Classic nutritional quackery

Mikhaila Peterson has a snazzy name for her diet: The Lion Diet.

The Lion Diet: Ruminant meat, salt, and water. Organs incorporated if you’d like but not necessary. High fat cuts to stay in ketosis or added tallow (ruminant meat fat). Fasting as you feel necessary. Eating every day isn’t necessary but most people like 1-2 meals per day.

That’s not quite right. If you look at her list of allowed foods, it includes a lot of green leafy vegetables, and just minimizes carbohydrates, so it’s not as horrible as it sounds. A diet of nothing but meat is something that no human society has ever tried, so you know that it’s not something we’re well-adapted to…but lots of individuals have tried all kinds of wacky combinations.

What’s really horrible about it are her exaggerated medical claims. It seems to cure just about everything. She hasn’t yet gone on to claim that it cures cancer, too, but give her time.

CEO of The Lion Diet, Inc. #𝐋𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐃𝐢𝐞𝐭 : 𝐁𝐞𝐞𝐟, 𝐬𝐚𝐥𝐭, 𝐰𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫 = complete remission from severe autoimmune arthritis, and depression.

She really relies on the notoriety of her father to “sell” this crap (it’s not clear what this CEO could be selling, other than Patreon memberships; you’ve already got the complete summary of the diet). She claims to have “cured” him of all kinds of problems.

My dad suffered from a number of health problems too. Not like me, but the same depression and similar fatigue and weight gain. Gum disease and skin problems and GERD. He’s fixed too. He lost 50 pounds in the first year on this diet. For anyone who watches his videos, you can see the difference from December 2015 to now.

Sure. His emotional problems are all gone now. He’s not a weeping wreck anymore.

Poor man. It’s weird how he breaks down because mobs of people criticize him on the internet, but his advice to everyone else is “Man up, bucko”.

Speaking of hypocrisy, it’s also amazing how so many skeptics gullibly follow anecdotal dietary advice and accept grand claims of cures simply because the quack peddling them is related to the guru they follow.


  1. joel says

    “A diet of nothing but meat is something that no human society has ever tried.”

    Actually the traditional diet of the Inuit is 98% meat.

  2. blf says

    The mildly deranged penguin points out cheese is not mentioned, ergo, the diet cannot be good for anything living, dead, or rock. On the other hand, peas are also not mentioned, which while laudable and sensible and showing of good taste (in multiple senses), can be exceptionally dangerous. Peas do not like being ignored. Of course, not ignoring peas is also exceptionally dangerous…

  3. says

    Yes, as Wikpedia explains, “Vitamins and minerals which are typically derived from plant sources are nonetheless present in most Inuit diets. Vitamins A and D are present in the oils and livers of cold-water fishes and mammals. Vitamin C is obtained through sources such as caribou liver, kelp, whale skin, and seal brain; because these foods are typically eaten raw or frozen, the vitamin C they contain, which would be destroyed by cooking, is instead preserved.[33] “

  4. ikanreed says

    I would enjoy it if baby peterson went to jail for quackery. Since she’s promise to treat a disease.

  5. anarchobyron says

    I’m not trying to be cruel, but I’ve pointed this out several times and PZ just deletes my posts. PZ, you’re obese, and very unhealthy. ANYONE can see that looking at you. I, and six of my close friends, have all tried Keto with astounding, near miraculous success (I know because I said that you’re going to discount it a priori). Carbs spike insulin, insulin is a fat storing hormone, excess fat storage is bad. You’re storing excess fat. Maybe cut the carbs and increase the fat and protein?

  6. damien75 says

    When I was an adolesscent I have been told that it was well known that eating only meat kills you. The person who told me that (a vegetarian, but also a school teacher) even told me it used to be a form of slow execution in the middle ages. Well, apparently it’s wrong. Nonnetheless, I am sinerely amazed at the fact that the Petersons survive their diet.

    @chigau (違う) “I’m pretty sure lions eat the organs of their prey.”

    Sure they do. Or would they kill just for fun and eat salad?

  7. jrkrideau says

    From some casual reading that I have done it looks like a truly all-meat or completely vegan diet can be very bad for a person. A few supplements “may” handle dietary deficiencies but humans have evolved as omnivores.

  8. jefrir says

    anarchobyron, fuck off with your fatphobic quackery. No-one asked you for dietary or health advice, and if PZ does indeed keep deleting your posts, take a hint and respect his boundaries.

  9. MattP (must mock his crappy brain) says

    Comment again about that shit only after you and your friends have kept that weight off for >7 years. Direct testing in clinical environment says the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis is simplistic crap. Wider research suggests the only semi-reliable way to keep weight off long-term is to decrease calorie intake so little that the body does not recognize it is taking in fewer calories than needed to sustain current weight, otherwise the body recognizes it as starvation and responds accordingly with the usual boomerang effect once calorie intake increases at all above starvation levels. All that to say: long-term weight-loss requires years to achieve and even then may not be sustainable for many people for many different reasons completely unrelated to calorie intake composition.

    As a poor analogy, it took years of daily Fluoxetine to achieve the long-term change in body/brain chemistry required to get my anxiety (and anxiety-fueled IBS) controlled without sustained treatment. And after two years without meds, the anxiety is still slowly making a comeback. Years to achieve and still may not be sustainable without continuous intervention.

  10. damien75 says

    @anarchobyron #7

    When did you and your friends start that diet ? How long ago did your weight stabilize ?

  11. Ishikiri says

    @anarchobyron, #7:

    Like hell you’re not trying to be cruel, you body-shaming piece of shit. You’re not anyone’s doctor, you don’t know the particulars of health just from looking at a photo of them.

  12. newenlightenment says


    An anecdote is not data. I practically live on carbohydrates and am under 11stone. This doesn’t prove carbohydrates are a super way to lose weight.

  13. hemidactylus says

    I recall around 7 or so years ago people raving on at an atheist group I attended about the paleo diet. See

    The rationale for such a diet seems off, but the actual menu sensible enough. Surely less extreme than ketogenic or Lion diets. I recall the Pritikin diet that countered Atkins in suggesting complex carbs and eating meat more as garnish than staple. I tried vegetarianism a while back and lasted about 6 months.

    I think avoiding processed snack foods, fast foods, foods heavy in fat, and OTOH eating more fiber and veggies coupled with daily exercise away from deskbound sedentary lethargy to be a reasonable goal.

  14. markr1957 says

    If I’d ever wanted to die of starvation before I was even a teenager I might have tried a lion diet. That’s what happens to most male lions. Lionesses live a few years longer but still die as teenagers. Seems like a really silly idea to me.