FED Poison? Nutrition Expert Says Prison Food Causes Cancer, Toxicity

Are inmates the victims of "FED Poison" by the Bureau of Prisons?
Are inmates the victims of "FED Poison" by the Bureau of Prisons?

Richard Luthmann

By Richard Luthmann

There have been several comments asking about prison food.  I promised to put together a more comprehensive treatment for the readership.

One reader asked:

Supersize me – Director Morgan Spurlock’s social experiment in fast-food gastronomy sees him attempting to subsist uniquely on food from the McDonald’s menu for an entire month.

In the process, his weight balloons, his energy level plummets, and he experiences all sorts of unexpected — and terrifying — side effects.

He also examines the corporate giant’s growing role in the lives of American consumers and explores its methods of indoctrinating young people and its contribution to America’s obesity epidemic.

Has an experiment like this been done where only the consumption of prison food is concerned? It seems warranted.

Another reader asked:

 One thing I want to know about is the food. I’m kind of a foodie, so how bad is the food?

Like, I mean, it’s not the Ritz. But is the food really that bad, or do prisoners like to grumble?

I can tell you that good food is scarce in the BOP, particularly if you have specialized dietary needs. I was 260 pounds on the day of my arrest on December 15, 2017.

After the stress of the indictment and three months of captivity, I ballooned up to 300 pounds. I was pre-diabetic with an A1C of 5.3. Within three months, I was a full-blown diabetic with an A1C of over 7.

In addition to poor nutrition, prison stress is a driver of inmate health problems.

Poor nutrition, and stress drives inmate health problems

Food choices were the major drivers of my drastic medical decline, and these factors are faced by all prisoners in detention and prison.

To better evaluate the effects of food choices on prisoners, I sought the advice of nutrition expert. Benedict “BK” Kelly, the principal of the Fairfield, Connecticut-based BKAthletics and the developer of FitOver40Formula.

Ben Kelly has spent 30 years in the health, nutrition, and fitness industry.  Originally a professional rugby league player from Sydney, Australia, Kelly transitioned from coaching and strength conditioning to concierge fitness and wellness.

Ben Kelly, principal of BK Athletics, is a concierge nutrition, fitness, and wellness professional.

Ben Kelly, of BK Athletics in Fairfield, Connecticut, is a nutrition, fitness, and wellness professional.

Kelly is in the business of nutrition.  “Nutrition is such an important day-to-day factor in helping clients live their life to their best potential through holistic health practices and understanding what works and what doesn’t,” Kelly said.

In developing the FitOver40Formula from three decades of expertise, Kelly customizes a lifestyle transformation from nutrition to lifestyle, to fitness – “the whole nine yards,” BK says as he explains how he has helped clients change their lives in their middle age.

Ben Kelly was a professional rugby league player, and he played for the U.S. National Team.

Ben Kelly is from Australia, where he was a professional rugby player and strength coach.  He played for the U.S. National Team.

Part of what Kelly does is menu preparation.

The Bureau of Prisons touts a “National Menu” served to the inmates at its 122 prison institutions. If you are a prisoner in federal custody, no matter what facility you are at, everyone gets the same meal.

Prisoners’ actual food choice is listed on the National Menu, and is supplemented by what inmates can buy at the prison commissary or “canteen.” Inmates get the privilege of shopping once a week or two, and can stock up on additional food items to keep in their cells.

None of the Bureau of Prisons’ commissary food is fresh. All of it is sugary, salty, and/or nitrate-loaded prepackaged rubbish.

First, I asked Kelly about the National Menu, and if he saw anything remotely solid nutritionally.

The Bureau of Prisons has a "National Menu." All inmates eat the same food.
The Bureau of Prisons has a “National Menu.” All inmates eat the same food on any given day.

Kelly said, “The lead protein portion of the daily looks decent, on some of them. There was one with a chicken patty. There was a different one with beef. As the prime driver for meals, protein is fantastic.. There was a level of fine additives put in there. Margarine, gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn kernels. It doesn’t look like a lot of quality there whatsoever.”

Inmate meals served by the BOP are normally low quality.

Inmate meals served at prisons are low quality, cooked in seed oils, and high in sugars, starches, and nitrates.

Kelly said there was concern that prisoners who wanted to make healthy and nutritious food choices could get enough calories from the BOP’s National Menu.  But the larger, hidden health killer is what the prison food is cooked in.

“Let’s take Sunday, for example scrambled eggs and breakfast potatoes. The question is, what have they been cooking in? If it is 100% margarine, canola, or sunflower seed oil, that’s just toxic to the body,” Kelly said. He also said getting enough to eat could be a problem: “Calorie-wise, just having the protein portion is not feasible. And toxic shortening-free chicken patties? I don’t think so.”

Health and Nutrition Expert Ben Kelly says that seed oils are toxic to the human body.

Health and Nutrition Expert Ben Kelly says seed oils are toxic to the human body. The BOP uses seed oils as a shortening to cook prisoner food.

I asked BK what would be the healthier choices as opposed to the seed oils and the margarine.  He said, “whole fats like butter, olive oil, and avocado oil. Fats that are saturated fats are actually good. The problem is that the polyunsaturated fatty acids and industrial seed oil are nutritionally unsuitable and oxidize poorly. Chemical exposure to these harmful substances is going to make you sick. And if you are eating them daily, it’s just a recipe for disaster.”

As an expert in nutrition for people over 40, I asked Ben Kelly from a nutritional perspective what the effect of the Bureau of Prisons National Menu would be over time for inmates over 40, or for people of any age, that would eat these foods, especially the seed oils, the high carbohydrate, high sugar, high salt, high nitrate diet, what are the effects over time.  The answers were not good.

An example of a "Six Starch" meal cooked in seed oil that would be served to BOP inmates.

An example of a “Six Starch” meal cooked in seed oil that would be served to BOP inmates

Kelly said, “Cancer toxicity, obesity, general malaise of not feeling good or vibrant. And there is a domino effect when you are not eating well and not feeling good,” Kelly said.  If you’re eating toxic foods, especially as we age, that combined with not exercising creates a compounding effect that is the driver of heart attacks, diabetes, hypertension, and other serious problems, especially as we age,” the expert nutritionist said.

Ben Kelly and I also went over examples of a prison commissary list that inmates use to shop at the compound’s canteen. We looked at the lists from FMC-Devens in Massachusetts (where I was housed for a time former Congressman Anthony Weiner) and USP-Tuscon in Arizona (where Keith Raniere is now a resident).

Prisoners use a Commissary List to shop at the compound canteen.
Prisoners use a Commissary List to shop at the compound canteen.

Ben Kelly gave his opinion as a nutritionist. “Ultimately, when I’m looking at a food list, I’m looking at protein and how much is available. But there are only a handful of choices of proteins that I see available,” the former rugby league pro said.  He continued, “Chicken breast, turkey breast, egg, salmon, mackerel, tuna – there are about ten choices of protein on the whole list. And rest assured, there is lots of junk that I would never touch.”

Ben Kelly's FitOver40Formula makes solid nutritional choices as a large driver of success.

Ben Kelly’s FitOver40Formula makes solid nutritional choices as a large driver of success.

On the FMC-Devens list (a BOP medical center), Kelly pointed to the vast majority of items as poor nutritional choices.  “Marshmallow Fluff, Kraft cheese, salsa, mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup, all those sources would be made with seed oils for sure,” he said.  Ben Kelly continued, “cashews, butter popcorn, wheat pretzels, tortilla, Ripples, nachos, enchilada, crackers, cheese saltines – all of them are all processed unhealthy nutrients that I would avoid like the plague.”

Kelly said he would not advise any of his clients to eat anything on these commissary lists besides the protein, “and even that would be a lower grade choice, because it’s not free organic grass-fed highest quality proteins. These invariably may also include proteins packaged with seed oils that are essentially toxic for us.”

The largest takeaway from Kelly’s nutritional analysis was the most alarming.  “I’ve seen a lot of high school, middle school, and elementary school food lists and menus, and they’re not dissimilar to what the Bureau of Prisons offers,” Kelly said.

Nutritionist Ben Kelly says that children's school menus are not much different from the Bureau of Prisons' menu for inmates.

Nutritionist Ben Kelly says that children’s school lunch menus are not much different from the Bureau of Prisons’ menu for inmates.

Kelly sees a sweeping nutritional problem: “It’s ludicrous that we’re feeding kids and prisoners in this country these foods, and no one’s doing anything about it. Is it any wonder why there’s an obesity crisis? In 2022, we’re in the unhealthiest state I’ve seen in my lifetime. And it’s a direct result of the food we’re feeding ourselves.”

I can’t argue with Kelly.  The day I left prison, I was 340 pounds. My blood sugar was 386. My A1C was 7.5.

I was the size of a house after three months in MDC-Brooklyn. When I left prison, I was even bigger.

I was the size of a house after just three months in MDC-Brooklyn pretrial lock-up. When I left prison, I was even bigger, and in worse shape.

My daily blood sugar is now in the 107-111 range, and my A1C is about a 5. It’s taken me a year and a half, but I’m back down below 260 (with much better body composition, body fat, and muscle mass), and I’m headed lower.

In response to the sReader above, just like Morgan Spurlock’s health in SUPERSIZE ME after McDonald’s, I found it extremely easy to get your health derailed while in BOP custody. But it takes time to get back on track. The problem is that many inmates can’t get on track because of poor food choices and lack of exercise (especially during COVID-19).

Additionally, Compassionate Release and Home Detention for elderly and sick inmates may sound positive.  But the motivation is nefarious: to keep these sick inmates in BOP custody would cause EXPLOSIVE healthcare costs because the prisons are required to provide adequate medical care.

Are inmates the victims of "FED Poison" by the Bureau of Prisons?
Are inmates the victims of “FED Poison” by the Bureau of Prisons?

And the reason for the health problems is years of exposure to the toxic environment, where a poor nutritional environment plays a large role in causing the harm.

When will the country realize that the Bureau of Prisons kills inmates and creates explosive medical costs through poor nutritional choices?

Like so many others, I was a victim of “FED Poisoning.”


About the author

Richard Luthmann

Richard Luthmann is a writer, commentator, satirist, and investigative journalist with degrees from Columbia University and the University of Miami. Once a fixture in New York City and State politics, Luthmann is a recovering attorney who lives in Southwest Florida and a proud member of the National Writers Union. 

For Article Ideas, Tips, or Help: richard.luthmann@protonmail.com or call 239-287-6352.


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  • This makes jail grub look good. They never show what it really looks like. That’s why they overprice the commissary foods.
    Federal prison has the best food though.

    • Yeah. He looks way too good. And so do his scores of successful clients. It’s not that he’s on to something with his formula, experience, discipline, and hard work. It must be the juice. And he’s probably gay too, right? SMH

      • “And he’s probably gay too, right?”

        Nobody said he was gay Richard.
        You took my comment rather personally.

        The dude is middle aged: keeping low body fat and musculature is next to impossible at that age.

        You have to pick skinny or muscled.

        • Nothing personal. I hate jealousy. If somebody does the hard work to stay fit, you should be their cheerleader, not their detractor.

          The “gay” reference is what I’ve been hearing about healthy people my entire life from jealous ones. He has too many muscles, he must be on the juice. He’s too good looking, he must be gay.

  • I lost two good teeth in jail and got fat. I have diverticulitis so I can’t digest food like corn. I thought it was a sick joke that my special diet tray had corn. I brought it to the attention of staff and was then brought a huge Styrofoam tray of white rice with ice in it.

  • Ben Kelly and Fairfield county residents have the money to pay for organic high end proteins.

    Does he have any suggestions for the rest of us who are struggling to buy weekly groceries – especially with the current inflation-

    And the lack of food sources created by the Biden administration???

    I know CT is a blue state but food plants and resources are curiously low without cause.

    How does he help the average people?

    Thank you.

    • This is why all the nxivm girls had funky eyebrows, got all emaciated looking, and allowed Lauren Salzman to brand them naked. KR nut oil toxicity.

  • What’s troubling is every aspect of prison is to promote recidivism by psychological torture and isolation from family and friends.

    Deprivation of love and support. I’m many prisons families cannot send food from home or a big box store. It has to be through the prison’s contractor— which is outrageously priced.

    Why? It’s all about money for the government.

    Prison is a business.

    These aren’t meals. These are meant to weaken men and women who are incarcerated.

    To frustrate and depress them.

    How we treat our prisoners and our elderly- those often the most vulnerable- is very telling.

    America is going to hell fast.

    Our government is stealing our children, our homes, our life savings, our parents and their life savings through bullshit guardians —

    Wake up America. Before it’s too late.

      • The sad part is, America is the worst of all the developed countries. Prison, Inc. is in full effect.

        This is fertile ground for an article. People seem to like it when I talk to experts. Maybe I can find an international expert to interview. In lieu of that, I’ll see if David Icke can tell us if prison conditions were better when the lizard people ruled over us all.

  • I’m looking at the prison menu, and I see whole grains, veggies and fruits, and protein choices like baked chicken, scrambled eggs, beef taco salad, cheese. A balanced wholesome diet just like actual nutritionists recommend.

    Friday lunch: hamburger on a whole wheat bun (with a meatless option), onion, baked potato or fries, and fruit. For dinner, bean soup and taco salad (again with a meatless option). Nothing unhealthy about that. It’s a healthier diet than most Americans consume.

    The week’s rotation includes corn, black beans and green beans, carrots, and salad. Plus fruit. What I’m not seeing on the menu are desserts. No pie, no cookies, cake, pudding, brownies, or ice cream. I’m also not seeing potato chips or other snack junk foods. And of course no alcohol.

    This is toxic? This is how the Bureau of prisons “kills inmates”? This is “FED Poisoning”? Making sure they get their fruits and vegetables?

    Coach Kelly, whose sole health and nutrition qualification seems to be that he used to play professional rugby, is worried that some of these foods might be cooked in canola oil. “Canola oil… that’s just toxic to the body,” says Coach. Of course former rugby players have every right to their opinions just like everyone else, but what does evidence based science say on the subject?

    “Health concerns about canola oil are unfounded”

    Getting into more detail, here’s
    Guy Crosby, Ph.D of the Harvard School of Public Health:

    “canola oil is a safe and healthy form of fat that will reduce blood LDL cholesterol levels and heart disease risk”

    And the American Heart Association lists canola oil first among its healthy fats recommendations https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/healthy-cooking-oils

    Opposed to which we have Coach Rugby’s opinion. I followed the link which brought me to his Facebook profile. He lists himself not as a nutrition expert but as a “digital creator”. His “FitOver40” scheme promises dramatic weight loss without exercise – that elusive fairy tale program that promises health, fitness and a slender waist while doing nothing more than sitting on your ass. Probably gives you washboard abs too.

    Quoting Coach: “I help men and women lose 20+ pounds in 120 days without long painful workouts by FitOver40 formula”

    Coach Kelly has another issue with prison food.
    “Kelly said there was concern that prisoners who wanted to make healthy and nutritious food choices could get enough calories”

    Okay. He doesn’t know the portion sizes or the caloric content of the food, but the man’s entitled to an opinion. It’s rather contradicted though by your statement that while in prison

    “I ballooned up to 300 pounds” [you give your pre-arrest weight as 260 lbs.]

    So no shortage of available calories, then.

    As for junk food sold at the commissary, yeah that’s the same as it is for everyone on the outside too. Cookies and greasy chips and sugary soda aplenty. It all comes down to how you choose to treat your body.

    Obesity is a huge public health problem. More Americans are overweight and obese than are of “normal” weight. The average American man weighs 200 lbs. and it’s not because they’re bulked up lifting barbells. They’re incipient heart attacks on legs. By establishing a healthy diet, the BoP is doing inmates a favor.

  • Some Banks that financed Musk’s twitter takeover are prepping to take losses on $13b loan package. May have write down $10b. RTRS

  • A lot of people who abuse drugs and alcohol their whole lives go into prison and start blaming the food for their health problems.

    If you abuse your body for decades it’s going to catch up to you and it’s not going to happen because of three months in prison.

    No one is forced to buy unhealthy food from the commissary. Lots of people exercise and get into amazing shape while in prison. The break from access to drugs and alcohol and other poor health habits are credited for saving their life.

    All over the world people do not have access to animal products on a regular basis and they do not die of a protein deficiency. LOL. Animal meat and other animal products are not the only place to get protein from that is a health fallacy started by lobbyists for those Industries.

    Those are industries that have received subsidies and government welfare for years that is why their products are pushed in institutions like schools and prisons and guess what happens when schools and prisons try to switch to healthier food? People won’t eat it they throw it away and buy snacks from vending machines or commissary. They start bitching and moaning and crying that it is their constitutional right to have fried snacks and chicken fingers and over processed foods.

    When prisons offer apples and oranges with almost every meal and make healthy choices available in the commissary people still buy Top Ramen and honey buns.

    It’s great that people get incarcerated and care more about their health suddenly. But it’s a little over the top for say a crack addict or physically addicted to alcohol person who is already overweight and out of shape to try to pin all their problems on an institution they only recently entered. That is not a dig at the author to this piece. It’s just an acknowledgment that people entering incarceration usually are suffering from a lifetime of poor habits and health practices already.

    • If the nutritionist is right, and the seed oils are toxic and carcinogenic, and the BOP provides no alternative either in the commissary or on their menu, shouldn’t we have a discussion whether this is cruel and unusual punishment?

      If your house or your workplace is subject to toxic substances that cause cancer over time and someone is at fault, don’t you get to sue and recover (as a small consolation for the loss of health and enjoyment of life).

      I’m not saying prisoners should start suing (though maybe that’s not a bad idea). My argument is that shouldn’t there be minimum standards? And isn’t one of them that you can’t poison your prisoners?

      Compassionate release for older long term prisoners is a farce. While some may want you to believe it is out of evolved sensibilities, it’s really about the astronomical healthcare costs because of the prison’s long term treatment of the prisoner.

  • If someone entered a prison in Spain today, they would have a menu that would consist of a starter of lentils, cannelloni with meat, and an orange for dessert. Everything, of course, accompanied by bread and water. This would be one of the three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) that are served as a rule in all Spanish prisons.

    Although the menus vary throughout the week, they all have a similar structure. The state spends €65 a day on average for each prisoner, of which only €3.66 is dedicated to food. For breakfast, coffee with milk is usually served accompanied by bread with butter and jam. Cookies, muffins and brownies are also served from time to time to give some variety. At lunch and dinner (less substantial) the same structure of first, second and dessert is always followed during the week is seasonal fruit and on weekends it is replaced by flans or yogurt.

    The only exception is made on designated dates such as the day of the Virgen de la Merced (patron saint of officials and inmates) or Christmas where the cost of food is doubled. In the case of the Madrid II prison, the Christmas menu consisted of a variety of sausages and prawns for the first course, roast lamb for the second course and a dessert made up of custard, ice cream and nougat.

    What never changes is the way it is served. Always in metal trays that are distributed accompanied by plastic cutlery. Once the food is finished, they are collected and cleaned in a “car wash” located in the kitchen.

    According to the CSIF press spokesperson, “in some centers it is richer than in others” but in all of them a rigorous control of calories, fat, sugars, proteins and nutrients is carried out. “First of all, it is sought to be balanced” he assures.


About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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