If you stay up to date with the latest in nutrition trends or frequent fitness pages on social media, you’ve doubtlessly encountered the viral influencer known as the liver king. The liver king, real name Brian Johnson, blew up on social media after sharing videos of himself chowing down on raw organ meats. The stomach-churning content initially served to test the gag reflexes of users, but people actually started listening to the liver king’s advice.
Promoting a primal lifestyle and diet, Johnson shared a myriad of videos showing him gorging himself on everything from gag-inducing raw livers and hearts to grotesque brains and testicles. All of which he claimed, was the secret to achieving his impeccably toned rig. Johnson gained a massive social media audience and actively encouraged his 1.7 million Instagram followers to adopt an “ancestral lifestyle” of raw organ meats and intense exercise.
Liver king claimed he was 100% natural. The only thing he needed to get into peak condition, was his ancestral lifestyle. But now, Johnson has been exposed as a fraud. A fellow bodybuilder claimed to possess emails revealing the liver king’s steroid usage and released a video uncovering the truth. The emails allegedly detailed the liver king’s extensive steroid regimen, including a set of injections adding up to around $11,000 a month.
The Liver King has been a social media revelation since he joined Instagram in August of 2021. He’s done the rounds on almost every podcast on the hyper masculine listening circuit. Deflecting criticism from those unconvinced by his lifestyle along the way. Johnson even denied insinuations that he used performance enhancing drugs from the podcast king himself, Joe Rogan.
With his lies exposed, liver king went into damage control. He posted an apology video on Instagram in which he admitted to steroid use and apologised to his fans. “Yes, I’ve done steroids. And yes, I’m on steroids,” he said.
In the video, Johnson not only admits to taking steroids, but to intentionally lying about his lifestyle and misleading fans. “I’m making this video to apologize… I fully own that I fucked up… I lied.” You have to feel sorry for the people who actually ate animal testicles because of the liver king’s advice.
Johnson told Rolling Stone he was surprisingly grateful that the truth had come out. “In a weird way, I’m grateful for the recent events that have shed light on this complicated-as-fuck topic.” After attributing his figure to the tenants of his ancestral lifestyle, Johnson admitted he felt trapped in the lie. “I dug myself into a bigger and deeper hole,” he said.
Perhaps to gain sympathy, or perhaps to mitigate the potential for future lawsuits, Johnson said he was driven to using performance enhancing substances due to low self-esteem and body image issues. “This is why I fucking work myself to death in the gym. This is why I do 12-15 blood-burning workouts a week, just to feel like I’m okay.” Johnson said in the apology video. “Hormone replacement has helped in a profound and significant way.”
On top of his fraudulent claims of being 100% natural, Johnson also admitted that the entire liver king persona was simply a character he created to help promote his brands and purported lifestyle. “Liver King, the public figure, was an experiment to spread the message.” Johnson said. Pity for those who took the liver king persona seriously and started living like a caveman.
While the liver king isn’t the best role model, consuming organ meats can have real health benefits. Eating raw meat was not the secret to the liver king’s impressive physique, but a growing body of athletes have revealed their affinity for not-so-popular meats you won’t find in most restaurants.
Organ meats were once a prized delicacy, but their inclusion in the average diet has slowly dwindled with the availability of more palatable meat. The raw livers and hearts that the liver king became famous for devouring are naturally packed with nutrients and have been called super foods. Organ meats are high in vitamin B and folate, containing minerals such as iron, phosphorus and magnesium. They are also a great source of protein. However, they are extremely high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Meaning that eating them at a high rate might lead short term benefits, but to serious long term health problems. Even if you’re game enough to introduce organ meats to your diet, you most likely won’t look like the liver king unless you’re on steroids. So keep that in mind.
It’s unlikely that liver king will face any punishment for his steroids scandal. Unless the calls for lawsuits for misleading advertising ramp up. It’s also unlikely that the scandal will reduce Johnson’s fame. Liver king looks set to maintain his influential online presence unabated, but likely with a warier audience.
The case of the liver king is a testament to the dangers of misinformation on social media. Before you start eating brains and testicles because you heard advice from a buff looking influencer, do your own research to find the real benefits and what works best for you.
The consumption of organ meats can have a variety of health benefits. But these benefits must be weighed with negative side effects. Organ meats are high in vitamin B and folate and are also a great source of protein. But they’re extremely high in cholesterol and saturated fat.
Liver is the organ meat with most nutrients per gram. But beware, it’s also known to be the hardest to stomach. Liver is a good source of vitamin A which can improve eye health and reduce the risk of a range of diseases from arthritis to Alzheimer’s.
Organ meats are one of the cheapest cuts of meat. They aren’t very popular and aren’t the type of ingredient you’ll find in recipe guides. This makes them shockingly affordable. But they aren’t easily accessible as they aren’t stocked at many supermarkets or grocery stores.
Organ meats are high in nutrients, but they’re also high in cholesterol and fats. Consuming too much organ meat can raise your risk of stroke and heart attacks. If you’re planning on adding organ meats to your diet, remember to eat them in moderation and in partnership with a rigorous training regimen.