Red Meat Scapegoat: The New York Times & Heart Disease

Share:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

If you’re paleo or Bulletproof, by now you may have heard about the New York Times and Forbes articles on a new study about red meat purporting to link it to heart disease. This post is to protect your meat rights with accurate, unbiased science.

Most people know at least one person who has – or will have — heart disease. Hundreds of commercials each day advertise drugs for heart disease. A constant drumbeat of news articles condemns saturated fat and meat as the culprit in heart disease, fueling fear with attention grabbing headlines.

Heart disease impacts all of society, even if we aren’t going to get it because we have sky high HDL (“good” cholesterol) and near zero inflammation.

That’s why scientists are working on novel ways to understand heart disease, and also why it’s so tempting to use breakthrough research to write catchy news headlines demonizing red meat. Let’s dig in on the last high profile recent news and see what it actually means for you and your health.

Yesterday, the good people at the New York Times and Forbes recently published short articles based on a very detailed and amazing new study. The articles didn’t have space to cover the details, and the study itself suffers from only a few of the same (at least to biohackers) flaws from which most studies of red meat suffer.

Articles like this are damaging when the science and the headlines don’t match. Dozens of Bulletproof readers and friends emailed and posted questions asking for my take on this article, so here is the Bulletproof perspective on what we can learn from this study and what it means for you.

Summary of the article

The basic point of the headline was that eating red meat caused heart disease, but the study referenced showed that a chemical called TMAO (trimethylamine n-oxide), a byproduct of gut bacteria eating lots of things including red meat, gets into the blood stream and theoretically increases the risk of heart disease. Despite the headlines, what the study really showed is that disordered gut bacteria cause heart disease. This TMAO effect – if it is significant, which this study says it is – is a gut biome issue, NOT a meat issue. The words “in a microbiota-dependent” showed up 8 times in the 10 page study, but the headlines said “meat.”

This is the logic in the study: (1) Meat contains an amino acid called carnitine (2) gut bacteria only found in meat eaters use carnitine to fuel and multiply (3) TMAO is a byproduct of that process (4) Hypothesize that TMAO helps cholesterol get into artery walls, therefore TMAO levels are a predictor of heart disease. With that process in mind, this study conclusion is not half bad. Here are some things to think about, keeping in mind the research included a lot of mouse work and some human data:

A) In the human part of the study, the researchers measured effects of CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) industrial meat with antibiotics known to impact gut bacteria, NOT grass-fed or even just antibiotic-free meat, and didn’t control for the presence of antibiotics, or their impact on gut flora.

B) The human part of the study used cooking methods proven to create nitrosamines, which are precursors to TMAO (searing at high heat, George Foreman style, is not Bulletproof).

C) The media failed to acknowledge that TMAO is a byproduct of digestion of a lot of things including vegetables (via nitrite) and choline found in vegetable oils.

D) False basic assumptions about what causes heart disease (based on longstanding cholesterol propaganda) led to a misinformed analysis and conclusions of data.

What kind of meat was it really?

The researchers most certainly measured widely available CAFO industrial meat because the relied on data from patients who visited a hospital. CAFO meat comes with a host of issues for the human body. First, CAFO meat contains antibiotics that alter the gut biome and could solely be responsible for the noted effects. The vegetarians in the study did not show the same rise in TMAO levels as the regular meat eaters because, most likely, the antibiotics from industrial meat had not impacted their gut bacteria.

Hands down, the average careful, educated vegan has a healthier gut biome than the average standard American meat eater. This is why I NEVER eat non-grass fed beef or lamb. Instead, I’ll fast or eat butter and vegetables to get by. The scientists did not measure what else was in the meat! It is unscientific to base a study on an assumption that every piece of red meat has the same things in it when we know that’s not the case.

CAFO industrial meat also calls into question the presence of mycotoxins that accumulate in the tissue of animals eating corn and grain. Corporate CAFO operators test for mycotoxins in animal feed, not to avoid feeding it to their animals, but so they can buy cheaper (moldier) feed, and feed it to their animals at levels just below what will kill them or cause them to lose weight.

Mycotoxins are a major contributor to heart disease according to over 900 studies published by AV Costantini in a groundbreaking series of books titled Fungalbionics. Some of his studies link mycotoxins to arterial lesions which the body tries to repair, creating the arterial plaque. You can find entire posts dedicated to addressing mycotoxins in our food, especially coffee and meat, and the effects they have on our minds and body on this site when you just enter “mycotoxins” into our search bar.  My best mycotoxin video is here.

How was the meat prepared?

The article explicitly states, “The researcher himself bought a George Foreman grill for the occasion, and the nurse assisting him did the cooking.” The researchers didn’t think outside the scientific box. Searing as a cooking method creates more of a known carcinogen – nitrosamine! Nitrosamines are methylated by bacteria in the gut, which forms a substance called dimethylnitrosamine, which is a very toxic breakdown product of TMAO, the very substance the scientists were investigating. Did the paper measure the presence of nitrosamines in the meat after cooking, or test whether the inflammatory effects of it were at fault? Nope… but they did show that the straight carnitine has an effect on TMAO levels in people with some kinds of gut bacteria, so at least some of the cause is not from the overcooked/burned meat.

What else raises TMAO?

TMAO levels mattered before this groundbreaking new study, and they matter even more now. Biochemistry shows that TMA and TMAO are precursors of dimethlynitrosamine, which is linked to cancer, cellular immunity problems, and liver cirrhosis, which are linked to heart disease. TMAO itself fuels the growth of e. coli and salmonella and other gram negative bad bugs that are linked to heart disease. Note how TMAO doubled the growth rate of bacteria below. The research report didn’t look at TMAO’s impact on TMAO consuming gut bacteria.

Table 1 - Bacterial reduction of trimethyldmine oxide

Given this dark conclusion about red meat, this media treatment does us a great disservice by failing to acknowledge that carnitine is NOT the ONLY producer of TMA and TMAO. Choline from vegetable oils was acknowledged in the study as a source, but not nitrite (highest in vegetables), which also forms TMAO when digested by certain bacteria in the gut.  The smoking gun is which bacteria are in the gut!

In fact, some bacteria break down TMAO to TMA (trimethylamine). There is a condition called trimethylamuria where bacteria that make trimethylamine, normally found in your bowels, escape into the circulatory system, and produce an offensive fish-like smelling body odor. This smell can come out in your sweat, urine, vaginal secretions, and breath.

Given this information, and the New York Times article, you could argue that having fishy BO is a sign for risk of heart disease. In my experience, fishy BO is a sign of toxins in the body, and probably too much protein consumption, or an impaired ability to digest it (betaine HCL and protease enzymes help with this issue). Fishy smells from any orifice are definitely not Bulletproof.

The researchers sequenced the gut bacteria  (of a mouse) and found species that increase and decrease TMAO levels, and found they made more TMAO in mice that regularly had carnitine added to their (very crappy) mouse chow. Sadly, mice proboitics and human ones do not overlap much.  While they did sequence human gut species (hooray!), they did not publish which strains specifically raised TMAO.

The real point is that the problems point to TMAO, so the real area of further investigation is the gut biome – not the (grass fed, antibiotic free) red meat isle. The researchers showed that reducing bad gut bacteria (with antibiotics) stopped the problem. Why didn’t the media jump on this?  A better headline would be, “Study shows gut bacteria cause heart disease.”

The researchers may also have missed a very important point. They proved that TMAO reduces the size of the bile acid pool in the body, which is amazing knowledge. On the Bulletproof Diet, we work to promote bile acid turnover because fat-loving toxins hide in bile, and those toxins are tied to atherosclerotic lesions. A reduction in bile acid would cause a proportionally much higher recycling of these toxins.

Sneaky assumptions based on failed cholesterol hypothesis

The researchers bought in to the cholesterol propaganda, which led to a well-intentioned but misinformed analysis and conclusions. The proposed theory is that TMAO enables cholesterol to get into artery walls and also prevents the body from excreting excess cholesterol, so therefore it causes heart disease. The truth is, unoxidized cholesterol, especially HDL and even LDL, of correct particle size, is NOT harmful to arteries and can be even beneficial for muscle growth and toxin elimination. Heart disease starts with artery inflammation, and LDL can be a sign of inflammation.  So instead of focusing on cholesterol, we could instead focus more on things that cause artery inflammation as a cause of heart disease. Thus, the anti-inflammatory Bulletproof Diet, and my recommendation to measure LP-PLA2 as a marker of arterial inflammation.

Finally, this study shows that L-carnitine lowered cholesterol, added significant muscle mass, increased energy, and caused fat loss. Maybe these test subjects didn’t have bad bacteria in their guts, who knows. Plus, they were 100 years old. Another form of carnitine, ALC, has stellar anti-aging research associated with it. The researchers acknowledged that carnitine may be good for you according to some studies. (I believe it is.)

The point is, restricting carnitine because you might have some gut bugs that make TMAO, which may or may not directly cause heart disease a bad idea. Fixing your gut bacteria and avoiding industrial meat filled with antibiotics and mycotoxins is a GREAT idea.

Bulletproof suggestions

  1. Avoid CAFO industrial meat, always. Choose grass-fed meat or don’t eat it.
  2. Avoid chronic low dose antibiotic exposure that will change your gut flora. Common foods that contain too many antibiotics include non-grass fed meat and non-organic dairy products. If you have SIBO or bad bacteria in your gut, kill it.
  3. Focus on fixing gut bacteria in your gut biome:
    1. Eat a Bulletproof Diet.
    2. Make sure to consume bulletproof starch once every few days to feed gut bacteria, and a small amount daily if tolerated
    3. Take species-specific probiotics that work for you, if there are any. Garden of Life Primal Defense and Prescript-Assist work the best for my coaching clients. Be cautious with fermented foods – you have no idea what species you are eating, and they harbor a variety of toxins not widely acknowledged. If you eat fermented food and feel 100% bulletproof, then you’re probably ok.
    4. Stop eating mycotoxins which also impact gut flora.
    5. Consume XCT oil to keep excess gut bacteria and fungi at bay (Complete post to explain more about this will be published in the near future).
Share:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on Google+Share on LinkedIn

By Dave Asprey

  • Michael

    This article has started my day off right, thanks a lot for doing this. Makes me so frustrated that this research was so poorly constructed.

  • I recently started eating red meat again (grass-fed only) after listening to your podcast with Joe Rogan. To my surprise I didn’t get sick and I could feel the a difference with improving mental focus. Thank you for all your sweat! -Em

  • Thanks for the great critique. You’ve raised some important potential (even likely) confounders.

    On a side note, I saw that you believe that some LDL particles are not atherogenic. I’ve seen research that indicates that LDL-particle size distribution loses all predictive power after LDL-p (particle number) is taken into account. e.g.

    Do you have info that disagrees with that notion?

    • That site – a good one – says “LDL containing particles get into the endothelium” is the start of athersclerosis. That is inflammation. The body makes more LDL in response to inflammation or in the presence of mycotoxins that are linked to CVD. So how is it that LDL is causative? It isn’t. Inflammation is the cause, and so are SOME things that cause the body to make LDL. But LDL without inflammation and oxidation (as measured by LP-PLA2) the LDL simply doesn’t do the same things!

      • Thanks for the reply. I don’t think anyone doubts the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis. The point is that we need metrics to evaluate where we are at personally. So far LDL-P seems to be a good one, and particle distribution adds no further predictive information to that number. Would markers of inflammation like LP-PLA2 add information? I bet. I’d like to see the research tho.

        It’s really a shame that public health authorities dont put a simple risk calculator online that incorporates all the latest research findings, and will accept as input any and all relevant lipid, inflammation, or whatever else numbers. This would be a very basic and useful public health project. We don’t need our neighborhood doctor giving his nuanced personal opinion on our risk numbers. We need machine learning algos crunching all the research and outputting a single up-to-date risk model that the world can use easily at no cost.

  • Thanks, Dave! More bad nutrition science, it seems. I immediately thought about the question you highlight first:
    A) The researchers presumably measured effects of CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) industrial meat with antibiotics known to impact gut bacteria, NOT grass-fed or even just antibiotic-free meat, and didn’t test for the presence of antibiotics.

  • Christopher


    Love your blog! Long-time BP Coffee drinker. Just curious what you make of the studies done with mice in the experiment:

    “When mice were given carnitine supplements they had the expected increases in bacteria. This resulted in increased production of TMAO, and, eventually, atherosclerosis.”

    Your pointing out the flaws in the article, especially meat quality and cooking method, don’t address the issue with mice. Could we draw any reasonable corollaries from this? Obviously carnitine seems to produce more TMAO, but the mice develop “atherosclerosis” so just curious your take on this part of the study.

  • Thanks for the awesome redux. There are many people that I need to share this with.

  • Abel Stillman

    What products does Better Baby sell? My hypothesis is that the site and blog and writer are probably attached to making money off of various wonderful products that fit the “anti-establishment” narrative. I’m sure that those who follow Dave and this web site trust him, but I have to say that reading his work here he’s more than likely a self-agrandizer. True believers come in many sizes, shapes and colors, but if your LDL cholesterol is 200 odds are excellent you’ll have an early heart attack. My father died of his 3rd MI at age 62, a big red meat eater. I agree that we’d want to know which bacteria are making this TMAO and for sure the issue of how the meat was cooked (high temperature is not a good idea) and that it probably wasn’t organic or grassfed deserve follow up looking comparatively at nitrosamines and such (though I’ll bet that nitrosamine levels are not different in the organic beef once cooked–which is what I eat when I do eat red meat). But, as a practicing physician with epidemiologic background I have to say this Nature-Medicine research looks very interesting and it isn’t so easily dismissed or refuted as by Dave’s glib writing (which lacks much cred if you’ve studied biochemistry and understand the way he misuses logic). The new work is not based upon the cholesterol model of atherogenesis at all. Dave is just dissembling about that, claiming that since cholesterol doesn’t work these establishment figures needed a new miracle model. Actually, the saturated animal fat model data does fit based upon literally thousands of studies going all the way back to the famous Korean war GI post mortem study that showed Americans at 19 years old (as opposed to Koreans) already had a lot of fatty placque build up. This new Cleveland Clinic (a very reputable organization btw) research is surprising because it suggests a different (not necessarily exclusive) model that confirms earlier puzzling work (Dave perhaps has this in mind about inflammation) that people with gum disease are at higher risk of heart disease. But outcome studies on the dangers of red meat and animal fats are not hard to find and the data (with millions of patients) are totally consistent with risk associated to saturated animal fat intake. Pinning down why red meat is more dangerous is what the researches are trying do and should be applauded for these findings. They have no ox to gore (eg. they aren’t funded by some damned pharmaceutical company with a new drug they are pushing–however, my guess is that Dave and his web site are funded to push a lot of things for y’all to buy in the alternative market. If I’m wrong about that, Dave can tell me more about who he is and what he himself does for a living). But for me there is just an awful lot of slipshod thinking here–the linking of conclusions that sound right but actually don’t fit the facts in his writing. But I don’t ask you to trust me. Just open your minds and hearts, read more widely from science writers and don’t assume that everyone out there (except Dave and other Jim Jones type folks) has a hidden agenda.

    • RobK

      Yes I have to agree that the results of this study are not easily dismissed. It’s a red flag and warrants some serious reflection and probably further research.

      Here’s how I keep myself honest when I look at these studies. ..I ask the following questions. 1. Who has the burden of proof? 2. What do I need to see to change my position? 3 Is it possible (reasonable) to expect someone to generate those results? 4. Is the information in the study actionable? 5. If so how impactful is it both in term of expected harm reduction and difficulty to implement? 6. What are the (unintended) consequences of acting on the information?

      The first 3 questions guard against dogmatism. Good science is about establishing the right thresholds. The burden needs to be high enough that you don’t flip flop all over the place but not so hight that there is no reasonable way anyone could convince you that you’re wrong. It’s a balancing act and it’s hard. The second three look at materiality and real impact. Is it even worth thinking about? Even if it is true is the next best alternative any better?

      For my part I’ll still eat some red meat… but I’m going to reduce frequency and amount and I’ll stay away from supplementation.

      In terms of Dave, I think he has a real job… but he does have some skin in the game. This is a labour of love and I believe that….but it’s also clear that he has a business interest.

      • Joe Garma

        Smart way of dissecting things, RobK. And your intent to reduce your meat consumption is exactly what the lead scientist in this study, Dr. Hazen, said he would do.

    • Marcia

      Just a couple of questions: Is he wrong about the kind of beef used making a difference? Do the saturated fat models take into account the amount of sugar eaten in the diets of those found with a lot of fatty plaque buildup?

      I don’t think that comments like “Jim Jones type folks,” “glib writing,” and “self-agrandizer” have any place in your reply if you want to be taken seriously. They certainly don’t add to your gravitas as a “practicing physician with an epidemiological background” nor does your n=1 data on your father contribute to an intelligent discussion.

    • bguy


      Your main style of arguments are appeal-to-authority (your own and the study’s) and ad-hominem on Dave. Instead of assuming foul-play regarding hidden agendas and such, why not provide better criticism of the ideas themselves? That would be much more useful. You’ve asserted quite a bit with few details.

      RE: “LDL cholesterol is 200 odds are excellent you’ll have an early heart attack”

      Source? Also, whats your take on small vs large particle LDL? How would you describe the process which LDL cholesterol leads to heart attack?

      RE: “The saturated animal fat model data does fit based upon literally thousands of studies going all the way back to the famous Korean war GI”

      That has not been my reading with the literature I’ve reviewed. For instance, on a more general topic of saturated fat, some recent studies have been very mixed and inconclusive about the connection: Not to mention, most such studies have so many confounders (beyond the quality/sources of fat and cooking methods) that they raise more questions than answers.

      RE: “Just open your minds and hearts, read more widely from science writers and don’t assume that everyone out there (except Dave and other Jim Jones type folks) has a hidden agenda.”

      Interesting — how can you tell who to “open your mind and heart” with, vs the “Dave and other Jim Jones type folks”. How do you have a magically reliable ability to determine everyone’s hidden agenda?

      Wouldn’t it be a better approach to not focus so much on hidden agendas and debate the ideas, on their own merits?

      • Kruntz

        Wow, you said what I was trying to say only much better than I did.

    • JasonHooper

      Do you really believe that Dave is a conspirator with the grass feed beef industry for conglomerate profit? Of course not! Those small farms do not have the resources to do such a thing. You know who does? Big pharmaceutical companies entice doctors to push statins on their patients in exchange for kickbacks. If you are actually a doctor, use Occam’s razor to figure out what is more likely: the corrupt FDA and big pharma using billions of dollars to scare us into buying their medications, or a full time software executive who runs a blog in his spare time is using his own funds to trick people into purchasing products that he has no financial interest in?

      • Vince

        That is so obvious. Technology = anti god. Therefore I conclude that Dave is trying to poison us all. Grass fed beef has actually been found to contain almost no fat, which goes against everything Dave says! I just purchard a $20 flank steak and it had no fat on it! THese organic, pasture, AGA-certified, AWA approved farmers sure cheated me on this one! I better go back to the USDA pyramid, I can’t believe I fell for this “health crap”. Off to McDonald’s guyssssss!

  • Jonathan

    Interesting post and great counter-balancing comment by Abel. This site badly needs some informed comment from readers with some grounding in medicine and epidemiology. Dave raises a lot of interesting questions but it strikes me there are far too many people ready to surrender their critical faculties to any guru that supplies credible-sounding alternative health advice. It’s not hard to make yourself appear an expert compared to the average joe if you’re a fluent writer with a cursory knowledge of biochemistry. Abel, please keep commenting — constructive criticism is the only way that we will approach the truth. Dave, keep throwing out your challenges to orthodox opinion. You may be right… you may be wrong. I’m still on the fence.

  • Cathy

    The appearance of the TMAO study is a brilliant test on the scientific method for Paleo-esque self appointed gurus. Dave, on the basis of your reaction, you have failed. Describing this research as “flawed” and looking for ways to “debunk” it only goes to show how ideological your own position is – you’re reacting like someone who is threatened and is defensive rather than someone who is open to all the evidence, even if it goes against deeply set beliefs. This is credible research that poses interesting questions for FURTHER research. That’s science. There are always going to be potential confounders in this very complex area, that does not necessarily make it flawed. While, it’s perfectly scientific to suggest that further tests should be done, it is not scientific to assume that you know the answer were further tests done. You don’t know that cleaner meat would have produced a different result. You can propose that it might, but don’t go round telling people that that outcome is more certain when it is just your untested theory. Go test it – rigorously – and then write it up. Making claims prior to that is just hokum. “This post is to protect your meat rights with accurate, unbiased science” has to be the most ironic thing I’ve read all day.

    • Tracker

      “With that process in mind, this study conclusion is not half bad” – those are the exact type of words “who is threatened and is defensive”. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Your words strike me as those that belong to a vegan die hard that just wants to lash out at anyone who you perceived to be a Paleo-esque self appointed guru.

      • Cathy

        Tracker, thanks for the ad hominem. I am absolutely not a vegan and I’m not even a vegetarian – I ate chicken for lunch! But so what if I were? That’s not a reason to dismiss an argument.

        I think you are taking that line completely out context for your own purposes and ignoring the rest of what Dave has written. Anyway, if you don’t believe my take on it, this what Dave had to say about it on his Twitter account: “The study was deeply flawed– some thoughts on how [link to this post]”

        • Kruntz

          Good point Cathy, but didn’t you just dismiss the authors? And I dare say, his dismissal included at least SOME information as to why he dismissed it.

    • Joe Garma

      Cathy, while I agree that Dave’s counterargument can be argued (who’s couldn’t), I think you’re coming down a little hard on the fella. I’m no genius, but I’ve looked closely at the studies and retorts and wrote a synthesis of my own (, and can tell you that this is not settled science, if there is such a thing.

    • Cathy is correct but look at the sycophants attacking her for threatening their high fat fad.
      The researchers also studied the effects of supplements choline and carnitine (absent antibiotic laden meat or eggs) the result is the same. This bacteria will occur anywhere significant amounts of choline or carnitine are consumed. Even vegans will eventually pick up the bacteria and support it if they supplement with either choline or carnitine. CAFO meat or eggs are a red herring. You’re ignorant if you follow this website. It’s been outed many times for failing scientifically. For good information lookup or These sites offer sourced information with fantastic insights into longevity and health.

      This website is amazingly, ignorantly, sycophantically biased. Why? The author is invested in a fad diet called Paleo which is clearly not the way paleolithic humans lived. Real paleo humans were much smaller than us yet consumed 300 grams of fiber per day. Try getting that from grass fed meat. Did you know a snickers has more nutrition than grass fed beef?

      • Justin

        Did you really just say that a snickers bar has more “nutrition” than grass fed beef, based on this video which clearly indicates that it is only measuring Antioxidant content?

        By this logic, we should all give up fruits and vegetables, and just eat Pop Corn!

      • Kruntz

        Your response is laughable. There is so much debate about what paleo humans ate. For you to state your theory as if it is assumed as fact is idiotic.

        • Kruntz

          Not to mention the snickers bar comment could quite possibly be the dumbest thing anyone has ever written.

    • Kruntz

      You have done all you can to discredit Dave, but have provided absolutely NO information or effective counter argument. Who’s being defensive here (and ideological)?

  • For those who have not seen it, Chris Kresser has weighed in on the study ( and has mentioned that Chris Masterjohn will composing a response also.


    • Joe Garma

      Yep, and more are coming.

      I wrote one ( and just read Charles Poliquin’s response.

      Safe to say that no one is moving much away from there pre-TMAO study positions.

  • Pingback: Coffee, Saturated Fat and Carnitine -- The Debate | What you need to know about coffee, saturated fat and carnitine()

  • Christopher

    Pretty awesome timing of this:

    “These findings may seem to contradict those reported in a study published earlier this month in Nature Medicine by Robert A. Koeth and others…”

    “The Nature Medicine paper is of interest,” agrees senior investigator Carl J. Lavie, M.D.,FACC,FACP,FCCP, Medical Director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Prevention Center at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute at the University of Queensland School of Medicine in New Orleans, “but the main study reported there was in animals, and unlike our study, lacks hard outcomes.”

  • TonyM723

    Although I am still testing diets and lifestyles at home myself(to a lesser degree) one thing I have noticed is that American medicine and doctors are historically wrong so I tend not to trust them or their pharm sidekicks. Show me isolated tests on people with an organic life from birth with the same health problems we try to explain. Millions of cases of heart attacks in America doesn’t surprise me at all. I see what most people eat and I’m sure Oreo’s, Coke, and a lot of fatty red meat just don’t mix. The reason I know the plant/meat diets can work is from the blood work people are taking to defend their own good feeling. I’m not on Dave’s side just yet but I did struggle with waking to hunger pangs EVERY single day until I had a couple weeks of BP coffee. I ran out about 4 days ago(Dave should work on his shipping speeds lol) but my stomach doesn’t feel like it’s trying to eat itself every morning which puts me in a remarkably better mood.

  • Mike

    With time and effort involved Dave is entitled to make a few bucks i’d say,(witness the overpriced supplements) and many well respected reputable dr’s. (McDougall–Esselstyn–Fuhrman–to name a few) would take odds with his style (and no, they and their patients have been around a long time so i don’t buy into the thoughts that “in the long run” theory, as it is a theory–no proof) but 2 sides to every coin.

  • NicksNick

    Instead of claiming that vegans are more healthy than meat eaters… should there not be stated vegans AND ORGANIC MEAT EATERS are healthier than processed meat eaters? I believe that is what is actually the story of the ‘story’ here.

  • Excellent summary of a confusing report. Thank you. What is your definition of a bulletproof diet? Please explain mycotoxins and MCT oil.

    • Joe Garma

      Explanations are all over this site, Pam. Wander around.

  • Aaron

    I do not eat red meat. However, I regularly take a probiotic supplement. I read the study’s abstract and unfortunately they do not seem to pinpoint the exact strain of gut bacteria that is fueled by carnitine. I am now wondering whether it is a good idea to cease my probiotic supplementation until further is done.

  • hm


  • Pingback: Carne, L-carnitina, TMAO y lo que no dicen los estudios | Me gusta estar bien()

  • Chris

    If you want a good laugh check out Anthony Colpo’s analysis of the study:

  • Love it. It’s important to point out the bad science.. or the omission of key points. — It all comes back to basics: We’re meat. We need to eat meat. — After I eat good meat, I feel muscular, and like I want to go spear a boar.

    • right on ! actually eating meat makes ME want to go kick a crocodile in the dick ! lol

  • SanSol

    CAFO industrial meat not only may contain mycotoxins, antibiotics, it also has lower omega 3, and higher omega 6 fatty acids that promotes inflammation and heart disease. A healthy grass fed beef free of hormones and antibiotics in moderation is healthy.

  • skeptic

    First of all carnitine is not an amino acid. It is synthesized from amino acids. To be an amino acid you need to have an amine group bonded to a carbon, with a R side group, which is bound to an acyl group (basic organic chemistry). I stopped reading after this line… “The vegetarians in the study did not show the same rise in TMAO levels as the regular meat eaters because, most likely, the antibiotics from industrial meat had not impacted their gut bacteria.” No proof, or let’s say bullet proof of this claim. Speaking as a scientist and knowing the rigorous reviews that submissions to Nature receive, I would advise readers to go with the Nature paper on this one. If Dan John can write something that can withstand the scrutiny of other scientists on the review panel at Nature (and keep in mind that the way most scientific journals operate is the greater the claims the greater the scrutiny) then you should consider what he says. I have known a lot of people in my life that can get the gist of things, throw out words they don’t fully grasp (with all that is implicit in each word) and fool a lot of people that may not know better. .

    • Ryan Critchett

      With the word Skeptic as your name, you should be written off probably instantly. And you’d advise readers to go with the nature paper? Ah, that’s because you’re a scientist. Right? Please don’t respond. And don’t wonder why you get a response like this to your condescending comment.

  • Justin

    Again great content, thanks for your deep research Dave. Have you ever considered working with other Nutrition/Performance coaches that align with your views. I would love to discuss potential synergies.

  • Which cooking method do you recommend for my grass fed sirloin steak? I fry it in coconut oil because it’s yummy but am I wrong?

  • Joel

    Well done. Meat quality is imperative.

  • Antonio

    I believe that the biggest problem, with these findings, is a drop on sales of meat and supplements.

  • Pingback: The Meat Controversy -- Is it Good for You? | The pros and cons of meat eating()

  • vicentewakk

    The only prep work required is a trip to a good butcher. Your steak will broil to rare perfection in under ten minutes.

  • Pingback: The Truth About Red Meat and Diabetes()

  • Pingback: Paleo Approved On-The-Go Snacks | 30 Day Paleo Challenge | Day 20 » Cirullo Training()

  • peter

    HI Dave,

    Primal Defense probiotics contain Lactobacillus casei, which you recommend against. Is it nominal?

  • Pingback: Paleo Approved On-The-Go Snacks | 30 Day Paleo Challenge | Day 20 | Cirullo Training()

  • Andrew Smith

    No date on this article = don’t read… next!

  • Pingback: HSO Probiotics Part 3 - Down With Prescript Assist -

  • Pingback: HSO Probiotics Part 2 - The danger of supplementing with Bacillus subtilis! -

  • Pingback: HSO Probiotics Part 1 - HSO's Not as Safe as They Are Believed to Be! -

  • disquspusk

    I was going to pile on, but I think Cathy already hit the nail on the head. The author of this article here has some good points and some good things to consider, but seems immature, defensive, and knee-jerk in the attitude that this is “bad science”.

    As anyone familiar with the scientific process understands, one study is not on it’s own considered 100% solid proof on a new way of thinking or is not going to give us a complete, clear picture as to what is going on. It’s probably silly to change your eating habits every time a new, single study comes out. A study should have results that are repeatable in future studies and the details of the exact mechanisms involved are to be discovered or figured as time goes on. The author of the study looked at why the fat contents in meat themselves don’t correlate to the negative impact on the heart of eating red meat and discovered that much of the explanation likely has to do with complex reactions between our biomes and the proteins in the meat we eat. Further research will pick apart some of the nuances the author of this article is going after, but it’s absolutely silly to attack the scientists and the study because they didn’t flesh out all the nuances in this initial, brilliant study.

  • Ethan

    Are all hospitals full of sick meat-eaters, or sick vegans?

  • Pingback: #64 Grass Fed Beef from the Mountains of Idaho, with Glenn Elzinga from Alderspring Ranch – Podcast | The Bulletproof Executive()

  • Ralph Graham

    It is fortunate that one does not have to have extensive training to ascertain whether or not meat contributes to heart disease. The hordes of people (including vegans) adopting plant based eating, that is no meat, dairy or eggs with almost no added oil are seeing an absence of (or winding back of current) heart disease. The volume of references supporting this is impressive. The number of studies highlighting this is compelling, but their significance pales once people demonstrate it in their own bodies.

    BTW, keeping a little of meat etc in the diet means keeping a little bit of heart disease ( and death due to it). With some things, moderation just doesn’t cut it.
    Google: heart attack proof 🙂

  • Matthew

    > what the study really showed is that disordered gut bacteria cause heart disease

    Meat causes the dysbiosis.