25 percent higher.

What’s more surprising is that the markers of physical health and absence of disease that Mann found in the rural Masai, persisted into old age.

Mann’s findings fly in the face of the prevailing wisdom of the Western medical establishment that as humans age, cholesterol and weight, along with instances of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, all inevitably increase.

Animal-Centered Diets and Longevity in American Indians

Mann’s work with the aging Masai reflects the earlier observations of Ales Hrdlicka, a doctor and anthropologist, who between 1898 and 1905 surveyed the health of Native American populations in the American Southwest. 

Studying Native American elders who lived most of their lives on a diet based on meat from wild game, especially buffalo, before their traditional ways of life were destroyed, Hrdlicka found the population to be in incredibly good health. 

Malignant diseases were extremely rare, as was dementia and heart disease–he found only 3 cases out of the 2000 people he surveyed. He also found that there were many more centenarians among the Native Americans (224 per million men, and 254 per million women) compared to the whites (3 per million men, and 6 per million women).

Stefansson, Mann, and Hrdlicka’s observations of hunter-gatherer and non-Western populations thriving on diets based on animal fats are only a few examples among many from our anthropological record.

These findings beg the question of whether agriculture was a true step forward for human health? And the answer appears to be a resounding, No!

Pitfalls of the Agricultural Revolution

In leaving behind our hunter-gatherer ways of life and diets we became dependent on crops, mostly grains. Our diets became far less nutritious and diverse.

Subsisting on the same grain, i.e. carbohydrates, day in and day out, lead to a huge uptick in cavities and periodontal disease that we don’t find in hunter-gatherers. Tending to crops all day was more laborious and time-consuming than hunting and foraging. 

This surplus of consistent calories from grain caused populations to boom creating more mouths to feed. When disease struck or a crop failed, huge portions of the population were afflicted. Suffering from iron, fat, and protein deficiencies, people shrunk, both in terms of their brain size and physical stature.

 It is not as if farming brought a great improvement in living standards either. A typical hunter-gatherer enjoyed a more varied diet and consumed more protein and calories than settled people, and took in five times as much vitamin C as the average person today.”-Bill Bryson

The Sad Legacy of Agriculture

Today we see the sad legacy of our dependence on agriculture and a diet dominated by carbohydrates. It’s ensconced in the misconceived recommendations of the mainstream medical establishment. It’s trumpeted by so-called food gurus like Michael Pollan, whose infamous statement, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” encompasses everything that’s wrong with the way we eat. 

A better rallying cry, which echoes those of the vast majority of our human ancestors, is the exact opposite: Eat fat. Not too little. Mostly from animals!

Yet we find ourselves in the same predicament: Study after study is bearing out the same sad story. Inflammation and stress-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, mental disorders, asthma, and autoimmune diseases like IB and ulcerated colitis, are skyrocketing among both young and old populations. 

This increase is a direct result of modern diets and lifestyles. Our genes and physiology, which are almost identical to those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, preserve core regulation and recovery processes. Yet nowadays our genes operate in internal and external environments that are completely different from those we were designed for.

The Take-Away

Of course, we cannot go back to our hunter gatherer lifestyle, but we can integrate into our modern lives the natural wisdom of how humans evolved to eat.

One way to look at our predicament is through the lens of the zookeeper paradox. A zookeeper’s job is to ask if their animals are well adapted to the food and environment that is artificially provided for them. 

We humans are animals. Our modern lifestyles and diets are artificial compared to the world we evolved in for hundreds of thousands of years. You could say we are our own zookeepers. 

When we look at the historical evidence alongside contemporary medical data, it becomes glaringly apparent that we are doing a terrible job of caring for ourselves as a species.

By traveling back in time through our dietary evolution, we can learn to better care for ourselves, beginning with the food we eat: Animal meat, especially fat, is the cornerstone of a diet we humans are evolved to thrive on. 

 

 

Are Humans Carnivores

Are Humans Carnivores?

Are humans carnivores? You probably think you already know the answer, humans are omnivores. Your elementary school science teacher drilled the classifications into your head. You studied teeth structure, eye location, and the presence of claws or talons in various mammals to decide who ate what.  But what if things aren’t quite that simple? There’s a big difference between “can” and “should”. Modern society has provided endless options when it comes to mealtime, yet when we carefully consider what our bodies are designed to eat and what energy source allows us to function optimally, the evidence points to one conclusion:  humans are indeed carnivores.

What is a Carnivore?

When you think about the word carnivore, what comes to mind?  Most people envision a pride of lions hunting zebras in the Serengeti, isolating the weakest member of the herd and savagely ripping its throat with razor-sharp teeth before a bloody feast. In truth, there’s a carnivore a little nearer and dearer to all of us. One need only look in the mirror to catch a glimpse. Humans are carnivores. 

A carnivore is an organism (mostly animals) that derives its food and energy requirements exclusively (or nearly so) from the tissue and meat of other animals. “Carnivore” quite literally translates into meat-eater from the Latin “caro” and “varorare”. But there is more than one type of carnivore.

Different Types of Carnivores

As one might expect, carnivores can be categorized by the importance meat plays in their overall diet:

  • A Hypercarnivore or Obligate Carnivore is an animal that derives more than 70% of its calorie intake from animal foods.  
  • A Mesocarnivore derives about 50% of essential nutrients from animal foods in order to survive.  
  • Animals whose diet is only about 30% meat are called Hypocarnivores. 
  • Finally, Facultative Carnivores, the category in which humans belong, prioritize the consumption of animal foods but can survive (but not thrive . . . more on this later) on vegetables.  Wolves and dogs are also facultative carnivores.

At this point, many of you are probably asking, “But I thought humans were omnivores?” While humans do eat just about anything, that doesn’t mean we should. It also doesn’t mean that our bodies function optimally while we’re eating whatever and whenever we want. If the current health crisis of overweight, diabetic, diseased, and inflamed Americans is any indication, we most definitely should not be eating everything and anything. In the words of the late, great Barry Groves, a true health crusader, “Civilized man is the only animal clever enough to manufacture its own food, and the only animal stupid enough to eat it.”

Essential Nutrients – Evidence that Humans are Carnivores

Why is meat a necessity? Our bodies can manufacture a lot of different biomolecules, but not all of them. The ones we can’t produce are called essential nutrients, which means we must obtain them through diet or, to be blunt, we die.

Fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential. Many amino acids (protein) are essential. And there are a handful of essential vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, potassium, and sodium, along with several others. 

However, there are no essential carbs. You can choose to eat zero carbs and continue to live a normal, healthy (and likely an even healthier) life.

Not surprisingly, all essential nutrients can they can all be found in animal source foods.  Not all essential nutrients can be found in plants.

The foods we eat provide the energy necessary for living in the form of calories. We get calories from three main sources: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. 

Examples of Essential Nutrients

DHA

Docosahexaenoic acid (or DHA) is critical for brain function and makes up 20% of the fat in our brains. It allows for neural connectivity and protects our nerves. Only animal source foods provide DHA in sufficient quantities.

In addition to fatty acids, the brain requires various vitamins and minerals to extract energy and perform other bodily functions. 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A regulates 500+ genes and stem cell differentiation and is found abundantly in beef liver and eggs. Beta Carotene is a Vitamin A precursor found in plant foods, but the bioavailability is pitiful compared to preformed Vitamin A.

B Vitamins

B Vitamins help convert fuel to energy and create the red blood cells that transport oxygen to our brains. B vitamins can also affect moods. Most people are deficient in vitamin B, which has been linked to depression. Again, beef liver is an abundant source of vitamin B. Vitamin B12 is almost exclusively found in animal products.

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K2 helps to regulate calcium in our bones and brains. It can help prevent heart disease and deficits in vitamin K2 have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Choline

Choline helps maintain the structure of cell membranes, which is responsible for memory and mental clarity. Deficits in choline can lead to cognitive impairments and problems with concentration and memory. Our bodies make a small amount of choline, but most must come from food.

Iron

Iron helps our cells generate energy, fight harmful pathogens, and circulate oxygen throughout the body.

Copper

Copper regulates energy production, brain function, and iron metabolism.

Zinc

Zinc aids in serotonin synthesis and dopamine transport.

Iodine

Iodine is necessary for synthesizing thyroid hormones, which are critical for brain growth and development. Fish, salmon roe, and eggs are all good dietary sources of iodine.

It can’t go without mention that for so many of these essential vitamins, beef liver is the most abundant food source available. Take a look at how beef and beef liver stack up to some tried and true “superfoods.”  

beef liver, beef, egg, kale, blueberry 100g nutrient comparison @2xSimilarly, take a look at how a standard carnivores day of eating easily surpass just about all recommended daily values. Carnivore Diet Easily Destroying Any Chance of Nutritional Deficiencies

Given that on 9/10 people eating a standard American diet are missing key nutrients, seems like just about everyone should be shifting to a carnivore diet that clearly provides adequate nutrition.

While plants can provide some essential nutrients, most are far more bioavailable in animal meat than in vegetables or supplements. Just because you consume various nutrients doesn’t mean that 100 percent of them find their way into your blood­­stream and cells. The body can only utilize a portion of the nutrients it takes in—a principle called bioavailability. How much of a given nutrient your body ultimately absorbs is influenced by many factors, the most important of which is the source. 

Take spinach, for example, which like beef liver, is an excellent source of iron; however, spinach also contains oxalates, as do many green leafy vegetables, that bind to minerals and interfere with the body’s ability to absorb them.

Even the most diligent of vegetarians can’t fulfill nutritional requirements from plant sources alone. The chart below shows that the energy yield from animal products far exceeds what is provided by plants.

Calorific Return Rate of Different Foods Per Hour Spent Trying to Obtain Food Source

There is no nutrient in plant foods that cannot be found in animals.  But there are a few nutrients that are impossible or very difficult to get insufficient amounts from commonly consumed plant foods.  These include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Creatine
  • Carnosine
  • Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol)
  • Vitamin K2
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Heme Iron
  • Taurine

Other Pieces of Evidence that Show Humans are Carnivores

Though we have evolved from grass, shrub, and fruit eaters, the human body in its current form is designed to eat and run on meat. And if we take a look back at man’s evolution, it’s easy to see how and why we have developed into carnivores. 

Humans Have Small Fat Cells Like All Carnivores

Carnivores are shown to have a higher number of smaller fat cells, while omnivores have a smaller number of larger fat cells.   Humans have many small fat cells like all carnivores. After comparing the fat cells in various types of animals, researchers found humans to be at the top of the carnivorous pattern, which suggests that the humans’ energy metabolism is adapted to a diet in which lipids and proteins contribute most of the energy supply, rather than carbohydrates.

Humans Have a Stomach Acidity That is Unique to Carnivores

Humans have a high stomach acidity level (a pH of 1.5) that puts us somewhere between obligate and facultative scavengers. Herbivorous primates have a stomach pH of around 4 to 6. Most omnivores are between 2 and 4.   Maintaining this level of acidity requires a lot of energy, as does retaining the stomach walls to contain that acidity. Presumably, humans would only evolve to this point if the bacteria levels in our diet were high enough to warrant the adaptation.

Humans Have a Smaller Gut Than Other Primates  

Compared to our similarly-sized chimpanzee ancestors, humans have a large intestine (where fiber is processed) that is about 77% smaller by volume. This significantly reduces our ability to extract energy from plants.  On the flip side, our small intestine (where macronutrients are absorbed) is about 62% larger than chimpanzees.  This gut morphology is an adaptation that favors meat consumption over plants. As humans evolved, we gave up our ability to ferment fiber into fat and developed smaller colons as a trade-off for increasing our brain size.

Humans Have Adapted to Throwing Rather Than Climbing  

Humans are the most dangerous animal with an unrivaled hunting prowess.  Unlike our primate ancestors who continue to have shoulders adapted for climbing and swinging from trees, humans are the only species that can throw objects with incredible speed and accuracy–an evolutionary change that Human Evolutionary Biologist Neil Thomas Roach believes was an adaptation to carnivory.

He proposes that “this ability to produce powerful throws was crucial to the intensification of hunting that we see in the archaeological record at this time. Success at hunting allowed our ancestors to become part-time carnivores, eating more calorie-rich meat and fat and dramatically improving the quality of their diet.” You don’t need to spend hours throwing rocks at an apple in a tree when you can simply climb up and grab it.

These dietary changes subsequently led to humans growing larger bodies, larger brains, and the ability to have more children.

Humans Have Much Higher Fat Reserves Than Chimps 

Carrying a higher amount of fat consumes energy and impairs our ability to chase or flee, but it also provides an insurance policy for survival during periods of food scarcity. If we only lived in the tropics and were constantly eating plants–like other primates, we wouldn’t have adapted this way.

Our Jaws and Teeth Have Become Smaller, Forgoing Chewing Capabilities 

While most carnivores boast large fangs or teeth, the invention of tools meant we didn’t need to tear raw flesh from a carcass with our bare teeth. We know early humans crafted tools to help process meat. It takes 39% to 46% less force to chew and swallow processed meat than processed root foods. Evolution chose to forgo the ability to properly chew certain plant-based foods to allow for more room in the skull for our growing brains

Our Growing Brains Depended on Animal Products

Our brains are energy hogs and require lots of energy to function. The fatty acids found in animals (AA, DTA, DHA, EPA) compose 90% of our brains and are not available in plants.

As a result of all of these adaptations, it is clear that humans have been moving further from herbivory/omnivory and closer to carnivory.  And we didn’t just evolve to eat meat; we evolved because we ate meat.

In fact, since our prehistoric beginnings, our brains quadrupled in size. And now since the agricultural revolution and the development of processed foods, our brains have begun to shrink.

Humans Required Animals for Energy Requirements

As our bodies evolved and our energy needs increased to support higher brain function, plants (aka carbs) no longer fulfilled these requirements. The most readily available source of energy were big animals. The meat and fat of these animals easily fulfilled our energy needs without the need for plants.  It’s interesting to note that even today, the most diligent vegetarians can’t get all the nutrients their bodies need from vegetable sources alone.

Not surprisingly, our ancestors have long appreciated the value of fatty meat. Researchers studying aboriginal tribes in the late 1800s to early 1900s noted that tribesmen would not eat vegetables when animal sources were available, and children were always offered the fattiest meat first. Many modern aboriginals eat solely (or almost exclusively) meat.

Calorific Return Rate of Different Foods Per Hour Spent Trying to Obtain Food Source

Source . The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: Meat-based, yet non-atherogenic, April 2002, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 56 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S42-52

All Animals Need Fat: A Look at the Herbivore’s Diet

For those who point to gorillas as close relatives who indeed survive and thrive on a plant-based diet and think we should be able to as well, it’s important to note that all animals need fat. They don’t necessarily need to consume fat, but their bodies need to be able to convert their diet to fat.  Gorillas do just this. Gorillas eat a ton of fiber that is mostly protein and carbs.  But the interesting thing is that their digestive system, which is composed of a large cecum and colon, contains bacteria that ferments this fiber into short-chain fatty acids. When you look at what ultimately gets absorbed into a gorilla’s body and converted into energy, the short-chain fatty acids provide 60-70% of the gorillas’ energy.  The digestive systems of cows accomplishes a similar feat. Some might even say that, from a pure absorption perspective, herbivores are actually carnivores. 

Weaning Time

In comparison to our ape ancestors, humans wean their young at a much younger age. In fact, early weaning is one of the main differences between the genus Homo and the great apes. In modern societies where infants rely on their mother’s milk and not bottle feeding, babies nurse for two to three years. By contrast, great ape mothers nurse their young for four to six years. In Psouni et al’s study Impact of Carnivory on Human Development and Evolution Revealed by a New Unifying Model of Weaning in Mammals,their analysis showed that carnivores systematically wean earlier than omnivores and herbivores and that carnivory may be a fundamental determinant of the early human weaning. The meat-based diet of our early human ancestors changed the weaning behavior of man and the course of evolution.

Obvious Human Geographical Location and Food Scarcity 

The carnivorous life is indeed a healthy one. We have examples of many cultures that have thrived on fatty meat and protein from animals because access to plants was limited or non-existent for most of the year. The Inuit (or Eskimos)  Extremely limited access to plants for much of the year, yet they survive and thrive. How have they survive? 

Similarly, most cultures’ from the equator experienced a long period of little to no agricultural productivity each and every year.

Carnivore Societies that show Humans are Carnivores

There are several remaining carnivore tribes who have eaten meat-based diets and have avoided most of the modern diseases of human civilization despite NOT eating a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean meats. 

Maasai

The Maasai tribe in Africa consumed milk, blood, and meat as their primary sustenance. They had low levels of serum cholesterol and were very healthy with little to no heart disease despite consuming 600mg – 2000mg of cholesterol a day — twice the daily health recommendation.

Inuit Eskimos

Survived on caribou, fish, seal, polar bear, rabbits, birds, eggs, and very little in the way of fruits and vegetables, with the exception of the occasional berry. Researchers back in the 1950s concluded that this meat-centric diet caused Eskimos just a fraction of the heart disease seen in America at the time. 

Mongols

Because the Mongolian steppe has one of the most extreme climates in the world, it’s not favorable to agriculture whatsoever. Meat was the only consistent energy source. The Mongols enjoyed lots of animal fat and ate the entire animal from end to end. There was no waste. Vegetables were considered goat food and not desirable. Despite their harsh climate, they were able to thrive, survive, and conquer many other civilizations.

Plains Indians 

Buffalo was a diet mainstay for the Sioux, Mandans, Comanche tribes. Researchers found them to be remarkably healthy. They were tall, had good dental health, and considered to be in superior health to their white counterparts.

For most of these tribes, this good health was not a genetic mutation but rather a result of a meat-dense diet.  In future generations, as western ways of eating crept into these societies, they experienced the same ill effects as westerners. For example, as the Inuits began to alter their diet in the 20th century to include store-bought, processed foods, this led to new health problems.

Surviving, Not Thriving

As mentioned previously, humans can undoubtedly eat just about every food group, including processed, man-made concoctions, but that doesn’t mean we thrive on this type of diet. 

While humans as a species do live longer than ever before, we now suffer from certain illnesses to a degree never before seen in the past — including rates of diabetes and obesity and, surprisingly, ailments such as hay fever that continue to climb.  When populations around the globe started converting to agriculture around 10,000 years ago, regardless of their locations and what they were growing, a similar trend occurred: The height and health of the people declined.

On the advice of medical experts, we’ve eliminated most of the healthiest food in our diets, such as fatty red meat, pork, eggs, bacon, and supplemented the fats with grass, grains, fruits, fibers, vegetables, and plant oils. Despite following nutritional recommendations from the experts, we haven’t become healthier. The number of people suffering from Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel, and other autoimmune diseases has skyrocketed. Today, the NIH estimates that over 23 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease. We may be living longer, but we sure aren’t living healthier.

Diseases of Human Civilization

There is significant scientific evidence positively correlates Western diet to acne, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, and cancer, Alzheimer’s, and the so-called “diseases of civilization”. The consumption of processed foods has been a major driver of chronic disease, spurred by vegetable/seed oils, refined wheat flour, trans fats, and sugar consumption, the core components in processed foods. Nearly three-quarters of our diet is made up of nutrient deficient, toxic processed foods.

The Final Verdict

Humans have evolved to eat meat because we ate meat, a simultaneous conversion that allowed us to become a brainier, more skilled apex predator. We can survive on meat alone. We don’t require the fiber, sugar, carbs, phytochemicals, and toxins that come from fruits and vegetables. We eat non-meat foods not because they’re essential, but because they are readily available and we’ve been brainwashed to consider them necessary components of a healthy diet.

Like the lion and lioness in the jungle, meat is the only food humans need to thrive and survive.  Evolution has ensured we have the ideal digestive system for processing a carnivorous diet, if we can only accept this fact and eat what we’re designed to eat.

 

Beef Liver

Beef Liver: Nature’s Top Superfood

You’ve probably heard the term superfood given as an accolade to kale, spinach, and blueberries for their seemingly untouchable nutritional might. But did you ever stop to question those claims or stop to think if there was anything truly better? And was the last time you considered adding liver to your plate for its nutritional benefits? Truth is, of all the foods, beef liver reigns supreme.

Beef liver is an absolute powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. It’s also low in carbs and high in protein. Because of this unique macro and micronutrient combination, beef liver is bound to improve the overall health and wellness of anyone who is smart enough to work it onto their weekly meal plan. 

Sure sure, eating beef liver meat can feel intimidating, and it may not be for the squeamish (at least at first), but the health benefits of beef liver can change your life. 

This article will discuss everything you need to know about beef liver and why you should add this superfood to your diet.

Beef Liver Nutrition

Beef liver is nutrient-dense, high protein, and low carb superfood. Many consider beef liver to be nature’s multivitamin and looking at the nutritional profile of beef liver, you’d be foolish to question those claims.

Check out the nutritional comparison between beef liver and other foods below.

Daily Recommended Intake Beef Liver (100g) Kale (100g) Spinach (100g) Blueberries (100g)
Vitamin A Men: 3,000 IU

Women: 2,300 IU

Pregnant Women: 2,566 IU

16,899 IU 15,376 IU 9,376 IU 54.0 IU
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) Men: 1.3 mg

Women: 1.1 mg

2.8 mg 0.1 mg 0.2 mg 0.0 mg
Niacin (Vitamin B3) Men: 16 mg

Women: 14 mg

13.2 mg 1 mg 0.7 mg 0.4 mg
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) Adults: 5 mg 7.2 mg 0.1 mg 0.1 mg 0.1 mg
Vitamin B6 Adults: 1.3 mg 1.1 mg 0.3 mg 0.2 mg 0.1 mg
Folate (Vitamin B9) Adults: 400 mcg

Pregnant Women: 600 mcg

290 mcg 29 mcg 194 mcg 6 mcg
Vitamin B12 Adults: 2.4 mcg

Pregnant women: 2.6 mcg

59.3 mcg 0.0 mcg 0.0 mcg 0.0 mcg
Calcium Adults: 1,000 mg 5 mg 135 mg 99 mg 6 mg
Copper Adults: 0.9 mg 9.8 mg 0.3 mg 0.1 mg 0.1 mg
Vitamin C Men: 90 mg

Women: 75 mg

1.3 mg 120 mg 0.0 mg 9.7 mg
Vitamin D Adults: 600 IU 16 IU
Vitamin E Adults: 15 mg 0.4 mg 2 mg 0.6 g
Iron Men: 8 mg

Women: 18 mg

Pregnant women: 27 mg

4.9 mg 1.7 mg 2.7 mg 0.3 mg
Magnesium Men: 400 mg

Women: 310 mg

18 mg 34 mg 174 mg 6 mg
Phosphorous Adults: 700 mg 387 mg 56 mg 49 mg 12 mg
Potassium Men: 3,400 mg

Women: 2,600 mg

313 mg 447 mg 558 mg 77 mg
Selenium Adults: 55 mcg 39.7 mcg 0.9 mcg 1 mcg 0.1 mcg
Zinc Men: 11 mg

Women: 8 mg

Pregnant women: 11 mg

4 mg 0.4 mg 2.8 mg 0.2 mg

 

As you can see, beef liver exceeds these other so-called “superfoods” in almost every micronutrient including:

  • Vitamin A
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate (vitamin B9)
  • Vitamin B12
  • Copper
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Phosphorous
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

Simply put, beef liver contains more vitamins and minerals than any other fruit or vegetable, often by many factors. A 100 gram serving of beef liver also contains 20.4 grams of protein, only 3.9 grams of carbs, and 3.6 grams of healthy fats.

If this isn’t reason enough to make you consider adding beef liver to your diet, then keep reading. We’ll dive into the health benefits of this superfood next. 

Health Benefits of Beef Liver

Beef liver offers many benefits due to its broad and potent collection of vitamins and minerals. Let’s dig a little deeper into the health benefits of beef liver below.

Bouncing off the Wall Energy

Are you sick and tired of feeling sluggish every day? This may be a sign that you lack essential micronutrients.

Eating beef liver is loaded with nutrients that have been shown to boost your energy like :

  • Vitamin B12
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Magnesium

These micronutrients help extract energy from food so that your body can use it. The B vitamins and iron also make sure that your muscles and organs receive enough oxygen. This prevents the development of anemia, which can cause symptoms including:

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Concentration problems1

Glowing Skin

Beef liver may help you look and feel younger. Beef liver contains the following vitamins and minerals that improve skin health :

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, may lessen the appearance of aging by increasing skin vascularity, thickness, and firmness

Vitamin C may also slow down skin-aging by reducing wrinkle depth. But most importantly, vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that protects your skin from damaging UV radiation. The protective benefits of vitamin C are most effective in combination with Vitamin E. Luckily, beef liver contains both of these vitamins3

Fertility

If you’re struggling to conceive, you may feel hopeless. But making changes to your diet can support your path to pregnancy.

Beef liver contains vitamins and minerals that are necessary for reproduction including :

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Folate

Remarkably, research shows that vitamin B12 may increase sperm count and motility4. Selenium and zinc may also improve your ability to conceive. Studies show that adding these vitamins to your diet may reduce the time to pregnancy. Women with low selenium concentrations may take more than 1 year to conceive5.

Fetal Development

Beef liver may be a good source of vitamins and minerals for pregnant women. This is because it contains the following micronutrients that aid healthy fetal development :

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Copper
  • Folate (Vitamin B9)
  • Iron
  • Zinc

Specifically, vitamin B12 and folate may reduce the risk of preterm birth6. Folate may also reduce the risk of birth defects such as heart problems and spina bifida. 

A 100 gram serving of beef liver provides 18% of the recommended daily intake of iron for pregnant women. And this may prevent iron deficiency anemia. Iron deficiency in pregnancy  may lead to complications including :

  • Poor fetal growth
  • Preterm birth
  • Low birth weight

Strong Bones

You don’t need to drink milk to get strong bones. Try eating beef liver instead. Beef liver contains the following vitamins and minerals that promote bone health :

  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium

 

Adding beef liver to your diet may reduce your risk of bone disorders such as osteoporosis. This can prevent bone loss and fractures.

Heart Health

Beef liver may also reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Beef liver contains the following micronutrients that support heart health :

  • Potassium
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Magnesium

Research shows that potassium intake may lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases including:

  • Coronary heart disease (heart attack)
  • Cerebrovascular disease (stroke)
  • Heart failure

Brainpower

Have you ever found yourself dealing with brain fog or difficulty concentrating? If so, adding beef liver to your diet may help.

Beef liver contains the following vitamins and minerals that may enhance cognitive performance :

  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Iron

Research shows that selenium levels decrease as you get older . And this may cause declines in brain function. 

Copper may also influence cognitive performance . Some research suggests that a low dietary intake of copper may lead to Alzheimer’s disease. But other findings show high levels of copper in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.

Niacin (vitamin B3) also plays a role in cognitive functioning . Deficiencies in this vitamin can lead to memory loss. Surprisingly, research suggests that people with Parkinson’s disease may have low levels of niacin.

But that’s not all.

Individuals with iron deficiencies may experience better cognitive performance after iron supplementation. Cognitive improvements involved the following areas:

  • Attention
  • Concentration
  • Memory1

Strength & Endurance

Magnesium is a mineral found in beef liver. Dietary intakes of magnesium may improve neurological and neuromuscular functioning including:

  • Muscle strength
  • Muscle power
  • Muscle performance
  • Cardiorespiratory endurance

The more you exercise, the more magnesium you need to support physical performance7. Beef liver may be a good source of magnesium for athletes or active individuals.

Elevated Mood

Eating beef liver may not only improve your cognitive and physical health, but it may also improve your psychological health. Research shows that people with depression have lower levels of folate compared to people without depression. Remarkably, folate may decrease symptoms of depression by improving the effectiveness of antidepressant medications8.

Many other vitamins and minerals found in beef liver can also cause depressive symptoms if under-consumed. These vitamins include :

  • Vitamin C
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc1

Adding beef liver to your diet may supplement these micronutrients and boost your mood.

Eye Health

Eating beef liver may improve your eye health . Beef liver contains extraordinary amounts of vitamin A, which is crucial for your vision. Vitamin A intake may prevent the development of complications including:

  • Night blindness
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Vision loss

Strong Immune System

A strong immune system depends on many vitamins and minerals. Thankfully, beef liver is up to the task. Beef liver contains the following micronutrients that promote immune health:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Copper
  • Zinc

Vitamin A enforces the mechanical barrier function of the skin and inner linings of the body. This prevents harmful pathogens from invading.

Vitamin C also boosts your immune response with its antioxidant properties. Vitamin C reduces tissue damage and oxidative stress by killing free radicals

Copper also provides cellular defense against free radicals. Lastly, the zinc in beef liver assists with wound healing11.  In short, beef liver may keep you healthy and reduce your risk for infectious diseases.

Potential Dangers of Eating Liver

Now that you’re aware of the health benefits of beef liver, we’ll also touch on the potential dangers of eating liver. But don’t worry, these risks are few and far between.

Hepatitis E

Eating uncooked or undercooked beef liver may increase your risk of hepatitis E . This is an infection that occurs after consuming contaminated food. The hepatitis E virus causes liver inflammation, which may lead to the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Jaundice (yellow skin and eyes)

This sounds scary. But hepatitis E is not common in the United States. And it often resolves on its own without any complications.

 

You can avoid hepatitis E by practicing good hand hygiene and cooking beef liver to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is another risk of eating beef liver. But this risk is very low. You are more than twice as likely to get food poisoning from fruits and vegetables. Only 22% of food poisoning infections arise from meat and poultry .

 

Chances are that you’ll encounter food poisoning from lettuce and not beef liver.

 

Symptoms of food poisoning may include :

  • Stomach upset
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Dehydration

 

You can prevent food poisoning by cooking beef liver to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Vitamin A Toxicity

You can experience vitamin A toxicity if you consume too much vitamin A. Symptoms of vitamin A toxicity may include :

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vertigo
  • Blurry vision

 

Pregnant women who experience vitamin A toxicity may have an increased risk of birth defects. But vitamin A toxicity is rare. And it is most often caused by supplements rather than natural food sources.

 

Consuming more than 600,000 IU of vitamin A may lead to poisoning. You may also experience vitamin A poisoning if you regularly ingest more than 25,000 IU of vitamin A daily .

 

You can avoid vitamin A toxicity by being mindful of your beef liver consumption. A 100 gram serving of beef liver contains 16,899 IU of vitamin A. You can eat this daily without any risks of vitamin A poisoning.

How Often Should You Eat Liver?

Children should consume beef liver no more than once weekly. But adults can eat beef liver more often13. You may experience greater benefits with more frequent consumption. Beef liver can supplement much needed vitamins and minerals.

A 100 gram serving of beef liver surpasses the recommended daily intakes for the following micronutrients :

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B12
  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • Copper

Beef liver also delivers over 50% of the daily recommended intakes for:

  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
  • Vitamin B6
  • Folate (vitamin B9)
  • Selenium

 

As you can see, beef liver packs a healthy punch of vitamins and minerals.

How to Cook Beef Liver for the Best Health Benefits

You shouldn’t eat raw or undercooked beef liver due to the risks of hepatitis E and food poisoning. Don’t forget: you must cook beef liver to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill germs.

Cooking beef liver also makes it easier to digest and improves the absorption of vitamins and minerals. But some cooking methods are better than others when it comes to your health. 

You should cook beef liver with healthy fats such as butter to form the perfect keto meal. If you soak liver in milk before cooking, use full-fat milk. Your body needs fat for fuel.

A keto diet involves adequate amounts of fat and protein and little to no carbs. Make sure you avoid the following carbohydrates when preparing beef liver:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds

Plant-based carbohydrates can increase blood sugar levels and inflammation throughout the body. This is because they contain high amounts of sugar, plant antigens, and phytochemicals. Cooking beef liver with animal fats can reduce inflammation and improve immune function. 

Beef Liver Summary

We can safely declare beef liver as nature’s top superfood. It all boils down to beef liver nutrition. No other foods can match it. The micronutrients in beef liver support physical, cognitive, and psychological health.

To summarize, the benefits of beef liver may include:

  • All-day energy
  • Anti-aging skin
  • Fertility
  • Fetal development 
  • Strong bones
  • Heart health
  • Brainpower
  • Strength and endurance
  • Elevated mood
  • Eye health
  • Strong immune system

Believe it or not, these benefits are possible with minimal risks. You can avoid the dangers of eating liver by:

  • Following the recommended dietary intakes
  • Practicing good hand hygiene
  • Using proper cooking methods

If you want to unlock the endless possibilities of health and wellness, try making beef liver a weekly addition to your diet.

What have you got to lose?

Check out our free resource — Dr. Kiltz’s Keto Cure — if you want to learn more about the healing effects of the ketogenic diet.

Fatty Beef Rib

Carnivore Diet 101

We’ve all heard the contemporary diet “rules” about getting in your daily dose of fruits, veggies, and grains. But there’s a new diet on the rise – one that turns the old nutritional paradigm upside down. One that says goodbye to any and all carbohydrates, and advises that you consume meat – and only meat. Que, The Carnivore Diet.

A carnivore diet seems to fly in the face of all of the conventional nutritional advice. But as it turns out, this meaty diet is something we should all be sinking our teeth into. Why? Well, the carnivore diet, a radical diet to some, might just be the secret to optimizing every single facet of your health and well-being.

Let’s take a look at exactly what happens to your body when you take the plunge into a carnivore diet and how it might just be the secret to better health.

What Is the Carnivore Diet?

The carnivore diet is rather self-explanatory. A carnivore diet is a diet consisting of 100% animal foods. No fruits or vegetables. No bread or grains. No nuts or seeds. Strictly foods sourced from animals. Some even say, only animal flesh, but most admit there’s some flexibility for dairy, eggs, and the like.

This way of eating stems from the idea that our ancestors primarily lived on a diet rich in meat and fish.  Don’t believe me? Try foraging for kale and blueberries in the middle of a Norweigan winter or take a look below at the calorific return rate of different food types per hour spent trying to obtain those foods (notice how the top 7 are all from animal sources).

Truth is that before the modern agricultural revolution that began 10,000 years ago with vast developments taking place in the past hundred or so years, the scarcity of food was real. Given the limited access to plant based foods for much of the year over vast parts of the globe, nutritional power of animal foods like those below, liver, red meat, other organs, it’s no wonder the human evolutionary that craved energy for the most supreme brain on earth path led them to Carnivory.

Calorific Return Rate of Different Foods Per Hour Spent Trying to Obtain Food Source

As you can quickly gather based on this chart, you see how there would be an evolutionary advantage of carnivory due to the fact that you get much more calories per hour spent looking for food when you eat meat.

“Evolutionary advantage,” you say! But what about all the herbivore animals that roam the plains in millions? The crazy truth is that these are all ruminants or foregut digesters. What does that mean? Well, all animals in these classifications have bacteria in their digestive system that converts carbohydrates to fat before it’s even absorbed. So really, cow’s and gorillas are themselves following a keto or near carnivorous diet.

Still, think I’m just blowing wind about wild theories and delusions of grandeur? Hang tight because the remarkable health benefits of a carnivore diet are backed by countless scientific studies and testimonials of those who dared to turn their backs to the supermarketers backing the modern American supermarket.

Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive health benefits that the carnivore diet brings to the table.

What Are the Health Benefits of the Carnivore Diet?

The carnivore diet has been linked to a plethora of impressive health benefits. Let’s check it out!

The Carnivore Diet Can Increase Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin is the hormone responsible for moving glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells to be used for energy or stored as fat. If you consistently consume carbohydrates and sugar that cause large spikes in your blood sugar, your cells can become less sensitive to insulin – making them insulin resistant. 

This decrease in insulin sensitivity can create a domino effect – increasing inflammation, disrupting additional hormones, and setting the stage for a number of chronic conditions. But cutting out carbs and following the carnivore diet can reset your ability to respond to insulin and reverse any insulin resistance.

The Carnivore Diet Can Help You Lose Weight

The carnivore diet can be a powerful and safe way to shed any extra pounds. The carnivore diet is particularly powerful when it comes to weight loss for a few reasons.

  • Increased satiation: Calories that come from protein and fat take longer for your body to break down – helping you feel fuller for longer. Calories that come from animal sources simply give you more bang for your buck since they are more filling and efficient.
  • Less hormonal fluctuations: Constant spikes and subsequent crashes in your blood sugar and insulin levels can cause a cascade of other imbalances with other hormones associated with hunger, fat storage, and weight loss such as:
    • Leptin
    • Ghrelin
    • HGH. 

Eliminating drastic fluctuations promotes balanced and healthy hormone levels.

  • Increased utilization of stored fat: Even if you don’t stay in a constant state of ketosis, you’re still priming your body to use ketones for energy – improving your body’s ability to utilize stored fat.

This trifecta makes the carnivore diet a triple threat when it comes to weight loss.

The Carnivore Diet Can Decrease Inflammation

The carnivore diet can significantly reduce markers of systemic inflammation (like C-reactive protein and IL-6). This is likely due to a few factors such as:

  • The removal of potentially irritating plant-based foods that you may be sensitive to will immediately decrease inflammation levels.
  • Elevated insulin levels promote inflammation. So minimizing blood sugar and insulin spikes have an anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.  
  • The carnivore diet supports a healthy gut, which plays a crucial role in mitigating inflammation.

The carnivore diet’s ability to decrease inflammation is one of the key factors that make this way of eating so powerful.

The Carnivore Diet Can Promote Gut Health

Your gut health hinges on two primary factors:

  1. The integrity of your gut lining: The lining of your gut is designed to be a tight barrier. When the integrity of your gut lining is compromised, molecules can essentially “leak” out into your bloodstream.
  2. Your microbiome: Your gut is home to millions of microorganisms which create a delicate ecosystem that plays a monumental role in our overall health.

The carnivore diet is chock full of compounds like glutamine, collagen, and omega-3 fatty acids that help repair and strengthen the integrity of your gut lining. And removing things like extra fiber, gluten, fermentable carbohydrates, and plant toxins prevents irritation and the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your digestive tract.

The Carnivore Diet Can Enhance Testosterone and Libido

The modern American diet and lifestyle is the perfect prescription to put a serious damper on your testosterone and libido levels. Too much sugar and refined oils, paired with not enough activity and a little extra weight create a vicious cycle that depletes testosterone and can leave your strength, energy, and libido in the tank.

But the carnivore diet is loaded with a plethora of nutrients like cholesterol, protein, and Vitamin D that are essential to the production and synthesis of healthy testosterone levels. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to hang on to loads of excess body fat on the carnivore diet – further promoting a healthy uptick in testosterone and libido.

The Carnivore Diet Can Boost Your Brain Power

Inflammation is like kryptonite to your brain. It can cause brain fog, dull your mental clarity, contribute to depression and anxiety, and worsen mental disorders. The carnivore diet not only cuts out inflammation boosting foods like sugar, refined oils, and simple carbohydrates – it also actively decreases inflammation. 

Plus, the carnivore diet ensures you’re getting plenty of brain-boosting nutrients like:

  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron
  • DHA

Many dieters who make the switch to a carnivorous diet report increased mental clarity and better ability to focus almost right away.

The Carnivore Diet Can Combat Chronic Disease 

Chronic low-level inflammation has been found to be one of the root causes of nearly every chronic disease known to mankind.  And thanks to the carnivore diets inflammation-lowering properties, this all-meat diet can aid in combating the development or worsening of chronic diseases like:

  • Cardiovascular conditions – like heart attacks and strokes
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Metabolic disorders – like type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Neurodegenerative diseases – like dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Infertility

The carnivore diet can be a powerful tool in preventing disease and promoting overall health and wellness.

The Carnivore Diet Can Elevate Your Energy Levels

Thanks to certain agricultural practices, an ever-increasing toxic burden, and a modern American diet that’s loaded with processed foods, many people are suffering from nutrient deficiencies and rampant inflammation. And this combination sets the stage for fatigue and less than ideal energy levels.

But the carnivore diet removes energy-depleting, inflammation-boosting foods and replaces them with nutrient-dense, energy-boosting foods. The carnivore diet boosts your levels of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, ketones, vitamin B, and carnitine – which are like super fuel for your brain and energy levels.

The Carnivore Diet Can Give You Glowing Skin

You’ve likely been sold the idea that in order to have a beautiful glowing complexion, you need to invest in expensive cleansers, creams, and moisturizers. But the truth is, truly healthy and beautiful skin starts from the inside out. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, so the quality of your diet is often directly reflected in the appearance of your skin.

The carnivore diet zaps inflammation and is full of copious amounts of nutrients your skin needs to thrive, which can improve skin issues like:

  • Acne
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Dry flaky skin
  • Eczema or psoriasis
  • Redness and blotchiness
  • Puffiness    

By switching over to a carnivorous diet, you can address the root cause of your skin ailments – leaving you with an effortlessly radiant complexion.  

The Carnivore Diet Can Promote Healthy Sleep

Quality sleep is one of the core pillars of health and well-being. Without adequate amounts of high-quality sleep, your body simply can’t function at optimal capacity. And the carnivore diet can help you sleep better.

The carnivore diet eliminates the ups and downs in your blood sugar and energy levels – which can prevent you from tossing and turning and struggling to drift off to sleep. The carnivore diet is also loaded with nutrients that help balance hormones associated with a healthy sleep pattern like GABA and melatonin.

So, What Exactly Can You Eat on the Carnivore Diet?

Following the carnivore diet is about as uncomplicated as it gets. It doesn’t require counting calories or macros. And there’s no time wasted trying to figure out if something is “diet approved”. Carnivore approved foods are straightforward and include:

  • Meat – of any cut and any kind including beef, poultry, pork, and wild game
  • Fish and seafood – any kind is allowed 
  • Organ meats
  • Bone marrow and bone broth
  • Fatty meat products – like tallow or lard

The basics of the carnivore diet are simply meat and salt. And while chicken and poultry is certainly allowed, it’s best to keep these meats to a minimum as they tend to have an inferior fat and nutrient composition compared to things like beef, salmon, or wild game. 

Foods to Avoid on the Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet is built entirely on meat – meaning it excludes all other foods including:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Vegetable oils
  • Grains like rice, oats, barley, etc
  • Flour and flour products like bread, pasta, pastries, etc.
  • Chocolate (sorry)

And while things like hot dogs, salami, sausage, and other processed meats are technically meat, they are also a “no-go” on the carnivore diet. These modified meat products are typically chock-full of questionable ingredients and additives like nitrates and nitrites – so they don’t quite make the cut when switching to the carnivore diet.

Now this list might have you scratching your head thinking, “wait a second, I thought things like fruits and vegetables were supposed to be good for you?” So let’s take a look at why eating plants isn’t quite as healthy as you might think.

The Negative Effects of a Plant-Based Diet

We’ve all heard that fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet. That they are packed full of health-boosting nutrients like essential vitamins and minerals, potent antioxidants, and gut-friendly fiber. But plants also have some other compounds that might not be so healthy.

You see, plants have evolved with their own survival at the top of their priority list. And since they can’t run away or fight off hungry grazers, they’ve developed their own defense mechanisms – minute amounts of poison. These natural plant toxins are designed to deter plant-eaters and include compounds such as:

  • Lectins
  • Phytates
  • Oxalates
  • Alkaloids
  • Glycosides
  • Tannins

Our bodies are designed to cope with small amounts of these toxins and certain cooking methods can significantly reduce levels of these toxins. But modern nutritional practices have most of us consuming massive amounts of plant-based foods – from fruits and veggies to grains, nuts, and bread. It’s estimated that on average, Americans eat about 1.5 grams of naturally occurring plant toxins each and every day.

To say that eating plants may actually be harmful to your health seems to defy conventional wisdom. But eating a diet that eliminates plants and consists exclusively of animals, is actually the secret sauce that can work wonders for your health. 

Below, you’ll see a quick overview of some common plant toxins and their possible effects.

Common Plant Chemicals and their Effect

How Much Am I Supposed to Eat on the Carnivore Diet?

One of the best aspects of following a carnivore diet is that there’s no tracking and no going hungry. Following the carnivore diet simply allows you to tune into your body and eat until your full – there are no rules about how many calories or servings you’re allowed to have. With that being said, the majority of carnivore dieters end up consuming between 1-2 pounds of meat a day – but most find it unnecessary to measure portions.

It’s also important to ensure you’re eating plenty of fat. Fat is essential because with too much protein and not enough fat, your body can actually manufacture glucose (a type of simple carbohydrate) from the protein in a process known as gluconeogenesis.  Simply ensuring you’re regularly incorporating fatty cuts of meat will prevent your body from converting protein into sugar.

Exactly When Am I Supposed to Eat on the Carnivore Diet?

There’s no right or wrong way to time your meals when following the carnivore diet, you can eat whenever you feel like it. But the carnivore diet does pair perfectly with another dietary practice that has some astounding health-boosting benefits – intermittent fasting. 

Intermittent fasting – or intermittent feasting as we like to call it – is simply cycling between periods of eating and fasting. That might mean fasting for 16 hours a day and allowing yourself an 8-hour eating window. Or you could follow a one meal a day (OMAD) intermittent feasting plan and pack all of your eating into a single meal. 

Combining the impressive benefits of intermittent fasting and the carnivore diet can pack a powerful punch when it comes to your health.

Carnivore Diet Meal Plan and Shopping List

Eating a strictly carnivorous diet makes your grocery hauls and meal planning about as easy as it gets. Take a look at the following charts to get a basic idea of what a weekly shopping list and meal plan might look like.

Carnivore Food, Shopping List Ideas, and Basic Meal Plan

Does the Carnivore Diet Create Any Nutrient Deficiencies?

The answer to this question is – absolutely not! Trying to subsist strictly on one or two cuts of meat could potentially lead to nutritional deficiencies. But regularly rotating in a diverse range of animals, cuts of meat, and organs provides you with more than enough micronutrients to not only survive but thrive. 

In fact, one of the highlights of the carnivore diet is its impressive ability to reverse nutrient deficiencies. You see our digestive tracts and bodies still function the same way our primarily carnivorous ancestors did. We are designed to survive and flourish on one of the most nutrient-dense sources of fuel on the planet – meat.

Take a peek at the following charts to see exactly how our digestive tract is designed to support a meaty diet and to see the impressive nutritional profile of animal products versus plants. 

Herbivore vs. Omnivore Comparison Chart

Carnivore Diet Easily Destroying Any Chance of Nutritional Deficiencies

Does Switching to the Carnivore Diet Have Any Side Effects?

Besides making vegan angels fall from heaven, likely nothing serious. Whether or not you have any negative side effects when switching to a carnivore diet will depend highly on your diet and lifestyle prior to making the transition. If you’re already eating a well-rounded low-carb diet, or following a ketogenic diet, chances are you won’t have many or any side effects.

But if you’re jumping into the carnivore diet straight from a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar, there’s a good chance you’re going to feel crummy before you feel better. As your body adjusts to having all carbs and sugar eliminated you may experience fatigue, headaches, and generally feeling “under the weather”.

But the good news is, this transition period typically only lasts anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Once your body calibrates to your new and improved diet, you’ll start experiencing all of the positive benefits associated with an all-meat diet.

Carnivore Diet Frequently Asked Questions 

You might still have some unanswered questions when it comes to the carnivore diet. So let’s dive into some of the most commonly asked questions and address any doubts you might have about taking the plunge and jumping into an all-meat diet.

What About Fiber – Don’t I Need it?

The need for fiber is one of the most pervasive and harmful dietary myths. We’ve been indoctrinated with the misconception that the fiber found in plants and grains is essential to our health. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact, high fiber diets can:

  • Inhibit nutrient absorption
  • Disrupt your gut flora – leading to dysbiosis
  • Increase the risk of intestinal issues like diverticulitis and bloating

Switching to a low or no fiber diet can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health. So if you’re hesitant to switch to the carnivore diet because you’re worried about constipation or gut health – don’t be. Just take a look at the chart below to see the effects of reducing dietary fiber on your digestive tract.

Effects of Reducing Dietary Fiber

What About Vitamin C – Will I Get Enough on the Carnivore Diet?

The required daily intake for Vitamin C is vastly different for someone following a standard American diet and someone following a carnivore diet. That’s because glucose (sugar) and Vitamin C compete for absorption. What that means is if you don’t have any sugar in your diet, you have significantly more bioavailable Vitamin C.

So the Vitamin C you obtain from nutrient-dense organ meats will provide you with plenty of this essential vitamin when you don’t have a ton of sugar blocking your ability to utilize and absorb it.

Does the Carnivore Diet Put You in Ketosis? 

The answer is – it depends. Ketosis is a metabolic state that takes place when your body shifts into using fat as its primary source of fuel rather than carbohydrates. When your body doesn’t have any carbohydrates to burn for energy, your liver will begin oxidizing fatty acids – transforming them into molecules known as ketones, or ketone bodies, which serve as a form of energy.

Typically you will reach a state of ketosis in two ways: 

  • By fasting and limiting your intake of any fuel – thus forcing your body to use up your own stored fat as a source of energy
  • Consuming a diet consisting primarily of fat – forcing your body to rely on fat rather than carbs

Obviously consuming carbohydrates will quickly snap you out of ketosis. But too much protein can also shift your body out of a state of ketosis via gluconeogenesis.

So whether or not you enter a ketogenic state while following a carnivore diet will depend on exactly how much fat and protein you’re consuming. This can be a point of confusion between the carnivore diet and the ketogenic diet, so let’s take a little deeper look at the differences between these two.

What’s The Difference Between The Carnivore Diet and The Ketogenic Diet?

The carnivore diet is more restrictive and quite simple compared to the ketogenic diet. The carnivore diet focuses solely on eliminating all food sources that are not directly animal-based. 

The ketogenic diet, on the other hand, emphasizes the consumption of fat – from animal sources, but also plant sources like coconuts, avocados, and olive oil. The ketogenic diet has clear guidelines tracking and limiting the consumption of protein and carbohydrates. 

So while there can be some overlap between the two diets, and you will likely enter ketosis at times while following the carnivore diet, there is a distinct difference between these two ways of eating. 

Is the Carnivore Diet a Fad?

Definitely not! The carnivore diet isn’t something new and it’s definitely not a fad. It’s a way of eating that brings us back to our ancestral roots – back to the way our bodies are designed to function and flourish.

And the amount of science and personal testimonials touting the transformative power of the carnivore diet is growing exponentially. So you can be confident that the carnivore diet is here to stay and will only grow in popularity as more and more people tap into the ancient wisdom of how our bodies are designed to be fueled.

Can I Drink Coffee and Tea?

The answer is – it depends. While technically coffee and tea are allowed on the carnivore diet, it will depend largely on exactly how your body responds to these beverages. You see, coffee and tea can be pro-inflammatory and can lead to digestive issues like leaky gut syndrome.

It may take some trial and error to figure out what the amount and frequency of coffee and/or tea are right for your body. When switching to the carnivore diet, it may be a good idea to entirely eliminate coffee and tea and slowly add them back in to see how you feel. 

Are Dairy and Eggs Allowed?

Again, the answer is – it depends. Eggs and dairy tend to fall into a gray area when it comes to the carnivore diet. Technically things like eggs, butter, milk, cheese, and yogurt come from animal sources and are admissible. 

But the problem is, both dairy and eggs can be common allergens and can be pro-inflammatory. Anywhere from 1-3% of the population is allergic to egg whites and a much larger percentage of the population is intolerant to dairy. For this reason, many carnivore dieters limit or omit most egg and dairy products.

Is the Carnivore Diet Right for You?

While there’s certainly no “one size fits all” diet or approach to health, it’s hard to ignore the impressive and compelling benefits that have been linked to the carnivore diet. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. And the copious amounts of science along with countless personal testimonials are proof that the carnivore diet is an all-out game-changer when it comes to your health. 

Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds, boost your energy levels, or address an underlying health condition, the carnivore diet has got you covered. This meaty diet takes it back to the basics, powering your body with the fuel it’s designed to run on and subsequently supercharging your overall health and well being. So if you’re ready to take your health to the next level, then the carnivore diet just might be the perfect fit. 

If you enjoyed this article and are ready to experience optimal health, I encourage you to sign up for my newsletter. All you have to do is enter your information in the form on this page and you’ll get my best tips to help you feel and look your best delivered straight to your inbox.

 

Intermittent Fasting

How to Intermittent Fast: 8+ Proven Methods of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular diet trends in the world right now.

People are using intermittent fasting as a way to improve their overall health and simplify their lifestyles. Many studies show intermittent fasting leads to improvement in inflammation, brain function, and overall physical performance in addition to weight loss .

Intermittent fasting is not only a diet trend, it’s rooted in human evolution. 

This way of eating is based on an ancestral eating pattern from a time when humans didn’t always have immediate access to food.

According to this study on evolution and food availability, humans evolved to fast. We are biologically set up to survive, and even thrive, for extended periods of time without eating. 

Humans have evolved once again and adopted the concept of intermittent fasting. 

There’s not only one way to intermittent feast (or fast). Different styles of intermittent fasting work for different people. Here is a quick guide to help you decide which method works best for you.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between eating periods and periods of fasting. Yet the definition of fasting is to abstain from all, or some types of food. This is why we also like to refer to it as “intermittent feasting”.

Though IF outlines when you should eat, IF does not define what you should eat. 

What vs. when

Many recent discoveries about metabolism and hormone regulation support the notion that when you eat is equally as important as what you eat. A study on cell metabolism and timed eating concluded that timing has a direct effect on health and weight gain. The findings suggest that intermittent fasting is potentially a lifestyle that could curb the obesity epidemic. According to the study the focus needs to shift from what we eat, to when we eat it.

When you eat is equally, if not more important as what you eat.

Dr. Robert Kiltz

Why fast?

Intermittent fasting does more than burn fat and trigger weight loss.  While some naturally think intermittent fasting is designed for weight loss that’s not the case. For most, weight loss isn’t the primary goal. They want to feel good and improve their overall health. 

Studies have demonstrated how intermittent fasting and timing meals have been linked to improved physical performance; helping you lose fat without losing muscle mass and boosting endurance . The effects fasting has on metabolism offers improved brain function. People have reported feeling their memory became sharper and improvement to their focus and concentration. Intermittent fasting can also have a positive effect on heart health including lowering blood pressure and resting heart rate.

Lifestyle enhancement is another reason for intermittent fasting. Many advocates of intermittent fasting find it is easier to maintain healthy eating habits with this method. Fewer meals makes meal prep easier, less time spent in the kitchen/at the grocery store, and more time to focus on what really matters.

How To Do Intermittent Fasting

There are many methods of intermittent fasting and eating schedules people use to improve their health. Which one is right for you likely depends on your schedule/lifestyle, how much effort you want to put in, and the results you are looking for.. As with anything else different methods work best for different people. Here we will outline the most common methods of intermittent fasting or if you prefer, intermittent feasting, and how to approach each one. 

*Keep in mind that fasting doesn’t mean not drinking. Each method we discuss allows unlimited water and also coffee or tea without creamers or sweeteners during a fasting period.

The 12 Hour Intermittent Fast

Most agree this method is the most common and has the simplest rules (though it may be less beneficial given the rather short fasting period) and many may already do this naturally. Much of the fasting time occurs during sleep.  It also follows the natural rhythm of the average person’s day to day. Because of this, the  12 hour fast method may be easiest for beginners. 

The Rules

Commit to eating only in a 12-hour window each day. Refrain from eating the other 12 hours of the day.

Example

12 Hour Fast Top Title

Eat all your meals between 8 a.m. and stop eating before 8 p.m. then wait for breakfast until 8 a.m. the following day. Really not much of a fast if you ask me. This is already the standard american meal timing (minus midnight snacking).

The 16/8 Method

This method is another straightforward version. Many people begin with the 12 hour fast and gradually find the 16/8 method. The 16/8 method is another beginner friendly method to intermittent fasting.

The Rules

This method calls for fasting for 16 hours and limiting your meals to an eight hour eating window. 

Example

16-8 Intermittent Fast

A person following this method would finish meals by 8 p.m. skip breakfast the next day and not eat again until lunch at noon.

Things to Note

The rules of this method differ slightly between men and women. Because some women are more sensitive to calorie restrictions and may experience hypothalamic and hormone disturbances, some experts recommend women limit themselves to a 14 hour fast. For this reason (and others) it is important to always check with a health care provider before beginning a longer intermittent fasting regimen. 1 

The 20:4 Method

The 20:4 method of intermittent fasting is very close to the 16:8 method. The only differences are a longer fasting period and shorter eating window.

The Rules

Fast for 20 hours. Eat during a four hour window.

Example

20:4 Method of Intermittent Fasting

Eating between 4 pm and 8 pm and fasting the other 20 hours of the day. This eating window could be broken down into two regular sized meals, or one larger meal.

OMAD Diet

Aka One Meal a Day. OMAD is a  slightly more extreme version of the intermittent fasting regimens we have already discussed. This method you could truly call intermittent feasting.

The Rules

This method has the simplest rule, but perhaps one of the most intense. OMAD requires fasting for 23 hours. The eating window is the same one hour period each day.

Example

One Meal a Day (OMAD) AKA Intermittent Feasting

Fast from 8 p.m. to 7 p.m. the next day eat one large meal at 7 p.m. and finish eating by 8 p.m. 

Things to note

If you are following an OMAD diet it is recommended to eat your meal right after your most active part of the day (typically the evening when you’re about to take a long rest and digest snooze). It’s important to remember you’re aiming to get all of your calories for an entire day within ONE meal. Most adults require a minimum of 1200 calories per day. 2  Getting enough calories is important for many reasons, including keeping your immune system healthy. 3 

* This method is not for everyone. Children, the elderly, and people with certain health conditions should not use this method of fasting/eating without consulting a healthcare profesional.

The Warrior Diet

Another more extreme method of intermittent fasting, and this one sounds somewhat medieval:

According to its founder, Ori Hofmekler (Former Israeli Defense Special Forces) The Warrior Diet is based on the way ancient warriors ate; consuming little during the day and feasting in the evening.

The Rules

This way of eating calls for fasting for 20 hour windows. Unlike the previously discussed methods, on the “Warrior Diet” dairy, hard boiled eggs, and raw fruits/vegetables are allowed during the “fasting” period. So really, it’s not fasting, but a caloric restriction during the 20 hour “fast.”

After 20 hours of “fasting” you are permitted to “binge” on whatever foods you wish for the remaining four hours. Essentially you are undereating for much of the day and gorging yourself at night on whatever you please.

Example

Warrior Diet

Restrict calories from 6 p.m. to 2 p.m. the next day. From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. eat as much as you want.

Things to Note

Healthy and unprocessed food choices are not a good choice during the “binge” period.

5:2 Diet

Here is another simple plan that many people find easier than following a conventional calorie restricted diet. There are a few more rules to the 5:2 plan (also known as the Fast Diet) than other methods. Most people who follow this plan say it becomes more of a lifestyle after you get into a routine that works for you.

The Rules

Eat normally for five days a week, then restrict calorie intake for two days a week. On those two days consume only between 500-600 (some sources say 800) calories. You can pick any two days of the week you want, but make sure there is at least one non-fasting day between the two fasting days.

Example

A typical eating schedule looks like this: Fast/restrict calories on Tuesday and Friday and eat normally the other days of the week. On a fast day eat light low calorie foods. Boiled eggs and small amounts of dairy are all choices that could be included. 

Things to note

Overall you should eat the same amount of food you would have consumed if you hadn’t been fasting at all. When enjoying a “normal” eating day remember by normal we don’t mean junk food. Healthy, non processed (and preferably ketogenic) choices are encouraged.

Eat Stop Eat

This method involves one to two fast days per week. No food for 24 hours at a time is the goal. (20 hours is also a common time window for this method.)

The Rules

Eat around 2000 calories each day until the next fast day. When it’s time for a fast day, stop eating for 24 (or 20) hours and resume eating again on the 24 (20) hour mark. Don’t fast two days in a row.

Example

Eat-Stop-Eat

An eating schedule following these rules could look like this: Fast from 6 p.m. on Monday to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and 6 p.m on  Friday to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Eat responsibly but normally at all other times.

Alternate Day Fasting

Alternate Day Fasting is one of the more studied/proven methods of intermittent fasting.

Numerous studies have shown this method to be effective and sustainable .

Some people find this method easier to stick to than other intermittent fasting methods or traditional diets. Another study has shown this diet seems to be effective whether you follow a low fat or high fat approach.

The Rules

The simple explanation of this method is fast every other day. Eat “whatever” you want on the non-fasting days. On fasting days you are allowed to have unlimited water, unsweetened coffee, and tea. 

Example

Alternate day fasting

On Monday you eat as you wish, on Tuesday you only consume water, and coffee or tea (unsweetened). Wednesday you’re back to eating, Thursday fast, Friday eat etc.

Things to Note

An alternate approach to this method allows for up to 500 calories on fasting days and the benefits seem to be the same with this modification as without .

36 hour fast

This method is simple, but even more extreme. The 36 hour fast wouldn’t be a good starting point for beginners. This time frame marks the beginning of more prolonged or extended intermittent fasting 

The Rules

Fasting is done for the entire day (and then some) generally totaling about 36 hours

Thankfully, much of that time is during sleeping hours.

Example

36 Hour Fast

A typical 36 hour fast might go like this: Stop eating at 8p.m. on Saturday and don’t eat again until breakfast at 8 a.m. on Monday.

Things to Note

According to Dr. Jason Feung this method is often used for Type 2 diabetics in his clinic because it lowers blood sugar. Since Type 2 diabetics have more insulin resistance this length of time produces quicker results for that group of people.11 

This is something to be mindful of, as low blood sugar can cause dizziness, headaches, and other side effects.

Longer Fasts

Fasting can be safely extended to much longer periods of time than 36-hours. These long fasts have their place in promoting your health. Longer fasts go up to 42 hours and beyond. The world record for fasting is 382 days . While remarkable, long fasts are generally  not recommended by healthcare providers.

One of the major health benefits of these extended fasts, and a primary reason for attempting such a fast is the promotion of autophagy . Autophagy is the way your body removes damaged cells allowing for new cell growth. Autophagy and new cell growth stimulates healing and contributes to a healthier body, inside and out.

The Rules

CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST. This is the most important rule to ensure you aren’t at risk of complications. Generally this is a water only fast between 42 hours and 14 days.

Things to note

Hydration and electrolytes are essential for any fast, but especially extended fasts.

Don’t push yourself too far. Be cautious when breaking your fast. Ease yourself back into consuming food, and don’t over eat.

The Bottom Line

Intermittent fasting (or as we like to say, feasting) is a proven method for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Humans have been fasting since mankind began. We have evolved to go for long periods without eating. Maybe it’s worth it to go back to our roots when it comes to our eating habits. 

As we have discussed, there are many ways of approaching this eating lifestyle. Now that you’ve learned about all the different ways you can intermittently fast, what are you waiting for? Get out there and stop eating . . . for a little!

 

 

Light Motion Activity vs. Exercise

Lots of us use exercise as a way to de-stress (and as an opportunity to show off our strong bodies and ability to create and protect, like a mating call). That post-work run or spin class makes us feel good, productive, and provides an outlet for working out frustration with our boss, our spouse, or that annoying client. The endorphin rush feels great so we put on our workout gear, lace up our sneakers, and hit the treadmill day after day.

Americans in particular seem trapped in a vicious cycle of eating way too much and then working out way too hard to burn all of the extra calories they’ve consumed. We are a society of excess for sure. The common belief about exercise is that if a little bit is good, a lot must be great. Not so, and here’s why. When you exercise, you are heating up your body, causing DNA and protein degradation, pain, swelling, friction, and more heat.  It stimulates epinephrine and cortisol and steals blood flow from the core central organs. The kidneys and digestive track take a huge hit!

Exercise and digestion tend to be mutually exclusive activities. When you exercise, your body doesn’t use its energy for digestion. Instead, it slows any digestion currently taking place so it can divert as much blood as it can to feed your muscles and your lungs. Repetitive exercise increases the destruction of our bodies causing rapid damage and dysfunction. Repetitive motion injuries are another concern altogether – tennis elbow, runner’s knee, tendonitis, just to name a few.

When I talk about exercise stealing blood flow from the core, this is what I mean. The kidneys and digestive track take a huge hit. GO SLOW! Move, but you don’t need to get on the hamster wheel!

Light Motion Activity Vs. Exercise: When I talk about exercise stealing blood flow from the core, this is what I mean. The kidneys and digestive track take a huge hit. GO SLOW!

There are other ways to de-stress that are less harmful to your body: yoga, Tai Chi, walking, and light motion activity that is meditative and regenerative to name a few examples. These types of activities allow the flow of blood to the core, brain, and bowels where it’s needed and don’t create an immune reaction that is more damaging and destructive.  A 2017 study from Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics found that as exercise intensity and duration rise, the likelihood of intestinal injury increases.

My advice: SLOW IT DOWN. I say this to my clients, co-workers, and friends like a broken record. Get off the hamster wheel (my name for the treadmill), elliptical, and racing bike. Don’t sit still, but you don’t have to be so intense with the exercise. Walk instead of run. Remember the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady may not win every race, but the average life span of a tortoise is over 100 years with some species living almost twice that. Coincidence . . . I think not.