The Health Benefits of Jordan Peterson’s ‘Lion Diet’
The Health Benefits of Jordan Peterson’s ‘Lion Diet’

By Jingduan Yang

We have always been advised to maintain a balanced diet. However, some people have adopted extreme diets, consuming only animal meats, eggs, fish, cheese, and offal while completely excluding carbohydrates and plant-based foods.

In recent years, more and more researchers have claimed that animal meat is unhealthy, as it is high in fat and calories and contains various inflammatory substances. However, some proponents of the carnivore diet, also known as the meat-only or Lion Diet (salt, meat, and water), believe that adopting this dietary approach has led to significant health improvements.

Jordan Peterson’s Carnivore Diet

One of the most notable advocates for the carnivore diet is Jordan Peterson, a renowned clinical psychologist who has taught at the University of Toronto and Harvard University. Known for his candid and incisive style, Mr. Peterson has amassed a large, dedicated following. He adopted the carnivore diet in 2018 and has reported experiencing significant health benefits.

How did Mr. Peterson become interested in the carnivore diet? It all started with his daughter, Mikhaila Fuller. From a young age, she suffered from multiple illnesses, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, bipolar disorder, insomnia, Lyme disease, psoriasis, eczema, and autoimmune disorders. Since adopting the carnivore diet, all of her symptoms have significantly improved.

His daughter’s transformation piqued Mr. Peterson’s interest, as he was grappling with numerous pressing health issues of his own. With a history of alcohol and benzodiazepine addiction, he contemplated suicide during withdrawals. Additionally, he battled severe depression and struggled with blood sugar issues.

After following the carnivore diet for two months, he lost weight and experienced improvements in appetite, blood sugar levels, and sleep. Additionally, symptoms of his gum disease, anxiety, and depression were significantly alleviated.

Benefits of the Carnivore Diet

How did Mr. Peterson derive so many health benefits from the carnivore diet? Here are some reasons:

  • I believe Mr. Peterson’s transformation is not solely due to meat consumption but rather the elimination of carbohydrates. Since the 1950s, the consumption of refined carbohydrates has increased, leading to a significant rise in gum and heart disease. The detrimental impact of refined carbohydrates on human health is indisputable.
  • Meat contains essential nutrients. Vitamin B12 in meat is crucial for the nervous system and the formation of red blood cells. Moreover, the body absorbs and utilizes the heme iron in meat more efficiently than the non-heme iron found in plants.
  • Meat is rich in protein and contains essential amino acids necessary for the human body.
  • Meat is rich in zinc, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acids. Zinc is crucial for boosting the immune system and promoting cell growth, while vitamin B6 plays a vital role in amino acid metabolism. Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish and animal meat are essential for overall health.
  • A diet consisting solely of meat can help one avoid ingesting certain potential toxins and anti-nutrients, as well as insoluble fiber found in plants. However, various methods are available to eliminate these substances. Therefore, this does not imply that plant-based foods should be avoided.

Research and Controversies

One study by Harvard University surveyed 2,029 individuals who adhered to a carnivore diet for an average of 14 months and compared the results with laboratory data. Study participants reported no adverse effects and noted numerous health benefits. Over 90 percent of individuals with obesity, hypertension, diabetes, gastrointestinal symptoms, and mental disorders reported improvements in their symptoms.

Some proponents argue that humans are carnivores and thus rely on animal nutrition. However, opponents counter that this diet lacks essential vitamins, trace elements, and fiber crucial for health, making it nutritionally incomplete. Additionally, some critics oppose high-protein diets, suggesting they may impact the kidneys. Excess protein could exacerbate kidney disease by increasing the strain on the kidneys, as they must work harder to eliminate the waste products from protein metabolism.

People wanting to adopt a carnivore diet must ensure an adequate intake of fatty meat. Fat is an energy source, reducing the body’s reliance on protein-derived calories. One study found that long-term consumption of a high-protein diet can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and even liver and kidney injuries. Therefore, daily protein intake should not exceed 35 percent of total calories.

Analysis of Mr. Peterson’s Case

Why is this carnivore diet beneficial for Mr. Peterson and his daughter? One possible explanation is the presence of undermethylation in both individuals. Undermethylation is an epigenetic issue that affects detoxification, the immune system, and the production of brain neurotransmitters. Addressing undermethylation often involves significant methionine supplementation, a nutrient abundant in meat. Therefore, I speculate that this is one of the reasons the carnivore diet benefits them and helps alleviate their mental symptoms.

Additionally, I suspect they—especially his daughter—may suffer from pyroluria. This condition causes a continuous loss of vitamin B6 and zinc in the urine, leading to mental, skin, and immune function issues. Adopting a carnivore diet supplements large amounts of zinc, vitamin B6, and methionine while avoiding the negative impact of sugar and carbohydrates on immune function. Therefore, the carnivore diet has significantly improved their overall health.

Undermethylation often manifests in childhood and is associated with specific personality traits. Individuals with undermethylation typically exhibit characteristics such as perfectionism, competitiveness, and high achievement. However, they may also display negative traits like stubbornness, depression, inattention, addiction, and even suicidal thoughts. When combined with pyroluria, these individuals often struggle to cope with the pressures of not achieving their goals. While they are determined to win, they lack the physical and mental stamina to reach their objectives, ultimately leading to frustration and various mental health issues.

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