• Home  / 
  • Blog  / 
  • Low Carb
  •  /  Paul Saladino, MD: The Carnivore Diet, Plant Toxins, Antioxidants, Curing Disease, Inflammation, Hormetic Stress, Fiber, Animal Protein, Alkalinity, Sodium, Fruit, Saturated Fat, Sperm Quality, Longevity, And More!

The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #4 - Paul Saladino, MD

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 the College of William and Mary, 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.


LEARN MORE AT:

Podcast: Fundamental Health with Paul Saladino MD
paulsaladinomd.com 
paulsaladinomd.com/newsletter
instagram: @paulsaladinomd
twitter: @mdsaladino
Youtube: Paul Saladino MD

SHOWNOTES

​2:30 - LISTEN ON HIMALAYA!: ​Download the free Himalaya App (www.himalaya.fm) to FINALLY keep all your podcasts in one place, follow your favorites, make playlists, leave comments, and more! And with Himalaya, you can LISTEN TO ​THE MELANIE AVALON PODCAST 24 HOURS IN ADVANCE!! ​

02:50 - BUTCHER BOX:  Grass-Fed Beef, Organic Chicken, Heritage Pork,  Wild-caught Seafood, And More, All Nutrient-Rich, Raised Sustainably The Way Nature Intended, And  Shipped Straight To Your Door! Go To Butcherbox.com/Melanieavalon And/Or Use The Code MELANIE20 For $20 Off Your Order, And Free Grass-fed Ground Beef For Life!

08:20 - ANCESTRAL SUPPLEMENTS: Grass-Fed, Pasture-Raised Organ Supplements From New Zealand, Which Contain NO Fillers! Taking These Supplements Can Help Fill In Nutritional Deficiencies And Supercharge Your Health, Without The Need To Actually Eat Beef Organs (For The Squeamish Among Us!)  Use This Link With The Code IFAST To Get 15% Off!!

10:45 - Pauls' Medical History 

13:30 - How Paul Came To Carnivore

15:30-  Our Modern Medicine Paradigm And Finding The Root Cause Of Illness 

17:30 - Is There One Optimal Diet For Everyone?

20:30 - Curing "Incurable" Diseases With Diet

22:50 - The connection between inflammation and health 

24:15 - Melanie's carnivore history 

26:35 -The Importance of Eating Nose To Tail 

28:40 - Does A Carnivore Diet Provide All Necessary Nutrients? What About Vitamin C?

32:20 - the Role Of Antioxidants, Plant Toxins, Polyphenols, And Nutrient Availability 

41:00 - The Hormetic Stress Of Plants (Including Sulforaphane, Resveratrol, Curcumin)

51:05 - What About Plant-Based Long Lived Societies? 

52:10 - Do Plants Support Liver Detox? (Ie: Milk Thistle)

55:45- The Blue Zones

Lifestyle and reduced mortality among active California Mormons, 1980-2004 

Food intake diet and sperm characteristics in a blue zone: a Loma Linda Study

1:01:35 - Factors Influencing Longevity

1:05: 05 - Animal Protein, IGF-1, And mTOR

The Longevity Paradox: How to Die Young at a Ripe Old Age (The Plant Paradox)

1:07:50 - Veganism And Longevity 

1:10:35 - Epidemiology and Healthy User Bias

01:14:15 - Food Sense GuideGet Melanie's App To Tackle Your Food Sensitivities! Food Sense Includes A Searchable Catalogue Of 300+ Foods, Revealing Their Amine, Histamine, Glutamate, Oxalate, Salicylate, Sulfite, And Thiol Status. Food Sense Also Includes Compound Overviews, Reactions To Look For, Lists Of Foods High And Low In Them, The Ability To Create Your Own Personal Lists, And More! 

1:15:45- The Role Of Fiber In Digestion And Bowel Movements

Stopping or reducing dietary fiber intake reduces constipation and its associated symptoms

1:20:00 - Fiber And Toxin-Binding

1:26:20 - Do We Need Plants For Alkalinity? 

1:35:45 - Thoughts On Wim Hof?

For Wim The Power Of Cold: Resilience, Immunity, Fat Burning, And More!

01:40:35 - SLEEP REMEDY: Sleep Remedy Is The Ultimate Sleep Supplement, Developed By Dr. Kirk Parlsey After Years Of Research To Naturally Restore Sleep To The Sleep-Deprived, Insomniac Navy Seals. Rather Than Knocking You Out With Drugs, Sleep Remedy Provides The Necessary Neurotransmitters And Nutrients In The Perfect Amounts To Naturally Support Your Body's Sleep Process. Use The Code MELANIEAVALON For 10% Off!!

The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode # 3 - Dr. Kirk Parsley

01:41:40 - Paleo OMAD Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life: Join Melanie's Facebook Group To Discuss And Learn About All Things Biohacking! All Conversations Welcome!

1:42:15 - Carnivore And The Gut Microbiome 

1:46:45 - Carnivore and Fasting 

1:47:15 - What about fruit?

2:01:55 - The Role Of Sodium On A Carnivore Diet

2:03:40 - High Blood Sugar On Carnivore Diets

2:05:00 - Hacking Carnivore With Lean Meats And Plant Fats?

2:06:10 - Saturated Fats, MCTs, And Ketones

2:09:00 - Who Can Do Carnivore? How To Start?

TRANSCRIPT

Melanie Avalon:
Hi everybody, so I am so excited about the guests that we have on today's show. We have Dr. Paul Saladino. Paul, when I first decided to start this show, I made a list of all of the guests that I wanted to bring on. And I immediately wrote your name at the top of the list. So I am so excited about this moment because I've been obsessed with the carnivore diet and the concept of it actually before it was even a thing, like I've been thinking about the carnival diet for maybe 10 years. I kind of experimented with something similar about 10 years ago, but before I get into all of the rabbit holes and tangents, first of all, thank you so much for being here. How are you doing today?

Paul Saladino:
I'm doing so good. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me on. It's so flattering to hear that I was at the top of your list. Hopefully, I can deliver.

Melanie Avalon:
No, you are because you've been making, it's like you've been making the rounds on all the podcasts. And I've been listening to your interviews. And I was like, yes, finally somebody who is really discussing the carnivore diet from a very scientific medical perspective. And you have that background. So for listeners, Dr. Saladino, he studied chemistry at the College of William and Mary. And then you spent like six years traveling and exploring. So you're very nuanced, and you have seen the world. He became a physician assistant and practiced in cardiology, and then got his MD from the University of Arizona. And you're also a fortified functional medicine practitioner, and word on the street is you are completing your residency in psychiatry right now at the University of Washington. Are you almost done with that right now?

Paul Saladino:
I'm pretty much done. Yeah. I've finish in like a week from when we record this. So it's a four year residency after four years of medical school. And yeah, I'm basically done with residency now. So done with that and moving on to bigger and better things.

Melanie Avalon:
Well, congratulations.

Paul Saladino:
Thank you.

Melanie Avalon:
You have quite the resume going on.

Paul Saladino:
Well, it was a fun time. I mean I didn't have a traditional path. It's been a little bit of circumlocution in some ways. It's been a wandering, meandering, fun path. And I got to spend six years traveling the world and skiing in the back country and exploring New Zealand and all these places. And perhaps that's where curiosity grows from or my sort of incorrigible nature or my inability to follow rules. I don't know. But I like to question things, and it's been a fun journey so far.

Melanie Avalon:
I have to ask, when you were in New Zealand, did you ever go to the, like where they filmed Lord of the Rings and things like that?

Paul Saladino:
Well, I mean I was there before they filmed Lord of the Rings. I was there in 2000. And I think I was in a lot of those locations. I basically went everywhere in New Zealand, so many places. The North Island and the South Island. It was before I was planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. So after I got back from New Zealand, I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, which is a contiguous wilderness trail that goes from Mexico to Canada through the wilderness mountains of California, Oregon and Washington. And in preparation for that, I spent four months just traveling and hiking all the back country trails that I could find in New Zealand. So I probably did go to a lot of the places where they filmed Lord of the Rings. It had yet to be crowned as the Lord of the Rings sort of set at the time, but it was pretty majestic.

Melanie Avalon:
That is amazing. That's on my bucket list. I love those movies, and it just looks so, so beautiful.

Paul Saladino:
Oh, you should definitely go. It's an amazing spot, and it's pretty safe, and the back country is amazing.

Melanie Avalon:
Maybe I'll go as a carnivore.

Paul Saladino:
You should. They have no shortage. They have no shortage of amazing pasture raised animals there.

Melanie Avalon:
All right, well, we'd like to tell listeners a little bit more about your medical background and how you began experimenting with the carnivore diet, or what led you to where you are today, before we get into the science of it.

Paul Saladino:
Yeah, so my dad's a physician. I think I grew up steeped in medicine. And I grew up thinking about health and wellness. I remember asking my dad when I was 12 years old, what causes atherosclerosis? I don't know if I knew that word then, but in my mind that's the way I remember it. I remember myself as a precocious 12 year old asking what causes atherosclerosis? And he said, nobody knows. And atherosclerosis is the process of sort of plaque formation, fatty streak formation inside an artery wall. And for whatever reason, that illness, that pathology held me fascinated when I was a kid. And I wanted to understand what was causing that. And he said, no one knows. And I thought, well, that's not, that can't be true, like I'm going to figure that out. I'm going to think a lot about what causes atherosclerosis.

Paul Saladino:
And throughout my career in medicine, basically from the time that I finished my vagabond days of gallivanting and skiing in the back country and hiking mountains, when I started PA school, I was sort of always interested in what caused things, what was at the root of something. When you start medicine, it's very overwhelming, and you're sort of flooded with this fire hose of information about human physiology and medications and how to treat things and how to address illness. But the most interesting answers to me were always what caused something. Why were people getting sick in the first place? That was what I always wanted to know. And so throughout my training, I've been trying to kind of wrestle with that in my own way and understand that.

Paul Saladino:
And the beginning part of my training, I was met with a lot of disappointment because, sadly, Western medicine doesn't like to ask those questions and doesn't like to really explore that very much. And what we do mostly in Western medicine, not of a lack of desire to help people, but mostly out of just a paradigm that's learned, is just we treat symptoms with medications, and we never really are able to address the root cause.

Paul Saladino:
And so as I was working as a PA, I quickly realized that it wasn't going to be a satisfying career for me. And I really wanted to understand these root causes of illness. And I was in cardiology. I enjoyed working with people with hypertension or cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, in my 12 year old foreshadowing. And I realized at that time that what was interesting to me most was probably functional medicine, which is this school of thought that looks at the root cause and starts to use different tests to look at things that might be causing these illnesses in different ways. And it starts to look at things, medical illness, with a different lens than mainstream Western medicine traditionally has.

Paul Saladino:
And so I went back to medical school at the University of Arizona, and all through the process I was trying to understand what is causing these things? What is really behind this? And the major answer that I continued to think of was food. It was the diet, that it was mostly lifestyle. Not everything is related to that, but most things I think are related to lifestyle, whether it's the food we place in our bodies, or the way that we live our lives, an absence of sunlight, an absence of community, overly stressed.

Paul Saladino:
So, but the biggest factor that was interesting to me, the most malleable factor was food. We can take milligram quantities of medications and affect people in profound ways physiologically. And yet we put kilogram quantities of food in our bodies. These are multiple orders of magnitude different. So we're putting kilogram quantities of food in our bodies, and those are all molecular signals to our immune system. And so pretty early on in medical school, I thought, oh yeah, food is what's causing this. And so then you sort of become obsessed, or at least I did like what is the food? How are humans meant to eat? I think that's the most interesting question. How do people eat to achieve optimal health? How do we really understand what it is that humans need to function optimally?

Paul Saladino:
And then the corollary question is, is that the same for every individual? Is there one diet that's we're sort of all programmed to do optimally on that has sort of modifications or things that can be added to it? Or is everyone very individual? Is one person a vegetarian, another person a paleo person? How does it all work? What are the genetics behind this, and what makes us ideal?

Paul Saladino:
But I think that that's a really fascinating concept to me because when you go to the gas station, you see a pump of gas. And it's like regular, plus and premium. But in a way, if you think about what happens with humans, the food that we put in our bodies actually determines the car that we get to drive. Our experience of life is so intimately tied to the concordance between our genetics and our environment and between our genetics and the way that our body functions and the food that we're putting in. And so it's like, it's as if you go up to the gas station, and you're sort of in a transformer, you're in a car that's different depending on what type of gas. And instead of saying plus or regular plus and premium, it says like Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, Lamborghini, and Porsche. And you can say, well, I want to drive a Porsche today. So I'm going to eat, I'm going to eat the best food for me. And that's going to transform your experience of life.

Paul Saladino:
So that to me was this fascinating concept. And so I wanted to know what was the Porsche gasoline like? What was the ultimate thing that humans could eat or that I could eat, and how does that translate to other people? So that's been the thing that's been driving me is what do humans need to eat to make themselves optimal. And for a while I experimented with paleolithic diets. This idea of evolutionary congruence between a "paleolithic" diet and humans seemed reasonable to me. It seemed more reasonable than eating a bunch of grains and beans. And I thought, well, that's pretty cool. But you know, I kind of had this like eczema, that was my personal thing for a while. And in medical school it got so bad when I was doing a lot of jujitsu that it got super infected, and I had impetigo. And I was eating basically a hundred percent organic paleo. And I thought there is still something that is wrong with this picture. There's still something about this diet that is triggering my immune system even though I thought this is the best thing I can imagine. I'm not cheating on this diet. I'm being very strict because I'm interested in this concept.

Paul Saladino:
And it wasn't really until I got most of the way through residency about a year ago that I was exposed to the idea of a carnivorous diet. And because I'd been so steeped in these functional medicine ideals of plants as beneficial and fiber as necessary for the human microbiome and multiple varieties of plant foods being beneficial for microbial diversity in the gut, that when I first heard of a carnivore diet, I sort of bristled at the thought and thought, that's crazy. You can't do that. You cannot just eat animals. And then I started to look into it, and it was so neat the way that my preconceived notions kind of fell away. And it's just been this gradual process of sort of discovery, thinking wow. So many of these things that we've been told, our canon that we've been told or dogma about food, and especially about plants and their benefits for humans, may not actually be true.

Paul Saladino:
And along the way I was discovering and learning about hundreds and hundreds of case studies or anecdotes of people who are having recovery from previously incurable diseases, diseases that you learn about, or that I learned about in medical school that one might learn about in medical school as idiopathic. You can't fix it. We don't know what causes it. Things like psoriasis, eczema, like I had, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren's, fibromyalgia, aplastic anemias, interstitial cystitis. I mean basically the menagerie of autoimmune diseases, you would see people getting better with this diet. And I thought, well that's incredible. Like how is that going to happen? And what is going on there?

Paul Saladino:
And so that just really piqued my interest, and I dove in. And it's just been this incredible journey over the last year, exploring mechanisms, molecular mechanisms, molecular toxins that may be in plants and may be triggering the immune system. And then, conversely learning about the ways that meat is not toxic like we've been told it is for so long. And learning about ways in which meat is not associated with cancer or meat won't cause heart disease or meat isn't all of these things that it's been vilified.

Paul Saladino:
And then there's all these other interesting corollary discussions about lipids. And so what's so interesting about this topic, and I think that you share this enthusiasm, is that it just challenges basically every single long held belief in our nutritional system. And that is a really interesting thing because, if nothing else, it raises these really fascinating conversations about what these ideas are based on and whether we should continue to espouse them or whether we should look to examine them further and accept the fact or the notion or consider the hypothesis that perhaps plants are not all they're cracked up to be.

Melanie Avalon:
I'm so happy to hear all of that because it sounds like we come from a very similar approach to everything. I feel like we would've gotten along really well as children. When I was in kindergarten, I distinctly remember thinking, I had a headache, and my mom gave me an Advil or something, and I remember thinking, how can this one pill fix anything? I was like, it doesn't make sense that this one pill can fix a headache, or it can fix if I hurt my finger, or can fix anything else. And so even at that time, I understood that there was like a holistic perspective. And it's because Advil or Ibuprofen or these NSAIDs are down-regulating inflammation. So that's why they're addressing basically anything. But I think if I had thought about that more, I probably would have realized, had a similar epiphany about how we're not addressing the root cause of anything and there must be something going on that is creating this inflammation in the first place.

Paul Saladino:
And well, that is really the question I think of medicine today. I mean you've hit on it right there. Like most of the diseases we treat that are chronic diseases are inflammatory diseases. Autoimmunity is essentially synonymous with chronic inflammation. And so if we can understand what's causing inflammation, if we can understand what's causing over-activation or incorrect activation of the immune system, we are to the root of many issues.

Melanie Avalon:
That as well, you're talking about is there one right diet for everybody? And I've had the same similar obsession as well. And I don't like to ever have a conclusion about anything, but some of my personal thoughts right now, because I literally think about this all the time, is that it probably is individual, and it probably is the diet that supports a noninflammatory state. And then that would be based on the genetics, but more importantly, epigenetics, environment, gut microbiome and everything. But beyond all of that, what is the perfect diet, and we can talk more about that, we do see that the carnival diets, to define it for listeners, is a diet based exclusively on animal products. We see for so many people that they just completely reverse all of these autoimmune conditions and things that they didn't even realize were related to diet seem to go away.

Melanie Avalon:
So my own personal experience with it is back in college I first realized that there was a connection between food and autoimmunity and health. When I went low carb and cut out, it was because I cut out things like processed foods and things like that. And then I adopted intermittent fasting and saw a lot of changes. But I actually went through a period of about six months where I just ate rotisserie chickens with coconut oil and in intermittent fasting pattern because they marked down the rotisserie chickens at like 11:00 every night. And I had night classes. They marked them down to like $3, and I realized I could go at 11:00 PM, get a $3 chicken, slather it in coconut oil. I cut out all the plants. And I felt amazing. So it wasn't exactly carnivore, but it had the coconut oil aspect.

Melanie Avalon:
But since then I went through a lot of experimentation. I adopted paleo. That even further clarified the connection between reactions to food. Then developed a lot of IBS type issues though, which I think a lot of people see resolve on carnivore diets. But now I'm like at this place where I'm fascinated by carnivore diet, but then I felt like I saw benefits when I brought back some plants. Basically, I'm totally open to the idea. I want to hear more about it. I don't want to hear about the science about it. But I have a lot of questions for you because I've had so many questions that haunt me about this diet, especially given my obsession like you with the perfect diet and longevity. So I have a lot of questions for you.

Paul Saladino:
It's an amazing thing. I think most people will probably have a reaction like mine when they hear about it. And you know, I'll just clarify that what we're talking about with a carnivore diet is you could also call it whole foods animal-based. But it's, from my perspective, it's best done eating animals nose to tail. So you could also call it a nose to tail carnivore diet. And just so people understand, it's not just eating the muscle meat of the animal. That's what we're traditionally think of when we're eating animals. We think of steaks and chicken breasts and salmon fillets. But if we kind of take a step back in our evolution, or we look at indigenous peoples, they eat the whole animal. And many of these things that they eat are considered to be a little bit gross by our standards. But they have very unique nutritional benefits.

Paul Saladino:
And what I'm thinking of when I think of a nose to tail carnivore diet is really eating all the parts of the animal. So eating the muscle meat, but also eating fat from the animal. I mean when we get the muscle meat from the animal we're discarding, many of these animals have huge amounts of back fat and kidney fat. So we have to think about the fat to protein macro ratios. We can talk about all that stuff. But we're also not thinking about the organs, and the organs are uniquely valuable. We know there are micronutrients that are in the muscles in sort of a complimentary set of micronutrients that are in the organs, especially liver. So I believe that any nose to tail carnivore diet really should include liver. And that once you include liver, the nutritional profile starts to look a lot more complete. It gets even better if you include things like bone marrow or connective tissue.

Paul Saladino:
We probably need some source of high omega-3 fat, whether it's bone marrow or brain or seafood and a source of iodine, which is usually going to be in seafood. But once we start to eat the whole animal in the ways that we can as westernized humans, the nutritional profile becomes much more complete. But it can include things like eggs and seafood and shellfish and chicken and humanely raised pork and a lot of ruminants. But that's what we're talking about with the carnivore diet.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, I know nutritionally a lot of people, their immediate response is that you're not getting everything that you need on a carnivore diet because if you're just eating meat. I personally have, especially just hearing what you said and the research that I've done, can see how it's very nutritional. It satisfies, I mean, I would say almost everything, especially if you're eating nose to tail. I know a lot of people say you need vitamin C, but then there's the argument that you need less vitamin C if you are not taking in the carbohydrates that are competing with the absorption.

Paul Saladino:
Yeah, I mean the vitamin C question is the one that most people think of. But if you look at an animal, there's a decent amount or a moderate amount of vitamin C in muscle meat depending how much you cook the muscle meat and whether you overcook it or how you like your steaks. But there's a very robust amount of vitamin C and things like pancreas, spleen, and liver. And most people will just be like, well, screw that. I'm not eating pancreas or spleen or... But liver is pretty approachable for most people. And there's a really good amount of vitamin C in liver. So notably there's never been a documented case of scurvy in the carnivore community. And there are tens of thousands of people there.

Paul Saladino:
There are some pretty amazing studies about vitamin C and scurvy from the 1940s actually. They took conscientious objectors to World War II and they actually gave them scurvy. And they did that by depriving them of any vitamin C. They didn't give them any fresh meat, no, nothing. And it took six to eight months to develop. And then what they found was that the people with the scurvy, they were able to reverse it with 10 milligrams of vitamin C a day. And that was the lowest dose they gave these people. So potentially you could reverse scurvy with even less than that.

Paul Saladino:
And then the question becomes is more than 10 milligrams of vitamin C actually beneficial to humans, and I think that the evidence for that is really much more meager than people are led to believe. We're led to believe that vitamin C is this panacea. When I would argue that in fact, I think excess vitamin C is quite harmful to humans. It's known that excess vitamin C can turn into oxalate in the human body and increase oxalate excretion, potentially leading to oxalate either kidney stones or oxalate deposition in joints. And we can see modeled in people who have glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase deficiency, that excess doses of vitamin C actually turn into prooxidants. So we're told vitamin C is an antioxidant, and at some basic level, we do use it for that. But I think that the, it's not entirely clear at what doses vitamin C becomes less valuable for humans. And so the idea that we need a thousand milligrams of vitamin C is far, far outside of what we actually physiologically need. And to obtain a thousand milligrams of vitamin C a day without supplementation is basically impossible. You'd have to eat like 10 oranges a day. And I can tell you that would create GI distress for any human being.

Paul Saladino:
And people will also notice that high doses of vitamin C, even a thousand milligrams can cause nausea, diarrhea. So I think the idea that vitamin C is this panacea is widely mismarketed. and in people with G6PD deficiency, they can get hemolytic anemia. They can actually get homolysis of red blood cells from even modest doses of excess vitamin C. So I think that the take home with vitamin C is that it's pretty clear experimentally and in practice that if you're eating reasonably fresh animal products, especially eating nose to tail, you'll get plenty of it. And there's no evidence that there's an antioxidant need related to inadequate vitamin C on a carnivore diet. And there's no evidence that more would be beneficial.

Melanie Avalon:
So I'd love to go a little bit deeper, especially since you bring up the antioxidants because that's what a lot of people also say is that we really need these antioxidants from plants. And I know it's more complicated than that because actually the way antioxidants are often working in plants, if I understand it correctly, is they're actually, creating a more of a hermetic stress effect. So they actually are creating, they're actually toxic to us, and that's why we are ultimately getting rebounding and getting a beneficial effect from that. Would you like to go a little bit into the concept of plant toxins, antioxidants, that whole thing so listeners can understand that a little bit better?

Paul Saladino:
Yeah, this is a really fascinating concept. I'll try and walk everybody through it. So if we just back up one step, what I would say about a carnivore diet is that the premise, so the postulate that I would offer people is that if you actually look at the nutritional biochemistry, eating animals nose to tail, I would suggest can provide humans with all the nutrients that humans need to function optimally in the most bioavailable forms, in the proper ratios without any of the toxins found in plants. So there's like three parts to that statement, and we can go through all of them.

Paul Saladino:
The first part is just kind of like we were talking about with vitamin C, that if you think about eating an animal nose to tail, just at a nutritional fact level, all of the nutrients that a human needs to function optimally are in there in the right amounts, and actually in the most bioavailable forms. If you compare plant-based versus animal-based forms of nutrients, animal-based forms are so much more available to the human body, so much more usable and efficient and efficacious in the human body because they're from our operating system.

Paul Saladino:
There are often these parallel, but not congruent, forms of nutrients. Beta carotene is a good example. Beta carotene is essentially two vitamin A molecules together, and plants use it as a pigment. Plants don't use vitamin A in the same way that humans do because they're sort of a different operating system. It's like Mac versus PC. Although in this case, I would say that humans are Mac because I have a bias for Macs. And plants are PC or Windows. So there's different operating systems. We're not programmed in the same way. So this beta carotene doesn't, that's not a human molecule. Animal foods have vitamin A in the retinol form. That's a human like molecule, so we can use it directly. But when you get a plant molecule, your body has to convert it.

Paul Saladino:
And a lot of people have polymorphisms in their genetics, which are sort of singularities in their genetics, which may prevent them from doing that conversion very well. And there are many, many examples of this where the plant nutrients are just a different form than humans need. And it's very difficult to use them in the human body. We do so much less efficiently. Iron is a good example. You know, heme iron, H-E-M-E, heme iron in animals is so much more bioavailable. And it's very hard to correct an anemia without animal-based iron. And if you try and get an iron from plants, it's usually keolated by phytic acid. It's very poorly absorbed. There's examples with niacin, which is vitamin B3 in plants, it's niacinamide. in animals, it's nicotinic acid. And so it's just different. We don't use the same forms in plants and animals. And so the idea, and the same thing is with omega-3s. In plants, it's alphalinolenic acid. in animals, it's DHA or EPA. And so the plant forms of these nutrients are just not as bioavailable as animals. That's just scientific fact.

Paul Saladino:
And so if you really start to think about it, you're like, wait a minute, I guess we can get every single thing we need from animals. And why are we not surprised? I mean, our biochemistry as a human is essentially the same as the biochemistry of a deer or a ruminant animal, like a sheep or a cow or a bison. We are very similar to them. Though we look very differently, our biochemistry is essentially the exact same. And they have muscles that contract just like ours, actin and myosin filaments. So in order to make the body of a ruminant, a sheep, a deer, a cow work, it's the same processes. It's the same biochemistry. It's the same chemical reactions that happen in a human almost entirely. I mean it's like 99.99% the same.

Paul Saladino:
But if you look at a plant, it's completely different. Plants do photosynthesis. They don't have really any of the same biochemistry as humans. So to imagine that we can get all the nutrients we need from plants, that's not true. We just can't. And it's very difficult to do that. But animals, they look just like us. They're from our operating system in terms of biochemistry so when we eat animals, we can really get everything we need. And there's kind of a, I don't know, I mean this is my controversial part of the podcast. I've been sort of saying it recently, and it's just a thought experiment. I'm not advocating for this. But if you think about it, if a human, where would a human find everything that a human needs in the perfect ratios to make another human?

Melanie Avalon:
If they add another human.

Paul Saladino:
Eat another human. I love that you said that. Like you'd eat another human.

Melanie Avalon:
Is that right? Is that what... Okay.

Paul Saladino:
That's exactly what I was going to say. I would just ask people, and I'm just afraid that's going to be too controversial, but I think they'll understand that it's a thought experiment. If you ate another human, would you ever think that you would get a nutritional deficiency? No. Why would you? That's another human, clearly everything that you need to function is in that human. Well, what is more similar to another human? A deer or a cow or a kale plant. It's like it's not even a question. Why do we think that kale is more nutritious than a steak? Like that's just ludicrous. And a deer or a cow is very similar to a human. So if it's not occurring in one of those ruminant animals or one of even a monogastric like a pig, like those animals are so much more like a human in terms of all of their biochemistry. That's where we get the things we need.

Melanie Avalon:
I guess what you could argue is that, is there some sort of nutrition required by a human which is synthesized from a plant so that, and then in the final form, it supports the body, but you wouldn't necessarily get that in a way that you need the supplies rather than the finished product, vitamins or fiber or anything like that. Does that make sense? Like somebody might say, yes, everything might be in the finished product, but you need the original supplies if you want to actually build that product again.

Paul Saladino:
But I mean, here's the thing. If you want it to build an automobile, you could either get the parts and build the automobile, or you could get an automobile that's already built and disassemble it, and then use it to build a new one. So the idea is if it's already built, we could digest it, and then build a new one is the idea. So I see what you're saying that perhaps there are unique things in plants, but in terms of nutritional biochemistry, there's nothing that I think we've ever seen as humans that that fills that role. And we can talk about, this gets into the discussion of polyphenols and fiber, but in terms of micronutrients and actual pieces of a human being, whether it's vitamin E or vitamin A or calcium or manganese or magnesium, like it's all clearly in a human. If you wanted to build a Porsche, you'd go to the Porsche factory store and get some parts for a Porsche. Right?

Melanie Avalon:
Okay. So that's a perfect example. Because now I'm really thinking about this analogy. It's like if you had a really nice car, and it looked really shiny. And say you wanted to create your own car from this Porsche you, you wouldn't be able to get the shiny aspect for your new car because what was required with somebody to bring that shiny spray or whatever. And so the analogy I'm making is something like you just mentioned with polyphenols in plants or something like that where somebody could say, yes, all of the nutrients are there in meat, but these special compounds that are really going to upgrade and really make that human perform better or be more resilient, that would be like the polyphenols in plants. So in our analogy that would be having the extra stuff you use to make the car all shiny that aren't actually available in that car for you to take from the car.

Paul Saladino:
Right, right. Okay. Yeah, we can totally talk about that. So that's like the buffing. That's like the car wash. How do you get the car shiny, or are there things in plants that are unique that we can't get from another human basically. So I guess the argument that people would make there is that either that the polyphenols in plants are uniquely beneficial to humans, or there's something in plants that we need as humans that we can't get from eating another animal.

Melanie Avalon:
Yes. Or there's just something in plants that can upgrade our performance. It's not necessarily required, but by having it, we're better off.

Paul Saladino:
Right. And that gets into the concept of...

Melanie Avalon:
We would be, we're better off.

Paul Saladino:
Right. And that gets into the concept of hormesis. Is that kind of what you're referring to? This idea that, okay, the hormetic stress of plants. Yeah, we can totally talk about that because that's a very interesting discussion. So for people that are hearing us say this word, hormesis and wondering what we're talking about, hormesis is this idea that a little bit of a toxin or a little bit of a stress can be good for us. And in medicine, in human physiology, there are examples of molecular hormetics and there are examples of environmental hormetics. Environmental hormetics are things like exercise, heat, cold, and sunlight. And what I mean by those is that people will understand that if you exercise, it's actually kind of a little bit of a stress for your body, but then you stress your body, you're a little bit tired afterward, but then your body gets stronger in the long run.

Paul Saladino:
Like you exercise a muscle, you do a bicep curl, it's sore the next day, it's actually broken down a little bit and the body rebuilds it a little stronger. So there are these examples of environmental hormetics and heat exposure and cold exposure are actually hormetics. It means they're a little bit of a stress for the human body and people may not know this, but if we're actually talking about potential benefits from plants like antioxidants from plants, "antioxidants", what we're generally talking about is oxidative stress and the ability to deal with oxidative stress and the body making more glutathione, which is the main molecular policemen in the human body that goes around and sort of controls these free radicals in the human body.

Paul Saladino:
So when people are selling us on plants as they have these polyphenols, these polyphenols are antioxidants, it's important that we really understand that there are no compounds in plants that act directly as antioxidants in the human body. That is not true. These compounds in plants may have a molecular hormetic effect on the human body by being small amounts of stress, small amounts of toxins that then trigger the human body through molecular systems like NRF2 and then upregulation of genes involved in the production of molecules like glutathione, which is our own endogenous antioxidant molecule that these plant stressors may upregulate our own glutathione. It's important that people realize that we don't need plants to make glutathione and that we every day encounter things which are hormetics for us. These are, like I said, environmental hormetics, you exercise, you jump in a cold pool, you go in a sauna, you're out in the sun. I would argue that those things that we do, living a "radical" life can create an optimal antioxidant status in humans without plant hormetics and I will substantiate that with some research.

Paul Saladino:
Now if we return to the idea of plant hormetics, there are many of these polyphenols, whether we're talking about tannins or non-polyphenolic molecules like sulforaphane which have been touted as antioxidants. These molecules actually come into the human body, they're very poorly absorbed from the beginning, kind of the first signal that the human body doesn't really want these molecules, but the small amount that does get absorbed usually acts as a pro-oxidant meaning it's the reverse of an antioxidant and that's why it's a stressor to the human body. Whether it's a tannin molecule or a molecule like sulforaphane, which is technically not a polyphenol but can be considered a molecular hormetic.

Paul Saladino:
And so the body sees the molecule, it detoxifies it, it gets rid of it, and it says, "Okay, that was a stressful thing. That molecule actually caused some oxidation in the human body." We know that when sulforaphane, for instance, which is a compound from broccoli sprouts, circulates in the human body, it causes oxidation of membranes and can actually create lipid peroxides and it can create free radicals. So it's doing bad things in the human body. The body says, "Okay, that was a dangerous thing. It damaged me a little bit. I'm going to upregulate glutathione, this molecular policemen to be a little more of an antioxidant."

Paul Saladino:
So, that is the effect of sulforaphane that we've all been told makes it so valuable, and what I would argue is that that is a redundant effect that we don't need and the problem is that we are never told about the other more insidious effects of these molecules in the human body. We are just, the research just focuses in a very myopic way on the things that these molecules do that are good and if you actually look at the whole body of literature, which is quite overwhelming because every molecule is very individual and there's a lot of literature on these molecules, what you see is that almost without fail, these molecules always do something bad somewhere else in the human body because they're from a different operating system. They're foreign molecules. It's like a virus coming from into your computer. This is the Windows program that you're trying to install on your Mac and it just causes things to kind of glitch out and not run well.

Paul Saladino:
In the case of sulforaphane, while sulforaphane may increase glutathione through the NRF2 system, it also circulates in the human body for a short amount of time and while it does that, it competes with iodine at the level of the thyroid for absorption, creating decreases in actual active thyroid hormone. So sulforaphane belongs to this compound of molecules called isothiocyanates and isothiocyanates are generally derived from this mustard family, the Brassicaceae. Well, the Brassicaceae, with isothiocyanates, these plants account for many, many, I mean thousands, hundreds of thousands of cases of endemic goiter, which is hypertrophy of the thyroid. You've seen these pictures of these women or these men in Africa with this huge lump in their throat. That's goiter, that's related to inadequate iodine absorption at the level of the thyroid, often due to consumption of goitrogenic foods, foods that have excess amounts of these isothiocyanates. This is essentially what happens if you over-consume sulforaphane.

Paul Saladino:
So what I would say is, why would we think that we would want to consume a molecule that has a redundant effect on our antioxidant status while also doing something negative somewhere else in the human body? I would argue that's a very clear negative, because if you look at the research, we clearly do not need these molecules to achieve optimal antioxidant status. There are many, many interventional studies with fruits and vegetables and I can cite some specific ones that show that when you give humans fruits and vegetables, and these studies have been done where they compare a group of people with no fruits and vegetables, they give them zero fruits and vegetables and they give another group of people 600 grams or a thousand grams of fruits and vegetables a day or per week, they give them pounds and pounds of fruits and vegetables per week. And they compare these two groups of people at the end of four or 10 weeks depending on the study. And the end points are DNA damage and oxidative stress and they see no difference between these.

Paul Saladino:
So at the end of four or 10 weeks, people are eating pounds and pounds of fruits and vegetables or people are eating zero fruits and vegetables, there's no evidence that the fruits and vegetables have any protective effect in terms of oxidative stress or markers of DNA damage. Endonuclease III sites, DNA repair, DNA nicks, DNA mismatched base pairs, things like this or markers of oxidated stress. So I just said a mouthful, hopefully some of that makes sense.

Melanie Avalon:
So, super valid arguments. I'm really on the same page with the hormetic stress. I've personally seen all the benefits that I've experienced from hormetic stressors such as intermittent fasting, cold exposure, exercise, things like that. And I understand that these plant compounds can act as hormetic stressors as well, but then they have the potential of, because of our immune system interaction with the food that I do think for many people, they often end up creating a much more inflammatory response rather than the intended beneficial, ultimate result of everything.

Paul Saladino:
Well that's just the immunologic effects. What I'm talking about now are just the biochemical effects of these polyphenols. We didn't even talk about the immunologic effects of lectins and things like that. What I'm just talking about is the same molecule that is shown to be hormetic can often be shown to be damaging somewhere else in the human body and I'm not even talking about the immune system, but yes, you're absolutely right. Coming with all of these polyphenols are lectins, carbohydrate binding proteins from plants, which again look different than humans. They're outside of our operating system and those can totally trigger the immune system and other toxins.

Paul Saladino:
So we've only scratched the surface of plant toxins by talking about these sort of collateral effects that are damaging and saying, "Hey look, plants are just clearly net negative. We don't need them to function optimally. The research shows that and they're going to do bad things." We can show the same thing with resveratrol or curcumin. I mean you pick a molecule for most of the molecules that have been well studied, there's evidence that they have these negative effects elsewhere in the body, but we're not told about those because curcumin is a hundred million dollar industry per year or at least sulforaphane is. I bet curcumin is more than that, so supplement makers stand to lose a lot of money on this.

Melanie Avalon:
Everything you're saying makes complete sense scientifically. I understand that these plant compounds are acting "beneficially" because they're actually toxic and they are having a ultimately toxic effect. And so there's the argument of while we could get all the benefits without being exposed to that toxic exposure in the first place, so why don't we do that? My two questions to that are, A, despite all of that, we still say that the longest lived societies in the world all consume, they're very much plant based.

Paul Saladino:
I'm going to debate that. I'm going to debate that. The concept of blue zones is wildly inaccurate. I'm going to debate that strongly.

Melanie Avalon:
Well, okay. No, no, I'm excited to, I think it is also misunderstood as well because they all include animal products, the blue zones with the exception of Loma Linda.

Paul Saladino:
I'm going to tell you about Loma Linda too. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon:
So I guess that's one argument that's often given, so I'd love to hear your response to that and then the second argument, separate topic, but we can circle back to it, maybe we're unnecessarily exposing ourselves to this toxic exposure with plants, but I've heard the argument that because of our really toxic society today and environmental chemicals and things that our liver has to process now, that we benefit from taking in these toxic plants in a way because they "teach our liver to better detoxify and deal with environmental chemicals, which they might not be able to deal with as well if we take away that learning system and that priming that they're getting from plant antioxidants and plant toxins."

Paul Saladino:
That is a very hand-wavy argument. That is not like... That is not, we can talk about that too, but that's a lot of hand waving in that argument.

Melanie Avalon:
Well I guess it's like the idea of even milk thistle, to use something really straight up, we see that taking that really supports and studies supports the liver and helps with inflammation and regenerating and I mean I just think that we see with that that's supporting the liver and I know... I don't know, we just really see that across the board and that's in a supplemental form.

Paul Saladino:
If you actually dig into the research on silymarin, which is the compound in milk thistle, it's not beneficial in the same way. So there's a lot of rhetoric that the supplement companies want to tell us about that stuff, but the problem is that it's very difficult for the consumer to actually go to the research and look at what's happening. But I would argue, I think we should address the points in sequence. But yeah, that idea that plant compounds are tonic in any way for the body, that's just not supported by the research. It's really just sort of a fairy tale that's told to us by the supplement companies. And the bad news is that the Easter Bunny is not real.

Melanie Avalon:
But then we see anecdotally so many people taking milk thistle for example, and retesting their liver enzymes and then improving.

Paul Saladino:
You'd have to show me the case study and these things, like there's no mechanism there. And what else are they changing in their life? This is the trouble. I mean I did cite hundreds of anecdotes of people improving on carnivore diets, but if we're comparing anecdote versus anecdote, I need to see a case study with that. I've never seen that actually happen. And then you're thinking like, is that the only thing somebody did? If somebody is taking milk thistle, they're clearly doing other health behaviors in their life. They're not just, it's not the one thing they did.

Melanie Avalon:
That's true. People often start taking milk thistle because they realize there's a problem and so they are likely making other changes at the same time.

Paul Saladino:
And then you have six other things, right? Did they stop drinking? Did they go to see a naturopathic physician or a holistic physician or a functional medicine doctor who had them stop eating gluten or stop eating corn or soy? It's just like, I don't know, but I think what I will tell you is that remember that plants don't have any interest in helping humans. Plants didn't design that compound to improve the liver's bio function. That compound has been misunderstood.

Melanie Avalon:
The milk thistle plant wasn't like, "I'm going to..."

Paul Saladino:
"I'm going to save the humans." Trust me, kale doesn't love you back. Plants want to survive, milk thistle doesn't really, I mean it's not like it hates you. It's not like it's predatory on you, but milk thistle wants to be milk thistle and milk thistle's jam is just making its seeds and reproducing and becoming a plant that just photosynthesize.

Paul Saladino:
Okay, let's talk about the blue zones because this really I think is something that does a disservice to people when the notion of blue zones is discussed. So, I really do not appreciate the work of Dan Buettner. This is cherry picking in the finest degree, if you look at people who are centenarians in the world, there are many cultures that eat a ton of meat where there are lots of centenarians. So basically what they did was they picked six blue zones, but this notion of blue zones is again, it's kind of made up. Those are the six you picked, but there's so many more out there that we've never heard of.

Paul Saladino:
For instance, look at the people of Hong Kong. The life expectancy in Hong Kong is 84.5 years, it's one of the largest in the world. They eat a 1.5 pounds of meat a day and the context of this whole discussion around blue zones is that the whole thing is sort of misguided because this is extrapolation in the finest degree. This is such imaginatory science, we are really, really reaching. But if we're going to try and delineate some medical grain of truth from this, we have to realize that we are on the shakiest of shaky grounds here. There are so many factors based on how people are living that determine their longevity.

Paul Saladino:
And so just with that in mind, I will also say that if you look at the genetics of people in the "blue zones", Okinawans, people in other parts of New England who have been classified as a blue zone. They generally within the medical community, they are accepted to be clusters of longevity genes. They live long in spite of what they eat, not because of what they eat. So these are clusters of polymorphisms in genes like FOXO3 and genes like CETP and genes like sirtuin 1. These genes that are longevity genes, if anyone has done 23andMe and looked at their genes, there are a number of genes that are considered to be sort of longevity promoting. And what we see time and time again when we look at these blue zones is that these blue zones are tight knit communities of genetic homogeneity. People generally have a higher proportion of polymorphisms for longevity genes in these locations.

Paul Saladino:
So to say that it's based on food is really a misinterpretation, that is really, really kind of fable. The other thing is that look at the lifestyle of these people, the lifestyle is one of the things that has been shown to be very beneficial in addition. There's a study that's done on the Mormons and basically what they found, I can actually give you the title of the... What they found was that it was the Mormon, there were four or five habits from the Mormons in the Mormon population that led to their decreased longevity, but nobody ever talks about the Mormons as a blue zone. So this is lifestyle and reduced mortality among active California Mormons 1980 to 2004 and the conclusion of the study is that they found that there were four or five behaviors that were all health behaviors that really translated and were associated with their lifestyle and that led to death rates that were much lower.

Paul Saladino:
So they say the Act of California Mormons explained in this study, particularly those in the optimum subgroup with four basic lifestyle characteristics, had total death rates that are among the lowest ever reported for a cohort followed for 25 years. Mormons do not shun meat, and had among the longest life expectancies yet reported in a well-defined US cohort. This Mormon cohort is not one of the blue zones. So this is cherry picking. The other thing I would say, if we're going to talk about the blue zones, what about Iceland? Iceland has the population of St Louis and there are 50 living centenarians in Iceland, which is an astronomically high number. Iceland, plants can't even grow there. Icelanders do not eat a lot of plants, they mostly eat fish and ruminant animals. So the blue zones argument really just starts to fall apart, just catastrophically in the face of science, going back to Hong Kong.

Paul Saladino:
Some of the longest lived nations in the world eat a ton of meat. France, tons of meat. Switzerland, tons of meat and saturated fat. Hong Kong, one and a half pounds of meat a day. Monaco has the highest longevity in the world right now, 89 years, it's on the southern coast of France, that's not included in the blue zones. So this idea of blue zones is really just an unfortunate fable that I think has been put on the human population, but it just sold to us to sell cookbooks and to say like, "Hey look, these people are all eating a lot of plants." Well no, that has nothing to do with their longevity. You can also look at Nicoya region of Costa Rica, which there's male longevity there and they eat a ton of meat.

Paul Saladino:
And then you mentioned Loma Linda, so let me tell you about Loma Linda. So if plants were associated with longevity, then we would see tons and tons of health in the Loma Linda population. But we actually see is really, really bad sperm quality. So, there's a really fascinating study that's called Food Intake Diet and Sperm Characteristics in a Blue Zone, it's even in the title, a Loma Linda study. And what they found in the study was that this study showed that the vegetables based diet, the food intake decreased sperm quality in particular, there was a reduction in sperm quality in male factor patients and there was decreased motility and decreased numbers of sperm. So, how can you say you have a blue zone when the male have the most pathetic sperm that they've measured? So, that's not even a blue zone.

Melanie Avalon:
So that is fascinating. I did not know that about that study. What about the argument though that actually decreased reproductive factors are promoting longevity because the human is "made to reproduce" or that's the end goal of the human body? So with decreased reproductive factors, that would actually increase longevity. More so with women, so I haven't really applied it to men before, but I have heard the argument that women-

Paul Saladino:
Again, that's a pretty big stretch.

Melanie Avalon:
We see things like calorie restriction extending longevity.

Paul Saladino:
I would say that that fertility, reproductive vigor is a very good indication of vitality and nutritional status.

Melanie Avalon:
Oh, I agree. I agree.

Paul Saladino:
Yeah, I think that most people, if you asked them, and I'm not saying these are mutually exclusive in any way, shape, or form, but I think that if most people were asked, "Would you rather live long or live well?" They would say, "I'd rather live well." Why would you... The caloric restriction thing to me is so shortsighted and we can talk about caloric restriction and the molecular mechanisms of caloric restriction, including activation of sirtuin genes, which can actually be achieved through ketosis. You don't need to do caloric restriction, but people who do caloric restriction, you are turning on a subset of genes that can be turned on through fasting as you know, and can be turned on through ketosis and you're making yourself miserable, infertile, and basically destroying your libido in the process and you're making your thyroid go really far south.

Paul Saladino:
I mean people who do caloric restriction are frail, they're constantly cold and shivering, and they don't have any desire to do anything fun. That's like the worst thing ever. Caloric restriction is the least viable thing. And of course it's going to make people infertile, both males and females. That's the worst intervention ever. And I think that there's never been, I'm not familiar with any literature that suggests that infertility is a correlate of longevity. And I think that what we're seeing here, I think it pretty clearly with the Loma Linda study, what you're seeing is that a plant based or even a semi-plant based diet, like vegetarian diet is just nutritionally inadequate and you're seeing that in this very interesting indicator of sperm quality. And I suspect that if you looked in depth at bone health or any other, testosterone, you would see major differences there.

Paul Saladino:
I mean that's almost a clear indicator. You have less sperm and they're less modal, you have less testosterone, your leydig cells in the testicles are not working very well. That's a really poor prognostic factor. Even if those people were to live longer, they're going to live longer in a frail, pathetic condition. And I think that from the Mormon study, I would just emphasize that longevity can be associated with so many factors, to say that it's diet in these people is number one, it's probably not even close to that. It's probably these clusters of genetics. And number two, there are so many lifestyle factors, community, meaningful experience in our lives, slow pace of life, family clustering, those are probably the longevity things in the blue zones and they just cherry picked them because they didn't include any of the "blue zones' where people eat a lot of meat.

Melanie Avalon:
This is why I am such an advocate, not of calorie restriction, but of for me personally and for everything I write about, intermittent fasting patterns while not restricting calories, getting all of your nutrients. So, hopefully living both long and well by getting the best of both worlds in a way. I just feel like there's an ongoing debate about the trade off between growth and performance versus longevity.

Paul Saladino:
And I'm not convinced, I'm not convinced those are mutually exclusive. I did a podcast yesterday with Steven Gundry and he always brings up this idea of IGF-1 and people think about mTOR and AMP-kinase and I am just not convinced that performance and longevity are mutually exclusive. I mean, Dr Gundry wrote this book, The Longevity Paradox and he has this concept that animal protein ages us and I disagreed with him on that very strongly. I think that the way that animal protein affects our bodies is completely dependent on context. And if we're talking about IGF-1 and mTOR or the mammalian target of rapamycin, which is a very anabolic signal in the human body, the signals for mTOR are related to insulin much more strongly than protein. And the idea is that in the context of ketosis, in the context of fat-based metabolism, the response of the human body to protein is completely different than it is in the context of a mixed metabolism.

Paul Saladino:
So mTOR is different, insulin is different. So, protein can create an insulin spike in the context of a mixed diet. But when we're fat adapted and when we're in ketosis, protein doesn't create anywhere the same insulinogenic response. They're completely different physiologies. So the context is completely different and I mean Dr Gundry is very worried about IGF-1 and on the carnivores that I've seen professionally and in myself, the IGF-1 levels are lower than people on mixed diets, they're around 120. People on mixed diets are at 190. The main factor for IGF-1 or insulin-like growth factor-1 which is one of the [Liggins 00:57:17] or one of the signals that will trigger mTOR downstream. The main driver for that is insulin and what we're seeing with ketosis and animal based diets is very low insulin. So, I would say that you can get anabolic stimulus without overstimulating mTOR if you're doing a ketogenic or an animal based diet. That I think is the sweet spot, right? They're not mutually exclusive.

Melanie Avalon:
No, I definitely think meat protein has been so inaccurately portrayed with everything that you just said. It often is always in a mixed diet and it's the people who are eating meat, it's often very epidemiological and the people who are eating meat are the ones that are having a mixed diet. They're having the protein in the meat in the context of these other, like high carb diet as well. I could go on about this, it does really bother me how it's been portrayed, especially protein and mTOR and everything like that. I was reading a study the other day and I'd have to pull up the link to it. It was showing that a vegan diet with all protein from plants did result in constant lower levels of IGF-1 which would kind of fly in the face of the idea that insulin is being the primary factor there because understandably, it seems like that type of dietary approach would be spiking insulin more.

Paul Saladino:
No, I mean the context is very important there. I don't know, what were they comparing it to? A mixed diet?

Melanie Avalon:
I imagine.

Paul Saladino:
Yeah. There's so many factors because basically, I don't know if you've ever done a vegan diet. I had a phase where I was a raw vegan for seven months and I lost 25 pounds of muscle.

Melanie Avalon:
I tried for two days and failed and decided to never go back.

Paul Saladino:
That was a fantastic, that was the best thing that ever happened to you that you failed. Yeah, so basically the idea is that you can activate... A lot of vegan diets are caloric restriction diets, right? So there's going to be a differential response of insulin and IGF-1 if you are calorically restricting someone, if someone is eucaloric on a vegan diet, I would argue that what we would expect to see is actually higher insulin because there are more carbohydrates. But if they are sub-calorie provided, so if they're actually calorie restricted on a vegan diet, which is very common because it's very hard to actually get enough calories on a vegan diet, then the insulin response can be different and IGF-1 can be different.

Paul Saladino:
So it's very important if you're looking at that study, whether they were meeting their basal metabolic rate with a vegan diet, often they do not. You can actually feed someone a diet of Twinkies and see insulin improve if you calorically restricted them. So we could give, I wouldn't want to give it to you because it'd be so mean to do it. But we could give someone, some poor soul, we could give them three Twinkies a day and they would have improvement in markers of insulin sensitivity because they were calorically restricting and they would have improvement in IGF-1 because they were calorically restricting.

Paul Saladino:
So it's very important to say, but if you gave someone enough Twinkies to meet their basal metabolic rate or you gave them an excess amount of calories in Twinkies, you would absolutely see a huge spike in IGF-1 and insulin sensitivity would become abysmal. So, it's all dependent on how many calories somebody is getting and if it's just [inaudible 01:00:39] feeding of a vegan diet, my suspicion is that they're caloric restricting because they get so much gas and so much bloating that you actually cannot get enough calories. It's like you're basically fasting a little bit, which we know is beneficial in some ways but it's not because of the plant protein.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah. So I was just seeing if I could find it really quickly and I don't even know if this is the one I was looking at, but the one I'm looking at right now is epidemiological. So we can kind of just throw it out the window.

Paul Saladino:
How dare you bring epidemiology into this conversation?

Melanie Avalon:
I don't know. I don't know if that was the one I was thinking of was the same one. So...

Paul Saladino:
So, I'll just mention for people here, this is probably one of the greatest services I think that can be done in terms of educating people is just, I want people to understand that within research that is being quoted, the majority of the time people are quoting non experimental epidemiology. So what I would ask people to do is, when you hear about a study on the news, ask yourself or ask the person who's telling you about it, is that experimental or a non-experimental study? The word epidemiology actually can include experimental trials like randomized controlled trials or it can include non-experimental trials and non-experimental epidemiology has generally become colloquially known as "epidemiology". But the problem with non-experimental epidemiology is that there's no experiment here.

Paul Saladino:
They're doing food frequency questionnaires, they're looking at historical data and they're making a correlation. And then the headline has a correlation, but there's no experiment. And the problem is that that correlation is not causative and there are so many confounders, healthy user bias, unhealthy user bias. So yeah, basically what Melanie's talking about now is she's saying that one of the studies that she pulled up is an epidemiology study, meaning it was just like a survey and they're saying, "How much of this did you eat?" And then they look to see how people did in terms of some health outcome. Well, the problem is that if they had a better or worse health outcome, that may or may not have been related to anything they were eating, it may have been related to the fact that we've been told meat is bad for us for the past 60 years and so generally people who eat meat are more of a James Dean type of person. They're going to smoke and drink and ride motorcycles and curse and throw beer bottles and they're rebels. They wear the leather jackets. Those are the cool kids.

Paul Saladino:
And those kinds of people generally have worse health outcomes than the people that play tennis and lead a safer life. And there's a little bit of hyperbole in that characterization, but hopefully people understand that that's the healthy versus the unhealthy user bias and that these studies are not very good at separating those other healthy behaviors that people do who are going to eat vegetables. Because we've been told vegetables are good for us, the people that eat vegetables generally do other healthier things and it's the healthy things they're doing, not the meat that is likely giving them a benefit in terms of longevity. And there are studies that are actually able to determine this and we see that.

Paul Saladino:
So the epidemiology is often quite confounded, and yet it makes the news headlines and then people see stuff on the news that says, "Eggs are bad for you", or, "Bacon is bad for you." And it's just like, "What are you talking about? It's not even an interventional trial."

Melanie Avalon:
I don't find it valid at all to use an epidemiological study to...

Melanie Avalon:
Valid at all to use an epidemiological study to discredit an approach. I really don't think that's valid. I don't think you could look at a epidemiological study and say, because we have this study that means that this other diet will not work. The place I see they might have a place is saying, we see in this epidemiological study that people following this diet experience this. And I think you could use that in support of that diet as a potentially beneficial diet for certain people. But I'm really glad that we clarify that for listeners as well because it's so, so important and definitely misused

Paul Saladino:
Often, highly.

Melanie Avalon:
Glad you brought up the gas and bloating. So the role of fiber, so I'll just say straight off the bat, one of the common things people say with carnivore is, oh, well you need fiber for bowel movements. I'm just going to say, guys, I'm the queen of struggling with IBS and bowel movements and this is one of my other obsessions. So I will tell you, you do not need fiber for bowel movements.

Paul Saladino:
And there's research to support that.

Melanie Avalon:
That said, research-wise, I've only seen one study. I mean it was very much in support of it, but I can only find one study that is actually in supportive of it, that's a controlled trial. That's the one about stopping and reducing fiber.

Paul Saladino:
Stopping and reducing fiber improves idiopathic constipation. Yeah, it's 2012, World Journal of Gastroenterology. There are other ones as well that are, I think interventional with fiber and constipation and diverticulosis, that basically, yeah, they've done it a few times. But yeah, there are studies that suggest that addition of fiber does not improve constipation and removal of fiber often improves constipation for people. So fiber is often causing constipation.

Melanie Avalon:
And I think that probably often does involve just the person's current digestive state and their gut microbiome and how they're processing that fiber. Is it benefiting their body, is it creating healthy bowel movements, or is it exacerbating the problem by potentially feeding overgrowth, creating more toxic inflammatory environment, and that's leading the constipation. What do you say to people when they say, we need fiber for bowel movements and for the gut microbiome?

Paul Saladino:
Well, those are two vastly different things, right? So we absolutely do not need fiber for healthy gut motility and or bowel movements. I mean, that has been proven 100,000 times by people who are carnivore and have the most beautiful poops every day.

Melanie Avalon:
Okay, quick question. I agree. I see that a lot. That said, I've seen a lot of anecdotes, testimonials and equals one experiments of people who attempt carnivore, stay on it for a long time, but their bowels never seem to regulate. Would you say if they stick it out long enough, regardless, their bowels will regulate eventually?

Paul Saladino:
Yeah. Yeah. In most cases it absolutely does. And that gets into a little bit of the nuance. A carnivore diet is not going to fix H. Pylori, Clostridium difficile, Blastocystis or entamoeba histolytica. So if people have resident parasites or pathogenic microbes in their gut, a carnivore diet is not going to fix that. So people can come to a carnivore diet with quite a bit of dysbiosis. But if people have general problems with motility or small bowel overgrowth or just generalized bacterial dysbiosis, yeah, the carnivore diet can be extremely helpful to adjusting that. Now when people do transition to carnivore diets, there's often a major shift in the gut flora. And so almost everyone who goes to a carnivore diet experiences some degree of loose stool for some amount of time. And that's just an adjustment and it's probably due to die off, switching over of the microbiome and then possibly increased bile acid production and a gradual readjustment of the small intestine into reabsorbing those increased bile salts.

Paul Saladino:
Just like we know when we go to a ketogenic diet, there are adaptations in our biochemistry and we have to become quote unquote fat adapted in our biochemistry. We really have to become kind of animal based diet adapted in our gut. And most people, I mean basically everyone that I've worked with, if they have a pathogen, once we eliminate the pathogen, their gut will normalize. But often the issue is that they don't take that next step or I think people who come to carnivore with particularly bad gut issues will probably take longer to resolve and they can have diarrhea for four weeks or six weeks. And that's part of the adjustment process. But generally it does resolve. Most people may not last that long unfortunately, but it can be part of the adjustment phase. Yeah, for sure.

Melanie Avalon:
What about the importance of fiber to bind to toxins and things like that? If a person has a lot of stored toxins in their body, do they possibly need fiber to bind to toxins and excrete them?

Paul Saladino:
No, no. Your body is perfectly good at doing all of phase one and phase two metabolism in the liver. So the idea with fiber, and this is an interesting part of fiber, is that if you ingest a toxin, yeah, you can give someone activated charcoal, which is basically like wood fiber that's been burned or you can give someone fiber and that will bind to a toxin that's already in the gut. But fiber is not going to help you pull things out of the body. Fiber is not going to help you pull anything out of your tissues. But if you eat something toxic and you want some plant fiber in there to bind the toxic things, sure. But why would you eat a toxic thing in the first place, right? It doesn't make sense to me.

Paul Saladino:
And your body is going to be able to get rid of those things normally that's what phase one and phase two detoxification are in the liver. Your body does methylation and glucuronidation and conjugation of toxic substances to these compounds and phase two detoxification in the liver. And then they're excreted in the bile or in the urine. So they get out in the stool or the urine and that's what your liver does. That's how you detoxify things. Fiber doesn't have any part in that. The downside of fiber in the gut is that fiber does many things which are damaging in the gut. It can be directly damaging to the gut lining or it can bind to nutrients just like at binds to toxins in the gut. If you're eating food with toxins in it, fiber can bind to nutrients in those foods and prevent the absorption of those nutrients.

Paul Saladino:
Fiber can also change the pH of your stomach in a negative fashion, making your stomach less acidic. And so fiber, though it may bind things, that's usually a negative thing because most of the food we're eating is not that toxic unless you're eating food off the ground from a Superfund site. Why do we think that there's so many toxins in our food that we need to bind with the fiber? What I would say is that most of the time the fiber is just binding up nutrients that you want to absorb and you're going to excrete those. It's also changing the pH of your stomach when you eat it, making this stomach less acidic, which inhibits our digestion of important molecules. And then going back to polyphenols, we go way back, polyphenols are also known like tannins to inhibit the digestion of molecules and things we need. So again, plants messing with our digestion is the theme here. But no, we don't need fiber to excrete toxins. Our body can do that normally.

Melanie Avalon:
I hear everything you're saying. I think it's a super valid point. I'm just am very, very wary of like the massive toxic exposure that we have today.

Paul Saladino:
Like what? What are you worried about?

Melanie Avalon:
Heavy metals, environmental toxins.

Paul Saladino:
Like what kind of heavy metals?

Melanie Avalon:
Mercury, cadmium.

Paul Saladino:
Okay, how are, how are you getting those?

Melanie Avalon:
Mercury from fish, amalgams.

Paul Saladino:
Right. So okay, so somebody is getting mercury from an amalgam, it's going into their sort of bloodstream directly, almost directly from their mouth. I guess it could get absorbed in their gut, but fiber is not going to necessarily be that effective at binding those heavy metals. Once those heavy metals come into our bodies, we can detoxify them with glutathione. The liver can get rid of them normally. So I think that this is again a little bit of hand waving to say that fiber is going to protect you from heavy metals. You're going to absorb a lot of them anyway and you just, you want to mitigate your exposure from them in the first place, right? You don't want to eat fatty fish like tuna that has a bunch of mercury. You got to be aware that shellfish has cadmium and then you want to support your body with nutrients, primarily nutrients from animals like the amino acids from animals so that you can make glutathione to detoxify them on your own. I've never seen a study to suggest that fiber is going to prevent mercury toxicity in anyone.

Melanie Avalon:
We have things like modified citrus pectin and we see it in studies reducing mercury toxicity in the body. I guess I'm coming to it from like a broader picture of without the fiber, is there more potential for when we're eating a food that has toxins in it for that toxin to actually be absorbed rather than potentially flushed out, bound to with the fiber and eliminated rather than absorbed.

Paul Saladino:
You kind of have to realize like that that situation. You're like, okay, I'm going to eat a toxin. Okay, if you're going to eat a toxin, yeah. If you're going to get a toxin, you might want to eat a binder. You might want to eat some activated charcoal. But I'm not saying I don't think you need that. You can go on a sauna and also detoxify mercury through your skin that way or remove the amalgams. I still think fibers is a net negative because when you take that modified citrus pectin, it's going to totally mess the digestion and your stomach up completely. It's going to totally change the pH of your stomach and then you're not going to digest anything and then you're going to get deficient in other minerals. And then when it goes into your gut, it's going to bind those minerals and you're not going to absorb them.

Paul Saladino:
I have a lot of problems with this idea. There are better ways to detoxify heavy metals and I think that the best thing is to understand where they're coming from. I don't think that that's a strong argument, at least in my mind. I mean you bring up a great point, but in my mind that's not a reason to eat plants. I think that's a reason to be aware of where these metals are coming from and how do we mitigate that exposure? And then like I said, do the things that are environmental hermetics like especially sauna to get rid of those things in other ways. You don't need modified citrus pectin to get rid of metals. Yeah. Sometimes we do give give binders, you can give somebody DMSA. But that's going to get absorbed in the bloodstream and maybe you're going to chelate things there, but that's a little different.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah. Where I'm coming from in case you're wondering, I got mercury toxicity.

Paul Saladino:
What from?

Melanie Avalon:
It has to be from fish because I didn't have amalgams.

Paul Saladino:
It's common.

Melanie Avalon:
This has been something I've been thinking about and I really want to experiment more with carnivore, but I've just been hesitant about things like keeping bowels going and this idea of fiber or attaching to toxins. You mentioned pH of the stomach. That's another question people say that we need plants to maintain alkalinity in the body. So I will say, just to give you my opinion, then I want to hear you go at it full speed. When I first heard the idea that we needed plants to be alkaline and that that was important, I thought it was a silly idea. I was like, no, because people will say that what we eat doesn't determine our blood alkalinity and our body works very, very consciously to maintain our alkalinity and it's not really affected by what we eat.

Melanie Avalon:
That said, I think it's been shown and we see that it requires in a way more effort to maintain alkalinity. If we are taking in an overly acidic diet, maybe yes. Maybe we won't become quote acidic. But is it taxing? And this is what I'm asking, is it taxing the body to maintain that state of alkalinity because it's having to pull nutrients from other places rather than the plants. But of course we did talk about how carnivore could be completely nutritious. So maybe that would be an argument to respond to that. I just anecdotally, and I just feel like I see a lot of people feel like they get quote more acidic when they're doing high meat. What are your thoughts on pH?

Paul Saladino:
This is a pet peeve of mine. So this is widely misunderstood as well and often misquoted. So the idea here is that the first thing you said is true. Or I should say I agree with the first part you said that foods do not change the pH of the human body. The pH of the human body is usually around 7.4 and it is so tightly regulated. It is so tightly regulated, that the idea of being acidic or alkaline is just, it's just to sell products. I mean you show me the person that doesn't sell something when they're talking to you about acidity or alkalinity. This is snake oil in my opinion. We cannot change the pH of our bodies with food. We do not do this.

Melanie Avalon:
But does our body have to work harder to maintain alkalinity based on our food choices?

Paul Saladino:
And again, I would say no. And the reason I would say that is because again, that's where it becomes hand-waving, right? There is no medical physiology for literature to document this. This is people who are not physicians talking about this and this is not nephrologists talking about this. We do not have to work harder to maintain the alkalinity when we eat acidic foods. And then the question is what is an acidic food? You have to remember, everything that you eat goes into the acidity of your stomach. Your stomach is a pH of one. These molecules get broken down and you have all of these things in place. You have a bicarbonate system in your body. You use bicarbonate to buffer carbon dioxide. We can change the acidity of our body by breathing, but that's what we do, is we breathe off acid.

Paul Saladino:
We can moderate this. We have all of these mechanisms built in. We have built in buffering systems. Our body is so exquisite and the idea that we have to work harder to maintain a normal pH when we're eating "acidic foods" is it's just pseudoscience. It's just not true. There is no evidence that people are in any way, shape or form using more minerals or excreting more minerals or doing any of those things in a negative way when they're eating animal based diets. The pH of the urine changes because you're in ketosis and ketones are acids. They're ketoacids. So there's beta hydroxybutyrate in the urine. You can change the acidity of your urine just by being in or out of ketosis. It doesn't have to do with that. So I've seen people, mixed diets of people that I work with and they're eating junk food and their urinary pH is 7.5 and my urinary pH is 5.5 because I'm in ketosis.

Paul Saladino:
But they're not eating "an alkaline diet". This idea of an alkaline diet is really, it's really pseudoscience and it really kind of bothers me. These people do not understand the way that acid base balance works in the body or the way human physiology works. We have built in buffering systems in the human body that take care of this. Eating protein molecules, think about it, how do you even tell if a food is acidic or alkaline? If you listen to these people talk, they'll say, oh, even a food like vinegar is alkaline in the human body or lemon juice is alkaline. And I'm thinking, what are you talking about? That is the most pseudo-scientific thing I've ever heard in my life. You're saying, there are a lot of protons in this food, but that food is going to create hydroxyl, is going to be outcome in the human body. You failed general chemistry in college. That cannot happen. They just want to imagine this. This is just again, it's a fairy tale. The idea of acidic and alkaline foods is, this is a pied piper fairytale. People should not worry about this. There's no evidence your body has to work harder or use more minerals for this. This is not true. There's no physiologic basis to this. Even the idea, that it's that it's creating an acidic load in the human body. It's not true.

Melanie Avalon:
It does sort of bother me. It always has that people say, oh, this was acidic, this was alkaline. When the food is going to enter your stomach, which is very acidic, then into the intestine, which is very alkaline. The acidity or alkalinity of that food is going to change once it enters your digestive system. So that argument is kind of out the window. But then there's the people who talk about the prowl potential of foods, which would be the "acidic or alkaline potential of when that food is metabolized by the body". So the byproduct of that food rather than the actual food itself being acidic or alkaline. And that if you have a buildup of foods that are creating an acidic ash, which is what they call it, which sounds very not scientific. But you had mostly foods that are creating this acidic ash that your body would have to work harder to counterbalance that. And I know you're saying that the body doesn't have to work harder, but does it not have to work harder?

Paul Saladino:
What do you mean work harder?

Melanie Avalon:
Like have to pull minerals from other places in the body to counterbalance.

Paul Saladino:
That has never been shown to be true. And that is the argument that people make with the prowl score or these things is that they're pulling minerals from other places. And that has never been shown to be true. What does happen is that the body has a built in buffering mechanism, right? I would argue that as humans we have been eating meat and animal based diets almost exclusively throughout our evolution as humans. There's fossil evidence for that. So we have been eating animals for our entire evolution as humans. Animals, I would argue very strongly are what allowed us to become human. We ate vegetables as chimps for 35 million years and it was when we started eating animals that we became humans and grew bigger brains. We have been eating almost exclusively animals. If you look at the stable radio isotope data from collagen in humans and Neanderthals from 70,000 years ago, we had so much nitrogen in our bones that was higher than other known carnivores.

Paul Saladino:
Essentially people accept that homosapiens 70,000 years ago and Neanderthals were carnivorous. And the magic of that is that we have mechanisms built into our bodies to deal with that. So yes, the body has a biochemical plan to deal with amino acids that may have a different pH than other amino acids. Yeah, there are sulfur containing amino acids that are more acidic than certain amino acids. But this is built into our biology and the idea that this causes "stress" or pulls minerals from other places, is false. They're looking at like urinary measurements of minerals and not accounting for the fact that we can absorb more minerals on low carbohydrate diets. And it's very difficult to account for all of that. But when you look at it all, like the human body has been doing this for millions of years. We're adapted to do this. The idea that it creates stress is where it gets to be kind of voodoo. That's the falsity. We can adapt to it. Does it change our physiology? Yeah. Is it stressful? No. We have adaptations for it.

Melanie Avalon:
Have you seen the work of Wim Hof though? And mindset and breathing and alkalinity of the blood? That's fascinating. Fascinating work.

Paul Saladino:
Except Wim Hof is, I mean, okay look, respiratory alkalosis is a really bad idea. Forced respiratory alkalosis, which is what happens when you hyperventilate is a bad idea because the body uses carbon dioxide levels in the blood to determine how dilated the blood vessels in the brain are going to be. So what happens when you hyperventilate is that your blood vessels in your brain constrict. So what Wim Hof is doing is he's basically making your brain hypoxic and people are getting into these quote meditative states. This is really not a good idea. You are depriving your brain of oxygen and blood flow. And then people are getting into a meditative state. Yeah, if you make your brain hypoxic, you can enter an altered state of consciousness. But doing it through force respiratory alkalosis, which is by blowing off all of your CO2 by hyperventilating. This is a really bad idea. Again, this is a pseudoscience. I mean, I'm just telling people.

Melanie Avalon:
I don't know if it's pseudoscience because I don't know, have you read the most recent clinical trials that he's done? They're very well controlled and they show that implementing his techniques literally changes the immune factors of the participants and those practicing his-

Paul Saladino:
Wait, is that a good thing? This goes back to the roots of inflammation.

Melanie Avalon:
I know, exactly. That's why I'm really excited to talk it with you.

Paul Saladino:
No, it's totally a bad idea. You're blunting your immune system. Basically you're shutting off the immune system when you want the immune system to be activated. They did this study where they had people do his technique and they injected them with lipopolysaccharide, which is this huge mitogen from gram negative bacteria and they didn't mount an immune response.

Melanie Avalon:
They did not, not mount an immune response. They had an immune response categorized by less inflammation, so it was a more beneficial immune response. That's why.

Paul Saladino:
No, no.

Melanie Avalon:
Yes. Yes.

Paul Saladino:
No.

Melanie Avalon:
Yes.

Paul Saladino:
An immune response is an immune response.

Melanie Avalon:
It didn't stop the immune response.

Paul Saladino:
When you inject someone with lipopolysaccharide, you want an inflammatory immune response. You absolutely want an inflammation or immune response. There's no such thing as like a good immune response to lipopolysaccharide. Again, this is misinterpretation of the data. This is pseudoscience. If you inject someone with lipopolysaccharide, that person should mount an inflammatory immune response. I want my immune system going haywire because in any other condition other than what they did in the experiment, that person has sepsis, right? There is no good response of the immune system to sepsis and no bad response to sepsis. You want inflammation going bonkers when you're septic. So the fact that you can change the alkalinity of the blood and it changed the immune response, that's a really bad thing. This is not a healthy thing for the immune system.

Melanie Avalon:
Like I said, it didn't stop immune response, but it was what they considered to be more anti-inflammatory immune response, categorized by less inflammatory cytokines. And that, for example, doing the Wim Hof method generated higher levels of adrenal hormones like catacholamines. When I read the study, I did get the impression that it was modulating the immune, because we're going to have an immune response constantly to anything. And if we know that chronic inflammation is often the cause of so many health conditions that we have today, if we could do techniques that would modulate the immune system. And yes, it is true that they injected them with lipopolysaccharide, which is an actual toxin. But if there is a technique that could modulate the immune system to have a less inflammatory response to other things, which it seems that his method does, regardless of the source material at the toxin, I could see how that would be beneficial for anybody in life to just in a way calm their immune system and not have this chronic inflammation. Maybe with this type of technique, also modulating your system to not have an overactive inflammatory response to things that should not be having an overactive inflammatory response to in the first place.

Paul Saladino:
In this case, you absolutely want an inflammatory response to LPS.

Melanie Avalon:
They use LPS in the study, but I'm saying the mechanism had that effect. So could we use that in our daily life?

Paul Saladino:
No, I'm disagreeing with you. It's not the same. It's not the same. This is not the same. Wim Hof method, in my opinion is not valuable. It's dangerous and it's a bad idea. And this modulation of the immune system is not the answer. The answer is understanding the root cause of the inflammation. It's not trying to characterize it as less inflammatory. When you inject someone with lipopolysaccharide, you want an inflammatory immune response.

Melanie Avalon:
I understand that, but I'm just saying the technique, the concept, using that to modulate the immune system. I know in the study that they use LPS. And trust me, I have, honestly, a fear of LPS because I'm always convinced that I'm reacting to it a lot. But yeah, I'm saying the technique as a whole possibly for other things, could be beneficial.

Paul Saladino:
I don't think so, but I'll let people decide.

Melanie Avalon:
I would love to talk about this even more with you. We can agree to disagree. I do want to get to some other topics.

Paul Saladino:
We didn't talk about the microbiome.

Melanie Avalon:
I know or fruit. Or fruit. But what I will do, I will let listeners read the studies themselves because I think that's the best thing, is to read it for yourself. Reach your own conclusions. So I will put links in the show notes to the studies that we're talking about so listeners can read that source material and make your own evaluations. Because in the end I think that's most important is to read the source material rather than what somebody said about the source material.

Melanie Avalon:
The thing that drives me crazy about the microbiome is people say, oh, this strain is correlated to health. You need this strain to be healthy, when really the gut microbiomes of different populations and different healthy cultures are so different. And I think it's very shortsighted to assume that because one microbiome in one population seems to support health and longevity, that that's going to be the right microbiome for another person in a completely different environment. And that speaking environment probably has to do with the environment of the body and what sort of gut bacteria support and anti inflammatory state, support of scintillation of nutrients. So I personally don't have any problem at all with the idea of carnivore and how it affects the gut microbiome. But how do you respond to that and what do you say when people are saying that, oh we need plants to have a healthy gut microbiome.

Paul Saladino:
I think that you put it very well. I mean that statement is based on the supposition that we understand what a healthy microbiome is. If I said to you, you can't even define what a healthy microbiome is. How do we know what we're going for? We can say if you give someone fiber, you'll see changes in their gut flora. But I can also say, hey, if you give someone fiber, they could have extreme gas, bloating and constipation and inflammation in the gut. So clearly we don't even know what a healthy microbiome is. And I think that there's so much to be done here. I will say that some people say that we need lots of plant sources or fiber for increased diversity in the gut. And I would argue that that is false, that there's no evidence for that. That if you actually look at the literature, fiber does not increase alpha diversity, which is ecological diversity within a certain niche in an ecosystem.

Paul Saladino:
So fiber does not increase the amount of bacterial speciation diversity in the human gut. It just doesn't. I don't think that we know what does. But what we generally see is that people with low diversity do have more inflammation and insulin resistance. And I think that, that's probably reasonable. And if we look at people on carnivore diets, they have essentially no inflammation and no insulin resistance. So I don't know why anyone would conflate the two ideas and say, oh, you're going to get a low bacterial diversity on a carnivore diet. In the samples from people's microbiomes that I have seen on carnivore diets, the alpha diversity is actually quite high and many people have alpha diversity that increases on a carnivore diet and they have appearance of populations of bacteria that we imagine to be helpful, like Akkermansia, things like that.

Melanie Avalon:
That's, that's Mr. Gundry's favorite. Did that come up in your interview?

Paul Saladino:
It did not. It did not come up in my interview.

Melanie Avalon:
I wish that had come up because he loves that one.

Paul Saladino:
I think that what we know is that maybe Akkermansia is beneficial when you're fasting or is involved when you're fasting. But yeah, I mean there's a lot of Akkermansia in carnivore guts. And they're very different. And like you said, we don't even know what a healthy gut microbiome is. I've heard it stated probably most eloquently when one of my friends said, the microbiome you have when you are healthy is probably the healthiest microbiome for you. So to imagine that we understand what a healthy microbiome is, is just fallacy. But if you actually look at the research, I think that it's very shaky and it's a lot of conjecture to say that the research would suggest that you need multiple different types of plant fiber for alpha diversity.

Paul Saladino:
We definitely don't see that. And then people sometimes say, oh, you need short chain fatty acids. Well you may need short chain fatty acids, but many things can make short chain fatty acids including protein. Protein can be digested to different short chain fatty acids. There's butyric uric acid or butyrate, but there's also proprionate, isobutyrate. These can be made from proteins as well as carbohydrates. And then if you're in fat based metabolism, your enterocytes of the gut can use ketones directly for fuel. So the idea that you need carbohydrates to make this magical short chain molecule called butyrate is false. We can also make short chain fatty acids out of collagen and things that we would find in meat. So I love the microbiome discussion because I think it advances the idea. But again, it seems to all be based on this dogma or this cannon that is not supported by the literature.

Melanie Avalon:
And there's also fascinating study on fasting showing that fasting actually increases microbial diversity.

Paul Saladino:
Right?

Melanie Avalon:
I often think about the carnivore diet and in a way it's similarities to fasting.

Paul Saladino:
Well, I think that's a great point that if fasting increases microbial diversity, why do we think we need fiber to do that? Clearly we've got the whole equation wrong, right?

Melanie Avalon:
So big question though, I really want to ask you, this is the one I've been thinking about so much. One of the reasons I love the whole corner of our diet concept is because everything we talked about plant toxins that it's providing the fuel, it's providing nutrition, and it's getting rid of all of these compounds that could potentially be creating problems because plants don't want to be eaten, so they have all of these toxic compounds. What about something like fruit? And I know that fruit has a lot of compounds in it that do spark oftentimes immune or inflammatory responses for people. That aside, the logic of the idea of plants don't want to be eaten, fruit wants to be eaten because it's the way that the plants spreads its seed. So what are your thoughts on a, not carnivore diet, but a diet made of compounds that food sources that will not in theory by the logic have these toxic compounds? So that would be maybe just a meat and fruit diet or maybe like a meat and honey diet.

Paul Saladino:
I'm not a fan and I'll tell you why. So we know that fructose is a very toxic molecule for humans. We seem to be able to tolerate a little bit of it, but it's a five carbon sugar as opposed to a six carbon sugar and glucose. And fructose doesn't really occur very prominently. It does a little bit, but it's not as prominent outside of the plant kingdom. There's certainly no fructose in animals. We don't use that sugar. If you look at-

Paul Saladino:
... In animals. We don't use that sugar. If you look at human metabolism of fructose, it causes increases in uric acid. It also causes shifts in energy metabolism in the brain. It can change leptin and satiety signaling, and it appears to actually cause some degree of insulin resistance, which is probably at the root of many chronic diseases.

Melanie Avalon:
Have you seen studies showing that using whole fruit, not using refined fructose?

Paul Saladino:
I'd have to look specifically. I don't think there's a big difference honestly.

Melanie Avalon:
I do.

Paul Saladino:
I don't know if they've done it. I don't believe there's a difference. You got to remember, it's going to get digested in the fructose no matter whether it's a fruit or not, and I know that people want to believe that fruit is beneficial because it's like a magical whole food. But listen, or at least this is my perspective, like fruit is plant pornography. The plants are using us. They're making this like sexy, bright fruit, but it's just not a longterm relationship. There's no good potential there for us to have a real relationship with the fruit.

Melanie Avalon:
But it would not benefit the fruit to poison the person eating it.

Paul Saladino:
It's not poisoning us in the short term. It's poisoning us in the longterm if we over consume the fruit because of the fructose, but the plant is clearly using us. The plant is using humans to move its fruit around. There's nothing really beneficial in fruit, like there's no real nutrients in fruit that humans get. People might say vitamin C and I would say, all right, we've already talked about that, you don't need it. And people would say fiber. And I would say no. The fiber in fruit is not beneficial for humans.

Paul Saladino:
And fructose I think is damaging not as an acute plant toxin, but because it's a different operating system, it's a five carbon sugar. We don't have five carbon sugars. I mean we do a little bit in our human metabolism, but we only use them for a second. We don't really ingest five carbon sugars from animals. And I think that it's, like I said, it's plant pornography. It's just using us. It's like this pinup girl. It's super sexy and it gets us to eat it and then it just leaves us in the morning. It's nothing longterm. There's no longterm benefit from the fruit. It's just using us.

Paul Saladino:
Plants are controlling humans and I think that we probably would have eaten fruit from an evolutionary perspective in order to get adequate macromolecules and nutrients. But I don't think fruit has any unique benefit, and I think if you actually look at the dental health of populations that eat a lot of fruit or honey, they're abysmal, and these are considered a "whole foods." I mean the Hadza and the San, when they eat too much honey, their teeth really get degraded.

Paul Saladino:
I've spoken to a lot of dentists about this. We know that when we consume carbohydrates, the pH of the mouth changes, and it becomes more acidic and that leads to overgrowth of the wrong type of bacteria and erosion of the enamel in the mouth. I think that then we get also gingivitis and gum disease. There are studies that suggest that low carbohydrate diets improve the microbiome of the gingival tissue in the mouth, and so I see the dental health as a real reflection in microcosm of the whole body.

Paul Saladino:
So to me, if something is bad for the mouth, it's not something I want to do. I don't believe there's any benefit. What is the benefit of eating fruit other than the fact that it tastes good? Yeah, if you like it, just don't think it's good for you. It's not good for you, just like a is not good for you. I don't think that it's benign in any way, shape or form.

Melanie Avalon:
I guess whether or not it's good for you would depend on our original conversation about a person's view about receiving vitamins, nutrients and such from fruit. And I think that would determine whether or not you would say that fruit is good or bad for you.

Paul Saladino:
Yeah. I think in most cases it's clearly in that negative. I mean, you could say, oh, blackberries have a lot of polyphenols. And I would say, yeah. Yeah, so What? Show me what they're doing in the human body, and they also have a ton of oxalates, which are clearly dangerous and bad for humans. So I think that it's a pretty strong argument against fruit, because all fruit is going to have fructose and some fruit is higher glycemic index than another. But I think it's pretty hard to make a case that fruit has any real value for humans, other than the fact that it's sustained us from a macro nutrient perspective.

Paul Saladino:
If you need calories and you're going to die without the calories, sure eat a piece of fruit. But if you believe that the fruit has any nutritional value for a human, I would say pretty clearly net negative. It's not that people can't eat it. I don't want to come off as a zealot. I'm just saying I want people to understand the context of all of this, and I want them to understand that I believe humans are facultative carnivores, meaning that we have eaten plants throughout our evolution during times of starvation, and we can eat plants without dying.

Paul Saladino:
But my strong feeling is that the more animal products we eat, the more of these optimal nutrients and this optimal food we're going to get. And so sure, we can eat plants if we want to for social reasons or if we enjoy them, but I think we're going to feel better if we eat more animals and for people that are really sick or have chronic inflammation or autoimmunity, I think that it's very interesting and perhaps groundbreaking to suggest the plants could be triggering that, and a lot of people with these very bad conditions can improve radically when they cut out all the plants. But if people want to be plants, they can do it. I just don't want them to imagine that they're doing anything good for their bodies. Enjoyment if you want it, but yeah.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah, no, I can see how we can argue that the carnivore diet is in a way, the perfect diet for human being and will create the perfect state, or not perfect, but will create the optimal state of function. That's why we should encourage it. It's just harder for me to make the argument that following... If a person follows a certain diet that is high in plant matter and that diet is supporting their health seemingly, regardless of if it's because of plant toxins because of this hormetic stress because of whatever it's because of.

Melanie Avalon:
Regardless, if they're following this diet and it supports an antiinflammatory state in them, regardless of the mechanism. I can't say, I mean I find it difficult to say, oh, the plants are should always be avoided, because I do think it does work for some people, but then maybe even for those people, maybe if they went carnivore they would be even better.

Paul Saladino:
That's what I would argue. But who am I to say that if somebody feels like they're kicking all the ass they want to kick, if they're really doing great in their life and they're eating a plant based diet, then that's awesome. What I am interested in, I think what we're all interested in is helping people achieve the highest quality of life and so however people define that.

Paul Saladino:
But I think that my hypothesis, my postulate, it would be that... I went on a podcast recently with Rich Roll and we had a little back and forth debate and it's like, look, I mean that guy looks healthy and he's a pretty good athlete. He's not competing at the highest level anymore. But I would argue that like he is going to kick way more ass, and he doesn't even know how good he could be on animal foods, but he chooses not to do that and that's fine. That's his prerogative. He's happy, don't change.

Paul Saladino:
But I think that's the message is that if we really accept this, or if we even consider this idea that animal foods are the ideal foods, then I think the more of them you eat, the better you're going to do. But I'm not going to tell people to change if they're feeling good, I just want to offer it to people who are hoping to feel better as an option. But I think that most people would feel better if they eliminated some or all the plants in their diet, yeah.

Melanie Avalon:
Yeah. I do think carnivore could benefit so many people, and is quite possibly the optimal diet for a lot of people, but like with Rich Roll, for example, he's following this diet. He seems to be thriving on it, doing so well, who am I to say that he would do better on carnivore? What's the benefit of investing energy and saying why certain dietary approaches are wrong if they are benefiting a certain person compared to just supporting why carnivore diet could be right.

Melanie Avalon:
Because I'm so on board with carnivore, it's ridiculous. I think it's amazing and I think it's so spot on and addresses so many things, but I just don't see the purpose of... And I think it's really important to discuss why plants can be toxic, especially in large amounts, and why people need to be careful and why we should reevaluate the whole... We need a paradigm shift in everything. That said, I don't see why we would need to discredit other dietary approaches that include plants and seemingly promote longevity and health span.

Paul Saladino:
Yes, I see what you're saying. And I think that I'm not going to criticize anyone for eating a certain way. It's a personal choice. I just want to offer this with the option and the idea that I think most people would probably feel even better. I would love for Rich Roll to do that experiment with carnivore and be like-

Melanie Avalon:
That would be amazing.

Paul Saladino:
That would be amazing, and maybe I think there would be a lot of confirmation bias and a lot of nocebo going on there because of where he's coming from. But I would love for a non-biased individual to do both experiments and that was one of the things that I talked about on that podcast with Rich, it was on the Minimalists, like, hey, people can decide for themselves. Maybe someone has real ethical concerns about eating animals. We didn't even talk about the ethics, and I think there's a very clear notion that eating animals is not bad for the environment when you consider the carbon negative aspects of grazing agriculture.

Paul Saladino:
But maybe someone, for whatever reason, if somebody doesn't want to eat animals, and they're healthy and they're feeling good, who am I to tell them how to eat? I do think though that if someone like Rich Roll tried a more animal-based diet, I bet they would feel even better, and that's just the option that I want to put out there for people.

Melanie Avalon:
Last note on the fruit though, I would love if you ever find a study showing, a controlled study, showing fruit, fructose from fruit in whole fruit form having a negative effect, I would love to see that because I have not found anything to support that.

Paul Saladino:
Have you seen people just do ingestion of fruit? I've seen it. I've seen it personally, like with my teeth. I was a raw vegan and I had tons of calories. You see it. Fruitarians look horrible. That could be nutrient deficiencies, but I think you see it in practice. I don't know if I've ever seen a controlled study about it. I don't think anybody's ever done this study where they give somebody an apple, and they look to see what their inflammatory markers are or things like that. But it would be an interesting study. But I just sort of philosophically, theoretically, I don't see the benefit to it.

Melanie Avalon:
Well, I guess it would be kind of like, to make a comparison to carnivore, it's like we take fruit, we take fructose, isolated form of carbohydrate. Just using that, seeing how it affects the body and extrapolating conclusions from that, I would say that would be sort of similar to if we had meat, and we extracted amino acid protein from it and we did all this studies on this amino acid and how it affects the human body and then we drew conclusions from that. I think that would be doing a disservice because we need to take in protein in the context of the whole meat, not just an isolated amino acid. I think you could extend the same logic to isolating fructose from fruit.

Paul Saladino:
Yes. I think you're right. I will say that if you... The experiment I think has been done. You can look at continuous glucose monitors, you can look at CGMs from people eating fruit. The response is not good.

Melanie Avalon:
The glucose monitors. There's such a different response to different foods, so I don't even think we can make that conclusion because people seem to react all over the board with different blood sugar and insulin responses to different foods.

Paul Saladino:
Yeah. But I think that would be the experiment. Take 20 people with CGMs and give them all four bananas and see what happens. It's not going to be good. It's not going to be zero.

Melanie Avalon:
I know for me when I went from doing a high, like a very, very low carb, and I know there are a lot of factors, but when I went from going a very, very low carb, arguably ketogenic diet, I always had high blood sugar. And I know that's a whole tangent. When I integrated more fruit, went leaner, higher carb, my blood sugar massively improved and went lower. I don't know. I think it's very individual and depends on so many factors.

Paul Saladino:
Yes and no. I would say that when people say that they had poor blood sugar control on a low carbohydrate diet, the first thing I think I was inadequate sodium consumption. I mean you can absolutely cause your body to spike cortisol if you're not including enough sodium. There is natriuresis of fasting and on a ketogenic diet or a low carbohydrate diet, you're going to waste more salt. And so I think that in the majority of cases like yours, my suspicion is that you were not consuming enough sodium and because of that your body was over producing cortisol. And as you know, cortisol is a glucocorticoid and that's going to change the way your body regulates. I think it was a phenomenon of inadequate sodium. So if you correct the sodium equation in a ketogenic diet and you give someone adequate sodium, the cortisol doesn't raise at all.

Paul Saladino:
I actually put something on my Instagram about that today. And I've talked about that at length. The idea that ketogenic diets spike stress hormones, cortisol, epinephrin, it's just false. That only happens when you restrict sodium on those diets, and I think a lot of people don't get enough sodium. And for whatever reason our physiology is such that we lose more sodium on a ketogenic diet. So if we don't get enough sodium, you're going to overproduce cortisol and that would be my suspicion. And without knowing the rest of your story, I can't understand a totally, but that would be my suspicion about that.

Melanie Avalon:
I don't think I was sodium restricted when I was doing the rotisserie chickens from the market.

Paul Saladino:
No, you still might not have been getting out of sodium. I think you might not have. You'd be surprised. I think most people need about five grams of sodium a day, which is equivalent to about 10 to 12 grams salt in a day. There's a lot of sodium loss when you're transitioning to ketogenesis, especially in the beginning.

Melanie Avalon:
My current thoughts about high blood sugar on diets devoid of carbs is that it does often involve cortisol or some sort of beneficial "insulin resistance," because the body is trying to maintain blood sugar.

Paul Saladino:
The only reason you would become insulin resistant or have high cortisol on a ketogenic diet is inadequate sodium. That's the only physiologic reason that I'm aware of. Your cortisol should not be high. The other thing is that if you're doing a ketogenic diet, that's primarily proteinaceous. If you're doing it without enough fat, you're going to have more gluconeogenesis, in which case your blood sugar is going to be higher, so if you're doing... Essentially, if you're doing a carnivore diet with just chicken, that's a great way to feel horrible because you're not getting enough fat, and that's going to make a lot of work of your body. You have to do a lot of gluconeogenesis. Yes, your blood sugar is going to be higher, but that's because the fat to protein macro is not idea.

Melanie Avalon:
This is just anecdotal, but when I did it with chicken, that this was the high coconut oil experiment, so there was a lot of fat.

Paul Saladino:
Yeah, yeah. Okay. I bet it was the salt then. I bet if you repeated that with salt, with more salt, you might be two different result because that's very unusual physiology and you kind of have to dig into it.

Melanie Avalon:
That was something I was going to ask you. What do you think about the idea of hacking the carnivore diet with lean meat.... Okay, because I know tonically we see that some people, speak about genetics and longevity and things like that. We see genetically that it seems some people are more predisposed to "running better" or having more beneficial responses to certain types of fat, saturated versus unsaturated.

Paul Saladino:
No.

Melanie Avalon:
I know, I know.

Paul Saladino:
I disagree with that. It's genetics.

Melanie Avalon:
Well, saturated versus unsaturated versus monounsaturated, polyunsaturated. I could go on a whole tangent about polyunsaturates. What do you think about the idea of lean meats with MCT oil to stay in a ketogenic state? So you'd be getting the protein, then you'd be supporting ketogenesis, and your fat metabolism with MCT oil and then avoiding... And I don't think saturated fat is bad, but avoiding the whole saturated fat argument.

Paul Saladino:
No.

Melanie Avalon:
I was wondering this and then I was asking people in my Facebook group for questions for you as well and somebody else wanted to know the same thing, so I was like, okay, it's not just me.

Paul Saladino:
Yeah, so saturated fat has been incorrectly vilified and maligned. There's really no evidence that saturated fat is bad for humans, and we don't really have time to get into the arguments around the lipid hypothesis, and yes, if you increase saturated fat, your LDL will go up. I don't think that's a bad thing at all. I would argue in many cases that's been associated with longevity and it's a good thing.

Paul Saladino:
I did a podcast on my podcast last week with Dave Feldman we did a deep dive into LDL. So many people malign saturated fat from the perspective of raising LDL, and I think that is completely wrong. If you understand the lipidology around that, you'll see that that is not the case. There's no evidence that saturated fat, if you look at across the epidemiology, even though we know that's confounded, there's no consistent evidence that saturated fat is bad for humans or associated with adverse cardiovascular events. The epidemiology is very mixed. I really don't like the idea.

Paul Saladino:
I get asked that question a lot. What about MCT oil? I'm not a fan. I think people should be eating oils from animals and eating natural sources of fat. I'd rather have people eat tallow, because of the fat soluble minerals and vitamins that are in the animal fat. When you have MCT oil, it's a processed oil. It's going to be oxidized. It's a saturated fat, so it can't be highly oxidized, but it's going to be much more oxidized than it would normally be.

Paul Saladino:
Most MCT oils are hexane extracted. They're going to have residues of industrial petroleum or organic based solvents in them. They're not pure. They're not good things for humans to take. I don't think there's a benefit to MCT oil. You can achieve a ketogenic state on a carnivore diet by adjusting your fat to protein macros quite easily. You just make sure that your fat is a larger component of your diet, and I would argue a much more evolutionarily consistent source of fat is going to be actual animal fat and tallow, things like this, rather than MCT oil.

Paul Saladino:
I think that we get overly obsessed with pushing ketone numbers and you can see totally robust ketone numbers if you just change the protein to fat macro. I don't think there's a clear benefit to MCT oil, and I think that most of the MCT oils are extremely low quality. People might say, "Well, what if I get the best quality MCT oil?" And I say, well, it doesn't exist. That's a synthetic oil. It doesn't exist in nature. You had to pull those C8s, C9s out of a coconut oil.

Paul Saladino:
How did you do that? And then you stored it in a plastic jar, and I don't care if it's Bulletproof XCT Oil or something, it's not going to be as beneficial to you. It's not going to have any fat soluble vitamins in it like animal fat would. And we know those are essential for humans. Don't chase the ketones with an MCT oil. The fat from an animal is going to make ketones just fine. I think it's very important to not over-consume protein on these types of diets and to think about the protein to fat macros.

Melanie Avalon:
Agreed. I could talk to you about all of this and so many more topics for hours, and I really want to, but would you like to... Because I want to leave listeners with something very practical if they are interested in this whole carnivore diet. Could you just quickly summarize if somebody is interested in starting the carnivore diet, can anybody do it? What you would recommend them doing, how long they should give it?

Paul Saladino:
Yeah, I think anyone can do it. People always ask me, like I have this medical condition or that medical condition, and obviously I can't speak for everyone and their medications and things like that, but I think everyone can do this. I believe quite strongly that this is the way that humans are programmed to eat. In the beginning of the talk, I asked the question or I sort of mentioned to listeners that I've always been interested in this idea: Is there one diet for humans? And though I don't think there's one diet for all humans, I think that from an evolutionary perspective, the carnivore diet is the closest thing to our most basic programming.

Paul Saladino:
I think it's pretty clear that among individuals there's a differential tolerance to plants. Some people don't tolerate any plants and they feel best when they eat zero. Some people can tolerate some plants. I'm not sure, as we talked about in detail on this podcast, I'm not convinced that those plants really give people a whole lot of nutritional benefit, but if they bring value to their life, and those people are not feeling like those plants are detracting from their life or they're not feeling like there are clear areas of their life that they want to optimize, then they can probably leave those plants in their diet.

Paul Saladino:
Again, I feel like humans are facultative carnivores, meaning we probably have eaten plants throughout our existence as humans for 3 million years. But I believe that they're just survival food. But it's okay to eat survival food from time to time. Our ancestors would have. I just don't want people to imagine, or my suggestion would be that it's not the optimal food for humans, but that's okay.

Paul Saladino:
But for people that are super sick, I think that there's a real utility in doing a full carnivore diet. And this is no plant products at all. Not even coffee, and people just shut off the podcast right there when I said no coffee. But I think that there are things in coffee which can be bad for people too. And so people can do all sorts of variations. They can cut out some plants, all plants. You can kind of see a spectrum from paleo to autoimmune paleo to varying degrees of cutting things out and out and out.

Paul Saladino:
But I think there's a real value in having people understand what it's like to eat less and less plants and see how they feel. And I think that for people that are sick and are not optimized, if they're not sleeping, if the libido isn't where they want it to be, if the energy isn't where they want it to be, if the body composition isn't where they want it to be, if they have autoimmune disease. This idea of eliminating plant foods, I would say for 30 to 60 days, is a very powerful first intervention.

Paul Saladino:
I think during that 30 to 60 days, people can really learn how they feel psychologically. The benefits are incredible psychologically, how they feel physically, how they feel emotionally without plants in their diet. And I think a lot of people are finding that chronic inflammation goes away. GI conditions go away. Previously chronic longterm recalcitrant skin conditions go away. Like I said, it doesn't work magically for everyone, but the results are pretty striking. And oftentimes there or sometimes there may be other things which confound that people can have other issues, heavy metal toxicity, underlying infections in the gut dysbiosis.

Paul Saladino:
But as far as a first intervention, I think it's really powerful and can help a lot of people to do a nose to tail carnivore diet. Now, we didn't really get into the granular details of how to do that. I would direct people to my Instagram and my YouTube channel for that, or they can reach out to me directly. But the idea is that you want to eat from like every compartment of the animal. You want to eat some muscle meat like we were just talking about. I think it's important to balance the muscle meat with the fat and get those macros proper.

Paul Saladino:
I think a lot of people end up eating too much protein and don't feel great. I think people need to realize they're going to have an adaptation period, and if they've never done a fat adapted diet or they've never done a ketogenic diet, there's going to be two to three weeks where your metabolism changes over and you have to get through that. People may have adaptations in their gut, they may have loose stool, but eventually it normalizes.

Paul Saladino:
But once you get adapted, there's this carnival or adaptation phase, at least 30 days, probably better, 60 days. Eating muscle meat, eating animal fat from good sources, eating organ meats, eating connective tissue, having a good source of Omega threes, having a source of iodine and having a source of calcium, which is usually either bone meal or eggshells, things like that. Then you get to a pretty full diet that's very sustainable, and a lot of people have to kind of wrap their head around the differences and variety.

Paul Saladino:
But I think most people, once they kind of get used to it, are just fine with it. And the foods are obviously very palatable and enjoyable. Who doesn't like steak? I think that animal foods are very enjoyable, eggs and steak and animal fats, incredibly rewarding for people. But it can be a very powerful intervention for people who are not where they want to be or who are curious how they would feel without plants in their diet. And that's what I would say people should kind of start with and think about.

Melanie Avalon:
Thank you so much. And in the show notes for listeners, we'll put links to everything that Dr. Saladino just talked about, so that you can definitely, if you're interested, you can find out more. Thank you so, so much, Paul. This has been absolutely amazing, and like I said, I've been fascinated with the carnivore diet and the concept of plant toxins for years, arguably a decade. I'm so happy that now it's finally being talked about, and I'm so happy we have people like you who can give us such a scientific perspective and you're coming from the medical field, because I think that is so needed. Because I think that this diet can benefit so many people.

Melanie Avalon:
And it needs credibility just because of the current zeitgeist, what's been what we've seen so far. So I really thank you for everything that you're doing. I do have one final question that I ask all guests on this podcast, and it is just because I realized how important mindset is for health and wellness and longevity and everything. So, I wanted to ask you, what are you most grateful for?

Paul Saladino:
Oh man, I think about this all the time right now. I think I'm just grateful to be at a healthy place in my life. I'm feeling like I'm the healthiest I've ever been, and I'm grateful to have something that I get to do every day that's very meaningful. I'm incredibly blessed right now. I'm in an incredibly awesome position to get to help people and share an idea that's being developed and is interesting and people are finding a lot of benefit from.

Paul Saladino:
So, it's a fantastic position to be in and it's wonderful to be able to do it from a position of health. My journey has been pretty similar to yours. We've been looking for health, and it's really a blessing to be able to get to a place where we can do this from... It's a blessing to be able to get to a place where we can operate in good health with clarity and a good mood and emotional resilience. And it's just a nice place to be. It's great to be somewhere doing something meaningful and being able to enjoy life physically and mentally with... At least in terms of my experience, the most optimal health that I've experienced in my life.

Melanie Avalon:
Well, thank you. Thank you so much for that and thank you so much for being here. It honestly means the world. I'm so happy that I got to talk to you and I'm sure listeners benefited so much from our conversation. How can they best follow your work?

Paul Saladino:
Yeah, I think that the best place is my website, which is PaulSaladinoMD.com. My last name has salad in it. It's the greatest irony, so it's S-A-L-A-D-I-N-O, but it also has the beginning of dinosaur in it, so.

Melanie Avalon:
Oh my goodness, look at you. You're an omnivore.

Paul Saladino:
Right.

Melanie Avalon:
No, no.

Paul Saladino:
Facultative carnivore. PaulSaladinoMD.com, there's a link to my newsletter, which is coming out soon. It's going to have lots of good stuff so people can go and sign up for my newsletter. I've got my own podcast, which I'll have to have you on soon, and we can talk about your ongoing experiences with carnivores diet or your experiments. It's Fundamental Health with Paul Saladino, MD. It's on iTunes and all of the platforms. I've got a YouTube channel, which is Paul Saladino MD, and I'm on a couple of social media spots at Instagram, Paul Saladino, MD, and a Twitter, MDSaladino, so people can reach me through all those places.

Melanie Avalon:
Perfect. So for listeners, I will put all of that in the show notes. The show notes will be at Melanieavalon.com/carnivore, so definitely check that out. Thank you so much for your time, Paul. This has been amazing. I was waiting for it so long and it lived up to everything, and I knew I wouldn't get to everything and we did it, but I think we tackled a lot of really good topics, so thank you so much.

Paul Saladino:
Yeah, it's my pleasure. We got through a ton of stuff.

Melanie Avalon:
We did. I could still talk for like 10 hours with you, but...

Paul Saladino:
Next time, part two, part two.

Melanie Avalon:
Thank you so much.

Paul Saladino:
Of course, yeah, thanks for having me on.

1 comment

Leave a comment:


Latest posts