- Heidi Montag, 35, revealed she is trying a raw meat diet to help with fertility issues.
- So, what are the benefits of eating raw meat and organs—and can they really help improve your fertility?
- Two experts sat down with Women’s Health to weigh in. Here’s what you need to know:
The Hills: New Beginnings star Heidi Montag, 35, is opening up about her decision to try a raw meat diet. “I’ve always been very interested in various types of diets,” she told people adding that she enjoys “trying new things.”
Lately, Heidi has been spotted eating raw organs, including bison heart, per Page Six. “When you think about where the most nutrients are that are bio available to humans without toxins,” she explained, “organs are very nutritious parts of animals. Culturally organs are a critical part. Eating raw liver is going to preserve as many nutrients as possibly.”
Heidi added that she was inspired by the carnivore diet, championed by Paul Saladino, MD. She also said she’s hoping the diet will help her combat fertility issues.
“I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over a year and a half, I’m willing to try different things,” Heidi shared with People. “I have felt incredible on this diet. A lot more energy, clarity, increased libido, and overall improvement on chronic pain I have had.”
Currently, Heidi and her husband Spencer Pratt share one 4-year-old son named Gunner Stone. Heidi’s fertility journey continues after she had a hysteroscopic polypectomy procedure in August. The minor surgery involves removing polyps, or non-cancerous growths, from the uterus, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
“I’m hoping that this surgery works and that this is the only reason I haven’t been able to get pregnant,” she said in YouTube video at the time. “Hopefully after this, I can get pregnant right away.”
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As for potential health risks, Heidi acknowledged that there’s “always risk eating raw just like eating raw sushi.”
“I just happen to like eating sushi-style organs,” she added.
So, can a raw meat diet really improve fertility? Women’s Health sat down with the experts—here’s what you need to know:
Organ meat contains lots of beneficial nutrients.
As far as nutrition facts go, Heidi is right: “Organ meat is consumed around the world and absolutely nutrient dense,” says Amanda Baker Lemein, MS, RD, Vice President of Nutrition and Wellness at Golin. “It’s a great source of iron, B vitamins, and folate.”
But there’s little to no evidence that suggests eating organs improves fertility.
Yes, some of the nutrients found in organ meat are involved in the fertility process, says Lemein. Folate can help prevent defects in fetuses when consumed by pregnant women. Fertility dietician and coach Whitney Gingerich adds that liver contains high amounts of vitamin A and zinc, plus choline, which also helps fetuses develop.
But both experts agree that those nutrients can be found in sources other than raw meat and organs. “Many sources of meat are going to give you iron,” says Lemein—not just organs. Some plant-based proteins also contain plenty, like beans, seeds, and nuts.
As far as the carnivore plan that inspired Heidi in the first place, Gingerich says it’s missing fruits and veggies that round out a healthy lifestyle. “If you’re just doing a carnivore diet, you’re excluding a lot of really helpful fruits, vegetables that are chock full of antioxidants and other fertility-supporting nutrients.”
“Meat contains a lot of nutrients, but it’s not all you need,” she adds.
And, when it comes to eating raw meat, storage and preparation are crucial.
Heidi herself acknowledged that eating raw meat can be risky, and both Lemein and Gingerich agree.
“When people are handling your food, in the process, they are exposed to all kinds of bacteria,” Gingerich says. “Any of that can grow, and if you’re not cooking it, you’re just very at risk.” You could contract any number of foodborne illnesses, she says, ranging from salmonella to E. coli.
Storage is also important. If the meat is outside of the refrigerator (or anywhere where the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit), “it’s prime bacteria time,” Gingerich adds.
If you are cooking with raw proteins, Lemein suggests reading up on where they come from first. “You want to make sure if you are eating raw meat or raw fish, that you know the source and it’s a high-quality source,” she adds.
The USDA recommends looking for beef that’s been inspected in a USDA plant. You can check by looking for the USDA establishment number on the package (it should say EST., followed by a number). Note: while beef that is intended for ground beef is tested for E. coli in the plant large cuts like steak usually aren’t.
As for fish, the FDA recommends buying fish that is refrigerated or stored on ice. It shouldn’t smell overly fishy or sour. The agency also suggests only eating raw fish that has been frozen already, because the freezing process can kill some harmful germs and parasites.
But in general, “what we need to remember is that a healthy diet is one that is rich in varied nutrients and varied sources of nutrients,” says Lemein. “That includes all different food groups.”
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