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What is Deep Nutrition?

Physician and biochemist Cate Shanahan, M.D. examined diets around the world known to produce the healthiest people—diets like the Mediterranean, Okinawa, and “Blue Zone”—and identified the four common nutritional habits, developed over millennia, that unfailingly produce strong, healthy, intelligent children, and active, vital elders, generation after generation. These Four Pillars–fresh food, fermented and sprouted foods, meat cooked on the bone, and organ meats—form the basis of what Dr. Cate calls “The Human Diet.”

Rooted in her experience as an elite athlete who used traditional foods to cure her own debilitating injuries, and combining her research with the latest discoveries in the field of epigenetics, Dr. Cate shows how all calories are not created equal; food is information that directs our cellular growth. Our family history does not determine our destiny: what you eat and how you live can alter your DNA in ways that affect your health and the health of your future children.

This new edition has been revised and updated with a prescriptive plan for how anyone can begin eating The Human Diet to:

*Lose weight, curb cravings and the need to snack

*Sharpen cognition and memory

*Improve mood

*Eliminate allergies and disease

*Build stronger bones and joints

*Get younger, smoother skin

*Boost fertility

*Have healthier children

Deep Nutrition cuts through today’s culture of conflicting nutritional ideologies, showing how the habits of our ancestors can help us lead longer, healthier, more vital lives.

Praise for Deep Nutrition:

“If you want to understand how optimal health starts with food, start with Dr. Cate. Her book Deep Nutrition leaves you with an appreciation of the profound relationship between our genes and the planet, inspiring us to be good shepherds of both.”
~~Dallas Hartwig, author of The Whole 30

“Dr. Cate gives you the big picture and the nitty gritty bedrock science of why this way of eating works.”
~~Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint
“Deep Nutrition explains in a very detailed and easy-to-understand way how our diets affect us on a cellular level. Dr. Cate Shanahan shows the connection between diet and gene health, and details how poor diet choices can affect future generations!”

~~Wellness Mama

“Dr. Cate Shanahan beautifully presents the scientific evidence why traditional foods enjoyed by our ancestors thousands of years ago can keep us lean and disease-free today.  Deep Nutrition is an eye-opening, engaging book that is sure to change your life and the life of your family.”
~~Vani Hari, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Food Babe Way

“[Deep Nutrition is] a different philosophy. I’ve seen great results from it—it’s worked well for me.”
~~Kobe Bryant, NBA player with the L.A. Lakers

“Deep Nutrition really helped me with endurance. I started to feel better as a player. I was able to run more, I was able to be more active …and I just decided to keep going with it to this day.”

~~Dwight Howard, NBA player with the Houston Rockets

Why Read Deep Nutrition?

Deep Nutrition is unique because it is the only book that gets you back to the diet we abandoned very recently. Within the past 50 years or so, we were convinced to abandon the diet that had been working for us for thousands of generations. Deep Nutrition is the opposite of a fad diet; it’s simply returning us to what kept us healthy before the epidemics of overweight and diabetes began.

Anyone who says that we still need more research to get to the root cause of any one of these diseases that is increasing, like overweight, diabetes or even cancer and Alzheimers, is simply not well informed. Everyone who seriously studies nutrition and its connection to health comes to the same conclusion: The modern diet is killing us and we’d do better to get back to the diet we all used to follow before so many of us started getting sick.

The most important concept in the book is this: The idea that Sat Fat is bad was based on fraudulent science–and I give you the evidence that convinced me this was the case. What it did, was open the door to selling more processed food. That’s why we’re sick. So you don’t have to go back 20,000 years and eat like a caveman, nor do you have to give up all animal products for fear of their saturated fat content. All you need to do is go back to the same diet everyone used to follow before we all started getting sick, what we call the Four Pillars of The Human Diet.

What’s New in the New Edition ?

With 2x content and 3x the references, the new Deep Nutrition has a lot to offer. But what was the driving factor behind doing all this work?

The Author’s Note at the beginning of the new edition lists four key reasons for writing the new edition, including answering more than fifty of the most common questions readers have asked over the years, fulfilling requests for a PLAN, and updating the evidence for returning to traditional foods with the latest research. But those just scratch the surface. Every chapter in the new edition is so chock full of new information, I didn’t have space to include all the reasons you’d want to read it in the Authors Note, so I’m including more here:

  1. When I wrote the 2009 edition I was living on Hawaii. Hawaii is the healthiest state in the US, and, I didn’t realize until I moved back to the mainland, that the generational decline in health I had noticed in Hawaii was even more dramatic back on the mainland, particularly health problems that result from impaired immune system function. So this edition addresses food intolerances, notably dairy and gluten, along with other issues I encountered far more often after relocating.
  2. Speaking of gluten, when I wrote the 2009 edition, almost nobody had heard of it. Today, one in five Americans say they are gluten-free. Considering that gluten constitutes about 1 %  of the average person’s diet, and vegetable oils constitute 25-35%, I’d say that it’s past overdue that we pay more attention to these industrially processed fats and their potential connection to disease. With that in mind, I’ve expanded the original Good Fats and Bad chapter to help expose the link between vegetable oils and cardiovascular disease, and included an enormous, entirely new chapter, Brain Killer, describing how vegetable oils promote oxidative stress that leads to impaired cognitive function at every age. The idea is to make it clear that if you had only one dietary change you could afford to make, this should be it.
  3. When I wrote the 2009 edition, the current low carb craze was just barely beginning. Now, many millions of people are abandoning the high-carb breakfasts, snacks and other junk and going back to eggs, cheese and other real, natural fats. This has created a very special problem, because in some cases, in spite of weight loss and reduction of medication dependence (for diabetics in particular), people’s total cholesterol will go up and their doctors advise them to start statins, often wrongly. So this edition includes information for both readers and their doctors on why this happens, how to tell if something is wrong, and why not to just assume a statin will help.
  4. When I wrote the 2009 edition, the rise in autism and other childhood developmental disorders was just barely being noticed. Now, it’s very clear that autism is increasing and, the question now is what’s behind the epidemic. This edition reveals the science that connects the consumption of vegetable oils and excessive carbohydrates to the epidemics of autism and other childhood problems, in order to better empower parents with tools to protect their family’s health.
  5. One of the most novel and controversial ideas in the original Deep Nutrition is the idea that birth order affects our looks by impacting skeletal development, and that subsequent siblings may be at a disadvantage, health wise. This edition expands that concept, originally called second sibling syndrome, to highlight how, in the context of a modern diet, there are also disadvantages to being born first. The goals of including this new information are two fold. First, to help prospective parents understand the absolute power they have to control the outcome of their children’s futures. And second, to help you recognize two patterns of skeletal asymmetry that predispose us to developing certain injuries so that you can recognize them before you hurt yourself.

Now Available Bookstores Everywhere !

More Praise for Deep Nutrition:

Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional food

Expanded and Updated! With 2x the information and 3x the references!

I just finished reading Deep Nutrition, Twice. Dr. Shanahan provides a fascinating presentation of nutrition, genetics, anthropology, history, medicine, metabolism, and cooking. It is a book that I can refer to my patients as a resource, and to colleagues as a reference.

~~Dr. Lowell Gerber, Medical Director of the Freeport Cardiology clinic in Freeport, Maine

“Immediately I was struck by the clarity and simplicity of the writing. I didn’t realize that fat cells could wander around the body and turn into different cell types. Fascinating. I’m going to jump on my stair-stepper and pound away!”

~~Jo Robinson, Author ofThe Omega Diet, and Eat Wild.Com

“Dr. Cate…shows us a practical scientific approach to food, health and wellness. I love her book and tell all of my clients it is a must-read. Dr. Cate has influenced my approach to food, nutrition and wellness not only for my family, but my clients as well.”

~~Sharon Brown, Nutritionist, Founder Bonafide Provisions

I talk to a lot of doctors. This is the best advice so far. It’s very doable; saving hundreds of dollars on supplements.

~~Adriane Berg, Host Growing Bolder Radio 

“Even readers who are very familiar with the works of Weston Price will still discover new and fascinating information within these pages. I enjoyed Deep Nutrition so much that I honestly did not want to finish it.”

~~Marjorie Tietjen, Price Pottenger Nutrition Foundation

“Dr. Shanahan is the Michael Pollan of medicine, telling us what to eat and why to eat it.”

~~JoAnn Deck, Vice President of Ten Speed Press

I have just finished reading Deep Nutrition and have already recommended it to one of my daughters with the intent to insist that all my 5 adult children read this book as well.   Everyone was required to read Fast Food Nation and Omnivore’s Dilemma.

~~Dr. Ron Sigler, Medical Director of the Highline Medical Group in Seattle, Washington

Now in a revised and updated edition, Deep Nutrition examines the traditional foods of our ancestors alongside the latest epigenetic research to show how The Four Pillars of the Human Diet can help anyone live a longer, healthier, more vital life. New content includes how to evaluate your body symmetry and understand your risk of injury, a chapter focusing on brain health, and a plan that enables you to implement all this great advice!

 

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  • Sarah Schmid

    Hi Dr. Cate,
    I’m a mom and physician from Germany. For several years I’ve been practicing and educating people on traditional diet. Your book was given to me by one of my youtube-followers and I am excited. I’ve been thinking about making a book like yours only in German language. Because nothing like this exists here and people are crazy about vegan diet which makes my heart ache. Often they just can’t get proper information. But since your book exists: Are there maybe plans on translating it – into German? Because then I wouldn’t have to rewrite what already exists and I could just recommend it to everyone who asks me about nutrition. That would be really awesome.

  • A must read, life-changing book!! I have been preaching the principles of Deep Nutrition for many years… now I can simply recommend the book! Many of our customers have read Deep Nutrition… they know that they need more organs meats… they don’t want to bother with the process… they find our company, and we do our best to provide value.

    To be certain, nothing beats buying organ meats from your local farm or butcher. You get the opportunity to shake a hand, look them in the eye, get to know the person and their animal husbandry philosophies… This give you the opportunity to really get to know all involved in the supply chain of your food.

    Most of us know that we should be doing this… we know that we should be eating more organ meats… now we know whey… but we’re not. Most of us know the nourishing health benefits but there’s so much effort involved in sourcing, preparing and sometimes consuming. An alternative solution is desiccated organ supplements. Supplement companies (mine included) make grass fed organ products like liver, heart, kidney, pancreas and spleen.

    I recommend for people to do things the old fashioned way… get to know their local farmers and butchers… if this doesn’t work out, don’t shut the door on the nourishment of organ meats. Try a pasture-raised, grass fed supplement version.

  • sarends

    Just read Deep Nutrition – very VERY informative. I am 62 – been on LCHF for 2 years since I had a heart attack and stent. My wife and I are going to focus on the 4 pillars. BIG takeaways for us was the danger of vegetable oils. We need to make a religious effort to rid our diets of MegaTrans fats immediately! Also, we are signing up for a raw milk share today! Personally, my LDL P and triglycerides are way too high and I am hoping to use some things in this book to better figure out my metabolism. I wish Dr. Shanahan was available for a consultation – I feel that she could help me figure out my personal conundrum. My C Reactive protein is low and my Insulin is low so I don’t believe I am insulin resistant. But I can’t get my LDL-P and triglycerides down and my HDL is only 43. Anyway, Dr. Cate is brilliant and I will be re-reading Deep Nutrition as a user manual!

  • Tracers

    Just read the book, and it was eye opening, and can’t wait to share it with everyone I know. I also hope the thread comes back to life as I have some questions for Dr. Cate.

    • HI Tracers, feel free to post your question !

  • Benjamin Kuo

    Hi doc. Your book is fascinating and I can’t put it down! I’ve noticed that my ranchers grow pasture-raised pigs by letting them run wild in the forest, but also supplement their diet with grains blended with cottonseed oil. Would you know whether the pork would be detrimental to humans? I really love their fatty pork chops!

    • It’s probably a pellet feed, similar to dog or cat food in appearance and ingredients list. If you look at most dog and cat foods, you’ll see some kind of vegetable oil on the list. And so conventionally raised pigs would no doubt get much much more of this toxic sludge. The little piggy livers would theoretically be able to facilitate excretion of some of the toxic compounds in cottonseed oil, but not all of it. Cheap vegetable oil is probably a common ingredient in most farm feeds, so that conventionally raised chickens and cows would be eating it in much greater quantity. Fish get the stuff too now, when farm raised. Real food is becoming harder to find!

  • Benjamin Kuo

    This thread has been brought back to life! 😀

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  • Michele Arena

    Dr.Cate,
    thanks for your book Deep Nutrition that I found very interesting and well written.
    The only point that could not find discussed in details is in regards to the uric acid and how the protein based eating regime you suggest would keep it at low levels.
    I was born and raised in Italy but lived in US for four years; call it a coincidence or not, while in US I started to have high cholesterol and uric acid levels. I then moved back to France and then Italy and started again a “Mediterranean diet” based on olive oil (I normally take at least 3 spoon/day on top of my food) and, call it again a coincidence or not, got back to normal levels of uric acid and cholesterol.
    The problem comes when I want to lose weight and I cut carbs in favor to protein; If I do this my uric acid level goes way up even if my cholesterol stays the same.
    I understand the benefits of pillar number one on bone joints and therefore I assume also on the uric acid levels, but is this the only pillar affecting the origin of this acid? How does it exactly works to keep it low in a high protein diet?
    Thanks in advance for your reply and to clarify this point.

    Michele

    • Make sure to drink plenty of water and get plenty of healthy fats. Uric acid issues are something we will be discussing in our next book in more detail.

  • Whitley James

    Hello Dr. Cate,

    I stumbled across your book as I am very interested in forming a great relationship with food and my body. Deep nutrtion was one of the best investment I made to my health. Thank you so much for sharing this wealth of information to the masses. I have one question, and maybe you can give me some feedback on different ways to get around this issue. It seems that I am finding it very hard to keep weight on, with this regimine. It has always been a challenge for me to gain weight, so I was wondering if you have any tips on getting arounds this. Or maybe I should just be a little bit more consistent and hopefully the weight will come, of course in a healthy proportioned manner. Thanks.

    • I’m thinking you really want lean body mass, not fat, right? That’s going to develop best with exercise, good sleep, and making sure you get plenty of bone broths as well as a variety of protein sources, some of which should be uncooked (ie raw milk cheese, sushi). If your frame is slender, you will likely always have more resistance to building muscle than someone with a bulkier frame, but its even more important for you to do so to build those bones as strong as possible!

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  • Adam Christensen

    Your book is awesome! I also have reallyl enjoyed your interviews. I have been trying to find a book with tue same principles as your book and othersnlike Nurishing Traditions but for athletics? If anyone can point me the right directionI would greatly appreciate it!

  • Tara

    Great book, really value the great knowledge inside.
    I would love to go to a doctor in NYC that does exactly your work or knowledge.
    Do you know of anyone here, I could rely on for this?
    Thank you!!

  • Tyler Keith

    Hi Dr. Cate,

    Thanks so much for your research and beautiful book Deep Nutrition. I want to pick up again on the theme of protein powders. What form of protein would you suggest eating after fairly intense strength training? From what I’ve read, it is important to have a protein with a fast absorption rate, which whole animal foods do not have.

    Also, I see on your protein chart that for a 200 lb man, 85 – 105 g. protein is enough for “moderate activity.” With regular 30-minute high intensity lifting, is this enough to build muscle? Or is there a “high activity” recommendation? If so I am happy to hear it, it is just much less than what I’ve ever heard elsewhere.

    thanks again for your profound work,
    Tyler

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  • Ami Noh

    Dear Dr. Cate,

    I’m Ami Noh, a literary agent, working at Amo Agency, based in Seoul, Korea. Nice to e-meet you.
    I have a publisherwho is interested in your book DEEP NUTRITION. Would you let me know if the Korean translation rights are not yet sold? If avaialable, please kindly send me a pdf or a review copy for my submission to the interested publisher.

    Warmd regards,

    Ami

  • I love your book! Honestly, it is the best one i have ever read and i have read everything. I am a nutritional therapist who is passionate about helping children. I speak regularly to groups of new moms about what to feed their infants and i would love permission to use some of your material in my teachings. You really do an amazing job of making the content so interesting and relevant. Please let me know if I might reprint some of your material with full credit. I’ve been telling everyone to buy the book anyway, but for those non-book gals, the excerpts are gold! Thank you in advance!

  • Kimberly

    Hi Dr. Cate,
    I just bought Deep Nutrition today on the Kindle and the tables with the tests at the end are too small to actually read even after zooming. (Tests to Measure Your Health) Do you have these available as PDFs? I’m pretty sad to have to miss out on this part of the book because they aren’t viewable on eInk Kindles. (And pretty bummed that I bought it on Kindle at all.)
    Thanks!
    -Kimberly

    • I am so sorry you are having this problem. Kindle converts the tables into images and the resolution just may make things appear blurry. I suspect others will have this problem so I will be finding a pdf for you and send that out as soon as possible to the email you provided and also make a downloadable file available on the website for anyone else having problems with their kindle viewing and meanwhile we will request that the kindle team fix this somehow. Thank you for contacting us about this issue.

  • Katherine Daniels

    I have been very impressed with your books so far, and have gotten them for the rest of my family! Do you have any plans to publish it in digital format? I would love to be able to “gift” it to other people on their iPads, and I would love to keep the food rules with me while I am still learning!

    • Thank you so much for the complements!
      Our books are available on Kindle as of Jan 3, 2017 the new edition of Deep Nutrition is available in ebook formats from a variety of retailers as well as CD audio and on audible.com.

  • John Jones

    Dear Dr. Cate,

    I’ve just finished reading your excellent book. Thanks for putting all of this information in a succinct and concise manner that makes it accessible to all. I’m quite delighted to find the lipid hypothesis is being steadily debunked as I’m a big butter fan. I understand that we need saturated fats. However, I want to know what constitutes too much saturated fat and what are the health consequences in an otherwise healthy diet/lifestyle.

    Kindest regards, John Jones (NZ)

  • Bevin

    Hi Dr. Cate,
    Really enjoying your book right now, as well as your podcasts with UGW and LLVLC. Just listened to your podcast with Jimmy where you spoke about the role of low carb in hormone balance. A few days ago a certain paleo person (ck) did a podcast on thyroid where he explained some studies which corellated low carb with a down regulation in t3 and t4. He was clear that it depends on the individual, but I am struggling with hypothyroid and not sure which way to go.
    Comments?:)

  • Georgina

    Is there a spanish version of Deep Nutrition? If not, what would it take to make that happen?

    • No spanish translation at this time. To make it happen would need a foreign literary agency interested in distribution rights to contact us. Or…a professional translator with lots of time on their hands would have to generously volunteer. 🙂

  • Gerry Clear

    Just finished reading your book and found it fascinating. I went out and bought some Bubbies Sauerkraut but had a question. I microwave some eggs every morning for breakfast and have been adding the sauerkraut. Am I destroying the nutrients in the sauerkraut by microwaving or am I ok?

    Thanks,
    Gerry

    • All heating can kill bacteria and damage nutrients, microwaving included. If you nuke it to steaming hot, there may not be many surviving bacteria. So I recommend just warming it enough to meld nicely with the eggs.

  • Mikki Coburn

    I just finished your book, Deep Nutrition and am going to go back over it today to highlight some things. Is there a list of food items with the grams of sugar? Not buying too many foods in packages these days, so will find it hard to calculate. If it’s in your book, I’ll search again, or maybe you could direct me to a list online or another book? Just had 1/3 cup of blueberries with my homemade plain whole milk yogurt and am wondering, “How much sugar did I just start my day with?” 😉

  • Paula

    Dr Cate,

    In the list of oils to avoid there is no mention of sesame oil. Should I avoid this ingredient? I use it frequently in Chinese and japanese recipes.

    Thanks.

    • Sesame oil is on the list of good oils P 14 of Food Rules and, that’s why its not on the bad list 🙂

      • Paula

        Thanks! I couldn’t find any mention on “Deep Nutrition”. I just got “Food Rules”, but its not supposed to arrive until tomorrow. I’m very excited to open the shipping box, as I am about not having to get rid of that one oil 🙂

  • Jim Kling

    Dr. Cate, I’m just getting to the end of Deep Nutrition, and found that many parts reinforced previous knowledge (in great detail!), and other parts were strange and new to me. One thing I’d love some clarification on is the notion of pluripotency of cells. My takeaway was that you were asserting that all cells have the potential to transdifferentiate from, say, fat to muscle or bone, or the other way around. Applying my layman’s eye to some of the footnotes, it seems to me that not all cells have such pluripotency, but rather that it might be limited to certain types of cells (mesenchymal stem cells) or specialized cells such as the epithelial cells in mammary glands.

    Is the ability of cells to transdifferentiate therefore limited to a very few and specific kinds of cells, or are you indeed saying it is more of a universal phenomenon within the body? For instance, the remaining part of my “spare tire” could, through continuing the Four Pillars eating principles, transdifferentiate into bone and muscle? I find that incredible, and I’m not sure I follow the conclusion from the cites. Help?

    • Jim
      It is incredible. Cell identity is driven by context, and cells placed in different context will alter their identity. By eating fewer carbs/trans fats and more nutrients combined with getting enough sleep and exercise to generate hormones and growth factors, your spare tire fat cells will empty out and some may actually de-differentiate into pre-adipocytes which can then become muscle, bone, and other cell types. According to the literature, it’s all possible. Heres some more cool research: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19088398 and http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014482703005494
      Plug dedifferentiation or transdifferentiation and some cell types into pubmed and read more. The ‘intelligence’ built into every cell is astounding.