Thursday 23 May 2013

Phytic Acid Nutrients

MineralAbsorption factor by removing / lowering phytic acidAverageRDA
Calciumx1.3, x1.2 1.251,000 --> 800mg
(WAPF: 680 --> 544mg)
Magnesiumx2.52.5420 --> 168mg
Zinchigh/no: x6.2, x4.8; high/low: x3.2, x1.6/1.5,
x1.5, x1.42.1 
3.5411 --> 3.1mg
Ironx1.5, x2.1/1.7 1.7718 --> 10.2mg
Manganesex2.32.32.3 --> 1.0mg
Copperx2.1/2.4V, x1.1^1.150.9 --> 0.78mg
Phosphorusx1.46, x1.5 (estimates)1.48700 --> 473mg
(WAPF: 1300 --> 878mg)


Actual requirements studied here:


Although the need predicted by phytic acid removal is only ~168mg of magnesium, most people are deficient because our soils are depleted due to industrial farming and artificial fertilisers, and our water is no longer a good source as it's removal at source because it damages pipes. For this reason I will not be lowering the RDA of magnesium and recommend supplementation to ensure sufficient intake.


Although only ~1mg of manganese is needed due to lack of phytic acid, a meat and liver based diet only provides ~0.5mg, as manganese is needed for carbohydrate metabolism it's likely this is sufficient. Shellfish, such as mussels, are rich in manganese though so for those concerned are a great addition, as are bass, trout, and pike. Spices too such as cloves, ginger, cinnamon, spearmint, and turmeric are also fairly rich in manganese. Tea is very rich in manganese but may be poorly absorbed due to the tannins it contains.

Copper & Zinc:

The USDA RDA for copper and zinc are 0.9mg and 11mg respectively. My original menu provided 1.9mg and 22.9mg respectively. Both give a zinc/copper ratio ~12 so it's likely that this ratio is the ideal.

Although copper need based on absorption factors above predicts that less copper is needed than zinc, more important is the ratio, with ideal being ~12, at 0.78mg copper this means you need ~9.4mg zinc, easily achievable on a carnivore diet with plenty of meat.

Meat needs to be balanced with liver, especially lamb/beef liver which are very rich in copper to keep this ratio optimum. Pork liver in less rich in copper, instead being richer in iron.

Copper & Iron:

Copper and iron deficiencies can cause hypothyroidism, most plants have plenty of copper and grains are fortified with iron. Some cases of lower thyroid function in low/zero-carb may be due to lowered intakes of copper and iron due to relying only on muscle meat, these minerals are needed to convert the inactive T4 to the active T3 and may be a reason why we see lowered T3 in low/zero-carb diets (though lowered T3 in of itself is not hypothyroidism). Muscle meats have lots of zinc, very little copper, and are ok for iron; organs though, like liver, are very rich in copper and iron. Adding liver to a low/zero-carb diet will likely help thyroid function if it's caused by these deficiencies (link and link). Too high copper will also decrease iron absorption though, so all these minerals need to be balanced properly.


Dose rangeApproximate daily intakesHealth outcomes
>5.0 mg/kg bw(350mg/70kg)Gastrointestinal metallothionein induced (possible
differing effects of acute and chronic exposure)
100 µg/kg bw(7mg/70kg)Plateau of absorption maintained; homeostatic
mechanisms regulate absorption of copper
34 µg/kg bw(2.38mg/70kg)Hepatic uptake, sequestration and excretion effect homeostasis;
glutathione-dependent uptake of copper; binding to
metallothionein; and lysosomal excretion of copper
11 µg/kg bw(0.77mg/70kg)Biliary excretion and gastrointestinal uptake normal
9 µg/kg bw(0.63mg/70kg)Hepatic deposit(s) reduced; conservation of
 endogenous copper; gastrointestinal absorption increased
8.5 µg/kg bw(0.595mg/70kg)Negative copper balance
5.2 µg/kg bw(0.364mg/70kg)Functional defects, such as lysyl oxidase and superoxide
dismutase activities reduced; impaired substrate metabolism
2 µg/kg bw(0.14mg/70kg)Peripheral pools disrupted; gross dysfunction and disturbance
of metabolism of other nutrients; death
My final recommendation for copper will be 1-2.4mg, and zinc to be in the x12 ratio still.

Many already have too much copper though due to toxic build up from too much plant foods and so my diet will have slightly on the lower side of the copper range in order to help regain balance. Therefore. my diet will use mainly pork liver as it is low in copper (instead being richer in iron), this also allows for more liver and therefore vitamin A in the diet (see fat soluble vitamins recommendations), but still provides plenty of copper. As you will see in the final post this choice of liver is perfect for balanced nutrition when other copper-rich foods such as kidneys are also included.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Protein Propaganda Pisses Me Off

There are a lot of pictures going round on various social media sites and elsewhere showing examples of 'protein-rich foods', and quite simply this pictures are outright lies! They are misleading, and real numbers provided are also wrong (sometimes by a lot), and people just assume they're true and think they can get enough protein just eating spinach. You'd have to eat ~1.75kg of spinach to get 50g of protein, I don't think anyone would actually be able to manage this but it would sure as hell be funny to watch.

Just as a note, these pictures are almost always associated with raw vegan diets, so all data is of raw, not cooked food.

Ok, lets take a look a a couple of pictures:

Some versions of this picture has a line of text at the bottom mentioning that the numbers of percentage by calorie (rather than weight), but most have this line cut off.

 Lets go to the USDA food nutrition database ( and double check these:

Food% caloriesgrams/100ggrams for 50g protein
Mushroom (white)36.3%3.09g1,620g
Cabbage (red)11.2%1.43g3,495g
Beef (composite of
trimmed retail cuts,
separable lean and
 fat, trimmed to 1/8"
fat, all grades)
Chicken (skinless breast)79.5%21.23g235g
Eggs (chicken)34.6%12.56g400g (8 medium)

Number of plants falsely given higher high percentage of calories as protein = 9.5/10 (Only giving half a point from mushroom because the difference was small.

But percentage of calories from protein matter little, we just want to make sure we get enough protein per day. 50 grams of protein is roughly the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for a 150lbs adult (46g for female, 56g for male), it's also a nice round number which we can use to compare how much of a food we need to get the small amount of protein. As I said in my introductory paragraph, you'll need ~1.75kg (~1750g) of spinach for 50g protein. You'll also need about   5.7kg of tomato to get 50g of protein. But you only need ~270g of beef, or 235g of chicken breast. The chicken breast really pisses me off, because they claim it's low in protein (23%) when in fact of all the foods mentioned it is the highest in protein both as percentage of calories and by weight! Maybe they were using another cut of chicken but the picture shows skinless boneless breasts so that's what I data I pulled out.

 - - - - -

I want to start with my absolute scream at the computer how can anyone be this stupid point: Figs. They are 3% protein by calories, and you'd need to eat 6.7kg of them to get 50g protein. If figs are a high protein food then coconut oil is high in omega-6 fatty acids (hint it's really low!).

Ditto the avocados, only 4.2% by calories, but you'd only need to eat 2.5kg for 50g protein which'll give you 4000 calories just from avocados! Similarly goji berries are 3.6% protein by calories and you'd need to eat 7kg of them to get 50g of protein, that's more than the figs!!

Some of these foods aren't that bad really though. Hemp seeds are ~25% by calories, 135-150g for 50g protein (several data entries on CRONometer for hemp seeds (CRONometer draws from the USDA database and also has lots of brand names of health-foods)). This is likely the best protein source in the picture.

Now for a few funny ones: Brazil nuts are 8% protein by calories and you need 350g for 50g of protein, but you'll also get ~7000ug of selenium which will kill you. Chia is 12% by calories, 300g for 50g protein. But you'll have massive diarrhoea with that, as even a few tablespoons will clear you out.

Spinach, kale, and broccoli I've already covered in the last picture.

Maca: 26.7% by calories, and you need 250g for 50g protein. Not bad, but as it's a 'superfood' good luck affording it and enjoy eating a whole bag of powder in one go :P That'll also come with 150g of carb which may be high for some people.

With sprouts, it appears to be legume sprouts in the picture. Many sprouts are rich in protein because the legumes are protein-rich, but be careful as many sprouts lose protein during the sprouting process depending in species. Don't eat kidney bean sprouts raw either, they're poisonous. Mung bean sprouts, aka the bean sprouts in chinese food, are 24.6% protein by calories, but you'd need to eat ~1.6kg to get 50g of protein because they're so full of water.

I don't have data for barley grass juice, but I do for wheat grass juice: 78.7% by calories, and you need to drink ~405ml pure juice for 50g protein, have fun trying to drink all that!!

Spirulina: 54.8% protein by calories, and you need to eat 845g to get 50g of protein, which is really hard as you're eating pond-scummy bacteria.

 - - - - -

Food% caloriesgrams/100ggrams for 50g protein
Pumpkin seeds18.8%30.2g166g
Quinoa (raw)15.3%14.1g355g
Sweet potatoes5.1%1.6g3,125g
Sesame seeds10.7%17.7g282g
Sunflower seeds12.3%20.8g240g

Pumpkin seeds aren't that bad actually, but 166g will give you ~34g of omega-6 fatty acids too, same story with the other seeds.

 - - - - -


Now not mentioned in these pictures as a good protein source is legumes as they must be cooked or sprouted (we already talked about sprouting), and as we know cooked food is bad for us (not!). Cooked lentils are 26.9% protein by calories, and you need 2.8 cups (~555g) for 50g of protein (raw measure ~1cup dry, ~195g), which will also give 112g carbohydrates. Not bad for a vegan protein source.


If you want protein, eat meat not greens. For plant based protein go for hemp seeds and cooked legumes like lentils and kidney beans.


When a vegan points out that a cow can grow big on a vegan diet, point out the high protein content of wheat grass, but they also eat all day every day to digest it and need four stomach and multiple chewings to digest it. Gorillas also eat high-protein leaves too and also spend a lot of time eating a lot of food, have huge caecums, and eat their poop for vitamin B12 (go search youtube, there are thousands of videos capturing different apes doing this). Also these animals are actually eating a ketogenic diet as the huge amounts of fibre eaten are fermented into short chain fatty acids such as butyric acid (named for being in butter) which they get ~65% or more of their calories from (more for cows as fermentation is earlier)! (link) If you really want to eat like a herbivore, grow/buy ~3kg of watercress daily and ferment it until it's nice and rich in butyric acid then drink/eat the resulting concoction. Mmm, gross, that's why real herbivores ferment in their guts... which we're not able to do. Now grow a pair and eat your damn steak!


If my numbers are wrong at all, please let me know and I will correct this article. I'd rather say I was wrong then continue to spread lies, unlike some people.

Friday 3 May 2013


Sources other than dairy:

Small bones: fish (sardines, etc), eaten with the fish or as broth.
Big bones: beef/lamb/pork/chicken/etc, as broth.
Eggshells, as broth.
Green leafy vegetables: darker the better, cook well and eat with fat. Avoid greens high in oxalic acid though, such as spinach, beets, celery, pecans, tea, and cocoa. (Although these aren't eaten on a carnivorous diet)

Maximising calcium:

Viamin DPhytic & oxalic acidsFibrePotassium
Animal ProteinCaffeineBoron (-44%!)
Phosphatase**High cortisol
(metabolic stress)
Vitamin K2 to get it into bones and not into arteries.

* Although magnesium and phosphorus help calcium balance it should not be eaten/taken at the same time as calcium as they can compete for absorption.

** Phosphatase is an enzyme in raw milk, it is destroyed when milk is pasteurised (in fact they test that this enzyme is dead to confirm it’s pasteurised). This is why most studies show milk doesn’t help bone health: they used pasteurised milk! If you want to drink milk, drink it unpasteurised.

Some other nutrients that help are copper (found in liver), iodine (seaweed, seafood), vitamin A (liver, egg yolks, dairy fats), silicon (bones, dark green leafy veg, certain spring waters), strontium (dairy, shellfish), sodium (salt), CoQ10 (heart), vitamin B5 (liver, egg yolks, dairy), boron (I can't find any good animal food sources of this), zinc (red meat), and manganese (tea/spices).

Nutrients that hinder include sugar (refined and natural), lead, cadmium, fluoride and excess phosphorus (see note above).

Weston A Price on how much calcium/phosphorus we need:
  • 680mg Calcium
  • 1,300mg Phosphorus
Factoring in our absorption increases from lack of phytic acid this actually comes out as needing ~544mg calcium (just over half an egg shell's worth). Regarding phosphorus, at lot of that phosphorus on a WAPF diet is locked up in phytic acid so much less is needed on a phytic acid free diet.


Bones have lots of phosphorus, as bones are made from hydroxylapatite [Ca5(PO4)3(OH)] and some calcium carbonate. Together these make up 65% of bones, water 25%, and the remaining 10% is formed by magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulphate, and other trace minerals. This means that bones are ~10% calcium and 6% phosphorus by weight (~1.7 Ca:P ratio). As a diet of pure muscle meat has little to no calcium (unless using ground meat due to trace amounts of bone in it), adding ~600mg calcium worth of broth will actually add about ~360mg of phosphorus too, and my upcoming second version of the perfect carnivore diet menu has about ~940mg of phosphorus (and ~160mg calcium), so adding broth rather than egg shells (as used in version 1) will ~1300mg phosphorus and ~760mg calcium which is in line with the WAPF recommendations.

Breast Milk:

Breast milk contains ~320mg calcium per litre, and this is about how much an infant drinks. Not very much at all considering how fast they're growing and calcifying their bones. We can probably safely assume that an adult is unlikely to need more calcium than a growing infant, even though some calcium will be needed for bone turnover, replaces trace loss in urine, etc.

It's interesting the RDA for calcium under a year old is only 200-260mg, and jumps to 700mg at one year then 1,300mg after 4 years. Although I can't find the source at the moment, I remember reading a study looking at primitive cultures, their calcium intake and their fracture rates, many got only 200-300mg of calcium and had very little fractures, no culture ate under 200mg. This all points to us not actually needing very much calcium at all really, and rather needing more of calcium's co-factors for healthy bones.

Update (19/12/13):
I found the source I was originally referring to:

The importance of vitamin K2:

Many people know of vitamin K1, found in dark green leafy vegetables. Vitamin K2 can be made from K1 but only in small amounts (similar to our poor beta-carotene to retinol conversion). Vitamin K1 helps blood clotting (recent studies show K2 mk-4 can do this too), but vitamin K2 has many other jobs: Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium, but vitamin K2 gets it into the bones. Without vitamin K2, absorbed calcium tends to end up in your arteries causing heart disease! Never take a calcium supplement unless you take plenty of vitamin K2 with it.

Vitamin K2 found in fermented plant foods, like natto and sauerkraut, is a different form than found in animal foods (‘Mk-4’ in animal foods, ‘mk-7’ in fermented plants). When a plant rich in vitamin K1 is fermented, bacteria turn some of it into K2 mk-7. Mk-7 doesn’t get absorbed into body tissues well so can build up in the blood. This mk-7 is actually slowly broken down into the animal form mk-4, think of it like a slow release form.

The reason K2 mk-4 is found in animal foods is because that’s the form animal made from K1. Grass-fed animal fats are rich in K2 mk-4 because their food has loads of vitamin K1 and their digestive systems are great at converting K1 to K2 (unlike ours). Any food that concentrates healthy animal fats is rich in K2 mk-4. Examples include cheese (awesome calcium + K2 combo), liver (that’s where the body stores it; foie gras (fatty goose liver) has huge amounts), and egg yolks have lots for the growing chick.

Links on k2: (research with graphs)

My recommendations:

Get at least 200-300mg calcium every day, which is about a quarter of an egg shell's worth. Make sure you eat plenty of animal protein and fats, avoid anti-nutrients, eat some liver (for the copper!), egg yolks, seafood/weed, and salt (sodium and potassium) too for the co-factors (as listed above), and drink unfluoridated water preferably one high in silicon.

At a very minimal zero carb diet, I would say to make sure you're getting more calcium than steak provides (0mg), at least eat ground meat which has traces of bone in it (1lb 30% fat ground beef has ~108mg calcium) and drink some broth or make egg shell calcium (2 shells a week provides ~285mg calcium a day).