The Ray Peat diet is deeply rooted in enhancing cellular energy generation due to its pro-metabolic dietary strategy.
Dr. Ray Peat has written multiple publications about the connection between aging, nutrition, and hormones. If you take the time to read his work, you will discover a lot of value.
Review Of The Pro-Metabolic Ray Peat Diet
One of the most often requested inquiries I receive is about my thoughts on various diets, so I’ve decided to conduct a small diet review series to help those interested readers get more information about diets they may be contemplating this year.
The Ray Peat diet is up next.
Dr. Ray Peat had a significant impact on my early work as a Nutritional Therapist.
So much so that people frequently mistakenly believe I’m a Ray Peat Practitioner, however this is far from the fact in terms of what I advocate for my clients.
Instead, I just use some of his concepts that I find useful in therapeutic practice.
I have a lot of respect for Dr. Ray Peat, and my evaluation is based on how I’ve seen people use, misapply, and get in difficulty with Ray Peat’s concepts.
What is Ray Peat Diet ?
With a pro-metabolic nutritional approach, the Ray Peat diet is profoundly founded in promoting cellular energy generation.
Dr. Ray Peat has published several articles on the relationship between aging, diet, and hormones. If you have the time to go into his work, you will find a lot of value.
Dr. Peat explains his strategy as follows: “My method prioritizes environmental impacts on development, regenerative processes, and an evolutionary viewpoint.
When biophysics, biochemistry, and physiology are combined to provide a complete picture of the body, it appears that degenerative processes are induced by faults in our environment.”
In practice, what does Dr. Ray Peat’s pro-metabolic diet entail?
A number of things, to be sure. Typically, the diet consists of the following foods:
- Butter, coconut oil, and dairy products are examples of good fats.
- Carbohydrates that are simple to digest include fresh fruits (particularly tropical fruits), fresh fruit juices, root vegetables, and tubers (emphasis on raw carrots and potatoes)
- A well-balanced protein consumption includes acquiring enough protein from dairy products, muscle meats (such as cattle, lamb, hog, chicken, and so on), liver, collagen, and complete animal proteins such as eggs, mussels, and other seafood.
- avoidance of polyunsaturated fatty acids, namely vegetable oils, but consumption of fish oils too much white sugar, used sparingly
- promotion of light therapy
- There is a particular emphasis on dairy products, notably milk, ice cream, and cheeses that are free of additives.
Reality Of The Ray Peat Diet
Many people, in my experience, come upon Peat’s work when looking for a way to improve their health, notably thyroid health, hormone balance, metabolism, and energy balance.
While the Ray Peat diet is based on primarily whole foods and is highly healthy in general, the devil is in the specifics…
There is no official “Ray Peat diet,” but there is the emergence of a pro-metabolic Ray Peat diet based primarily on assumptions, i.e. the foods he discusses in his publications and what Peat claims he consumes in his own diet.
This is the point at which everything goes horribly wrong…
Peat is frequently cited while discussing his daily diet.
Drinking quarts of orange juice and milk, a pint of ice cream, Mexican soda, gelatin, shrimp, liver, and other culinary variants are frequently mentioned in the accounts.
Dr. Peat is presenting a summary of what works for him, and possibly his body has evolved to tolerate well after decades of research and observation.
This does not imply that what works for Dr. Peat will work well for the majority of individuals – exactly the contrary of my own observations, particularly in “diet recovery.”
The body does not react well when you restrict something (such carbs, sweets, and dairy) for a period of time and then do the exact opposite with any variant of a Peat-style diet (read: large amounts of dairy, juice and sugar).
It frequently results in nutritional disasters such as severe blood sugar imbalance, digestive issues, excessive stress, cellular inflammation, and considerable weight gain.
This is to be expected, yet many Ray Peat dieters are surprised when things don’t go as planned.
Ray Peat Diet And Pro-Metabolic Diet Pros
The heart of this nutritional paradigm provides several advantages, including:
- A proponent of easy-to-digest meals such as ripe fruits, root vegetables, squashes, and tubers recommends having enough protein and “eating the full animal.” That is, to have a more balanced amino acid intake, balance muscular meat diet with broth, collagen, seafood, and dairy.
- Emphasis on nutrients, specifically potassium, vitamin C, dietary calcium, and vitamin A — this could be a negative if one suffers from vitamin A toxicity cautions about food additives, particularly carrageenan promotes carbohydrates as a cornerstone to optimal health aims to educate on the health benefits of saturated fats and the drawbacks of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Does not condemn all forms of sugar as death on a teaspoon, as so many diets now do, instead advocating for a balanced mindset and approach to eating.
Ray Peat Diet And Pro-Metabolic Diet Cons
Here are a few Ray Peat diet drawbacks to consider, many of which I observe in my Ray Peat diet clients:
- Causes you to tune out your body while tuning into diet guidelines that may or may not work for you.
- Dairy is promoted as a big component of the diet, which does not work for many people, particularly those transitioning from low carb, keto, or other extremely restricted diets.
- Recommends drinking a lot of fruit juice without thinking about blood sugar balance, which varies a lot depending on who you are and where your general health is at.
- Weight gain and digestive difficulties are frequent for newbies to this eating plan, especially given the high levels of dietary lactose present in milk and ice cream.
- Because of the concentration on rich vitamin A foods such as orange juice, carrots, dairy products, and liver, there is a danger of vitamin A toxicity (think: weight gain, liver/biliary stress).
- Can stimulate unsupervised experimentation with supplements such as thyroid hormone, niacinamide, pregnenolone, vitamin D, aspirin, vitamin A (retinol), and vitamin E.
- Discourages the consumption of fatty fish (salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel) and fish oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be harmful to cell membrane health (Inflammation, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, obesity, vascular disease, and other conditions)
Tips & Tricks Before Starting The Pro-Metabolic Ray Peat Diet
As a nutritional therapist, my attitude is to never advise somebody what to do.
Instead, I prefer to assist in the provision of information, testing results, and an opinion based on my work with clients and what I see every day in my business.
As a result, you will feel more empowered to make the greatest option for yourself.
Here are a few ideas to consider before embarking on a pro-metabolic Ray Peat diet:
- Before following a diet that works for one individual, make sure you understand and treat the underlying causes of thyroid health, hormone, metabolism, and energy issues. The anti-dieting method and the Personal Nutrition Assessment are simple approaches to begin knowing your body from the inside out!
- Instead of significantly altering your diet overnight, educate yourself on which foods benefit and which harm your health. If this appears to be too challenging for you, testing may be beneficial.
- Consider having your vitamin excesses, deficiencies, and gut microbiota status tested to determine whether they are interfering with your health objectives. My preferred tools for this include hair analysis, GI Map testing, Fatty Acid testing, and lab testing.
- If digestive issues are a major issue you’re attempting to resolve, consider gut testing or begin by reading my essay on how to heal your gut.
- Always start slowly when introducing new foods (or macronutrient groupings) into your diet, especially if you’ve been avoiding them for a long time.
- Always pay attention to your body rather than any nutritional expert.
The research of Dr. Ray Peat is an excellent resource and tool.
Just don’t attempt to imitate what works for him.
Understanding your own body and what it requires is the only way to stop bouncing from diet to diet.
Ray Peat Diet, Food Options, And General Recommendations
If you work or are physically active, you should consume at least 80 grams of protein each day, ideally 100.
A single egg provides around 6 grams of protein, a quart of milk has about 32 grams, and meat, cheese, and fish are normally about 20% protein, so a pound would enough for a day.
For effective metabolism, fruit or other carbohydrate should be consumed alongside the protein.
Milk, cheese, eggs, and seafood are all good protein sources, while potato protein is high in quality if it is cooked thoroughly and served with butter or cream.
Despite having only approximately 2% protein, a kilogram of potato has nearly the protein value of a liter of milk (which has 3% protein) due to its excellent quality.
Unless you obtain eggs from a confirmed grass-fed, free-range source, he suggests limiting them to one or two per day and eating enough of carbs around the same time to avoid a sugar crash.
Meats high in cysteine, such as ground beef, steak, liver, and pork chops, “switch off” the thyroid gland as soon as your body depletes its glycogen stores and, as a result, should not be your primary source of protein.
Muscle meats should be consumed with the gelatin that comes with them, or with supplementary gelatin, to balance out tryptophan, an anti-thyroid amino acid (which is also found in whey protein formulations).
Muscle meats are traditionally consumed with the fat, skin, and gelatin that accompany them, therefore this is largely a concern in first-world nations when protein powders and pure muscle meats are easily available.
Because chicken liver has so little fat, it can be ingested in addition to or instead of beef liver (which should be consumed weekly).
If your metabolic rate (thyroid function) is normal, eating pork or chicken every 7 to 10 days is OK.
When stewing chicken, the gelatin from the skin is useful, and most of the fat may be skimmed off (just remember chicken is not optimal).
Gelatin is useful for balancing the high cysteine, methionine, and tryptophan levels of any muscle meat, including fish.
“The nitrate isn’t going to be a problem if you eat it with orange juice,” Peat adds of bacon. “I cooked the bacon to remove some of the fat before reffrying it in coconut oil to eliminate most of the PUFA(Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid).”
Fish with high unsaturated fat content, such as salmon and herring, should be avoided; as a general rule, cold blooded animals, such as fish, create unsaturated fats, whereas warm blooded animals, such as cows and pigs, produce saturated and monounsaturated fats.
Cod and sole are healthy seafood since they include marine elements (particularly selenium) yet have a low fat level.
Tuna is strong in protein, but its fat content is high in polyunsaturated fat; eating it once a week, especially with homemade coconut mayo, should be okay.
Regarding his advice of daily gelatin: For an adult, gelatin may be a significant protein source because the demand for cysteine and tryptophan falls dramatically when development stops.
Gelatin is abundant in ox-tail soup (cooked for 4 or 5 hours) and lamb shanks.
Most retailers, I believe, sell gelatin in one-pound packets or larger; for example, Great Lakes gelatin is normally approximately $11 per pound.
If a person consumes a considerable amount of meat, it is usually beneficial to have 5–10 grams of gelatin at the same time, so that the amino acids enter the bloodstream in balance.
Some traditional gelatin-rich foods, such as prepared pig skin, ears, and tails, and chicken feet, are likely to be available at Asian grocery shops.
Although the prepared powdered gelatin does not need to be cooked, dissolving it in hot water helps it digest more rapidly.
It can be used with fruit juices to produce sweets or (with juice concentrate) candies, or it can be put into custards, mousses, ice cream, soups, sauces, cheese cake, pies, and so on.
Peat like dairy products. He prefers milk with no added vitamins, raw if possible, but uses ordinary pasteurized-homogenized when no other option is available.
He favors cheese prepared with only animal rennet and no enzymes. He avoids yogurt due to the lactic acid and/or lactobacillus.
He avoids anything containing gums, such as cream cheese.
Ice cream such as Haagen Dazs is safe since it contains no carageenan or gums such as guar/carob bean–these are commonly found in foods such as cream cheese, canned coconut milk, and half-and-half; be sure the ice cream does not include any vegetable oil as some versions do.
In terms of yogurt, an ounce or so is fine for flavoring, but the lactic acid content isn’t good if you’re using it as a major source of protein and calcium; it triggers inflammatory reactions, eventually leading to fibrosis, and the immediate effect is to draw down the liver’s glycogen stores for energy to convert it into glucose.
Cottage cheese, or milk curds with salt, is extremely wonderful if you can obtain it without additions, but classic cottage cheese was nearly fat-free, so when they create it with whole milk, you should be on the lookout for additional improvements that may not be advantageous.
Despite his disdain for legumes, Peat claims that hummus in modest doses isn’t nutritionally damaging, however chickpeas and tahini are both allergenic for certain individuals.
Coconut oil and butter are the best sources; olive oil and macadamia nut oil should be used sparingly.
He is a great advocate of (refined) coconut oil for boosting metabolism.
Macadamia is arguably the safest nut and nut oil. For further information, see the Omega-6 fatty acid list below.
Consume some with each meal to avoid hypoglycemia after eating proteins.
Fruit and fruit juices – If possible, try to consume fresh fruits and juices every day.
Orange juice is beneficial due to its potassium and magnesium concentrations.
Tropical fruits and drinks are very delicious.
If you don’t have a juicer, you can buy pasteurized juices with no additives that declare “not from concentrate” on the label if you don’t have one.
Concentrated juices are mostly composed of flouridated additional water.
Fruits in general are acceptable (tropical are best), but grapefruit contains phytoestrogens, so avoid it, and berries include little seeds that you can’t avoid, so skip them.
He advises avoiding bananas and other starchy, underripe, industrialized fruits, such as most apples and pears (when these are ripe, peeled and cooked they are much more nutritious, and safer).
Organic dried fruits are OK as long as they have not been treated with sulfur dioxide; canned fruits are acceptable as long as they are in glass.
If it doesn’t cause any digestive or allergic reactions, you can take a tiny apple and some cheese as a snack on occasion—the fat in the cheese protects against the starch in partially ripened fruit.
Tubers : Potatoes, yams; occasionally well-cooked grains, in the following order: masa harina, white rice or oats, brown rice.
The phytic acid in the oats prevents much of the calcium from being absorbed; boiling the oats for a longer period of time may boost their nutritional worth.
Canned pure pumpkin is fine if eaten with some fat, although carrots are less starchy and have similar benefits.
He advocates eating a raw carrot every day, preferably in the form of a raw carrot salad with coconut oil, for its bowel-protective and anti-estrogen properties.
Summer squash and bamboo shoots are the finest prepared veggies; kale and broccoli are also acceptable. Carrots make the greatest salad.
In comparison to fruit, the fiber in whole vegetables helps guard against the effects of the unsaturated fats they contain, which implies that juiced vegetables with no protective fiber will operate as a thyroid inhibitor due to the concentrated PUFAs.
There’s nothing wrong with including veggies into your diet on a lesser scale, but salads and steamed vegetable meals should not be the mainstay of anyone’s diet.
He advises against eating avocados since they are high in unsaturated fat and can be carcinogenic and hepatotoxic (toxic to the liver).
Coffee aids metabolism, but it must be drunk with sugar or with a meal to avoid a stress reaction caused by low blood sugar.
Because of the tannins in tea, either lemon or milk should be used (or cream).
Histamine in red wine is a particular concern for hypothyroid persons; otherwise, it is not toxic.
Soy and PUFAs Processed foods, nuts and seeds, as well as their butters, vegetable oils, and margarine, include PUFAs.
Keep in mind that if you’ve been eating PUFAs in the past, the oil change in your tissues can take up to four years, during which time your fat stores will be releasing enough PUFAs to cause you problems, so you’ll need some patience as well as some skillful means to counteract their effects, such as getting some extra vitamin E or a little thyroid to counteract their antithyroid action, and so on.
It all comes down to how your metabolism functions.
As long as there are no additives, chocolate is OK.
Peat offers tortilla chips cooked in coconut oil for salty cravings, as well as chicharrones (pig rinds) with no additives except than salt (puffed in hot air).
Popcorn popped on the pan in coconut oil, then salted and buttered is another snack; the oil and butter defend against starch, but it’s more difficult to digest than tortilla chips or chicharrones.
Use Mortons Canning and Pickling salt for the salt.
Vinegar is an excellent antibacterial when used with raw carrot, but keep an eye out for sulfite when using it on a daily basis.
When maple syrup is cooked to a high temperature, sugar-derived compounds are formed that can be allergic and potentially poisonous.
“Powdered foods that contain tryptophan are particularly prone to damaging oxidation, and the positive things are eliminated, such as calcium, lactose, and casein, with its anti-stress qualities,” Peat adds of whey protein.