Paleo Doctor Challenges Mainstream Scientists: Red Meat Reverses Aging

Paul Saladino, M.D., refutes the mainstream view that red meat shortens lifespan and explains how eating red meat could potentially reverse aging.

By Griffin Dean

Key Points: 

  • Mainstream scientists make conclusions about red meats’ contribution to premature death without considering contrary scientific evidence, Saladino points out. 
  • Meat contains anti-aging molecules that are not found in plant-based foods, including taurine, creatine, and vitamin B12
  • High LDL from consuming red meat does not cause heart disease, according to Saladino. 

Paul Saladino, M.D., physician and host of the Fundamental Health podcast, firmly believes our diet is at the root of chronic illnesses. While Western medicine deems chronic illnesses irreversible, Dr. Saladino believes they are both reversible and preventable. 

The Mainstream View 

Dr. Frank Hu holding a plate vegetables.
Harvard professor Dr. Frank Hu (Image: 

In an episode of his podcast, Saladino discusses the mainstream view of red meat and longevity. He references an article from Harvard University entitled, Cutting red meat-for a longer life. In the article, Harvard professor Dr. Frank Hu is quoted as saying, 

“This study provides clear evidence that regular consumption of red meat, especially processed meat, contributes substantially to premature death.”  

Saladino says this is a bold statement, considering that the study Dr. Hu is speaking of is an epidemiological study. In epidemiological studies, researchers determine if observations made from large populations (e.g. red meat consumption and mortality rates) correlate with each other. The major weakness of epidemiological studies is that correlation does not imply causation, so terms like “provides clear evidence” and “contributes substantially” may be exaggerations. 

Saladino goes on to list contrary epidemiological studies showing no correlation between red meat consumption and all-cause mortality. Saladino also mentions that many epidemiological studies do not account for all possible dietary and lifestyle factors that contribute to premature death. For example, an overall unhealthy diet and poor sleep can trigger age-related diseases that cause premature death, but these factors were not accounted for in Dr. Hu’s study. 

Notably, Dr. Hu emphasizes the particular dangers of processed meats. Processed meats include meats with added chemicals such as deli meats, sausage, bacon, and hot dogs. However, Saladino does not advocate for the consumption of processed meats. He instead advocates for eating grass-fed meats and not eating foods with grains or grain-derived foods like rice and bread. 

Anti-Aging Vitamins and Minerals Unique to Red Meat 

A mouth-watering piece of steak.

Saladino calls attention to the handful of anti-aging molecules found in animal-based foods that are not found abundantly in plant-based foods. These molecules play important roles in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, which are drivers of aging referred to as hallmarks of aging

In the video, Saladino goes over the scientific evidence supporting the benefits of these molecules:

  • Taurine
  • Creatine
  • Carnosine
  • Anserine
  • Vitamin B12
  • Carnitine
  • Vitamin K2 

While these molecules can be found in other meats, Saladino says grass-fed and grass-finished beef is the best option. He warns against fish because of contamination with arsenic, mercury, lead, and other heavy metals and substances. Additionally, farmed birds and pigs are often fed soy and corn which leads to high levels of linoleic acid in poultry and pork, according to Saladino. He believes that linoleic acid and seed oil consumption causes insulin resistance, which is discussed below. 

High LDL Cholesterol Does Not Cause Heart Disease 

Consuming high levels of saturated fats from animal foods is known to increase LDL levels. Saladino says his LDL levels are between 140 to 160 mg/dL with the optimal level being less than 100 mg/dL. 

However, Saladino says the mainstream media falsely touts’ high LDL levels as being causative of atherosclerosis — the leading cause of death in the United States. In a debate with the cardiologist Dr. Mohammed S. Alo, Saladino argues that atherosclerosis is caused by insulin resistance — when our cells don’t respond to the hormone insulin, leading to higher than normal blood glucose levels. 

At the beginning of the discussion, Dr. Alo references a study, whereby a group of physicians and scientists claim that LDL causes atherosclerosis. Alo emphasizes that the authors of this study looked at the totality of the evidence, incorporating all the published research, to make this conclusion. However, Saladino says the “devil is in the details” and most of the participants of these studies likely have insulin resistance, which usually isn’t measured. 

On a side note, all but 2 of the 26 authors of the study referenced by Alo received funds from multiple entities, including Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Merck. These pharmaceutical companies sell the best-selling LDL-lowering drugs (statins) on the market. 

Is Dr. Saladino Right?

Shirtless Paul Saladino has abs and very little body fat.
Paul Saladino, 45 (Image: says he does not take performance-enhancing drugs, peptides, or testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

A few years ago, Saladino appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast. In response, physician-scientist Gil Carvalho, M.D., Ph.D., posted a fact-check video. In the video, Dr. Carvalho explains that just because meat contains vitamins and minerals not found in plants, it does not necessarily mean that meat is healthier. What matters are health outcomes. Some individuals stay healthy on plant-based diets while others remain healthy on animal-based diets. 

When it comes to saturated fats and heart disease, Carvalho lists several meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) showing that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats leads to a lower occurrence of heart disease. He also lists several RCTs showing that lowering LDL cholesterol reduces cardiovascular risk. Unlike epidemiological studies, RCTs are the highest standard of scientific evidence. 

In part II of Carvalho’s fact-check video, Saladino is shown telling Rogan that high LDL does not cause heart disease in metabolically healthy individuals. In response, Carvalho references several RCTs showing that lowering LDL reduces heart disease in individuals without diabetes, prediabetes, and other metabolic disorders. However, these studies did not measure insulin resistance, which Saladino claims plagues 90% of the population. 

Overall, it is unclear whether Saladino is correct about insulin resistance causing heart disease. Most of the RCTs referenced by Carvalho used statins to lower LDL, which have anti-inflammatory effects that could be responsible for reducing heart disease risk. More detailed studies that compare the heart disease risk of individuals with high LDL but no insulin resistance to individuals with high LDL and insulin resistance will be needed to confirm Saladino’s hypothesis. 


Saladino, Paul. “Eating meat reverses aging.”, uploaded 1 August 2023,

Saldino, Paul. “Cholesterol debate with cardiologist Dr. Alo.”, uploaded 15 August 2023,

Carvalho, Gil. “Scientist reacts to Carnivore Doctor on Joe Rogan.”, uploaded 14 August 2020,

Carvalho, Gil. “Scientist reacts to Carnivore Doctor on Joe Rogan | Part II.”, uploaded 21 August 2020,

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