We’ve gone from Low-Fat, The Zone, Atkins, Paleo, Keto and like a bull in a kitchen, here comes the Carnivore Diet. Remember when eating all the fat you wanted was the Diet Du Jour (Keto)? Well imagine eating steak, chicken, fish, ribs, and any other animal product you can get your hands on for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (plus your snacks!). With stories of weight loss, reversing of mental health issues, autoimmune disorders, and multiple other ailments the Carnivore Diet has become a phenomenon.
Let’s sink our teeth into this..
Q: What is the Carnivore Diet?
A: It’s a zero-carb or animal-source food diet, it basically consists of eating 100% animal foods – meat, fish, eggs, high-fat dairy products, and animal fats. There are NO vegetables, grain, fruits, nuts, etc..if it isn’t from an animal, it’s not on the diet!
Q: Has there been any studies on it?
A: Not really, there are a multitude of anecdotal evidence. Huge communities that have been following this diet lifestyle with reported benefits that range from weight loss to improving their mental health conditions. There was a study done by researchers from Harvard that 2,000 individuals self-reported (so kinda weak quality of data) that 93% lost weight, 93% improved their hypertension or diabetes, 97% had better digestion, and 96% said their psychiatric symptoms improved.
Q: Do you literally only eat meat?
A: Yes, and if you’re really strict, there aren’t even any seasons besides salt and gravies that are made of meat fat. Typical day is – Breakfast (Eggs/Ham), Lunch (Chicken or Fish), Dinner (Fatty Steak). No snacks.
Q: What about fiber and vitamins & minerals?
A: Proponents of the diet say your body doesn’t need the fiber and that your body can make all the vitamins and minerals that it needs by using the building blocks of meat. Basically, there is nothing truly useful or needed in the any non-animal derived food, if anything, those foods have nutrients that are dangerous for the body?
Q: What could be dangerous in fruits and vegetables?
A: They are called “anti-nutrients”. Plant life is dependent on living and thriving, therefore they have evolved to create nutrients that protect them from being eaten or harmed by insects, weather, etc. These nutrients are also harmful to the human body when consumed.
Q: What is the theory of the Carnivore Diet?
A: That humans were always heavy/exclusive meat eaters. Our brain size increased due to eating meat, our digestive system is designed for meat digestion rather than plants (highly fiberous), ancient remains demonstrate we ate more meat, and that there was a decline in health when we began the agricultural revolution.
Q: Are there resources on the diet?
A: Yes, lots. Books, forums, events, there is a significant community of Carnivores and/or primarily carnivore dieters. Books and videos by Dr. Paul Saladino and Dr. Shawn Baker are the best resources.
Q: Your thoughts?
A: There is plenty of evidence that it is safe and beneficial for the short-term. The theory is legit, however I worry if the diet is for everyone. There has been considerable data to show that plant based, variety diets, and fiber is beneficial for the body. I think any diet that is heavily restricted is not good for me because I won’t be able to do it for the long term. The best diet is the one that you can do long-term.