Author Topic: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk  (Read 27655 times)

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Offline Paleo Donk

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I'm wanting to discuss the differences in composition between milks of carnivorous mammals and humans and perhaps the implications of this towards what adulthood diets should be.

From wiki - human breast milk

Quote
After 3 to 4 days breasts will begin producing milk that is thin, watery, and sweet. This quenches the baby's thirst and provides the proteins, sugar, and minerals the baby needs. Over time the milk changes and becomes thick and creamy. This satisfies the baby's hunger.[15]
Foremilk, the milk released at the beginning of a feed, is watery, low in fat and high in carbohydrates relative to the creamier hindmilk which is released as the feed progresses. The breast can never be truly "emptied" since milk production is a continuous biological process.
The level of Immunoglobilin A (IgA) in breast milk remains high from day 10 until at least 7.5 months post-partum.[16]
Human milk contains 0.8% to 0.9% protein, 4.5% fat, 7.1% carbohydrates and 0.2% ash (minerals)[17] . Carbohydrates are mainly lactose; several lactose-based oligosaccharides have been identified as minor components.

If we take the average values reported here then by calorie content human breast milk is 56% fat, 39% carbs and 5% protein.

Now looking at cheetahs

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17064942
Quote
Milk was obtained from two captive bred cheetahs. The nutrient content was 99.6 g protein; 64.8 g fat; and 40.21 g lactose per kg milk. Small amounts of oligosaccharides, glucose, galactose and fucose were noted

Which would make calorie content 51% fat, 35% protein and 14% carbs.

I've searched around a bit and the contents do seem to change for different species and even throughout the week (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/110531953/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0)

The most striking difference is clearly with the protein content. The low amount of protein in human breast milk comes as a surprise for me as well as the high carb content - its quite a bit higher than cows milk. Will write more on this later.

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2010, 12:16:42 am »
I wonder if the mother's diet influences the macronutrient profile of the breast milk? It would be interesting to compare the mother's milk of traditional coastal Chukchi mothers with American mothers on the SAD, for example.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline ForTheHunt

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2010, 12:30:10 am »
Huh. Interesting.
Take everyones advice with a grain of salt. Try things out for your self and then make up your mind.

Offline Nation

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2010, 03:45:41 am »
Doesn't human milk contain other substances known as "growth factors" which are similar to proteins? which would explain why human milk has such a low protein content.

Offline Paleo Donk

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2010, 10:11:28 pm »
Phil, I too wonder if the mother's diet can influence the nutrient composition but if Mark Sissom's recent article is of any validity than it appears it does not matter much.

 http://www.marksdailyapple.com/nursing-primal-blueprint-diet/

Apparently even under starvation conditions the milk will remain nutrient dense as the milk will strip the mother of nutrients regardless of her well being. The mother will lose lean body mass rapidly if she eats the RDA for protein. I still don't have a source for low-carb dieter milk composition and wonder if there would be any shift from carb to fat.

It is still quite puzzling that human breast milk contains so much carbohydrate (the most among mammals?) and so little protein (the least?). Infants drink about 700ml of breast milk a day for approximately 50g of carbs (mostly lactose). The adult human brain needs 50-60g of glucose per day to function properly and an infants brain is 30% the size of an adult brain at birth so I could guess that humans might need quite a bit more carb content just for proper brain function and this would be the reason for the relatively high amount in the milk.

This still leaves protein at a low amount - just 1g/100ml where as cow milk is 3.5g/100ml. The best way I can explain this is that humans grow so much slower than most(every?) other mammals. At least this shows that growth can take place with quite low amounts of protein - just 7g/day.

Nation, yea there are surely lots of other non-protein nitrogen containing compounds like hormones and enzymes. Wiki lists them to be at 25% of the total nitrogen amount.

This gives me even more reason to experiment with low-protein diets even when trying to add muscle as even during our most anabolic period in life we require little protein.

Also interesting - in one of the comments from the sissom article it states that additional calcium and magnesium supplements might be needed if the diet is too high in animal protein. Well this matches up with the inland inuit who experienced early onset bone loss, perhaps with a diet too high in protein. hmmm...

Also, can anyone give an explanation as to why our protein needs would change from such a low amount - 5 percent - to 10-20% range for adulthood??

Perhaps this has to do with efficiency. Mothers milk is probably supremely efficient at giving an infant exactly the kinds of proteins it needs so nothing at all is wasted. There are indigenous cultures that survive well off of 10% protein. Perhaps with raw it can be even less and then the difference would be negligible - though adults are no longer growing.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2010, 10:24:11 pm by Paleo Donk »

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2010, 12:21:57 am »
Phil, I too wonder if the mother's diet can influence the nutrient composition but if Mark Sissom's recent article is of any validity than it appears it does not matter much.

 http://www.marksdailyapple.com/nursing-primal-blueprint-diet/

While Mark started out by downplaying the effect of diet on mother's milk, towards the end he writes: "A lot of babies have reflux, and it can sometimes be related to food sensitivities. If it’s a significant or ongoing problem, it’s worth eliminating certain food groups for a couple weeks at a time to see if it makes any difference. Although gluten and dairy get the most attention and warrant initial test runs, you might want to consider doing the same test runs with nuts, nightshades, eggs, citrus and any remaining soy in your diet." So even he appears to recognize that there can be important differences in mother's milk due to differences in mother's diets. I also recall reading studies that found that undigested protein peptide fragments from wheat and other toxic foods, can be passed on to the fetus from the mother, and the mother's immune system can be triggered by these fragments in her own body and her immune system can then attack the fetus as well as her own body, due to the phenomena known as molecular mimicry and autoimmunity. Given those differences I, like you, still wonder if there might be subtle differences in the macronutrient ratios also.

Quote
It is still quite puzzling that human breast milk contains so much carbohydrate (the most among mammals?)
Are you sure it's the most among all mammals? So far you've only mentioned cheetahs and cows, what about nonhuman primates? Data on pig, bear and canid mother's milk would also seem more relevant than cow's milk. Humans do seem to handle carby foods like fruits better than cats and canids, so it doesn't suprise me that human mother's milk would be more carby than that of cats, but it does surprise me that it's more carby than bovine milk--though I think I have read that before. Why would calves not need as much carbs as human infants, I wonder? Is it because the bovine diet is fiber-rich, instead of fruit-rich? If so, that would suggest that mountain gorilla mother's milk would be lower carb also and we should expect frugivorous chimp mother's milk to have more carbs than mtn gorilla milk.

Quote
This still leaves protein at a low amount - just 1g/100ml where as cow milk is 3.5g/100ml. The best way I can explain this is that humans grow so much slower than most(every?) other mammals. At least this shows that growth can take place with quite low amounts of protein - just 7g/day.
Interesting idea, but calves are fast-growing and bovine milk is lower in carbs. Wouldn't fast-growers need carbs as well as protein? Or are protein and fat actually more important for fast growth?

Quote
Also interesting - in one of the comments from the sissom article it states that additional calcium and magnesium supplements might be needed if the diet is too high in animal protein. Well this matches up with the inland inuit who experienced early onset bone loss, perhaps with a diet too high in protein. hmmm...
Yes, and the alternative would be to eat a lot of blood, organs and soft bones from animals pastured on soils as rich in minerals and iodine as Stone Age soils (which is very rare these days) or from wild seafood (which would be quite expensive). In part for this reason, and despite Tyler's warnings against supplementation, I take Mg and low-dose Dr. Ron's multi-vit/mineral supplement and I eat pasture-fed meats, fats and organs, kelp, seafood, sea salt, and young greens. I also have residual mineral deficiencies left over from my SAD days, so I probably need more supplementation than most.

Quote
Also, can anyone give an explanation as to why our protein needs would change from such a low amount - 5 percent - to 10-20% range for adulthood??
Good question. I know the needs change from infancy to adulthood, but I don't know the details of the changes.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline Paleo Donk

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2010, 10:29:20 pm »
Good points, it does make sense that the compounds manufactured from toxic intakes will show up in the milk (hopefully not to the degree as they were ingested by the mother) and I would guess the macronutrient ratio would remain relatively stable for a variety of diets at least for protein

Quote
Are you sure it's the most among all mammals? So far you've only mentioned cheetahs and cows, what about nonhuman primates? Data on pig, bear and canid mother's milk would also seem more relevant than cow's milk. Humans do seem to handle carby foods like fruits better than cats and canids, so it doesn't suprise me that human mother's milk would be more carby than that of cats, but it does surprise me that it's more carby than bovine milk--though I think I have read that before. Why would calves not need as much carbs as human infants, I wonder? Is it because the bovine diet is fiber-rich, instead of fruit-rich? If so, that would suggest that mountain gorilla mother's milk would be lower carb also and we should expect frugivorous chimp mother's milk to have more carbs than mtn gorilla milk.

I just found an interesting explanation for why species vary in their carbohydrate content.

Quote
Generally speaking, species that cache their offspring (leave them alone for hours at a time, like a deer leaving its fawn in the woods hidden, or a wolf leaving her pups in the den) have milk that is high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrate. The offspring may be nursed only a few times a day, getting a lot of milk at any one nursing. The high protein and fat content of the milk make it slow to digest, and it satisfies the baby's hunger for hours.

Other species are "continuous contact" species, either by virtual of the fact that the young are precocial (advanced at birth, like a horse, who can get up and run within the first hour) and can therefore "follow" the mother all the time (this would include almost all hoofed animals) or because the young are carried on the mother's body (marsupials, most primates, including humans). Chimpanzees, gorillas, organutans, and humans all fall in the "carry" category. And, by the way, chimp and gorilla mothers have to provide active support to the offspring for several months as they carry them, the babies can cling, but not strongly enough at first to just hang on all by themselves. Some anthropologists think the very first "tool" invented by humans was a baby sling. Getting far afield. . .

Continuous contact species have milk that is low in protein and fat and high in carbohydrates. The offspring tend to nurse very often, but not take much at any one nursing. The low protein and fat content of the milk make it quick and easy to digest, and the baby is quickly hungry again, but mom is right there, so it just nurses again. I have seen figures of 20 minutes as the length of time it takes a breast milk meal to clear the stomach. Chimp and gorilla babies nurse several times an hour during the day, and sleep with their mothers at night, so presumably nurse at night also.
http://www.kathydettwyler.org/detfreq.html

I'm not sure how accurate this is but it does make a good bit of sense, though I really need to have access to the macronutrient ratios and water content to see what "high-fat" means in that context. It doesn't seem like there are "continuous contact" carnivores in temperate areas to test whether the dietary differences will affect macronutrient composition. Polar bears and whales would probably be labeled "continuous contact" and I'm pretty sure they have milk very high in fat.

Just found a paper done comparing the differences in amino acids in breast milk among several primates(humans, chimps, gorillas, baboon, and rhesus monkey) and many other animals (elephant, horse, pig, rat, cow and more). The amino acid concentration among the primates was remarkably similar with humans and chimps being nearly identical. Primate amino acid concentration ranged from .85% to 1.2% while the range for non-primates was (1.6-8.7). Unfortunately there is no mention of carbohydrate or fat. So, even a gorilla that eats quite a bit of protein in the wild (according to this - http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/should-all-animals-eat-a-high-fat-low-carb-diet.html) still apparently needs little during infancy.

http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/reprint/124/7/1126.pdf


Also - heres a link that states great ape milk is similar in nearly every aspect to human milk, so carb and fat content are likely just as similar as protein and verifies that slow growing mammals do tend to have lower protein requirements. http://books.google.com/books?id=GuFz4r64ETkC&lpg=PA150&ots=ic_7lHK4op&dq=gorilla%20breast%20milk%20carbohydrate&pg=PA150#v=onepage&q&f=false

Ahh...Apparently the statement above is false as gorilla milk seems to differ significantly with respect to fat and carb content with fat content only at 1.4%(compared to humans at 4%) and it has significantly more oligosaccharides (those prebiotic sugars  found in onions and asparagus and presumably other things gorillas eat that help maintain balanced gut-flora)


Also turns out that human breast milk is fattier the more often it is suckled. Feeding more frequently and on demand improves quality - http://www.parentingscience.com/infant-feeding-schedule.html
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 11:56:28 pm by Paleo Donk »

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2010, 06:27:21 am »
....Also turns out that human breast milk is fattier the more often it is suckled. Feeding more frequently and on demand improves quality - http://www.parentingscience.com/infant-feeding-schedule.html

Ah, and traditional mothers would have more time to suckle than the modern mothers used in the statistics in modern societies. I wonder what the differences would come out to. Excellent post, PD.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline Paleo Donk

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2010, 09:09:00 pm »
Thanks PP. Ok, finally found something that definitely indicates fat composition changes with respect to diet.

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/89/6/1821

Quote
With regard to infants’ intake, the H-F diet induced a higher milk fat content (13%), a higher energy intake (7%), and a higher percentage of energy from fat (8%) than did the H-CHO diet.

Two groups of women were fed for 8 days a diet of 1800 calories which had the same amount of protein with different percentages of fat/carb. The high fat group was at 60% fat, 25% carb and the high carb was at 55% carb, 30% fat. The amount of carbs and protein in the milk remained remarkably similar and did not vary between the two groups. The total production of the HF group breast milk did not change either. It was just fattier by weight, which means some water mass got replaced by fat. A puzzling side not was that protein content of the breast milk was around twice as high for both milks than what I have seen reported throughout.

So the HF group milk by calories was 54% fat, 36.5% carb and 9.5% protein.

Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2010, 10:27:53 pm »
Plus mother's human milk changes in composition as the baby grows older.  You have composition of mother's milk at 6 months, 1 year, 1.5 years and 2 years?

Quote
Phil, I too wonder if the mother's diet can influence the nutrient composition but if Mark Sissom's recent article is of any validity than it appears it does not matter much.

Absolutely and definitely by my healing experience with my nephew.  At 7 months he had terrible psoriasis on his face and chest.  I stepped in and made a house and food inspection.  I pointed out the dietetic mistakes of the parents.  The child is fully breast fed.  Therefore mother's milk is terrible and needs improvement.  In 2 short weeks, the infant is 90% psoriasis cured.

I expect in 2 weeks he will be totally clear.

http://www.eczemacure.info/blog/2010/07/18/infant-psoriasis-with-7-month-old-baby-improved-90-after-2-weeks-of-adjustments-proof-our-cure-protocol-works/
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Offline Paleo Donk

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2010, 11:59:42 pm »
Yea GS, good point. I don't have info on marconutrient change as the infants age. Colustrum, the liquid that mothers produce the first few days after birth is apparently much higher in protein than breast milk. These infants averaged 10 weeks of age so its possible that the protein content continually decreases as time goes on to the normal 1% level not around the 2% in the study above.

Offline Xylar

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2012, 12:06:08 am »
ok i know this is an old thread, but i have been researching and testing diets on myself for 2 years now. and this topic is 1 that i rlly think needs explored more and i cant do it alone,

i found low carb paleo (cooked rare but working on raw) is the only thing that keeps me from getting huge cystic acne around my jawline,  i found that if i eat ANY type of starch i get depressed, want to kill myself, feel hopeless and within a few hours my skin gets dry and huge painfull cysts show up that take a month to go away.   i was low carb paleo eating steak coconut oil and egg yolks for 5 months str8 and was feeling beter than ive ever felt in my life. and my skin was amazing, not only was it clear, i actually was able to get  tan over the summer,  i come from 6 years vegetarian/vegan . so im shur i have allot of metabolic damage

anyway i studdyd everyone from markS robb  wolf and ray peat. and what i found is the same. i cannot tolerate starch at all. it gives me bad gass makes me sick and like i said above rlly messen with my mood and emotions. literal makes me sit around cry about how i hate life.  but as i did low carb /paleo over the months i found i needed more carbs to make feel full after a steak and egg meal. so i was eating fruit, and fruit gives me no problems, i even wanted to test large sugar loads and ate a whole bag of hershys kiss's ever day for 2 weeks with no ill effects, but then soon as i eat a small amount of potato im intantly back to feeling like death.

i kno talking about cooked food or what not is taboo in this forum, but rlly it shouldnt matter we r all here tryen to get the bottom of this diet thing. so anyway  the breakdown of human breast milk vs carno milk has me thinking.. is sugar rlly  that bad? atleast for me starch is the devil and i dont know why and how millions of ppl in all cultures were healthy living on rice/corn/barley for generations,  and what is interesting is fat/sugar is the main portions of breast milk. and when we over eat protein it gets converted into glucose. so doesnt that grass fed steak at 16$ a pound just turn into rlly pricey sugar... now by sugar i dont mean processed, im talking fruit (or fruit juice if ur poor like me) 

im rlly tryen to figure out a way to stay healthy and be able to afford it. so steak and eggs 3 times a day isnt doable for me anymore (lost my job)  i might have to go to small amounts of ground beef with loads of coconut oil/ghee with allot of fruit juices... 

so anyway i just want to re-open this topic  and gets sum good convo flowing. i hope i picked the right msg board, im a big fan of paleophill :)  i like the way u think lol. 

Offline PaleoPhil

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2012, 06:19:09 am »
lol thanks  :D  Paleo food prices have been going up for me, so I've been trying to eat more organs, fat and eggs.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline LePatron7

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Re: Nutrient composition: Carnivorous mammal milk vs Human milk
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2012, 01:36:32 pm »
ok i know this is an old thread, but i have been researching and testing diets on myself for 2 years now. and this topic is 1 that i rlly think needs explored more and i cant do it alone,

i found low carb paleo (cooked rare but working on raw) is the only thing that keeps me from getting huge cystic acne around my jawline,  i found that if i eat ANY type of starch i get depressed, want to kill myself, feel hopeless and within a few hours my skin gets dry and huge painfull cysts show up that take a month to go away.   i was low carb paleo eating steak coconut oil and egg yolks for 5 months str8 and was feeling beter than ive ever felt in my life. and my skin was amazing, not only was it clear, i actually was able to get  tan over the summer,  i come from 6 years vegetarian/vegan . so im shur i have allot of metabolic damage

anyway i studdyd everyone from markS robb  wolf and ray peat. and what i found is the same. i cannot tolerate starch at all. it gives me bad gass makes me sick and like i said above rlly messen with my mood and emotions. literal makes me sit around cry about how i hate life.  but as i did low carb /paleo over the months i found i needed more carbs to make feel full after a steak and egg meal. so i was eating fruit, and fruit gives me no problems, i even wanted to test large sugar loads and ate a whole bag of hershys kiss's ever day for 2 weeks with no ill effects, but then soon as i eat a small amount of potato im intantly back to feeling like death.

i kno talking about cooked food or what not is taboo in this forum, but rlly it shouldnt matter we r all here tryen to get the bottom of this diet thing. so anyway  the breakdown of human breast milk vs carno milk has me thinking.. is sugar rlly  that bad? atleast for me starch is the devil and i dont know why and how millions of ppl in all cultures were healthy living on rice/corn/barley for generations,  and what is interesting is fat/sugar is the main portions of breast milk. and when we over eat protein it gets converted into glucose. so doesnt that grass fed steak at 16$ a pound just turn into rlly pricey sugar... now by sugar i dont mean processed, im talking fruit (or fruit juice if ur poor like me) 

im rlly tryen to figure out a way to stay healthy and be able to afford it. so steak and eggs 3 times a day isnt doable for me anymore (lost my job)  i might have to go to small amounts of ground beef with loads of coconut oil/ghee with allot of fruit juices... 

so anyway i just want to re-open this topic  and gets sum good convo flowing. i hope i picked the right msg board, im a big fan of paleophill :)  i like the way u think lol.

I hope you get a job soon. I recently lost my good job, and made a huge down grade. My diet suffered tremendously.

If you have trouble with complex carbs/polysacharides, but are fine with simple sugars like fruit. Maybe you could look into the specific carbohydrate diet.

It only allows simple carbs, like those from fruit.

Its real easy to eat raw SCD carbs, fruits, veggies, and nuts, with raw animal foods.
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