The Peat-atarian Diet For Those Of Us With Average IQs - Critical MAS

The Peat-atarian Diet For Those Of Us With Average IQs - Critical MAS

read a lot of stuff regarding nutrition. It has been an active hobby of
mine since 2008. Although it was the Paleo Diet that rekindled my
interest in nutrition, today I consider myself more in the Weston A.
Price camp. I explained why in the post The Endgame for Paleo is WAPF.
I’ve been successful on both diets. Earlier this year I started reading
about the dietary views of Dr. Ray Peat and his followers. Unlike Paleo
or WAPF, which are easy to understand on the surface, the Peat-atarian
articles are quite intense. They aren’t user friendly.

What makes the Peat Diet unique is that it approaches nutrition from a
hormonal perspective. It is all about reducing chronic stress. To me the Peat Diet appears to be a modern fix to the WAPF Diet.
Traditional diets worked great for traditional cultures. But we now
live in a world with chronic stress and dietary toxins. Simply following
a traditional diet or going caveman may not be enough or may not work
as quickly as a diet designed specifically to address the hormonal
stress of modern times.

If like me, you have an average IQ and you start to dive into
understanding all the hormonal relationships, you’ll quickly
become overwhelmed. The purpose of this post is to just hit the
important differences, why they exist and who might benefit the most
from experimenting with this diet.

Paleo vs Primal vs WAPF vs Peat

On the surface it may appear that The Peat Diet is a radical
departure from Paleo, but it isn’t. It has more in common with Paleo and
WAPF than it does with USDA recommendations.

GrainsNONOYES (treated only)NO
SoyNONOYES (fermented only)NO
Fermented FoodsYESYESYESNO
"Sugar is Good"NONONOYES
Offal + Bone BrothYESYESYESYES
NutsYESYESYES (treated only)NO
"Saturated Fat is Good"YESYESYESYES
Showing 1 to 11 of 11 entries
I’ve bolded the two main differences.

#1 Sugar – Every diet under the sun seems to loathe
sugar. Not Ray Peat. At a hormonal level sugar is can be used to reduce
stress and boost metabolism. This protocol seems to be effective with
people that have stalled in their fat loss while following a strict low
carbohydrate diet. Give your body some sugar, reduce the internal
stress, boost metabolism and resume fat loss. Using sugar to improve
your health seems like a bizarre idea at first, but a few years ago we
used to think saturated fats were evil and now we love them.

My own N=1 experiment this year was consuming ice cream daily.
Although I haven’t become fully convinced sugar is good. I’m no longer
convinced it is bad. My health is as good in 2012 as it was in 2011,
when I avoided sugar. So given equal outcomes, I’m going to eat ice
cream. :)

#2 Avoid Omega 3 – This is a big idea to wrap your
head around. PUFAs aren’t just evil, they are super evil and that
includes Omega 3 fats. It took me a while to grasp this concept and the
motivation behind this recommendation. The typical person today will
have high levels of inflammatory fat as a result of excessive PUFA.
Depending upon whom you read, it can take 4 or more years to get rid of
it. The way to get rid of it quickest is to eliminate all forms of PUFA.

This recommendation leads to the mathematical conclusion that a Peat
Diet will be higher in carbs and lower in fat. I saw one chart that
estimated a Peat Diet was 50% carbs, 25% fat and 25% protein. When you
reduce your intake of bad fats (PUFA), you’ll also be reducing all fats.
When fats go down, carbs must go up. Although I suppose one could eat
fistfuls of coconut oil to boost the fat level, it isn’t necessary since
the carbs are boosting metabolism.

What I Like

Besides their love of ice cream, one of the things I really like
about the Peat diet is how it places importance on bone broth and offal.
This is the best idea in the WAPF camp. Use the entire animal and not
just the muscle meat. Ray Peat’s writings explain a hormonal reason why
that is important. From his article  Gelatin, stress, longevity:

When only the muscle meats are eaten, the amino acid
balance entering our blood stream is the same as that produced by
extreme stress, when cortisol excess causes our muscles to be broken
down to provide energy and material for repair. The formation of
serotonin is increased by the excess tryptophan in muscle, and serotonin
stimulates the formation of more cortisol, while the tryptophan itself,
along with the excess muscle-derived cysteine, suppresses the thyroid
I love this. Traditional cultures unknowingly knew how to properly use the entire animal to the benefit of their thyroid.

3 jars of beef bone stock

What I Dislike

The Peat Diet is against fermented foods.
The reason is that the body apparently considers lactic acid stressful
to process. Ray also doesn’t like negative weight lifting movements, as
they produce a lot of lactic acid. I may have an average IQ, but I think
the Peat-atarians are wrong on this point. First of all, anyone that
has ever started a weight lifting program using negative lifts knows the
body adapts quickly. The extreme soreness you experience on workout one
gets less and less with subsequent workouts. This tells me that the
body learns to deal with the stress rather quickly. Also, you need far
fewer workouts so rest time between workouts is increased, which reduces

As for fermented foods, I’m going to side with traditional cultures
on this one. Having access to fresh vegetables year round is such a
recent phenomenon. Fermentation is how we preserved veggies and dairy.
The nutritional value and safety of foods increase when they are
fermented. Even if there was a slight stress response, there are so many
benefits from fermentation.

Another thing I dislike about the Peat Diet and their obsession with eliminating stress is that there doesn’t seem to be any discussion of hormetic stress.
Should stress always be avoided? Or should we introduce episodic
stressors and teach our bodies how to adapt in a positive manner? As
someone that believes strongly in the benefits of Intermittent Fasting and Cold Weather Training, you know where I stand.

Should You Try This Diet?

There is a lot to this diet that I didn’t cover. As a person with an average IQ that is not a PubMed Warrior,
it appears to me that the person most likely to benefit from this diet
will be someone that has had a long history with dieting, specifically
low-carb dieting. Weight loss has stalled. Most likely the person is
female and possibly with a low thyroid. Ideally the person would be able
to handle dairy. That is not to say others wouldn’t benefit, but that
seems like the person that would get the most results.

The problem with this diet is the message is hard to understand.
Hopefully this post clarified some of the differences. In a future post,
I will list some quick start ideas on how to transition from Paleo/WAPF
to a Peat diet. Note that I am not endorsing this diet, but I do
believe it has merit and can benefit some people. I’ll eat the ice
cream, but I’m not giving up my kimchi. :)


  1. Karen says

    “If like me, you have an average IQ and you start to dive into
    understanding all the hormonal relationships, you’ll quickly become
    overwhelmed. ” One website that may interest you is dannyroddy.com. He
    breaks down the complexities of Peat in an understandable way for those
    of us who don’t have high IQs. Also ray peat fans facebook group has a
    lot of posts that help break down the hard stuff.

  2. garymar says

    MAS, similar ideas have occurred to me as I (lightly) skimmed over
    Peat’s and Roddy’s blogs. A sizeable group of people seem to be
    following a similar trajectory: vegan –> paleo/primal –>

    Looking forward to more posts on this subject.

  3. says

    Yeah there are a few problems in the Paleo community:

    1- over emphasis on muscle meats

    2- way too much exercise

    3- fear of carbs (I was once guilty of this. To be clear, I’m not anti-low-carb now, I favor a cyclical approach.)

    Peat addresses all 3 nicely.