There’s no end to advice on health and fitness. Much of it shares a foundation of certain principles, though there are many conflicting ideas, especially when it comes to weight control and weight loss. And yet there is no common ground for the teachings of Ray Peat. His ideas are radically different to many of the most popular and trusted concepts of nutrition and health. So remarkable are his teachings that his followers are dubbed “Peatarians” as if they were a religious or political group. Ray Peat is a college professor, physiological chemist, and book author whose research and teachings are shaking up the world of nutrition and causing many to rethink what they believe about human health.
- Kate Deering
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Paperback: 390 pages
There are five Ray Peat books on the market: Mind and Tissue, Nutrition for Women: 72 Short Articles, Progesterone in Orthomolecular Medicine, From PMS to Menopause: Female Hormones in Context, and Generative Energy: Restoring the Wholeness of Life. His books contain a plethora of information and difficult to determine facts that can take the average person by surprise. For example, Peat claims that the estrogen levels of a male runner doubles after a race and that estrogen is responsible for osteoarthritis (1).
Ray Peat Diet
Peat is all about raising the body’s metabolic rate and creating energy. To that end, he supports the consumption of any food that proves powerful in raising the body temperature and energy levels. Though some find it quite shocking, even controversial, Peat is a big fan of sugar, considers it a supplement, and highly recommends its consumption. Other foods he strongly recommends also support energy, such as coffee and high-sugar fruits like watermelon and mangoes. That a health expert would encourage people to eat fruit is no surprise, but that his reason is so that they can get more sugar in their blood can be mind-boggling. After all, it’s often taught that sugar is the worse enemy to good health (2).
The controversy surrounding Ray Peat doesn’t stop with his love of sugar. While many nutritionist consider salmon to be one of the healthiest sources of protein a person can consume, Peat warns his followers to stay far away from fatty fish. He notes that the U.S government used to advise against consuming too much Omega 3 and how it now appears to be doing an about-face, with omega fatty acids and fish oil being pushed despite their dangers (3).
Estrogen is a big problem according to Peat. He teaches people to avoid pro-estrogen foods. He says that estrogen is the underlying cause of health issues such as cancer and that it’s a stress-inducing neurotoxin. What’s really interesting is the foods Peat has people avoiding for fear of estrogen, including vegetables and legumes, foods normally thought of as healthy. Nevertheless, he does recommend that women eat a raw carrot daily, as this can boost estrogen metabolism (4). Vitamin E supplementation is also promoted for its role in lowering estrogen levels.
Ray Peat Workout
Exercise is another area where Peat’s ideas tend to take people by surprise. Unlike many in the health and fitness industry, Peat has several warnings that can make a person shy away from working out. Peatarians are ever concerned that exercising will make them fat by lowering their metabolism (5). Peat teaches that endurance and strenuous exercise is damaging and should be avoided. Anyone who insists on exercising while using Peat’s approach to health must proceed with great caution.
Peat brushes aside any claims of exercise having health benefits. He categorizes it as something that’s bad for health, seeing it as an activity that increases lactic acid build up and hormone production, two very unwanted effects. He considers any benefit gained from exercise a short-term effect (6). According to Peat, the desirable thing is to increase the body’s carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, which is an aim many would consider unhealthy. Smoking tobacco, for example, increases carbon dioxide. Many Peatarians take baking soda on a regular basis in order to get their CO2 levels up (5).
Why You Should Be More Like Ray Peat
Ray Peat is someone who didn’t just “buy in” to popular teachings on health and nutrition. He did his own investigations and came up with his own findings. Though he has no lack of critics, several of them quite harsh, he also has a very loyal following made up of people ever aiming to figure out how to follow Peat’s various unorthodox rules for healthy living. A thriving community of support has developed among his followers, who reach out to each other for advice on how to live life the Ray Peat way. Apparently, it’s not a simple task.
The last things someone seeking to lose weight would expect to hear from a doctor is to stop exercising, eat more sugar, avoid vegetables and salmon (except for a daily carrot), and work on increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in their bodies. To many people, that sounds like a list of bad habits to give up, not methods for improving health. Still, there are a lot of success stories featuring people who tried other diets only to find the Ray Peat diet best. They report having more energy and looking and feeling better than ever before.
To become a Peatarian is a bold move indeed. It takes a willingness to let go of past ideas still considered by most to be true and embrace not just new ideas but the very opposite of what has been thought of as right. In a world worried about diabetes and heart disease, Peat’s advice doesn’t seem to make any sense at all. Peat practices what he teaches, however, and has lived a healthy life, even past his eighties. He might not workout, but he’s not overweight, though he eats a lot of sugar. There are many who find his rules to be a big relief, giving them the freedom they were denied on most other programs. To lose weight the Ray Peat way is definitely a remarkable experience.