T Nation

Organ Meats vs Protein Powder


First, this isn't a question that I've looked for scientific data on, or even if there is any, and I don't have an absolute opinion based on great observational data either. It's mostly a question.

I got married in October. My wife -- a T-Nation member, btw, Level 4 despite having been in the UK -- is convinced of the superiority of organ meats vs protein powder. Though she does use Surge Recovery.

Largely because she is a great cook, and because an attempt to finally once and for all allow healing of my left shoulder together with simultanous knee problem that needed healing I had temporarily cut training way back, I've been on "real food" with relatively little protein powder supplementation.

It's not a fair trial, because of the much reduced training, but really I have to say I have done worse than I would have expected had I continued with my previously-major protein powder intake. However, that's guesswork. It is consistent with past experience though that high intake of protein powder has helped me considerably, for any given rate of gaining fat, losing fat, or when caloric intake kept fat levels the same.

I have many times had the impression though that I have done better when also having 12 eggs per day.

Liver, I never noticed anything from, but Gironda of course was a huge believer in that.

Anyone have thoughts or findings on this? It's interesting to me and I doubt there's conclusive evidence from human study on it, though that's just a guess.


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How much protein were you previously consuming?


It's just uncommon (but not incorrect) syntax. And this is coming from an editor :slight_smile:


Higher intake of "real food" = more processing required = more "exhaust" (bad stuff chemically and overall more physical stress on digestive system)...so, can you say that you could match the supernatural protein intake afforded by powders with "real food" (organ meats, other meats) without seeing a greater increase in ANY negatives (created due to greater requirement of processing of real foods) ?

If you up the intake of organ meat as your protein source, can you also increase intake of systemic enzymes and, depending on preparation of the meat (e.g. grilling) also increase your intake of salad (insoluble fiber + anti-oxidants) plus anti-oxidants (I thought I had read about the negatives of of the Maillard reaction being mitigated by anti-oxidants) ?

I guess it also depends on the type of injury you have and what the healing process would require.

By the way, If you were a chick, I'd say this post was a roundabout announcement of your recent nuptials. Congratulations :wink:


I meant, I have done worse than I expect I would have done if I hadn't dropped the protein powder intake way down.


Long-term I had two scoops of Low-Carb Metabolic Drive usually at least 4x/day, and was always using at least Surge Recovery pre and post-workout. There was a further increase with the Anaconda protocol, but I was making the comparison compared to my previous usual-level protein intake.

I actually was not one for figuring the numbers so much on protein intake, as I don't think it's an exact science and the body can work well with variations, but I'd treated 300 g/day as a personal minimum value for many years.

I really don't know what I've been on with the "real food" diet but it's well under that. Maybe more like 180 g/day as a guess.

The plus side is, in the past I'd have paid $20/meal for meals like I get now :slight_smile:


First, grats on the little lady.

Second, why are you contrasting powder with organ meats, and not muscle meats (steak, chicken breast, whatevs)?


My wife made me start the thread :wink:

Thank you for the congratulations!


Actually now being serious: Because while it's a completely valid question as to comparing say beef of one type vs protein powder of some type, it's a different question.

Eggs aren't really an organ meat but I arbitrarily put them into a category of being similar in that they are comprised of the entire organism.

Liver is an interesting question.

Where my wife comes in is she brought up the question, and as it happens she thinks there is considerable value to chicken and lamb hearts and kidneys. I have no experience with these, so to me it's an interesting question.


I'd agree this seems a very valid point. No doubt a quality protein powder is easier to process and as you say, that difference may bring issues.

In many cases it also prevents, at least for practical purposes, an equal comparison in terms of grams of protein. That has been the case for me.

So far as the injury goes I don't think the two food protocols were different. There was Superfood in both cases so antioxidants were covered. Where the injury came in was in the decision to stop aggravating it for a while in an effort to get actually recovered. (There has been big improvement recently, fortunately.)

Thanks! But probably not, as it's quite belated. It was never relevant to a post till now.


Whole foods have other nutrients that work on their own and synergistically in the body.

Protein powders don't because they're refined. I suppose it could be looked at like white bread that has to be enriched with vitamins because they've been removed. To avoid getting shit on, I'd like to point out that I don't believe white bread and protein powder are comparable from a nutrient standpoint, I just thought this was a nice comparison about the removal of micronutrients.

Don't get me wrong everybody needs amino acids, but there are a lot of other things going on in the body that require other non-amino acid nutrients.


Liver might be a key example of this. It certainly could be that skeletal meats may be as well. Dunno about heart or kidney meats as to how they might differ, if they do in any significant way besides flavor, from skeletal muscle meat (the usual cuts.)


Probably right on the liver, it is a filter, but that makes me wonder what else it might be filtering up the food chain.


Perhaps a suitable (can't think of the word)


Not that this proves anything with regard to humans, but cats fed a diet solely of raw skeletal muscle and digestible (for them) bone or bone meal have their lives severely shortened and their health greatly compromised, thought not as much so as with cooked meat.

The same diet plus raw liver puts them in great health.

Thank you for the information on beef liver vs calf liver. I'd cheapened out recently at the supermarket and starting buying beef liver: I'll go back to calves' liver.


There's obviously a correlation there, the difference is protein only vs protein + micronutrients.
The nutritional profile for the calf's liver is high in a lot of immune system related vitamins and minerals. (I just read a chapter on it, so this is making me feel like I have some brains)


I miss you.


Hey, Brother Chris! :slight_smile:


Those were good times.


She is not little.


"Remarkable Health
That the hunter-gatherer was healthy there is no doubt. Weston Price noted an almost complete absence of tooth decay and
dental deformities among Native Americans who lived as their ancestors did.5

They had broad faces, straight teeth and fine physiques. This was true of the nomadic tribes living in the far northern territories
of British Columbia and the Yukon, as well as the wary inhabitants of the Florida Everglades, who were finally coaxed into allow-
him to take photographs. Skeletal remains of the Indians of Vancouver that Price studied were similar, showing a virtual
absence of tooth decay, arthritis and any other kind of bone deformity. TB was nonexistent among Indians who ate as their
ancestors had done, and the women gave birth with ease.

Price interviewed the beloved Dr. Romig in Alaska who stated "that in his thirty-six years of contact with these people he had
never seen a case of malignant disease among the truly primitive Eskimos and Indians, although it frequently occurs when they
become modernized. He found, similarly, that the acute surgical problems requiring operation on internal organs, such as the
gall bladder, kidney, stomach and appendix, do not tend to occur among the primitives but are very common problems among
the modernized Eskimos and Indians.

Growing out of his experience in which he had seen large numbers of the modernized Eskimos and Indians attacked with
tuberculosis, which tended to be progressive and ultimately fatal as long as the patients stayed under modernized living
conditions, he now sends them back when possible to primitive conditions and to a primitive diet, under which the death rate
is very much lower than under modernized conditions. Indeed, he reported that a great majority of the afflicted recover under the
primitive type of living and nutrition."6

The early explorers consistently described the native Americans as tall and well formed. Of the Indians of Texas, the explorer
Cabeza de Vaca wrote, "The men could run after a deer for an entire day without resting and without apparent fatigue. . . one
man near seven feet in stature. . . runs down a buffalo on foot and slays it with his knife or lance, as he runs by its side.."7

The Indians were difficult to kill. De Vaca reports on an Indian "traversed by an arrow. . . he does not die but recovers from his
wound." The Karakawas, a tribe that lived near the Gulf Coast, were tall, well-built and muscular. "The men went stark naked,
the lower lip and nipple pierced, covered in alligator grease [to ward off mosquitoes], happy and generous, with amazing
physical prowess. . . they go naked in the most burning sun, in winter they go out in early dawn to take a bath, breaking the ice
with their body."

....Guts and grease and politics:

"Guts and Grease in a Glass
Modern food writers who assure us we can enjoy the superb health of the American Indian by eating low fat foods and canned
fruits have done the public a great disservice. The basis of the Indian diet was guts and grease, not waffles and skimmed milk.
When the Indians abandoned these traditional foods and began consuming processed store-bought foods, their health
deteriorated rapidly. Weston Price vividly described the suffering from tooth decay, tuberculosis, arthritis and other problems
that plagued the modernized Indian groups he visited throughout America
and Canada.

Modern man has lost his taste for the kinds of foods the Indians ate-how many American children will eat raw liver, dried lung or
sour porridge? How then can we return to the kind of good health the Indians enjoyed?

Price found only one group of modernized Indians that did not suffer from caries. These were students at the Mohawk Institute
near the city of Brantford. "The Institute maintained a fine dairy herd and provided fresh vegetables, whole wheat bread and
limited the sugar and white flour."31 So the formula for good health in the modern age begins with the products of "a fine dairy
herd"-whole, raw, unprocessed milk from cows that eat green grass, a highly nutritious substitute for guts and grease and one
that every child can enjoy, even native American children who are supposedly lactose intolerant. Add some good fats (butter,
tallow and lard), aim for liver or other organ meats once a week (but don't fret if you can't achieve this with our own children),
make cod liver oil part of the daily routine, eat plenty of meat and seafood, and augment the diet with a variety of plant foods
properly prepared, including a few that are fermented. Keep sugar and white flour to a minimum. It's a simple formula that can
turn a nation of hungry little wolves into happy campers.

Meanwhile, be skeptical of government guidelines. The Indians learned not to trust our government and neither should you."

And an interesting fact:

" All the insides, such as heart, kidneys and liver, were prepared and eaten, roasted or baked or laid out in the sun to dry. The
lungs were not cooked, just sliced and hung up to dry. Intestines were also dried. Sapotsis or Crow gut is a Blackfoot delicacy
made from the main intestine which is stuffed with meat and roasted over coals. Tripe was prepared and eaten raw or boiled
or roasted. The brains were eaten raw. If the animal was a female, they would prepare the teats or udders by boiling or
barbecuing - these were never eaten raw."

Just reading "they would prepare the teats" should give you men a testosterone spike.

That is a scientific fact for some of you and you know it.