I recently read this article by ray peat, basically saying that muscle meat is bad because it's high in tryptophan and cysteine and low in glycine. He claims that the former amino acids are inflammatory and inhibit activity of the thyroid, in addition to causing other problems. I know organ meats are good, but are muscle meats really that bad? Also, if tryptophan is that bad why do so many people say it helps them sleep? He seems to contradict himself when he says tryptophan is lost in large amounts when under stress, but then he says it also causes the body more stress. If this were the case shouldn't we have a decent amount of it in the diet in order to compensate for the times we're under stress (which for many people nowadays is every day)? What about the studies showing that people who were fed a tryptophan-deficient diet became depressed? Peat seems to be an outside the box thinker but this isn't the first time I've read him writing things that are the opposite of what most people in the paleo community believe. Here's the article I read http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/gelatin.shtml.
asked byChris_Antenucci (2570)
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on November 11, 2011
at 06:27 PM
I like Ray Peat because he is right a lot and has interesting ideas. That said, I don't love the way he writes because he pitches mechanistic plausibility as something more established and it is misleading.
Here's the argument for glycine/gelatin:
Early man plausibly ate a higher proportion of glycine to other amino acids than we do now-- by eating things like skin, connective tissue, eyeballs, etc. (Similar arguments can be made with respect to organ meats). Thus, we should be a little suspicious of straying far from this paradigm by eating so much muscle meat and so little gelatin (and organ meats).
To support the view that this potential/likely departure from our evolutionary niche is meaningful, I think it is valid to rattle off a list of plausible problems associated with imbalanced amino acid intake. Peat's discussion includes some interesting ideas. I think you could even add some other potential problems to the ones he discusses... That said, I think Peat's presentation is misleading because almost nothing he wrote amounts to more than mechanistic speculation!! We just don't know that much about human biology to make the kinds of claims he does. For example, thousands of scientists have been studying cholesterol for half a century and still have the theory partly wrong (in my opinion). By comparison, relatively few scientists have been studying amino acid balance (and most of them study livestock).
So, to sum up, there is reason to think early man got a higher proportion of glycine to other amino acids than we do now. And, there are some reasons to suspect that this departure from our past practices might be meaningful. Based on that, I've started to include more bone broths and gelatinous cuts in my diet.
on January 07, 2012
at 01:58 AM
I'm relatively new to Ray Peat's ideas, but I've been very impressed by a lot of what he writes (and talks about, in numerous interviews that one can find fairly easily), even if it challenges some of my ideas I've picked up on ~4 years of what I call "real food low-carbing" (no grains, no frankenfoods and minimal PUFAs, for example). Biggest challenge is on fructose, but let that pass for now.
People won't believe this, but IMHO, Peat isn't quite as far from low-carb/"paleo"(some versions of) as a lot of people might think - he recommends e.g. meat, organ meat, cheese, butter, eggs, organ meats, bone broths/gelatine, is against most starches (but goes easy on new potatoes). Although he talks a lot about sugar, when you listen to him, his main sugar is from non-starchy fruit, although he doesn't have a real problem with sucrose (doesn't favour HFCS though), and he's very selective about his fruit. He's very pro-saturated fats, especially coconut oil & very anti-PUFAs. (Controversially, he regards omega-3's as possibly worse than omega-6's, which a lot of the LC/"paleo" world won't like).
People also won't like his support of milk, but he says, when muscle meat is combined with milk, this helps to balance out the amino acids and also the calcium-phosphorous ratio. So he's not anti muscle-meat per se, but strongly suggests it should be balanced out with other things, like milk, but also gelatin (ideally from bone broths), organ meats, gristle, skin ... more or less the "whole animal", as we might imagine "primitive" people having consumed their animals....but this is a slight contradiction, as generally, he doesn't go along with the "paleo" idea, since he doesn't believe we can know with any accuracy what a real palaeolithic diet was like, and its questionable if we have any real evidence that it was any healthier than any other diet. I happen to share that skepticism, which is why I never use the word "paleo" about my way of eating, although a lot of it may correspond to what some other people call "paleo".
However, please don't condemn him because of my possibly faulty paraphrase of his ideas. Read his articles and try to listen to some of the interviews. He appears to really know his stuff. My slight worry about him is that he seems to have been out on a limb for so long, he has been subject to little if any "peer review". However, he is even more skeptical about modern medical research than Taubes or Barry Groves, so it's hard to see how any meaningful "peer review" of his ideas could take place. I'd like to see some sort of debate between him and some suitably qualified (but open-minded) professional. Not sure if it will ever happen though.
on November 16, 2011
at 01:44 PM
"Low thyroid can cause excesses of estrogen and serotonin.... In the 1960s LSD was vilified and there was a campaign against it claiming it makes peope insane. Conversly it was deduced that serotonin (since LSD is an antagonist) makes people sane. That's when the generally accepted, but false, notion that serotonin is beneficial came about....Stress causes serotonin production in the stomach which can cause bleeding....Serotonin works with estrogen - estrogen activates tryptophan to turn into serotonin. Progesterone aids in the detoxification/processing of serotonin."