Dr. Newbold, an American psychiatrist, discovered a meat-based diet by accident while trying to lose weight after a heart attack. He lost weight, improved his health, and helped many of his patients with this diet.

This post covers Newbold’s background, how he discovered the meat-based diet, and the specifics of the meat-based diet that he used to help his patients lose weight.

Dr. Newbold’s background

Born in 1921, Herbert Leon Newbold graduated with a Doctor of Medicine from Duke University in 1945. After that, he practiced psychiatry at various hospitals in Illinois, North Carolina, and Chicago. In the 1970s, he opened his own practice specializing in psychiatry and neurology.[1]

According to Dr. Newbold in one of his books, based on his own weight loss experience, he had treated thousands of patients using a meat-based diet over a 20 years period.[2]

Dr. Newbold authored several books including: 

  • Psychiatric Programming of People, published in 1972[3]
  • Mega-nutrients for your nerves, published in 1975[4]
  • Dr. Newbold’s Revolutionary new discoveries about weight loss: How to master the hidden food and environmental allergies that make you fat[5]
  • Vitamin C Against Cancer, published in 1981[6]
  • Dr. Newbold’s Type A/Type B Weight Loss Book, published in 1991.[7]

Dr. Newbold practiced orthomolecular medicine and was a colleague of Dr. Robert Atkins. Interestingly, Newbold got Linus Pauling, a Nobel laureate, to write a supportive preface for his book, Dr. Newbold’s Type A/Type B Weight Loss Book.

How Dr. Newbold discovered the meat-based diet

Dr. Newbold told of his discovery of a meat-based diet in his book “Dr. Newbold’s Type A/Type B Weight Loss Book” as summarized below.

Newbold’s heart attack and his attempt to lose weight

Long working hours coupled with a poor diet, Newbold began to put on weight when he was an intern. He kept piling on the pound over time and at some stage, he was ‘a fat 232 pounds’ at six foot one.

By middle age, heart attacks had dropped some of his friends and he too was struck but luckily escaped.

After spending four weeks in the hospital recovering from it, he was determined to lose weight and lower his cholesterol.

He began by following the conventional medical wisdom at the time: To lose weight, he reduced calorie intake. To lower his cholesterol, he cut out red meats and saturated fats.

He felt terrible on this weight loss diet: irritable, restless, weak, sweaty, and anxious.

He realized that he had a food addiction problem. He was addicted to carbohydrate foods such as sugar, wheat, and milk and his attempt to cut down these foods had resulted in those horrible withdrawal symptoms.

Newbold’s search for a new diet

Newbold then began to search for ways to cure this food addiction problem and was casually told by a doctor friend that “people get addicted to certain carbohydrates but they don’t become addicted to fresh meats“.

He then decided to remove all carbohydrates such as grains, milk products, and table sugar from his diet and follow a fish-fowl-meat-raw vegetable-raw fruit diet.

To his surprise, his weight kept falling effortlessly at the rate of 2 to 3 pounds a week.

He was concerned about the level of cholesterol due to the high meat intake but was shocked to find out that his cholesterol level didn’t increase but decreased on this diet. It fell from a dangerous 312 to under 200. His last cholesterol reading was 132 despite having eaten a high red meat and high animal fat diet for 20 years.

His weight had remained normal since his new diet and at the time the book was published, his weight was 176 pounds.

How Dr Newbold treated his patients with a meat-based diet

Old foods and new foods

In his book, Newbold classified foods into old foods and new foods.

Old foods such as fish, fowl, meat, low-carbohydrate vegetables, and low carbohydrate fruits are foods that our ancestors have been eating for more than 2 million years. These foods are not addictive to Newbold’s patients except for carrots and fruits.

New foods are the foods that had been added to mankind’s diet in significant amounts only during the last 5,000 to 10,000 years. They are the foods that are most likely to be incompatible with our biochemistry and cause weight and other health problems.

Newbold argued that these new foods were the cause of the food addiction problem because “evolution has not yet had enough time to change the chemistry of all of us to efficiently handle the new foods“.

His approach to weight loss was simply to put his patients on an old food diet and eliminate all new foods.

He also classified people with weight problems as Type-A and Type-B. Type-As are the spree eaters and Type-Bs are the addictive eaters. He classified himself as a Type-B.

The Simplified Newbold Diet

The simplified version of the Newbold diet as stated in his book has the following steps (I think Newbold mean the general rules of his weight loss diet):

Step 1: At each meal, eat all of the fresh chicken, fish, veal, beef rib steak, porterhouse steak, lamb, pork, or other fresh meats as desired. Include some fat.

Step 2: It’s not required but if desired, have a cup of fresh, raw vegetables three times a day with meals. No root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and potatoes

Step 3: It’s not required but if desired, have one cup of fresh raw compatible fruit three times a day after meals. Many people are unable to eat any fruits and lose weight

Step 4: Drink nothing but plain bottled spring water, at least one and a half quarts a day

Step 5: Test foods one at a time to learn which ones make you feel bad and trigger an eating spree

Step 6: Avoid environmental insults like copy machine odors, flowers, perfume, smoke from tobacco, carpeting, pets, etc.

Step 7: Walk outdoors one hour a day, preferably during the daylight hours.

More details on the Newbold Diet

1. Testing beef first

Newbold suggested starting testing with beef first.

He mentioned that in his experience treating thousands of patients, he found mid-rib beef steaks to be the most commonly tolerated food (this happens to be what Mikhaila Peterson eats a lot). The second-best tolerated was porterhouse steaks. He also suggested always have your meat cut fresh which is quite a challenge for us these days.

2. Testing other meats

After finishing the beef test, you can test out veal, lamb, and pork. He recommended test only meats that have a generous amount of fat. His view was very lean meat would make you ill if you consume a significant amount. This was based on his experience using this diet on thousands of patients for more than 20 years.

3. Testing fish

Newbold said there are three problems with fish:

  • First, people are less likely to tolerate fish than red meats
  • Second, people often do not get enough to eat when eating fish and are more likely to cheat on their diet
  • Third, fish are the most dangerously contaminated food. (It is probably worse today than Newbold’s time. Today farmed fish are raised in poor conditions, treated with antibiotics and routinely injected vaccines. Some farmed fish are even fed dye to make their flesh pink).

As a rule, he asked people not to eat fish more than once a week.

Test fresh fish and test oily fish like bluefish, blackfish, salmon, shark, halibut, and mackerel. Then if desire, you can test shellfish like shrimp, scallops, and oysters.

4. Testing fowl

Newbold found that he and most of his patients did not do well on fowl.

The best-tolerated types are range-fed fowl. He had two patients who could tolerate no commercial chicken but could tolerate the chickens they grew on their own farms.

5. Butter

Butter was the only dairy product that Newbold found commonly tolerated. He recommended using unsalted butter.

If you find yourself reacting to butter, he recommended clarifying it and testing it again because some people could only tolerate clarified butter.

6. Vegetables

Newbold’s view was that fruits and vegetables were only “play foods“.

Once you’ve worked out which fish-fowl-meats you can tolerate, if you wish, you may test vegetables and fruits.

To test, eat only one vegetable at a time and eat it along with a meat that you’ve tested and cleared, and wait for 3 days to see the reaction. Also, have no more than half a cup at a time.

After you’ve found that a vegetable is okay to eat, i.e. it does not make you hungry and does not give you any side reactions such as gas, you may have half a cup of a fresh raw vegetable with each meal, but no more than 3 times a day.

No potatoes, carrots, or other root vegetables such as turnips or parsley. No beans or peas.

Eat vegetables only with your meat. Do not eat them as snacks.

7. Fruits

It’s not required but if you wish, you may have one cup of fresh, raw fruit three times a day after your meal. No bananas, grapes, oranges, mangos, or pineapples.

But first test and clear each fruit. Eat only one fruit at a time and wait for 3 days to see if you have any reaction.

Eat fruit only after eating one of the meats that you have tested and cleared. Do not eat fruit as a snack.

In Newbold’s view, most dieters should not eat any fruit and should never eat dried fruit.

8. Water and other beverages

Newbold also suggested testing out the water you drink because not all waters are the same. Some water can be contaminated with chemicals that affect your appetite.

On this diet, Newbold recommended drinking at least one and a half quarts of water daily and that until you reach a normal weight, you should drink nothing but water.

In addition, you should not drink alcoholic beverages of any kind, herb teas, ordinary tea, coffee, diet soda, or juice because these drinks will make you hungry or cause some reactions.

9. Modern foods to avoid

Newbold recommended avoiding the following:

  • grains
  • sugar
  • milk
  • nuts
  • beans
  • peas
  • all processed foods.
10. Eat fats and lose weight

Newbold said while on this diet if you don’t eat some of the fat, you will become ill and suffer from problems like diarrhea or constipation. But please don’t eat the burned or browned fat.

11. Environmental factors

Newbold recommended testing and avoiding environmental insults like copy machine odors, flowers, perfume, smoke from tobacco, carpeting, pets, pesticide sprays, and other things because he found many people reacted to these factors.

Newbold Diet vs Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet

The Newbold Diet summarized above is remarkably similar to the Paleolithic Ketogenic Diet which I mentioned briefly in this post.

The International Center for Medical Nutritional Intervention (ICMNI) clinic has been using a diet called the paleolithic ketogenic diet (PKD) to treat many chronic conditions including autoimmune conditions since 2012.[8]

The Paleolithic Ketogenic diet is a high-fat animal-based diet with a fat-to-protein ratio of about 2:1 in weight. It has a continuum starting with 100% animal-based food and allowing for up to 30% plant food.

Similar to Newbold’s view, plant food is not required or recommended under the Paleolithic Ketogenic diet. It is only there as an allowance for those people with not so severe conditions who can physiologically tolerate plant food.

Dr Newbold’s clinical results

In his book, Newbold claimed that he had treated thousands of patients and presented many interesting cases, however, this can’t be verified.

He mentioned that he had published several well-controlled cases on cholesterol under this diet. He also had hundreds of other patients who ate a high animal fat diet and lowered their cholesterol levels or maintained their already low cholesterol levels.

In the book, he reported cholesterol levels before and after a high animal fat diet of five patients (page 150-151). These patients’ average cholesterol fell from 263 to 189 after starting the high animal fat diet.

Dr. Newbold’s death

Newbold died in 1994. The cause of his death is not clear. Some sources said that he got an infection that did not respond well to antibiotics so he checked himself into a hospital. While he was there, he died from a morphine overdose. At the time of his death, he had several writing projects in progress.

I hope, somewhere over the rainbow, Dr. Newbold knows that people today still admire his intellect, value his work, and are grateful for all his contributions.


Mounting evidence suggests that eating the way we are meant to eat can fix a lot of modern health problems.

Though I don’t agree with everything Newbold wrote in his book, I highly recommend reading it. He covered a lot of other areas that I haven’t mentioned above including mental health and physical activity in relation to weight loss.

Newbold’s ideas and his weight loss diet were definitely ahead of his time. In my view, the principles of his weight loss diet are sound and undoubtedly healthier than the Atkins diet. Unfortunately, his unorthodox approach didn’t become mainstream or receive the attention it deserves.

Had people been more open-minded and paying attention to Newbold’s work, who knows what would have happened.

Looking at the current state of modern medicine and the direction most health professionals are taking us, it will be a long time before the carnivore diet is even recognized as a healthy diet, let alone using it as an accepted way to treat health problems.

For some of us with chronic health conditions that modern medicine can’t help, we really can’t wait for the health and medical professions to get their act together.

If you do like to try it out and see if it can improve your health, please check out this detailed guide on how to start the carnivore diet that I’ve written for people who are new to this diet.

DisclaimerThe information in this post is for reference purposes only and not intended to constitute or replace professional medical advice. Please consult a qualified medical professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.