This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

Joey Lott says don't be a Peat Cultist

Quotes from "The Ray Peat Survival Guide," by Joey Lott:

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"The problem with Peat isn’t so much Peat as it is his cult following. Within that subculture, there is often an understandable zeal that distorts the genius of Peat into doctrine. Unfortunately, that is what many of us who are looking for answers end up reading and learning."

"The result is often that within the cult of Peat we end up with dumbed down, step-by-step guides for how to follow the perfect Peat lifestyle. Unfortunately, this usually results in an ultrarestrictive dietary regime with a short list of strong supplements . This approach is neither ideal nor even appropriate for the majority of people."

"I will briefly sum up the cliché Peat diet as presented by most involved in the cult. At all costs, one is to avoid excess polyunsaturated fat, estrogen, starch, inflammatory amino acids, phosphorus, lactic acid, iron, endotoxin, and serotonin. Meanwhile, one is to get enough noninflammatory protein, sugar, salt, calcium, magnesium, saturated fat, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Therefore, Peat cultists advise eating only milk, orange juice, some potatoes, gelatin, eggs, cheese, coconut oil, raw carrot, and occasional liver and oysters. All should be well-salted. Then, the cultists advise us to supplement with sugar, aspirin, progesterone, and pregnenolone, all washed down with coffee and a Mexican Coke."

"In the Peat cult , many often misrepresent Peat’s writings and suggest that Peat is “anti starch.” In actuality, this claim is unsupported by the facts. In Peat’s writing, he does suggest in several cases that he believes that sugar is preferable to starch for several reasons. For one thing, he claims that starch creates a larger insulin response than sugar, and therefore starch is more likely to be stored as fat instead of being metabolized directly. However, Peat also acknowledges that starch can be a part of a healthy diet. This is a fact that is borne out by the longstanding cultures that rely upon starch (rice, potato, wheat, corn, etc.) as an essential part of their diet. And while many Peatarians are quick to try to cut out most starch, they overlook the fact that Peat himself speaks highly of potatoes and is on the record as stating that masa (traditionally-prepared corn), white rice, and oats are potentially valuable parts of a diet. So the starch phobia that is rampant among many in the Peat cult is unfounded. The bottom line is that Peat advocates for eating sugar and/ or starch. In the absence of adequate carbohydrates, thyroid and liver function becomes suppressed, among other potential complications (such as insulin resistance). These are often the outcomes of low carbohydrate diets, so Peat’s view on this matter isn’t actually farfetched."

Lott, Joey (2014-05-07). The Ray Peat Survival Guide: Understanding, Using, and Realistically Applying the Dietary Ideas of Dr. Ray Peat (Kindle Locations 118-120). Archangel Ink. Kindle Edition.

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asked Jan 29, 2015 by Westside PUFAs

2 Answers

Ray Peat newcomers do tend to be a little culty and rigid, somewhat thanks to Danny Roddy popularizing the standard OJ, oysters, milk, and liver staples. But it seems to me that those who actually stick around take a few main principles and just eat a fairly mainstream, but lower PUFA diet with a few favorite simple, but effective Peat-y supplements (like some magnesium and extra fat solubles).

This community is also pretty young (just a few years?). New subcultures always start out a little extreme and weird, so I think the criticism is fair and necessary. In a few more years I think the online Peat world will still be around and it should be easier for people to get started without having to start from scratch and make stupid mistakes like a lot of us did.

answered Jan 29, 2015 by Brian
edited Jan 29, 2015 by Brian

The Peat online communities are getting dumber. The first people were really interested in health and smart. The newcomers tend to be a bunch of idiots (with exceptions, of course).

Overall, I'm not really noticing that here or at Ray Peat Forum. In the last year that I've been paying attention I would say the trend has been towards making Peating more practical and breaking it down to the most effective bits.

Which has been an emphasis on things like:

  • working on liver health to improve carb metabolism and estrogen detox (rather than blind thyroid/hormone supplementation when metabolism is low, but T4 is normal)

  • red light and sun

  • reasonable fat soluble supplementation

  • skepticism about Peat's suggestions that don't seem to work in practice or are impractical.

Newcomers are getting less side tracked by things that only treat symptoms rather than the roots.

I think it's fairly resilient to getting totally trashed as a school of thought because there's really no way to sell bulk supplements (jug of protein powder). About all you can pull is offering coaching like Danny Roddy and the guy.

Maybe, but I think the metabolism rate/CO2 centric movement is here to stay in some form.

'"In the Peat cult , many often misrepresent Peat’s writings and suggest that Peat is “anti starch.” In actuality, this claim is unsupported by the facts.'''

Since we're fact-checking, I'll go ahead and ask: Please provide a list of half a dozen of the "many" folks who suggest that Peat is "anti-starch".

answered Jan 29, 2015 by kapow
When asked to provide 5 widely accepted Peatian principles, not one person claims that Peat is "anti-starch."

Well he does avoid starch personally, rather strictly. I recall the mentioned going strict after reading a study about endotoxin and gut particle absorption. Sorry, but I think "anti-starch" is not so so inaccurate as a description. It may not be as evil as other things, but still in the top few things to take into account. Peat and masa? That's before he changed. Longstanding cultures rely on starch? Pff, it's just such an approximate writing...

I was actually looking forward to reading, because I'm skeptic about a few interpretations made too, but I'm glad I didn't read.

That may well be so, but the main point of the posted passage is to suggest that Peat himself has a relatively nuanced/relaxed approach to starch consumption, whereas his crazy, "dumbed down", "cultish" "followers" stupidly misinterpret this view to be more restrictive/extreme than it actually is.

he does eat turnips which have some starch:

"As available - "Liver, shrimp, squid, oysters, cod, sole, ox-tail soup, chicharrones (puffed pork rind), sapotas, pawpaws, cherimoyas, guanabanas, guavas, carrots, bamboo shoots, small turnips, corundas."

There is almost no doubt that Peat views starches as inferior to sugars. The kindest thing I've heard him say about starches is the famous line from Glycemia, starch and sugar in context:

"There isn't anything wrong with a high carbohydrate diet, and even a high starch diet isn't necessarily incompatible with good health, but when better foods are available they should be used instead of starches."

I offer a couple of other theories:

  1. Peat provides advice to many people with thyroid and digestive problems and, knowing that such people may have issues with digesting starch, he advises a high degree of caution. He is no doubt well aware that many traditional cultures eat a high starch diet, however it is not such people (who usually enjoy robust health) whom Peat is advising.

  2. Peat is aware that saying positive things about starch would open the floodgates to massive starchy binges of bread and pasta among his hardcore followers/cultists, which he thinks is a bad idea. Hence his lack of enthusiasm for recommending starchy foods. Meanwhile, people who do their own careful research and make up their own minds based on their personal context can choose to eat starch or not.

@tesabi: in my opinion you missed the biggest points: starch promotes bad bacteria growth hence endotoxin, and starch particles could go through the gut wall (it's related to the endotoxin issue, both create inflammation). The endotoxin issue is a big deal in Peat view. Even in recent radio interviews, when asked about why people have high oestrogen one of the few things he mention is starch -> bacteria -> inflammation -> estrogen. You may occasionally find a random "masa" or "turnip" mentioned that's sort of marginal. Not the same as saying Peat enjoys starch every day.

in this interview from one year ago he said "potatoes are an almost perfect food."

there is a difference between the many types of whole starches like potato, corn, and rice, and starches from flour products. though corn flour may be special if made traditionally. i think its because of the particle size. 99.9% of bread is made with oil.

those studies on starch particles passing through the gut wall were done on rats. where are the human studies?

"Well he does avoid starch personally, rather strictly."

"a random "masa" or "turnip" mentioned that's sort of marginal."


Cool, my question got linked.

Peat is definitely somewhat anti-starch, but I don't completely understand why. I was also confused about the stuff he said in interviews about "starch molecules passing through the intestinal wall". Why would that be a bad thing?

I haven't read much on starch.

When stuff passes through, like endotoxin, it goes in the blood and you react to it, hormones and inflammation. I believe it's a basic component of ageing, the gut wall becomes more and more porous and this occurs more regularly with age, which further accelerates ageing from the inflammation. It seems like a big deal, like PUFAs.

That said, it doesn't mean things will pass through when you eat starch, if the gut doesn't let it go through. But there is more potential for that to happen.

kapow, there are plenty of people on RPF who are anti starch:

and boxjack right here.