Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan Book Review

Quite possibly the best book on the subject of nutrition

‘Deep Nutrition’ by Catherine Shanahan is a comprehensive analysis of the relationship between nutrition and our overall health.

Dr. Shanahan, a renowned physician and nutrition expert had some health issues herself and that prompted her to re-work her approach to diet and lifestyle choices. She collated various insights and shared them with us in her book ‘Deep Nutrition’.

This book is quite possibly the best book on the subject of nutrition I have read! It is offering practical advice and scientific explanations that are easy to understand by anyone no matter their background.

Top 10 Takeaways from ‘Deep Nutrition:

The importance of traditional diets

The book highlights the importance of ancestral diets and how they can serve as blueprints for optimal health. By incorporating the principles of these diets, we can address modern health challenges effectively. She reminds us what is the healthiest e.g. offal meal – in terms of the nutritional denseness of it. Our ancestors were not exposed to as much processed food as we are, they also ate more nutrients dense seasonal foods which served them well. A great point to reflect on.

It’s best not to eat anything that didn’t exist 200 years ago in this form or in this size.

Catherine Shanahan

Four Pillars of World Cuisine

Dr. Shanahan introduces the four common elements present in traditional diets worldwide:

  • fresh foods
  • fermented foods
  • meat on the bone
  • and organ meats

These elements contribute to overall health and well-being. Did you know that a liver has far more nutrients than broccoli or other healthy foods?

I was surprised when I first learned that. I don’t eat meat often but when I do I go for liver around once per month to ensure I eat the best possible type of meat that will supply my body with vitamins and minerals.

I don’t necessarily like dr Shanahan admiration for meat, if you read other books on the subject of health they usually suggest a plant-based approach. My favourite authority on this is dr Stven Gundry as he doesn’t seem to have a ‘tunnel view’ with just this or that but specifies which , eat is the most compatible as per our blood vesells molecules:

What we need to remember is that excessive consumption of animal protein from midlife (approx. from 45/50) is closely related to increased risks of cardiovascular diseases and especially cancer. Something that you won’t find a word about in this book (probably the biggest cons for me).

The detrimental impact of modern industrial food

The book unveils the hidden dangers of processed and refined foods. Dr Shanahan helps the readers clearly understand why certain types of foods and substances are harmful to long-term health. She reminds us that processed food is causing inflammation, chronic diseases including cancer and even epigenetic changes.

The role of fats

If you are not going to read the whole book or are a bit defocused because of its first few chapters ensure you definitely read this one! Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad. ‘Deep Nutrition’ explains the importance of healthy fats in our diet and their positive effects on cellular health and brain function. Furthermore, the book explains why canola/rapeseed oil or any vegetable oils are bad for you! Even cold pressed! Everyone should know how quickly they oxidize and become toxic for us when cooked! Everyone should reflect and read commercially sold food ingredients – did you notice that rapeseed oil is everywhere? Hopefully having read this chapter you will never buy anything containing canola oil!

The truth about cholesterol

Dr. Shanahan dispels the myth that all cholesterol is harmful, providing evidence that challenges the conventional understanding of this essential compound. No cholesterol is not caused by food! Guess what I have slightly higher cholesterol too and I don’t eat processed food or meat (not that it’s connected as it is not but the whole world thinks so hence mentioning it!). There are many reasons for that but as long as the triglycerides and the HDL are right all is fine. Again check this chapter to learn more on this subject.

The impact of agriculture on food quality

The book highlights the negative consequences of industrial farming practices, including the decline in nutrient levels and the rise of harmful substances in our food. a valid point why we need to take some supplements these days…

The significance of gut health

‘Deep Nutrition’ explores the critical role of gut health in overall well-being, linking it to a robust immune system and mental health. Dr. Shanahan explores the connection between the gut and the brain through the gut-brain axis. She also reminds us that proper gut health is essential for optimal nutrient absorption. Explains how an imbalanced gut microbiome can contribute to weight gain and metabolic issues and how gut health plays a crucial role in the development and management of allergies and autoimmune conditions. Finally touches on a subject of a “leaky gut”. The chapter provides practical tips and strategies for enhancing gut health. This chapter includes also dietary recommendations, such as consuming prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods and reducing the intake of inflammatory foods to support a healthy gut microbiome.

Epigenetics and the generational impact of nutrition

The book delves into the fascinating field of epigenetics, revealing how dietary choices can influence not only our health but that of future generations as well. The chapter begins by explaining the concept of epigenetics – the study of changes in gene expression caused by external factors, such as diet, stress, and environmental influences, rather than changes in the DNA sequence itself. Then explained is the epigenetic inheritance. Naturally, the book explores how nutrition plays a pivotal role in modifying epigenetic marks, either positively or negatively. Nutrients found in our diets can influence gene expression, potentially affecting the health and well-being of future generations. Epigenetic changes induced by poor nutrition can contribute to the development of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and even certain cancers. It is fascinating to learn how a mother’s diet can influence the epigenetic marks in her child’s DNA, shaping their health trajectory (the dietary choices of grandparents and parents can influence the health of grandchildren and subsequent generations as well!).

The good news is a healthier diet, can potentially reverse or mitigate the negative effects of previous epigenetic changes.

The relationship between food and beauty

Dr. Shanahan discusses how nutrition plays a pivotal role in maintaining youthful and radiant skin, dispelling the need for numerous beauty products.

Practical steps for implementing deep nutrition

The book provides practical guidelines and recipes to help readers integrate the principles of deep nutrition into their daily lives.


‘Deep Nutrition’ is a must-read for anyone interested in health and well-being. Dr. Catherine Shanahan presents a compelling case for returning to our roots and embracing the wisdom of traditional diets. By understanding the impact of nutrition on our genes and cellular health, readers can make informed choices that lead to vibrant health, longevity, and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.

This book goes beyond providing dietary advice; it informs readers about the intricate connection between nutrition, biology, and human evolution. With its well-researched insights, ‘Deep Nutrition’ empowers individuals to make sustainable lifestyle changes that can revolutionize their health and transform their lives for the better.

In conclusion, ‘Deep Nutrition’ is a groundbreaking book that offers a fresh perspective on nutrition and its profound impact on our overall well-being.

Whether you are a health enthusiast, a healthcare professional, or someone looking to improve your quality of life, this book provides a roadmap to better health through deep nutrition principles. Embrace the knowledge within its pages and embark on a journey towards a healthier and more fulfilling life.


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