Max Lugavere

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Lugavere in 2022
Potentially edible!
Food woo
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Fabulous food!
Delectable diets!
Bodacious bods!
The evidence linking red meat to poor health is exceedingly weak. No clinical data has proven red meat to be causally related to disease. On the other hand, it’s delicious and loaded with high quality nutrition. Eat up!
—Max Lugavere[1]

Max Lugavere (1982–) is an American anti-vegan activist[2][3] and low-carbohydrate high fat diet advocate who promotes misinformation and pseudoscience about nutrition.[4] Lugavere campaigns against grains, seed oils, sugar and anything "processed" to the point of dietary extremism. One of his odd claims is that corn, rice and wheat have fuelled the obesity crisis in the United States and are responsible for increasing Alzheimer's disease risk.[5][6][7]

Lugavere has identified as a low-carb and paleo diet advocate. In his book Genius Foods he promoted a ketogenic diet.[8] In 2024, he re-packaged his low-carb diet pretending to be "evidence-based". Lugavere describes plant-based, vegan and vegetarian diets as a "scam".[9][10][11]

He has promoted his dietary pseudoscience on the Dr. Oz Show.[12][13][14] Lugavere is a promoter of functional medicineWikipedia, a type of alternative medicine pseudoscience.[15] He describes himself as a "science journalist".[16] Pseudoscientists featured on Lugavere's podcast include Shawn Baker, James DiNicolantonio and Paul Saladino.

Low-carb diet advocacy[edit]

I'm convinced that animal products play a role in an optimized diet. Again, that's my priority. That's what I'm most interested in, in the preservation and optimization of human health.
—Max Lugavere[17]

Lugavere has 1000s of posts on social media going back a decade promoting a meat-based and paleo diet. He used to tag all his posts with "#lchf #keto #lowcarb #ketogenic #lowcarbhighfat #paleo #ketosis #primal #ketodiet #paleodiet #carnivore #beef #meat #paleolifestyle #atkins".[18]

Similar to Jason Fung, Lugavere has heavily promoted intermittent fasting.[19] He spends his time attacking sugary foods, fruit juice and vegetable oils.[20][21][22][23][24][25]

In 2023, Lugavere described his five favourite foods as beef liver, eggs, sardines, dark leafy greens and nutritional yeast.[26] He claims to eat 4 eggs a day.[27]

On his website, Lugavere claims that "ketogenic/paleo/low carb/Atkins/Bulletproof/LCHF diets" are "healthful". He claims incorrectly that "saturated fat... has been largely exonerated, at least for the general population".[28]

Anti-grain pseudoscience[edit]

Max Lugavere promoting "keto-friendly" snacks

Lugavere opposes refined and whole grain consumption which has tried to link to Alzheimer's disease and obesity risk.[5][6] He has argued on Vinnie Tortorich's podcast that grains are bad for brain health and increase memory loss.[29] He didn't provide any good evidence for these claims. Contrary to what Lugavere claims there is a consistent finding in the epidemiological literature that shows whole grains are associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline.[30][31][32]

He has spoken at events with other low-carb pseudoscientists such as David Perlmutter and promotes his Grain Brain nonsense.[33][34] On his own podcast, Lugavere has interviewed William Davis another anti-grain crackpot who bizarrely claims whole grains destroy people's heart health.[35]

Lugavere has cited a meta-analysis of short-term trials to suggest there is no positive health outcome data for whole grains.[36] However, the meta-analysis only looked at cardiovascular disease and the author's concluded the trials had a "high risk of bias with small sample sizes and relatively short-term interventions, and the overall quality of the evidence was low".[37] A consistent finding from reviews of epidemiological studies is that whole grain consumption is associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer.[38][39][40][41]

Anti-seed oil pseudoscience[edit]

Similar to others from the low-carb community, Lugavere opposes the consumption of seed oils as they are processed. He claims without providing any evidence that seed oils are "cancer causing".[42][43][44]

Lugavere describes canola oil as "very damaging" to health as it is a "highly industrialized" chemical. He goes as far to say it shouldn't be classified as a food, it is only a "food-like product".[45] In reality, there is no evidence from the medical literature that canola oil is harmful for health. Reviews have found that it is beneficial on the lipid profile and improves cardiometabolic risk factors.[46][47] Contrary to what Lugavere claims, there is no evidence that canola oil causes cancer. Leading health organizations around the world recommend canola oil as part of a heart healthy diet.[48][49]

Carnivore diet[edit]

My podcast with @SBakerMD is live! Is the carnivore diet a sound therapeutic choice for you? Or just need to be convinced that meat isn’t the enemy many believe it to be? Tune in.[50]

Although he doesn't practice it himself, Lugavere is a supporter of the carnivore diet. He interviewed Shawn Baker on his podcast and promotes his pseudoscience on Twitter.[51][52][53]

Anti-veganism[edit]

Grass-fed beef is the most vegan food in your supermarket. It minimizes suffering by providing hundreds of pounds of nutrient-dense food from one single life (you get approx. 570 Ibs. of boneless, trimmed beef from a 1,400 pound steer).
—Max Lugavere[54]

Lugavere firmly opposes vegan and vegetarian diets but doesn't understand the definition of these terms. He says incorrectly that his mother was vegetarian as she "rarely" consumed chicken and fish.[55] She was still eating chicken and fish so she was not a vegetarian by definition. Lugavere spends time on his social media accounts attacking vegans and what he calls "vegan propaganda".[56]

He has described veganism as a "cult" and a "scam".[9] Lugavere also criticizes plant-based diets in general claiming they are based on ultra-processed foods.[57][58] He also says the vegan community are promoting ultra-processed foods.[59] Lugavere's anti-vegan tweets are promoted by carnivore diet advocates such as Shawn Baker.[60]

He has described vegans giving cats and dogs a plant-based diet as "animal abuse".[61][62] He also says parents giving children a vegan diet is "child abuse".[63]

He claims that the American College of Lifestyle Medicine is a "vegetarian organization" and its journal is not trustworthy.[64]

Misunderstanding of evidence based-medicine[edit]

Max Lugavere with his hero David Perlmutter
Nutrients in red meat:

- protein - carnosine - carnitine - creatine - choline - iron - zinc - B vitamins - potassium

Tell me again how it’s a health “risk.”
—Max Lugavere[65]

Lugavere misunderstands how evidence-based medicine works. To back up his claims, he will often cite a single animal study or cohort study. He has made many unreliable claims about diet and chronic disease risk:

  • Consuming saturated fat slows down aging.
  • Grains increase memory loss.[29]
  • Plant-based diets increase dementia risk.
  • Red meat does not increase cancer risk and the red-meat cancer connection is a "myth".[66]
  • Seed oils cause cancer.[42]
  • Stearic acid is beneficial to "overall health".[17]
  • Creatine from red meat decreases cancer risk and this debunks the evidence that red meat increases risk.[67]
  • Eating an egg a day will keep the doctor away.[68]
  • Fresh fruit juice and smoothies are "not healthy" as they are "sugar bombs".[69][70][71]

Lugavere will often cite a single animal model or case study and then make sweeping statements about chronic disease risk. He has been described as a "naïve believer in anything that has a study behind it".[72] There are many examples of this:

Breakfast! There's a lot going on here, so I'm going to break it down for you. I have eggs which provide choline, vitamin B12, and carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. I'm always careful not to overdo my eggs because the yolk is rich in fats and cholesterol which under certain conditions (heat, oxygen exposure) can oxidize and go bad. Recently, a large trial showed that people who ate eggs daily had an improvement in certain markers of cognitive function. I've thrown on some capers which are the highest known food source of an important flavanoid called quercetin. Quercetin (also found in onions, shown here) has a wide range of health benefits and can help reduce inflammation by improving gut barrier integrity. It has even been shown in animal models to protect brain cells against the stresses of aging by blocking free radical-induced DNA damage. Then there's some mushrooms. Mushrooms are high in a compound called spermidine. Yes, the name sounds strange, but that's because the compound was first isolated in sperm. Spermidine triggers something called autophagy, which is an important cellular waste clearing process that promotes longevity. Mice that were fed spermidine beginning in early adulthood had a 10% increase in lifespan, and in a human study, elderly people who ate mushrooms 3 or more times per week were 20% less likely to develop dementia.[73]

In a 2020 study, people who ate eggs for breakfast were less hungry and ate 15% fewer calories at lunch than those who ate cereal with orange juice for breakfast. Why aren't we prescribing eggs to fight the obesity crisis?[74]

In a recent study, 2 minutes of exercise a day—TWO!—reduced total cancer risk by almost 20%. Why isn’t this front page news?[75]

In a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition, eating 1 or more eggs per week led to ~50% lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease among older adults.[76]

Lugavere ignores the Bradford Hill criteriaWikipedia for causation. Consistent results from many different studies including Mendelian randomization studies are needed to make judgements about disease risk. Epidemiologists do not make causal inferences from one study. Alan Flanagan a nutritional scientist and member of the Medical, Scientific and Research Committee of Heart UK has commented that Lugavere misunderstands nutritional epidemiology and much of his content is unreliable.[4]

Podcast[edit]

Lugavere is the host of the The Genius Life podcast that has featured all kinds of functional medicine, low-carb pseudoscientists and cholesterol denialists such as:

Re-inventing his low-carb diet as "evidence-based"[edit]

Since February 2024, Lugavere began denying his decade of online posts advocating low-carb and paleo diets and now claims to be "evidence-based" and not promote any particular diet.

What you DON’T NEED to be healthy: • A keto diet • A plant-based diet • A low carb diet • A sugar-free diet

What you DO NEED to be healthy: • High quality protein • Bioavailable micronutrients • Appropriate energy intake[113]

This is despite the fact his 2018 book Genius Foods advocates a ketogenic diet and he has 1000s of posts promoting low-carb dieting.

This grift has been seen recently with other low-carb and paleo diet influencers such as Steven Gundry, Mark Hyman and Thomas DeLauer. The keto community has become oversaturated with clone influencers so they are now repackaging their pseudoscience under a new guise.

References[edit]

  1. https://x.com/maxlugavere/status/1737612774048751674
  2. Debunking Netflix's Vegan Documentary Series: 'You Are What You Eat" with Luke Cook. youtube.com.
  3. https://x.com/maxlugavere/status/1708234045534953683
  4. 4.0 4.1 #397: Dietary Nitrates & Nitrites. sigmanutrition.com.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Genius Foods Summary. quickread.com.
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Genius Life. Max Lugavere.
  7. https://getwellbe.com/max-lugavere-dementia-prevention/
  8. https://archive.is/0u308
  9. 9.0 9.1 Max Lugavere: The Problem W/ Plant Based Diets, How to Prevent Disease, The US Food Industry & The Importance Of Protein. podtail.com.
  10. https://x.com/maxlugavere/status/1619013672327872517
  11. https://x.com/maxlugavere/status/1653795244205576193
  12. https://pt-br.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1667959390177147
  13. https://pt-br.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1596288230677597
  14. https://pt-br.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1579324702373950
  15. What is Functional Medicine? Interview with Jeffrey Bland. youtube.com.
  16. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/317-cutting-edge-strategies-to-boost-brain-health-and/id1379050662?i=1000624370620
  17. 17.0 17.1 Episode 98. Archived
  18. https://archive.is/pRqPe
  19. https://archive.is/8xC2k
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  21. https://archive.is/BGCpy
  22. https://archive.is/JVcaz
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  26. https://archive.is/ajAni
  27. Why I EAT 4 EGGS A Day & Why You SHOULD TOO! | Max Lugavere. youtube.com.
  28. 5 Reasons You May (Still) Want to Chill With the Saturated Fat. maxlugavere.com.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Grains and Memory Loss with Max Lugavere. vinnietortorich.com.
  30. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pcn.13509
  31. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37993270/
  32. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2475299123207593
  33. https://pt-br.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=1670461009926985
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  35. The Genius Life 93: How Wheat, Grains, and Sugar Are Destroying Your Heart | William Davis, MD. maxlugavere.com.
  36. Max Lugavere on Foods that Prevent Alzehimer's & Other Ways to Prevent Dementia. getwellbe.com.
  37. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28836672/
  38. https://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d6617
  39. https://www.aicr.org/cancer-prevention/food-facts/whole-grains/
  40. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319338
  41. https://wcrf.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Colorectal-cancer-report.pdf
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  45. Deadly Fats Vs. Healthy Fats & Essential Brain Nutrients - With Guest Max Lugavere. youtube.com.
  46. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30381009/
  47. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33127255/
  48. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000510
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  60. https://twitter.com/SBakerMD/status/1644850082624475136
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  65. https://x.com/maxlugavere/status/1715048217573032014
  66. The Meat Cancer Myth by Max Lugavere. Archived.
  67. https://archive.is/4mlnu
  68. https://www.facebook.com/MaxLugavere/posts/an-egg-a-day-keeps-the-doctor-away-in-one-2020-meta-analysis-titled-egg-consumpt/575762470580592/
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  72. Brain Health: Max Lugavere and the Bait-and-Switch Maneuver. mcgill.ca.
  73. Max Lugavere. Twitter.
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  78. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/153-the-dos-and-donts-of-fasting-bulletproof/id1379050662?i=1000508449194
  79. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/85-ancient-herbs-for-libido-hair-growth-great-skin/id1379050662?i=1000460730762
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