The Truth About The Carnivore Diet: Everything You Need To Know About Dangers, Benefits, Mistakes & Hacks For Eating Only Meat.

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Prepare yourself for the most epic, deep dive into the carnivore diet that you've ever heard.

I recently listened to a physician named Paul Saladino debate research scientist Layne Norton about the carnivore diet on my friend Mark Bell's podcast. I was so intrigued by the episode that I decided to get Paul on my show to explore the science behind the carnivore diet, carnivore diet dos and don'ts, and whether the carnivore diet is a true, sustainable, natural, ancestral nutrition approach or just a dietary fad.

During this show, we cover:

-Why Paul is a raving fan of salmon roe…17:15

  • Humans cannot make Omega 3 fatty acids
    • Omega 3s in salmon roe are in the phospholipid form
    • Salmon roe crosses the blood-brain barrier more efficiently than in the triglyceride or ethyl ester form (which you'll find in most fish oil capsules)
  • Two tbsps of salmon roe gives you the DHA without being exposed to the metals
  • Benefit of getting a nutrient from food vs. from a supplement
  • Concern with oxidation in fish oil:
    • Look for certificate of analysis
    • Look at levels of lipid peroxides
    • Not nearly as much oxidation in eggs as the fish

-Why Paul doesn't consume black pepper…21:15

  • A central principle of the carnivore diet: plants are not put on the earth to serve humans
  • Develop potentially toxic compounds to defend themselves from other animals
  • A peppercorn is the seed of a plant
    • The seeds are where a higher concentration of pesticides and toxins reside
    • Pepper contains a compound called piperine, which inhibits UDP glucuronosyltransferase
  • In essence: black pepper inhibits our body's natural detoxification process.
  • Piperine is added to curcumin supplements to increase the level of curcumin you can absorb
  • We don't actually use these molecules in human biochemistry
    • Used to activate certain pathways to produce our own antioxidants (which is glutathione)
  • Plants induce Nrf2, while simultaneously doing toxic things to our bodies
  • Sulforaphane is considered to be a highly beneficial molecule as a precursor to glutathione pathways
    • But is known to be a goitrogen (meaning it can induce hypothyroidism)
  • Key take away: You can simulate the benefits of eating plants by eating meat and living a healthy lifestyle

-Whether plants like exercise, where you need them, but too much can be harmful…26:05

  • Hormesis is a potential benefit of plants
  • Sulforaphane:
    • Linked to hypothyroidism
    • Depends on one's baseline level of iodine consumption
    • Does not exist in a plant
    • Glucoraphanin is converted into sulforaphane by Myrosinase
      • Highest levels are found in broccoli seeds and sprouts
  • Humans are “facultative carnivores” meaning we can get everything we need from meat without ingesting the toxins found in plants.

-Why Paul refused a cup of Kion Coffee when offered by Ben…30:45

  • Coffee is felt to be beneficial because of a couple of polyphenolic compounds: chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid
    • These have been found to be clastogenic (DNA damage)
  • A coffee bean is the seed of a plant, which contains toxins as a natural defense mechanism
  • Very few animals eat those seeds

-Storage organs in plants that result in larger brains and smaller guts…46:35

  • Richard Wrangham
  • Tubers
    • Fairly toxic generally speaking
    • Ancestral (non-hybridized) tubers aren't as valuable to humans due to size, appearance, etc.
    • Developed big brains by eating bone marrow and brains of animals (as scavengers)
    • No DHA, or fatty acids in a tuber
    • Macronutrients for short term survival; micronutrients for long term survival
    • Tubers have macronutrients, but not micronutrients
  • Fossils of homo erectus found near water: algae, DHA, other micronutrients
  • Just because tubers were efficacious for our ancestors doesn't mean we should choose them today
    • Animals provide all the micronutrients we need in the most bioavailable forms
    • The ultimate multivitamin for a human would be an animal

-Why plants may not be necessary, could be harmful to the gut, and are “survival food”…50:50

-Whether a carnivorous diet is sustainable or ethical…53:53

  • Eat the animal “nose to tail”
  • Book: The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson
  • Muscle meat is high in methionine but low in glycine
  • Best results come when we eat organs and tendons along with the muscle meat
    • Different nutrients in different parts of the animal
  • Why Ben called the carnivore diet “lazy” on the Joe Rogan podcast
  • Carbohydrate availability for the thyroid
    • Ancestors would eat the thyroid immediately after killing an animal
  • Do you need plants to consume adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals?
    • Good amounts of Vitamin C in liver and in brain; whale blubber
    • Liver also has large amounts of carotenal, a precursor to Vitamin A
    • Quercetin doesn't directly contribute to human biochemistry
    • You may not be able to get flavonoids from meat, but you may not need them at all

-How we would consume fiber on a carnivore diet, or if we even need it at all…1:06:40

  • The debate between Paul Saladino and Layne Norton on the Mark Bell show
  • Fiber is a “fairy tale”
    • Physician named Burkett in Tanzania
    • Tanzanians did not have as many cases of diverticulosis as Westerners
    • Erroneously equated high amounts of fiber intake with low cases of diverticulosis
    • The reverse is true
    • Applies to insoluble and soluble fiber
  • “Healthy user bias” affects studies on fiber
    • People who eat less meat and more fiber, and engage in healthy activities
    • Stereotypical “meat eater”: Steak, fries, cake, etc.

-Why I'm hesitant to embrace a full-on carnivore diet…1:13:50

  • Variety is the spice of life (colors of food, tastes, etc.)
  • Humans are “facultative carnivores”
    • Meant to eat animals, but can eat plants when animals are not available
    • Plants can contribute to life enjoyment if you choose to use them in your diet

-The carnivore diet and longevity…1:23:30

  • Fallacy: centenarians live longer because of genetics. They live long in spite of what they eat.
  • Theory of “blue zones” has been incorrectly interpreted
    • Not caused by diet (plants, legumes, etc.)
    • Clusters of longevity mutation in certain genes; improves insulin sensitivity, antioxidants, etc.
  • High insulin sensitivity when carbs are cut out

-Carnivore vs. ketosis…1:28:45

  • Three micronutrients: carbs, protein, fat
  • We can run on two fuels: fat or carbs
    • Fat that is stored or that you're eating
    • No such thing as an “essential carbohydrate”
  • You can have a ketogenic diet that includes some plant foods that are potentially immunotoxic
  • Carnivore diet is by default a ketogenic because you're not eating plant-based carbs (trace amounts in meat)
  • What about coconut oil and coconut cream?
  • Dairy: addictive to humans because it's the combination of fat and sugar; great for infants
    • It's why we crave ice cream
    • Rewarding but not satiating
    • Some cut out dairy, and find they're more satiated when eating meat

-The carnivore diet and amino intake…1:37:53

  • Paul typically eats 3 pounds of meat per day
  • No risk of developing cancer

-Concern about constant activation of mTOR on the carnivore diet…1:41:00

-More on the ethics/sustainability of the carnivore diet…1:45:30

  • It's not practical for everyone to hunt their own meat
  • Look at it from a population vs. individual basis
    • Answer questions pertaining to the individual before the population
    • Advances in technology contribute to increases in greenhouse gases (fossil fuel emissions)
    • Agriculture contributes ~8% of greenhouse gases; 3-4% is animal agriculture
    • Greenhouse gas contribution of livestock

-And much more…

-Who is Paul Saladino?

Throughout the course of his life, Paul Saladino has embarked on many adventures that have shaped his personal interests – including his unique, individualized approach to medicine. After studying chemistry at College of William he spent 6 years traveling and exploring. Highlights included a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, a summer in the New Zealand backcountry, and 2 years skiing and climbing in Wyoming's Teton Mountains.

He returned to academic studies after these adventures, first becoming a physician assistant and practicing in cardiology before training at the University of Arizona, obtaining his M.D. in 2015. He is a certified Functional Medicine practitioner (IFMCP) through the Institute for Functional Medicine and will complete his residency in psychiatry at the University of Washington this June. When he is not researching connections between nutritional biochemistry and chronic disease he can be found in the frigid waters of the pacific northwest in search of the perfect wave.

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

-My Facebook post on my “bastardized version” of the carnivore diet

-Paul Saladino's website

-Paul Saladino's YouTube channel

-The debate between Paul Saladino and Layne Norton on the Mark Bell show

-USWellnessMeats ribeye steaks – Use code: GREENFIELD to save 15% storewide – Offer good for up to 2 orders per customer. Excludes orders over 40 lbs, sale items, volume discounts, and gift certificates.

-Book: 100 Million Years of Food by Stephen Le

-Book: The Whole Beast by Fergus Henderson

-Salmon Roe

-Fred Provenza's book Nourishment

-Fiber and Colon Health On A Well-Formulated Ketogenic Diet: New Insights Question Its Role As An Unconditional Requirement

-The Kettle & Fire bone broth Ben drinks – Use code: GREENFIELD for 10% off

Greenhouse gas contribution of livestock

Additional resources/research from Dr. Paul Saladino: 


Curcumin (No RCTs which show benefit, potential toxicity)

The Dark Side of Curcumin


Curcuminoids inhibit multiple human cytochromes P450 (CYP), UDP- glucuronosyltransferase (UGT), and sulfotransferase (SULT) enzymes, while piperine is a relatively selective CYP3A4 inhibitor

Impairment of UDP-glucose dehydrogenase and glucuronidation activities in liver and small intestine of rat and guinea pig in vitro by piperine

Plant pesticides (clastogenicity of safrole[also in black pepper], caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, glucosinolates [sulforaphane precursors])

-Cyanogenic glycosides in food: 

Cyanogenic glycosides in plant-based foods available in New Zealand

A Review of Cyanogenic Glycosides in Edible Plants

No association with meat consumption and colorectal cancer in Asia

No association of saturated fat and animal protein with colorectal cancer


Diverticulosis study (worsened with increased fiber)

Low fiber no association with constipation, diverticulosis

Removal leads to improvement in constipation

Lack of benefit in adenoma recurrence 

-BHB and signaling/anti-aging mechanisms:

Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Ketogenic Diet: New Perspectives for Neuroprotection in Alzheimer's Disease

Ketone bodies as signaling metabolites

β-hydroxybutyrate: Much more than a metabolite

D-ß-hydroxybutyrate: an anti-aging ketone body

Estrogenic properties of quercetin

Effects of phyto-oestrogen quercetin on productive performance, hormones, reproductive organs and apoptotic genes in laying hens

Dangers of excess omega-6 (especially from seed oils)

Centenarians and genetic advantage

Salicylates (coconut)

Removal of flavonoid-containing foods results in improved markers of oxidative stress

Green Tea catechins at obtainable dosing connected with liver injury (rise in transaminases)

Oxalate toxicity


A naturally occurring opioid peptide from cow's milk, beta-casomorphine-7, is a direct histamine releaser in man

-Methionine/glycine ratio:

Effect of dietary glycine on methionine metabolism in rats fed a high-methionine diet

Methionine restriction decreases mitochondrial oxygen radical generation and leak as well as oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA and proteins

Methionine and choline regulate the metabolic phenotype of a ketogenic diet

-Ketogenic Diet Improves Lifespan:

Epigenetic mechanisms underlying lifespan and age-related effects of dietary restriction and the ketogenic diet

A Ketogenic Diet Extends Longevity and Healthspan in Adult Mice

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Paul or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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83 thoughts on “The Truth About The Carnivore Diet: Everything You Need To Know About Dangers, Benefits, Mistakes & Hacks For Eating Only Meat.

  1. PG says:

    I understand there is some controversial study’s regarding fiber and health. But there is also a lot of study’s especially on NCBI showing positive health benefits. Why is that? Is there something these studies are failing to mention?

    Also I’d very much like to know Paul’s standpoint on fermented vegetables. Study’s show that fermentation can deactivate a lot of the negative plant compounds and possibly even further help overall digestion. Would that not allow us to utilize some of the benefits without the negatives?

  2. Maria says:

    Hi Ben, the horse is actually not a ruminant but a herbivore, it has one, quite small stomach, and therefore has to eat many times a day, this goes for the zebra too,summer greetings from a horse eating carnivore in Finland, Loved your podcast with Paul Saladino, Maria

    1. Maria says:

      sorry, wrong podcast =0)

  3. Paul says:

    Where’s the evidence that dha has increased bioavailability in phospholipid form? No statistical significance from this one:

    Where’s the evidence that cruciferous vegetable consumption at any remotely normal level causes hypothyroidism? This study actually found benefits:

    Im about 10mins in and already lots of questionable claims. Waiting for the evidence.

    Sounds like you’re forgetting that the dose makes the poison. You’re backing out justification for this diet with super dubious claims. You’re taking advantage of a basic fluency in biochemistry to fool laymen listeners. Not respectable.

  4. Steve Bossio says:

    Great episode as usual Ben. I’m a little behind as a listener but wanted to comment and give another perspective.
    Looking at it evolutionary in terms of plants wanting to continue to survive as a species as well as migrate to… maybe….a more nutritious area then where it’s currently growing, wouldnt a plant want animals to eat them so the animal would poop and potentially move that plant species to a different location?
    I love meat and meat organs but I also crave plants especially when the light cycle permits them to grow…..I become more of a omnivore in the summer and shift to more of a carnivore in the winter….
    Great points Sal and convincing but for now I’m not buying in to the carnivore diet as of now….
    I will add however, that there have been foods that have caused IBS and the ones that I eliminated where either a fruit or a vegetable (never a meat)….just to give an example, coconut ruined my stomach….took about 2-3 years to develop but once I eliminated everything returned to normal.

    Thanks again Ben!! U da man baby!!

  5. Maxwell Myers says:

    Although I appreciate hearing the best arguments for an alternative perspective, and I am awaiting to see the clinical trials and actual data, there seem to be alot of top-down reasoning and a couple logical fallacies (or at least questions that just may require further elaboration) at play in this discussion.

    1. The implication that you should only have one type of hormetic stressor, either exercise + cold/hot, but if you add the hormetic stress from plant intake it, it becomes too stressful for the body. If the two were the same, and effectively stacking on top of each other, why wouldn’t it be that you could just cut out the exercise and then eat brocolli sprouts every day? Doesn’t excessive exercise also have the potential to cause hormone imbalances? Why don’t we just throw exercise under the bus too while we’re at it?

    -You said that if someone, or an animal were to eat brocolli sprouts every day they would get “really sick”, but I have been eating about half a square foot worth of home grown brocolli microgreens every day for 2 years, and my health and digestion have never been better in my entire life (although I admit there are some confounding variables and a number of other factors to my health regimen). I have no symptoms of an over or under active thyroid, and all thyroid numbers on my last blood panel are within optimum range. Rhonda Patrick’s case studies for the power of sulfurophane are much more convincing than any implication that these things will cause issues in a dose-dependent manner to just about every person exposed to them.

    Also, the reasoning that all plants have evolved not to be eaten would hold true with ruminants as well. Wouldn’t they, (the plants), really HATE to be eaten by cows, lets say, and create toxins which were effective at subduing their real threats? Evolution is not unilateral, it works in both directions, and it stands to reason that we are also well evolved to handle the hormetic stressors these plants are putting out.

    I look forward to understanding the potential therapeutic benefits of this diet for people with auto-immune conditions, but I really think we need alot more science on this.

  6. Jen says:

    Hi there,
    Thank you for this very interesting podcast!
    Due to the high protein intake, doesn’t one’s PH go too acidic on a Carnivore diet?

  7. michelle says:

    I LOVED this podcast, felt like there was some really new, thought-provoking information. My issue, is with trying to actually follow a carnivore diet. I live in suburbia, and order most of my meat. I can find some wild fish and pastured poultry locally, but would have no idea how to get the nose and tails. Certainly I am not able to hunt for my own wild horse.(even if you say it is delicious, Ben) I wonder if putting cuts with tendons and cartilage in my sous vide would make it edible.Thoughts? Does caviar work for the fish roe? I kept thinking that ala Dr. Gundry, pressure cooking veggies breaks down the lectins and makes them edible. I really enjoy eating veggies.

  8. Ben S. says:

    More than a decade after paleo became mainstream, it’s only once in a blue moon that I hear a podcast on food that makes me pause and consider whether there’s any new information underlying why I eat what I eat, so thanks for putting one out!

    One short and one long comment:

    1. I’ve been eating salmon roe for countless years, my body just loves it. If you’ve not tried salmon roe on top of soft scrambled eggs, you may want to check it out… the eggs warm up the salmon roe, and it’s pretty heavenly. Tiny bit of fresh dill on top, or a couple good capers and it’s just perfect.

    2. Most of the podcast seemed to actually be laying out a very orthodox paleo view of the world – which is to emulate as best we can a hunter-gatherer life within the modern world. So of course things like eating chia seeds, quinoa, supplementing with fiber, dairy etc. are going to be off the table, and eating snout to tail is 100% on the menu. But I’m guessing a large percentage of your listeners are long since on this path already. The new wrinkle is simply saying that hunter gatherers, despite foraging a very large variety of things to eat from plants (and despite having dentition and digestive tracts that seem ideally suited to being omnivores with extreme flexibility in food sources) really would be better off if they only ate meat. Ultimately this is one of these things that’s hard to prove, but the support given for this point of view seemed a bit lacking in breadth. Pointing to the Inuit as an example of how hunter gatherers ought to be carnivorous is case in point, since they are living in an environment that gives them only brief opportunities to even find plant foods – but which they actually take advantage of. Calling out the various plant defense mechanisms is good, since we always need to be reminded of this, but this alone isn’t enough to demonstrate that any benefits from plant consumption (hormetic or otherwise) are totally outweighed by these factors and they’re on balance harmful. I suppose in the end my view is that one needs to bring a super-strong set of evidence if you’re arguing that any organism really ought to consume a different diet than what it’s actually evolved consuming and different from what most intact natural examples of the organism were actually observed consuming. It seems to me that there was an incredible seasonable variability and variety in the foods that most wild humans ate, and their lives fell much closer to the original emphasis on maximizing kurtosis by guys like Art De Vany. From that viewpoint, providing rare, intermittent, extreme, and highly random exposure to conditions like a carnivorous diet, fasting, physical exertion, heat, cold, ketogenic states, and even availability of carbohydrates is the prescription that I find most convincing. What I did come away more convinced of is that episodic purely carnivorous eating could be worth adding into the mix, so thanks!

  9. TimmyD says:

    What about for those like me with multiple FTO mutations? The standard thought it to limit saturated fat and get more fat from Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, etc… Or perhaps to just get less fat. And also the idea that if you’re an over-methylator you should avoid lots of meat? Although Ben had said to avoid tons of muscle meat, so perhaps just more organ meat?

  10. Austin B says:

    Dr Saladino, you assert that human biochemistry does not directly utilize plant molecules and that the benefit of polyphenolic compounds and other such things are only their role in stimulating the human body’s own beneficial pathways, albeit with potential unwanted effects from those plants.
    Under this paradigm and following a carnivorous diet, how are these desired pathways activated? Are all of these really possible to activate just from heat/cold therapy, exercise, ketosis and such?

  11. Andy Teichrieb says:

    Great podcast, though I was hoping you would mention something about the idea of vegetables being alkaline and therefore healthy and digested meat being acidic. A while back, on podcast #191, Dr. Ted Morter talked about how too much meat consumption leaves a net acid load. I would like to know how the carnivore diet plays in with pH levels or if this applies.

  12. jack says:

    So Im curious after listening to this can you eat more than 20 grams of protein per meal…. as the mainstream thinking goes that is all your body can metabolize at a time? Thanks.

    1. Nah, this concept has been disproven. Eat away!

      1. Richard says:

        Are your studies sponsored by meat producers?
        Any kickbacks?
        Your advice is irresponsible as only eating meat would make you very ill eventually.

  13. Erik McKenzie says:

    Anyone have a good Jerky Recipe that doesn’t have plant spices or sugar?

    He mentioned he makes a liver jerky, but I’m having a tough time finding a good recipe.

    1. MJ says:

      Haven’t done it myself just yet, but I’d say simply add salt and put it in the oven or dehydrator and follow the rest of whatever recipe you find for time. Could marinate in bone broth or possibly rub it with tallow? Not sure but I’m definitely going to give this a shot now!

  14. Mitch says:

    What about APOE concerns? Ben does this concern you?

  15. Arete says:

    Several thoughts:

    1. S/O to Ben for holding the fort down and getting the good doctor to accept that the carnivorous diet is really a therapeutic option at this point

    2. Also thank you for forcing the debate on “grass fed nose-to-tail” trope. Until Ag policies in this country accept Allan Savory’s approach to generating animal food for humans, most of us are stuck with industrial meat.

    3. I appreciate the caution against going gangbusters on turmeric and broccoli sprouts (all supplements really), but the good doctor needs to stop cherry picking studies and instead address opposing views and why they are wrong—–e.g I quickly glanced at the curcumin reference “the dark side of curcumin” and right next to it was a rebuttal by a different group disputing the DNA damage theory. Since this guest is interpreting other people’s research and not doing the direct research himself, he needs to be more open-minded about opposing views, better yet, publish a peer-reviewed review paper why the opposing views are wrong.

    1. John P says:

      Good points. I also agree with some of Michael Christiansen’s earlier comments. This doctor is definitely sharp and I’m sure he’s right on some things. However, he’s basically a 180 version of plant-based docs (Greger, Fuhrman, Khan, etc.). We’re all somewhat biased as humans and everyone cherry picks here and there. The plant-based (carnivore) modus operandi goes something like this:

      “Every beneficial thing we need is available from plants (animals). Yes, you can get some nutrients/benefits from animals (plants), but they always come with nasty trade-offs. It’s not worth the risk/side effects when you get the same or better benefits from plants (animals).”

      Also, I’m not sure if the microbiome issue can be resolved by ketosis alone. Is that really a complete substitute for a diet rich in prebiotics, probiotics and polyphenols? Admittedly, this is still a new and growing field. But modern hunter-gatherers like the Hadza eat lots of wild fruit and tubers along with fatty meat. And they apparently have no allergies or modern diseases.

      1. It is interesting that vegan/carnivore theses are so similar. I’m obviously biased, but would say that the vegan claims against meat are mostly based on epidemiology likely confounded by healthy user/unhealthy user bias, while arguments against plants can be made at a more mechanistic level and involve known toxic molecules, oxalates, anti-nutrients, digestive enzyme inhibitors, etc.. Regarding long term sustainability and nutrient bioavailability, I don’t even think there’s a question here with a clear winner being animal foods.
        There’s a rapidly growing database of low carb microbiome surveys suggesting the notion that we need fiber/prebiotic fiber to be totally false. There are also studies which suggest fasting increases alpha-diversity, directly challenging this notion, as well.

        1. John P says:

          Dr. Salad(ino)–couldn’t resist since you’re a carnivore,

          Thanks for the response! That’s very interesting. I know we still have a LOT more to learn about the microbiome. It seems like eating for your gut (which most say means prebiotic fiber, yogurt/kefir and other probiotics, etc.) makes sense. If your gut is healthy, having the right microbes might fix everything else. But I know how nutrition keeps changing and we learn new things all the time. I hope we continue getting more data on low-carbers’ microbiomes.

    2. 1. Let’s not undervalue applications of a n2t carnivore diet as a “therapeutic intervention.” If traditional medicine comes around to the notion that dietary interventions such as this can affect autoimmune diseases like IBD, etc. that would represent nothing less than a fundamental paradigm shift and would disrupt a huge pharma industry aimed at these diseases. To suggest that I conceded this is inaccurate. I welcome this application. I also don’t think this is where applications of this type of diet end, however. Athletic performance, overall optimization are viable targets as well
      2. No one is stuck with industrial meat. There are many online options these days which support much more sustainable practices.
      3.Just because a competing group argues against one point regarding curcumin doesn’t invalidate it or invalidate the myriad other issues with this molecule. If you take a look at the other curcumin paper you’ll see that in addition to zero benefits in any RCT ever, curcumin also can negatively affect the hERG channel, as well as native human cells. This molecule is a nothing we should be touting as a panacea. In Turmeric it’s probably benign because it’s not absorbed, but don’t go making it a liposome and circumventing the body’s natural instinct to get rid of it!

      1. John P says:


        One other question. Do you regularly get your blood tests? If so, how does it look? Shawn Baker posted his and some people were concerned about a few things (like his blood sugar). I also heard of a zero carber having a total cholesterol of over 500. However, some other carnivores’ labs looked much better. I also understand the way you interpret cholesterol, blood sugar, etc, readings may be different than most doctors. Thanks.

  16. Robert says:

    this maybe just 1 vote, but the loud swallowing and lip smacking has made this episode not listenable to me.

  17. paracelsus says:

    One quick question:

    If I go on a 100% carnivore diet, shouldn’t I be eating all the meat raw and uncooked like true carnivores do? I think once we transition from this cooked flesh to 100% raw flesh is when we reach the point of maximum returns. Would deep freezing be a way to eat the meat raw and still get rid of the pathogens?

    I think the carnivore diet is already outdated and we need to do this diet raw just like we do for our dogs.

    It’s really comforting to know that eating nose to tail is the perfect multi-vitamin and that there is no need ever for ‘weak-sauce’ plant foods.

    1. There are some great theories around humans as “cucinivores” (cooked food eaters).
      Check this out:
      The idea is that humans have probably eaten cooked food for tens of thousands of years (300-400K according this this paper). With so many generations we are probably well adapted to this, especially when it comes to meat. I don’t see much of an issue eating raw meat if you would like, and agree the freezing process will eliminate most pathogens, but I don’t see it as superior to cooked meat. For what it’s worth I eat most of my steaks pretty darn rare…

  18. Excellent podcast episode. I think it’s important to understand that animal production can and should be environmentally friendly. In fact when done properly it is much more regenerative to environments than destructive annual plant agriculture.

    Please checkout the work of Allan Savory. Animals are the key to solving the environmental crisis.

    1. Love this! Yes! I wish I had spoken about this more during the episode but there is growing interest in the ability of “mob grazing” livestock to reverse the effects of climate change. By allowing animal to graze in a migratory fashion the grasses they feed on become healthier, and these soils more able to store carbon. It’s a cool concept that harkens back to the way buffalo would normal migrate and graze rather than being forced into one part of land for an unnatural amount of time.

  19. Chad says:

    Ben, are you still doing your morning smoothie? If so, how have you modified it to align more with your carnivore approach?

  20. Gary Pollitt says:

    Ben, don’t tubers convert the carbs into EFAs in the gut?

    1. Some resistant starches may be converted to butyrate in the gut but there’s no pathway for converting carbohydrates to essential fatty acids that I am aware of. We must either ingest EPA/DHA or convert ALA into these in the omega 3 pathway. The latter is quite inefficient, however.

  21. MJ says:

    Hello, Ben and Dr. Saladino, and thanks for this informative podcast.

    -At 48 miniutes in the good doctor talks about the benefits of evolving humans having eaten bone marrow and brains, and then that cracking open the skull of an animal is not something than any other mammal or mobile animal can do. I’m a little confused here since it would be trivially easy for most if not all large predators like bears, big cats, and non-mammals like crocodiles, etc. to use the crushing power of their jaws to crunch through the skull of their prey as they have no issues crushing the rest of the bones. Are you saying more that they wouldn’t think to do so? This is definitely not a significant point of contention related to the podcast content, just a bit of curiosity on my part :-)

    -I’d be very interested to see what a sample weekly or bi-weekly carnivore diet looks like for you, Dr. Saladino. And do you supplement with anything, ever?

    -Is there something special about salmon roe, specifically regarding the DHA content relative to the roe of other fish, or is salmon roe just your personal preference for taste?

    -What about fowl eggs – do they fit in with the described carnivore diet?

    -You touched briefly on iodine. What sources do you depend on for your base intake?

    -Are there any animal parts or groups of animals that are best avoided for consumption?

    -Ben, you mentioned a hunting/cleaning course wherein you were taught to clean the whole animal for all usable parts (or something to that effect). Is there a listing for these types of courses or do you just have to know someone in the know? For those of us with zero hunting experience/upbringing it seems to have a pretty high bar for entry.

    1. -As I’ve researched the concept of animals eating brains further I’ve discovered that especially when it comes to bears and other animals eating fish, brains are often the first things eaten. The concept of humans figuring out how to do this is really just hypothesis and you bring up great points, lions have been known to crack the skulls of smaller animals but I bet with megafauna, like mammoths etc., humans might have been the first to figure out how to get into these skulls with tools.
      -For info on my diet check out my instagram (@paulsaladinomd) ! I’m going to do a YouTube video on a full day of eating soon too! Check out my YouTube Channel Paul Saladino MD
      -Salmon roe is the easiest for me to obtain. I also like tobiko, but haven’t researched it as much.
      -Eggs are great! Some are sensitive to whites but yolks are generally well tolerated!
      -Iodine: salomon roe, egg yolks are great sources!
      -I don’t think there’s anything to avoid in an animal!

  22. Brooke says:

    O man I loved this postcast so much. I have my husband listening to it right now. I watched Paul’s YouTube video on what he eats and I still have so may question. It really does seem to be a great elemination diet. I have peraoral dermatitis that will flare up sometimes and I have ADD and anxiety that I manage. I want to try this diet to see if there is a change.

    Paul – Would you recommend eating chicken?, What’s the minimum time to be on the diet to see if it’s helping with my aliments? For being on this diet long term could you incorporate at ‘cheat’ meal once a week?

    Ben – What’s your plan with incorporating this diet? Still eating some berries and cooked veggies, is that the only change?

    Thanks for bringing us a wealth of information on so many interesting parts of wellness.

    1. Jökull says:

      lets us all know how your anxiety and add resolve with this diet…I’m guessing many would be interested ….Good luck.

    2. I would not do cheat meals. From an immunologic perspective, they’re a bad idea. For any elimination diet to be effective, or a valid experiment, I think it needs to be 30 days at a minimum without fluctuation. Less than this and the possibility of recurrent triggering of the immune system cannot be ruled out.
      Chicken is great, prefer organic!

  23. John says:


    Did the guest really mean that humans obtained intelligence from eating animal brains??

    1. There are theories that our increased access to DHA in brains and bone marrow may have contributed to the development of our larger brains, yes.

      1. Jenny Olson says:

        A different explanation to perhaps ponder: At one point: humans actually were able to convert and utilize plants for all functions, meaning that they could solely rely on a plant-based diet. As generations of mutation and degradation both in physical body and actual food/soil, the human gut is now so dysbiotic/enzyme depleted that it is now necessary to have these compounds broken down by animals to make them more bio-available to us.

  24. Jsn says:

    Honestly this seems to fly in direct conflict to almost every prior expert. My own non-expert opinion is that humans are omnivores and some sort of balance will eventually win out as the “perfect” diet for the average human. My question specifically though is that how on earth is muscle gained or performance improved over time on this type of almost no carb at all diet? While I’m on a lower carb diet (100-120 daily) for the health benifits, I’ve also found gaining muscle or any weight at all on any form of healthy type low carb diet relatively impossible. Maybe once someone achieves the top of the hierarchy and eats his fill first in the tribe, he never has to resort to lowly plants. Perhaps that person no longer needs to improve or get stronger? Maybe the carbs are left for anyone with the ability or genetics to eventually outgrow him and take his place? Maybe our perfect diet is some sort of hierarchy evolutionary related circle of life based system lol. In the grand scheme of things we are all trying to improve on and out live our distant ancestors in the end, not just copy them.

    1. It’s a disruptive concept for sure! Thanks for listening. There are lots of reports of plenty of weight gain and strength improvements without carbs! Seems to just be a matter of providing the proper stimulus and surplus calories.

    2. Michael H. says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for engaging in this forum! One big lingering question some of us have is the interaction of a carnivore diet with an APOE4 status. Any reason to think that alzheimers is much less of a concern on this diet than a standard paleo diet high in saturated fat?

  25. Amber Starr Alexander says:

    Well it’s about time. Ha ! I have been rolling my eyes and shaking my head with the trash talking you did on this great way of eating. I love it. Been following the Carnivore way since last Sept. I just wanted to feel less bloat and craved meat so much on Keto. So I gave in and didn’t limit,… it rolled into Carnivore woman mother of 2 under 7 years old. Glad you opened your mind to it. Hope to see if you continue to use your great public platform to share the benefits and pure nourishment of meats and organs. Liver yes, skip the Fava beans ;)

    1. I will be undergoing a more strict carnivore diet over the next month or so to document how I feel, biomarkers, etc. I still believe that plants have a place in the diet, and like all things moderation is key. I'm interested to continue to learn more and more myself.

  26. Stephen Priolo Jr. says:

    Hey Ben, I wasn’t sure of the best medium to reach out to you regarding a question I formulated after listening to this podcast. Though the idea of consuming all parts of an animal seems a bit stomach-churning to the average person on this part of the globe, I was intrigued by the dialogue revolving around the long-listed health benefits as well as the sustainability in doing so. It seems impractical for the average person to have the resources or opportunity (Or know-how) to incorporate this style of eating into their diet, but after the podcast I became much more open to this idea of nose to tail eating. This leads me to my question: Have you ever considered creating a condensed form of an animal, incorporating all of its parts into a bar or powder of sorts that would be somewhat palatable? Do you think something like this could even be possible and/or be something approved by FDA/WHO? Looking forward to your feedback, thanks!

    1. And says:


  27. Floyd Aldrich says:

    Considering all the studies that seem to show coffee is good for people and appears to help autophagy ,I’d like to see why he thinks it’s bad.

    1. Coffee is a fascinating rabbit hole. Let’s remember the context of the discussion is a 20B industry, as well. Most of the studies showing benefits to coffee (only one I’m aware of that suggests autophagy benefits though this isn’t totally clear at the molecular level) are funded by the industry. Negative studies don’t get published, we’ve seen this to be the case in many other areas of science. In the 1980s and 1990s there were toxicological studies done with caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid (found in coffee) which showed clastogenic activity (chromosomal breaks) at levels well within those obtained in a cup of coffee. For me, there are still many unanswered questions here that may threaten a very large industry and thus probably won’t be studied further. The old studies are still valid, however, and shouldn’t be ignored. The overarching theme is the same, coffee is from a seed, these compounds are defense molecules, not nutrients. Then there is the issue of mold, pesticides, acrylamide, caffeine, etc. Hope this helps!

    2. Ando says:

      Everyone I know who drinks coffee every day have terrible mood problems.

  28. Garret Stahl says:

    Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are not tubers. Sweet potatoes are tuberous roots, they are swollen underground root storage organs. You keep sayings “tubers” as if this a category that includes a large number of plants that we eat, but they aren’t. However potatoes (Solanum tuberosom) are tubers, or swollen underground stems, and they are really the only commonly consumed tuber. So rather than saying “tubers” as a category you should really be saying “roots”. Roots would include sweet potatoes, radishes, carrots, parsnips, rutebagas, while also excluding white potatoes as they are not a root. Love the content! Keep it coming!

  29. Sergey says:

    Hi Ben. Do you consume olive oil on carnivore diet. Are there any toxic elements in high quality olive oil?

  30. Nate says:

    Ben, you guys mentioned spending time in hot tub, so I have to ask which sanitization method do you use?

    Our new house has hot tub and I’m concerned about all the chemicals.

  31. Chris Meyer says:

    Will you post your exact diet on your site?

  32. Joe Montana says:

    I’m here in China (on a VPN)… not untypical dinner: chunks of lamb with bone and tendon (the delicacy) which has three layers: meat, fat, skin. I wasn’t a skin eater prior to coming to China 5 years ago, but now I love it. I would say that Westerners are just coming round to an old concept.

    But Ben, if you see these comments, I’ve always really loved your sometimes statement: ”As humans, I think we can outsmart plants.” I took that to mean, when we harnessed fire, we were able to render most lectins harmless. It makes sense to me that humans are omnivores and we thrive on a correct variety of foods, including plants. The talk was certainly interesting.

    1. Cooking doesn’t denature many of the plant toxins, unfortunately! Oxalates, phytic acid, and many plant pesticides persist through cooking. I’d respectfully disagree with Ben here and say that I don’t think we can always outsmart plants and it clearly seems that some plants are real problems for many people. I don’t think there’s much thriving going on when we eat them. Survival, perhaps.

  33. Michael Christiansen says:

    Hmm…Do you guys censor the comments?

  34. Michael Christiansen says:

    I think this proves that there is no full understanding of the human diet at this point. When all sides of the story like vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, carnivore, high carb or mixed, all make compelling arguments and can quote and site all kinds of studies, the rest of us are just left more or less in despair. It kinda pisses me of to be honest. Having people spend time and money on supplements that other people later debunk and call unsafe, like Curcumin and pepper…How are we supposed to know what to do? This is not helping the world. This is making it worse and creating and “us and them” scenario. I’m not saying I know the answers, I’m just letting off some steam in frustration.


    1. Joe Montana says:

      Michael, please know that ”everybody’s sellin’ something”, especially politicians and supplement makers. Use the common sense that mama gave you to filter through it. You came to this podcast to learn something new. It sounds like you learned to be more wary of what you eat. I would say Mission Accomplished.

      1. Michael Christiansen says:

        For sure Joe and thanks. I think I learned a lot and I really appreciate everything Ben and others like him are trying to do. It’s just that when doubt hits you where you thought you where the strongest, it kinda rockes the boat a bit. I mean, Curcumin…. really?? Almost all other dietitians and health care pro’s I’ve listened to would say that it would be the one supplement to bring to a dessert island. That one just messed with me I guess.

        1. Joe Montana says:

          Ya, I hear you. Go to YouTube and search for Sleeper diet (a Woody Allen movie from the 1970s). The guy goes into a 200 year coma. When he wakes up, he asks for wheat germ, organic honey and tigers milk. They laugh at him and tell him that science long ago proved that fat, steak, hot fudge and tobacco were needed for a healthy life.

    2. This is really the point I was making in this podcast: and why I don't believe in a "perfect diet"… With all of the different testing available now it's becoming more and more accessible to understand what diet is right for YOU. A very important point Paul made was that we need to understand this diet as it has tremendous potential as a therapeutic intervention. This could mean it could used to help treat/cure autoimmune conditions, etc and allow people to introduce a more rich, complex diet from a healthier starting point.

    3. Aida says:

      That is how I feel.

  35. Mark says:

    Hi Ben where can I find Dr Mercolas Autophogy tea?

  36. Mike says:

    So basically your not even doing the carnivore elimination diet. You named 15 to 20 items that are clearly not part of the diet that you are going to to use.

    As a human guinea pig / biohacker, why don’t you do the full carnivore diet for 30 days and then do the Ben Greenfield version of the carnivore diet. Does it make sense for you to assess it with your own protocol because then we’re never really going to know if the carnivore diet itself had any profound effect on your biomarkers.

    Love ya Ben!

  37. Leslie Jiang says:

    really to be zero carb? do you think if using juice of tomato to boiling beef will be more healthy since the water are more structured.

  38. Eckhardt says:

    Amazing and deep information!
    Wonderful podcast!

  39. Antwain Wilson says:

    Hey Ben
    You and Paul talked about taking cologne during your recent podcast. What brand do you and or he take and recommend. Thank you !!

  40. Mahalia says:

    This podcast has answered many questions and for that I’m thankful! It has reassured me that it’s okay and healthful to eat this way. I have some questions that arose and maybe right now the only answers will come by trail and error but if anyone knows please reply to my comment.

    Would this change in application to women in childbearing years? I have heard some women have trouble keeping their cycle regular on a ketogenic diet, and that they need to do periodic carb refeeds. Would a woman going on a carnivore diet need time for her body to adapt to the acute stress of fat adaption for her cycle to become regular again? Why would a woman’s cycle become inconsistent on a ketogenic diet? Would consuming thyroid help? Also, is a carnivore diet advisable for pregnancy, breastfeeding, and children? What about food allergies, if the amount of people with food allergies rises when pregnant women and young children avoid peanuts and such, would it still be advisable on a carnivore diet at those stages in life to consume small amounts of allergens so your child doesn’t have to sit at the nut free table? Does anyone have experience or a link to the answers about these questions?

    And again, thank you so much for this informational packed podcast, Even though it was longer than usual I could have listened all day!

    1. This is a great set of questions and certainly seems to be a point of concern in the female community around carnivore and ketogenic diets. As you mention, it’s probably something nuanced that is best addressed on a case by case basis. We definitely do not see ketosis, the absence of carbohydrates or a carnivore type diet (provided it is well constructed and nose to tail) universally resulting in hormonal irregularities in men or women. Many women cycle totally regularly on these types of diets and evolutionarily, it would seem reasonable that periods of carbohydrate scarcity would have been common for women throughout reproductive years and pregnancy and the post-partum period. There are many examples of women with keto-pregnancies without any issues. Young children and babies achieve ketosis quite quickly throughout the day between feeding or overnight, this definitely seems to be a natural state for these populations rather than a stressful condition.
      Regarding those who have had issues with cycle irregularity on keto, I always wonder about other underlying issues. Sometimes transitions like this unmask pre-exisiting nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances that are correctable with detailed investigation. In terms of general, human physiology, however, I don’t believe these types of diets are harmful or interrupt hormonal cycles.
      Regarding thyroid, I also think issues here are often due to baseline abnormalities connected with similar issues. Overall life stress, and nutritional deficiencies can lead to inadequate conversion of T4->T3. We do sometimes see slightly lower T3 on ketogenic diets without significant changes in basal metabolic rate. It’s all quite nuanced and really requires some detailed investigation. The problem is that it’s just so hard to know how people who report issues with cyles, thyroid, etc. are constructing their diets. On an individual basis it’s much easier to find the issues and correct them but as a whole these ideas circulate, gathering attention without really being indicative of a fundamental issue.
      Regarding allergies, it’s hard to say that limiting these foods is really behind the increased incidence of food allergy. This is such a multifactorial process and I’m not sure the underlying immunology is fully understood.
      Hope this helps!

  41. Matthew Lee says:

    Ben and Paul,

    You guys briefly mentioned eggs but I couldn’t determine if they are considered part of a carnivore diet. Do they count as nose to tail because they are basically a whole chicken? Is there anything protecting them from being eaten that is harmful to us?

    Also, nice the fruit of a plant was made to be eaten by an animal in order to help spread the seed, does that mean fruits (without seeds) in moderation are not all that bad, and can be considered part of a carnivore diet?



    1. For most folks, eggs seem to be a great option. Lots of great stuff in there, especially in the yolk! Some do react to the white and avidin, which inhibits absorption of biotin is present in raw egg white and probably still a bit in cooked egg whites.

      The problem with fruit is probably the fructose. It’s hard to see much of a benefit to this molecule, and it appears to create some big problems in terms of insulin resistance and interfering with satiety mechanisms. Fruit may have less plant pesticides but I don’t see much of a benefit to it.

  42. David Hollenbeck says:

    Ben- It’s not the meat that’s bad for the environment it’s the method of raising that meat. Grass fed beef is actually carbon negative. It sequesters carbon in the soil.

    If we converted all of our grain and soy and corn fields back into grassland and grazed animals on them then we could sequester all of the excess carbon in the atmosphere.

    Thanks for a great podcast!


    1. Yes this is an important distinction to make. The waste products of healthy animals ends up being the healthy nutrition for the soil.

    2. Love this! Yes, “mob grazing” could definitely be a positive impact on GHG emissions and grass fed animals are completely different than grain fed in terms of contribution to GHG!

    3. Aleta Davies says:

      David Hollenbeck you nailed what I’ve been telling people for seven years in just four sentences! Nice!

      Were you by any chance at the Savory Institute conference in SF in 2015?


  43. Tyler says:

    For anyone interested, I just looked up Vital Choices 2.2lb (1 Kilo) tray of salmon roe and it comes out to $3.66/oz. I know Dr. Rhonda Patrick has given a verbal endorsement on them before, and I feel sure she looked into it before consuming during her pregnancy. That is about the cheapest I have found from a quality source.

    1. Dru says:

      Can you freeze or refrigerate the roe you are not using? How long does it stay fresh?

      1. It is best to consume it as fresh as possible… If freezing, handle gently to preserve integrity and probably should be consumed within a month or so, to ensure the fats don't oxidize.

  44. irina says:

    Please invite Bart Kay from NZ to speak about the carnivore diet. He is a real treasure on this subject. Jack Kruse had podcast with him. Thank you

  45. Miek says:

    OK, but what’s meaning this all for me as a athlete with asthma and Crohns Disease (both are completely in control since my ketogenic diet)

    1. That’s so great to hear those are improved with a ketogenic diet!!

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