When the benefits of a raw diet started being lauded more frequently and becoming just a smidge more mainstream, this is not what anyone had in mind. Derek Nance has been consuming raw meat exclusively for five years, and the kicker is that he told Vice.com he’s never been healthier. We can’t even wrap our heads around this.
Every time we think we’ve seen it all, some stunt like this pops up and we’re educated all over again.
Apparently he had some health problems and did what a lot of people do – yo-yo diet. While he wasn’t trying to lose weight, that was happening without any control of his own, he was trying to improve his health. He bounced from giving up wheat and dairy, to the Mediterranean diet, and then going, shockingly, to a vegan diet. Like most people who diet hop, he wasn’t finding anything that worked. Then someone suggested a carnivorous take on the ever-popular Paleo diet, and here we are. We’ve got a dude in Kentucky who subsists on raw meat, and even brushes his teeth with animal fat.
“This is really really hard to believe for so many reasons,” said Cheryl Forberg, RD, nutrition expert for The Biggest Loser and author of Flavor First. She claims there is nothing positive that could come from a raw meat diet. And quite pointedly shares the negatives.
Forberg agrees with Nance’s parents, who apparently say the diet is wrong and that he’ll die.
“His father has reason to be fearful of pathogens,” she told us. “Beef alone presents the possibility for E. Coli, listeria, staph, and salmonella.”
He points to the inspiration for the diet as being Weston Price, which was popular in the 1930s and was a way for people to consume more nutrient-dense foods for better health. A dentist, Price found correlations in poor dental health and people’s diets, so he set out on a global trek to examine other primitive societies and their health conditions and teeth. He found that those in other cultures had diets that were at least four times higher in minerals and vitamin C and B complex than the diets of Americans. (No surprise there, and that was in the ’30s!)
Price surmised that:
- animal fats don’t cause heart disease, cancer, and obesity but rather can protect against them.
- modern soy-based foods contribute to health problems for the thyroid, digestion, and endocrine system.
- low-fat diets can promote emotional instability.
- vegetarians and vegans don’t live longer nor do the diets protect against disease.
There’s likely a library of modern science and research to debunk most of his findings. While we can’t get on board with his prescription to consume a diet rich in butter, organ meat and raw milk, we can say the dismissal of most if not all processed foods and the inclusion of raw veggies and wild fish should be applauded. But at what risk?
Cutting out trans fat, artificial sweeteners, modern soy, refined grains, and farm/factor-raised fish and meat will do wonders for your health, which is suggested under Weston Price. Exclusively consuming raw animal meat? Well, only time will tell what that will mean for Nance and his health. One guy saying this five-year-long diet has made him the healthiest he’s ever been isn’t enough evidence for us. We hope it won’t be enough for you, either.
October 1st, 2013