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Animal-based diets

Updated: Aug 4

When encountering the title of this discussion, it is understandable that strong emotions may arise in some individuals.

For several decades, we have been advised that plant-based diets offer the most beneficial dietary interventions for our health, and there is truth in the benefits gained by eliminating processed foods and consuming natural, plant-based foods. Nevertheless, the ultimate question remains: what diet truly optimizes human health and can be sustained over time? The answer to this question varies individually, as genetic uniqueness and metabolic health starting points differ from person to person.

Given the absence of long-term interventional studies on ANY diet, one approach to gain insights is to examine our evolutionary history and anthropology. Through stable nitrogen isotope testing of skeletal bones, scientists have discovered nitrogen levels comparable to those found in carnivorous animals, suggesting that our evolutionary diet was protein-rich.

Furthermore, it is crucial to emphasize that proteins from animal sources exhibit superior bioavailability and digestibility, as thoroughly discussed in the following section:

It is essential to understand that within scientific research, there are three types of evidence: anecdotal, epidemiological, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Anecdotal evidence allows for observations but cannot prove causation. Epidemiological evidence establishes correlations and forms hypotheses but lacks the ability to prove causality. In contrast, randomized controlled trials are the most robust form of evidence, enabling the testing and validation of hypotheses.

Remarkably, most nutritional research, including the basis for US dietary guidelines, relies heavily on epidemiological evidence, making many nutritional recommendations hypothetical rather than conclusively proven.

However, there are clear guidelines for achieving optimal health outcomes, such as the importance of removing processed foods and harmful high omega-6 oils like sunflower seed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, canola oil, etc. Instead, it is beneficial to include whole foods and fats from natural sources, such as animal fats, coconut oil, and olive oil.

The argument for an animal-based diet is founded on the idea that it provides the most bioavailable nutrients with minimal immunological triggers, as animal-based foods lack anti-nutrients. There is a growing number of anecdotes about individuals effectively using strict meat-only diets to treat autoimmune issues, some of which can be found here: [insert relevant source or reference].

An animal-based diet can be categorized into three tiers:

  1. Tier 1: Mostly animal-based, with the option of non-toxic plants (organs optional). This tier consists of 80%-90% animal foods and 10%-20% non-toxic plant foods, offering flexibility and being suitable for individuals new to animal-based diets without significant health issues.

  2. Tier 2: Animal-based, emphasizing nose-to-tail eating with a variety of organs. This tier comprises 90% animal foods, along with approximately 10% of calories coming from non-toxic plant foods (fruits) and honey.

  3. Tier 3: The "meat and water 'meat cleanse'," involving only meat, organs, and animal fats. This tier serves as an elimination diet and a potent tool for addressing chronic health issues effectively.

In conclusion, while much of the nutritional evidence is based on epidemiology, there are specific guidelines and benefits associated with adopting an animal-based diet. Each tier offers different approaches to suit individual preferences and health needs, potentially providing valuable solutions to various health challenges.

Upon first consideration, a meat-only "carnivore" diet might seem too radical and unsustainable for some individuals.

While it is true that there are no long-term interventional trials on this specific eating pattern, and anecdotal evidence represents the weakest form of evidence, it is worth noting that an increasing number of people have reported significant improvements, including remission of autoimmune conditions, while following this approach. The sheer volume of these anecdotes warrants attention, urging us to look past our biases and engage in legitimate scientific inquiry. Viewing this intervention as a strict elimination diet for a limited period and gradually reintroducing foods one by one in small amounts may help identify specific triggers for individual immune responses.

This blog and website primarily serve educational purposes, aiming to offer a well-grounded scientific perspective, empowering readers to make informed decisions about their health. Learning from each other's experiences and respecting differing viewpoints enables growth and mutual understanding. Regardless of our beliefs about diet or what may work best for each person, what truly matters is the positivity we feel and how we interact with one another, ultimately making a significant difference in our well-being.

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