Category Archives: Eating

How Much Protein Should You Eat?

TL;DR: At least 2g per kg of your desired weight, every day, mostly from animal sources.

This is a really old question that never really goes away. There are many different answers, and depending on which philosophy you follow, which agendas you have, and which books you read, you can end up with very different recommendations. There are some authors who recommend a really low intake of protein, about 10% of total calories. Those recommendations are well below the RDA (recommended daily allowance) issued by the U.S. government, which is 0.8g per kg of “reference body weight”. At the high end of the spectrum you have the body building community, traditionally recommending intakes well above 2g per kg.

So there is this wide range of intakes which people can survive on, ranging between about 5-50% of calories from protein. What is ideal? Does it depend on your goals, your age, your gender? The average intake in modern “westernized” societies is around 14-15%. The average intake in modern hunter-gatherer populations is about 25%.

My suggestion: >30% protein, or >2g per kg of desired body weight, mostly from animal sources!

I’m a big fan of Ted Naiman, who has recently given a great talk on protein intake. He goes through various arguments for and against high protein intake, and basically shows that a) higher protein intakes (above 30%) are not unhealthy and b) improved body composition (more muscle, less body fat) may be easier to achieve on such higher intakes. This is in line with most of the literature I’ve read and agree with. The take-away message is: It’s better to eat too much protein than too little.

There are many books and studies which I could refer you to, but I’ve settled on just linking to this well-respected (and often cited) paper:

Evidence-Based Recommendations for Optimal Dietary Protein Intake in Older People: A Position Paper From the PROT-AGE Study Group

The paper recommends a lower limit of 1.2g per kg of body weight for active people, and 1.5g for those who suffer from acute or chronic disease. That is at least 50% above the RDA (0.8g per kg).

Advantages of Higher Protein Intake From Animal Foods

  • Increased satiety (you stay fuller longer)
  • Positive nitrogen balance (minimal muscle loss, maximum muscle gain)
  • Delicious meals (meat, fish and eggs should be the center-piece)
  • Improved digestion (less bulky plant-matter, more nutrient-dense food)
  • “Automatic low-carb” (more meat/fish means less carb-heavy plant food, if total calories stay the same)

So What Does This Mean Practically?

The easiest way to implement this principle is to incrementally change your diet, replacing low-protein/high-carb foods with high-protein/low-carb animal foods. Like I outlined a while ago in my post about changing one’s diet one swap at a time.

For example, If you really like salads, add a nice serving of meat and in exchange, have less or no bread with the salad. Maybe add eggs and reduce beans/corn.

Extreme Example: Cake vs. High-Protein Yogurt

As a treat, I used to have cheesecake. As it turns out, a little bit of full-fat yogurt, some salt and vanilla whey protein powder emulates the taste nicely. I add some frozen blueberries, and that combination is really, really satisfying and tastes like a combination of blueberry cheesecake and ice cream. According to Cronometer, one serving of Baskin Robbins blueberry cheese cake ice-cream is 273 Calories, with 7% protein, 46% carbs (28g sugar) and 48% fat. This is the worst combination possible: low-protein (5g) plus a 50:50 mix of carbs/sugar and fat.

Here’s my combination of yogurt, salt, protein-powder and blueberries: 31% protein, 18% carbs and 51% fat. 11g of sugar. 21g of protein. So compared to the ice-cream, on an equal-calories basis it contains only 30% of the sugar and carbs, but 4 times more protein. And almost the same amount of fat.

Why Not Use Plant-Based Sources Of Protein?

Typical plant-based sources of protein include low-starch vegetables like broccoli or even kale, and beans/legumes. These foods come with big disadvantages:

  • Low-Starch vegetables surely contain a lot of protein in terms of percent of total calories, but you would have to eat several pounds to get meaningful absolute amounts of protein.
  • Beans/legumes contain a decent amount of protein per calorie, but also a lot of energy in the form of carbohydrates.
  • Both contain a lot of fiber and anti-nutrients which can cause gastro-intestinal distress in many people.
  • The protein in plants is generally less bio-available than that in animals, the human body typically absorbs only 70% of  it. So you would have to eat even more of these sources.

This does not mean you have to stop eating those foods – you just don’t need to eat them for the protein.

 

 

 

 

 

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Optimize Your Diet One Swap At A Time!

Last week I wrote about how a meat-based diet works, and why it may be a very efficient and healthy strategy for people who are struggling with weight loss. But how to start? Making a huge change in one’s diet is difficult – lots of habits to change, social pressures, worries about whether it’s the right thing to do … there are many obstacles which make it unlikely that a sudden, big intervention will lead to meaningful long-term changes.

Most people eat a small number of foods most of the time. It is those staple meals you should try to focus on. If you manage to eat really healthy 80% of the time, you can relax a bit on the remaining 20%. So let’s see how you could improve those meals one step at a time.

Make Small Healthy Swaps!

Following those simple rules you can make small tweaks (“swaps”) to your meals which will incrementally improve your diet:

  • Replace a part of the meal which is mostly “empty” calories with meat or other animal products. Or just remove it.
  • The relative amount of protein (% of calories) of the meal must increase.
  • The total number of calories of the meal should not increase.
  • The “deliciousness” of the meal should not decrease.

For example, next time you make sandwiches maybe use half as much bread (half as many sandwiches) or thinner slices of bread, but add more ham and maybe an egg, maybe use home-made mayo instead of margarine. Calories stay the same, empty calories from the bread are being replaced with more satiating calories from the meat and the eggs, and along for the ride come nutrients that our body craves and would not get from bread or vegetables. The sandwiches are still as tasty or even tastier, and much more nutritious!

The main goal physiologically is to increase the nutrient density of the meal, which is measured by putting the amount of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, protein) in relation to the amount of energy (calories).

Why Does This Work For Weight Loss And Body Composition?

By optimizing the meals, the body gets more nutrition and thus stays fuller longer. Studies suggest that protein is the most satiating macro-nutrient. If you do it correctly and choose the right foods – some experimentation might be needed – then you end up with a win-win situation: You eat more delicious meals, are less hungry between meals, and if you are also active or exercise a lot, your body has more raw material (micro-nutrients and protein) to repair and improve your body.

Suggestions For Foods To Swap Out (Remove/Reduce Amount)

  • Bread (including whole-grain)
  • Pasta (including whole-grain)
  • Rice (including brown/whole-grain)
  • Cereal (including … you know the deal)
  • Potatoes (including sweet)
  • Oils (especially industrial seed oils, but also olive/coconut)
  • Cake / Pastry
  • Chocolate (especially sweet non-dark)
  • Candy / Sugary Drinks / Juice
  • Low-Fat Dairy
  • Nut/Soy “milks”

Example Foods To Swap In (Introduce/Increase Amount)

  • Meat in all forms (including processed, but “whole” is better)
  • Fish
  • Cheese (focus on higher-protein types)
  • Full-Fat Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Bacon (avoid high-fat, or keep amount small)
  • Protein Powder (egg/whey/casein based)
  • Protein Bars (depending on how well you tolerate them – beware of sugar alcohols)
  • Water / Diet Drinks

Some Bad Choices For Swapping In

These are foods which some people might be tempted to use as replacements, but are actually as bad as the foods that get replaced, or they are at best neutral and don’t contribute to satiety as much as the other foods above. That doesn’t mean you should never eat them! It just means that they are less obvious choices as replacements, and you should be careful when using them. Reducing the amount works for many people, and/or combining them with the safer choices above.

  • Butter (except in small amounts for frying or as a condiment like garlic butter)
  • Heavy Cream (unless in small amounts and/or paired with protein)
  • Other Oils/Fat (empty calories / no protein, even if animal-based or “extra virgin”)
  • Whole Grains/Fiber (adds little nutrition / protein, leads to bloating in some people)
  • Low-Starch Vegetables (add them on top if you can digest them well, but they add little satiety / protein)
  • Fruit (much sugar, little satiety / protein)
  • Nuts (too many calories, small effect on satiety)

 

In Defense Of Meat-Based Diets

I previously talked about how to thrive on a vegan diet.  But the opposite approach – a diet heavy in meat – may actually turn out to be best for me, or indeed many people. In this post I will try to outline what I am doing right now, and touch briefly on most of the arguments pro/con a meat based diet, which will then be discussed in much greater detail in future posts.

Disclaimer: This is what I eat – it is not medical advice for you. You can – and should – decide yourself what you eat. For the last 10 years I’ve been reading close to 50 books on the topic, watching countless presentations by experts, examining studies and meta-analyses, listening to podcasts … I’ve considered the opinions of mainstream authors and scientists, naturopaths (ugh), vegans, paleos, doctors, psychologists … to quote one of my favorite TV personas: “It’s a jungle out there!”. I don’t expect you to trust me on anything that I write, except for one thing: Every sentence is not just an opinion I adopted because I saw some isolated headline on the news, but instead the result of this vast process of gathering information and comparing different sources.

Take what you want from this, with a bucket of salt, do your own investigation and then decide what to do. It is your health that’s on the line. Especially if you have a couple of pounds to lose and you’ve never tried a diet like this before, you may want to consider giving it a try.

TL;DR: Meat is perfectly healthy food which humans are “designed” to eat.  In the last 50+ years meat – and animal-based food in general – has been maligned by the media, and science unfortunately took a huge step in the wrong direction in the 1950s with blaming saturated fat and cholesterol for many of the modern chronic diseases. As a result, the mainstream advice for healthy nutrition (a diet based on grains/carbs with some meat, vegetables and fruit) may be the opposite of what is actually healthy.

What Does “Meat-Based” Mean?

There are people who eat 100% meat and nothing else (except salt). The most common labels for this type of diet are “carnivore” or “carnivory”. I define my “meat-based diet” as one where the vast majority of calories (like 80%) comes from meat or other animal products.

Why “Meat-Based” and not “Animal-Based”?

Healthy vegan diets are typically also called “plant-based” – shouldn’t I call my diet “animal-based”? Perhaps, but most people find that for various reasons, having to do with nutrition, satiety and environmental concerns, the staple food on such a diet is red meat from ruminants (cow, bison, sheep). So “meat-based” is a better description of what people eat mostly on such a diet. For vegans, “grain/legume/tuber-based” would be most accurate, or “avocado/nut-based” if they’re doing some form ketogenic diet.

What are the Goals of the Diet?

In a nutshell:

  • Eating to satiety (no hunger pangs or blood sugar crashes)
  • Enjoying the food (delicious meals)
  • Optimal body composition (“look good naked”)
  • Optimal athletic performance (metabolic flexibility, fat-burning)
  • Overall health and longevity (nutritious diet, avoid anti-nutrients)
  • Protect the environment (sustainable (animal-)agriculture)
  • Avoid orthorexia (keep it simple)

Which Foods are “Allowed”?

I think that for any eating pattern to be sustainable it must allow room for exceptions. So instead of outlawing and demonizing certain foods, I will simply list the foods the diet ideally/typically consists of:

  • Red meat from ruminants (cows, bison, sheep)
  • Eggs
  • Dairy (Cheese, Yogurt, Cream, Butter)
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Other red meat
  • Vegetables and mushrooms (low-starch/sugar)
  • Nuts
  • Fruit (low-glycemic like berries and citrus, or very small portions)
  • Salt (liberally)

This list is loosely in descending order of caloric contribution to the diet. This may vary from person to person, for example some people might hate red meat, but love poulty. Some might have allergies or other problems with specific foods. Any combination is fine, provided that 70-80% of the calories are coming from animal food. There is no restriction on salt.

Which Foods are “Forbidden”?

These are foods which are best avoided or at least minimized:

  • Processed food products
  • Grains
  • Sugar
  • Industrial seed oils

Do I Track What I Eat?

Yes, but only occasionally. Every once in a while I will try to track a complete day of eating on Cronometer and check if what I’m eating is in line with what I would intuitively expect.

Are There “Cheat” Days or Meals?

Yes. Sometimes I eat whatever I want, like cake, or ice cream, or even ultra-processed food products. I don’t consider them to be “cheats” though, as long as they don’t undermine the goals of the diet in the long term. This is a “slippery slope” though – some people might do better avoiding these exceptions completely. What definitely doesn’t work for me is the concept of a weekly cheat day. A chocolate sundae every month might be a good solution for some people. If nothing else, consider these exceptions an antidote to orthorexia.

How Could Someone Transition Into This Diet?

Either change everything at once (difficult, but fast), or make simple swaps that reduce carbs and increase protein and fat:

  • Two slices of bread + two slices of ham
    => one slice of bread + two slices of ham + 1 slice of cheese
  • A sandwich or a burger
    => eat everything except the bread, or order without the bread so to waste no food
  • Steak, vegetables and a boiled potato
    => Steak, vegetables, garlic butter + avocado
  • Carb rich cereal bar
    => low-carb protein bar
  • Grain based breakfast
    => eggs and bacon or left-over steak
  • French fries on the side
    => low-carb veggies or salads on the side
  • Bread on the side
    => extra meat or cheese
  • Cake for dessert
    => Berries for dessert
  • Ice cream
    => (full-fat) yogurt without added sugar + berries

In each case you are not necessarily trading a deadly poison for a perfectly healthy food, but you are improving things however slightly, increasing your intake of protein from meat and decreasing your intake of empty calories, particularly from carbohydrate, which your body has no choice but to immediately burn for enery or store as fat. Total energy stays roughly the same, and satiety increases, since protein is ultimately the most satiating macro-nutrient.

What Are The “Macros” On This Diet?

Many people think of diets in terms of macro-nutrient distribution – as you may know, there are basically three macros: Carbs, Protein and Fat. Technically those all provide energy (calories). However, protein is special because the body uses it primarily as a  structural material.

Since one of the goals of the diet is to optimize athletic performance and body composition, it aims for a much higher protein intake than the average in western populations of about 14-15% of total calories. A better way to quantify intake is in relation to body weight. I aim for about 1.5-2g per kg of desired body weight, while the common recommendation is 0.8g per kg. This puts me at around 30-40% of total calories, or twice as much as the average intake. The bulk of my calories come from fat – that follows automatically from the selection of foods preferred on the diet, which are all low in carbohydrate. So a typical macro distribution might be 30% protein, 60% fat, 10% carbs. Higher carb percentages are possible by focusing on very lean cuts of meat, but may negatively affect satiety in some people. Typically, the leaner one gets, the more one craves fat in the diet.

Won’t the Animal Protein Damage Your Kidneys?

No. Many studies show that protein intake even higher than 30% does not affect the kidneys.

What About Calories?

Good Question. I do track calories from time to time. I don’t think that there is any magical benefit on this diet when it comes to calories – if you eat more than you expend, you will gain weight, if you eat less, you’ll lose weight. But since it is impossible to accurately track intake and expenditure, I prefer not to care too much about those numbers. Ultimately it’s your body composition – measured by DEXA, impedance scale or waist circumference – which will show whether you are eating the proper amount of food.

Is This A Ketogenic Diet?

At its core the diet is ketogenic in nature, since meat contains virtually no carbohydrates. But the diet is also heavy in protein and technically the remaining 20% of calories could come from carbs (vegetables and fruit), which means that ketosis is not guaranteed on this diet – it is not the goal. Another way of putting it is that this diet does not rely on dietary carbohydrate to feed the brain or other cells which may require glucose – instead, it aims to optimize metabolic flexibility so that those needs can be met by using fat, ketones or gluconeogenesis.

So It’s a High-Fat Diet – Does That Mean Adding Butter And Oil To Every Meal?

No, not at all – in fact rather the opposite! Butter, oil and cream are mostly empty calories and should be used sparingly. I use butter (ghee, to be precise) when I cook steak, to get a better sear and because I like the taste. But on this diet I try to get the fat (which is necessary as an energy source) mainly from meat, cheese and fish. I find that much more satiating and rewarding, and it also makes the diet much less “greasy” and more tolerable for people who can’t stomach oils and fats.

Won’t (Red) Meat Increase Your Risk Of Cancer?

No. There is this persistent myth that meat causes cancer, but it is not supported by the best available scientific evidence. There are some studies which incriminate meat, but there are many others which exonerate it, and many of the incriminating studies can be shown to be seriously flawed. In my opinion, which is shared by more and more researchers, meat is not a problem – but sugar and industrial seed oils may be.

Won’t the Lack of Fiber Cause Colon Cancer?

No. Again, there is much discussion and misinformation in the media. A lot of flawed science exists which goes back to the beginning of the 20th century and people like Dennis Burkett or Harvey Kellogg, who were pushing a fiber-rich diet for various unscientific reasons. Fiber may actually be an anti-nutrient in many cases, causing problems like bloating, flatulence, IBS and aggravating serious conditions like Crohns Disease or diverticulitis.

But Don’t You Get Constipated On A Diet Low In Veggies And Fruit?

No. People on 100% meat diets commonly report no constipation. This makes sense, since meat is almost completely digested in the small intestine and doesn’t even make it to the colon. The human digestive system is very similar to that of dogs, which also thrive on a fiber free diet. As an interesting side note, dogs also tend to become diabetic if fed a diet higher in carbs and fiber (some dog foods contain potatoes and legumes).

My first hand experience, which is consistent with other meat-eaters, is that increasing veggies and fruit intake leads to bloating and having to go to the toilet more frequently and unpredictably/explosively, while removing them entirely leads to completely “regular”, but less frequent (a good thing) bowel movements. Ok, maybe that was a case of “too much information”, but frankly, it makes quite a difference in one’s every day life, so it is important to speak about.

But The Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Will Clog Your Arteries?

No. This myth is the most pervasive of all – the biggest scientific mistake in the field of modern nutritional science. Fortunately it is also the one which by now (2018) is mostly on its way out, with articles about the health benefits of high-fat dairy and animal products coming out on an almost weekly basis.

Shouldn’t We Eat As Little Salt As Possible Though?

No. 5-10 grams per day is perfectly fine, more if you’re doing a lot of sports in warm weather. Especially on a diet which is low in carbs, ensuring proper salt intake is important. Eat too little salt, and you won’t feel good in terms of mood and energy – on any diet.

What about Vitamins and Minerals?

Not a problem. Since the diet allows for vegetables and fruit and because, despite misinformation to the contrary, meat does contain a decent amount of minerals and vitamins, I typically get plenty of everything. Some minerals will be lower – for example, potassium or manganese. Feel free to use supplements (for example vitamin D), but there are people who thrive on a 100% meat diet which is technically deficient in some vitamins or minerals. The fact that people thrive anyway suggests that the vitamin/mineral requirements change when you are on a largely meat-based diet. It may even be the case that when you eat only meat, requirements change completely, but that is a highly speculative hypothesis.

Why Meat – Can’t You Get Everything From Plants?

The obvious nutrient not found in plants is vitamin B12. Other than that, there are a number of nutrients which are not officially listed as essential (because our body can make them from other nutrients) which are only available in animal based foods. Carnitine is one obvious example. Another big topic is bio-availability. Nutrients in plants often come along with anti-nutrients which block absorption, or the plants might only provide a precursor of the actual nutrient which then has to be converted in the human body, which may or may not work efficiently. Example: vitamin A (beta-carotene).

What About Ethical Concerns?

This is the main concerns that many vegans have. Some of them argue based on nutrition, but when push comes to shove, what motivates them most is avoiding the suffering of sentient animals. That is why I argue for eating mostly ruminant meat, eggs and dairy: Cows and chicken can be grown responsibly, with minimal suffering, and they are also the key to sustainable agriculture.

What About The Environment?

Sustainable agriculture is largely about protecting the topsoil. The only way to do this are perennial plants – like grass. Only they have roots deep enough to ensure that the soil stays healthy. Ruminant animals live in harmony with grass, chicken as well. Now, if you also take into account that much more land supporting pastures exists on our planet than the small amount which is suitable for the monocrops required to feed the world the vegan way, it becomes clear that a meat-based diet is completely sustainable. Or at least, every bit as much as the opposite.

 

How to Thrive as a Vegan

In my last post I talked about three basic approaches to nutrition: Eat only plants, eat only animals, eat both. Simple enough – but how to thrive on the extreme ends of the spectrum? In this post we will look at how to optimize health and longevity on the vegan, plant-based end.

TL;DR: Supplement with vitamin B12 and “eat the rainbow”: Make sure to include a variety of different plants in your meals every day to make sure you eat a lot of fiber, anti-oxidants, essential amino acids, vitamins and slow burning carbs and healthy fats. Does it work? Well, it did not for me. I found it too complicated, not optimal for my digestive system, and in my opinion the science is not settled – neither on the healthfulness of plant-based, nor on the harmfulness of animal-based food. But the diet might still work for you!

Enter Dr. Michael Greger

81rvgjuwqllThis is probably the most important author when it comes to the arguments for the healthfulness of a plant-based diet. Greger has built a huge website at http://nutritionfacts.org replete with videos on various interesting topics, also to be found on YouTube along with lectures and interviews. His specialty is discussing studies on nutrition, and the level of detail is astonishing. It is his book “How Not To Die” which convinced me to give the whole food plant based (WFPB) approach a try. There are many other popular vegan authors, but Greger is highly respected among most of them and represents the best and most articulate view on how/why this approach is healthy, which is why I will only talk about his book for this introduction – more about the others in future posts.

The book is divided into two parts: The first lists most chronic diseases – cardiovascular disease, cancer, … – and then basically links them to animal foods through a plethora of studies. The second part discusses how to construct a healthy diet:

  • Minimize processed foods
    “processed” = something good removed / something bad added
  • Eat from a variety of plant “types” (the “daily dozen“) to maximize micro-nutrient intake

You can check out the daily dozen for yourself in more detail. The main insight aside from the well known “fruits, vegetables and whole grains” advice is that in order to optimize nutrition, you need to also eat legumes (beans/lentils/peas), nuts, berries, flax seeds, leafy greens, cruciferous greens … and the list goes on. Supplementing with vitamin B12 is also prescribed.

Did It Work For Me?

In short: No.

I spent many weeks eating almost completely within this framework last year, and I discovered many tasty vegan menus and snacks. I annoyed my family, girlfriend and colleagues with strange dishes and vegetables, all of a sudden eating guacamole or hummus, putting banana slices on whole-wheat bread, eating ten times more vegetables than the others, using almond butter instead of butter, plant milks and soy yogurt instead of dairy, and so forth. I really enjoyed eating those foods and still do so occasionally or partially today.

However, my digestive system was less pleased. Gas and bloating were big issues and ultimately one of two major reasons that over time I got less and less enthusiastic. WFPB advocates claim that this is a typical problem that eventually goes away once you adapt to eating more fiber, but for me that didn’t really turn out to be the case.

The other big reason for abandoning the WFPB was that even though authors like Greger offer a very convincing narrative about the dangers of animal foods and the super-powers of plant-based food, in my opinion the science is not settled at all. Sure, there are many studies that support this view, but there are also many other studies which show the opposite. Vegans will object to that vehemently, arguing that it either isn’t true, or that there are much fewer studies in favor of animal products, or that these are all funded by industry. But having spent a lot of time following these discussions, I do think that there is a lot less certainty about this issue than either side (vegan/carnivore) proclaims. I will discuss specific aspects in future posts.

Can It Work For You?

Absolutely. I don’t think that it’s optimal, and there may be some vegans on YouTube and elsewhere that greatly exaggerate the health benefits of WFPB, but some people clearly thrive on it. Reading How Not To Die certainly will teach you a lot about nutrients, and about what kind of scientific studies are done in the field of nutrition. Giving it a try might introduce you to many options that you hadn’t even considered before. Just keep in mind that the book has an agenda, and that – despite claims to the contrary – it is a biased interpretation of the available science.

Healthy Human Diet: Plants, Animals or Both?

There are many ways to slice and dice diets which humans can eat. After all, our species is omnivorous. In stark contrast to really specialized animals like cows, spiders and koalas, humans can seemingly survive on almost anything. But is there an optimal nutritional strategy?

TL;DR: Humans can eat exclusively plants, a mix of plants and animals, or even exclusively animals.

Plants versus animals is one very basic way of categorizing our food. Most people have never thought deeply about this. Most of us know about veganism, which means eating only plants. But is that a healthy long term strategy? What about the opposite, eating only animals (carnivorous) ? Much fewer people have ever considered that as a permanent way of eating. Is that possible, let alone healthy? Or is a combination of plants and animals the best choice? If so, how much of what?

Vegan (100% Plant-Based)

There are, to my knowledge, no human societies who have survived, let alone thrived on a purely plant-based diet for generations. There seem to be many people, even athletes, who thrive on a plant-based diet in our modern times. But it seems like this takes a lot of effort to get right, in particular there are some essential nutrients that need to be supplemented, for example vitamin B12 and DHA (a long chain n-3 fatty acid).

Carnivorous (100% Meat-Based)

There are some societies who are reported to have survived on a nearly 100% animal based diet for generations, like the Maasai (spelling varies) in Africa and the Inuit in the Arctic. But their health is a disputed issue. Advocates for plant-based diets claim that they were in bad health, with poor bone structure and atherosclerosis. Meat proponents claim the opposite. In modern times, there are many case reports of people thriving on a 100% meat based diet. No supplements seem to be necessary, but there is no clear consensus. There are nutrients which are in very low supply on this diet – vitamin C being the example that is most often used. But research suggests that the body demands less of the vitamin when only meat is consumed, and fresh meat does in fact contain small amounts of vitamin C.

The “Balanced” Diet (Plants and Meat)

This is of course what the overwhelming majority on the planet eats. It is also not a very meaningful distinction. Even more so than for the other two approaches, it depends on which plants and which animals we eat, and in which quantities, and how we eat them – do we apply less processing, more processing, cooking/raw, meal timing and so on.

The takeaway message here is that especially in the modern world, all three approaches can be implemented. I think this is important to remember, as most people are at most aware of two of them.