Carnivore Diet Myths Debunked, Hard Questions About Meat Vs. Plants, Are Broccoli Sprouts Really Bad For You & Much More With Dr. Paul Saladino.

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Digestion, Fat Loss, Low Carb & Ketogenic Diet, Nutrition, Podcast

I recently got my hands on Dr. Paul Saladino's new book The Carnivore Code

Now, if you don't know who Paul is, then you must listen to my previous episodes with him, including:

Since interviewing Paul, he published this new book on the carnivore diet, and after reading it, I had plenty of tough questions for him, including:

  • How do we *know* the reason our stomachs became 1000x more acidic than a chimp is because of animal food consumption?
  • Is the decline in height and health fully attributable to plants/agriculture, or could it be due to industrialization, crowded cities, etc?
  • Why do you say present hunter-gatherers no longer have access to large game?
  • You say herbivores can detoxify plant toxins, but we can't. How do they do it?
  • All the isothiocyanate studies are in vivo for human cells. How positive are you the results are replicated in vitro?
  • You say hypothyroidism/crucifer intake is *reported* in Western culture. What's that mean, exactly? Anecdotes?
  • When you list the “Bad News Gang,” like cigarettes, alcohol, etc. couldn't you just as easily lump exercise, cold, heat, sunlight, etc. in with factors that turn on NRF2? If so, how do you personally describe your differentiation between good vs. bad NRF2 activators?
  • The studies showing value for the elimination of fruit/vegetable consumption are pretty short (10-12 weeks). Any longer-term studies? And did these studies factor in how the produce was being prepared (e.g. presence of oils, organic vs. inorganic, etc.)?
  • When you say “high intake of isoflavones causes endocrine disruption,” how much is high? Same thing with Chaga for liver cancer. Isn't that a shit-ton of Chaga?
  • If polyphenols reduce intestinal enzyme production, couldn't other plant compounds, such as bitters/herbs/spices, along with adequate chewing, combat that by increasing enzyme production?
  • You say resveratrol has repeatedly shown a lack of value in human studies, but what about Sinclair's research? Hasn't he shown the opposite?
  • I found it fascinating the claim that plant-based eaters still “crave” or are attracted to meat, but how is an event-related potential (ERP) measured exactly?
  • You say that carbohydrates that accompany plant fiber can spike insulin. That's painting with a pretty broad brush, isn't it? I think the lion's share of plants doesn't result in an appreciable insulin spike, do they?
  • You say meat is not associated with cancer, but what about if active tumor growth already exists? Would you change anything if you had cancer?
  • The study on telomere length being increased only by red meat was an observational study on 28 people. Any other studies looking directly at telomere or Horvath clock responses to plant vs. animal intake that are larger, more robust, or non-observational?
  • You say that fruits are seeds coated in natural candy, but can't we eat the fruit flesh and “leave the seeds behind?”
  • What do you say about all the studies showing reduced risk of liver cancer, diabetes, etc. amongst regular coffee drinkers?
  • You say unrendered fat is your preference. Any studies on rendered vs. unrendered fat health, nutrient quality, etc?
  • You say oleosins from coconut/olive oil may cause a strong allergic reaction. How conclusive is that?

Whew! You'd think after all these questions, Paul would let me know I'm being a total pain in the butt, but instead, he graciously offered to do a solosode answering all these questions and highlighting many other up-to-date details on the carnivore diet.

If you're a visual learner, check out the video below of Paul recording this solosode, in which he includes all of the studies and graphs that he goes over during this podcast.

In Paul's solosode, you'll discover:

-An overview of the carnivore diet…6:45

  • Animal-based diet
  • Animal food, specifically red meat, and saturated fats have been vilified incorrectly
  • Paul's podcast with Nina Teicholz
  • Book: The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz
  • Four parts to Paul's book:
    • Red meats, organs, etc. are critically important to the human diet
    • Plant foods exist on a toxicity spectrum (defense mechanisms which may be harmful to us)
    • Debunking myths of meat
    • How to eat a carnivore diet (five different tiers)
  • Soil carbon is the best metric for the existence of humans; have plants and animals together on the same land

-“Rabbit starvation” and the ideal ratio of protein to fat to shoot for…15:40

  • Protein is the center of the carnivore diet
  • Start with 1 g of protein per pound of body weight per day
  • Rabbit starvation:
    • “Protein poisoning”
    • Don't get enough fat and/or carbs to provide ATP to run detox processes in the body
  • Hyperammonemia results when protein intake is not balanced with fats and carbs
  • Amino acids used for metabolism; oxidized for glucose or become ketones
  • Urea cycle:
    • The graphic Paul references in the audio
    • Proteins get broken down into ketone bodies or glucose; there remains a nitrogen group
    • Nitrogen combines with carbon dioxide and forms ammonia, which is toxic to the body
    • Urea is a water-soluble form of the nitrogen which is excreted in the blood
  • There's a ceiling to the amount of protein a human can consume
  • Graphic showing inputs of ATP into the urea cycle
  • The problem of energetics: Cannot run the human body on amino acids exclusively for long
  • Study: A Review of Dietary Protein Intake in Humans
    • Maximum Rate of Urea Synthesis (MRUS)
  • Shoot for 10-30% of calories from fats and/or carbs to regulate metabolism

-How plants and agriculture have contributed to the decline in human height and health…27:45


-Why present hunter-gatherers no longer have access to large game…35:45

  • Megafauna (very large animals) represented major sources of fat for humans
  • Since the extinction or banning of hunting on large game, humans must rely more and more on carbs than fat to balance protein
  • Plant foods are “fall back” foods; they're not bad, but not ideal
  • Fruits are the least toxic of all plant foods; they are meant to be eaten
  • Low carb diets can be helpful in the case of metabolic dysfunction
  • Polyunsaturated vegetable oils, linoleic acid, etc. causes mitochondria to become broken
  • Indigenous people are limited by modern laws banning the hunting of large game; forced to “fall back” on plant foods

-How our stomachs became 1000x more acidic than that of a chimp because of animal food consumption…39:45

-Why herbivores can detoxify plant toxins, but humans cannot…51:45

  • Saliva breaks down polyphenols like tannins
  • Plants exist on a toxicity spectrum
    • No defense other than chemicals they develop
    • “Arms race” between plants and animals and fungi for the last 450 million years
  • CYP 450 system in the human liver
  • Humans have not eaten predominantly plants as an herbivore has for 3 million+ years
  • Ruminant animals can detoxify many plant toxins in the rumen, foregut
  • Paper: The Coevolution of Poisonous Plants and Large Herbivores on Range Lands
    • A generalized diet that reduces the probability of eating a toxic amount of any one species
  • There are no nutrients in plants that humans cannot obtain by eating properly raised and prepared animal foods
  • Animals foods contain “zoa” nutrients not found in plants
  • Leafy greens, nuts, and seeds may be causing major problems in our microbiome
  • Eat them rarely, and with a large variety
  • The human diet consists of around 12 different plants in various forms

-Studies on the effects of isothiocyanates in humans…1:01:55

-The difference between environmental and molecular hormesis…1:06:53

-How a high intake of isoflavones causes endocrine disruption…1:22:40

-Why resveratrol has limited value for humans…1:29:45

-How to measure event-related potentials (ERP)…1:37:00

-Whether or not plants spike insulin levels…1:40:20

-Carnivore diet and cancer…1:53:25

-The correlation between meat intake and telomere length…1:57:48

-Lightning round questions…2:05:10

  • “You say that fruits are seeds coated in natural candy. Can we just eat the fruit flesh and leave the seeds behind?”
    • Tier 1 carnivore diet can include fruit but do not eat the seeds
    • If you are not insulin resistant, you can include carbs
  • “You say unrendered fat is your preference. Any studies on rendered vs. unrendered fat health and/or nutrient quality?”
    • Both are good
  • “You say oleosins from coconut/olive oil may cause a strong allergic reaction. How conclusive is that?

-And much more!


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

Resources mentioned in this episode:

– Paul Saladino:

– Books:

– Studies and articles:

– Food & Supplements:

– Other resources:

Episode sponsors:

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Got a question about the carnivore diet for Dr. Paul Saladino or me? Just drop a comment below and one of us will reply!

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22 thoughts on “Carnivore Diet Myths Debunked, Hard Questions About Meat Vs. Plants, Are Broccoli Sprouts Really Bad For You & Much More With Dr. Paul Saladino.

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  3. Steve B says:

    Hey Guys – I believe there is some truth to what Paul is saying but not year round. I live in New Jersey and generally eat lots of veggies in the summer but switch to a carnivore diet in the winter. I follow the rule that if my environment doesn’t allow plant life to flourish than I should be hunting instead of gathering. I believe that all diets make sense but that would depend on your season. I love veggies especially tomatoes but…..I truly feel better both mentally and physically when I’m carnivore during the winter months vs mainly veggies and some meat during the summer months. Not about to go all carnivore since I love my veggies but for me at least, I may be better off on a nose to tail carnivore diet…..interested and a little confused….thanks for coming on Paul and thanks Ben for another great podcast!

  4. Steve says:

    I found much of what Dr. Saladino says to be well infromed and to make sense when he makes the case for nose to tail nutrition.

    I was not convinced by the case made against plants at all. Though he’s not saying don’t eat them, he’s trying to make the case that anything that lowers iodine is bad. Period. Doesn’t matter how much it lowers it, nor how much difference that makes to a good diet.
    Also the case has been made against plant toxins as anti-nutrients as well as other mechanisms and we know that even herbavores will mix up their plants, seemingly to avoid overdosing on the toxins.
    I don’t believe that this makes a full case against plants. I think we need a more nuanced and balanced look at plants, toxins, etc that weight the effects and look at the overall diet and not just isolating one aspect of a plant.
    This tendency to look for some effect, some mechanism and then isolate that from the overall complex in the plant (or drug, animal whatever) is an issue in science in general when it’s time to draw conclusions. We strive to isolate effects and study them. Then we lare drawn to conclude that we now have a complete viewpoint on that item and can put it in a good or bad category. Later, we learn more and there is a contradiction, we learn that the first effect or mechanism that people jumped on turned out to have a lower impact and there are other factors that counterbalance.
    This can be illustrated with the whole anti-oxident focus, which Dr. Saladino draws on repeatedly to make determinations. We are now finding that oxidation is a complex process that our bodies utilize in many ways and that simply blindly boosting it in the pro or anti direction or devalueing one vs the other is a reductionism that will not serve us well.

    The interesting new understanding of the value of Stearic acid fat rides on this very point, that our bodies’ oxidation balance is important, not just pro, not just anti. See “fire in a bottle.”

    I found the case against Resveratrol to be poorly supported. He seems to be determining that “all the utitilty of this molecule is based on mouse studies and those are not useful compared to human studies.” “And so, let’s look at one human study, about one aspect of what Resveratrol may do, and sinceit doesn’t do that, then we can extrapolate from that one thing it doesn’t affect to conclude that the mouse studies are inaccurate as a whole and with no further human studies (cited) well, then, it’s not useful.

    Finally, in disparaging molecular hormesis, I found Dr Saladino has also made a weaker case. It is based on the same reductionist mentality that says that there should and must be one clear thing happening. Molecules have a host of effects, not to mention plants with their large and diverse profile of molecules. Perhaps this bothers Dr. Saldino, as it’s messy, I think. Though he misses the point that environmental hormesis is not so simple. Cold can help, cold can harm. Heat, any hormetic stress will depend on the dose, the timing, and finally, something a scientist may tend to have more trouble with than an herbalist, it depends on the “gestalt” the overall picture, situation, dose, mix of other dietary and environmental influences emotions, etc. The provenance of the plant. This stuff is just too complicated for science at this point. But that does not mean it’s not valid. It means that intuition still has a large role that science has yet to supplant. We need both.

    In sum, great info, and good case made for carnivore diet, not so great case made against plants, though mass plant agriculture is a subset practice that has clear drawbacks. Like everything, we want to pay attention to the science, realize it’s always incomplete and overly reductionist (at best !) and so use our own instincts and observations to temper our integration of the best and latest facts into our behaviour.

  5. Melissa Preston says:

    I am new to the biohacking/functional medicine world. I just completed my functional medicine health coaching certification, I work under a IFM physician and dietitian for my own personal health journey and I am open to experimenting with my own genetics to bio hack my personal issues. With that being said, I think I worry about the newbies who are willing to adapt any food plan or biohacking idea to get results. I too, hope Ben will shed some light on the comments above and head warning that we all need to research and understand our own body’s personal needs before we go believing everything thats out there. If we want to do things right then get the testing done and see what your individual genetics, microbiome, etc. needs or has excess of and then make changes appropriately. I enjoyed the podcast and I applaud Ben for giving Paul the platform to speak openly on what he is passionate about but like anything, we need to take it with a grain of salt. “Reading is important-read between the lines. Don’t swallow everything”. -Gwendolyn Brooks

  6. Gwen Bridge says:

    no indigenous groups living in the states….wow. this is so misinformed, not your fault. its the systemic perpetuation of the blindness of the original people and the failure of the education system. I happen to be an indigenous person, still here, still eating almost nose to tail….

  7. a helm says:

    How does he think he is an expert? His scientific research credentials indicate neither focused study nor expertise. Exposure is one thing…sensitivity and expertise along with broad well balanced perspective is another. Too biased a presentation. Presents like a know it all. Hard to listen to,.

  8. Tyler says:

    Major cherry picking of studies. Had to search deep for some of these. For .every study showing plant compounds are harmful there are dozens more showing their benefits.

    Also slams Sinclair for using mouse studies but then uses one with sea ellagans to prove his.

    1. Jim says:

      Most of Paul’s studies were also on rats. All sounds super bogus

    2. Hi Tyler,

      It’s important to distinguish between epidemiology and interventional studies. Interventional studies done well may be considered to stand on their own. Are there other interventional studies with plant compounds you’d like to offer to complement those I have provided?

  9. Susana Rodrigues says:

    I just came here for the comments, honestely if i believe every expert on food i would just starve myself

  10. Jahroman says:

    – That psychiatrist needs to have his head checked if he thinks 40%+ of people on the Carnivore diet eat nose-to-tail from regenerative farms as stated on Dr. Mercola. Or just buy his organ pills
    – How exactly does nose-to-tail work when less than 5% of the butchered cow by weight is heart, liver, spleen? That equals one organ meal a week and the rest steaks.
    – Zach Bush and researchers from top universities all say eat as much fiber as possible for microbiome diversity- our
    ancestors ate 100-150 grams daily.
    – Many plants growth/health is drastically improved after a major pruning/cut back and the study he cites on “Concentrations of thiocyanate and goitrin in human plasma, their precursor concentrations in brassica vegetables, and associated potential risk for hypothyroidism” concludes eating most brassica vegetables prevent cancer, just don’t eat more than 2lb of Russian Kale daily for an extended period.
    – His “plants, just like medicines should have warning labels” by could be extended to breathing air, exercising, eating meat (increased IGFi = cancer) and living in general.

    I do eat animal based foods several times a week because they taste good…

  11. Jason says:

    I listen to Ben, read his material (books, blogs, etc.). I consider him tip of the spire in this space and have led a lot of people to him. Personally I eat a grass fed and plant based diet, take many of the supplements recommended in Boundless thus was really curious about this podcast and it’s content. I left feelingly confused and demoralized. That’s fine if it’s the truth but now I don’t know what to believe and hope Ben will clear this up, as I’ve counted on him to do with other contradictory and diametrically opposed subjects with experts backing them. Chief of red flags for me were his positions on Curcumin, Resveritrol, and Sulforaphane, to mention only a few…all of which appear to be broadly supported by the data and experts. In fact I’ve followed Rhonda Patrick’s work on Sulforaphane, as well as Dr. Kaufman and others, and have been growing and eating broccoli sprouts for two years now as a result. Again I could go on, just hoping to get some clarity from Ben here.Thanks for all you do Ben, and in advance for clearing this up. ;-)

    1. Yes I agree.. not being an expert in this field, but avid follower of Ben and all the related advice, I always get confused (and intrigued) when listening to Paul. But after this one I also felt somewhat demoralised. As if all my efforts (and money spent) so far have been a waste of time (just as you stress). Doing me more harm than good?
      I’m never sure what to do. Give up plants and go carnivore for a few months? Not easy for me as I have never been big on meat..but also, I don’t want to go galloping down a completely different path from the one I’m on now, if there is another side to this – and let’s face it – the vast majority of people/docs/scientists Ben interviews, are big plant advocates.
      Having said that I deeply respect Paul’s work – always want to find out more – and he always looks in optimal health. I am just so confused by the conflicting advice.
      I can’t digest the information shared in any depth in order to critique or agree – I’m just not qualified to do so. But Ben is – and I would really appreciate his thoughts on the subject. (And those thoughts updated from previous podcasts with Paul where he has said why he has a balance of both plants and meat.)

  12. Stephanie says:

    Long time listener and huge Ben Greenfield fan but I just couldn’t stomach this “interview”. I think with something so new and potentially controversial as the carnivore diet it would have been better if it could have been Ben leading the interview and cutting Dr. Saladino off to question him instead of Saladino just pontificating for two hours. You want to tout the benefits and dispel health myths around meat? Fine! But I think you can do that without demonising plants. The minute he started rambling about how meat is great for you and plants are the devil I was done. I couldn’t listen to one more second of this. This is no different than the self-congratulatory vegans who need to tell everyone they are awful for eating meat. Everyone’s different. Eat what works for you.

  13. Miroslava says:

    . Awesome presentation! Thanks

  14. Vansh says:

    This is the most absurd , snake oil recommendation i have ever heard .

    Just read an amazon review of a reader , who has taken Dr. Paul Saladino’s personal consultation and now moved to a plant based diet , reaping good results finally . Amazon review is copy pasted below ::

    Dharmatech

    1.0 out of 5 stars Carnivore movement is still too young to make authoritative claims

    Hey Paul!

    I’ve been following you for a while and appreciate a lot of your information. Why the 1 star review?

    I think it’s way too early in the carnivore era to make any authoritative claims. Your book makes some of these but a few are already out of date.

    From page 243 of the kindle edition:

    “What About Chicken, Turkey, and Other Birds? … all of these are totally fine to include on a carnivore diet”

    However, your YouTube video from June 23rd is titled “Why chicken is killing you”. Your advice drastically and completely changed between February and June (4 months).

    From page 233 of the kindle edition:

    “Honey is another fructose-rich food that probably should not make up a significant proportion of any healthy diet. Evidence of tooth decay in avid honey eaters within certain African tribes and Pacific islanders stands as further testament of the potential dental downsides to over-consumption of sugar-rich food.”

    Your video from June 17th is titled “Should You Be Brushing Your teeth With Honey?”. You also have videos on June 1st, 5th, 6th advocating experiments with honey.

    On March 13th 2019 after a consultation with you, your email to me with personalized recommendations stated to take 1g of KCl (potassium choloride) daily. However, your book then states on page 233:

    “I do not recommend oral supplementation of potassium, and have not found this to be helpful or necessary.”

    I know that your advice on whether or not to grill meat has changed over time (you use to warn against it but on the Mark Bell podcast you said not to worry about it). Your advice on bone meal has also changed over time.

    From page 249 of the kindle edition:

    “Tier 5 is what I would consider to be the closest thing to an ideal version of the carnivore diet. It’s how I eat every day”

    However, in you recent videos, you’ve explained that you’ve been “experimenting with carbs” honey and various vegetables.

    The blurb on Amazon says “Dr. Saladino is the leading authority on the science and application of the carnivore diet”. In tour video from 2018 November 4th, you say “I’ve been doing this diet for about a month”. So as of the books printing, you’ve personally been doing this diet for a little over a year. I don’t think there’s anybody in this space who is an authority; it’s simply two new of a space. Even Dr Shawn Baker who really kicked things off when he was on the Joe Rogan podcast is much more conservative about the claims he makes regarding this diet.

    If commit to your tier 5 diet as you describe in your book for 20 years or so and you enjoy the results and you’re still ready to promote them, I think then you can maybe say you’re an authority in the space.

    You also make no mention some concerning issues that arise in the carnivore diet space. For example, the elephant in the room, testosterone and hormone level issues. Ben Greenfield, after experimenting with a carnivore diet, had higher than recommended SHBG and free testosterone at the low end of normal. In the video of your consultation with Karnivore Kurt on 2019 August 17th, you say “your free testosterone and total testosterone are pretty low. Your dihihydrotestosterone is really low too”. And these were his results after 7 months on a carnivore diet. At a later review, his SHBG was 103 (reference range 16-55). Dr Shawn Baker famously shared his blood work and his testosterone numbers were low. And finally, coming to your own bloodwork, on January 8th, 2019, your Instagram post shows that your free testosterone was was low and SHBG was high and that you had to take boron to resolve this. Is the next edition of your book going to recommend supplementing with 10mg of boron as you did to radially change your numbers? And the readers of your book who take your advice and don’t have time to follow your instagram; are they just not going to get that extra bit of information and thus end up with numbers like Greenfield, Kurt, Baker, and yourself?

    I think it’s awesome that you’re experimenting in this field and others and is one of the reasons I follow you. I think a book like this however should come with a warning like “any and all of this advice is subject to change and become out of date”. These are still the early days of this diet. A meat only diet is proven to help with certain acute conditions. However, we don’t yet know the long term affects on a wide scale.

    So what worked for me and what am I currently doing diet wise?

    After two years of doing a mostly carnivore diet (with occasional cheats) I’m experimenting with a plant-based diet. My blood pressure (which was in the 140s-160s on carnivore) is in the 117 range. A chronic hip issue I’d had during carnivore is now gone. I can run faster than I used to. My heart palpitations (which were persistent on carnivore) are now gone. The advice you gave me to take electrolytes for the palpitations never really worked long term. Attaining a high potassium to sodium ratio with plant based foods did the trick for me.

    What I have found is that different diets work well for different people at different times. At this point in my life, plants are working even better than meat. Meat and salt worked well to reset some things for a period in my life. But I’m so happy that I was eventually able to move beyond that limited diet. (Even Jordan and Mikhaila Peterson who you cite as inspiration in this book have expressed the desire to move beyond a carnivore only diet.) I do disagree with your stance that plant foods are as bad as you make them out to sound for all people.

    1. Jonathan says:

      Agreed

      1. Erika says:

        Agreed I have my personal history to no follow this type of diet, after doing the carnivore diet I did damage my kidneys, I developed alopecia, my bread stinks, after going back to eat a balance diet of organic vegetables and little grass feed meat my health and my kidneys are starting to get back to normal, thanks god i stoped this ridiculous diet, I did it for 6 months and I never felt so bad in my life

        1. Hi Erika,

          So glad to hear you are doing better now. I’m always curious to hear what works or doesn’t work for different people. Would you mind sharing a bit about how you constructed your carnivore diet?

    2. Erika says:

      My Grandmother is 98 years old perfect health, none of the modern day deseases, she eat mainly plant base I will say 80% organic vegetables and 20% only grass feed animals or wild rabbits etc, none of the problems this doctor mención about eating vegetables, is nor long term studies of what happen when you follow this type of eating for 20+ years….

    3. Erika says:

      I was also experiencing hip pain on the carnivore diet and now that I am mainly plant base is all gone,
      I just listen to my body now and won’t follow trendy diets….like this one

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