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Nina Teicholz on Meat, Butter, Bread, Cholesterol, and Fat: How Did We Get Them So Wrong?

Nina Teicholz - Peak Human Podcast


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Hello, hello healthy people. Have you been eating a Sapien diet recently? Are you feeling better than ever? Or is it just me? Many people are probably doing it without even realizing it. It’s basically just a high animal food, high fat, low carb, low antinutrient diet with a condensed eating window.

We talk a lot about why this way of eating is so beneficial and so misunderstood today with the legendary Nina Teicholz. She is an adjunct professor at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the Executive Director of The Nutrition Coalition (a group devoted to evidence-based nutrition policy), an investigative science journalist and author of the must-read book Big Fat Surprise. Just go read it now. Seriously. She spent almost 10 years researching and digging up studies to blow the top off one of the biggest mistakes in human history. Yes she says it. Demonizing cholesterol and human health foods like red meat and saturated fat has truly been a catastrophe for the health of our world.

She got in this early and made waves, woke people up, and got the movement going. She and Gary Taubes have been instrumental in getting the word out to the mainstream. Listen up everyone, she’s awesome!

I have a few more things before we start, though. We’re actually still looking for a story or two to weave into the film. If you know a family whose kids have lost a ton of weight, I’d love to hear from them. I’m also interested in connecting with an LA based editor and videographer that can help make some more youtube content with us. We have a lot of things cooking and not enough chefs!

Do you have pets? We’ve got the healthiest pet food possible at It’s grass finished ground beef with all the organs in it, specially made for animals. Get some for yourself while you're at it. We make it for humans too. We also have high omega 3 pork and chicken that’s pasture raised and fed a special diet. The meat and fat are loaded with possibly the best omega 3 to omega 6 ratio in America. Get it delivered to you with a few clicks at Restocking on friday so I’ll add the products back in stock wednesday (which is when this episode is coming out) and we always ship on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Please support the film on Indiegogo by clicking though the show notes or

We’re about to make another order of the “It’s what else you eat, not the meat shirts.” You can get one with a preorder copy of the film.

Support this show on Patreon and get the extended show notes on

And subscribe to the new SAPIEN show on any podcast app or youtube. We film video and audio at Evolve Healthcare in Los Angeles with Dr. Gary and some really interesting guests. Just search for Sapien.

So here we have it, the ex-long-time-vegetarian turned eater of meat, butter, eggs and cheese, Nina Teicholz.


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  • Nina is a journalist who spent nearly a decade writing her book The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet

  • She thought she was writing about science but realized she was writing about politics

  • She started Nutrition Coalition to bring an alternative point of view to Washington to try and get government support to change the dietary guidelines

  • Turns out Americans follow the dietary guidelines, but are still getting sick

  • Consumption of red meat, butter, and whole milk are down

  • Consumption of grains and vegetable oils are up

  • Ever since the dietary guidelines were introduced in the 1980s diabetes and obesity rates have exploded

  • No one can prove that the guidelines caused these epidemics, but we have a body of science that show if people ignore the guidelines and eat high fat low carb they can manage and reverse their diseases suggesting that the guidelines are no promoting health

  • Quote from Nina’s book: “But like lost languages, lost skills, and lost songs, it takes only a few generations to forget”

  • It seems normal that everyone has a disease, but it’s not normal

  • Challenging the idea of low-fat plant-based diets is extremely difficult because it is enshrined at the highest levels and there is a lot of corporate interest behind it

  • The main ingredients in the grocery stores are sugar, grains, and vegetable oils

  • Food only became medicalized in the 1950s when people were suffering from heart disease

  • Diet-Heart Hypothesis introduced by Ancel Keys claiming that saturated fat and cholesterol would clog your arteries like hot oil down a cold pipe and that would lead to a heart attack

  • The first dietary recommendation in the world was to limit saturated fat issued by the AHA in 1961

  • It wasn’t until 1970 that all fats were demonized and not just saturated fats

  • The AHA recognized that they didn’t have all the answers but they couldn’t imagine any negative unintended consequences but in reality, the unintended consequences were two-fold

  • By cutting down on saturated fats we shifted to PUFA vegetable oils which turned out to cause higher death rates from cancer

  • Since 1960 we have increased carbohydrate consumption by 30% and have decreased fat since 1965 by around 30% and protein has stayed relatively constant

  • They tested the diet-heart hypothesis after the dietary recommendations had already been made, and were never able to support it by science

  • The majority of studies that couldn’t confirm any health benefits to low-fat diets were largely ignored and considered “silent studies” it was too uncomfortable for anyone to admit they might have got things wrong

  • The Minnesota Coronary Survey study wasn’t published for 16 years because the researchers weren’t happy with the results since they didn’t support a low-fat diet for reducing risk of heart disease

  • [29:51] The demonization of cholesterol has been one of the greatest mistakes in human history

  • All of the trials that swapped out saturated fats for polyunsaturated fats showed increased death rates from cancer but they were so convinced that lowering cholesterol was the answer so they accepted it

  • One of the scariest parts of her book was researching the detrimental effects of vegetable oils which didn’t even exist in the food supply until the early 1900s

  • The types of fats in vegetable oils can replace the stable fatty acids in our cell membranes, there are significant effects of these fats on our health

  • There are over 100 clinical trials showing the benefit of carbohydrate restriction

  • We need to ask what diet can people stick to in the real-world

  • The metabolic ward studies are flawed because they are short-term

  • Type-2 diabetes is reversible

  • [41:31] Nina tried to get media coverage on type-2 diabetes remission with a ketogenic diet and the on air doctor wouldn’t allow it because it contradicted everything he had been promoting over the years

  • Institutions have been promoting low-fat diets for so long that people can’t go back on their word

  • Much of the media are funded by pharmaceutical companies so ads aren’t going to promote lifestyle factors that can get people off their medications

  • There is huge corporate investments in meat replacements

  • Nina is open minded to the carnivore movement based on the nutrient density of animal foods and the various toxins that can be in plant foods

  • We are moving in the right direction by removing the caps on dietary cholesterol and dropping language around low-fat diets

  • We need better science and grass-roots movements to continue this paradigm shift

  • We need our doctors to be educated on this because no one wants to feel like they can’t trust their doctor, and we shouldn’t have to

  • [51:18] The foods that are in institutions are determined by the dietary guidelines

  • [52:02] If you belong to a large medical practice, you risk medical malpractice if you teach people a low-carb diet if it’s not standard of care, until it’s included in the dietary guidelines its not available as an option

  • The focus of the Nutrition Coalition is about doing proper science and reviewing it properly and not ignore science and if the science is done correctly and not ignored we can get answers

  • The current dietary guidelines for vegetarianism, mediteranean diet, and DASH diet are supported by almost no evidence

  • We are dealing with politics not evidence

  • We need more people spreading this message because everyone shares in a different way that may resonate with someone

  • Where to find Nina Teicholz:






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