Understanding the Ray Peat Diet

Imagine a diet that promotes eating sugar and greasy animal fats over chicken breast and broccoli. The Ray Peat diet certainly is a controversial topic and goes against a lot of standard medical advice and understanding. This is also what makes it so interesting to me.
Let’s dive into Dr. Peats’ compelling take on vitality and health together.
His diet mainly revolves around the topic’s of spiking up metabolism, weight loss, longevity and balancing hormones.

Dr. Raymond Peat (or just “Ray” Peat) has gained quite some popularity in the underground nutrition space. His claims and basic assumptions will make every first year med-school student’s jaw drop. Sugar is great, drink a lot of cow milk and orange juice, do not eat any polyunsaturated fatty-acids.

Combining this with his no-bullshit attitude, rarely any interviews and 1990-style website – it definitely sparks my interest. What is so difficult about learning about Ray Peat’s diet talking points is his highly scientifically written articles. As he sadly passed away in November of 2022 at the age of 86, there are not many primary sources except his few interviews and many articles.

In this article I want to outline and collect what the Ray Peat Diet actually is and try to put it in today’s scientific context. Everything in this article is simply my understanding, my experience and my opinion and by no means any kind of medical advice or scientifically correct article. It’s just a dude trying to figure out and collect from a bunch of forum articles and scattered information what I’ve understood until now. This article should not be seen as the end of an informational and obviously only hypothetical journey, but rather as the beginning.
Perhaps I may make a mistake in this article, therefore please refer to Ray Peat’s articles directly and make up your own mind.

As the following matters are highly complex, I am certainly going to dumb down specific aspects. This is on purpose in order to reduce complexity and make this information more practical and pragmatic.

When I say “Ray Peat says” something, it’s meant that this is my understanding of what he says, just to hammer this point another time. As you might figure out during this article I am just now learning myself whilst writing it.

This article is fully written by myself and not AI-generated. It’s important for me to state this, because it refers to my mission with this blog. I want to give an authentic viewpoint from my eyes and not create another useless, unhelpful and AI-generated word salad, but provide actual value. In case you have any concerns, doubts or want to rage against me stating my opinion here, feel free to leave a comment or write me an e-mail. Stay civilized please, though.

Short Answer to the Ray Peat Diet

The main staples of the Ray Peat diet are:

  • eating lots of fruit and easily digestible carbohydrates
  • moderate, but consistent protein intake
  • avoiding polyunsaturated fatty-acids and pro-estrogenic foods

That’s all I can give in a short answer. As this topic is highly complex and needs to be looked at on a differentiated level, I propose to read the full article.

Who was Ray Peat?

Ray Peat was and is a controversial figure in the nutrition and health space, as many of his claims go against widely accepted suppositions. He had a background as a researcher and author.

From reading his articles and studying his life, his main intention was to benefit humankind and help with achieving overall great health.

In my own opinion he was an actual scientist as he observed surroundings, interpreted them from his understanding but never was entangled with commercial endeavors in this sense. I think this gives him quite some credibility, as he seemed to not have any financial or ulterior motives.

Today, there are many forums and secondary informational sources about people interpreting and testing his ideas.

Dr. Raymond Peat had a PhD in biology with a specialization in physiology from the University of Oregon. He died on the 24th of November 2022 at the age of 86.

Schools and universities that he teached at, from his own statements:

  • University of Oregon
  • Urbana College
  • Montana State University
  • National College of Naturopathic Medicine
  • Universidad Veracruzana
  • Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México
  • Blake College

His main fields of research were surrounding hormones like progesterone, pregnenolone, and thyroid hormone. Topics that he covered were diet, effects of seed and vegetable oils, cancer, stress and many more.

Dr. Ray Peat

In many articles, Ray Peat suggests his own general discontent with the pharmaceutical industry and marketing of health products. To a certain extent I think he is right. These companies usually do not have actual health in mind as this would work in disfavor of their financial interests. Keeping people alive, but not healthy and in great anticipation of future health is therefore the perfect state for large corporations that sell medicine and medicinal products.

On the other hand, the health industry has funded a lot of research and erected a certain degree of stability in a health system.

With his background in biology and physiology, Ray Peat often cites animal studies and gives examples to animal physiology.

Principles of the Ray Peat Diet

Focus on Metabolic Health

Ray Peat’s diet starts with focussing on attaining a high metabolic rate. This means enhancing the efficiency of which a body can use existing energy sources. There are multiple different ways in which humans can use energy.

Why would you want a high metabolic rate? Having a high metabolic rate means to efficiently use energy present in the body. Having a high metabolic rate means that the body uses ingested or stored energy (body fat) efficiently and has a high turnover rate. Metabolism derives from the Greek term metabolē meaning “change”.

In simple terms: a high metabolic rate means you have an enhanced cellular energy production and your body can “source” this energy efficiently. The Ray Peat diet is therefore often called a pro-metabolic health diet.

Sufficient Carbohydrate Intake

In order to keep the metabolism spiked high, Ray Peat encourages to use carbohydrates as the primary source of energy. The kind of carbohydrates are very important here. In multiple articles, Peat mentions that half his calories come from fruits.
Ray Peat suggests that fructose and glucose is the preferred fuel for the body, particularly for the brain.

He highly discourages low-carb diets as they would impair the metabolic rate over time and ultimately go against the usual goal of health and lowering body fat and to lose weight.
I have created a dedicated section to the importance of carbohydrates and sugar intake.

Keeping a moderate, but steady protein intake

The Ray Peat diet means consuming moderate, but not excessive amounts of protein.
Protein, as you’ve probably heard about a thousand times now, are the fundamental building blocks for tissues, enzymes, hormones, muscles, and more.

Why moderate them?
Because especially some sources of protein may induce high stress on the body.
One substance is often mentioned in his articles in this regard: tryptophan.
Tryptophan is an amino acid and the precursor to serotonin. His take is that high levels of serotonin lead to negative effects like slowing of metabolism and lower thyroid function.

Protein sources with high tryptophan levels are for example:

  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Soy Products
  • Cheese
  • Specific kinds of fatty fish (e.g. Salmon and Tuna)

Peat encourages to get protein from high-quality sources. This means products that have a wide range of amino acids and a more complex profile. This could for example be eggs, dairy products, lean red meats or organ meats. I am getting into the specific encouraged foods below to make things less complicated.

In every article a fundamental principle of Peat is highlighted. Think, perceive, act. Peat doesn’t really give concrete instructions on what’s good and bad. He rather paints a specific picture to interpret on one’s own. He also highlights that everyone has different needs and therefore it’s impossible to give precise instructions.

What’s very important in the principle of keeping the protein intake moderate in the Ray Peat diet is also the timing of protein. It’s suggested to keep a steady and constant flow of amino acids throughout the day and start with the intake within the first hour of waking. This is supposed to keep up the metabolic rate further.

Avoidance of PUFAs (Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acids)

This is how I personally got in touch with the Ray Peat diet. Ray Peat is a great opponent of PUFAs.

Ray Peat highly advised to minimize PUFAs, particularly omega-6 fatty acids. He says that excessive amounts of PUFAs contribute to inflammation in the body. You may already be aware that chronic inflammation is linked to almost all serious health diseases.

Furthermore, PUFAs seem to put increased oxidative stress on the body and are more prone to oxidation due to their double bonds. Oxidation of these non-healthy fats would therefore lead to an increase in harmful free radicals. Dr. Peats claims that next to an increase in cancer and cardiovascular disease, many other health issues arise from this development.

Also, according to Dr. Ray Peat, there is a link between high PUFA intake and potential disruption of thyroid function. Peat believed PUFAs would interfere with the thyroid’s ability to produce and utilize thyroid related hormones.

Sunflower oil for example had previously mainly been used as paint thinner. For this application it’s a great fit, because of the fast oxidation. Especially when heated, PUFAs are considered to be highly unstable fats. In the 1950’s the food industry found these oils to be a great substitute for conventionally used fats like coconut fat or lard and other animal fats. Those are simply a lot more expensive and more difficult to source.

Main PUFAs are:

  • soybean oil
  • corn oil
  • sunflower oil
  • canola oil
  • safflower oil
  • fatty fish oil
  • grapeseed oil

PUFAs were previously also used as paint thinners

PUFAs traditionally have often been used as paint thinners.

Salt Intake

Ray Peat puts the importance of salt quite high when it comes to attaining a high metabolic rate. He says it directly correlates to the metabolic rate, health and longevity. In conventional medicine salt is supposed to be restricted as much as possible. Peat states that low salt intake leads to an increased activity in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.

This is the hormone system that regulates fluid balance and blood pressure in the kidneys. Also, he connects it to sympathetic nervous system activity, imbalance in serotonin levels and potentially contributing to hypertension, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer development, and further health issues.
Sodium plays a critical role in cellular function and for maintaining blood volume.

Alongside with assuring a sufficient salt intake other electrolytes or crucial, especially if one sweats a lot. A good example for this is iodine, which most athletes are deficient in. Iodine is highly involved in supporting the thyroid. More precisely in converting thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). This is essentially the process of gaining energy, which is regulated by the thyroid.

The ratio of T4 / T3 is measured in most blood tests. It’s the TSH(b) value on blood tests.
Having a low ratio means the body is most likely good at converting T4 into T3 and therefore probably efficient at energy sourcing. Many people in the Ray Peat community try to lower their TSH value. According to Peat, having a value below 1 is optimal. Most doctors would consider this too high thyroid function, which isn’t an issue but desired from Dr. Peat’s point of view.

A good way to get in enough iodine is pure cranberry juice. Further in this article I will engage with the exact foods of the Ray Peat diet more in depth. In his articles Peat goes quite into depth and shows very specific indicators for measuring thyroid function.

Another electrolyte that many people are deficient in is potassium. Unfortunately supplementing with electrolytes is a rather dangerous matter. Overdosing can have very unhealthy and even lethal effects on the heart. This is why I would recommend eating potatoes regularly as those are high in potassium.

Body Temperature

According to Ray Peat a common indicator for thyroid function is body temperature. Many people measure their body temperature right after getting out of bed in the morning in order to attain insights into their thyroid function. For a more accurate assessment one should make sure to have a resting heart rate. He states that in a cool environment one should take a closer look at the temperature of the extremities. Having a higher body temperature in the extremities would indicate a well functioning thyroid. Climate and altitude seems to make a difference here.

Also, monitoring body temperature before and after meals should give a more in-depth understanding of one’s metabolic rate. Measuring body temperature is a rather low complexity way instead of going for expensive and rather complex blood tests. When following the Ray Peat diet it’s encourages to test out different foods and your bodies reaction to it.

How does this work exactly now in practice?
You measure your body temperature at a resting heart rate. This means, you make sure that your heart rate is between 50 – 70 bpm.
Now you measure your body temperature (and pulse for verification) before and after every meal.

What would be expected?
The body temperature should rise slightly over the course of the day. As your body temperature minimum is about two hours before average wake up time.
Also, the body temperature should be higher after the meal, than before. This indicates that your body is not running on adrenaline and pumping blood into your extremities.

How would the measurement of the basal body temperature (BBT) be done?
Put the thermometer under your tongue and close your mouth.
Sit or lay down for at least ten consecutive minutes. Measure your pulse to verify you’re at resting heart rate (RHR).

When at RHR, start the temperature measurement. Record the temperature measurement.
According to Dr. Peat, you’re BBT should be between 36.6 and 37.0 *C.

What does it mean if my BBT is below 36.6*C?
A low BBT may indicate thyroid malfunction. In this case you should certainly visit a doctor to check for blood tests and further consultation and check up.

Minimization of Stress

When mentioning stress, we are talking about either external but also internal stress on the physiological system. This also includes mental or psychological stressors.

Dr. Ray Peat argued that chronic stress has a detrimental impact on metabolic health. Thereby, initiating a cascade of other negative implications for health.

Generally found medicinal common sense is that stress hormones like cortisol can interfere with various bodily functions, including thyroid function, glucose regulations, and general hormonal balance. I’ve already written about the negative implications of cortisol in my guide about Ashwagandha.

According to Peat, different dietary choices can either contribute to or alleviate stress. For example, Peat argues that low-carb diets induce massive stress as the body struggles to maintain blood sugar levels. This is different from a ketogenic diet, as blood sugar levels are kept rather stable through the body’s own conversion of ketone bodies into glucose molecules.

This is only when being in ketosis, which requires an intake below 30 g of carbohydrates a day.
Blood sugar spikes are equally damaging to stress levels, which suggests taking in easy digestible carbohydrates with a low glycemic index regularly in order to prevent the stress response associated with hypoglycemia. Meaning foods that keep the blood sugar levels stable.
Next to cortisol, a big focus of Dr. Ray Peats work is estrogen as a stress hormone.

Sleep and light exposure. Sleep is crucial for bodily stress reduction and reducing cortisol levels. Sleep onset and quality is highly linked to blue light on the retina. This indicates to the brain if it’s day and night and therefore keeps the balance between releasing melatonin and serotonin in the brain.

In conjunction with this, Ray Peat writes a lot about red light therapy. I am actively using red light almost every day as it highly improves my sleep, skin, mood and general wellbeing.
Red light therapy, which is scientifically known as photobiomodulation, has shown in various studies to improve mitochondrial health by stimulating the cytochrome c oxidase enzyme. This enhances the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate – you may know this from biology class). Red light shows to boost collagen production in the skin cells, improve blood and nutrient flow and thyroid health.

For more articles from me regarding sleep you may want to check out my articles regarding sleep. In the future, I will definitely outline my complete experience with red light therapy in a separate article.

The key factor to remember: make sure to get as much (sun) light as possible, as soon as you wake up. On the flip side, which is more regurgitated: get as little blue light before going to bed as possible in order to shorten sleep onset and improve sleep quality.

Ray Peat is certainly not part of the “caffeine enthusiasts”. He notes that caffeine quickly can become a metabolic stressor and especially excessive consumption shall be limited.

Lastly (and this is it’s own complete rabbit hole), limiting psychological stress throughout the day is key. This usually is a lifestyle choice, rather than a momentary decision.
Reducing overwork and stress in order to preserve the adrenaline glands for when they are actually needed. This also includes emotional wellbeing, which is to be separated from work related stress in my opinion.

In order to minimize stress, specific nutrients can become helpful. Some focus nutrients to look out for are vitamin C, B vitamins and magnesium. For more article regarding supplements, including those just mentioned, you can find more here.

Hormonal Balance

As outlined above and concretized later in the article, low glycemic carb sources are key in the Ray Peat diet. This is mainly in order to reduce stress through blood sugar spikes and providing easily digestible carb sources to the body.

Keeping Thyroid Function High

Optimizing thyroid hormones is very important here. This is a two sided argument.
On one hand one would want to increase the efficiency of thyroid hormone release and support the body in increasing this in a healthy level. This can be done by supplementing with nutrients like vitamin A, iodine, selenium, vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus and vitamin B’s. These should mainly be taken up by actual nutrient dense foods and not be supplemented.

Especially iodine, in my opinion, should not be supplemented as it can then actually induce hypothyroidism. This is NOT the goal of the Ray Peat diet.

On the other hand, removing blockers of the thyroid function is key as well. This mainly means to cut out certain foods like quickly oxidizing PUFAs, goitrogens (found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale and brussel-sprout. It does not mean those shouldn’t be consumed at all, the consumption should just be limited. Furthermore, feminizing foods like soy, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, chickpeas or lentils and legumes.

Balancing Sexual Hormones

Not just thyroid hormone is important for establishing hormonal balance through diet. Balancing sex hormones is equally relevant. The main sex-related hormones that Piet writes about are estrogen, testosterone, pregnenolone and progesterone.
Keeping up a healthy balance between those is very important.

Balancing estrogen and progesterone is one interesting new area for me. I am generally quite uneducated when it comes to the interaction of hormones, as I’ve always understood this to be incredibly complex. The sheer complexity is also why I didn’t dive into the Ray Peat diet for a long time.

Especially in women’s hormonal profiles a dominance of estrogen to progesterone seems to be present rather often. Peat has written multiple articles about this. This imbalance can lead to various health issues like PMS, menstrual irregularities, thyroid dysfunction, bad bone health, and a lot more.

Ray Peat advocates for supporting progesterone by consciously managing stress and consuming adequate cholesterol (a precursor for progesterone).
Estrogen dominance seems to go with a wide range of unwanted effects in men and women.

In men, an estrogen dominance usually indicates low testosterone, which is linked to a wide range of its own health issues like potency problems, bad sleep quality, mood swings and a cascade of indirect effects.

How do you balance out these hormones? According to Peat: by harmonizing thyroid health. With this he often discussed the significance of pregnenolone.
Pregnenolone is a steroid hormone and precursor to many other hormones like progesterone, DHEA, and cortisol. In order to support pregnenolone levels, he recommends a low-stress diet and completely cutting out polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Those seem to be interfering heavily with the steroid hormone production.

If someone for example has a high level of testosterone as a woman or high levels of estrogen as a man, it may be useful to counteract this by boosting the production of progesterone. This may balance out the existing imbalance. Boosting progesterone, according to Dr. Ray Peat can be done by adding more high cholesterol foods and vitamins A and E foods.

When speaking about hormonal and physiological stress, you have to take cortisol into the equation. There are many ways, mentally and mechanically, to lower cortisol. One of them for example is by supplementing with Ashwagandha.

As outlined already, reducing chronic cortisol in the blood is best done by multiple factors like diet, light exposure, and lifestyle choices (sport, meditation, work-related stress reduction, etc.).
In short this means:

  • consistently stabilizing blood sugar levels with low glycemic carbohydrates
  • regularly going to the gym / exercising sport
  • attaining enough light after waking up
  • meditating / learning different ways to combat mental stressors

I have found intermittent fasting to be a great way to foster mental clarity and enjoy not having to take care of meals before around 2 pm.
Prolonged fasts are not something Dr. Peat would recommend. From his stance they would have slowed the metabolism and induced stress through low blood sugar levels on the hormonal system.

On the other hand fasting – especially in conjunction with workouts – are a great tool to boost insulin sensitivity. Therefore, in my opinion, intermittent fasting with ingesting protein only should be a good enhancement. This would keep blood sugar levels stable, allow protein synthesis and at the same time allow for most of the fasting effects.

Whenever it comes to specific forms of diet, one runs the risk of developing deficiencies. In my opinion, the Ray Peat diet is more a useful guideline, then a clear rule book.
Nutrient deficiencies induce great indirect stress on the hormonal health and on insulin function, therefore picky eating is nothing I think is a good idea.

Lastly, gut and liver health are crucial to regulating estrogen levels. A healthy gut microbiome balances out estrogen levels and excretes toxins and stressors. For ideal gut health, enough fiber is very important. I’ve linked quite a famous recipe of Ray Peat’s “Carrot Salad” below in this article.

It’s a great combination of Peaty foods, has an anti-estrogenic effect, cleans out the gut and provides a great amount of fiber. It’s somewhat gotten famous and started to symbolize the Ray Peat diet.

Personal note: I have experienced people eating Ray Peat diet style becoming quite picky eaters, dissecting a lot of their meals into the micro level. I do not think this is a good idea nor useful from a psychological perspective. This can make people neurotic and overly focussed on their nutrition, which can induce further psychological stress. I advocate for a more balanced approach.

Using the guidelines of Peat like stabilizing blood sugar levels, consuming anti-estrogenic foods and cutting out stressors like PUFAs are great, though. More regarding my own opinion in the conclusion below.

Macronutrient Ratios

With the Ray Peat diet, you will not find the classic macronutrient ratios as easily. Dr. Peat emphasized quite a lot how important it is to adjust this to personal preference and experience.
Testing around with different foods and macronutrient ratios is quite useful and important.
Generally the basal body temperature should be higher after the meal, than before the meal.

Carbohydrates

Dr. Peat suggests covering 40% – 50% of total calories with easily digestible carbohydrates. This means carbohydrates that are as unprocessed as possible and have a low glycemic index. This means a glycemic index of below 55. In this database from the University of Sydney, you can find respective foods and their glycemic index (GI).

Protein

Dr. Peat suggests taking in “moderate” amounts of protein at about 20% – 25% of total calories, but in consistent timing. Therefore allowing for a constant supply of amino acids.

Fats

As covered above already, the kind of fats is more important than the exact amount. But once the other two values are set up, the remaining amount should be covered with stable saturated fats, like butter, lard, coconut fat and similar.

Coconut oil is especially preferable, as it has an anti-estrogenic and protective effect and multiple other benefits. It for example contains MCTs and lauric acid. The amount of calories coming from saturated fats should therefore be around 25% – 40% of total calories.

My personal macronutrient ratio is a bit different. I abstain from consistent tracking of calories, because I think it’s impractical and kills quite some life quality for me.
I would estimate my current macro ratio as the following:

Carbohydrates: 50%
Protein: 35%
Fats: 15%

This ratio varies and obviously is only a personal estimation. I rarely eat very fatty foods anymore, but mainly use beef lard for frying vegetables and meat for example, due to its relatively high smoke point.
I also may want to add, that I would not considering myself to fully eat according to Dr. Peats recommendations. For me it’s more of a Peat-influenced diet.

Sugar and Carbohydrates

Sugar makes up an important part of the Ray Peat diet. I would precisely correct this with: fruits, not sugar necessarily. The Ray Peat diet encourages to eat a lot of fruits and using a lot of natural sweeteners like honey, stevia and agave syrup.
Sugar is only a makeshift solution, in case there are no fruits around.

Why is this the case?

Fructose is a great fuel source for the body. Fructose is a type of sugar found in fruits that can be efficiently converted into glucose. Unlike glucose though, fructose doesn’t require insulin for absorption in the liver. Therefore eating fructose reduces the demand on the pancreas and minimizes insulin spikes. Fructose also effectively replenishes liver glycogen, which is crucially important for maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

Fruits are therefore a great staple of the Ray Peat diet, as they are nutrient-rich, contain fructose and fiber and usually great amounts of antioxidants, which promote a stress reduction of cortisol.

Furthermore, Ray Peat believed that fructose consumption can support thyroid function by promoting the aforementioned conversion of T4 (thyroxine) to T3 (triiodothyronine).
Ray Peat brought up a study, with populations eating more fruits had lower body fat percentages and faster metabolisms. I’ll link the study and the article below in the references section.

In my opinion Dr. Ray Peat is very often heavily misunderstood. Finding people in forums drinking “only coke and orange juice”, in order to “spike their metabolism”. I think this is a vast misinterpretation of Dr. Peats recommendations and simply cherry-picking certain aspects of research and science.

Shifting the diet to eating a lot of natural and raw fruits throughout the day is certainly a great idea. On the other hand, I think the evidence and mechanism for processed and refined sugars in excess and its consequences on the body are crystal clear. Eating a lot of processed sugar leads to large insulin spikes and ultimately to illnesses like diabetes. Especially if the incoming energy is not burned or used.

“How to” Ray Peat Diet (+ List of Core Foods)

Now, this section is the most difficult to write. I could either write a single sentence or 25 pages in intricate detail about each of the food categories.
What I think is the most valuable is giving a short list of foods from the macronutrient categories and potential foods to avoid.

Proteins

Recommended:

  • Milk and other dairy products
  • Cheese (without enzymes, just animal rennet)
  • Eggs (limited to 1 or 2 a day if not from a verified grass-fed, free-range source)
  • Shellfish
  • Well-cooked potatoes (with butter or cream)
  • Gelatin (e.g., ox-tail soup, lamb shanks, pig skin, ears, tails, chicken feet)
  • Organ meats
  • Chicken liver (low in fat)
  • Muscle meats (beef liver, ground beef, steak, pork chops) balanced with gelatin
  • Fish with low fat content (cod, sole)
  • Tuna (with caution because of sourcing)
  • Cottage cheese (preferably without additives and fat-free)

To Be Limited/Avoided:

  • Fatty fish (salmon, herring) due to high unsaturated fat content
  • Muscle meats as the main protein source (due to high cysteine)
  • Pork or chicken
  • Processed meats

Fats

Recommended:

  • Coconut oil
  • Butter and lard
  • Olive oil (sparingly)
  • Macadamia nut oil (sparingly)

To Be Limited/Avoided:

  • Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs)
  • Vegetable oils
  • Margarine

Carbohydrates

Recommended:

  • Fresh fruits (except for grapefruit and poorly-ripened industrial fruits)
  • Fruit juices (especially orange juice, non-concentrate, no additives)
  • Potatoes, yams
  • Masa harina, white rice, oats (well-cooked)
  • Canned plain pumpkin (eaten with fat)
  • Raw carrot daily (as a salad with coconut oil)
  • Summer squash, bamboo shoots
  • Well-cooked kale and broccoli
  • Small amounts of organic dried fruits (not treated with sulfur dioxide)
  • Canned fruits (especially in glass)

To Be Limited/Avoided:

  • Starchy or poorly ripened fruits (most apples, pears, bananas)
  • High-fiber grains and legumes
  • Avocados (due to high unsaturated fat content)
  • High fructose corn syrup

Beverages

Recommended:

  • Coffee (consumed with sugar or with a meal)
  • Tea with lemon or milk/cream
  • Fruit juice (particularly orange juice as high in potassium)
  • Red wine (with caution for hypothyroid individuals)

Foods to Avoid Completely

  • PUFAs (found in processed foods, nuts and seeds, margarine)
  • Soy products

Useful Supplements

In this section I am listing a few supplements that go well with the Ray Peat diet.
Disclaimer (again): the supplements are linked with affiliate links. They are all from TransparentLabs, as I think they produce the best quality of supplements on the market at the moment.

If you do not wish to support me for some reason, feel free to get them elsewhere. Alternatively, check out Pure Encapsulations. I am not affiliated with them (yet), but they produce quite high quality supplements as well, that are also available in Europe and Asia.

  1. Collagen

I personally rarely get ox-tail soup or chicken feet into my kitchen. Therefore I try to supplement gelatin, which essentially is cooked collagen.
As collagen is easily used as a remaining product of meat processing, I would really like to encourage purchasing a very high-quality collagen. Ideally from grass-fed beef only.

  1. Vitamin D & K2

This combination is rather famous because it’s two antagonists. Taking Vitamin D without K2 leads to calcium sourced from the bones and therefore to an increase in the risk of fractures.
Therefore, those two should be combined.

  1. Vitamin E

Vitamin E has a range of benefits, especially for protecting against harmful oxidative effects of PUFAs.

Measure your body temperature

When trying out the Ray Peat diet, it’s important to see how your body reacts to specific foods. Therefore, it may be a good idea to take the BBT before and after the meal and see if the body temperature increases or decreases.

Furthermore, contemplate on getting a regular blood test for further detail and information. Obviously talk to your doctor about this.

Recipe: Infamous Ray Peat Carrot Salad

This recipe is a Ray Peat diet classic recipe. It’s very often mentioned and cited by many Peat enthusiasts and regularly noticed for effectivity.

Advantages of the Peat Carrot Salad

Carrots contain fibers that help reduce the presence of harmful bacteria and endotoxins in the gut and intestines. The carrot fibers don’t feed bacteria as much as other types, therefore potentially lowering the production of inflammatory substances.

The salad is mainly used to reduce estrogen. Regular consumption of raw carrots may help to reduce excess estrogen. Carrots can bind the estrogen and transport it out. Furthermore, carrots have been seen to contain anti-inflammatory properties.

By reducing the load of bacteria and endotoxins, the liver has to deal with less and can potentially function better.

Also, carrots are rich in vitamin A (from beta-carotene), which is very important for hormonal health and immune function.

The apple cider vinegar, coconut oil and garlic have antimicrobial properties and support “cleaning” in the intestines, using the carrot fibers as transportation.

The Ray Peat carrot salad is recommended to be eaten on an empty stomach. Raw garlic on an empty stomach can be challenging for some individuals.

What you need:

  • 1 carrots
  • 2 teaspoons of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil (optional)

It’s incredibly simple.
Slice up the carrot to your liking. Ideally, use long stripes of the carrot.
Chop up the raw garlic as thin as possible and add it to the mix.
Add coconut oil, if needed, heat it up a little bit. If you live in a colder environment, you may have to heat it and let it get hard when mixed with the carrot salad.
Add the vinegar and olive oil.
If you want, add dried raisins to the mix.

Criticisms and Controversies

Where shall I start?

Even the most mainstream of medicinal students will not be able to negate when I say: the best diet is the one with the highest adherence.

However, the Ray Peat diet has seen a lot of controversy. Perhaps mainly because there is no actual “Ray Peat diet”. It’s just a bunch of individuals that all have their own interpretation and therefore vary quite a bit in their understanding of the Ray Peat diet. I am obviously one of these individuals.

I will not focus on the horrendous controversies regarding drinking two liters of coke a day.
Without this missing consensus it’s rather difficult to fully question this overall diet.
As it’s quite an anti-mainstream diet, it leads to provoking a lot of old school or traditional western medicinal views.

It’s very important to look at what Dr. Peat actually wrote himself in detail and not copy someone interpreting his statements in some forum entry.

Sugar is good. That’s not actually the claim of Dr. Ray Peat, but oftentimes Peat enthusiasts.
This is a controversy and totally justified in my opinion. Because this blank statement is simply incorrect. Sugar, especially refined sugar, is only contextually good. For example when trying to provoke an insulin response on purpose like in a strength training session. But as already outlined, sugar is generally not automatically good.

When eating PUFAs in excess, you can plan your funeral simultaneously. This one definitely is an actual controversy with the Ray Peat diet vs. modern medical science. Modern science claims almost literally the opposite. Ingesting polyunsaturated fatty acids is supposed to be healthy and required for the body.

Meanwhile, saturated fat like animal fats and other stable fats are supposed to increase cholesterol (which is claimed to be hazardous for health) and increase the amount of cardiovascular disease and obesity. I consider those healthy fats.
I think Dr. Peats’ argumentation stands for itself. I think modern science consensus (which is actually a paradox) is certainly wrong here.

Soy products, lentils and legumes are great alternative protein sources. This is quite deep in the bro-science. From what I’ve read and understood myself, these products tend to have feminizing and estrogenic effects on the body and therefore consumers. I think this is quite evident in itself. Protein is not protein. Also looking at the tendency to absorb heavy metals and toxins in the ground, I personally would rather like to avoid these foods myself.

Weight gain. Some people report to gain weight on the Ray Peat diet. I think this makes sense, as through a high intake in saturated fats and dairy products, you can easily neglect calories. Ray Peat advocates for taking in nutrient dense foods, which usually also are high carloric. Fruits may be an exception here.

Conclusion and My Personal Take

I’ve already covered here and there in this article.
My personal opinion about the Ray Peat diet is rather mixed. I think the diet and research around it is incredibly interesting and has an anti-mainstream approach to nutrition.

I personally will not switch to the Ray Peat diet in its “absolute” form. On the other hand, I am also not experiencing an active challenge that I am trying to overcome with it.
Staples and principles I will definitely integrate into my personal nutrition are:

  1. Eating protein more evenly spread throughout the day and early in the morning
  2. Incorporating a lot more (tropical) fresh fruits into my diet
  3. Avoiding PUFAs and estrogenic foods
  4. Eating carrot salad and regularly and continue to use red light lamps daily

In my opinion those are the easy-to-cover-80%, taking the least effort to integrate into my diet.
Every further percentage level increases the time spent sourcing and diving into the material by a ten fold.

On the other hand, I do not want to become too narrow with my food choices and highly enjoy eating a variety of different foods. Without analysis of their third level micronutrient hormonal impact.

I think Dr. Ray Peat’s research and work is tremendously helpful and interesting and for people with specific issues like thyroid malfunctioning, skin or hormone problems are a great addition to solving a highly complex puzzle. For these people, looking even deeper into the Ray Peat diet is a great opportunity for betterment.

References and further article on the Ray Peat Diet

Disclaimers

Health Disclaimer:

The information provided on this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. I am not a healthcare professional, doctor, or licensed nutritionist. The content shared here reflects my personal experiences and insights on health, nutrition, sleep, and supplements. It’s important to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before starting any new diet, exercise program, or supplement regimen, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns. The recommendations and opinions expressed on this blog are solely mine and should not be considered as medical advice.

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