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The Carnivore Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Optimal Health by Returning to Our Ancestral Diet

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Millions of Americans suffer from ailments for which modern medicine has provided only limited relief: diabetes, depression, joint pain, heart disease, and various autoimmune illnesses. Millions more have tried and failed to lose weight and keep it off. If you’re one of those afflicted, you know how frustrating and disheartening it is to be cycled through treatment plans, diets, and prescriptions that provide only little relief - and may actually add to your suffering.

If you’re ready to improve you quality of life, Paul has the answers you’ve been seeking. In The Carnivore Code, Paul explains how the carnivore diet offers a host of scientifically proven benefits, such as reduced inflammation, better sleep, reduced join pain, weight loss, and improved mental clarity. You’ve been led astray by propaganda demonizing meat and heralding the benefits of plant-based diets. In this book, Paul dismantles those myths one by one before giving you a step-by-step guide to implementing the carnivore diet and experiencing its benefits for yourself.

399 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 11, 2020

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About the author

Paul Saladino

4 books21 followers
Dr. Saladino is the leading authority on the science and application of the carnivore diet. He has used this diet to reverse autoimmunity, chronic inflammation and mental health issues in hundreds of patients, many of whom had been told their conditions were untreatable. In addition to his personal podcast, Fundamental Health, he can be found featured on numerous podcasts including The Minimalists, The Model Health Show, Bulletproof Radio, The Dr. Gundry Podcast, The Ben Greenfield Podcast, Dr. Mercola, Health Theory, Mark Bell’s Power Project, and many others. He has also appeared on The Doctors TV show and authored the bestselling book, “The Carnivore Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Optimal Health by Returning to our Ancestral Diet.”

Dr. Saladino completed residency at the University of Washington. He attended medical school at the University of Arizona focusing on integrative medicine and nutritional biochemistry. Prior to medical school, Dr. Saladino worked as a physician assistant in cardiology. It was during this time that he saw first hand the shortcomings of mainstream Western medicine with its symptom focused, pharmaceutical based paradigm. He decided to return to medical school with the hope of better understanding the true roots of chronic disease and illness, and how to correct and reverse these. He now maintains a private practice in San Diego, California, and sees clients from all over the world virtually.

When he is not researching connections between nutritional biochemistry and chronic disease, he can be found in the ocean searching for the perfect wave, cultivating mindfulness, or spending time with friends and family.

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5 stars
758 (48%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 166 reviews
Profile Image for econoMisfit.
258 reviews8 followers
March 21, 2020
I've been vegetarian for almost 3 years and I can't believe I'm giving this a perfect score. This is, I guess, the beauty when you are open in contradicting your very own belief system; you learn better and you learn more.
Dr. Paul is a genius! This book is full of wisdom and hard Science. Widely research, an adventure and a joy to read. My only dilemma now is, I can no longer look at fruits and veggies with the same nutritional beauty as I did before.
Profile Image for Mike Felker.
24 reviews1 follower
April 21, 2020
I've known about the Carnivore diet for several years now, but told myself i'd never take it seriously until well-accredited doctors take it seriously. But more importantly, I wanted to make sure there is real science behind it. As far as I know, "The Carnivore Code" is the first major attempt at that. Does the author succeed? Well that all depends. I think Dr. Saladino would agree that his book isn't the final word. But it is a word that we all need to take very seriously. Either the author has completely misrepresented the scientific literature, or there is something to this diet.

My biggest problem with this book is the almost total reliance on the truth of not only human evolution, but the entire evolutionary "common descent" story. The point is regularly hammered: "eating meat is what made us human." I'm far from persuaded that anything "made us human" and I think the thesis is unnecessary anyway. Either meat is good for humans or it isn't. Either plants are bad for humans or they're good. Dr. Saladino has no problem questioning the entire paradigm of food and nutrition. I only wish he'd apply the same critical approach to evolution. If you are an evolution skeptic like myself, you just have to push through these parts of the book. It's worth it if you do.

When the book got to the plants, I felt like I was reading Dr. Gundry. What do I mean? Dr. Gundry became nearly famous for popularizing the idea that lectins are bad. That's why he called it the "Plant Paradox." After all, aren't these veggies supposed to be good for us? Take that same level of critical thought towards lectins and apply it to all veggies. This is what Saladino does. I'm glad though that the author was reserved in many of his statements towards plants. He would say things like, "maybe plants just aren't that good for us after all?" And he cites study after study to support his point. Be warned: these sections of the book are the most technical. I have to give the author credit though. He wrote as passionately as one could given the technical nature of the discussion.

The next section of the book dealt with animal foods and how great they are. Mtor, LDL and just about everything else was discussed; things that we're told are bad due to animal foods. What was most noteworthy for me was the comparison of the nutrition profiles of animals vs. plants. I confess I was pretty shocked that the vitamin/mineral content of Kale just wasn't that impressive. When you take things like fiber, polyphenols, and antioxidants out of the mix (the author addresses all of these), plants are pretty lame when it comes to nutrition. Meat fares much better on the nutrition spectrum.

The Q&A at the end was my favorite section. This was the least technical and most practical of the whole book. Many common questions are answered, such as the "Keto flu", hormone balance, pregnancy, and much more. You could just read this section and get a pretty good understanding of what the Carnivore diet is all about.

One other important note. The author isn't telling us to never eat plants again. There were several tiers of the diet which could include the least toxic plants. We are told what these are. So if veggies don't bother you, then go right ahead and include some in your diet. Just know which ones are the least harmful and make meat the primary item on your plate.

As someone who is very active and health conscious (far from an expert though!), i'm not totally sold on this diet. But I am extremely intrigued and very willing to give it a shot to see how I feel. Saladino recommends doing at least a 45-90 day fully Carnivore reset, and then slowly introducing veggies back in. I think the verdict is still out on whether this is meant to be a long term diet. But Saladino may very well be right. This may be the diet that we're all meant to thrive on. And if you're going to falsify this claim, you've got hundreds of footnotes to weed through. And then you'll need to debate Saladino. Because i'm here to tell you; I haven't seen anyone go head to head in debate and make a persuasive case that Saladino couldn't refute.

So overall, this is an excellent book. Even if you're a vegan, I promise you will learn something. In fact, I would say this is one of the best health/nutrition books i've ever read and i'm excited to see what new research things brings and who's minds in the medical establishment will be changed.
Profile Image for Robert Melnyk.
341 reviews15 followers
March 29, 2021
I recently read the book, "How Not to Die", by Dr. Michael Greger. That book talked extensively about the benefits of eating a plant based diet, and the reasons for eating plants instead of meat, including beef, poultry, and fish. It talked in detail about how a plant based diet can help fight various disease such as different types of cancer, heart disease diabetes, and more. The Carnivore Code was a similar book, making basically the same arguments, but in reverse. The basic premise was that plant based foods are not good for us, and are actually toxic, to a degree. It claims we should really be eating nothing but meat. So, I have read 2 books, each by medical doctors, each with a lot of research backing up their claims, that espouse totally opposite opinions as to what we should be eating for optimum health. So, what is the average lay person supposed to do? My opinion is I agree more with Dr. Greger, and I will continue to pursue a mostly plant based diet. But it was very interesting to read an alternate opinion.
9 reviews
February 1, 2020
This book is not even out yet, how are people rating it so low? The anti meat agenda is already showing itself
Profile Image for Frannie.
5 reviews
April 20, 2020
Great read

I never would have thought I could agree with carnivore and now I want to try it! I was vegetarian for 17 years!
Profile Image for Bryce Reed.
15 reviews1 follower
June 15, 2020
Though there may be some valuable ideas in this book, they are undercut by leaps in logic and other argumentative fallacies. For instance, Dr. Paul constantly dunks on epidemiological studies when they show positive results stemming from a plant based diet, then (and sometimes on the next page, even) he touts those types of studies to prove that a carnivore diet is healthful.
The segment on environmental impact is especially egregious, as it shamelessly cherry-picks data to create convincing looking graphs.
There may be some nuggets of gold in these here hills, but are they really as shiny as Prospector Paul claims?
1 review
April 13, 2020
Move along, folks. This is just someone trying to cash in and make a living off of the carnivore diet fad while masquerading these true intentions under the guise of helpfulness and free thinking that goes against the system.

The majority of the "research" backing up this diet comes down to people like Saladino memorizing anecdotes and broscience on Twitter and Reddit. The best part about this whole thing is that it tickles that part of our brain that *wants* to believe.
Profile Image for Петър Стойков.
Author 3 books264 followers
November 11, 2020
Диетата, при която ядеш само месо и нищо друго добива все по-широка популярност в последните 2-3 години. Самата тя е интересна защото противно на това което ни казваха всички лекари, диетолози и изследователи занимаващи се с храненето и здравето, човек не умира от скорбут или всякаквите там други недостатъчности, с които ни плашеха, ако не си яде зеленчуците и плодовете, нито пък умира от запек без фибри.

Също така, освен че не умират, доста хора с много тежки автоимунни заболявания се повлияват добре от тая диета - явно е, че съдържащите се в разнообразните растителни храни многобройни ... вещества понякога имат свойството да дразнят имунната ни система повече, отколкото е нужно.

Пол Саладино е решил да поспечели някой и друг долар от модерната диета и да напише книга за нея. Само че както често става в подобни случаи, книгата е повече общи приказки и разтягане на локуми - защото все още няма никакви изследвания на тая диета.

Да, ясно е, че в по-голямата част от еволюционната история на хоминидите (различните видове първобитни хора) те са били ловци и са се хранели основно с животинска храна. Да, животинската храна е богата на всякакви полезни вещества много повече от растителната и много от тях са жизненоважни за доброто физическо и душевно здраве. Да, прекаляването с въглехидрати и особено рафинирани такива (захар, бяло брашно), както и и рафинирани растителни масла са основната причина за почти всички "заболявания на цивилизацията" - диабет, сърдечносъдови, алцхаймер, рак.

И тия неща Саладино надълго и нашироко ги разказва и преразказва - същите неща, които ги има във всяка книга за палео диетата. Изследванията, които цитира и фактите, които казва са верни, но те не означават непременно, или даже не навеждат сериозно на мисълта, че всякаква растителна храна е вредна и трябва да се яде само животинска.

Авторът подбира да цитира изследвания, които му харесват и ги използва за да добавя от себе си наизуст изсмукани от пръстите всеобхватни заключения, с които скърпва книга, чиято основна идея е че всички трябва да ядем само животински продукти. Аз ям по кило месо на ден и пак смятам че Саладино е въздух под налягане.
Profile Image for Christina.
266 reviews
January 13, 2021
I’m undecided as to whether I want to give this book 3 or 4 stars. I read (listened to) it out of curiosity, as I have been exploring a low carbohydrate/keto diet as a way to prevent migraines and hypoglycemia (which has been quite successful I might add!) and I occasionally enjoy Dr. Saladino’s podcast (although he has a tendency to talk too much).

This book was very well researched and written, in my opinion. But it felt, at times, like a carnivore religion or dogma was being pushed. Dr. Saladino slips in subtly snide statements about plant foods and how we don’t want to be eating them, when, for the vast majority of people, it would be a marked improvement.

He mentions, in the book, about how studies are cherry picked to promote plant based agendas, but it often felt like he was doing the same but with a carnivorous bent. Is sulforaphane good or bad? Rhonda Patrick thinks it’s good, Paul Saladino says bad ... both cite studies, so do we actually have conclusive evidence in either direction?

Dr. Saladino mentions different degrees of ‘carnivorous’ diets, and the one that seemed most sensible (imho) was the ‘carnivore-ish’ diet. Lots of nutrient dense animal products, with lots of non-starchy fruits and veggies. That sounds like a recipe for wellness for the average person.

I think there is *definitely* a place for an all meat diet if you are struggling with an autoimmune or severe gastrointestinal condition, but unless you were very sick, I’m not sure one would want to stay on this diet forever.

Profile Image for Danielle.
125 reviews
July 20, 2021
I was super hopeful for this book. I was not expecting an outright war against plant foods where his evidence was using the same tools of selective studies which is the same thing he complained the modern medical system does.
I admit some of the data isn't there for plant materials and fiber, but there's not data that supports just eating animal material. I do think that we should be eating more of the animals than we currently are- including the organ meat. However, I don't think we should demonize a whole section of the food available to us just because one guy says so.
I think everyone has a different microbiome that is supported by different foods and our job as medical professionals is to find the food that best supports the microbiome of each individual.
Profile Image for Sonja Tyson.
213 reviews1 follower
November 22, 2020
I liked the book at first, but then it took a turn toward fanaticism so many of these 'diet' books take. The author is a recent convert and can't see all too clearly. Instead of a book about carnivore diet, it was a tract about how all his choices--from salt use, to exactly what kind of water, cooking method, meat choices, when to eat, how to approach life, etc.--are scientifically the best! Reminded me of the Macrobiotic diet which actually had instructions on how to shower and towel off for maximum health.

I much preferred Shawn Baker's book.
Profile Image for Nital Jethalal.
27 reviews
December 25, 2022
Eating differently from the standard American diet is important so, to that end, at least Saladino recognizes part of the problem.

The thing is, most of the evidence cited is purely anecdotal and some of the claims are straight up dangerous. Readers should really know immediately that, as a psychiatrist, Saladino has no relevant clinical experience. Most fact checking reviews of the books scientific claims do not have it faring well.

There's simply an over reliance on shaky evidence where it serves the narrative well - eg the 2013 paper "The Nicoya region of Costa Rica: a high longevity island for elderly males" - even when the authors of this research themselves note that conclusions like the ones Saladino makes can't be drawn from the data they've evaluated. Meanwhile Carnivore Code ignores other relevant, richer research (e.g. the "gut project" of 2018 with over 15,000 data points) that don't serve them narrative well.

I understand that many people after reporting short term health benefits but the thing is, many more are reporting even wider benefits from whole plant based diets and those are being seen in the long run. So why risk the long term health with an extreme diet like this? Heart attacks continue to be, by far, the biggest killer (~50,000/day) and whole plant based diets have been by far the most effective tool in reducing and managing CVD.

Dr. Dean Ornish, for example, has had tremendous success, for over three decades, when it comes to heart disease and moving people animal free. So much so that his program is now covered by all US insurance companies and Medicare. Why is long term evidence like this missing in this book?

It's great that carnivore code recognizes the harms of processed food and dairy but otherwise it gets a bit weird. The discussion of polyphenols & LDL cholesterol, amongst others, don't check out. Perhaps the weirdest angle is that Saladino recognizes the importance of gut health for the body and mind to thrive and yet doesn't acknowledge the key role fiber plays in it (fiber can only be found in plant foods). Eating wide diversity of plants (30+ a week) strengthens gut health and has been shown, through many studies over time, to be amazing for both mind and body.

Any one study can show anything - esp if funded privately - but look at the totality of the evidence. He doesn't. Tobacco took decades to be called out (& 7,000 studies) and big ag has taken the same play as big tobacco when it comes to meat, particularly processed and red meat: just try to create doubt. Doubt is the product. To this end, they've unfortunately succeeded.

We know that high meat animal based diets like keto are linked to lower lifespans and health spans and higher rates of heart disease and cancer in the long run. That there's no long term evidence for carnivore diet after over a decade of being shilled should concern everyone. It seems highly likely that it's very dangerous in the long run. Atkins knew this about keto and yet never tried to get funding for a study, opting instead to sell books that helped people hear that their bad habits were good for them.

Carnivore Code also completely misses the mark in discussing the environment & food. Grass fed and pasture raised meat require 2.5x more land and create more methane. Check out grazingfacts.com for more on grazing myths (co-created by the center for biological diversity).

It's also the height of privilege to think most people can afford this meat. Over 90% of most American meat is factory farmed and 3/4 of antibiotics are consumed by these animals. It's not the same meat and he conveniently continues to ignore this.

The deliberate avoidance of well established long term evidence that reflect the benefits of high fiber diets is concerning. While Saladino is right that the lack of nutrition training in medicine is a problem, this book seems to be self serving in supporting him to eat and promote a diet he enjoys vs one that scientifically checks out in the long run. It's quite dangerous. And there are plenty of other MDs out there who have taken it upon themselves to not just train in nutrition but to also develop clinical success arguably Saladino's greatest weakness - with respect to whole plant based diets.

Many, many MDs that I can list for people to check out of they like. One of my favs is Dr. Brooke Goldener (@goodbyelupus). I encourage people interested in this book to check out what MDs like Brooke don't just say, but how they approach information and research. You'll find a refreshing difference than the approach taken in Carnivore Code.
1 review
May 20, 2020
To establish fact which the author has clearly indicated he has no independent research, clinical trials or is a research scientist, and for that matter is there any clinical trials of any type out there other than observational and peer reviewed studies and papers, everyone need be clear on that. Carnivore, Vegan, Keto, these are all convenient marketing concept tools to sell something. As for this author making a buck and wanting to be a health guru nothing wrong with that because you the consumer chooses how that eventuates. This is weird for me to write as the day I was born I was nurtured on clean animal foods, it's as normal to me as drawing my next breath of air, I'm from a family Central European and I as you say eat nose to tail naturally. How ever I eat some vegetables as well, like nutrient dense foods such as Avocados, Blueberries in my very nutritional Whey Concentrate protein powder as example, not much plant base in my diet around 10-15% and of course home grown bio-dynamic. If your thinking about it or transitioning over to higher levels of animal based foods, good because it is the best fuel for our bodies, how ever and this is very important you better knowledge up on Lectins and in particular Oxalates because going from a heavy plant based diet as I promise you 1-2 weeks later sitting on the Loo your going to feel like razor blades coming out, so I suggest you stick to some fiber to absorb that and head over to the only expert https://sallyknorton.com and work it out before you start. As for this book reasonably well written with decent accuracy information and as good as any for a starting point on your new journey, but don't ever fall into a self induced trap of listening to just one individual! You cross reference, research and evaluate, and by all means keep an open mind. Paul Saladino is telling a story here, understand that, peered reviewed, observational reports. I've got to be honest that at times I found the personal style story telling rather childish and irritating, sorry I don't mean to offend but there it is. These gurus, re-tellers of stories are here to sell you something, don't for a moment think otherwise and they all think there the "anointed ones" and cause such confusion and frustration to anyone wanting to improve there lifestyle choices. I've searched online to find these special individuals over 90, still physically active without pain or support, lucid and motivated who are just and only Carnivore, where are they? how ever that's not the same for mixed diets of animal and plant, plenty of people in that category, what does that tell us? Look at Chinese woman as example, slim and athletic, clean clear skin, there animal and plant! Humans are versatile and our bodies are unique and chemically sensitive, one size does not fit all. Don't make this complicated as it's not, use your common sense, you do that your on that road that you seek!
Profile Image for Zora.
70 reviews3 followers
December 10, 2020
Warning: Once you read this book, you can’t unread it.

It’s well-written, seems well-researched and is absolutely fascinating. The book dives into the science. It’s not preachy and comes across as relevant and approachable to anyone.
Profile Image for Neal Aggarwal.
71 reviews11 followers
April 21, 2020
Read this book and watch YouTube videos: Joe Rogan Experience #877 - Jordan Peterson and Joe Rogan Experience #1164 - Mikhaila Peterson to wake up to what's going on. I've been on a strict keto diet since I returned to Kenya from New Zealand in 2003. I never had the guts nor the knowledge to back up going onto a full no-veg diet. This I have now implememented since reading this book a couple of months back and it's been amazing.

Broke a fat loss plateau that I've been fighting with for about a year now.
Profile Image for Domagoj Bodlaj.
93 reviews1 follower
October 7, 2020
Is it heresy to say that all plants are toxic, including fruit and vegetables? Of course it is, but this guy can prove it. He offers tons of evidence and makes more than solid argument for carnivore diet.
He got me convinced.

Now direct your outrage in my direction
8 reviews
March 28, 2020
Hated the writing style and he put me to sleep at a lot of points. Glad it was in depth, but the prose of writing the book like it was some epic journey was annoying.
23 reviews
March 12, 2021
4.5 stars

I think the arguments are compelling that human ancestors would have eaten a sufficient amount of animal fat and tissue. The book's arguments in favor of eating organ meats is strong as well. I have heard of examples of the carnivore diet helping auto-immune issues, and the reasons presented in the book are pretty good. I do find some of the claims about molecular hormesis a bit questionable. So many of the latest chemicals that other fitness experts are touting as anti cancer are on Saladino's exclusion list because they are technically oxidative stress, and many cause cell death. It seems to me this could be a perfectly useful anti-cancer effect of vegetables. It's certainly worth a read, but I feel some of the data may have been cherry picked; This happens in almost all diet books. though.

I'm convinced that:
Organ meats and even animal fats are nutrient rich and worth eating, especially when much of it would go to waste or just be turned into dog food. Also that eliminating plant foods may be a useful experiment for those with unresolved immune issues.

I'm not convinced that:
fruits and vegetables are toxic to the degree he suggests. Some more than others, yes, bit it stands to reason that many of the plant chemicals he mentions are in fact beneficial precisely because of the stress they may put on the body, and because they encourage cell death and, thereby, be anti-cancerous.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
428 reviews6 followers
March 16, 2020
Good book, well researched, clearly written, and realistic in its approach on how to improve your life (that not everyone is going to be ready to go full carnivore, but one can make significant strides through a step - level approach.)

My biggest accolades to the author for challenging the status quo messages that meat is evil and that a plant based diet is optimal (to the point of having become a sacred cow). Dr Saladino puts forward some really compelling suggestions and evidence as to why meat & carnivore lifestyle could actually be optimal for our bodies, and, if raised appropriately, optimal for the planet.

Ultimately it comes down to what works for you as an individual. This just gives you another path that goes against the norm and could be exactly what you are looking for.
Profile Image for Robert Gryn.
3 reviews84 followers
April 17, 2020
After 2 years on keto during which I was reading and researching about the carnivore diet.. This was the book that finally got me to take the plunge. 15 days in I'm feeling amazing. Loving this diet + the gamification aspect of it. Always trying to find high quality animal food 😎
Profile Image for Ciro.
110 reviews26 followers
January 10, 2021
You would be hard pressed to find a more well argued and researched book on the benefits of the carnivore diet. He covers all bases: scientific, philosophical, and common sense. When you dig into the ways you can start going carnivore, it's not as limiting or self sacrificing as you'd think.
Profile Image for Tao.
Author 47 books2,108 followers
October 18, 2022
Amazing book. I recommend for anyone who wants to learn more about human diet and human evolution, and for people with seemingly intractable health problems.
12 reviews2 followers
March 18, 2020
Paul Saladino proposes a a very uncommon (in his words 'radical') thesis, that an animal based diet be the best for human health and performance.

I have to admit, it is tough to go unbiased into discussion about optimizing diet and nutrition. There are many partys with different interests and countless opinions on every nuance on the topic. However, Saladino gives the impression of a rounded and science based examination. For a reader like me, who is not a professional in this field, studies and texts like these are hard to judge. The main part of the book debates all kinds of nutrients, micro and macro, and compares them in animal and plant foods. Even though he did a good job on explaining most of the biology and chemistry for non experts, too many parts go into too deep detail, with complicated names and processes, that make the reading feel like a textbook of biology or chemistry. I am undecided if that's a good thing.

The ancestral argument, with which the book opens, is far easier to get behind. It does not seem as controversial as the nutritional discussion, either.
I am also rather sceptical about the author's analysis of the ecological impact of such a diet, especially in comparison with opposing diet models. I think here a lot more perspectives are needed, and the same goes for the ethical thoughts on the topic. A few sentences for the latter and a few pages for the former are not enough 'screen time' in a book that claims to present the optimal diet for human kind.

All in all I am intrigued by the idea and somewhat convinced by the science (for now).
Even though there are some editorial errors like typos or the inclusion of testimonial's personal stories that make you feel like you're reading an old commercial, I think the general hypothesis might be true and worth a try.
Profile Image for Noah.
130 reviews6 followers
May 16, 2021
TLDR: The presentation of data caused me to not trust many of the points the author made.

This book will certainly give you something to think about. The way the author presented much of the data felt off. He contradicted himself in several areas. He was quite arrogant about it. He spent much time explaining the difference between epidemiological studies (cannot determine causality) and interventional studies (can determine causality) and then he would tell about an epidemiological study and draw a causal conclusion when he just explained that you cannot do that. Many times after explaining a study he would point out that while you can't determine cause and effect that he would bet that one thing caused another. Betting is not science.

So he tried to show how other studies misinterpreted data and then would effectively determine a causal link from an epidemiological study and therefore misinterpret data.

It would take a long time to review each study to see how he spun things. Did he draw the correct conclusion or did he do what he claimed others did and just draw the conclusion that fits his narrative?
March 10, 2020
Fantastic! Comprehensive, yet easy to read. Saladino covers every base and addresses every possible question. I have been following an animal-based diet for several months but still learned much from this book.
Profile Image for Heather.
11 reviews1 follower
December 22, 2020
This is a very detailed and scientific book about the carnivore diet. I appreciate the effort taken to explain these controversial ideas. I have been eating a mostly carnivore diet just because I felt better on it. Now I know why I felt better.
Profile Image for Brooke.
28 reviews1 follower
December 22, 2020
I felt like he was writing for children. Like he assumed I'm stupid.
Profile Image for Audrey.
64 reviews
January 3, 2023
The argument here is essentially that plant toxins damage your body over time and inter-generationally (in utero). Once the damage becomes too severe your body can’t tolerate further exposure so you get all matter of diseases as a symptom of some toxicity (autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and all the rest, GI problems, diabetes, alzheimer's, dementia, PCOS, infertility (male and female), asthma, kidney stones (from oxalates), gout (it’s not the purines fault), balding (can also be malnutrition but certain toxins can contribute—mine only reversed after removing plants), eczema and other rashes, numerous mental disorders (like depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.) and developmental disorders, etc). This is actually the dominant theory in the Autoimmune literature too according to my research—the plant toxins poke holes in the intestinal wall allowing chemicals and bacteria to leak into your body and trigger a major immune response.

If you think it’s not possible for plants to cause these problems you might look into the numerous case studies that have shown remission/cessation of all symptoms when removing plants from the diet. Not only does the doctor (author) explain things in biological and medical terms (which is helpful for me) but he also cites all of his sources and explains the virtues and vices of each study. If you don’t buy his presentation you should easily fact-check him (which is super helpful because a quick internet search will yield 30+ sites that say “shut up and eat your broccoli” and maybe one with a shirtless dude running around with a spear leaping and praising meat. Neither is helpful. It’s refreshing to review actual medical studies instead of blogs and personal feelings).

One of the most important things I learned in this book is the difference between epidemiological studies and intervention studies. Epidemiology is purely observational and may engage in survey data—at best they can demonstrate potential correlation. Intervention studies have control variables and examine how people or animals will respond when one variable changes (this was the standard for my political science undergraduate research. We’re all looking for P=0.05 or less). There aren’t any intervention studies (so far as I’m aware, but I’d love to read them) that support a plant-based diet (as superior to an unprocessed omnivore diet) and the intervention studies that do exist continuously point to the potential dangers of a plant-based diet. Particularly regarding a plant-based diet causing poor immune functioning, infertility, and general malnutrition (as indicated by the hefty need for supplements). Similarly with fiber—we’ve since discovered that increased fiber intake worsens bloody stool and constipation as well as encouraging colon cancer growth.

In the 1880s Dr. Salisbury (of the famous “Salisbury Steak”) discovered that disease was essentially metabolic in nature and started treating his patients with just meat and water and it worked. He treated and healed numerous diseases including: diabetes, epilepsy, rheumatism, gout, migraines, insomnia, asthma, and cancer. You can find Dr. Salisbury’s book online at Google books for free: “The Relation of Alimentation and Disease”. It’s up on my reading list as soon as the ILL arrives. Again, worth trying if you’ve got problems. If it doesn’t work you’ve lost nothing (and you can stick it to those hyper-carnivore weirdos). Plus you can try anything for 30 days easy.

Plants are helpful when faced with starvation and needed medical treatment (think, Φαρμακεία) but not much more than that. There’s a huge difference between a sip of wine and a bottle a day or an aspirin vs a bottle of aspirin. Moderation might mean 90/10 and not the middle way.

It’s my own experience with removing plants from my diet and the thousands of experiences of others that really drive home the potential (and I believe actual) harms of plants and healing benefits of fatty meat. If you run an experiment (only remove plants) and conditions improve then there’s a relationship. If you introduce fatty meat to a plant-based diet and conditions improve, then there’s a relationship. I’m not really persuaded by the argument that some forms of nutrition work better for different people as a general rule. That’s an argument of preference and we’d be the only species on the planet operating that way. Instead it could be said that some bodies are better at processing toxins than others, which I do believe. “You do you” isn’t a medical argument. Alcohol is bad for every body and some bodies will take longer to break down than others on account of it. That doesn’t mean it’s part of a balanced diet.

This is a solid book and I’m glad I read it. I’ve learned a lot and honestly I’m ready to go study biology and toxicology. Like LeVar Burton taught us in Reading Rainbow: “But you don’t have to take my word for it.”
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208 reviews10 followers
January 21, 2023
Idea sounds like bull shit. I was tempted to dismiss it. Of course it's nonsense, right? I figured I'd look into it instead. Is it bull shit? Maybe. Maybe not.

The concept is actually super simple. Until our very recent past (~10,000 years) we ate wildly differently. I'd heard of paleo before but it's kind of dumb because it doesn't seem to accurately describe the paleo diet. So this is a different view on this. Do we know exactly what we ate? No. Do we know we almost certainly didn't eat a lot of what we do? For sure. Humans were domesticated by wheat (not from this book, that's just how it was) and we quickly adapted it and a lot of other foods to be eatable by humans. We didn't used to eat these. They're not good. So we selectively breed them so that they were less terrible and survived on them. We didn't thrive, we survived. Wheat was not a food we used to eat and a lot of people have been saying we shouldn't eat it for a while. I was biased against them and discounted it. Was I right or wrong to do so? Not sure. Seems it might just suck.

So that's the idea. Are the foods we eat now, which we and the foods evolved alongside for roughly 10,000 years, our ideal diet? Maybe. Maybe not. Seems plausible they aren't. And plants kind of suck, except for fruit which we used to eat and wants to be eaten. Plausible, except for the last 10,000 years. Was that enough time for us to evolve ourselves and them to be ideal? Did the human digestive system change over this short time frame that we can't easily go back to what we ate 10,000 years ago? Does 10,000 years trump millions upon millions? That's the question really. I don't know. Look at pugs. Dogs were domesticated in the last 35,000 or so. Blink of an eye. They look so fucked up compared to a wolf. Evolutionary timespans are so long and agriculture is so recent. Hunter gatherers still exist and they didn't adapt to the fucked up foods we eat. They're indistinguishable from modern humans and when they join modern civilization eat the same things.

Meat. We used to eat it. We still eat it. It's part of our diet. It seems that it used to be sufficient on its own. Is it still sufficient? Seems like it is for many people, if the author is to be believed. Is it optimal? Could be. Am I willing to try to eat just meat to find out? Not sure about that. Doing so seems to be a good weight loss goal. I don't have much to lose so I don't think I'm a great candidate for it.

Is Paul Saladino trustworthy? He's trying to sell something, but I don't think that's his motivation. He seems to genuinely care about the truth. He seems to be using critical thinking, the scientific method, proper science to determine what humans did eat and what's best for us. Is he right? Not sure. Are some of his ideas on to something? Seems like they could. Are some of the specific conclusions he makes incorrect? Almost certainly. He makes a ton. Science is tricky. There's the replication crisis and the many problems with research. You can find studies to support many untrue claims. He seems to understand this and tries to find the best quality studies. Still he's biased like all of us so he may, consciously or not, be cherry picking. That said I think he's better at doing so than I am. Seems trustworthy. He's trying.

He has some blind spots. Is there more to them outside of the book? Maybe. He is into beef. Great. Gives many justifications for that. Ruminants and the many stomach and whatever. Discounts pork pretty quickly. Discounts chicken because ... it doesn't taste great? Seems to spend very little time on it. I like beef. I'll eat steak and ground beef. Cool. Does it really need to just be that? I don't know.

Smart guy. Makes good points. Nutrition is tricky. I really don't know. I don't believe anyone when it comes to nutrition. This guy seems to make sense. Is he more trustworthy than the mainstream views on nutrition? Well we know that's all bull shit. So how does it compare? Not sure anyone knows for sure.

I'll probably cut down on some shitty plants and eat more meat. More fatty meats. We'll see how that goes.

Read the book. I know it seems silly but it's good.
3 reviews
January 4, 2021
Great information on an animal based diet, with more than just anecdotal evidence. Changed the way i thought about nutrition and what's taught by the mainstream
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