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The wildly popular low-carb diets, such as paleo, that aim to lower carbohydrates and increase animal protein, are toxic to the human body! Anyone on a Paleo type diet is increasing their risk of death from all causes.  We know that diets high in animal protein are linked to weight gain and premature death.  Older women are especially at risk of premature death from heart disease by following these toxic ketogenic diets. Does the danger lie in the low carbohydrate or the high animal protein?

A large cohort of over 100,000 subjects followed for over 20 years has shed light on this matter.  High animal protein consumption is associated with higher all-cause mortality and death from cardiovascular disease.  We have known for years that red meat and processed meat is associated with higher risk of death from cancer and heart disease.  However, it was only last year that the WHO classified processed meat as a carcinogen and red meat a likely carcinogen.

We know that eating diets high in vegetable protein and low in animal protein promote longevity and help reduce risk of heart disease.  When we look at living populations that have exceptional longevity such as the Okinawan elders and the elders from Loma Linda, plant protein is a major factor in promoting health and longevity.  Longevity hotspots from around the world have beans as a staple part of their diet.  Sadly, Paleo advocates recommend against eating beans.

When we examine living populations that have the highest rates of longevity, Blue Zones, they are eating a predominantly plant-based diet.  The foods consumed by these long lived cultures are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and complex carbohydrates.  In contrast,  organic grass fed beef can be considered a toxic food with empty calories compared to vegetables.  

What is the nutritional profile of about 3 ounces of grass fed beef?  It is calorically rich and nutrient poor, which is code for empty calories!  It is high in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium with can damage vascular endothelial cells and leads to heart disease. It has no fiber which is helpful for regularity. The toxic protein load in meat leads to putrefaction in the gut. There is no carbohydrates which sustains energy throughout the day.  It is essentially devoid of vitamins except for a small amount of vitamin B12.  It is low in minerals except for zinc.  It has  low omega-3 fatty acid content, and it is high in harmful omega-6 fatty acids.  Grass fed beef has a toxic protein load that can adversely affect our gut microbiome and increase the risk of colon cancer.  Red meat and processed meats can increase the risk of colon cancer by up to 30%.

The next time a someone recommends bone broth protein or grass fed beef as panacea for IBS, leaky gut, joint pain, etc, refuse this huckster.  There are countless quacks online selling toxic products harmful to human health.  Ask yourself, what is the secret to the healthiest, longest lived cultures on the planet?  They eat a healthy plant-based diet, get plenty of movement, and they stay away from charlatans selling snake oil and bone broth protein!