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Red meat has gotten the blame for almost every health condition currently afflicting modern society. Red meat raises your cholesterol and clogs your arteries. Red meat causes cancer. Red meat makes you more susceptible to the coronavirus. But when nutritional psychologist Georgia Ede recently read the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and came across a statement that red meat causes depression, with 19 studies sited to back up the claim, she decided to dig in to the research and see what this was all about.

On this episode of Objective:Health we talk about Ede's recently posted talk at CrossFit about the propaganda campaign against meat and look specifically at the claim that eating red meat will cause depression. Is it possible that a food we've eaten since the foundation of our race has been making us depressed for all this time? Does this claim actually have any scientific merit? What's the real deal with meat - is eating steak going to make you depressed?

And check us out on Brighteon!

See Georgia Ede's full talk here - https://youtu.be/WbNDrcoRi8g

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Running Time: 00:30:11

Download: MP3 — 27.6 MB

Here's the transcript of the show:

Erica: Hello and welcome to Objective: Health. I am Erica, your host today and joining me in our studio are Doug, Elliot and Damian. Welcome to the show.


Erica: Today we're going to talk about meat and the idea of nutritional psychiatry which is a pretty interesting topic. Until recently I was kind of unaware of this whole new realm in dealing with mental disorders, particularly depression. So when reviewing for this show, there are a lot of articles that are starting to cover this idea that depression could be directly related to diet. I guess it's not really a new topic but it's getting a lot more traction and this idea of nutritional psychiatry and how doctors like Georgia Eade and even Kelly Brogan, have written pretty extensively about depression being cured or the reduction in symptoms by adding meat to your diet.

I know we'll have a lot to share here. Sometimes I feel like we cover this topic a lot but it can really be helpful, especially, I'm finding, for women. One in four women suffer from depression so is there something that people can do lifestyle-wise, aside from psychiatric medication to start to alleviate the symptoms and bring about better mental health? We have a quick little clip from a recent talk that Eade did and we'll play it here just so you can kind of get an idea of where we're going with today's show.

Georgia Eade: The guideline is 144 pages long. Imagine if a wild animal needed to refer to a document like this before it woke up and ate something, 144 pages and it's based on a 436 page scientific report. You might not think it matters too much but they directly touch one in four Americans per month through school lunch programs and other federally funded programs. So a lot of people are forced to eat this way. They influence our educational curriculum for dietitians and other health professionals and they influence other countries' dietary guidelines. I was just in Indonesia giving a talk in June about the dietary guidelines in Indonesia and they're almost identical to the US dietary guidelines.

So what patterns did they recommend? There are three and they're virtually identical with the exception of the vegetarian diet which excludes meat, they're very, very difficult to tell apart. It's because they both follow these patterns - higher in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, low fat dairy and lower in red meat, saturated fat, sodium, added sugar, refined grains and notice how interesting this is. Red meat, a whole food mind you, is lumped in with all of this junk. And that happens all of the time. It's almost as though it comes out in the same breath, red meat and refined grains, red meat and sugar. People can't separate them in their minds.

So I wanted to understand how they came to these conclusions and as a psychiatrist I decided I was going to read the depression section of the report first. It was very short. I think it was two or three pages, and I immediately met full criteria for depression after reading it. {laughter} So the committee's summary was this. This is what you see in the actual report: patterns emphasizing red and processed meats and refined sugar, because you know, throw that right in there, were generally associated with increased risk of depression! So I thought, that's interesting because I'm not aware of any of that science. I've been reading this stuff for 10 years looking specifically at mental health. So there were 19 citations and again, afflicted with my aforementioned personality disorder, I decided to read every single one of them.

So this is what you find. It's just outrageous. Only 16 of them even evaluated meat. Three didn't even mention meat. You can throw those three out. So there are 14 epidemiological studies and two randomized control trials. Randomized control trials, for people who don't know, are just clinical experiments with human beings. You choose a control and you compare your diet.

There was one epidemiological study that said that red meat was positively associated with an increased risk of depression, so 'red meat bad'. But it's a questionnaire-based study, but there you have it. There were six epidemiological studies that lumped red meat in with refined carbohydrates and processed carbohydrates. So I think that we can discard these. I don't think it's fair to judge meat a la mode as the same as meat. {laughter}

And then we have eight studies that found there was no association, no increased risk with red meat and depression, seven were epidemiological studies and one was a randomized control trial. And then there was one randomized control trial saying that meat actually protected, reduced your risk of depression. So if you're keeping score at home, that's nine to one in favour of red meat and even if you throw in their meat a la mode study, it's still nine to seven.

So on what planet can you then conclude that red meat is associated with a higher risk of depression? The committee outright lied about the outcomes of the studies that they handpicked to support their hypothesis. So this was just infuriating to me.

Elliot: Rightly so.

Doug: Yeah. It's just a quick look at all the shenanigans that go on behind the dietary guidelines. They put up a front as if everything is scientifically backed but really, just by throwing the references in there, they assume nobody's actually going to dig in and take a look and it's incredibly misleading.

Elliot: There's definitely conscious manipulation right there. And it ties in with the ongoing - what's the word? - the ongoing attack...

Erica: Propaganda? {laughter}

Elliot: Yeah, the propaganda, the outright attack against all things meat and all things animal foods.

Doug: Right on the very face of it, it doesn't really make much sense that meat would cause depression because humans have been eating meat as long as they have been humans and if it was causing depression this entire time, don't you think somebody would have noticed, maybe have said We should stop hunting and gathering and just gather because we get really sad every time we eat any of this meat?' {laughter} It just seems obvious that if you've been eating something for who knows how long - two million years? - whatever it might be, the whole depression thing is a relatively modern problem, not that depression didn't exist before but how widespread it is right now.

That's a 21st century phenomenon and they would try and blame it on something that we've been doing throughout the entire history of the human race. It just does not make sense, just on the very face of it.

Elliot: It's like Georgia said herself. How can you lump in a whole food designed by nature? It grew out of the ground literally. It grew out of the ground! Of course it's not a plant. {laughter} What I mean by that is it's derived from all things natural, right? It's a natural occurrence on planet earth. It's not like the other junk, empty calories, refined, processed, toxic, fake, evil processed foods.

Doug: Yeah, yeah.

Elliot: And they don't even deserve to have the name food because it's non-food. How can you lump in a whole food with a non-food? It stinks of corruption and some kind of financial gain and ideological possession and makes absolutely zero sense, zero sense. And when you look at the science, there's nothing to back it up! There's no even theoretical basis for how meat would cause depression.

Doug: Exactly. Georgia Eade actually had an article a while back called The Brain Needs Animal Fat. I think she published it on Psychology Today and she was just going into what meat is composed of and what the brain is made of and what it utilizes and it's all from meat. It's the same stuff. The fats for one thing, but even all the proteins and everything like that, that is what your body needs. That is the ideal food for what the brain uses in order to function, the making neurotransmitters, the nerve cells, the sheath, all that stuff, all completely composed of what you find in red meat. Meat in general but red meat in particular and the idea that your brain would malfunction by eating meat, the stuff that it actually needs, just does not make any sense at all.

Elliot: There are a couple of leading theories for depression. What they found is that there's usually some kind of an inflammatory component. There's also various imbalances. We can't just reduce depression. It's an extremely complex topic and probably an extremely complex physiological process. We can't reduce that to an imbalance in neurotransmitters. Like the serotonin theory, it's not as simple as that. It's not that necessarily any one person is deficient in any neurotransmitter per se. Actually it differs between different people. You can look at some of the metabolites for various kinds of neurotransmitters and amino acids and things and they are different and two people can have depression, it's just being driven by a different thing. But essentially if you look at the research there are a couple of different pathways which have been shown to be off, let's say, they're frequently off.

So some of those are related to certain neurotransmitters. We have things like dopamine, GABA, glutamate, serotonin, all of these different neurotransmitters. We were talking on our last show about how they are somewhat responsible for at least influencing how we are feeling and how we perceive reality. If we look at some of the pathways involved in how we are metabolizing, how we are making those neurotransmitters, it's really important because you have to understand that to be able to make brain chemicals we need to use raw materials. And generally the raw materials for the majority of the amines, which are a class of the neurotransmitters and hormones, we're using amino acids. We're using the amino acids tyrosine, glutamine, glycine and tryptophan.

We take those amino acids and we convert them via enzymes, certain types of proteins, into these neurotransmitters, into these different brain chemicals and to do that we need nutrients in the form of vitamins, in the form of minerals. So we look at some of the key vitamins involved in some of those processes. Zinc. Another one is vitamin B6. Another one is iron and that is heme iron, not non-heme iron. So the only place you find heme iron is animal foods.

Doug: Or impossible burgers or whatever the hell it is. {laughter}

Elliot: Naturally, you only find those things in animal food. The only place where you find any appreciable amount of zinc is animal foods. If you look at the amino acids, the highest sources of amino acids, tryptophan, tyrosine, glycine - animal foods. So the raw material that you need to make brain chemicals mostly comes from animal foods. The nutrient cofactors that you need to convert those amino acids into brain chemicals come mostly from animal foods. So there's a real divide there.

Doug: Absolutely. Erica, you were mentioning Kelly Brogan.

Erica: Yeah.

Doug: Even she talks about how in her practice - she works primarily with women - she needs to convince women to start eating meat again because the propaganda has been so heavy for so long that women think, "Oh I'll lose weight and I'll function better to eat lighter" like a vegetarian diet, but she has to convince them to get back on meat and is seeing huge turnarounds in depression and it just makes sense. It's almost like a meat deficiency is actually what causes depression, not meat in and of itself. It's the complete and total opposite of what these dietary guidelines are saying.

Erica: Exactly. And it can be so misleading for our listeners and viewers. We recommend watching that entire talk by Georgia because she talks a lot about, for example and we've covered it pretty extensively, the EAT Lancet propaganda campaign and how if you don't have the time and energy and you're suffering from things like brain fog or low energy or these symptoms that are associated with depression, to have the energy and wherewithal to read through these types of studies as she has done - she even said in the video, can cause mental illness. You think that you're trying to get to the bottom of your issues and you're essentially now being fed this plant based diet lie. The types of patients that Kelly Brogan sees, she initially will say, "I'm going to recommend some meat" and if people are really anti, then she will say, "I think this is not going to be a good fit," which says a lot about an intake consultation with a psychiatrist. "I'm here to help you but you've got to be willing to let go of your belief system that plant foods are going to save you." We're all so inundated by it. I feel like just in the last couple of months it has upped the ante even more.

So getting beyond that and then as Elliot was saying, this idea that depression is often an inflammatory condition. Kelly Brogan has said that the medical literature has, for over 20 years, connected this idea of inflammation and mental illness. They have the data there but then they go on to base their prescribing on this serotonin theory or chemical imbalance theory and she says that there's not a single study that has proven depression is caused by a chemical imbalance of the brain. Most of us don't know that.

Another thing that she said that I found really concerning is that if you go to your family practitioner, most of them are going to prescribe antidepressants. They're not going to take the time to find out what you're eating. Are you on a plant based diet? Are you eating a lot of carbs, refined sugars? Do you have too much caffeine and alcohol? They're just going to prescribe an antidepressant and then you go down this rabbit hole where for a lot of people the symptoms just get worse and they continue to eat the standard American diet. It's really interesting to look at it this way and to see the rise in these types of depression symptoms and how it only seems to be getting worse.

Doug: It's true. It is also really interesting that there's been this rise in interest in this idea of nutritional psychiatry. Could you imagine actually going to see a psychiatrist and they start asking you about your diet?! It's so unheard of! Doctors, psychiatrists, none of those people get much in the way of nutrition training and even if they do, it's going to be the dietary guidelines just like we saw Georgia Eade tearing up a second ago.

So it's actually a real testament to these people who are willing to put the research in and connect the dots and recognize how important nutrition is in general, how important it is for their brain, thinking, mood, those sorts of things, and to be able to see past the propaganda and recognize that no, meat is the most important thing here. A plant based diet is not going to cut it.

Erica: It really isn't. I feel like people are being led astray in this way. One thing that is really interesting about Kelly Brogan is that she does this whole idea - and I'm going to butcher this word - of psychoimmunology.

Elliot: Psychoneuroimmunology?

Erica: Yes, thank you, this whole idea that everything is really connected. So if you're willing to do the work you put the work in, eliminate certain things that are causing these inflammatory responses in your body, but also to realize that everything is connected. It's almost like health freedom and knowing that what's happening in your gut is connected to your brain and that there is a way to move forward with research that is being done by women like this to give people steps instead of just succumbing to psychiatry.

I was just looking for some other stuff here. Another thing that Kelly Brogan talked about as well is that, especially with depression, sometimes it's a necessary phase to go through to address the issues that you're having in your life and to start taking stock of how much sleep you're getting, how much exercise you're getting and how to move forward in ways that are going to increase lifelong health. It makes me think too of Jordan Peterson and Mikhaila Peterson and how he had struggled with depression and decided to do the carnivore diet and how much traction has happened with people listening to him for how to clean your room and be more of a functioning human being, but also how they have real life stories of how going on the carnivore diet really helps alleviate a lot of those symptoms associated with depression.

Doug: Yeah.

Erica: So I think we're going to see a lot more of it. I think a lot more people are coming out. Just this book by Kelly Brogan, A Mind of Your Own, is over 500 pages and she talks a lot about peoples' testimonials. I do think testimonials are really important because you get to see the process that people went though. For some people it's just a matter of weeks of reintroducing red meat and whatnot, that they saw a change in energy levels, in mood stability, even in sleep.

Doug: It's interesting that Jordan and Mikhaila Peterson, as you just brought up, are a very interesting case because they actually found that they were having to eliminate all plant foods as a means of addressing the issues that they were going through. I don't think that they're alone in that. There are other people. It might be relatively rare but there are certainly people who can't do any plant foods at all. But again, it's so far outside of the mainstream because they would have you believe that it's the meat that's the problem. But these guys are a living testament to the fact that it isn't the meat. They went on a diet of only meat and it turned their problems around.

Elliot: Yeah, I've got tens of clients, people who try their best to add in plants and they simply can't. And actually when they do - I've just got so many. It's the same story over and over and over again. As soon as they add in plants, boom! The depression kicks in or the severe fatigue or the anxiety or the dizziness and the immune kind of symptoms. It's a really severe thing and there are just so many people who find that that's the case. It's actually the opposite of this idea that meat causes depression. In fact in some people it's the only way that they can survive without living through depression. It's a terrible place to be in but at least there's a solution.

Doug: Exactly. If it can ever get through to people because the fact of the matter is if you've got all the "officials" pushing this line that going more and more plant based is the answer, or more likely not even connecting the dots between diet and mood disorders, it's actually pretty amazing when people do come across this information. So not only do they have to find it, they also have to be open-minded enough to throw out all the conventional wisdom and actually give something like this a try.

For a lot of people probably encountering anything like this, they'd be on a more standard American diet, even if it is a little bit healthier than total junk food, but it has become the norm now to cut down on meat. "Even if we're going to eat meat, let's do a couple of days a week where it's vegan" or something along those lines. So to come across information that completely goes against that is going to require a relatively open-minded person.

Erica: I'm sure everyone listening and all of us here know someone who has suffered from debilitating depression and have gone through all of the traditional medical avenues to try and treat it. If you're desperate enough and say, "I'll do the carnivore diet for a month and see what happens" and it actually works, those people are going to share that with other people.

Doug: Yeah.

Erica: "Hey, why don't you try this? Why don't you try this? This worked for me." There is the power of there being that testimony for other people and to see someone's mood change like that is pretty inspirational. I do feel that people have really lost confidence, especially in psychiatric medication or antidepressants because maybe they have an effect for two weeks, but then they have side effects and then you're dealing with all those and then you get to this point where it's not really working and you need to try something different.

Dr. Davis who wrote the book Wheat Belly had an article called Depression-Why Not Start With a Nutritional Solution? There are just a few things that he suggests here about powerful nutritional and natural mood lifters. Obviously he says to eliminate wheat and grains. He says that a lot of things from paranoia and people with schizophrenia, mania and people with bipolar disorder, impulsivity in children with ADHD and depression stop, when people remove all the gliadin-derived opiates from wheat and grains. He also said vitamin D restoration.

This article was published back in 2015 but he was talking about how even before he implemented wheat and grain elimination, he added vitamin D to help people. You may have more to share on that Elliot, but supplementation with vitamin D. He also suggested fish oil and cultivation of bowel flora for those who may be in the know, getting your gut bacteria back into a healthy balance. And then tryptophan supplementation, exercise and laughing, which I thought was kind of interesting, could be helpful.

So those are just some things. I think this is a fascinating topic. Again, for those who are listening, we recommend watching Georgia's video because if you are one of those people that got duped by these nutritional studies, she uses some pretty strong language there but basically it's just propaganda. I thought, "Wow! It's interesting to see somebody just coming right out and saying it" and that you have to use discernment when flipping through your news feed and seeing, "Oh, the EAT Lancet", plant based because as we've said many times on this show, it's almost like these ideas of meat helping people with mental, emotional, physical disorders, the vegetarian or plant based propaganda just goes into overdrive.

Doug: Yeah.

Erica: Knowledge protects.

Doug: Indeed.

Erica: So I think that's about it. Again, for those interested, A Mind of Your Own by Dr. Kelly Brogan is also a great book. It's a pretty hefty read. Sometimes it's nice to just flip through a few pages. Thank you Doug, Elliot and Damian for being on the wheels of steel and running the show from the background. We'll see you all again soon. Have a great day.