Livets goda

Diet Doctor Annika Rane

Princess cake

Vilja. Kunskap. Lust. Där har vi de tre hörnpelarna i livsstilsförändring. Förra veckan fokuserade jag på de två förstnämnda och framhävde då kunskapens avgörande betydelse. Gör rätt så blir det lätt. Eller i alla fall lättare.

Samtidigt spelade jag i viss mån ner betydelsen av vilja – eller kalla det disciplin – för att den nya livsstilen ska vara hållbar. Att lida och piska sig själv och strängt försaka livets goda kan naturligtvis vara både karaktärsdanande och identitetsstärkande. Men risken är att viljekapitalet förslösas. Det är ju ingen oändlig resurs.

Så till lusten. I min bok Livsnjutardieten, lyder en kapitelrubrik: NÅ, FÅR EN LIVSNJUTARE ÄTA TRYFFELPASTA OCH PRINSESSTÅRTA?

Och så här besvarar jag frågan: ”Ja! Ett rungande ja! Det är en livsnjutares plikt att ibland äta tryffelpasta och prinsesstårta. Capice? Ja, jag väljer att i det här sammanhanget skriva plikt, inte rätt. För det ingår i DNA:t i denna diet, att ditt mat- och viktliv inte alltid ska gå på räls. Den som vill äta fundamentalistiskt och strikt har så många andra dieter att följa. Ibland ska du därför släppa upp insulinet, med ty följande risker. /…/ Det är en av huvudpoängerna med Livsnjutardieten, att den säger ja till undantaget. Många dieter överges för att de i längden är lite för trista och strikta och regelstyrda. Eller också är de krångliga och svåra att följa. Medan Livsnjutardieten är enkel och livsbejakande. Du behöver ha ungefärlig koll på matens och dryckens insulinpåverkan. Det är allt.”

Det här resonemanget kan säkert uppfattas som lite provokativt av somliga. Häromveckan träffade jag en kvinna, Maria, som visade sig vara en sister-in-arms mot insulintriggande mat. Hon berättade att hon haft stor framgång med LCHF. Men att hon inte vågat äta den minsta tesked tårta på tre år.

Det är hennes väg, den hon tror på. Den strikta. Den kanske enda möjliga för henne. Hon berättade för övrigt också om en väninna, som bekämpat sin övervikt med Viktväktarna. Och tillåter sig mat, inklusive tårta och godis och pasta, från hela kostcirkeln. Men efter initialt ganska ordentlig viktminskning har väninnan nu vänt kilokurvan uppåt igen.

Att jag tycks klara av det jag kallar medveten kolhydratnjutning – tack, Jonas Colting för det uttrycket!! – beror på att jag besvärsfritt kan lägga in en 24-timmarsfasta. Vid behov längre. Efter en sådan har jag fått bukt med insulinets aptitdrivande och förslöande inverkan på min kropp. Hade jag haft tillfälle att prata längre med Maria, hade jag frågat i vilken utsträckning och på vilka sätt hon hittar lust i sitt nya liv bortom de högbelönande kolhydraterna. Men det hann jag inte, så jag får prata med mig själv stället.

Något som är hundraprocentigt sant för mig, och säkerligen för de allra flesta LCHF:are – och paleo- och keto-ätare och allt vad dessa dietkusiner nu kallar sig – är att det lyckligtvis finns massor med härlig mat som håller insulinet på låg nivå. Här är inte minst Diet Doctor en inspirerande källa, med lockande, vacker mat och en enorm mängd recept, från den enklaste aioli till den riktigt avancerade festkycklingen.

Även det söta finns representerat, även om jag här och nu måste erkänna att jag hittills i livet aldrig bakat med alternativa sötningsmedel och alternativmjöl. Det ska dock testas under våren. Ett löfte! Men hittills i mitt lågkolhydratliv gäller följande. Att jag, när jag känner söt-cravings som jag inte vill eller kan motstå, satsar på medveten kolhydratnjutning eller lightläsk.

Jag vill i detta inlägg om lust också slå ett slag för ”bang for the buck”. Alltså att försäkra mig om att jag får mycket njutning tillbaka på investerad tid/ansträngning/matslarv/överätning. Gör jag ett medvetet eller slarvbetingat kolhydratundantag, ser jag därför till att njuta utan en massa dåligt samvete! Och jag försöker falla för frestelser på ett smart sätt. Med det menar jag att jag verkligen försökt lära känna hur min kropp reagerar på dels olika källor till ”insulintriggande” och på annat sätt farlig matnjutning, dels olika situationer där sådan matnjutning kan vara aktuell.

Till exempel tycks jag vara betydligt närmare kontroll-tapp när jag är stressad och har sovit för lite. Det finns också bakfyllor, då jag – om jag börjar äta farlig mat som pizza och chips eller dricka farlig dryck som juice och läsk – bara blir hungrigare ju mer jag äter. Då blir det relativt lite bang for the buck, i den meningen att jag får väldigt lite mattillfredsställelse per kalori.

Om jag ska maximera lusten i mitt liv, är det därför smartare att äta farlig mat när jag befinner mig i ett fysiologiskt och psykiskt lugnare läge. Eller om jag är bortbjuden; eller utomlands. Det brukar vara bra lägen! Då finns ju ofta nya, härliga smaker att upptäcka. Något en livsnjutare ogärna säger nej till.

Den slutsats jag dragit för egen del är att jag ofta härdar ut suget när stressen eller tröttheten eller bakfyllan hetsar mig. Jag vet att det förr eller senare går över. Alternativt fixar jag mat som är svår att överäta och som är bra på att dämma upp suget.

Det kan då exempelvis handla om att steka några skivor fläskkarré eller en halv kyckling i vitlök. Eller koka ihop en högfunktionell anrättning jag döpt till Paniksoppa. Man tar de grönsaker man hittar hemma och kokar ihop med vatten och grädde och kryddor. Eventuellt lägger man i lite fläsk och/eller river ner lite ost. Magen blir skönt fylld. Suget lägger sig.

Olika mat ger olika lustbelöning och sugdämpning för olika individer. Den som vill lära känna sig själv bättre på det här området kan kolla in tabeller över så kallat mättnadsindex. Dessa har konstruerats efter att en viss mängd kalorier av diverse livsmedel konsumerats av en massa människor. Sedan har deltagarna fått skatta sin relativa mättnadskänsla. Potatis och kött är exempel på generellt mättande mat. Måste du svulla kolhydrater är därför potatis troligen ett bättre alternativ än låt oss säga baguette.

Själv har jag en tendens att se ost som min nära vän, dels för att det är så gott, dels för att det är så kolhydratfattigt. Men ost tycks enligt viss näringsforskning trigga aptiten. Detta bekräftas av överlevnadschansen för en ost i mitt kylskåp. Den är låg. Så vad beträffar ost blir det i mitt liv inte så mycket bang for the buck. Jag försöker därför undvika ostköp. Vilket är mycket svårt, kan jag avslöja!

En viktig aspekt av lust förutom maten, är givetvis det sociala, plus livsmiljön i övrigt. För dig som står i begrepp att sjösätta en livsstilsförändring, trycker jag följaktligen hårt på att du ska skapa dig optimala och därmed lustbejakande omständigheter.

Vi som checkade in på Tjockis-Slottet Ekolsund den 19 april förra året, hade det oförskämt väl förspänt. Vi hade inga ”dagjobb” att sköta, vi levde i digital detox och vacker miljö och hade tillgång till ett superfint gym. Plus en inspirerande tränare.

Och så hade vi TV-kameror i nyllet varje dag! Det vill säga, om vi inte skötte oss skulle vi få stå där med skammen när programmet väl började rulla.

Och det ska du veta, det gör gott för egot att dagligen få en massa frågor av typen: Hur var träningen, vad kände du när Lill-Alex spurtade förbi dig, är du rädd för nästa invägning, hur var Zazzis aubergineröra…? Smekt ego leder ju inte sällan till stärkt självförtroende. Och bra självförtroende är ofta bra för prestationen.

Så fantastiska omständigheter är naturligtvis inte allom givet. Men vad du kan göra, är att se till att arbetsbordet är någorlunda rensat från de allra svåraste och mest stressdrivande uppgifterna. Du bör också förbereda din nära omgivning på att du kommer att avstå från vissa aktiviteter under en viss period. Kanelbullens dag och liknande är något du inte kommer att ära…

Odla alltså en viss egoism. Nu sitter du i första rummet. Livsstilsförändring som är kul och lustfylld har större chans att lyckas än motsatsen. Undvik därför vänner och bekanta som tömmer dig på energi. Undvik gnällspikar. Undvik missunnsamma människor. Lyssna på bra poddar, bra musik. Och andas mycket frisk luft.

Och varför inte koppla dig samman med andra livsstilsförändrare? Träffas live eller Facebooka eller instagramma om recept och framsteg och pepp och bakslag? Det finns en kraft i det sociala, kan en gammal slottstjockis intyga.

Utifrån principen att minskad olust även det är ett sätt att bejaka lustens betydelse, tycker jag inte det är fel att skapa sig vissa hälsoproduktiva livsrutiner. Det som är rutiniserat kräver ju i princip ingen olustskapande viljeansträngning för att genomföras. I den andan har jag i hela mitt vuxna liv – även när jag varit som tjockast – sett till att genomföra ett svett- och flåsdrivande träningspass på minst en halvtimme innan det vankas festivitas. Därför inga energikrävande överläggningar med mig själv. Ska jag rulla hatt i någon form måste jag först sätta rull på det egna fläsket. No pain, no gain.

Och avslutningsvis, här ytterligare två lustbejakande träningstankar. Om du nu ska och vill och måste mumsa kolhydrater, blir blodsockerhöjningen och det efterföljande insulinpåslaget lägre efter träning, eftersom muskelcellerna snabbt suger i sig glukosen. Bra läge för kolhydratnjutning, alltså! Och så tycker jag att du ska spontanbejaka eventuellt spritt i ben och kropp. Det vill säga, om du av ren lust vill göra hoppsa-steg på väg från jobbmötet eller lägga in en liten löprunda under promenaden eller göra armhävningar under På Spåret, ja, då ska du göra det.

Kunskap är makt. Vilja kan vara vackert. Men glöm alltså inte att bejaka din lust.

Erik Hörstadius

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Inlägget Livets goda dök först upp på Diet Doctor.

Om Meryl Streep, strikt lågkolhydratkost och undergörande effekter vid epilepsi

Diet Doctor Annika Rane

markus-spiske-259563-unsplash

Här följer ett gästinlägg av Ann Fernholm, författare, vetenskapsjournalist och fil. dr i molekylär bioteknik. Inlägget är också publicerat på Anns egen blogg annfernholm.se.

Upsala Nya Tidning skriver nu om att strikt lågkolhydratkost, så kallad ketogen kost, kan hjälpa barn med epilepsi. Detta visste läkare redan för 100 år sedan, men kosten glömdes bort när det kom läkemedel mot epilepsi. Att den nu återigen rekommenderas är delvis tack vare en regissör i Hollywood och – lite otippat – Meryl Streep har haft ett finger med i spelet.

Fettrik diet hjälper sjuka barn.” Så lyder rubriken på en artikel som Upsala Nya Tidning skrev tidigare i veckan om att en ketogen kost i vissa fall hjälper mot epilepsi. Ett av de barn som har fått en näst intill undergörande effekt är femåriga Isak, som tidigare kunde få 40-60 anfall per dag. Läs om honom här: ”Vår vanliga Isak har kommit tillbaka

Läkemedel gjorde att kostbehandlingen föll i glömska
Isak behandlas vid Akademiska sjukhuset i Uppsala, som sedan ett år tillbaka använder ketogen kost mot barns epilepsi i de fall där inga läkemedel biter. För snart ett år sedan slog också Statens beredning för medicinsk och social utvärdering (SBU) fast att behandlingen har ett vetenskapligt stöd.

Men vet ni vad det coola är? Att en ketogen kost nu används mot epilepsi är delvis tack vare en regissör i Hollywood, Jim Abrahams. I Det sötaste vi har kan du läsa den fantastiska historien om hur hans son, Charlie Abrahams, blev hjälpt av den fettrika kosten. Han fick epilepsi när han var 20 månader gammal och hade kramper varje dag. Inget läkemedel fungerade och när kirurger opererade honom uteblev effekten. Ibland kunde anfallen komma upp till hundra gånger per dag. Charlie Abrahams föräldrar prövade allt, till och med homeopati och healing. Så en dag hittade Jim Abrahams en bok från Johns Hopkins sjukhus i Baltimore där det gick att läsa att epilepsi kunde behandlas med en ketogen kost.

Den ketogena kostbehandlingen utvecklades egentligen redan under 1920-talet, men glömdes mer eller mindre bort när det kom läkemedel mot epilepsi. Men vid Johns Hopkins sjukhus fanns en erfaren dietist, Millicent Kelly, som hade fortsatt att hjälpa sina epilepsipatienter med den fettrika maten. Charlie Abrahams fick hjälp av henne och inom loppet av ett par dagar försvann anfallen.

Meryl Streep i film om ketogen kost
Att Charlie Abrahams blev fri från sina anfall var givetvis ett mirakel för familjen. För att sprida kunskap om behandlingen, så att andra föräldrar i samma desperata situation också kunde få reda på att den fanns, gjorde Jim Abrahams en film, …First do no harm och Meryl Streep spelade huvudrollen. Här kan du se ett klipp där hon tar emot ett pris för sin insats från Abrahams: Charlie Abrahams & Meryl Streep Ketogenic Diet Conference 2012. Streep säger att hon har fått många priser, men att detta är det som har rört henne mest.

Jim Abrahams grundade också The Charlie Foundation, med målet att sprida kunskap kring en ketogen kost. Stiftelsen har aktivt drivit på utvecklingen av en kunskapsbas kring kostbehandling av epilepsi. Det i sin tur har alltså nu bidragit till att Isak, som bor utanför Uppsala, har blivit ordinerad en ketogen kost av sin läkare.

Vetenskapen behöver hjälp på traven
Den här osannolika historien har följt mig sedan jag skrev Det sötaste vi har. Den säger en hel del om medicinvetenskapens drivkrafter och hur starkt fokuset på piller har blivit. Den bidrog också till att jag ville vara med och grunda Kostfonden. Precis som the Charlie Foundation, ska Kostfonden fungera som en katalysator för att driva fram nya kostbehandlingar. (Om du inte redan är månadsgivare bli det!)

Forskare skulle bland annat behöva utreda hur kosten påverkar hjärnan vid andra åkommor, exempelvis migrän, autism, adhd, demens och psykisk ohälsa. Vi tänker ofta att hjärnan är en frikopplad del av kroppen, och att den mestadels påverkas av omgivningen, stress och saker vi upplever. Så enkelt är det förstås inte. Hjärnan är ett organ som byggs och drivs av det vi äter. Exakt varför ketogen kost fungerar vid vissa former av epilepsi vet forskarna inte. Det finns många hypoteser, en är att halten av olika signalsubstanser förändras när kroppens använder fett som primär energikälla istället för kolhydrater.

Så fram för mer forskning kring hur kosten påverkar vår hjärna! Vem vet – kanske kan vi hitta fler undergörande behandlingar?


Ann Fernholm

Tidigare

Fett bra kost mot epilepsi

Behöver hjärnan kolhydrater?

Ann Fernholm

Ann Fernholm är vetenskapsjournalist, författare och filosofie doktor i molekylär bioteknik. Hon är även grundare av Kostfonden och driver en egen blogg. Du kan också följa Ann på Facebook, Instagram eller Twitter. Här är några av Anns populäraste inlägg:

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Video om ketogen kost

Inlägget Om Meryl Streep, strikt lågkolhydratkost och undergörande effekter vid epilepsi dök först upp på Diet Doctor.

”Otroligt god mat som hjälper oss att bli friska”

Diet Doctor Annika Rane

Weekly-feedback-16-9_SE

Över 700 000 personer har hittills anmält sig till Diet Doctors LCHF-utmaning (på engelska, svenska och spanska). Starten går varje söndag och utmaningen är gratis, reklamfri och du förbinder dig inte till någonting.

Du får goda råd, veckomenyer, recept, inköpslistor och tips för problemsökning – allt du behöver för att lyckas med LCHF. Välkommen att anmäla dig!

Här är utdrag ur några mejl vi fått den senaste veckan:

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Jag och maken har kört utmaningen och är mer än nöjda. Helt suveränt god mat och så varierad meny. Toppen 👏 Vi har provat Viktväktarna m fl tidigare, men ingen annan gång har jag känt mig så ”nöjd” mellan måltiderna. Tidigare har jag bara tänkt på mat hela tiden. Vi har båda minskat runt magen. Vi har påbörjat en provmånad nu och kommer fortsätta med era suveräna recept. Snacka om lyxdiet! 😀

Tack! /Gunilla


Min man (57 år) har typ 2-diabetes sedan nästan 15 år. Han har kämpat med höga blodsockervärden och insulinbehovet har ökat och ökat. Hans kropp har tagit enormt med stryk och han drabbades av en hjärnblödning för snart två år sedan. Vården har envist rekommenderat tallriksmodellen samt starkare/mer insulin.

När vi började med LCHF kunde han ta bort måltidsinsulinet (dvs tre sprutor per dag) helt, samt sänka långtidsinsulinet till hälften! Hans blodsockervärden ligger nu stadigt mellan 5 och 7, vilket är helt fantastiskt. Målet är att han ska bli helt medicinfri så småningom, så vi fortsätter vår LCHF-resa!

Själv har jag blivit av med konstant diffusa smärtor i lederna, smärtor som jag beskyllde mitt arbete för, jag trodde att jag skulle behöva leva med dem resten av mitt liv, trots att jag ”bara” är 47 år gammal.

Så sammanfattningsvis är detta det bästa vi någonsin har gjort! Otroligt god mat som hjälper oss att bli friska!! 👍👍

//Tina


Jag uppskattar verkligen LCHF-utmaningen! Så mycket enklare med färdiga recept att följa. Tydliga och bra instruktioner. Som medlem är det andra gången jag testar. För övriga är det toppen att det inte kostar något. Jag rekommenderar alltid Diet Doctor och LCHF-utmaningen. Eftersom jag själv lätt faller tillbaka i dåliga mönster är jag så tacksam över att utmaningen finns att ta till. Underbart att vara på banan igen!

Tack för jobbet ni lägger ner!

Med vänlig hälsning,
Anki


På det stora hela jättebra! Tack så mycket. Jag klarade dock inte att hålla utmaningen utan åt socker vid tre tillfällen. Så kanske något om återfall och att man inte ska tappa hoppet utan ta nya tag?

Mvh /Katarina


Kom igång idag!

Anmäl dig för omedelbar tillgång till en enkel guide som lotsar dig framåt – steg för steg. Du kommer att få veckomenyer, recept och inköpslistor för två veckor. Läs mer här.

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Viktnedgång

PS

Har du en framgångshistoria du vill dela med dig av? E-posta (fotografier uppskattas) till annika@dietdoctor.com. Berätta om vi får publicera ditt namn och foto eller om du vill vara anonym.

Inlägget ”Otroligt god mat som hjälper oss att bli friska” dök först upp på Diet Doctor.

Att förstå och behandla typ-2 diabetes

Diet Doctor Annika Rane

I en här videon föreläser dr Jason Fung om diabetes för en grupp vårdanställda. Han går på djupet när det gäller mekanismerna bakom typ 2-diabetes och skillnaden mellan typ 1 och typ 2-diabetes. Han berättar också detaljer från sitt experiment att reversera typ 2-diabetes. Han avslutar med att besvara frågor från publiken. Den här videon är för dig som vill lära dig att hjälpa dina patienter med typ 2-diabetes.

Se en del av videon ovan (transkription). Se hela den 60 minuter långa föreläsningen (med svensk text och transkription) med gratis provmånad eller medlemskap:

Att förstå och behandla typ 2-diabetes – Dr Jason Fung

Bli medlem, (gratis att testa en månad), så kan du se videon direkt – liksom föreläsningar, intervjuer, videokurser, frågor och svar, filmer och mycket mera. Du får också tillgång till vårt populära verktyg veckomenyer.

För läkare

Inlägget Att förstå och behandla typ-2 diabetes dök först upp på Diet Doctor.

Ny veckomeny: Lättlagad ketovecka

Diet Doctor Annika Rane

Våra veckomenyer ger dig allt du behöver för att lyckas med LCHF. Veckomenyer, recept och inköpslistor – planeringen blir minimal!

Du kan lätt ta bort en eller flera måltider om du exempelvis väljer att fasta eller äter ute. Du kan även välja att att byta ut en måltid mot någon annan ur vår stora receptsamling.

Vi har nu över 95 färdiga veckomenyer tillgängliga – inklusive strikt ketogent, måttlig LCHF, vegetariskt, mejerifritt eller kanske Team Diet Doctors favoriter:

Lättlagade ketoveckan

Om du vill ägna så lite tid som möjligt i köket men ändå äta riktigt god och nyttig LCHF-mat har du hittat rätt veckomeny! Den här veckan bjuder på variation, superenkla vardagsfrukostar och lite lyxigare men ändå enkla helgfrukostar.

Veckomenyn →

Vår veckomenyservice är gratis att prova en månad

Läs mer om våra veckomenyer

Fortsätt längre ner för våra senaste veckomenyer.

LCHF-recept

Vad äter alla andra? Ta en titt på några av de populära recept våra tusentals besökare återvänder till, gång på gång. De här fantastiska måltiderna är favoriter av en anledning:

 

Lättlagade ketoveckan

Om du vill ägna så lite tid som möjligt i köket men ändå äta riktigt god och nyttig LCHF-mat har du hittat rätt veckomeny! Den här veckan bjuder på variation, superenkla vardagsfrukostar och lite lyxigare men ändå enkla helgfrukostar.

Veckomenyn →

Rickards vegovecka

Rickard Lindroth är programmerare, mountain-bike-fantast, klättrare och en av kontorets härligaste glädjespridare. Han äter helst lättlagad vegetarisk kost och hans absoluta favoritråvaror är halloumi, ägg och broccoli så gissa vad du kommer att få äta den här veckan? Han tillägger att allt är godare med mycket vitlök och glöm inte att använda hela broccolin, även stjälken!

Veckomenyn →

Husmansveckan

Indiska currygrytor och LCHF-sushi i all ära, men ibland vill man bara njuta av rustik, svensk husmanskost. Den här veckan får du drömma dig tillbaka till barndomen med allt från LCHF-raggmunk med fläsk till kåldolmar och torsk med äggsås.

Veckomenyn →

Vintriga LCHF-veckan

Njut av en vecka med smakrik LCHF-kost som bjuder på rätter med betoning på rustika vintergrönsaker och klassiker som laxpudding, fransk löksoppa och boeuf bourguignon. På vardagarna blir det enklare frukostar och på helgen lyxar vi till det lite med fattiga riddare på lördagen och ägg och bacon på söndagen.

Veckomenyn →

Gott och lättlagat för en billig peng

Den här veckan bjuder på strikta och lättlagade LCHF-rätter med prisvärda ingredienser. För att pressa priserna ytterligare kan du med fördel köpa frysta haricots verts, broccoli, blomkål och fisk vilket dessutom är ett miljövänligt alternativ till att handla färskt.

Veckomenyn →

 

Inlägget Ny veckomeny: Lättlagad ketovecka dök först upp på Diet Doctor.

Diet Doctor podcast #13 – dr Peter Ballerstedt

Diet Doctor Annika Rane

Peter Ballerstedt är mannen som kan ge oss kunskaper för att öka förståelsen för att det finns ett samband mellan hur vi matar och föder upp våra djur och hur vi matar och föder upp oss själva! Kunskap om djur, näringslära och om hur våra matsystem fungerar, i kombinaton med kunskap om människokroppens behov efter en personlig hälsoresa ger oss en fascinerande berättelse. Ballerstedt är numera en ledande profil som förespråkar ett rationellt och vetenskapsbaserat förhållningssätt till jordbruk och gräsbetares förmåga att rädda oss ur hälsokrisen.

Dr Bret Scher

Lyssna här

Du kan lyssna på avsnittet via YouTube ovan. Vår podcast är också tillgänglig via Apple Podcasts och andra podcasttjänster. Prenumerera gärna och lämna ett omdöme, det hjälper verkligen till att sprida budskapet och fler personer hittar till podcasten.

Tidigare avsnitt hittar du här.

Innehåll

  1:50  Peters roll i LCHF-rörelsen
  4:24  Så hittade Peter lågkolhydratkost
10:38  Vegankost och protein
16:04  Är det verkligen viktigt med gräsbetat kött?
27:19  Vårt ekologiska fotavtryck
37:20  Global påverkan, hållbarhet och hälsa — kött vs växter
58:05  Slutord

Transkription (på engelska)

Dr. Bret Scher:  Welcome to the Diet Doctor podcast with Dr. Bret Scher. Today I’m joined by Peter Ballerstedt. Peter is a very unique individual because he’s a foot in two completely different worlds. On the one hand he has a degree in forage agronomy and ruminant feeding from the University of Kentucky.

On the other hand he has had this personal journey with health that’s brought him to the low-carb ketogenic world and he’s helping bridge the gap between what you can call the grass people, the ranchers, the farmers and the health side of things. And in conferences like Low-Carb Houston where we are now, he helps provide that additional perspective.

So that’s why I enjoy having him on the show today to talk about this other aspect of what we’re doing as we’re trying to change how we eat, to change our nutrition, we also have to think about the environmental impact, the impact on animals and the whole other world. And interestingly maybe it’s not as simple as we like to think. Just as I would say we should never make your healthcare simple or your health simple.

Peter has the same approach; we shouldn’t make farming and ranching and raising ruminants as simple as it is. I am a big fan of grass fed, grass finished, I think it’s important, I think it’s healthier. Peter has a different opinion. So it’s very interesting to get that type of opinion and kind of stew with it a little bit and see how it sits with us and if it makes sense.

There are some other things that may be different from what you’ve heard and that’s what I really appreciate about his message. So I hope you enjoy this and you can incorporate what he says into your thinking process. Maybe we’re not thinking about things as being so black and white but as more nuanced. So enjoy this interview with Peter Ballerstedt.

Peter Ballerstedt thank you so much for joining me on the DietDoctor podcast today.

Peter Ballerstedt:  Thank you for the opportunity.

Bret:  So here we are at a low-carb conference as frequently happens across the country and at these conferences there is plenty of scientists and engineers and physicians. You seem to stand out a little bit from the crowd and not just because you wear a tie with cows on it when you give your presentation, but you represent the agriculture side and the farming side and the ranchers site and it’s a very unique perspective.

And you have your degree both in forage agronomy and ruminant feeding and I think that’s fascinating because it gives you such a perspective from the animal side and the agriculture and plant side. I am curious how you find that you fit into this low-carb community and what you see is your role on the low-carb message?

Peter:  Primarily my role as I see it is to build bridges between the producers and the consumers. Unfortunately we have just far too big a gap between those two. And the same issues that you could see in the general population in terms of chronic illness etc. you see in the farming community.

So I want my agricultural tribe to be introduced to what I’m convinced is a life-saving message that I get to hear from all these amazing researchers and clinicians. On the other side we have access to the food that we’re arguing we should eat at a lower cost than anywhere else in the world and in greater abundance, greater availability and unfortunately we really don’t understand what it takes to have that happen.

And so that creates a lot of space for some misunderstanding and miscommunication to come in. So likewise I’d like my low-carb tribe to be introduced to my agricultural tribe because they do amazing things. And I think that we’ll actually make more progress in getting the low carbohydrate message out to more people if we can get the kind of bridge building; so that’s my primary hope.

Bret:  It’s great a perspective on that. And we do like to put people in organizations, in buckets, don’t we? And good and bad and as not so black and white and I think is important to have someone like you to help bridge those gaps.

Peter:  Thank you.

Bret:  Now you came to this from a personal experience as well. In your speech you are very open about saying you were a 50-year-old obese balding diabetic and now you’re just balding… I was hoping you found a cure for that one too.

Peter:  No, sorry brother.

Bret:  Keep working. But you reversed all this personally through a low-carb diet brought on by– like your wife and Gary Taubes. Gary’s book and then with your wife’s influence. That must’ve been a very formative experience for you.

Peter:  Absolutely and to be completely honest Nancy started on this journey in 2002 and it took me five years to join. And then of course Gary Taube’s great book Good Calories, Bad Calories came out the year after. So she was wise enough– she still is wise, but she was wise enough to realize that talking to me before I was ready to listen to her talk to me about it wouldn’t be helpful. That’s not her way.

So her approach was, ”This is what I’ll eat. What would you like to eat?” And I don’t know, I’m sorry, I don’t know when you came into this realm, but in 2002… there were many fewer resources, and we started doing the best we could and of course all that’s evolved over time. In 2007 I finally got serious and began my own journey in earnest.

And as I read Gary Taubes and Michael and Mary Dan Eades and so many others, I got angry… I got angry at what had been done to the American public in the guise of science. I got angry at what has been done to the industries that I’ve been trained to serve in the name of better health and protecting the environment.

When I know now manifestly those are both incorrect. And so with that anger finally… okay, we get over that and then we start trying to introduce my friends to some of these books. And I remember one colleague saying, ”I couldn’t get a paper published in the agronomy Journal doing what they did to get papers published in the medical journals.” And I’ve had other–

Bret:  Meaning the quality of science is so different, so much lower, so that the standards in the Agronomy Journal would say, ”We cannot accept this the science because this is not proper science. Whereas for the nutrition science, that’s the way it works.”

Peter:  Yeah, and to be fair to human nutrition they don’t have the tools available to them that animal nutrition, or plant nutrition, or soil fertility has. We can get very controlled environments, if you will, to do our studies certainly in soils much more so. Plants, well you could grow them in the greenhouse, but yet at some point you want to go out to the field and mother nature still rules, but there’s some things you can do there.

To make for example the site that you plant one variety from one lot of seeds on a ground that’s as uniform as possible with your statistical design. So at the end you have a fair idea. Animals, again, there are issues of ethics in how you treat experimental animals and that’s a good thing…

You get to humans and as I said at one meeting it’s very difficult to find large groups of genetically similar human beings that you can completely control for long periods of time where you absolutely measure what goes in what comes out, their activity. And then Adele Hite spoke out from the audience and said, ”And sacrifice them at the end of the study to determine body composition.” It’s hard to find volunteers for that kind of work.

Bret:  Yeah.

Peter:  So there are natural limitations and are completely understandable and it’s a good thing. The bad thing is when frankly the human nutritionists act as if they are rigorous in their studies as my animal nutrition colleagues.

Bret:  That’s a great point, a great perspective to bring in. Having a foot in both worlds and understanding the difference in science. So from a scientific discussion to a very nonscientific discussion, you are what you eat becomes you are what you eat eats… Well actually it’s you are what you eat does to metabolize what it eats… It gets a little complicated.

Peter:  Right, and it’s fundamentally flawed, because I think it was Jeff Volek, but I’ve certainly adopted it, ”You’re not what you eat, you are what your body does with what you eat.”

Bret:  Right.

Peter:  And so I have a slide of cows eating hay. Well, the hay is in no way like what the cow is. And it’s in some very interesting differences; one is high-fiber, the other isn’t, one is low-fat, the other is high-fat, one is low-protein content and poor protein quality and of course the other isn’t. And so in the case of ruminants you have this wonderful structure and capability to convert this resource that we can’t utilize directly into something that we can.

And it’s interesting to me that this whole ”you are what you eat” never says, well yeah, we’re animal tissue so maybe we should be eating animal tissue. The argument never goes there. But no, I think it’s very important for us to realize that different mammals have different means of converting the resources from their environment into the nutrients that they need and then absorbing those nutrients.

Bret:  You brought up the difference in proteins, animal proteins. Basically an animal eating a poor protein source of grass, cellulose, converting it, but yet we hear over and over again from the vegan community that you get all the proteins you need, readily absorbable and bioavailable and we see examples of pro athletes who are vegan who are clearly excelling on a physical level, so clearly getting enough protein.

So it seems like two messages, because on the one hand animal proteins, more bioavailable, as complete protein, vegan proteins are not, but yet some people still thrive. So how do we make sense of that difference?

Peter:  There are individual differences amongst the population. Forgive me but one of the lines that I heard from an old professor was that the average human being has one breast and one testicle, but you don’t see many of them rolling around. So I’m not interested in telling anyone what they need to eat or should eat, but it’s true that there’s only a few plant source foods that have complete protein, that have all the amino acids that we need.

And then the question is, ”Are they there in the right ratios? And it’s remarkable to me that we still have large gaps in our knowledge about human requirements for protein. That being said, the simple fact is that animal source protein is of much higher value than plant source protein in part because of that biological value, but also because typically protein is assessed biometric called crude protein.

And this involves determining the percent nitrogen in any foodstuff multiplying that number by 6.25. The assumption is that all the nitrogen that was there was in protein and all of that protein was 16% nitrogen. Now you can get away with that with some foodstuffs and when you’re feeding some animals. So if I’m feeding ruminants, it really isn’t all that important whether the nitrogen that’s in the feed that they’re getting is in protein or nonprotein nitrogen, because the rumen environment will take all of that, degrade it down and build it back up into microbial protein.

So the important thing there is whether that nitrogen containing material is degradable in the rumen. Humans can’t use non-protein nitrogen. So there’s no such thing as an essential amino acid in a ruminant’s diet, there is in humans diet. And so you can look at crude protein in equivalent amounts of cooked navy beans for example and cooked beef muscle.

And actually I believe it’s like a 10th of a percent more in the beans than there is in the beef, but that’s not true protein. So if you then look at the amino acid content in those two amounts what you end up with is something like 58% of the crude protein is actually true protein in the beans where it’s 92% in the beef.

And then in addition to that you’ve got various peptides that are present in the beef that are also of use in human nutrition. And now we get into the bit that we’re, you know, kind of now discovering. So those are two primary differences and unless we account for that we can be misled by the numbers.

Bret:  That’s a great point because when you see these graphs that are postured on social media comparing animal and plant sources approach and they are frequently only talking about crude protein but not specifying that, which always makes me wonder, ”Do they know and they’re being deceitful? Or they just don’t know or they just don’t understand?” I like to think it’s the latter and they need to understand the explanation that you’re giving.

Peter:  I think it’s always best to assume that people may be sincerely wrong. They actually believe what they’re saying just as many human nutritionists have been taught certain things… Ough, there I say it, physicians… in their extensive human nutrition training have been taught certain things… and they were taught by their teachers.

And these are people– Gary Fettke talks about generational learning, you know, the people that we respect, part of our academic lineage and it’s natural for that kind of information to be difficult to overturn. I do think that there’s a number of people who do know and yet maintain. But I think it’s always best to operate from the position of being gracious.

Bret:  And that’s where the difference of science and religion of nutrition comes in and then we don’t need to go down there right now but one thing I do want to address with you where I was surprised the first time I heard you speak, because I am a proponent of grass fed, grass finished, it’s what I’ve learned is healthier and better and when I first heard your talk, I was like, ”Of course, he’s going to agree with that.”

And I was surprised that you took a little different stands that maybe grass fed, grass finished isn’t as important as it’s made out to be. Now from my standpoint the research shows it has higher Omega-3s, higher CLAs, Conjugated Linoleic Acid, higher vitamin A, higher vitamin B and just seems better, feels better, the pictures are better, so of course it must be better. And you say, hold on a second, let’s put this into perspective. So talk to me a little bit about that.

Peter:  So just my personal perspective when I came into this realm of human nutrition I had been out of agriculture for several years. Of course all my training is in pasture-based livestock systems and grazing management and all of that kind of thing, so I started seeing things about grass fed and I was like that tripped all of my confirmation bias triggers and of course it’s got to be pastured, and then I went and started looking at the articles the people were referencing to support the arguments and I became less and less convinced over time.

My position at this point is that hyperinsulinemia is the short stave in the barrel. And it’s such a profound effect… I’m convinced. The strength of that signal is so large that until we’ve adequately accounted for that in our studies, we can’t be certain about any other effect that undoubtedly is going to be there. But if we nibble at those effects before we’ve dealt with the biggest one, we’re not likely to see it.

Bret:  So is that sort of saying, ”Perfect is the enemy of good”? If we’re only going to have grass fed, grass finished and at the expense of not being able to get that, we’re going to shun the CAFOs, grain feds and as a result not help ourselves by changing our diet, then we’re not doing ourselves any favors. Is that the summary, or–?

Peter:  Yeah, let me put it this way. It strikes me that we’ve got into the mess that we’re in by people speculating about incomplete data.

Bret:  Okay.

Peter:  And I doubt that we can make progress if we do exactly the same thing, though of course we’d be right when we do it. Not like those people who were wrong and ignorant and, you know, in the employ of special interests. Again this is sort of like basic human group behavior.

So when I start seeing things like that, I start saying, ”Let me come back and look at this again.” And so we can deconstruct the stories that are told about why one would be better than the other. And then we get to the point where I also start saying if this makes this product more expensive then how do we justify that when we have a population that is economically challenged and we know that the burden of chronic illness falls heaviest on those populations?

Also how do we leverage and expand this not just in the United States but worldwide? Because we see the same problem worldwide. So I think we need to be very circumspect in terms of some of these now and we can deal with each one, and I’d like to do that. but I’ll give you an example of how this ripples out and it fascinates me.

There are long chain Omega-3 fatty acids. We got started on this road, because somebody came across what I call the Greenland paradox to follow with the Mediterranean and the French and… so one more time we find yet another population that despite eating a diet high in fat has very little heart disease. And that quote is almost word for word out of the start of the first fish oil study.

Bret:  Okay, how many paradoxes does it take before is no longer a paradox?

Peter:  Exactly, so their thought was it must be the fish oil. Now not coincidentally or coincidentally it launched a billion-dollar fish oil industry where one had not been before. Now fish have EPA and DHA as their long chain Omega-3 fatty acids and that became the foundation of labeling and suggestions and everything else. It turns out, ironically enough, that fish wasn’t the largest source of fat in their diet. The largest source of fat in their diet was coming from marine mammals.

And mammals, including cows, contain three long chain Omega-3 fatty acids, there is a DPA. And again because we got down this track we didn’t look at all three, took us a while to find a source of it. Now there’s some work suggesting it’s important too. So one, that’s a cautionary tale. Two, maybe all of those coming from ruminants regardless of how they are finished would be sufficient in a population that wasn’t being abused by high levels of refined carbohydrates and industrial oils.

Bret:  Very good point.

Peter:  And we don’t know. I think Amber O’Hearn says that everything we think we know about nutrition comes to us through this filter of carbohydrate-based diets. And then I am still impressed by how many people for example think that a beef animal spends its entire life in a cage, eating corn, nothing else. And so the words imply things to people, images imply things to people and I just want us to make sure that we understand what’s actually going on.

Bret:  And I think the image part is very important, because especially documentaries like <i>What the Health</i>, which was very well done as a vegan propaganda piece, not as a true documentary representing science, but one of the things that stands out the most are the images of the CAFOs, the Confined Animal Feeding Operations, the grain fed, the cages, the crowds of cows. So that’s the image people have in their heads. So are you here to say that that’s not the true image of what a grain fed cow is?

Peter:  Yes, that’s what I’m here… I am here to assure people they can go to the supermarket, certainly in the US, and I understand you have an international footprint, congratulations, that is amazing… But certainly in the United States we can go to the supermarket and, you know, nothing fancy, we can buy what we can afford and we can eat it in confidence that it’s safe, it’s helpful, it’s nutritious.

And as Dr. Westman says, ”If you eat that and not the CARBage, you will get better.” And so then I am left saying, so what’s the justification for saying these other things? That it must be these other things. I’ve had people from the audience, people I’ve known for a very long time, and I think a lot of them in their sphere. But they tell me, ”If I’m not going to get somebody to eat a wholly organic diet, then they are better off being left on the SAD diet.”

Bret:  It’s so scary.

Peter:  It, sort of to me, says that we’re dealing with belief system, no objective information here.

Bret:  If all things were equal… wave a magic wand and grass fed grass finished is equally as inexpensive as grain fed, would you choose it? Would you say there is a probable value to choosing it if everything else were equal?

Peter:  One, I don’t think that that’s a fair statement, because there’s a reason that we do what we do. But that being aside, there are differences, we have no ability to assess the biological significance of those differences. If you like the taste, do it. I’m all for supporting a rancher or farmer that somebody knows personally or thinks they know personally. I’m all for that. I’m all for variety and choices within the marketplace. So I don’t want to be misunderstood. What I don’t think we can afford in the industry side is to set ourselves against each other. There’s too few producers.

Bret:  That’s a good point.

Peter:  Then on the consumer side, certainly within my all low-carb tribe, I want us to be aware that there is a lot of incorrect information that people pick up as they go along and they say that and that then puts their area of expertise credibility at risk certainly in the eyes of people who know more about this subject.

So, you know, the nightmare for me… or the concern for me, let’s not be too dramatic… the concern for me is that I could talk to let’s say Estate Beef Council audience and tell people about a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet and all the great things that come, and the value of their products as part or the majority of this kind of a lifestyle and the impact that could make in their families, the communities that they live in, the states and nation and the world.

Then they go look up, you know, low-carb ketogenic, google it and they find somebody who’s talking about some of these things and they go, ”They are wrong about that.” Now, that’s not fair… None of us can be right in everything. But it is part of the human nature. And I’d hate to have that be a barrier to this and then again if people assume that the environmental footprint of these different– if they incorrectly assume the environmental footprints of these different management systems, then that could lead them astray as well.

Bret:  Yes, so let’s talk about the footprints because I think it’s very important. I took a family vacation to Colorado and we’re driving from Denver to Colorado Springs and you look out the window and you see these happy cows… I’m going to put my feelings on them… They are happy cows, roaming around, eating grass in the sunshine, the way a cow should be. Then took a trip to Big Bear in California and we’re driving back… and you can smell the ranch before you even hit it, whereas before in Colorado you couldn’t smell it.

So you smell this ranch a couple miles away, you see the crowded cows on concrete and it’s a completely different feeling. You can imagine there must be a different environmental impact. So you are here to say, ”Hold on, maybe it’s not all that it seems”?

Peter:  Yes, first of all I think the numbers… like we’ve got 113 million cows in the United States, something like that. And only 11 million some of them were on feed last month, which was a record. The number of animals that you would see in confinement being fed that way is a small portion of the entire beef heard.

So you have to have cows to produce calves. You have to have bulls… at some point they are using artificial insemination, total but most beef producers still have herd bulls. So then you’ve got the young females that are growing up to become replacement heifers. So you have to have a larger number of animals to support the crop of steers that are going to be harvested.

So that’s one thing. Two is that part of the reason for those confinement operations is to limit the movement of nutrients from that source off-site. So there’s lot of regulation and there’s a lot of inspection and things that go on in there. Number three is when we’re trying to get these animals to finished weight we do have to feed them a higher-quality diet.

Now a mama cow running out on the rangeland that you drove by in Colorado is the perfect animal to utilize that, because she doesn’t have to grow much, she’s typically at a mature body weight. So she needs to be maintained, she needs to support the growth of the developing calf and she needs to produce milk so indeed over time in any one cycle her feed quality needs are going to increase.

But at her lowest point she can eat some pretty poor quality forage and be very happy. You can’t do that with a growing animal. You don’t see that feed out in the rangeland where those calves are roaming. So those calves have to be removed and moved to a different environment…

Bret:  Oh, interesting.

Peter:  …where they can then feed on that higher-quality feed. Now a lot of animals will go from the poor production pastures to better quality pastures and spend several more months on pasture. They may then go completely to finish weight on that kind of feed resource or they might then get moved again into a confined feeding operation. So at the end of the day, maybe four or six months out of that steer’s life is going to be spent in that kind of situation.

So it’s certainly not, you know, the lifetime spent which some people imagine. These kinds of animals are herd animals and they will naturally crowd regardless of how much space they’re given, and in fact if you try to separate them then that becomes a stress to them. And then the other aspect is it’s tempting to put our emotions on animals, but that’s a mistake.

But that’s not to say that every responsible member of the livestock industry isn’t concerned about animal welfare. They very much are… in many cases these operations are multigenerational, and the animals that are on, in that herd are the product of a program that stretches back to their grandfathers.

So they’ve grown up with these animals, they have this tie to the land that others of us can only envy. And so they have that concern and perspective. Also you have the hard reality that if they don’t care about animal welfare they hurt their own profits. And then the third is they understand that the care and treatment of the animals will be reflected in the meat.

Bret:  Yes, so some statistics that I read are 11% of CAFO and grain fed cows have liver abscesses, but only 0.2% of grass fed grazing cows do. So it seems like that there would be a health difference. I don’t know how significant that is, but in the use of antibiotics is different, maybe the use of hormones are different.

So there are still more things under the surface that maybe aren’t as big of a deal as I would like to make them to be, but they still show a difference between the two.

Peter:  One of the uses for antibiotics for example is a class of chemical that has absolutely no application in human health, and what it does is it shifts the population of microorganisms in the rumen to depress the activity of methanogenic bacteria, so those organisms that produce methane, which increases the efficiency of feed use and lower submission.

Okay so is that a good thing or bad thing? United States has about 9% of the world’s beef cattle, I think it’s North America, actually. So, Canada, the United States has about 9% of the world’s beef cattle but produces almost 20% of the world’s beef.

Bret:  Oh, wow!

Peter:  So that comes because of the technology that’s available. So, efficiency in almost other every other aspect of human life is considered desirable thing. For some reason it’s looked at with suspicion in agriculture. If we go looking for actual differences in product, there are screening and surveillance protocols in place for monitoring, for antibiotic residues, for pesticide residues, and if the animals are above, you know, if carcasses are found to be above then that doesn’t go into the feed channel.

In terms of hormones from use of exogenous hormones which does tend to be more in the confinement feeding operation, but again you’re talking about the vast majority of beef that’s produced in the U.S. We’re still at a low percentage from grass fed. We’re talking about 1 nanogram difference in 3 ounces of beef. Between a an animal that didn’t get that and an animal that did, and that’s at least an order of magnitude less than you get from an egg.

Bret:  Oh, interesting.

Peter:  Or from butter, or from other products, animal products. And then you have to become aware that there are phytoestrogenic compounds, and especially ironically enough soy is a massive source, and so these substances are present in those feeds at multiple orders of magnitude above what you could get.

Bret:  You’re making this much more complex; it’s easier to think of it in simple terms. That’s definitely getting more complex.

Peter:  Would you like your physician to think about your treatment? I don’t know maybe that’s it didn’t but.

Bret:  That’s one of my big messages that we shouldn’t dumb this down and just make it black-and-white when it comes to your health, but when it comes to nutrition and agriculture and farming I want it black and white, I don’t want this nuance. So I can see why other people want that in medicine as well.

Peter:  Indeed and maybe it’s because, okay if I can believe I understand it then that makes it comfortable.

Bret:  Right.

Peter:  And I certainly get that, but back to human beings, I think it was Ted Naiman who tells a story about one patient who despite the challenges of his life, he went and bought a used cast-iron skillet. He cooks on a butane stove. He goes to Safeway, he buys the cheap 80-20-80% lean 20% fat hamburger. He buys this, you know, the store brand eggs and that’s what he eats. It’s costing him $6 to $7 a day food and fuel.

And in whatever the time was, I’ll say it was a year, he dumped 70 pounds of excess body weight and normalized all his panels. Okay so let’s have a conversation about health food. Let’s have a conversation about why that man should’ve been paying more than he could to eat the food to produce that effect. Now somewhere down the road of course, something but we’re not there yet. We’re not there yet by a long shot.

Bret:  Yes, you’ve mentioned this before about sustainability and global impact, and we have to factor into that health impact as well, and health sustainability which I think is a great point. So, but when we talk about environment sustainability, you mentioned methane and that’s a bit– that’s obviously a big topic. Everybody’s worried about cow farts and cow burps and the methane emissions.

And, that’s where a lot of this reporting in data gets really fuzzy as well because at one point cows were contributing more to climate change than the whole transportation sector, and then that was absolutely false because of awful data collection, comparing apples to oranges basically. So now is down about 4%, or so I think of the climate change.

But there’s still this concern that it’s a part of the problem, and there’s a way to improve it with rotational grazing like the savory institute, and then is it, not only contributing to the environmental pollution but it can actually be in that carbon sink and take carbon out of the environment.

Do you subscribe to that as well, and say this is a great model to try and transition to so that we can no longer talk about ruminants as a contributor to fossil fuel missions but instead as a sink to improve the environment?

Peter:  First of all I think the figures for the United States are the 2%, T-W-O percent of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the US are from the beef industry. All of animal agriculture is 4, all of agriculture is 9. So in the weird world that I live in, the plant agriculture produces 5% of the greenhouse gas emissions and beef produces 2.

Bret:  Seems like that’s new math, but now that’s just math.

Peter:  Just math and meanwhile the healthcare industry is 10%.

Bret:  I’m contributing more than the cow that I drove by?

Peter:  Absolutely, and we’ll avoid all those lines that are sitting right there in front of us. Another point is that while it is humorous to think about rocket cows with flames coming out of their back end, it’s not… The methane is not from farts. It’s coming from belching. The release of gases that are produced in the rumen as the microorganisms break down the feed. So there’re several things you can do to lower that.

One is feed higher quality diet. So clearly 2% is 2%… it’s important. If you look worldwide certainly the enteric methane emissions, which is the methane that comes from this ruminant digestion in the United States have essentially been flat. They’ve been trending significantly downward in the so-called developed world, while they’ve been trending significantly upward in the developing world.

And what we have to get our arms around is that the majority of protein in humanity’s diet is not coming from animal source foods. The vast majority is coming from plant source foods. And we’ve already discussed that animal source of protein is superior for human nutrition to plant source protein. In addition the majority of calories by a larger margin, the majority of calories in humanity’s diet are coming from plants. And if I understand you people right, eating sugar and starch which we get from plants may not be a good thing.

Bret:  May not.

Peter:  And in fact consuming animal fats as part of our diet might actually be a good thing, and we’ve got 2 billion more people coming at us in 32 years, that’s the projection. That’s going to be accompanied by a requirement per the UN of increasing, doubling food production. Now we could probably make a big impact if we reduced food waste. So maybe we don’t have to double food production.

Bret:  And the majority of the food waste is from the plant side, not from the animal side as well.

Peter:  Indeed, that’s in fact an inconvenient truth to use a phrase. Also at the same time they’re projecting this increase of 66% in the demand for animal protein worldwide, but that’s all based on their assumption of what the proper human diet ought to be.

Bret:  Right and then because of that you see publications in Nature recently, in Guardian, in the landmark UN report, that all say we need to convert more of our beef production over to a plant-based agriculture for sustainment of enough food for the world and health for the world. But that makes quite a few assumptions, doesn’t it?

Peter:  Right it conflates cropland with farmland or agricultural land. So the land that we can grow crops on is a small portion of the farmland in the world because relatively small percentage of the earth’s surface is suitable for cultivation, about 4%. Unfortunately, that’s land that we’re degrading. It’s also land that we’re building cities and suburbs on, and so we’re losing that at a frightening rate.

But we have almost a quarter of the earth’s surface and I’m including the oceans in that, which is classed as rangeland, which is long-term pasture, should not be cultivated when you do think dust ball. Then we have forest land making up another significant chunk that we put it together we come up with almost a quarter.

We can raise ruminant animals in agroforestry systems. We can raise trees, grass and animals on the same ground, and we can even then do that in rotation with crops. So we can plant trees in rows and in between, in large spaces in the middle, we can then have grass growing, raise animals on that and then maybe we can come back in and plant soybeans or corn or something else for a period of time, then go back into grass as the trees continue to grow.

This is in Brazil, this was integrated cropping livestock systems. In other areas, they call it agroforestry. But this is the kind of integration that other parts of the world are looking at and trying to practice, and for a number of reasons we’ve kind of gone to another direction, but I see sort of that trend bending back towards more integrated farming systems in this country.

Bret:  And one of the main questions is, how scalable is that? How realistic is that? Is that something that’s going to help us get out of the predicament? Or, is that just going to be a fraction of a percent? It’s going to be real nice but not really have much of an impact. You have a feel for how realistic that is?

Peter:  I think it’s abundantly realistic. This gets to the whole idea of a ruminant revolution. We need to revolutionize our dietary advice. We need to do that because our dietary policy, and advice influences all kinds of other policy, and all kinds of other funding, and all kinds of other decisions that are made.

So we can’t really make these changes in some of these column downstream parts of the system until we no longer have the message being, ”We need to be eating polyunsaturated fatty acids, instead of saturated fatty acids”. Well, where do we get the poof is from? We get those from plants. Well we’d better be growing more oilseed crops so that we can get those ”healthier oils”. You can see that rippling out.

Part of this is that a lot of what is impacting our ability to produce enough food to feed humanity appropriately really isn’t agronomy, really isn’t animal science. It’s things to do with sociology, it’s things to do with stable governments rule of law, those kinds of infrastructure issues, and all those need to be addressed.

We should be looking at that and trying to help other people become as prosperous and as flourishing as we have been allowed to become because of what our grandparents did to create the environment that we’re now able to live in.

Bret:  That’s again a unique perspective that we don’t hear as much about. So I read an article recently about goats. And they’re saying goats are going to save us. Goats would be the best option to increase their usage as a food source because one, they will eat anything, and they can convert pretty much anything into a high-quality protein and in some locations goats actually are a delicacy and they’re common, but here in the United States they’re not. Can we have a goat revolution? Is that going to help things?

Peter:  Well notice it’s a ruminant revolution, as we both know ruminants rule. And I don’t mean to be no bovine centric, but that’s just the one that most people in the United States are used to and of course when we see that the propaganda come out… it’s cows, it’s not the sheep, it’s not the goats. And wild ruminants release methane as well, just like termites do. Somehow we don’t have a thing against termites, I wonder why that is.

Small ruminants are a critical resource in some parts of the world. They farm deer, you know, you look at the northern people in Europe and they manage their reindeer herds. So, human beings have domesticated ruminants in every biome that humans have learned how to live in. They’ve been a partner just like the dog’s been a partner in our success. So, undoubtedly these other ruminants will play a significant part in.

And we perhaps would be better off rather than focus on the cow or the sheep or the goat to look at becoming grass farmers. And what we need to teach people how to do, is grow grass to the best of that site’s ability and that’s going to vary tremendously because of environmental factors.

And then how they can convert that product, which really they can’t sell directly, into something that has value. So livestock, the products of livestock, both edible and byproducts, because leather is valuable for example. So, there’s lot of layers to this but we need to be open to the idea that this isn’t a dead-end. This isn’t the enemy. The problems have been I think oversimplified.

Bret:  Yes and that’s really disturbing because we hear a report from the United Nations. I mean this isn’t just some journal or some opinion piece, but it’s a report from the United Nations that we need to reduce the amount of meat we’re eating and the amount of land we’re giving to grazing or raising cows, from the United Nations. That seems like almost too big to counteract in the fight against.

Peter:  Well and let me just turn the table and say that there are some people who don’t yet understand the value of a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet, which is completely against what the official dietary guidelines have been. My goodness, that’s coming from the USDA and the Health and Human Services Department and it’s supposed to be developed by people who are experts in the field, who are considering all the relevant literature… I’m being really sarcastic.

Bret:  Right, but a very similar–

Peter:  Absolutely, and then the other point I want people to understand is we got those dietary guidelines as a product of their time, and part of that time was this emerging environmental movement of the 60’s and 70’s. So one of the reasons for this diet being advanced was because of the perception that we can’t feed the world with animal products.

We have to get everybody on a plant source diet. And then if you start tracking some of the influential books and people of the time you see their influence showing up in the dietary goals. And now we’re sort of coming back around because it seems, to me at least, that a lot of the dietary messages, the nutrition messages, are getting harder and harder to maintain.

So there was never any justification for cholesterol restriction in the diet, so they’re kind of sort of admitting that, although they say not to eat too much. Well okay I won’t, because there is no upper limit. You know saturated fat, well they’re less concerned, but they’re not fully convinced yet. It’s still there is a restriction, but it seems that more and more it’s becoming understood that natural saturated fats, we always have to say that– at one point they included the trans fats, the artificial trans fats.

Bret:  Industrial trans fats.

Peter:  Yes, so that’s falling away and then if you read Zoe Harcombe’s excellent takedown of the red meat story. There’s no ”there t