What’s The Science, Facts & Myths Behind the Carnivore Diet?
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We are coming from a society that is brainwashed and misguided by supposed nutritional authorities and when the discussion of the carnivore diet comes up we get the question, “where’s the science to back up the concept that the carnivore diet is a good idea?”
It’s a very fair question and one that I asked when I first heard of it. In fact I too had a knee jerk reaction and my brainwashed ego said, “that’s the dumbest thing you could do.” So, is there any science and facts behind the carnivore diet? It appears we have both “Yes” and “No”.
What we really find is that nutritional science can be full of BS.
This article discusses the challenges with nutritional science, the corruption, and skewing of data, the historical hypothesis of humans as apex carnivores due to evolution and concludes with the myths involved with nutrition.
Buckle up, it’s an eye-opening ride that’s going to turn assumptions upside down.
The Challenges with Nutritional Science
There seems to be an abundance of nutritional studies that paint the picture that meat is bad and plants are better.
If you were to ask that question to random people on the street I would bet money that most would say fruits and veggies are better for you.
How did we get here?
Nutritional Epidemiology Fails
Firstly, most of the nutritional science and studies out there are based on nutritional epidemiology which is a horrible way of looking at nutrition as it doesn’t prove causation, so from a truly scientific approach it’s rubbish.
Nutritional epidemiology is not an experiment. It is taking data usually in the form of food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) from a certain group of people and/or population and forming some kind of opinion on said populations’ health outcomes…due to what they said they ate.
Side note: the media and journalists will take an epidemiological study and create a click bate headline in order to get eyes on it and “bam” we continue with nutritional brainwashing.
The journalists believe it to be true as well and don’t understand the studies they are writing about are based on faulty data and best guesses.
Take a look at these epidemiological studies setting up red meat as the bad guy.
- Association of changes in red meat consumption with total and cause specific mortality among US women and men: two prospective cohort studies
- Meat subtypes and their association with colorectal cancer: Systematic review and meta‐analysis
- Consumption of red and processed meat and breast cancer incidence: A systematic review and meta‐analysis of prospective studies
- Role of Total, Red, Processed, and White Meat Consumption in Stroke Incidence and Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta‐Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies
Those are just a few of the epidemiological studies out there which are not able to prove causation that meat is the reason for said problems in their study. (There are hundreds more.)
I’m not a scientist but if you were to ask a true scientist about these epidemiological studies, (that isn’t corrupted by money), you would probably get an awkward reaction and response saying they don’t mean a whole lot.
Which brings us to the point about corruption within the scientific and academic community.
Conflict of Interest & Corruption
If you take a look at the end of most of the studies you will see a section on who funded the project and if there was any “conflicting interest”. Usually there is.
For example one of the studies below on LDL shows that the doctors/researchers partaking in the study have been paid by Big Pharma in the past.
How are you going to believe a study on LDL when the doctors who did the study are in some way or another being paid by a company that profits heavily from the sale of statins.
Do you see the conflict of interest?
Also these studies have manipulable data. They cherry-pick the data and are able to point it into the narrative that is going to be more favorable to their funders.
How Bad is it?
Nutrition Coalition, a non-profit group of scientists and researchers hell-bent on outing the improper relationships between big pharma (money) and the easily persuaded to fall in line money-hungry scientists and researchers, completed their own study on the corruption on contemporary nutritional studies.
Here is one that will blow your mind:
- 55% of the USDA Committee that Determines Federal Nutrition Policy Has Conflicts of Interest with Group Funded by Big Food Multinationals
Absolute Risk vs. Relative Risk: Media and Corrupt Use Relative
The media loves the relative risk percentages and numbers found in epidemiological studies. They are able to use them and form headlines for example, “you are 2 times more likely to die of….” or “this drug decreases your chance of cancer by 75%.”
Usually studies will show absolute risks that are not as impressive and that’s why drug producers and media run with the relative risk numbers and exaggerate the effect.
According to EUFIC, “Absolute risk numbers are needed to understand the implications of relative risks and how specific factors or behaviors affect your likelihood of developing a disease or health condition.”
The Data Twisting of Epidemiology
Meat and carnivore diet proponent Dr. Georgia Ede destroys the idea of using epidemiology for nutritional advice and points out the flaws.
In her article, The Problem with Epidemiological Studies, she starts off by saying, “There are many different types of studies nutrition researchers can conduct to try to understand the world around us, and the epidemiological study is the weakest, least reliable method available. Unfortunately, it is the most common approach used in the field of nutrition.”
In her essay she uses an amazing example to pick up on the flaw of nutritional epidemiology.
Here is the gist:
Let’s say you want to figure out what causes alcoholism. You send out a food and beverage questionnaire to a group of non-alcoholics and a group of true alcoholics.
One of the questions on the questionnaire is, “how often do you eat pretzels?”
The alcoholic group eats a significantly larger portion of pretzels and this is jotted down in the report.
The next day you will see headlines, “Eating Pretzels Increases Risk of Alcoholism!!!”
See how this all works?
I recommend her website as she dismantles plenty of studies and offers solid advice, especially when it comes to plant foods and their relations to poor mental health.
7 Basic Problems with Nutritional Studies from Dr. Shawn Baker
Dr. Shawn Baker, carnivore diet advocate and author of “The Carnivore Diet”, is good at pointing out the challenges of nutritional science. He has a few issues like the following:
- About 80% of nutritional knowledge comes from epidemiology
- Epidemiology can’t infer causation
- Numerous potential confounding factors
- Numerous biases
- Recall bias from food questionnaires
- Corruptible data
- Click bate headlines
He also mentions that the experiments on nutrition are done on animals like rats or mice or in vitro, (single cells/test tubes), which is not an accurate way to get nutritional data for humans.
“Kind Of” Carnivore Diet Science As Related to the Human Body
Those of you coming here to find a plethora of carnivore diet science and studies are going to be disappointed. Unfortunately there really aren’t any that specific to the carnivore diet.
But we have to start somewhere and that brings us to Dr. Paul Saladino’s book, “The Carnivore Code,” where he begins with looking at the history and evolution of man.
What did we humans eat? When did we start eating meat? What separated us from primates?
Dr. Saladino likes to mention that eating animals has been an important part of our evolution and perhaps the reason we are so smart! For 60 million years the brains of primates have stayed the relatively same size.
What do primates eat? Fruits, veggies, and leaves.
Historical Brain and Intelligence Theories
There is archeological evidence indicating our ancestors began eating animal foods about 4-5 million years ago but when our ancestors began to learn how to make tools, weapons and hunt that’s when brain growth skyrocketed!
Check out these references from Dr. Saladino’s book to see how he is coming up with this opinion.
- Impact of meat and Lower Palaeolithic food processing techniques on chewing in humans
- Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Cognition
- The First Humans – Origin and Early Evolution of the Genus Homo
Basically when humanoids were able to figure out weapons and hunting in groups they were able to make predatory kills and eat the entire animal.
Prior they had to resort to scavenging.
Dr. Saladino believes that brain size began to increase greatly as a result of eating super nutrient dense muscle meat, organs, bone marrow…essentially what we call a nose-to-tail diet today.
Side note: it appears humans reached a maximum brain size of 1600cc about 40,000 years ago but now brain size is shrinking. Perhaps the advent of agriculture and the relapsing of eating more plant foods?
Dr. Saladino says, “we are the humans we are today because we began eating animals.”
In the research paper, “The Critical Role Played by Animal Source Foods in Human Evolution”, author and UC Berkely researcher Katherine Milton says, “Without routine access to animal source foods, it is highly unlikely that evolving humans could have achieved their unusually large and complex brains.”
Human Digestive System
The naysayers of the carnivore diet will say you need not look further than our teeth. We don’t have exact replicas of predatory animals like lions and our molars, similar to goats, clearly indicate we are meant to eat plants.
What’s the deal?
Dr. Saladino believes we have molars due to an evolutionary issue in that we kept molars when times were rough and our ancestors would have to eat crappy plant foods for survival.
Our incisor teeth are best used for ripping flesh indicating we have been eating animals for some time. Plus we eat with an up and down motion rather than circular and grinding like that of our plant-eating ruminant friends.
Our mouths have essentially evolved for both plants and animals.
Biological science indicates that humans have highly acidic stomachs averaging 1.5 on the pH scale…that’s super acidic!
Let’s compare our 1.5 pH stomachs to our near relatives, chimpanzees. Our friends have a stomach pH of 4 to 5.
This is all outlined in, “The Evolution of Stomach Acidity and its Relevance to the Human Microbiome.”
Human stomachs are about 1000 times more acidic than chimps.
All the acid in our stomachs allows for the breakdown of meat and also the destruction of certain pathogens.
Dr. Saladino likes to point out that certain pharmaceutical medications that raise our pH levels can increase the risk of infection, pneumonia, and allergies.
- Proton pump inhibitor-associated pneumonia: Not a breath of fresh air after all?
- Country-wide medical records infer increased allergy risk of gastric acid inhibition
Humans’ brains require copious amounts of bioavailable Omega-3 Fatty Acids like DHA and EPA in order to grow properly at birth.
- Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- Dietary omega 3 fatty acids and the developing brain.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Pregnancy
The crazy thing is that DHA doesn’t occur in plants!
We should also interject here that in 2008 Oxford researchers found that the brains of vegetarians decreased in size over 5 years and their biomarkers for B12 vitamin were lowered.
What has B12? Meat…especially organs.
Humans Are Predators!
Our bodies have evolved into being the ultimate hunting machines in order to consume as much animal food as possible. Our shoulders have evolved into being able to throw a spear to kill our prey. Our feet are able to allow us to walk and stalk prey.
Combing these factors with the above points we are the ultimate predators designed to eat meat. Would you agree or not?
Dr. Shawn Baker’s 90 Day Carnivore Diet Challenge Study
In 2017 Dr. Shawn Baker launched his own study. It was all self reported data and no control group. It won’t be published in any scientific journals but it is interesting to look at.
Some of the takeaways for this study are as follows:
- 60% Male 40% Female
- Ages 20 to 70 with the 50s being the largest group of participants
- Consumed on average 1.5 to 2.2 pounds of meat per day
- Average Starting Weight of 198 pounds
- Average Weight lost 30 pounds
- Average Bowel Movements per Day 1.2
- Males reported an increase in erection hardness
Participants of the study reported better general health, joint health, sexual health, gut health, mood, energy, exercise capacity, skin health, and sleep quality.
Dr. Shawn Baker says, “this study likely advanced our knowledge around meat-eating as much as anything else in the past 100 years of Nutrition Science, namely because “meat-eating” is never actually studied by nutritional researchers, particularly epidemiologists.”
Why Don’t We Have “Real” Scientific Studies on Nutrition?
Ethics. In order to have a solid scientific study done on carnivore or diet in general this is what we would have to do.
- Take a sample of twins with identical genetics
- Divide twins into groups at birth
- One group is forced to eat a certain diet and the other group a different diet
- Measure the outcomes until death
- The groups would have to essentially be in a medically observed prison for their entire life with supervised eating
Bart Kay, the nutritional science watchdog, drops serious skepticism on the current state of affairs surrounding nutritional science.
He says, “current nutritional scientific studies all become associate, this is our best guess, pseudoscience and that allows it to be open to abuse.”
While watching his interview with BioHackers Lab I was able to pull away some top tier myths plaguing nutritional health and the idea of a carnivore diet.
Myths Trying To Ruin A Carnivore Diet and Meat Eating in General
Myth #1 The Consumption of Saturated Fat is Associated with Heart Disease based on this study: Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.
- Bart says there has never been any causal evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease.
- Studies based on epidemiology
- Self-reported food questionnaires used
- Data based on 350,000 people over 20 years
- Bart re-ran the statistical data and found only a risk ratio of .96 to 1.19%
- Shows no real association of heart disease and saturated fat
Myth #2 LDL is the absolute cause of heart disease and statins should be used: Low-density lipoproteins cause atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. 1. Evidence from genetic, epidemiologic, and clinical studies. A consensus statement from the European Atherosclerosis Society Consensus Panel.
- Uses skewed data
- Data is cherry-picked
- Different interpretations are possible
- Data is most likely compromised and skewed toward researchers bias
- Conflict of interest between researchers and Big Pharma Funders
- This paper really wants to push statins!
Also there is another unbiased organization of qualified researchers that shredded this research paper apart!
- The Critical review says, “The EAS Statement proposes that any mechanism of lowering plasma LDL concentration should reduce the risk of ASCVD events proportional to the absolute reduction in LDL-C and the cumulative duration of exposure to lower LDL-C. However, as we explain, we do not find this conclusion acceptable.
- Key Messages: Apart from the EAS hypothesis that LDL causes ASCVD, recent pharmacological/biochemical studies, as summarized in this review and elsewhere, have revealed that atherosclerosis is caused by statins taken to lower LDL-C,
Bart Kay Takeaways
I’ve watched plenty of Bart Kay YouTube videos where he dismantles and destroys a lot of the BS surrounding so-called nutritional science. Here are a few notes from his scientific wisdom:
- Faulty health ideas have infiltrated culture
- A balanced diet is rubbish…there is no evidence
- There are no essential nutrients on plants
- Meat contains essential nutrients
- Plants are designed not to be eaten therefor they are loaded with their own natural pesticides…these are harmful to humans.
- Our society is brainwashed
- Dietary organizations are corrupted and based on money
- Glycerol Fatty Acid Cycle is what’s overlooked. When you have fat and carbohydrates floating around in your system they interfere with metabolism which can turn to insulin resistance which leads to diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, and brain problems.
I’m not a doctor or scientist and I dove into the idea of nutrition science thinking there would be good factual data available.
Turns out nutritional data is mostly mythical, based on epidemiology and swayed by corporate Big Pharma money.
Also I found our ancestors evolved to eat a majority of meat and the results equaled an increase in brain size and intelligence. Humans are able to flourish on a carnivore diet and plants appear to only hamper our energy and health as well as potentially lead to disease.
Why all the hysteria that meat is bad for you? Agenda driven…you think?
What I do know is that the carnivore diet works for me and has helped my body heal from numerous plant-related ailments. I’m an anecdotal testimonial but not the only one.
In fact, there are hundreds of people that have gone carnivore and had amazing results. Many have documented and shared their health transformations over at MeatRX.com
Also, if you are looking for a community of people, check out the Facebook Group World Carnivore Tribe. Here you will find like-minded people answering and asking some relatable questions.
I highly advise you to pick up these books:
Very important links to articles and time savers:
- 16 Perfect Snacks for People on a Carnivore Diet & Meat Lovers
- What Can You Drink On a Carnivore Diet?
- Top 11 Carnivore Diet Mistakes
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. Consult with and ask your doctor about and diet, nutritional or medical-related questions. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.