Reader Question: "Why do most paleo folk ignore the work of Dr. Ray Peat? What's his deal?"
Ray Peat acquired his PhD from the University of Oregon with a specialization in physiology. He started his work on hormones in 1968 and wrote his dissertation in 1972 in which he outlined his ideas on progesterone and the hormones closely related to it. His main thesis is that energy and structure are interdependent at every level.
I posted this a couple of weeks ago, but it's so profound I'm going to post it again. Chris Rosenfelt, friend and commenter over at Ray Peat Fans on Facebook, summarizes Peat's position eloquently:
"Dr. Peat believes that energy and structure are interdependent, therefore providing proper oxidative energy to the simplest, smallest unit of living matter, the cell. Cells form tissues, tissues form organs and organs form the human body, obviously this is in its very simplistic form but if you take care and provide the proper nutrients/energy to the cell then it should have a "ripple effect" throughout the organism.
So Dr. Peat's philosophy is just about maintaining proper oxidative energy through the use of protective hormones and elements such as thyroid, pregnenolone, progesterone, testosterone, carbon dioxide, glucose, saturated fats and not letting the potentially negative hormones and elements (if chronically activated) like cortisol, adrenaline, estrogen, PUFA's, ACTH, lactic acid, carbon monoxide, parathyroid, prolactin, TSH, protein kinase C, etc... get out of control in the body."
Criticisms/Critiques of Dr. Peat's Work
There is an undercurrent in Paleo world that Dr. Peat is laugh. It has been said that he's "unreadable," he "doesn't have the evidence," and uses "far too many rat studies."
Peat seems to lose many with his "inside out approach," e.g., a philosophy focused on the human body, rather than an, "outside in approach," e.g., "our ancestor's must have been in this metabolic state during evolution, so we should attempt to replicate it."
Chris Masterjohn has written two great articles relating to Peat's views on the essentiality of the essential fatty acids and glycation. Mr. Masterjohn disagrees that PUFAs are mostly responsible for advanced glycation end-products and finds the case to be somewhere in the middle on the essentiality of the essential fatty acids.
I haven't come across any criticisms against Peat's views on serotonin, prolactin, aldosterone, cortisol, and estrogen.
For The Love of God, Draw Your Own Conclusions
Peat's intellectual honesty, ability to start every sentence with the phrase, "In an experiment..." and pre-pharmaceutical era wisdom is heartening. I find his point of view and experience to be valuable.
My entire path from starch-supporter to Peat-a-tarian can be reviewed in these posts (Please READ/SKIM these posts before suggesting that I'm hell-bent on undermining paleo).
Clearly I am b-i-a-s-e-d, but experiment for yourself and draw your own conclusions about the validity of Dr. Peat's work. Consult the footer of this website whenever you're in doubt.