Skepticism

An All-Meat Diet Will Not Cure Your Lyme Disease. Sorry Mikhaila Peterson

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Transcript:

Last week I talked about the headlines claiming being a vegetarian increases your risk of stroke 20%, pointing out that the same study found that eating meat is much worse, increasing your risk of heart disease by 13%. Now for the other side: what if the best diet for humans is actually to eat nothing but meat? Specifically, nothing but red meat?

That’s the view pushed by many people, and some of the most prominent are the “intellectual dark web” self-help guru Jordan Peterson and his daughter, Mikhaila Peterson. I recently saw a video from Eisel Mazard, a, well, let’s say a “skeptic” of Peterson’s claims, and while I agree with his overall point that Peterson is full of shit (probably literally and figuratively), I disagree with a number of slightly less skeptical things he said, so I thought it may be helpful to go over Peterson’s diet with a slightly more scientific take.

In Peterson’s latest video, it’s clear that she’s forging ahead on a plan to be a new Goop-like health guru, because all you need to give medical advice in America is to be a pretty blonde lady. Or just rich.

Peterson has come up with a new name for her all-meat diet: the LION diet, which is not to be confused with the lying diet, where you just eat whatever you want but only when no one is looking, then you look shocked when you don’t lose weight. Am I right ladies? Ha ha. Sigh.

She’s working on a book to describe all the details of the lion diet but she pretty much covers it in the video: just eat “high-fat ruminant meat only (organs if desired – any part of the ruminant animal is okay), salt, and water.” The end. Try not to get scurvy.

She claims that this diet has actually cured several ailments in both herself and her con artist dad, as she apparently grew up with symptoms like fatigue, irritability, arthritis, itchiness, digestive distress, and general pain. She says that after following this diet, all those symptoms are gone. 

She says that she also cured her and her mom of C. Diff, Clostridium difficile, a bacteria that can cause frequent diarrhea, cramping, and in extreme cases kidney failure. She claims they had it for a year and a half, which, okay, watery shits 12 times a day for 18 months doesn’t sound super fun. The solution isn’t to only eat meat, the solution to that is to go to a doctor and get some antibiotics.

It seems that she does occasionally go to doctors, and by “doctors” I mean “quacks.” One thing Mazard mentions in his video is that Peterson admitted she had been diagnosed with Lyme disease, which he thinks is the solution to her mystery disease. Those of you who watch my videos on the regular probably already know where this is going and may have figured it out when I listed her “symptoms” earlier: yep, it’s very likely bullshit. She produced her results on her blog, showing that she got them from IGeneX, a shady testing company that has come under fire from the CDC for overdiagnosing people with Lyme when they don’t actually have it. For more information on how chronic Lyme disease is a made-up scam to take money from gullible people, see my previous video.

Here’s the thing — I’m sympathetic to Peterson and people like her, who suffer from either real or imagined symptoms that bother them greatly, and our current medical establishment has not done a great job of reaching out to people, especially women, who come with mystery ailments that require a lot of work to figure out and treat properly. This leaves many people feeling unseen, and that makes them prime targets for quacks to sell them “cures.”

I lose sympathy for Peterson when she turns from the conned into the con artist. She’s readying herself to make money talking bollocks to gullible women, just like her dad has made a very comfortable living talking absolute bollocks to gullible men. Gotta admire this family covering all possible markets, there, and of course it is usually a little inspiring to see a daughter go into the same line of work as her father. But not so much here.

Peterson is pretty much right when she says on her blog, “The food pyramid is a lie, meat fat is good for you, and many (if not most) health problems are treatable with diet alone.” The food pyramid IS a lie, created by the agricultural industry to get parents to feed their families more grains and milk. Seriously, nobody needs that much bread. That’s why no one uses it anymore, though the more recent “My Plate” isn’t much less dumb.

Meat fat isn’t necessarily good for you, but it’s not bad for you. It’s all about moderation, which is why Peterson is right with her last point: “many (if not most) health problems are treatable with diet alone.” But what diet? Spoiler alert: it ain’t the “Lion” diet. It’s the “diet” that is simply a lifestyle change, in which you take in fewer calories. Remember last week when I talked about how dangerous heart disease is, killing 1 out of 4 Americans? Well, that’s linked to obesity, and 1 out of 3 Americans is obese. You don’t need to do a wacky diet promoted by pretty blonde ladies — just eat a little less. Pay attention to what you eat. Count calories. Yeah, it sucks but it works because the point of it is to teach you what you would otherwise be mindlessly putting in your body. And if you wanna be even healthier, eat a variety of foods. Eat an entire fruit. Eat a vegetable. And if you wanna be even healthier still, move around a bit. Go for a long walk. Take up cycling. And yeah, that shit can help your depression. Unlike Mikhaila Peterson’s Lion Diet, there’s actual clinical proof that getting some exercise can help with depression and anxiety.

So I’m not saying you shouldn’t be on an all-meat diet. I mean, I will say that, because if everyone was on an all-meat diet the planet would just melt into itself and we’d all die, but honestly if eating only meat makes you feel better, then go for it. Just check in with an actual doctor, make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need, and don’t take medical advice from anyone in the Peterson family.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor.

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One Comment

  1. An all meat diet can produce short term health benefits for *some* people. In a way the carnivore diet is just a very extreme elimination diet. So if you have an undiagnosed allergy or intolerance, say to gluten, then suddenly cutting out bread and all other gluten sources is going to make you feel better. Then all you have to worry about is the colon cancer.

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