A rather fascinating video about how the all meat diet can work, despite being low on a few vitamins and minerals and very short on fiber.
Short from is that plants have a lot of ‘anti-nutrients’ in them and some of them chelate minerals and make them unavailable. Stop eating plants, your demand in the diet drops as you use it more efficiently. Another was that Vit C (ascorbic acid) is in competition with sugar for binding sites. Cut out the sugar, the competition goes away and your Vit C requirement drops.
This matters rather quite a lot as it is low Vit C levels that sit at the bottom of arterial diseases (heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis, etc.) Humans make a “patching compound” protein that patches up leaking vessels during times of low Vit C. If you don’t ever have a time of normal to high Vit C, the patching continues until you have clogged arteries. For a big male that’s about 2 GRAMS of Vit-C needed per day. Now what happens to that when you have a high sugar diet? It has competition and doesn’t work as well. What happens in a low sugar diet? You don’t need as much…
The other big surprise is the study on fiber, constipation, and diet types. There’s a chart in the video. Adding fiber to the diet increased constipation. Folks on a low fiber diet had fewer issues. There were zero cases of constipation in the part of the study group on an all meat diet. So actually testing the High Fiber Fixes Constipation diet theory shows it exactly wrong. This is starting to be a pattern…
This diet is a bit of a bummer for me, as I really like growing my own vegetables and salad greens. So I’ll likely not go all the way there. But for at least a major sub-set of the population, it looks like a Really Good Thing.
That said, my obligatory disclaimer: Part of my family are vegetarians and they are reasonably healthy. For one, it seems to have fixed some digestive issues and metabolic problems. I’ve cooked, and eaten, vegetarian meals fairly often. So please, lets not have a “food fight” over foods, OK? I’m all for whatever works for the individual. (I’ll state my bias down below the video). So here’s the video. It has some “testimonial’ stuff in the intro, then some anecdotes, and eventually some science / study bits. There’s the usual Inuit being healthy historically on all meat and a few more. 19 minutes.
OK, my bias:
I’m one of those folks who seems to be able to eat just about any pattern out there and no bad thing happens. Some years back I joined a friend on an all-meat diet (he was doing it to lose weight) mostly as moral support and partly since we were working together and “lunch out” had to be places that worked for him, so I just went along. At the same time, as mentioned above, I’ve done the vegetarian thing sometimes. Only thing I’ve noticed is that both of them leave me wanting more interesting and varied choices… My usual diet is to make a plate that’s a protein, a starch, and a vegetable. That pattern makes for an infinite number of nice meals. Now I’m also about 30 lbs over my ideal weight doing that… But I’ve had very low health issues.
On one occasion I ate nothing but chicken for 2 weeks on an “elimination diet”, then added foods back in until my fingers got arthritic again. Turns out it was “cow stuff” that was the problem for me. ( I was about 25 at the time…) So just dropping Cow Stuff prevented 25 years + of “arthritis problems”. The third week I added potatoes and butter and it was like the sky opened up and God smiled on me… A mono-diet of one thing, even the chicken I love, gets old fast.
What I can’t do is eat a whole lot of sweet stuff in any given day. I’m good for about 1 cupcake and that’s it. The Spouse makes a birthday cake and I just can’t get through it in under a week. I just don’t like that much sugar and can’t handle it well.
So maybe I’ve just naturally avoided most of the dietary ills of the Average American Diet in that I just don’t do the whole “drink 3 sodas a day with 2 pounds of sugar and highly refined starch”. I grew up eating foods with largely just one or two ingredients and that’s what I like. Ham, Yams, & Green Beans. Easch of them one thing. Then a slice of bread and butter on the side. Beef & Potatoes, glass of wine. So not a lot of “chemical factory” in what we eat, nor do I eat more than a spoon or two of sugar most days. Sometimes none at all.
So maybe my experience doesn’t matter so much…
But what amazes me is just how much a body can run on all sorts of crazy and extreme diets. But maybe some folks are lacking some of genes (enzymes) for such flexible choosing. Like those who are lactose intolerant so need to avoid milk. Perhaps some of us are more suited to digesting just meats, while others are made ill by them due to their particular metabolism. While I believe it is largely just a matter of slowly changing your genetic methylation so as to shift from one (say vegan) style to another (say all meat) and get your proper hormones shifted for it, that’s just a supposition. Your genes may vary…
For me, over the last few weeks, I’ve moved to a meal pattern where everything I eat is between about noon and 6 pm. I hope to get that down to about 2 hours in the next few weeks. Then I’ll add a fasting day. This has been shown to do a lot of good things, but that’s for another posting… As is so often the case, the initial start of the change was hard. It took the better part of a week to get really moving on it. After about 2 weeks it was easier. Now it’s just something I don’t even notice. I’m clearly doing keto burning about 1/2 the day and I moved my belt in one notch a day ago (then ate for a couple of hours and moved it back out ;-) Now sometimes I’m forgetting to eat until after 1 pm…
Similarly, on the vegetarian and on the prior all-meat diets, it took a week or two to settle in. It is MUCH easier to eat ONE vegetarian meal in a day than to suddenly do it for all meals in a week. Similarly, the first week of “all meat” was hard as I had some significant sugar, starch and just flavor variety cravings. It is harder to enter ketogensis (especially when your body has never done it before so those genes are more tightly wrapped… later re-entry to keto was much easier) than it is to eat a vegan donut every hour on the hour… and forget about a burger….
So while my general belief is that everyone ought to be left alone to just find what works for them and do it; I know that isn’t how things work in the real world. Having been pushed into both an all-meal keto and into a vegetarian diet by “others” at various times kind of shows you won’t be left alone to choose guilt free.
So, In conclusion:
Eat what you want. Try different things. Find out what works for you. But take comfort in knowing that an all-meat diet can meet all dietary requirements (with a bit of effort) and often with health benefits. Similarly, for some folks a vegetarian or vegan diet can do the same; though vegan requires you understand some biochem and eat some ‘odd things’ like flax meal to get all your nutrients some of which are mostly animal sourced. Vitamin B12 and omega-3 essential fatty acids are the two most problematic for those who are not studied up on it all.
What I’m doing now is working up to a Periodic Fasting diet with some amount of “Fasting Mimicking Diet” in between fasts. Mostly just trying it out to see if the health claims are true; and because it’s been a while since I played with my metabolism ;-)
I doubt I’ll go all the way to an all meat diet, but I am planning to drop all sugars, starches and related. At least most days while I find out what works best for me. But it is comforting to know that it can work reasonably well, and why, should I go to the all meat step.