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What Do All The Healthiest Diets Have In Common?

What do all the healthiest diets have in common?

French Paradox, Mediterranean Diet, Okinawa Diet…Oh my!

How do you chose?

You don’t have to choose, you can enjoy them all.

This article is continued below...(scroll down)
Kobe Bryant

It helped. I feel great.

"It’s helped. I feel great."

Kobe Bryant
NBA baskeball player
megyn kelly

This has been life changing

"Let me tell you this has been life-changing. I have all of her books, in audible and ebooks! I have gotten rid of all the hateful 8 oils. I have trained my body to eat its own previously toxic body fat. Download that pod it's a game changer!"

Megyn Kelly
Jesse Watters

Life changing

Deep Nutrition changed my life.

Jesse Watters
Fox News Primetime host

Saved my life

I would like to thank you for literally saving my life. Back in February, I had to be hospitalized while on vacation in Phoenix with an A1C of 11% and had to start taking 2 types of insulin and 2 other meds. I read the Fatburn Fix in April, and followed the program to a tee, and I’m down by 15 pounds, 6.8 A1C, and only one once weekly diabetes medicine. Prior to reading the book, it was almost impossible for me to lose weight as a diabetic. 

Leontyne Tompkins

I feel free

For the last month, I have really been reading all labels on everything. I have completely remove those 8 oils you talk about. I must tell you, I feel great! I have more energy and I am now 197 lbs (have always been around 205 to 210lbs). I eat potatoes with real butter, grass fed steak, pasta with the right toppings. I eat everything! I seem to crave less sugar. I love it! 

Robert Kirkendall

I feel so much better

I had terrible aches and pains everywhere in my body, my hands, shoulders and knees. I feel so much better and the way I feel is motivating me every day! Thank you

Mike Deb Wootan Burcin

Better than ever

I am an anesthesiologist in Orlando and a huge fan of both of your books! I have been incorporating your principles for the last 10 months and feel that my health is better than ever.

Marnie Robinson, MD

My allergies disappeared

The biggest difference for me (and a surprising one) is that my allergies have almost completely disappeared! This is a big deal for me, because I’ve had allergies most of my life and they have often affected what I do which is a teaching music in [a public school district].  In general, I feel much better and have more consistent energy throughout the day.

Erica Turrell

Heart Palpitations have Stopped

I’ve lost 20+ pounds (also fasting 16-24 hours daily) and haven’t had palpitations except for one occasion — I had a mini bag of Fritos for the first time in July. And, I feel better now on a daily basis than I ever did all through college.

Mike Wright
Deep Nutrition and Fatburn Fix reader
Mitzi Wilkinson Champion

I’ve lost over 50 pounds

I’ve lost over 50 pounds. I’m 56 years old. Cutting processed food and unhealthy fats from my diet was one of the first things I did on my health recovery journey...I went cold turkey off the bad oils. Emptied my pantry into the trash and just started eating real food

Mitzi Wilkinson Champion

Knowledge I didn’t know I needed

Your Fatburn Fix book is amazing, my friend. Thank you! I’m an Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and I know my stuff. This is the extra layer of knowledge I didn’t know I needed. Well done!

Jennifer Dillman
Fatburn Fix reader

Lost a solid 20 lbs and my bloodwork is great

I have lost a solid 20 lbs and my bloodwork (after 3 months of eating your way) was even better! I was metabolically healthy (per your book) before I read your book, but barely. Lowering my weight, sealed the deal! I have been talking about you and your book to anyone who will listen...Thank you for all you’ve done and what you continue to do! You are changing lives for the better!

Missy Cramer
FatBurn Fix reader

Lost 20 lbs I could never shed

I love your Fatburn Fix!  Has helped me so so much!  I have had the dreaded weight all my life - 20 or so pounds I could never shed.  I have lost that now. I only eat 2 meals a day lunch and dinner with a glass of milk or cappuccino around 4 to hold me over. No snacking and not bad oils.  It has been the key to unlocking my fatburn.  I work out in the am and believe I am burning fat for energy not from food!

Lauren Smith

I feel great

My waist is four inches smaller. I feel great and many of the minor aches and pains that I had (knees and lower back) are gone. Also, my muscle tone is amazing, even though I have not increased my workout routine.

Richard Janelle
Completed Dr Cate's online course
Kent Matthes

The go-to for strength and conditioning coaches

Whenever I advise my clients about eating to perform I go straight to what I have learned from Dr. Cate. Her book Deep Nutrition has become the go-to for strength and conditioning coaches across the country.

Kent Matthes
Major League Baseball Agent with WME Sports
Ken D Berry

Dismantles the lie

Dr. Cate dismantles the lie that seed oils are healthy, which may the biggest lie about nutrition and health because it’s so insidious.  

Ken D Berry, MD
Author of Lies My Doctor Told Me
Dr. Drew Pinsky

She knows the chemistry

Dr. Cate alerts us to the harms of seed oils and she’s convincing because she knows the chemistry better than anyone.

Dr. Drew Pinskey, MD
Globally recognized internal medicine and addiction medicine specialist, media personality, LoveLine Host, and New York Times bestselling author
Kelly Starrett

No one is better at communicating nutritional truth

Dr. Cate has had the single greatest impact on how we talk to people about fueling for both performance or durability. While we all are a little unique, the foundational principles of human nutrition are immutable. If you are looking to create a more durable, resilient body, no one is better at communicating nutritional truth than Dr. Cate.

Dr. Kelly Starrett
Physiotherapist coach and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author
Brian Lenkzes

Highly recommend The Fatburn Fix

Dr. Shanahan has had a significant impact on my practice of medicine. I am known as a Low Carb Doctor, but I never really appreciated the negative effects of processed seed oils on the health of my patients. I highly recommend The Fatburn Fix to my patients and have a loaner copy in my waiting room. It is amazing how quickly blood sugars and overall health improves with cutting seed oils. It is not just about the carbs!

Dr. Brian Lenkzes, MD
CEO of LowCarbMD San Diego, co-host of Low Carb MD Podcast and host of Life's Best Medicine Podcast
Chris Kaman

Respected in the sports world

Dr. Cate reordered my diet when I was with the L.A. Lakers, and the benefits, for me personally, were felt immediately and have served me to this day. I’ve come to take real food so seriously I started a small family farm. I know of no M.D./nutritionist more respected in the sports world than Dr. Cate Shanahan.

Chris Kaman
NBA Player
Mark Sisson

Brought seed oil issue front and center

Cate brought the seed oil issue front and center. Healthy fats matter. So much so that I created an entire product line to swap out bad fats with good.

Mark Sisson
Founding Father of the Primal/Paleo Movement
Dallas Hartwig

Optimal health starts with food

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
Attribution author of The Whole 30
Dwight Howard

Helped me with endurance

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
Paul Grewal

Silver bullet for me

Dr Cate’s teachings helped me lose 60 pounds like it was nothing. It was like a silver bullet for me.

Paul Grewal, MD 
Dr Grewal Internal Medicine, MD, author of Genius Foods
Joesph Mercola

Radically improve your health…

Dr. Shanahan has provided a solid reference that deserves a place in the library of anyone who is seriously interested in nutrition. Her perspective on the vital role that healthy fat has in our diet is novel and, if implemented, can radically improve your health.

Dr. Joseph Mercola
Author of Fat for Fuel and Founder of
Dave Aspery

Pull up a chair…

I have based my work on the idea that getting the right kinds of healthy fats into your body and avoiding the worst fats is essential to optimal health. I've interviewed dozens of the world's top experts about this, and I know of no one who speaks more eloquently on this topic than Dr Cate. If she’s talking fats, pull up a chair. Take notes.

Dave Asprey
Author of the Bulletproof Diet

The key to unlocking my fatburn

I love your Fatburn Fix!  Has helped me so so much!  I have had the dreaded weight all my life - 20 or so pounds I could never shed.  I have lost that now. I only eat 2 meals a day lunch and dinner with a glass of milk or cappuccino around 4 to hold me over. No snacking and not bad oils.  It has been the key to unlocking my fatburn.  

Lauren Smith

Saved my life

I would like to thank you for literally saving my life. Back in February, I had to be hospitalized while on vacation in Phoenix with an A1C of 11% and had to start taking 2 types of insulin and 2 other meds. I read the Fatburn Fix in April, and followed the program to a tee, and I’m down by 15 pounds, 6.8 A1C, and only one once weekly diabetes medicine. 

Leontyne Tompkins

> Tears of joy

 I'm crying tears of joy and appreciation for all you've done for me and my health! Without Deep Nutrition and Fatburn Fix, I would literally still be in the vicious cycle I'd been fighting all my life! In a nutshell - I am no longer a compulsive overeating addict suffering under the crushing 'thumb' of all food and alcohol.     

Penni Wicks


All authentic cuisines the world over include foods that belong to these four categories:

  • Meat on the Bone
  • Organ meats
  • Fermented and sprouted foods
  • Fresh, uncooked ingredients

While most of my patients are aware of the importance of fresh foods, few people realize that we also need to include foods from the other three pillars. Here’s what you need to know about each:

Meat on the Bone

Cooking meat bone does two great things.

1) It enables the bone nutrients to infuse into the meat, imparting wonderful flavors.

2) Heat, water, and acid break down the collagen. When making bone stock (by boiling bones in water with an acid source, for instance tomato sauce) you fill the water with molecules called glycosaminoglycans. These molecules act as joint growth factors, keeping the collagen in your joints healthy and facilitating the repair of damaged joints.

I recommend you eat meat on the bone twice a week

Organ Meats

Recognize this? It’s liver pate. Few people are familiar with liver, kidney, bone marrow, and the other huge variety of offal meats that our ancestors universally enjoyed.  I often hear people say only poor people eat this stuff and they do so because they can’t afford the “better” cuts of meat. I don’t believe that’s the whole story. It takes a good deal more culinary know-how to know how to prepare this stuff. Few people bother to learn the tricks. Why bother? Liver and other organ meats contain omega-3 and other essential nutrients most people are sorely deficient in!

I recommend you eat organ meat once a week

Fermented and Sprouted: Truly Live!

What are fermented foods? Yoghurt is probably the most well known food that still contains live bacterial cultures which you eat. These little critters toil and toil to turn simple nutrients, like sugar and cellulose, into amino acids and vitamins. They also are probiotic, meaning they are “good life forms” that keep on living inside you. While there, they fight off pathogenic bacteria and help prevent a wide range of infections. A few other commercially available foods still contain live cultures.

Sprouted grains and legumes are the counterpart branch of this truly living, most dynamic pillar of traditional cuisine. Thousands of years ago, the only way to transform hard kernels of wheat into dough for making bread was by partially germinating the seeds. Of course, the processed occurred naturally when seeds would absorb water during storage and begin to come to life. Today, thankfully, a few manufacturers take the extra steps to make bread the old fashioned way and to provide us with a variety of sprouted nuts, seeds, and more. As with bacterial fermentation, sprouting transforms a simple nutrient – starch – into more complex ones, including fiber, amino acids, and vitamins.

I recommend you eat sprouted and fermented foods five times a week

Fresh: The Benefits of Raw Food

One word: Antioxidants.

More than any other pillar, fresh food delivers a powerfull wallop of inflammation-fighting antioxidant chemicals.

So many people taking supplement powders that claim to reduc inflammation would get more bang for their buck if they just ate fresh food! Why? Because cooking and processing – and that includes the process of encapsulation into pill form – destroy antioxidants. Antioxidants are only useful before they react with oxygen. Afterwards, they are “burned.” While stomach acid can sometimes rehabilitate antioxidants that are only partially destroyed by cooking etc., you still need to consume fresh food once a day to get the antioxidants you need. (For those of you thinking you’d like to try Eskimo diets, you can get antioxidants from raw meat!)

I recommend you eat fresh food daily

There are many more benefits of Four Pillar Foods!

Once you start eating them, you’ll experience all kinds of health benefits, from reducing asthma and arthritis, to avoiding deadly cancers and heart attacks. And all of these have beneficial effects on nerve tissue – meaning they can reduce pain and improve memory!

(Deep Nutrition has over 300 references to support the statements made on this page.)

With over two decades of clinical experience and expertise in genetic and biochemical research, Dr. Cate can help you to reverse metabolic disease and reshape your body.

Please note: Please do not share personal medical information in a comment on our posts. It will be deleted due to HIPAA regulations.

This Post Has 32 Comments

  1. […] 1.  Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food and Food Rules: An Eater’s Manualby Dr. Cate Shanahan […]

  2. Dr. John McDougall was recently “interviewed” (I say that tongue in cheek, because he really didn’t permit himself to be interviewed) on the Jimmy Moore show. Like you, Dr. McDougall worked in Hawaii, he was on the Big Island.

    He claims he formed his conclusions about a vegan, non-fat diet based on observations of his patients in Hawaii. First generation Pacific Islander immigrants were invariably healthier, he concluded, because their diets were primarily starch-based. He doesn’t acknowledge that they ate much meat in their native lands and he believes that the introduction of meat and fat once the subsequent generations adapted to the local diet in Hawaii was the cause of all ills. By way of example, he mentioned immigrants from the Philippines in particular.

    I worked in a medical field on the Big Island too, and I think he is making stuff up. Meat–pork in all its forms in particular–was a huge portion of Pacific Islander diets in FIRST generations as I saw it. They brought these food traditions with them, it’s not something adopted once they reached Hawaii. They also ate plenty of seafood and fish. Starch was consumed (mostly rice and some tubers like potato and taro), but it was NOT what I would consider a starch-based diet–particularly not a low fat diet he espouses. I think his claims are false.

    What say you?

    1. In my view, anyone who does not permit themselves to be questioned or challenged in a meaningful way during an interview is hiding something.

      While I worked in Hawaii, those who ate starch regularly developed diabetes like everyone else who eats too much carb. When they cut their carbs, their blood sugars improved. And most of the people with roots on the islands going back for generations hunted the wild boar brought to the island for the purposes of hunting by previous immigrants, fished, raised chickens, etc. etc, exactly as you noted.

  3. Hi Dr. Cate,
    After switching from a vegan diet a year ago to a higher fat diet with eggs, meat, and whole dairy, my lipid panel is a bit shocking: total cholesterol 353 (a couple years ago it was 202), triglycerides 43, HDL 150 (a couple years ago: 180), LDL 194 (a couple years ago: about 100). Of course they want to start me on a statin immediately and consult with an internal medicine specialist. To me the HDL/total ratio looks pretty good, but the LDL is high. I eat very little in the way of grains or sugars. Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!

  4. Hi Dr. Cate: I’ve recently changed my diet quite a bit working with a Dr. to taper off anti-depressants. I was eating vegan for close to a year and after testing realized I had a lot of deficiencies (cholesterol, Vit D, B12, iron,) and my blood sugar was slightly elevated and homecysteine very high. Anyway, I’m trying to follow Deep Nutrition to an extent (can’t bring myself to eat organ meats yet). I wanted to ask your feelings on two foods- legumes and nuts. I have a hard time eating meat and seafood multiple times a day.

  5. Dr.Cate, I have purchased and read both your books, thanks so much for writing them! I have switched to healthy fats and sprouted grain bread, am making sauerkraut (so easy!), also bone broths, have cut out processed foods and cut back on carbs. One question that I have, is it OK to cook with ground flaxseed? I make a muffin with ground flaxseed and coconut flour but am not sure if the oil in the ground seed would be damaged by baking. Thanks for your help.


    1. Whole flours, when freshly ground, still contain antioxidants that do protect the oils from oxidative damage during baking. The key is keeping it moist.

  6. Hi Dr. Cate,

    Firstly, thank you for your wonderful book! We live in a Sufi community here in Jordan with scores of expat families and Deep has become a *required* reading in the neighborhood, and most families seemed to have begun the shift to your suggested 4 pillars diet.

    My question: I was raised in a hindu background, and most of my family -and ancestors- were vegetarian. Lots of milk and ghee, but no meat on the bone, or organ meat. Probably not even eggs. This is the state of much of India and other places were the main religions there promote vegetarianism. So how does the 4 Pillars take into account that people there undoubtedly also lived to ripe old ages (perhaps not *as* old as other super-cultures, but…) without any animal products of the 4 Pillars. How does one explain what they had to do to eat properly? I’m not a vegetarian, and I am fully committed to your 4 pillars, but I am just wondering how to communicate them to my vegetarian family members.

    Thank you,


    1. Vegetarian is a very flexible term. If you ask around you may discover that some eat fish, some eat dairy, some eat eggs, some even include chicken. Some do these things some of the time, others all of the time. Including chicken and fish enables all 4 pillars.

      If someone is ethically opposed to consuming something, however, I respect that.

      ALL of us can benefit from fermenting and sprouting our foods, paying attention to source, and cooking in ways that maximize the flavor and nutrition of our ingredients. So if someone is a vegetarian and asking for advise, I’d start there.

  7. Dr. Cate: I saw you today and this is what I was saying I saw on your site , a loaf of bread and something else, under the 4 Pillars of World Cuisine to eat 5x a week. There is a loaf of bread and a jar of pickles under sprouted and fermented. This shows, we see what we want to see, in my mind it said my sprouted bread I keep in the freezer is OK to eat 5x a week. : )
    Counting Carbs, JoAnn

  8. Hi Dr Cate,

    I enjoyed reading your book immensely. I’ve read at least 30 books on the subject of diet, not for weight loss but for nutrition. I had a number of weird health issues that after 15 years, $30,000 and at least 25 different doctors turned out to be MS.

    Anyway, you sold me. Yours is the first book I’ve read to give the reasons why different foods are good or bad for you. And you already have a test group to show experimental results. I’m changing my eating habits to align with your diet philosophy.

    Now… I live in Tokyo. Food here is quite different. Just TRY to tell someone from Asia that Rice or Noodles are bad for you! On the upside, locally grown fresh vegetables are common. Organ meats are a delicacy and have their own restaurants. And if you want fish, fish heads, fish egg sacks, any of a wide variety of seaweeds, they’re all at the local supermarket. Fresh wild caught is clearly marked.

    I have a problem though with Oils. In Japan they will often label things with the heading “Oil” which could be anything. And Peanut oil costs more per ounce than perfume.

    Is there any place with a more exhaustive list of Oils split into good and bad categories? For instance, sesame oil Good or Bad? I can’t buy large amount of peanut oil for cooking, but Sesame oil I could, I simply cannot locate a source to find out if I should avoid it of not.

    Turnips. Should I avoid Turnips and Radish? The Diakon radish is so ingrained into Japanese cooking it will be hard to avoid.

    Thanks for reading, sorry for the long post.


  9. Hi Dr. Cate,

    I have just found your blog but I will be returning many times to catch up on your archived posts. I have been learning more about nutrition and the benefits of whole foods and unprocessed foods. As a result my family and I are eating far more raw vegetables and lean proteins. I have never been able to get past the “yuck” factor of eating internal organs even with their many benefits. Yoghurt is another w/the yuck factor so I am finding ways to hide it in foods to add texture.

  10. Dr. Cate,

    I’ve read Deep Nutrition and am currently reading Food Rules. I have been making my own bone broths because of your advice on the benefits of collagen. What is your opinion of collagen supplements? I am sure they are not as good as the real thing but what about in addition to a healthy diet?

    1. You are spot on about supplements not as good as the real thing. Some people do find them helpful for morning joint stiffness but only bone broths have appeared to generate skin and hair improvements, and some (under age 40) have reported increased height!

  11. Extraordinary concepts. Nutrition is often at the core of our maladies. Thanks to a writer like you helping keep commerce honest in the food industry & nutrition @ the table. I have been eating raw beef since childhood and my physicist/engineer son does as well. Use turkey and chicken bones for soup. The finest vegetable soup is made with ox tail. Now that it has become a known ingredient its price has climbed to steak level. Adding a can of tomato paste ups the flavor/nutrition.

    1. You, and your mother it sounds like, are women ahead of your time.
      Can you please share a few of your favorite or fastest recipes for the raw beef and oxtail soup? (send to the admin at dr cate address)

    1. This event is being put on by the CIA, right up the road from my new medical office. Funny thing, in the restaurant business, even relatively high end restaraunts will use Canola or Grapeseed because most people still buy the line that it’s good for them. Luke and I have been interviewing people in the culinary industry for our food and health column in the Napa Register entitled “The Stock Report.” We now understand that the driving factor is simply cost. At one tenth the price of Olive or butter, and with so few people enlightened as to their true toxic nature, few in the industry are interested in spending the extra money. Best we can do is vote with our pocketbooks.

  12. Dear Dr. Cate,
    I’m a naturopath living in France though I’m Japanese and grew up in the U.S..  I absolutely agree with you about the importance of eating raw foods, fermented foods and meat on the bones (makes sense with regard to the GAG contained in bones).  However, with regard to the benefits of eating organ meat, I’m puzzled about the preparation of such foods. Should one eat organ meat raw?  Here in France, we are careful to have our patients eat sufficient omega 3 fats, but non oxidized and raw as they are transformed into transfats when heated.  Also, what about all the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are lost through cooking organ meats?

    Thanks in advance for your clarification.

    Mariko Harada
    Practicienne en naturopathie

    1. Cooking is unlikely to cause mineral loss, unless you boil and then drain off the fluid. I do understand that uncooked proteins are more nourishing because the amino acids have not been oxidized, while the cellular enzymes in the foods are unlikely to contribute in any way to our digestive process as they are de-activated by the digestive acids and our own enzymes. I discuss this as well as the reasons I believe are behind the health benefits of raw foods in chapter 7 of Deep Nutrition.

  13. Stephanie
    The French are not entirely immune to the invasion of the carbohydrate! Before industrialization, wheat was far more labor intensive compared to hunting in the once-abundant forest lands. Now that only a tiny bit of forest remains in France, as with much of the rest of the world—having given way to amber fields of grain—the choices people have have changed. I see the baggetification of French cuisine as an artifact of the industrial age.

  14. Dr. Cate,
    Thanks for your response. While I’ve been processing all of this new information I thought of one more question/issue I have with your perspective. You discuss the fact that traditional food cultures are healthier than ours and you describe their similar attributes – one of these cultures being the French. So, my question is, how do you then explain the abundance of French bread, baguettes, croissants, and the myriad of French pastries made with white flour (and sugar) consumed by the French? My mother-in-law is French, in her late 70?s, makes the best French pastries, and gets around like she’s in her 40?s! I’m wondering if she makes them for us and then doesn’t eat any herself!
    Thanks again,

  15. Oh Posh, that’s funny.
    the total number is meaningless, and any good lipid specialist can set your doctor straight on that. What matters most are the HDL and Triglyceride values, and the average cardiologist is going to focus on LDL even though it’s not really an independent variable. The higher your HDL, the better. And triglycerides under 100 are excellent. If your LDL is high, you may have some interference coming from reverse t3 as discussed here: and still I wouldn’t change your diet but some people feel better with naturethroid supplementation.

  16. Hi Dr. Cate, I have eaten nutritionally deep for over a year now, grain and sugar-free for five glorious months. I devoured your book and have dog-eared many pages. I’ve never been healthier or happier in my life, and even gained a half-inch of my height back, after losing an inch to degenerative spice disease. The thing is, I have high cholesterol. 289 total. I want to go back in for a fasting lipid panel to get the other numbers. Last June is was 263. My triglycerides were 44 though. Anyway, my doctor, though open to conversation, thinks I need to be on drugs. I wish he would consider all the information I have discovered through you and other wonderful sources, but I’m not going to bet on it. If you have any wisdom or advice I would be so so grateful. Thank you!

  17. […] You might be wondering why I buy so much meat “on-the-bone”.  Well, first and foremost I find the bone imparts lots of flavor to the meat.  And second, meat on the bone is more nutritious.  To learn more about this, be sure to check out Dr. Catherine Shanahan’s blog about the Four Pillars of Good Health. […]

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