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The carnivore diet is a surging new diet fad you may have seen making the rounds on social media. It is one of the more simple diets to hit the market in recent years, while still promoting amazing rewards and benefits. I’m going to cover all of the information you need to know about the carnivore diet before giving it a try!
In this video, Dustin Moore weighs in on the science behind this diet as well as provide you with his professional perspective on this new weight loss craze.
If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.
What is the carnivore diet?
The diet is incredibly simple to follow. On the list of foods you can eat is any meat, from any animal. Steaks and filets on the tamer side, with brain and organ meats on the more adventurous side. In addition, eggs, butter, lard, bone marrow, water, and light seasoning are allowed. You may include dairy products but most hardcore enthusiasts of the diet discourage this.
In summary, if it did not come from an animal, it is off limits. No vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes, or grains of any variety. See? I told you it was an easy diet to follow.
Positive aspects of the carnivore diet
Let’s start by pointing out what can be beneficial about this dietary lifestyle.
First off, if strictly followed, your appetite control will probably improve. All of the calories in your diet will come from fat and protein. In the stomach, these two nutrients create a feeling of fullness that will last longer than carbohydrates. As a result, you are less likely to feel hungry in between meals. Even if you did get hungry, it’s not like there is a lot of snack options to choose from.
Second, although meats are calorically dense, most people who follow this diet tend to eat less overall. Realistically, that’s because there are so few foods to choose from. This means fewer calories each day which is a possible benefit if your goal is to lose weight.
How the carnivore diet gained popularity
The carnivore diet gained popularity by claiming it could treat autoimmune disease and anti-inflammatory states.
Followers state that it improves fatigue, helps fight obesity, and improves digestive health. It is also promoted on something similar to the keto diet – “it’s what our ancestors ate”.
In every instance, the only evidence offered to support these claims is personal testimonies. Any positive effects people claim from this diet can easily be explained by the placebo effect, or belief in the treatment causing the observed results.
Other people who tried the diet describe it as being a miserable experience. They report feeling extremely lethargic and unable to have normal bowel movements.
Concerns about the carnivore diet
Unfortunately, that is the end to the list of positive things that can be said about this diet. The list of concerns and drawbacks is extensive.
First off, this diet is completely devoid of essential nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folic acid, and fiber. Not only do you lose all of those nutrients, you miss out on antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables are a potent source of phytochemicals, many of which are antioxidants that promote health and wellness.
Second, in just the past five years, dozens of studies have been published showing you are at a much higher risk for various forms of cancer if you increase your meat intake. Even more studies show how saturated fat, the fat present in animal products, increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Third, your body, specifically your brain and nervous system, rely on carbohydrates as a primary fuel source. If all your body ever gets is meat, this will limit your primary energy source and make your body turn to less effective fuel sources.
The carnivore diet is restrictive
The worst part of this diet is how restrictive it is. The principle of variety in your diet, or eating a wide array of foods from all food groups, is overwhelmingly backed by science. Including a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and reduced fat dairy products contribute to longevity in health and a reduced risk of chronic illness. Taking it one step further, recent studies show eating fruits and vegetables leads to increased happiness, life satisfaction, and well-being.
There is just not enough evidence to support his charade of a diet. For the few individuals that claim benefits to trying it, there is probably some underlying mechanism we have not yet decerned or it is just the placebo effect. A strong nutritional principal is a varied diet, keep limits on added sugars and fats while focusing on whole grain products.
If you have questions about diets you have seen online, make an appointment to speak with a registered dietitian to discuss your health goals and create a plan that works for you!