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Pegan, or “Paleo Vegan” for short. We picture Pegans cozying up to a plate of sprouted quinoa, yams and black beans after a kundalini yoga session, but that’s just us. Pegans can just as easily go with a piece of wild salmon on a bed of mesclun greens as well. 

Pegans do a great job handling monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, but have to be a bit more vigilant with saturated fats, especially from animal sources. No matter how tempting some of the high fat trends may sound, Pegans should steer well clear. MCT oil in the language of a Pegan stands for “Me Can’t Tolerate.” 

Pegans are built for low sugar, plant based diets. Pancakes and refined grains are a problem because the carbohydrate clearance for these genotypes is likely to be limited. As a result, Pegans can cut way back on the grains as long as they are maintaining a healthy body weight. Oh, and one last thing – Pegans are best off limiting leftovers as they are in the camp who may be challenged clearing histamine. This means aged cheese, wine and the kombucha at the farmer’s market are no fly zones for Pegans.

What is the scientific basis for this diet? At 37.5% fat, 42.5% carbohydrates, and 20% protein, much of which comes from plant sources, the Pegan diet uses macronutrient ratios that are similar to what is recommended by the current United States Dietary Guidelines

A recent study, called the PREDICT-1 Trial, published in the prestigious peer reviewed Journal, Nature Medicine, found that 50% of the post meal blood sugar response is determined by genetics. It’s clear that some of us don’t do as good of a job metabolizing some higher glycemic carbohydrate sources, and Pegans are more likely to fall into this camp. For more on the science of nutrigenomics, see our science page.

Most closely related diet: Pescetarian

Primary difference with Pescetarian: Histamine. Pescetarian dieters score better than Pegans for histamine clearance, but they’re more likely to be lactose intolerant whereas Pegans can tolerate some dairy when their histamine levels are in check.  

Biggest challenge: Avoiding the bone broth and collagen hype. That and finding which lever to pull hardest – histamine lever or blood sugar. Both can be addressed, but some Pegans will find they do best when they tightly regulate blood sugar response and cut out grains, while others may find they do best when they are stricter with histamine and a little more liberal with carbohydrate.

Red meat friendly? Nope, red meat is a once a month at most thing for Pegans.

Keto friendly: Some Pegans may be able to get into ketosis on a diet that is full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Traditional Keto with butter, cheese and beef fat is off limits.

Carnivore diet friendly? Nope.  

Does this diet type handle fermented foods? Pegan histamine scores counsel towards limiting fermented foods to a rare treat.

What about pancakes and refined grains: Both of these foods are suboptimal for Pegans. They elevate blood sugar rapidly and Pegans do a poor job of clearing those spikes, which means it’s best to leave the refined grains on the shelf. 

Go to breakfast: Overnight oats with blueberry and almond butter.

Is Pegan your Diet Type?

Gene Food uses a proprietary algorithm to divide people into one of twenty diet types based on genetics. We score for fat metabolism, histamine clearance, carbohydrate tolerance, and more. Where do you fit?

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