Nutrition Density Challenge: Fruit vs. Beef Liver

In Thursday evening’s debate with Harley Johnstone, aka Durianrider, of 30 Bananas a Day (see here for the debate wrap up and reader discussion), I issued a challenge for listeners to get a sense for comparative nutrient density by comparing some measure of beef liver with what it would take in any mix of fruit to roughly approximate the nutrition, buy which I basically meant: vitamins and minerals.

While not a precise comparison and we don’t have the actual nutrient breakdown, 30BAD member Harrison — to his credit — was honest and open enough to do just that. Basically, he compared his breakfast of 1800g of papaya and 450g of strawberries to a measly 113g of beef liver. That’s 79.4 ounces of fruit (5 POUNDS!!!) compared to 4 ounces of beef liver (1/4 POUND!!!). Here’s the chart, the top one being the fruit and the bottom one the liver.

liver vs fruit
Fruit (top) vs. Liver (bottom)

In rough terms, this makes liver about 20 times more nutritious than fruit by weight. Also note the protein. Four ounces of liver and you get 10g more protein than in 5 pounds of fruit. What you don’t get, however, is 211g of sugar, a full 207g more than in the liver.

Now here’s where Harrison flubs the experiment all up, making it an apples to oranges comparison (who can fault him?).

I exceeded the vitamin and mineral content of 4 ounces of beef liver with my breakfast. It’s not really so tough.

He’s comparing a reasonable amount of caloric energy in his breakfast to a breakfast that wouldn’t satiate my 15 lb. rat terrier. So let’s do a little work on FitDay and see how his 850 kcal breakfast compares to a breakfast with the 4 ounces of liver, plus eggs, potato and fruit, to get up to an equivalent level of energy.

But first, let’s look at the actual nutritional breakdown for the fruit. You’ll need to click it to open up the full size version.

Fruit Nutrition
Fruit Nutrition

Green numbers are those nutrients that exceed the daily RDA and red, those that fall short (but in fairness, this is but one meal). Dashes mean the meal doesn’t contain the nutrient at all.

So here’s the full meal I constructed and again, click to open it to full size if you need.

Full Meal
Full Meal

Now, for a breakfast I would be more likely to go with double the meat (8oz) in the form of a sirloin or other breakfast steak and adjust the other stuff accordingly. At any rate, let’s stick with the 4 ounces of liver for continuity.

Here’s the nutritional breakdown.

Liver Meal Nutrition
Liver Meal Nutrition

And now finally, here’s a graphical comparison of both ~850 kcal meals, with the fruit meal at top.

850 Calorie Comparison
850 Calorie Comparison

So, while he was able to achieve a rough vitamin and mineral equivalent consuming 850 calories and 5 pounds of fruit to  150 calories and 4 ounces of beef liver, if you actually add the rest of what you would need for an 850 calorie meal from eggs, starch and fruit, you simply blow the 5 pounds of fruit out of the water by a very wide margin, on average. What’s more, you don’t have to eat five pounds. Estimating my meal at 650 grams total, you’re under a pound and one half of total food.

This ought to give any vegan pause, especially feeding infants and children.

So, commenters, what have you to add? Any other insights to glean from this? Vegans: see if you can do better. Better mix of fruit? Perhaps some leafy greens? Paleos, can you do better? Just how about everyone stick to the same 850 kcal meal so that we’re comparing animal flesh to animal flesh.

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  1. Zach on April 16, 2011 at 12:07

    Heres my breakdown of my breakfast. I eat dairy but still mostly paleo.

    16oz whole milk
    3 Eggs fried
    .8 cup spinach (for caloric accuracy)
    .25 onion
    1 tomato
    1 banana
    1 medium sweet potato (hashbrowns)

    850 cal
    Fat 39g
    cho 88g
    Pro 43g
    – link to rda graph

    Pretty damn good, nutrient wise, i could eat another 850cal meal and hit all nutrients for that day easy with only eating 1700cal. I will probably eat over 3000cal however…

  2. Stabby on April 16, 2011 at 11:38

    I don’t like these comparisons because they give equal weights to nutrients supplied to superfluidity. We don’t need that much vitamin A or copper. At least Richard isn’t writing a book based on the faulty premise like some guys *cough*fuhrman*cough* How much vitamin k1 and beta carotene do we actually need? Chances are you could get it in a cup of kale, or

    • Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2011 at 11:43

      My point Stabby is merely one of nutrient density. A meal with a variety of animal and plant products is always going to provide more vitamins and minerals than an equally caloric mix of just plants, and at a far less gram count total.

      • Stabby on April 16, 2011 at 11:48

        Agreed, then. Complete sufficiency in all nutrients is more important, and liver still wins in that department, by a long shot. Eggs, brains and some seafood too.

        Fuhrman included some esoteric plant compounds in his equation that have never been demonstrated to be useful, but he left out CLA in grass fed meat. You get like 5g of the stuff in a steak, that’s huge for a non-macronutrient that has biological activity. We could look at this stuff all day and come to one inexorable conclusion: animal foods in at least some quantity are nutritionally beneficial.

      • Chris on April 16, 2011 at 20:00

        I need to call something out here: 5 grams of CLA in a steak? Do you have a nutrional profile of a steak that has that much?

        It’s hard enough to get 1000mg from pills made from Safflower Oil (see Tonilin and Clarinol). The most I’ve ever seen is in a cut of pastured bison (which natually has a little more than an angus cow but about the same as a longhorn cow). That number didn’t even reach 100mg/100g. I’d love to know where you got your steak with that much though!

      • chuck on April 17, 2011 at 05:31

        another thing i think needs to be pointed out is that cooked food is more bioavailable and absorbed at a higher rate than raw food. eating cooked paleo means consuming way less than raw vegan. so eating food that is more nutrient dense AND cooked means spending way less time and money to nourish your body.

        this duriander character might as well be a jungle living primate grazing all day.

    • Ned Kock on April 16, 2011 at 16:14

      The much higher nutrition content of animal foods has another, interesting effect – it leads to a lower overall caloric intake:

      Some say that protein is satiating. Put a bunch of people on a protein-only diet of a toxic 400 g of protein powder per day, and they will be hungry all the time; that is before they develop serious health complications.

      I think that satiety is highly correlated with how nutrient-dense a food is.

      • Tony on April 16, 2011 at 20:32

        New, high protein is the problem. They are likely leaving out a matching (or higher!) level of essential fats, which provide a higher level of satiety and are absolutely required for proper assimilation of many nutrients.

      • Michal on April 18, 2011 at 15:27

        Put a bunch of people on a protein-only diet of a toxic 400 g of protein powder per day?

        In what way is this toxic? I’m not sure why this gets repeated. Do you have a reference for this? I’m really curious about this one.

      • Paul Verizzo on April 19, 2011 at 06:22

        400 grams of (dairy based) protein powder a day? What are we, lab rats? “Everyone” knows that whey powder digests very fast, yanks insulin around almost like sugar.

        Try……meat. I have spent periods consuming 300-400 grams per day of meat protein, and I assure you that compared to a high fat diet, the high protein one is far more satiating. I have experimented on this several times and always get the same results. Further, protein digestion requires energy, so almost 25% of what protein you eat disappears due to TEF, Thermic Effect of Food. So if you are on a weight loss diet, you get a double good whammy: less hunger, fewer net calories.

        Back to school, New.

      • Ned Kock on April 19, 2011 at 19:51

        Sure, but if you get your protein from meat you’ll also be getting fat and other nutrients at the same time, and the protein will no longer be toxic.

        Does the term “rabbit starvation” ring a bell?

  3. A Eilola on April 16, 2011 at 12:17

    30g ham 66.2kcal
    500g mineral water 0kcal
    30g roasted liver 61.8kcal
    140g beanstew 183.2kcal
    15g parsley 1.8kcal
    25g vanilla ice cream 48.1kcal
    5g wheat germ 16.7ckal
    12g sugar free sweets 15.5kcal

    That meets the daily recommended intake in everything and in just under 800kcals. Database I used is so results may vary if you use different one.

    • A Eilola on April 16, 2011 at 12:25

      Ooops, that came up incomplete.

      15 parsley 1.8kcal
      60g yellow bell pepper 15.8ckal
      70g carrots 19.6ckal
      2g mineral salt
      200g mineral water
      10g sunflower seeds 58.2kcal
      165g smoked vendace 202.5kcal
      200g brussel sprouts 39.3 kcal
      500g mineral water
      20g blue cheese 67.7kcal
      2g basilica 1kcal

  4. Michael on April 16, 2011 at 13:00

    Upon closer examination it gets even worse.

    What’s the conversion ratio of the carotenoids to true vitamin A? 10:1? 12:1? Even if for kicks and giggles we arbitrarily lowered it to 6:1 he is still getting a lot less vitamin A than what appears on the chart. And God forbid he is a non-responder.

    What is the bio-availability of the B-6? That is one thing bananas provide in a highly bio-available form, but no bananas at this meal.

    How much of the protein is complete even if multiplied by 3? Might explain some of the emaciation affect that is noticeable to nearly everyone except LFRV*ns

    Give them pause? Indeed.

    • Alex Thorn on April 16, 2011 at 16:14

      Spot on. Once you take into account the poor bioavailability and anti-nutrient issue with plant sources these kinds of comparisons become meaningless. Similarly with vitamin C – about the only micronutrient more abundant in a fruit-based diet – people consuming all that sugar need higher vitamin C intakes. If you are a low carb meat-eater, you don’t need so much vitamin C. I don’t eat any fruit or veg and haven’t done for a number of years. Neither do I supplement, yet I have so far had no problems with vitamin C deficiency. I probably get small amounts occasionally (bacon usually has a small amount of ascorbic acid added) but I guess, being almost zero carb and maintaining low-normal blood sugar throughout most of the day I just don’t need that much.

      • Andy Southerland on August 29, 2011 at 09:42

        Might want to reexamine the Vit C requirements on a VLC diet. Not saying you weren’t getting enough, but I’m pretty sure the dietary requirement goes up significantly for VLCers. The Perfect Health Diet folks chronicle an episode of scurvy from going VLC without paying attention to their intake. Of course, it’s very easily avoidable if you pay attention.

  5. rob on April 16, 2011 at 13:09

    Breakdown of my breakfast:

    coffee, black
    more coffee
    even more coffee
    yet another coffee

    not much in the way of nutrients but I have a firm ass

    • Josh on April 16, 2011 at 18:28

      Why the fuck would you post this ??

      • Terry on April 16, 2011 at 19:38

        Because he’s showing that he NEEDS the coffee to get through his day – you know – the DRUG that coffee/caffeine is. – Going away from stimulants was one of the best things I did for myself – I’m glad I’m no longer abusing caffeine, and that my diet gives me the energy I need.

      • Cheese on April 17, 2011 at 09:54

        You sound boring.

      • TandooriChicken on April 16, 2011 at 20:16

        I think rob is troll baiting. This is fucking hilarious. Rob you caught a live one man.

  6. Cathy on April 16, 2011 at 13:30

    Don’t forget, all that fruit would be expensive as hell (especially if you get organic), and totally NOT local for most of the year (anywhere but the tropics).

    For a crazy-ass bike rider who can quadruple his calories from fruit to try and just TOUCH on the amount of nutrition from animal products, so be it. For growing kids who need more nutrients, don’t shove more fruit down their throats. Give them nutritionally DENSE foods– butter, organs, eggs. Balance with some fruit and veg.

  7. Adam Landry on April 16, 2011 at 13:54

    Ugh. I read through some of the comments over at 30BAD and it’s just down right frustrating. It amazes me to this day how different people can read the same studies and come to such different conclusions.

    Personally, 5lbs of fruit for breakfast alone is ridiculous. Give me the meat and eggs and call it a day.

  8. Paleophil on April 16, 2011 at 14:07

    Re: the mention of wheat germ above, I don’t know whether that was serious or not, but that’s a good example of where basing one’s breakfast solely on reported nutrient content can go wrong. There are other factors like antinutrients and the bioavailability issue that Michael mentioned. Because of these issues and others, wheat germ is best avoided regardless of alleged nutrient content. These issues are also additional reasons beyond listed nutrient content that Richard’s breakfast is better on the whole than Harrison’s.


    Richard, are you aware that Durianrider is claiming that you have 30% body fat?

    “Its fat vs fit.
    Saturated fat and cholesterol vs high water content, glucose rich fuel.
    10 second workouts vs all day and night stamina.
    30% body fat vs 5% body fat.
    Fatty and greasy vs sweet and juicy.”

    • Richard Nikoley on April 16, 2011 at 14:14

      What do you expect? He has been shown to lie about everything. Anyone can do the math. 30% BF of 175 would mean I have a lean mass of only 122.5.

      Of course, most of the 30BAD crowd would not even intuitively understand how ridiculous that is.

      In fat, my BF is about 15%. I’m happy with that. Going to 165 would put me around 10%, but last time I went down to 170 I soon realized I just felt better at 175, where I’ve been +/- for quite a while now (I did have a brief shoot up to 183 or so before starting Leangains). But, perhaps it’s time to give another shot and see if my bod is ready to take a lower set point and live with it.

      • Sean on April 16, 2011 at 15:23

        Fuck all this debating bullshit, why don’t we let Mr 20-something Bananas take on Mr 50-something Paleo in a knock-down (with or without Queensberry rules). My money’s on Richard, and I’m a cheap bastard.

      • Wylie on April 18, 2011 at 18:33

        I for one, would pay big dollars to see that!!! :)

      • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2011 at 20:30

        I for one think a 10 minute MMA cage match would be fun. I would certainly not shy away from the challenge.

      • Paleophil on April 17, 2011 at 17:27

        Indeed, I would expect nothing less from Durianrider/Harley. The only way I can figure he got the figure was by lazily going by the quote in your “ABOUT” section: “Tipping the scale at 235 (5’10), at over 33% body fat, I decided to do something about it.” Some good may come of Harley’s bogus criticism, since I think it would make your ABOUT section more impressive if you included your current 15% body fat figure.

      • durianrider on April 18, 2011 at 20:04

        Richard has 15% body fat? Maybe Im deficient but all I see is gut rolls and bingo arms. Hey, like I said ‘my Mum is as fat as Richard and I still love her’.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2011 at 20:50

        Both the water dunk and the electrostatic yield 13-18, but I assume you understand that water is counted as lean mass and water kinda has a mind of it’s own. When I was 235, I was reading 33-35.

        But do the math. Do you think I could deadlift 2 plus of your scrawny 145 at a mere 120 lean mass. That’s about what you have, Harley. BTW, there’s a recent video of me DLing 305 that you can look up.

        What do you suppose would happens if we both set out into the outback, water only, no food? I could g0 weeks. I’d guess you might go days.


      • Ryan on November 23, 2011 at 05:20

        I hate to say this, Richard, but Harley (Durianrider) may be right in that case. If you weigh 175 lbs. and are at 5’10”, or 70″, that works out to a BMI of 25.1 – just barely overweight (overweight is BMI of 25 – 29.9). Even by American standards, you are overweight, and according to Harley, American standards are pretty lenient because fat is the norm in America. However, your body fat percentage is 15%, so you could just have a lot of lean muscle mass.

      • Paul Verizzo on November 23, 2011 at 05:39

        Ryan, those BMI translations into “Obese”, “Overweight,” or whatever are real crapola. I think anorexics come in “Normal.” :) Then throw in the observation that so many American’s are overweight as a sub-translation and we are walking on air.

        In fact, the whole BMI thing is, at best, fraught with problems. Best as a rough guide, but too many variables.

        Body fat percentage is probably the most accurate way to assess one’s normal weight. But even that parameter is hard to measure accurately and consistently. Calipers depend on expert use, and there are any number of formulas out there, some better with old people, some with men, yadayada. Mark Sisson had a water immersion test once that read WAY wrong, the administrator knew it, too. Finally gave him his money back, IIRC.

        After three years of self-comparison with scales or calipers, I’ve decided that the only test is “How do I look,” coupled with “How do these pants fit?” Compare yourself to yourself, not to others.

      • Ryan on November 23, 2011 at 15:55

        There are people on one side (such as Harley) that say the American standards for overweight are too low in order to hide the extent of America’s fat problem, then there’s people on another side that say American standards for overweight are too high so certain groups can scream, “America has an overweight/obesity problem”. LOL

      • Richard Nikoley on November 23, 2011 at 08:31

        Michael Jordan is “overweight” by BMI standards, as are virtually all MMA fighters, boxers and especially, bodybuilders.

        The BMI makes no distinction between lean tissue and fat, and appears to have been standardized by ectomorphs, not mesomorphs (like me) or endomorphs.

      • Ryan on November 23, 2011 at 15:49

        Well, of course bodybuilders appear overweight by BMI standards, but the average American isn’t a bodybuilder.

    • A Eilola on April 17, 2011 at 01:05

      “Re: the mention of wheat germ above, I don’t know whether that was serious or not”

      Lemme give you a bit background info on that. Health officials in my country have been comparing LC diet to a rat poison and saying that if you limit your intake of grains, vegetables and fruits, you are gonna be lacking in vitamins and minerals. One guy who lost a lot of weight and got improved health on low carb diet, came up with a 800 calorie challenge. You had to fit all the daily vitamins and minerals in 800 calories following the official guidelines just like he did on LC. Guess what the biggest complaint by the contestants was? That it had to have some either potatos, rice or pasta and bread in it, because their nutrient density is so poor.

    • Walter on April 28, 2016 at 06:48

      BMI is just wrong. It can for example, be misleading not only between people, but for individuals. If you lose muscle, you may well get a better BMI and if you gain muscle your BMI may be worse. On the standard low carb diet (which should have be disparaged after Ancel Key’s starvation experiment) you lose about equal amounts of both — a horrible deal. And people apply this repeatedly each time starting from a worse position. Don’t ask me how I know. Been there, done that, silk screened and hawked the t-shirt.

  9. Jade on April 16, 2011 at 14:36

    Been reading the blog for a while and spent a bit of time over on the banana site looking at what a general daily food intake would be on that type of diet. I did a bit of messing around with fit-day as well looking and nutrient comparisons vs quantity and density too and then did some rough costing out based on the current prices I buy food at. I didn’t write it all down though.

    Anyways I figured out that for some daily diets it was considerably more cost then my diet even if I was buying grass-fed organic meats. I do have some pretty straight from the farmer sources and do buy bulk so my meat costs tend to hover around regularly meat costs.

    It came out at even more cost considering that I grow and preserve about 60-70% of my vegetables each year. Even if I grew more fruit I would be greatly restricted in variety because I live in a northern clime. I do have apples and plum trees and am planting a variety of berries but as anyone who grows these things they know how seasonal things are. So I would be trucking ‘fresh’ fruit from 1000 kms away. Also there is the whole idea of ‘fresh’. Most tropical like fruit for people that don’t live in the areas is grown isn’t all that fresh and the large majority of it is picked green, unripened or barely ripe. Consider me spoiled. On a vacation in Florida I ate actual tree ripened fruit. There is just no comparison. That type of fruit in the stores here is just a pitiful facsimile.

    A diet like that would also make me utterly dependent on my local grocery store and massive global food networks. Thanks but no thanks. Right now the majority of my diet comes from local sources. The farms I get my meat from are less then 50 kms away and my pastured eggs are 30ft away in my back yard.

    If someone want to not eat meat or animal products for ethical reasons (not killing) then fine that’s their worldview. I was veggie once too so I know all the arguments. However anyone making some sort of arguments made on that this type of diet is better ethically ecological wise compared to mine can seriously blow it out their rear. Seriously get a clue. It’s ridiculous and based on a lot of myths about agriculture and how things can be grown and produced. I’m with them on the whole industrial factory system though when it comes to animals. However production of fruit and especially someone who demand that level, type and quantity of fruit in North America is just as complacent and dependent on that industrial ag model. Most of the fruit that is commonly found in grocery stores has been specifically bred for that industry as well.

    Thanks but no thanks. I’m going to stick with my 20 varieties of tomatoes I grow, the apples that you can’t find in a store when they’re in season, seasonal strawberries I pick fresh and ripe, other seasonal fruits and berries and the dozens of varieties of veggies I grow each year to feed myself. Oh yes and the animals and related products. Ethics and ecological reasons aside it’s appears to be way cheaper. I’d have to get another job to eat that way year round. Sorry not happening. :)

    Oh and plus how in the hell am I supposed to go camping or on weekend hikes needing that much food? And eating that often and that much in a day? I’d never get anything done.

    Anyways…that was a bit ranty…but seriously it’s one of the most ridiculous types of diets I’ve ever come across. All the power to people who choose to do it I guess. If it makes them feel good then it’s nothing to me. Don’t bother trying to convince me to do it though or that it’s a better ‘lifestyle’ for me and for everyone else.

    • Paul Verizzo on April 19, 2011 at 06:32

      Jade, hate to tell ya, but most of the fresh fruit and veggies in Florida are now not local. Once upon a time (woo, am I old), especially in the winter, everything was from nearby. Florida has a law, apparently, that mandates a grocer must list country of origin for fruits at the point of sale.

      While avocados and mangos are commercially grown still (around Miami, I think) most now come from Latin America. Oh, the avos are the big green “alligator pears” type. Those puny Haas come from California and Mexico, only, I think.

      Even citrus is now mostly imported. Brazil hammerlocked the juice market decades ago, and now even fresh citrus is often imported.

      Welcome to America, 21st century.

  10. Jade on April 16, 2011 at 14:45

    Please excuse all the typos in my previous post. I wrote it way to fast and failed to proofread. :)

  11. Sara on April 16, 2011 at 16:21

    How can a person eat 5lbs of anything in one sitting? As much as my three year old loves fruit, and would eat nothing but it and bread, there is NO WAY he could consume enough of it to meet his nutritional needs. Children have small stomachs – they can’t eat a 3000 calorie smoothie. And if he had that much sugar, we would all be very very unhappy in a few hours – because of the crash that would come, and because he would probably have diarrhea in a few hours. Good thing mine son likes his bacon!

    • Michael on April 16, 2011 at 20:58

      How can a person eat 5lbs of anything in one sitting?

      Ha, we have had some fun with Martin Berkhan with back and forth comments about eating 5 pounds of…ahem…meat in response to his cheesecake mastery posts. :-) We may have even talked about it here in some previous comment thread.

    • el-bo on April 22, 2011 at 02:59

      “How can a person eat 5lbs of anything in one sitting?”

      maybe just a lack of imagination on your part doesn’t allow you to conceive of someone, not only being able to eat this much, but for it to be an enjoyable experience

  12. Bill Strahan on April 16, 2011 at 17:19

    I just cooked 5 strips of bacon and an onion (in the bacon grease of course) then threw 4 ounces of beef liver and 8 ounces of grassfed ground beef in with it and mixed it all up and kept cooking. When all the meat was done I put 4 eggs on top of that and stirred it around until they were cooked.

    All of that was dumped on a plate (my version of “plated”) and topped with a whole avocado. Raw. That’s right, raw fruit…

    Anyway, I didn’t feel like plugging all that data into Fitday so I just plugged it into my mouth. What was the nutritional breakdown? Delicious! My more detailed calculations are:

    Raw avocado…Yeah, even that was delicious

    Okay, on a more serious note I do think it’s cool to compare the nutrient content of vegan/vegetarian meals to the ones I eat. If the v/v is eating grains, the comparison looks even worse than what Richard was showing above. Robb Wolf has mentioned an analysis Cordain did in which he compared vitamin/mineral breakdown if a paleo diet to standard food pyramid type of stuff. It’s worth tracking down to share with your friends, especially the ones afraid to feed their kids proper food.

    • PJ on April 17, 2011 at 04:46

      I would struggle to put into words how hungry this post just made me… Excuse me, I think my pan is about hot enough now to drop the bacon strips in…

  13. keithallenlaw on April 16, 2011 at 17:34

    I still cant image the mental burden of finding, eating, and carrying that much weight in food each and every day of your life. Shame on you Durian for promoting a cult that supports the transporting of out of season goods half way around the world. That’s an environmental
    tragedy and crime against humanity. For goodness sakes, eat some fucking flesh and call it a day.

    • christina_aurelius on April 17, 2011 at 16:23

      I have, on numerous occasions, eaten “raw” for weeks at a time. One of the biggest drawbacks was how often I had to eat or make something to eat. I felt like I was constantly preparing something in the kitchen or going to the store to buy more supplies. I have a dehydrator, Champion juicer, and Vita-Mix blender so I was making raw crackers, juices and smoothies/soups. I ate so often and on days where I had to go to school it was awful! Lugging around big tubs of salad, multiple fruits, and smoothies in canteens. Biggest pain in my ass. By the end of these attempts at being “vibrantly healthy” from raw food, I said FUCK THIS and went back to eating pasta. Raw can be affordable but it just wasn’t feasible on a daily basis.

      Now, I shun the pasta as well and eat a nice breakfast of eggs, meat and veggies. For lunch, I buy a salad with meat in it and make dinner at home. I eat smaller quantities of food but I am more satisfied. No need to carry around a bunch of food all day in case I’m hungry. It’s nice!

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 16:29

        Evolutionarily for primates, there is the continuum from gorilla who eat almost ever waking minute on the small bran/massive gut extreme to the other, humans who can go without eating for 2-3 months on the big brain/small gut extreme.

        Which would you rather be?

      • christina_aurelius on April 18, 2011 at 15:30

        This morning I only had a short time to prepare something to eat before heading to school. I fried 3 eggs in butter with 2 turkey breakfast sausage. I also ate a small tangerine that came from my own backyard tree (living in southern California allows for such things.) I was satisfied and NOT HUNGRY till about 2pm! Lower amounts of food that make me feel full longer, feel good in my tummy and taste good: WIN.

      • paleophil on April 20, 2011 at 15:00

        Don’t forget tarsiers, which are primates that are obligate carnivores (faunivores, to be precise).

  14. Nutrition Density Challenge: Fruit vs. Beef Liver | Free The Animal | Free Weight Loss Fitness and Nutrition on April 16, 2011 at 21:58

    […] this is but one meal). Dashes mean the meal doesn’t contain the nutrient at all. … nutrition – Google Blog Search This entry was posted in Nutrition and tagged Animal, Beef, Challenge, Density, Free, Fruit, […]

  15. Pure Green on April 17, 2011 at 00:03
    • Sean on April 17, 2011 at 03:09

      I think you’ll find most ‘cavemen’ aren’t big fans of factory farming you vegan twat.

      Good luck with your strawman.

      • Paul Verizzo on April 19, 2011 at 06:38

        I think you meant “twit,” Sean. Of course, we don’t know if Pure Green possesses a twat or not. Certainly not a brain.

    • Josh on April 17, 2011 at 08:45

      I know it’s anathema to some religious people but most modern humans tend to cook their food before eating it.

    • Fred Butters on April 17, 2011 at 08:57

      Haha, as soon as I saw that article I thought “The veg*ans will be re-posting this one as “proof” for the next 20 years.” Good thing I don’t eat CAFO meat, which I would agree, is something to avoid if possible. However it’s still better than no meat, especially when cooked in butter from grass-fed cows.

  16. Joe on April 17, 2011 at 04:34

    I get sick at the thought of eating 5 pounds of anything – for one meal. I just picture the scene from “Cool Hand Luke” where Redford is sitting on the table and they are trying to get the last couple of eggs into him.

    “Nobody can eat 50 eggs”

    • Kevin Hughes on April 17, 2011 at 10:37

      It was Newman.

      But that story always reminds me of the kidnapped journalists in Colombia or wherever that were held captive for almost a year and fed nothing but hard-boiled eggs. They emerged from the jungle “lean and muscular” according to reports. One shudders to think how they would have looked had they been fed only bananas.

  17. Erik on April 17, 2011 at 05:48

    What boggles my mind about this comparison is not eating 5 pounds of fruit but the idea of eating just 4 oz. of liver in a sitting. I’m a smallish person, and I don’t think I’ve ever been satisfied with less than a pound. Preferably covered in onions, bacon, and mushrooms, and smothered in a spicy tomato sauce thick with coconut fat and cheese…

    It’s a great post-workout meal. A little post-prandial nap and I feel like working out again! (recovery, I tell myself)

  18. Josh on April 17, 2011 at 08:25

    AS much as DildoLiar enjoys posting unflattering pics of people to show how “fat” they are I would love to see a profile picture of him after eating 5 pounds of fruit in one sitting.

  19. Fred Butters on April 17, 2011 at 08:48

    I can’t go to that 30BAD site anymore. I’ve read a couple comments that are BEGGING for logical rebuttal (“everyone eats meat, but everyone is sick – see?!?!”) but last time I checked they have a policy that anyone posting an “anti-fruit” comment will be kicked off.

    Seriously? Sounds like they expect it.

  20. keenan on April 17, 2011 at 08:53

    your comparison only works with liver

    replace the liver with any average animal product and calorie for calorie the plant foods will come out on top every time

    healthy people like hunter-gatherers eat as much as they can, satiation before adequate calories are met is counter-intuitive

    • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 08:55

      that being said obviously in the wild animals + plants = most optimal

      but in our industrialized society vegans can be just as healthy or more healthy than an omnivore and can get more nutrition than an omnivore

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 08:58

        the vegan vs omni comment is based off environmental pollution like dioxins which bioaccumulate in animals

        personally I wish I could forage wild bugs and eat them for protein, B12, vitamins, etc but every time I’d be risking my long term health since I don’t live in a pristine environment

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 09:00

      • Jade on April 17, 2011 at 11:42

        Um…hate to break it to you but plants can uptake human produced contaminants to the point where they shouldn’t be eaten. Even dioxins. If you have enough lead in you’re garden soil you’re going to be eating it. When foraging a general rule is to stay away from roadsides for instance because of years of automobile pollutants and yes even lead even though it hasn’t been used for years. Some plants are so good at contaminant uptake that they’re used to rehabilitate badly contaminated soil.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 12:17

        duh but animals bioaccumulate the toxins where plants don’t

      • durianrider on April 18, 2011 at 20:06

        Keenan owns this blog IMHO.

        I mean eating livers of stressed animals? Thats like eating the liver of a NYC business dude. WTF? Nutrition? Last time I checked faeces, urine and menses were full of nutrition.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2011 at 20:55

        Uh Oh, Harley. You clearly have not read the extend of honest-keenan’s comments.

      • Paul Verizzo on April 19, 2011 at 06:50

        You are truly a fucking idiot. “Accumulating toxins.” More vegan-speak from The Church of Nattering Nutrional Nabobs.

      • el-bo on April 20, 2011 at 05:24

        ¨You are truly a fucking idiot.¨Accumulating toxins¨ blah blah blah

        au contraire, mon frere….´tis you who is the fucking idiot

        keenan is, as far as i´m aware, not a vegan (he eats higher quality dairy products)…but he is an advocate of eating a high plant-based diet, based on a ton of research and personal experience based on eating for health and maximum nutrition

        your attitude, similarly to many on this board, is as disamissive, closed-minded (add to that, abusive) as any in a similar vain on 30bad….just different sides of the same stupid coin

        when you do get the opportunity to debate/converse/shoot the shit with those who aren´t bible-thumping vegans, you can´t handle yourself wityh any kind of decorum

        such a shame

      • Paul Verizzo on April 20, 2011 at 13:54

        Ah, it’s hyper-moron el-bo, who doesn’t understand conventions like capitalization, coming to the defense of an idiot. Keenan may be a bit more open minded, less hard core than Harley, but that does not qualify him for saint hood. I stand by my critique, and here’s why:

        Using, and believing in, a phrase like “Accumulating toxins” is pure unscientific la-la. People who use phrases like that also get a woody with words and phrases like “Detox,” “Meat rots in your colon,” and “You eat the fear of the slaughtered animal.” These are just secular variants of religious words and phrases like “God loves you,” “Maranatha,” and “Jesus died for your sins.” All six of these have zero foundation in science.

        I am dismissive of individuals and ideologies of little or no scientific basis. Guilty about lack of decorum, not guilty of inaccurate accusation. Using some dairy does not make him a hero, remember, one of the world’s most famous vegetarians and dog lovers was Hitler.

        Couldn’t resist a bit of Godwin’s Law.

      • keenan on April 20, 2011 at 15:35

        The major sources of human exposure (96%) are

        * Animal fats found in meats
        * Full fat dairy products
        * Fatty fish (herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna)

        I didn’t just pull accumulating toxins out of my arse. The statement is very generalized though and plant foods have the potential to have more dioxins than animal foods. It all depends on exposure. So you could eat a pig that has been eating polluted plants so it has more bioaccumulated dioxins compared to eating the polluted plants. It seems dietary liver has a compound called p450 that help animals detox toxins faster through their own cytochrome p450 system. This makes toxins from natural or synthetic less of an issue.

      • keenan on April 20, 2011 at 15:40

        so buying grass fed and eating a lot of liver powder(because is concentrates p450) or whole liver should negate any environmental pollution problems

      • el-bo on April 21, 2011 at 04:35

        i understand capitalisation, just choose not to use it

        if his claims lack scientific basis, then demonstrate it…your need to call him an idiot, rather than just point him in the direction of the ´facts´, so as he might not make the same claims again is what makes YOU the idiot

        as for this ´religious´nonsense, it´s just getting old…people hear this pseudoscience, sometimes, and repeat it….it only becomes akin to religion if the person in question maintains their position in the face of proof to the contrary or a lack of any proof at all

        but rather than educate him, just call him a fucking idiot just like a typical internet coward, talking ´smack´ to an lcd screen

        and i didn´t mention keenan´s dairy consumption to make him out to be a hero, it was just to inform you he wasn´t a vegan

      • Paul Verizzo on April 21, 2011 at 05:55

        lnternet coward? Who has his/her name right there, and who posts anonymously?

      • el-bo on April 21, 2011 at 09:39

        my name is elliot

        the only reason i post as el-bo is because it is the name i have used on all the forums for the last few years so, by way of transparency, i stick to it….there re many people who know me by this name, and if i were worried about being judged by some of them, i would choose a different name

        so, wrong again

        anyways, internet coward relates to how easy you insult others when you aren’t face to face, risking being dropped to the floor like the fool you seem to be :o)

      • Cheese on April 17, 2011 at 09:57

        Yeah, if you want to eat ten pounds of roughage a day. Sorry, but I need time to do something other than eat and shit.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 12:19

        not true cheesle I do way more than most, I just surfed for 4hrs and now have a bunch of errands to run

      • Ruben on April 22, 2011 at 02:17

        I shit in the ocean too, so surfing for 4 hours doesn’t invalidate Cheese’s comment.

      • christina_aurelius on April 17, 2011 at 16:25

        If this was Facebook, I would “like” this comment.

      • el-bo on April 22, 2011 at 02:56

        “Yeah, if you want to eat ten pounds of roughage a day. Sorry, but I need time to do something other than eat and shit.”

        3 meals a day, 20 minutes each (start to finish, including prep and cleanup)

        1 shit for every meal (like a newborn), start to finish – 1 minute (perfectly formed, dropping without effort, toilet paper just as a security measure and no need to warn others to wait 10 minutes before entering toilet after you)

        add to that, yesterday i bought food for my entire week, including transporting it to my house in 30 minutes

        so, an average of 67.5 minutes per day to shop, shovel food and shit (including all prep and cleanup)….i bet that’s more time efficient than your current diet


      • Tamara on April 22, 2011 at 06:20

        My husband craps like that too….and he eats plenty of meat…..

        …actually he craps faster than a minute

        And I’m sorry, you’re delusional if you think your shit doesn’t stink. Ever been around a horse? Far as I know they’re vegans and their shit smells awful!

      • el-bo on April 22, 2011 at 06:39

        “actually he craps faster than a minute”

        so do i, i was just rounding it up

        “And I’m sorry, you’re delusional if you think your shit doesn’t stink”

        i wouldn’t bother guessing at things about you, that i have no way of knowing, so how’s about you do the same with me

        “stink” is a relative word, but i know an offensive odour from a non-offensive one

        “Far as I know they’re vegans and their shit smells awful!”

        just like everyone else, here, you lump all vegans under one umbrella

        vegan is not a PRO word (not a positive action)….it isn’t defined in an inclusive manner…fundamentally, it has nothing to do with nutrition, but only stipulates NOT using anything derived from animals

        extended towards nutrition, veganism doesn’t inform what to eat, only what not to eat……

        so, a vegan can be just as unhealthy as anyone else, can be just as smelly or constipated or deficient…..

        an lfrv diet is a whole other paradigm; something many vegans might not end up trying

      • el-bo on April 22, 2011 at 06:40

        i’m guessing your husband also doesn’t need toilet paper, as meat is 100% digested, right ?? :)

      • Tamara on April 22, 2011 at 06:56

        he doesn’t need it; just like you he uses it for “security”.

      • Tamara on April 22, 2011 at 07:06

        fair enough. I should have chosen my words more carefully. What I meant was not lump all vegans together(I apologize for this oversight; I realize that many vegans are NOT eating for their health) but to state that an animal that eats only raw fruits and vegetables produces waste with an awful smell(that is offensive to me and most other people) and I can only assume that smells of excrement are similar to a raw fruit/vegetable only vegan. That is all. It is a smell I personally find offensive.

        To be clear here, I don’t have a problem with people choosing a vegan lifestyle or a raw vegan lifestyle. I think if you have found what works for you; more power to you! I was merely pointing out that the speed at which one is able to empty their bowels probably isn’t related so much to diet as to genetics and bacteria in the intestines.

        And I apologize for lumping you together with raw vegans who rave about how their shit smells like roses.

      • el-bo on April 22, 2011 at 07:21

        my shit doesn’t smell like roses, ’cause i don’t eat roses…there is a direct correlation between what i eat and how my poo smells….it is processed, and refuse deposited timely enough to not be hanging around…a papaya meal will, within a couple of hours, produce a fragrant papaya poo…you are free to try the same experiment with any horse you can find (consult with the stable hand first :) )

        comparing horses to lfrv’ers makes no sense, in any regard, despite similarities in certain foods eaten

      • Tamara on April 22, 2011 at 07:32

        I’ll take your word for it! ;-)

      • el-bo on April 22, 2011 at 07:34

        well, if you’re sure :)

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 10:27

        “but in our industrialized society vegans can be just as healthy or more healthy than an omnivore and can get more nutrition than an omnivore”

        Yea, _an_ omnivore, especially the Hot Pockets, pizza, fast food and sugar water fans. Not hard. But they absolutely can not against _any_ omnivore who exercises any effort. Think of it this way: they can eat _anything_ and everything you can, and all they need do is replace a few hundred of your low-density nutrition of fruits and vegetables with some meat, eggs, fish, fowl, or even dairy.

        Those who wish can beat you absolutely, at any meal they choose.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 12:22

        of course they could but they are also spending more $ than me

        I have no problem eating animal products I just find that I don’t need them because (I supp B12, K2 MK-4, Zinc) and they are expensive so I don’t see the need.

        For example I used to think I was getting MK-4 from different animal products but how do I know for sure? Now I know because I take a pill.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 12:46

        Well if you know enough to take something as obscure as k2 mk-4 then you must be paying attention, esp since you can get mk-7 from fermented plant sources, such as natto. I take the LEF K complex, with both the 4 and 7 forms. I’ve blogged a lot about it is you search vitamin k2 on the blog.

        My favorite food source of k2 is salmon roe.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 13:31

        So do you think animal foods are essential to health if you supplement all the known nutrients?

        I’m not a vegan zealot and definitely think wild humans are omnivores. I used to do dairy but it gives me back acne. So I just happen to be a vegan. I’ve been playing around with the idea of adding liver to my diet but I never liked meat and cooking it up myself just seems too disgusting, if someone did it for me I’m sure I could eat it but to deal with the blood and stuff I’m just not into it.

        pfff maybe I’ll just move to Australia and eat grubs all day.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 14:55

        “So do you think animal foods are essential to health if you supplement all the known nutrients?”

        I suppose I’d have to honestly answer that in the negative, especially with your admission that we are naturally omnivores. The vegan in my last comment, we had a good understanding (he was high fat vegan — coconut milk and such): veganism is not for your average teenage girl.

        Yep, can be done with knowledge supps and probably clinical monitoring of the essentials. Optimal? No. Pain in the ass? Yes.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 15:01

        :) thanks for your honest opinion

        So what animal products do you think one needs, would weekly liver take care of animal needs?

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 15:06


        Of course, you already know about liver. Some people do raw smoothies. It liquifies in a blender… If you had lots of fruit, might not even be able to taste an ounce or two. Maybe add in some coconut milk for the added fat for better nutrient absorption.

        Raw pastured eggs are a good choice. Since chickens naturally eat bugs, a pastured egg yolk can have up to 9 times the nutrients as a farmed one (I’ve just heard that, never verified myself, but definitely difference, owing to the dark orange yolk of pastered). Raw egg is easy to do in any smoothie and in order to avoid the anti-nutrient in raw whites, just to the yolk. That’s where all the nutrition is anyway.

        Haven’t looked at the nutrition profile but I suspect raw oysters would go a long way. I happen to love love love them. Also, cooked clams & mussels.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 15:23

        liver smoothie interesting

        I think liver gives me the most bang for my buck especially since I have access to 100% grass fed mature bison liver.

        What’s your preferred method for cooking liver?

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 15:35

        Hands down, bacon fat is the preferred way. marinade in pure lemon juice for an hour or two, pat dry, and dust with some non-gluten flour if you like. I’ve used tapioca. Fried onions and german style fried potatoes (all in the bacon fat) adds to the pleasure.

        See here:

        Dijon mustard is excellent on fried liver. Learned that one in France. Eating with the French Navy, they served some kind of offal at least once per week (tripe & kidney being the other most common).

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 15:49

        does the smoothie just blend up smooth?

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 15:55

        I’m certain it would. I’ve been tinkering with concocting a recipe for a primal meatball that’s a nutritional powerhouse. Ground grassfed beef, pastured pork and lamb, herbs & spices, and finely chopped veggies and even a bit of potato. Anyway, I also wanted to do liver so I thought to chop finely in the food processor. Well, it totally liquified. It’s like a slime, but particle free, so far as I can tell.

      • christina_aurelius on April 17, 2011 at 16:28

        Keenan, I also found dairy messes with my skin and when I cut it out my skin clears up. I also find that sugar makes my skin terrible as well. No milk or soda drinking helps me looking fresh and less zitty!

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 16:37

        I think you just made a convert and proven your point in a real life situation.

        I make a smoothie with dates, coconut cream(blended and strained coconut chips), salt, and cocoa powder. Adding liver tripled the nutrient density according to cronometer and gives nutrients not attainable without animals. It really hits home your point that eliminating foods just because is stupid.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 16:38

        Christina: Do you mean white sugar or fruit?

        Fruit doesn’t affect my skin at all.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 16:49

        Keenan, well, your own experimentation will tell, but hell, even 4oz of iver a week is a powerhouse and you would not have to worry about anything, and you divide it up into like 1/2 oz per smoothie. With dates in there, hard to imagine you would even taste it.

        Then you can let you vegan friends in on your little cheat-secret.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 16:50

        And, freeze it. Will only add cold to the smoothie.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 16:57

        lol not many vegan friends, I’ve only been a vegan for a couple weeks because I increased my dairy consumption and noticed a lot of ill effects so decided to chuck it out all together, before I introduced dairy for about 1yr and started to do real research I was the raw vegan master though for about 2 years, I have an account of 30bad and all my first posts were classic dogma. It wasn’t until I got a legit vit A deficiency marked by a certain type of skin condition from eating way too low fat from pretty much just eating dates did I add in dairy.

        Great tip I get it frozen so it will just be ready to go. Can’t Wait!

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 17:07

        Tip on dairy. Cheese doesn’t seem to bother me, at least in moderate quantities, and fermented I don’t know because I only do yogurt and such from time to time and in modest quant, like a big tbsp with some blueberries.

        But I love raw milk. If I go a few months without any and get some, my nose runs and I get the shits. For a day. But I adapt to it quickly and if I keep it to 8-16 z per day, no prob and it actually feels good.

        But I don’t want to be a milk drinker regularly. It does add up and will put on fat you then have to curtail by other means, at least for me, and face it, a lot of raw milk proponents such as Fallon do not have enviable body compositions.

        So, I just do it from time to time and know that I’ll face a day of unpleasantness to adapt.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 17:16

        plus the ridiculous cost for raw milk

        I don’t think any food can really touch liver in terms of optimal nutrition for humans. Plus all the cool studies on rats. Like other animals take what they need first us human hunters take the liver first.

        I just never thought I could deal with cooking it and eating it because of western propaganda. Never thought about a smoothie!

      • christina_aurelius on April 17, 2011 at 18:11

        Good question. Processed sugar of any kind (white or “raw”) affects my skin negatively. Fruit does not, from what I can tell. However, I do not eat copious amounts of fruit currently because most things with sugar, fruit or processed, don’t make me feel good. This could be because I am coming off an unbalanced diet and everything was just haywire in my body to begin with. I am currently eating a lot of veggies, cooked and raw, and animal products, except for milk and yogurt. Hopefully, I can add more fruits back into my diet in the future because Summer is coming and I LOVE plums!

        Regardless of what diet/lifestyle people choose, I hope we can agree that white sugar is not part of a healthy diet.

      • gallier2 on April 17, 2011 at 23:23

        The use of a blender is a mess. It’s better to chop the liver brunoise style (small cubes of 1mm side) with a good knife. That’s what I do when I prepare “Lewerknedel” (Leberknödel in german, a kind of meatballs made with liver that is served with a beef soup and sauerkraut, a regional speciality of the Saar, Lorrain Luxemburg region).

      • Alex Thorn on April 20, 2011 at 12:48

        I’m pretty sure the darker yellow/orange colour of yolks from free-range/pastured eggs is due to increased levels of carotenes due to the chickens eating ‘greens’. So, from a nutritional perspective, it depends on how you view the value a pro-vitamin A compound like beta-carotene.

        What little research that has been done on the nutritional differences between free-range/pastured chicken eggs and conventional eggs lists them so:

        • 1/3 less cholesterol
        • 1/4 less saturated fat
        • 2/3 more vitamin A
        • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
        • 3 times more vitamin E
        • 7 times more beta carotene

        Read more:

        No doubt the reductions in cholesterol and saturated fat are counted toward their increased ‘healthfulness’!

        As for omega-3 you will note that they say there is twice as much (the data I am currently looking at gives an average, from tests on eggs from 14 free-range/pastured producers, of 3 times compared to the USDA values for conventional eggs) but in absolute terms the difference is 0.22g vs. 0.66g (per 100g of egg) – so not such a big deal.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2011 at 13:12

        Thanks Alex:

        Additional benefits are that in my experience they taste better, and I have done side by side. And, of course, chickens are not vegetarian and affording them a more natural sort of existence is something I’m willing to pay more for.

      • Alex Thorn on April 20, 2011 at 15:50

        I think they probably do taste better I’m just doubtful that, taking everything into consideration, they are always significantly superior nutritionally. Don’t get me wrong though, if finances permitted, I would probably go with free-range/pastured eggs just for the taste. Unfortunately I am not in a financial position to afford free-range eggs in the quantity I usually eat them so have to make do with caged eggs. Given the small differences in nutrient levels (in absolute terms) I’d rather eat affordable caged eggs than no eggs at all!

        Another problem with free-range eggs bought in supermarkets is that the term ‘free-range’ can just mean that the door to the chicken shed is left open irrespective of whether the chickens actually venture outside and/or have access to land with anything edible growing on it!

        Ideally the only way to no for sure is to keep your own chickens and let them roam freely and collect their eggs or buy eggs from a local source where you can see the conditions in which the chickens are reared.

        Incidentally do you ever eat duck eggs? Very rich flavour!

      • Alex Thorn on April 20, 2011 at 15:53

        Sorry the first line of that last paragraph should have read “Ideally the only way to KNOW for sure…”! I’m always doing that when I’m thinking faster than I can type!

      • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2011 at 16:38

        Yea, “free range” means nothing. You have to get “pastured” and it’s best to check up on the suplier. I’m ok in that regard. I do use Trader Joe’s free range sometimes though.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2011 at 16:40

        Yes, I did get some duck eggs once. I wasn’t blown away and prefer chicken. I’m sure I’ll give them another shot. Whole Foods here sometimes has goose eggs and a few times, ostrich eggs.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 09:18

      “replace the liver with any average animal product and calorie for calorie the plant foods will come out on top every time”

      So do it, and post the results. Not hard.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 12:35

        I can’t post pictures so I can’t really show you anything and I’m not going to waste my time writing out each amount.

        Compare your ribeye steak meal to a meal of fruit and you’ll see what I mean.

        But of course if I ate the meal of fruit and added some animal products I can get nutrients not found in plants like B12, Retinol, K2, and D. But what if someone doesn’t want to eat meat you think they need meat or there screwed?

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 12:56

        I think the jury is out on K2 in terms of whether the mk-7 form is as good or better than mk-4. They both seem to have powerful properties in managing mineral deposition throughout the body, even reversing arterial plaques and such. And, vegans can get mk-7 easily, vegetarians even easier with dairy and eggs (as well as mk-4).

        For D probably everyone should supplement unless as an HG, they spend an inordinate amount of time outdoor with skin exposure, unless they live at high latitudes.

        But A and B12 are definite problems, as likely is n-3s, and often problems don’t show up for a long time.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 13:26

        B12 can be supped. A doesn’t seem to be a problem as lots of vegans get tested and have adequate A from carotenoid conversion.

        I think MK-4 should def be supplemented.

        Long Chain Omega 3? If it was so essential to our smart brains how come bears aren’t writing textbooks I mean they eat like 40lbs of salmon in season and they only eat the brains and skin so they should definitely be way smarter than us if EPA/DHA was so vital. Plus fish eaters should be way smarter than non-fish eaters but this hasn’t been shown to be true, I personally never ate fish as a child and was the smartest kid in my school and I didn’t even try. Plus the few studies we have showing vegans vs omni vs fish eaters which have insignificance differences in EPA/DHA levels.

        BTW I thought you won the debate within the first 10 minutes when you mentioned Kitava. No one can argue health once you said that.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 14:51


        Careful now. The last really honest and gracious vegan that showed up here became a regular reader, commenter, and didn’t even tell us he went back to animals until several months later when I used him as an example of a particularly honest vegan.

      • Woodwose on April 18, 2011 at 05:46

        The best way to make a raw liver drink, for the squemish, is imo this

        1.) Cut the liver into small chunks. This will make it so the hard parts dont stick to the blender.

        2.) Add water and some else if you want extra flavour i prefer a dash of apple cider winegar and a some pepper

        3.) After mixing pour the mix in a metal sieve and stir so the fluid drains through, otherwise it can take alot of time.

        4.) Discard the hard stuff in the sieve and drink the stuff that drains through.

        5.) Enjoy!

  21. Mallory on April 17, 2011 at 08:59

    haha thats ridicuouls….5lbs of fruit vs a small slice of liver…

    if i ate 5 lbs of fruit upon waking, well, i would be spending the rest of the day blowing up on the toilet, really who does that????

    • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 09:01

      5lbs of fruit = 4lbs of water

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 09:20

        All food is a high percentage of water, even animal foods.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 12:26

        Yes to get the same amount of calories without “so much food” you have to eat fat.

        For active people fat isn’t the best energy source. I used to eat a lot of fat and would feel lethargic after meals, with carbs I just feel the need to be active.

        By the way I don’t do 801010 and don’t have a bias just stating what works for me and what science we have to go by.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 12:27


        I don’t have an 801010 bias obviously everyone has a bias.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 12:50

        Again that’s individual. The fattier a given quantity of meat, the better and lighter I feel. I often get an uncontrollable urge to be active; curiously, fatty pork chops in a fatty sauce does it more than anything.

        The caveat is that it’s needs to be low carb, otherwise it will make me lethargic.

      • keenan on April 17, 2011 at 13:34


        I’ve never tried low carb so you could be on to something. I just feel way too good on high carb and potatoes are cheeeap.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 14:57

        To clarify, 100g of clean carbs in a meal is no problem unless I load up on the fat too. With one exception I know of: thai coconut milk curries (fatty) with white steamed rice. They just make me feel satisfied.

      • christina_aurelius on April 17, 2011 at 16:33

        AH! This is exactly how I feel, Richard.

        Once I stopped eating processed carbs and lowered my intake of fruits and added fatty cuts of meat to my diet I felt spurts of energy where my body said to me, “please, go outside and DO SOMETHING!” I never felt this way after eating large salads, tofu or grains. Trust me, I WANTED to feel that when I ate that food because I really thought it was supposed to be so healthy. I never had energy on a vegan diet, even when I ate “low carb.” Only since majorly upping my intake of protein and animal fats have I felt energetic. I’m so done with rice and grains, it’s not even funny.

      • Fred B on April 18, 2011 at 11:35

        “For active people fat isn’t the best energy source.”

        A blanket statement like this is false by default because each person is different and I’d bet most people don’t eat high fat, and have probably never tried it. Fat is the best energy source for this active individual. I can even skip a meal (like I did yesterday without even noticing) and keep going strong. That never would have happened in my high carb, whole grain days – the headaches and dizziness would stop me dead.

      • christina_aurelius on April 18, 2011 at 15:40

        I agree 110%. Not long ago, we are talking just months ago, I would never have thought that eating more FAT would make me feel so much better. I can go hours without feeling crabby because if I have eaten a nice meal with plenty of fat and protein. This wasn’t the case before. A meal that included ANY grains would make me feel sluggish and irritable. I love fat. Also, it tastes fucking GREAT.

    • durianrider on April 18, 2011 at 20:08

      If ONE fruit meal cleans your colon out aka splatters the porcelain, then dont you think your BETTER OFF having that shit (pun intended) out than in?

      I dont know about you’s but having a clean as a whistle colon FEELS good, keeps you lean and lets you train better. Less full of shit? I like the sound of that.

      Fruit is numero uno colon transit food. Meat is last. Clogged colons and bloated guts anyone? Meat up!

      • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2011 at 20:59

        Harley, try a 2-day fast and see how much you soil the porcelain. Than come back and talk with a little more knowledge under your belt.

        In the meantime, Google autophagy, and also realize that half your crap is dead cells. You do know that cells die at an alarming rate, I assume.

      • Alex Thorn on April 19, 2011 at 00:59

        If you are ‘splattering the porcelain’ then you have diarrhoea! I know someone who, here in the UK, had to have a colonoscopy. She was given a diet sheet that she had to follow religiously for several days before the examination. Allowed foods included meat, dairy and eggs. Disallowed foods included all the ‘high-fibre’ foods we are told are good for our colons. I think we can infer that a clean colon is a prerequisite for an examination that needs to get a clear, unobstructed view of the colon – no lingering ‘deposits’ clinging to the ‘pipes’ to ‘muddy the waters’, so to speak! Therefore we can infer that the high-fibre foods, AND NOT THE MEAT, are more likely to hang around and stick to your colon!

      • Alex Thorn on April 19, 2011 at 01:04

        I should add that meat is almost 100% digested and leaves little if any indigestible residue. High-fibre foods like cereals, fruits and vegetables, however, cannot be completely digested and do leave a lot of residue that makes into the colon. And as Richard said above – a large percentage of the stool is dead gut cells and gut bacteria along with undigested fibrous foods – hence sweetcorn tends to come out the back end in much the same state as it went in.

      • Emily on April 19, 2011 at 06:31

        I got Crohn’s disease after eating LFRV for 2 years. Explain? How can I have ulcers in my ileum if raw fruit and veggies are so good for it? For that matter, how is it that I only saw relief from my symptoms when I started eating paleo?

        801010 bloated me in a way that meat NEVER has.

      • Rip on April 22, 2011 at 01:00

        Here’s something I’ve noticed about proponents of extreme diets (ZC included): why do they always feel the need, at some point, to discuss their bowel movements?

      • el-bo on April 22, 2011 at 03:03

        “Here’s something I’ve noticed about proponents of extreme diets (ZC included): why do they always feel the need, at some point, to discuss their bowel movements?”

        except that the first shit-volley, in this discussion, came from ‘cheese’ (one of your own)

  22. Manveet on April 17, 2011 at 10:12

    damn straight, even muscle is mostly water

    This post reminds me that I really need to start eating liver.

  23. Manveet on April 17, 2011 at 10:14

    also, because I’m too lazy to check, is beef liver a pretty inexpensive cut of meat (if you can call it that) compared to other cuts (sirloin steaks, etc.)?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 10:28

      It’s ridiculously inexpensive. In the food world, very likely the biggest bank for the buck that exists.

      • Kevin Hughes on April 17, 2011 at 10:42

        I hear all this talk of liver but I’ve never been able to get past the smell. Does that go away?

        When my (raw meat fed) dogs were young, I made them liver treats in the oven. They went nuts over them, but the smell in the house brought me close to vomiting, seriously. I’ve heard other persons say the same. I’d love to eat it for nutritional reasons, but that odor…

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 10:50

        Have you tried the traditional way, liver & onions? Fry up bacon, toss in your onions and cook them until done, take them out, then cook your liver, but not way long. Toss the onions back in to finish them off and reheat (the onions take a surprising long time to get done the way I like them, which is almost black).

        Frying potato also in bacon fat, then dumping the bacon bits over the whole meal really completes things. Oh, see here:

        If that doesn’t work you can add minced liver to ground beef or sausage.

      • Kevin Hughes on April 17, 2011 at 10:56

        Good call…I’ve been cooking onions your way for a while now; omelette’s too. I’ll find a way to acquire a taste for liver. Thanks for the suggestions.

        BTW, on the roast I ruined a couple weeks ago…I cooked another one the next day, 10 hours, and threw the ruined one in the crockpot also. It was not perfect, but it was salvaged at least. Thanks.

      • A Eilola on April 17, 2011 at 11:10

        Try adding some diced pickles in the mix, I love beef liver with them.

      • Poisonguy on April 18, 2011 at 05:06

        “If that doesn’t work you can add minced liver to ground beef…”

        This is probably the best way to initiate kids to liver if they haven’t tried it yet. Start off with 10% of the ground meat and work your way up to, well, liver slices. As with most things, once a child has tasted a food ten times, they’ll accept the taste and will eat it gladly.

      • Niclas on April 17, 2011 at 12:15

        Liver has to be fresh! Old liver is difficult, it really starts to smell. If you get a fresh one, from grass-fed beef, its a whole different thing! Its delicious.
        Butterfried Liver with bacon and capers is the classic here in Sweden.

      • Johnnyv on April 17, 2011 at 15:52

        liquidize the liver in a blender and add to beef chili.
        Easy to disguise the taste in chili and it makes the chili taste more richer in my opinion.

      • christina_aurelius on April 18, 2011 at 15:44

        What taste does liver have, exactly? I have never had it or smelled it but I think I should try it. Describe this taste!

      • Erik on April 18, 2011 at 09:01

        If you marinate the liver in milk or coconut milk for maybe a half an hour beforehand the smell and flavor become a lot milder. This may also leach out some nutrients, so it’s probably better to use it as a coping mechanism while you get sufficiently accustomed to liver to go without the soaking.

      • TandooriChicken on April 18, 2011 at 17:52

        I’m thinking you could collect the coconut milk later and make some type of reduction/sauce to get your possible nutrient drain back.

        I’ll have to experiment with liver. I’ve only ever had it in pates at fancy restaurants maybe two or three times in my life.

      • Erik on April 19, 2011 at 07:29

        You can indeed. I usually make a thick sauce from mostly tomato puree, with the coconut milk added in as well as plenty of cheddar and romano cheese melted in and lots of garlic, oregano, and black pepper. Instead of frying the liver completely I just sear it lightly on each side (after sprinkling with garlic powder) and then toss it into the simmering sauce to cook for another 7-10 minutes. This consistently gets me perfectly done not-mushy-or-tough liver. It’s become one of my favorite meals.

      • Adam Landry on April 19, 2011 at 07:33

        Sounds like another fantastic recipe that I need to write down. I’ve got some liver that I’m looking forward to cooking up. That is, after I try the bone marrow that I’ve got in the fridge.

      • Erik on April 19, 2011 at 15:15

        Write… down? Why, what a great idea! I could probably write a whole damn cookbook by now thanks to my compulsion to screw around with new ways to make my food.

    • Bill Strahan on April 17, 2011 at 10:29

      Yes, it’s fairly cheap even from grassfed sources. And a little hint if it applies here: Notice how just 4 ounces of the stuff makes a major impact nutritionally? Take advantage of that if you have kids.

      Don’t tell anyone, but the meatballs my kids love are to their knowledge made with 3 pounds grassfed beef,1 pound of sausage, 1/2 cup minced onions, 1/2 cup almond meal, and some sage, salt, and garlic.

      Little do they know I sneak in 4-6 ounces of beef liver as well. And the positive comments didn’t stop when I did that. Instead my kids can run sub 4:00 minute miles and do one-arm pullups.

      Ok, that last sentence was BS, but my kids do get some good stuff in their diet without realizing it, and without me making a big deal of it. And with no spaghetti to distract you, it’s amazing how many meatballs you’ll eat. :) Even my 13 year old daughter eats more than a half pound at a time when we have them.

  24. TJ on April 18, 2011 at 02:52

    Read this to see a former vegan’s account of getting “primal.” Lots more of them in the comments, too:

    • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2011 at 07:01

      Yea, TJ, I read a lot of that way back when, when it was a splash. Of course, you know the answer to that. They weren’t vegans or, they weren’t doing it right. I think there’s a secret formula that determines which one in each individual case.

  25. Mart on April 17, 2011 at 13:04

    Cannot stomach liver or any other organ meat. I dunno Richard, I’m a big fan of your work here but advocating “eat liver” is not the greatest message you could have sent to promote paleo.

    • christina_aurelius on April 17, 2011 at 16:36

      I ate my first chicken heart this past Friday at a Brazilian grill in L.A. I was nervous at first but seriously, it was GOOD. It tasted, I swear, like chicken. It wasn’t gross, you should try it.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 16:58


      All that means is that you should never quit your day job and take up blogging.

      Leave the thinking in this area and marketing to me.

      • Mart on April 17, 2011 at 17:09

        so you’re saying that “eat liver” is a good message? In the podcast debate you said you hoped you might reach those vegans and other non-paleo folk with doubts about their diet. I’m just saying you might have used a more appealing example. If monkey-food boy had been a half-decent debater he could have scored serious points against you with this.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 17:21

        Mart, you are projecting your own values, nigh, anti values upon everyone.

      • Mart on April 17, 2011 at 23:30

        I think I made a perfectly valid point from a mainstream point-of-view. Monkey-boy at least had “sweet and juicy” as a slogan to take from the debate. All I’m saying is you could have done a lot better than “eat liver”. Promote or defend liver all you want. But if that is your poster-child you are going to have an uphill struggle. You do a fantastic job in your blog showing the world the benefits of paleo. You could have given the listeners a better example of something delicious in the paleo diet to tempt them. I’m trying to give you constructive criticism here.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 17, 2011 at 23:37

        Mart, I did mention that, even told them about the food porn category. This was to make a specific point about nutrient density. Ant this post, in particular, in response to one of the 30bad people taking up that challenge.

        My success has always come fro doing things exactly how I see fit and never, ever giving a runny shit what anyone thinks about it.

        Thanks, but I’m sticking with it.

      • Matt on April 18, 2011 at 05:49

        I hold no negative connotations to eating liver. Being a 20-something, it really is my parents’ generation that has all these negative connotations to eating liver. Most folks my age probably never ate liver because their parents were forced to eat terribly prepared liver by their own parents.

      • Erik on April 18, 2011 at 09:07

        I’m with Matt. Many in our generation even tend toward the foodie movement and are out to try just about anything “unusual;” do we want to steer them toward deep-fried starburst or highly nutritious offal?

        Mart, I think you’ll find that some consider honesty to be more important than presenting a shiny polished image. After growing up in a world full of shiny polished images with absolutely nothing of substance behind them, I (and many others I know) have our BS-meters all fired up but our squeamishness firmly set aside.

      • Emily on April 19, 2011 at 06:48

        Why should Richard feel the need to do a disservice to people who are looking for real nutrition just because some people don’t like the taste of liver? The people that don’t like it can avoid it all they want, but the rest of us who are looking for the best quality nutrition (which is the majority of people in BOTH the paleo and the low-fat raw vegan groups) will benefit best from hearing the truth about eating liver and other organs. We might all initially turn our noses up at the idea of it, especially if we weren’t raised eating it, but nutrition wins over the majority of us. I have never been an organ meat eater, but I am willing to try it again, whereas I wouldn’t be if no one had promoted it.

    • Cheese on April 17, 2011 at 20:45

      So you have poor taste, what the hell does that have to do with “paleo”?

      Learn to enjoy real food.

  26. Twatalus Jones on April 17, 2011 at 19:30

    5 Pounds of fruit = 4.5 pounds of water = 69 ounces, just over half a gallon.

    5 Pounds of liver (raw) = 3.44 pounds of water = 53 ounces of water.

    Comparing the nutrient content of each, the papaya is very anemic.

  27. Sue on April 17, 2011 at 22:28

    Has anyone mentioned freezing liver into little pieces and swallowing frozen as liver pills?

  28. charlotte on April 18, 2011 at 03:01

    This seems a bit disingenuous. It is well known that liver is one of the most nutrient dense meats and that fruit is among the least nutrient dense plant foods (I think only grains are worse). If we’re comparing food by calories why not also compare, say, a full fat steak, with the same amount of calories in broccoli and kale?

    Also, I don’t understand at all what this has to do with vegan diets in general. It is just weird to make that comparison. Do you not understand what a vegan diet is? Do you not know that the vast majority of vegans do not eat only fruit? Thinking that the nutritional quality of this extreme example of a vegan diet is relevant for other vegans is something like thinking that the nutritional quality of someone who eats a standard american diet is comparable to the nutritional quality of your diet. Hey, you’re both “meat eaters”, so that must be the same, right?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2011 at 07:06

      Hey Charlotte, unless this pesky little detail escaped your notice, it was the raw fruitarian vegan who challenged me to a debate. I simply came armed accordingly.

      • charlotte on April 19, 2011 at 04:58

        Hey Richard, I admit, I didn’t read all the “previously” articles, but you said “I issued a challenge for listeners to get a sense for comparative nutrient density by comparing some measure of beef liver with what it would take in any mix of fruit”, so I gathered it was your idea to compare liver to fruit. I know understand that that was in the context of a debate with fruitarians, but I still don’t see what that has to do with vegan diets in general. If I had a vegan blog and would compare a kale and spinach meal with a full fat steak meal (or let’s do bacon), and then put out a big fat warning saying “This ought to give anyone who eats meat pause, especially feeding infants and children.”, would you think that would be fair?

        I mean, sure, we can agree that a fruitarian diet is not ideal, and certainly not for children. This doesn’t have anything to do with vegan diets though, just as the way you eat has nothing to do with “meat eating diets” in general. So, I agree with the conclusion that liver is more nutritious than fruit, but I think you get a bit carried away with the implications of that conclusion.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2011 at 07:47


        It was to illustrate a point, namely, the superior nutrient density of animal products. Why don’t you do ahead and try your hand at comparing a kale and spinach meal with an equal calorie meal that includes meat.

        And don’t forget, we can eat kale and spinach too.

        It’s not what you are eating because we can eat everything you do (in terms of fruits, veggies, tubers or even nuts). It’s what you can’t/don’t eat that is calorie for calorie, more nutrient dense.

        For instance, take your kale and spinach meal, reduce whatever it is by 400 kcals and replace that with 400 kcals of some animal product: meat, fish, fowl, eggs or even dairy. You only improve the nutrient profile.

        That’s the point.

      • charlotte on April 19, 2011 at 14:04

        Here’s a comparison of about 400 calories of bacon with approximately 400 calories of kale:
        I think it speaks for itself.

        I understand that you can also eat kale and spinach, but the point is that if you eat 400 calories of bacon, you don’t. That’s 400 calories of nutrionally almost useless calories, the exact thing you were so worried about in the fruitarian breakfast. If you substitute those 400 calories of bacon with 400 calories of greens (kale is great, but other greens are similarly nutritious) you only improve the nutrient profile. So if the goal is maximizing nutrition, why eat bacon at all?

      • Emily on April 19, 2011 at 14:51

        I enjoy eating my 400 calories of kale sauteed in about 400 calories of bacon and its grease. It will actually keep me full that way, and I won’t have to eat again in an hour.

        I used to make green smoothies using kale as my greens until they started giving me serious abdominal cramps. Now I won’t eat any of those really rough greens (like kale, collards, mustard greens) raw because they all do that to me. But oddly, a light saute in bacon grease erases that problem.

      • Tamara on April 19, 2011 at 15:03

        400 cal of kale is 10+ cups of kale. can anyone seriously eat that much in one sitting? and furthermore….who would want to?

        And who could afford to?? 10 cups of green in my neck of the woods runs around $5. For that same $5 I can get a pound of locally pastured chicken which is a whole hell of a lot more calories/protein/nutrients that 10 cups of kale

      • Tamara on April 20, 2011 at 06:25

        Why eat bacon at all?

        I think Jim Gaffigan answers that one:

      • Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2011 at 17:32

        “why eat bacon at all?”

        Oh, no reason. :)

        There’s taste, smell and healthy pork fat, of course, but put that out of your mind. You have amends to make for your humanity. So get cracking.

      • charlotte on April 19, 2011 at 23:50

        Personally I much prefer the taste of the papaya/strawberry meal to bacon (and even that fruit only meal is more nutritious than equal calories of bacon – shouldn’t that give any bacon eater, especially feeding children, pause?), so if we’re just talking about taste now I guess we’re done. You did a “nutritional density challenge” not a “taste challenge”.

        You said yourself that “improving the nutrient profile” was the point, and I asked “why eat bacon at all” in that context. My entire sentence was “if the goal is maximizing nutrition, why eat bacon at all?” I thought you were seriously interested in this, but I guess not.

      • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2011 at 00:07

        I suppose that you assume pork fat to be anti-nutrition.

      • Alex Thorn on April 20, 2011 at 00:33

        Ah yes but…

        I’d only need to consume 10 slices (80g) of pan-fried bacon to get 400 Calories, whereas you’d have to consume 800g of kale to get the equivalent amount of calories. I know which I’d rather sit down to first thing in the morning (not that I eat breakfast).

        This is the whole problem I see with these types of comparisons, plant foods may APPEAR to be nutrient dense – by the Calorie – because they are mostly water and indigestible, non-nutritive fibre. However, to eat even a modest amount of Calories from these foods means you have to eat bucket-loads at a sitting or graze constantly on them throughout the day.

        When you take into account the poor bioavailability and anti-nutrient content of many of these plant foods then they pale by comparison to almost all animal sources.

      • Erik on April 20, 2011 at 08:12

        Are we missing the part where protein and fat are highly valuable nutrients?

        Especially when feeding children. Saturated animal fats, cholesterol and complete proteins are vital to the developing body, particularly for healthy brain development.

        So eat some Kale for the vitamins and minerals, eat some bacon for the larger building blocks of the body, and make sure you take advantage of that bacon fat to make the fat-soluble vitamins in that kale as bioavailable as possible. I don’t get what’s so difficult about this.

        Shifting to sugary fruit you might keep some of the micronutrients but you’re also supplying most of the calories via fructose. Seeing as you are not a plant, carbohydrates are not especially structurally useful molecules. I’ll take the bacon and kale or even the bacon on its own, thanks.

      • charlotte on April 20, 2011 at 08:38

        I was not the one who started about vitamin and mineral content and nutrient density, I simply responded to the challenge, or, as you will, I refuted the claim that calorie per calorie bacon has a better “nutrient profile” than kale. Unless of course the claim now is that “pork fat” is an essential nutrient or something like that. I guess I could then start about flavonoids, isothiocyanates etc, that also don’t show in a standard Fitday nutrition label, but I don’t think we’ll get to an agreement here.

        Of course 400 calories of raw kale is a bit hard to stomach, but I think it is easy to see that even if you ate 200 calories of steamed kale and broccoli (not that hard) with a 200 calorie tahini sauce or something like that, you would get a lot more nutrients than in those 400 calories of bacon. And you’d also have the fat, for the absorption of those nutrients!

      • Richard Nikoley on April 20, 2011 at 09:26

        If you’ll note, Charlotte, the original example was merely an exercise in nutrient density, ie 4 oz of liver vs 5 lbs of fruit. And 115 kcal vs 850.

        Then we took it a step further and created a meal. Of course, most people don’t eat just liver, nor bacon for a meal. For example, I might have 3-5 strips of bacon, but also 2-3 eggs, cooked in pastured butter and maybe a baked sweet potato or some white potato and onion fried in bacon drippings or leaf lard from pastured pork. Or, I might have sliced garden ripened tomatoes. Then I might have some berries of some sort, maybe melon, or both.

        Full meal comparison is what we should be doing and on average, meals that include animal sources are on average always going to come out on top.

        Remember, I can eat everything a raw vegan can, but they exclude the most nutrient dense sources and end up having to eat magnitudes more volume and weight to get even close.

        Have at it, but it’ll never be for me.

        I think one issue with 30bad that hasn’t been touched on is their insistence to always get those 3ooo kcals or thereabouts – much more if you’re super active. I on the other hand consume probably an average of about 2200 kcal per day, so fewer calories and far less volume and weight and moreover, if I don’t feel like eating I’m not worried I’m going to crash nutritionally and have to post on some forum.

        An omnivorous diet gives you lots of nutritional headroom, just as we evolved. We didn’t always have plant sources available, and certainly not fruit for those without the fortune to live in a rain Forrest year round. The frutarians seem to me to be living constantly on a precipice of nutritional disaster. They have no headroom to spare.

  29. TJ on April 18, 2011 at 06:39

    Harrison, the vegan, made the initial comparison. Go complain on 30BAD…

  30. DancinPete on April 18, 2011 at 08:45

    Does anyone have any data comparing grassfed liver vs. standard fare? I can easily find grass fed ground beef, and steak cuts here, but grassfed liver is harder to find.

    Is there any concern eating liver raw? Should I freeze it first?


    • Adam Landry on April 18, 2011 at 08:47

      I wonder the same thing, I haven’t been able to find grass fed liver very easily where as I can find “regular” liver in most supermarkets.

  31. keenan on April 18, 2011 at 10:02


    Hey what do you think about this study

    It basically implicates raw cow liver as giving people a certain parasite and these people were only eating it like 4x per year.

    After reading it I think I might just stick with powdered liver

    • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2011 at 10:36

      Hard to say keenan. I don’t eat raw liver myself (carpaccio and tartare, from time to time though…) and I believe one can get pills anyway.

      I don’t have studies or articles to cite now but there is recent study that not all of we think are parasites actually are, but symbiotes. I believe it’s hookworms for instance, that have a beneficial effect. Hang on…

      Same goes for ultra clean environments that shield us from bacteria that otherwise serve to keep immune systems in check.

      On the other hand, natural selection doesn’t care about us beyond procreation and raising offspring to the point they can procreate, so caution is always in order. Natural doesn’t always mean optimal if healthy longevity is the goal.

      • keenan on April 18, 2011 at 11:11

        Thanks for the prompt response.

      • VW on April 19, 2011 at 05:56

        On a related note, I ate some uncooked-to-the-point-of-being-basically-raw bacon the other day and now I’m sick as shit. I’m also now on a mega-dose of antibiotics. I’m taking what you’d basically take if you inhaled weaponized anthrax.

        Be patient when you cook bacon, my friends. :(

      • Erik on April 19, 2011 at 07:33

        Yeah, due to bacon’s high surface area (which encourages bacteria, similarly to ground beef) it’s definitely something you want to cook fully.

        Good cuts of pork are usually pretty safe these days, though. I’ve eaten probably 30 pounds of slightly-undercooked pork in the last year without coming down with anything.

  32. Manveet on April 18, 2011 at 10:12

    another silly question:

    Is it possible to get a butcher to mix in a certain amount of liver into standard ground beef? Or for those who do something like this do you just do it yourselves at home?

    • Poisonguy on April 19, 2011 at 00:11

      I don’t know where you live Manveet, but I live just outside Athens, Greece, in a summer community, and know my butcher well–hey, he always makes sure he has liver for me (well, people in Greece eat liver, so it’s not as if he only has a small chuck). He does the grinding and mixing for us. He cuts our chunks of beef for our stir-fries just the way we want them. Since Greece does not have pastured cattle, he makes sure that he has milk veal available for us. Get to know your local butcher. Show interest in your milk selection and they’ll do anything for you–that’s my experience.

  33. S. on April 18, 2011 at 13:20

    Does liverwurst count as liver? Mine has is the grassfed 40% liver with some kidney and heart with a bit of spices and honey. It’s cooked and I guess sort of processed but I can eat a little everyday because it’s tasty enough.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 18, 2011 at 13:52


      Yea, liverwurst, braunschweiger and various pates have various kinds of liver: chicken, duck, pork, calf. I think kalbsleberwurst is specifically calf liver.

      I love them all, of course. One great vehicle if you don’t do grains is celery. I think another great way would be deviled eggs with either the liver sausage added into the egg mix, or with a dollop on top. This is aalso a great way to get salmon roe if you don’t want the rice. Here’s the recipe:

  34. mmmmmmm beef liver « on April 18, 2011 at 17:05

    […] Nutrition density challenge: fruit vs. beef liver […]

  35. Tamara on April 19, 2011 at 13:05

    I’ve only recently(2 weeks) discovered your blog(which I love) and only over the weekend read about this whole 30bad crowd(who I think are crazy), but I have a few things to say.

    Hubby and I were vegetarian for only 1.5 years, and in that time I suffered debilitating fatigue, weight gain, muscle loss and the worst illness I had had in 15 years(worst and first, even eating a SAD diet or a sugar/fat substitute diet I maintained a better immune system). I tried the raw diet but that made me feel even worse, caused disordered eating behavior(I’d go to the grocery store and buy some candy, chew it up and spit it out as to not upset my “raw” balance), and frankly took up too much time.

    I’m certain that the vegan’s would come after me and say I did it wrong or I didn’t eat the right things. Well, I did it as best as I could and if I were to do it again(NO thank you!), I’d do it the same way, so what would be your solution then? I didn’t eat processed foods, I drank daily green smoothies filled with greens and fruits, made all my food from scratch….(until about the last month of my 1.5 when I was feeling so horrid that I tried to add in more protein via soy and other frakenmeats). Okay, fine, maybe I should have carried on longer and broken through that awful feeling once I had finally “detoxed”(never mind that we all possess a liver which is specifically designed to rid our bodies of toxins and is so efficient at doing that, that we can actually live with only PART of our liver)….how long would I have had to be miserable?

    9 Days into eating a primal type diet and I have found my energy returning, my stomach flab is shrinking(and I didn’t have *that* much to lose…I am a size 2/4) and I generally just feel better(oh and I haven’t had ONE instance of disordered eating or even craved junk food).

    I have watched some of durianriders videos on youtube and I alternate between wanting to laugh out loud at the absurdity and wanting to cry at the thought of someone following his advice for “better” health.

    He is a staunch advocate of the fruit only diet and has recommended for cooked vegans to drop the cooked food in favor of fruit yet he continually shows pictures of vegan bodybuilders who list soy and soy proteins as the main component of their diets! He lambastes paleo/primal guys for selling protein powders, but then puts vegan guru’s(WHO ALSO SELL THEIR OWN PROTEIN POWDERS AND SUPPLEMENTS) on a pedestal…

    His girlfriend/fiance/wife is skinny fat. There’s no two ways around it. If I suck my stomach in slightly as she does in all her pics, we would look almost the same(except I have more ab musculature visible on my upper abs than she does and my face isn’t all bloated from too much sugar/insulin…and my stomach is looking better everyday). I have ZERO desire to look like that. I want to look like Zuzanna from Show me a fruitatarian woman who looks like that…mmkay? Even Z tried to do a vegetarian diet but couldn’t because it didn’t support her level of activity and lean body mass.

    I believe a lot of vegan athletes are either using massive amounts of soy protein(other other plant based protein powders), lying about being vegan and actually eating animal proteins, OR they got all their results and lean body mass eating an animal product diet and then have been able to maintain their bodies on a plant based diet, but claim look at me I eat only plants and I look like this!

    Please, fruit advocates, show me a before/after of someone who was flabby or normal sized and STRICTLY ON A FRUITATARIAN ONLY DIET(and no supplementing with soy or other processed protein powders! Follow your own tenants!) now looks like Zuzanna?

    I’m just saying…

    Ps-has anyone else seen the video where Durian is running and his GF is filming him on the bike and commenting on how she can “barely keep up”? Seriously?!! My 80 year old grandma can bike that fast! Is that the kind of endorsement you need for your diet?

    • Richard Nikoley on April 19, 2011 at 20:22

      Great comment, Tamara. You got a belly laugh or two out of me.

      You’d be good at blogging.

      • Tamara on April 20, 2011 at 06:24

        Thanks!! You made my day. I actually do have a blog, but I didn’t link it here because it’s mostly girly-related stuff(fashion, makeup, hair, stories about my dogs, ect) and I didn’t want any crazies finding me and leaving nasty messages.

  36. becky yo! on April 20, 2011 at 10:48

    Well, last night I did it: I served liver to my family! My husband ate all his (he grew up being served liver), I ate half my portion (eating it with potato and greens helped along with taking tiny bites), and my 10 year old spit out her one bite! Maybe I shouldn’t have started with yak liver? (yes, yak!)

    I took the uneaten portions and made a pate which I then froze. I will be serving this to my friends at the next pot luck party so that they aren’t B12 and Vit. A deficient.

  37. Our top 5 meal priorities: part 5, veggies « Yolks, kefir, and gristle on April 21, 2011 at 06:54

    […] in a whiny voice, “WHY??”  Because meats and fats and dairy and eggs are definitely far more nutrient-dense than veggies (ok, well, the link is about fruit not veggies, but you could do similar, somewhat […]

  38. Ben on April 21, 2011 at 12:13

    Beautiful empirically driven nutritional advice on one side (paleo) and psuedo science-feel good-ignore real science self delusional advice (veg/vergan) on the other. Definitely noticed an improvement in myself since going primal. While I’ve seen the very up to date vegan family down the road abuse their children with vegan upbringings. The youngest one always seems to be sneezing and looks sick. What’s up with the skinny body but still with pot belly on those folks? That’s healthy?!

  39. » Michael Pollan and Time Travel engrevo on April 23, 2011 at 15:17

    […] Plants have their place on our plates (I enjoy veggies myself), but they are by no means required, and certainly don’t offer anything that can’t be found in properly raised animal products. In fact, the opposite is true, you’d be hard-pressed to achieve the nutrient density provided by meat with a plant-dominant d…. […]

  40. Nutrition Density: Fruit vs. Beef | CrossFit-HR on April 27, 2011 at 14:04

    […] A great comparison by Richard at […]

  41. […] Oh bullshit! Anyone who says that "Animals are a really inefficient way to get calories" is simply a fucking moron worthy of immediate summary dismissal for life. Animal foods are the most nutritionally dense foods that exist, and because they contain natural fats as well, they are efficient for both caloric energy and pack the biggest punch nutritionally, ounce for ounce. It doesn't take a rocket scientist, but it clearly takes a lot more than a dumbshit nutritionist. […]

  42. […] is the most nutritionally dense one out there.  Check out this comparison of nutrient density of fruits to beef liver. Moreover, did you hear about the ruckus of the French parents who raised a vegan baby and killed it […]

  43. » Low-Meat Paleo engrevo on May 9, 2011 at 13:47

    […] of a whole, natural food, especially when it’s raised right. Of course, animal products offer superb nutrient density, and as such make great choices. If you don’t like meat, definitely consider pastured eggs […]

  44. Does the Liver Store Toxins? | Mark's Daily Apple on May 16, 2011 at 09:29

    […] after a kill. We appreciate and acknowledge the superior nutrient profile of four ounces of beef liver compared to five pounds of colorful fruit even as the shrink-wrapped grass-fed lamb liver direct from the organic farm sits in the freezer […]

  45. Dear Mark: Does the Liver Accumulate Toxins? | CrossFit Fever | Fuel Your Addiction! on May 17, 2011 at 06:24

    […] after a kill. We appreciate and acknowledge the superior nutrient profile of four ounces of beef liver compared to five pounds of colorful fruit even as the shrink-wrapped grass-fed lamb liver direct from the organic farm sits in the freezer […]

  46. Friday Failathon | The Low-Carb Curmudgeon on July 1, 2011 at 05:10

    […] foods we could eat. When was the last time you saw a Nutritional Expert Asshole tell us to eat liver and eggs? Oh. Right. Not like liver and eggs are healthy or anything. Silly […]

  47. I Eat Staples « Fez Dispenser on July 2, 2011 at 09:16

    […] any fruit partly because I don’t really like the taste of any, but also because it’s a nutritionally poor food group. I spend about $350 a month on groceries, with half going to just meat and eggs, and a quarter […]

  48. flaunt on July 23, 2011 at 13:48

    The bio availability issue is a huge one. When you take that into account these results are even more stark. I’d much rather eat the egg/beef liver meal than pounds of fruit. I’ve tried vegan before and felt like a gorilla constantly stuffing his face. I found it very difficult to get adequate calories and lost a ton of weight becoming very weak in the process. I was also going to the bathroom every 5 mins thanks to all the fiber.

  49. Why Am I Getting These Wicked Cramps? | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 2 on July 27, 2011 at 07:26

    […] of fruit vs 1/4 oz of liver. The liver wins in the micronutrients and macronutrient department. Nutrition Density Challenge: Fruit vs. Beef Liver | Free The Animal Reply With Quote   + Reply to […]

  50. How do I make sure my kids are getting enough? | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 2 on July 30, 2011 at 10:05

    […] If you want them to have micronutrients without the nasty multi gummies give them organ meats. Nutrition Density Challenge: Fruit vs. Beef Liver | Free The Animal Since going Primal and eating more organ meats, I have a lot more energy these days. […]

  51. […] in modern society. I'm skeptical of and generally reject the notion of so-called "superfoods" (ok, liver is one superfood), or that we really know what we're doing with massive supplementation a-la "Life Extension" like […]

  52. Go for the Nutrients | The Paleo Periodical on August 30, 2011 at 05:30

    […] offal into your life (see here for my take on that). Free the Animal is a big fan of liver, see here for his comparison to fruit. Here‘s another good run-down of liver in case you have any doubt […]

  53. 15 Sep 11 - Crossfit Silver Spring on September 14, 2011 at 19:19

    […] high score. Save the light, high volume overhead work for Fight Gone Bad on Saturday. —- Nutrition Density Challenge: Fruit vs Beef Liver   Tone. Is that a scientific word? —- WOD   Lift: Press 5-5-5-5   Sweat: AMRAP […]

  54. September 18, Sunday | District CrossFit on September 17, 2011 at 17:01

    […] And this: Beef liver vs fruit. […]

  55. […] who remembers my Nutrition Density Challenge: Fruit vs. Beef Liver, where it took a full 5 pounds of fruit to roughly equal the nutrition in 4 ounces of liver? How […]

  56. Weekend Links & Quick Hits | Free The Animal on September 30, 2011 at 12:54

    […] Where's the liver? Retweet 0 Like 0 StumbleUpon 0 […]

  57. » “Eat This, Not That” Redux engrevo on October 3, 2011 at 16:11

    […] Bone marrow, pastured liver, hearts, brain, tongue – get some variety when it come to these nutritional MVPs. If you don’t like the sound of all this strange, you should be able to at least get down […]

  58. Timothy on October 12, 2011 at 14:57

    Just want to say that this article pushed me into dining on beef liver for the first time ever. It’s absolutely vile and I love it. I’ve only had it twice in two weeks, but each time I dropped about three pounds overnight and had absolutely insane energy the following day. I’m about 12% body fat, so this was shocking.

    Richard’s video deadlifting 305 also moved me to start a Leangains lifting program, and holy crap, that shit works. 20 weeks in now and my strength gains are unreal.

    Lurking on Free the Animal has yielded dividends for me rivaled only by Leangains and Mark’s Daily Apple.

    I now return to obscurity.

    • Richard Nikoley on October 12, 2011 at 16:00


      Good for you man. And thanks for making me resent my friends Martin and Mark. :)

      Hey, wanna jump on Skype video to tell me more and publish it? You may have seen some of my recent videos, but I want to begin including perspectives that don’t only involve weight loss.

      Email me if you’re interested. Address is on the About page.

  59. Bread into Body, Wine into Blood | Yolks, Kefir, and Gristle on November 14, 2011 at 04:42

    […] item, is meat.  Whether it be because of the cultural weight placed on the value of meat, or the superior nutritional content of meat over plant material, for millenia, daily meat has been the privilege of the rich, and that food substance which […]

  60. […] fruit is nutrient-dense compared to meat or green vegetables, and fructose isn’t particularly good for you in large […]

  61. Is Meat More Beneficial Than Your Five-A-Day? on November 14, 2011 at 05:00

    […] I will use one of favourite posts ever on Free the Animal to demonstrate my point. Here beef liver (possibly the most nutritious food out there) beats fruits hands down for good […]

  62. […] Hamade Do a nutritional density comparision of fruit and vegetable to beef liver and see what wins. downvoted • 10:40pmCannot add reply if you are logged out.10:40pm  Anon User […]

  63. […] most nutrition per dollar that exists in the world. See how liver stacks up nutritionally against fruit, and bread. Retweet 0 Like 0 StumbleUpon […]

  64. […] Click for the hi-res. This was breakfast this morning. Looks to be about 4 ounces, so it's the rough equivalent of 5 pounds of fruit in terms of nutrition. […]

  65. […] Or, how about a mere 4 ounces of beef liver? Don't like liver? Fine. Chow down on 5 whole pounds of mixed fruit to approach equivalent nutrition, plus the sugar load. […]

  66. […] blogged before but is hard to overemphasize, nutritional density counts for Big Lots. For review: 4 ounces of liver vs. 5 pounds of mixed fruit. And a loaf of bread vs. an equal caloric intake of beef liver or […]

  67. […] from Free The Animal. A comment Richard made on his post about nutrient density of a vegan diet versus one that […]

  68. Onward by Moving Forward | Free The Animal on March 28, 2012 at 13:18

    […] density are very much in line with my own, when I posted my nutritional density challenges for liver vs. fruit and liver or salmon vs. […]

  69. Jozef on April 11, 2012 at 03:47

    Hey, if liver is supposed to be filled with liver glycogen, where does it end up nutritionally? I don’t see it in the sugars section, so where is it hiding, if it is present?

  70. Liver - How to explain why its healthy | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page on April 14, 2012 at 14:05

    […] Both of these posts make the point that liver is about as nutrient-dense as it gets: Nutrition Density Challenge: Fruit vs. Beef Liver | Free The Animal Liver: nature's most potent superfood Reply With Quote « […]

  71. Connor Mangus on February 24, 2017 at 11:17

    What you need to realize is that 1. Combining fruit, meat, eggs, and starch will wreak havoc on your digestive system and won’t be digested and utilized to its fullest potential 2. Eating fruit in the morning by itself has many more benefits than what you see on paper, cleansing of the GI tract, quick digestion, enzymes, phytonutrients, and high quality structured mineral rich hydration are just some 3. Certain minerals and other nutrients when consumed in surplus and especially when consumed from animal products are poisonous, like iron and protein, 150% rda iron in a meal? 60g of protein? Why?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2017 at 11:51

      First, I don’t “need” to do anything, particularly at the heel of your admonition.

      Second, you’re full of shit.

    • Paul on February 24, 2017 at 16:23

      Blog comment of the month Richard.


      Connor, this is not a safe space for you.

      In order for you to feel safe, validated, have your wise nutritional advice and thoughts carefully considered, and to see and feel that people really get the validity of veganism as a panacea for all medical, animal and psychological ills, you need to return to your echo chambers.

      Thanks Paul

    • Richard Nikoley on February 24, 2017 at 18:46


      Your comment is better, Paul. But that is how it ought to be.

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