Who is Dr. Ray Peat?
Dr. Ray Peat is an American biologist, who for more than 40 years has researched the interactions between nutrition, hormones, and health.
According to Dr. Ray Peat, it is the gap between the body’s energy production and the demands placed on it by the environment that creates inflammation and disease.
On a biochemical level cellular, energy production is controlled by thyroid function.
A person with good thyroid function has a high metabolic rate and turns foods into energy faster and better than a person with low thyroid function.
Dr. Ray Peat’s diet and health principles focus on supporting thyroid function and the body’s natural energy-supporting hormones progesterone and pregnenolone.
The Ray Peat Diet?
Dr. Ray Peat doesn’t particularly like the term “Ray Peat diet” it is never something he has defined exactly.
But over the years Dr. Ray Peat has collected several diet principles that people now call the “Ray Peat diet”.
In the following, the term “Ray Peat diet” is used for ease of understanding.
The aim of the Ray Peat Diet?
According to Dr. Ray Peat, the western diet and many diets that are promoted as healthy include foods that directly suppress thyroid function. By eliminating these and instead basing the diet on foods that support energy production the Ray Peat diet strengthens the body, so repair and healing can take place.
Who should be on the Ray Peat Diet?
One could think that the Ray Peat diet is only for people that are diagnosed with low thyroid function (hypothyroidism).
However, even though we strongly advise people that have hypothyroidism to use the Ray Peat diet, we also urge other people of all ages to use the diet principles of Dr. Ray Peat.
By using the Ray Peat diet you are being proactive and using a sensible diet that provides your body with all the nutrients it needs, at the same time making sure your body is not overloading on toxic energy-suppressing compounds. This is a clever move to stay as healthy as possible during your lifespan.
Why is the Ray Peat diet so different?
The Ray Peat diet is very different because it doesn’t follow the general trends of the health community. In the health community, you often hear things like milk and sugar are dangerous and should be avoided, but there is no scientific evidence or reason for such statements.
According to Dr. Ray Peat milk products as well as sugar (especially from fruits) have many protective end energy-promoting properties.
The Ray Peat diet is built on a deep understanding of how the body works on the biochemical level. It is not supposed to be a quick fix but instead, a lifestyle where you learn the principles of an energy-supportive diet.
What Fats Should I Eat on The Ray Peat Diet?
When you start diving into the Ray Peat diet you quickly learn that Dr. Ray Peat is very fond of saturated fats like coconut oil and butter.
This seems strange because the health authorities and the media have told us for years that we should use liquid oils and avoid saturated fats.
Liquid oils such as corn, canola (rapeseed), soy, safflower, sunflower, flaxseed (linseed), sesame, peanut, etc are polyunsaturated fats (PUFA).
But, due to their structure, PUFA strongly suppresses thyroid function.
Thus by using coconut oil and butter instead of liquid oils you are helping your thyroid function immensely.
In our Hypothyroid Treatment Program, you can learn much more about why polyunsaturated fats are so dangerous and how exactly they suppress your metabolism.
Won’t the Ray Peat diet increase my Cholesterol?
People with high cholesterol are often put on cholesterol-lowering drugs and told not to eat foods that can increase their cholesterol levels.
Dr. Ray Peat’s approach to high cholesterol is completely different.
First of all, it is important to mention that it is almost impossible to lower cholesterol levels by changing your diet, as the body just turns up its own synthesis of the cholesterol molecule.
Secondly, cholesterol is a life-essential molecule and a precursor to all the body’s steroid hormones, basically, you would die without enough cholesterol.
According to Dr. Ray Peat, the blood cholesterol level often gets very high in a person with a low thyroid function. This is because the thyroid hormone is needed to turn cholesterol into hormones.
Thus high cholesterol is usually a sign of low thyroid function as the cholesterol is not being used.
The Ray Peat diet doesn’t focus on avoiding cholesterol-rich foods instead the Ray Peat diet aims to increase thyroid function and thereby lower cholesterol levels.
Here it is important to mention that for some people some kind of thyroid support either in the form of an over-the-counter thyroid supplement or a thyroid medication can be necessary to increase the thyroid function enough to bring down the cholesterol sufficiently.
You can learn much more about Dr. Ray Peat’s view on cholesterol in Module 4 of the Hypothyroid Treatment Program.
Why does Ray Peat Eat so much sugar?
People that are on the Ray Peat diet eat quite a lot of sugar. The Ray Peat diet usually focuses on getting sugar from orange juice and fruit but also includes sugars from foods and drinks like coke, white table sugar, honey, ice cream, chocolate, and so forth. This might seem extremely strange and needs explanation.
The liver needs sugar to activate the thyroid hormone, and according to Dr. Ray Peat the worst thing you can do if you want a healthy thyroid function is fasting, as the low blood sugar of fasting immediately will lower the metabolic rate.
According to Dr. Ray Peat eating the right carbohydrates and having small snacks in between meals can vigorously promote metabolism and energy production.
The Ray Peat diet includes the types of carbohydrates that avoid overstimulating insulin and therefore stabilize blood sugar.
According to Dr. Ray Peat, the best carbohydrates come from low-starchy and low-fibrous fruits and vegetables, as well as honey, white table sugar, and milk products.
you can learn much more about the best types of carbohydrates and how to stabilize your blood sugar by combing your meals in the right way.
What types of protein are part of the Ray Peat Diet?
According to Dr. Ray Peat high-quality protein is very important for keeping the thyroid function and energy production up.
Unfortunately, many of the protein sources that are promoted as healthy are of low quality.
Nuts, beans, lentils, peas, and soya products are not part of the Ray Peat diet.
According to Dr. Ray Peat, these are low-quality protein sources, as the fiber present in these foods makes it difficult for the digestive system to extract the protein. Thus the promise these foods make of being protein-rich is not true.
In addition, these foods are estrogenic and contain polyunsaturated fats (PUFA), which suppress thyroid function.
The Ray Peat diet contains protein from animal sources including, eggs, milk cheese, yogurt, as well as shellfish, and certain fish and meats.
If you want to follow the Ray Peat diet it is important to know that the meats of ruminate animals such as beef are lower in PUFA than for instance meats of pork and chicken.
The Ray Peat diet includes gelatin and gelatinous meats, and to a lesser extent muscle meat. This is because the amino acid composition in gelatine-rich meats is more favorable to good thyroid function.
In our Hypothyroid Treatment program Module 6 and our Protein Guide we dive deeper into what types of protein and how much you should use daily.
How we help you learn the Ray Peat diet.
Our E-learning materials present different aspects of the Ray Peat diet:
The Hypothyroid Treatment program includes the biochemical background and detailed explanations for each diet recommendation. This program also presents many other aspects of an energy-supporting lifestyle and discusses the Ray Peat diet in regards to popular health topics such as thyroid function, digestion, candida, diabetes, fluid retention, supplements, allergies, food intolerances, hormonal imbalances, and much more.
If you want a quick overview of the Ray Peat diet without the biochemical explanations our diet plan is a good option.
Our meal guide gives you meal examples of the Ray Peat diet.
The protein guide helps you get enough of the right types of high-quality protein.
The calcium guide helps you get enough daily calcium, which is a cornerstone of an energy-supporting diet.
You can also book a counseling session with me (thyroid specialist Benedicte Lerche MSc Ph.D.) to learn how the Ray Peat diet can be tailored to your specific needs.
Do I need more than diet?
For people that have many symptoms of low thyroid function and hormonal imbalances diet alone is often not enough.
In these cases, it is helpful to combine the Ray Peat diet with some kind of thyroid support and it is often advisable to use our counseling services.