Dieting and Fasting

The Carnivore Diet

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:41 am

This article will explore the Carnivore Diet, which is a diet that consists only of meat. It will examine why this diet is so popular and what other conditions it may help with.

Why the Carnivore Diet Works?

The Carnivore Diet consists entirely of meat and animal products, excluding all other foods. It claims to aid weight loss, mood issues, and blood sugar regulation, among other health issues.

However, the diet is extremely restrictive and likely unhealthy in the long term. Plus, no research backs its purported benefits.

What is a carnivore diet?

The Carnivore Diet is a restrictive diet that only includes meat, fish, and other animal foods like eggs and certain dairy products. It excludes all other foods, including fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Its proponents also recommend eliminating or limiting dairy intake to foods that are low in lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products such as butter and hard cheeses.

The Carnivore Diet stems from the controversial belief that human ancestral populations ate mostly meat and fish and that high-carb diets are to blame for today’s high rates of chronic disease. Other popular low-carb diets, like the keto and paleo diets, limit but don’t exclude carb intake. However, the Carnivore Diet aims for zero carbs.

Shaun Baker, a former American orthopaedic doctor, is the most well-known proponent of the Carnivore Diet. He cites testimonials from those who follow the Carnivore Diet as proof that it can treat depression, anxiety, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and more. However, no research has analysed the effects of the Carnivore Diet. Also, in 2017, Baker’s medical license was revoked by the New Mexico Medical Board because of concerns about his competency.

How to follow a carnivore diet?

Following the Carnivore diet involves eliminating all plant foods from your diet and only eating meat, fish, eggs, and small amounts of low-lactose dairy products.

Foods to eat include beef, chicken, pork, lamb, turkey, organ meats, salmon, sardines, whitefish, and small amounts of heavy cream and hard cheese. Butter, lard, and bone marrow are also allowed. Proponents of the diet emphasise eating fatty cuts of meat to reach your daily energy needs.

The Carnivore Diet encourages drinking water and bone broth but discourages drinking tea, coffee, and other drinks made from plants. It provides no specific guidelines regarding calorie intake, serving sizes, or how many meals or snacks to eat per day. Most proponents of the diet suggest eating as often as you desire.

The Pros and Cons of Carnivore Diet

There are many benefits to the carnivore diet. People who have been on it have reported weight loss, better skin, more energy, and more mental clarity. However, there are some drawbacks to this diet as well. One of the major downsides is that people can only eat animal products such as meat and eggs, for example. There is also the risk of vitamin deficiencies if someone does not supplement their diet.

Benefits of the carnivore diet

Since the Carnivore Diet excludes carbs, it eliminates cookies, cakes, candy, sodas, pastries, and similar high-carb foods. These foods are low in beneficial nutrients and often high in calories. Thus, they should be limited to a healthy, balanced diet.

High-sugar foods can also be problematic for people with diabetes, as they can spike blood sugar levels. In fact, limiting refined carbs and sugary foods is often recommended to control diabetes.

However, the complete elimination of carbs on the Carnivore Diet is not recommended or necessary for diabetes management. Instead, eating smaller amounts of wholesome, high-fibre carbs that don’t cause spikes in blood sugar is recommended.

Carnivore diet disadvantages

Because of its highly restrictive nature and complete elimination of most food groups, there are many disadvantages to the Carnivore Diet. Let’s list it out;

  • High in fat, cholesterol, and sodium – Given that the Carnivore Diet consists solely of animal foods, it can be high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Some processed meats, especially bacon and breakfast meats, also contain high amounts of sodium.
  • May lack certain micronutrients and beneficial plant compounds – The Carnivore Diet eliminates highly nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, all of which contain beneficial vitamins and minerals. The Carnivore Diet does not contain these compounds and has not been associated with any long-term health benefits.
  • Carnivore Diet contains no fibre – fibre, a non-digestible carb that promotes gut health and healthy bowel movements, is only found in plant foods. Thus, the Carnivore Diet contains no fibre, which may lead to constipation in some people.
  • Not be suited for all – For example, those who need to limit their protein intake, including people with chronic kidney disease, should not follow the diet. Also, those who are more sensitive to the cholesterol in foods, or cholesterol hyper-responders, should be cautious about consuming so many high-cholesterol foods. Certain populations with special nutrient needs would likely not meet them on the Carnivore Diet. This includes children and pregnant or lactating women. Lastly, those who have anxiety about food or struggle with restrictive eating should not try this diet.

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Can a carnivore diet help you lose weight?

Certain aspects of the Carnivore Diet may lead to weight loss. Specifically, some studies have shown that high-protein and low-carb diets can promote weight loss. This is mostly because protein can help you feel more full after meals, which may lead to reduced calorie intake and subsequent weight loss. Protein can also increase your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories.

Therefore, following the Carnivore Diet would likely cause you to feel fuller and eat fewer calories overall, at least in the short term. However, you do not need to eliminate carbs to lose weight. Rather, reducing your overall calorie intake, which may be easier to do with a higher intake of satisfying protein, is the primary driver of weight loss. Plus, the highly restrictive nature of the Carnivore Diet makes it difficult to follow long term.

  1. What foods to eat on a carnivore diet?

    Someone on the Carnivore Diet can eat;
    Meat: beef, chicken, turkey, organ meats, lamb, pork, etc.
    Fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines, crab, lobster, tilapia, herring, etc.
    Other animal products: eggs, lard, bone marrow, bone broth, etc.
    Low-lactose dairy (in small amounts): heavy cream, hard cheese, butter, etc.

  2. What foods to avoid on a carnivore diet?

    Carnivore Diet Restricted foods include;
    Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, green beans, peppers, etc.
    Fruits: apples, berries, bananas, kiwi, oranges, etc.
    High-lactose dairy: milk, yogurt, soft cheese, etc.
    Legumes: beans, lentils, etc.
    Nuts and seeds: almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pistachios, etc.
    Grains: rice, wheat, bread, quinoa, pasta, etc.
    Alcohol: beer, wine, liquor, etc.
    Sugars: Etable sugar, maple syrup, brown sugar, etc.
    Beverages other than water: soda, coffee, tea, fruit juice, etc.

What is the conclusion on a carnivore diet?

The Carnivore Diet is extremely restrictive, consisting entirely of meat, fish, eggs, and small amounts of low-lactose dairy. It’s said to aid weight loss and several health issues, but no research backs these claims. Also, it’s high in fat and sodium, contains no fibre or beneficial plant compounds, and is difficult to maintain long term. Overall, the Carnivore Diet is unnecessarily restrictive. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of healthy foods is more sustainable and will probably afford you more health benefits.

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